NEW DELHI – In late April, a 17-year-old girl named Kriti Tripathi leaped to her death in Kota, India, shortly after passing the country’s examination for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). A week later, another Kota student, Preeti Singh, hanged herself, succumbing to her injuries after a few days. Singh’s was the ninth suicide by a student in Kota this year alone, and the 56th in the last five. All attended Kota’s “coaching institutes,” whose sole purpose is to prepare high-school students for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). In a five-page suicide note, Tripathi expressed her frustration at having been compelled to study engineering, when her real ambition was to become a NASA scientist. She also described the pressure she had faced at the coaching institution. Tripathi implored the Human Resource Development Ministry to shut down such institutes, which force their students to endure unbearable stress and depression. The story is all too common, but should the blame really be laid on the coaching institutes? In fact, Kota’s coaching institutes are a symptom of a larger problem, hinted at by the city’s senior administrator, District Collector Ravi Kumar Surpur, in an emotional letter he wrote in response to the latest deaths. Addressing parents directly, Surpur pleaded with them not to subject their children to excessive stress in an attempt to live vicariously through them. Indian parents are known for demanding academic excellence from their children. They know that a professional degree in the right field is a passport to social and economic advancement, so they push hard to ensure that their children get one – something that India’s higher-education system does not make easy. Given this deeply entrenched culture of academic ambition, the planned administrative inquiry into conditions at the Kota coaching institutes is unlikely to result in remedial action. The toll this culture takes on young people is obvious. Students are forced to pass brutally difficult examinations – only about 10,000 of the 500,000 who take the IIT-JEE each year score high enough to be admitted – in subjects they often detest. And Indian students are far more likely to push themselves until they crack than to drop out. Engineering and medicine remain the subjects of choice for middle-class Indian parents. The country graduates a half-million engineers every year, some 80% of whom end up in jobs that do not require an engineering degree. But, in a throwback to the mid-twentieth century, Indian parents view engineering as the gateway to modernity, and continue pressing their children to study it. Students who do not make it to an IIT end up in institutions of varying quality, many of which do not equip their graduates for today’s labor market. But at least there are enough engineering colleges in India to meet demand. Medicine, by contrast, is a frustratingly crowded field – and for no good reason. India’s medical profession is controlled by the Medical Council of India, an opaque and self-serving cabal that has intentionally limited the supply of available medical college seats. Medical colleges must be recognized by the MCI, which has seen fit to permit only 381 to exist. That leaves only 63,800 slots each year in a country of 1.2 billion people – enough space for fewer than 1% of Indian students aspiring to attend medical school. As if that were not bad enough, some of the seats are awarded against “donations,” with the wealthy essentially purchasing positions that their marks do not merit. Meanwhile, high-achieving students who just barely missed the cutoff have to find alternatives – or pursue another field altogether. Those whose families can afford it often end up studying medicine abroad. Many do not return to India, depriving the country of their much-needed expertise. Some return after having attended obscure colleges in countries like Georgia or China, only to have the MCI refuse to recognize their degrees and block them from practicing. For those who cannot afford to go abroad – even bright students who barely missed the cutoff for a spot at an Indian university – studying medicine is no longer an option. Yet India desperately needs doctors. According to the World Health Organization, the country has just 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people. In the United States and the United Kingdom – two countries to which Indian doctors often emigrate – the rate is 2.5 per 1,000 and 2.8 per 1,000, respectively. The crippling lack of capacity means that lives are lost every day – particularly in rural areas – for want of medical attention. India could be graduating four or five times as many capable doctors as it does each year. Yet the MCI has been allowed to pursue its restrictive approach, depriving poor Indians of adequate health care, while augmenting the already-huge pressure on students to gain a seat in a medical college. It is in this context – with a huge population competing for a tiny number of seats in professional colleges – that coaching institutes like those in Kota thrive. When succeeding in tough entrance examinations is the only way to fulfill one’s educational goals, test preparation becomes the be-all and end-all of schooling. Eager to satisfy pushy parents, young people sacrifice their own interests at the altar of a false god. The 56 