Alabama wins 2018 college playoffs

By Jack Lev ’20 and Jack Navarro ’20




Alabama Rolls Past Georgia in College Football National Championship

By Ryan Burg ’18

The College Football Playoff National Championship was on Monday night with the number three ranked Georgia Bulldogs playing against the fourth ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The game was on Jan. 8, 2018 in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The Georgia Bulldogs were looking to win their first National Championship since 1980 while the Alabama Crimson Tide were looking for their fifth since 2008.

The Alabama Crimson Tide won in overtime 26-23 against the Georgia Bulldogs. The game ended with a 41-yard bomb from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to DeVonta Smith for the game winning touchdown. One play earlier, the Bulldogs had sacked Tagovailoa for a 16-yard loss.

The game started with Georgia’s quarterback, Jake Fromm, throwing an interception. After the interception, the Bulldogs defence stopped Alabama and held them to a 40 yard field goal attempt with 9:58 remaining in the first quarter. Alabama’s kicker, Andy Pappanastos, missed it left of the goal posts keeping the game tied 0-0.

With 14:15 remaining in the second quarter, Alabama held Georgia to a 41 yard field goal attempt with Rodrigo Blankenship hitting it threw the uprights making it 3-0.

Georgia got stopped by Alabama and forced Georgia to kick a 27 yard field goal making the game 6-0 with 7:35 remaining in the second quarter. With 12 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Mecole Hardman Jr. had a one yard run to the left side for a touchdown making the game 13-0 at the half.

At the end of the half, Nick Saban, the head coach for Alabama, sat their starting sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was 3 for 8 with 21 passing yards and 6 carries for 47 rushing yards in the first half. They replaced him with freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“We had in our minds if we struggled offensively we give Tua an opportunity,” Saban said. “He gave us a chance, and a spark.” he stated in a Kansas City Star article.

With 8:57 remaining Tagovailoa had a six yard pass to wide receiver Henry Ruggs III in the back of the end zone for a touchdown making the game 13-7.

Fromm threw an 80 yard bomb to Hardman Jr resulting in a touchdown making the game 20-7 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter giving Georgia a two score lead.

With 6:32 remaining in the third quarter Tagovailoa scrambled out of the pocket and threw a pick to the Georgia’s defence. The play directly after, Fromm threw a pass which deflected off an Alabama defensive lineman’s head and got picked back by defensive lineman Raekwon Davis with 6:21 remaining. This got Alabama back in field goal position to make the game 10-20.

With the score of 13-20 because of another Alabama field goal, Alabama was in the Bulldogs red zone with fourth and four on the seven yard line. Tagovailoa threw a pass, with pressure in the pocket, in the back of the end zone to Calvin Ridley with 3:40 remaining in the fourth quarter resulting in a tied game with the score of 20-20.

With five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Alabama put Pappanastos in position for a 36 yard field goal attempt to win the game for Alabama. Pappanastos going wide left and missing again resulting in the championship game into overtime.

With Georgia having the first position in overtime, Alabama held them to fourth down. Blankenship nailed a 51 yard kick giving the Bulldogs a 23-20 lead.

The game ended with Alabama winning the College Football Playoff National Championship giving Nick Saban six national championships, tieing with the most National Championships won by a coach with Bear Bryant.

Did the Committee Choose Correctly?

By Jack Lev ’20

When “Selection Sunday” rolled around Dec. 3, the four (supposedly) best teams in the nation were chosen to take part in the College Football Playoff; the winner will take home the NCAA national championship.  

Although the 13-member committee spent over two months selecting the teams to compete in the tournament, there was once again controversy surrounding the consensus the group came down to. The committee decided to place Clemson as the one seed, Oklahoma as the two seed, Georgia the three and Alabama sneaked in as the last spot at the fourth seed.  

In order to decide which teams qualify for the playoff, the committee must consider the following: the number of championships won by the program, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, comparative outcomes of common opponents (without incenting margin of victory), and other relevant factors such as key injuries that may have affected a team’s performance during the season or likely will affect its postseason performance.

After reviewing the evidence, it was clear that Clemson deserved to be the one seed due to the fact they faced multiple ranked opponents and managed to defeat all of them. Clemson’s only loss came in a game where their starting quarterback was injured; in turn, they were defeated by three points. The committee made the correct choice in putting Oklahoma as the two seed because they defeated all ranked opponents they faced (four) and the only loss the team obtained was in a game which came down to the final play versus an Iowa State team who was desperate for a win. Georgia did not deserve to be ranked higher than the three seed due to the margin of victory they were beaten by in their only loss; 40-17 against at the time, the number seven seeded Auburn. Nick Saban’s Alabama was a great selection for the fourth seed of this tournament because their only loss was by 12 points and was handed to them by an Auburn team who as mentioned earlier, defeated Georgia by 23 points; not to mention, the Crimson Tide have also made an astonishing sixty-four bowl appearances!

