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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the category “Opinion”

The Confidential’s ACC Football Over-Unders: Recap.

Every year, the Confidential does over-unders for each ACC school, based solely on the regular season.  In 2014, we had 6 schools correctly pegged within 1/2 a win of their ultimate totals.  In 2015, we improved to 7 schools correctly pegged within a 1/2 a win of their ultimate total.  And now it is on to 2016.  Remember, these are regular season wins only.  No bowl games or playoffs.  Here is the final tally of the Confidential’s over-unders for 2016, as well as the final results/analysis:

Clemson: 11.5 wins.  CORRECT!  At 11-1, Clemson ended up within 1/2 a win of the Confidential’s projection.  And Clemson certainly could have beaten Pitt.  Of course, Clemson should have lost to NC State, Troy, or both.  It is what it is.

Notre Dame: 10.5 wins.  WOEFULLY INCORRECT.  At 4-8, Notre Dame blew a season with a weak schedule.  They lost to Texas (who fired its coach), Michigan State (down season), and Duke (down season), among others.  Just a horrible, terrible season.

Florida State: 9.5 wins.  CORRECT!  At 9-3, Florida State fell a bit short of the under, but this was always setting up to be a tough season for the Seminoles.  They did fine overall.

Miami: 8.5 wins.  CORRECT!  A streaky season for the Hurricanes, with blocks of 4 wins surrounding a block of four losses.

North Carolina: 8.5 wins.  CORRECT!  UNC fell one game short of its win total, like several of the above teams.  In fact, the ACC ended up fairly down by the end of the year.  However, it it was a decent OOC season and the ACC teams fared well in their SEC rivalry games (3-1) again.

Louisville: 7.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Many folks criticized this one and perhaps deservedly so.  But Louisville losing to Kentucky should silence Cards fans for a while.

Virginia Tech: 7.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Like Louisville, the Hokies did much better than expected at 9-3.

Pitt: 7.5 wins.   CORRECT!  Despite the difficult schedule, Pitt fared well at 8-4, including the sole win over Clemson so far.

Duke: 6.5 wins.  INCORRECT!   Duke finished at 4-8, well short of the estimated over-under.

North Carolina State: 5.5 wins.   CORRECT!  This one was correct heading into the surprise  victory over UNC, which pushed NC State into the “over” category.

Georgia Tech: 5.5 wins.  INCORRECT.  The Yellow Jackets did much better than expected with an 8-4 regular season.

Virginia: 5.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  Virginia only managed 2 wins.  On to 2017.

Boston College: 5.5 wins.  CORRECT!  BC had an easy OOC schedule and fared well.  Wins over NC State and Wake Forest gave the Eagles the “over.”

Syracuse: 4.5 wins.  CORRECT!  Losing to USF, Wake Forest, and NC State meant that Syracuse could not get the over, despite the Virginia Tech upset.

Wake Forest: 3.5 wins.  INCORRECT!  At 6-wins, the Demon Deacons went way over and are going bowling!

PRESEASON ANALYSIS: By far, the most controversial selection was Louisville at only 7.5 wins.  However, with road trips to Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, and Houston–it is asking a lot of the Cardinals to avoid tripping up against three of its four easiest conference games and two challenging OOC games.  Meanwhile, Florida State and Clemson remain on the schedule.  Notre Dame at 10.5 wins surprised some folks too, but look at who the Fighting Irish play and where.  In any event, it is what it is.  The Coastal, of course, is a mess.  Would any team winning it be a true surprise?  Meanwhile, the Atlantic has NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest in a perpetual battle to avoid the cellar, it seems.

POSTSEASON ANALYSIS: Well, the Confidential edged up to 8 teams picked correctly (within 1/2 game of their final win total).  ND and Duke were the biggest disappointments (along with Virginia), while Wake Forest, Va Tech, Louisville, and Georgia Tech all did better than expected.  Louisville ended up handling its difficult road games, except Houston.  And they almost nipped Clemson.  Anyway, it is an improvement for the Confidential!

 

 

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Election Day: Why a Vote for Hillary Clinton is a Vote for Evil!

Look, maybe you cannot vote for Donald Trump.  There are numerous reasons–Biblical and otherwise–why many have reached that conclusion.  Not voting or voting third-party is certainly a valid option.  But the one thing that is clear is that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for evil.  And the thing is that you do not need even a Bible to reach that conclusion.

Hillary Clinton is either “for” late-term abortions or she is in favor of a limitation on opposing late-term abortions where there is an exception for “the health of the mother”–an exception that can be used to swallow the rule whenever that is useful.  See here.  Lest there be any doubt, she is in favor of legal abortion up until the day of birth:

The New York Times reported that the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers admitted that he lied when he stated that “a controversial form of late-term abortion is rare and performed primarily to save the lives or fertility of women bearing severely malformed babies.”

