If you thought gas prices could not get any cheaper, just wait until 2016.Right before Christmas, the U.S. average for a gallon of gas dropped south of $2 for the first time in close to seven years, showing just how far pump prices have fallen in most regions of the country. More than half of all states are below the $2 milestone, based on GasBuddy.com data, and two-thirds of gas stations across America are selling regular gas for $1.99 a gallon or less.Road-trippers can expect more savings to come. The U.S. Energy Information Administration believes retail prices are on pace to average $2.43 a gallon this year and will slip a little further to an annual average of $2.36 in 2016, which is a buck less than the average price of gas in 2014.Diesel is also poised for another year of cheaper prices, as the EIA’s outlook calls for a 2016 average of $2.67, or about four cents below the current year. continue reading » 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Both of Long Island’s groundhogs saw their shadows, predicting six more weeks of winter Monday—but even more inauspiciously, Brookhaven town officials cancelled their official Groundhog Day event due to the winter storm.The prognostication from Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal was a departure from last year when they both didn’t see their shadows, effectively forecasting an early spring. This Groundhog Day, Malverne Mal was the first out of the gate, so to speak, to prognosticate, while Hal’s handlers said plowing the roads trumped the furry friend’s long-term forecasting festivities at the Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center, where the rodent call his hole his home. In the end, however, Hal’s appearance concurred with his fellow species celebrity on Long Island.“Unfortunately, Hal did see his shadow and is reporting there will be six more weeks of winter,” said Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro, whose workers were on hand to record the observation. “While this is certainly not the prediction we were hoping for, the Brookhaven Highway Department will be out in force continuing our tireless efforts to address whatever Mother Nature brings our way this winter.”This year, Mel and Hal agreed with the nation’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Staten Island Chuck in New York City didn’t see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Hal and Mel both saw their shadows two years ago.Both the National Weather Service and the Old Farmer’s Almanac previously forecasted above-average snowfall this winter, but—besides some days of flurries—few flakes had fallen until the first blizzard of 2015 hit last week, dumping 30 inches of snow on the North Fork.NWS forecasters said a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain falling on LI Monday was expected to freeze after sundown, making for icy roadways during the Monday evening rush hour commute.—With Spencer Rumsey
The mission includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil.”As a first try for China, I don’t expect it to do anything significant beyond what the US has already done,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.The United States has already sent four rovers to Mars since the late 1990s.The next one, Perseverance, is an SUV-sized vehicle that will look for signs of ancient microbial life, and gather rock and soil samples with the goal of bringing them back to Earth on another mission in 2031.The Chinese mission is similar to NASA’s Viking missions in 1975-1976, in that it has both an orbiter and a lander, McDowell said.Tianwen-1 is “broadly comparable to Viking in its scope and ambition,” he added.After watching the United States and the Soviet Union lead the way during the Cold War, China has poured billions of dollars into its military-led space program.”China joining [the Mars race] will change the situation dominated by the US for half a century,” said Chen Lan, an independent analyst at GoTaikonauts.com, which specializes in China’s space program.China has made huge strides in the past decade, sending a human into space in 2003.The Asian powerhouse has laid the groundwork to assemble a space station by 2022 and gain a permanent foothold in Earth orbit.China has already sent two rovers to the Moon. With the second, China became the first country to make a successful soft landing on the far side.The Moon missions gave China experience in operating spacecraft beyond Earth orbit, but Mars is another story.The much greater distance means “a bigger light travel time, so you have to do things more slowly as the radio signal round trip time is large,” said McDowell.It also means “you need a more sensitive ground station on Earth because the signals will be much fainter,” he added, noting that there is a greater risk of failure.China has upgraded its monitoring stations in the far-western Xinjiang region and northeastern Heilongjiang province to meet the Mars mission requirements, state news agency Xinhua reported last week.The majority of the dozens of missions sent by the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and India to Mars since 1960 ended in failure.Tianwen-1 is not China’s first