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Alabama win settles playoffs, opens doors for Heisman

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Alabama win settles playoffs opens doors for Heisman

The worst-case scenario for the Oklahoma Sooners almost came to pass. The Georgia Bulldogs were up by two touchdowns late in the 3rd quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide. A win would have sent Georgia to the college football playoffs, but the loss by Alabama likely wouldn’t have knocked them out of the playoffs.

It was the unlikely scenario that could have kept the Oklahoma Sooners from moving up into the top four, but it didn’t happen. Alabama prevailed in the end thanks to heroic effort of backup quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The former SEC Player of the Year lost his job in the championship last year when Tua Tagovailoa came in to win it for Alabama. The star QB has been perfect ever since… until tonight’s game with Georgia. More on that in a moment.

Unless Clemson can repeat their embarrassing 2016 loss to Pitt, they’re going to finish perfect along with Alabama and Notre Dame. #4 Geogia’s loss means the #5 Sooners should easily move up to the last spot in the playoffs following an exciting 39-27 win over the Texas Longhorns, who had been the only team to beat the Sooners this year.

There will be plenty of debate about the #4 spot, but it’s just hype to build tension for what should be a no-brainer for the 13-person selection committee. But just in case there are still those who want to debate, here are the reasons the other three teams in contention for the #4 spot don’t deserve it.

  • Georgia: They came close to beating the best team in the country and their only other loss was to powerful #10 LSU. But they’re a two-loss team without a conference championship. They should fall below Ohio State and Central Florida.
  • Central Florida. The easiest case to be made for expanding the playoffs to eight teams is the twice-undefeated University of Central Florida. They’ve done everything they’re supposed to do, which is win, but the weakness of their schedule makes it impossible to put them in the top four when there are 1-loss teams in major conferences. If they want to be in the playoffs, they need to schedule and win tough non-conference games. Otherwise, they’ll just have to wait for an 8-team playoff system.
  • Ohio State. Their impressive victory against then-#4 Michigan was what pushed them back into the playoff hunt, but that’s the problem. Their victory against Michigan was the only truly impressive thing they did. After losing to Purdue, they struggled in games that should have been easy wins for any playoff team. The selection committee promises to look at body of work. The big win against Michigan at home is the only part of their season worth heralding.

The playoff schedule should put Alabama vs Oklahoma and Clemson vs Notre Dame. Any arguments to the contrary are intended to stir up controversy where none exists.

What Alabama’s win did do was demonstrate the one bad game Tagovailoa has had this year. He finished 10-25 with 164 yards and two interceptions to go with one touchdown pass. When he left the game over an ankle injury, his team was behind by a touchdown.

Unlike the playoff selection committee, Heisman voters aren’t obligated to look at the body of work. The bad game for Tagovailoa coming on the biggest stage in the last game of the season will hurt his chances of winning the Heisman. He hasn’t had a challenge the entire year, having thrown only three passes in the fourth quarter all season. Some Heisman voters will look at this with questions about his poise, having had a horrendous outing in the most important game before voting.

He’s still the favorite. One can argue that his closest competitor, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, is hampered by the fact that an Oklahoma quarterback, Baker Mayfield, won the Heisman last year. That shouldn’t be the case, but Heisman voters aren’t obligated to be fair or unbiased.

Even in the Sooner’s one loss, Murray was impressive. He hasn’t had a bad game all season.

If Mayfield hadn’t won last year, I think Murray would be the favorite. But bias will come into play with Heisman voters and Tagovailoa is likely going to win. Hopefully we’ll get to see them go head-to-head in the playoffs.

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Why Game of Thrones felt rushed

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Why Game of Thrones felt rushed

One of the biggest criticisms the eighth season of Game of Thrones received was that the final season was rushed. However, the given the numerous deviations from the source material, not only did DB Weiss and David Benioff not rush the show, they dragged out the plot. For those who noted that the eighth season of Game of Thrones needed to be longer, they would have to answer the question of what fills the four additional episodes. In my opinion there really is nothing. Episode 2 was a filler episode before the Battle of Winterfell. Under the guise of “character development” prepubescent Arya had sex with bastard Gendry. This move then had to be undone in episode four, as a clear indicator that the moment was a pathetic instance of fan service, along with Jaime and Brienne, which the show also undid. D&D didn’t put much thought into building a plot, but they didn’t really have to. Their job was to adapt the novels into film, a challenging task. People tend to forget that the first four seasons were based on the first three books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Season five was based on half of book five, A Dance With Dragons. Book four was, with exception to Arya, passed over until season six, where D&D doubled back into A Feast For Crows in a rushed attempt to… I don’t know… fill the time and bring back old characters. D&D essentially followed books 1-3, skipped book four, went to book five, inserted non-existent and forgettable plots(Dorne), then went beyond canon, then rushed through book four, then went back beyond. If Game of Thrones only now feels rushed to you, you have not been paying attention. So what am I saying? Two arguments. One Game of Thrones cut out and deviated so much from the books that they did not have enough plot points to build to a longer series. Second, D&D, instead of writing substitute plot points, they chose to drag out a plot remaining plot but instead of building up to it with actual plot points, the filled the time in-between with fast travel, fan service in the form of plot armor and nostalgia, and contradictory story elements. So, in order to build a non rushed series, we truly have to go back and redo season five onward.

