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Martin Dyckman: Hillary Clinton, Democrats must now live with futile victory, anachronism

Late on the afternoon of Oct. 8, 1966, the Florida State University football team was trailing its archrival, the University of Florida, 19 to 22. With 26 seconds remaining, FSU quarterback Gary Pajcic threw a 45-yard pass to the visitors’ end zone. Lane Fenner, a wide receiver fresh off the bench, had outraced two Florida defenders and the nearest official. Newspaper photographs clearly showed Fenner scoring the game-winning touchdown, clutching the ball with one knee on the turf a yard inside the chalk line before rolling out of bounds.

Trouble was, that’s not how field judge Doug Mosley saw it. He ruled the pass incomplete as Fenner and FSU people on the sidelines howled in protest. There was no instant replay then. Florida went home with the victory. An hour later, the photographs came out.

“I’m going to tell my boys they won the game,” said the FSU coach, Bill Peterson.

But, of course, they hadn’t. Mosley’s blown call was the reality. There was nothing for the team could do about it but determine to win the next Florida game, which they did by a score of 21-16—their first victory at Gainesville.

People still talk about “the catch.” The photo is in the state archives.

This is the second time that example has come to mind in a context far more significant than sports.

The first was 16 years ago, when Al Gore lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush despite winning the popular vote.

I telephoned Pajcic, a prominent lawyer and philanthropist at Jacksonville (he died in 2006), to ask how one copes with losing what you know you won.

You just go on, he said, and try to make the best of it.

That’s for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to do following her futile popular vote victory, by a margin five times larger than Gore’s, undone by the same gross anachronism.

There’s a replay of sorts, but don’t expect it to change the reality. The recounts sought in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania would have to uncover massive fraud, for which there are only conspiracy theories rather than evidence.

The irony is that the Electoral College was premised on the notion of wiser people acting as surrogates for the voters, exercising their own best judgment. Enough electors presumably could do that now in states where the laws don’t bind them. But not enough will.

However, Clinton’s two-million vote margin is at least a moral victory that deprives Donald Trump of any claim to a mandate. It should oblige him to try to keep his postelection words about uniting the nation, though most of his appointments so far put that in the same category as the promises he is shedding even faster than the ones he makes to his wives.

His attorney general, who will be responsible for enforcing the civil rights laws, has spent his life opposing them.

His education secretary has spent her life trying to destroy the public schools. His senior adviser was the leading propagandist for the white supremacists and other punks now known, lamely, as the “alt right.” Trump would have everyone believe that Stephen Bannon doesn’t stand for what he was promoting. Trump can easily think that about Bannon because Trump does not seem to believe what he says himself.

It’s astonishing for him to be entertaining even the thought of the jaded Rudy Giuliani as a rival to Mitt Romney for secretary of state.

The Democrats in the Senate have a duty to resist nominees who are hostile to public education, the environment and civil rights. They have more than enough votes to filibuster and to attract that handful of Republicans who refused on principle to slink aboard Trump’s bandwagon.

They also have a duty to pursue the most ominous aspect of the election, which isn’t that Trump won but that he did it with the significant help of a hostile, dangerous foreign power.

If a Democrat were in that position, the Republican House would already be unlimbering the tumbrels of impeachment.

The Democrats need to keep after the Republicans until public opinion forces them establish a commission of inquiry into what Russia actually did to corrupt our election and what might be done about it.

It’s their duty also to keep the heat on Trump’s enormous and abundant conflicts of interest.

And, most of all, to fight like hell when Paul Ryan sets out to destroy Medicare by converting it into a voucher program. One of Trump’s promises was to protect Medicare. He should be held to that one, if nothing else.

The Congress is an imperfect representative of the people. Gerrymandering distorts the House. That every state has two senators gives inordinate power to those states that are thinly populated.

The presidency is the only true voice of the people. They gave Trump’s opponent some 2 million more votes than he got. For him to continue to act as if that doesn’t matter would set him up for a resounding defeat four years hence. Even the Electoral College more often calls it right, and the losing team often comes back.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

One more time: Dalvin Cook leads FSU past Florida in rivalry

The replay board at Doak-Campbell Stadium summed it up perfectly.

“Thank you, Dalvin.”