attempt to go to Mars.A previous mission with Russia in 2011 ended prematurely as the launch failed.Now, Beijing is trying on its own.”As long as [Tianwen] safely lands on the Martian surface and sends back the first image, the mission will… be a big success,” Chen said. But the race to watch is between the United States and China, which has worked furiously to try and match Washington’s supremacy in space.The Chinese mission has been named Tianwen-1 (“Questions to Heaven”) in a nod to a classical poem that has verses about the cosmos.It is expected to launch on a Long March 5 — China’s biggest space rocket — from the southern island of Hainan on Thursday, depending on the weather.Tianwen-1 is expected to arrive in February 2021 after a seven-month, 55-million-kilometer voyage. China aims to launch a rover to Mars on Thursday on a journey coinciding with a similar US mission as the powers take their rivalry into deep space.The two countries are taking advantage of a period when Earth and Mars are closest to send their probes, with China’s mission due to lift off by Saturday and the US spacecraft on July 30.It will be a crowded field. The United Arab Emirates launched a probe on Monday that will orbit Mars once it reaches the Red Planet. Topics :
Amundi is joining forces with the French alternative and atomic energy commission (CEA) to create an independent asset management company focused on private equity financing of technical innovation projects in France.The new company, Supernova Invest, will take over funds currently managed by CEA Investissement, a subsidiary of the energy commission (Le Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives), but is also intended to create and manage new “capital innovation” funds for third parties.Those involved said they expected Supernova to have more than €200m in assets under management by June. It is aiming to reach €1bn by 2020, according to a statement from Amundi and CEA.CEA Investissement and Amundi Private Equity Funds (PEF) will each have a 40% stake in the new company, and the CEA Investissement team will own the remaining 20%. Funds managed by Supernova are intended to provide capital for companies at different stages of development, from start-ups to mature companies, the statement said. Financing is to support two major types of technical innovation: “breakthrough innovation”, based on intensive development of disruptive technologies, and “innovation through use”, based more on mature technologies in the digital economy.One of the company’s first clients is Crédit Agricole, which has entrusted Supernova with the management of a new fund, for which it has raised €50m so far. Christophe Gégout, deputy managing director of the CEA and chairman of CEA Investissement, said: “The creation of Supernova Invest represents the alliance of the CEA’s credibility in technological innovation and the best in private equity management with an experienced, highly successful investment team, that of CEA Investissement.”The creation of Supernova Invest is not the first time Amundi has joined forces with outside industry for an investment partnership. In 2014 the French asset manager teamed up with French energy group EDF to create a €1.5bn infrastructure joint venture.Investment industry at ‘existential crossroads’The CFA Institute has published a study, the “Future State of the Investment Profession”, which it said describes “an industry at an existential crossroads”.According to the institute, the study warns that investment industry leaders have to transform their business models as they may otherwise jeopardise the future of their companies.To help industry leaders it has developed a series of planning scenarios derived by combining megatrends affecting all industries with other forces specific to the investment industry.The study also includes findings from a survey of 1,145 industry leaders on topics such as leadership skills, investment trends, and business models.Findings include:73% of respondents expected environmental, social, and governance factors to become more influential;70% expected to see more assets going into passive investment vehicles;63% expected profit margins at asset management firms to remain flat or to contract; and57% expected institutional investors would look to reduce costs by insourcing more investment management activities.The report can be found here.Asset manager investor targets growthiM Square, a European investment and development platform targeting stakes in asset management companies, is in discussions with “several North American institutional investors” in relation to a second fundraising round, it said in a statement today.It is aiming to raise €200m before the end of June, it said, and to reach €400m in the next 2-3 years. iM Square said this would enable it to acquire stakes in 5-7 asset managers in the US and Europe.In 2016, it acquired a French asset management company, which led to the creation of iM Global Partner, the group’s first distribution platform. This has begun marketing funds, according to the statement.The company was launched in 2015, with Amundi, Eurazeo, and the Dassault Groupe/La Maison as joint founding shareholders.
