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Report: Buckeyes D-lineman will miss ‘The Game’ with knee injury

Nathan Scheelhaase, John Simon AP

This is it for Ohio State’s 2012 season. Thanks to NCAA sanctions, there’s no Big Ten championship or bowl game appearance for the undefeated Buckeyes. But it’s The Game against Michigan, and as Urban Meyer demonstrated yesterday, there’s no lack of emotion when it comes to one of the best rivalries in the game.

There will be one senior not playing today for Ohio State, however: defensive lineman John Simon. According to ESPN, Simon has a knee injury and will not play today against the Wolverines. Simon was not warming up with the first team defense this morning.

This is a tough loss for Ohio State for the biggest game of the year. Simon, a veteran leader for this Buckeyes defense, has played in all 11 games this season and is sixth on the team with 44 tackles, including 14.5 TFL for 87 yards.

It looks like Ohio State will go with Michael Bennett to replace Simon. Bennett has nine tackles on the year.

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Crisis averted: No AT&T Stadium scheduling conflict for CFP championship

Bill Hancock

The happiest person in college athletics tonight – other than Michigan interim athletics director Jim Hackett? That would be College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock.

Thanks to the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys earned the No. 3 seed in the upcoming NFC playoffs, meaning they will host a playoff game this Sunday, Jan. 4, instead of the following weekend of Jan. 10-11.

This matters, of course, because the inaugural College Football Playoff championship will be played at AT&T Stadium, home of those same Dallas Cowboys, on Jan. 12 – the Monday after the NFC Divisional Playoff game that the Cowboys would have hosted had they earned a first-round bye. A 48 or 24-hour gap between playoff game and national championship would have altered the College Football Playoff staff’s plans to ready the stadium for the title game, and thrown a wrench into the participating teams’ walkthroughs inside the stadium.

“We have been planning this with the Cowboys and the stadium staff for several months,” Hancock told USA Today last week. “We have contingency plans for setting up the stadium for our game. We’re ready either way.”

But now he won’t have to worry about it.

The Cowboys’ success will create a busy three-week period for the AT&T Stadium staff, though. The Arlington, Texas, facility played host to the Texas high school football championships last Thursday through Saturday, then hosted the Cowboys’ game with the Indianapolis Colts the following Sunday. The stadium is now preparing to host the Cotton Bowl between Baylor and Michigan State on Thursday afternoon, then turn it around for the Cowboys’ NFC Wild Card game with the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

And then they’ll have eight days, thankfully, instead of one, to turn AT&T Stadium back around to host the College Football Playoff championship.


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Bryce Petty on Baylor’s CFP snub: “It pisses us off.”

Bryce Petty

Following their Selection Sunday disappointment, Baylor has mostly kept its mouth shut about its College Football Playoff snub in favor of Big Ten champion Ohio State.

That changed on Sunday.

“It pisses us off,” said quarterback Bryce Petty.

The Bears seemed to buy into the theory that they were left out in favor of the Buckeyes simply because they are Baylor and Ohio State is Ohio State.

“If we had a bigger name like that, I feel like those guys would have been in quick, but being Baylor, we’ve been making a name for ourselves in the last couple years and have to try to remain at the top,” wide receiver Antwan Goodley told “I kind of already knew what the committee thought about Baylor. I knew they probably would not put us in the playoffs. I’d say half of that is on us, but we can’t control that.”

“We’re not scrubby little Baylor anymore,” added offensive tackle Spencer Drango.

Whether they truly feel this way or it’s all Art Briles psychological gamesmanship, the Bears have bought in.

“This isn’t the Baylor from 10 years ago. Hopefully, sooner or later, people will and accept us for our play on the field and not who we were back in the day,” Petty said. “Teams change. You’ve got to adapt and understand some people don’t want it that way. Some people want the big money schools and that’s fine. But we’re going to go out here and play football and we’re going to be dang good at it. That’s our motivation.”

One thing is abundantly clear, however: Baylor can’t become 2004 Cal reincarnated. Baylor will turn from sympathetic underdogs to an arrogant laughingstock if they don’t actually beat Michigan State, a team that, by the way, No. 4 Ohio State handled in East Lansing earlier this season.

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Colorado State reportedly snags defensive coordinator Tyson Summers away from UCF

Tyson Summers

Colorado State reportedly traded an offensive coordinator for a defensive coordinator on Sunday.

