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Rose, Sugar will host 1st semifinals in playoff

Rose, Sugar will host 1st semifinals in playoff

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) The first semifinal games in the new college football playoff system will be played in the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015.

The BCS conference commissioners announced the dates and rotation for all 12 years of the upcoming postseason format after a meeting in Key Biscayne on Monday, the day after the BCS championship game in Miami.

``It was not a one-year decision, it had to be a 12-year decision,'' BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. ``Calendar issues, days of rest. Sugar and Rose were paired together because of the days of rest since they are playing the same day.''

Whether they are hosting a semifinal or just a marquee bowl game, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will always be played on Jan. 1, or Jan. 2 in years in which New Year's Day falls on a Sunday. In the eight years in which the Rose and Sugar do not host the semifinals, the four playoff teams will kick off on New Year's Eve or Saturday, Dec. 30.

Either way there will be a triple-header of major college football games, two semifinals and four other marquee bowl games, on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day starting from the 2014 season to the 2025 season.

``Those days will belong to college football,'' Hancock said.

The Rose Bowl will also be the site of the last BCS championship game on Jan. 1, 2014.

The site of the first championship game in the new system is still to be picked, though Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, seems to be the front-runner. The title games will always be played on Mondays, at least seven days after the semifinals. The first one will be played Jan. 12, 2015.

The earliest the championship game will be played is Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. The latest the championship game will be played is Jan. 13, and that will happen twice, in 2020 and 2025.

In the second year of the playoff, the Orange Bowl will host a semifinal on Dec. 31, 2015, along with one of three other sites still to be determined.

The preference is to have three more sites in three times zones, and they are expected to be Atlanta (Chick-fil-A Bowl), Arlington, Texas (Cotton Bowl) and Glendale, Ariz. (Fiesta).

Hancock said the commissioners are on track to have those sites locked in by the end of their late April meetings in Pasadena. The site for the first championship game is expected to be chosen sooner.

``This was really a basic meeting,'' Hancock said. ``The balls that are still in the air are the (selection) committee, protocol and structure, what we're going to call it.''

It was a year ago in New Orleans that the commissioners had what was the first meeting that led to the end of the BCS as we know it and the implementation of the four-team playoff.

``When we met this date last year in New Orleans we all knew that we were going to embark on a very significant review and potential restructuring,'' Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said.

With the calendar set, the sites coming into focus, the next big issue left is the selection committee.

``I think April will be the action month in a lot of respects,'' Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said.

The concept the commissioners are working with is about 18 people, mostly current college sports administrators, such as conference commissioners and athletic directors. Every conference and independent in major college football would be represented.

Delany said he hopes that by requiring the committee to emphasize strength of schedule it will force programs to rethink some of those cupcake games that inflate records. And that a couple of losses against good teams won't necessarily eliminate a team from playing in the four-team playoff

``It certainly has evolved in men's basketball,'' he said. ``Everybody who is 20-10 doesn't get to the tournament. I think the new committee is sort of important to reinforce that. What they do in the first two, three, four years is going to really determine the messages that are being sent. The basketball committee has consistently sent the message that who you play and who you beat is more important than the record.''

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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

Upsets get a lot of attention in March, due to the allure of the NCAA Tournament and the non-allure of everyone who loves to talk about how THEY CALLED that upset that YOU DIDN'T.

With that being said, upsets happen every month of the year, and they go down weekly in the NFL. So, how about we look back at some of the Redskins' particularly surprising wins from the past decade?

Here are five of the most memorable. 

5) 2014 - Redskins 27, Eagles 24

The Eagles came into FedEx Field late in 2014 with a 9-5 record needing a win to remain squarely in the playoff hunt. The Redskins, meanwhile, were just 3-11 and had changed quarterbacks a depressing five times.

Yet in this matchup, Robert Griffin III managed the offense well and DeSean Jackson had more than 120 receiving yards against his former team because DeSean Jackson is awesome.

Yes, the 'Skins were outproduced in nearly every major stat category. But Mark Sanchez — sorry, future Redskin great Mark Sanchez — had two costly turnovers and Cody Parkey missed two field goals (Philly fans have probably forgiven him by now), allowing the home team to squeak out a W.

4) 2009 - Redskins 27, Broncos 17

This is one of those random Redskins games you've probably forgotten about because it came in a lost season, but it was still a miraculous victory.

The most iconic play from this one was a Hunter Smith to Mike Sellers TD on a fake field goal — a fake, mind you, that came after a timeout by Jim Zorn because the unit's first fake punt attempt included only 10 players on the field.