The UK should consider introducing a form of Chapter 11 bankruptcy for pension funds to allow more companies to restructure their obligations, according to Cardano’s Kerrin Rosenberg.The consultancy firm’s chief executive was responding to today’s announcement of a restructuring of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS).The Pensions Regulator has granted “initial approval” for a regulated apportionment agreement (RAA), involving a £550m cash injection and BSPS taking a 33% stake in Tata Steel UK, its sponsoring employer.A new scheme with “modified” benefits will be set up to replace the current BSPS and minimise the impact on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). Rosenberg said the BSPS case had “made it clear that the normal PPF route won’t always lead to the best outcome for trustees and pension scheme members”.While TPR emphasised that RAAs remained a rare tool that it did not often approve, Rosenberg said recent cases involving Halcrow and BHS indicated that it was a solution for “significant” schemes.“What has historically been an exception to the rule is now becoming more common than the rule itself,” Rosenberg said. “Surely that is a clear sign that the rules need to change. Pension funds that are very unlikely to meet their promises need another option beyond insolvency.”He continued: “A more robust system would allow stressed pension funds to restructure and separate from sponsors who are unable to afford their costs any longer. What this delivers is a more realistic promise to scheme members, without the destruction of value that comes with the current PPF route.”Currently, pension scheme members who transfer to the PPF before their retirement date have their benefits capped at 90% of what they were initially promised. The PPF does not grant inflation-linked benefits.“If stressed pension funds were allowed to restructure in a more transparent way, a pension fund equivalent of Chapter 11, risk could be better shared between the company, the members and the PPF,” Rosenberg said. “Companies could be freed from pension obligations they simply cannot afford and members could get a better deal than entering the PPF.”In February the UK government launched a formal discussion paper regarding reforms to rules for defined benefit pension schemes – including potentially streamlining the RAA process.TPR has also floated the idea of allowing stressed pension schemes to be separated from the employer on the basis of scheme viability rather than the risk of employer insolvency.
Brisbane Bullets player Adam Gibson.ADAM Gibson is a professional basketball player for the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League. The 31-year-old Olympian lives in Brisbane with his wife, Montana, and their two labradors, Ralph and Romeo.1. Where do you live and why?We live in Coorparoo. We bought a home there to renovate in, roughly, April, 2017.We chose Coorparoo because it’s a central location for both of us for work.2. What is the best thing about your suburb?The best thing about the suburb is that it’s a quiet, super friendly neighbourhood.It’s only 10 minutes to the city, and it’s growing, with developments like Coorparoo Square now complete. 3. What do you love about your home?I love that it’s now a home that we’ve created.With all the renovations, the house is completely different, so it’s cool to see our plans come to life. 7 . What was the best piece of property advice you were give? Or what was the biggest lesson you learned? If I could change anything about the home, it would be on a bigger block, and it would be a double story house. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours agoAdam Gibson of the Brisbane Bullets. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images.4. What would you change about your home? Besides those things not really being options, we love that we’ve kept the character of the house. 5. Describe your dream home and location in Queensland?My dream home in Queensland would be somewhere right on the beach, either on the Gold Coast or in Noosa. Walking out the back door on to the beach would be amazing. 6. If money was no option, what would be your fantasy home anywhere in the world and where? My fantasy home anywhere in the world would be somewhere like the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The best lesson we’ve learned is that you always go over budget and over time with a renovation — just like everyone says!
SAM 7 January 2015Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the non-partisan marijuana policy group comprised of leading scientists from around the country, released Lessons After Two Years of Marijuana Legalization – Short Report today. The report outlines both what data we know – and what we need to know – to accurately evaluate the consequences and costs of marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado. SAM is advised by a respected group of scientists and its Honorary Board includes former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and former speechwriter David Frum. See the report here.“Two years after legalization was voted on, we are still waiting for robust tracking mechanisms from the states of Colorado and Washington, and the federal government,” remarked Sabet. “We have 100 kinds of marijuana gummy bears out there, but no way to find out what the costs of such a policy are. It defies any definition of ‘experiment,’ which presumes a proper scientific evaluation.”Though it is too early to firm up final conclusions, there are concerns in 2015 we cannot ignore after two full years of legalized possession and one year of legalized retail sales. The report outlines these concerns, such as:· Past-year and past-month marijuana use by all ages exceeds the national average in both Washington State and Colorado. Marijuana use in both these states has risen significantly between 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.