Mike Rice is the latest college basketball coach fired because of his actions during practice. Rice felt the need to throw basketballs at players, yell derogatory comments at them, push and shove them and who knows what he did when the cameras were off. Rice isn’t the first basketball coach to get canned for doing something stupid. Bobby Knight pulled the same thing for years at Indiana before someone finally got tired of his actions. Knight got away with his abuse for years simply because he won basketball games. It’s amazing to me how many people “look the other way” when coaches win. Not only do fans put on blinders but so do Athletic Directors, broadcasters, boosters and alumni. As we also know, many former players felt Rice and Knight were doing the right thing with their coaching style.
I was watching ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Tuesday when the AD of Rutgers was being questioned about the abuse Mike Rice had been inflicting for the last three seasons. It’s hard to believe Tim Bernetti was trying to defend Rice by saying it was Rice’s “first offense” and yet Rice has been doing this for three years. This latest incident was reported in December of 2012. Bernetti claimed the school took action “immediately” after he knew of all the details and they reviewed all the practice tapes. That “immediate” action took several months. Rice got a three game suspension and a $50,000 dollar fine, but not until several media outlets reported the abuse. Bernetti felt Rice was remorseful and the original punishment was sufficient. Bernetti also mentioned “rehabilitation” when referring to Rice. Now AD’s are in the “rehabilitation” business?
Let’s be honest here. Coaches have their own “style” of doing things. Many are generational. In other words, they take what they have learned from their mentors and implement that information into their way of doing things. But where do coaches draw the line when it comes to the treatment of players? I can tell you this….if a coach treated me that way, I would transfer in a heartbeat. I don’t care if you want to yell at me to motivate me or make me better, but you won’t physically or verbally abuse me. I once had a coach grab my jersey, punch me in the chest and then throw a chair after I picked up my dribble. Do you believe I played for him again?
Most college coaches are under a lot of pressure to win, especially at the Division I level. It has to do with money! If you don’t win, the university doesn’t make money. If the university doesn’t make money, coaches get fired. I understand college sports is a business…BIG business! That doesn’t excuse the fact that coaches shouldn’t treat players like Rice did at Rutgers or how Knight did at Indiana or at any university or college. Be tough on players by using “tough love”. Motivate them, not with intimidation or verbal and physical abuse. It can be done…ask the players at Duke, Kansas or now at Indiana!
Well Indiana’s season is over. I watched this game with great interest because I told my son and others I didn’t have a good feeling about this match-up for the Hoosiers. Indiana is a good basketball team but they simply looked lost against the 2-3 extended zone. For the first time, I felt like Tom Crean and his staff were not necessarily out-coached, but didn’t have the Hoosiers prepared well enough. Too many turnovers, sloppy passing, not sure how to attack the zone, missed free throws, etc. Cody Zeller looked soft, Victor Oladipo looked average, Christian Watford didn’t step his game up like Indiana needed him to in order to win, Yogi Ferrell looked like a freshman, Hulls never got a good shot, and the Indiana bench was a non factor.
Indiana appeared lost against the extended zone of Syracuse. The middle was open at the free throw line and yet the Hoosiers rarely kept a body in position to attack from there. When they did, they made baskets. I am not saying it would have been easy but with Syracuse extending their guards above the three point line, it opened things up at the foul line where Zeller or Watford could attack. Either player could have turned and shot a 15 foot shot (basically a free throw), attack the post and make it a one on one situation, draw the defenders and drop the wings for a kick out and shot or if the guards drop in for a double team, kick it back to Indiana’s open guards for a open look. If Zeller saw that the defensive post player was going to come up and challenge him, hid Oladipo on the baseline or bring him up to screen for Zeller. If the forward then tries to pick up Zeller after the screen, then drop the wing to the baseline for a kick out and shot. To me, there were several options that Indiana failed to exploit with any frequency.
