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“X Games King” Sean White Boards to Sixth Peat

by Andrew Wilkes

sean3Shaun White knows a thing a two about winning gold medals; 13 times in fact at the Winter X Games. Last night, “The Flying Tomato” who fashioned his new afro-less hair, flipped and twisted his way to yet another flawless performance in the super pipe.

After watching the 14 year old phenom throw down an impressive 92, Sean White showed the whole world why he is the best snowboarder that has ever been.

Just when you thought Sean was done, he ran his third run to sheer perfection. On his way to his score of 98, Sean’s jump hit a height of 24.1ft  while averaging 19ft throughout his run. This isn’t anything Sean has not done before. Last year, he was rewarded with a perfect score with a flawless run of similar moves.

Even more impressive, Sean was able to bounce back from a disappointing slopestyle performance the day before with a focus and determination that was second to none. In the slopestyle event, Sean fell two out of his three runs and finished in fifth place.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more focused on what I’m doing physically and mentally,” White said. “I used to get so super-stressed out and would have lost control if something would have happened like Slopestyle the other day. But now I’m old enough to turn that into a positive. I take that and use it to help me take a giant step forward.”


He wanted to redeem himself.

“I had a very unsatisfied feeling from slopestyle,” White said. “Every hit got me more and more motivated.”

Even though Sean has been winning Gold medals for ten years now, he still cherishes each victory like it is his first.

After his third run victory lap, Sean could be seen at the edge of the crowd on his hands and knees face first in the snow. Even though everybody in the world knows he is the best, Sean knows he is fortunate to boast a career that has avoided devastating injuries; and be able to turn snowboarding into a career that he can take into his thirties, a feat that is unheard of in this day and age.

A pretty humbling title,” said White, who looks different with his shorter hair, but wins just the same as when he had those long, curly red locks. “This is pretty heavy.”

Sean1The man who can be known as the “X Games King” now has 18 X Games medals in his trophy case with 13 of those being gold medals.

Even though Sean could retire knowing he was the best ever, he keeps going full steam ahead continuous improving his art. With the Olympics just over a year away, Sean White decided to take the summer off of skateboarding and focus on sharpening his skills and being fully read come Winter Olympics 2014. As Sean said himself,

“Obviously,” he said, “I need to go practice some Slopestyle.”

Andrew Wilkes

Obama Seeks New Gun Control Laws to Pass Congress

Article courtesy of: with wires

Obama 2With children sitting nearby, President Barack Obama proposed a new ban on assault weapons and universal background checks for gun buyers on Wednesday in a sweeping package to curb firearm violence after the killing of 20 first-graders and six adults in a Connecticut school last month.

Other measures include more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control.

Obama announced the measures at a White House event that brought together law enforcement officials, lawmakers and four children who wrote the president about gun violence following last month’s rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Families of the Newtown victims and survivors also attended.

“This is our first task at keeping our children safe,” Obama said. “This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change.”

The broad package includes efforts to stop bullying and boost availability of mental health services.

But Congress would have to approve the bans on assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, along with a requirement for universal background checks on gun buyers. Some gun control advocates worry that opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats, as well as the National Rifle Association, will be too great to overcome.

“We’re not going to get an outright ban,” Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., said of limits on assault weapons. Still, McCarthy, a leading voice in Congress in favor of gun control, said she would keep pushing for a ban and hoped Obama would as well.

The proposals came a day after New York State enacted the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown massacre. The measure, quickly signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, includes a tougher assault-weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people who make threats.

Obama and gun control advocates hoped for similar quick action by Congress. But Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he’ll begin hearings in two weeks on the proposals, signaling a slower process.

White House officials, seeking to avoid setting up the president for failure, have emphasized that no single measure — even an assault weapons ban — would solve a scourge of gun violence across the country. But without such a ban or other sweeping, congressionally approved measures, it’s unclear whether executive actions alone could make any noticeable difference.

“It is a simple fact that there are limits to what can be done within existing law,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday. “Congress has to act on the kinds of measures we’ve already mentioned because the power to do that is reserved by Congress.”

Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of the shootings in Connecticut, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games, movies and TV shows, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. The president’s framework is based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden, who led a wide-ranging task force on gun violence. The vice president’s proposals included 19 steps that could be achieved through executive action.

The NRA, which has called for armed guard in schools, released an online video Tuesday that called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for having armed Secret Service agents protect his daughters at school while not committing to installing armed guards in all schools.

White House officials signaled that Obama would seek to rally public support for the measures he puts forward, perhaps holding events around the country or relying on Organizing for America, his still-operational presidential campaign.

During his announcement Wednesday, Obama was joined children from across the U.S. who wrote letters to him about gun violence and school safety.

One of those children, a Maryland 8-year-old named Grant, wrote: “It’s a free country but I recommend there needs (to) be a limit with guns. Please don’t let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like that.”


It’s unclear how much political capital Obama will exert in pressing for congressional action.

The White House and Congress will soon be consumed by three looming fiscal deadlines. And the president has also pledged to tackle comprehensive immigration reform early this year, another effort that will require Republicans’ support and one in which Obama may be more likely to get their backing.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has warned the White House that it will be at least three months before the Senate considers gun legislation. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said immigration, not gun control, is at the top of his priority list after the fiscal fights.

House Republican leaders are expected to wait for any action by the Senate before deciding how — or whether — to proceed with any gun measure.

A Start of a New Era in the NFL: The Incredible Class of 2012 Rookie Quarterbacks

Some call it the Rookie Revolution, I call it a transformation.

We are at the dawning of a new era. NFL quarterbacks come and go as fast as my girlfriends and finding a franchise player to throw the pigskin effectively is hard to come by. Even when a guy has a successful college career, that does not mean it will translate into success in the NFL. Lucky for us NFL fans, the draft class of 2012 provided arguably the most talented and most productive group of first year quarterbacks ever to take the gridiron each Sunday.

Rookie of the year candidates Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III

Rookie of the year candidates Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III

For the first time in NFL History, three rookie quarterbacks lead their team to the playoffs. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, and Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins.

Each stud brought with them a new dimension to the NFL that is transforming the quarterback position. The three Rookie of the year candidates have amazing athletic ability. They possess a unique mixture of talents including: their speed and power, solid arm strength with impressive accuracy, and possibly the most impressive of qualities, their leadership,confidence and work ethic.

It did not take very long for these proteges to find a role on their teams. They have shown an uncanny ability to focus and lead and now the rewards are just beginning. Griffin was named a team captain at the start of the season; Wilson was voted winner of the Steve Largent Award, given to the team’s most inspirational player.

In a league where quarterback play is incredibly critical, the NFL has been blessed with great athletes and ambassadors to lead the NFL into another era.

RGIII Celebrates a touchdown pass

RGIII Celebrates a touchdown pass

It is not only Wilson, Griffin and Luck who have shown signs of greatness, there are others also. Other rookie starters include Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins. Even though those players did not make the playoffs, they displayed their abilities and gave hope to the future of their represented franchises. Five of which started the teams’s first game, the most since 1950.

It is obvious these magnificent competitors are and will continue to change the quarterback position with their abilities to throw and run affectively. I as a fan, am glad to be able watch these guys compete each week of the NFL season and can’t wait to see what greatness is in store future for them. In a time where drugs, partying, and recklessness are prevalent in pop culture, it is amazing to see rookie quarterbacks who are as humble and motivated as these guys. And because of their winning mindset, they will only get better with time.

Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts

Rewriting of the Rookie Record Books

Andrew Luck threw for over 4300 yards.(NFL Rookie Record)

Andrew Luck with over 600 passing attempts.(NFL Rookie Record)

RGII’s 102.4 Passer Rating. (NFL Rookie Record)

RGII’s 815 Rushing Yards.(NFL Rookie Record)

Russell Wilson’s 30 TD passes.(NFL Rookie Record)

Russell Wilson’s 385 passing yards in playoff game.(NFL Rookie Record)

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks

Andrew Wilkes

Obama Warns Congress About Not Increasing Government Debt Ceiling

Here We Go Again

Remember the congressional circus of the “fiscal cliff” last december? Well get ready for cliff number two with the “Debt Ceiling.”

