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Winners and losers from college football's Week 2 led by Clemson and Syracuse

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Winners and losers from college football's Week 2 led by Clemson and Syracuse

SportsPulse: In what’s sure to spark a debate amongst die-hard college football fans, USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg gives his opinion on the top five individual teams of all time. USA TODAY

For Clemson, this year’s matchup with Texas A&M was slightly less dramatic than the back-and-forth showdown from last September. Saturday’s meeting was barely in doubt after the early going: Clemson put the clamps on Kellen Mond and the Aggies’ offense and rode a dominant second quarter to a misleadingly close 24-10 win. (A&M scored a garbage touchdown with seconds left.)

After throwing two interceptions in the Tigers’ opener against Georgia Tech, sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 24-of-35 attempts for 268 yards and two touchdowns, one on the ground. A handful of throws undoubtedly made NFL talent evaluators weak in the knees, as Lawrence tends to do.

Texas A&M isn’t ready for the sort of challenge presented by a road trip in September to face the defending national champions. That’s doubly so true when Clemson so obviously took motivation from the way Mond and the Aggies scored nearly at will during the second half of last year’s win. Clemson’s defense decided to shut down A&M, and so the Clemson defense did just that.

Clemson is in a different class than pretty much everyone else, A&M included.

More: Underdogs get valuable lesson, Jim Harbaugh gets lucky and more college football observations from Week 2

This was supposed to be the start of a two-game stretch that would decide Clemson’s regular season. The first, home for the Aggies, turned out to be a dud. A&M is going places but remains several rungs below Clemson on the Bowl Subdivision ladder. The second seems even more meaningless: Syracuse was the only other ranked team in the ACC but will be limping into next weekend after getting bombed by Maryland.

All of a sudden, Clemson’s seemingly easy path back to the College Football Playoff just got easier. Here are the rest of college football’s winners and losers from Saturday’s action: 



If you’d been told at any point in the past decade that LSU had thrown for 471 yards and four touchdowns you might say: Sure, but in what month? (LSU actually threw for 521 yards last October. The entire month of October.) For the second game in a row, this time in a 45-38 win at Texas, the Tigers’ new offense completed more than 30 passes with four passing touchdowns. The program hadn’t had a single game meeting both those benchmarks from 2000 through the end of last season. Clearly, the explosive new scheme is one of the most interesting developments of the early season. 

TIGERS ROAR: Burrow leads way as No. 6 LSU holds off No. 9 Texas


The 24-21 win in double overtime against Army will be a game everyone talks about for the rest of the weekend but few will remember in detail by the end of November. The blip of an overreaction is pretty standard for college football. By the end of the regular season, Michigan’s win against the Black Knights may end up being an asset for the Wolverines’ postseason case and not the sort of sky-is-falling disaster it was made out to be on Saturday afternoon. Of bigger concern is how Michigan’s offense struggled controlling the line of scrimmage and in converting short-yardage situations. On the other hand, the defense held Army to just 200 rushing yards on 3.3 yards per carry. So it wasn’t all bad. Not to mention: the Wolverines won. In the race for the Playoff, that’s really all that matters. 

NAIL-BITER: No. 7 Michigan survives upset bid from Army in overtime

Southern California

The Trojans’ 45-20 win against Stanford ranks among the biggest of Clay Helton’s tenure, along with one of the most unexpected. While Stanford was dealing with injury issues of its own, USC came into the game without sophomore quarterback JT Daniels, who was lost for the season in the first half of last weekend’s win against Fresno State. Starting in his stead, true freshman Kedon Slovis threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns to pace a victory that improves Helton’s job security and changes the narrative around USC’s place in the Pac-12 race. Slovis is going be one of this week’s biggest stories in college football.

Justin Fields

The Georgia transfer was terrific for the second week in a row for Ohio State. After throwing for 234 yards and four touchdowns in the opener against Florida Atlantic, Fields accounted for 266 yards of total offense and another four combined scores in the Buckeyes’ impressive 42-0 shutout of Cincinnati. Tougher tests await for both Fields and this offense, but he’s been everything Ryan Day and this coaching staff could’ve hoped for through two games.


Down 17-0 at halftime, 24-14 early in the fourth quarter and 31-24 with less than a minute left, the Buffaloes fought back to grab a 34-31 win in overtime for the first marquee moment for new coach Mel Tucker. Quarterback Steven Montez threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns in giving Colorado a second win in as many years against its former conference rival. On the flip side, this is a tough loss for Scott Frost and Nebraska, which will fall out of this week’s Amway Coaches Poll


It’s pretty obvious that Maryland’s going to be better than most expected, though that was always a low bar to clear. (Expectations were not high for coach Mike Locksley’s first season.) After swamping Howard 79-0 last week and just destroying No. 23 Syracuse 63-20 on Saturday, the Terrapins are suddenly a trendy pick to reach a bowl game and shake up the preseason pecking order in the Big Ten East. At this rate, making a bowl game should be the baseline.



There’s nothing left to say. The general opinion as of last weekend was that Tennessee had reached rock bottom with an awful loss at home to Georgia State. That the Volunteers continued to find new lows is as unsurprising as it is miserable for the traumatized fan base, which saw Saturday’s 29-26 overtime loss to Brigham Young occur only after the Cougars’ miracle completion late in the fourth quarter and game-tying field with one second left. (The kick barely squeezed inside the upright, of course.) Tennessee is now 0-2 for the first time since 1988 and has started 0-2 with both losses coming at home for the first time since 1980. 

ROCKY START: BYU stuns Tennessee with late rally

Florida State

Wins usually feel good, especially in the case of a Florida State program that hasn’t done much of it since the start of the 2017 season. So, in that sense, congratulations: FSU beat Louisiana-Monroe for its first win on the year. By the way, the final score was 45-44 in overtime. Coming one week after losing at home to Boise State, that the Seminoles barely sneaked past a Sun Belt opponent is just more cause for alarm for a fan base understandably concerned about the current state of the program under coach Willie Taggart. As it turns out, FSU can’t get stops on defense, makes avoidable mistakes and looks very much like the team that missed out on a bowl game a season ago. 


Twelve years ago, the Warhawks pulled off one of this century’s more memorable upsets by knocking off Alabama in Nick Saban’s first season. (No, I don’t think Taggart and FSU are about to go on an Alabama-like run.) This one would’ve earned a similar place in program history regardless of the Seminoles’ mediocrity. In general, ULM doesn’t lose sleep over losing as heavy underdogs against Power Five competition. Except when it happens like this: ULM scores in the bottom of the first overtime to make it 45-44 and then, after deciding not to go for the two-point conversion, misses the extra-point try to give FSU the win. After scoring in just three plays in the overtime possession, the decision to not go for two was baffling.


So much for that huge, decades-in-the-waiting matchup against Clemson next Saturday. Were the Orange caught looking past Maryland? That argument would’ve worked had the Terrapins won by one touchdown, not six. It’s more probable that Maryland revealed the Orange as an average team unworthy of a spot in the Coaches Poll. Boiled down, a team viewed as the second-best in the ACC just lost by 43 points to a team viewed in the preseason as one of the worst in the Big Ten.


Not because the Black Knights didn’t acquit themselves well against the Wolverines — they looked very much the part of a Top 25 team, and will get votes in next week’s Coaches Poll — but because of how long Army coaches and players stewed over last year’s loss at Oklahoma. More than anything, the Michigan game was another chance to show how far the program has come across coach Jeff Monken’s six seasons. As with the loss to the Sooners, the Black Knights will sweat the double-overtime defeat as a missed opportunity. It shouldn’t stop Army’s march through the rest of its schedule, however.