Behind Dalvin Cook, again, the FSU Seminoles beat the Florida Gators, again. This time, it was 30-14, and once again, Cook led the way.

In three games, Cook has rushed for 480 yards against the Gators who, presumably, are all in favor of Cook jumping to the NFL.

“You’re blessed to coach certain guys in your career,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “What a dad gum great football player.”

This time, Cook had 153 yards to lead FSU, but the Seminoles much-maligned defense made its mark, too. FSU had six sacks, gave up only 207 yards of total offense and held the Gators to zero-for-12 on third down situations. Four of FSU’s six sacks were in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know if they will come back (for next week’s SEC title game) or not,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said of his Gators.  It’ll be a heck of a test.

“These guys have been through a ton. They played their tails off today, and it hurts. You know as a competitor you tear off the rear view mirror and go forward.”

The win made FSU’s senior class the first one to go 4-0 against Florida and Miami during their time with the Seminoles.

Despite Gators’ shortcomings, it’s still the FSU-Florida rivalry

Even though the Gators are missing seven defensive starters, it’s FSU-Florida.

Even though the Gators are ranked only 102nd in the nation, it’s FSU-Florida.

Even though FSU has won three straight, and five of the last six, it’s FSU-Florida.

There are a lot of reasons to believe this won’t be a close game. Despite a disappointing season, FSU has Dalvin Cook and Deondre Francois. Demarcus Walker is second in the nation in sacks. Tavaris McFadden is first in interceptions.

But Florida has had an over-achieving season, and they’re coming off an overachieving afternoon. So, yeah, it’ll probably be closer than it has a right to be. In the end, however, FSU can still score on any play. Florida can’t.

Prediction: FSU 23, Florida 16

All season long, the question has been that if someone finally stops the potent USF offense, what are the Bulls’ going to do. That sums up the hope of UCF, whose 35th-best defense will be the second-best that USF has faced all season.

SMU did a decent job with quarterback Quinton Flowers last week, but Flowers still rushed for 149 yards. UCF won’t be able to run up and down the field the way the Bulls are capable, but they can slow USF down. If they pen up Flowers, and if they can stop that pesky jet sweep, it could be a closer game than you’d think

Prediction: USF 27, UCF 20

Duke at Miami

The Hurricanes have had a solid first season under coach Mark Richt. They can get to their eighth win by beating the Blue Devils.

Miami has won three straight games. Mark Walton and Joe Yearby give the ‘Canes a solid running game, and Brad Kaaya is always dangerous.

Prediction: Miami 29, Duke 14

FIU at Old Dominion

ODU didn’t ease up against FAU last week, and they probably won’t this week against FIU. ODU is 8-3 on the season and still have a chance in the Conference USA East Division. Last week, ODU quarterback David Washington threw for 416 yards and five touchdowns.

Can FIU slow down the ODU attack? Some, but probably not enough.

Prediction: ODU 34, FIU 16

FAU-Middle Tennessee

FAU is 3-8, and will be a solid underdog against the Blue Raiders. FAU is giving up almost 500 yards per game.

Prediction: Middle Tennessee 35, FAU 10

The Pros

Jags at Bills

You keep waiting for Jacksonville to prove it’s better than its record. But is it? The Jags keep finding ways to lose, and quarterback Blake Bortles has been unable to do anything about it.

Prediction: Buffalo 27, Jacksonville 14

49ers at Dolphins

San Francisco is a mess, while Miami has quietly righted the ship and snuck back into playoff contention. The Dolphins’ defense won’t give up a lot to San Francisco, and Jay Ajayi should have a good day.

Prediction: Miami 31, San Francisco 9

Seattle at Tampa Bay

The Seahawks are playing solid football behind quarterback Russell Wilson, who has a chance at a huge day against a depleted Bucs’ secondary.

Prediction: Seattle 24, Tampa Bay 14

Can Dalvin Cook find space and other questions about FSU-Florida

Five questions to ponder about the FSU-Florida game.

Can the FSU Seminoles run on the Gators?

We’ll see. So far, Florida State has played three teams – Louisville, N.C. State and Boston College – who rank higher against the run than the Gators, who are  20th in the country. But those are just numbers. When healthy, this is the toughest defense the Seminoles have played.

