Predictably, the Crimson Tide’s trouble comes with the pass — just not in the way you might think.Like most schools, Alabama passes more often than it runs on third down. (The national average is 59.1 percent; ’Bama throws it 56.3 percent of the time.) It’s not that quarterback Jake Coker panics in these situations. He completes 58.8 percent of his third-down throws, better than celebrated Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, who completes only 52.9 percent of his throws in the same situation. But when Watson throws, he gets a first down 42.3 percent of the time. Coker gets a first down only 30.9 percent of the time. The split is even more pronounced in third-and-long situations. Coker gets more accurate; completing 59.6 percent of his throws. Watson falls to 43.8 percent. But Watson still gets more first downs from his throws in those situations: 31.3 percent to 22.8 percent. As you might expect, this isn’t Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry’s fault. When the running back’s number is called on third down, he converts more than 50 percent of the time. He rushes mainly on short third downs, which helps keep that number high, but on all third-down carries with fewer than 10 yards to go, he converts 61.1 percent of the time. The other ’Bama running backs aren’t as impressive, converting their carries at 41.9 percent from all distances. Still, that’s higher than the national average of 40 percent — and not too far off from ’Bama rushing attacks of the past. (Clemson, meanwhile, is really, really good at running on third down, converting 49.5 percent of the time.) I call these wasted completions, though of course that’s oversimplifying things. By moving the ball down the field even a little bit, ’Bama sets itself up for a better punt, field-goal attempt or even fourth-down try. (Although as noted above, the latter doesn’t really help.) Most of the time, the receivers stay inbounds, so it also wastes time. That’s generally OK, too, because most ’Bama games turn into a slow march to drain the clock. But still, a first down is always better than a fourth down, and Alabama would be extending its drives significantly more often if the team simply ran plays that allowed receivers to catch the ball beyond the yellow line. That’s a play-calling problem, exacerbated by a personnel problem, and one that could come back to haunt the Tide in the national championship game.Of course, with Alabama’s incredibly efficient defense picking up the slack, it may not. Did you notice the team going 1-12 on third down while it was dismantling Georgia 38-10 earlier this season? Or 4-12 while squeezing the life out of Michigan State in the semifinals? If you’re a spoiled ’Bama fan (like me), you probably did. Otherwise you simply watched the Tide roll. What gives?Cautious play-calling. Without the protective blanket of Amari Cooper, the all-world receiver who bettered Alabama’s single-season receiving yards record by more than 50 percent last year, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has resorted to the conservative play-calling that defined his ill-fated tenure at USC. (Seriously, Google “Kiffin bubble screen” to get a taste of how the Trojan fan base felt about his play-calling when he was the head coach there.) With relatively untested Coker under center, Kiffin will all too often call for quick throws out near the sideline to receivers Calvin Ridley and ArDarius Stewart, who then proceed to get tackled before crossing the sticks. The last seven years of Alabama teams have looked a lot alike. They’ve had a dominant defense, a dominant running attack, the occasional dominant wideout and a quarterback who doesn’t screw things up. ’Bama has finished in the top 10 of the final AP poll in each of those seven seasons and on Monday will play for its fourth national title in that period. It’s been a nice little run. But this Alabama team has one major weakness that its predecessors didn’t: It sucks at converting on third down.If you watched Alabama thrash Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl, this may be about the only weakness that showed through the beating, a small consideration within the more global Brute Squad performance. Look a little closer, though, and one small crack can tell you quite a bit about this year’s Crimson Tide.Last year, Alabama converted 51.3 percent of its third downs, good for fifth among FBS schools. This year’s team converts 36.2 percent, good for 96th. There are only 128 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, so this is not an encouraging figure. Meanwhile, Clemson is 13th, converting 47.7 percent of its third downs. The average conversion rate for FBS teams is just less than 40 percent. Alabama faces, on average, 14 third downs each game. Last year’s team would have converted seven of them; this year’s converts only five. Considering that this year’s team is also far worse at converting on fourth down (12 of 24 compared with 10 of 13 last year), that means ’Bama’s offense is losing at least two drives a game because of this regression in third-down efficiency.
