Around the ACC: Week 7


The bad news keeps coming at North Carolina. Defensive tackle Marvin Austin was dismissed from the team while wide receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn have been ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA.  The NCAA ruled that Little and Quinn received improper benefits and then lied about it to NCAA investigators.

Going into last week’s Florida State at Miami match-up a key to the game was obviously going to be which offensive line could do the ‘ job of protecting their qb considering the game matched up the number one and two teams in the country in quarterback sacks.  Big kudos go to the Seminole line. Not only was Christian Ponder not sacked once but the Noles rushed for 298 yards  in their 45-17 beat-down of the canes.

The sellout crowd of 75,115 at Sun Life Stadium for Saturdays Cane – Nole matchup was the first sellout for Miami since 2004 when 78,622 attended the 16-10 Miami win over FSU

Clemson fans are not happy with the fact that running back Andre Ellington who leads the ACC in both yards per game and rushing td’s only had twelve carries in the Tigers 21-16 loss to North Carolina. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has said that Ellington will get more carries this week.  “He’s earned it. He’s been productive. We’ve got to do a better job there. Again that’s on me: I have to make sure that happens. “ , said Swinney.

Boston College is 2-3 following their 44-17 loss at NC State, the third straight for the Eagles, which puts them under  .500 after five games for the first time since the 1998 season. That is also the last time they lost three straight games.

ACC stats and facts:

In its previous 57 years, no quarterback has ever led the ACC in rushing. Georgia Tech QB Joshua Nesbitt leads the conference this week in rushing yards per game, averaging 90.5 yards per game.

The career ratio of touchdown passes to interceptions for NC State QB Russell Wilson is 3.61 to 1. It is the best in ACC history for a player with 40 or more career touchdown passes and it is the best among all current NCAA FBS quarterbacks with 40 or more career TD passes with the exception of Boise State’s Kellen Moore.

It’s been twenty-nine years since an ACC team has rushed for as many yards as Georgia Tech did in its 33-21 win over Virginia. The Yellow Jackets ran for 477 yards, the 6th-best rushing performance in ACC history

Boston College sophomore LB Luke Kuechly leads the nation this week in tackles per game, averaging 14.2 a contest after recording a career-high 20 tackles vs NC State.

 

Maryland WR Tony Logan leads the nation in punt returns this week after recording his punt returns of 84 and 85 yards on back-to-back weekends.

When North Carolina and Virginia meet this Saturday, it will mark the 115th renewal of the series which is the ACC’s and the South’s oldest. The two teams met originally on Oct. 22, 1892, but did not meet in 1899, 1906 and 1909. Following a break for WWI in 1917-18, beginning in 1919, the two teams have played in each of the 91 succeeding years with the 92nd scheduled for Saturday.

 

Rising Stock: Florida State – The Seminoles silenced a lot of doubter with their impressive win at Miami.

Falling Stock: Miami – The Canes were outplayed, outcoached and looked uninspired in their loss to FSU.

ACC Power Poll (last week’s ranking in parentheses)

  1. 1. Florida State (2)
  2. 2. Virginia Tech (3)
  3. 3. North Carolina State (4)
  4. 4. Miami (1)
  5. 5. Maryland (6)
  6. 6. Georgia Tech (7)
  7. 7. North Carolina (8)
  8. 8. Clemson (5)
  9. 9. Wake Forest (9)
  10. 10. Boston College (10)
  11. 11. Virginia (11)
  12. 12. Duke (12)

 

Blind Squirrels weekly picks:

Last week’s results (5-1)

Maryland at Clemson: Clemson needs this win badly. Maryland coming off back to back home wins over FIU and Duke will find this road trip a little tougher. My pick: Clemson 31 – Maryland 28

Boston College at Florida State: FSU needs to avoid a letdown after the big win over Miami. They are clicking on all cylinders and BC is hoping to avoid losing their fourth straight.                                              My pick: Florida State 29 – Boston College 17

NC State at East Carolina: Very interesting matchup. NC States only loss is the heartbreaker to VT. ECU returns home from a three game road trip. The Wolfpack has proven it can win on the road.                  My pick: NC State 38 – East Carolina 31