Season Five

However, in correcting a major mistake in the Tyrion arc, in season four, Jaime will confess to Tyrion that his first wife Tysha was as she seemed and not a whore. However in keeping Episode 4.10 the same, we can have Lord Varys deliver the news to Tyrion. Tyrion will begin season five wondering “wherever whores go.” Sansa will not be married to Ramsay Snow/Bolton. She will end the season witnessing the genius of Petyr Baelish as he takes over the Vale as its de facto lord. Instead, the show will proceed with Fake Arya. Jon Snow still becomes Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and makes a pact with the alive Mance Rayder and chooses to spare his son over Craster’s. The viewer will actually get to see Cersei suck at ruling as Queen Regent and burn the tower of the hand. The viewer will also get to see Daenerys suck at ruling Mereen. Ser Barristan will not be killed. The Ironborn plot will be introduced here. Euron Greyjoy will be more than just bumfinger. The Dornish plot will feature Arianne and Quentyn Martell. Jaime goes to the Riverlands, with Bronn(a deviation from the books I can support). Most importantly, Young Griff will be featured.

The hardest part of the new season five would be coming up with a sufficient “episode nine” which has a massive reputation to live up to. The Dornish plot is one instance where this could climax. The viewer could get to watch Ser Areys Oakheart die. Daenerys flying off on Drogon in the fighting pits is another good move.

Season Six

Now season six would be like season four was to season three, just nonstop excitement as the viewer reaches the climaxes of the fourth and fifth books. The Siege of Mereen would persist and Ser Barristan Selmy muscles his way to clean the mess created by Daenerys. Tyrion becomes a more malicious schemer. Cersei walk of shame. Mance Rayder killed by Ramsay Bolton. Theon rescues Fake Arya. Prince Doran drops a big reveal. Baelish announces his northern ambitions to Sansa. Stannis is defeated, and not killed by Brienne. We get the Pink Letter! Jon Snow is killed.

Season Seven

The Siege of Mereen is lifted. Tyrion rises to power. Davos retrieves Rickon Stark (speculation). Jon becomes King in the North after the Battle of the Bastards where either the Knights of the Vale arrive before the battle begins or Sansa and Jon are not in communication so the Vale surprises in the end, much like Stannis and the Night’s Watch. Daenerys gets a Dothraki army. Cersei defeats her enemies via wildfire. Young Griff and the Dornish form an alliance (speculation). Young Griff arrives in the Stormlands makes an alliance with the Dornish.

Season Eight

Daenerys arrives to Westeros. Battle of Winterfell, with actual military tactics applied. Jon Snow and Daenerys love story. One of the major claimants falls.

Season Nine

Jon Snow vs Daenerys vs Cersei vs Young Griff (speculation) vs Euron (less one of these.) Daenerys sours and is betrayed for love.

Game of Thrones Rushed or Gutted?

I could go further into detail, but I know not the bullet points D&D were given. Which surely would have had more than the less than two hundred words of plot above that go beyond the books. All of the sudden, if the show follows the books the series doesn’t seem rushed or dragged out. Imagine a pyramid. Each story arc is a corner on the base that all comes together at the end. What D&D did is not reset the pyramid like George RR Martin does in the books. So, the plot comes together much sooner than it would have if they had followed the books. Therefore seasons seven and eight had so much nostalgia and filler. The source material and reasonable speculation paved the path to writing a much better series that what fans saw on the back half of Game of Thrones. It’s pressingly clear, D&D never read the books or in their hubris thought they knew how to honor the source material better than the author or its more devoted fans. Game of Thrones was not so much rushed, as it was gutted, for the fans only saw the skeleton of the real story.

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Twitter suspends Houston Rockets’ account

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Twitter suspends Houston Rockets account

What happened to the Houston Rockets’ Twitter account? Did they Tweet something conservative or Christian? Did they misgender someone? Is this retribution for falling to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs four out of five of years? Whatever they did, Twitter decided to suspend them, leaving their 2.8 million followers in the dark.

All jesting aside, there are three likely scenarios. They could be the victims of a mass reporting attack in which multiple Twitter accounts report a user in a short period of time, prompting an algorithmic suspension. Or, if they’d been hacked, Twitter may have detected it and shut them down until the real users can regain control and change passwords.