You may not know what a partial birth abortion is… well, that same New York Times article will help you out: “In the procedure, a fetus is partly extracted from the birth canal, feet first, and the brain is then suctioned out.”

Let that sink in… the fetus–wait, that is just a term used by evil folks to pretend that a baby in the womb is not a baby–so we will not use it.  The BABY is pulled partially out of the birth canal and then the brain is SUCTIONED OUT.  The baby’s head is left just inside the birth canal to maintain the fiction that the baby is still inside the mother and therefore not entitled to any rights whatsoever.

If the government did that to prisoners convicted of murder, it would violate the Constitutional prohibition against “cruel and unusual punishment.”  If a stranger did that to an ape at the zoo, you would lather your Facebook page and Twitter account with condemnation.  If your neighbor did that to a dog, you would call the police, FBI, and a moving company.  If your neighbor merely shot a cat or a squirrel for no reason, you would be very disturbed.  But some people (apparently a lot of people) are perfectly fine with this being done to baby human beings.

And you think it is rare?  Why?  Even if “only” 1% of abortions are of this ilk, with 3,000 abortions per day in the U.S.A., that is 30 babies a day killed via this procedure.  At year’s end, this would be nearly 10,000–larger than the tragedies of 9-11 and Pearl Harbor combined.  Every year.

Of course, all abortion is contrary to Biblical wisdom and instruction.  A true Christian should be opposed to voting for ANY candidate who is pro-abortion or supports any other intentional violations of God’s moral law.  But for those who are on the fence about their Christianity and/or abortion, the partial birth abortion issue has to be the clearest example of just how depraved Hillary Clinton is.

But, again, you do not need a Bible to tell you that an industry that provides something as purely evil as a partial-birth abortion is, itself, evil.  And just because you claim (truthfully or untruthfully) that you would not do it, if you support those that actually do it, what is the difference?  Do we look favorably on Nazi sympathizers just because they did not put on the uniform?  Indeed, as Dante Alighieri adeptly noted and others have eloquently repeated in different forms, the “darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

And if mere silence in the face of evil is evil, then voting for evil is all the more evil.

 

College Coaches Chasing Cash, Finding Failure

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  1 Timothy 6:10

Say what you want about Jim Boeheim, but he has a pretty good life.  He turned down some money to stay at Syracuse, but all he has done there is win hundreds of games, send dozens of players off to get paid playing hoops, enjoy a rabid fan following, and have a court named after him.  Many basketball coaches leave very green pastures to end up in a desert with a bag of money and not a lot of success.  And college football is even worse–where the term “dream job” comes with a huge asterisk meaning “unless someone elsewhere offers me more money.”  All too often the coaches chasing cash end up finding failure.  And when a local Syracuse writer suggests that Syracuse fans need to be wary of Dino Babers leaving, it just shows how ridiculous college football can be.

Once upon a time, Rich Rodriguez was a relatively successful coach at his alma mater, West Virginia.  He was 57-18 his final six seasons, including 32-5 his final three.  Where has RichRod gone since then?  Well, he left for Michigan, which was a disaster with losses, scandal, and termination.  Now he is in sunny Arizona, coaching that team to winning seasons.  Of course, this year he is 2-5, which will mean a hotter seat.  Regardless, RichRod has not been coaching with national championship implications since leaving West Virginia.  And all he had to do was beat Pittsburgh to have a chance at that in his final season.  Meanwhile, West Virginia–now a member of the Big XII–is 5-0.  Was leaving a smart decision for any reason OTHER than the money?

Doug Marrone was hired as the Syracuse head coach for the 2009 season and beyond.  He called it his “dream job.”  He was paid well, but certainly not overpaid.  Coming after the Greg Robinson disaster, his 25-25 record was seen as miracle work.  He left his dream job to coach the Buffalo Bills to a 15-17 record over two seasons.   Where is he now?  Had to look it up… still an assistant coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Was leaving a smart decision for any reason OTHER than the money?

In 2010, someone finally gave Charlie Strong a head coaching opportunity: Louisville.  After three consecutive seasons of worse records (6-6, 5-7, 4-8), Strong immediately made Louisville a winner again with two straight 7-6 seasons.  In 2012, Strong went 11-2 and in 2013 Strong went 12-1.  Louisville was–despite its Big East membership–nationally relevant.  Strong left for Texas in 2014, where he received a salary increase from $3.7 to $5.0 million annually.  While at Texas, Strong went 11-14 during his first two seasons…a step down from the 30-21 record that got Mack Brown removed.  This year, Texas is 3-3, with wins over struggling Notre Dame, Texas El Paso, and Iowa State.   Kansas State, Baylor, West Virginia, Texas Tech and TCU all have the same record or better (or much better) and remain on the schedule.  Meanwhile, Louisville is 5-1 and still in the running for a playoff spot, led by a Heisman Trophy candidate in Lamar Jackson.  Was leaving a smart decision for any reason OTHER than the money?

