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Football has become essential agony: The Pundit dishes on the Birds and the BCS

The Eagles

What exactly was Andy Reid thinking when he sat McNabb down on Sunday? The Birds were only down by three points, after all. Granted, McNabb had been playing an atrocious game, but benching McNabb, at least to me, signaled a move in a new direction, i.e. the Kevin Kolb era. And then Kolb stunk it up, and Andy announced on Monday that McNabb would be his starting QB.

Huh?

So now, not only have you put all of the pressure on McNabb’s shoulders by singling him out and benching him, but you also are refusing to give Kolb a long look to see what you have for next year. ‘Cuz let’s be honest – it doesn’t look like McNabb will be coming back after this year. What kind of message has Andy Reid now sent to his starting quarterback? To me, he’s sent a very simple one: “Better, uh, watch your back there, Donovan, ‘cuz at the next sign of trouble, you’re coming out, and, uh, Kevin Kolb, we’re uh, we’re going to go ahead and give him a shot.”

Because, you know, the quarterback position isn’t already chock full of pressure. Let’s go ahead and put even more pressure on McNabb. Let’s go ahead and bench our franchise quarterack, in a game we are only trailing by three points, while we are still apparentely in a playoff race!

I MEAN, ARE YOU FRICKIN’ SERIOUS?

Kudos to McNabb for toeing the company line and playing it cool on this one. I, personally, would have been pissed the hell off. Don’t tell me that no one’s job is safe, bench a guy, then start him again the next week. Especially in a game they were only trailing by three friggin’ points! To me, Andy simply didn’t evaluate the situation properly. Was McNabb playing horrible football? Absolutely. Can you blame Andy for wanting him out of the game? Maybe not. Should Andy Reid have considered how sensitive the entire quarterback issue is this season, and really has been throughout Donovan McNabb’s career in this town, before he yanked him at halftime? Shouldn’t he have considered how this would be treated by the media and the fans, many of whom are already questioning whether or not McNabb will, or should, be back next season?

DUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH!!! (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s just obnoxious).

What is going to happen to McNabb? If he isn’t going to return, will we get to see Kolb at some point? Barring a ridiculous hot streak by the Eagles, where they win out, at what point should Kolb get a look? Is Andy Reid’s job safe any longer? Has he lost control of this team? He certainly has lost the public support, but will that matter to Jeffrey Lurie? Who would you want to replace Reid?

I miss the Phillies.

The BCS

Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Now, unless Alabama loses to Auburn or Florida loses to Florida State, the winner of the Alabama – Florida SEC Championship Game will be playing in the BCS Championship Game. Right, that seems simple enough. And it seems likely that somebody from the Big 12 South will be there as well, in all likelihood either Texas or Oklahoma, each with one loss. Ahhhh, let the debating begin.

In one corner, you have Texas, who beat Oklahoma earlier this year, on a neutral field. I mean, honestly, shouldn’t the argument end there? Well, not exactly. After all, if you are going to rank Texas ahead of Oklahoma, shouldn’t you also rank Texas Tech ahead of Texas? Tech also only has one loss, and beat Texas earlier this year.

Ah, but let’s not forget about that neutral field. Texas’ win over Oklahoma has to be slightly more impressive than Oklahoma’s victory over Texas Tech, since Texas beat OU on a neutral field, while OU beat Tech at home.

But hold on, hold on a second: OU absolutely destroyed Tech, 65-21. They beat the number two team in the nation by 44 friggin’ points, for God’s sake. To me, that cancels any advantage that Texas would be given for winning on a neutral field. Still, Texas beat OU.

Alright, but how about this: OU has several impressive non-conference victories. They beat Cincinnati, who will likely win the Big East, 52-26, in week two. Cincy is currently ranked number 16 in the BCS rankings. They also beat TCU, currently ranked 14th in the BCS rankings, 35-10 in week 5. As a matter of fact, in 4 games against opponents currently ranked in the BCS top 25, OU has outscored its opponents 187-92. Very, very impressive stuff, and if they knock off number 12 Oklahoma State this Saturday, it’s hard to imagine they won’t jump ahead of Texas.

