Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Two killed, two wounded from gunfire at Meek Mill show in Conn. – New York Daily News


At least two men were killed and another two were wounded after gunfire erupted outside a Connecticut concert hall where rapper Meek Mill had just finished performing Friday night, authorities said.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, had just walked off stage at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford when shots rang out by the venue’s entrance around 11:15 p.m., Lt. Cheryl Bradley told reporters at a press conference.

“It was chaotic, as you can imagine,” Bradley said when asked to describe the scene when police first arrived.

A suspect in the fatal shooting was not immediately located. Police called in all available officers from several neighboring counties, sending a manhunt underway early Saturday.

Rapper Meek Mill’s 21-year-old cousin shot and killed in Philly

Police called in all available officers from several neighboring counties after the shooting.

Police called in all available officers from several neighboring counties after the shooting.

(Adam Rivers @adamrivers via Twitter)

Stacey Ward identified her cousin 31-year-old Travis Ward as one of the victims, although police have not formally released names.

She told WTNH-TV that he was celebrating his upcoming birthday by attending the concert with another relative. 

“I just miss him,” she said. “I’m very shocked that my family has to endure this.”  

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Meek Mill lost his cousin to gun violence in Philadelphia this fall.

(Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

A video taken by a bystander appears to show Mill exiting the venue before a single gunshot ripples through the air. People can then be heard screaming as a security guard urges onlookers to take cover.

Meek Mill tried to block Drake from partying in Philadelphia

“Get down guys, just get down, stay down, you’re fine, you’re fine,” the security guard can be heard saying before the video cuts off.

The two wounded victims were taken to area hospitals where they were expected to survive.

Mill, whose girlfriend is fellow rapper Nicki Minaj, lost his 21-year-old cousin to gun violence in Philadelphia this September.

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NBC's Breaking News app and service will shut down tomorrow – Android Police



News are all around us nowadays but quality news reporting that also happens to be fast and accurate is not easy to come by. Breaking News, a separate startup inside NBC News Digital Network, was one of the most popular and respected news aggregators that tried to solve that problem through a team of dedicated editors and a network of trusted partners. It then broadcast important news through its website, various social networks (@BreakingNews with >9M followers, +BreakingNews, and Breaking News on Facebook) as well as mobile apps including an Android app with over 500,000 installs.

But alas, NBC News decided at the start of the month that the service was not generating enough revenue to sustain itself and that it was time to shut it down. The deadline? Tomorrow, December 31st. The team shared that in a post on Medium and then followed up with another post listing the different team members and offering everyone a chance to hire them since they were out of a job. (That’s one of the worst ways to start 2017, our thoughts go out to everyone.)

If you were a Breaking News user on Android or a follower of their Twitter account or other social presences, you should start looking for alternatives. Artem tells me BNONews.com and @BNONews are a good option, but I wouldn’t know because I don’t have enough bandwidth in my life to dedicate to all the news. If you know of any other alternatives, do let us know in the comments.

RIP Breaking News. It seems to me like you were doing something awesome, but sadly, awesomeness without cash doesn’t mean much these days.

  • Thanks:
  • Ananya Gupta

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Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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Trump sends New Year's Eve tweet to 'bad losers' as world sees in 2017 – live! – The Guardian


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Trump sends New Year's Eve tweet to 'bad losers' as world sees in 2017 – live!
The Guardian
I am handing over to my colleague Marc Walker who will be continuing this live blog. I would like to thank all those who have sent in their photographs and tweets, and for everyone who has commented under this article. I'll sign off with one of my



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Apple Loop: New iPhone 8 Leaks, Apple AirPods Latest Issue, Major MacBook Pro Problems – Forbes


Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes an old design for the rumored iPhone 7S, more details on the iPhone 8′s OLED screen, the ongoing battery issues with the MacBook Pro, faults in the iPhone 7 camera, AirPod charging issues, secrets of the iOS engineer, top tips for new iPhone owners, and video of the new Apple Campus..

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read our weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

An Old Design For iPhone 7S?

There was a time when Apple would update the iPhone design every year. Then it was every two years with the introduction of the S models. Now it looks like the presumptively named iPhone 8 may have a new design, but will have some familiar looking competition pushing out a four-year old design… here comes the not very different iPhone 7S. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

….the 2017 iPhones could be very disappointing indeed. Citing a “Taiwan supplier”, the site [Mac Otakara] says that instead of the so-called ‘iPhone 8’ Apple will instead follow tradition and simply release an iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus which will be virtually identical to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

If correct, this would be the fourth successive generation where Apple has stuck with the same design and the move would likely anger fans as iPhone rivals continue to cut down bezel sizes to fit larger displays into physically smaller phones.