Speaking of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly paid his dues, coaching at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati–all to great success.  In fact, he left Cincinnati after 12-0 season in 2009 to go to Notre Dame.  At Notre Dame, Kelly entered 2016 with the following records (8-5, 8-5, 12-1, 9-4, 8-5, and 10-3).  If you are keeping score, that is a record of 55-23.  However, in 2016, the wheels have fallen off, and the Fighting Irish are 2-5.  Thus, Kelly is now on the hot seat.  He has made money and had success at Notre Dame, but a football factory does not tolerate bad seasons very well.  If he gets fired, there will be a truckload of money and another chance, but that is the difference between Cincinnati and Notre Dame.  The former would stomach an off season, while the latter may not (which would be absurd, really).

In fairness, Cincinnati was and remains on the outside of the power structure in football, where West Virginia, Louisville, and Syracuse all could have been but for realignment.  So Kelly leaving Cincinnati allowed him to have a chance at a national championship.  Cincinnati was 12-0, but on the outside.  That would not happen at Notre Dame or any other P5 football school.  But once you are in a P5 conference, you control your own destiny.  Except that, at a a big time football program, expectations are often unrealistic.  So be careful what you wish for when leaving one P5 school for another, supposedly greater program.

If Dino Babers decides to leave Syracuse, where would the better jobs be in 2017?  Maybe Texas, who will have shown three years of patience with Charlie Strong and have fallen behind schools like TCU and Baylor in the state of Texas.  Maybe Baylor, who cannot seem to avoid major scandal in any sport and who are on the verge of replacing Penn State as the college sports villain.  And, at Baylor, one has to get by the aforementioned Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU, and other Big XII schools every year to get to the playoffs.  Not much easier than Clemson/Florida State really.  Maybe LSU, who considered Les Miles career coaching record of 141-55, a bulk of that in the loaded SEC, to be too disappointing to allow him to finish the current season.  In addition, the SEC has some pretty good defensive coaches and athletes to implement a complex defensive scheme.  And Alabama is still rolling.  So there is no slam dunk option.

Unless it is only about the money.  And if a college coach is only about the money, that makes them liars when they sit in living rooms and make promises to kids/families.  They expect players to refuse $100.00 handshakes and free sneakers, but they will break contracts and promises to get an extra 25% on their multi-million contract.  They expect students to take classes seriously.  Coaches demand that players study hard, work long hours, and be good stewards of the program around the clock–all for free.  Coaches cannot guarantee a scholarship from year-to-year, nor will they guarantee playing time. And if a student wants to leave for more playing time, they are penalized by the NCAA.  Meanwhile, coaches can bend the truth to get jobs, lie to recruit players, and leave for more cash.  As always, whether it is the NCAA or the coaches, or many other places in society, the love of money brings sorrow ultimately.

 

8 Games for ACC Football, Rivalries, and More

With the ACC apparently deciding to stick with 8 conference games for football, at least part of the reason is that several ACC schools have SEC rivals that must be played each year.  Between those games, and the Notre Dame 5-game thing, that could eliminate scheduling flexibility substantially for some schools.

But what of these rivalries?  Could every ACC school have an out-of-conference rivalry with another p5 school?  Let’s consider the possibilities to allow every P5 team (including Notre Dame and BYU) to have an OOC rivalry game each year:

  • Florida State vs. Florida (same)
  • Clemson vs. South Carolina (same)
  • Louisville vs. Kentucky (same)
  • Georgia Tech vs. Georgia (same)
  • Notre Dame vs USC (same)

That provides for five ACC schools.  So, what of the other schools?   Just about everyone would want Maryland, and prefer Penn State and West Virginia based on proximity.  But that cannot be.  So how could we divide this up?  Also, have to assume that if every P5 school was to grab a rival, some of the old rivalries would resume, such as Oklahoma-Nebraska, Texas-Texas A&M, Missouri-Kansas, etc.  So we have to leave those out.

Pittsburgh would be the toughest because it has two options–West Virginia and Penn State.  We’ll go West Virginia.

Boston College would probably like to see UConn here, but UConn is not there.  Penn State probably makes some geographical sense.  Maryland is nearby and provides a fairly equivalent talent level.  But BC does not get first choice here.  Let’s go with Northwestern–another private school in the north.

Syracuse has to be Rutgers, as the two schools compete for recruits in New Jersey.  A battle for NYC if you will.  If the program was in better shape, then perhaps Penn State.

Wake Forest does not have a lot of P5 options, but they have had a decent rivalry with Vanderbilt over the years.  A couple of private schools in the South.  Sounds good.

Duke is another private school–which makes them a good match-up for Northwestern.  Both schools are sometimes considered to be sorta Ivy League.  But how about BYU?  Just as private and a fair equivalent on the football field lately.

