The Southeastern Conference doesn’t have any football players putting up video game-style numbers.
There’s Jalen Hurts and Jake Fromm but no Baker Mayfield. Nick Chubb, Damien Harris and Kerryon Johnson, but no Bryce Love. And if that keeps up there probably won’t be much Heisman Trophy love either.
No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia are loaded with talented players, but the teams divvy carries with multiple tailbacks and don’t put up huge passing numbers.
A case could easily be made that the best player on each team plays on defense, Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.
The offensive players don’t seem too bothered by the lack of Heisman hype.
For his part, Crimson Tide tailback Bo Scarbrough, who looked like one of the nation’s top runners at the end of last season, said he’s perfectly happy with splitting carries with Harris, Hurts and others.
“We’re not worried about attention,” Scarbrough said. “We’re just trying to win. We’re trying to win the whole thing. We’re trying to be the champions of college football. It doesn’t matter about separate awards. We all want to be rewarded as one.”
There are plenty of big games left for players like Hurts and Chubb to produce Heisman moments. But right now, it’s shaping up to be a repeat of last season, when the SEC’s top vote getter was ‘Bama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen at No. 7.
The league figures to produce a wealth of NFL talent — as usual. There is just not a runner carrying the load like Stanford’s Love, the nation’s top Power 5 rusher, or Alabama’s 2015 Heisman winner Derrick Henry.
And it seems highly unlikely that Tide quarterback Hurts or the Georgia freshman Fromm are going to throw for 598 yards like Oklahoma’s Mayfield did in a 62-52 win over Oklahoma State.
The SEC doesn’t have a runner ranked among the top 20 nationally.
Chubb leads Georgia with 867 yards and nine touchdowns while Sony Michel isn’t far behind with 710 yards and the same number of TDs.
Michel echoed Scarbrough’s win-first sentiment, saying when a team’s winning players are not worried about how many yards they have.
“Me personally, and I think I can speak for the rest of the backs on this team, we’re not really into the personal accolades,” he said. “Those type of things just come.”
Alabama’s Harris is averaging an eye-opening 8.1 yards per carry with nine touchdowns. His 90 carries in nine games is far below the 151 Love has produced in eight outings.
Hurts is a dangerous playmaker and leader of the league’s highest scoring offense but isn’t even among the SEC’s top 10 passers in yards per game. Fromm is — barely, at No. 10.
“The two teams that have the profile to have a Heisman winner on their team have logjams at their glory spots, the running back position,” CBS analyst Rick Neuheisel said. “Both have three or four guys. Georgia, heck they play five guys.
“And the quarterbacks have not been asked to do it because they’ve been so efficient in the running game.”
No. 10 Auburn’s Johnson is the carries the biggest load among the SEC’s top teams, especially with Kamryn Pettway out with a fractured shoulder blade. Johnson has missed two games but still leads the SEC with a 124-yard average per game and 15 touchdowns.
He’s also got high-profile games against the Bulldogs and Tide to perhaps put himself into the Heisman conversation and has averaged 26 carries over the past five games.
“I don’t mind it. Obviously, hit-wise and number-wise, it’s definitely hard,” Johnson said. “But as long as I’m still walking, I’ll keep doing it. Guys at Georgia and Alabama, they split carries and it helps preserve them during the season, but you know, we had a running back go down and things change.”
Alabama plays at No. 18 Mississippi State Saturday night, and Georgia awaits the Western Division winner in the SEC title game.
Tennessee linebacker Quart’e Sapp has faced both the Tide and Bulldogs. He has a pick for who the best player he saw on those teams.
“I would probably say Hurts,” Sapp said. “He really shocked me how he carried himself. He was laidback the whole game, never really seen anybody like that.”
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen’s team is tasked with trying to stop Hurts and Alabama’s other playmakers, including Harris and Scarbrough.
“You have to stop all of them,” Mullen said. “It’s not one guy — they’re certainly not a one-man show. You’ve got to stop everybody.”
And since there’s no Everybody Heisman award, that’s one conversation the SEC probably won’t be in again this year.
AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee, David Brandt and Paul Newberry contributed to this report.
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Sean Combs says he was only joking when he announced over the weekend that he had changed his nickname from Diddy to Love, as in Brother Love.
