Spare a moment, if you will, to think upon our 2003 Honda Odyssey minivan, which today, after sixteen years and over 200,000 miles, was towed away by a local charity to an unknown destination and future. The minivan has for the last few years been the daily driver for Athena, who took it to school with her and ferried around her friends and their stuff. But before that it was the family minivan, in which we carried kid, dogs, groceries and so on and so forth, as one does with minivans.
I should note that I didn’t want the minivan. When we went car shopping in 2003 (after my previous car, a 1989 Ford Escort, went belly up), I was looking at the then-new-to-the-scene Honda Element, which I thought was a pretty cool like pseudo-SUV. However, Krissy was indifferent to that car, so the salesman showed us a minivan, and by the time he got to the hideaway third row of seats, Krissy was sold. I accepted the inevitable, on the condition that we got personalized plates that read “NOT COOL,” because if you drove around in a minivan, any coolness you ever had goes out the window.
And as it turns out, “minivan for coolness” was a pretty good trade. The dirty secret of minivans is that they are generally comfortable, safe and useful cars. We were the ones toting friends when it came to go out to restaurants, and the ones who got called for loads that were too large for cars but too small for trucks; we could carry pretty much anyone or anything. And it turns out that Honda Odysseys are incredibly easy to maintain; I can’t really recall any particular trouble we ever had with it.
Be that as it may, sixteen years and 200,000 miles will take its toll, and the minivan was pretty much at the end of its useful life for us. We got Athena a used GMC Terrain to take her where she wants to go, and called up a local charity to come take away the minivan. I don’t know what they’ll do with it, but I like to think they might fix it up a little and give it to a family who could use it for at least a few more years. It served us well; it’d be nice if it could do the same for someone else.
So, farewell to the Not Cool minivan. It wasn’t cool, but it was good. It will be missed.
Apple is widely expected to unveil three new iPhone models in the fall, and ahead of time, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu have shared several expectations for the devices. While many of the details have already been rumored, this is still worthwhile corroboration from two reputable reporters.
The third camera on the next iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will be an ultra-wide-angle lens that enables a broader range of zoom. The second rear camera on the next iPhone XR will enable increased zoom as well.
All three iPhones will be powered by a faster A13 chip, designed by Apple and manufactured by TSMC. Early test production began in April and mass production could begin as early as this month.
1888 — With a twelve-run lead, Louisville Colonels right-handed pitcher Icebox Chamberlain holds the Kansas City Cowboys scoreless pitching left-handed for the last two innings.
2010 — Dallas Braden pitches the 19th perfect game in major league history as the Oakland A’s defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, owners of the best record and best offense in the majors coming into the game, 4 - 0. Braden’s is the second perfect game in franchise history, following that of Catfish Hunter on May 8, 1968; it also comes less than ten months after Mark Buehrle pitched the last perfecto, also against the Rays, on July 23, 2009.
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Another week, another slate of tough games in the Pac-12. There were more blowouts than we’d like to see, but there were still plenty of fun games.
It’s now time to regroup and break down week 6 topics and look at a totally new power rankings that have shifted quite a bit this week...
What to Watch For...
Rise of the Sleeper RBs
So we knew about Bryce Love and Myles Gaskin as superstar RBs in the Pac-12, but this season has churned out several surprise RBs that have taken this conference by storm. Jermar Jefferson of OSU, JJ Taylor of Arizona, and Eno Benjamin of ASU have separated themselves with the most rushing yardage totals in the Pac-12. Now, half of Benjamin’s yards came against Oregon State, but these 3 RBs have still been pleasant surprises to the rest of the conference. Unless you have to play against them. Then that sucks.
Is There Hope for Playoffs?
After Stanford’s tough loss to Notre Dame, the Pac-12 Conference is in serious limbo for having a chance at the CFP. The Cardinal served as the conference’s best chance until their recent loss. Still, not all hope is lost. Oregon, Washington, and even Stanford still have an outside chance. Any of these 3 could make it into playoffs. This scenario would almost certainly mean that 1 team would have to go undefeated and be crowned Pac-12 champion, in addition to some outside help. So we’re saying there’s a chance...