But with all the X’s and O’s aside, Indiana played as poorly as they have played all season. Basketball, like any other sport, can be a humbling experience. One minute things are going great. The next, something like this happens. Indiana could be better next season if Zeller and Oladipo return. I don’t think either is quite ready for the NBA yet. Another year of seasoning, getting stronger and maturing, will help both of them. Indiana has another excellent class coming in. Hulls and Watford are gone and will be replaced by bigger and stronger players. Indiana needs a true power forward and bigger guards in order to get past the Sweet 16 next season. The next recruiting class may provide IU with what they need. Plus with the players coming back, getting stronger and more mature, Indiana will be able to play against more physical teams much better than they did this season. Don’t be too disappointed by this loss because Indiana will be better next season and for seasons to come.
The first night of the Sweet 16 followed suit with the previous results of the tournament as unexpected outcomes continued to pile up.
There will be an All-Big East matchup in the Elite 8 as Marquette and Syracuse both pulled off shocking upsets. Neither side has been to the Final Four since 2003 when Carmelo Anthony led the Orange and Dwyane Wade spearheaded the Golden Eagles. Syracuse eventually took the national crown, although it didn’t have to face its Big East foe.
Marquette’s imposing defense had a big-time effect on Miami-Florida. The ACC Champion Hurricanes looked like they had spent the week at a masonry convention instead of shoot-arounds against the Golden Eagles, who seemed to have no trouble getting decent looks on the inside. Buzz Williams has a reputation for running one of the toughest training camps in NCAA basketball. It seems that the hard work has paid off. Aside from one short stretch where Miami grabbed what seemed like a myriad of offensive rebounds, Marquette was the more physical team and approached every loose ball like it was a winning lottery ticket. The Golden Eagle big guys — Chris Otule, Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner — were all very influential in the victory. Wilson came up big on both ends as he finished 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to go along with eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Trent Lockett pulled down 11 rebounds, one of which came on a momentum building put-back slam dunk. Marquette’s pressure on Miami’s Shane Larkin made a big difference as it kept the Hurricanes’ floor general out of sync for the majority of the 40 minutes.
Syracuse also pulled away from the highly-regarded Hoosiers using a strong defensive effort. Indiana went 16-of-47 from the floor in the contest, including an ice-cold 3-of-15 showing from beyond the arc. Tom Crean grew increasingly frustrated as his squad committed 18 turnovers. Michael Carter- Williams improved his draft stock substantially with 24 points, six rebounds and four steals. The Orange also received solid contributions from Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair and managed to prevail behind the trio’s leadership. Indiana was one of the most dynamic offensive teams all season, but Cody Zeller disappeared and Victor Oladipo had to work for all 16 of his points. The usually steady Jordan Hulls had zero luck connecting on his jumper and Christian Watford wasn’t much more successful. The Hoosiers had 10 of their shots sent back by the Orange, who seemed relentless in pursuit of their second national title. Jim Boeheim is now just three games away from a big- time addition to his legacy.
On the other side of the bracket, there was one much more thrilling game. Ohio State won on a last second 3-pointer for the second consecutive game as LaQuinton Ross converted a clutch shot from beyond the arc to lift the Buckeyes to a 73-70 win over Arizona. Thad Matta’s team looked like it was destined for an early flight home to Columbus as it fell behind by 11 points early on. It used a huge run spanning the intermission to take control on its way to survival. Deshaun Thomas continued to be the go-to-guy in the victory as he poured in 20 points. Aaron Craft, who knocked down a triple at the buzzer to send the team to a 3-point win over Iowa State en route to the Sweet 16, tallied 13 points and dealt out the game-winning assist. Craft’s decision to dish it off at the end showed great awareness as many players would find it hard to pass up on a chance to be the hero. Arizona blew its early lead and fell behind by double-digits in the second stanza before it attempted a late rally. The Wildcats were charged by Mark Lyons, who played in the Sweet 16 a season ago as a member of the Xavier Musketeers. The senior guard from Brewster Academy netted 23 points in his final collegiate game, but he was denied a chance to send it to overtime as Craft reeled in a tipped-inbound pass to seal the deal.