The rapper and producer took to Twitter and Instagram to set the record straight after he says he learned “you cannot play around with the internet.” He says Love is one of his “alter egos.” Combs’ other nicknames over the years include Puff Daddy, Puffy, P. Diddy and Diddy. He now says he’ll answer to any of those names and also Love.
That’s the opposite of what he said in a video posted on his 48th birthday Saturday. He told fans in that message that was going by “Love, a.k.a. Brother Love” and wouldn’t answer to anything else.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Polish government is encouraging citizens to go forth and multiply like rabbits.
The health ministry of Poland, which has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe, has put out a short video praising rabbits for producing many offspring.
The YouTube video shows rabbits munching on lettuce and carrots while a rabbit “narrator” reveals the secret of their big families — exercise, a healthy diet and little stress. The brief appearance of a human couple enjoying a romantic picnic hints that a little romance might help, and a wine glass turned upside down suggested an anti-alcohol message.
Viewers are told: “If you ever want to be a parent, follow the example of rabbits.”
It is the latest step by the conservative government in this mostly Catholic country of 38 million to reverse a shrinking population. European Union figures show that Poland’s birth rate was 1.32 children per woman in 2015. Only Portugal had a lower fertility rate, though the figures in Spain and Greece were almost as low as Poland.
The Health Ministry said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was trying to encourage Poles in their reproductive years — between the ages of 18 and 45 — to adopt a healthy lifestyle that would improve their reproductive health.
It also said it was seeking to raise public awareness of the issue in a way that “did not offend anyone and was not vulgar.”
NEW YORK (AP) — The Chinese internet company Tencent has acquired a 12 percent stake in Snap, with the social media company struggling to boost user growth.
Tencent runs the WeChat messaging app, as well as online payment platforms and games. Earlier this year, it bought a 5 percent stake in Tesla Inc.
Snap Inc. is the parent company of Snapchat, a camera app that lets people send short videos and images. The company, based in Venice, California, said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that Tencent bought 145.8 million shares.
Snap revealed Tuesday that its loss tripled to $443.2 million during the third quarter on weak user growth and revenue. The app is getting a redesign to make it easier to use.
Snap faces intense competition from Apple, Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp, and Google’s YouTube.
News that Tencent has become one of the company’s biggest investors did not staunch a sell-off Wednesday. Shares of Snap tumbled almost 15 percent to $12.91, with a number of industry analysts downgrading the company.
UBS, among those advising clients to sell shares in the company, believes it will be exceedingly difficult for Snap to differentiate itself from industry giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
“In the first two quarters as a public company, we framed Snap’s disappointing results as ‘growing pains’ but felt the long-term debates around user growth and ad business scaling were left unsolved,” wrote analyst Eric Sheridan. “While many of those questions remain unanswered after a third earnings report, it is now very likely that Snap will continue to struggle on multiple fronts in the coming 12 months.”
It’s been a busy week in cross-Pacific deal making.
With President Donald Trump meeting in China with President Xi Jinping for the first time, U.S. and Chinese companies signed deals valued at around $9 billion.
Notre Dame forward Bonzie Colson’s deliberation over whether to turn pro or return for his senior year was never much of a debate.
“It was like a five-minute discussion,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “He knew he was a four-year guy. His family knew he was a four-year guy. I thought maybe he would at least want to go up to Chicago and test the waters. (He said), ‘Coach, (I’m) not into it.’ “
Even in an era when freshmen have an increasingly large role in college basketball, there still are plenty of four-year guys making an impact.
Kansas’ Frank Mason Jr. was named the AP player of the year as a senior last season. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield won the 2015-16 Naismith Trophy as the nation’s top player his senior season.
Colson says he knew it was the right decision for him to return for his senior year as well.
“I knew I had a lot of development on both sides of the floor that I needed to work on,” Colson said. “But obviously getting the degree from Notre Dame is what I went to Notre Dame for, and I knew I was a four-year guy.”
This list of top seniors heading into the 2017-18 season shows there are plenty of notable “four-year guys” in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year.
