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“The Little Things”, written and directed by John Lee Hancock, was a part of the Warner Bros. deal that allowed movies to be released on both HBO Max and in theaters on the same day. This made the movie a point of discussion even before it came out. Shortly after, Jared Leto was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, which became a talking point in the discussion.
This article is about neither of those. “The Little Things,” besides being a mediocre story with talented actors, does something rare in movies. It creates a textbook story on how to make characters that audiences cannot trust.
The story itself revolves around three main characters, Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) Jim Baxter (Rami Malek), and Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) Deacon is a former homicide detective that went crazy after he couldn’t solve a case and now is a cop in a small town in California. Baxter is the person who took Deacon’s job when he left and is on the same path as Deacon. Baxter is obsessive about the case; he will do anything to solve it for the victims. Sparma is our “antagonist” in the story.
The reason we can’t trust the characters is because Deacon is simple, they all do things in the story to lose our trust. Deacon, besides being obsessive to the point of hallucination, goes behind people’s backs in order to find the information he needs to solve a case. He’ll go undercover, he’ll lie about who he is, and he’ll threaten in order to find the truth.
Baxter is a little more complicated, and the reason we can’t trust him is a spoiler. Baxter, like Deacon, is obsessive about the cases that he works. We lose trust in Baxter in the ending when Baxter kills Sparma.
The climax is stolen straight from 1995’s “Seven”, minus a box, and this is where we completely lose trust in our characters. Instead of going to the authorities, as good cops should, our characters decide to cover up what happens. Deacon and Baxter both hide Sparma’s dead body and essentially give up on the case.
The lack of trust doesn’t end here. In the ending scene, we see Baxter has mail from Deacon. Encased in the envelope is a red barrette and a note that says no angels. One of the girls who went missing had a red barrette, and Deacon didn’t want Baxter to go through the same thing that he did with the victims “haunting” him. The only problem is that it wasn’t a red barrette from Sparam’s apartment like Baxter thought, it’s from a package that Deacon bought. The film ends with the rest of the barrette’s being burnt as Deacon walks away.
At the end of the film, we don’t know the killer, and we don’t trust Deacon or Baxter. This is not necessarily a bad thing. In the age of the anti-hero; Tony Soprano, Walter White, etc., audiences should be used to the main character not always following the “good guy” path. The lack of trust is not the reason you shouldn’t watch the movie, in fact, it is the reason you should.
Aaron Sorkin has always been known for writing snappy dialogue. Whether it be in Oscar-nominated “The Social Network,” "Moneyball” with Brad Pitt, or his new creation, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Sorkin keeps that same realistic dialogue between characters.
With such a heavy and intense subject like a federal trial, it would be easy to make this movie into a boring courtroom drama, but it’s movies like this where Aaron Sorkin succeeds. Sorkin crafts a screenplay about something that should be a serious subject, like a trial where people could go to prison for five years, and turns it into something that is not only informative but entertaining as well.
The ensemble cast is where this movie really shines. You have people who are serious and ones who are funny. Ones who see themselves as a part of a group working for something that is bigger than themselves, and ones who seem to only be in it for themselves. This sets up one of the main points of conflict in the movie, heroes against villains.
Let’s start with the good guys first. Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp) are heads of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), who are members of the Yippies, or Youth International Party. David Dellinger (John Caroll Lynch), one of the leaders in the Chicago protests. And to round out our seven we have protestors Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins) and John Froines (Daniel Flaharty).
Our villains, although it is never said directly, are the Attorney General, John Mitchell and Judge Julius Hoffman.
Not only does this create a heroes versus villains dynamic, Sorkin also figures out how to work in the peer versus peer dynamic. This is where we find the true meat of the story.
Look at "The Social Network", the real story is that Mark Zuckerberg really wanted this idea to be known as his and his only. The story that Sorkin tells is one between dueling geniuses, Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin.
Deep down, I feel like this is exactly what “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is. Movies usually give their meaning toward the end, and this one does exactly that. In the fight between Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden, they yell about what genuine change looks like. To Tom, it is electing someone every four years and having them enact policies. He says this is how you change education and poverty, not by going to jail. Hoffman, on the other hand, says that those things never happen, and they will go right back to where they are now if that is the answer.
Not only do I think this was the best acted and written scene in the movie, but I also think it is Sorkin commenting on what is going on in the United States right now.
It is easy to draw parallels between this movie and the last few months. Riots and protests, an upcoming election and “The whole world [will be] watching.”
At the end of the day, that’s why I like this movie and why people, besides those who love Oscars movies, should go see it. It is easy to look at this movie at face value as an ensemble of characters with a variety of personalities fighting against “a bad guy.” The good news is that you can also read into it, which is why it will certainly win a few Academy Awards.
In this episode of the podcast, we tell stories from our first year at college. We talk a lot about the random roommate that we had in our dorm. We hope that you guys enjoy! DISCORD: https://discord.gg/ZdD6T3TWITTER: https://twitter.com/roundtable_podINSTAGRAM: instagram.com/thoughtsfromtheroundtable FIND US ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST APPS!!: https://thoughtsfromtheroundtable.tra...
Welcome to the seventh episode of Thoughts From the Round Table! Today we talk about how great Knives Out is... and we get off track a lot. We hope you enjoy!OUR WEBSITEhttps://thoughtsfromtheroundtable.tra...OUR TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/roundtable_podOUR INSTAGRAMhttps://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfro...[fvplayer id="22"][fvplayer id="29"]
I remember scrolling through Instagram my sophomore year of high school and seeing him for the first time. A high school kid, one year older than me, throwing down dunks that NBA players dream of. Not only that, he was athletic and well spoken, something every college team wanted. Anyone who followed House of Highlights on Instagram from the years 2016-2018 saw the young high schooler repeatedly look like he was going to break down rims. This then 17 year-old was Zion Williamson.
In case you couldn’t tell, I love basketball. Growing up in this social media age with places like BallisLife tweeting high school highlights as soon as the “Next Big Thing” put up a 40 point scoring extravaganza on some team that I’ve never heard of, I was cautiously optimistic about every high school highlight reel. Of course, Zion could be different and today, that’s exactly the “what-if” we are going to be covering.