· The number of burn victims in Colorado from hash oil explosions has significantly increased since legalization.· Between 2008 and 2011, an average of 4 children (between the ages of 3 and 7) were sent to the ER for unintentional marijuana ingestion. In 2013, 8 children went to the Colorado Children’s hospital. As of the first half of 2014, at least 14 children have already been sent to the ER.· The number of marijuana citations given for public or underage use has skyrocketed in Denver and Aurora versus last year.· According to the Washington Poison Center, “the selling of cannabis for recreational purposes became legalized in the state of Washington on July 7th, 2014. As a direct result, the Washington Poison Center (WAPC) has encountered an increase in the number of human exposures related to accidental or excessive consumption/inhalation of marijuana and marijuana edibles, particularly among pediatrics.”· Contaminant testing in Washington finds that 13% of pot and THC-infused products contain mold, salmonella, and E. coli. Colorado has not begun such testing yet.· A marijuana-focused private equity firm, Privateer Holdings in partnership with the descendants of Bob Marley, have created a multinational cannabis brand called Marley Natural. Investors have already raised $50 million to launch Marley Natural.The report also outlines what we do not know, and asks states to track both the consequences of legalization and the economic costs of legalization. The report was compiled by SAM and its scientific advisory board, which includes Hoover Adger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Adolescent Medicine, Johns Hopkins University; Eden Evins, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA, President, American Society of Addiction Medicine; Sion Harris, PhD, Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Children’s Hospital Boston; Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Kimber Richter, MD, PhD, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas; Paula Riggs, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado at Denver; Christian Thurstone, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado; Kathryn Wells, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado at Denver.http://learnaboutsam.org/short-report-lessons-two-years-legalization/
Update on the latest sports Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNBA-NETS COACHNets hire Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash as coachUNDATED (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have hired Steve Nash as their coach, putting the Hall of Fame point guard in charge of the team that hopes to have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together next season. The 32-year-old Bulgarian is playing in the Open for the 12th time, but for the first time since 2016 after leaving the women’s tour to give birth to her son. She finished with an ace for her 22nd victory against a top-20 player.In other Thursday matches, reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin advanced to the third round by beating unseeded Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3. Amanda Anisimova won a matchup of American teenagers, rallying past wild card Katrina Scott 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.NASCAR-COVID CONCERNSNASCAR drivers cautious of COVID-19 as playoffs begin CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR has decided it will not grant COVID-19 relief during the playoffs, meaning a positive coronavirus test will end a driver’s championship bid. Islanders and Golden Knights try again to close out their seriesUNDATED (AP) — The New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights will try again Thursday to close out their respective playoff series and advance to the conference finals. The Islanders will be looking to bounce back from a 4-3 overtime loss to Philadelphia that cut their series lead to 3-2 when they face the Flyers in Game 6. Vegas also had a chance to eliminate Vancouver in Game 5 of that series, but the Canucks held on for a 2-1 win. Now, the Golden Knights will try to reach the conference finals for the second time in the franchise’s three-year history in Game 6.MLB-ATHLETICS-MENGDEN-VIRUS The playoffs begin Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina without a safety net for the 16 participants during the pandemic. It’s up to each driver to protect themselves from COVID-19, understanding there is no cushion for missing a race. NASCAR at its discretion grants waivers during its regular season for illness, emergency or personal reasons. The waiver maintains playoff eligibility, if the driver qualifies, but no points are awarded while sidelined. Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon both missed one race during the season following a positive COVID-19 test and earned zero points. Dillon won a race — worth an automatic berth in the playoffs — but the seven-time champion Johnson went winless and missed the cut by six points. NASCAR made no changes for the 10-race playoff series, so missing a race would effectively end a driver’s championship chances.RACIAL INJUSTICE-NHL — The Tennessee Titans have made a switch at kicker, agreeing to terms with veteran Stephen Gostkowski (gahst-KOW’-skee) and waiving Greg Joseph. The Titans announced the move Thursday morning. Gostkowski is a four-time Pro Bowl kicker who won three Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the New England Patriots. He has made 87% of his field goals with the fifth-best field goal percentage in NFL history. Joseph was the Titans’ fifth kicker last season in the NFL’s worst field goal unit. Joseph had been missing kicks in training camp, so the Titans made a move to fix the position. — All NFL and NFL Players Association facilities will close on Election Day, and the league and union will televise a one-hour program next week for players to highlight work being done to advance social justice. The league and the players’ union said Thursday they want to “ensure that every member of the NFL family has an opportunity to exercise the precious right to vote” on Nov. 3. Both the league and union have launched get-out-the-vote initiatives as well. TENNIS-US OPENMaguruza upsetNEW YORK (AP) — An unranked player has pulled off an upset at the U.S. Open in her first tournament in more than three years. Tsvetana Pironkova beat No. 10-seeded Garbine Maguruza 7-5, 6-3 to reach the third round. September 3, 2020 NFL-NEWSBrowns acquire safety Harrison from Jaguars for draft pickUNDATED (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have acquired safety Ronnie Harrison in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cleveland gave up a fifth-round pick for Harrison. The loss of rookie safety Grant Delpit for the season with a torn Achilles tendon sent the Browns shopping for a safety and they landed Harrison, who is in his third season from Alabama. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Harrison made 22 starts for Jacksonville, which selected him in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. He’s played in 28 games and made 103 tackles along with three interceptions.In other NFL news:— The Seattle Seahawks are bringing back Josh Gordon on a one-year deal as the talented wide receiver awaits reinstatement from the NFL after his latest suspension. Gordon’s signing was confirmed on Twitter by his agent David Canter, just two days before the Seahawks must cut their roster to 53 players. Gordon is the second veteran signed by the team in the past week, joining Paul Richardson. Gordon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL last December for violating the league’s drug policy. It was his eighth suspension either by the league or his team. Gordon applied for reinstatement by the NFL in June. A’s righty Daniel Mengden tests positive for coronavirusOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden has tested positive for the coronavirus and is quarantined at home in Houston, where he received the result that forced Oakland and Major League Baseball to postpone four games this week.A’s general manager David Forst said Thursday that Mengden is asymptomatic and was placed on the 10-day injured list. The A’s added new left-hander Mike Minor to the 40-man roster after acquiring him Monday in a trade with the Rangers.The team had its three-game series at Seattle this week postponed as well as last Sunday’s scheduled series finale at Houston, where the A’s learned late Saturday of the one positive test. Forst said the A’s left Houston in two groups, the second being those who had close contact — up to 15 minutes — with Mengden in the 48-hour window during which he tested positive.The A’s don’t know how Mengden contracted the coronavirus. There haven’t been additional positive tests within the traveling party. LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors hope to avoid losing a third straight game to the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. They know that nobody has successfully escaped a 3-0 series hole in NBA history. The Celtics are 6-0 to start a postseason for the second time and are looking to match a franchise record with a seventh consecutive playoff win. The last teams to open a postseason run with seven straight wins were Cleveland and Golden State in 2017. In Thursday’ night’s other game, the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers and third-seeded Denver Nuggets open their Western Conference semifinal series. Kawhi Leonard has scored at least 30 points for the Clippers in five straight games — and the two-time NBA Finals MVP finished with 29 in the only game he didn’t in the first round against Dallas.The Nuggets have their young stars Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic (NEE’-koh-lah YOH’-kich) ready to go. Murray matched an NBA record with two 50-point games in one series in the first round, part of a 142-point run from Games 4-6. And when he was finally slowed in Game 7, Jokic responded with 30 points, 14 rebounds and the tiebreaking basket with 27 seconds left in an 80-78 victory over Utah. That made Denver the 12th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series but left the No. 3 seed with just one day to recover.NHL-STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS Nash is a two-time MVP as the engineer of the high-scoring Phoenix Suns teams under Mike D’Antoni. He had been a player development consultant with Golden State, where he worked with Durant.The Nets finished the season under Jacque Vaughn, who will remain on staff as Nash’s lead assistant.The Nets reached the postseason despite having Irving for only 20 games and Durant for none, but the two stars who came to Brooklyn together last summer are expected to be ready for the 2020-21 season. That made the Nets vacancy an attractive position.NBA PLAYOFFSRaptors try to avoid falling into 3-0 hole Associated Press NHL, players unveil series of anti-racism initiativesEDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The NHL on Thursday unveiled a series of anti-racism initiatives more than eight months after Akim Aliu (ah-KEEM’ ah-LEE’-yoo) brought the topic to the forefront in the predominantly white sport.The league and NHL Players’ Association are planning mandatory inclusion and diversity training for all players at camp; partnering with the Hockey Diversity Alliance to launch a grassroots program for young players of color in the Toronto area; and working together on several inclusion committees aimed at encouraging diversity among executives, pro and youth players and fans.The moves come amid mounting pressure from current and former minority players for the league to take concrete steps to address systemic racism. Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, a founding member of the alliance that was formed earlier this summer, reviewed the initiatives before they were announced and believes they show progress.