The Rams lost offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin to Oregon State – in a move that makes sense for both parties, considering it’ll be a raise for Baldwin and new head coach Mike Bobo will presumably install his own fingerprint on the offense – but reportedly pulled defensive coordinator Tyson Summers away from Central Florida. The move was first reported by ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

The opposite side of the ball is often the deciding factor for many coordinators-turned-first time head coaches, as many a successful coach has seen his ship capsized by failing to master the other side of the ball (see: Muschamp, Will). For Bobo to land Summers is a very solid step in the right direction.

Summers took over Central Florida’s defense prior to the 2014 Fiesta Bowl, helping the Knights upset Baylor in the process, and led a defense that ranked fifth in yards per play allowed, seventh in total defense, eighth in scoring defense, seventh in rushing defense, 10th in yards per carry allowed, 13th in pass efficiency defense and sixth in red zone defense this fall.

Summers worked with Bobo previously, helping Georgia win the 2005 SEC championship as a graduate assistant working with the defensive backs while Bobo was the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach. Summers left to take the safeties job at Georgia Southern the next year, and then spent the next five seasons at UAB before joining George O’Leary‘s staff at UCF in 2012.

(Photo credit: UCF Athletics)

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Oregon State adds Colorado State, Utah State offensive coordinators to Gary Andersen’s staff

Dave Baldwin

Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen added some major coaching talent to his staff on Sunday.

The Beavers announced the hiring of Colorado State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin and Utah State offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven; Baldwin will serve as offensive coordinator, while McGiven will coach the quarterbacks.

“Dave and Kevin bring experience and continuity to our staff and offense,” Andersen said in a statement. “I know what to expect from these two as coaches and what to expect from our offense. They absolutely fit our program and Oregon State University, and this is another great step for our future.”

Both worked previously under Andersen during his time as the head coach at Utah State. Baldwin was the offensive coordinator from 2009-11, leaving to work under Jim McElwain at Colorado State a year before Andersen took the Wisconsin job. McGiven served as quarterbacks coach on the 2009 staff – working under both Andersen and Baldwin, just as he will in Corvallis – before leaving for coordinator jobs at Memphis and Montana State. He returned to Utah State as offensive coordinator in 2013, replacing Matt Wells, who ascended to head coach after Andersen left for Madison.

Got all that?

Now that we’ve played Six Degrees of Gary Andersen, here’s the type of coaches the Beaver faithful are getting. Baldwin led a Colorado State offense that ranked fourth in yards per play and averaged nearly 34 points per game in 2014. Rams quarterback Garrett Grayson ranked fifth nationally in passing efficiency this season, hitting 64 percent of his passes for 9.5 yards per attempt with 32 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Speaking of quarterbacks, McGiven was recently named FootballScoop‘s Quarterbacks Coach of the Year after playing four quarterbacks this year and still managing to post a 10-4 record.

With the additions of Baldwin and McGiven, Oregon State now lacks only a running backs coach. Andersen has announced his staff assignments as follows: Baldwin, offensive coordinator; Kalani Sitake, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator; McGiven, quarterbacks coach; Brent Brennan, wide receivers coach; T.J. Woods, offensive line coach; Chad Kauha’aha’a, defensive line coach; Ilaisa Tuiaki, linebackers coach; and Derrick Odum, defensive backs.

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Jim Harbaugh to Michigan looking more and more like a formality

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh is officially a free agent. A few reporters felt confident to officially call the search off on Saturday, and the coaching carousel’s most anticipated move took another step forward on Sunday.

Following the San Francisco 49ers’ season-ending win over the Arizona Cardinals, the club released a statement that the club and Harbaugh have “mutually parted ways.”

Reporters apparently received the announcement during Harbaugh’s press conference, but the coach had all but confirmed his four-year tenure was done.

While Harbaugh did not admit he’ll be Michigan’s next head coach, he didn’t deny it, either.

With the Michigan plane waiting to whisk its former quarterback back to Ann Arbor, it appears now the Harbaugh-to-Michigan story is just waiting on a press release to make it official.

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Stanford’s Ty Montgomery to miss Foster Farms Bowl vs. Maryland

Ty Montgomery

A shoulder injury is going to cost Stanford its top play-maker in this week’s Foster Farms Bowl, as do-it-all senior Ty Montgomery was ruled out on Sunday.

Montgomery’s status was up in the air all month after missing the Cardinal’s upset of UCLA in the regular season finale, and it was the same shoulder he underwent surgery on this offseason.

Head coach David Shaw said that if the game was later in the week Montgomery would be more likely to give it a go, but the Cardinal’s medical staff is erring on the side of caution here. As for the Stanford offense… well, there’s no sugarcoating it, Montgomery at times was the Stanford offense. He led the club with 61 grabs for 604 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 23 times for 146 yards and two scores, returned 12 punts for 238 yards and two touchdowns and averaged just north of 25 yards on 17 kickoff returns. Montgomery was responsible for six touchdowns this season; only one other Stanford wideout totaled more than two. Even without Montgomery, though, the Cardinal should be favorites to beat Maryland.

