USA Today: Things to Know

5 things you need to know Monday

Ceremonies around the country mark Pearl Harbor Day 

The 74th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor will be commemorated Monday with ceremonies, a parade and a host of other events from Washington, D.C., to the site of the attack in Hawaii that drew the United States into World War II. Pearl Harbor Day honors the 2,400 people who died when the Japanese attacked the base in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, which brought a war being fought largely in Europe to U.S. soil. Flags will be flown at half-staff at government locations to honor those who died, and many homes across the country will display the American flag.

 On this date in 1941, Japanese forces attack the home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii – prompting America under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to enter World War II. (Dec. 7)AP

U2 back in Paris for HBO concert canceled in wake of terror attack

The U2 concert that was canceled after the horrific terror attacks that left 130 dead in Paris last month, was rescheduled and will air Monday on HBO.U2: Innocence + Experience Live in Paris, the first HBO concert special by the Grammy-winning band, originally was supposed to be seen on Nov. 15, two days after the attacks. “We stand together with the families of those killed in Paris,” Bono said Sunday. “We are all Parisians.”

USA TODAY’s Robert Bianco previews ‘U2: Innocence + Experience Live in Paris’ on HBO for Monday, December 7. VPC

Biden makes trip to Ukraine in sign of U.S. support

Vice President Biden meets Monday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in an effort to urge the country toward reforms and to show that the crisis in Syria is not overshadowing Washington’s concerns about Ukraine. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists has significantly diminished since early September — after killing some 8,000 people since April 2014 — but tensions remain high because of unresolved questions about the final political status of the rebel regions in the east.

Syrian refugees arrive in Texas despite lawsuit 

Two Syrian families are scheduled to arrive in Texas on Monday, despite the state’s efforts to block the resettlement. A family of six is slated to settle in Dallas and a second family of six in Houston. Nine other refugees are expected to arrive in Houston on Thursday. Last week Texas withdrew a request for an immediate order blocking the refugees’ arrival, but the state is moving forward with a lawsuit arguing that the Refugee Act of 1980 requires the federal government to consult with governors and mayors before relocating refugees.

 Big money, big trades the buzz as MLB winter meetings begin

The two biggest free-agent pitchers may have already signed blockbuster contracts this offseason, but there’s plenty of big trades and eye-popping contracts ahead as baseball executives gather in Nashville this week for the four-day winter meetings, which open Monday. Accomplished hitters Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Pedro Alvarez, Chris Carter, Alex Gordon, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Ben Zobristare still looking for a deal, along with pitchers Ian Kennedy, Doug Fister, Scott Kazmir, Johnny Cueto and Yovani Gallardo. Oh, and the Cincinnati Reds just happen to be shopping closer Aroldis Chapman, the hardest-throwing pitcher in the major leagues.

And, the essentials:

Stocks: U.S. stock futures pointed higher Monday.

TV tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at TV’s Funniest Animated Stars: A Paley Center for Media Special,  The Great Christmas Light Fight and U2: Innocence + Experience: Live in Paris.

Oscar-Nominated Actor Robert Loggia Dies at 85

Robert Loggia, a durable and versatile tough guy actor in movies and TV shows including Brian De Palma’s 1983 drama “Scarface” and “Big,” died Friday at his home in Los Angeles, his widow Audrey confirmed to Variety. He was 85.

Loggia had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease for the past five years, according to his widow. They had been married for 33 years.

He was nominated for a supporting actor Academy Award for “Jagged Edge” in 1986 for his portrayal of  blunt private detective Sam Ransom.

Loggia’s most notable film credits included “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Prizzi’s Honor,” “Independence Day,” David Lynch’s “Lost Highway” and “Big,” in which he played a toy company owner and performed a memorable duet on a giant foot-operated piano with Tom Hanks. He played Miami drug lord Frank Lopez in “Scarface.”

Loggia was nominated for an Emmy in 1989 for his portrayal of FBI agent Nick Mancuso in the series “Mancuso FBI” — which has a spin-off of the character he created in the “Favorite Son” miniseries starring Harry Hamlin — and again in 2000 for his guest star role in “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Loggia was a versatile supporting actor, assembling credits on three different episodes of “The Rockford Files” as three different characters. He also appeared in three different “Pink Panther” movies with three different character names.