The No. 10-ranked Ohio State men’s volleyball team recorded its second straight victory of the season when it defeated George Mason 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-17) Tuesday at St. John Arena. OSU seemed to be headed toward its second consecutive sweep until George Mason freshman John Jepson made a momentum-changing play. “That was just a tremendous play by those guys,” OSU coach Pete Hanson said. “Anytime you can make a play like that near the bleachers it completely changes the momentum of the match. They’re just tremendous on defense.” Leaping near the bench, Jepson saved what seemed to be an OSU point, and turned it into a Patriot rally, eventually allowing George Mason to win the third set. The Buckeyes nearly the opening set with a five-point lead, before righting the ship and winning, 29-27. Steven Kehoe, Shawn Sangrey and Mik Berzins combined for seven service aces in the match for the Buckeyes, compared to the Patriots’ zero. “I thought our serving was pretty good tonight,” Hanson said. “We were in and out with our defense, but our serving was good all night.” The Buckeyes did not want the momentum the Patriots had gained from Jepson’s play to carry over into the fourth set. “We knew the points they scored in the third were on ourselves for the most part,” Berzins said. “We knew we had to just go in, refocus and minimize our errors.” The Buckeyes were able to do that, winning the fourth set by eight points. OSU also made a few adjustments to the game plan during the fourth set. “We made a change and rolled our rotation,” Hanson said. “We kind of changed up the scenery in the fourth set, and that helped us.” Sangrey led the way for OSU with 19.5 points. Kevin Heine had 18.5, and Berzins added 17.5. “That was a really good win for us,” Berzins said. “(George Mason) plays the kind of volleyball we’re going to see in the future, so it was good to get a win.” After losing its first two matches of the season, OSU has balanced its record at 2-2. “We know teams just aren’t going to fall because we’re Ohio State,” Sangrey said. “We have a target on our back and we know that.” OSU will look to extend its streak when it plays against IPFW at 7 p.m. Friday in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Dime-A-Dog Night began as an idea to boost attendance for the Columbus Clippers. More than three decades later, the promotion has stuck and has become a local tradition that is as much a part of the city as the team it was created for. Fans got to enjoy Dime-A-Dog night Monday at Huntington Park when the Clippers hosted the Indianapolis Indians, and it won’t be the last chance to enjoy 10-cent hot dogs this year, either. “It’s kind of like the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show,’” said Clippers president and general manager Ken Schnacke. “It has a cult-like following and people just want to come and be a part of it.” First held on May 23, 1977, in Cooper Stadium as “10-cent Hot Dog Night,” Dime-A-Dog Nights have become some of the most anticipated games of the season, and they are usually the highest attended games of the year, said Joe Santry, Columbus Clippers media director. “The ones in August definitely have larger crowds than the ones in April,” Santry said. “But at most Dime-A-Dogs, the stadium is at, or near capacity.” The official attendance of Monday’s Dime-A-Dog Night at Huntington Park was 7,507. Only opening day, with an attendance of 8,576, saw more fans fill Huntington Park’s 10,100 seats through the team’s first five home games in 2012. As a trademark of the team, Dime-A-Dog Night has solidified itself as a Columbus tradition in the last 35 years, with fans of all ages paying attention to when the Clippers played a Monday home game so they could partake in discount-priced dogs. Scheduled for select Monday home games throughout the season, the night typically occurs about once a month. “We’ve just always done it on Mondays,” Santry said. “It’s a little easier for fans to