Miami at Duke: Miami will be looking to erase the bad taste of their embarrassing performance last week. My pick: Miami 35 – Duke 17

Wake Forest at Virginia Tech: Wake is hoping to end a four game losing streak while VT is riding a four game winning streak since the stunning loss to James Madison. VT can’t afford a letdown here.                           My pick: Virginia Tech 34 – Wake Forest 17

Middle Tennessee at Georgia Tech: MTSU has lost on the road at Troy and Memphis or maybe even more embarrassingly they lost at home to Minnesota. On paper this shouldn’t be close.  My pick: Georgia Tech 42 – Middle Tennessee 13

North Carolina at Virginia: Give UNC some credit. They have won three straight with all the turmoil surrounding their program.  Virginia has lost two straight. My pick: Virginia 21 – UNC 20

Written by John Huber.  Follow him on Twitter @Fort80.

PGWU Power Poll: Week 6


Every week the writers at Pregame Warm-Up will get together for our top 15 schools, or as we like to call it, the “Power Poll”. Each individual writer gives their top 15, then we assign the 1st place team 15 points all the way down to the 15th place team with 1 point. The points are combined and here is how week 6 ended up:

  1. 1. Alabama Crimson Tide- 88 points (five 1st place votes)
  2. 2. Oregon Ducks- 84 points (one 1st place vote)
  3. 3. Boise State Broncos- 67 points
  4. 3. Ohio State Buckeyes- 67 points
  5. 5. Nebraska Cornhuskers- 65 points
  6. 6. TCU Horned Frogs- 63 points
  7. 7. Oklahoma Sooners- 50 points
  8. 8. Auburn Tigers- 46 points
  9. 9. Utah Utes- 31 points
  10. 10. South Carolina Gamecocks- 26 points
  11. 11. Arizona Wildcats- 25 points
  12. 12. Arkansas Razorbacks- 21 points
  13. 12. LSU Tigers- 21 points
  14. 14. Michigan Wolverines- 20 points
  15. 15. Michigan State Spartans- 12 points

Others Receiving Points:      Iowa 8 points, Miami 6 points, Stanford 5 points, Missouri 4 points, Nevada 2 points, UCLA 1 point

GameDay


After a very long week of sub-par football games, College Football Saturday is finally here!! This week is mainly focused on some big time match ups in some of the big time conferences, but a couple key out of conference games are still on the schedule. Check us out every Saturday morning for our primer to GameDay!

The Big 10 boasts a couple games to keep an eye on this week. Indiana brings its high powered offense to The Ohio State University and the Buckeyes stingy defense. Depending on the health of Terrelle Pryor, this could be a tight game. The game of the week in the Big 10 would have to be Michigan State at Michigan. This rivalry got a whole lot more interesting with the emergence of Denard Robinson facing the very talented Spartan defense, led by Greg Jones.

A couple of the out of conference games to at the very least keep an eye on would be Arkansas and Texas A&M in Dallas at Jerry’s Palace and Utah at Iowa State. The Arky/TAMU game should be an offensive explosion, and it features a handful of NFL Draft prospects. Utah at Iowa State should be a close game in my opinion, I just think ISU is playing with a confidence right now.

LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 10:  Quarterback Austen Arnaud #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones passes during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on October 10, 2009 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The ACC is having somewhat of a down year, but could have a couple interesting games this week. Clemson travels to UNC to face the Tar Heels in a game that features two underacheiving teams, the Tar Heels are getting their core players back every week though. The game to watch is FSU at Miami. This match-up will be centered around 2 big time QB prospects in FSU’s Christian Ponder and Miami’s Jacory Harris. The QB that has the best game will lead his team to a win.

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Jacory Harris  of the Miami Hurricanes passes the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Finally we get to the SEC. Possibly the 2 biggest games of the week are held here, I could probably write that every week. Alabama travels to South Carolina, if the GameCocks can stop the Bama rushing attack they have a very good chance. Ingram rushed for close to 250 yards last year in a 20-6 Tide victory. LSU heads to Gainesville, FL to face the Gators. This game should be a very close low scoring battle because both teams have speed to burn on defense and very shaky offenses.