There is a positive side if this is the case… more on that here on Forbes.

Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)

All About The iPhone 8 Screen

The current consensus at the moment is that Apple will update the current portfolio of devices to the 7S family and a new handset design will come in at the top end, which will be the iPhone 8. Chris Smith reports on an order for Samsung OLED screens to be fitted to the new iPhone.

According to unnamed sources quoted by Digitimes, Samsung will be the exclusive provider of OLED displays for a 5.8-inch iPhone next year. That’s likely the iPhone 8, and if the size sounds confusing given that some sources expect the phone to have a 5-inch screen, that’s because we may be looking at the total diagonal size of the display, including the curved edges. Even with a 5.8-inch screen, the iPhone 8 might be more compact than the current iPhone 7 Plus model, given that it’s supposed to have curved edges and a bezel-free, buttonless design.

Digitimes notes that Apple will have three iPhones out in the second-half of 2017, including 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch, and 5.8-inch models. The first two will still employ LCD screens just like every other iPhone before them.

More at BGR.

MacBook Pro Issues Continue

Apple’s issues with the MacBook Pro battery continued this week. Although many have questioned its methodology Consumer Report is standing by its choice to not recommend the laptops, polls of users are showing significant numbers of users experiencing battery life under five hours, and there’s very little guidance from Apple beyond ‘we are working to understand their results. It’s not been a great week at all.

Apple relies heavily on testing and recommendations from third-party organisations to market its hardware. Consumer Report’s MacBook recommendations (along with those from JD Power) have featured heavily in the past. If these organisations start to pull away from Apple, then another approach will need to be found.

Closer to home pushing the subtle idea of ten hours of battery life (sorry, ‘up to’ ten hours of battery life) when the consensus seems to be around five to seven hours) is a touch disingenuous. How the software and hardware work together to maximise battery life is a key part of the experience. At the moment the evidence points to something being ‘not quite right’ inside the MacBook Pro.

More thoughts here.

Macbook, March 2015 (image: Apple PR)

Faulty iPhone 7 Camera Units

Does the new iPhone 7 have a problem with the camera? Reports are coming in of some camera units having to be repaired or replaced by Apple because of blank image previews. Forbes’ Paul Monckton investigates:

‘I opened up the camera app only to be met with a black image preview, sometimes I can get an image however it’s either tinted green or purple and was once accompanied by a screen stating ‘Emergency iPhone needs to cool down’ when the handset wasn’t even slightly warm.’

More details here on the issue.

AirPods Have Some Issues

They arrived months behind schedule, stocks are limited, and some Apple Stores are not showing availability until February, but Apple’s AirPods are still ‘a runaway success’ according to CEO Tim Cook. Back in the real world, users are finding that some AirPod charging cases are not holding charge. Mitchel Broussard reports:

The exact scope of the affected AirPods user base is unclear. Some users are speculating that the problem could be an initial charge cycle hiccup that irons itself out over time, but a few owners that have had the AirPods since day one are still posting about battery drainage issues with the charging case today. On the other hand, there are many other users who have reported normal experiences with the case and its advertised 24 hours of battery life. Apple hasn’t commented on any of the reports.

More at MacRumors, although it’s worth noting that iFixit’s teardown of the unit last week revealed some interesting workmanship details that may or may not be relevant here.

Exploded iPhone 7 (image: IHS Markit)

Engineering The iPhone

Terry Lambert is a former Apple employee who worked on the OSX kernel and had a direct impact on software inside the early iPhones. He’s been answering questions on Quora about his work on Apple’s technology. Mike Wutherless sums up some points on Apple Insider:

In the Quora post asking about the original iPhone, Lambert claims that he wrote 6% of the MacOS Kernel as measured by lines of code, or about 100,000 lines a year, much of which was repurposed for the iOS kernel.

Calling the original effort “Project Purple,” Lambert said that he was brought in “late in the game” and mostly for debugging purposes. The engineer discussed not even seeing the product he was working on initially.

“I got taken into areas where there were black cloths everywhere,” said Lambert. “I only got to see the machine doing the remote debugging, not the target —but it was obviously an ARM based system.”

More on Apple Insider and Quora.