Denver was 6-2 but lost Kyle Orton to injury at halftime. Jason Campbell, on the other hand, helped the Burgundy and Gold score more than 17 points for the first time all year.

"We've had a desert experience -- very arid, if you will -- for the last few weeks," Zorn said postgame. "So to be able to come out with a win, you almost don't know how to feel."

The Zorn Era was terrible, but you have to give the dude credit for working "very arid" into an NFL press conference.

3) 2012 - Redskins 40, Saints 32

There was plenty of hype surrounding RG3's debut, but there was no way he was going to lead the Redskins to a win over the Saints... in his debut... in the Superdome... right?

Wrong. Incorrect. Not right.

Griffin found Pierre Garcon early for an 88-yard score and the offense stayed hot all afternoon, outpacing a New Orleans squad that was favored by more than a touchdown. If you want a further reminder of how impressive this effort was, look back at what happened to this franchise in the Superdome this past season. 

2) 2014 - Redskins 20, Cowboys 17

Dallas' six-game winning streak stood no chance against Colt McCoy, as the Texas legend went into the Cowboys' house for a wild Monday Night triumph.

Kai Forbath's field goal sealed it in overtime and Bashaud Breeland dominated Dez Bryant, but McCoy was the star. On the way to his first successful start in close to three seasons, the signal caller went 25 for 30 in the air and found the end zone on the ground, too.

1) 2017 - Redskins 17, Seahawks 14

If someone in your life thinks they can't do something, just pull up the box score or highlights from this contest. They will then realize that nothing is impossible, because the Redskins beating the Seahawks on this Sunday should've been impossible, yet it somehow happened anyway.

Washington went into Seattle's harsh environment down six starters, including three on the O-line, but Kirk Cousins kept things together and found Brian Quick and Josh Doctson for long completions on a harrowing last drive to steal this result. It wasn't quite UMBC over Virginia, but it was absolutely a stunning final nonetheless. 

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With nine games left, where do the Wizards stand in the East and NBA Draft Lottery?

With nine games left, where do the Wizards stand in the East and NBA Draft Lottery?

At the beginning of the week, the Washington Wizards had 12 games left on the schedule and needed to win a minimum of eight or nine of those games if they hoped to make the playoffs.

It’s Thursday night and Washington’s loss to the Jazz makes three in a row.

With nine games left on the schedule, where do they stand in the East postseason race and the draft lottery order?

Eastern Conference Standings

Losing three-straight games hasn’t actually dropped the Wizards from the 11th spot in the East, where they’ve hovered the last couple weeks. For that they can thank the tanking Atlanta Hawks.

Don’t think those L’s aren’t costing Washington, though. In the same span of time, the 8-seed Heat have won three in a row.

Now Bradley Beal and Co. are a full six games out of the final playoff spot with nine games to go. They also trail Orlando (34-38) in ninth and Charlotte (32-39) in 10th.

They’re not absolutely, certainly, 100-percent eliminated from playoff contention, but they must win every game left.

Even that might not be enough.

NBA Draft Lottery

Back-to-back-to-back losses took a major toll on whatever playoff hopes Washington had left. For a silver lining, look no further than the team’s draft lottery position.

The Wizards started the week ninth in the draft lottery order, which gave them 20.3 percent odds of scoring a top-four pick (preferably in the form of a Duke freshman or Ja Morant). That ninth spot also carries a 4.5 percent chance at the top-overall pick.

While the Wiz kids were busy dropping 3 games, the two teams immediately ahead of them in the lottery order had better luck.

The Grizzlies won their only game so far this week, while the Pelicans won one of two.

Those results dropped New Orleans to number nine, boosted Washington to number eight and left them tied with Memphis at 15.5 games out of number one in the lottery order (though Memphis’s win percentage is fractionally lower and keeps them in seventh).

If the Wizards can pass the Grizzlies and climb into seventh, that’s a big deal in terms of lottery odds. Simulating the drawing, the ninth-place team gets a top-four pick once in every five simulations. The seventh-place team gets a top-four pick once in every three simulations.

Look Ahead

Washington can’t lose another game if they want to make the playoffs. This is literally must-win territory.

Even winning out is no guarantee they’ll advance to the postseason.

Up next, Washington hosts Miami at home on Saturday, followed by a West Coast road trip the following week.

Games to Watch

Heat at Wizards, Saturday 7 PM

Timberwolves at Grizzlies, Saturday 8 PM

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