Loggia played Anwar Sadat in the 1982 TV movie “A Woman Called Golda” opposite Ingrid Bergman. He also portrayed fearsome mobster-bakery owner Feech La Manna on several episodes of “The Sopranos.”

Loggia was a native of Staten Island, born to Italian immigrants. He received a football scholarship to Wagner College and transferred to the University of Missouri. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he began classes with Stella Adler and at the Actors Studio.

“He loved being an actor,” his widow told Variety. “He used to say that he never had to work. He never had to wait tables.”

“I loved Bob like a father,” Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns told Variety. “I will miss him tremendously.”

He broke into the entertainment business performing in stage plays in New York. His first film credit came in 1957 in the noirish “The Garment Jungle.” His first TV credits came in 1958 in “The Nine Lives of  Elfego Baca” in a series of Walt Disney TV shows. He starred in the 1966-67 series “T.H.E. Cat” as a former circus aerialist and cat burglar turned professional bodyguard who would introduce himself as “T. Hewitt Edward Cat.”

Loggia’s TV credits included “The Untouchables,” “Columbo,” “Gunsmoke,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “The Big Valley,” “Rawhide,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Starsky and Hutch,”  “Charlie’s Angels,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Kojak,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “The Bionic Woman,” “Frasier” and “Monk.”

His other film roles include “Revenge of the Pink Panther,” “Trail of the Pink Panther,” “Curse of the Pink Panther,” “Over The Top,” “Necessary Roughness,” “Return to Me” and “Armed and Dangerous.”

Loggia is survived by his widow and four children, Tracy, John, Kristina and Cynthia.

His family has asked that donations be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Loggia was an active supporter of the fund.

Funeral services will be private.

A Grizzly win

Jeff Green slams home 95-93 victory for Griz

By Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal Yesterday 5:09 p.m

Less than a second remained when Jeff Green took flight.

He only needed three-tenths of a tick on the clock to cement the Grizzlies’ 95-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns in FedExForum, and perhaps a free Sunday dinner at any restaurant in the city.

Green caught an alley-oop pass from Courtney Lee, and his emphatic dunk allowed the Griz to escape with a thrilling victory in FedExForum.

The Griz held the ball with 0.8 seconds remaining. The clock read 0.5 after Green’s slam, his fifth career go-ahead field goal with less than a second remaining in any fourth quarter or overtime.

“You don’t like being in close games like that, but it’s always fun when you pull it out and get the win,” Green said. “Courtney was the quarterback. He had reads and made a play. That’s what it’s about — being a playmaker, and that’s what he is. He made a great play. I’m happy it was able to work out.”

Lee lobbed a perfect pass on the inbounds play.

“I told (Green) I was going to throw it to him if I saw (Suns forward) P.J. Tucker’s numbers,” Lee said. “And he went up and made a play.”

Memphis improved to 12-9 during an afternoon game in which it mostly appeared out of sync. There were 13 lead changes and nine ties, and most of the seesawing happened in the second half.

Griz point guard Mike Conley had appeared to score the winner earlier when the officials called Suns center Alex Len for goaltending a layup attempt with 2.1 seconds left.

But the referees overturned the call and ruled it a legal block after a review.

Conley, though, set up Green’s heroics by forcing Suns guard Brandon Knight to lose the ball out of bounds.

“There’s no way that game doesn’t go into overtime, at least,” Tucker said after his squad fell to 1-4 on its season-long, six-game road trip. “But the fate of the Suns right now is just crazy.”

Marc Gasol led the Griz with 22 points and eight rebounds. Lee came in off the bench and tossed in 18 points in addition to his game-winning assist. The Griz (40 percent) overcame shooting worse than the Suns (43.9) by outscoring them 48-34 in the paint. Memphis also made more free throws (18) than Phoenix attempted (17).

“They beat us in the shooting game, but we made it up other places — points in the paint, turnovers, and the foul line,” Griz coach Dave Joerger said. “Those are the three that we used the most.”

