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DANIELLE BUYNAK / COLLEGIATE TIMES

PRELUDE TO A HANGOVER BY PATRICK MURPHY | features editor

BY ANDREW REILLY | features staff writer

The clock seems to tick slower and slower in the “Collegiate Times” office as I eagerly await the warden to grant my release. Please, oh please, approve my pages so I can flee Squires and go officially start my weekend.

Wednesday, September 7,2011

Between a crippling Words With Friends addiction and a daily barrage of emails, my phone is nearly always buzzing. So nothing seemed unusual when it went off Thursday night until I saw the cause—a tweet from the university’s Party Positive account encouraging me to drink water before going out.

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News, page 5

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WSU fined for false report Tech wins 2011 MALLORY NOE-PAYNE news staff writer Four years ago a woman reported a sexual assault to the Washington State University Police Department, saying she had been given sleeping pills and was then assaulted by her husband’s friend. The police filed the incident as a “domestic dispute” and investigated it as such. Later in the year, another reported rape in a resident hall was classified in the same manner. After an investigation from the Department of Education in August, WSU was fined $82,500 for not properly classifying and reporting the two sexual assaults, violating a campus crime reporting law. By comparison, Virginia Tech was fined $55,000 for two violations that led to 32 deaths during the April 16, 2007, campus shootings. The DOE said WSU’s attempt to correct the mistake “did not diminish the seriousness of not correctly reporting these incidents at the time they occurred” in a letter notifying Elson Floyd, the university president, of the fines. Floyd appealed the fine, writing in a statement that the university thought it inaccurate to claim “that the individual errors identified in 2007 truly posed a danger to the campus community.” The DOE was able to fine WSU because of the Jeanne Clery Act, or the Campus Security Act, a law that requires colleges and universities to disclose crime statistics and give timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat. Based on a DOE investigation, Tech was fined under the Clery Act for failing to issue a timely warning after the shootings in West Ambler Johnston and Norris halls. The fine was hotly debated last spring as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appealed with the support of the school. However, the fine of $55,000 is still lower than that now faced by WSU and fines that have been dispensed in the past. While many other schools’ fines have been higher than Tech’s, none of the violations can be directly linked with multiple deaths, and certainly not to the same degree. The highest initial fine in Clery Act history was $357,500 to Eastern Michigan University, which was then settled and paid to $350,000. The fine included numerous offenses in failing to properly report statistics — the most prominent of which included failing to report a student’s murder in a residential hall to the campus community. There were 13 individual offenses over three years found in a comprehensive DOE review. Tech’s fine of $55,000 is less than one-sixth of the initial fine imposed on EMU in

Virginia Tech

Tarleton State

2 timely warning violations after shootings in Norris and West Ambler-Johnston Halls leading to 32 deaths

2 violations for failing to classify and report 2 sexual assaults and violated a campus crime reporting law

$55,000 fine

robot challenge

$82,000 fine

CLERY ACT VIOLATIONS & FINES 13 individual offenses, mostly failing to report crime statistics and failing to report a murder in a residence hall

Multiple violations for failing to report crime statistics

$357,000* fine

Eastern Michigan

$135,700 fine

Washington State VICTORIA ZIGADLO / COLLEGIATE TIMES

*After an appeals process, the DOE reduced the fine and Eastern Michigan paid $350,000.

PAUL KURLAK / SPPS

Bryce Lee shows how DARwIn, a soccer playing robot, works. 2007, less than one-fourth of the $260,000 fine imposed on Paul Smith’s College, and less than one-half of Tarleton State University’s $137,500 fine. From an outsider’s perspective these fines may seem hard to comprehend. Daniel Carter, the director of public policy for Security on Campus, Inc., a nonprofit devoted to improving campus security, has helped develop amendments to the Clery Act and is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post. “A lot of people don’t understand why a school where there were no deaths is facing a larger fine for campus security than Tech,” Carter said. “And I think it’s a difficult thing to rationalize because it’s not something a rational person looks at and makes sense (of).” The most severe penalty for any particular offense to the Clery Act is $27,500. Larger fines seen in other universities are associated with an increase in the number of individual offenses, as opposed to more detrimental or dramatic results of a singular offense. Carter believes this is why fines don’t seem to make sense to many. “The fine structure was not envisioned (to deal with) dire consequences of a violation,” Carter said, before drawing a comparison to drunk driving regulations. “The fines are much higher drunk driving when you drive drunk and kill someone.” In a letter written to Charles Steger, Tech’s president, the

DOE outlined the extent of its investigation as a “review of Virginia Tech’s actions on April 16, 2007 … including reviewing records from Virginia Tech as well as information submitted by Security on Campus and the families of some of the victims … ” In the same type of fine letter written to Donald Loppnow, EMU’s executive vice president, the DOE describes a much larger field of investigation, saying, “The reviewers also evaluated the accuracy and completeness of the campus crime statistics submitted by EMU in its Annual Security Report.” “Typically, comprehensive reviews yield larger fines,” Carter said. “When you conduct a more focused review, you are only going to fine on that particular issue. It doesn’t mean there aren’t other violations, just that they didn’t review them.” According to the Federal Student Aid website, the DOE can review a school’s compliance with Clery Act requirements for several reasons, including the filing of a specific complaint, like Tech, the raise of concern through the media, a school’s independent audit, or a random review selection. As the law is currently implemented, the $27,500 maximum fine is used often with little variation between offenses. WSU’s failure to properly report two rapes was fined the same as Tech’s failure to provide a timely notification to students and staff in regards to a gunman on campus. Carter attributes this to

the relatively low maximum penalty that can be given. “For something that is still serious, but may not have the consequences of someone dying, they simply have no room to work with,” he said. The DOE does have the ability to re-index Clery Act fines based on inflation under the Inflation Adjustment Act, which gave executive regulatory agencies the power to raise certain fines following a specific formula based on the Consumer Price Index. The Act requires necessary adjustments every four years. In 2002, a letter was sent to the Secretary of Education from the U.S. General Accounting Office, pointing out that the fine had not been raised since it was initially set in 1986 and recommending “corrective action.” The maximum fine was raised in 2002 from $25,000 to the current $27,500 and has not been raised since. According to a representative from the DOE, the department has the authority to raise the maximum fine but has yet to do so because of the current low inflation amount. The process to raise the fine takes time and money, and might be approached when the adjusted fine would result in a higher amount, such as $30,000, she said. According to the Consumer Price Index inflation calculator on the U.S. Department of Labor website, $27,500 in 2002 has the same buying power as $34,535 in 2011.