What if Zion Williamson is not as good as we think?
Before we start, I want this to be clear, I want to be wrong about this. I think that when in shape, Zion has a real chance to be one of the most talented and athletic players the league has ever seen. The thing that disappoints me is that there are some warning signs of not only flaws in his game, but flaws in his body. Let’s tackle the flaws in his game first, shall we?
Defense. I’m not sure if anyone can play defense anymore. When we have guys like Zion and Trae Young who are quickly becoming faces of the league, do we have a Wilt Chamberlain-type situation coming back in the modern generation. Wilt loved to fill up the stat sheet, but he wasn’t so keen on being a good teammate. Obviously, there won’t be anyone like Bill Russell who is willing to give it all for the win, but Zion could give an effort. Not closing out on open shooters is just pure laziness. Not only that, but I think that he might be one of the worst perimeter defenders ever. Not that he does it often, but in switches, I think he might be right above Enes Kanter in the worst of all time. Like I said, maybe I’m wrong about this and Williamson turns it on in the playoffs and becomes a defensive presence like we have never seen.
Health. Is Zion Williamson fat? That is the unanswerable question of our generation. Maybe he is like Tommy Heinsohn, the guy who could never stay in shape. Zion, just like Heinsohn was, had a chance to be a great player, but weight issues kept him off the floor. Not only that, Zion has only played 15 games this season. What if we have another Joel Embiid situation on our hands?
Fortunately for us NBA fans, with a little bit of patience, we will see the true story of Zion Williamson unfold before our eyes.
As I am currently writing this, it is Friday, February 14, 2020--Valentine’s Day. During lunch today when I was scrolling through Twitter, I saw a tweet that was so relatable I laughed out loud. “You’re abusive. You disappoint (often). You don’t always listen. You make me feel like crap. But, I’ll love you forever. Happy Valentine’s Day to my first true love - The New York Knicks.” This organization has disappointed me, made me sad, and was my first love (sorry, Emma). The reason I started this article out with this is because of how sad it is that the only glimmer of hope rests on a small possibility of getting one of the best NBA executives of this generation. It’s as if the could-be savior of New York will trump James Dolan’s horrible ownership, but, just for a little bit, let’s dream together.In the last five years, I don’t think that there is a better talent evaluator in the NBA than Ujiri. Let’s take a quick peek into Toronto’s draft picks of the last five years. In 2015, they selected Delon Wright. Wright is still a backup guard and has good production for being selected 20th overall. Next up, Jakob Poeltl in 2016. He was selected 9th overall and plays good minutes for the San Antonio Spurs. He was part of the Kawhi trade, so in my eyes, a great pick. The one draft pick that Ujiri is extremely famous for is Pascal Siakam. Selected 27th in the same draft as Poeltl, Siakam has turned himself into a Swiss Army Knife that any organization would want. OG Anunoby was picked 23rd in 2017 and will go down as one of the steals of the draft, a great defender who has the possibility of developing a 3-point shot--what every team dreams of. The Raptors also signed Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted in 2016, and turned him into one of the most dangerous backup point guards in the league.So, enough of this man’s accolades--what if he went to the Knicks? Now, god willing, James Dolan would give him some sort of power of not only the team, but also power over who is banned from Madison Square Garden, but that’s beside the point. Dolan forgets: it is hard to rebuild if no one wants to play there. Who wouldn’t want to play for Ujiri, one of the most liked and respected figures in the game?First and foremost, the Knicks start by either trading the young guys for veterans or trading the veterans for young guys. Ujiri knows this; he was the guy who convinced the Knicks to take Andrea Bargiani off his hands.Not only that, we would be able to get the big name stars in free agency. Who knows, maybe New York would have been able to get Kevin Durant if Ujiri was running the show. The Knicks wouldn’t waste picks on players like Kevin Knox. Instead, they would get people who have raw talent and try to develop them. Maybe, just maybe, we could see Frank Ntilikina become the player I always knew he could be. Maybe, he hires just the right people to get RJ a better jump shot. Maybe, just maybe, Masai Ujiri would know how to rebuild the Knicks. But, here we are, with Leon Rose as team president and what could have been the savior of New York basketball still on the Raptors. I think it was Ben Franklin who said “Nothing is certain but death and taxes… and the Knicks being bad.”
Unlike the NFL, basketball fans have a whole week to talk about how bad or good our teams are. The teams we are looking at now have some of the all-time “good stats, bad team” guys and are also a few steps away from becoming good. The teams I’m giving an upgrade to are the Grizzlies, the Bulls, and the Hornets, so let's get right into it.
Memphis Grizzlies (6-16)
Ja Morant is a young Russell Westbrook. He’s reckless, has great stats, and is a supreme athlete. The rest of this Grizz team doesn’t really have the pace or skill to keep up. That’s why they are 6-16. Still, they still have some really good “glue guys” who, with the help of a few superstars, can bring Memphis basketball to a place it’s never been. One thing this team really lacks is a great defender, so why not bring one of the best in with Paul George.
PG is a great defender, shooter, and wingman. He did it with Russell Westbrook and now he is doing it with Kawhi Leonard. If Morant becomes great, and I think he will, Paul George will be a great running buddy. These two will mesh so well because George picks up what Morant lacks, defense. With this backcourt, the Grizzlies will only get better and have a chance to sneak into the playoffs in their first season as a squad.
Chicago Bulls (8-16)
I really thought this team was going to be a force in the east. I mean, they have a great roster with good offensive guys, so, what's the problem? As I said in the intro, these teams have some guys who care a little bit too much about their stats, Zach Lavine is one of those guys. The man had 49 points one game and they only won by one, to Charlotte. So, why not give them someone who can score even more to make this an all-time high scoring team? Why not give them James Harden?
I’m not saying that this addition isn’t without flaw, far from it in fact. But, as I was looking at the roster, I noticed that this team needs a lot, but it does have two, young, big guys capable of becoming great. Markkanen and Carter Jr. would be an offensive problem with James Harden, one of the greatest scorers of all time, running point. With this MVP addition, the Bulls go .500 in a weak Eastern Conference.
