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Tagovailoa produces everything but singular Heisman moment



Tagovailoa produces everything but singular Heisman moment

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t produced a so-called Heisman moment this season.

He didn’t have one in the Southeastern Conference championship game. Hurt and not quite himself, the Alabama quarterback was sidelined for the climactic final minutes of the top-ranked Crimson Tide’s comeback, 35-28 win Saturday over No. 6 Georgia in Atlanta.

So Tagovailoa, hampered by a high ankle sprain, didn’t produce a defining play or performance in the biggest game of a season that Alabama has mostly dominated .

To Tagovailoa’s teammates, that shouldn’t matter.

Though obviously somewhat biased, they may be right.

He’s still expected to be among the Heisman finalists announced Monday evening.

“Tua’s the best football player in the country,” Alabama tailback Damien Harris said after the title game. “I don’t think he needs a Heisman moment. That’s some made-up thing, criteria, that people have invented to try to get people an award if they necessarily deserve it or not.

“Tua’s the most deserving of the Heisman and I hope everybody sees it that way because what he’s done for our team, for our university, for our community, for our fans, for everybody, is just irreplaceable. I hope that everybody realizes that.”

Truth is, Tagovailoa started 2018 with a Heisman moment — just in a different season.

The second-half comeback and winning, 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith in overtime just happened to come at the end of last season in the national title game.

It gave the sophomore from Hawaii national name recognition and made him the betting favorite for the Heisman even before he started a game. He has lived up to the hype .

Tagovailoa delivered possibly the most dominating season of any quarterback at Alabama, which has never had a Heisman winner at the position. He was named AP’s SEC offensive player of the year on Monday and was a unanimous pick as the first-team quarterback.

Tagovailoa has led the Tide back to the playoffs and a matchup with Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.

It was a season of terrific performances when Alabama was so dominant that Tagovailoa threw only three fourth-quarter passes during the first 12 games. There were plenty of dynamic plays from the left-hander, starting on the season’s opening drive when he threw for a touchdown after spinning away from one Louisville defender and launching an off-balance, midair touchdown pass just before taking a hit.

Tagovailoa has passed for 3,353 yards and a school-record 37 touchdowns against just four interceptions. But two of those picks came near Georgia’s goal line in the SEC title game in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

He came into the game as the nation’s most efficient passer and widely regarded as the Heisman front-runner but rolled his left ankle early and mostly struggled. Tagovailao was helped off the field after his own offensive lineman landed on his right foot in the fourth quarter.

Jalen Hurts, who had started the past two years before Tagovailoa’s emergence, ended up being the game’s hero in a role reversal from the national title game in the same building against the same opponent.

Tagovailoa’s day ended with a pedestrian 10-of-25, 164-yard, one-touchdown stat line. It remains to be seen how much it weighed into the decisions of Heisman voters.

It also remains to be seen how swiftly he’ll be able to practice after having the ankle scoped, a process coach Nick Saban perhaps optimistically said could take about two weeks.

Tagovailoa hasn’t talked to reporters since the game, but teammates voiced hopes that their star quarterback would be judged more on the first 12 games.

“I feel like he’s one of the best players in the country,” tight end Irv Smith Jr. said. “He showed it all season long. He went through some adversity (Saturday) night with some injuries and he couldn’t really extend the plays with his legs. But he still did a great job.”

Tagovailoa piled up five 300-yard passing games this season and accounted for a school-record six touchdowns — five passing, one rushing — in the regular season finale against Auburn. Despite all that, Harris calls him “the most humble guy that I know.”

Even after completing 67.7 percent of his passes, Tagovailoa last week reflected on how many bad passes he’s thrown by his own estimation.

“I’ve thrown a lot. A lot,” Tagovailoa said. “Probably thrown more incompletions than I’ve thrown completions. You want to include practices, summer practices, spring practices?”

Just games.

“I’d say I’ve thrown some balls that weren’t catchable,” Tagovailoa said, “but the receivers made me look good.”


More AP college football.

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Entertainment and Sports

Binge-worthy show: Counterpart works because J.K. Simmons is incredible. Twice.



With season 2 of the Starz hit Counterpart getting going, I thought I should go ahead and binge the first season to see if it’s one to follow going forward. Despite a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and universal acclaim, I’ll admit I probably wouldn’t move forward to season 2 if it weren’t for two letters and a surname: J.K. Simmons.

Very minor spoilers ahead for the sake of understanding why you should see this show.

Imagine if the world we know copied itself 30-years ago. These two worlds continued without knowledge of each other, save for a select few on each side who are aware of the tunnel below a building in Berlin that connects the two worlds. Now, imagine if both sides kept the existence of this secret from everyone, even most of the world’s governments, and instead ran a shadow organization in the building above the tunnel that allowed the two sides to cooperate.

That’s the world of Counterpart.

This is where it gets interesting. J.K. Simmons plays Howard Silk… twice. In the “alpha” version of the world he’s a mild-mannered operator working in the building above the tunnel but unaware of what it does or the role he plays in everything. The “prime” version is a badass secret agent who must travel to the “alpha” side to foil a plot that would bring the two sides to war.

The premise is pretty clever, albeit not completely unique. There have been stories of alternate realities playing with or against each other in everything from comic books to Star Trek shows. This is the first I’ve seen that plays it more as a spy game in an inter-reality Cold War setting, but nonetheless it’s a relatively common premise. What Star Trek fan doesn’t remember evil Spock?

