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Grinding Gears: USC should do more than control its destiny

first_imgIn his postgame radio interview on 710 ESPN on Saturday after USC hung on to beat Arizona 24-20 in Tucson, it didn’t take long for head coach Clay Helton to utter the words, “control our destiny.”He did it last season ad nauseam, to the point that writers placed bets in the press box as to how many times Helton would use that phrase in his postgame interview — which means that no matter how bad things may seem, USC is still in position to win the Pac-12 South. It’s one of the many cliches that clutter Helton’s press conferences, and it would be accurate to characterize him as a coach who sees the glass as half full, no matter the circumstances.To be fair, Helton admitted to not being satisfied with how the Trojans finished Saturday’s contest. With a 24-0 second half lead, USC shot itself in the foot with turnovers, penalties and poor decision-making, allowing Arizona and its hobbled quarterback, Khalil Tate, to come dangerously close to making a comeback. Nobody in the locker room seemed particularly happy, like freshman quarterback JT Daniels: “You can’t be too mad when you get a win, but I’m pretty mad. We can do better. And I guess that’s a positive, [because] we’re nowhere near our potential.”Or redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tyler Vaughns: “I’m not happy for [the win] because I know we should’ve done better.”Or senior linebacker Cam Smith: “I think we just haven’t put a complete game together, and we’re due.”But still — “control our destiny.” Mhmm.The thing is, though, his words actually ring true. With a 2-1 conference record, the Trojans do control their own destiny. They can play exactly like they did on Saturday — exceptional at times, terribly at others — and roll through a weak Pac-12 South. Of its six remaining conference games, USC is projected by ESPN’s Football Power Index to win all but one of them, with Oct. 20’s road game at Utah the only toss up. The Trojans get Colorado, Arizona State and Cal at home. They’ll play Utah, Oregon State and UCLA on the road. None of these teams match USC’s talent. None of them have USC’s playmakers. If the Trojans show up to these games with a half-decent game plan, they can finish 8-1 in the Pac-12 and undefeated in the South. Whether or not playoff contender Notre Dame blows them out in the regular season finale has no impact on a potential Pac-12 Championship berth. This is why this football program is as promising as it is infuriating. The Trojans can be so much more than a team that merely beats up on inferior competition, so much better than a team that escapes Tucson with a win that should have never been in doubt, yet was in jeopardy up until they recovered an onside kick late in regulation.Nobody questions the skill. Look at how composed Daniels seemed, as an 18-year-old starting quarterback. Look at how explosive senior running back Aca’Cedric Ware was on the ground, rushing for two touchdowns and 173 yards. Look at how the defense shut down the dynamic Tate and Arizona’s rushing attack, which entered the game leading the Pac-12 with an average of 247.2 yards per game but was held to 98 yards on Saturday.And yet, the Trojans barely clawed out the win to inch a game above .500 on the season, and they remain unranked for the third straight week. This can be better. It should be better. Being able to “control our destiny” shouldn’t be the goal; it should be a given. If USC wins the rest of its conference games but is blown out by Notre Dame to end the regular season, all that means is the Trojans won the games they should have won only to lose a game that would have actually meant something bigger than just controlling their destiny. Instead of measuring USC against Pac-12 competition, Helton should be looking at the non-conference results. Since 2016, the Trojans have suffered blowout losses to Alabama, Texas and Ohio State, with the 2017 Rose Bowl win over Penn State the lone statement out-of-conference victory in the Helton era. But USC might reach the Rose Bowl this season anyway without having to prove itself. All the Trojans have to do is beat mediocre competition the next six games, and then come up on top against presumably Stanford or Washington in the Pac-12 Championship.So yes, Helton is right: USC does control its own destiny, and it could be enough to keep everyone happy this season. But that is frustrating in itself.Eric He is a senior majoring in journalism. He is also the managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Mondays.last_img read more

