Coming restart

With a restart vote coming soon, which Big Ten schools most want to play football? Here’s a ranking. – Chicago Tribune

Let’s take a moment to thank Garrett Snodgrass, Garrett Nelson, Ethan Piper, Noa Pola-Gates, Alante Brown, Brant Banks, Brig Banks and Jackson Hannah.

Those eight Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten, prompting the conference to defend its decision to delay fall football by revealing its 11-3 vote.

And thanks to sources, we learned that Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa were in the #LetUsPlay group.

Another vote is pending, and this one could be more complicated. Rutgers might decline to play but still vote “yes” to greenlight a fall or winter schedule. But that could depend on whether Ohio State is willing to share revenue equally.

That’s what school presidents and chancellors are discussing as we head into the first full Saturday of college football. Is it safe to return with so many campuses having paused workouts? Are there certain medical thresholds that must be reached before returning? Will the ‘haves’ play nice with the ‘have-nots’ — and vice versa?

Based on public statements and conversations with sources within the conference, here’s our ranking of the schools that most (and least) want to play.

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost directs his players during a game against Colorado on Sept. 7, 2src19, in Boulder, Colo.

Nebraska football coach Scott Frost directs his players during a game against Colorado on Sept. 7, 2019, in Boulder, Colo. (David Zalubowski / AP)

I’m surprised Scott Frost didn’t join the rally outside Big Ten headquarters and hold up a boombox playing the Nebraska fight song. He did go to Memorial Stadium on what would have been the Huskers’ opener, telling the Omaha World-Herald: “I know this institution was capable of playing football and I really believe that’s what is best for the young men.” Athletic director Bill Moos is in concert with Frost, telling the Omaha paper that all 14 ADs favored fall football. Nebraska officials said Thursday that they’re on the cusp of being able to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests.

The Buckeyes are in championship-or-bust mode, so a late-November start is as appealing as a BLT without the bacon. As coach Ryan Day put it in his statement: “We still have an opportunity to give our young men what they have worked so hard for: a chance to safely compete for a national championship this fall.”

Athletic director Gary Barta dropped a clue regarding his mindset when he said in late May that he would not rule out welcoming a full house to Kinnick Stadium on fall Saturdays. “As long as the virus is here and until a vaccine can be created, there will be risks,” he said. Iowa paused football workouts Aug. 31 after 11 players reportedly tested positive, but the Hawkeyes are back at it.

Penn State football coach James Franklin.

Penn State football coach James Franklin. (JOSE F. MORENO / TNS)

President Eric Barron released a generic statement supporting the Big Ten’s Aug. 11 announcement to delay fall sports but has been quiet since. Athletic director Sandy Barbour questioned whether a vote even took place, and coach James Franklin has been vocal in lobbying for football — or at least transparency from the commissioner’s office.

Within 48 hours of the Aug. 11 announcement, coach Jeff Brohm outlined a plan for an eight-game season beginning Feb. 27 that included postseason play. He since has backed off that timetable, joining “the sooner the better” camp. Purdue President Mitch Daniels released a statement Sept. 1 saying medical advice made it “too uncertain to proceed in good conscience.” Could Daniels be swayed? He is a former Republican governor in a red state.

Coach Tom Allen is gung-ho about playing, but it’s tough to get a feel for the administration. Athletic director Scott Dolson delivered a stern warning via Zoom to Indiana’s 700 athletes Friday, warning them about a spike in positive tests. The university reported a concerning 7.3% positivity rate across the campus in recent testing. Four teams paused workouts indefinitely Sept. 4, but football was not one of them.

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman, left, hugs running back Mike Epstein after a game against Ball State on Sept. 2, 2src17, in Champaign.

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman, left, hugs running back Mike Epstein after a game against Ball State on Sept. 2, 2017, in Champaign. (BRADLEY LEEB / AP / Associated Press)

The Illinois administration is so proud of its advances in rapid saliva testing, nary a Zoom call goes by without a mention. The university imposed a lockdown last week after a surge in cases, but athletic director (and former Illini tight end) Josh Whitman is hoping football returns, telling SI: “We didn’t get a ton of notice when we hit the stop button, and we may not get a ton of notice when we hit the start button again.”

Those who assume the egghead school is content to sit out 2020 don’t understand President Morton Schapiro’s passion for sports, especially football. He probably knows the Wildcats’ 2-deep as well as Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith knows that of the Buckeyes. Northwestern has been so diligent in its protocols, it paused practice for several days because of one positive test — and that turned out to be a false positive.

The Badgers might want to play, but not for a while. Athletic director Barry Alvarez said Friday on his monthly radio show that Big Ten presidents and chancellors will not approve football until “they feel comfortable that the medical questions … are answered. It’s not some magical date or who does the best lobbying.” Alvarez, who chairs the Big Ten’s Return to Play task force, on Wednesday announced that the football and men’s hockey teams were taking a two-week break from all team activities because of COVID-19 protocols.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh prepares for a games against Rutgers on Sept. 28, 2src19, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh prepares for a games against Rutgers on Sept. 28, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

The ultimate clash of science versus football and academia versus athletics is taking place in Ann Arbor, Mich. Unless President and renown antibodies expert Mark Schlissel gets unseated — and fast — he’s expected to win the power struggle with coach Jim Harbaugh. One additional amusing theory making the Big Ten rounds: However Ohio State votes, Michigan will do the opposite.