South Florida

USF was 7-0 and nationally ranked heading into a road trip to Houston to end last October. The Bulls haven’t won since. In its own way, each loss has been worse than the last; the worst yet might be Saturday’s 14-10 loss to a Georgia Tech team in the very start of a massive building project under new coach Geoff Collins. But here’s a silver lining: The four-point loss was the Bulls’ closest margin of defeat throughout this losing streak. Small victories, I guess. A week ago, USF kicked off the year with a 49-0 loss at home to Wisconsin.


It was another ugly setback to start Chip Kelly’s second season, which was widely assumed to end up more successful than his first. New year, same issues: UCLA’s offense is just horrendous, with just a combined 28 points in losses to Cincinnati and San Diego State. Under Kelly, the Bruins have started 0-2 in successive seasons for the first time since World War II. While the two opponents are strong representatives from the Group of Five — San Diego State has five wins against the Pac-12 since the 2016 season; Oregon State has just four Pac-12 wins since the start of the 2015 season — the Bruins’ failures against the Bearcats and Aztecs paints a dim picture of the team’s chances during league play. Oh, and Oklahoma comes to town next week. 

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Yes, Democrats Should Impeach Trump — and Make Mitch McConnell Defend His Acquittal

Westlake Legal Group jXScgnbFwOW2JbWC2i_w7qZdh2VWgSOpiLxPMrfUZWw Yes, Democrats Should Impeach Trump — and Make Mitch McConnell Defend His Acquittal r/politics

YES. I’ve only been saying this since January.

And the response here? Defeatist crying about bumps and that it was worthless if the Senate acquits.

Force the GOP to block impeachment.

Otherwise, long after Trump is gone, they’ll all still be playing “What!? Wasn’t me!”

And don’t put all of the fucking eggs in the election basket when we know that it’s going to get hacked, troll armied, and deep faked.

And maybe, just maybe, we should put away the 4D defeatist chessboards, grow some teeth, put country before party, and call a crime a crime even if the police won’t come.

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Boris Johnson Finds His Party Loyalists Aren’t as Loyal as Trump’s

LONDON — Britain and the United States have often seemed lashed together amid the populist storms of the last few years — Brexit and the Trump White House echoing and amplifying each other across the Atlantic. But in one respect they have radically diverged.

In London, rebels in the Conservative Party staged a dramatic insurrection in the past week against Prime Minister Boris Johnson, blocking his plan to withdraw Britain from the European Union even without a deal. In Washington, scarcely a handful of Republicans have stood up to President Trump, even when he has flouted party orthodoxy on issues like trade, immigration and the deficit.

The Tory party’s revolt against Mr. Johnson, and his ruthless purging of the rebels, are reverberating through British politics, threatening his hold on power. For dispirited Republicans, though, this British revolution has become an object lesson in how a center-right party can stand up to a wayward leader.

The Conservative rebels “showed courage and principled concern about the impact of bad policy on the U.K. economy,” said Daniel M. Price, who served as an economic adviser to President George W. Bush. “This contrasts with congressional Republicans here who have mostly been meek, mute or complicit.”

The uprising in Westminster came even though British political parties enforce discipline far more strictly than their American counterparts. Mr. Johnson punished the 21 renegades by throwing them out of the party. Mr. Trump can ostracize Republican dissidents and dry up their funding, but he cannot expunge them from the party rolls.

Much of the difference, experts said, has to do with a magnitude of the crisis on each side of the Atlantic. The Tories who broke with Mr. Johnson regard his vow to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, come what may, as so reckless that it poses a dire threat to the nation — one that would wreak economic havoc and sunder both their party and British society.

Analysts warn that a no-deal Brexit, one in which Britain abruptly leaves Europe without transitional arrangements on trade or borders, will lead to shortages of food and medicine, trucks backed up on both sides of the English Channel, and the threat of violence in Northern Ireland, where a hard border could reignite the sectarian troubles that all sides thought they had left behind.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 07tory-2-articleLarge Boris Johnson Finds His Party Loyalists Aren’t as Loyal as Trump’s United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J Republican Party Legislatures and Parliaments Johnson, Boris Great Britain Withdrawal from EU (Brexit) Great Britain Conservative Party (Great Britain) Conservatism (US Politics)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has aimed to harden his party against challenges from the hard-core pro-Brexit movement.CreditDaniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“To deliver Brexit like this is to create a poison pill which for 40 years will divide this country straight down the middle,” Rory Stewart, a rising star of the Conservative Party, said in a BBC Radio interview.

Mr. Stewart, who challenged Mr. Johnson for the Tory party leadership in June, learned of his expulsion from the party via a text message on Tuesday just minutes before GQ magazine honored him as its politician of the year.

While many Republicans deplore Mr. Trump’s divisive language and erratic conduct, few accept the argument — at least publicly — that he poses a comparable threat to the United States. However distasteful they find him, Republicans largely back his agenda, whether it is the appointment of conservative judges, the passage of tax cuts, or deregulation.

They are even willing to tolerate his overturning of traditional Republican priorities like free trade, in part because of the damage they fear a vengeful Mr. Trump could do to them personally at the polls. The president has thoroughly taken over the Republicans, remaking the party of Lincoln in his image and institutionalizing policies that, only a few years ago, would have seemed extreme to them.

Mr. Johnson wants to engineer a similar takeover of the Conservatives, purifying the party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher so that it can repel challenges from the hard-core pro-Brexit movement, which now has its own competing party. If he clings to power, a more radicalized Tory party could yet emerge.

But Mr. Johnson offers little to supporters beyond a promise to leave the European Union next month. His other policies — tax cuts, more money for the police, tighter immigration rules — are standard-issue Conservative fare. Several of his rivals for the party leadership this spring ran on substantively similar platforms.

“There’s not much of a quid pro quo there,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London.

In fact, Mr. Bale noted, a few of the rebels — notably Philip Hammond, who advocated a policy of austerity as chancellor of the Exchequer in the previous Conservative government — were put off by Mr. Johnson’s profligate spending plans.

Rory Stewart, who challenged Mr. Johnson for the Conservative leadership, learned of his expulsion from the party via text message this week.CreditVictoria Jones/Press Association, via Associated Press

While Mr. Johnson’s flamboyant image and populist appeals bear a surface similarity to Mr. Trump, he has not mobilized a grass-roots political movement anywhere near that of the president. Nor does he enjoy the prerogatives of a presidential system with a fixed four-year term. This past week, he wasn’t even able to call an election without the assent of the opposition Labor Party.

“Trump got elected; he got through the fires,” said Alan K. Simpson, a former three-term Republican senator from Wyoming who served as his party’s whip. “Unkempt Boris just showed up on the scene. You can rough up a guy like that.”

Mr. Johnson’s first foray into Parliament as prime minister was an unmitigated disaster. He lost four key votes in a row and faces the specter of having to do something he vowed he would never do: ask Brussels for an extension of the date when Britain will leave the European Union.

Until last week, Mr. Johnson, as a new prime minister, would at least have had the reliable backing of his party.

“There is a very strong sense of party loyalty,” Mr. Bale said. “Most M.P.’s recognize that they owe their seats to the party, not to themselves. It is a measure of the depth of feeling that so many of them stood up.”

The only precedent for this kind of rebellion came in the 1990s when a group of Conservative renegades opposed Prime Minister John Major’s attempts to implement the Maastricht Treaty, which tightened the bonds of the European Union. It was essentially the reverse of the current civil war: a cabal of Euroskeptic lawmakers defying a moderately pro-European government.