remember I guess.” This year it will be even easier for fans to know when Dime-A-Dog Nights are – they’ll just have to know if the Clippers are in town on Monday. To help celebrate Columbus’ bicentennial, the Clippers have scheduled a Dime-A-Dog Night for every Monday home game, not just the typical once a month scenario. “It’s one of those Columbus traditions,” Santry said. “And because of that, we’ll do it every Monday.” The change will allow fans more opportunities to participate in the tradition, Schnacke said. “The people love it and it’s a part of Columbus’ history,” Schnacke said. “It’s a fun thing to do, so we’re going to give fans more opportunities to come out and celebrate a city tradition.” Columbus resident Corey Zerkle said he is happy to see more Dime-A-Dog Nights this year. “It’s a big part of Columbus,” he said. “The Clippers and Dime-A-Dog Night goes hand-in-hand and the more Dime-A-Dogs, the better.” Zerkle, a native of Springfield, Ohio, and now a father of 12-year-old twin boys, said he remembers going to Dime-A-Dog Nights as a kid and has regularly attended the night with friends and family since he moved to Columbus 22 years ago. “We all come out with our kids and have a good time,” he said. “We usually have a bunch come out so it’s great because it’s cheap.” The fact that the hot dogs remained 10-cents throughout the last 35 years adds to the fascination of the night, some fans said. “It’s great. I love it,” said Scott Kinkley, a second-year in history. “A meal at school is usually seven to eight bucks, so getting five hot dogs for 50-cents is like free.” Kinkley said he did not attend the game solely for Dime-A-Dog Night. One of his friends was in the hot dog race, but he said he is likely to return to Huntington Park for the 10-cent hot dogs. Chris Wiet, a fifth-year in mechanical engineering, said the night was something he enjoyed doing with his family when he was little and there was added motivation to go because hot dogs were only a dime. “I remember being allowed to eat as many hot dogs as I wanted because they were just 10-cents,” he said. Santry said the Clippers sell between 27,000 and 33,000 of the 10-cent hot dogs per Dime-A-Dog Night, and the record number of hot dogs sold on a night is 40,782 on Sept. 1, 2008. That was the Clippers’ last game at Cooper Stadium, and Santry said it was the highest-attended Dime-A-Dog Night in Clippers’ history with an attendance of 16,770. Schnacke said it has not been easy keeping the hot dogs at 10-cents through the years, but every attempt he took to raise the price failed miserably. “Every time I tried to raise the price even a little bit to account for the rising costs, it bombed,” he said. “Fans demanded it be 10-cents, and because of our sponsors, specifically Sugardale, we’ve managed to keep it that way all these years.” Schnacke said it is the fans who make the night special for him. Some of the most memorable nights for him were the ones he would see at Cooper Stadium walking in wearing holsters with a bottle of ketchup on one side and mustard on the other, along with fans who compete with each other to see who can eat the most hot dogs in a given night. The Clippers have six remaining Dime-A-Dog Nights scheduled for the 2012 season. The next is on April 30. In addition to those six scheduled events, all home playoff games will be Dime-A-Dog Nights as well.
In This Issue.* Currencies attempt to rally. * The Cyprus plan was hatched by the FDIC. * Eurozone unemployment reaches 12%. * Roberts says Fed is manipulating Gold price./p>And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Someone Is Reading The Pfennig!Good day. And a Tom Terrific Tuesday to you! What a day yesterday! The first one at the office and on the trading desk in a long time, left me quite tired yesterday afternoon when I left for home. But I’m back, and ready to take on today, full of you know what and vinegar! I do leave tomorrow for San Diego and the Global Currency Expo, and I found out yesterday that longtime friend and colleague, Chris Gaffney, has decided at the last minute to go to San Diego too, so that leaves Mike Meyer to pick up the conn on the Pfennig the rest of this week. Sorry, Mike.Well, I came out of my office yesterday to see that one of our TV monitors had a news station on that was running a story, titled: How Can U.S. Banks copy Cyprus. I kid you not! I immediately said, “looks like this news station’s editor reads the Pfennig”. I said that, because I spend so much time yesterday talking about how I fear that the Cyprus