Another Surprise The Top 25
Last week, Cal cracked the top 25. This week, we get the Colorado Buffaloes in the top 25. The conference has had several teams break into the rankings, but Colorado has been the only team to be undefeated in the conference to this point in the season and be ranked. Will it continue? Probably not, the Pac-12 is too difficult of a conference to navigate without a loss. But is it fun to watch Colorado? Absolutely. The only L the Buffs have taken this season was when Chip the Buffalo took a T-shirt cannon to the family jewels. Keep climbing, Buffs.
U-Dub took care of business against the upstart BYU Cougars in a 35-7 victory. Sure, it was a ranked matchup, but any college football fan worth their salt knew this result was coming. The Huskies beat up on BYU for 4 quarters, and retook the top spot in this series of Power Rankings due to Stanford’s loss. Jake Browning had a solid game for the Huskies, while Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed each tallied over 80 yards rushing and combined for 3 TDs. The Huskies have found themselves in a winning streak after their opening season loss, and that win total should increase this week against a weak UCLA squad.
Stanford did not look good this weekend from the get-go. Notre Dame quickly piled the points early on, and the Stanford offense just couldn’t get anything going against the Notre Dame defense. Bryce Love had a decent game for the Cardinal, but he still hasn’t looked like his old self this season, and it has severely hindered Stanford’s offense. Stanford is still among the top teams in this conference, and the loss does nothing to Stanford’s chances in the Pac-12 North, but it does severely hurt any chance the Pac-12 had of being represented in the CFP.
The Ducks topped a tough Cal team this past weekend in a 42-24 contest. Justin Herbert turned in a good game against an elite Golden Bear defense. He continues to establish himself as the top QB in this year’s draft class and is propelling the Ducks offense. The main stars, however, were RBs Travis Dye and CJ Verdell, who each accumulated over 100 yards rushing in the winning effort. This game was Oregon’s most complete effort of the season, and they now get a bye to recover.
The Buffs took down UCLA with relative ease this past weekend. Colorado has come out of nowhere to be the surprise team of the conference up to this point in the season, and are the biggest risers in this week’s power rankings. Their efforts in the season have been rewarded with their first appearance in the top 25 this week. Travon McMillian continued to be the workhorse of the Buffs, and has developed into a star within the conference. Steven Montez had himself a big performance with 3 total TDs combined with over 400 yards of total offense. Colorado will face their toughest test of the season against the Sun Devils this week.
After losing a tough matchup a week ago, the Cougars flipped the tables this week and won a tight matchup against Utah. Gardner Minshew continues to be a star under Mike Leach’s system, as he threw for over 400 yards again in this game. The Utes were arguably the toughest team Wazzu has had to face, and the Cougs pulled out a tough win. Look for them to light up the scoreboard next week against a shoddy OSU defense.
USC topped the Wildcats in a close matchup in the desert. It seems almost every week that USC has another RB go off, and this week it was Aca’Cedric Ware’s turn to have a monster game. The senior RB rushed for 173 yards and 2 TDs. The defense also turned in a solid game to give the offense a chance to win the game. Ware’s efforts helped get USC the dub, and they will now have a bye to regroup before conference play.
After receiving a top 25 ranking last week, Cal came crashing back down to Earth as they were handled by the Ducks this past weekend. The stingy defense of Cal received a harsh reality check as they allowed almost 500 total yards to the Ducks. The standalone star for Cal came to be sophomore QB Brandon McIlwain, who rushed for 123 yards in the game. That’s almost as many yards as he passed for (128, if you’re curious). Easily the biggest reason Cal stumbled against Oregon was turning the ball over 5 times in this contest. Those mishaps will have to be corrected if the Golden Bears want to get back into the win column this week.
Arizona State had a bounce-back game against Oregon State this past weekend. This came in large part to the Sun Devils rushing for almost 400 yards in this contest. Sophomore RB Eno Bejamin ran for 312 yards and 3 TDs by himself. Those are video game numbers. The ASU offense has been solid all season, yet the defense still has some work to be done. This week presents an interesting matchup for ASU as they face the resurgent Buffaloes.