What is the debt ceiling? The national debt ceiling is a level imposed by Congress on how much debt the U.S. can carry at any given time
Today, President Obama held a special press conference to address this issue. He warned of the consequences that would occur without congress passing a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

“We’ve got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

The President even threatened to take authority over the issue of the bill was rejected. Just as we saw during the pre “fiscal cliff”, the volatility and uncertainty of politics affect the stock market negatively. So far today, stocks are relative flat and $APPL dipped below $500.

If government spending is such an issue, then why is it so important that the debt ceiling be raised? Even though the government is in debt 16 trillion dollars, bills still must be paid. The 16.4 trillion dollar debt ceiling is expected to hit as soon as mid February.

“Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending,” he said. “It just allows the country to pay the bills it’s already committed to.”

“The consequences of us not paying our bills would be disastrous,” he said.

Obama 2

Washington Is Still Split

Obama said it is possible that the Republican led House of Representatives could vote against raising the debt ceiling. If a government shutdown results, he said, “it will damage our economy.”

“They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the economy,” he said. “The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip. And they better decide quickly because time is running short.”

Obama believes the country us making progress toward reducing the mountainous deficit but cutting spending alone will not do the job.

“We are poised for a good year if we make good decisions and sound investments,” the president said.

Therefore, expect stocks to be shaky while Washington is shaky. But what is new? Republicans are threating a government shutdown and Democrats extending benefits and increasing the deficit.  But where will the debt ceiling end? If government never accepts its credit debt, when will they become responsible? I suppose we will do what American politics are best at, kicking the can down the road and worry about the problem when it starts to damage the economy.

Andrew Wilkes

SEC Basketball: Conference Struggles as a Whole Early

I intend to write this without mentioning my Ole Miss Rebels who just dominated #10 ranked Missouri, so here I go. The SEC dominates the NCAA in football and baseball but so far in the 2012-2013 basketball season, it has been a struggle for the conference to say the least.

SEC basketball has never been the best as a whole but it usually does not struggle this bad as a whole either. To the conference’s defense, the SEC still is home to the reigning NCAA Champions and also produced the most draft picks in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Still, nobody expected this many SEC conference teams to get knocked around like it has during the first part of the season.

First of all, I do understand basketball. I understand that the one and done rule can be a real hardship. With the likes of the super talent from Kentucky and Bradley Beale of Florida going 1,2,3 in the draft, it is never easy to build a team when you continue to lose your best players. Nevertheless, the same problem goes for every team in the country.

One of the problems lies in the ugly non conference losses that have plagued the league. The SEC teams who have made a habit of attracting top recruits who go one and done are always left with an unexperienced group of players. Anybody that knows anything about about basketball knows that experience and chemistry are everything and that is where the struggling SEC teams are at the disadvantage. The smaller conference schools come in with two or more seniors and the team entire team has been playing together for years. Even though they may not play professional basketball, they have developed the chemistry of a quality basketball team and a lot of times, these early non conference games can be a trap for bigger schools who tend to have to restart each year.

Struggles in the SEC have been all around though. Not only have SEC schools lost the majority of their games against other major-conference teams, they’ve struggled against teams smaller conferences who have a hard time making it into the Big Dance in March.

Auburn lost to Winthrop. Mississippi State fell to Alabama A&M. Texas A&M couldn’t handle Southern. Youngstown State defeated Georgia. Mercer beat Alabama.

Billy Donovan, Scottie Wilbekin

In a recent interview with ESPN, Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan talked about this very exact problem, he does not believe it is fair to judge a conference based on November and December performance.