Spock Mirror

On the merits of the story alone, I’d see this as an acceptable show to watch. Not quite binge-worthy, but a nice aside while waiting for the next season of The Expanse for sci-fi fans. What pushes it up to the binge-worthy level is the dual performances of Simmons. Despite the parallels between the two characters he plays, the audience is never confused about which one they’re seeing. He doesn’t even have to speak most of the time. We can tell by the way he carries himself, the expressions he makes, and the bearing he holds when looking at people.

That’s actually not that hard. What Simmons does masterfully is he accomplishes this without exaggerating the differences. He brings them to light with subtly, giving us just enough understanding of who the characters are without overplaying those differences.

There’s one more thing that the show does well that should be noted since it almost lost me otherwise. Just when you’re getting a little bored with the mundane aspects of the spy game, it slams you across the face with an unexpected twist or impromptu action scene. Even a simple conversation about arranging travel can turn into a gun versus fireplace poker fight to the death.

Great actors can take good material and turn it into something special. Though we’ve only seen one full season of Counterpart, it’s clear that J.K. Simmons makes it worth the watch.

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Entertainment and Sports

Travelers season 3 launches tonight and fans are going nuts



Travelers season 3 launches tonight and fans are going nuts

Technically, it will be launched tomorrow at midnight, but who wants to get technical?

Time traveling science fiction has never been as great as it is with Travelers. This is one of the most binge-worthy shows on streaming television for a reason.

Binge-worthy show: Travelers season 3 is here. Time to catch up on the first two seasons. 3 will be released on December 14 and I’m truly pumped. I haven’t been this excited about a new season of a show since the last season of Sherlock (which was admittedly disappointing). Season 2 ended with a world-changing cliffhanger. Luckily for those of you who haven’t seen the show yet, you have plenty of time to watch the two 12-episode season on Netflix.

Here’s a very brief overview of the premise:

Hundreds of years in the future, humankind isn’t doing so well. The planet is dying. The people are dying. All they have going for them is advanced technology that allows them to carry on with their dismal existences. Things are so bad, they decide to go back to the past – 2016 – and change things in a systematic way that will create a better world.

Season 2 ended on an extreme cliffhanger, one that will change the fabric of the story completely. It was so intense that by the last few minutes of the episode it almost seemed like a series finale. That’s how drastic it was. That’s how much things are about to change.

Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms are buzzing over the new season dropping. The Canadian-American show has resurrected an interest in time-travel entertainment while never getting too nerdy. It’s almost contradictory that the science invoked by an understanding of the space-time continuum is able to exist within an excellent cast and a tight storyline that keeps viewers so engaged.

The new season of Travelers drops on Netflix at midnight, PST. Fans should prepare their excuses for calling in sick tomorrow. The Director has a mission for you.

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Entertainment and Sports

Of course an 8-team college football playoff system makes sense



Of course an 8-team college football playoff system makes sense

In just over two weeks, we’ll get to see who’s going to play for the national championship in college football. It all happens in two games with the current playoff system; the winner of #1 vs #4 will play the winner of #2 vs #3. It’s simple, elegant, and so far it’s been working better than any previous attempt at crowning a national champion.

It’s also inferior to what it could be. An 8-team playoff system would be ideal.

Detractors (and there are fewer and fewer all the time) have two primary complaints. The first one isn’t really an argument. Traditionalists believe the playoff system in general harms continuation of the rich history of the old bowl system. This is true, and frankly there’s no going back at this point.

The second concern is about where it stops. If 8 is better than 4, is 12 or 16 better than 8?

Let’s put that one to rest now. No. 8 is the ideal number for the playoff system. It is fair enough to allow all the teams that deserve a shot without being so big that undeserving teams might sneak in and make a mess of things.

Today, there are seven teams who have a legitimate claim that they deserve a shot at the national championship. The four teams that are in – Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma – are the teams that had the best seasons this year. Oklahoma avenged its one loss in the Big 12 Championship game and the other three teams are undefeated.

Added to the mix are the three teams on the outside looking in. #5 Georgia had the two best losses of any team and is arguably the second best team in the country despite those losses. #6 Ohio State won the Big 10 Championship and has only one loss. #8 UCF is undefeated for the second year in a row. While #7 Michigan didn’t really have a shot at the top 4 after losing badly to Ohio State, they would round off a solid 8-team playoff if that system were in place today.

It would be perfect.

Not every year would end up like this one with 8 clear top teams, but even in disputed years where #9 or #10 complained, they would do so knowing they could have gotten in by winning. This year, Ohio State was penalized despite being the Big 10 Champion and having only one loss. UCF demonstrated it doesn’t matter how well they play for how long. Two undefeated seasons wasn’t enough to earn them a spot.

An 8-team playoff system with automatic bids for the champions of the five major conferences and three at-large bids would extend the season for one week, allowing the first round to be played on or around Christmas. It would make the whole bowl season more interesting and offer hope to teams like UCF who would otherwise need a perfect storm of major conference losses to earn a spot.

This really should be a no-brainer. ESPN won’t mind. Their contract lasts until 2026. They would happily expand to include another round of four games. Those who are making the decision should make it fast. We can get this up and running by the 2020 season.

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