pyres lit in Kota over the last five years are a tragic testament to how damaging this conception of academic excellence can be. About the author: Shashi Tharoor, a former UN under-secretary-general and former Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs, is currently an MP for the Indian National Congress and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. He is the author of Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Mountain Youth Talent Contest returns to the Main Street Stage on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. The Greening Up The Mountains contest is the first in the Talent Contest series, which culminates with an overall winner performing the Mountain Heritage Day Festival in September.The Mountain Youth Contest aims to discover and develop talented youth in the Appalachian Heritage Arts. The Contest provides an opportunity for young people to perform on stage before an audience. The contest are produced by Jackson County 4-H and are held at the Greening Up The Mountains Festival in Sylva, the Strawberry Jam Festival in Bryson City, and the Franklin Area Folk Festival in Franklin each year.Entry forms are now available for all of the Mountain Youth Talent Contests for 2018. The first Contest is at Greening Up the Mountains Festival in Sylva, NC on April 28th. The entry deadline is April 18th. Go to jackson4-h.blogspot.com to find the entry forms.Participants in these contests must exhibit a talent that will reflect Appalachian
By Paul LeckerSports ReporterMARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Post 54 American Legion baseball program is bringing the best teams in the state to the city.Wisconsin American Legion Baseball has awarded the 2016 Class AAA state tournament to Marshfield, a first for the program.The eight-team, double-elimination tournament will be held July 26-30 at Jack Hackman Field, bringing seven regional winners to Marshfield with a state title and a berth in the Class AAA Great Lakes regional on the line. Marshfield Clinic Post 54, as the host team, earns an automatic bid into the tournament.Marshfield Legion Baseball board member Mark Decker got the ball rolling last year. The Blue Devils played in the state tournament last July in Plover, and Decker said he was impressed with how that event was run. With similar facilities to Plover, Decker felt Marshfield could host a future state tournament.“Why not try to get it here?” Decker said. “We have a nice park. We are in the center of the state, so it is easy for everyone to get here. We applied for the 2016 tournament in the fall, made a presentation at the state meeting in Portage, and found out earlier this month that we were awarded the tournament.”A lot of work went into the presentation, which included bringing in the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Marshfield Parks and Recreation Department.Matt McLean, director of the Marshfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the experience of putting together the bid and the execution of putting on the five-day tournament are similar to what they already do with Small Town Baseball.Small Town Baseball will hold the Wisconsin State Tournament in Marshfield for the fourth-straight year this June and will host the World Series for the second year in a row, bringing in teams from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin.“We worked with the Legion baseball program and looked at the economic benefits it could bring to Marshfield,” McLean said. “Hotels, retail, restaurants, attractions for visitors, … we started working with Mark Decker, Ed Englehart at the Parks and Rec department, who will be responsible for maintaining the facilities, and the hotels and put the bid together.“Five days of baseball should do a good job of filling up our hotels and will bring a lot of people to the area.”McLean said he does not have a definitive number on the total economic impact to Marshfield, but he said similar tournaments in the state can bring as much as $220,000 to $300,000 into the city’s economy.Decker said he is constantly thinking about the tournament even though it is 18 months away. He knows it will be a big task for the Legion baseball program but has no worries that they will be able to put on a topnotch experience for the teams coming into Marshfield.“There are always things I am jotting down, and I have a plan of attack,” Decker said. “After we get this season underway, we will really get things rolling. The state (Legion board) wants progress reports to see how things are going, so we have a lot to do. From concessions, selling shirts, admissions, scorekeepers, getting the field ready, running the scoreboard, it’s going to take a lot of people.“All of the baseball programs in the city, the Varsho League, Marshfield Area Baseball, the Chaparrals, we will all see part of the benefits one way or another. This will bring everyone together. I really think it’s going to be good for the city.”What: 2016 Class AAA Wisconsin American Legion Baseball TournamentWhen: July 26-30, 2016Where: Jack Hackman Field, MarshfieldHost: Marshfield Clinic Post 54 American Legion baseballOn the line: The Wisconsin Class AAA state championship and a berth in the Great Lakes Regional at Alton, Illinois. The winner of the regional moves on to the American Legion Baseball World Series in Shelby, North Carolina.