The Buckeyes won’t have to deal with a No. 1 seed in the regional finals, but they will be tested by a very confident Wichita State program. The Shockers ended La Salle’s Cinderella run with some intensity as they came out strong and protected the early lead the rest of the way. With the Explorers’ backup center Steve Zack still unable to play, Wichita State focused on attacking the rim and did so with ease. It also hit 5-of-12 from beyond the arc to keep the Big 5 school from packing it in. To its credit, La Salle showed the spirit associated with Philadelphia and continued to fight until the final buzzer. Ramon Galloway was denied the open looks from 3-point range he was getting against Boise State, Kansas State and Ole Miss in the first three rounds. Tyreek Duren was also bottled up and despite tallying 16 points, Tyrone Garland finished 5-of-15 from the floor and without an opportunity to display the Southwest Philly Floater in the closing seconds. Instead, WSU’s Malcolm Armstead and Carl Hall were the stars of the late game. Coach Gregg Marshall has built something special at the Missouri Valley Conference program, which could be the last school from the state of Kansas to play this season if the Jayhawks fall on Friday.
Although only one buzzer beater on the night, the upsets continued the March Madness theme and built intrigue for Friday night’s matchups. Oregon will look to continue taking offense to its low-seeding as it battles Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals. Michigan and Kansas both could very well win it all as they both are riddled with talent. Two of the best coaches in college basketball history will square off as Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski collide. Coach K is 7-1 all-time against MSU coming into the bout. And to close out the action, Florida Gulf Coast and the Gators has all the makings of a classic David and Goliath fight.
SPEAKING OF SPORTS
Who is the NCAA Men’s Basketball coach of the season? No it’s not Tom Crean of Indiana. It’s not Tom Izzo of Michigan State or Jim Beilein of Michigan. My vote would be for Miami Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga. Miami is 11-0 in the ACC and 20-3 overall. When the Hurricanes pounded Duke, people knew they were for real.
As you know by now, Kentucky center Nerlens Noel is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Noel was projected to be the #1 pick in the June NBA draft. I understand why the NBA wants players to go to college before they attempt a jump to the league but if a player wants to take the chance of going pro instead of going to college why not? Yes, it is a risk for both the player and the team coming straight out of high school, but when is it wrong for me to get a job if deemed qualified? If I am good enough then I should get the chance to play at the next level. Now Noel’s future is uncertain and he may never be the same again. I guarantee one thing, Noel is done at Kentucky!
The Big Ten announced they will no longer play teams from the FCS. I have heard all the reasons why but I often wonder if it’s better to play a high ranked FCS team or a lowly ranked Division One program? Have you seen the numbers from some of the worst Division One schools? Check out Akron, Illinois, Colorado, South Alabama, Kentucky, or New Mexico State and tell me they will give you a better game.
Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend. Pistorius is the amputee that ran in the Olympics last summer. There are conflicting reports on what happened but the most recent claims Pistorius shot her by mistake, thinking she was an intruder. So he shot her four times and didn’t once shout out for an identity? I hope to never be faced with that situation but before I shoot someone I am going to make sure it’s not a loved one. Other reports say Pistorius and his girlfriend have had domestic problems in the past and that’s why he has been charged with murder.
The NCAA will make Boise State stop wearing all blue uniforms at home on their all blue turf. They will now have to wear a contrasting color which will probably be the pants. The NCAA apparently feels the Broncos have an unfair home field advantage by wearing the all blue on that field. Nothing better to do I guess.
Want to be successful in the NBA without all the talent? Just outhustle your opponent. I watched Brian Cardinal do it for years and last night saw Tyler Hansbrough scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds by hustling and being more aggressive.
Finally, Victoria Azarenka cancelled a match because she received a bad pedicure. Azarenka claims the pedicure messed up one of her fingers. I have never had a pedicure but I never thought you could get hurt getting one. But I would think Azarenka would be a little tougher than that. I have bit my nails too short before and though it is painful, I never cancelled playing basketball or any other sport because of bad biting job.