The Utes have quickly dropped 2 back-to-back conference match-ups after a tough loss to Wazzu this past weekend. Utah is still in the thick of a tight Pac-12 South competition, but the last 2 losses have hurt a team that many thought would be a sleeper team in the Pac-12. The defense shut down the Cougs run game and allowed 0 yards. Seriously, 0 yards rushing on the day. The only problem? The Utes allowed over 400 yards passing, which doomed their chances. The road won’t get any easier for Utah, as they will take on one of the elite teams in the conference in Stanford this next weekend.
Arizona dropped a close matchup against the Trojans this weekend, and have started looking like a bottom dweller team in the conference this season. The offense of the Wildcats was ultimately flat, and weren’t able to keep up with USC. The lone bright spot came from the defense that forced 3 turnovers. That same defense, however, allowed 450 yards. The Wildcats have a lot of issues that need to be ironed out before Kevin Sumlin can even think about bowl contention.
Welp, we knew the defense was bad. But I don’t think any of the writers at BTD thought it was allow-400-yards-rushing bad. The Beavers defense was absolutely clueless this past week, as they have been most of the season. Smith and co. have their work cut out for them in fixing that entire unit. The offense offered more life this week and provided encouragement to OSU fans. Jermar Jefferson continues to be a prodigy for Oregon State, as he rushed for another 200+ yards in this game. However, the passing game was inefficient, again. Conor Blount again proved that he offers little to the Oregon State passing game, as he failed to eclipse 150 yards passing. The good news, though, is I heard Washington State doesn’t like to run the ball, perhaps then we won’t allow 100 yards rushing.
So the Chip Kelly experiment has gotten off to a very bad, no good, dirty rotten start at UCLA. That probably should’ve been expected as none of the recruits there fit the Kelly scheme. Still, UCLA dropped to 0-4 in a not-so-close game against Colorado. The offense can’t score, and the defense can’t stop anyone. That doesn’t equate to a winning combination. Don’t expect things to get much better, as UCLA has to face the Washington Huskies next.
Up Next: Versus Washington
The season is humming along now, and there’s no stopping this series of articles. What will you be looking for this weekend? Agree or disagree with the new Power Rankings?
Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!
We're back with more questions than ever! And our team is here to give you advice on things like: sexy underwear for masculine-of-center folks, breaking sexual tension with a friend, how to move on from your one true love, how to get out of a professional rut and more!
Not Your Demographic turned three this week! Erin and Stella celebrate with an interview from Zelo Pro Wrestling’s owner on their first anniversary show. #FallBabies
After the interview they discuss the Zelo show, remind their listeners that The Island of Dolls is a real place, cry happy tears for New Day’s coronation and discuss the ethics of running children over with cars.
“I think for me -- I don’t want to say the knock on Bobby -- is that I’ve never really... I just don’t buy that he can be mean. Like when he sets up for anything, I don’t really believe it. I look at him and I go ‘wow’ but then I look at his face and I don’t buy it. But I really want to see... And I know that sounds like a knock, and Bobby’s a great guy, but that, to me, has always been the missing ingredient. It’s just that level of, ‘mmm, I don’t really feel like you want to tear this person’s head off.’ ... To your point, I think Bobby can really try and develop his character more and I think that will help everything. Because, obviously, athletically he’s a freak.”
If that isn’t a dead on criticism, I don’t know what would be. Lashley has a great look, and he can even cut a promo in the right situation, but there’s just something missing that isn’t coming across. This feud with Roman Reigns should have brought it out of him, and it didn’t.
Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s Reigns wrestling for the Universal title at SummerSlam.
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“I’m the best player in the country,” Watson told reporters on Dec. 19. “That’s how I think. That’s how I feel. You know, people have their own way of voting.”
Although Watson won his second straight Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s most outstanding QB this season, he ended up second behind Jackson in the Heisman voting. And the O’Brien-Heisman split — “best quarterback” vs. “best player” — is pretty much the heart of Watson’s rivalry with Jackson.