Steve Jobs has announced his resignation as CEO of Apple. He will remain chairman of the board of directors. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook has been named as his replacement. The Apple co-founder has taken medical leave for health problems this year, fueling much speculation about Apple’s life after Steve. The swift confirmation of Cook as CEO indicates a smooth transition as part of Apple’s succession plan.From inspiring Windows to pioneering creative uses of personal computers to popularizing quality industrial design and mobile media consumption, to finally delivering on the sci-fi promise of tablet computing, Jobs has been at the forefront of global cultural evolution for decades.The Steve Jobs LegacyAfter co-founding Apple with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976, Jobs was absent for a tumultuous period of Apple’s history between 1985 and 1997, during which he founded NeXT Computer and Pixar. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Apple’s acquisition of NeXT brought Jobs back into the fold, and the era that followed brought us the iMac, the iPod, and all the successive innovations in personal computing and digital media that followed. This year, Apple has launched a major release of Mac OS X, and the iOS 5 update for its mobile devices is set to launch this fall. Jobs’ vision for Apple’s range of products has made the company one of the most valuable in the world.The Right Man For the JobCOO Tim Cook, who will succeed Jobs as CEO, has made much of this success possible by ensuring efficient supply chains and exclusive access to parts and materials for the manufacture of Apple’s hardware. Thanks to Cook’s operational vision, Apple’s new family of devices has made it difficult for other companies to compete on both quality and price.The iPad dominates the tablet market, which has so upended PC sales that HP left the PC business entirely, citing the punishing reality of the “tablet effect.” Cook has been instrumental in shaping Apple’s current strategy, and he already acted as CEO while Jobs was on medical leave.Apple’s board of directors issued this press release today: Tags:#Apple#NYT#web CUPERTINO, Calif., Aug 24, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Apple’s Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple’s Board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” added Levinson. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”Jobs submitted his resignation to the Board today and strongly recommended that the Board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO.Business Insider has Jobs’ resignation letter to Apple and its board of directors. To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.StevePhoto credit: Apple jon mitchell Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Read our coverage of the JobsResignation here:AsSteve Jobs Steps Down, Linux Turns 20: Which Changed the WorldMore?TheSteve Jobs Formula and Why It Works4 Things Entrepreneurs Should Ignore From the Steve Jobs Formula
Tablet devices vary considerably in terms of supporting the full range of Web content and technologies. However, when tablets are used in the office, your workers will expect the highest-performing tablet on the market. Principled Technologies put the following five browser/tablet combinations, head-to-head to determine who would prevail in displaying the web content that you want to see: Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 on an Intel Atom processor-powered HP ElitePad with Windows 8 Pro 32-bit Google Chrome on an Intel Atom processor-powered HP ElitePad with Windows 8 Pro 32-bitMicrosoft Internet Explorer 10 Modern UI app on a Microsoft Surface RT with Windows 8 RTGoogle Chrome on a Samsung® Galaxy Tab® 2 with Android 4.1.1Safari on an Apple iPad 4 with Apple iOS 6.1.3Our FindingsUsing two different browsers, the Intel Atom processor-powered tablet had the fewest issues with the set of popular Web sites tested. (Lower numbers are better.) Missing or broken features. These sites had errors that made it difficult or impossible to use certain site features. Examples include Ikea’s site, which doesn’t allow users on certain browsers to use online planning tools; Shutterfly, which has Flash-based tools for uploading pictures; and deviantART Motion Books are not supported on some browsers.Missing or broken links. These sites had links that either did not work or were found missing when compared the site on the mobile device to the site on a non-tablet PC. Examples include Sprint’s Web site where a link labeled “Got questions? Click to chat,” which allows users to initiate support chat, is missing on some browsers; and Adobe’s site where certain navigation bar links are missing on the home page on some devices.Sites or parts of sites do not load. These sites had errors when loading the full site, or parts of the site. Examples include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter site, which redirects some browsers to a more general Universal Studios Parks site; Fox Sports, which redirects to a site that doesn’t load properly on some browsers; and T- Mobile’s site, which doesn’t load properly when trying to initiate support chat on some browsers.Video issues. These sites were unable to properly load and/or play the videos embedded in their sites. Examples include the ABC Web site, where the TV episodes failed to stream on some devices; the Food Network site, where videos and tutorials do not load on some devices; and many of the major sports sites such as NFL, NCAA, and CBS Sports, where videos failed to play on several of the browsers.Fewer