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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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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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