GRAYSON ALLEN, DUKE
Notes: As the only returning Duke player who averaged more than eight minutes last season, Allen provides some needed experience to the top-ranked Blue Devils’ freshman-laden roster. Allen averaged 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists two years ago to earn AP All-America third-team honors . He had 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-high 3.5 assists per game during a turbulent junior season in which he was stripped of his captaincy after getting caught tripping an opponent three times in a calendar year . Allen has regained that captain status this year .
JOEL BERRY II, NORTH CAROLINA
Height: 6 feet
Notes: Berry was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four after scoring 22 points and dishing out six assists with only one turnover in the Tar Heels’ NCAA championship game victory over Gonzaga . He did all that despite playing the NCAA Tournament with a pair of sprained ankles. He has another injury that could cause him to miss the start of this season for the ninth-ranked Tar Heels. North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Berry broke a bone in his right hand punching a door after losing a video game . Berry is one of only seven players ever to score at least 20 points in two straight national championship games and one of only six North Carolina players ever to start in two national championship games.
TREVON BLUIETT, XAVIER
Notes: Big East coaches have given Bluiett first-team all-conference honors each of the last two seasons. Bluiett ranked second in the Big East in scoring (18.5) and 10th in rebounding (5.7) last season while also making 2.5 3-pointers per game. He averaged 21.3 points in four NCAA Tournament games to help Xavier advance to a regional final. Bluiett’s big tournament performance included a 29-point outburst in a victory over Florida State and a 25-point effort in a Sweet 16 upset of Arizona . He averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds two seasons ago. He’s back for his senior year to help No. 17 Xavier seek an elusive Final Four berth .
BONZIE COLSON, NOTRE DAME
Notes: Colson is the ACC preseason player of the year and the lone senior to make the AP All-America preseason team . Colson can score in a variety of different ways and has found a way to thrive in the paint for the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish despite his relative lack of height. Colson averaged a double-double last season while earning AP All-America third-team honors. He led the ACC in rebounding (10.1) and ranked ninth in the conference in scoring (17.8). He averaged 22.7 points in the ACC tournament and scored 27 points while shooting 10 of 15 in an NCAA Tournament loss to West Virginia .
DEVONTE GRAHAM, KANSAS
Notes: Graham heads into his final college season as the Big 12 preseason player of the year. The fourth-ranked Jayhawks will be relying on Graham to emerge as the leader of the backcourt as they replace Mason. Graham ranked 13th in the Big 12 in scoring (13.4), sixth in assists (4.1), second in 3-pointers (2.6) and ninth in steals (1.5) last season. He averaged 11.3 points and 3.7 assists two seasons ago and was named the most outstanding player of that year’s Big 12 tournament.
YANTE MATEN, GEORGIA
Notes: Maten ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring (18.2), ninth in rebounding (6.8), ninth in blocks (1.5) and second in field-goal percentage (.519) last season. That followed a sophomore year in which he ranked ninth in the SEC in scoring (16.5) and sixth in rebounding (8.0). Maten heads into his senior year trying to earn the NCAA Tournament berth that has eluded Georgia the last two seasons. He was named the Southeastern Conference’s preseason co-player of the year along with Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. and Texas A&M sophomore Robert Williams.
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NEW YORK (AP) — It was built to showcase the United States of America to the world, an airy, eye-catching pavilion with a facade of live plants and a walkway built with pieces of New York’s famous Coney Island boardwalk.
Now, after attracting more than 6 million visitors to become the most popular attraction at the 2015 world’s fair in Italy, the government-designated nonprofit group that ran the U.S. pavilion is bankrupt, leaving $28 million in debt from Manhattan to Milan.
Through interviews and documents, The Associated Press found that attempts at a federal bailout have stopped. The building is being dismantled after lingering for two years. And creditors are flabbergasted at how a high-profile project done in America’s name plunged them into a financial hole.
“It was a fantastic experience in every way but one,” said architect James Biber, whose New York-based firm had to lay people off because of $1 million in unpaid fees. “It’s unconscionable and outrageous.”
The fallout comes as the U.S. seeks to host a world’s fair of its own in Minnesota in 2023. A decision is expected this month.
“It’s not a situation that anyone went into thinking that that’s how it would resolve itself,” said Charlie Faas, CEO of the nonprofit Friends of the U.S. Pavilion Milano 2015.