AUTONOMOUS SOCCER PLAYING ROBOTS COMPETE IN INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT ELIZABETH HAYDU news staff writer Bryce Lee is building a firefighter and a soccer player. The mechanical engineering graduate student is part of the team working on autonomous robots, which may eventually beat humans in a game of soccer and fight fires for the Navy. CHARLI L — Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence, lightweight — is a 5-foot tall autonomous humanoid robot who was built by graduate and undergraduate students in the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, or RoMeLa. The robot dominated RoboCup 2011, an international autonomous soccer-playing robot competition that took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in July. CHARLI H, for heavy, is a more bulky robot designed to walk on sloping and rising grounds, run, jump, kick, open doors and pick up objects. However, CHARLI H, which Lee calls a force-controlled robot, did not compete in RoboCup. “We are also trying to get (CHARLI H) to fight a fire on a Navy ship, which is something that no one can do right now,” Lee said. “We are working with another lab in mechanical engineering, Dr. Lattimer’s lab, to accomplish that. And really, (we are) just trying to put together one of the most advanced humanoids in the world.”

Although he primarily works with CHARLI H, Lee spent his time with CHARLI L at RoboCup, which he said was an experience like none other. “My God, we won RoboCup,” he said, adding that the effect didn’t hit him until well into the night. However, the tournament’s turn out wasn’t always clear to Lee — he said CHARLI L’s early matches were nerve racking because the robot didn’t perform well. Nevertheless, it teetered through the last round and kicked the winning penalty shot. “When the final kick happened, we knew we were the champions,” Lee said. “That felt great.” The team also entered DARwIn, a smaller, child-sized autonomous robot, in a RoboCup match for machines of its breadth, where it took home first place. It took hard work to prepare the robots for the tournament. Lee, is fond of robotics because it brings together mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as computer science — three principles that mesh to bring robotic results. But these subjects don’t always mingle properly. It was a challenge for the teams to get CHARLI L to kick — when it swings its leg forward, it wobbles trying to maintain balance. However, the humans who created it cannot help because of its autonomous nature, meaning they cannot operate it manually or with see CHARLI/ page two


2 food & drink september 7, 2011

editors: chelsea gunter, patrick murphy featureseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

GO ES

CT DT

Say what you like, all roads lead to TOTS from page one

@pmurphy0110

Finally, after a few agonizing and frenzied hours, I’m given the “all clear” to run along and begin my night’s festivities. It’s my friend’s 21st birthday, so the stakes are high. I know I’ve got to reach the birthday girl quickly to give my well wishes before things get too out of hand. I eagerly enter Sharkey’s and immediately spot my friend, but of course I have to wait for the bouncer to check my ID. The line is never long, but man do I hate those stamps. Forget getting a tattoo, just go to Sharkey’s. Suddenly the birthday girl charges me shouting, “Collegiate Times!” I had told her about the article I would be writing about going downtown, and she seemed excited about it — but this was quite the welcome. Perhaps her obligatory 21st birthday “dinner” at El Rod’s had really brought out her enthusiasm for the publication. After sufficient birthday wishes were bestowed, it was time to belly up to the bar. Unlike many weekend nights I’ve seen there, the crowd seemed pretty manageable, and the service at the bar was relatively quick. With the lack of crowd, standing around just talking to friends is both easy and enjoyable. However, after a few more drinks we all come to that horrible point where one is faced with the decision to break the seal or hold out a bit longer. I decide to last awhile longer, but my friend decides to cave, passing me her drink to hold onto while she’s away. This seemingly simple action leads me to an intense internal debate about the etiquette of sip stealing. What is allowed? Surely my friend didn’t expect me to hold onto her beverage and not take a few samples. I decide to indulge, but come clean about what I’ve done when she returns. She’s not upset, so apparently sip stealing isn’t too horrible an offense. While I’m having a good time listening to the bass-booming music and catching up with friends, I know that something is missing. What’s missing is Andrew, my journalistic counterpart. Meeting up with someone downtown is alwaysmoredifficultthanexpected.Despite texting and countless ways to stalk

Know what youʼre getting into when ordering a “large” @sharkeys

D

people on social networks, it’s still tough to find people in the crowded mess known as “DT.” It’s always a hassle to move your herd of friends to a new location, and once there, it can become a real life version of “Where’s Waldo” when finding someone. Try that after a few adult beverages. After some awkward moments scanning the crowd and glancing at my cell phone, I’m reunited with Andrew. We each did our own thing to begin the night but now are ready to chronicle our journeys together. We order two large Blue Moons, unsure of what saying the word “large” actually meant. The bartender then brings over massive 34-ounce mugs, garnished with an orange slice. What had we gotten ourselves into? However, we refused to accept defeat and powered through it. The crowd was beginning to thin, although the night was still young, so we decided to move on. Besides, we had just spotted a girl wearing gym shorts; a clear indication it was time to leave Sharkey’s. Our next stop was Big Al’s, which for me is a staple any night I go downtown. The bouncers are friendly and don’t subject you to a ridiculous stamp — don’t underestimate the importance of that. As I slide my way into the main bar area, the “Cheers”-like atmosphere hits me. This is my bar, and while not everyone knows my name, it’s always crawling with recognizable faces. I’m instantly greeted by what seems like dozens of people, ranging from close friends to those who look familiar. All seems fine until I realize I literally cannot move. I made the mistake of standing still in Big Al’s for more than 30 seconds, and now I’m caught, as if in quicksand. I look around for help, but it’s no use — I’m paralyzed. That’s probably the greatest downside of Big Al’s. Excessive overcrowding can come on suddenly, plaguing the establishment and often effectively bringing it to a standstill. This brings a choice: Stay or go? I know eventually the crowd will thin back out to a

