Last year's champion is back to being 1

Last year's champion is back to being 1

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Alabama is the new No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, moving past Southern California after its resounding victory against Michigan.The Crimson Tide swayed more than enough voters with its 41-14 win Saturday night in Texas to overtake the preseason No. 1 Trojans, who beat Hawaii 49-10. USC entered that game a 40-point favorite at home.The Tide receives 45 first-place votes, up 28 from last week. USC draws 11 first-place votes and No. 3 LSU four.It's the 47th time Alabama has been No. 1, the 16th under coach Nick Saban.This is the 86th time in the 76-year history of the AP media poll that the top-ranked team won and dropped in the rankings. It's happened at least once every year since 2007.

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Controversial off-side ruling nearly costs Caps a point in Minnesota

Controversial off-side ruling nearly costs Caps a point in Minnesota

The Capitals walked away with two points after a win in Minnesota, but the game was not without controversy.

The Wild tied the game at 4 with 27 seconds remaining in the third period as noted Caps killer Eric Staal netted the game-tying goal. The NHL Situation Room, however, initiated a review for off-side after the goal. It appeared to many as if Minnesota forward Jason Zucker was off-side as Jared Spurgeon entered the zone.

You can watch a replay in the video above. Here's a look at the play:

This view appears to clearly show that the puck is completely over the blue line, but Zucker is still in the offensive zone. That would make this play off-side. The NHL, however, disagreed. After the review, the goal stood as called.

Here is the explanation from the NHL Situation Room blog:

At 19:33 of the third period in the Capitals/Wild game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach's Challenge to examine whether Minnesota was offside prior to Eric Staal's goal.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the linesman, NHL Hockey Operations staff confirmed that Jason Zucker tagged up at the blueline, nullifying the delayed off-side, before the puck touched Jared Spurgeon's stick inside the attacking zone.

Another way to explain this is to compare it to a delayed off-side call. When the puck is in the offensive zone, the play is not immediately blown dead even if players are in an off-side position so long as the puck is not touched by the offensive team. Since Spurgeon did not touch the puck once it passed the blue line until after Zucker touched up, the play was deemed on-side. This is consistent with how the NHL has been calling similar plays all season.

First, good on Spurgeon for having the presence of mind to wait until Zucker tagged up. That was a very heads-up play to take the puck in and wait for his teammate to get back on-side.

Now that we've got that out of the way, this is an incredibly literal, incredibly stupid interpretation of the rule. No one outside of the state of Minnesota could argue that Spurgeon did not have "possession" of the puck when it crossed the blue line. When the delayed off-side rule was conceived, I doubt it was made with situations like this in mind where a player carries the puck into the offensive zone and then hovers over it until his teammate touches up. Possession, to me, has never required constant contact of puck to stick.

This seems like an unintended consequence of the off-side review. When you begin reviewing these plays frame by frame, the interpretation of the rule becomes super specific to the point that common sense goes out the window. So now, even if a player has "possession," it doesn't count unless the puck is directly touching the stick.

Could anyone argue that Spurgeon did not possess the puck? Of course not. But since he didn't touch the puck, the play stood.

And it nearly cost the Caps.

For more Capitals coverage, check out the newest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

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VIDEO: Lakers' D'Angelo Russell consoles young fan after running into bench vs. Wizards

VIDEO: Lakers' D'Angelo Russell consoles young fan after running into bench vs. Wizards

D'Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers ran into the first row while chasing a loose ball against the Wizards on Tuesday night, which is something that happens from time to time in basketball. What he did after falling into a fan, however, was unusual.

Russell realized he had run into a small young girl who was sitting courtside with pom poms. So Russell stood there for several moments and patted her on the head as he tried to determine whether she was okay. 

Once he confirmed she was fine, he went about his way.

Watch the whole sequence right here:

What a nice move by Russell.

[RELATED: Wizards make uniform change for playoffs]