“I never really agreed with that.” Donovan said. “I think teams get better. I think one thing that has happened in our league is a lot of teams in our league have lost a lot of people. Kentucky lost a lot. Vanderbilt’s lost a lot. Mississippi State has got a new coach. South Carolina has got a new coach. There has been a lot of turnover in personnel from key guys.”

The SEC lost 12 players to the NBA draft last year and that has hurt significantly with teams trying to gel early on.

South Carolina’s new coach, Frank Martin also had a pretty avid opinion on judging the league mid way through the season.

“We make it out like the SEC is the only league in the country that’s losing non-conference games,” Martin said. “It’s happening all over the country. With the one-and-done rule in college basketball, there is more parity in college basketball than ever before. And you have to take into account that teams can get better. For us to be talking about this on Jan. 7 is a waste of time.”

Nevertheless, losing players or not, the SEC has looked rough this year and one can only hope that at least four teams can at least make the NCAA tournament. As of today, there are only three teams in the BPI top 50, Florida at #4, Ole Miss at #17 (I am sorry I just could not help myself) and Missouri at #27. Also, the SEC is ranked 9th in the country in conference RPI.( RPI is a ranking of strength of schedule)


Hopefully, by March the SEC will have more relevant teams and someone can make a run in the tournament. As of now, it could be anybody and there is no clear cut power team. One positive is that this could make for a very interesting conference tournament with a NCAA tournament bid on the line it will be anybody’s ticket to grab.

Andrew Wilkes

As of 1/13/12

1 Duke ACC
2 Indiana Big Ten
3 Louisville Big East
4 Florida SEC
5 Minnesota Big Ten
6 Kansas Big 12
7 Michigan Big Ten
8 Arizona Pac-12
9 Syracuse Big East
10 Creighton MVC
11 Gonzaga WCC
12 VCU A 10
13 Wichita St MVC
14 NC State ACC
15 Ohio St Big Ten
16 Cincinnati Big East
17 Ole Miss SEC
18 Notre Dame Big East
19 Miami (FL) ACC
21 Pittsburgh Big East
22 Oklahoma St Big 12
23 New Mexico MWC
24 San Diego St MWC
25 Oregon Pac-12
26 Baylor Big 12
27 Missouri SEC
28 Wyoming MWC
29 Connecticut Big East
30 Michigan St Big Ten

Best Buy on the Road to Irrelevancy

As I sit here at my desk writing this article, I am dying a little bit with each word, but the truth is the truth. I grew up in the midst of Best Buy’s technology retailing dominance and I could spend hours in Best Buy as an 8 year old playing with all the cool gadgets, games and seeing the TVs. I cannot put a specific date on it but I believe this is as certain as Mark Sanchez throwing an interception, Best Buy is headed for the exits.

Even though their competitors such as Circuit City have beat them to bankruptcy, their earnings are gradually getting more and more depressing. In 2011, Best Buy’s market cap lost $9 billion and the company’s stock lost 40% of its market its value.

To buy in store, or to buy online?

While Apple’s products are being bought mainly from the additional number of Apple stores and online, Best Buy does not have the big drawing product. Amazon dominates TVs where you can buy a television up to $400 cheaper on some sets. Therefore, with the decrease of Apple products sells, the flat line of PC sells and online controlling majority of TV sells, Best Buy is not bringing in the profits they used to. After all why not walk into a Best Buy store and look at the 55′ Sony you want then go buy the same TV from Amazon for $200 cheaper. This is a critical problem for Best Buy as televisions have always been a major part of their revenue

With the increase of critics about the company’s management, there is not much Best Buy has been able to do to counter the downfall.

Low Net Margins are Obvious

Since it has established such an iconic brand name in electronics retailing, the company can continue to thrive if can adapt to the changing environment. Current management appears to understand this. The company is shutting down many of its large under performing big box locations and focusing on growing much smaller, mall-based “Best Buy Mobile” shops. These smaller stores cost a fraction to set up and focus on selling mobile equipment, which is the fastest and most profitable segment of the electronics industry. But doing this is incredibly easier said than done.