rink

Patrick Murphy

reasonable level, but I’ve been bumped into and stepped on far too many times. It’s time to move onto the main event: TOTS. On the walk to TOTS, I pass Rivermill, and for a fleeting moment, I contemplate stopping in. The thumpa-thumpa of the Thursday night DJ seems so enticing, but I’m on a mission for TOTS. I carry on, only to be met with the most unpleasant sight — a line at TOTS. Shocker. But my friends really want to go, so it’s time to queue up. The wait is only a few minutes, but I still feel a bit of pain as I shell out $2 for the cover. It’s a nominal amount, but let’s be honest, this is Blacksburg. I would expect a cover in New York — not in southwest Virginia. Aside from the cover, TOTS also has the largest, ugliest and most cumbersome stamps. Gee thanks, I’ve always wanted an ink eagle covering my fist. Then there’s that awkward moment when the stamp master notices you’ve already been to Sharkey’s. It feels like you’ve been exposed as a cheater. It’s as if being caught with lipstick on your shirt. After investing both time and money into getting into TOTS, it becomes apparent this will be my last stop. This seems to be a common theme for most TOTS goers, but I feel there may be another reason for this: Rails. Never end your night with a Rail. Let me rephrase that: Never let a Rail end your night. Actually, that statement doesn’t quite work either. A Rail will end your evening if you’ve already been indulging yourself, so use caution. One thing I’ve learned after a night out on the town is that it’s difficult to go to as many places as you want. It takes some serious dedication. However, this has nothing to do with consumption. It’s just easy to get stuck in one place, and it’s often difficult to uproot your friends. If anyone succeeds in hitting all of the hot spots downtown in one night, tell me how.

CHELSEA GUNTER features editor

of the week

Rainy weather got you down? Try this Gorilla Punch to shake things up. Ingredients: 1 shot Bacardi 151 alcohol 1/2 shot Blue Curacao liqueur 2 oz orange juice 2 oz pineapple juice Ice Directions: 1. Juices should be chilled prior to mixing. 2. Mix all ingredients together and shake or stir sufficiently. Serve in a highball glass filled with ice cubes. 3. To make this recipe in quantity, dump 1 quart Bacardi 151, 1 pint Blue Curacao liqueur, 1/2 gallon orange juice and 1/2 gallon pineapple juice in a punchbowl and stir.

Editor’s idea yields downtown frenzy

from page one

@wrylyreilly

“Great advice,” I thought in between sips of my second Long Island Iced Tea, just a little late. I had already begun my downtown journey and definitely crossed the alcoholic Rubicon. This was just the beginning of a long, strange voyage through Blacksburg’s 21-and-up nightlife. The genesis for this story is far less exciting than the subject matter would imply. There were no fiery arguments in the Collegiate Times office with me screaming, “The people need to know, damn it!” There was no pleading with College Media Solutions to stop being so square and let its writers run free. Instead, it began when a charming editor came to me with a proposal: Live tweet and chronicle one night in Blacksburg saloons, later turning the adventure into a features story. This was like asking Cookie Monster to go on assignment at the Mrs. Fields factory. As one of many students too baby faced or law abiding to find their way into bars until their 21st birthday, I’ve now fully embraced the downtown lifestyle. The relaxed atmosphere of an evening in Big Al’s seems downright revelatory to newly legal adults accustomed to socializing in sweaty, high-decibel apartment parties. While only a fool would believe that drinking is not a large part of a bar’s appeal, intoxication really is only one aspect of the experience. Downtown’s central function is serving as a Mecca of senior year social life. Upperclassmen, new and old converge, on Main Street in droves every weekend and day that begins with “T,” creating what amounts to be a party with seemingly everyone you know at Virginia Tech. No one remembers the drinks they consumed the night before, but they’ll usually have stories about running into an old friend or a vague freshman year acquaintance. Patrick and I were given instructions to spend a Thursday night at the local watering holes “tweeting” our observations on the Blacksburg nightlife. This was not exactly what you would call hard-hitting journalism, but it seemed like a fun opportunity to try something different. It also seemed like a perfectly reasonable excuse to blow up my normally restrained Twitter feed with any and all odd musings that came to mind. The Party Positive team will be pleased to know that we took precautions to avoid ending up like

Almost time for the #CT Saloon Slide Live Blog Blowout. What mayhem will ensue? How much will my editor regret this? Stay tuned to find out.

drooling Neanderthals incapable of doing our jobs. Before embarking on the mission, I polished off several Gatorades and enough carbs to make Dr. Atkins roll over in his grave. We’re professionals here, people — we know what we’re doing. Sharkey’s is the reigning Best of Blacksburg happy hour king and with good reason: There’s no cheaper or more efficient full-frontal assault on sobriety in town. It seemed like the most appropriate destination to begin my tour of downtown establishments while I waited for Patrick and his friend’s birthday group. My roommate and I arrived toward the end of happy hour to a scene filled with the usual suspects: clusters of sorority girls, bros attached to the pool table and creepers biding time until the prey is drunk enough to tolerate their presence. The out-of-the-ordinary sight was a group of guys wearing athletic shorts and undershirts. Apparently our societal shift away from expecting men to dress up in public has reached its pitiful conclusion. Part of the appeal of Sharkey’s is its spacious but lively atmosphere. Despite the large crowd that trickles in throughout happy hour, the floor never seems too crowded to move around and engage in conversations. The downside of this is that you run into less familiar faces than you would at Big Al’s or TOTS. Around 10 p.m., having exhausted our desire to mingle with the current crowd, we bid adieu to Sharkey’s and left for greener pastures. It seems like a rule that every night downtown must include a stop at Big Al’s, which is the stalwart of the downtown scene. We briefly considered stopping at Champ’s before walking up those legendary stairs to the bustling bar room. We’d barely reached the top before I remembered my one fatal issue with Al’s: the packedlike-sardines feeling of too many people stuffed into one undersized location. Anyone who fails to nab a table during happy hour and still expects ease of navigation, or the ability to hear someone more than two feet away, is delusional. It’s not the worst problem for a bar to have and it hardly precludes customers from having a good time. It’s just a factor to consider when choosing which bar to visit. Cramped setting aside, Big Al’s is popular for a reason. The drinks are cheap, even after happy hour, and the dozens of TVs lining the wall make it ideal for watching sports and ignoring dull companions. It doesn’t hurt that Al’s consistently has the best eye candy in Blacksburg’s downtown, edging out even TOTS. Our stay at Blacksburg’s other top of the stairs didn’t last too long. Before I could order my first rum and coke — the world’s greatest mixed drink, bar none — Patrick called to let me know his party had returned to Sharkey’s. We carefully walked down the steps, having seen more than enough people stumble down them in our short downtown experience. Who would have thought that a combination of intoxication, high heels and steep inclines could lead to negative consequences? Having since been abandoned by my roommate, I met up with Patrick at Sharkey’s for a brief, “bromantic” reunion before proceeding onward to Hokie House. The hideous maroon exterior is overkill, even by Tech’s ridiculous standards. The facade hides a bar that often gets an unfair bad rap. Sure, the food may be subpar at best, and the patrons sometimes seem to be a bit seedier, but on busy nights, the upstairs doesn’t offer a radically different experience than you would get at Big Al’s. Helping its case is a treasure from the golden era of the 1990s: an old school NBA Jam arcade game. It’s difficult to put into words just how irrationally excited this discovery made me Thursday night. My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure some high-pitched squeals were emitted. Forget NBA 2K11 — this is the pinnacle of basketball video games. Even better, the upstairs room is large enough to allow comfortable movement and conversation. No yelling or cupping