The PGWU crew will be in and out all day today, so use this as an open thread for any college football discussions you would like to have. No matter what game you are watching, there is always a Draft prospect to keep an eye on!

Written by Jason Madson. Follow on Twitter @isbnJMAD

PGWU Podcast-Week 6


This week we spend a lot of time talking about big games and news in each conference, especially the ACC and SEC.  We also make our picks in the Pregame Warm-Up Pick ‘Em segment and break down a handful of potential pro prospects for the NFL Draft in the “World Famous” Prospect Quick Fire.  Enjoy!


Around the ACC:


The Miami vs Florida State rivalry carries some national relevance again.  Miami comes in ranked #13 and FSU at #23 in the AP Poll. It might be a rough night in Miami for Christian Ponder and Jacory Harris as both teams come into this seasons matchup playing ferocious defense.  Miami ranks No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss, No. 2 in sacks and No. 2 in pass efficiency defense. Florida State is No. 1 in the country in sacks, No. 2 in tackles for loss, and No. 4 in rushing defense. Both teams have veteran QB’s and the outcome could depend on which offensive line and QB handles the pressure more effectively.

The career ratio of touchdown passes to interceptions for NC State junior QB Russell Wilson is 3.88 to 1. It is the best in ACC history for a player with 40 or more career touchdown passes and it is the best among all current NCAA FBS quarterbacks with 40 or more career TD passes with the exception of Boise State’s Kellen Moore.

Clemson RB Andre Ellington leads the ACC in rushing yardage averaging 95 yards a game. More impressively, though, the Tiger sophomore is averaging 7.0 yards per carry on his 54 carries for 7 TDs.

Georgia Tech QB Joshua Nesbitt needs 259 yards to break the ACC career record of rushing yards by a quarterback. Nesbitt currently has 2,503 yards. The current record holder is former Clemson standout Woodrow Dantzler with 2,761 yards.

Clemson QB Kyle Parker threw 20 td passes in guiding the Tigers to a 9-5 season and the 2009 Music City Bowl, then in the spring he hit 20 home runs for the College World Series bound Clemson baseball team. He is the first Division I athlete to accomplish the 20/20 feat in the same academic year..

Rising Stock: Florida State – They’ll face their toughest test since Oklahoma this week vs Miami but the Seminole defense has been impressive during their three game winning streak.

Falling Stock: Clemson – No shame in losing to two ranked teams in Auburn and Miami but have only wins over North Texas and Presbyterian on their resume so far this season. The schedule over the next few weeks provides an opportunity to reverse the fall.

ACC Power Poll

  1. 1. Miami
  2. 2. Florida State
  3. 3. Virginia Tech
  4. 4. North Carolina State
  5. 5. Clemson
  6. 6. Maryland
  7. 7. Georgia Tech
  8. 8. North Carolina
  9. 9. Wake Forest
  10. 10. Boston College
  11. 11. Virginia
  12. 12. Duke     

 

Blind Squirrels weekly picks:

Boston College at NC State: Playing at home the Wolfpack should rebound from their first loss of the season. My pick: NC State 35  – Boston College 21

Central Michigan at Virginia Tech:  The Hokies should easily make it four in a row since opening the season with two straight losses. My pick: Virginia Tech 38 – CMU 14

Clemson at North Carolina:  Both teams still looking for their first win against a BCS team. UNC did have a nice win last week vs East Carolina…impressive considering all the turmoil around the program.                                   My pick:  North Carolina 24 – Clemson  21

Virginia at Georgia Tech:  Will the fact that former Cavalier head coach Al Groh is now the defensive coordinator at Tech play a role? Virginia gives up 4.1 yards per rush to opponents. Can they handle Josh Nesbitt and the Tech rushing attack? On the other side the Tech defense gives up 25 points per game. My pick: Georgia Tech 31 –  Virginia 28

Navy at Wake Forest: At 2-3 this is a must win game for the Deamon Deacsons bowl hopes. For the second straight week they’ll face an option offense after playing Georgia Tech last week. The Deacons are 93rd in the nation against the run. Not a good matchup against the finely tuned Navy running game.    My pick: Navy 24 – Wake Forest 23

Florida State at Miami: This game will come down to which QB and offensive line can better handle the pass rush and avoid game changing mistakes.  Give Miami a slight edge from the start for playing at home. My pick: Miami 30 – Florida State 27

Written by John Huber.  Follow him on Twitter @Fort80.