Charlotte Hornets (9-16)
I never thought that I would write that a team with a 9-16 record is over performing, but here we are. I don’t think this Hornet’s roster makes any sense for how much money is on the books, but they have some all-time fun college players. You have the Martin twins from Nevada, Miles Bridges from Michigan St., and Malik Monk from Kentucky. Whether any of these guys will work out is yet to be seen, but it is still fun for CBB fans nonetheless. This bad roster needs some work, and who better to start the reboot than hometown-hero, Stephen Curry.
Curry is already a top 5 point guard in NBA history. Not only that, he also is a great “culture-builder” for an NBA team and he is from Charlotte. Is there a better match anywhere? This team needs a lot of work, like I said, and Curry will be able to get everything out of the players he's got and will be a great way to get people there for free-agency. Maybe they only win 35 games in the first season, but after that, the Hornets become a respectable team with a way to make the East theirs.
Happy Wednesday and welcome back to another edition of What-if Wednesday: NBA Edition. If you didn’t read that in a deep voice, you missed my point of adding NBA Edition. Anyway, for some, this last week the NBA would have been put on the backburner to football, but not to us. We are the few, the proud, the crazy people who watch way too much basketball. Just because basketball is on doesn’t mean that it is good, and today, we are going to be talking about teams who play bad basketball. When you look at our next three teams, the Hawks, the Pelicans, and the Wizards, two out of the three are because of injuries, but they still suck.
Atlanta Hawks (5-16)
Trae Young can straight up play, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Yet, the Hawks still suck, partially because of the 25-game suspension that the NBA handed down to John “The Baptist” Collins. The Hawks are one of those teams that still have a lot of questions to answer. Is Trae Young their franchise player? Can their latest first rounders turn into a competitive team? Why are our uniforms so gross looking? There is an answer to these questions, and his name is Anthony Davis.
Anti-Kentucky bias aside, Anthony Davis has been one of the most dominant players on the court anytime he puts on the purple and gold. Maybe it is because of the “LeBron offense” that Frank Vogel is running or that he has a reason to try. With this Hawks squad healthy, the trifecta of Trae Young, John Collins, and Anthony Davis get enough wins to get the two seed in the east. Not only that, is this one of the best 2K teams of all time?
New Orleans Pelicans (6-14)
This team is plagued with injuries. Regardless of how good Zion is, we know he will have a positive impact on this team. What looks like a good roster at first glance is turning out to be anything but that. When I watch the Pelicans, the real problem is down low. Jahlil Okafor and Jaxson Hayes are not the centers that this team needs. They need a versatile, good rebounding center to help make this team the best it has been in years. So, why not Karl Anthony-Towns?
Towns is having a great season offensively. His shooting percentages are higher than they have ever been and he is still averaging about 12.5 rebounds per game. With KAT, the Pelicans have a death lineup of Ball, Holiday, Ingram, Zion, and Towns at the five. This offensive powerhouse can really do some damage in the West, winning at least 48 games.
Washington Wizards (6-12)
I feel so bad for Wizards fans. The last time you were in the playoffs, the future looked so bright. Now, you have the most untradeable contract in the league. Other than Beal, the Wizards could use just about everything. This guard-heavy lineup is young in some spots. Maybe Hachimura and Bryant don’t become stars, but they will still play in a Wizards jersey as role players for as long as they pay them. Other than those three, the Wiz can pretty much trash everything else, and why not give them a total reboot with King James
Year 18 and still one of the best players in the league. As scientists of the game, I ask myself, how much longer will this go on seeing how there is no sign of slowing down? That being said, I don’t think that LeBron can truly transform this team. It still needs a lot of work, but the greatest player of the past 20 years is a pretty good place to start. With LeBron, the Wiz win 40 games and just miss the playoffs.
We’re back with What-if Wednesday, but this time we are going to spice things up. We’re heading to the hardwood, and just like last time, we are going to start out with the five worst teams in the NBA. In case you didn’t read the NFL version, here is a rundown of what we are doing. I am going to take what would be the best fit and put them on a team. This time, instead of doing five teams an article, we are going to be doing three. The first group of the worst teams in the NBA are the Warriors, Cavaliers, and Knicks.
Golden State Warriors (3-15)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just imagine if they didn’t lose their three best players, you would have to wait six weeks to read my slobbering over how much fun they are to watch play basketball. Instead, we are going to talk about how this is the best G-league roster in history. As a fan of college basketball, it’s kind of nice to see guys who are barely hanging on playing on the runner-up squad from last year. What I’m saying is they need anything. Since we are just talking about the here and now, the timeline for returning players doesn’t matter. We are just trying to make the best out of a bad situation. Therefore, we are just going to throw the best player in the league in a Golden State jersey.
The Greek Freak, the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, whatever you call him--his dominance on the basketball court cannot be understated. My goal as a writer is to one day learn how to spell his last name without googling it, but that’s besides the point. 30-14-7 is unbelievable for anyone, even if he is shooting 29% from three. Antetokounmpo will continue his dominance regardless of the roster. With running mate D’Angelo Russell, the new look Warriors easily go .500 and sneak into the playoffs.
Cleveland Cavaliers (5-12)
The post-LeBron era has not been good to the city of Cleveland. The one shining moment has been the hiring of John Beilien, even with this dumpster fire of a roster. With a questionable draft pick of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton the year before, the Cavs don’t need anymore point guards. Similar to the Warriors, the Cavs need anything they could get. This team needs a leader and a small forward, so who better than Kawhi Leonard?
Even with taking games off and the possibility of a lingering injury, are there many players more valuable than The Klaw? Kawhi would be valuable on and off the court. He could help the young guys handle their business like NBA players do, which will benefit the league and the team. The two-way superstar that handled the Warriors in the Finals last year will now take the Cleveland Cavaliers to at least forty wins.