Andrew Reilly

hands behind ears is required to hear your party in this spacious environment. Would Hokie House be my first choice for downtown shenanigans? No, but it’s an enjoyable diversion that delayed my group’s inevitable pilgrimage to TOTS for longer than expected.

@wrylyreilly Stop 1: Sharkeyʼs, home of the best happy hour in Blacksburg. $4 22oz Long Island is a recklessly good way to start the night. #CT

Still, we were like moths drawn to a crowded, overpriced flame — that being TOTS. Arriving at Top of the Stairs in a reasonably sober fashion is like watching the Redskins take a second half lead. It’s not going to last, and there’s a decent chance everything will end in a pathetic spectacle.

@wrylyreilly When did it become acceptable to wear gym shorts downtown? Stay classy bros. #CT

TOTS is the unquestioned titan of the Blacksburg bar scene. That’s not to say it’s the best bar, per se, it’s just the biggest kid on the block. People may gripe about the cover charges, but there are always more than enough willing customers. The bar itself isn’t particularly noteworthy. TOTS offers the same selection of crappy college beers and slightly classier brews as its competitors. What sets it apart is the Rail, an elixir of death intended for one purpose and one purpose only — maximum destruction.

@wrylyreilly Currently have 188 followers. If that doesnʼt go down tonight Iʼm doing something wrong. #CT

The evening’s constant Twitter stream dried up as soon as I received my $10 blitzkrieg of a drink. With what good judgment I had left, I decided that any thoughts influenced by this devilish concoction were probably inappropriate to share with the public at large. People watching is a popular pastime here for many of the reasons stated above. Rails make otherwise rational individuals behave in creatively bizarre ways, and there are no places to hide such antics at a wide-open bar like TOTS. While tonight I was on the viewing side, this is regretfully not always the case. My last mental note before leaving TOTS for the DD car concerned the sheer volume of friendly faces I’d encountered. It wasn’t just members of Greek life. People from all different parts of my Tech experience were there celebrating the unofficial start of the weekend. It’s easy to complain about the cover charge, cramped quarters and overpriced drinks, but finding that same experience anywhere else just isn’t possible. Warts and all, TOTS deserves its place as the king of Blacksburg bars. That’s sort of like being the best football team in the NFC West, but still, it’s an achievement. The morning after was pleasant. Aside from a desperate urge for water, my body felt unharmed by the previous night’s inebriation. Moderation is the key. I averaged about a drink per stop. Maybe a 34-ounce beer isn’t the best example of healthy drinking behavior, but I’ll let the results speak for themselves. Our night in downtown Blacksburg didn’t lead to any shocking developments or unpleasant incidents. The evening mostly confirmed what I already knew: Bars provide a unique social atmosphere where people get very friendly, then very silly, and then very incomprehensible. Party positive, Hokie nation. See you at the NBA Jam machine.


opınıons 3

editors: scott masselli, sean simons opinionseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

september 7, 2011

Youthful news outlets are becoming popular seems to be in the older generations’ nature to criticize the It younger because of its lacking morals and work ethic, or not being rebellious enough to take over a college campus when the government’s actions are disagreeable. A criticism more unique than others, and perhaps more reasonable, is based on how members of our generation — those in their 20s and 30s — tend to receive the news. Those from older crowd bemoan the fact that young- and middleaged adults receive their news from sources such as the Internet and Comedy Central TV programs. As much as I dislike saying it, there is some validity to this point — the younger generation has gravitated away from newspapers and traditional TV as news sources, instead opting for the Internet and satirists. From that point of view, young Americans are turning to unreliable, uninformative sources for crucial information about the world. Certainly such critics have their points and are entitled to them, but overall their views ignore many positive aspects stemming from the younger generation’s new ways to learn about news, and the old system’s shortcomings. There are certainly benefits to watching the nightly news on TV, but there is a great deal missing. The nightly news has essentially been whittled down to a set of bullet points or headlines, briefly mentioning some of the key occurrences in the nation and world before the allotted time runs out. This is not the worst way to receive news, but it is hardly an in-depth look into any particular issue. Another issue of traditional news sources is the lack of both trust in and personality of those dispensing information to the public. Gone are the days when Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America — a time when his word was considered truth. A system of distrust took his place. It started with distrust in the United States government, thanks to Lyndon B. Johnson and Vietnam, as well as Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. Since then the public does not trust the government or the media that revealed its deceits. When revealing the government’s failures, the media created a country where distrust became a national pastime. The news media also began to lack personality types that kept people tuned in, and so rose cable news mediums such Fox News and MSNBC, where exaggerated and extreme opinions became the norm. In such a media environment, where trust is lacking and the only personality is of the crazy type, it’s not surprising that many have