But would that be fair? Texas has also played against 4 teams currently in the top 25 of the BCS rankings, and outscored those opponents 162-129. Not as impressive as the margin of victory posted by Oklahoma, but Texas faced those 4 opponents in four consecutive and unbelievably brutal weeks!

To review: if OU beats Oklahoma State, they will have victories over Texas Tech, OU State, TCU and Cincinnati under their belts. Their primetime, utter demolition of Tech will not quickly erase from the minds of the voters. Sam Bradford might be the frontrunner for the Heisman. Oklahoma is certainly the sexy pick.

Texas will have victories over OU, Oklahoma State and Missouri under their belts. Their only loss of the season will have come in an extremely tight game against Texas Tech, which they lost on the last play of the game. Oh yeah, and they already beat Oklahoma this year – on a neutral field. Texas is, by no means, a sexy pick, but they just might be the correct one. Hard to say, and they will be ignored if Oklahoma destroys Oklahoma State like they did to Tech.

Funny thing about that game for Texas: they need OU to win. See, the only reason this discussion is taking place is because, in the Big 12, if there is a three-way tie for first, the tiebreaker goes to whoever has the highest BCS ranking. But in the case of a two-way tie, the tiebreaker is a head-to-head match-up. And Texas Tech beat Texas. So if OU loses, Texas Tech wins the South based on their head-to-head win against Texas. Texas actually needs OU to beat Oklahoma State for them to have a chance, though I doubt they want them to win anything other than a squeaker.

Does your head hurt yet? Mine sure as hell does.

Alright, let me do my BCS predictions. OU is hot right now. They beat Oklahoma State, though not as handily as they beat Texas Tech. Let’s say 38-21. Sorry, Texas, but the sexy chick always gets laid before the bland, practical one does. Florida beats Alabama, Oklahoma beats Missouri, and Florida beats Oklahoma, 56-52, to win their second National Championship in three years. The other bowls? Oregon State will lose to Oregon, meaning an intriguing Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State. I go Penn State over USC, 23-21. (Editor’s note: What a homer!) Alabama will face at-large Utah in the Sugar Bowl, and handle them fairly easily, winning 35-13. The Orange Bowl will be Cincinnati vs. one of the ACC teams. Seriously, I have no friggin’ idea what is going on in the ACC, and quite frankly, I could give a damn. Cincinnati wins the Orange. Finally, poor ‘ol Texas gets a less than appealing match-up against Boise State, who gets a rare second at-large bid for the mid-majors, ousting Ohio State for the final BCS slot. Texas Tech is the highest ranked team to get stiffed, since only two teams from any one conference are eligible for BCS bowls. Texas takes out its rage on Boise State, winning 49-10. Clearly, none of this will happen, and it is only what I am hoping will happen. In all reality, I just want the BCS to explode.

(Editor’s note: God, would a playoff be great this year. Stay tuned – methinks The Pundit is in his linguistic laboratory, concocting the perfect playoff system, one that will please all available parties. Oh, it shall be grand – or not. Either way, stay tuned).

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Why you need to know about Oregon State, what you need to know, and why it should piss you off

Rant Jacobs

Earlier this year, I did an article reviewing the Oregon State vs. USC game, writing about how happy I was that USC had another “fall from grace” game after underestimating an Oregon State team that had a lot to prove.  Much of this came from my anger towards USC’s apparent dynasty. Well, that and I wanted USC to make way for my rising Penn State Nittany Lions in the weekly polls.  Plus, it was great to see the #1 team in the country lose to a team that Penn State had recently pulverized.

Fast forward 8 weeks and now I’m fretting like an old woman over the outcome of that contest. (Editor’s note: And he’s taken up sewing – he nitted me a sweater with my name on it the other day. What the hell am I going to do with a sweater that says “Editor” on it, wear it to the club? Yeah, that should get the ladies hot). Why, you say?  Because since then, Oregon State has miraculously rattled off 5 straight conference wins and quietly taken control of their own destiny after losing their season opener to pathetic conference foe Stanford!  My celebration has come back to bite me in the ass!  With a vengeance! (Editor’s note: You should get a tetanus shot! You don’t know where your celebration has been!)