My Top Tips For New Apple Users

Just int time for those of you who picked up a new Apple smartphone over the festive period is my collection of top tips for new iPhone users. From software updates and apps, to cloud services and extended warranties, here’s what you should consider:

For some these phone be ‘same again with a slightly bigger number’ as the familiar wins out. For others the new smartphone will be their introduction into a new ecosystem. The last few years have seen Apple’s iPhone break sales records, and no doubt the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and a few older models have been gifted and a legion of new users are being welcomed into the world of iOS with their festive ‘phone.

Read all of the tips here on Forbes.

And Finally…

YouTuber Matthew Roberts sent his 4K drone over Apple’s Campus 2 grounds to see how construction is proceeding of Apple’s new HQ, research labs, theatre and facilities. The video (above) shows the physical ring structure, the extensive solar paneling and the landscaping work across the campus.

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

Follow me on Facebook. Find more of myworkat ewanspence.co.uk, onTwitter, and Linked In.You shouldsubscribe tomyweeklynewsletter of ‘Trivial Posts’.

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Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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Harambe, local clown attack among 2016 top – WHIO


UPDATE @ 11:55 p.m.

An elderly man shot and killed himself Friday night in the lobby of  the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Mike Simpson said.

The gunshot victim’s name was not released.

Dispatch and jail personnel heard a loud pop coming from the lobby area shortly before 8 p.m. at the sheriff’s office, 1139 Preble Drive, in Eaton. They found the man seated in the lobby with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Eaton Fire and EMS, Eaton police and deputies responded, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene, Simpson said.

The man’s body was taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, where an autopsy will be performed. The death remains under investigation by the Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Preble County Coroner’s Office.

For assistance, contact the Suicide Prevention Center at 800-320-HELP (4357.

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FIRST REPORT

A death is under investigation tonight following “an incident” that happened at the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers said.

We’re working to find out who has died, and how, and well as the nature of the incident. Supervisors were not made available and said further information would be released later tonight.

This article passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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Carnegie Deli closes doors, serves last hot pastrami sandwiches – New York Daily News


It was the end of an era, no matter how you slice it.

After 79 years of oversized sandwiches, mountains of cured meat and matzo ball soup, the Carnegie Delicatessen turned off its iconic neon sign and closed its doors for the final time Friday at midnight.

Fans lined the sidewalk late into the night for a last bite at the restaurant, which got a star turn in Woody Allen’s 1984 film “Broadway Danny Rose” and served as a tourist trap as it stayed true to its New York roots.

Patrons wait on long lines to get a celebrated sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. The restaurant is set to close tonight.

Patrons wait on long lines to get a celebrated sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. The restaurant is set to close tonight.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Celebrities, out-of-towners and the hometown crowds alike clamored for a seat along the deli’s photo-lined walls to enjoy the overpriced slices of cheesecake, knishes and, of course, the famed pastrami sandwiches.

Carnegie Deli owner won’t consider sale — and that’s bull!

Gabriel Kronzek, 27, a culinary student at the Santa Barbara City College; Eileen Rourke, 62, a librarian from the Financial District, and Naima Rauam, 63, an artist from the Lower East Side were the last table to be seated late Friday.

The trio, who met while waiting in line, ordered up hot pastrami sandwiches.

“I get to be a part of this before it goes away,” Kronzek said.

Rauam said the meal was bittersweet.

Former Carnegie Deli dishwasher plans to raise $5M to save eatery

“I was so saddened to hear the news,” she said. “Another piece of New York is going. It’s a New York institution.”

Workers handed out slices of cake and mints to the sad souls shut out after the doors were locked.

Cara Lawton, 28, a media planner from Richmond Hill, Queens, waited six hours for one last chance to grab two pastrami sandwiches and a soup for her mother.

“I thought it would be maybe an hour. I should have known better,” she said. “I contemplated going somewhere else but I feel like my mom would know.”

Carnegie Deli will close at end of 2016

Marian Harper-Levine, the deli’s president, chewed up and spit out a last-ditch $10-million offer to buy her fabled restaurant on the day it was set to close. Sammy Musovic, who started his career as a dishwasher at the Carnegie Deli in the 1970s, offered to take the Seventh Ave. sandwich mecca off her hands.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision to officially close Carnegie Deli New York (Friday) at midnight,” Harper-Levine said in a statement.

She reiterated that she wants to retain the Carnegie name so she could expand “wholesale and retail operations” and focus on “licensed locations” at Madison Square Garden, in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

Harper-Levine decided to close because the day-to-day operation of running a restaurant had become too much to handle.

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Record-breaking catfish caught on Lake LBJ – KXAN.com



LAKE LBJ, Texas (KXAN) — An avid Hill Country angler caught one for the record books last week.

