All three are expected to be ready for the regular season, however, and their absence gives inexperienced or forgotten players the chance to showcase their skills against a talented group of Trojan receivers. As the team continues to grow, they haven’t forgotten last season’s emotions. Redshirt freshman cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart runs during spring football practice. (Josh Dunst / Daily Trojan) “The defensive line has been probably the most impressive, just with their techniques up front,” Pendergast said. “The inside linebacker position with the young guys has been fun to watch. They’ve really picked up their ability to blitz inside.” All USC teams are talented, but this one faces the monumental task of making fans forget about the team’s frustrating 2018 campaign. The defense in particular has a lot of questions to answer: The unit lost four major contributors from 2018 in linebackers Porter Gustin and Cam Smith, cornerback Iman Marshall and safety Marvell Tell. “Honestly, it helps us more because we’re able to learn more positions on the field and get used to playing inside and outside instead of corner sticking to corner, safety sticking to safety,” said redshirt freshman cornerback Chase Williams. “It helps us all to learn every position on the field and, at the end of the day, it gets our conditioning up.” “What I want is a bunch of leadership,” Burns said. “Even the freshman [are] communicating, being boisterous about situations and encouraging each other. I think we have a crop of leaders, not just in the secondary but on the defensive side.” “The technique as a corner is very important, especially getting your hands on them, stopping them from running their route, making it a lot tougher for the [quarterback] to make the throws,” Taylor-Stuart said. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said putting players at multiple positions helps the coaches as well as the players. “When you’re teaching the defense, when you’re putting it in in the spring, trying to find out what guys do best, what gives them the best opportunity not only for the team but for them as well, you have to kind of mix and match,” Pendergast said. Taylor-Stuart and Williams said their work with defensive backs coach Greg Burns helped them pick up the slack. “We want to come out and dominate and compete every day,” redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu said of his position group. “We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we did last season because we felt we didn’t do what we were supposed to.” Taylor-Stuart echoed Burns’ philosophy of emphasizing on proper technique, especially when it came to physicality with receivers. The other areas of the defense have had a bit more luck healthwise. Pendergast said he has liked what he has seen from the defensive line and inside linebackers. Nothing can be taken for granted when a team has everything to prove. That is the mindset the USC football team holds halfway through its spring practice schedule. “I just like working against whoever steps up,” said redshirt freshman cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart, a highly-ranked recruit who missed much of last season due to injuries. “I like working with [senior Michael] Pitt[man], [redshirt-junior] Tyler Vaughns, [sophomore] Amon-ra St. Brown — it doesn’t matter who steps up. As long as I work and get better, that’s all that matters.” With young players stepping up, Burns said he didn’t care who emerged as a leader, just that they communicate. The injuries have forced the remaining defensive backs to fill in at every position in the secondary, which can be mentally and physically tiring but also rewarding. The team is dealing with particular challenges replacing those last two players, however. The Trojans are dealing with injuries to sophomore cornerback Olaijah Griffin (shoulder) and sophomore safety Talanoa Hufanga (collarbone), both of whom were poised to get significant playing time in the defensive backfield. Even freshman cornerback Max Williams is currently unavailable as he recovers from a knee injury that ended his senior season of high school. “He’s super detailed, he gets down to the real nitty-gritty stuff and he pushes us,” Williams said. “Each day, he gets more and more intense, but at the same time, he stays on the fundamentals. He continues to have us repeat the same drills, the same techniques because they transfer to the field.” Taylor-Stuart said he has liked the team’s energy as spring ball has progressed. We’re a lot more competitive,” he said. “We know what losing feels like, and we don’t want to lose anymore. If we just have that winning mentality, not thinking about losing but only getting better … we just keep winning like that.