Oregon State needs only two conference wins (against Arizona and Oregon) to catch the PAC-10 title in their fucking beaver tails and swim southward to the Rose Bowl to face my beloved Nittany Lions, who stomped them in the second week of the season. I can’t believe it!  How has this happened? (Editor’s note: Fate is a cruel temptress, Rant).

Whew…and I’m spent.  I just needed to get that out.

I need to relax when I think about Oregon State though, as both Oregon and Arizona can put points on the board. They are ranked 10th and 11th in the nation in scoring – these games shouldn’t be “gimmes”.  But then I remember that Oregon State’s defense ranks 15th in the country in yards allowed, so I’m not getting too comfortable.

Somehow, Oregon State has morphed into a possible BCS team after their 45-14 drubbing in Happy Valley.  Granted, they play in the pillow-soft PAC-10, but their only other loss was a 31-28 squeaker against Utah, a team currently ranked above PSU in the BCS standings at 7, and looking to make a BCS appearance of their own.  Say what you want about Oregon State (like only having a single quality win this year against USC), but this team has some consistent playmakers that have helped to turn their season around.

The most consistent playmaker responsible for this feat has been freshman sensation Jacquizz Rodgers: the lightning quick, miniaturized 5’6″ halfback from Texas. (Editor’s note: There will be a jacquizz at the end of this post).  Rodgers has sprinted past the century mark in 7 games this season, while piling up 1233 rushing yards and 12 total TDs (averaging 123 yards per game, 10th best in the nation). 

I remember hearing some confused commentator asking his buddies why Rodgers wasn’t as highly recruited by any of the big name schools from his home state of Texas and thinking, Yeah, why is that?  Then I realized that trying to pinpoint ALL of the top high school talent in the entire state of Texas is like trying to staple Jell-O to a wall. (Editor’s note: I’ll bet you Bill Cosby could staple Jell-O to a wall…) 

Rodgers and the rest of his crew are ready to take the PAC-10 in their own hands and head back for a rematch against Penn State in Pasadena, assuming they both win out. That would be an unacceptable end to a Penn State season that broke my heart in Iowa City.  (Editor’s note: That sounds like a folk song I could get down to: Oh, PSU / What did you do? / You left me feeling shitty / When you broke my heart in Iowa City). Oregon State may have morphed into a new beast after their early letdowns, but they are not a worthy team for the Rose Bowl, especially not against my Lions, damnit.

But first things first – Penn State has its hands full this weekend with Javon Ringer and the Michigan State Spartans.  Get past them and at least I can say we have a Big Ten title to celebrate before I start bitching and moaning about Oregon State all over again.

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Rants, Raves and Notes – Talkin’ some football

Ryan Jacobs

α: When Roger Goodell came into the league, many people (like me), were curious as to how this man was going to run, arguably, the best structured professional sporting league in the world. Goodell had many issues to deal with from the moment that he took the reins from Paul Tagliabue. One of the more prominent issues he needed to address was player misconduct. Well, Goodell came riding in on an iron horse and smashed the league back into order under his moral and ethically guided system of rules. (Editor’s note: What is an iron horse?) He sent Michael Vick to trial, suspended Pacman Jones for an entire season, and Chris Henry for half a year. I thought the guy had some balls. Coming into this league and making so many statements impressed me and others across the land. It seemed like the league had found a young king to lead their organization into a new era.

Things have changed a little bit since Goodell’s first year though. Nowadays, players are getting fined the equivalent of an Acura for simply questioning calls made by officials. The latest of these came when Randy Moss was fined 20 grand for claiming that some of the calls made by the officials during their week 9 loss to the Colts were “iffy”. In comparison to some of the things muttered by Moss in the past, this was child’s play (and probably shouldn’t have made headlines). I couldn’t fucking believe it! I mean, get real, man! 20 G’s for that? You’re off your flippin’ rocker! (Editor’s note: Now, let’s not go throwing stones…) Fortunately, the fine was later rescinded by league officials who actually have a fucking brain in their skulls, but the message was clear: The NFL League Office no longer recognizes the First Amendment of the United States Constitution….you know, the one about free speech and all, especially when the comment is made in defense of your team. Unbelievable. (Editor’s note: I plead the fiff!)