Virginia Tech might have liked West Virginia, but with nearby Penn State a very “on par” team in terms of talent, let’s go with Penn State.

This leaves North Carolina, NC State, Miami, and Virginia.

Virginia is struggling on the football field, but doing quite well in hoops.  Maryland is just too close to not use.

North Carolina is too good in football to be matched up with Indiana.  And Indiana hoops is not quite what it once was.  But we are talking football anyway.  Instead, let’s look South, where Tennessee is doing similar things on the football field lately.

North Carolina State is a middle of the pack team that certainly has some potential,  but never quite reaches it.  Ole Miss might be too good on the football field right now, but it is a comparative school in many respects.

Miami and Auburn make some sense.  Pretty close geographically…as close as anyone can be to Miami.  Both have great upside every year, both often fail to live up to it.

What does that leave?  Well, Ohio State vs. Alabama, Michigan vs. LSU, Michigan State vs UCLA, Wisconsin vs Oregon, and so on.

So here is the recap:

  • Pitt vs West Virginia
  • BC vs Northwestern
  • Syracuse vs Rutgers
  • Wake Forest vs Vanderbilt
  • Duke vs BYU
  • Va Tech vs Penn State
  • Virginia vs Maryland
  • North Carolina vs Tennessee
  • NC State vs Ole Miss
  • Miami vs Auburn

What do you think?  If each ACC school without an SEC rival could pick a rival, who would it be?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seminoles Scramble For The Panic Button

This is a guest article by Ryan Nelson.  We thank him for his contribution!

In the preseason, the Florida State Seminoles were ranked 4th in the country, received some first-place votes and were one of the favorites to make the ACC championship and perhaps the College Football Playoff.

Then Derwin James got hurt, the defense got shredded week after week and Florida State is a road underdog in its sixth game of the season, perhaps on the precipice of dropping out of the Top 25 rankings entirely.

James is doing all he can from the sidelines to help his teammates, but there remains no concrete timeframe for his return from a knee injury. With him out, the Seminoles have been atrocious. According to ESPN, against FBS opponents, the Seminole defense is on the field less than any other Power 5 school yet is allowing a national-worst 42.3 points per game. It is also dead last among Power 5 teams allowing 6.98 yards per play. Outside of injury, “issues of misalignments, missed assignments and a lack of communication” are pointed to as culprits for the unit’s fall. It certainly isn’t a lack of talent. Recruiting and building a talent base have never been issues for Florida State or Jimbo Fisher, and much was expected of this group prior to the season. Getting elite execution out of his players apparently is instead the issue.

Giving up 63 points to Lamar Jackson and Louisville was perhaps the worst statistical performance that could have transpired for this squad, but it wasn’t rock bottom. Losing on the road to a Top-10 team is nothing to be disappointed with. The game was noncompetitive pretty quickly. At that point, it is only natural to pack it in and bring down your level of effort. That’s how 63 points happens.

What is harder to explain is how FSU could give up 37 points at home to North Carolina in a back-and-forth game that came down to the final score. UNC scored nine points in the final 2:31 of the ballgame. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky encountered little to no resistance all game on his way to completing 81.5 percent of his passes for 405 yards and three touchdowns. If the Louisville game was the eye-opener, the Carolina game was the panic button.

When there is talent on the field, a lack of effort is still a death sentence; it doesn’t matter how naturally talented players are if they are not using those abilities. This group is filled with four- and five-star recruits but seems to lack discipline, attitude and other intangibles that lead to cohesive football. Compounded with the mental mistakes this defense is making pre-snap and in recognition, it is hard to be successful no matter how many stars stood by your name coming out of high school.

Some former players blame the coaching staff for the issues, saying such mistakes come from a lack of leadership, direction and culture. Others say it is on the players to correct such shortcomings. Either way, the performance has been putrid and isn’t showing any signs of being turned around.

According to Coach Fisher, there is no issue with the scheme being played. It is the same defensive scheme Florida State has been using to much success the past three years. Instead, it is about getting the new players to execute the plays as they were intended. Fisher even went as far as blaming the coaches for not teaching said scheme well enough. None of it bodes well for defensive coordinator Charles Kelly.

But removing Kelly is no guarantee of a turnaround, especially with 10th-ranked Miami and Brad Kaaya on the horizon this weekend. Then comes a game against Clemson before the month is out. If something doesn’t change on the defensive side, Florida State will find itself outside the Top 25, below .500 and a far cry from a berth in the playoff.

Monday Sermon: NFL, Lady Gaga, and Evil

This is a new series considering the sports world in light of Biblical morality.  It would be great if sports could be a Godly diversion without delving deeply into that which is ungodly.  To be sure, the Confidential is not a pastor.  But this is just Bible scripture being quoted and compared to modern life anyway.  If you have any ideas for topics, or would like to be a guest author for this or a similar subject, please feel free to send a direct message on Twitter (@acconfi). 