Mr. Major survived the challenge, but his party was weakened by the infighting and lost a general election in 1997. That is a worrisome precedent for today’s Conservatives given the stature of those who rebelled against Mr. Johnson.

In addition to Mr. Hammond and Mr. Stewart, the group included Kenneth Clarke, the most senior member of the House of Commons; David Gauke, a former attorney general; and Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Churchill. Even Mr. Johnson’s brother, Jo Johnson, resigned, saying he was “torn between family loyalty and the national interest.” Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, on Saturday became the latest to quit.

The uprising in Westminster came even though British parties impose discipline far more rigorously than their American counterparts.CreditJessica Taylor/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A comparable uprising on Capitol Hill would require Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the most senior Republican; Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who served in Mr. Bush’s cabinet; Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a rising star on the right; and Mitt Romney of Utah, whose father ran for the Republican presidential nomination and who himself was the party’s candidate in 2012.

It is not that Republicans have never turned on their own president. In August 1974, at the climax of the Watergate scandal, three leading Republicans, led by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, told President Richard M. Nixon that his support in Congress had evaporated. The next evening, Nixon announced his resignation.

American Republicans vote against their party far more regularly than British Conservatives. Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont made a career of voting against fellow Republicans on issues like tax cuts, arms control and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton before leaving the party in 2001 and starting to caucus with the Democrats.

Some Republicans, like Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have come out against Mr. Trump’s trade war with China. Others, like former Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, have raised alarms about his handling of national security.

Still, after watching Republicans stand by Mr. Trump in the Russia investigation and the furor over his remarks after the racial clashes in Charlottesville, Va., analysts have largely given up any expectations of wholesale defections.

To this day, only a single Republican lawmaker, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, has called for Mr. Trump to be impeached (he later left the party and is now an independent). Outspoken critics, like Mr. Corker and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, are now in retirement. Senator John McCain of Arizona, perhaps Mr. Trump’s biggest scourge in the party, died last year.

“If Trump proposed to do something really radical, like pulling out of NATO, maybe you would see some Republicans stand up,” said Thomas Wright, the director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. “But Republicans are largely happy with the legislative items being sent to the Hill.”

The Conservative Party is in a far more precarious position. It faces a threat from the insurgent Brexit Party, which could peel away many of its hard-core pro-Brexit voters if the party is perceived as weak on leaving the European Union. That helps explain why Mr. Johnson is so determined to rid the party of its dissidents.

“For us, the big picture is the future of the U.K. and Britain’s place in the world,” Mr. Wright said. “For the Tories, everything is about domestic politics. That’s why you’re seeing almost French Revolution-style radicalization of the movement.”

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2019 NFL season: 100 names to know as Week 1 kicks off

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 2019 NFL season: 100 names to know as Week 1 kicks off

SportsPulse: It’s that time of the year again, time for Lorenzo’s Locks. Every week of the NFL season, we hit you with one lock, one upset, and one over-under. Listen in, and make some money. It’s that easy. USA TODAY

Even the most casual NFL fans know plenty about Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Aaron Rodgers and, at this point, perhaps more than they wanted about Antonio Brown, Ezekiel Elliott and others. If you enjoy fantasy football, many of the players are familiar, but their identities beyond the numbers might not be. And then there are just those good ol’ training camp stories you might have missed.

So, heading into the league’s 100th season, here are 100 names (mostly less obvious) you should know, including maybe a few you’d simply lost track of …

1. Patriots P Jake Bailey: Belichick is going with a right-footed punter — stop the presses. Not a surprise given Bailey was a fifth-round pick in April, but it speaks to his ability given how stellar predecessor Ryan Allen was in New England’s Super Bowl LIII win.

2. Colts GM Chris Ballard: What does he do — if anything — after QB Andrew Luck’s stunning retirement left a presumed contender reeling? Ballard is sitting on a ton of salary cap money but has focused on rebuilding the Colts through the draft. His subsequent moves should be fascinating, and maybe targeting a guy like Josh Rosen makes sense if the team flounders, especially since Indianapolis will likely be too good to fall into position for a top quarterback next spring.

3. Eagles DE Derek Barnett: He recovered the Brady fumble that helped put Super Bowl LII on ice for Philly but missed most of his sophomore year with a shoulder injury. Now the 2017 first rounder needs to step up for a team that lost Chris Long to retirement.

4. Jets RB Le’Veon Bell:Is he worth the money? Will the year off prove beneficial or detrimental? Answers loom for an enigmatic (and highly) talented player who generates so many questions.

5. Colts QB Jacoby Brissett: You’re up … for a franchise with a quarterbacking lineage that includes Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning and Luck. Indy was built to win with Luck at the controls, so Brissett won’t get a better opportunity to prove he’s a franchise passer.

6. Rams RB Malcolm Brown: If Todd Gurley’s knee issues resurface, Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson will be asked to step into the (gaping) void.

7. WR Dez Bryant: Remember him? Will he get another shot to play in 2019 after an Achilles injury aborted his stint with the Saints last year?

8. 49ers DT DeForest Buckner: Consistently one of the most underrated and underappreciated big men in the game, Buckner should truly come into his own with trade acquisition Dee Ford and rookie Nick Bosa flying around the corners.

9. Steelers ILB Devin Bush: The long-awaited replacement for Ryan Shazier? Pittsburgh sure hopes so.

10. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio: Apparently the man Houston wants to fill its GM vacancy. Apparently New England brass didn’t let it happen … for the time being. But will Caserio, one of the unsung heroes of the Patriots dynasty, jump ship next year?

WEEK 1 PICKS: Will Steelers upset Patriots in opener?

11. Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb: Could he blossom into a bigger defensive game wrecker than Von Miller in Vic Fangio’s defense? Just maybe …

12. Browns RB Nick Chubb: He ran for 996 yards as a rookie despite starting only half the season. The Cleveland weapon no one seems to be talking about.

13. Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney: If you want to credit him for forcing his way out of Houston, fine — but it didn’t earn him more money. Now, if the highly talented but not outrageously productive edge rusher can finally add a double-digit sack total to his run-stopping skills, maybe he can lure the money he feels he deserves in 2020.

14. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook: His 85-yard TD run in preseason suggests he’s back to full health and ready to fuel the ground assault coach Mike Zimmer prefers to seeing Kirk Cousins throw 50 times a week.

15. Saints TE Jared Cook: He could give QB Drew Brees an element he hasn’t had since Jimmy Graham thrived in this offense and could be a difference maker for a club that’s been stuck on the cusp.

16. Bears C James Daniels: Though he was a 2018 first rounder and played center at Iowa, based on Thursday’s loss to Green Bay, Daniels should go back to guard and Cody Whitehair should resume snapping.

17. Jets QB Sam Darnold: Widely viewed as the premier passing prospect entering the 2018 draft, his uneven play as a rookie validated Cleveland’s decision to take Baker Mayfield No. 1. However the Darnold buzz is back after a stellar preseason operating new coach Adam Gase’s offense.

18. Saints DE Marcus Davenport: He produced 4½ sacks as a rookie after New Orleans sacrificed a first-round pick to move up the board for him. Davenport needs to generate far more heat in his second season if he is indeed going to be a player who helps put this talented squad over the top.

19. Jaguars WR Keelan Doss: The Hard Knocks star has landed on Jacksonville’s practice squad, but for how long? The Jags certainly have room for a play-making receiver, and so do many other teams that might be willing to promote Doss to a 53-man roster. You wonder about Raider remorse.