In the traditional sense of the QB role, Watson was probably a better pure passer than Jackson this season. Watson threw for 524 more yards, had a higher passing efficiency rating (according to the NCAA’s formula) and contributed many more expected points added (EPA) in the air than Jackson did. More to the point, Watson had a vastly superior completion percentage (68 percent to 58 percent), threw fewer of his passes off-target (11 percent vs. 15 percent), and was notably better in the short-to-intermediate passing game. He beat Jackson in Total QBR (81.2 to 76.9) on passes that traveled 15 or fewer yards through the air — plays that accounted for about three-quarters of each QB’s total attempts — and a higher percentage of Watson’s passing yards also came after his receivers caught the ball, a healthy indicator in the type of quick-passing game Clemson employs.
As a result of all that controlled passing, Clemson’s aerial attack was more efficient than Louisville’s this year. The Tigers ranked fifth among Power Five conference teams in passing EPA, piling up about 40 percent more expected points per game via the pass than the 12th-ranked Cardinals.
Still, Jackson made up the difference as an all-around QB. He generated nearly 70 more yards of total offense per game than Watson, thanks in large part to his mobility — Jackson rushed for an incredible 1,538 yards, the most of any Heisman-winning quarterback ever (as well as the second-most by a 3,000-yard passer). Watson’s no slouch as a runner — he gained 524 yards on the ground, which ranked 15th among qualified FBS QBs — but Jackson probably had the best dual-threat season in college history. When we factor in Jackson’s huge workload in the running game, he had a slightly better Total QBR than Watson on the season, and he generated about 31 percent more total EPA per game than Watson did.
Jackson even had Watson beat in a couple of important passing categories. First, Jackson threw 24 percent fewer interceptions per attempt than Watson did. (Despite his accuracy, Watson has had a problem with picks all year — though his overall game is still so good that it’s hard to say even the picks are a real problem.) And although Watson had the superior overall passing numbers, Jackson had a better year throwing the ball deep. Not only did he do it more — 14 percent of Jackson’s throws traveled at least 25 yards in the air, versus 9 percent for Watson — but he also had a better QBR (77.8 to 71.1) on those long tosses. Watson was more surgical in his deep strikes, with a sterling 8-0 TD-INT ratio on throws of 25 or more yards (Jackson’s mark was a more pedestrian 9-6), but he also spent a significant amount of his time setting up bubble screens with passes at or behind the line of scrimmage. Twenty-seven percent of Watson’s passes were for zero or fewer air yards, compared with 17 percent for Jackson.
All told, many of the differences between Jackson and Watson simply come down to the trade-offs a QB makes playing in different offenses. While both teams call their share of zone-read plays, Louisville’s offense asks Jackson to keep the ball and run with it more than Clemson’s does of Watson. (There’s also a school of thought that says this was by design, and that Watson will be unleashed as a runner in the College Football Playoff, so stay tuned.) The Cardinals are a more run-oriented team than the Tigers anyway, and that allows them to exploit defenses for more big plays down the field when Jackson does throw. Clemson, meanwhile, is more set up to control the field through short passing and the selective use of Watson’s running and deep-throwing skills.
The big takeaway, then, is that although the two quarterbacks played pretty different styles this season, they both arrived at a similar place in terms of overall production. So the question of who is the nation’s true best player might just boil down to preference: Do you like running QBs who throw a bunch of deep bombs, or do you prefer more pocket-oriented accurate passers who can also run when necessary?
This actually made me a little teary. I'm a sap, and I don't care.
Phone Call | Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK
(I am gay, and just starting to come out to friends and family. I phone my mum from university, as I live away from home.)
Me: “Mum, there’s… there’s something I need to tell you. I… I… I’m sorry I’ve not told you sooner mum, but—”
Mum: “Just one minute.”
(She goes away for a couple of seconds.)
Mum: “Right, you were saying?”
Me: “Mum, I’m gay.”
(All of a sudden, there’s a massive round of applause, with shouting and cheers from the other end of the phone. It turns out she has known for years anyway, and knew what I was about to say. She connected her phone to a speaker so that her work colleagues—all of whom she’d told I was gay and that she was waiting for me to come out—could hear.)
Mum: “Well done, it’s about time! I’m proud of you son; I love you!”