The NFL is supposed to be a diversion from the rigors of daily life.  It is supposed to be entertainment.  Unfortunately, like all other aspects of entertainment, sports is now controlled by evil influences.  A person of any or no religion might agree with the Bible in that “the love of money is the root of all evil.”  1 Timothy 6:10.  From millionaires arguing with billionaires as to how to divide the television, ticket, and memorabilia revenue taken from those who are rather incapable of sparing it… sports teams ransoming a local government to put up money to fund a stadium… to NCAA officials jealously protecting their right to profit off the free labor provided by college athletes… to… you get the picture.  But what people do not realize is just how evil these sports entities have become.

Most recently, the NFL has decided that–of all the performers out there–it would use Lady Gaga for the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show.  The Confidential has long given up on the NFL as simply not interesting, and cannot even remember the last Super Bowl watched.  Selecting a Satanic influence like Lady Gaga for the halftime show does not cause any regret.

The Bible repeatedly notes that a future generation will be full of mockers of God. “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”  Jude 1:18.  “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts . . .” 2 Peter 3:3.  Can you think of anyone who epitomizes scoffing, mockery, and walking after their own lusts more than Lady Gaga? 

Ah, you say, there is nothing wrong with Lady Gaga.  She is just a performer of dance music.  Well, let’s take a look at some of those lyrics.  Do you want your family listening to these lyrics or someone who sings these lyrics:

Judas

Ohohohoh

I’m in love with Judas

Ohohohoh
I’m in love with Judas

Judas! Judaas Judas! Judaas
Judas! Judaas Judas! GAGA

When he comes to me I am ready
I’ll wash his feet with my hair if he needs
Forgive him when his tongue lies through his brain
Even after three times he betrays me

I’ll bring him down, bring him down, down
A king with no crown, king with no crown

[Chorus]
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But I’m still in love with Judas, baby
I’m just a Holy Fool, oh baby he’s so cruel
But I’m still in love with Judas, baby

I couldn’t love a man so purely
Even prophets forgave his crooked way
I’ve learned love is like a brick you can
Build a house or sink a dead body

I’ll bring him down, bring him down, down
A king with no crown, king with no crown

Ew
In the most Biblical sense,
I am beyond repentance
Fame hooker, prostitute wench, vomits her mind
But in the cultural sense
I just speak in future tense
Judas, kiss me if offenced,
Or wear an ear condom next time

I wanna love you,
But something’s pulling me away from you
Jesus is my virtue,
Judas is the demon I cling to
I cling to

Yes, this is definitely the type of person you want your family listening to… someone that glorifies Judas, who betrayed Jesus Christ.  And she gets a halftime show?  We need to convert bathrooms to “all gender” to avoid offending those who cannot even grasp the simplicity of male and female, but the NFL needs to promote someone who can offend the Lord.

“Oh, it is just art.”  No, it is not any more “art” than if someone sang a song glorifying HB2 or racism, is it?  A North Carolina law has caused national uproar for its lack of “compassion,” but a singer that glorifies Judas is gleefully given a halftime show.  Is a song glorifying Donald Trump just art?  Is a song glorifying Fox News just art?  If the NFL had chosen a Christian rock band (to the extent that there is such a thing), would that have been dismissed as art and accepted by the masses.  Of course not… because society openly tolerates offending Christians.

 

“Ah, but it is just one song.”  Is it?  Maybe you prefer the lyrics to Government Hooker, Bloody Mary, Bad Kids, and Born This Way.  And that is just one album.  Wow.  “Born This Way” suggests the tired Satanic mantra of loving yourself the way you are–rather than seeking to change and improve, much less become more Godly.  Jesus never said to love yourself.  He said: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39.  Jesus dined with sinners, but called them to repent.  Does Lady Gaga think that?  No.  She says: “Just love yourself and you’re set.”  Set for what?  Hell.

Here is something else the Bible says:
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.   [2 Timothy 2-6.]
You can bury your head in the sand like an ostrich.  But in the end times, men will be lovers of themselves.  In fact, doesn’t this paragraph describe today?  We have women loving themselves so much and without natural affection that they will kill their unborn babies.  If you’ve seen a baby Ultrasound at 10 weeks, or even 7 weeks, and are still OK with even first-term abortion, that is just plain evil.  We have families working two jobs, which leads only to adoration of money, kids raised by Daycare (i.e. Don’t care) and atheistic government indoctrination, and adultery.  We have people pursuing pleasure rather than God.  Idiots are posting their dinners on Facebook out of an absurd pride or boast (or self-delusion regarding the degree to which people care).  People hate those that are choosing to eschew evil.  We have false Christians–going to church, but listening to satanic trash like Lady Gaga and Beyonce (or allowing their kids to listen to it!!!).  In fact, how many so-called Christians have a form of Christianity that denies the divinity of Jesus Christ, reducing him to a hippie with some “good ideas” to pick and choose from?  Or how many so-called Christians over-emphasize the “love” aspect of God, completely forgetting that Jesus mentioned Hell far more often than Heaven?  That was part of his love–a warning to turn away from sins of the flesh and to instead turn to God.  Like the 1st and greatest commandment.