turned to a new source for their news. Political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been able to combine effective political satire with some of the key purposes normally tasked to the standard media. When crafting the First Amendment, the framers of the Constitution hoped the media would help reveal the government’s inconsistencies and lies to the public, allowing citizens to be critical of the systems making up their world. In these areas, the two satirists have displayed incredible ability. Both of their shows string together video clips to display politicians contradicting themselves and sometimes flat out lying. These shows have a surprising tendency to discuss and examine inconsistencies in many other people connected to established institutions, such as corporations and the standard news media itself. And when people view such shows, they tend to look at society with a critical eye — assuming the government or media is not telling the truth, and consequently drawing their own conclusions. In that respect, these two political satirists are upholding some of the key purposes our nation’s founders envisioned for the media — in some ways better than the standard media itself — while also providing the personality and trust the news media lacks. The news turning into bullet points and headlines is fixed by the new approach of obtaining news. The Internet has become the main source of news, not only for the younger generation, but for much of the country. Obviously the Internet as a source of news has its issues, especially since anyone can say whatever they want and call it fact, but overall it is a positive force in terms of supplying the public with information. It used to be that there were only three or four major TV networks as the source of news for the whole country. Now a person can go online and find hundreds of news sources. If one website doesn’t cover a topic well or accurately, a person can go to another — citizens are no longer reliant on a single source, which helps reduce the possibility of the media lying. Control has now been vested in the individual to determine where they get their news and how deeply they want to delve into a topic — for example, if you want to read dozens of articles about the uselessness of opinion writers, I’m sure you can find plenty to oblige you.

DEVIN MILLER -regular columnist -senior -political science major

Teachers shouldn’t make student attendance required very semester before classes begin, thousands of Hokie parents and E students pay expensive tuition fees for enrollment at Virginia Tech. Many must rely on costly personal loans to have these expenses covered. Of course, the payout is invaluable — students will receive an education, and the opportunity to meet and network with hundreds of new people. However, as much as I love my professors and the college experience, I cannot agree that attendance should be mandatory. There are quite a few professors who do not require attendance, especially if there are too many students in class to call roll. Nevertheless, there are many (if not more) professors, who take into account student attendance when determining grades. As most of us are aware, grades can decrease by as much as a full letter without proper excuses for absences. I find this to be a ridiculous rule that needs to be reevaluated and changed immediately. As someone who became sick within the first few of days of classes, this policy forced me to frantically email my professors and offer to provide documentation from the Schiffert Health Center. As I lay on the couch in my apartment, weak and struggling to type, I couldn’t help but feel that as a paying “customer” of Tech, I had the right to stay home from class, no matter what the reason. However, I understand why many professors require attendance. A lack of attendance would lead to decreased class size, minimizing essential student-teacher interaction. Attending class also provides students with a chance to socialize and learn from their classmates. Also, a strict attendance policy prepares students for future employers who will undoubtedly expect little to no absences. I know professors don’t have evil intentions — they want to teach their material to a classroom where every chair is full and every student is on

the same page. In a perfect world that would be the case, but the university hire and pay professors to do their jobs. Therefore, professors should be the only people required to attend class. No one buys a gym membership under the impression that their attendance is mandatory. I have cable for a TV I don’t watch every day and rent for an apartment I’m not always in. Should I be penalized for any of that? Absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not advocating for college students to skip classes. As a senior, I’ve taken that action plenty of times — often with disastrous results. I’ve missed important information, earned low test scores and didn’t turn in homework because I overslept or decided to take a day off. If I had been forced to go to those classes, I would have known the material better or at least established a better relationship with my professor. Perhaps my grades would have even been higher. However, professors are not babysitters. I made the decision to miss classes, and I suffered the consequences. On the other hand, there are plenty of students who can learn the material without the aid of a lecture and can demonstrate their knowledge on an exam day, which they may or may not choose to attend. Many parents and college officials will disagree with me, but unless students have been given scholarships or grants, they have no responsibility to the university or themselves to take advantage of the opportunities at Tech. Current policies that teachers put forth requiring student attendance show little confidence in our maturity and ability to succeed without supervision.

COURTNAY SELLERS -regular columnist -senior -history major

Perry, a hypocritical candidate ith a little more than a year to go before the presidential elecW tion next November, the Republican contenders are each making their cases. Recently, the media has declared the top tier of Republican candidates to be Mitt Romney, Michele Bachman and Rick Perry. None of these candidates would be right for the job or good for the country, but of those three, Perry is the worst. Perry would be a horrible president because he is a hypocrite when it comes to religion, unethical when it comes to governing and too stubborn or ignorant in the face of facts. In the past, there has been concern about the Republican In Name Only candidates, but the bigger issue with Perry is that he is a Christian In Name Only. Perry is a CINO because of his need to pray in public and his attitudes toward the poor, which are out of line with Jesus Christ’s teachings. Last month, Perry held a prayer rally for the nation. Despite what you might think, a prayer rally is not in line with Christian teaching. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others,” and instead pray in secret because God favors those who pray in private (Matthew 6:5-7). In this instance, Jesus himself called those who made public spectacle out of prayer hypocrites, the very thing Perry did last month with his highly publicized prayer rally. Also, his attitude toward the poor is out of line with Christianity. For instance, take a look at the Gospel of Mark, where there is a story of a crowd putting money in the treasury. The richest people put in large sums of money, but a poor widow put in only two coins, far less than anyone else. Jesus argued that the widow had actually contributed more than all the rich because her contribution was all she had, while what the rich gave was from abundance (Mark 12:41-44). Perry would disagree. First, for the American’s who do pay income tax, they pay higher rates than the richest 1 percent of Americans. According to Warren Buffet, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes. And his secretary, who earned significantly less, was taxed at 30 percent. Second, in his speeches and rhetoric, Perry has consistently called for lower taxes. And by lower taxes, he means lower taxes on the rich. Yes, the United States has one of

the largest corporate tax rates — 35 percent — but offshore subsidiaries and loopholes such as carried interest and the corporate jet tax break bring the amount they actually pay way down. In his speeches, he has repeatedly called for lower taxes on corporations and the rich, while at the same time railing against the Americans who are too poor to pay federal income taxes. Whether you are Christian, or even care about Perry’s religiosity, someone touting their Christian credentials while not actually following the religion’s values should raise a red flag. It is hypocritical, and it shows a lack of integrity. OK, so he is a hypocrite when it comes to religion, big deal. I just need a job. What about the Texas miracle and his record of job creation? America needs jobs, and Perry knows how to create them, right? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 211,000 jobs created last year, 37 percent of these new jobs paid at or below minimum wage. Texas now ties Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum wage workers. The problem with the Texas miracle is the jobs he did create were minimum wage jobs that cannot support a middle-class lifestyle. In Austin, Texas, food banks have been put under increased stress, keeping more than 45,000 Texans from starving each week because minimum wage cannot support basic necessities. To get a good job, the question to ask is: How much money have I donated to Perry’s campaign? Perry behaves unethically. While the exchange of political positions for donations has been a common practice in politics that is not illegal, it is certainly unethical, and is a common practice for Perry. For example, take a look at the story of John McHale. McHale donated more than $50,000 to Perry’s campaign, and according to the New York Times, “in May 2010 an economic development fund administered by the governor’s office handed $3 million to G-Con, a pharmaceutical start-up that Mr. McHale helped get off the ground.” Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you think — in fact, this pay-to-play style of politics is much worse. Nearly onefourth of the 4,000 government jobs that the GOP’s newest presidential candidate has filled went to campaign donors. Almost half his campaign money — $17 million — came from appointees. Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would challenge the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile — a move praised by consumer advocacy groups. Over the last decade, AT&T has donated nearly