Big East Week 4 Preview


Overview: West Virginia had an impressive win against Maryland this weekend as they continue to tune up for their big game this weekend against LSU.  Maryland is coming off of a terrible season but looked decent so far this year so it was a nice win for the Mountaineers.

Connecticut and Cincinnati both looked terrible and have really hurt the credibility of the Big East.  This conference needs solid performances from all their members in order to remain relevant on a national stage.  Both teams really need to step it up for the remainder of the season!

Last but not least we have to give a big hand to Louisville for putting on a good performance against Oregon State.  As far as preseason expectations go Oregon State was suppose to contend for a Pac 10 crown as Louisville was going to be a bottom feeder.  They gave the Beavers a tough fight this weekend and Louisville fans should feel good about the direction Charlie Strong is taking that team.

Standout Players: Geno Smith of West Virginia had the best day of any Big East performer.  He lead his team to a nice victory while going 19-29 for 268 yards and a touchdown.  Smith has proven to be a good passing quarterback and looks to lead the Mountaineers against a tough LSU secondary next week.

Jordan Todman of UConn was the lone bright spot for that team as he rushed for 192 yards and 1 touchdown.  Todman is going to get lost in the shuffle if his team continues to struggle.

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 07:  Jordan Todman #23 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates with Mike Ryan #71 after running for a touchdownl against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Big East Conference game at Nippert Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Looking Ahead: The conference has two marquee match-ups this week and the outcomes will go along in determining how people perceive this conference.  The top game is #22 West Virginia @ #15 LSU in what is sure to be a great game.  I truly believe that LSU is ripe for the plucking as they shown limited abilities on offense.  Geno Smith is going to have to have a big game against a tough LSU defense that boasts NFL Mocks top rated pro prospect in Patrick Peterson.  I am predicting the upset here for the Mountaineers. The other top game will air Thursday night on ESPN as #19 Miami takes on Pitt.  Pitt desperately needs to pull off the victory here and get a quality out of conference win.  They will be counting on Dion Lewis to return to form and lead them to victory.  Miami is a very talented team and is coming off a disappoint loss to Ohio State so Pitt should expect them to be fully focused and ready to go.

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Another game that means a lot to the conference is North Carolina @ Rutgers.  UNC is still without the majority of their starting defense as they await word from the NCAA regarding their eligibility.  Rutgers has chance to pull off the win and gain some respect for the Big East.

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 12:  Tom Savage #7 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights throws a pass against the South Florida Bulls at Rutgers Stadium on November 12, 2009 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

If I was a Cincinnati fan I would hide my eyes this weekend as they take on #7 Oklahoma.  This game will not be pretty.

Written by Jon Dove @NFLMocks on Twitter

Week 3 Power Poll


Every week the writers at Pregame Warm-Up will get together for our top 15 schools, or as we like to call it, the “Power Poll”.  Each individual writer gives their top 15, then we assign the 1st place team 15 points all the way down to the 15th place team with 1 point.  The points are added up and here is how week 3 ended up:

1. Alabama 88 points (4 1st place)

2. Ohio State 85 points (2 first place)

3. Boise State 74 points

4. Oregon 72 points

5. Oklahoma 65 points

6. TCU 63 points

7. Iowa 49 points

8. Texas 40 points

9. South Carolina 30 points

10. Nebraska 29 points

11. Florida 27 points

12. Wisconsin 24 points

13. Arkansas 21 points

14. Utah 16 points

15. Michigan 12 points

Others Receiving Points: LSU 8 points, Miami 5 points, Auburn 2 points, Cal 2 points, Arizona 1 point, Stanford 1 point

ACC SEC Combo


As the resident ACC and SEC guy here with the Pre-Game Warm-Up I feel it is my duty to inform the masses about the best storylines to follow each week in southern football. This is a thin week for the ACC as most of the teams take on programs that they should beat. The first league contest of Duke-Wake Forest is upon us but there won’t be many folks clamoring for a post game report from BB&T Field.
 