In fact, it says clearly to “turn away” from those that are afflicted by the evil of the generation that is describe.  Sure, it is hard to “turn away” from those victimized by Lady Gaga and other entertainment of this ilk.  You may give your family and friends a few chances to get it right before turning away completely.  But it should be much easier for a Christian to “turn away” from Lady Gaga.  The Confidential wishes it still watched the Super Bowl so it would have some meaning to not watch it this year.  But perhaps others can wake up and take a stand this year, when the selection of Lady Gaga for the halftime act should be repugnant to Christians.  If you cannot give up a Super Bowl to defend God, what does that say?
Finally, let’s conclude with the words of Jesus:
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.  [John 15: 18-25.]
Are you going to be of this world?  Is your desire to not be hated by the world strong enough to stand up for what is right?  Are you willing to be persecuted by this evil world that hates God?  Are you willing to even just choose God over the Super Bowl?

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 1/2

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, some of the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 1) and the Week that will be (Week 2) for the ACC and their respective schools.

Q1: What stands out about your school’s performance last week?
Harrison Huntley (NC State): The emergence of Ryan Finley was the big story of Week 1. The biggest question mark State had was at QB. The coaching staff wouldn’t name a starter, and made it clear that the battle would be decided on the field. I don’t know if it’s been announced yet, but Finley has to get the nod after his performance last week. He went 17-21 with 174 yards and 2 TD’s. Contrast that with Jalen McClendon’s 6-9, 88 yd and an interception, Finley seems to have ended the debate.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): The fact that Syracuse was able to play so fast in their first game under Dino Babers.  Although he claimed it was slow, it was fast enough for Bobby Petrino to make comments that drew the ire of numerous Syracuse blogs.  See e.g. here.  Look, Syracuse offense has been an “issue” for most of the post-Pasqualoni era.  Under Greg Robinson, getting first downs was exciting.  The latter part of the Doug Marrone era was a pro-style offense that moved the ball decently, but there were other times when wins came by defense.  Scott Shafer’s offenses had some moments, but also had some not so great moments, but remained a defense-first program.  The idea of having an offensive-first philosophy has not been the case in a long, long time.  That it also happens to be fast paced and tailored to the Carrier Dome is exciting.  That it worked pretty well against Colgate stood out.
Q2: What are you looking to see out of your school this week?
Harrison Huntley (NC State): Wolfpack fans have made it clear that the team needs to leave Greenville with a win. There doesn’t seem to be any expectations in terms of stats, all that will matter is what is on the scoreboard. It’s the risk you take playing these kinds of games. A win over ECU won’t make many headlines, but a loss certainly would.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Well, the offense looked good (not great) against Colgate.  How will it look against bigger, stronger, faster, smarter athletes?  A few Dungey passes were just missed by Colgate defenders.  Against Louisville, that will be a Pick Six.  A few other passes were caught because of superior athleticism.  That will not happen in any other game.  So… how good will Syracuse’s offense be against a very good opponent?  We’ll be looking at that very closely.
Q3: Did any other ACC team impress you this week?  If so, who and why?
Harrison Huntley (NC State): I was pleasantly surprised with how well Florida State played, especially after trailing by so much. They seem to have solved their QB problem as well with Francois, and the defense played on another level in the second half. I still think NC State will win that one in Raleigh, but they looked very impressive in that second half.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Miami.  I do not  care who the opponent is, when you put up points like that, you are doing something right.  And, for Miami, it is all the more important that they get some swagger back.  If the conference is going to be FSU, Clemson, and a diminutive dozen, so be it.  But Miami being an elite program would be good for the ACC by both restoring balance to the divisions and making the conference look better to outsiders.  Miami has had good moments in the past, to be sure.  The issue is whether Richt will carry it through week after week.  We will see.
Q4: As of the season to date, who are you projecting in the college football playoff? 
Harrison Huntley (NC State): Alabama, Clemson/FSU, Michigan/Ohio State, Houston.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oregon.  Florida State, Michigan, and Houston are all in the hunt obviously.  But Houston was upset by UConn last year–there is little room for error this year.  If it comes down to 1-loss teams from major conferences–unless Houston’s only loss is to a Louisville team that is also in the playoffs, it is hard to see Houston making it in.  Florida State and Michigan would be excluded based on head-to-head results.

What do you think?  How would you answer these questions?