$500,000 to Perry, and in December last year, AT&T bought 700 copies of Perry’s book costing nearly $13,000. Shortly after the book purchase, Perry endorsed the AT&T, T-Mobile merger. Perhaps the worst example of Perry’s unethical behavior was in 2007. Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff, lobbies for Merck, the company that makes the HPV vaccine Gardasil. On Feb. 2, 2007, Perry issued an executive order — not a piece of legislation, as he said — requiring the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules mandating all girls entering sixth grade to receive a vaccination against the types of HPV. The obvious correlation between campaign contributions and favors is so high it raises red flags that government favors are being handed out for money, not merit. Another problem with Perry is he is either too stubborn or ignorant to accept facts. For example, Perry recently said evolution was a theory that has “some gaps in it.” According to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, the problem with denying evolution is that it can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy, and those who deny it lack educationally. Perry is either too ignorant or stubborn to accept the universal fact that mankind evolved. Another example of his denial of fact is his view on climate change. Perry claimed more and more scientists are questioning global warming, and a substantial number of scientists manipulated their data on climate change to win funds. This claim is false — in fact, more scientists are accepting climate change and they have scientific data to back up these claims. America is facing incredible adversity right now. We are the future workforce of this country. If we accept the Perry way, it means our jobs will be of lower quality. His method of governing and campaign fundraising, a method that embodies a culture of corruption and cronyism, is further contributing to the infiltration of American politics. Perhaps most importantly, it means denying scientific facts and problems instead of rising to meet the challenge. The simple truth is it means a bleaker future for America.

JEFF HOMAN -regular columnist -junior -history major

Suit filed against 17 financial firms T

he Federal Housing Finance Agency filed suit against 17 financial firms last Friday. These firms included some of the largest United States investment banks, such as JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group. The FHFA is suing to collect billions of dollars worth of damages on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who bought mortgage-backed securities from these large institutions who subsequently received a bailout. After decades of financial deregulation in the 1980s and 1990s, investment banks were allowed to commingle with commercial banks, which had previously been illegal under the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932. During the 1990s, investment banks began to use complex mathematical formulas to restructure investment risks into what are called securities. Securities are tranched bonds that are backed by another asset like mortgages. In a securitized bond, a large group of these assets is tranched, or chopped up according to risk, into different bonds that are rated based on their risk. The top most tranche receives a AAA rating, meaning it is a safe investment, while the lowest tranches receive CCC, CC or C rating, meaning they are risky investments. These securities are called Collateralized Debt Obligations. Banks would then create Credit Default Swaps, which are bonds backed by CDO’s and are basically bets against CDOs. If a CDO defaults, anyone who sold a CDS collects that money from its holder. CDS’s are used as a sort of insurance against the default of a CDO. Investment banks were buying mortgages, providing housing loans and securitizing these mortgages into CDO’s. It was believed that by securitizing these loans, the risk could be

spread out, allowing for riskier loans to be made without creating high amounts of overall risks. The problem here, however, was that many of these securities did not receive ratings that reflected their actual riskiness. In many cases, CDO’s were being tranched and sold as securities again. This meant the bond was chopped up again along the same risk framework as the initial bundle of loans. They were CDO’s backed by CDO’s. So, when a risky CDO was tranched into further securities, those new securities were rated as if they were of the same risk as the initial loans, meaning junk bonds were being securitized into AAA bonds. These new CDO’s looked like solid investments, but in reality they were backed by junk CDO’s, which were backed by bad mortgages. This process was continued by many investment banks, creating a chain of CDO-backed CDO’s. Many of these banks created CDS’s to insure their investments. These investment banks sold CDOs to many commercial banks, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These commercial banks did not understand the risk they were taking on, due in most part to the inaccurate ratings of these CDO’s. When these risky mortgages began to go bad, so did the CDO’s that backed them. As foreclosures swept the country, so did the realization that banks were sitting on tons of junk bonds they had believed to be assets rather than liabilities. Panic ensued and the financial crisis swept through the system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lost billions of dollars because of bad CDO’s, and many of the investment banks that created these CDO’s came

out of the crisis stronger than ever. Goldman Sachs in particular made extensive use of CDS’s to back their risky bets. Goldman Sachs recovered billions of dollars through CDS’s, while the banks and investment groups they sold CDO’s to went bankrupt. There is no doubt Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac deserve to recover damages from the banks that sold them these risky investments, but it is equally clear that the only reason this lawsuit is likely to succeed is because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are vehicles of the government. Where are the lawsuits on behalf of Americans who lost their pensions, homes and jobs? The only government action taken on behalf of the people was with charges of fraud against Goldman Sachs for their possibly criminal use of CDS’s to back CDO’s they knew were junk bonds. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not the only ones who deserve to receive damages for the misconduct of the investment banks. Not only should those who lost homes and investments receive compensation, but so should the American taxpayers who put up billions of dollars in bailouts to prop up the very financial institutions that brought along this crisis. Although it was necessary to maintain the existence of these banks and the financial system, the time has come to demand that money back. Without legal ramifications for their actions, the financial firms’ risky behavior is being reinforced.