20. Jets GM Joe Douglas: On the job only three months, he’s already making his mark with a franchise where leadership has too often been lacking. Douglas lured Pro Bowl C Ryan Kalil out of a brief retirement and jettisoned this year’s third rounder, pass rusher Jachai Polite, who was selected by predecessor Mike Maccagnan.

21. Chargers RB Austin Ekeler: The Bolts offense might just be more explosive with him getting the bulk of the touches instead of holdout Melvin Gordon.

22. Broncos coach Vic Fangio: How much better will he make Denver’s defense? How much will Chicago’s suffer without the former coordinator? How will the salty, rookie head man, 61, cope if the Broncos again fail to keep pace in the AFC West?

23. Broncos QB Joe Flacco: The most impressive win of his career arguably occurred in Denver seven years ago when he was marching the Ravens to the Super Bowl. Flacco will need a Mile High resurgence if he’s to become the first quarterback to take the Broncos to the playoffs since Peyton Manning retired.

24. Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette: Nick Foles, blah, blah. After a hugely disappointing sophomore season, Jacksonville needs Fournette to be its bellcow.

25. Cowboys C Travis Frederick: Dallas should get quite a lift from the return of the four-time Pro Bowler, who missed last season while battling Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

26. Falcons RB Devonta Freeman: One of the league’s most punishing runners, he was limited to two games last year. But given the lack of proven depth behind him, Freeman could be one of the league’s top workhorses in 2019.

27. Cowboys WR Michael Gallup: After catching 33 balls as a rookie, he’s expected to take a major leap in Year 2 working opposite No. 1 target Amari Cooper.

28. 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo: His team was a chic playoff pick a year ago. Now, with Jimmy G. coming back from major knee surgery, the Niners are generating little hype — something the relatively inexperienced but handsomely paid passer was acquired to change.

29. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett: “Jason Who?” That may ultimately be the result if the longtime Dallas coach doesn’t win enough in 2019 now that owner Jerry Jones has allowed him to enter his contractual walk year.

30. Jets coach Adam Gase: Could he be Belichick 2.0, a bright football mind poised to figure it all out during his second stop, where he’s already wielding more influence? Or is this a classic case of a middling coach getting rehashed by the league?

31. Browns P Jamie Gillan: Known as “The Scottish Hammer,” the undrafted rookie free agent won Cleveland’s punting job. The brogue doubtless helped.

32. Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin: Widely expected to flourish in his third season. Head coach Bruce Arians only fueled that narrative in training camp, saying Godwin will “never come off the field.”

33. Bills RB Frank Gore: ICYMI, he’s still in the league. He’s 36. He’s likely to be Buffalo’s lead back early on now that Shady McCoy is gone. And with 522 more rushing yards, Gore will trail only Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton on the league’s all-time list. Amazing.

34. Dolphins GM Chris Grier: He extracted two first-round picks and a second rounder from Houston in the Laremy Tunsil deal. Miami will stink in 2019, but Grier is showing he can amass the requisite draft ammo to spark a quick turnaround.

35. Vikings DE Everson Griffen: Here’s hoping his head is clear and he’s ready to regain the form that made him such a disruptive player prior to 2018.

36. Lions TE T.J. Hockenson: The eighth overall pick of the draft, the Iowa product became the highest-selected player at his position since Vernon Davis was taken at No. 6 in 2006. Time to see what he can do.

37. Browns RB Kareem Hunt: He’s getting another NFL shot even though the Chiefs got rid of the 2017 league rushing champion last year following the emergence of a video showing Hunt in an altercation with a woman in a Cleveland hotel. However in addition to continuing to work on his personal life, Hunt must first serve an eight-game suspension and recover from sports-hernia surgery before he’s cleared to play.

38. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: He’s perfectly capable of smashing Michael Vick’s single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,039 in 2006). But if Baltimore is going to ascend, Jackson must make serious strides as a passer in 2019.

39. Jay-Z: Now partnered with the NFL, it will be fascinating to see what flair the music and entertainment mogul brings to the halftime show of Super Bowl LIV as it caps this centennial season. More importantly, can he advance the league’s social injustice initiatives despite some skepticism given his new linkage to the NFL?

40. Texans RB Duke Johnson: He was unhappy being a role player for a Browns squad poised to be special. Now, Johnson gets to carry the load for a Houston team that will likely struggle to get back to the playoffs. Hope you’re happy, Duke.

41. Giants QB Daniel Jones: GM Dave Gettleman was widely panned for taking the relatively unknown Duke product with the sixth pick of the draft. But Jones impressed in August, and now most Giants fans are eager to get a look at the man who will replace Eli Manning — maybe sooner than initially expected.

42. Ravens OLB Matt Judon: Baltimore’s pre-eminent pass rusher after last year’s top-ranked defense was purged of familiar faces like Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith.

43. Patriots C Ted Karras: He’s started five games in three seasons but is now thrust into the lineup after David Andrews was waylaid by blood clots in his lungs. A crucial position in New England that’s been so capably handled by unheralded Andrews since 2015.

44. Redskins QB Case Keenum: Now on his fourth team in four years, he’s challenging Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown for ultimate journeyman status. Once Keenum gives way to first rounder Dwayne Haskins, which could be any time, it will doubtless be fives teams in five seasons in 2020.

45. Titans LT Dennis Kelly: He’s filling in for suspended Pro Bowler Taylor Lewan and gets to start the season against Browns DE Myles Garrett. Sweet. Dates against three more formidable defenses (Colts, Jags, Falcons) follow. 

46. Cardinals Kliff Kingsbury: Did Chip Kelly succeed or fail in the NFL? Probably depends on whom you ask, but the answer is probably … “yes.” Even though he didn’t have nearly the kind of bona fides Kelly accrued at the college level, Kingsbury is getting his pro shot, likely with the perfect rookie (Kyler Murray) to run his system. If the Cards can’t get off the ground, it will be interesting to see how much leeway Kingsbury gets after Steve Wilks went one-and-done as the head coach in 2018.

47. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens:Tremendous expectations on a guy wearing the big headset for the first time. All he needs to do is become the first guy since Bill Belichick to win a playoff game in Cleveland … while melding a bunch of outsized personalities … while trying to serve a highly impatient ownership group. Oy.

48. Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter: Atlanta’s new (and previous) play caller must get more than empty-calorie yards out of this group if it’s to revert to something close to the form that powered this club’s 2016 Super Bowl push.

49. Patriots owner Robert Kraft: He’s largely been off the grid since getting ensnared in that sordid mess in Florida. Will he be suspended eventually, and when will we hear from the man who runs the league’s model franchise?

50. Rams WR Cooper Kupp: One of the league’s top young slot men, he had six TD catches in half a season last year before his ACL gave out.

51. Patriots TE Matt LaCosse: He gets first crack at replacing retired Rob Gronkowski. Good luck with that. LaCosse has 27 catches in four NFL seasons, about what Gronk typically produced over a half-dozen games.

52. Packers coach Matt LaFleur: A 39-year-old protégé of 33-year-old Rams coach Sean McVay, LaFleur’s offense floundered in Tennessee last year and spent much of Thursday night in reverse during his Green Bay debut. He gets a pass given few teams make hay against the Bears, but things better improve quickly if Rodgers’ obvious frustration is going to abate.

53. Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett: The return man extraordinaire finally came into his own as a pass catcher in 2018, leading the ground-bound ‘Hawks with 57 grabs for 965 yards and 10 TDs. With Doug Baldwin retired, David Moore hurt and rookie DK Metcalf still getting acclimated, it’s largely up to Lockett to force teams not to pack the box.