solution could be something that happened here, very easily. Well. apparently, a lot easier than one would think.I reader sent me a story written by Ellen Brown, whom I’ve quoted before in the past. Here’s a snippet. this will really get your blood boiling this morning folks, just to warn you. “Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.”Now, I’m really concerned. But. there are other things that are in the docket to talk about today, so , let’s leave that right where it stands, and move along. The currencies are a bit stronger this morning after spending yesterday flat as a pancake! And not the Head East album from 1974! But even as I say that, the currencies seemingly can’t stand prosperity, and are already losing the gained ground during the Asian and early morning European sessions. Gold is down less than $2, so for the required paperwork, let’s call it flat.The euro, which was up 1/2-cent early this morning, was knocked off the rally tracks by a report showing that unemployment in the Eurozone rose to a record 12% in January and February. Hmmm. that’s a high number, don’t you think? But let’s stop for a minute and compare it the unemployment rate here in the U.S. and just for fun, let’s not use the book-cooked Government’s figures, instead, let’s use the pre-1994 method of calculating unemployment. and that gets us to around 23%… Why don’t the markets take the dollar to the woodshed for printing numbers like that, like they do when the Eurozone prints a bad labor report? Because. the markets aren’t intelligent enough to look under the hood, and they take what the Gov’t prints hook, line and sinker!Oh well. maybe someday, we’ll all use the same oranges and apples to compare data. until then, we have to deal with these differences shading the way we look at stuff. thank goodness you have someone that explains it to you! HA! The Aussie dollar (A$) is pushing higher again this morning, after spending yesterday in a funk. I say that because after the strong manufacturing data from China, the A$ should have been on the rally tracks. but it wasn’t. But it is today. About a month ago, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Gov. Stevens, made a statement that he was fine with the A$’s level. That relieved quite a few traders, who were of the belief that Stevens would deep six the A$, much like his kissin’ cousin across the Tasman, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Gov. Wheeler…Well, last night it was Stevens again, and this time, he put the rate cut campers to the back of the class with this comment. “There are a number of indications that the substantial easing of monetary policy during the late 2011 and 2012 is having an expansionary effect on the economy.” OK. that’s central bank parlance for: The rate cuts are still working their way through the economy, and so, there’s no need to cut them more at this time.” Yesterday, I told you how the IMM futures positions showed a huge increase in A$ long positions last week. With this kind of news, I would think those long positions will increase again this week.Recall a couple of months ago, I wrote a brief note about the Indian rupee, and said that the markets were getting all lathered up about The Indian Gov’t’s announcement regarding the flow of investment into India. I said at that time I really didn’t agree that this would continue, and I even got a note from a former colleague that really follows India, telling me I was wrong. Well. here we are a couple of months later, and the rupee has given back all its previous gains. And last night India posted a record Current Account Deficit. Uh-oh! OK. this is chump change compared to the U.S. deficit, but India’s Current Account Deficit rose to $32.6 Billion in the last quarter of 2012, from $22.6 Billion the previous quarter. The thing that worries me here is that India will need to finance this deficit, so they will need foreign investment to increase, at a time when the rupee doesn’t look so hot. And rates had just been cut. yikes!Not much going on in Canada these days. The Canadian dollar / loonie has be stuck in the 98-cents mud for quite a few weeks now. and each day, it attempts to get out of the 98-cents mud only to fall back into it. But. steady Eddie is the call to order, and these days, that’s not too shabby, eh?The Japanese yen continues to be weak, but hasn’t lost any additional ground lately. Japan has plugged the hole in the yen’s dike for now. But I wouldn’t bet that this would be the only hole that appears.Well. I have to make a change in