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No. 9 LSU meets No. 14 Clemson in Chick-fil-A Bowl

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No. 9 LSU meets No. 14 Clemson in Chick-fil-A Bowl

ATLANTA (AP) The Chick-fil-A Bowl will be Tigers vs. Tigers.

Bowl officials announced Sunday night that No. 9 LSU will face No. 14 Clemson in the Dec. 31 game at the Georgia Dome. Both teams are known as the Tigers, and both play in the stadiums that are known as ``Death Valley.''

Despite the similarities, the Southern powers have met only twice before.

Their third meeting will feature one of the nation's best offenses (Clemson) against one of the leading defenses (LSU).

``That is awesome,'' said Clemson center Dalton Freeman, who will make his 49th and final career start in the Atlanta bowl. ``If you want to be a consistently outstanding program, you have to play national championship contenders like LSU. They have won the national championship in recent years and always seem to be in the mix for the championship. They have outstanding players and it will be a great challenge, but a great opportunity for us.''

LSU (10-2) was selected after a day of frenzied speculation on how the Southeastern Conference bowl hierarchy would shake out. Clemson (10-2) was a lock to be the Atlantic Coast Conference representative after Florida State won the league championship the previous night, beating Georgia Tech 21-15.

LSU has won its five previous appearances in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, most recently a 38-3 rout over Georgia Tech in 2008.

``We enjoy playing in Atlanta,'' coach Les Miles said. ``It's a great city that has been very good to LSU. I'm sure that we'll travel extremely well.''

Clemson is set to play in the Atlanta game for the eighth time, having gone 2-5 in its previous appearances. That includes a 10-7 loss to LSU in 1996 when it was known as the Peach Bowl.

The only other meeting between the schools came in the 1959 Sugar Bowl, when LSU finished off a national championship season with a 7-0 win.

LSU won the SEC championship in Atlanta last season, earning a spot in the BCS title game against division rival Alabama. The Tigers were denied their second national championship in five seasons when they were blanked by the Crimson Tide, 21-0.

This season, LSU's conference hopes were doomed by a last-minute loss to Alabama in Baton Rouge. The Tigers won their remaining games and have a shot at the seventh 11-victory season in school history, led by a defense that ranks 11th nationally in points allowed (16.2 per game), eighth in total defense (296.2) and ninth in both pass efficiency defense and rushing yards allowed.

Clemson began its season at the Georgia Dome, defeating Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Coach Dabo Swinney's team tied Florida State in the Atlantic Division but was denied a spot in the ACC title game because it lost to the Seminoles.

On its return to Atlanta, Clemson will be looking to rebound from a wrenching loss to state rival South Carolina in the regular-season finale. The high-powered offense is directed by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns. He's a big reason the Tigers rank sixth national in scoring (42.3) and ninth in total yards (518.3().

``Our coaches, our players and our fans always look forward to playing against the best programs in the nation, and LSU certainly fits that description,'' said Swinney, whose school has won 11 games in a season only three other times. ``We are going to have the opportunity to compete against a top 10 team that played for it all last year.''

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198