New York Knicks (4-13)
I write this with a heavy heart as a Knicks fan. It never gets easy looking at the blue and orange last place in the east. That being said, the team of backup power forwards is actually a likable, gritty team, but that’s beside the point. Regardless of how much I like this team, the record shows they still suck. So, let's fulfill my dream and MKGA (Make the Knicks Great Again). First thing’s first: we know we don’t need a shooting guard or a center, seeing how RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson cover those pretty well. Frank Ntilikina will work as a defensive minded point guard for right now, so the Knicks need a forward. Who better than former MVP Kevin Durant?
Let’s forget the Achilles injury for a second. A couple years ago, we saw Durant go toe-to-toe with one of the greatest players of all time in LeBron James. Maybe, under head coach David Fizdale, he can bring the squad back to the playoffs, and not the playoffs where they lost in the first round.
As Destiny Perkins dribbles down the court, the ring of a whistle echoes throughout The Jungle. With 39 fouls during the game, there was a foul called about every 58 seconds. Even with a lack of momentum due to stoppages, Coach Austin Parkinson and his squad were able to pull out a 81-78 win against the Southern Illinois Salukis.
The Jags were a victim to this high fouling game. Macee Williams, former Horizon League Player of the Year, played only 16 minutes because of foul trouble. When asked how he felt about it, Coach Austin Parkinson said, “They have a big, strong, physical team, so we knew it was going to be a physical game.”
10 of the Jags’ 18 fouls were in the first half. “In the first half we slapped down a lot and we had some players who tried to block shots when they shouldn't have,” Parkinson said.
On the other side of the ball, the Jags benefited greatly from the fouls, shooting 81.8% from the line. “They pressured us quite a bit and we knew we wanted to get inside,” said Parkinson.
Momentum is hard to start in basketball, and tonight was no different. Parkinson said “We would get ahead and they’d come back and tie… weathering their runs was what allowed us to finish up the win.”
Morgan Allen, who had a career night with 24 points, didn’t disagree. “ The fouls definitely affected the momentum, you have to play smart and keep the flow of the game going,” said Allen.
Recent transfer Destiny Perkins added, “Coach P. prepares us for these moments in practice. He has really helped me stay focused and fight through adversity when it comes.”
With the close win, the Jags improve to 2-0 on the season. Their next game is against #17 Miami FL on November 17.
With the NFL season about halfway over with, now is the perfect time to analyze the best teams in the league. The two best in the league don’t need anything to make them contenders, so I am not going to give them anything. As of the Week 9 games, I think that the Chiefs and the Patriots remain the best teams in the league. The five teams that remain are the Bills, Packers, Ravens, 49ers, and the Saints.
Buffalo Bills (6-2)
As a card-carrying member of the Josh Allen fan club, his long accuracy as a passer has worried me this year. Regardless, the offensive line looks great, which is why Frank Gore has reached the fourth most rushing yards in NFL history this year. Devin Singletary, the Bills rookie RB has looked great when he has been healthy. Buffalo’s defensive has looked shotty and full of holes. With a young offensive core, why not choose a young defensive player to grow with him. With the 26th pick in the What-if Wednesday draft, the Bills select Nick Bosa. The young DE has been unbelievable for the undefeated 49ers this year.
Sean McDermott has been a great culture changer for the BillsMafia that was so used to being bad. With a good offense, a revamped defense, and a fan base that still breaks through tables, this Buffalo team can easily become a dangerous contender. With Bosa, I don’t think that they can dethrone the Belichick Patriots right away. But, maybe a few years down the road, this Bills core can run AFC East.
Green Bay Packers (7-2)
After a rough week in LA, Aaron Rogers and crew continue the fight back in Green Bay against the Panthers in Week 10. Aaron Rogers had proved himself over and over again that he is one of the best QB’s in the league. Maybe he can be a jerk to his teammates, but that’s besides the point. Even though Davante Adams is a usable WR, what if Aaron Rogers had an All-Pro target to throw to?
Mike Evans has been putting in the work, even with Jameis Winston, an all time trick-or-treat QB, throwing to him. Hopefully, Evans doesn’t mind the cold because in this fantasy world, he is getting sent to Wisconsin to join the Cheeseheads. Evans has 7,000 yards in his short five and a half year career and with Aaron Rodgers throwing it up to him, those stats will keep going up. Evans makes an already great Green Bay offense the team to beat in the NFC.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
After the Ravens throttled the Patriots on Sunday night, my heart is telling me to believe that the Ravens are the best team in the NFL and they beat Tom Brady and the Patriots Sith Lord rule of two is over. But, my mind tells me different. Don’t get me wrong Ravens fans, they’re still good. Just not as good as the Kraft, Belichick, Brady Holy Trinity. This offense is already fun, but if it ran the ball even more, it could be scary.
As soon as Saquon Barkely stepped on the turf in his first NFL game, everyone knew he was different. The same can be said for Lamar Jackson’s second season; he’s the real deal. Lamar Jackson’s option offense has worked great for them so far and old Mark Ingram has been an absolute beast for them through eight games. So, why not put one of the best running backs in the NFL on an already potent rushing offense? With Barkely, this team is even better and dominantes their division on the way to the AFC Championship.
San Francisco 49ers (8-0)
The last perfect team in the NFL is not the best in the league. This team looks great on paper and Jimmy G’s contract is paying off. The reason they’re not my number one team is how they play against the bad ones. Although the team doesn’t need a lot, who better to add than another offensive lineman to protect that bag of money they call a quarterback.
Something that has been important to Dallas the last few years is their offensive line, so why not take one from them? Tyron Smith would be a great veteran addition to this line to make the offense more fluid. Not only that, he would be a great captain for the offense as they grow as a team. With the former USC standout, this 49ers team keeps dominating its way through the NFC all the way up to the championship game.
New Orleans Saints (7-1)
This offense has been great; whether it’s Drew Brees or Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, they still dominate. Not only do they have a dangerous offense, their defense can also control the game thanks to cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Of course, this team is already stacked, so why not make it better? Michael Thomas is one of the best receivers in the league--the same can be said for Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees, each at their own positions. What if we gave the Saints another offensive weapon, something like a running buddy for Michael Thomas?
Julian Edelman is a great player on the Patriots because he has a great play caller, a great QB, and a great winning environment. Nothing will change when Edelman suits up in the black and gold. With two of the top ten receivers in the league, the Saints are the closest thing to a lock Super Bowl winner the league has ever seen.
