Nationals

Oregon State and Nicholls State play their opener

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Oregon State and Nicholls State play their opener

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Oregon State finally gets to play its opener.

The No. 16 Beavers will host Nicholls State on Saturday. The game was supposed to be played on Sept. 1, but it was postponed when Hurricane Isaac bore down on the Colonels' Thibodeaux, La., campus. Officials for both schools decided it would be best to reschedule the game out of concern for the athletes impacted by the storm.

Three months later, Oregon State is 8-3 overall and awaiting a bowl bid on Sunday. The Beavers are possibly headed to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 27, and representatives for that bowl will be in Corvallis for the game against the Colonels.

Not many would have predicted such a turnaround for Oregon State back at the start of the season, when the Beavers were picked to finish last in the Pac-12's northern division after going just 3-9 last season.

The Beavers' five-game improvement is second only to the six-game turnaround by Ohio State and Middle Tennessee.

``We are down to the last couple of chapters and we need to talk to the team about putting an exclamation point on who they want to be remembered as,'' Beavers coach Mike Riley said. ``One of the first ways a team is remembered is their record, so we want to make that record as good as we can.''

The Colonels, who play in the FCS Southland Conference, are just 1-9 this season and have seven straight losses. They have been off since a 35-16 loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 15.

The game looks lopsided on paper.

Apart from the obvious divisional difference, the Nicholls State defense is giving up 244 yards passing a game, last in the Southland, while Oregon State is averaging 304 yards passing a game, ranked 19th in the nation.

The Beavers will start sophomore Sean Mannion, who was their starter when the season opened and led the team to its first four wins, but he injured his left knee and required surgery. Backup Cody Vaz took over the job but then he injured his left ankle and has sat out the last two games.

Riley said he could play both against Nicholls State.

``If we wanted to substitute - it's certainly not because of this game - I've been thinking about that for a long time. Don't know that we'll do it, but we might,'' Riley said. ``We've got two starting quarterbacks.''

Mannion is coming off a rough outing in a 48-24 loss to rival Oregon in the annual Civil War game with four interceptions.

``You learn what you can and you just move on,'' he said.

Both quarterbacks have been helped by the efforts of receivers Brandin Cooks and Marcus Wheaton. Cooks is averaging 101.2 yards receiving a game to rank ninth in the nation, while Wheaton is 12th with 98.6 yards.

Cooks is questionable against the Colonels after he sustained a knee bruise in the Civil War.

For the Colonels, junior Landry Klann leads the Southland's third-best passing offense, averaging nearly 227 yards a game. He needs 115 yards passing on Saturday to become first Colonel to throw for 2,000 yards since Brad Zeller in 1998. Klann has eight touchdown passes this season.

The Beavers are ranked third in the Pac-12 in pass defense, allowing an average of 227.6 yards a game.

This is the third FBS team that Nicholls State has played this season. The Colonels also faced South Alabama and Tulsa, both losses. The Colonels have two wins over FBS opponents since 2000: They beat Arkansas State 28-22 in 2001, and Rice 16-14 in 2007.

There is one interesting connection between the two teams: Nicholls State coach Charlie Stubbs was an assistant at Oregon State from 1985-90 under coach Dave Kragthorpe.

Oregon State is probably not in danger of overlooking the Colonels. The Beavers want to flip their record from last year to 9-3, and for inspiration they need only look back to last season, when they opened with a 29-28 overtime loss to lower-division Sacramento State.

``We can't take any opponent lightly. We did that last year,'' Cooks said. ``I don't want to go into the past, but that's what we did and we ended up with a loss. Now we've got to come in and act like we're playing someone else from the Pac-12.''

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Patrick Corbin's contract is insanely backloaded, but that's S.O.P. for the Nationals

Patrick Corbin's contract is insanely backloaded, but that's S.O.P. for the Nationals

The specifics of the six-year, $140 million deal Patrick Corbin signed with the Nationals have come out, and unsurprisingly, much of the money is backloaded. 

Here are the details, courtesy of Jon Heyman:

As you'll notice, the Nats will be paying Corbin $35 million in 2024, his age-35 season. That's an $11 million jump from the previous year, and $22.5 million more than he'll be making in the 2019 season. 

That may sound like a lot of money to be paying an aging pitcher in the final year of his deal. But with the Nats, that's standard operating procedure.

To demonstrate, let's take a look at the contracts of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Washington's other two marquee starters (contract details found on spotrac.com)

Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nats before the 2015 season, the average annual salary sitting at $30 million. However, he's only been receiving a base salary of $15 million a year -- plus signing bonus money and incentives -- through his first four years in D.C.

Why? His contract is very backloaded: starting in 2019 until his contract expires in 2021, he'll start earning a base salary close to or more than $30 million. In addition, much of his money is deferred: from 2022-28, Washington will be paying Scherzer $105 million, good for $15 million each year. 

As for Strasburg, his contract includes an even more dramatic salary jump than Corbin's or Scherzer's. Since he signed his seven-year $175 million deal, he's earned base annual salaries of $10.4 million, $15 million and $15 million from 2016-18. 

In 2019, that number balloons to $35 million, then down to $25 million in 2020 and back to $15 million in 2021 and 2022, before rising once again to the tune of a whopping $45 million in 2023!

In conclusion, the Nats will be paying their top three pitchers a ton of money, but Washington has decided to delay cutting those checks to give themselves more financial flexibility in the present. 

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

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USA TODAY Sports

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

The Wizards(11-16) hosts Bthe Celtics (16-10) on Wednesday night inside Capital One Arena for the first of three matchups of the 2018-19 season.

The Wizards dropped a Monday night contest in Indiana, despite an All-Star performance from Bradley Beal who poured in 30 points without John Wall in the lineup. 

The Celtics, without Kyrie Irving, defeated the New Orleans Pelicans Monday night thanks to a 31-point performance from Marcus Morris. 

One of the more recent and compelling NBA rivalries is back. 

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, and more:

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS HOW TO WATCH:

What: Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
Time/Date: Wednesday, 12/12/18 at 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Washington (7:00 p.m.)
Live stream: You can watch the Wizards vs. Celtics live stream on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and the MyTeams by NBC Sports App. . Download MyTeams now for full postgame coverage and 24/7 Wizards news.
Radio: 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders 
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Wizards vs. Celtics
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live 
10:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders 

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: Dwight Howard (out, lumbar microdisectomy procedure)

Celtics: Aron Baynes (questionable, left ankle sprain), Gordon Hayward (doubtful, illness), Al Horford (questionable, left knee soreness), Guerschon Yabusele (out, right ankle sprain) 

WIZARDS vs. CELTICS SERIES HISTORY: 

Number of all-time Meetings: 302 games (22 playoff games)

Regular Season Record: Celtics lead series 188-114

Playoff Record: Celtics lead series 13-9

Last Meeting: Wizards beat Celtics 113-101 on 4/10/2018

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