Stanford will meet Maryland across the Bay at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN).

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Kevin Sumlin expects to fill all three vacant staff positions within the next week

Kevin Sumlin

It’s been a long month for Texas A&M’s football program.

The Aggies closed the year with a blown lead in a 23-17 loss to LSU on Thanksgiving night, and dismissed defensive coordinator Mark Snyder shortly after that. Then they watched valued recruiter and wide receivers coach David Beaty take the Kansas job and dismissed offensive line coach B.J. Anderson.

While Highway 6 has had some outbound traffic, not much has come in. The Aggies secured a commitment from five-star wide receiver Christian Kirk, but lost to arch-rival Texas on the sweepstakes for five-line star linebacker Malik Jefferson and four-star teammate Deandre McNeal and saw five-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack decommit. He’s also reportedly chased Will Muschamp (who went to Auburn instead), Bud Foster and John Chavis (both set to re-sign at their current posts) and D.J. Durkin (reportedly headed to Michigan with Jim Harbaugh) with a defensive coordinator opening and a large sack of money to no avail.

But with Texas A&M set to conclude its season in the next 24 hours, Kevin Sumlin provided some clarity on when the Aggies could expect to fill its trio of vacancies.

“After tomorrow, you’ll see things pick up dramatically,” Sumlin told the Houston Chronicle.

We already have a good idea on one hire with word breaking over the holiday that Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen is set to join the Aggies as offensive line coach.

As for the the open defensive coordinator and wide receivers jobs? We’ll have to wait and see.

Texas A&M and West Virginia meet in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl at 2 p.m. ET (ESPN) on Monday.

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East Carolina rules two defensive starters ineligible for Birmingham Bowl

Terry Williams, Jaquez Johnson

If you’re suspended from traveling to Birmingham and playing in Legion Field, is it really a punishment? That’s the question a pair of East Carolina players will answer as the Pirates announced suspensions for nose tackle Terry Williams and free safety Domonique Lennon.

Lennon started all 12 games this regular season and led the defensive backfield with 65 tackles and two pass break-ups. Williams started eight games this fall and registered 34 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss, good enough to garner First Team All-AAC honors.

Williams is a senior, which means his college career will end with him it home in Greensboro.

“While we are disappointed for Terry and Domonique, we expect everyone to succeed with the support system we have in place for our program,” head coach Ruffin McNeill said in a statement. “We talk about being responsible on and off the field as one of our core values, and when certain expectations are not met, no individual is above being held accountable.”

East Carolina will meet Florida in the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3 (noon ET, ESPN).

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Report: Mike Gundy seeking truce with Oklahoma State super booster T. Boone Pickens

Mike Gundy

No one exactly what the relationship is like between Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and Cowboys super booster T. Boone Pickens, but we know enough to know it isn’t good.

When asked in November what he thought of Gundy’s job performance, Pickens had this to say: “My response to that is I’m certainly supportive of Oklahoma State University. I’m always going to be for OSU, I don’t care who coaches ‘em.” Gundy, keep in mind, is the most successful coach in Oklahoma State’s modern history with an 83-44 record, though the Cowboys did slog to a 6-6 record this fall.

It’s generally not a good idea for a coach to be at odds with the big money folks in his program, especially one that swings as big a stick as the Dallas energy tycoon. Cantankerous as he’s been this season, even Gundy realizes that. His team does play in a stadium named after the guy, after all.

“I don’t know what his thought is, but I would like for there to be more communication,” Gundy told the Tulsa World on Sunday. The paper reports that no one knows exactly the last time Gundy and Pickens spoke, but it’s believed to be on Dec. 3, 2011, the day the Cowboys clinched their lone Big 12 championship with a drubbing of archrival Oklahoma.

Oh, about Oklahoma. When asked before Oklahoma State’s season opener to evaluate Gundy, Pickens said, “You look at the other schools we play, and we’re competitive. The only one we haven’t been competitive with is OU. Like last year, we’re a 10-point favorite and lose. … We need to do better on OU.”

They did better on OU this season, stunning the Sooners 38-35 in overtime in Norman on Dec. 6.

Perhaps that’s enough to get Pickens to grab hold of the extended olive branch.