As two goals fly past her, Sophia Lipka looks at the clock and realizes she has nineteen minutes in her college career left. Nineteen minutes until it’s the last time she puts on the keeper uniform for IUPUI. Nineteen minutes until the final buzzer goes off and the rain falling down her face turns into tears.
The Jag’s 2-0 loss to Oakland in the Horizon League playoffs during Monday night’s hard fought battle would be one to remember for both teams.
When asked about practice this week, head coach Chris Johnson said, “We didn’t practice any different this week. We had a tight turnaround from Friday’s game to today so we didn’t really hit anything too hard. I thought our game plan overall was pretty good, we didn’t execute on a few scenarios that we should have.”
Throughout the game, there was a small drizzle that would eventually turn into a steady rain. “It definitely makes the ground faster and makes the ball play a little quicker than what we are used to,” said Johnson. “We could still connect passes and do what we want to, we just couldn’t finish like we wanted to.”
The Jags had nine fouls in the first forty-five.“I think we had a lot of nerves in the first half and played very aggressive,” said Johnson. “We weren’t quit being ourselves, for sure.”
Since this is the last game, Coach Johnson looked back on what he liked about the season. “We had some freshman come in and step it up pretty big. We had a good, competitive situation with about fifteen or sixteen players.”
That doesn’t mean the Jags this year were without flaw as Johnson has already planned out what they need to work on for next season. “We need to finish balls a little better, we need to be more dynamic in the final third of the field.”
This is not the outcome the Jags planned on, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. “I think that the four seniors we had this year were a great example of what it takes to be successful,” said Johnson. “We have a lot of good players coming back and now it’s just a matter of grooming good leadership so we can come back and be just as successful.”
The women’s soccer team is graduating four seniors: Sophia Lipka, Emma Chambers, Jenna Sterr, and Bri Denny. With the bulk of the team still on the roster, the Jag’s look to come back just as strong next year for another crack at the Horizon League Championship.
As the breeze rips through Carroll Stadium, the Jags’ Miranda Ricks nets the third goal to go up 3-0 in the 18th minute. Unfortunately for IUPUI, this would just be the beginning of a hard fought win.
With this win, the Jags are guaranteed at least a three seed in the Horizon League Playoffs. When asked if planning for this game was any different from others, head coach Chris Johnson said, “We tend to focus on what our game plan is and what we are trying to do. We didn’t really play that much differently. They played with a sweeper, so we just tried not to get caught playing balls down the middle. We are just trying to work on things we can control.
The first goal of IUPUI’s scoring burst was from Autumn Weeks in the eleventh minute. “It was great,” Weeks said. “I knew we needed to get one to start it off and I think Emma [Chambers] put a great ball in and I’m just trying to do my part.”
During this game, the Jags scored three goals in ten minutes. When asked the reason for this, Valentine Pursey, who scored one of the goals said, “We knew that we had to come out with a high intensity and get some goals as quickly as possible so we could relax into the game.”
Coach Johnson said with a chuckle, “I’m glad they did at this point in time, otherwise we would be in some trouble. I think when you get that first one it opens the net up a bit and I thought we were just playing well.”
Johnson didn’t have much to complain about after the game except, “[The bench] has got to bring a better level of energy coming into the game. Because [the outcome] is not going to come in the future.
This game against Green Bay is the last home game for the Jaguars this season. When asked how she felt about momentum, Weeks said, “I think we have good momentum, I think toward the end it kind of tapered off for us. We know what to do and we are going to practice really hard because of it.”
Coach Johnson agreed with Weeks, saying “I feel good, we have a two-game streak going and everyone is healthy. I think we are moving in a positive direction.”
Next up, the IUPUI Jaguars try to continue their postseason dreams on either Monday, November 4th, or Thursday, November 7th.
Write October 27th down in the record books, the NFL finally got something right! This Sunday’s prime time was great, even without Patrick Mahomes. Aaron Rodgers had one of the best throws I have ever seen, but that’s not what we are here to talk about; buckle up and get ready for What-If Wednesday Part 4. This week we will be talking about the Raiders, Bears, Eagles, Panthers, and Colts.
Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Big surprise, the Antonio Brown trade didn’t work out. Thankfully for the city of Oakland, that trade didn’t destroy them. The Khalil Mack trade is another story. We aren’t here to chew the fat about Oakland’s front office, though. Derek Carr has been good this year, mostly because of their rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Sure, their defense needs work, but let’s make this offense even more potent and give them an All-Pro wide receiver.
Anyone who follows ESPN, Bleacher Report, or Sports Illustrated on social media saw that moment in 2014. As the ball flies over his head, Odell Beckham Jr. reaches back and makes the best catch in recent memory. But putting OBJ on this team isn’t just about his talent; not only will he improve their receiving core (by a lot), he will also bring the Raiders back to “big-market status” just like they were in the early 80’s. The Beckham Jr. addition will help bring the team back to primetime status, but will also make them an easy 10-6 squad.
Chicago Bears (3-4)
Just before I start, I want to offer Bears fans my condolences. I tried to defend Tribusky, I thought maybe he would be mediocre and be a good QB on a defense-dominated team. Unfortunately for Chicago, trading up to pass on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson was a blemish that will stick with the franchise until the end of the era, maybe even beyond. We know what the Bears need--if you were watching the game, you could hear the fans tell you by the boos that were rocking Soldier Field on the team’s way to the locker room. The Bears need a new QB yesterday.
The Bears only have a few years to be good, Mack’s contract has five years left, their rookie running back still has a limited lifespan, and Allen Robinson isn’t going to be healthy forever. Their new QB, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, is the same way. With the all-time leader in passing yards leading the new Matt Nagy offense, this Bears team rips through their tough division, winning 12 games as a Super Bowl contender.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-4)
After a dominant win at Buffalo on a cold Sunday afternoon, the Eagles are in a prime position to take control of their division. This team has a great quarterback, a sneaky good running game, and mediocre wide receivers. But, we aren’t here to make this offense any more dangerous. This week, the Eagles had to start Bruce Hector opposite Fletcher Cox. Never heard of him? Me neither. That's because he was pulled from the practice squad to start for Philly this week. This Eagles team badly needs another defensive tackle, and Geno Atkins is just the guy.