Syracuse senior point guard Frank Howard could return for 1st game

first_imgSyracuse senior point guard Frank Howard could return to practice about one week before the season opener, SU head coach Jim Boeheim said Friday. That timetable could put him on track to play in Syracuse’s first regular-season game, which is Nov. 6.Howard, wearing a protective boot on his left leg, sustained a basketball-related injury sometime in September. The injury was announced Sept. 14. Howard has not practiced since then. He expects to return to practice in about three weeks, before the Orange’s 2018-19 regular-season opener Nov. 6 against Eastern Washington inside the Carrier Dome.“We expect that, if all goes well, he would be able to practice about a week before our first regular-season game,” Boeheim said Friday afternoon. “If everything goes according to plan.”Howard will begin walking next week without the boot. In the meantime, freshman guard Jalen Carey has taken many of Howard’s point-guard time in practice, Boeheim said. The preseason experience aids in Carey’s acclimation to the SU system, familiarizes him with the running the offense and could set him on track to be Syracuse’s first guard off the bench.“It hurts a little bit,” Boeheim said of Howard’s injury. “But if he was playing and Jalen wasn’t playing, it would hurt Jalen a lot more because he’s learning the system. Frank knows what we do. He sees what’s going on. I thought coming in off the summer and fall that Frank was playing the best that I’ve seen him play here. And I think he’ll get right back to that pretty quickly.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLast season, the Orange went 23-14 overall and 8-10 in conference play. They return all five starters, including Howard, who averaged 14.4 points and 4.7 assists. He shot 37.6 percent from the floor and 32.7 percent from 3-point territory.As a junior last season, Howard improved in his ball handling while limiting his turnovers (3.41 per game), both of which prevented him from playing significant minutes during his first two seasons. In 2017-18, he became the floor general SU needed him to be at the top of the offense, starting in all 37 games and averaging 38.4 minutes per contest.Boeheim said last month that Howard will be “as important” this coming season as he was last year.Syracuse’s first exhibition game is Oct. 25 versus Saint Rose in the Carrier Dome. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on October 12, 2018 at 7:54 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21last_img read more

F1 rumours see Sportpesa partner with team Racing Point

first_img Share Related Articles Share Motorsport community RaceFans.net has reported that Kenyan betting group Sportpesa has secured a ‘landmark title sponsorship’ of Formula 1 team ‘Racing Point’ for the upcoming F1 2019 season (start date – 17 March).Undertaking its second full season in F1, the Racing Point team (formerly Force India) is backed by Canadian finance magnet Lawrence Stroll, who is reported to have agreed a two-year ‘principal partner’ agreement with Sportpesa Kenya.In its report, Racefans.net details that Sportpesa has agreed to pay between $10-12 million per season to sponsor Racing Point, with the F1 Team rumoured to be changing its race day colours to match the Sportpesa brand.Backing Racing Point, Sportpesa marketing is reported to believe that F1 will be a key foundation for building its profile beyond the African sports betting market.Supporting Sportpesa’s ambitions, last September F1 governance announced the commercial launch of Interregional Sports Group (ISG), a special unit tasked with developing F1 betting propositions and sponsorship rights.ISG has appointed leading sports data and insights firm Sportradar as its lead partner for developing F1 in-play wagering propositions, and distributing F1 data to bookmakers.As yet, neither Racing Point management or Sportpesa leadership have confirmed the principal sponsorship. David Lampitt, Sportradar: F1 presents betting’s most sizeable opportunity August 14, 2020 StumbleUpon Kenya Finance Bill carries tax rescind waiting on Kenyatta approval  June 25, 2020 Betsson sees strong prospects in disrupted Kenya June 19, 2020 Submitlast_img read more

Josef Martinez scores again as Atlanta United wins MLS Cup

first_imgIt capped a fine campaign for Gerardo Martino’s men, who were largely in control throughout against the Timbers in the coach’s final game in charge.The season finale took a while to get going, with Martinez having a penalty shot turned down in the opening stages.Darlington Nagbe and Miguel Almiron — the latter forcing a good save from Jeff Attinella — had opportunities for Atlanta before the opener.Michael Parkhurst’s sliding tackle saw the ball fall to Martinez, the prolific MLS MVP calmly rounding Attinella before opening the scoring six minutes before halftime.Make it 35 goals for @JosefMartinez17! This one means more. #MLSCup https://t.co/cpwRjTkSYA— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 9, 2018Portland looked for an immediate response and Jeremy Ebobisse had a header saved by Brad Guzan before the break.The Timbers also looked the better side after the interval, with David Guzman putting a good chance over the crossbar from close range. Atlanta United was crowned MLS Cup champions in just its second season after a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday.Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar scored either side of halftime at a sold-out Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia. Instead, Atlanta doubled its lead in the 54th minute.Almiron’s set-piece was met by Martinez, whose flicked header fell to Escobar to put away at the back post.Right place, right time.@francoeescobar doubles @ATLUTD’s lead! #MLSCup https://t.co/MsFYB3dOsc— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 9, 2018Portland continued to struggle to create much of note, while Martinez headed straight at Attinella at the other end as Atlanta saw out a deserved win.last_img read more