54. Buccaneers assistant DL coach Lori Locust: Credit Arians for continuing to give women coaching opportunities at football’s highest level. Credit Locust, who worked with the defunct AAF’s Birmingham Iron in the spring and interned for the Ravens last summer, for earning the shot to coach the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Jason Pierre-Paul (eventually) and others.

55. Titans QB Marcus Mariota: Entering the final year of his contract, likely the last chance for second overall pick of the 2015 draft to assert himself as the face of a franchise.

56. Rams OLB Clay Matthews: After 10 years in Green Bay, he’s back in Southern California, trying to add some sizzle to L.A.’s defense even if he’s unlikely to reclaim his double-digit sack form.

57. Raiders GM Mike Mayock: He’s a rookie with no previous NFL executive experience. The former NFL Network draft guru has an eye for talent, but will his straight-shooting persona meld with younger players? Hard to fault Mayock, though, for the Antonio Brown debacle, which may actually wind up galvanizing this young roster.

58. Eagles QB Josh McCown: The man who’s had more than 1,000 NFL teammates put his new career at ESPN on hold to return for a 17th season, this time as Carson Wentz’s backup — a significant job given Wentz’s propensity to get hurt and the departure of Foles. McCown, 40, is quite capable of getting Philadelphia through, say, a month without Wentz, but hard to see Philly building a statue of him given he’s never played in postseason.

59. Saints C Erik McCoy: Since New Orleans traded up to get him in Round 2 of the draft, he’s appeared ticketed for the vacancy created by Max Unger’s offseason retirement. Big shoes to fill.

60. Panthers DL Gerald McCoy: Apparently not a scheme fit in Tampa Bay’s new 3-4 defensive alignment, he winds up at the unfamiliar five-technique in Carolina’s new 3-4 defensive alignment.

61. ESPN’s Anthony McFarland: He’s left the “Booger Mobile” behind to replace Jason Witten as Monday Night Football‘s primary analyst.

62. Raiders LT Kolton Miller: Last year’s first rounder better quickly prove he can handle blind side duties in a division with so many superior pass rushers, or free agent addition Trent Brown will quickly be thrust into the job.

63. Bears RB David Montgomery: Here’s hoping coach Matt Nagy scraps the committee approach that produced next to nothing in Thursday’s loss and rides the rookie, who thrived while carrying the load at Iowa State.

64. Cardinals CB Byron Murphy: Get ready, rook. With Patrick Peterson suspended six games, Robert Alford out with a broken leg and Arizona’s defense likely to be on the field quite a bit given the pace of its counterpart Air Raid offense, Murphy’s a guy who could find himself in the crosshairs quite a bit week after week. 

65. Cardinals QB Kyler Murray: Can the top pick of the 2019 draft be the next Russell Wilson? Can his diminutive frame withstand NFL punishment? Can he legally execute a snap in Kingsbury’s offense? Will he rue the decision to walk away from the Oakland A’s? So much to ponder.

66. Texans coach Bill O’Brien: It’s always dicey to let your coach dictate personnel decisions, and it sure appears O’Brien — Houston currently has no GM — mismanaged the Clowney situation and drastically overpaid in the Tunsil deal, even as badly as he needed someone to protect QB Deshaun Watson. If the Texans faceplant, O’Brien might deservedly find himself on the chopping block.

67. Bills DT Ed Oliver: It’s typically hard for interior defensive linemen not named Aaron Donald — rookies especially — to distinguish themselves. But Oliver, Buffalo’s first rounder and a man who’s already drawn comparisons to a young Donald, might have a shot.

68. Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano: Even with Fangio gone, Chicago’s defense looked plenty formidable in its first game on Pagano’s watch. Still, stifling as the unit was, Pagano’s charges didn’t produce a strip sack or pick six in Thursday’s loss to Green Bay, the kind of plays the Bears’ still spotty offense might need for this team to contend.

69. Panthers C Matt Paradis: The league’s second-ranked pivot, according to Pro Football Focus, while with Denver in 2018, he could be one of the steals of free agency if he can solidify a line that must better protect QB Cam Newton.

70. Lions coach Matt Patricia: The latest apple to apparently fall far from the Belichick tree, Patricia better make significant improvements in Detroit in 2019 if doesn’t want to be bobbing for a new job in 2020.

71. Redskins RB Adrian Peterson: Almost surely a first-ballot Hall of Famer, it appears he’s relegated to backup duty — and maybe even street clothes — in favor of youngster Derrius Guice. Peterson flashed in preseason, showing there’s still juice in those 34-year-old legs. Will Washington simply preserve that in hopes of dealing him to a team like the Chargers, who might crave a short-term boost?

72. Chargers S Adrian Phillips: Can he hold the fort until star Derwin James (foot surgery) returns … if he does so in 2019?

73. Bears K Eddy Pineiro: The 38-yard field goal in his debut was nice. The kickoff out of bounds? Not so much. But single doinks are better than double doinks

74. Redskins WR Trey Quinn: He caught nine passes as a rookie but could be Washington’s most productive receiver after claiming the slot role in an offense largely devoid of play makers.

75. NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron: The league’s oft-maligned head referee better hope he and his crews are up to snuff after last season’s NFC Championship Game debacle in New Orleans and the resultant (and much-debated) ability for coaches to challenge pass interference.

MORE: As new season begins, NFL coaches still trying to sort out pass interference rule changes

76. Dolphins QB Josh Rosen: He may now be Miami’s most high-profile player — Google “Dolphins roster” — yet the 10th overall pick (for Arizona) of the 2018 draft isn’t starting yet and may find himself seeking an opportunity with a third team in 2020 if Miami successfully “Tanks for Tua.”

77. Eagles RB Miles Sanders: Lots of intrigue around the second rounder who emerged from Saquon Barkley’s shadow at Penn State in 2018 to rush for 1,274 yards — more than Barkley ever had for the Nittany Lions. Given Philly’s inability to move the ball on the ground last year, Sanders could be a game changer.

78. Packers S Darnell Savage: NBC’s Cris Collinsworth said Thursday that Savage could be the next Earl Thomas. Sounded borderline sacrilegious, but it speaks to the impact Green Bay expects of Savage, who showed up a lot more than fellow first rounder Rashan Gary in their NFL debut.

79. Chargers LT Trent Scott: The second-year Grambling State product is charged with watching immobile QB Philip Rivers’ back until Russell Okung is ready to return … which may not be any time soon.

80. Steelers interim WR coach Ray Sherman: What a tough assignment, being asked to replace Darryl Drake, who died during training camp. But with 28 years of experience, Sherman is definitely up to the task and could provide a nice tribute to Drake if Pittsburgh’s young receiving corps continues to develop.

81. 49ers CB Richard Sherman: Now nearly two years removed from an Achilles injury during his final season with Seattle, he appears back to Pro Bowl form physically and verbally. Sherman’s involvement with the NFLPA also makes him someone worth listening to as the expiration of the league’s collective bargaining agreement draws ever closer.

82. Packers OLB Za’Darius Smith: He had a sack in his Green Bay debut and could infuse some Ravens fire into a defense that might have to carry the Pack for a while. 

83. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: If he can upgrade his unit to mere adequacy, Kansas City might just end its 50-year Super Bowl drought.

84. Texans WR Kenny Stills: Coincidentally or not, he was shipped out of Miami after challenging owner Stephen Ross’ politics (not to mention Jay-Z’s politics). Be interesting to see how Stills, probably no better than fourth on Houston’s depth chart, fares with a franchise that wasn’t very tolerant of protesting players prior to owner Bob McNair’s death last year.

85. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa: He’s off to another flying start for the Crimson Tide, but expect his name to be consistently bandied about NFL circles this fall — especially with Miami constantly linked to him. But the Bucs, Titans and, now, Colts could all be among teams looking for a boost under center — and at the ticket office.

86. Bengals coach Zac Taylor: A 36-year-old protégé of McVay, Taylor is largely an unknown but steps into the breach after Cincinnati finally moved on after 16 years under Marvin Lewis’ leadership.

87. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky: He took a significant step forward in 2018, but he was also the primary beneficiary of the tsunami of takeaways amassed by Chicago’s defense. Trubisky didn’t get that kind of help Thursday night and didn’t look like a quarterback ready to put the offense on his shoulders.

88. Texans LT Laremy Tunsil: Not only must he justify the forfeiture of two first-round picks, he’ll probably get (unfairly) skewered if Houston’s still suspect O-line doesn’t cut Watson’s sack total — a league-high 62 in 2018 — by at least half.

89. Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling: The team’s leading receiver (4 catches for 52 yards) in Week 1, he might be ready to become Rodgers’ home run hitter.

90. Steelers WR James Washington: Can he produce at a JuJu level as the offense’s potential No. 2 receiver (Donte Moncrief is currently listed as the other starter) in the post-AB era? After a scalding preseason, Washington showed he might be up to the task.

91. Buccaneers LB Devin White: Pretty quiet preseason for the fifth pick of the draft, a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine who should be on the short list of defensive rookie of the year candidates.

92. Chiefs RB Damien Williams: He capably took over for Hunt late last season and earned a two-year deal for his efforts. However Kansas City now has McCoy and rookie Darwin Thompson waiting in the wings — both likely to get touches no matter how well Williams does.

93. Browns CB Greedy Williams: It’s fine to look like Chris Rock as long as you don’t play like him. Williams slid to the second round of the draft, perhaps due to concerns about his willingness to be physical, questions that will quickly get answered in the rough and tumble AFC North.

94. Bengals LT Jonah Williams: This year’s first-round pick, it would be a virtual miracle if he plays in 2019 after undergoing shoulder surgery.

95. Chargers WR Mike Williams: After a lost rookie season, the 2017 first rounder showed last year why the Bolts took him seventh overall. Stardom could be around the corner.

96. Redskins LT Trent Williams: By all accounts, he wants nothing to do with the organization save, perhaps, collecting its paychecks. But the perennial Pro Bowler could be far more valuable as a trade chip for Washington, which doesn’t appear anywhere close to contending. Your move, Bruce Allen.

97. Raiders WR Tyrell Williams: The other wideout Oakland acquired this offseason. You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of Williams, but better get used to the idea of him serving as QB Derek Carr’s primary target.

98. Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston: Entering the final year of his contract, likely the last chance for first overall pick of the 2015 draft to assert himself as the face of a franchise.

99. Cowboys TE Jason Witten: After a disastrous season in the MNF booth, are there any rabbits he can pull out of his head in his return to the field for a 16th season? Dallas’ tight ends were beyond underwhelming in 2018, so it’s reasonable to expect the plodding Witten can still reliably pick up first downs, operate effectively in the red zone and maybe give an ever-younger team some locker room ballast.

100. Patriots LT Isaiah Wynn: A first-round pick in 2018, he didn’t play as a rookie due to an Achilles tear. Now he’s being asked to watch Tom Brady’s blind side. No pressure, kid.


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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Kylie Rae Harris crash a shock for NM fire chief; learns his 16-year-old daughter also died

A New Mexico volunteer fire chief who responded to Wednesday night’s fatal crash that killed country singer Kylie Rae Harris learned to his horror that his own 16-year-old daughter also died in the accident, according to a report.

The teen, Maria Elena Cruz, had been driving home from work when Harris made contact with the back of a pickup truck and veered into oncoming traffic, hitting Cruz’s vehicle head-on, police said.

Pedro Cruz, a volunteer fire chief with the San Cristobal Fire and Maria’s father, responded to the call in Taos County, N.M., Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV reported.


Both Cruz and Harris died at the scene.

“He’s also an EMT, so he’s no stranger to going out on calls — both medical, crashes and other things — but very traumatic for him to not know but to respond anyway and then find it was his family member,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.

San Cristobel community members held a benefit Friday to raise money for the Cruz family. A memorial in memory of the teen was created at Taos High School, where she was a junior, Albuquerque’s KOB-TV reported.

Westlake Legal Group 0d9c7196-taos-county-sheriffs-office Kylie Rae Harris crash a shock for NM fire chief; learns his 16-year-old daughter also died fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/entertainment/music fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article 34a58efa-62a3-5f41-99ed-c324a0720441

One of the vehicles involved in the three-car crash Wednesday.  (Taos County Sheriff’s Office )


“They just want the community to remember their daughter, Maria Elena, as kind, loving and caring — wonderful daughter, wonderful sister, and a just kind-hearted soul,” Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova said.

Hogrefe said the crash was “most certainly” Harris’ fault and Cruz was an “innocent victim.”

Harris had a history of DUI incidents, KRQE reported.

Westlake Legal Group taos-county-sheriffs-office Kylie Rae Harris crash a shock for NM fire chief; learns his 16-year-old daughter also died fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/entertainment/music fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article 34a58efa-62a3-5f41-99ed-c324a0720441   Westlake Legal Group taos-county-sheriffs-office Kylie Rae Harris crash a shock for NM fire chief; learns his 16-year-old daughter also died fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/entertainment/music fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article 34a58efa-62a3-5f41-99ed-c324a0720441

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BYU's stunning double-overtime victory sends Tennessee to 0-2 for first time since 1988

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close BYU's stunning double-overtime victory sends Tennessee to 0-2 for first time since 1988

SportsPulse: In what’s sure to spark a debate amongst die-hard college football fans, USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg gives his opinion on the top five individual teams of all time. USA TODAY

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’sdefense that had been so stout throughout most of Saturday night picked the worst moment to cave. 

The Vols led BYU by three points in the closing seconds when Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson found Micah Simon for a 64-yard gain to set up a game-tying field goal that forced overtime.

BYU scored touchdowns on both of its overtime possessions, winning on Ty’Son Williams’ 5-yard touchdown run.

The Cougars pulled off a stunning 29-26 victory in front of an announced crowd of 92,475 at Neyland Stadium. BYU (1-1) never led until overtime.

The Vols dropped to 0-2 to start a season for the first time since 1988.

“I just got in there and just got dirty, just kept my feet moving and was able to get to the goal line and score a touchdown,” Williams said. 

Big play dooms Vols

BYU mustered only one play that went for at least 20 yards until its final possession. The Cougars faced a third-and-6 from their own 20-yard line with 17 seconds remaining when Simon slipped behind cornerback Alontae Taylor.

Taylor caught up with Simon to prevent him from scoring a game-winning touchdown, but not before he’d positioned Jacob Oldroyd for a 33-yard field goal to force overtime.

“I was on the same side as (Matt) Bushman, who is a really great tight end, so a lot of eyes and a lot of guys were looking at him,” Simon said. “I think they just kind of had a mis-lapse in coverage and I got behind the guys and Zach made a great pass.”

Tennessee defense steady – until the end

Curiously, BYU didn’t commit to establishing the run until the second half, even though Georgia State upset Tennessee thanks in large part to its ability to move the ball on the ground.

BYU finished with 107 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Tennessee’s defense mostly cleaned up the missed assignments and mental errors that hampered it against Georgia State. The Vols also did a better job pressuring the quarterback, sacking Wilson four times.