On Dec. 22, Tim Webb was fishing from the bank of Lake LBJ when he caught what appeared to be a catfish, but this catfish was like none other. Using his rod and reel, Webb was able to get the big fish out of the water.

Since the sun was already setting, Webb tied the fish up along the boat dock with a rope and fish stringer. He jokingly says he spent the night with “big blue.” The following morning, the stringer hook was broken and the rope was barely hanging on, but the fish was still alive.

Official weigh-in at Inks Lake State Park. The catfish came in at a whopping 71.4 pounds! The fish was also 51.75 inches long and had a 33 inch girth. (Courtesy: Community Events in Sunrise Beach/Melodie Bradbury)Official weigh-in at Inks Lake State Park. The catfish came in at a whopping 71.4 pounds! The fish was also 51.75 inches long and had a 33 inch girth. (Courtesy: Community Events in Sunrise Beach/Melodie Bradbury)

When Webb took the fish to Inks Lake State Park for an official weigh-in, the monster catfish came in at a whopping 71.4 pounds! The fish was also 51.75 inches long and had a 33-inch girth. “Big blue” crushed the previous lake record of 40 pounds.

For some perspective, the fish was almost as long as Webb is tall (he’s 6 feet 3 inches tall).

After the fish was thoroughly documented, it was released back into Lake LBJ. If you’re out swimming at Lake LBJ and see this guy next to you, it is no Loch Ness.

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Apple Loop: New iPhone 8 Leaks, AirPods Latest Issue, Major MacBook Pro Problems – Forbes


Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes an old design for the new iPhone 7S, more details on the iPhone 8′s OLED screen, the ongoing battery issues with the MacBook Pro, faults in the iPhone 7 camera, AirPod charging issues, secrets of the iOS engineer, top tips for new iPhone owners, and video of the new Apple Campus..

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read our weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

An Old Design For iPhone 7S?

There was a time when Apple would update the iPhone design every year. Then it was every two years with the introduction of the S models. Now it looks like the presumptively named iPhone 8 may have a new design, but will have some familiar looking competition pushing out a four-year old design… here comes the not very different iPhone 7S. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

….the 2017 iPhones could be very disappointing indeed. Citing a “Taiwan supplier”, the site [Mac Otakara] says that instead of the so-called ‘iPhone 8’ Apple will instead follow tradition and simply release an iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus which will be virtually identical to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

If correct, this would be the fourth successive generation where Apple has stuck with the same design and the move would likely anger fans as iPhone rivals continue to cut down bezel sizes to fit larger displays into physically smaller phones.

There is a positive side if this is the case… more on that here on Forbes.

Apple iPhone 7 (image: Ewan Spence)

All About The iPhone 8 Screen

The current consensus at the moment is that Apple will update the current portfolio of devices to the 7S family and a new handset design will come in at the top end, which will be the iPhone 8. Chris Smith reports on an order for Samsung OLED screens to be fitted to the new iPhone.

According to unnamed sources quoted by Digitimes, Samsung will be the exclusive provider of OLED displays for a 5.8-inch iPhone next year. That’s likely the iPhone 8, and if the size sounds confusing given that some sources expect the phone to have a 5-inch screen, that’s because we may be looking at the total diagonal size of the display, including the curved edges. Even with a 5.8-inch screen, the iPhone 8 might be more compact than the current iPhone 7 Plus model, given that it’s supposed to have curved edges and a bezel-free, buttonless design.

Digitimes notes that Apple will have three iPhones out in the second-half of 2017, including 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch, and 5.8-inch models. The first two will still employ LCD screens just like every other iPhone before them.

More at BGR.

MacBook Pro Issues Continue

Apple’s issues with the MacBook Pro battery continued this week. Although many have questioned its methodology Consumer Report is standing by its choice to not recommend the laptops, polls of users are showing significant numbers of users experiencing battery life under five hours, and there’s very little guidance from Apple beyond ‘we are working to understand their results. It’s not been a great week at all.

Apple relies heavily on testing and recommendations from third-party organisations to market its hardware. Consumer Report’s MacBook recommendations (along with those from JD Power) have featured heavily in the past. If these organisations start to pull away from Apple, then another approach will need to be found.

Closer to home pushing the subtle idea of ten hours of battery life (sorry, ‘up to’ ten hours of battery life) when the consensus seems to be around five to seven hours) is a touch disingenuous. How the software and hardware work together to maximise battery life is a key part of the experience. At the moment the evidence points to something being ‘not quite right’ inside the MacBook Pro.