One team that was not satisfied after Dec. 3 was Ohio State. The buckeyes finished with a strong 11-2 record, losing to the number two Oklahoma by 15, and the unranked Iowa State by a large margin of 55-24. The reason Ohio State made a strong case for the four seed was because they ended the season with a win over the previously undefeated Wisconsin; a win which was supposed to earn them an invitation to the College Football Playoff, but due to Alabama’s long history of success, it did no such thing.  

As the College Football Playoff semifinal round wrapped up on Jan. 1, it was evident the committee’s long selection progress payed off. Alabama proved the critics wrong as they blew out Clemson 24-6, while Georgia showed their true colors beating the number two seeded Oklahoma 54-48 in a hard fought game that came down to the last play of overtime.

University of Miami Football team is standing out with some bling

By Ryan Burg ’18

The “Turnover Chain,” a thick golden necklace worn by a defensive player who recovers a turnover for the University of Miami’s football team, is gaining not only the media’s attention, but also many fans around the NCAA.

Before the first game of the 2017/2018 season for the Hurricanes, coaches decided to give the defence a little bit more motivation. Defensive Coordinator for the Hurricanes, Manny Diaz, told his defense if they get a turnover they are in for a surprise.

The creations of the chain started two weeks before the 2017/2018 season started with legendary defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. The original plan was getting a rope chain that the players would wear to the sideline. Wilfork had an idea to change the rope chain into a cuban link, something that Miami is famous for. After hearing that, Anthony John Machado, the creator for the chain, had the idea of putting the school’s emblem on the front so it could flash out and grab people’s attention.

The Miami player who causes the opposing offense to turn over the ball celebrates with his teammates by going back to the sideline where the Director of Player Development, Joel Rodriguez, gets the chain out of its case and gives it to the defensive player. The player is then able to wear the chain for the remainder of Miami’s offensive drive.

“The turn over chain is great for the University of Miami’s defence, it really now is a symbol for this team, and the school.” Mark Didio ’20 said. “ It drives the kids even further to play to the best of their ability.”

The chain contains 10-Karat Gold with 900 orange and green sapphire stones arranged in the

colleges well known “U” shape.

“No one wears it unless you come back to the sideline with the ball in your hand. It’s not who forces it, it’s who recovers the turnover and actually secures the ball for our team,” Rodriguez said in a ESPN video interview.

When the player gets back on the field it becomes a clean slate for the player, and the chain gets put back in its bag waiting for the next player to claim it.

Greg Schiano’s termination was unfair and unjust

By Jackson Daignault ’18

Ohio State University defensive coordinator Greg Schiano agreed to become the head football coach for the University of Tennessee on Nov 26.

A few hours later, their mutual agreement was off. Vols fans were livid with his hiring.

“The Rock” at Tennessee, painted daily with the messages of students on campus, read the words “Schiano covered up child rape at Penn State.” Fans took to twitter to voice their displeasure that he was hired in the first place.

While fans had the right to be worried about the morality of their newly hired football coach, these accusations against Schiano were solely hearsay. They severely damaged his reputation, ultimately leading to his unjust termination.

Fans throughout the country cited the testimony of former Penn State Assistant Coach Mike McQueary for their disapproval.

During the trial, in a hearsay exchange, McQueary stated that another former assistant, Tom Bradley, had also been aware of what had happened and had talked to Schiano. In McQueary’s testimony, he claimed that Bradley had told him that Schiano had commented on the situation, “I can’t remember if it was one night or one morning, but that Greg had come into his office white as a ghost and said he just saw Jerry doing something to a boy in the shower. And that’s it. That’s all he ever told me.”

Bradley’s lawyers later came forth saying that Bradley had never seen or heard of any misconduct during his time at Penn State, and testified that way in court. Schiano also strongly denied the claims in a 2016 interview with ESPN.

That accusation was never again brought up in the court of law. The Attorney General did not use this evidence in the Penn State trial.

These accusations against Schiano were solely hearsay, which ultimately led to his termination as head coach. It would be different if Schiano was convicted or even tried, but one of the most important members of the United States judicial system never found it fit to actually try him in the court of law.

Maybe Schiano was guilty. Maybe he did in fact know of the misconduct by Jerry Sandusky and chose to stand idly by. Maybe he should never have another coaching job again. However, it is unfair to now accuse Schiano, 20 years later, as a guilty man. As listed in the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution, “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” While there is no way to know if Schiano is guilty, his innocence is constitutionally protected until he is tried (which he never was).