SPEAKING OF SPORTS
Richmond’s win Friday night at Marion may have been a signature win simply because the Red Devils were losing in the 4th quarter by 15 and rallied to win. To me the turning point was during a timeout in the third when Coach Joe Luce called a timeout, got the team together away from the bench, put his arms around the team and got them re-focused. Luce didn’t yell at them, he didn’t excited, he just calmly talked to them. Coaching basketball isn’t always the x’s and o’s. Much of it has to do with how you handle various situations. Much of what you see in coaching has to with emotions, how to deal with each player individually and knowing when to be more vocal and knowing when to be quiet. Luce could have jumped their case but he didn’t need to. He got his message across and they responded. I have watched Coach Luce in practice, in game warm-ups, pre-game and in the post game and he handles each situation differently as he should.
If Richmond girls coach Casey Pohlenz isn’t the coach of the year in the NCC there should be an investigation in the conference. Pohlenz does have Mackenzie Taylor, a 20 ppg performer. Casey will get a good performance from Brooklyn Taylor, Bailey Hilliard and Alexis Davis but not consistently. Coach Pohlenz has no post play to speak of and his bench is almost non-existent. Yet he has found a way to win 11 games including Friday night’s win over Marion. It would be easy to say anyone can win 11 games with Mackenzie Taylor on your team but remember, Mackenzie will draw double and triple teams just about every time she gets the basketball and yet the Red Devils still find a way to scores over 50 points per game. It doesn’t mean anything coming from me but Casey is the Coach of the Year in the NCC!
As I am writing this I am watching IU East play Berea at the Tiernan Center. The crowds for IU East men’s basketball has dwindled steadily over the last couple of seasons. Why? I believe there are a few reasons why. One, they charge too much to get in. $7.00. Two, they need to get out of the KIAC. Fans in this area know nothing about the KIAC nor do they care. Earlham went through this when they played in the NCAC. No one cared because the conference was primarily located in Ohio. KIAC teams are scatted around Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio. When Earlham moved into the HCAC the interest went up as did the attendance. IU East needs to find a conference that involves more Indiana schools that will provide more rivalries and draw more local interest. Another reason might be the lack of local talent on the team. I am not just referring to Richmond and Wayne County but Eastern Indiana. Recruit the NCC like Muncie Central, Anderson and New Castle. There is plenty of talent to recruit but I have seen just one player, Huston Clark, from the NCC.
Finally, Richmond is blessed to have Josh Chapin as the sports editor of the Pal-Item. The man works long hours, sees and writes about hundreds of games and events and yet still has a little time to be a family man. He does a great job covering Richmond and Wayne County sports and he does it with very little fanfare or acknowledgement. I know the sports section is the first part I read in the Pal-Item because of what Josh does. And don’t forget he is an excellent writer!
SPEAKING OF SPORTS
The Richmond Boys and Girls basketball teams are in action tonight against the Marion Giants. The boys play at Marion while the girls play at home. Joe Luce will make his second trip to Marion since leaving the Giants program. I will be curious to see if the hard feelings have subsided with the Giants fans for Luce leaving for another NCC school. Richmond beat Marion last season 59-55. The girls team will be looking for momentum starting tonight since the sectional tournament begins in the next two weeks. Marion is a very athletic team coming into the Tiernan Center tonight so Richmond will have to play well and cut down on the turnovers in order to win. Richmond’s senior night has been changed to January 31st against Guerin Catholic. The tournament draw will be Sunday.
The game to watch in the NCC tonight will be Kokomo at Anderson. Both teams are 3-0 in the NCC and 12-2 overall. Also tonight, Muncie Central is at Huntington North and New Castle travels to Logansport.
Around the area, Hagerstown will look to run their winning streak to 14 on the season as the Tigers play at Union City and Northeastern has a big TEC match-up at Lincoln.
I was extremely happy to get the news on Earlham getting a new baseball complex. Steve Sakosits has done a great job turning that program around in a short amount of time. Earlham is looking more and more like they will begin to be competitive in the HCAC because of their efforts to improve their facilities. Earlham now has a great basketball facility, a great football stadium and now baseball will be first class. I would like to see the men’s and women’s soccer teams get a stadium to play in. They are always competitive in the HCAC and Roy Messer deserves a nice place to play because of his dedication to the college and because Shane Meridith is an excellent coach.