I mean, if you cannot make critical statements against blown calls, then you’re saying that referees are perfect. And if you’ve been paying attention to the NFL this year, you know there have been a slew of poor calls that have screwed many teams; and think, we just only passed the halfway mark in the season. I know it must be tough for refs, what with all of the hell they take for bad calls (Editor’s note: And those silly uniforms). But this is how I see it: you’re making good money officiating football games and you know you’re gonna be under heat for some of the calls that you and your crew make. If you aren’t ready to step up to the damn plate, then don’t even bother driving to the stadium, because it’s a war zone out there. (Editor’s note: Wait, who called Kellen Winslow, Jr?)

β: The…Eagles…are…killing…me; soooo painful watching them play. They hang around in games just long enough to make you think they might win, only to let you down. The thing about this team is that they don’t have swagger. They seem like they’re hungry, and I applaud them for that, but they just don’t have the mentality and tenacity to make them a Superbowl-caliber team. Losing to the Giants may have slid the cover over the coffin; now we’re all just waiting for another team to come along and put the nails in. My friend The Pundit would argue that all 4 of the Eagles’ losses came by a combined 19 points, and all were very tight contests. However, I see a team that can’t win the close ones; a team that doesn’t have what it takes to get them over the top when they need it most. (Editor’s note: Like that friend you have that is always talking to a girl by the end of the night, but can never close). And this is the regular season, people – while everyone is considering whether or not it’s feasible to consider a playoff run, we don’t even have the intensity to win in our division yet, let alone the postseason.

The Pundit would argue that we could right this ship and get hot, and he could be onto something there. I’ve seen mediocre Eagles teams of the past collect themselves at the halfway mark and make a playoff run. But for whatever reason, I don’t feel it with this team, though I’d be lying if I said I totally felt it with those other teams. I feel like this Eagles team is writing the final words in a long chapter while getting ready to turn the page and start a new saga. There’s no doubt that this team needs some youth and some fresh faces in key positions. With all else said, I think our window of opportunity closed last season and I think it’s time to move on to the Kolb era. (Editor’s note: Or, the Kolb error. Who knows?)

I never thought I’d find myself saying that, as I love and respect Donovan McNabb more than I feel a lot of people do. A lot of people love to take turns shitting on McNabb (Editor’s note: Now playing for the Cleveland Steamers, number 5…), which I have often disagreed with. McNabb has been the best quarterback this city has ever seen and it will be like breaking up with a serious girlfriend when he goes. And even though he is still playing well, he’s going to get run out of town sooner than later. Sorry buddy, it’s been good having you. But if this season ends in disappointment (and with 2 first round picks), I see the Eagles making significant personnel changes (which might mean you too, Dawkins…sniff, sniff).

γ: So Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America. Like the young people around me, I am glad that change is “coming to Washington”. I liked Obama even more when he said that it’s about time to change college football to a playoff system. Bravo, Mr. President Elect! Bravo! And here’s a guy who has the power to do such a thing. I’m not saying he would even challenge such a thing, as the billions of dollars raked in by the greedy fucks in charge of the BCS is enough to keep most people away. But if the president decides to do something, I’d be behind him. (Editor’s note: Oh, I think it’s more likely that he’d be behind you, Jacobs…Oh, SNAP!)

So I ask you, dear readers, would it be just as bad if President Obama set the dogs loose on the BCS? I don’t think he should waste his time worrying about College Football, though I would like to see the BCS revoked. Arash Markazi has a great article about Obama and the whole college football playoff situation posted under his “For the Record” column in the Fannation section of SI.com.

δ: It’s been circulating that Al Davis stripped the Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp of his play calling duties this week. While I can’t say the Raiders are good at doing anything, Davis is just causing more damage to, quite possibly, the NFL’s worst run organization. As one source said, “Knapp just happened to be the next in line scapegoat”. Keep in mind that Davis previously relegated play calling to Knapp even before the Lane Kiffin debacle began. The Raiders need help from everything from player personnel to coaching to the food they serve at the training facility cafeteria. (Editor’s note: Al Davis is a huge fan of baby food). But my vote goes to banishing Al Davis from the Raiders as the most important factor to turning things around in Oakland.