JOSH DEAL -regular columnist -senior -history major

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sports 4

editors: matt jones, zach mariner sportseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES

september 7, 2011

Packers and Saints primed to have big seasons in 2011

Hereshakeis aout:look at how the NFC may

he is the key to the Eagles’ success. Simply put, a healthy Vick means many wins in Philadelphia. The New York Giants rode a roller coaster of a year last season, winning 10 games, yet failing to reach the post season because of ill-timed, late season losses. To have better success this season, the Giants need to limit turnovers. Quarterback Eli Manning threw a staggering 25 interceptions and lost another five fumbles. If New York hopes to make it back to the playoffs, Manning will have to decrease those numbers. If there was one team that experts would unanimously say fell short of

NFC East Much was made about the spending spree made by the Philadelphia Eagles over the offseason, bolstering their defense by acquiring defensive backs Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins. While the defense should be much improved over last year’s average squad, the key to the season is whether they can keep quarterback Michael Vick upright. Vick was sacked 34 times last season, yet

expectations in 2010, it would be the Dallas Cowboys. Losing seven of their first eight games and quarterback Tony Romo injured, all seemed lost. With Romo back this season, along with dynamic receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, the Cowboys are sure to score points and turn heads in 2011. The Washington Redskins seemed to make headlines for all the wrong reasons last year. Gone, however, are distractions provided by Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb, former Redskins. With Rex Grossman at quarterback, the fate of the Redskins will be determined by how the offense scores points in the

division. Predicted Winner: Philadelphia Eagles

NFC North Although they had to fight a string of injuries to key players, the Green Bay Packers still won the Super Bowl in 2010. With all of the offensive weapons surrounding quarterback Aaron Rodgers returning, the Packers look to repeat, and they look to have a pretty decent chance to do just that. Thanks to a favorable schedule, a little luck and a tenacious defense, the Chicago Bears won the NFC North last season (yes, over the Super Bowl champion

Packers). If quarterback Jay Cutler can limit turnovers (especially near the goal line), and if the offensive line can give running back Matt Forte room to run, the Bears could head back to the playoffs. This season is a big season of “ifs” for the Detroit Lions. If quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Jahvid Best can stay healthy and the young defense lives up to the potential it showed in flashes last season, the Lions could be the surprise team of the entire league. Moving past Brett Favre, the Minnesota Vikings drafted quarterback Christian Ponder in the first round of March’s draft. Around to mentor the young Ponder

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WORDSEARCH: Football Season Locate the list of words in the word bank in the letter grid.

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1 Maroon Effect 2 White Out 3 Orange Effect 4 Hokie Hi 5 Key Play 6 Turkey Leg 7 Hokey Pokey 8 Enter Sandman 9 Tailgating 10 Thursday Night 11 Saturday Afternoon 12 Stick it in 13 Frank Beamer 14 Bud Foster 15 Lunch Pail 16 Let’s Go Hokies 17 Night Game 18 Rivalry

Guess he didn’t read the paper.

12 Fight fiercely 13 Cook, in a way 14 Meaning 21 Dashboard Confessional music genre 22 Brunei’s capital Bandar __ Begawan 23 Fall lead-in? 25 “Kiss Me Deadly” singer Ford 26 “... __ open fire” 27 It was blamed for reduced pasta sales in 2003 28 Relax 29 Seriously injure 31 Memorable movie lion 32 Prefix with 29Across 34 Greek known for paradoxes 35 The “A” in many org. names By Julian Lim

ACROSS 1 Its first mascot was a toquewearer named Speedee 10 Father in the comic strip “Bringing Up Father” 15 2010 health statute, informally 16 Deify 17 Beastly place? 18 Protest tactic 19 Galway Bay’s __ Islands 20 Groupings affected by natural selection

22 Asked for a ticket? 24 Pluck 25 Leisure wear 29 Werewolves do it 30 Among other things, in Latin 33 Iranian-born TV director Badiyi 36 Roll with the punches 39 Shrub yielding an indigo dye 40 Dollars for quarters? 41 2008 runner 44 Still running 45 Beer named for a river 47 Ham relative

9/7/11 49 Ruined the family 3 “SNL” cast photo, maybe member with Phil and Kevin 51 Cooling treats 4 Majlis al Jinn 55 Like a baseball cave site bat’s symmetry 56 Potter’s concern 5 Shrew 6 Valuable 59 Piece maker? diamond 60 Bizet’s “Habanera,” for 7 Coffeehouse one option 61 Ethyl butyrate, e.g. 8 Like some 62 Folded flowers 9 Detected 10 “The Eyre Affair” DOWN author Fforde 1 Home of V. Van 11 Not at all like Gogh’s “Starry rocket science Night” 2 Handle user

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Tuesday’s Puzzle Solved

(c)2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

9/6/11

is former Redskin Donovan McNabb. Despite perennial top-five rusher Adrian Peterson and a relatively stout defense, the Vikings look to be on the wrong end of a supremely talented division this season. Predicted Winner: Green Bay Packers

NFC South Despite an unusually early exit from the playoffs, the New Orleans Saints look primed for another solid season in the tumultuous NFC South. Quarterback Drew Brees is always a threat to lead the league in passing, and the two-headed see NFC / page six


5 news

editors: claire sanderson, michelle sutherland newseditor@collegiatetimes.com/ 540.231.9865

september 7, 2011

COLLEGIATETIMES

Groupon sells college class JOSH HIGGINS news reporter The coupon behemoth, Groupon, expanded its savings into the realm of higher education this week. The company reduced the cost of an introductory teaching course offered at National-Louis University in Chicago, Ill., from $2,232 to $950 — nearly 60 percent cheaper

than the original price, according to the Chicago Tribune. The unprecedented decision by the university to offer tuition savings on Groupon is part of an attempt to bolster hesitant students’ interest in taking teaching courses, according to Julie Mossler, the communication director of the coupon company. The three-credit graduatelevel course was designed

specifically for the Groupon deal. The class, based on a noexperience-necessary curriculum, is designed to provide insight into the realities of the K-12 teaching industry and to help students decide whether they want to enter the field. Follow the writer on Twitter: @Name_here