Speaking of facilities, Richmond will have to address their football, tennis, track and soccer venues. The reason is simple….they are falling apart or they aren’t up to date. Let’s start with football. Most fans who follow RHS football know the field at Lyboult Field is in serious need of restoration. Year after year several teams play at Lyboult (varsity, JV, middle school and HUB), only to see the field deteriorate to the point it is unacceptable to play on. Huge holes and dead areas where grass can’t grow scatter the field and make it dangerous for players to play on. For a school this size, this is unacceptable! The problem can’t continue to be ignored because someone is going to get hurt. By the way, the old concrete bleachers are dangerous too when they get slippery. Plus, have you sat on those bleachers for any length of time?
The track around the football field is also an embarrassment. There are cracks forming everywhere to the point it too is dangerous. And just in case you didn’t know, the track program can’t run a sectional meet there because there are only seven lanes. I wouldn’t run a meet there anyway because of its condition.
The tennis courts may have more cracks than the track. Every time it rains, the water seeps from under the courts and forms on the surface, making them unusable. By the way, the cracks are getting bigger every year. How can a coach get young players interested in tennis if the facilities are crumbling before their eyes?
The soccer fields at Freeman Park are also to the point they are becoming a problem. Walk on the field sometime and you will understand what I mean. Add to that there are no acceptable bathrooms, concessions, locker rooms available! And no press box either!!! The parking is a challenge when a lot of fans come to see the Red Devils play.
People in Richmond need to realize that these student/athletes deserve better that what they are getting. I am not saying we should improve just to make things look better. I am saying that these facilities are dangerous, outdated and embarrassing for a community that is supposed to be a proud sports community. We are eventually going to have to upgrade so do we pay now or pay latter when it may cost more?
Finally, if you are tired of the cold weather just remember, the pitcher and catchers in major league baseball will report in February and then the exhibition season starts in March. Spring is almost here!!!
Do you want today’s athletes to be role models?
Troy Derengowski….RICHMOND SPORTS NEWS
It keeps happening. Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o are the latest. Doping, dishonesty, affairs, recruiting, drugs, gambling and more. Before Armstrong and Te’o we had Tiger Woods, the New Orleans Saints scandal, Bobby Petrino at Arkansas and on and on and on. Name the sport and there is or has been some sort of scandal.
Since Manti Te’o is still in college lets focus for a moment on some of the college sports scandals that included SMU Football; In 1986, it was revealed that Southern Methodist University boosters gave football players thousands of dollars from a “slush fund” with the knowledge of university administrators. Along with a string of prior NCAA violations, this led the NCAA to level the “death penalty” on the school’s football team.
Michigan basketball: Four players, most notably Chris Webber, were paid by a booster to launder money from his gambling operations. In some cases, the payments extended to their high school days.
Baylor basketball: (2003) - player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by teammate Carlton Dotson. Later, coach Dave Bliss instructed his players to lie to NCAA investigators that Dennehy dealt drugs. In the wake of these events, numerous violations of NCAA rules were discovered.
And of course Penn State: In November 2011, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, is arrested on 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period including incidents in Penn State’s football facilities. Subsequently, the university’s athletic director, Tim Curley, and a Senior Vice President, Gary Schultz, were arrested on perjury charges and for failing to report the incidents thereby fueling speculation of a university cover-up. In June 2012, Sandusky was convicted on 45 charges related to the scandal.
I don’t have enough time and space to cover every sports scandal but I must wonder, how can we have athletes as role models? I am not saying there aren’t many excellent role models in sports but it appears the numbers are shrinking. I see it beginning in high school and younger. We as a society are looking for the next superstar and are willing to pamper these athletes and give them all the praise in the world before they have accomplished anything. The AAU basketball circuit is a prime example. Recruiting players, giving them clothing and shoes and God only knows what else they get. Then the players “expect” to be taken care of. Their participation will come at a price. College coaches need these players in order to keep their jobs so they too have to pay the price. Believe me when I tell you, every program in the country is doing something outside the rules to get these star players. The players know they can play one program against the other to sweeten the pot. So with all of this going on, we are sending the wrong message very early to these young athletes….pay me more or I will go elsewhere!