More thoughts here.

Macbook, March 2015 (image: Apple PR)

Faulty iPhone 7 Camera Units

Does the new iPhone 7 have a problem with the camera? Reports are coming in of some camera units having to be repaired or replaced by Apple because of blank image previews. Forbes’ Paul Monckton investigates:

‘I opened up the camera app only to be met with a black image preview, sometimes I can get an image however it’s either tinted green or purple and was once accompanied by a screen stating ‘Emergency iPhone needs to cool down’ when the handset wasn’t even slightly warm.’

More details here on the issue.

AirPods Have Some Issues

They arrived months behind schedule, stocks are limited, and some Apple Stores are not showing availability until February, but Apple’s AirPods are still ‘a runaway success’ according to CEO Tim Cook. Back in the real world, users are finding that some AirPod charging cases are not holding charge. Mitchel Broussard reports:

The exact scope of the affected AirPods user base is unclear. Some users are speculating that the problem could be an initial charge cycle hiccup that irons itself out over time, but a few owners that have had the AirPods since day one are still posting about battery drainage issues with the charging case today. On the other hand, there are many other users who have reported normal experiences with the case and its advertised 24 hours of battery life. Apple hasn’t commented on any of the reports.

More at MacRumors, although it’s worth noting that iFixit’s teardown of the unit last week revealed some interesting workmanship details that may or may not be relevant here.

Exploded iPhone 7 (image: IHS Markit)

Engineering The iPhone

Terry Lambert is a former Apple employee who worked on the OSX kernel and had a direct impact on software inside the early iPhones. He’s been answering questions on Quora about his work on Apple’s technology. Mike Wutherless sums up some points on Apple Insider:

In the Quora post asking about the original iPhone, Lambert claims that he wrote 6% of the MacOS Kernel as measured by lines of code, or about 100,000 lines a year, much of which was repurposed for the iOS kernel.

Calling the original effort “Project Purple,” Lambert said that he was brought in “late in the game” and mostly for debugging purposes. The engineer discussed not even seeing the product he was working on initially.

“I got taken into areas where there were black cloths everywhere,” said Lambert. “I only got to see the machine doing the remote debugging, not the target —but it was obviously an ARM based system.”

More on Apple Insider and Quora.

My Top Tips For New Apple Users

Just int time for those of you who picked up a new Apple smartphone over the festive period is my collection of top tips for new iPhone users. From software updates and apps, to cloud services and extended warranties, here’s what you should consider:

For some these phone be ‘same again with a slightly bigger number’ as the familiar wins out. For others the new smartphone will be their introduction into a new ecosystem. The last few years have seen Apple’s iPhone break sales records, and no doubt the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and a few older models have been gifted and a legion of new users are being welcomed into the world of iOS with their festive ‘phone.

Read all of the tips here on Forbes.

And Finally…

YouTuber Matthew Roberts sent his 4K drone over Apple’s Campus 2 grounds to see how construction is proceeding of Apple’s new HQ, research labs, theatre and facilities. The video (above) shows the physical ring structure, the extensive solar paneling and the landscaping work across the campus.

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

Follow me on Facebook. Find more of myworkat ewanspence.co.uk, onTwitter, and Linked In.You shouldsubscribe tomyweeklynewsletter of ‘Trivial Posts’.

This article passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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College Football Playoff: Alabama vs. the World – Wall Street Journal


Alabama head coach Nick Saban leads his team onto the field.
ENLARGE

Alabama head coach Nick Saban leads his team onto the field.


Photo:

marvin gentry/Reuters

We have reached the point in the college-football season when the entire sport pauses to contemplate what seems like the same exact question every single year: Can anyone slay Alabama?

The College Football Playoff has existed for three years. Alabama has been the favorite all three years. The Crimson Tide are the reigning national champions, and yet another title this season would give them five of the last eight while extending a run that was already unprecedented for modern college football.

It’s all beginning to feel routine. But nothing about what Alabama has done this season is routine. Nick Saban’s machine-like team has trampled opponents with historic ease. And now there are only three teams left to stop them.

Either one of those teams—Washington, Ohio State or Clemson—will pull off an enormous upset. Or the Crimson Tide will have completed one of the greatest seasons ever.

Alabama has the highest Elo rating, an advanced metric that takes into account factors such as margin of victory and the caliber of opponents, since the Associated Press began ranking teams all the way back in 1936, according to FiveThirtyEight. And that’s before Alabama might add its two best wins of the season to its statistical profile.