Before the new millennium hit, I wondered how people would refer to the first decade of the next century.People could easily call on “the ‘80s” or “the ‘90s” to sum up an entire decade of culture and history in a few short words. Just hearing the words “the ‘60s” immediately makes me think of hippies, free love and a lot of pot being smoked.So the first decade of the year 2000 presented an obvious problem. You can give a numeric name to just about every other decade but the first one. So with this nameless decade nearing its close, it’s necessary to find a description that both captures and exemplifies the unique history of the last 10 years.Call it “Pete’s Decade.” As in Pete Carroll’s.While it may take some time for this expression to enter our everyday lingo — Florida fans are probably already flooding the comment board in protest — it is difficult to come up with a more applicable name if your scope is college football and your measuring stick dominance.Throughout the better part of Pete’s Decade, the USC football coach rejuvenated a once-proud program from the dregs of its national perception. Gone are the 6-6 seasons, the extended losing streaks to UCLA and the crummy bowl games. Here to stay are the double-digit winning seasons, dominance over the Bruins and one Rose Bowl after another.To look back on the last 10 years in college football is to reflect on a remarkable run of dominance, week in and week out. Carroll’s resumé reads more like a laundry list of accolades and accomplishments. From the seven 11-win seasons to the seven straight Pac-10 titles, the Trojans’ domination is simply unrivaled in the modern era.Yes, Florida has won two out of the last three national titles and no one is taking that away from them. But since Carroll arrived at USC, the Trojans have won 88 games compared to the Gators’ 77. Plus, Florida gets the opportunity to play one more game a season if they make it to the SEC championship. To me, that settles the “Team of the Decade” debate.While USC has not played in a national championship since 2005, no other school has consistently gotten as hot as USC has in the latter parts of the season.If this is Pete’s Decade, November would be his holy month. Carroll has never lost a game in November, leading his team to a perfect 27-0 record.Getting ready to do it all over again in his ninth year at USC, Carroll reflected back on the run he has been instrumental in orchestrating.“It doesn’t really feel that much different, I pretty much feel the same as I’ve felt for a number of years,” he said. “As I’ve said it’s kind of like Groundhog’s day in a sense, but [USC is] a good place to be.”The climb to the peak of college football glory was difficult, but staying there has been even harder. As the Bushes, the Leinarts and the Maualugas move on to the NFL and his staff is plucked away by needy programs around the country, Pete always seems to find a way of reloading without really misfiring.Like this year, with an inexperienced starting quarterback (whether it be Matt Barkley or Aaron Corp), a new offensive and defensive coordinator and only three starters returning on defense, the Trojans will still likely be favored to win every one of their games.The secret behind Carroll’s success is to never look beyond the day at hand, instilling his players to “maximize their potential” on every play. It is a tactic that is easy to preach but much harder to get players to buy into. Like the fruitless pursuit of perfection, it is also unending.“We’re developing our mentality and our attitude and the personality we want to project as a staff to the players and to our football team,” Carroll said. “And that’s ongoing, that’s a work in progress.”Someone who can offer some of the best insight into the transition from the lowly ‘90s to Pete’s Decade is defensive coordinator Rocky Seto. He was a USC linebacker from 1997-98 and came on as a graduate assistant in 2000. He is entering his ninth year as a full-time assistant, where he primarily handles the secondary.Seto said the Trojans worked just as hard before Carroll but did not hone the same level of concentration.“What coach [Carroll] has brought in is a level of focus to help everyone maintain their level of focus to perform as well as they can,” Seto said.When asked if he felt the target kept growing on USC as it continued to succeed year after year, Seto answered perfectly in-tune with the Carroll philosophy.“It’s not a target,” Seto said. “When you think about a target you allow others to enter the focus, when really the focus is about us. Really, we’re our own hardest critic.”Carroll has made his mark by treating every season the same and every day like the one previous. He jogs onto the practice field with the same bounce in his step as when he trots through the LA Coliseum tunnel. So it’s no wonder he does not approach this season any differently than he did when he arrived in 2001.“It doesn’t seem that much different. It seems very much the same,” he said. “Faces change and the issues that you address change, and of course, even the guys on the staff.”But the common denominator has always been Carroll and his uncanny ability to get jacked up for the same challenges every season.“Staying at a high level for a long time, to be in the middle of it all, it’s just been the time of my life,” Carroll said. “It’s been so great that I want to create the fun for everyone around us.”Whether he can continue to spread the joy around Southern California this season or the next 10 seasons is anyone’s guess. One thing you can bank on is that Carroll is sincere in his excitement for the new season, and is never one to rest on his laurels.Still, it should be said that his record of the past eight years speaks for itself. No coach’s claim to the decade is greater than his, marking the last 10 years as his alone in the history of college football.“Middle Ground” runs Mondays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Josh at email@example.com.
