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USC's Barkley to play Sun Bowl vs. Georgia Tech

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USC's Barkley to play Sun Bowl vs. Georgia Tech

Matt Barkley will get one last chance to leave Southern California on a high note, and it will come against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

The Trojans (7-5), who started the season ranked No. 1, accepted a bid Sunday to the Dec. 31 game in El Paso, Texas. Coach Lane Kiffin said he expects his star quarterback to be able to play by then after missing the season finale against top-ranked Notre Dame with a sprained shoulder.

``He hasn't gone to a bowl game the last couple years, so it's a chance to go to one and finish off strong for him and for the senior class,'' Kiffin said. ``It's a great opportunity for us.''

USC hasn't been able to play in a bowl game the past two seasons because of NCAA sanctions resulting from improper benefits received by former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.

``Especially after two years of sitting at home and not being able to go to a bowl game, we're excited,'' Kiffin said. ``We're excited about a very good bowl and a great matchup, and we're ready to go to work.''

Georgia Tech will be playing in the Sun Bowl for the second straight year. The Yellow Jackets squandered a 24-10 fourth-quarter lead in an overtime loss to Utah in last year's game. They also could have won the game on a field goal at the end of regulation, but missed for the third time in the game.

``Hopefully we'll have a chance to come back and redeem ourselves,'' Tech coach Paul Johnson said.

The Yellow Jackets needed a waiver from the NCAA to play in the postseason because they finished with a 6-7 record following a loss in the ACC championship game. The conference's rules prevented Georgia Tech from falling to a lesser bowl.

``We knew that the championship runner-up could not go past the Sun Bowl, and that was pretty much it,'' Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas said. ``I don't think we ever had a discussion about moving down at all.''

``We're very pleased to have them back,'' he added.

Georgia Tech's job this time will be to spoil Barkley's going-away party. It will also be Kiffin's last game coaching with his father, Monte, who resigned as defensive coordinator effective after the bowl.

``There's no question they've got some great players, but we'll have gone through a span here where they'll be the third team in a row we've played that was ranked in the top five at one point or another,'' Johnson said.

``We've gone Georgia, Florida State and now Southern Cal. So, that's three programs in a row with pretty good tradition and pretty good history,'' he added.

The teams haven't met since 1973. The Trojans have won two of the previous three meetings.

Georgia Tech will be playing in a bowl for a 15th straight year, tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but the last seven have been losses.

USC has 32 bowl victories, the second-most in the country behind Alabama.

``It's great, first off, just to get more practices for our young players, for our future, to have these practices that we've not had over the last two years,'' Kiffin said. ``We're very excited. It's very big for us.''

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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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