Washington linebacker Psalm Wooching reacts during a game against Stanford.
ENLARGE

Washington linebacker Psalm Wooching reacts during a game against Stanford.


Photo:

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

College football is increasingly the story of Alabama and the 127 other teams, and that means the most interesting matchup this season isn’t exactly Alabama vs. Washington, Ohio State or Clemson. The more accurate description of the Playoff is Alabama against the world.

“Alabama is the bar,” said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit. “I don’t know what stops Alabama. To me, they’re like the Patriots. They go to the Super Bowl, or they’re a play or two away from going to the Super Bowl. That’s who Alabama is. And I don’t see that changing.”

Washington, the No. 4 seed in the Playoff, gets the first crack at Goliath in Saturday’s early semifinal. The Huskies don’t lack pedigree—they won a title in 1991—but they haven’t been contenders for years. They’re clearly one of the country’s best teams, and yet they have spent the last week essentially getting asked whether they believe it’s safe to be on the same field as Alabama.

“No team is perfect,” said Washington linebacker Psalm Wooching. “If they were perfect, they would score on every play. They’d pick the ball, get a sack on every play, and that’s not the case.”

He thought about that terrifying scenario. And then he repeated himself.

“No team is perfect,” he said. “Thank God.”

The only thing more mysterious than how the Huskies are supposed to beat Alabama is Washington’s game plan—and that might its biggest advantage. Their coach, Chris Petersen, is widely recognized as a trick-play maestro. Even though the Huskies and Petersen have never been in this situation, they’re known for pulling off the unexpected.

If they can’t get the job done, then it’s down to Ohio State and Clemson, who play in the later semifinal on Saturday.

Ohio State, the No. 2 seed, is the only team to actually beat the Tide in the College Football Playoff, pulling off a stunning upset in the semifinals two years ago. No. 3 seed Clemson, the Buckeyes’ opponent, was leading Alabama in the fourth quarter of last season’s championship in the stadium they will play in Saturday.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is one of the rare coaches who admits to keeping an eye on Alabama over the course of the season.

“I think you’d be foolish not to look over the fence and see what the neighbor’s got in their backyard,” he said.

The Tide has outscored its opponents by 374 points—more than four touchdowns per game. Only one team, Ole Miss, stayed within single digits. This would have been less impressive if Alabama were busy walloping pushovers. But eight of its opponents were ranked—more than any team in the nation—and the Tide still rolled them.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, right, shakes hands with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 2014 Orange Bowl. Clemson defeated Ohio State 40-35.
ENLARGE

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, right, shakes hands with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 2014 Orange Bowl. Clemson defeated Ohio State 40-35.


Photo:

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

At a time when scoring in college football is easier than ever, Alabama’s defense continues to stifle opponents as if the forward pass hasn’t been invented. The Crimson Tide surrender 11.8 points per game—the fewest in the country and 58% below the national average. Their defense is the only one in the country allowing fewer than 4.0 yards per play. No team has done that in the last four seasons.

This dominance has a way of warping opinions about the teams on the wrong sides of its wrath. For example, Alabama thumped Southern California, 52-6, in its season opener and it was such a beatdown that people around college football assumed the Trojans were overrated. In fact, USC finished the season ranked No. 9 and knocked off Washington.

It’s how they win, not only how much they win, that makes it more difficult for Alabama’s opponents to keep up. They have the sport’s best coach and the biggest coaching support staff behind him. Saban has signed the country’s top recruiting class in six of the last seven seasons, and in that down year Alabama’s haul was ranked second. As soon as those players step on campus, they become indoctrinated in Saban’s gospel, a philosophy called “The Process” that has become something of a religion in Alabama. By the time their careers are over—they rarely leave early for the NFL—they have won enough for Saban to keep recruiting at the highest level. The cycle repeats itself.

Whether the utter dominance of Alabama is ultimately good for college football is becoming the latest debate in this sport that knows something about bickering. Television executives have already weighed in: They put Alabama vs. Washington in the earlier, less attractive programming slot on Saturday. Last year, Alabama was in the primetime spot, but a 38-0 win over Michigan State gave New Year’s Eve revelers a reason to turn off their TVs.

Almost nobody is giving Washington a chance on Saturday. Alabama is favored by 14 points—the largest spread in the Playoff’s short history.

But that might not be the worst omen for Washington. Alabama was a two-touchdown favorite in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma. And then the Crimson Tide lost—by two touchdowns.

Write to Andrew Beaton at andrew.beaton@wsj.com and Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.com

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Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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