There’s no denying it, playing field is leveled

first_imgCapping a month that had already made a case for parity, three of the nation’s top five teams and seven of the top 13 lost in one weekend. While nothing that happens the rest of the season can top the shock value of Appalachian State winning at Michigan or Notre Dame going 0-5 in September, the ultimate definition of Upset Saturday should be Exhibit 1B in the case for parity being the dominant theme of college football. Anybody can beat anybody on a given Saturday (or Friday night). It’s a tired cliche, and not completely true, but don’t tell that to the nation’s Top 25 schools. In order: No. 3 Oklahoma lost to Colorado, 27-24; No. 4 Florida lost to Auburn, 20-17; No. 5 West Virginia was stunned by No. 18 South Florida, 21-13; No. 7 Texas got embarrassed by Kansas State, 41-21; No. 10 Rutgers stumbled against Maryland, 34-24; No. 11 Oregon fell to No. 6 California in the Game of the Day, 31-24; and No. 13 Clemson couldn’t manage a single touchdown in a 13-3 loss to Georgia Tech. For good measure, two pretty big names in college football, No.21 Penn State and No. 22 Alabama also lost, suffering their second defeats of the season. And so, just a month into the season, long before the major conferences have even gotten into the meat of their schedules, only 13 of the nation’s newly aligned top 25 teams are unbeaten. And that list includes such lightly regarded football schools as No. 6 South Florida, which just started its program in 1997, No. 7 Boston College, which hasn’t been this good since Doug Flutie was throwing Hail Marys, No. 8 Kentucky (its highest ranking in 29 years), No. 16 Hawaii, No. 17 Missouri, No. 18 Arizona State, No. 20 Cincinnati and No. 23 Purdue. Parity. Stare at the word. Memorize its meaning in regards to sports – that the playing field is level and most of the combatants are almost equal. Learn to pronounce it for high drama – as in PAIR-Ah-TEE – to give it the importance it deserves. Accept its truth, at least when it comes to college football in the 21st century. There is no better explanation – short of it being a sign of the apocalypse – for what happened on the final weekend of September. Who are those guys? Kentucky and South Florida in the top 10? Hawaii a contender for the top 10? Has the world gone mad? No, it’s just PAIR-Ah-TEE. Expect more of the same in the coming years, not to mention the rest of this already-crazy season. There are three primary forces at work here. First and foremost, the 85-man scholarship limit adopted by the NCAA in 1991 has gradually changed the landscape and is continuing to level the playing field. The days when a college superpower could give out 120 scholarships and have a real advantage over less prestigious schools are over. It’s easier to compete with the big boys now. Second, high school programs are becoming more sophisticated all the time, especially in terms of weightlifting. Players are more ready, physically and mentally, to compete as freshmen than they were 15 years ago. And all that intense training means there are more capable football players coming to the college ranks, period. Third, the ever-growing importance of money generated by big-time football has created a mountain of highly skilled and motivated assistant coaches who are ready to become great head coaches willing to do whatever it takes to build a quality program. The result, naturally, is that programs like South Florida, Boise State and Hawaii are led by coaches who have the ability and the resources to build competitive programs. Ultimately, parity may force the BCS to adopt the playoff system it continues to resist. When Hawaii is a top-25 school and South Florida is knocking on the door of the top five teams in the nation, can there be any doubt that there are more than two teams deserving of a shot at a national championship in January? In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the show. What used to be blowouts are becoming paybacks for long-suffering schools that used to be resigned to taking a beating from the big names of the college world. One other thought on parity: Its growing strength at the college level only reinforces what an amazing job USC coach Pete Carroll has done. It is far tougher to stay on top year after year, as the Trojans have done lately, than it ever was before. Cal is coming on: The Bears are another example of how good coaching can turn around a program and take it to the highest levels. Coach Jeff Tedford has done a terrific job in a short time, going beyond just rebuilding a program that was in shambles. The Bears haven’t peaked under Tedford, who is beyond the flash-in-the-pan stage now. He’s the real deal and his team proved it Saturday at Oregon, one of the toughest places in the country to win at when the Ducks are top-20 caliber. The Bears, who haven’t been ranked as high as No. 3 since 1952, still must win at UCLA and ASU, but their Nov. 10 home game against USC is shaping up as the Pac-10 Game of the Year. That’s Dumb II: A week ago, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy looked to have the Dumb Move of the Year Award wrapped up, thanks to that 3-minute rant that made YouTube a few bucks. But now comes word Texas A&M Dennis Franchione was putting out an insider-info newsletter to an elite few boosters for the shockingly low price of $1,200. Unbelievable. Not only is that just plain dumb for all the obvious ethical reasons, it’s also hard to believe Franchione never considered that his privileged boosters might use his inside info to place a few bets on the side. This and that: By position, NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper lists 10 USC players among his top-five pro prospects from the nation’s senior and junior classes. Just in case you think the guys across town are outclassed, Kiper lists six Bruins as top pro prospects. … After losing, Penn State and Alabama continued to garner a few votes from AP top-25 voters. So does Michigan. … USC’s shaky performance at Washington not only dropped it to No. 2, it may have ended John David Booty’s Heisman Trophy chances. jim.thomas@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Buncrana meet-up opens conversation on men’s mental health