Lee helped the Griz grab momentum in the fourth quarter. He scored 13 points in the fourth when Memphis gained a six-point advantage with 1:30 left.

Lee’s 3-pointer put the Griz ahead 92-87 and forced Suns coach Jeff Hornacek to call for time with 2:17 remaining.

The Griz had fallen behind early in the third quarter.

Phoenix began connecting on shots from beyond the arc after misfiring on 10 of its first 11 3-point tries. The Suns used a 20-5 run that bridged the second and third quarters to take a 53-46 lead.

Memphis clung to a 43-41 lead at halftime after a slow start.

The Grizzlies’ defense made an imprint after initially allowing the Suns rhythm shots. Memphis trailed 12-2 in the opening minutes but then harassed Phoenix into a six-minute scoring drought.

The Griz scored 14 unanswered points while forcing the Suns to miss 10 straight shots.

“We know we can play better. We felt like we didn’t play great and towards the end we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Joerger said. “But I thought our guys really battled and played through a lot of different things and just kind of kept coming at them.”


Lee’s 18 points tied a season high. He also handed out a season-best six assists and grabbed four rebounds.

“I just stayed mentally strong and mentally prepared. I knew my number was going to get called at some point,” Lee said. “Watching the game I saw how they were trying to guard us and was looking at the spots where I could make a play.”

Memphis is 18-3 since the start of last season when Lee scores at least 15 points.

“When you’re a shooter like Courtney is, when one goes down you get a good rhythm, and it was big for us the way he came out,” Green said. “He brought great energy and his offensive game was amazing, but he got it done on the defensive end, too. That’s where it started and Courtney is a great player and he is a big part of what we do.”

Memphis’ bench scored 41 points compared with 25 from the Phoenix second unit.

The other guys

The Suns entered ranked second in the league in 3-pointers (10.5) and third in 3-point percentage (. 395). The Griz held the Suns to 9-of-31 shooting (. 290) from beyond the arc.

That’s what he said

“We just gave that up. I tried to put a bigger guy on the ball, you know, that’s athletic to get up there and jump. And I wanted to have a big guy on (Marc) Gasol so that they couldn’t just throw it right to him. They just made a play.” —

Hornacek, describing his team’s defense on the Grizzlies’ winning play.

Outside the box score

Joerger has never been shy about admitting that he’s a sponge. Remember last season when Lee scooped in a game-winning layup that beat Sacramento as the final buzzer sounded?

Joerger said then that he copied a play that now-New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry used against Memphis while Gentry coached Phoenix. This time, Joerger explained that he learned a thing or two under former Griz coaches.

“It got morphed between Lionel Hollins and Johnny Davis and then I tweaked it a little bit,” Joerger said about the final play. “It’s a tough situation because you don’t know exactly how much time is going to be because that is what we were waiting for, how much time they were going to put on the clock. Then it’s a little bit of an all-or-nothing play. And we were also out of timeouts.”

Memphis to face Auburn in Birmingham Bowl

Credit: The Commercial Appeal

By Tom Schad of The Commercial Appeal
Posted: 12/6/15  4:00 p.m.

The University of Memphis football program had long hoped, and expected, to play in its bowl game in Birmingham if it did not qualify for a New Year’s Six bowl. And on Sunday afternoon, it got its wish.

The Tigers will face Auburn in this year’s Birmingham Bowl, which will mark their second bowl appearance in as many seasons. Kick-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. on December 30 at Historic Legion Field in Birmingham. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

“It’s a great opponent, obviously, another SEC power,” interim coach Darrell Dickey said after practice Sunday. “We’re playing in historic Legion Field, where there’s been an unbelievable amount of big-time football games played, and in a great state, where football is big. We’re going to a city where our fans, Tiger Nation, can be there. And I hope they are.”

The Birmingham Bowl was always an attractive destination for the U of M because of its proximity to Memphis and the opportunity to play a Southeastern Conference opponent. Memphis has not beaten two SEC teams in the same season since 1994.