When athletes were ten and eleven and dreaming of being sports stars, they were dreaming of the stardom as well as the athletic prowess; the acclaim, the notoriety, being known and respected figures in society.
When they reach that goal, they should remember when they were ten years old and idolized their generation’s star athletes. They should remember how they and their friends copied their moves, their speech, their actions, their whole personas. And they should care.
Most children see and emulate sports stars long before they can understand those stars’ psychological situations. And most kids, if they see sports stars fighting, if they see them drinking, they see them getting into some sort of trouble, they think it is cool. And when they see the athletes get off the hook, they too think they can get off the hook. If the kids hear about the sports stars cheating on their wives …well you get the idea!
These sports stars are reaping some of the highest rewards of this society. They should make the extra effort not to trash this society.
Athletes aren’t always who they seem to be on TV. On TV, they always look like smiling, happy people who just love to help out people in need and give hugs to little children. In reality, these people are just actors who happen to be good at playing sports. Sure, some athletes really are who they seem on TV, but many of them are cruel and heartless folks out there looking to make some cash. They could be on drugs or using alcohol or many other horrible things that real role models should not be doing. These people would be better role models if they actually lived up to their identity on the television screen.
So the question remains: Should athletes be role models? I don’t know, but I know they are. And as such, when they fail to hold themselves to the highest possible standards, they should take steps to offset the damage they have done.
Monday night’s butt kicking of Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship should convince everyone that the SEC is the most dominating conference in college football today. And guess what? There doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.
It has gotten to the point that we should just have two SEC teams play for the championship every year and let everyone else play for third place. As one sportswriter put it, “this isn’t some sort of conspiracy, it’s the dominance of the SEC”.
The SEC isn’t doing it with smoke and mirrors. It isn’t some sort of illusion. It is a fact, plain and simple!
You can see a huge gap between the SEC and the rest of college football. When we see a college football playoff in place in 2014, you will probably see three of the four teams from the SEC in the semi-finals. How long can the championship streak go? Well, it is at seven now.
Notre Dame was outgunned from the very beginning. I predicted Alabama would win this game but I didn’t think they would dominate the Irish. I thought the Notre Dame defense would keep them relatively close until the fourth quarter and then Alabama would win 24-17. I really believed this would be a good National Championship game. I was wrong and so were many other football experts.
When the score was 35-0, I was beginning to wonder how bad it was going to get. Would the Tide beat Notre Dame 48-0? Would the final score be 55-0? It could have been worse than the 42-14 final score.
The average score of the National Championship game, excluding the game last year that featured two SEC teams, the score is 34-17.
Many felt Notre Dame had a better defense than Alabama. The Irish had the best front seven which included LB Manti Te’o. Te’o was never a factor and the Notre Dame defense got manhandled. One Alabama running back (Eddie Lacy) had 140 yards rushing and would have had more if he didn’t share the load with teammate T.J.Yeldon (108). Alabama’s offensive line opened big enough holes for me to run through.
So now what? What can the Big Ten do? What can the PAC-12 do? How about the ACC? My advice is to get into SEC country and try to steal away several of their top players. Not just a few, a lot of their players! The other conferences will need big, quick and strong linemen, big and fast running backs, big receivers. Great athletes on defense with the speed and quickness Alabama showed on Monday night. Otherwise, the SEC will be playing for and winning another championship next season. Count on it!
ALABAMA VS NOTRE DAME PREVIEW:
I must admit before I started previewing the National Championship that I wanted Alabama to beat Notre Dame. There are two reasons. One: I am a Michigan fan and Michigan fans can’t cheer for the Irish. Two: I believe Alabama is a better football team overall than Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is attempting to return to glory and Alabama will be playing for its third national title in the last four years, hoping to become the first team since the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the early 1990s to complete that feat.