first_imgMen’s mental health is being brought to the fore in a unique way in Buncrana this month with the establishment of a special coffee evening.A weekly meet-up has started in the Lily Rose Cafe Buncrana to welcome all men for a casual chat with a focus on wellbeing.It is open to every person at any stage in their life who may feel stressed, anxious or lonely. The meeting was the idea of local dad Jason Cameron, whose wife Tara sadly passed away in October 2017.He has teamed up with a local counsellor to invite all men to meet up and talk, whether they are single fathers, widowers, or just feeling lonely.In a time when mental health is a major issue, a meeting such as this is a welcome step to help people take time to focus on themselves.Jason said: “We started the group four weeks ago on a trial basis for the likes of single fathers that may have been struggling, or anybody having a bad day that wants to vent a little frustration. “They are not counselling sessions, but we have a counsellor in training on suicide awareness sitting in to point people in the right direction if they need help. Some people are just not aware of what avenues are available to them.”Jason said he has been contacted by people who have relatives who they think would benefit from the group. The onus is on the individual to come to the meetings, Jason said, where they will be very welcome.The next meet-up takes place tonight, Thursday 16th August at 7pm in the Lily Rose Cafe.“If more people contact us with an interest we can look at making it more permanent,” said Jason.Lily Rose Cafe BuncranaBuncrana meet-up opens conversation on men’s mental health was last modified: August 16th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Yankees clinch 1st AL East title since 2012, reach 100 wins

first_imgNew York Yankees’ Brett Gardner celebrates with Clint Frazier (77) after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)NEW YORK — Aroldis Chapman got Albert Pujols to swing over a slider in the dirt, and the New York Yankees jogged to the infield to exchange handshakes and hugs after clinching their first AL East title since 2012.No wild celebration, not this year.ADVERTISEMENT Kai Sotto, Kobe Paras make SBP list of potential non-PBA standouts in SEA Games pool A day after wasting a chance to clinch first place, the Yankees went ahead when LeMahieu went deep in the second inning.Gardner, among just two holdovers from their last World Series championship team in 2009, added a solo shot in the fourth and then hit a two-run double in the sixth. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier homered for good measure in the eighth.“You got a team full of savages,” slugger Aaron Judge said, invoking the word manager Aaron Boone made famous during his mid-summer rant at an umpire. “It’s been a long season, a lot of ups and downs. We’re going to celebrate and enjoy tonight, but we got a lot more baseball to play.”Despite putting 30 players on the injured list this year, New York (100-54) made Boone the first manager to win 100 games in each of his first two major league seasons.“We got a lot bigger fish to fry, but this is the first step along the way,” Boone said. “Nothing has got in their way. Whatever has come adversity-wise, they faced it and powered right through it.”ADVERTISEMENT Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Hours after the startling news that pitcher Domingo Germán was placed on administrative leave under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, the homer-happy Yankees routed the Los Angeles Angels 9-1 Thursday night to wrap up first place and breeze to their 100th win.DJ LeMahieu hit a go-ahead, three-run homer for yet another big moment in his first year with New York and old mainstay Brett Gardner homered and had three RBIs.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSBecoming his own manSPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40Players decided it was not a night for dogpiles, not given how many already have gotten hurt, some in bizarre mishaps.“We’re just trying to avoid injuries,” LeMahieu said. Angels: RHP Jamie Barria (4-8) will be on the mound at Houston, opposed by Zack Greinke (6-1).Yankees: LHP J.A. Happ (12-8) starts Friday’s series opener against Toronto, his former team.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ LATEST STORIES The Yankees open the playoffs on Oct. 4, likely against Minnesota, which leads the AL Central, or the wild-card winner.Germán’s status for the postseason is uncertain after a breakout season. He is the Yankees’ top-winning pitcher at 18-4.Boone and general manager Brian Cashman spoke with players before the game.