While the league is lacking in depth you do get two of the top five national storylines coming straight out of the sunshine state of Florida. Both are stories of redemption, tales of teams rebuilding from their glory days of just a decade ago.
 
For the Seminoles we’ve got Christian Ponder and one of the most high powered offenses in the nation traveling out to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners. This game takes the redemption angle as Jimbo Fisher attempts to return the ‘Noles to prominence. Oklahoma’s defense will be in for a struggle coming off of a disappointing outing against Utah State this FSU offensive line is smallish but they’re experienced and under coach Rick Trickett they’re as mean as they come.
 
An added wrinkle to the FSU game will be the Stoops brothers doing battle for the first time. Bob Stoops is the general controlling the Sooners squad while younger brother Mark Stoops is a colonel for Jimbo Fisher controlling the defense. Mark worked for Bob, he knows a lot of about his older brother’s ways so expect him to have fed Fisher plenty of info into the Sooners’ defensive looks. Expect to see new, exotic blitzes and coverage schemes from the Oklahoma side as they try to confuse a defense that, by and large will mirror the schemes they’ve faced in practice.
 
The second major storyline is the Hurricanes trip to the Horshoe at Ohio State for a match up of top 12 opponents. Jim Tressel’s Buckeye’s enter at the #2 squad in the nation and they look the part from top to bottom with talent and experience across the board. We’ll get a look at guys like Cameron Heyward and Terrelle Pryor who are among the elite talents in the nation. On the Miami side there’s talent as well with Allen Bailey and a receiving core that, outside of Arkansas, might be the best collection of pass catchers in the nation.
 
Do not bring up the 2003 Fiesta Bowl BCS Championship game as these players were 11-14 years old sitting in elementary and middle school classrooms, largely not fans of either team, possibly not even watching the game at that point. Instead of hearkening back to a bad call look forward to the match up of an established power in Ohio State against a one time college football juggernaut trying to claw their way back to glory.
 
When we look to the SEC the storylines, like the passion, comes by the boatloads. Here’s a quick run down of the most intriguing storylines heading into this week’s games.
 
Auburn against Mississippi State makes the cut, not so much because of the status as the first SEC West contest but rather because of the Dan Mullen and Cam Newton angle. Mullen in the second year coach at Mississippi State, the same man that orchestrated the offense for both of Florida’s most recent national titles. Newton is the former heir apparent to Tim Tebow handpicked by Mullen to replace the Gator legend. Both will meet in an SEC contest but without a single tie to Gainesville, the Swamp or the orange and blue.
 
Florida taking on a South Florida squad full of guys that couldn’t get recruited or get into UF would never be a story ordinarily but this week this storyline gets a nod due to some of tidbits involved. The Gators are a supremely talented squad that has looked stagnant on offense for over a season since the departure of Dan Mullen. Steve Addazio has had his issues in play calling and with guys like Aaron Hernandez, Riley Cooper and Tim Tebow gone it appears that Addazio’s offensive prowess has taken another step backwards as they flailed against Miami of Ohio. An angry USF team dismantled Florida State in Tallahassee a season ago and the scrappy bully comes into the Swamp wanting to show another Florida team they’re ready to play. Quarterback BJ Daniels and new head coach Skip Holtz will wear the underdog crown well as they look to add a second Florida pelt to their belt.
 