Best Buy Mall

The large stores are part of the problem for Best Buy right now. Big rent notes, high electricity bills and also the payroll of the large staff at each store. Who can they appeal to? Why should I buy my laptop or television from Best Buy instead of online or a brand store like the ever profitable Apple Store? These are tough questions to ask and the future is dim for Best Buy.

Andrew Wilkes

2013 NFL Playoffs: AFC Who will win and why?

AFC match ups

It is here. The NFL playoffs. Every saturday and sunday be prepared to be glued to your TV for 3 hours and cheering on whomever you want to win. Here, I will give you my take why each team will win and why they will not.

Game 1: Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos


Why Baltimore will win: John Harbaugh. I love this guy. He coaches with such great passion and intelligence and seems to be one of the most prepared coaches each and every week. There is a reason why this guy has made it to the playoffs each of the six years he has been a head coach. Also, do not forget about Ray Lewis. This greatest middle linebacker to play the game will not go down without a fierce battle.

Why Baltimore will lose: Joe Flacco struggles on the road. Flacco overthrew his intended receiver on 46.3% of his attempts at least 15 yards downfield on the road, the worst percentage in the league. At home, Flacco overthrew his receiver on 26.7% of his attempts.(According to ESPN) Flacco’s QBR on the road was ranked 32nd the entire league, barely behind the great Carson Palmer.(sarcasm)

Why Denver will win: This one should be a no brainer. You have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time who is having an MVP caliber season. Just as Flacco’s QBR is terrible on the road, Peyton’s is incredible at home. Peyton Manning leads the League in QBR at home by 11 points. Denver averages 4.1 yards per carry at home and the Sheriff is practically unstoppable, I don’t care if you have the Ninja Turtles on defense.

Why Denver will lose: Ray Lewis. If somehow Ray Lewis can spark Ed Reed, Benard Pollard and company, maybe they can pull this one out. Ray Lewis will definitely influence players around him to be great lets just hope they can force Peyton to make some mistakes downfield that leads to turnovers.

Prediction: Denver 28 – Baltimore 10





Game 4: Houston at New England

What will Schaub do?






Why Houston will Win: Houston still is the same dominant Houston from the beginning of the season. Arian Foster is healthy, Matt Schaub is not terrible and the defense has a lot of momentum. Even though the Bengals are not much of a team Houston still eliminated any 3rd down conversions in their last game. Foster has the second most rushing yards all time in his first thee postseason starts and he looks to add on to that with ease.

Why Houston will lose: Matt Schaub is average, at best. If one thing is obvious in the NFL it is the teams with the best QBs make it far. It will be too easy for New England to take out Foster and force Schaub to make plays. When you are not balanced in this league, teams will find your strength and take it away. Schaub has thrown three interceptions and zero yes zero TDs in his past three games. Somebody get this man a jacket he is cold.

Why New England will win: New England are one of those lucky teams who can send out an elite QB every week. No doubt Tom Brady is the leader and the force behind their success. They are the fourth seed for the fourth time in franchise history and have made it to the super bowl two of those times. It will be a cold brutal day for the Texans in Foxborough.

Why New England will lose: Their defense is not the same dominant defense as in their dynasty days. NE allows an average of 373 yards per game. So one could expect them to not be able to stop foster and then Schaub begin to hurt them with play action passes. Whenever you posses a running game with Arian Foster that allows you to keep a good offense off the field such as NE’s you build yourself a big advantage. That could very well be the case here.

Tom will be poised for a big gamePrediction: New England 21 – Houston 14





Andrew Wilkes

2013 NFL Playoffs: NFC Who will win and why

NFC Matchups

Game 2: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

Why Green Bay will win: Green Bay has been known for their high flying offense. Lead by the discount double check man himself, Aaron Rodgers. The monster quarterback has been here before, won a championship and has proven to be excellent on the road. It will be a hostile environment but Aaron Rodgers will produce. The Packers defense has been suspect this year but have played better as of late.