Alabama was almost left on the outside looking in on this game, as they began the season with nine straight wins, before losing in November to Texas A&M 29-24. However, teams in front of Bama faltered down the stretch, while the Tide took care of its business the rest of the way, including beating Georgia in the SEC Championship Game 32-28.
As for Notre Dame, Brian Kelly has transformed this program. Kelly lead Cincinnati to an undefeated regular season in his third year in 2009 and he has done it again in South Bend. The Fighting Irish are the number one team heading into the championship game at 12-0, beating four top-25 foes. By the way, the Irish are the first team in the BCS era to play for a national championship after starting the season unranked.
Alabama and Notre Dame have met six times in their storied histories, with Notre Dame claiming victory in five of those games. They haven’t met since 1987. The most famous clash took place in the 1973 Sugar Bowl, “The Game of the Century”, when 3# Notre Dame edged out #1 Alabama, 24-23.
Alabama’s numbers are impressive. The offense was outstanding this season thanks to a dominant offensive line and two great running backs. Alabama finished up averaging 38.5 ppg, while gaining over 200 yards both on the ground (224.6 ypg) and through the air (214.5 ypg). Bama was also able to finish as the top red-zone offense in the nation, scoring 89 percent of the time, including touchdowns in 41-of-57 tries. QB A.J. McCarron completed 67% of his passes, for 2,669 yards, with 26 touchdowns and just three picks.
As good as the offense has been this season, defense has been the key in Tuscaloosa this season. Alabama ranked second nationally in points allowed (10.7 ppg), first in rush defense (79.8 ypg), fourth in pass defense (166.2 ypg) and first in total defense (246.0 ypg).
As for the Irish, they haven’t put up big scoring totals this year at 26.8 ppg, but they have a balanced attack, averaging over 200 yards both rushing (202.5 ypg) and passing (218.8 ypg).
Sophomore QB Everett Golson has completed 58.9 percent of his passes, for 2,135 yards, with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions, but his athleticism allows him to make something out of nothing.
Golson has weapons in Mackey Award winning TE Tyler Eifert (44 receptions, 624 yards, four TDs) and WR T.J. Jones (43 receptions, 559 yards, four TDs).
Notre Dame has had its greatest success on defensive. Notre Dame ranks first in the nation in points allowed (10.3 ppg) as well as red-zone defense, limiting foes to just eight touchdowns in 33 attempts this year.
The Irish are led by unanimous All-American Manti Te’o in the middle. The senior linebacker was not only the Heisman runner-up, but captured the Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Award, Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Lott Trophy and the Walter Camp Player of the Year. Some feel he is the next Ray Lewis in the NFL.
There are plenty of other stars on defense. Sophomore DE Stephon Tuitt picked up All-American honors amassing 42 tackles and team-highs in both tackles for loss (13.0) and sacks (12.0). Others that will play vital roles on this unit include fellow DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (39 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 6.0 sacks), NT Louis Nix III (45 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks) and LB Prince Shembo (48 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks). The secondary is anchored by CB Bennett Jackson (61 tackles, four INTs) and S Zeke Motta (61 tackles, one fumble recovery).
So this should be a very good National Championship game with all the stars and excellent football players. My prediction is Alabama has a better defense than Notre Dame and I like Bama’s two runningbacks. Alabama 24 Notre Dame 17.
Here’s another brilliant idea:
The trillion dollar coin is now apparently being taken seriously as an alternative way for the Obama administration to cover the gap between borrowing and spending by simply adding to the resources of the U.S. Treasury, and without convincing Congress to raise the debt ceiling. Through a legal loophole that permits the government to mint platinum coins, President Barack Obama could produce a $1 trillion platinum coin, and bank it.
The debt ceiling will rise again!!!
With the fiscal cliff deal signed into law, the nation’s attention now turns to the debt ceiling debate, scheduled to hit in the next two months. As America reaches the debt ceiling yet again – an unbelievable $16.4 trillion debt ceiling needs another increase in order to allow us to borrow more cash to pay our bills – Republicans insist that we finally begin dealing with our spending problem. That, of course, was the purpose of the fiscal cliff deal in the first place: to preserve as many of the Bush tax rates as possible, consider tax rates a finished issue, and move on to spending cuts.