“It’s a difficult situation that none of us really know that many details about, so you just try and lay it out,” Boone said. “Sometimes things come up over the course of the season that you’re not necessarily prepared for and you just try and talk through it the best you can.”Masahiro Tanaka (11-8), in line to start the playoff opener, allowed Kole Calhoun’s homer leading off the fourth. The Angels had just four hits in seven innings off Tanaka, who struck out six and walked one.New York’s 19th AL East title was its first following a run of 13 in 17 years that started in Derek Jeter’s rookie season. The Yankees, led by Judge, Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres, will be making their 21st postseason appearance in 25 years and 55th overall — 22 more than any other team.And they will head to the October following their 21st 100-win season, their first in back-to-back years since 2002-04.New York moved into sole possession of the lead for good on June 15 with the start of an eight-game winning streak, beginning a spurt of 13 victories in 14 games that ended the month. The Yankees led by 6 1/2 games at the All-Star Game, won seven of their first nine after the break and have led by seven to 11 1/2 games since. And they achieved their success despite the most players on the injured list for any big league team since at least 2004.After Wednesday’s 3-2 loss, the Yankees waited in their clubhouse for three hours until just before 1 a.m., hoping second-place Tampa Bay would lose at Los Angeles and ensure the division title for New York. But the Rays rallied in the ninth and defeated the Dodgers in 11 innings.Protective plastic remained overnight wrapping the six large-screen televisions in the Yankees clubhouse, a sign that the bubbly celebration was not too far off. There was plenty of spraying — but non-vintage Laurent Perrier Brut. The good stuff is saved for late October. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img MOST READ Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Becoming his own man Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ LeMahieu’s homer off Andrew Heaney (4-6), which followed a rare infield hit by slow-legged catcher Austin Romine with two outs, landed about three rows over the scoreboard in right-center, giving him career bests of 25 homers and 97 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees. Gardner also set career highs for homers (26) and RBIs (69), and New York extended its team record with 292 long balls, one shy of major league-leading Minnesota.“Hopefully the beginning of something special,” Gardner said.STANTONDH Giancarlo Stanton was 0 for 3 with a walk and two strikeouts as a designated hitter his second game back from a layoff of nearly three months.STAR TURNPujols had a .328 career batting average when he left St. Louis after 11 major league seasons and joined the Angels for 2012. His career average dipped to .29995 with an 0 for 4 night. His average had not been below .300 at the end of a game since a 4-for-14 start as a rookie in 2001, according to the Elias Sport Bureau.“Not all the greatest players hit over .300,” Pujols said. “Hitting .300 would be great, but definitely, for me more important is hopefully I can win a championship before I’m done with my contract, because that’s why the front office brought me here.”TRAINER’S ROOMYankees: RHP Dellin Betances has been told surgery is not recommended for the partially torn left Achilles tendon that ended his season after eight pitches. Manager Aaron Boone said the foot will be in a walking boot for another four weeks. … Judge was given a day off after he landed on his right shoulder during an attempt for a diving catch Wednesday.UP NEXT Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics This jewelry designer is also an architect View comments Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’ PLAY LIST 02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issuelast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Nanuku Auberge Resort

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterNanuku Auberge Resort Fiji has this week released details of pricing for its 13-new luxury one- and two-bedroom Auberge Beach Villas, now right on schedule for an official October 2018 opening.Pricing leads in at FJ$3350 per night for a one-bedroom Garden Villa inclusive of à la carte breakfast and all taxes. Per night rates for a two-bedroom Garden Villa start from FJ$4100, again inclusive of à la carte breakfast and all taxes.Announcing the new tariffs, Nanuku Auberge Resort GM, Sascha Hemmann, said the new villas, along with the resort’s current inventory, were seen as ideal for multigenerational families but in reality would suit just about anyone looking for an intimate, private villa-style holiday.“The beauty of a stay in our Auberge Beach Villas lies in the fact our guests can enjoy their very own, very private environment or if they wish, take full advantage of a full resort offering literally just a short walk away,” Mr Hemmann said.When complete, the new Auberge Beach Villas will offer state-of-the-art kitchens, private swimming pools and private open terraces offering indoor and outdoor living fronted by a three-kilometre-long white-sand beach and the resort’s own pristine house reef.The 13 new villas have increased the resort’s overall property inventory to 37 residences, ranging from the existing one-, two- and four-bedroom villas through to the three- and four-bedroom Hilltop Ocean View and the six-bedroom Owners Residence.“Currently, we cater for anyone, be that couples, families, wedding parties and their guests and other larger assemblages and especially multigenerational family groups,” Mr Hemmann said.“The advent of our new Auberge Beach Villas will take our ability to deliver right across the travel spectrum, in the process placing Nanuku Auberge Resort in a unique position on the Fijian luxury accommodation landscape.”Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more