Issues Across a Range of Technologies Users of Web browsers on tablets occasionally encounter problems stemming from technology such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight®, Java, WebGL, WebM, Parallax Scrolling, and various HTML5 CODECs. Principled Technologies found that the Intel Atom processor- powered tablet accessed Web sites using these technologies with fewer errors than the other tablets they tested. In the case of WebGL, Google Chrome on the Intel Atom processor-powered tablet was the only browser to run the technology properly. The tools that Web designers and programmers use to create content for mobile browser users are continually evolving. Currently, less than 1 percent of Web sites run Java or Silverlight. Adobe removed their Flash app from Google Play some time ago and Microsoft recently announced plans to phase out support of Silverlight. So expect the world of Internet browsing to continue to change as technologies evolve.Great-Looking Web Sites Without AppsRoughly 61 percent of the Web sites with which Principled Technologies encountered issues offer apps that work around the issues. While some users welcome these alternatives, they are not an ideal solution for everyone. Workaround apps can clutter up the tablet screen, take up space on the internal storage, and can require frequent updates via app stores such as iTunes and Google Play. In addition, apps can pose a burden on IT staff—they must keep up with an ever-changing array of apps and perform a more complex initial setup process for users. Many organizations set up custom app repositories, which also require management. Finally, not all apps provide the full functionality that the Web site does. Users may be able to access some form of the site with the app, but be unable to do everything they could do on the full site. This summarizes the instances of reduced functionality Principled Technologies encountered on the Web sites they tested. Following the table, they explain each type of issue and present examples. For a Web Experience You Can Rely on, Choose INTEL INSIDEMany factors go into the process of selecting a tablet—size, price, styling, and more. The ability to visit a wide range of Web sites with confidence that they will behave as intended should also be high on the list.In testing, the Intel Atom processor-powered tablet running the Windows 8 Pro operating system, which offers an experience similar to Windows-based desktop and notebook systems, encountered the fewest problems. Depending on the browser used, the Intel Atom processor-powered tablet handled either 95.0 percent or 95.2 percent of the 433 sites without issue. For the other tablets tested, this number was as low as 71.8 percent.Based on these findings, an Intel Atom processor-powered Windows 8 tablet is a wise choice for those who need their tablets to handle the widest range of Web resources with the least chance of incompatibilities.The Best Tablet Web Experience Starts With INTEL INSIDE Observed 152 individual problems or issues. Of 433 sites, 139 sites had an issue on one or more platforms. Most issues occurred with the iPad (122) and the Galaxy Tab 2 (101). IE 10 Modern UI on the Surface RT had 37 issues. The two browsers on the Intel Atom processor-powered ElitePad had the fewest issues: 21 with Internet Explorer 10 and 2 What’s New in Tablets?For a complete list of sites tested please visit the full report by clicking here.Tablets are playing a powerful role in business – how can you integrate tablets into your organization? Click here to learn more.This blog is part 2 of a 2-part blog series on tablet web performance. Check out the other blog in this series here.For more conversations about IT Center and tablet computing, click on the Hashtags below:#itcenterOpens in a new window #tablets Using two different browsers, the Intel Atom processor-powered tablet had the fewest issues with the subset of popular Web sites with which problems were encountered. (Lower numbers are better.) More Than Just Flash Lack of support for Flash is a well-known limitation of iPad tablets. However, Flash issues accounted for less than half of the problems they encountered. As Figure 3 shows, 37.3 percent of issues fell into the “Other” category. This includes such problems as missing links, import/export issues, zoom problems, and bad formatting—things they could not attribute to any one technology, but that result from poor code translation between full desktop browsers and tablet browsers. A breakdown of the types of issues observed by Principled Technologies. Less Frustration, Greater Productivity
A fresh set of leaks has given out some rare specifications of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note successor. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 20, which has been nicknamed Hermes, was first spotted a month ago.Regular leakster, @upleaks is the source of the new set of leaks. According to this, the smartphone will sport a full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display, although the screen size has not been divulged yet. It is also likely to be powered by a 64-bit MediaTek MT6795, octa-core processor. Some other features include 2 or 3GB RAM, and 16GB internal memory.The device is expected to run on Android 5.0 Lollipop based MIUI 6. Other leaks reveal a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front camera.Any details regarding the availability and pricing of the smartphone are yet to be known. Notably, the launches of four new smartphones by Xiaomi were also leaked when its product roadmap for the year was revealed earlier in the month.