“It’ll definitely be exciting,” Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch said. “It’s a chance for us to make our conference look good and this program to look good. We played one SEC team, Ole Miss, earlier in the year and we played pretty well. So I’m excited to see how our guys will match up against them.”

Memphis (9-3) is in the midst of its winningest two-year stretch in program history. After finishing 10-3 last season, it won its first eight games of 2015, including a 37-24 victory over the Rebels. A win over Auburn would give Memphis 10 victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.

Auburn (6-6) lost four of its final six games this season and finished last in the SEC West division.

It will be just the third meeting between Auburn and Memphis. Memphis has won each of the two previous matchups: A 31-20 victory at Auburn in 1975, and a 28-27 win in Memphis the following year.

“We have a fantastic match-up featuring two teams who are just a few hours from our city,” Birmingham Bowl executive director Mark Meadows said in a statement. “We know that these fan bases will generate a lot of excitement for our 10th bowl game at historic Legion Field, and the people of Birmingham will show both sets of Tiger fans what true southern hospitality is while they are in town.”

Both teams will likely be short-staffed entering the bowl game. Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was announced as the new head coach at South Carolina on Sunday. Former Memphis coach Justin Fuente was introduced as the new coach at Virginia Tech last week, and three Memphis assistants have since joined him in Blacksburg. Offensive line coach Vance Vice is the latest to depart. Dickey said graduate assistant Mike Bangtson will coach the unit through the bowl game.

Memphis will take the next four days off because of final exams, then resume practice Friday and Saturday. Beginning Dec. 14, Dickey said the tentative plan is to practice every other day, with a few days off for Christmas before heading to Birmingham.

“We’re excited,” Dickey said. “We’re excited to be in the postseason. We’re excited to put our stuff on display and try to go 1-0 one more time. We’ve got a lot of work to do, though, between now and then.”

To purchase tickets for the Birmingham Bowl, visit

Team Awards Announced

Memphis held its annual football banquet Sunday night and distributed team awards.

Lynch was named the DeAngelo Williams Most Valuable Player of the Year for a second consecutive season, and seniors Alan Cross and Wynton McManis were given the “True Tigers” awards, for embodying the values of the program.

Senior wide receiver Mose Frazier received the Isaac Bruce Offensive Player of the Year award, and senior linebacker Leonard Pegues was given the John Bramlett Defensive Player of the Year award. Jake Elliott, who was in Florida for Lou Groza Award festivities Sunday night, was named the Joey Allison Special Teams Player of the Year.

Freshmen Tony Pollard, a wide receiver, and Hayden Ferrari, a linebacker, were named Glenn Jones Scout Team Players of the Year.

Bowls, Bowls and more Bowls

Bowl Games 2015-16: Complete Schedule of Matchups

College football nirvana is nearly upon us.

As expected after Saturday’s conference championship games, Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma comprise the top four seeds for this year’s College Football Playoff.

The Tigers will face the Sooners in the Orange Bowl, while Nick Sabanwill coach against his old team as the Crimson Tide and Spartans are set for a Cotton Bowl clash in the other national semifinal.

Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee discussed this year’s playoff in addition to the playoff structure in general:

With 40 games in a little under a month, you could argue bowl season has swelled to an unhealthy degree. Look no further than the fact that the NCAA had trouble finding 80 bowl-eligible teams as evidence of the problem.

Still, fans aren’t complaining about getting to watch more college football. This time of year is a great showcase for not only the best teams in the country, but also those not afforded a national spotlight on a weekly basis.

Here’s a full look at this year’s bowl schedule.