“To summarize it all,” Gundy told the Tulsa World, “I think (a Gundy-Pickens reconciliation) is best for Oklahoma State — not just football, but for the university. The university cannot divide. If we divide, we’re weak. We need every resource that we can have. Hypothetically, if you have a fan base that supports Coach Gundy, and then you have elite, million-dollar donors who support Boone Pickens, and the (sides are opposed), then the university is weak.”

And what about the man caught in the middle of it all, Oklahoma State athletics director Mike Holder?

“Our coach is doing a good job,” Holder said. “My gosh, in 2011, we were within an eyelash of playing for the national championship. It shows we’re close. (The 2014 season) was disappointing for everyone. Losing five games in a row is no fun. It leads to a lot of self-analysis, self-evaluation, self-criticism — whatever you want to call it. Things got a lot better after that win down there in Norman.”

Thanks to that Oklahoma win, Oklahoma State will conclude its season opposite Washington in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2 (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).



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FSU defense getting healthy: Goldman and Lawrence-Stample expected to play vs. Oregon

Eddie Goldman, Austin Hardin

Florida State will face the best offense it has seen all season long when the defending BCS national champions return to Pasadena to challenge Pac-12 champion Oregon and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Ducks have quite the supporting cast on offense too. Florida State’s shaky defense, at least when compared to the 2013 ‘Noles defense, will need to be on top of its game to advance to the national championship game, and it appears as though the defense will welcome back a pair of significant contributors.

Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman and Nile Lawrence-Stample each are likely to play for Florida State in the Rose Bowl, according to a recent report by Warchant.

Goldman was named to the ACC’s First Team All-ACC Defense this season. He went down with an ankle injury during the ACC Championship Game victory over Georgia Tech and returned to the practice field for the Seminoles last week. Lawrence-Stample’s return was previously reported to be likely, according to head coach Jimbo Fisher, and it appears everything remains on track for that to be a reality. Lawrence-Stample has missed 10 consecutive games due to a torn pectoral muscle.

“Excellent. I feel very comfortable with Nile,” Fisher said in recent days. “Nile’s practicing well. He’s been doing good-on-good for the last three days. He’s really developing his strength. I like his progress.”

Florida State teammates certainly respect the return of these two players as well.

“To be able to have Nile and Eddie back on the D-line would be a tremendous help as a linebacker,” junior linebacker Terrance Smith said last week. “To be able to have two threats up there, plus Mario [Edwards Jr.] and Demarcus [Walker] on the edge, to be able to have people that require double-team blocks and can’t get single-blocked … that’s a big factor.”

We shall see just how big of a factor it really is when Florida State faces Oregon in the Rose Bowl on January 1, the first of the two national semifinal game sin the College Football Playoff.

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Buckeye receivers have Kirby Smart’s respect at Alabama

Devin Smith, Peniel Jean

Alabama will take on an Ohio State team that is far from the kind of teams the Buckeyes fielded when playing for BCS titles against SEC schools Florida and LSU. Urban Meyer has changed the way Ohio State plays with faster players at positions where speed tends to have the most impact, and the difference is noticeable At the vey least, it has caught the eye of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

“They’ve got more wideout depth,” Smart said Sunday morning in New Orleans prior to a practice, per “The top ones at Auburn are really good and the top ones at Ohio State are really good, and I think they’re deeper at Ohio State.”

Senior receiver Devin Smith is the leading receiver for the Big Ten champions and sophomore Michael Thomas is a solid second option. In the Big Ten championship game blowout of Wisconsin, Ohio State took advantage of their speed and showed some potential to give a team like Alabama a good test one of the College Football Playoff semifinal games, in the Sugar Bowl. Smart believes his defensive players will not sleep on Ohio State’s receivers, especially after seeing what good, speedy receivers can do against them.

“Auburn did a great job passing the ball and throwing it deep on us and attacking us,” Smart said, again per “I don’t think our kids respected their wideouts enough, and they got good wideouts just like this team does. We didn’t make some plays that should have been made and I put them in some tough [situations]. So I think that was a wakeup factor of hey, you’ve got to play good, and you can’t get the ball thrown over your head.”

Ohio State faces Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2015. The winner will play for the College Football Playoff national championship in Dallas against either Oregon or Florida State.

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Minnesota WR Donovahn Jones no longer a Gopher

Donovahn Jones

With Minnesota’s bowl game just days away, the Gophers are down a wide receiver. Donovahn Jones, the third-leading receiver on the team, is no longer a part of the team according to a report Sunday morning from Star Tribune.

According to the details of the report, Jones traveled with the team to Orlando to prepare for the Citrus Bowl match-up with Missouri on Thursday, but he was no longer a part of the team by Friday morning. The details for the reasoning are unknown at this time, and head coach Jerry Kill is not scheduled to be made available to the media until Monday.