The undefeated Mountaineers are headed to Stillwater this weekend in what should be the most challenging test the Cowboys have faced to date. We picked the brain of a very knowledgeable journalist in Allan Taylor who covers the Mountaineers for WVMetroNews.com and knows the pulse of the team. Let’s see what he had to say. 1. West Virginia is on an absolute tear this year behind a really solid defense and a balanced offense. What do you think are some of the biggest contributors for overall marked improvements?The defense has been so steady you forget you’re watching eight new starters. Stunning work from a group we expected to be in the bottom half of the Big 12. Offensively, there are still tempo moments but I sense Holgorsen being more patient — which helps limit the defense’s exposure.The offensive line has dealt with a big injury to left tackle Yodny Cajuste but seems situated now after some shuffling. Skyler Howard’s receivers produced some ‘wow’ moments last week and WVU shifts to bigger packages at will. This may not be one of Holgorsen’s highest-scoring offenses at the end of the year, but I think it will have proven effective and lower-risk.2. Some ESPN writers took different sides of the argument that OSU may pose the biggest threat left for WVU this year. What are your thoughts on how the Cowboys/Mountaineers matchup?I’d put Saturday’s game dead-even on the “threat scale” with upcoming home games against OU and Baylor. Will be interesting to see how West Virginia responds if Rudolph & Co. strike early. The Mountaineers haven’t trailed in their last two games.3. The 3-3-5 defense is unique in the conference and while returning all-conference end Noble Nwachukwu, the unit is playing improved football even after losing star safety Dravon Henry to injury and NFL talents in safety Karl Joseph (1st round), corner Daryl Worley (3rd) and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (4th). Please talk a little about the unique defense and what players have stepped up and filled the gap to spur the improvements?DE Christian Brown is playing at a career high opposite Nwachukwu. Al-Rasheed Benton apprenticed for three seasons at MLB under the guys who left, so he’s rarely out of position. Redshirt freshman LB David Long is small but explosive. 6-foot-2 CB Rasul Douglas has realized his potential, and the guys plugged in at safety have only made a few errors in Askew-Henry’s absence.We’re all astounded at how this unit tamped down Texas Tech and TCU to a combine 27 points. 4. Quarterback Skyler Howard seems to be really blossoming in his final year of eligibility, progressing in completion percentage, cutting back on interceptions and continuing to be a threat to tuck it and run. How has his progression affected the offense and what are some of the keys to this balanced attack?More check-downs lead to longer, clock-chewing drives. Better footwork in the pocket leads to more intermediate completions. Howard still has the horses to chase down deep throws, but there’s not the all-or-nothing feel of last year’s offense. 5. OSU fans dearly treasured our time with Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen roaming the sidelines, both for his incredible offenses and sideline antics. What have been some of your favorite Dana moments in Morgantown?He slams the headset less frequently now, so perhaps therapy is working, but he’ll NEVER stop zinging Baylor for its non-conference schedule. Recently he bragged on how gorgeous the stadium’s East Side renovations looked, but upon reaching the untouched west side he said, “You forget how sh*tty it is.” 6. Players like Nwachukwu and skill players like Howard, Shelton Gibson and Rushel Shell are well known, who are some players Cowboy fans haven’t heard of but will likely have an impact on the game this Saturday?The other CBs with Rasul Douglas have outperformed expectations. Transfers Maurice Fleming (Iowa) and Anthony Crawford (Miami) are seniors making their one year at WVU count. On offense, WR Daikiel Shorts has been clutch on possession downs. RBs Kennedy McKoy and Justin Crawford, if healthy from a 2-week-old ankle injury, are dynamic. 7. Another coach OSU is (much more) familiar with is WV “offensive coordinator” Joe Wickline. With his familiarity in the conference and prowess coaching an offensive line, what kind of an impact has he made on this team in your opinion?Wick has focused on the tackles and tight ends, allowing Ron Crook to focus on the interior linemen. I get the sense Wick also makes his mark during game-planning because he’s so familiar with Big 12 defensive schemes and their exploitable points. 8. Expansion news seems to be dying down for the conference, but what do you sense the general sentiment for WVU fans is as far as adding teams and who they would be?Some fans clamor for another Eastern Time Zone member seeing as how isolated the Mountaineers are from the rest of the Big 12, but BYU and/or Houston were popular options also. After the show-and-tell process led to waves of criticism and no expansion, some fans seem resigned to hoping the ACC will take WVU once the Big 12 grant of rights expires and the shuffling begins anew. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Whoooo boy. There’s more!