The thing is, Florida isn’t completely healthy. But teams seem to play harder in their rivalry games. The Gators have seven starters – five on defense – who are expected to miss the game. Still, it’s hard to dismiss the Gators. They are third in the nation in scoring defense and fifth in total defense. Except for the Arkansas game, and the second half of the Tennessee game, the Gators have been very difficult to move the ball against.

Can Florida’s Austin Appleby take advantage of a sketchy FSU defense?

That’ll be a challenge. FSU’s defense has struggled against big-name quarterbacks for most of the season, but Appleby doesn’t really compare with Lamar Jackson, Mitch Trubisky, Deshawn Watson, Brad Kaaya or Quinton Flowers. And FSU does have some weapons: Demarcus Walker is second in the nation in sacks and Tavarus McFadden is first in interceptions.

Overall, Florida ranks only 102nd in the nation on offense? That’s low enough that their season has been a surprise. For instance, Las Vegas is 101st, and it’s 4-7. Virginia is 104th, and it’s 2-9. It’s a compliment that the Gators have achieved what they have.

The two schools really aren’t that far apart in the AP top 25. Why is there a difference in the way they’re viewed?

FSU’s season has been a disappointment; they were second in the nation at one point. Florida has the look over an achiever as it heads to the SEC title game.

Most people knew that Florida’s offense would swim upstream all year with a new quarterback. But FSU had Cook and a good group of receivers. Still, you get the feelling that FSU’s best football is still to come.

Over the past few years, FSU’s receivers have struggled against Florida’s secondary. Will it be any better this year?

Florida has great cornerbacks in Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson. It’s missing both of its safeties, which could play a part. In 2013, Kelvin Benjamin had a monster game against the Gators (nine catches for 212 yards), but except for that, however, FSU has struggled.

What is Florida’s best chance at a upset?

On offense, the Gators have to run Jordan Scarlett, and then run him again. With 725 yards, he’s the Gators’ most consistent performer. Defensively, Florida has to keep the score close. A timely play-action pass might figure in, too.

FSU needs to ride Cook, who is sixth in the nation in rushing, but it also needs to take advantage of its edge at quarterback in Deondre Francois.

LSU focuses in on Tom Herman, leaving Jimbo Fisher at FSU

FSU fans, evidently, have something to give thanks over.

It appears that Jimbo Fisher isn’t going anywhere.

If you believe internet reports, LSU seems to have turned its attention to Houston Coach Tom Herman. ESPN reported that the school could sign Herman to a new contract by Saturday.

Fisher had been reported in several locations, especially those out of New Orleans, in saying that he was the No. 1 target of LSU. Reports said Fisher was seeking a $7 million a year contract.

Over the last few days, however, the school’s focus seemed to shift to Herman, who met with school administrators on Thursday afternoon. Herman had also been connected by online reports to the Texas job.

Herman is 20-3 over the last two seasons.

Sunshine State Award: Surprise! FSU’s Dalvin Cook wins it again

Dalvin Cook must be getting used to the recognition.

Once again, the Sunshine State Award is his.

Cook, the FSU running back who shattered the school’s all-time record last week against Syracuse, has won this honor several times. His 225, four-touchdown performance against the Orangemen is only the latest.

Cook faces a difficult week this week against the Florida Gators in what may be his final home game for the Seminoles.

Other players considered for the honor include: FSU quarterback Deondre Francois, who threw for 315 yards, Florida defensive lineman David Reese, who had 12 tackles against LSU, Florida running back Jordan Scarlett, who ran for 108 yards, Florida receiver Tyrie Clevealnd, who had three catches for 108 yards, Miami running back Mark Walton, who ran for 120 yards against N.C. State, USF’s Quinton Flowers, who combined for 330 yards of total offense against SMU, USF running back Marlon Mack, who rushed for 129 yards, USF receiver Tyre McCants, who caught three passes for 105 yards, UCF defensive lineman Tony Guerad, who had 12 tackles against Tulsa, FAU receiver Kalib Woods, who caught seven passes for 120 yards in a loss to Old Dominion and FIU’s running back combination of Anthony Jones (121 yards rushing) and Alex Gardner (119 yards rushing).

The Sunshine State awards are presented each week by the SaintPetersblog.

Florida’s offense, FSU’s defense face challenges in rivalry game

How in the world can Florida score enough points to beat FSU?