Atkins has been a mainstay for the Bengals defense for his whole career. The veteran defensive tackle would be a great addition for the defense and also a great addition to the locker room. Atkins has had 74 sacks throughout his career, and with Fletcher Cox as his partner, he would pad those stats even more. With Atkins filling a badly needed hole in the defense, the Eagles are on their way to an easy eleven win season.
Carolina Panthers (4-3)
A rough loss to the undefeated 49ers isn’t going to slow the Kyle Allen hype train down anytime soon. Not only that, Christian McCaffery can carry an offense, way easier than Allen can and he is doing just that. McCaffery is having a career season for this Carolina team. The Panthers offense is so close to serviceable, but their defense needs an upgrade.
If Patriots superstar Stephon Gilmore was thrown into the Carolina uniform, he immediately becomes Luke Kuechly’s partner in crime. Kuechly is the clear leader of the defense, but with a former Bill Belichick defensive all-star, this defensive becomes a loud, potent beast. Gilmore can sniff out the other team’s best receiver and shut him down, something that would be nice when playing the Saints, a divisional rival.
Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
I don’t want to brag, but in my NFL preview for The Campus Citizen, I called the Colts being pretty good. I mean after all, I’m just a humble guy with great opinions. After the loss of Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett took this team and turned it into what it is today. To quote Commissioner Gordon, “Because he’s the hero [Indianapolis] deserves…” (Note: This quote has been adjusted). After Luck decided to throw in the towel, Indy didn’t deserve to be tortured as a sports town any more and because of Brissett, it’s not. Unfortunately for the Colts, this underdog team won’t last forever, so let's give them that little boost to truly become a contender.
The Colts have a great offensive line protecting Brissett and he already has T.Y. Hilton and Marlin Mack to dump it off to, but what if he had another receiver? What if Brissett had Tyreek Hill? Sure, Hill has had some problems off the field, and he’s also had a down season thanks to the injuries Mahomes is currently suffering. Wearing the blue and white, speedster Tyreek Hill would run circles around defenders and while he’s doing that, the Colts will keep running defenders around their division.
As the halfway point of the NFL regular season creeps up on football fans, the teams start to separate the real from the fake. This week, we will be looking at the start of the middle of the pack teams. To begin, we will start with the New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns.
New York Giants (2-5)
What looked like a glimmer of hope has soon disappeared for Giants fans. “Danny Dimes” is human and can make mistakes. Since he is just a rookie, we will just give him the benefit of the doubt that he will improve to become a decent NFL quarterback. The Giants also took Saquon Barkley with the second pick last year, which has turned out well for them so far. Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard give enough targets that could give their offense a decent look.
What the Giants need is a young star to build their defense around. Who better to kickstart a defensive rebuild than with Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard? The new-look Giants could run a defense similar to the Indy’s Tampa 2. Leonard had seven sacks as a rookie and it looks like those numbers could only go up. Even though the Giants still need time, this team has a chance to go .500 with this stud on defense.
Los Angeles Chargers (2-5)
Going into this season people already had questions about this Chargers team. Should they pay Melvin Gordon? Can the offense stay healthy? Will Philip Rivers have another kid? As long as the offense can stay healthy, it is clearly a well-oiled machine. The Chargers need to upgrade an extremely weak defense, and where better to start than at defensive tackle?
Panthers DT Gerald McCoy will not only be a defensive presence for this rebuilding Chargers defense, but he will also help establish a work ethic for the young defensive unit. A fully healthy Chargers team has the ability to win ten games and may even make the Wild Card after the regular season ends.
Detriot Lions (2-3-1)
The Lions are so close to being good. Some people will blame it on a roster filled with holes or because of poor officiating. Regardless, this Lions team isn’t perfect--far from it, in fact. The Lions offense has been efficient this year with Matt Stafford at the helm. Their defense on the other hand? Not so great.
Their defense needs a corner like a fat kid needs cake. The Lions are currently giving up about 290 passing yards per game, third-worst in the NFL. The Lions could make an already tough division even better by sliding eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson into the defensive unit. Peterson has 23 career interceptions and the ability to slow down receivers like Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. With Peterson, maybe the Lions can finally win a playoff game for the first time since 1991.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4)
Regardless of what you think of him on the field, everyone wants to hang out with Gardner Minshew II. The guy looks like the human form of a can of PBR. All jokes aside, this Jacksonville team is on the rise, but like the Lions, it runs into a few holes in the roster. The Jaguars already have a strong defense and an established run game, so why not fill a few of the roster spots with some help with the aerial attack.
To give Minshew a few more weapons, why not bring in one of the fastest receivers in the league, Michael Thomas. “Can’t Guard Mike” has been a gamechanger for the Saints ever since he put on the black and gold and I’d expect him to do the same as a Jag. Sure, Minshew won’t be as good as Brees, but with a good defense, run game, and now receiver core, this Jags team can easily be the top dog in their division.
Cleveland Browns (2-4)
Although I have no proof, I would like to say that I called this team overrated. The Browns still need a lot of work to be the offensive powerhouse they were supposed to be at the beginning of the year. The skill players are there, but something else is missing. Someone to give Mayfield more time to give it to his strong pass-catching core.
David Bakhtiari is an offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers. Many people haven’t heard of him, but he is part of the reason for Aaron Rodgers’ greatness. With Bakhtiari as part of his offensive line, Rodgers had about three seconds to get a pass off, something Baker Mayfield could sure use. Even with Bakhtiari, I only see the Browns at about eight wins. They need to get rid of Freddie Kitchens before we can see them as a real team in the NFL.