ε: USC has outscored its opponents 339-60 en route to an 8-1 record. Their defense has allowed more than 10 points only once: their loss at Oregon State when they gave up 28. USC is allowing an NCAA low 206.4 yard and 6.7 points per game. They blanked 3 of their opponents, and their average points allowed per game has steadily decreased as the season has wore on. Now, I’m not one to hype up USC, and I usually end up arguing with The Pundit over the validity of their defense, (Editor’s note: If I may attempt to rephrase his argument, I believe The Pundit often claims that USC’s defense is so good this year because the Pac-10 is sooooo bad), but USC looks scary right now. Everybody is giving Florida way more credit in the “one-loss contender” argument, especially because they play in the SEC. But USC is beating up on its weak conference the way it should be if it wants to be allowed back into the national title race. They are a good football team.

ζ: The Wildcat Formation. It’s the new rage in the NFL and it’s caught the eye of every coach and coordinator. The idea of getting one of your fastest and shiftiest playmakers behind center to run a zone-option read play is the new big thing. (Editor’s note: The Wildcat is the new black). After I saw the ‘Iggles do it with DeSean Jackson (and it led to a touchdown) against the Giants, I knew something was up. Could it be that coaches are taking something from the college game? Nahhhhhh, couldn’t be. I mean, to say that you dipped into college football playbooks would simply be barbaric, right? (Editor’s note: Andy Reid like DeSean Jackson. Andy get him ball anyway he can. Andy hungry now. Andy want food. Lots of food.). The coaches would be ashamed if people knew they had dropped to a lower level of football for inspiration. I personally think it’s great; just another way to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. I think it’s time that NFL coaches start taking chances on plays college football teams are more likely to risk.

I’m Ryan Jacobs, and I approve this posting.

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From the Nosebleeds – Why we all should have known Oregon State would beat USC

From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pattison Pundit. Essentially, anytime one of the Pundit’s buddies, or anyone else decides that they have something they need to get off of their chest about the sports world, this will be their forum. I’ll edit the post and add my own take, but the floor is yours. Feel free to email me anytime with your rants, raves, concerns, critiques and/or analysis. Today we have Jacobs, who saw the Oregon State win against USC coming, and thinks you should have, too. Jacobs, the floor is yours.

So I talked to you earlier this evening about watching the USC game, right?  Your answer, as I expected, was “Oh yeah, that’ll be a good game…or not. Are you kidding me, man?  They’re going to kill Oregon State!  Didn’t you see what Penn State did to them?”

A typical answer, and honestly, most college football enthusiasts wouldn’t have disagreed.  Not me. I just knew. (Editor’s note: Alright Miss Cleo, just relax). I knew that Oregon State had good players.  Not just playmakers that have been drafted in the past, like Chad Johnson and T.J. HoushmaMillyVanilly, but playmakers right now.  Playmakers like junior quarterback Lyle Moevao, who somehow, after getting wrecked by Penn State, has averaged almost 275 passing yards per game, throwing 8 touchdowns. Though, to be fair, he has thrown four picks.  And this is the same single caller who beat USC two years ago. (Editor’s note: Actually, that was Matt Moore. Moevao’s lifetime stats for 2007-08: 174 – 304, 57% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions. A playmaker? Haven’t really seen him enough to give an accurate assessment, but judge for yourself).

Wait, did I mention they have playmakers now? (Editor’s note: Yes, I believe you suggested it).  Like receiver Sammy Stroughter, who overcame severe depression and mental problems, quitting football for over a year (even though he was considered to be a possible All-American candidate) to come back and play his last eligible year at Oregon State to show people he can still rip it up. And you can’t forget about freshman Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed 37 times for 186 yards and 2 TDs (all 5’5”, 176 lbs. of him). (Editor’s note: Raise your hand if you live outside of Corvallis and had ever heard of the guy). By the way folks, say what you want about the PAC-10, but they have (and know how to produce) kick-ass running backs. (Editor’s note: They have turned out some killer backs. But enough about O.J. Simpson…)

I most definitely won’t forget how Penn State blew Oregon State out of the water, but this is the mother of all rebounds! (Editor’s note: I think that broad Patty I was with last night might disagree).  Against #1 USC, who is supposed to be ready for everything and penciled into the BCS National Championship game after their crushing defeat of Ohio State. Whatever. Oregon State proved that they can still play with the big-timers. But wait! (Editor’s note: Oooh, is there a surprise?) They have beat USC three out of the last five times they’ve played them.