The Bama-Penn State storyline should be about to historical powers battling it out. Classi uniforms. Old school coach running a new school offense in Joe Pa. New school coach running an old school offense in Nick Saban. Instead we’ve got a freshman quarterback for the Nittany Lions, an inexperienced secondary for the Tide and two of the games’ biggest stars; Marcell Dareus and Mark Ingram, both from Bama, suspended for this contest. Bama should still roll late in this game but early expect to get well acquainted with both Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, the Tides new running back combo with Ingram out.
 
Finally, the storyline that everyone has got their eyes on is the Georgia-South Carolina game. The line on this game has moved considerably since the publicizing that the Dawgs stand out wideout AJ Green will be suspended for this contest and two others. Sadly this news takes the storyline off the match up of the Gamecocks and the Dawgs and puts Green and his jersey selling in the middle of the bullseye. The complexion of the game changes as the receiver edge goes from Georgia to the Gamecocks duo of Alshon Jeffrey and Tori Gurley. Garcia is a junior, squaring off against Aaron Murray the freshman and this will be a noon game to definitely watch. I can speak from experience, noon time in Columbia is the hottest place that I’ve ever been in my life.
Written by Michael Felder @InTheBleachers on Twitter

Big 10


Overview:
The first weekend of College Football is in the books and it yielded decent results for the Big 10. Most of the teams did as expected and handled lesser opponents while one team had a very impressive win. Michigan was the big winner this weekend handing Connecticut a 30-10 loss while launching Denard Robinson onto the national scene. Many experts were expecting a win for Connecticut but Michigan showed their offensive fire power and came up with the win. While Michigan impressed another Big 10 team continued what seems to be long run of disappointments. Illinois went into half time with a 13-3 lead over the favorite Missouri. Things looked good as the offense was able to move the ball under new quarterback Nate Scheelhaase but things fell apart in the second half and Scheelhaase ended the game with 3 interceptions.
Stand out Players:
This week had a few unexpected players come up big and a few that we knew were going to be solid. Terrelle Pryor had an excellent game against Marshall and looked like he was very comfortable in the pocket as he continues to develop as a complete quarterback. Jon Clay rumbled for 123 yards on 17 carries and punching in 2 touchdowns. Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan had a major impact on the game against Notre Dame, compiling 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and contributing on the recorded safety.
Then there were the surprise breakout performances by Denard Robinson, Rob Bolden, and Le’Veon Bell. Robinson probably had the best weekend of any Big 10 player filling up the stats sheet with 385 total yards in Michigan’s impressive victory against Connecticut. Nearly 200 of the yards came on the ground as he looked like an unstoppable force. He truly has Michigan and College Football buzzing about what could be a bounce back year for the Wolverines. Penn State did the unthinkable and started true Freshman Rob Bolden and he didn’t disappoint. He looked calm and collected as he went 20-29 for 229 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. The fans in Happy Valley are very excited about this youngster and are expecting big things from him this year. Le’Veon Bell filled in for the injured Larry Caper and had an impressive debut. He rushed for 144 yards on 10 carries and 2 touchdowns. He looks like he will be the big play threat out of the Michigan State backfield.
Looking Ahead:
Next weekend is going to be statement weekend for the Big 10 as #1 Alabama, #13 Miami, and Notre Dame all come knocking. The top game has to be the Alabama vs. Penn State game as the Lions travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the defending National Champs. Alabama is going to be a heavy favorite but maybe the Freshman Bolden can pull off the unthinkable. Either way it should be an interesting game as two of the most storied schools battle it out. A very close second is the match-up of two very talented quarterbacks in Terrelle Pryor and Jacory Harris. Miami has to travel to Ohio to take on the #2 ranked team in the nation but this team has a ton of talent and if Harris can avoid turnovers they could easily upset the Buckeyes. Another good match-up pins two more storied schools in Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Both teams are coming off of opening day wins and are hoping to rebound from a few disappointing season.
This was a quick oven heater for our upcoming podcast. Stop by Friday morning to listen to our indepth analysis on most of these topics. What are Penn State’s chances to pull off the upset? Can Michigan’s secondary handle the Notre Dame offensive attack? Who’s the better quarterback, Terrelle Pryor or Jacory Harris?
Written by Jon Dove @NFLMocks on Twitter

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