MORE TEAMRANKINGS: Bowl pick ’em strategy2019 College Bowl Picks: Three Underrated Values With up to 41 games included (including the FCS Celebration Bowl), college bowl pools typically present a number of opportunities for smart players to get an edge. In this article, we’ll discuss three picks that stand out as value plays based on their combination of win odds and pick popularity. They range from underrated favorites to an unpopular underdog that has a solid shot at pulling off an upset.Deciding whether to choose these teams should be top of mind when you make your 2019 college bowl picks because they represent some of the best opportunities to differentiate your bowl pool entry from your competitors and gain ground on your opponents in the pool standings. Winning a college bowl pool is all about taking calculated risks, and the teams below offer excellent risk-vs-reward profiles. Keep in mind that the best picks for your specific college football bowl pool depend on multiple strategy factors, such as the number of entries in your pool; whether or not it uses confidence points; and the prize structure. If you want our game-by-game recommendations for your pool, check out our Bowl Pick ’em Picks.Note: Win odds and projected pick popularity data quoted below may change between publication time and kickoff time. If you want to see the latest numbers, our product updates multiple times per day with the latest information.Value FavoritesWhen a team is favored to win, yet is being picked by less than half of your opponents, that’s as close to a no-brainer pick as you can get.Las Vegas Bowl: Washington Huskies (vs. Boise State)Boise State enters the Las Vegas Bowl at 12-1 and is ranked 18th in the latest AP Poll. Washington was one of the preseason Pac-12 favorites (along with Oregon and Utah) but struggled to a 7-5 finish, and head coach Chris Petersen, who used to coach Boise State, is stepping down after this bowl game, citing stress.Washington, though, is the betting favorite in this one (by 3.5 points at post time) with around 60-percent implied win odds. Our predictive power ratings also see the Huskies as the favorite. Why? Washington faced the much tougher schedule, and much of the record difference between these teams can be explained by their results in close games, which can be heavily influenced by luck (Boise State is 4-1, Washington 0-4 in one-score games).The public, meanwhile, is treating Boise State as the favorite, picking it an estimated 56 percent of the time. That’s not surprising when you have a ranked 12-1 team facing a 7-5 opponent.So, how have favorites who have inferior win-loss records done in bowl games? There have been nine bowl games over the past five years where a favorite had at least two fewer wins and two more losses than its opponent. Boise State did win one of those games two years ago against favored Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, but the favorites are 7-2 overall in that stretch. In other words, you should generally trust the oddsmakers when they make a team with a notably inferior win-loss record a favorite.Pinstripe Bowl: Michigan State (vs. Wake Forest)Speaking of teams that are favored despite having a worse record, 6-6 Michigan State is favored by 4.5 points over 8-4 Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl.Our models give Michigan State a 65-percent chance of winning this game, but the public is taking the Spartans about 58 percent of the time. In comparison, in three other bowl games where our projected odds for the favorite are most similar to Michigan State’s, the public is taking the favorite much more often — 81 percent of the time.Again, the betting odds are most likely doing a better job here at evaluating the impact of schedule strength and not overvaluing close-game records. The public is giving underdog Wake Forest enough credit to provide some value in picking Michigan State.Neither of these teams distinguished themselves against tough competition this year. The Spartans went 0-4 against teams ranked in the top 10 of our predictive ratings, while Wake Forest lost to Clemson 52-3 in the only game they played against a top-10 team (or top 30, for that matter). However, Big Ten teams have won the past three Pinstripe Bowl games played in the Bronx, with Wisconsin crushing Miami last year, and the Big Ten is 5-1 against the spread since starting to come to this bowl game in 2013. The Spartans will not be at a climate disadvantage in this atypical bowl game played in cold northern weather, and they look like a solid value play here.MORE TEAMRANKINGS: Bowl pick ’em strategyValue GambleAll underdogs are not created equal. If you’re going to take a risk on an upset pick, you want to focus on highly underrated teams that have a legitimate shot to win.Frisco Bowl: Kent State Golden Flashes (vs. Utah State)Kent State played a tough non-conference schedule and took their beatings early, losing to Arizona State, Auburn, and Wisconsin by an average of 37 points. But the Golden Flashes improved throughout head coach Sean Lewis’ second season, and closed the year with three straight wins to make their first bowl appearance since 2012. In fact, it’s only the third bowl game in school history. Utah State, meanwhile, got off to a 4-2 start (with the losses to LSU and Wake Forest) but closed out by going 3-3 in the Mountain West. This is the program’s eighth