CHARLI: Lee encourages participation from page one

a remote control. “The moment we touch him, we are disqualified for that round,” Lee said. Improvisation can mean the difference between winning and losing, leaving the team members on their toes during competitions. “I’d say the biggest thing is learning how to trouble shoot problems when they happen” he said. “When you are out in the field, you don’t have all the tools you would in the lab, so you have got to be able to come up with

something, make the fix, and make it all work — and do it all in about five minutes.” Back in the lab, the team has produced some of the most groundbreaking robotics research in the United States. CHARLI L was the first humanoid robot built in the U.S. that is full-sized, untethered and autonomous with four moving limbs and a head. CHARLI L debuted at the 2010 Singapore RoboCup Tournament winning third for its division. It also

made its mark at the 2010 World Science Festival in New York in the 350,000-square-foot Park Central Mall in Hong Kong and on the August cover of Popular Science. The team will continue to work on CHARLI H and is hoping to make a CHARLI L2, which will be a more upgraded version of the current CHARLI L. Follow the writer on Twitter: @ElizabethHaydu

William & Mary increases commuter sustainability efforts mcclatchy newspapers Students, faculty and staff sharing cars, riding bikes and taking buses do their part to help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere around the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. But, not enough in the college’s mission to do more. The college now offers a program that accepts contributions toward carbon-reducing projects that counterbalance, or offset, a person’s carbon-producing lifestyle, such as taking an airplane flight or traveling in an oversized vehicle. The new Carbon Offset Program comes out of a 2010

Committee on Sustainability summer research project funded by the student green fee, which is $15 per semester and goes toward green initiatives on campus. That project, led by student Max Cunningham and biology professor John Swaddle, first investigated how to make transportation at the college more environmentally friendly. The results were the introduction of Zipcar auto sharing, a reinvigorated carpooling program and better bus and bike route information via Google Transit. But what about long-distance travels and their impact on the campus carbon footprint, Cunningham and Swaddle asked? After researching national

and regional carbon offset programs, they came up with an in-house carbon offset program that requires no administrative costs. Now, when a faculty member travels to a conference, a student attends an athletic event or a board member goes to a meeting, they can make offset contributions such as $23 for each 1,000 miles drive in an SUV, truck or minivan, or $9 for a one-way airplane ticket to or from Williamsburg on the East Coast. Money from these contributions will be used in various energy-efficient projects around campus — increasing insulation; replacing incandescent lights with more efficient LEDs; installing motion sensors for lights in hallways, rest-

crime blotter

rooms; and installing variable speed fan drives on cooling plants. For example, the college recently upgraded the Swem Library cooling plant towers, replacing the old continuously running fans with efficient variable speed fans, for an energy savings of about $17,000 annually. The student green fee paid for this upgrade, but contributions from the carbon offset program will now go toward that kind of effort. In addition to impacting the carbon footprint, improved energy use also helps lower the college’s $7 million annual energy bill, and reduces its electric consumption, which is enough to power 10,000 homes, according to Dan Patterson,

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associate director of utilities. “For example, in many large lecture halls, people forget to turn off the lights when they leave, so the lecture hall could remain lit unnecessarily for hours,” says Sarah Hanke, a sustainability fellow on the sustainability committee. “By installing motion sensors, the lights turn off automatically after a certain period of inactivity, saving energy, money and preventing greenhouse gas emissions.” Contributions are collected through an online purchase system at the website http:// offset.wm.edu, which features a contributor calculator, and are credited to a special offset account in facilities

management. The first progress report will be reported on the website when the program hits the six-month mark, which is October. The carbon offset program is part of the college’s sustainability programs — paper, glass, plastic, ink cartridges, cellphones, books, light bulbs and chemicals. It’s also part of the lesser-known kind, too, like a clothing swap and tennis ball and athletic shoe recycling program held last spring. “It’s all about following the three Rs,” Swaddle says. “We want people to reduce, reuse and recycle, but if they can’t, then they can offset.”

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KATHY VAN MULLEKOM


september 7, 2011

page 6

NFC: NFC North tops in NFL

MCT CAMPUS

2010 Defensive MVP Clay Matthews leads the Packers defense.

BUCCANEERS, RAMS HOPE TO HEAD TO THE POSTSEASON WITH YOUNG, TALENTED QUARTERBACKS from page four

rushing attack of Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram has the potential to be explosive. The winners of the NFC South in 2010, the Atlanta Falcons, also look to remain atop the division. Going 13-3 last season (partially in thanks to a favorable schedule), the Falcons are led by quarterback Matt Ryan and 1,000-yard rusher Michael Turner. Also, look for receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez to be helped by the addition of speedy rookie wide receiver Julio Jones. A sleeper that rose from the basement of the division last season was Tampa Bay. Led by wonder-kid quarterback Josh Freeman and rookie rusher LeGarrette Blount, the Buccaneers look to make an even bigger splash than last year. By bolstering their defensive line through the draft, Tampa Bay may be able to “make the leap� toward the post season. To put it simply, the Carolina Panthers struggled last season. Thanks to injuries and a year-long quarterback carousel, Carolina only won two games a year ago. Despite the abysmal record, the Panthers could improve dramatically if they get rid of the injury bug and decide on a quarterback to stick with from Week 1. Look for No. 1 pick Cam Newton to get the shot over second year man Jimmy Clausen. Predicted Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West Competing for a division title, which has been described as by far the worst in football, may not seem like a feat. But for the St. Louis Rams it was quite a large one. Led by rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, the Rams more than tripled their win total from two seasons ago to last. Look for them to improve again upon their

seven wins. The Rams are looking like the force in the NFC West. Despite a 7-9 record, the Seattle Seahawks won a playoff game last season and became one of the feelgood stories of the post season. Gone, though, is longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Replacing Hasselbeck is the wildly inconsistent Tarvaris Jackson, placing a question mark on what was already one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Look for Seattle to take a step back after their Cinderella run last season. After trading for unproven quarterback Kevin Kolb, the Arizona Cardinals look like a team to keep an eye on this year. If Kolb can help the Cardinals find the offensive spark they had in 2008 and 2009, they may threaten the division leaders. Although they have a new coach in Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers look to be in for a long season. Running back Frank Gore is back from injury, as well as the much maligned quarterback Alex Smith. Look for the 49ers to not improve much, if at all, on their six-game win total last season. Predicted Winner: St. Louis Rams Predicted NFC Champion: Green Bay Packers. There is absolutely no reason the defending champs cannot repeat. They have a dangerous combination of youth and talent, an explosive offense and an underrated defense. Super Bowl Champions: Packers OVER Jets

BRIAN MARCOLINI -sports staff writer -junior -communication major


Wednesday, September 7, 2011 Print Edition