Much of Sunday’s conference call with USC coach Lane Kiffin went beyond the Trojans’ record-breaking offensive performances against Colorado, instead gravitating toward the question of why USC continues to incur double-digit penalties in most games. Against Colorado, USC committed 10 penalties for 90 yards, although, surprisingly, none were of the false start or delay-of-game variety.In limbo · Freshman defensive tackle Leonard Williams, pictured here on Oct. 13 at Washington, awaits word from the Pac-12 on whether he will be suspended for Saturday’s game. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanThe Trojans’ play in the first half was so undisciplined, in fact, that Kiffin gathered his players on the sideline at the end of the half to scold them before they could retreat into the locker room.“I don’t really have a theory on it,” Kiffin said when asked why USC is ranked last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in penalties per game. “It’s obviously really disappointing.”The coaching staff’s disappointment spilled over into its halftime locker room discussions, as Kiffin’s staff reprimanded the team for its senseless penalties, especially the personal fouls. Redshirt freshman linebacker Anthony Sarao and freshman defensive tackle Leonard Williams both committed personal fouls, and sophomore defensive tackle George Uko earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first half.“I’ve never spent a halftime like that before, where the entire halftime was on penalties and composure with the guys,” Kiffin said. “I’m hoping we hit rock-bottom in the first half. When we have the personal fouls like we have, that’s a disgrace to our university, to all of our great players that have played here before.”Moving forward, Kiffin has implored USC’s captains — seniors Matt Barkley, Khaled Holmes and T.J. McDonald and junior Nickell Robey — to take ownership of the problem and communicate the importance of playing with a level head.As for Williams’ personal foul penalty that drew an ejection, Kiffin hopes Williams, whom he has repeatedly praised as the rare true freshman to emerge as an impact player, can learn from his momentary lapse in judgment. After the game, several teammates claimed that a Colorado offensive lineman spat on Williams underneath a pile of players, prompting his punch.“He’s a true freshman, and he made a mistake,” Kiffin said. “He apologized for it to the team afterwards. He’ll learn from it and grow from it.”Kiffin expected to hear from the Pac-12 on Monday whether Williams would earn a suspension for Saturday’s game at Arizona, but there was no official release as of late Monday night.—Sophomore offensive tackle Aundrey Walker left midway through the third quarter on a medical cart with an apparent neck injury. After the game, Walker was notably absent from the locker room and reportedly spent the night in a hospital.Because of health privacy laws, Kiffin was unable to expand much on Walker’s condition, but did state that Walker attended Sunday’s team meeting and that “things seem to be very positive.”Initially splitting snaps with Walker before filling in for the rest of the game, freshman Max Tuerk once again drew Kiffin’s praise for his stout play.—In addition to USC’s headliners, several younger players and veteran backups recorded significant personal milestones.Junior wide receiver De’Von Fluornoy, in his fourth year with the program, recorded his first career reception, as did freshman tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick.Kiffin said that USC players “cheered when [Fluornoy’s] catch came up” while they were reviewing game film.Other offensive players who experienced breakthroughs were redshirt freshman quarterback Max Wittek and sophomore running back D.J. Morgan who connected on a 24-yard pass for the first career touchdown for both players.Defensively, the team’s three interceptions came from unlikely sources. Senior safety Drew McAllister registered his first interception since 2008, and junior safety Gerald Bowman and senior linebacker Tony Burnett snared their first career interceptions.“There were some good stories from that game of non-starters,” Kiffin said. “Their starters were in for the most part late, and [our] backups and young guys performed well.”