“It will have a negative impact on job creation” this year, says Mr. Zandi.
The Obamacare employer mandate doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2014, but the government requires businesses to track worker schedules for three to 12 months in advance. That means many employers plan to get a jump start on avoiding Obamacare’s $2,000 per-worker fine by firing workers now, reducing employee hours, or replacing full-time employees with part-time workers.
Billed as a response to the Sandy Hook shootings in December, the campaign includes ten gun control bills that were introduced on the first day of the 113th Congress—none of which would have prevented the shootings from taking place.
In addition, Vice President Joe Biden is leading a working group that will recommend legislative changes to the nation’s gun laws by the end of January. The groups will also recommend steps that the executive branch might take on its own, without consulting Congress—a favored tactic of President Barack Obama, who prefers unilateral exertions of power to the give-and-take of negotiating with Congress and his political opposition.
Joe Biden gets into the act on gun control:
The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation’s gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration’s discussions.
A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.
The current generation thinks highly of themselves:
Books aside, if you asked a college freshman today who the Greatest Generation is, they might respond by pointing in a mirror.
Young people’s unprecedented level of self-infatuation was revealed in a new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966.
Roughly 9 million young people have taken the survey over the last 47 years
Pyschologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues compiled the data and found that over the last four decades there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.
But in appraising the traits that are considered less invidualistic - co-operativeness, understanding others, and spirituality - the numbers either stayed at slightly decreased over the same period.
Researchers also found a disconnect between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability.
The Moonbat strikes again:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said President Barack Obama should avoid a battle with Congress and just use the Constitution to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.
The California Democrat told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that if she were president, she would invoke the 14th Amendment and raise the limit on her own. The amendment states that “the validity of the public debt … shall not be questioned,” which supporters say enables the president to raise the debt ceiling without input from Congress in order to ensure payments to bondholders are met.
“We always passed the debt ceiling when President Bush was president, as he was incurring these massive debts, and the Republicans weren’t saying ‘boo’ at the time,” Pelosi said of the expected February standoff. “If I were president, I would use the 14th Amendment, which says that the debt of the United States will always be paid.”
More money coming out of your wallet!!!
A growing chorus of economists is warning that Congress’s last-minute fix to dodge the fiscal cliff could drain much more cash from the taxpayers’ wallets than generally recognized – as much as $2.2 trillion over 10 years – and may significantly slow economic growth.
The full effects of the new tax laws jammed through the 112th Congress just before it dissolved are only gradually emerging. Reflecting the progressive nature of the new tax structure, the Tax Policy Center estimates that workers earning between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an about $822 more in taxes this year. Compare that to a taxpayer with an income of $1 million, who is expected to shell out an additional $170,000.
While the number crunching continues in earnest, the tax wallop of the 157-page American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012 that Congress passed last week is gradually emerging. It includes:
· About $160 billion of revenue this year due to the expiration of the payroll tax “holiday,” which increases the payroll tax that helps fund Social Security from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent. According to the Tax Policy Center, this increase will actually hit lower- and middle-income taxpayers harder, in percentage terms.
· $62 billion annually due to hiking the top marginal income-tax rate paid by the wealthy from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. This applies to the less than 1 percent of American households who earn $450,000 annually, and to single filers earning $400,000.
· $15 billion a year from limiting, via a “personal exemption phase out,” or PEP, the exemptions and deductions that wealthier families can claim. For a couple earning $400,000 that averages about $50,000 in deductions each year, the tax bill would rise by about $1,000 according to a Wall Street Journal calculation.
· $5.5 billion garnered by increasing the tax rate for capital gains and dividends from 15 percent to 20 percent (in addition to the 3.8 percent surcharge on investment income for the wealthy, which will kick to help defray the cost of Obamacare).
· Another $2 billion annually will be collected by increasing the top rate for gift and estate taxes from 35 to 40 percent.