Tennessee had a 418-339 advantage in total offense.

Curious decision on key play

Tennessee’s offensive line and running backs were imposing their will on BYU during a fourth quarter drive when Tennessee faced a fourth-and-1 at the BYU 30-yard line while leading 16-13.

Rather than hand the ball off to a running back, the Vols called for an end-around run to wide receiver Josh Palmer. He was stopped for no gain, ending a drive that could have allowed the Vols to cement the victory. 

Contributing: Associated Press

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Reeling Twitter Critics Cannot Believe Trump Invited The Taliban To Camp David

Westlake Legal Group 5d74814d2300001d0351275f Reeling Twitter Critics Cannot Believe Trump Invited The Taliban To Camp David

President Donald Trump had planned to meet secretly with the Taliban Sunday at Camp David on a bad date three days before the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. But he decided against it after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul Thursday that killed 12 people — including a U.S. soldier.  

Many Americans were stunned.

The U.S. and Taliban had reached some kind of deal “on principle” so American forces could get out of Afghanistan. But it was an agreement that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, considered inadequate, Bloomberg reported. So Trump aimed to fix things himself. 

Now peace talks are off the table, the president tweeted. 

Critics on Twitter lashed the meeting planned to take place just days before the 9/11 anniversary with militants American soldiers have been fighting for years. In a July video, the Taliban had justified the 9/11 attacks as payback for America’s “interventionist policies.” 

Others pointed out Trump’s hypocrisy concerning Barack Obama, whom he blasted years ago for planning to negotiate with America’s “sworn enemy” — the Taliban. 

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GOP plans California comeback in 2020, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale says at state convention

Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale insisted Saturday that the GOP hasn’t given up on California despite setbacks at the polls there in 2018.

“We have the potential to win back eight congressional seats, back to Republicans, here in California,” Parscale said at the state Republican Party’s fall convention in Indian Wells.

“We have the potential to win back eight congressional seats, back to Republicans, here in California.”

— Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager

But Parscale acknowledged the job won’t be easy – and said the work would ultimately have to be done by the Golden State’s Republicans, not national party leaders.


Westlake Legal Group brad20parscale GOP plans California comeback in 2020, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale says at state convention fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/politics/2020-house-races fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio d3d51181-a4cd-51db-a135-e135d9587097 article

Brad Parscale, manager of President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. (Fox News) 

“You’re the California GOP,” he said, according to Politico. “There’s no trick I can do on my laptop that you can’t do yourselves. It takes hard work, and talking to your neighbors. And with a strong leader with President Trump at the helm, the sky’s the limit.”

“It takes hard work, and talking to your neighbors. And with a strong leader with President Trump at the helm, the sky’s the limit.”

— Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager

Democrats hammered California’s GOP at the polls last year, leaving Republicans with only seven of the state’s 53 seats in the U.S. House. Both California seats in the Senate also belong to Democrats.

The state’s Republicans were dealt another harsh blow just last month when the registrar of voters in Orange County – long a GOP stronghold in Southern California – reported that registered Democrats there now outnumbered registered Republicans for the first time since the Watergate era.

Nevertheless, Parscale told conventioneers Saturday that the Trump reelection campaign was planning a big effort in California, with as many as 50 paid staffers, making it one of “the largest Election Day operations” in state history, Politico reported.

In addition, the campaign plans to leverage artificial intelligence and other high-tech tools, in a bid to learn “who the voters are, where they live, how they consume information – and how to contact them,” he said.

“Many of you are worried that we have written you guys off – that California doesn’t matter,” Parscale said. To the contrary, he said, the Trump campaign views the nation’s most populous state as a key battleground in “the fight for the future of this country.”


Later this month, President Trump is scheduled to visit California, with events planned in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego, Sacramento’s FOX 40 reported.

Trump previously visited California in April, making stops in Los Angeles and at the state’s border with Mexico.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this story.

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Volkswagen Hopes Fresh Logo Signals an Emission-Free Future

WOLFSBURG, Germany — A crane recently lifted away the enormous VW logo that sat like a giant hood ornament atop Volkswagen’s 14-story headquarters in Wolfsburg. Sometime after dark on Monday, a crane will lower an updated one into place.

The corporate face-lift, on one of the world’s most recognizable trademarks, is part of a push by Volkswagen toward a new era of emission-free vehicles. With a new, cleaner logo, the company is eager to turn the page on a diesel emissions scandal that has cost it billions of dollars, damaged its reputation and sent executives to prison. The scandal, in fact, hastened the company’s electric ambitions.

At the Frankfurt International Motor Show on Tuesday, VW will unveil its all-electric ID.3, the first of a planned lineup of affordable, mass-produced electric vehicles. Volkswagen hopes to sell one million a year by 2025. The company’s Porsche unit will also debut its first all-electric vehicle at the show, the Taycan sedan.

“It is hard to overstate how important both these cars are for their respective manufacturers,” Tim Urquhart, an auto industry analyst at IHS Markit, said in a report ahead of the Frankfurt show. “VW needs the ID.3 to present a compelling choice for buyers that would never before have even considered buying an E.V., a true electric people’s car.”

To date, Volkswagen has lagged competitors like Renault, Nissan and General Motors in electric vehicles. But Volkswagen executives argue that the company is now going all in on electric and doing something none of its rivals have been able to achieve: sell a full-featured battery-powered car at a price that can compete with cars that run on fossil fuels.

Instead of a niche product that appeals mostly to wealthy, environmentally conscious buyers, Volkswagen executives said, the ID.3 is meant to be to electric cars what the Beetle was in its postwar heyday, the entree to a previously unattainable form of mobility.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160151196_792c31e1-400a-4d87-be22-7ed5b73f0705-articleLarge Volkswagen Hopes Fresh Logo Signals an Emission-Free Future Volkswagen AG Porsche AG logos Fuel Emissions (Transportation) Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Batteries Automobiles

Volkswagen designed the ID.3 with the goal of rivaling the mass appeal of its Beetle, shown here in 1968.CreditAssociated Press

The stakes are high as Volkswagen remains under scrutiny four years after the emissions scandal came to light. Last week, a court-appointed monitor issued an interim report that found no breaches of Volkswagen’s agreements with American officials. But the monitor, Larry Thompson, a former deputy United States attorney general, recommended that the company continue to refine a program that allows employees to report ethical or legal problems without fear of reprisal.

The ID.3, the first Volkswagen-brand car designed from the ground up to run solely on batteries, is an implicit challenge to Tesla and other companies, like Rivian or Dyson, whose backers hope to dislodge the traditional carmakers. Volkswagen is aiming to demonstrate that the future ultimately belongs to companies that know how to profitably produce cars by the millions.

Executives at Volkswagen, which last year edged out Toyota as the world’s largest carmaker, have hinted that economies of scale have allowed them to push the cost of batteries in the ID.3 below $100 per kilowatt hour. That price is considered the point at which electric cars become more affordable than internal combustion models. Analysts had not expected costs to fall that far for several more years.

Ralf Brandstätter, chief operating officer for the division that makes Volkswagen-brand cars, simply grinned when asked about rumors that the company had achieved that magic number.

“We are the company that will provide electromobility for all,” Mr. Brandstätter said last month on the sidelines of an event in Wolfsburg where the company gave reporters an advance look at the ID.3.

Another executive, who declined to be identified because the company had not officially disclosed a figure, confirmed that Volkswagen was paying less than $100 per kilowatt hour for batteries.