“I never watch the show,” said Gundy. “I’d rather watch SpongeBob than … listen to [Hocutt’s] comments, to be honest with you.”Wowza!What Gundy is referencing is Hocutt coming on weekly on ESPN to discuss why teams were ranked where they ranked. It seems odd that a sitting athletic director would get to do this, but this is where we’re at. Also, it seems like there’s a little bad blood there between Gundy and Hocutt for some reason.What Hocutt said last week when OSU was bumped to No. 13 in the rankings is that the CFB Playoff committee is viewing OSU’s loss to Central Michigan as a loss.Kirby Hocutt on OkSt loss to CMU on final play: “We’re viewing it as a loss. It’s not within our purview to decide wins and losses.”— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) November 9, 2016The irony here is that it almost feels like the committee is treating OSU as if it only has one loss and not two. No. 13 is pretty high for a team that lost two games with one of those to Central Michigan. Or it is at least splitting the difference. Don’t try to tell Gundy, though, he has some cartoons to watch anyway. This is, I believe, the second time this year we’ve gotten a cartoon reference.I actually love this humorous shot. (Also: not surprised Mike Gundy watches cartoons with sleeping fort guards.) pic.twitter.com/pE9VckGOmR— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) September 12, 2016 Mike Gundy was in rare form (even for him) at his Monday press conference. He was asked about the College Football Playoff committee and his “loss” against Central Michigan, and he took out a blowtorch.“Last night I said [to our team], ‘you’ve gotten to a point where you’re 9-1,’ said Gundy. “You only got here by busting your butt, overcoming deficiencies, finding answers, practicing hard and preparing for the next game. And they buy into that.”It got better from there.“When you get into administrative policitc, I’d just as soon jump off a building in dealing with people like that. Nobody will ever convince me we lost that game [to Central Michigan]. So however I talk to the team is the way we feel. What [College Football Playoff Committee Chair and Texas Tech athletic director] Kirby [Hocutt] wants to say to the committee, that’s his choice.”
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. As we put a bow on the our spring preview series, we turn to the ever-important but often under-valued specialists. The Cowboys lost a record-setting place kicker, return one of the nation’s top punters and are still looking for an answer in the return game.Let’s dive in.KickerLet’s start at that place kicker spot vacated by OSU’s all-time points scorer, Ben Grogan. As far as spring camp goes, the Cowboys only have two kickers listed on the roster. Strong-legged 2017 signee Jake McClure will join the Cowboys this fall after he finishes his senior year of high school.But there’s already a kicker with a big leg on campus. Matt Ammendola was a redshirt freshman a year ago. “Philly” as his head coach calls him turned around OSU’s kickoff game as he took over that side of the kicking duties from Ben Grogan. The previous year, Grogan’s efforts gave the Cowboys touchbacks on just 24 percent of their kickoffs. Ammendola nearly doubled that number as the Cowboys touchback percentage climbed to 47 percent.“(Matt) Amendola will kick,” said Gundy. “We’ll see how he develops. Right now, in practice and games, he’s been six-for-six from 55 yards and out, but he hasn’t been good from 35 and in.We’re going to work him quite a bit this spring.”Ammendola did attempt one field goal last season, as well. A 53-yarder. Which he made.Max Allan, last year’s backup kickoff specialist is not on the spring roster. Kevin Mahon is a redshirt senior transfer from Tarrant County CC who is currently designated as a practice squad contributor but should get some burn in the spring game on April 15.PunterZach Sinor is the clear starter as far as punting duties are concerned. He was the most effective punter in the country as a sophomore in 2016. He looks to build on his legacy in his redshirt junior season.Matt Hockett will also get reps in the spring game. The redshirt junior is pegged for the practice squad but has spent time as a backup punter and has backed up in kickoffs over his time at OSU.Long SnapperIn a group of unheralded positions, they are the probably the most forgotten. Basically, we don’t hear their names unless they screw up or make some incredible play (see Josh Elias in the Cactus Bowl). Last season, a couple of freshmen jockeyed back and forth for reps at long snapper. They will both get plenty of burn this spring.ReturnersAfter a string of extremely effective return men, OSU has hit a bit of a dry spell these last couple of years. Below is a look at the return scores since 2008. Notice the drop off after Tyreek Hill left. (One of those in 2015 was Miketavius Jones’ blocked punt/recovery.)Does OSU have the next Josh Stewart or Justin Gilbert on their roster? The absolute embarrassment of riches we call Oklahoma State’s receiver corps could provide an answer. You can be sure that finding the answer is one of Gundy and Co.’s top priorities this spring.