Jones started nine games for Minnesota this season and recorded the third most receiving yards, 253 yards, and the second most touchdown receptions with two. The sophomore did not play against Ohio State due to illness but did reportedly get in Kill’s doghouse as a result of some minor issues in the final weeks of Minnesota’s regular season. Jones did not start either of Minnesota’s final two games. He did appear in each of the final two games but did not record any stats.

Jones was listed on the official depth chart for Minnesota’s Citrus Bowl appearance, but with him no longer on the team it could be Isaac Fruechte who gets more playing time at Minnesota’s X-receiver position. Fruechte, despite being listed second on the depth chart, is second on the team in receiving with 278 yards and a touchdown.

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Tampa Bay Bucs GM heading to Rose Bowl to scout Mariota and Winston

Jason Licht

The Tampa Bay Bucs look to be in position for the number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft next spring, so it would make sense to take every opportunity to scout out the best potential targets to use that coveted number one pick on. The Rose Bowl just so happens to have a couple of potential franchise quarterback options dueling for the right to play for the national championship, and Bucs GM Jason Licht is apparently not going to miss the chance to watch the two go head-to-head.

This would seem to be a pretty strong indication of which way the Bucs plan on heading in 2015. With plenty of rebuilding to do and the possibility of drafting a franchise quarterback sitting right there for the taking, it is wise to see what these two quarterbacks can do on the field in the same game. Florida State has sent plenty of talent to the NFL over the years, so Oregon’s Marcus Mariota will be put to the test against a high level of athleticism. Jameis Winston may not be facing a tremendous amount of NFL talent on the other side of the field, but seeing how he handles the big stage one more time and seeing if he can protect the football better when the stakes are high should be of interest to the Bucs (and any other NFL team in need of a quarterback).

Winston has not declared for the NFL Draft just yet, although many presume he will wind up entering the draft. Mariota has yet to declare for the draft either, although many suspect he will enter the draft as well with his stock about as high as it can get at this point. Both are considered the top quarterback prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft, and would be considered top prospects for the 2016 draft in the event they each surprise the football world and return for one more year in college.

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Jameis Winston says he would pass on anyone, including Richard Sherman

Jameis Winston

If there is one thing we should clearly know about Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston by now, it is that he is never one to lack confidence in his own abilities once he steps onto the field. Few players have the ability to block out off-the-field issues and battle back in moments of adversity on the field the way Winston has proven over the course of the past two seasons. So it should come to no surprise Winston feels confident in being able to throw the football in the Rose Bowl against Oregon. Perhaps Winston is already looking ahead to the NFL as well, because he did not stop there.

Winston even suggested he would feel good about throwing the football against anybody, including one of the NFL’s top defensive backs, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.

Winston may or may not enter the 2015 NFL Draft, but it is just a guess that whenever Winston and Sherman do happen to cross paths, Sherman will have a few things to say to the Florida State quarterback.

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Miami RB Duke Johnson officially declares for the 2015 NFL Draft

Duck Commander Independence Bowl - Miami v South Carolina Getty Images

Miami running back Duke Johnson has played his last college football game. The Hurricanes running back has officially declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, although his mother spilled the beans a day ago.

Johnson leaving Miami early for a shot at the NFL is absolutely no surprise. The running back has accomplished a tremendous amount at Miami and has little left to prove at the college level. Given the falling stock for running backs in the NFL and the relatively short lifespan of a running back’s career, it makes plenty of sense for Johnson to enter the league now while he is still a valuable asset to any NFL franchise looking for a running back. Johnson told reporters Sunday morning he made his decision before the team left for the Independence Bowl

The decision to leave early is often a complicated one, and it is still something that has not quite hit Johnson fewer than 24 hours after his final game for The U.

Johnson leaves behind him a very respectable list of accomplishments at Miami. Johnson set the Miami school records for most rushing yards for a career (3,519 yards, passing Ottis Anderson), yards per carry (6.69, previously held by Edgerrin James), all-purpose yards (5,526 yards, previously held by Santana Moss), and multiple kick return records. He also tied school records for most career 100-yard games (14, tied with Clinton Portis), consecutive 100-yard games (6, tied with Willis McGahee and Edgerrin James), longest run from scrimmage (90 yards, tied with Jake Losch) and most career kick return touchdowns (2, tied with Tim Morgan, Ottis Anderson and Devin Hester).

Johnson played through two seasons that saw a dark cloud hover over the program prohibiting Miami from playing in a postseason bowl game. If there was ever a bright spot in the program during a tough few seasons, it was Johnson.

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