Monday Sermon: Sports, the False Religion

In an era where sports figures are compensated like railroad tycoons of the 1800’s, it is difficult to remember a time when even professional athletes had to get “other jobs” in the offseason to pay the bills.  It is only in the past 50 years that salaries have risen to levels so disproportionate to the “ordinary man.”  This change, of course, also coincides with television.  Television brought the athletes into the living room, and brought advertising dollars from the living room into the athletes’ respective pockets.  With that, sports has turned into a religion, with athletes serving as gods.  There are sp many examples of this, that this topic may turn into a series on this blog.  If so, then consider this part 1.

So let’s start at the beginning.  Now, you might think that athletes are not revered as gods.  But this is only incorrect in that it leaves out the coaches and other personalities.  If you think Joe Paterno was not treated like a god among Penn State fans, then why did two things happen: (a) a statue–i.e. a graven image–of Joe Paterno was erected; and (b) the removal of the statue following the well-known scandal was handled so poorly by the Penn State fan base.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Paterno_statue.  Do you think it was any different when a local tribe 3,500 years ago had its golden calf, or whatever, damaged by another tribe?  We erect statues to our athletes just as ancient civilizations created graven images of their gods.  And when allegations arose, Penn State fans blindly defended Paterno with a zeal that can only be described as “faith.”

Paterno, of course, was legendary at Penn State.  He was there a long time, won a lot of games, and donated a ton of money to the school.  Who knows what kind of person he was?  Maybe he was great, maybe he was subpar.  Maybe he was a good man, maybe he was not.  But even for players and coaches far below Paterno’s local influence, how many Internet arguments take place every day regarding their merits.  How many arguments take place over mundane sorts of things as “disrespecting my team.”  Entire blogs with hundreds of comments because a team was not ranked in the top 10.  This author has seen arguments on a Syracuse blog because–although Syracuse was ranked #1–some voters did not have vote Syracuse #1.  Good grief.  This passion is nearly religious.

Even worse, sports fans have gradually given more and more credit and fame to those athletes that are LEAST godly.  Treating players like gods, despite them not acting godly.  Quite a paradox.

When a player says he “is the best,” that is applauded despite being the opposite of humility and modesty.  When a player leaves a good situation team-wise to go to a lesser-team for more money, that is applauded despite the obvious greed and covetousness.  When a player has children out of wedlock across the country, that is ignored in the hope that merely sending some amount of money in that direction will be a substitute for having a real father and family.  And that is all without delving into the adultery, spousal abuse, and other violent crimes that are perpetrated by athletes and ignored by fans of the player (even if not by fans of opposing teams).

Sure, some lesser players will get thrown to the wolves.  A struggling player will fail a steroid test and be suspended for a year.  A fading star that abuses his wife publicly will lose his job.  The NCAA will sanction some schools, but allow more traditional and elite schools to get away with much more.  These are no different than sacrifices.  Does anyone really have confidence in the punishment decisions handed out by the NCAA or the professional leagues?  Of course not.  And that is without even getting into international sports and the Olympics.

Yes, sorry, sports is a religion these days.  It can be a distraction, but it often gets far too close to religion.  We see this elsewhere in society too–people arguing over politics (as if any of the candidates are ever truly worthy), reality TV, music, and whatever else the sheep are led to distraction by.  But sports seems to be the worst at that.  Otherwise good and reasonable people are more than willing to become drunk, disorderly, obnoxious, arrogant, and argumentative over sports.  All for a false religion.

What do you think?  Has sports become the equivalent of a religion in our society?

 

 

 

 

A Quick Look at the ACC Schools’ Out-of-Conference Opponents

The Confidential has already done its over-under projections for each team in 2016.  In doing so, it became obvious that some ACC teams are scheduling tough, and some ACC teams are scheduling weak opponents.  Let’s take a closer look (bold games are rivalries or conference-dictated games with Notre Dame).

  • Boston College: UMass, Wagner, Buffalo, UConn
  • Clemson: Auburn, Troy, S Carolina State, South Carolina
  • Duke: NC Central, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Army
  • FSU: Ole Miss, Charleston Southern, USF, Florida
  • Georgia Tech: Mercer, Vanderbilt, Georgia Southern, Georgia
  • Louisville: Charlotte, Marshall, Houston, Kentucky
  • Miami: Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Appalachian State, Notre Dame
  • North Carolina: Georgia, Illinois, James Madison, Citadel
  • North Carolina State: William & Mary, East Carolina, Old Dominion, Notre Dame
  • Pittsburgh: Villanova, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Marshall
  • Syracuse: Colgate, USF, UConn, Notre Dame
  • Virginia: Richmond, Oregon, UConn, Central Michigan
  • Virginia Tech: Liberty, Tennessee, East Carolina, Notre Dame
  • Wake Forest: Tulane, Delaware, Indiana, Army

The Annual Greg Schiano Pansy Scheduling Award:

Boston College–after years of decent, tough scheduling, the Eagles decided to go to the opposite extreme with UConn being the toughest opponent.  Not a single P5 opponent, which is unique to the conference and earns this spot.

