Wednesday, January 19, 2022

November 19, 2019   -The College Football Playoff rankings were unchanged at the top this week, with LSU first followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia.

The selection committee’s third weekly rankings had little movement in the top 10, with Alabama fifth followed by Oregon, Utah, Penn State, Oklahoma and Minnesota.

The committee could face an interesting decision with Alabama in the coming weeks. The Crimson Tide lost quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the season to a hip injury Saturday. Alabama faces Western Carolina this weekend, so playing backup Mac Jones shouldn’t make much difference. On Thanksgiving weekend, the Tide will face Auburn with its No. 2 quarterback, which should give the committee a better read on what kind of a team Alabama is now.

“We do not look forward,” said committee chairman Rob Mullens, who is also Oregon’s athletic director. “Our charge is to rank the teams based on their body of work through week 12, and that’s what we did. Obviously, we’ll watch the games moving forward and evaluate them after that.”

Minnesota and Baylor, both of which lost for the first time last weekend, dropped in the rankings. Minnesota went from eighth to 10th after losing at Iowa. Baylor slipped from 13th to 14th after blowing a 25-point lead to Oklahoma.

Ohio State and Penn State play this weekend in a game that could essentially eliminate the Nittany Lions from the playoff race.

The highest ranked team from outside the Power Five conferences is Memphis at 18th, one ahead of American Athletic Conference rival Cincinnati, and two ahead of Boise State from the Mountain West.

The highest-ranked team from outside the Power Five with a conference championship receives a bid to one of the New Year’s Six bowls.

WHERE IS THIS GOING?

It certainly looks as if the Southeastern Conference is positioned to have two teams in the final four, but it’s far from a slam dunk.

Tagovailoa’s injury complicates the evaluation of Alabama, and it is difficult to see how it does anything but harm the Crimson Tide’s chances. There is no way to argue the Tide is as good without one of the two or three best quarterbacks in the country and with a backup who has shown to be capable but not a star.

“We are aware of who’s available in what games, and we make an evaluation based on watching the games and the results,” Mullens said.

Of course, the rest of Alabama’s roster is still about as talented and deep as it gets in college football. There is a case to be made that if Jones and Alabama win at Auburn in impressive fashion they could get the Cardale Jones bump from the committee. You might remember in 2014, Jones stepped in for an injured J.T. Barrett in the Big Ten championship game and led Ohio State to a historic 59-0 rout of Wisconsin. That game nudged the Buckeyes past TCU and Baylor and into the fourth seed.

The problem for Alabama is unless LSU collapses down the stretch, the Tide is locked out of the SEC championship game. Alabama was probably going to need some help working its way back into the top four even before Tagovailoa’s injury. Now, it seems the Tide will need some real chaos in other conferences to extend its streak of playoff appearances to six.

So that leaves LSU and Georgia sitting in the top four and on course to meet in the SEC championship game. Barring upsets over the next two weeks, LSU will enter unbeaten and Georgia will be 11-1. (Note: Texas A&M is now the SEC’s Agent of Chaos, playing at Georgia on Saturday and at LSU next week).

If Georgia were to win the SEC, beating an unbeaten LSU in the process, it is probably safe to assume the Tigers would still have done enough with victories against Alabama, Florida, Auburn and Texas to stay in the top four.

Twice previously a team that has not won its conference has reached the playoff, but neither Ohio State in 2016 nor Alabama in 2017 reached their conference title game. No team has lost its conference title game and made the playoff. That would be a little weird. Also, the previous cases of a team getting into the playoff without winning its conference included Ohio State getting in over Penn State, the champion of the Big Ten, and Alabama at 11-1 getting in over several two-loss conference champions.

Neither scenario seems likely this time around, though there are some real traps laid out for the teams at the top of the Big 12 over the next two weeks and many of the Big Ten’ best teams still have to play each other.

LSU winning out and handing Georgia a second loss probably shuts down any chance of the SEC getting two teams in the playoff, but here’s a tricky one. If the Bulldogs lose to Texas A&M and beat LSU, does the committee leave out Georgia and still go with LSU?

Here’s the big question: If the SEC gets two teams in this year, shutting out 12-1 champions from the Big 12 and Pac-12, do those conference join the Big Ten and start making serious noise about expansion?

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Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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