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FSU, Georgia Tech must move past rivalry losses

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FSU, Georgia Tech must move past rivalry losses

ATLANTA (AP) Jimbo Fisher said Sunday the team that wins the ACC championship may be the one that does the best job of moving past a crushing loss to its top in-state rival.

Florida State dropped three spots to No. 13 in Sunday's Associated Press Top 25 following a 37-26 loss to Florida. Fisher's Seminoles (10-2) play Georgia Tech, which must regroup following a lopsided 42-10 loss to Georgia, in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship on Saturday. The winner will play in the Orange Bowl.

Even with so much on the line, it's not easy to quickly recover from a loss in a state rivalry game.

``I don't think there's any doubt,'' Fisher said. ``They had a great rivalry game and we did too. You've got to be able to put it behind you quickly and go on. I think that is going to be a big factor, I don't think there's any doubt.''

It's an unlikely matchup. Georgia Tech is only 6-6 overall but won the Coastal Division with a 5-3 ACC record as Miami self-imposed a bowl ban for the second straight year as it hopes to lessen possible penalties from an ongoing NCAA investigation.

Miami, also 5-3 in the ACC, would have won a tie-breaker with Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division title if not for the self-imposed ban.

Fisher said the Seminoles will be without one of their top defensive players, senior defensive end Cornellius ``Tank'' Carradine, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Florida.

``He's sad. He's down,'' Fisher said. ``He can't be with his teammates.''

Carradine led the team with 80 tackles and was second with 11 sacks.

Fisher said he hasn't decided on a new starter. Options include freshmen Giorgio Newberry and Mario Edwards.

Carradine has been projected as a probable first-round pick in next year's NFL draft.

``The draft will still be fine,'' Fisher said. ``He'll go rehab and that won't affect those guys much at all, maybe a round at the most. ... It's not that big a deal to them anymore.''

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has lost four straight games to Georgia after beating the Bulldogs in his first season.

The Yellow Jackets, who have struggled on defense all season, have had to bounce back from other ugly losses this season, including a 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State which cost defensive coordinator Al Groh his job. Johnson said his defense may have hit a new low against Georgia, making it more difficult to regroup for the ACC championship game.

``You never know. You hope that we'll bounce back,'' Johnson said Sunday. ``We've got another great opportunity. I'm sure Florida State is fighting some of the same thing today following their game against Florida. It's unfortunate it happened like that, but we'll do the best we can to move on.''

Georgia Tech's normally productive spread-option offense was held to a season low in points by Georgia's defense, which stiffened near the red zone. The Yellow Jackets had 26 first downs and 426 yards but were held without a touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.

``We haven't played very well defensively,'' Johnson said. ``There's no secret about that. The last game was probably as bad as we've played all year against Georgia, and they had a lot to do with that. They're a very good football team.''

Johnson said Florida State's defense is just as strong as Georgia's.

Johnson's first two words to describe the Seminoles were ``Speed. Athleticism.''

``I think they play hard,'' Johnson said. ``They play with an edge. They can run. They're very athletic on both sides of the ball. They're right there with (Georgia). Every bit as fast.''

Georgia Tech won its last four ACC games following a 1-3 start in the conference. After a 47-31 loss to Clemson on Oct. 6, Georgia Tech's only losses were to BYU and Georgia.

``The way our season started off in the league, it certainly didn't look too promising,'' Johnson said. ``But to our guys' credit, they won four in a row down the stretch.''

Those wins didn't come with good defense.

``I think we were able to outscore people, honestly, if you want to know the truth,'' Johnson said. ``The last four games we got far enough out in front of people and scored enough points to secure the games.''

Asked what he'd say to those who accuse Georgia Tech of backing into the ACC championship game, Johnson said ``Say whatever you want.

``You know, that's something that Miami decided to do. We had no control over it. The only thing we had control over was we were 5-3 in our division. It's not the first time a 5-3 team has gone to the championship game.''

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.

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