Runner-up: Wake Forest gets the nod by having Indiana on its schedule.  Do not sleep on Tulane under its new coach. Army is never a pushover either.

The To Be The Best, You Must Beat the Best Award:

Pittsburgh: After a great leap last year, the Panthers are looking to not only win the Coastal, but make playoff noise if they can win out.  Villanova is a tougher-than-normal FCS opponent.  Then, Penn State and Oklahoma State will be two huge out-of-conference tussles.  Marshall is no slouch either, especially for a late-season game.

Runner-up: North Carolina is taking on an SEC foe and a Big 10 foe (albeit Illinois).  Although Virginia Tech has Tennessee and Notre Dame, the latter was dictated by the ACC.  Credit to the Hokies, but UNC did its two major conference opponents 100% voluntarily.

The That’s Just How Champions Schedule Award:

Clemson (tie): With South Carolina at the back end of the schedule, Clemson still went ahead and scheduled Auburn at the front end.  When you are in the hunt for the playoffs year-after-year, only then does scheduling matter and Clemson is doing the right thing by having two SEC schools.  Not Clemson’s fault if South Carolina is/becomes a dumpster fire.

Florida State (tie): Florida State added Mississippi to Florida,  This may be an even tougher combination than Clemson’s.  Or it may not be.  Either way, credit to the Seminoles for scheduling tough, as a potential playoff team should.

If we had to rank the schedule difficulty, without regard to how the teams were scheduled, we would do it this way

  1. Florida State–USF as a third opponent trumps Troy
  2. Clemson–see above
  3. Virginia Tech–Tennessee and Notre Dame are two very difficult opponents for the Hokies
  4. Pittsburgh–Penn State and Oklahoma State are two very difficult opponents scheduled voluntarily, while Villanova and Marshall are local teams with the motivation to ruin Pitt’s season
  5. North Carolina–like Pitt, UNC had to get Georgia and Illinois on its schedule without the ACC’s help.  Still, it is only Illinois.
  6. Duke–the ACC forced Duke’s hand on Notre Dame, but Northwestern is a quality add.
  7. Georgia Tech–Georgia is an annual foe, but Vanderbilt is a second P5 school.
  8. Louisville–Kentucky is what it is… the Indiana of the SEC.  Houston will/should be very good. A very challenging schedule, on top of Clemson/FSU.
  9. Syracuse–usually at the top of this list, Notre Dame keeps Syracuse above many schools, while USF is a good AAC team.  Probably.  Neither USF or UConn are P5 teams.
  10. Virginia–Oregon will be tough, the remainder is not
  11. NC State–Notre Dame is tough, East Carolina is good.  William & Mary and Old Dominion?
  12. Miami–Notre Dame and little else, although App State is always capable of the upset, while the local schools will WANT to win badly
  13. Wake Forest–Indiana is what keeps Wake Forest out of the basement.  Pretty sad.
  14. B.C.–when UConn anchors your OOC schedule, you have made your path as easy as possible.  A team that upset USC a few years ago is capable of a little bit more challenge than this.

What do you think?  Did we get these awards/rankings right or wrong?

 

 

 

The Confidential’s ACC Football Over-Unders

Every year, the Confidential does over-unders for each ACC school, based solely on the regular season.  In 2014, we had 6 schools correctly pegged within 1/2 a win of their ultimate totals.  In 2015, we improved to 7 schools correctly pegged within a 1/2 a win of their ultimate total.  And now it is on to 2016.  Remember, these are regular season wins only.  No bowl games or playoffs.  Here is the final tally of the Confidential’s over-unders for 2016:

Clemson: 11.5 wins

Notre Dame: 10.5 wins

Florida State: 9.5 wins

Miami: 8.5 wins

North Carolina: 8.5 wins

Louisville: 7.5 wins

Virginia Tech: 7.5 wins

Pitt: 7.5 wins

Duke: 6.5 wins

North Carolina State: 5.5 wins

Georgia Tech: 5.5 wins

Virginia: 5.5 wins

Boston College: 5.5 wins

Syracuse: 4.5 wins

Wake Forest: 3.5 wins

By far, the most controversial selection was Louisville at only 7.5 wins.  However, with road trips to Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, and Houston–it is asking a lot of the Cardinals to avoid tripping up against three of its four easiest conference games and two challenging OOC games.  Meanwhile, Florida State and Clemson remain on the schedule.  Notre Dame at 10.5 wins surprised some folks too, but look at who the Fighting Irish play and where.  In any event, it is what it is.  The Coastal, of course, is a mess.  Would any team winning it be a true surprise?  Meanwhile, the Atlantic has NC State, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest in a perpetual battle to avoid the cellar, it seems.

What do you think?  Would you raise Louisville and Florida State?  Lower Notre Dame or Clemson?  How many over-unders do you think will end up within 1 game (i.e. 5.5 wins resulting in 5 or 6 wins)?

 

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