Since the first “Great Exhibition” in 1851 in London, world’s fairs have periodically trumpeted technological progress, promoted international cooperation and projected national pride. They have produced some indelible architecture, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome in Montreal, but they have also been derided as dated, expensive exercises in puffery.
Many nations put government funds into their pavilions, but a 1990s law prevents the U.S. from doing so without special congressional approval. The country sat out the 2000 expo in Hannover, Germany, after struggling to raise private money.
The State Department tapped Friends, a nonprofit formed by culinary and business organizations, to orchestrate a showpiece for the food-sustainability-themed Milan Expo 2015.
The pavilion featured a “vertical farm” — a facade of hydroponic planters growing more than 40 different crops — plus a programmable waterfall and a roof terrace covered by special glass that could turn opaque to block the summer sun.
Videos presented various Americans’ perspectives on nourishing a growing global population. Food trucks offered star-spangled fare from barbecue to lobster rolls. Visitors included then-first lady Michelle Obama, members of Congress, prime ministers and royals.
“We really felt good about making this for the U.S.,” said exhibition designer Tom Hennes, whose New York-based Thinc Design is now out more than $1 million.
Behind the scenes, financial red flags were flapping even as the pavilion welcomed as many as 65,000 visitors a day.
The Friends group was responsible for covering the costs. But the State Department appointed a political fundraising veteran to court sponsors, and then-Secretary John Kerry hosted meetings and made calls to talk up the project with business leaders. Such household names as General Electric, Microsoft, Chevron and 3M signed on.
A similar fundraising strategy had rolled up $60 million for an Expo 2010 pavilion in Shanghai. But this time, court papers show, only about $39 million came in.
As to why, there’s no one answer. The State Department says it was told there were fundraising headwinds in Europe from lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Faas said the U.S. set an ambitious timeline, requesting proposals for the pavilion 20 months before the fair.
Money ran so short that organizers stopped paying anything except operating expenses to keep the building open. Faas argues a shutdown would have slammed the door on any hope of further contributions.
“We were operating with the creditors’ best interest in mind as we went through this. Every day, we made sure we were optimizing and giving credibility to raising money,” Faas said.
Fundraising became even tougher, and creditors grew more restless, after the six-month expo closed in October 2015.
The ticketing-software company Best Union USA Inc., of Orlando, Florida, sued Friends for over $96,000 in unpaid bills. After settling last December, the company is still owed $66,000, bankruptcy papers show; a company attorney declined to comment. Other creditors held off taking legal action.
“We’re an American company; we didn’t want to embarrass the U.S. government, and we were being assured that everything would be all right,” said Joseph Harary, CEO of Woodbury, New York-based glass maker Research Frontiers Inc., which is owed over $240,000.
In letters and emails, State Department officials and Faas assured creditors they were working to get the bills paid. As of December, the State Department was still pursuing public money, wrote Ambassador Philip Reeker, the U.S. consul general in Milan. At that point, then-President Barack Obama and the Senate Appropriations Committee had OK’d proposed budget language allowing the State Department to kick in cash.
The provision was axed from the spending measure that Congress ultimately approved and President Donald Trump signed this spring. After that, Reeker told the Friends group in July that State “will no longer pursue a legislative solution, and no other viable options” were apparent.
Friends was left with no choice but bankruptcy, Faas said. The nonprofit owed three dozen companies and people as much as $15 million apiece and had just $481,000 in the bank, court filings show.
The State Department said in an email to the AP that it did what it could to help Friends with its obligations “and while hopeful, did not make promises related to the debt relief.” The agency says it will provide more administrative help for future pavilions.
The pavilion itself now belongs to Hammerbrooklyn Immobilien GmbH, a company based in Hamburg, Germany, that got the building in exchange for removing it.
“It was really a sad situation. Nobody took care of it for two years,” said managing director Johannes Lichtenthaler.
The New York company that provided the Coney Island boardwalk wood, Sawkill Lumber, is trying to get it back; the company is owed $55,000. Lichtenthaler says that much of the wood is damaged but that his company aims to reuse as much as possible in a planned startup incubator space in Hamburg.
To the State Department, it’s an OK end for a building designed to trumpet American culture, businesses and ingenuity.
“We are glad the spirit of innovation will live on,” the agency says.