Why Green Bay will lose: The running game of the 49ers forces Rodgers to sit on the side lines while Kaepernick and co run down the throats of Green Bay. They know it is coming, but can they stop it?

Why San Francisco will win: It is a double edge sword. SF is starting Kaepernick who has zero playoff experience but uber athletic ability. He has lead the 49er offense from 26th last year to 11th in offense this year. He is a true dual threat QB and darn good at what he does. Also, SF has playmakers galore on defense. P. Willis, Aldo and Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Navorro Bowman all have had stellar seasons. They look to continue that when the discount double check comes to town.

Why San Francisco will lose: Most people agree on the biggest downfall of the 49ers is the inexperience at quarterback. We all know the talents Kaepernick posses but what will he do when there is no guaranteed tomorrow? He is less accurate than Alex Smith was but he has the bomb arm. He contributes to the run game in a big way also, where he averages 6.6 yards per cary. But all in all, in a time where inexperience is key, does he have what it takes just yet?Patrick Willis kicks ass and takes names

Prediction: San Francisco 31 – Green Bay 28

Game 3: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons 

Mr. best mode himself

Why Seattle will win: Seattle is arguably the most balanced team in the playoffs right now and they are also hot. The past 5 games Russell Wilson has thrown 11 touchdowns to 1 interception, held a stellar QBR, and fourth best passer rating. No doubt he is on fire and does not look like a rookie QB by any standards. And I cannot forget about skittles himself, Marshawn Lynch. The beast mode man himself has a sore foot but when does anyone ever feel soreness in a playoff game anyways.

Why Seattle will lose: I do not see Seattle blowing this game because they are just too solid. But I can see Matty Ice Ryan ready to win his first playoff game.  This could be the year he turns it around. The best team in the NFL at the beginning of the season slowed down at the end so their expectations aren’t wild. They have very little to lose and Matty Ice is ready to actually earn his Ice nickname and pull through when it counts and beat Seattle in a nail biter.

Why Falcons will win: The falcons have some big time playmakers on offense. Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are all big time players who make big time plays. Look for Ryan to target these guys early and often and when it come 3rd and 5 from the 6 yard line, the Seahawks better find a Sasquatch to guard Gonzalez.

Why Falcons will lose: How disappointing would that be for Matt Ryan? I mean you are so incredibly successful in regular season but you have stunk it up each of the past 3 playoffs. He has all the qualities to become an “elite” quarterback but it is a must he comes to play in the postseason. Frankly, Matt Ryan has been great each regular season and terrible in the playoffs.(How can his nickname be Matty Ice when he does poorly in playoffs I will never know)  He has never thrown for over 200 yards in a playoff game has an ugly 23.8 QBR in the postseason.

Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 21 – Seattle Seahawks 17


Bulls running the market, but proceed with caution

Investors and traders are taking advantage of the new found confidence in stocks.

Investors and traders are taking advantage of the new found confidence in stocks.

Remember two weeks ago when stocks were dropping in the fear of falling from the fiscal cliff? Nobody dared to jump in the market and investors were holding onto their money like Adrian Peterson as he holds on to the rock while breaking NFL rushing records.

Now, after the resolution of the fiscal cliff, investors finally realize the double digit returns the market yielded last year. I suppose the fiscal cliff clouded all of our brains and we forgot all the good that had already took place along with the momentum which has been built up heading into the new year.

Fresh off of 5 year high in stocks long term equity and mutual funds enjoyed 22 billion in increased investments this week, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. That was the second-highest amount on record after the $22.8 billion that went into all equity funds in September 2007.

But enter the market with caution.

“I’m a little skeptical,” Art Cashin of UBS told CNBC on Friday. “I want to see if they continue.”

The fiscal cliff created a nightmare for investors and it halted investing confidence in its tracks, which in turn had a profound effect on stocks in the final month of 2012. With the congress circus of the fiscal cliff resolved, investors finally know what to expect from government regulations and can investment with more clarity.

And investing they are, by the billions.