But the most likely culprit is a DMCA takedown complaint that triggers instant temporary suspension. Chances are, they posted a video that included music they didn’t have permission to use. It happens.

The Rockets have not responded to our request for comment.

If you or someone you know gets suspended on social media, take solace in knowing even big organizations like the Houston Rockets can fall victim to the ban-hammer (though I doubt they’ll get the same scorn from Twitter as James Woods).

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Game of Thrones Series Finale: Review and Analysis

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Game of Thrones Series Finale Review and Analysis

The ending finally arrive. It was a tumultuous controversial season. The Game of Thrones series finale had to deal with a malcontentious internet fanbase that saw bad writing, but mostly in the wrong places. Indeed the Daenerys fans were unduly upset by her demise, and the Arya and Sansa fans consistently had bad takes. This ending was hardly for these people who wanted happy, predictable, endings that reinforced your “fandom.” Still this episode is where the good writing for the last three or four seasons went to. It was not the dreaded ending of a Republic, which given Tyrion’s voyage to Volantis, was conceivable. The idea was address and ridiculed. Instead it was two kingdoms at peace, at last. The Game of Thrones series finale was well shot, well performed, and strangely well-written(thanks to the cliff-notes of George RR Martin.) The ending was somber. On a scale of Dexter to Breaking Bad, the Game of Thrones series finale lands in the middle, being held back by D&D’s poor ability to get to the final two episodes.

Overall: The episode was a solid ending, given the poor last few seasons.

A Critique of Stalinism

In her speech, Daenerys Targaryen champions how she destroyed the system that oppressed people and made a bold goal to conquer the rest of the known world minus the far east of the continent south of Essos. There’s a lot to tackle from her speech. First, she seems to have a Rashida Tlaib recollection of history. Yes, she freed the Astapori slaves, but it ends horribly for the slaves in her new world. She left Astapor without a garrison, so a butcher took over, being the only one able to wield a blade semi-competently. She then abandons Astapor and the Yunkish coalition destroy the city and the newly freed slaves. who knows what happened to the Mereenese slaves she misruled, but with her dead, it’s a safe assumption they will be vanquished, probably by Volantis. So Daenerys is already rewriting her history, but other than freeing slaves in a world away, she has done nothing to systematically change the way of life for Westeros. She has only deposed Cersei Lannister, which is nothing new for a kingdom that saw Roberts Rebellion. So after giving a fictional account of history she vows to conquer the world, with her brand of liberation. It sounds exactly like Communism. Part of the end goal for communism, as the Soviets saw it was to make every country around them communist, which is what Stalin did during and after World War 2. The idea that a communist government can dissolve and the “people” own everything must come after private ownership everywhere is eliminated, in theory. Of course communism always failed, as does Daenerys. In her final words to Jon, Daenerys talks of removing people who stand in her way and declares herself the supreme authority of what is good. You can almost here the words: “in order to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs.” This classic defense of genocide is uttered, in sentiment, by Daenerys in her final words. In the Game of Thrones world, Daenerys was Josef Stalin. Off to the gulag with Tyrion and the other undesirables.

Drogon

Either Jon is good at playing innocent or Drogon knew the Iron Throne was what really killed Daenerys Targaryen. Either way, such moral accountability from a dragon knowing better than his mother. His subsequent escape is one unclosed detail that works really well.

Jon Snow King-Beyond-the-Wall

Jon Snow was sentenced to the Night’s Watch begging the question: why is the order still a thing? Still, Jon Snow is depicted leading the wildlings to the “true North” and the gate behind him is shut. Jon Snow was never cut out for the Night’s Watch, as shown in season one, and he’s killed for disregarding his vows in the books. The implication of Jon being King is made readily apparent.

Bran as King

The leaks told it true. I was extremely weary of this especially since I had Tyrion in mind for the Kingship or I thought the Seven Kingdoms would split. After all, Robert’s strength held them together, and he died in season one. But the Lords were too weak to seize their own kingship. But minus the cringy Edmere Tully return, Tyrion sold it, in large part because of the acting of Peter Dinklage. It was better written than one would have thought. The idea is growing on me personally and contains a lack of predictability Game of Thrones is known for. It also tied up succession nicely while providing a stable outcome a Targaryen dynastic return would not have brought.

Small Council

My biggest point of displeasure from this episode was the small council. Bronn receiving Highgarden and the Lord Paramount title was a sickening end to his character. He should have been killed off years ago. Sam becoming the Grand Maester was a bit of a stretch. Davos as Master of Ships was fitting and Brienne as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard wasn’t too shabby. The scene where she writes down Jaime’s legacy was excellent.

MVP Tyrion

Peter Dinklage gave an award winning performance this episode. I was getting critical of his poor portrayal of the Tyrion character, in large part because of the writing. But in the final two episodes, Peter Dinklage hit a grand slam on his performance. All of the actors did a superb job, but his was by far the best his episode.

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