After a slew of low-scoring Sunday games, a horrible prime time game, and a loss to my dad in fantasy football, we’re back with What-if Wednesday. For part two, we will be doing the next five worst teams: the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Atlanta Falcons (1-5)
I gave them the benefit of the doubt for my last article. I mean, they just went to the Super Bowl a couple years ago. Sadly for the city of Atlanta, this team hasn’t been the same since--despite having a great offense. Matty Ice, Julio, Sanu, a young Calvin Ridley, and Devonta Freeman form an unbelievable, skill-positioned stacked offense that can win games. Their defense, on the other hand, could use some work. So, who better to start a rebuild with than the best defensive player of my lifetime: Aaron Donald.
Donald had 20.5 sacks last year on a good Wade Phillips-coached defense. Not only that, but Donald is a good leader and has unbelievably quick hands that dominate against even the toughest offensive linemen. With Donald, this team wins at least 6 games--that is, until the offensive is kick-started back into excellence.
Denver Broncos (2-4)
There are many questions for the Broncos right now. Will they ever get another “No-fly-zone” like the Super Bowl-winning defense? Is Phillip Lindsey the running back of Denver’s future? What is John Elway’s obsession with post-prime quarterbacks? To quote the Tootsie Pop commercial, “the world may never know.” So, let's get down to business: what do the Broncos really need?
I think the Broncos are kind of like the Dolphins--they could use a little bit of everything. So, why not plop a quarterback in to replace ol’ Joe Flacco. Not only that, but they could also use a great leader in the locker room. Russell Wilson has meant everything to Seattle ever since he got there, and he would do the same for Denver. Maybe head coach Vic Fangio will figure out how to use him better than Pete Carroll did in the last few minutes of Super Bowl XLIX. With Wilson, I see the Broncos as a .500 team.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)
Wave the Terrible Towels in defeat because it might be time for the Steelers to call it quits for the season after a heartbreaking 2-4 start. After the not-so-heartbreaking loss of Antonio Brown this offseason and Big Ben’s injury, expectations for this Pittsburgh team are not so high. Even if Roethlisberger comes back healthy, how long will it be until the 37-year-old is hurt again?
That’s why, more than anything, the Steelerss need a QB to be successful. So, who better than Packers legend Aaron Rodgers. Maybe with Rodgers, the Steelers become a discount Saints team with JuJu as the Walmart-brand Michael Thomas and James Conner as something that resembles Alvin Kamara. With Rodgers, a large improvement over Mason Rudolph, this Steelers team might reach its full potential as a 9-7 team.
Tennessee Titans (2-4)
According to Clay Travis’s Twitter, “Tell me why any Titans offensive player or offensive coach should get paid this week.” I think anyone who had the delight to watch this horrid game would agree. With a whopping 204 yards of total offense, the Titans really need a totally revamped offense. Derrick Henry is still young, but at this point, it's probably time to give up on Marcus Mariota, especially if he wants to get paid a large sum of money. Unfortunately for the Tennessee front office, that isn’t their worst position.
There are two problems with the Titans quarterback position: health and targets. Giving Mariota the benefit of the doubt, maybe he is just bad because he has never had the chance to show how good he is with a great wide receiver. DeAndre Hopkins is a good guy on and off the field. He calls Will Fuller V his little brother and helped with his transition into the league. This would be great for the Titans if they try to revamp their offense. Not only that, Hopkins has had almost 8,000 yards in his six-year career. With Hopkins, the Titans should get close to seven wins in what is turning out to be a surprisingly tough division.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
Shoutout to the NFL for having another trash game for the people of London. Jameis Winston was reckless, as always, and threw five interceptions to a past-its-prime Panthers defense. So, what is wrong with this Bucs team? For starters, they have a Pro Bowl wide receiver in Mike Evans and a solid defense with rookie Devin White and Lavonte David. The Bucs’ below-average run game with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones III makes defenses think they are going to throw every time, and for good reason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need Christian McCaffrey.
There is no other running back in the league who can carry a team like this third-year Panthers running back. Not only that, but he’s nearly having a historic season with 618 yards through Week 6, averaging five yards a carry with seven touchdowns. McCaffrey on this team not only becomes even more of a fantasy god, but he also could easily carry this team to nine wins in an already weak division.
As soon as he sees the ball take flight, Quinn McCallion is ready to make the save. McCallion, the starting goalkeeper for IUPUI men’s soccer, had seven saves in Tuesday's game against the Bowling Green Falcons. Unfortunately for the Jags, they couldn’t stop everything and lost 0-1 in a gritty game under the lights.
“It’s a hard one,” McCallion said when asked what the team could’ve done better. “We had a game in Milwaukee [on Tuesday], traveling throughout the night to come back in the morning is hard, but it’s no excuse. You can prepare as much as you want, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you.”
Head coach Brian Barnett agreed with McCallion, saying “that’s the challenge of college soccer, we played on Saturday and before that, we played on Tuesday. There’s no time to prepare in college soccer, so you have to prepare your team physically and mentally to go out and play.”
The Jags got off to a slow start in the first half. “Credit to Bowling Green on that, they’re a very strong, athletic, and physical team,” said Barnett. “They do a fantastic job of repressing when they lose the ball.”
Not only that, but the Jags gave up nine corner kicks to Bowling Green. Lucky for the Jags, McCallion was there. When asked what it’s like to go up against that many, McCallion said “as a smaller goalkeeper you have to be smart, you can’t catch everything, you have to be creative, you have to learn when to punch the ball away and when you can catch. I work on my power and footwork and that helps me save a lot of goals.”
Throughout the game, the referees let the players play without many fouls. “I’m okay with it as long as they stay consistent,” said Barnett. “I think that you have to give the referee credit for staying consistent over the course of the night and I don’t think he ever wavered from that.”
On Saturday, McCallion had a career-high thirteen saves, tacking on seven more tonight. When asked about his hot streak, McCallion said “I think it’s playing each game as it comes. You can’t try and make the saves happen, you have to make them as it comes.”
After tonight's loss, the Jags are now 3-5-2. After tonight, they have a week-long break as they look to bounce back at Oakland this Saturday.
Anyone who has ever read a sports preview for the start of the league has heard it; “They’re one guy away.” Sure, that’s true for some middle-of-the-road teams, but what would happen if we did it for all of them? That’s the point of this column, to look at the “science” behind this saying and what teams really are one guy away. To start, we’ll do the worst five teams in the NFL: the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Arizona Cardinals.
