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Texas gets short trip, faces Oregon State in Alamo

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Texas gets short trip, faces Oregon State in Alamo

Texas will make a short postseason trip this year to face No. 15 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl.

The Longhorns (8-4) will need only to zip down Interstate 35 to San Antonio for the Dec. 29 game. It will be Texas' first appearance in the bowl since 2006, when the Alamo Bowl enjoyed its second-best crowd and second-best television ratings in its 20-year history as the Longhorns beat Iowa 26-24.

``You're never sure where you get to go, and we're fortunate to get to go to a city that we love and appreciate but also that the parents of our players and the high school coaches can come and watch,'' coach Mack Brown said.

Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro said he expected it to be ``a home game.''

``I believe the place will be filled up. There are Texas fans all over the country, and since we are right here in Texas, I know the fans are going to be out and are going to be really excited,'' said running back Malcolm Brown, who's from San Antonio.

The bowl presents a little bit of home for some of the Oregon State contingent, too. Coach Mike Riley spent two years there coaching the San Antonio Riders of the World Football League.

``I personally love the city, have been back every year since I coached there back in the early '90s,'' Riley said. ``So, it's just personally a special, special treat for me and my family. All of our players will be truly excited about the chance to play.''

The two coaches also have a personal connection. They met when Riley was with the San Diego Chargers and went to pro days, and they've developed a friendship through Nike events and American Football Coaches Association committees.

Brown called Riley a ``great friend of mine.''

Separate from that, the state of Texas has been an important talent pipeline for Riley, providing ex-Beavers standouts James and Jacquizz Rodgers and current leading rusher Storm Woods, who is from Pflugerville, just outside Austin.

``We're excited to bring Storm back home, and we've got a couple other guys on our team from Texas. It'll be really fun for them,'' Riley said. ``We've done some recruiting down there.

``We actually got started back about six years ago with the Rodgers brothers ... They've really impacted not only our football but all of Oregon State. They kind of became rock stars in our world up here.''

The Beavers (9-3) will be playing in a bowl game for the first time in three years, but will do so without senior running back Jordan Jenkins. Riley said Jenkins broke his ankle in the season finale and won't play.

Texas could also be without a running back. Brown said Joe Bergeron's status is uncertain because of a shoulder injury.

``I think it's just great to be in a bowl game and have that extra time with your team,'' said Riley, who is 5-1 in bowl games. ``I always look at the game as a great reward for the season that you've just been through, and really a good chance to get ready and play.''

``It's a great, great bonus to be in a bowl game,'' he added.

Riley said he's not sure whether Sean Mannion or Cody Vaz will start. Both played as Oregon State set a school scoring record in a 77-3 rout of Nicholls State in its season finale Saturday.

``I don't think we'll decide for a while how we're going to go,'' Riley said.

Texas is coming off back-to-back losses, on Thanksgiving against TCU and Saturday at Fiesta Bowl-bound Kansas State. The Longhorns have won six of their last seven bowl games, including last season's Holiday Bowl.

``I think it worked out perfect for us today and the guys will be excited about it,'' Brown said. ``Unlike Mike, who won yesterday big, our guys lost. So, they'll be down a little bit for a while here, but they'll pick themselves up. This will be a real upper for them to get ready for the challenge of Oregon State.''

Both previous meetings were played in Austin and won by the Longhorns, 35-0 in 1980 and 61-16 in 1987.

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AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report from Portland, Ore.

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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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