And how in the world can FSU play enough defense to beat Florida?

It’s the old movable object-resistible force debate. The poor Gators struggled mightily on offense — this is hardly fun nor a gun. The Seminoles play chase on defense.

So how can either team win?

You have to give credit to Gators’ coach Jim McElwain, who has found a way to win eight games with the nation’s 102nd ranked offense. Florida is 97th in American in running the ball and 81st in passing yards. Eighty-eight teams have scored more points.

But Florida’s defense (ranked fifth) has given the Gators wiggle-room. So far, Florida has won games with 13 points (Vandy), 16 points (LSU) and 20 points (South Carolina). LSU, for instance, outgained the Gators by 153 yards — but Florida found a way to win.

That will be the test again Saturday as the Gators try to slow running back Dalvin Cook and quarterback Deondre Francois.

FSU has played better defense lately, possibly because the quarterbacks haven’t been the challenge that LaMar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubinsky, Brad Kaaya and Quinton Flowers were. Of course, Gators’ quarterback Austin Appleby doesn’t figure to pose a pass-them-silly challenge, either.

Like always, Florida will play defense, field position and wait for a break. It’s worked so far.

FSU will push the play a little more with its weapons, but ball control will be vital.

Game time Saturday is 8 p.m.

FSU’s Dalvin Cook still should emulate ex-Nole Warrick Dunn

A little advice for Dalvin Cook.

When it comes to Warrick Dunn, perhaps he should keep chasing.

Cook surpassed Dunn’s school record at Florida State for rushing Saturday – shattered the record, he did – in a victory over Syracuse. It was even more impressive that it took him less than three seasons to break the marks that Dunn set in four. Cook now has 4,166 yards to Dunn’s 3,959 yards. (Cook has carried the ball 38 more times than Dunn did.

“Anyone who has seen me play knows I am competitive,” Dunn told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Honestly, I just think it’s the different eras. Of course, I am going to say I am the greatest, I am not going to deny that. But I like his style. I like the way he runs, how determined he is. He’s is so powerful. He’s a lot bigger than I am.

“He’s an exceptional talent and deserving of all the praise. To me, Dalvin’s the best running back in college football and he’s going to be a great pro.”

But there are other parts of Dunn that you wish that Cook would reach for.

For instance, Cook is a semifinalist this year for the Walter Camp Award, which symbolizes the best player in the country. Dunn, however, just won the Walter Camp “Man of the Year” award, an award, an award previously won by Roger Staubach (Navy), Gale Sayers (Kansas), Dick Butkus (Illinois), John Elway (Stanford) and Jerome Bettis (Notre Dame).

Then, there is Dunn’s charity work. Dunn just purchased his 150th home for single-parent families.

Of course, there is also his pro career. Playing for Tampa Bay and Atlanta, Dunn rushed for 10,967 yards in the NFL.

Of course, Cook hasn’t had that kind of time yet. But as far as career aspirations, Cook could do a lot worse as far as a role model.

“It has been 20 years, it’s time,” Dunn said. “It was a good run. It is surprising, shocking because there have been so many great runners at Florida State. Dalvin came at a good time in his career and he has been able to shatter all that.”

FSU swarms Syracuse behind huge afternoon by Dalvin Cook

FSU running back Dalvin Cook appears intent on finishing out his junior season with style.

Cook rushed for 225 yards and four touchdowns Saturday in a 45-14 victory over Syracuse. FSU, ranked 17th in the nation, improved its record to 8-3.

Cook shattered Warrick Dunn’s school rushing record and became the fourth ACC player to rush for 4,000 yards. He was the first to do it in three seasons. It was the fourth time that Cook had rushed for more than 200 yards in a game.

For the year, Cook has 1,467 yards.

“To say you’re the leading rusher at a school that’s not a bad football school is pretty dad gum good,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “To be in the same sentence with some of the guys that have played here, it’s a great honor.

“But he definitely is deserving.”

The Seminoles jumped to a 14-0 lead on two touchdown passes by Deondre Francois, who threw for 315 yards. In all, FSU finished with 654 yards of offense. Defensively, the Seminoles had eight sacks.

Syracuse played without starting quarterback Eric Dungey. The Orangemen had only 37 yards rushing.

FSU is home next week against Florida.