These accusations were not present until 2016, and were shut down almost immediately. Mark Dominik, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager that hired Schiano, stated in a tweet on Nov 26, “We spent hours & hours interviewing & background checks on Greg Schiano. Yes we didn’t win. Fact-he’s honest, awesome father/husband, & an excellent football coach. This shouldn’t be whether YOU think you like him or not, you don’t even know him. #Meyer #Belichick ask them.” Why didn’t these accusations surface when an NFL team did an extensive background search on Schiano? A year later, these random accusations, that may very well not be accurate in any sense, just prevented Schiano from obtaining a collegiate head coaching job.

While the underlying truth of what Schiano may or may not have known is currently a secret to anyone and everyone except Schiano himself, he still is seen in the eyes of many as a guilty party in this everlasting incident.

A reason for Vols fans crucifying Schiano has to deal with past immorality in sports. Sports fans throughout the country have dealt with controversy regarding their athletes for years now. NFL players Ray Rice, Aldon Smith and Greg Hardy, were all accused of domestic abuse in the past couple years. All eventually had their punishments overturned or altered, to the horror of many fans. While what these players did was terrible, they were granted some kind of pardon from their actions. Vols and sports fans throughout the country thought that this incident, a blind, solely hearsay based accusation, was the time to step up against this immorality of athletes. They had seen so many injustices and immoral actions from their beloved athletes and thought that they should make an example of Schiano. Their claims, however, were not factually based and ultimately resulted in an unfair perception of Schiano.

Things would be different if there was clear cut evidence such as in the Greg Hardy case, where pictures were released of the abuse he put upon his spouse. He was suspended by the NFL. He was brought to trial. There was a legitimate concern that he was guilty of abusing his spouse and therefore should be punished accordingly. There was clear cut evidence. Schiano, however, was never proven guilty. There were no pictures or videos of the incident. He was never questioned under oath. He wasn’t even tried.

Still, fans throughout the country believed that he was unfit to become a head coach because of his alleged past. Where was this outrage when he inked his deal with Ohio State in the same year his accusations surfaced? Sports fans throughout the country were simply trying to make a point with this Schiano situation, to right all the past wrongs of inept or nonexistent punishments/repercussions of former athlete’s negative actions.

Of course, all of this would be a moot point if Tennessee had stuck to their guns and signed Greg Schiano as their head coach. They knew that their decision to hire him would not be a popular one, but they must have done enough background research to conclude that he was innocent and fit to be hired. Tennessee allowed the masses to ultimately make the decision for them. The university was obviously okay with Schiano’s past and were prepared to ride out the backlash that came along with it, believing, or even knowing that he was innocent.

The witchcraft like accusations on Twitter ultimately resulted in his demise as head coach of Tennessee. I understand where those concerned within the school were coming from. Tennessee is a publicly funded university, and any large scale controversy like this severely damages them financially and in the eyes of many. This could have turned into a PR nightmare, with Tennessee becoming the “bad guys.” However, it is the university’s job to do thorough background checks on their coaches. If everything checked out, Greg Schiano should have stayed the head coach at Tennessee. It is an utter lack of responsibility by the University to allow the masses to influence them with potentially false information, resulting in them firing their newly acquired head coach.  

Maybe Schiano was guilty, and deserved his reign as head coach at Tennessee to end in a few hours. Maybe he wasn’t, and would’ve led a successful rebuild of his brand new program. We’ll never know what could have happened.

Regardless, it was unfair to ruin Greg Schiano’s reputation and possibly his career over an unsupported and invalid claim.

Who Will Claim the Throne?

By Jack Lev ’20

With the season beginning on Nov. 10, the buzz up and down the hallways of Staples High School is centered around the 2018 college basketball season.  

Students have been investigating questions such as: will the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill take home the national championship for the second year in a row or will there be a new team whom claims the throne? Who will receive the award of Naismith Player of the Year? Are freshman phenoms such as Mohamed Bamba of Texas and Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky going to live up to the hype?

When asked which team will take home the National Championship this year, Benny Feuer ’20 was adamant that Duke will win the title. After coming off of a disappointing season where Duke was the first team to ever be ranked number one going into the year and not advance past the “sweet 16”, this program is hungry for a championship. In order to accomplish this goal of winning a national title, the Blue Devils staff dedicated themselves to recruiting top-notch incoming freshman for the 2018 season. Duke acquired seven players, four of which rank amongst the top 20 players in the country according to ESPN, including the number one player in the nation, Marvin Bagley. With the likes of Bagley and returning senior, Grayson Allen, Feuer’s prediction is certainly not unjustifiable.