Miami Dolphins (0-4)
As of Week 4, the Dolphins have been outscored 163-26 in four games. FOUR. GAMES. Now, at first glance, you might think that this defense is horrific and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees. But if you look at Miami’s throwing stats, I think that it is clear to see that what they truly need is a quarterback. 693 yards through four games sounds bad, but don’t worry, it gets worse. They have a completion percentage of 52.5%. That is why, with the first pick in The What-If Wednesday 2019 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Pat Mahomes.
Pat Mahomes is the NFL’s reigning MVP and he doesn’t look like he is going to slow down anytime soon. This doesn’t make the Dolphins a playoff team; far from it in fact. If you threw “The Mahomie” on the Dolphins, I think they easily become a 6 win team. This doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade from where they are, but even though the game gap doesn’t look very good, the skill gap sure does. The problem that is holding this team back is not their new lethal offense, but their horrible defense, a defense a lot worse than the current Chiefs D.
Washington Redskins (0-4)
The Redskins had hope going into this season; unfortunately, that hasn’t lasted very long. Much to everyone’s shock, the trio of Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, and Dwayne Haskins hasn’t turned out so well. Wow, who would’ve ever guessed that? Sadly for ‘Skins fans, the pain doesn't end there. Their budding star, Derrius Guice, will be out another five or so weeks until he heals from his knee surgery. Also, the Redskins faux-star CB has not been worth his money and he doesn’t look like he will anytime soon.
Dwayne Haskins is still young and has room to improve. His fellow rookie, Terry McLaurin, is already proving his NFL readiness. What they really need is to improve their offensive line, and who better than Shaq Mason. The Patriots guard did a great job stopping Aaron Donald in last year's Super Bowl and only allowed one sack on Tom Brady. Although this would be a great addition for the ‘Skins, I struggle to see them getting much better because of it. I see the Washington Redskins as another 5-11 team.
New York Jets (0-3)
Without Sam Darnold, it is hard to see this team being very good whatsoever. That being said, he isn’t the only thing that puts the Jets as the 29th worst team in the league. If you polled the average football fan, put one Jets receiver on it and made up the other three, I am pretty sure everyone would just guess. Robby Anderson, Josh Bellamy, Jamison Crowder, Demaryius Thomas, and Braxton Berrios are the Jets leading receivers. So, what if we put a real wide receiver with Darnold and Adam Gase?
Julio Jones has been one of football’s best receivers for the last five years, averaging 1,400 yards throughout. Even though he might not be off to a fiery start this year, that doesn’t mean that he is going to slow down anytime soon. The 30-year-old wide receiver would not only be great on the field, but he would also be a great role model to the young Darnold. With this Pro Bowler added to the Jets roster, it is hard to see them not going at least .500.
Cincinnati Bengals (0-4)
Last week’s Monday Night Football was rough. Not only for the Bengals as a whole, but also for everyone who thought they would enjoy watching it. The Bengals have a usable running back in Joe Mixon as long as he keeps the off the field issues controlled, and Andy Dalton is serviceable. The Bengals have not been to the playoffs since 2015 and even with the addition of this player, I don’t see it coming anytime soon.
They need a defense, bad, and even though they took Germaine Pratt in the third round, they still need a linebacker. Since he is available, there is no reason not to take Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks linebacker has one stat from 2018 that sticks out above all the rest: two missed tackles. Not only will the Bengals get an excellent defensive player, but they also get a good leader in the locker room. Even though they need more, if everyone stays healthy on this Bengals team, there isn’t any reason that they don’t improve to at least seven wins.
Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1)
Even though the Cardinals are winless right now, they are by far the team in the best position on this list. They have a good young quarterback already and a good running back. The glaring issue with this team is a big one: their offensive line. Anyone who has watched this Arizona team can tell you that. What the Cardinals need is Quinton Nelson.
The sophomore guard helped protect former Colts QB Andrew Luck. If you paired him with Murray, they could live their careers out as pals. With someone guarding Murray, he can show us the potential that everyone saw in his college years. Maybe this team won’t win a lot, but they would be a fun team to watch. That being said, I still see the Cardinals as a six win team.
Just before the clock turned to 15:00, Autumn Weeks netted her first goal as a Jaguar; a goal that would set the tone for the rest of the match. IUPUI’s women’s soccer team made a statement on Wednesday in their 2-1 win against UIC.
Before this game, UIC had left opponents scoreless in their last three games. Wednesday night Lena Kurz, UIC’s starting goalkeeper, had 6 saves but let two of the balls hit the back of the net. The Jags only had one goal scorer today, Autumn Weeks, a freshman midfielder from Peoria, Illinois.
“I’m just super excited, it felt unreal when it happened,” Weeks said when she was asked how it felt to have her first two goals in the same game.
Weeks may have been the only one to score, but that doesn’t mean that the offense was slow. In fact, the exact opposite was true; Valentine Pursey had three shots on goal and two assists.
“I think the girls worked really hard and they’re getting more efficient in what they are trying to do and they’re getting a better idea of how to bring things together for us,” head coach Chris Johnson said when asked about the win.
On the defensive side, the Jags allowed 9 shots on goal. “The most dangerous situations were the set pieces, which is going to happen,” said Johnson. Sophia Lipka, the Jaguars goalkeeper, helped keep a clean sheet until the 87-minute mark. UIC’s only goal was scored by Jessica Christmas. “I think they had a nice cross in, it was close, they were a lot of girls going at it, unfortunately, it went in, but we held them at the end and kept our 2-1 win,” said Lipka.
After Wednesday’s win, the Jags are now tied for second in the Horizon League with UIC and Wright State. The team atop the standings is Milwaukee, who is 3-0 in the conference. When asked how it felt, Johnson said, “It feels great, we gave up a home contest against NKU a few weeks ago, so we are a little disappointed in that right there. But, if we can get a good run going on, I think we have a chance to finish in the top two and maybe even take a shot at the top position.”
Up next for the Jaguars is a game at Detroit Mercy on Sunday, October 6th, followed by a return home on Tuesday against Illinois State.