President Samuel Stanley has a medical degree from Harvard, and first-year coach Mel Tucker has a depleted roster with few seniors. You know the saying that all politics is local? Coaches around the conference believe the Spartans have little appetite to suit up in 2020 with the threat of going winless.

The university suspended all athletic activities Sept. 3 after a spike in COVID-19 cases. In stressing the school’s emphasis on the “health, safety and welfare of our student athletes,” athletic director Damon Evans borrowed a line from Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren.

Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck celebrates with wide receiver Rashod Bateman after a touchdown during a game against Northwestern on Nov. 23, 2src19, in Evanston.

Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck celebrates with wide receiver Rashod Bateman after a touchdown during a game against Northwestern on Nov. 23, 2019, in Evanston. (Paul Beaty / Associated Press)

Coach P.J. Fleck said that after the Aug. 11 decision was made, he sought the opinion of his Gophers. “Every player has said the Big Ten made the right decision,” he said. If the garrulous Fleck had done a 180 by now, we probably would have heard about it. Plus the Gophers are in a pro-science state.

Last, as usual. Or, for those who believe playing football during a pandemic is foolish, the Scarlet Knights are first. School President Jonathan Holloway came out strong in an NJ Advance Media story, saying the conference should wait until it can “learn about the science, different kinds of tests and potential vaccines.” And he called President Donald Trump’s involvement in the Big Ten “cheap politics.”

Chicago Tribune Sports Newsletter


A daily sports newsletter delivered to your inbox for your morning commute.

Read More

Coming Series

Xbox Series X is coming in November while ‘Halo Infinite’ will be delayed to 2021 – CNN

New York (CNN Business)The new Xbox Series X next-generation console will come out in November, Microsoft’s gaming arm announced on Tuesday, though no specific date was given.

But the release of “Halo Infinite,” the splashy blockbuster shooter game starring protagonist Master Chief, which was planned for release alongside the Xbox Series X, was postponed until some time in 2021.
The delay is “to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a ‘Halo’ game experience that meets our vision,” Chris Lee, the studio head of “Halo Infinite,” wrote in a blog post. Lee cited challenges including Covid-19, and said “it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday.”
The “Halo” franchise is synonymous with the Xbox brand, so the success or failure of “Halo Infinite” could weigh heavily on fan reception of the next-gen console.
An eight-minute preview of “Halo Infinite” shown on July 23 fell below gamers’ expectations for the title, with 31,000 dislikes of the YouTube video, an unusually high number of dislikes, although there were 163,000 likes. Gamers complained that the graphics appeared mundane and generic. When asked about this by CNN Business on July 23 in a group question-and-answer session for media, “Halo” game developers skipped over the question to answer others.
Xbox stated Tuesday that “we have plenty to keep you busy until Chief arrives,” referring to its massive games library that will be playable on the Series X, including “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” and “Tetris Effect” with multiplayer mode.

Read More

Coming Stuff

All the Stuff Coming to Apple Home in the Fall – Gizmodo

Illustration for article titled All the Stuff Coming to Apple Home in the Fall

Image: Gizmodo (Apple)

Apple’s super-stuffed developer’s presentation today brought new announcements for wearables, an overhauled iOS interface, and a new macOS with the debut of Big Sur. But Apple dropped a bunch of updates coming to the Apple tech we use in our homes—a place we’re now spending more time than ever.

The big push here was the ease with which you can use multiple products with the least amount of trouble, as you might with features like Airplay to push a video from your phone to your Apple TV or using the Home app to control the various smart devices around your space. Apple says it has open-sourced HomeKit to prioritize privacy and ease of use, so that when you add a smart device and set it up through the iOS 14 Home app, it’ll automatically suggest various automation options.

Apple has long supported smart bulbs that can change to nifty colors. But with iOS 14, it’s adding something called Adaptive Lighting, which can be used to change the colors you see in specific rooms automatically based on your preference.

The company is also rolling out a beefed-up system for home security cameras that will let users specifically designate the zones they want to monitor while excluding activity outside of those zones. So, for example, you can opt to only be alerted about activity within that designated area. Another security measure being added is facial recognition for close contacts you’ve tagged in your photos.

This feature will extend to Apple’s own products as well. HomePod will alert you about who is at the door, while Apple TV will display a video overlay from your security camera in the corner of your streaming screen. The company said that all cameras connected with the Home app will be linked to tvOS 14 as well as supported through the control center.

G/O Media may get a commission

Apple TV got a few exciting updates of its own in tvOS 14. Multi-user support is coming to Apple Arcade from the control center to pick up where you left off. The company has also announced coming support for Xbox Elite 2 and Xbox adaptive controllers for Apple Arcade. With picture-in-picture support on the way, Apple will also introduce AirPlay sessions.

As for news on the Apple TV+ front, well, the news was pretty slim (though it will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year). But! We did get a trailer for the forthcoming Isaac Asimov sci-fi joint Foundation, which will arrive sometime in 2021.

Read More