Jake Thaw ’20 disagrees with Feuer’s stance. Thaw believes the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will win their second title in a row.“Coming up big in the recruiting class of 2017, they (the University of North Carolina) got Jalek Felton, a much needed young guard to help support Joel Berry,” he said. Thaw went on to state how there would be “no reason this team wouldn’t be able to contend with the fantastic freshman of Duke, Louisville, etc.” Although North Carolina lost some great players to the NBA draft this year such as Justin Jackson and big-man Kennedy Meeks, as Thaw pointed out, the school acquired Jalek Felton who ranks number 28 in the country via ESPN and number one for his position (point guard), amongst six other exceptional recruits.

Another highly debated question at Staples is who will win the award for Naismith Player of the Year? Last year, Frank Mason III of the University of Kansas received the award, but now that he is in the NBA, there will be a new winner. There is a lot of talk surrounding guys like Marvin Bagely of Duke and DeAndre Ayton of Arizona, but Sam Maged ’20 has a different thought on who will claim the award this season. “Michael Porter Jr. will win the Naismith player of the year because of his versatility; he will lead a struggling Missouri team last year to a successful season where they will finish with a winning record,” he said.

Maged seemed quite sure that the number two recruit according to 247sports, will be taking the Naismith award home this year. The 6’10” small forward is full of potential and represents a case similar to what college basketball fans witnessed in the 2015-2016 season with Ben Simmons who averaged a staggering 19.2 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game at LSU; Simmons wound up being selected number one overall in the NBA draft following his freshman year. Other players who have the potential of winning the award for the 2018 season include: Colin Sexton out of Alabama, Joel Berry II from UNC at Chapel Hill, Trevon Duval of Duke, and Jevon Carter from West Virginia.

Lastly, there’s the question of will freshman phenom such as Mohamed Bamba of Texas and Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky live up to the hype. “I think Bamba will play well but won’t live up to the hype he is getting from media entering the season, but I do think Diallo will be unreal,”  Michael Loucas ’20 said.

Mohamed Bamba, although just a freshman, has already been called a “potential top ten pick in the 2018 NBA draft” and “an elite defensive presence,” by NBC Sports. Only time will tell if Bamba will rise to the occasion and surpass the pedestal he has been put on by the media or crumble under the pressure and fall.

After redshirting his freshman year, Hamidou Diallo has decided to return to Kentucky and not declare for the draft. Although Diallo didn’t play his freshman season, he was projected to be taken in the 20’s of the first round for this year’s NBA draft. Despite not playing a game for Kentucky to this point, Diallo has been called the “holy grail of guards” by SBNation, and has given hope to the fans of Kentucky. According to SBNation, Diallo has a 44.5 inch-vertical and a wingspan of 6’11,” although he is only 6’5”.  

Watching the freshman talents of Marvin Bagely, Michael Porter Jr., Colin Sexton, etc. will make for an exhilarating 2018 college basketball season. And by the time it gets to March, the students at Staples will of course have their computers out doing hard work (not watching March Madness to see who will win the national championship).

Taking his Ball and going home: Lamelo Ball will be homeschooled

By Shane Rabacs ’18

Lamelo Ball, 16, was taken out of Chino Hills High School by his dad Lavar Ball to be homeschooled.

Lavar Ball cited the coach as the reason for pulling his son from the school where he averaged 26.7ppg and once scored 92 points in a game.

“I’m not dealing with the coach over there,” Lavar Ball told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Jeff Borzello. “I’m not dealing with the administration over there. I don’t want no distractions on Melo. So therefore I’m going to homeschool him and make him the best basketball player ever.”

“I started off liking the move, but after hearing some of the statements, I think it is a bad decision for his future,” Mark Didio ’20 said.

This puts into question Ball’s future in basketball. He also has a signature shoe, the Melo Ball 1, that made his NCAA eligibility questionable as he is verbally committed to UCLA.

Lamelo stars in “Ball in the Family,” a reality show broadcasted on Facebook that follows the Ball family, who have been gaining popularity in the past year.  

“I am excited to see how the schooling process works on the show. There are certain standards that have to be met and I want to see if they can follow it,” Didio said.

Lavar is reportedly hiring English and math tutors for Ball, which are his two most important subjects according to a source inside the Ball camp.

“Math and English are his stronger subjects so he can count his money and communicate when it’s not right,” a source told TMZ Sports.

Ball will continue to play AAU ball and try to continue his path to the NBA.