Of that $22 billion inflow, $8.9 billion were into hedge funds, the biggest weekly influx in 12 years. Bofa/Merrill Lynch, which uses a composite from Lipper, EPFR and other services, has the data going back to 1992.

The S&P 500 jumped 13 percent in 2012, its biggest gain in three years and likely quite the eye catcher on the front page of newspapers and inside investment account statements.

Andrew Wilkes

Saban: Controlling his own dynasty

Nick Saban holding up his third crystal ball in four year. His fourth in eight years of college coaching.

Nick Saban holding up his third crystal ball in four year. His fourth in eight years of college coaching.

If you haven’t heard, yes the Alabama Crimson Tide won the BCS national championship. Oh yeah they did it last year too. I almost forgot about winning in 2009 also. So now that it is a general consensus that Nick Saban himself has turned this era of football into crimson and white, lets just take a step back and respect how why this is so impressive.

It was this easy it would’ve been done several times. But It has not. There have been very few “dynasty” football programs in the history of college football and lucky for us we are right witnessing one in its most dominant form. Besides the fact that Johnny football was playing like an NCAA video game that day in Tuscaloosa and other than in 2011 vs. LSU when Bama’s kicker couldn’t kick a can on a street even if it was on the edge of a sewer drain, the Tide haven’t lost since Cam Newton & Company won the Iron Bowl in 2010.(That Cam guy was pretty good if I do recall)

Why is it so difficult for colleges to dominate like this? Just recruit all the best to your school and boom you have a winner.

No. Not even close. If recruiting equalled wins then USC would have a 10 year dynasty.

There are reason why Alabama has been and will be better than everybody else as long as ole Nick is in charge and here is why:

1) The way he recruits. It is one thing to recruit good players. It is also one thing to recruit a lot of good players. This is what Alabama does, but so does about 30 other colleges. Nick Saban gets the best character guys that are the best players. And if you have a questionable attitude with you athleticism then it is guaranteed either a) you will not be around long or b) you will change for Nick. When you recruit and develop great guys who stay out of allegations, arrest, and drugs then their athleticism will shine even brighter. Saban has a knack for going to a  high school game recruiting one guy and coming out with a complete other. That is one trait that separates him from your average head ball coach.

2) He has his hand in everything. This is also quite impressive. In an industry where coaches flop around like a 30′ inch redfish that I catch with live shrimp off the coast of Louisiana. You have 2 successful seasons as an asst. then you will surely get a better offer from another school in no time. And Alabama has the golden pot for hiring universities. So often, a team losing a coordinator or a position coach and things just hit the fan. Not with Saban. He has his hands everywhere. I am convinced that Saban could actually coach the whole team offense, defense, and special teams all by himself. Whenever one coach leaves Saban either hires the exact man he wants or he hires somebody and teaches them what he wants. Making his team as consistent as possible year in and year out. He is smart enough to control every phase so every phase will always be done to his liking.

3) Another incredible feat is his ability to keep college kids focused. Alabama. Pretty southern girls. Great bar scene. Great frat scene. This is a 18 year old’s dream in one town with a few DUIs and other charges just waiting to happen. But somehow he manages to keep his players focused. It is one thing to be talented, but a complete other to be focused consistently. He does it by never accepting failure. Always coaching and always looking to improve. He relates with players with analogies and comparisons each week and new opponents come with a new speech Saban has rendered to explain how they should not believe in the 20 point favorite that is put on their upcoming game. Keeping 110 18-22 year old focused on a goal constantly, just flat out remarkable.

So all you tide fans don’t expect Saban to go anywhere just yet. I cannot see him making another run in the NFL and he will have a job in Tuscaloosa as long as he would like. The only thing you guys would worry about his him getting bored with winning all the time and wanting a new challenge. Every fierce competitor thrives off of having a challenge and Saban is the model for a competitor. He is set to make 5.5 mill this year so he is the highest paid coach in football, Tide fans just hope that he doesn’t ever find that winning championships is too easy and begins to look for something new. Until then, Roll on will the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Andrew Wilkes

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