Hmmmmmm…..interesting.  As I said before, Oregon State is a pesky team for USC, kind of like Minnesota has been for Penn State for the past decade. (Editor’s note: Since 2000, Penn State is 2-3 against Minnesota).  They play hard against USC and still have good players and excellent athletes. Did I mention they have playmakers? (Editor’s note: YES!!!)  Regardless, Oregon State executed poorly against and planned poorly for PSU. (Editor’s note: And they traveled across the country and played them in Happy Valley, an environment I’m not sure they were quite used to). However, I think they learned a few things from that severe ass-whooping and moved on to bigger and better things. In other words, they put that loss in the rearview mirror and realized they had bigger fish to fry…but only if they could handle it. (Editor’s note: Two clichés are better than one, people – can you handle that?). In this case, it was #1 ranked Southern Cal.

I applaud the performance, even though the Oregon State coaches backed off and got extremely conservative in the 2nd half.  In fact, the only connection this game had with the Penn State game was that the Oregon State coaches must have taken pointers from Jay Paterno and Galen Hall about being huge pussies at the end of an important game. (Editor’s note: Somebody’s feeling a bit saucy, eh?)

Surely, the conservative and trusted coaching mentality would have been to run the clock out, but you could see that USC adjusted and started gaining momentum in the 2nd half.  Instead of continuing the balanced offensive attack that gouged the USC defense in the 1st half, Oregon State turned almost exclusively to the ground game in the 2nd half.  This was unacceptable to my semi-educated football mind – KEEP PRESSURING THEM! (Editor’s note: Hey, he said it).

I rooted for Oregon State not only because I am sick of USC dominance/&^@% kissing/*$@# sucking (Editor’s note: Wow, even I’m blushing), but because I want to see how many eraser shavings can be accumulated from weekly AP voters’ ballets. Plus, this defeat will only help Penn State to move into the AP top 10 – a place where they belong if they can execute against Illinois in the same way that they executed against an Oregon State team that beat the overwhelmingly favored and top-ranked USC Trojans.

-Jacobs

PS: The most important topic I chose NOT to discuss begs the following question: Honestly, can you be THAT surprised by the outcome of this game after what last year taught (and showed) you?

The Pundit responds: Ok, where to begin. First of all, I have never been a believer that the past performances of one college program against another should help to dictate future ones, unless one program is traditionally powerful while the other is, well, Temple. The Oregon State team that beat the USC team two years ago is not the same team, with the same players, as it is now, and neither is this USC team. That was then, and this is now. Secondly, after watching Oregon State get absolutely dismantled by Penn State, you can’t tell me that anyone with any sort of football brain at all would think that this team wasn’t completely overmatched, on paper, against USC. A USC team that, even if you weren’t penciling them into the BCS title game yet (which I wasn’t, because they seem to have one meltdown a year), seemed pretty dominant after last week. Ohio State may not have had Beanie Wells, but I’m not sure that he could have saved them. Third – Oregon State did not have nationally recognized playmakers, at least before this game. They may have had great players who played out of their minds, but you can’t tell me that Jacquizz Rodgers was on your radar. He may turn out to be the truth, but I sure as hell had never heard of him until last night. Four – if Penn State beats Illinois, that itself should be enough to push them into the top ten. Illinois is a quality opponent, and Penn State has absolutely embarrassed everyone they’ve played so far. And finally, shouldn’t I have expected this upset after the giddy mayhem that was last year’s college football season? Well, truthfully, no, because the entire idea behind an upset is that you aren’t expecting it. If enough people thought that Oregon State could beat USC last night, then it wouldn’t have really be an upset, right? I mean, who in their right mind would have thought that Stanford would have beaten USC last year? You may keep the possibility of an upset in your mind, but that doesn’t mean you actually think it will happen – which, of course, is what makes it so fun and exhilarating when it does.

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