bowl game in the past nine years (including a 52-13 win over North Texas last year in the New Mexico Bowl). Utah State opened as an eight-point favorite, but the line has moved downward and was at 6.5 points as of Wednesday. Jordan Love, the Utah State quarterback, had a great sophomore year in 2018, averaging 8.6 yards per attempt and throwing 32 TDs and six INTs. But in 2019, those numbers have slumped to only 7.1 yards per attempt and 17 TDs vs. 16 INTs. Love has already announced that he is turning pro after this game, and just a few days before the bowl game, news came out that Love and two other teammates were arrested for marijuana possession, though Love is expected to play. Judging motivation for a bowl game can be difficult, but there are some concerns here that Kent State could be more focused for this game. Yet the public is giving Kent State little chance, picking it just 13 percent of the time. That’s the sixth-lowest pick percentage for any bowl team, and there are six other bowl games where teams are double-digit underdogs.Our projections give the Golden Flashes a 36-percent chance of pulling off an upset here. That’s a relatively risky proposition, but in large bowl pools that kind of difference between upset likelihood (36 percent) and public pick popularity (13 percent) can justify an educated gamble. In smaller bowl pools, it’s probably not worth the risk.See All Bowl Picks & Value Plays For 2019 The three picks above provide just a few examples of how to use objective predictions and game theory to give yourself an edge in bowl pick ’em contests and confidence point pools. By understanding which favorites are underrated and which underdogs the public is sleeping on, you can craft a differentiated pick sheet that gives you the best chance to win your pool.We’ve aggregated all the data, and as of post time our analysis has identified 16 value-driven picks worth considering based on their win odds and pick popularity. You can see them all in the Data Grid feature of our Bowl Pick ’em Picks product (as well as get our customized recommendations on which ones you should pick in your pool).You can also read more about them in our post on the top value pick opportunities for 2019 bowl pools, or just see our complete list of college bowl confidence point picks ranked 1 to 41. In this post we share three value-driven picks — two where sticking with the favorite provides the most value and one where taking a shot on an upset could pay off — that can give you an edge in your 2019 college bowl pick ’em contest or confidence points pool.This analysis is provided by TeamRankings, a site that has helped thousands of subscribers win prizes in football pools. To get customized pick recommendations for your 2019 college bowl pool, check out their Bowl Pick ’em Picks product.
by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” Kip Etter, whose status as a Wellington Council member is currently in limbo, has filed a petition through a Wichita law firm for â€œtemporary and permanent injunctionâ€ as well as â€œapplication for restraining orderâ€ against the rest of the Wellington City Council.Kip EtterThe petition was filed this afternoon in Sumner County Civil Court. It is a 14-page document through Ryan M. Peck, a Wichita attorney, who represents Etter.The petition was divided into two counts. In the injunction, Etter has asked the court to ask the defendant, which is the Wellington City Council, to:â€¢recognize him as the rightful elected occupant of his city council seat until the end of his term on January, 13, 2020;â€¢to cease and desist from any efforts to fill that council position with another individual;â€¢to immediately cease and desist from any conduct tending to indicate that Mr. Etter is not the rightfully elected occupant of his city council seat;â€¢for a permanent injunction requiring all defendants (individual city council members) from refraining from any actions or attempt to remove Mr. Etter from his council seat;â€¢for an award of all monetary damages incurred as a result of defendants illegal actions;â€¢for an award of reasonable attorneysâ€™ fees and costs as permitted by law; andâ€¢for such other and further relief as this Court deems just and equitable under the law.In the second part of the petition concerning the temporary restraining order, the plaintiff is asking the court:â€¢to require defendants to recognize him as a properly elected city council member for that petition;â€¢require defendants to allow Etter to retain his seat as a city council member through the pendency of his litigation;â€¢prohibit defendants from engaging in any activities intended to or designed to remove Etter from this council seat or appoint a successor to that seat during the pendency of this litigation;â€¢for an award of reasonable attorneysâ€™ fees and costs at permitted by law; andâ€¢for such other and further relief as this court would deem just and equitable.The council was listed individually in the petition as: City of Wellington mayor Shelley Hansel; Kelly Green Hawley, city council member; Jan Korte, city council member; Bill Butts, city council member; Jim Valentine, city council member and Vince Wetta, city council member.The petition describes the parties, the jurisdiction and venue, factual background, and the two counts.Sumner Newscow will provide a more detailed report of the petition in a later report.