The Predictions: LSU’s running game aims at Florida’s defense

Most of the time, Florida’s defense has been excellent.

Most of the time, they’ve swarmed runners and draped receivers and put the heat on quarterbacks. Most of the time, they’ve led the way to victory.

Most of the time. But not always.

Florida’s defense was exploited in the second half of the Tennessee game, and throughout the game against Arkansas. That’s enough for questions as the Gators travel to LSU for their rescheduled game Saturday. The Gators are third nationally, and 12th against the run.

The running game, in particular, will post a challenge for Florida with Darren Guice and Leonard Fournette both closing in on 1,000-yard seasons. Guise needs 119 yards and Fournette needs 197.

Florida, again, will struggle with field position and the attempt to make big plays with the 95th-best offense in the nation.

Prediction: LSU 20, Florida 16

FSU at Syracuse

The Seminoles have all the advantages in this one against an outmanned Syracuse team that will probably be missing its best player in quarterback Eric Dungey.

FSU has played better defense lately, a streak they should continue against Syracuse’s backup quarterbacks. Between Deondre Francois, Dalvin Cook, and an emerging group of young receivers, FSU should win a comfortable game. Look for DeMarcus Ware to pad his sack totals (third in the country).

Prediction: FSU 40, Syracuse 14

Miami at N.C. State

When you’re talking about the nation’s teams that are better than their record, you might want to start with the Wolfpack, the hard-luck team of the ACC. This year, North Carolina State has lost by three points in overtime to Clemson, by four points to FSU and by seven points to Boston College.

Now comes Miami, which won last week to stop a four-game losing streak. For the Wolfpack, the key will be keeping the pass rush away from quarterback Ryan Finley. For Miami, it’s getting its offensive weapons free so quarterback Brad Kaaya, finally healthy, can be the difference.

Prediction: Miami 30, N.C. State 28.

USC at SMU

The Mustangs are a trap for the USF Bulls, who face rival UCF next week. If Quinton Flowers can be bottled up, and if SMU forces him to pitch, it could be a closer game than you’d think. Don’t forget: SMU beat Houston earlier this season.

Last week, SMU put up 55 points at East Carolina, a number that should make the shaky USF defense a bit nervous. Look out for Ke’Mon Freeman and Braeden West, who both went over 100 yards last year.

Prediction: USF 31, SMU 30

UCF at Tulsa

Few teams in the nation have had the turnaround that UCF has had this season. Still, taking on Tulsa is a tough task. Tulsa is eighth in the nation on offense.

In a year, UCF may be up for the task. Not this year, though.

Tulsa 30, UCF 17

Old Dominion at FAU

ODU is one of those schools that sounds smaller than it is. In actuality, the Monarchs have won three straight and hung up 51 on Southern Miss last week. They’re a tougher opponent than some might think.

FAU’s hope is that quarterback Jason Driskel stays hot. He’s thrown for 550 yards the last two weeks.

Prediction: Old Dominion 27, FAU 20

Marshall at FIU

The Panthers will try to catch the eye of incoming coach Butch Davis in this one, but it won’t be easy.

Quarterback Chase Litton of Marshall threw for four touchdowns last week, showing there is a little danger to the Thundering Herd despite a 3-7 record. Still, there should be a new energy to FIU. Look for quarterback Alex McGough to have a good night.

Prediction: FIU 21, Marshall 17

THE PROS

Tampa Bay at Kansas City

The Bucs won last week by taking the ball away from Chicago several times, but no one’s better at that than the Chiefs, who have won 17 of their last 19 at home. One of the league’s best secondaries awaits for quarterback Jameis Winston.

Prediction: Kansas City 24, Tampa Bay 13

Jacksonville at Detroit

In a year after Calvin Johnson left, the Lions were supposed to return to the basement. Instead, Matt Harrington has led Detroit to a share of the NFC Central lead. Jacksonville has played better that you’d think, though, and a good secondary gives the Jags a chance.

Prediction: Jacksonville 21, Detroit 20 (upset)

Miami at L.A. Rams

The Dolphins aren’t very good, but they have a defense capable of giving rookie quarterback Jared Cook a hard time in his first game. As always, Miami’s chances depend on whether it can spring running back Jay Ajayi.

Prediction: Los Angeles 20, Miami 16

 

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