The car, a four-door hatchback, will go on sale this year in Europe, starting under 30,000 euros, or $33,000, in the same range as a well-equipped Volkswagen Golf. That is about €20,000 less than a Tesla Model 3 in Europe, but still about €8,000 more than the starting price for a Renault Zoe, an electric subcompact.

Volkswagen logos since 1937. An update will be introduced this week.CreditVolkswagen

The ID.3 makes a flashier impression than the Zoe and has features like a navigation system that displays information on the windshield, so drivers can keep their eyes on the road.

Still, Volkswagen’s electric push is a huge gamble. Sales of battery-powered cars in Europe rose 84 percent in the first half of the year, to 173,000, according to JATO Dynamics but they account for less than 2 percent of the total market, and charging infrastructure remains spotty.

Volkswagen plans to begin selling an electric car in the United States at the end of next year, but has not provided details about price. Mr. Brandstätter indicated that the model would probably be a sport utility vehicle. Initially, Volkswagen will import the cars, but plans to begin producing them at its factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2022.

As Mr. Brandstätter tells it, the ID.3 traces its origins to a crisis meeting of top VW executives in October 2015.

Only a few weeks earlier, the company had confessed to rigging diesel cars to conceal illegally high emissions from regulators. Martin Winterkorn, the chief executive, had resigned. It was already clear that the scandal would lead to huge fines and devastate Volkswagen’s image.

The executives resolved to develop what they call a Modular Electrification Toolkit, a collection of components that would serve as the basis for a range of electric models with zero tailpipe emissions.

For Volkswagen, the toolkit was a major commitment to electric vehicles. The company’s strategy has long been to share as many parts as possible among its car brands, which include Skoda, SEAT, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.

The electric Taycan, from Volkswagen’s Porsche unit, will also be unveiled in Frankfurt.CreditJoerg Eberl/Porsche A.G., via Associated Press

Designers and engineers for the Volkswagen divisions draw on these toolkits, also known as platforms, while cultivating separate brand identities. The strategy helps hold down costs and exploits Volkswagen’s worldwide empire of factories capable of churning out more than 10 million cars a year.

The scandal was a catalyst. It takes at least three years to develop a new modular toolkit. If the scandal hadn’t prodded Volkswagen to start at the end of 2015, the company might not be in a position to mass-produce electric cars today.

The decision to redesign the logo was, from Volkswagen’s point of view, almost as significant. Among other things, Volkswagen will need to replace signs at about 70,000 dealers worldwide.

The simple logo of a V hanging above a W inside a circle is the latest iteration of a basic idea that goes back to the 1930s. Volkswagen was then a Nazi propaganda exercise, a “people’s car” that would make automobiles affordable for everyone.

The initial 1930s trademark was surrounded by what looks like a whirling swastika. The new trademark looks very similar to one used in the mid-1960s, when the Beetle was the best-selling import in America.

The logo is two-dimensional, in contrast to the three-dimensional, metallic look of the logo that, with some tweaks, has been used since 1999. That logo did not reproduce well online, where Volkswagen now does most of its marketing.

Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen’s chief designer, who designed the previous logo, said it was out of date.

“When we came up with the new car,” Mr. Bischoff said during an impromptu interview in Wolfsburg last month, “we said: ‘This doesn’t fit anymore. We need something new.’”

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Opinion: Bianca Andreescu reaches rare air with fearless spirit in story for the ages

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Opinion: Bianca Andreescu reaches rare air with fearless spirit in story for the ages
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FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. — The 2019 women’s champion of the US Open didn’t know quite what to do, and who could blame her?

She had never been in a major final before. She had never even been in the main draw of the Open before. So a few moments after the final points of her epic 6-3, 7-5 victory Saturday over Serena Williams, only the greatest player in history, 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu, the first Canadian of any gender to capture a Grand Slam title, sprawled flat on her back in the deuce-court service box, legs played out, a tennis ball nearby, just in case she wanted to pound one more fearless forehand at the reeling icon across the net.

Bianca Andreescu is one of the best stories of this or any year. She couldn’t get through qualification here last year and finished 2018 ranked No. 178. She missed months this year with a troublesome shoulder injury. Still, she held on to her belief, and kept up with the visualization techniques she’s been using since she won the Orange Bowl 18s, a major junior tournament, a few years ago.

She would imagine herself playing Serena Williams in a final, and beating her.

She visualized it every day.

“It’s so crazy, man,” Andreescu said, tearing up. “For it to become a reality is just so crazy. I guess these visualizations really, really work.”

Andreescu began this remarkable ascent at the first WTA tournament of the year, in Auckland, New Zealand, where she beat Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams and made it to the finals. Then she won in Indian Wells, taking down Angelique Kerber in the final, and people started to notice. But her shoulder forced her to retire in Miami and from the second round of the French, and she was out most of the summer, and the grass and hardcourt seasons.

“To be honest, I never thought of this,” her father, Nicu Andreescu, told USA TODAY Sports. “We didn’t think this could be happening (so soon) with all the injuries.”

His daughter finally got healthy in time for their hometown tournament, in Toronto, early last month. The unseeded Andreescu beat No. 5 Kiki Bertens and No 3 Karolina Pliskova and made it to the finals, against Williams. It didn’t last long – Williams retired with back spasms after losing three of the first four games – but the small sample size did nothing but bolster Andreescu’s belief that she could battle Williams, and win.

Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, took note.

“I think she’s going to be No. 1 soon, because she has everything that’s needed,” he said a day before the final.

So many of Williams’ opponents get so cowed by her legend and her aura that they are effectively beaten before they get on the court. It didn’t even occur to Andreescu to be awed. Her father said fear has never been the slightest bit of her makeup.

“When she was little, we had to have her wear a helmet in the house, because she was always so active, banging her head against everything,” he said.

Andreescu’s unrelenting fighting spirit worked on the 37-year-old Williams, the oldest finalist in the Open era. Williams’ serve is the most dangerous weapon in the sport. She’d lost three service games the whole tournament – winning 51 of 54 – before Andreescu broke her six times in the final. Williams’ serve was way off form – she had eight double faults and double faulted on break point three times – but the pressure Andreescu put on her by coming at her from the outset undoubtedly had a lot to do with that. Williams counts on a lot of free points. Against Andreescu, she got none.

The game plan was to make Williams run, extend points, make her work for every ball. Andreescu executed it brilliantly. After Williams finally settled in and fought back from a 1-5 deficit in the second, fighting off a championship point, suddenly the set was squared at 5, and the crowd was going berserk. Andreescu put her fingers in her ears at one point.

“It was really, really loud. I could barely hear myself think,” she said.

It looked as if it was all unraveling, but then she had a strong hold for 6-5, smacking an ace along the way, and broke Williams one last time to end it, smoking a forehand winner down the line on match point.

“It was amazing at 5-all that she was able to reset,” her coach, Sylvain Bruneau, told USA TODAY Sports. “Serena is finding her range. The crowd is getting into it. It’s becoming anybody’s match – and she’s playing against Serena, the greatest player of all time.”

And Andreescu, the youngest Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006, powered through.

“She does what she does best, and that’s move up to the ball, that’s hit winners, that’s play with a ton of intensity,” Williams said. “She definitely deserves this championship.”

A year ago, when Williams was falling to Naomi Osaka in the final, Andreescu was home, injured, “sitting on my butt.” Now she is the US Open champion, a Canadian hero, the owner of the best record of any player in Open history. She has played seven matches, and won them all.

That is tough to top. The whole day was tough to top for the fastest rising star in her sport.

“I have the biggest smile on my face,” Andreescu said.

Follow Wayne Coffey on Twitter @wr_coffey

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