the reporting of the Chinese renminbi/ yuan. You see, each morning, I report the price in the secondary market. But that’s wrong, because we don’t trade in the secondary market, we trade in the Non-Deliverable Forward (NDF) market, which is a different price altogether. So, today, I’ll report the NDF price which will be quite different from yesterday’s secondary market price that I posted.Speaking of changes for the renminbi / yuan. Remember when I first began telling you about the currency swap agreements that China was signing with other countries to remove dollars from the terms of their trade? Well, it’s now official, China has signed Australia to their roster of countries with currency swap agreements. And Brazil, who had agreed with China long ago, has actually make if official with the signing. So. as I’ve explained for over 3 years now, yes, it was three years ago, that I first gave my presentation on the Currency Regime Change at the Orlando Money Show, China is slowly removing the U.S. dollar’s relevance as a reserve currency. No, this won’t happen overnight, or in the next year. but, it is my opinion, of which I could be wrong, that by the end of this decade, the U.S. dollar will no longer be the petro-dollar/ reserve currency of this world. And, that won’t be fun for us here in the U.S. folks.The U.S. data cupboard today will yield Factory Orders for Feb, and attempt reverse the -2% drop in January. In addition, we’ll see the vehicle sales for March. which the experts believe will be drop dead gorgeous increases in vehicle sales. I didn’t buy a car in March, in fact, I don’t know anyone that did. but someone did! And that’s a good thing.Then There Was This. Boy did this story catch my eye this morning! For it’s all that I’ve talked about for a couple of years, ever since I read the Wikileaks cable about the Gov’t’s participation in the manipulation of the Gold price. this was in Ed Steer’s daily letter this morning. and he pulled it from GoldSeek.com. “Chris Waltzek of GoldSeek Radio, interviewed former Assistant Treasury Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts last week, and Roberts said that he believes the Federal Reserve is surreptitiously shorting Gold to support the dollar in the Fed’s low-interest rate environment, which ordinarily would weaken the currency.”Chuck again. I guess one of these days, someone will actually do something about all this manipulation. I know one thing it will make a good book / movie! But it’s a serious thing, that needs some national attention, and not just GoldSeek Radio.To recap. the currencies are a bit stronger this morning after spending yesterday flat as a pancake. A national news station picked up the theme I had going yesterday about whether what was done in Cyprus could be done here. The Eurozone unemployment is up to 12%… but compared to the 23% real unemployment rate here in the U.S. it’s not too bad! Unfortunately, that’s not how the markets see it!Currencies today 4/2/13. American Style: A$ $1.0470, kiwi .8435, C$ .9870, euro 1.2835, sterling 1.5170, Swiss $1.0560, . European Style: rand 9.2050, krone 5.8170, SEK 6.4720, forint 235.40, zloty 3.26, koruna 20.1450, RUB 31.17, yen 93.25, sing 1.2380, HKD 7.7625, INR 54.26, China 6.2586, pesos 12.32, BRL 2.0195, Dollar Index 82.78, Oil $96.98, 10-year 1.84%, Silver $28.05, and Gold. $1,597.04That’s it for today. a bad start to the season for my beloved Cardinals last night. of course I didn’t get to see even the first pitch, but since they lost 6-2, I’m glad I didn’t stay up to watch! It was 34 degrees this morning. I thought Spring started two weeks ago? Where are you Spring? I saw the daffodils bloomed on the side of the highway, but how long will they last when it gets so cold? I’m boring Mike with some sappy music this morning. It’s just the rotation on the IPod, but sometimes it seems that a group of soft songs come out back to back, belly to belly, I don’t give a dang cause I’m stone dead already, back to back, belly to belly the zombie jamboree! My spring training buddies will get a chuckle out of that! I’m reading the latest tirade from David Stockman. if you haven’t seen it, I suggest you find it on the internet, he makes a lot of very valid points. I was remiss yesterday in missing colleague, Tim Smith’s birthday. and today is colleague Antione Lawrence’s birthday, so Happy Birthday to you both! Ok. I thank you for reading the Pfennig, and hope you have a Tom Terrific Tuesday. talk to you next week. bye.Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837