Bowl Schedule

2015-16 College Football Bowl Schedule
Bowl Matchup Date Time (ET) Watch
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T Dec. 19 Noon ABC
Cure Bowl San Jose State vs. Georgia State Dec. 19 Noon CBSSN
Gildan New Mexico Bowl Arizona vs. New Mexico Dec. 19 2 p.m. ESPN
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl BYU vs. Utah Dec. 19 3:30 p.m. ABC
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Ohio vs. Appalachian State Dec. 19 5:30 p.m. ESPN
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech Dec. 19 9 p.m. ESPN
Miami Beach Bowl South Florida vs. Western Kentucky Dec. 21 2:30 p.m. ESPN
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Akron vs. Utah State Dec. 22 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl Temple vs. Toledo Dec. 22 7 p.m. ESPN
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Boise State vs. Northern Illinois Dec. 23 4:30 p.m. ESPN
GoDaddy Bowl Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern Dec. 23 8 p.m. ESPN
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan Dec. 24 Noon ESPN
Hawai’i Bowl Cincinnati vs. San Diego State Dec. 24 8 p.m. ESPN
St. Petersburg Bowl Marshall vs. Connecticut Dec. 26 11 a.m. ESPN
Hyundai Sun Bowl Miami vs. Washington State Dec. 26 2 p.m. CBS
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl Washington vs. Southern Miss Dec. 26 2:20 p.m. ESPN
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Duke vs. Indiana Dec. 26 3:30 p.m. ABC
Camping World Independence Bowl Virginia Tech vs. Tulsa Dec. 26 5:45 p.m. ESPN
Foster Farms Bowl Nebraska vs. UCLA Dec. 26 9:15 p.m. ESPN
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman Pittsburgh vs. Navy Dec. 28 2:30 p.m. ESPN
Quick Lane Bowl Central Michigan vs. Minnesota Dec. 28 5 p.m. ESPN2
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Air Force vs. California Dec. 29 2 p.m. ESPN
Russell Athletic Bowl North Carolina vs. Baylor Dec. 29 5:30 p.m. ESPN
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Colorado State vs. Nevada Dec. 29 7:30 p.m. TBA
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl Texas Tech vs. LSU Dec. 29 9 p.m. ESPN
Birmingham Bowl Memphis vs. Auburn Dec. 30 Noon ESPN
Belk Bowl North Carolina State vs. Mississippi State Dec. 30 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl Louisville vs. Texas A&M Dec. 30 7 p.m. ESPN
Holiday Bowl Wisconsin vs. USC Dec. 30 10:30 p.m. ESPN
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Houston vs. Florida State Dec. 31 Noon ESPN
Capital One Orange Bowl No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma Dec. 31 4 p.m. ESPN
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State Dec. 31 8 p.m. ESPN
Outback Bowl Northwestern vs. Tennessee Jan. 1 Noon ESPN2
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl Michigan vs. Florida Jan. 1 1 p.m. ABC
Fiesta Bowl Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Jan. 1 1 p.m. ESPN
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual Iowa vs. Stanford Jan. 1 5 p.m. ESPN
Allstate Sugar Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss Jan. 1 8:30 p.m. ESPN
TaxSlayer Bowl Georgia vs. Penn State Jan. 2 Noon ESPN
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Kansas State vs. Arkansas Jan. 2 3:20 p.m. ESPN
Valero Alamo Bowl TCU vs. Oregon Jan. 2 6:45 p.m. ESPN
Cactus Bowl West Virginia vs. Arizona State Jan. 2 10:15 p.m. ESPN
College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T Clemson/Oklahoma vs. Alabama/Michigan State Jan. 11 8:30 p.m. ESPN


Players to Watch

Jared Goff, QB, California

This will, in all likelihood, be Jared Goff’s last game in college. Not only is he considered one of the best quarterbacks in the 2016 draft class, but his current head coach, Sonny Dykes, might be on another sideline in 2016. Dykes interviewed for the opening at Missouri last week.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller provided an in-depth scouting report of the California Golden Bears star quarterback in September and drew parallels between Goff and a two-time Super Bowl winner:

Goff is close to perfect as a quarterback prospect, and his flaws are all fixable ones. Like Eli Manning, he has picturesque footwork in the pocket, aggressive downfield vision and the arm to make every throw in the playbook. Goff doesn’t turn the ball over at Cal as much as Manning has in the NFL, but from a skills and athleticism perspective, they’re very similar.

Since Goff plays the majority of his games on the West Coast, his work over the last three years might have gone unnoticed by a large segment of the college football fanbase. Bowl season could offer him one last chance to impress not only fans but also NFL scouts.


Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green

Matt Johnson, on the other hand, is unlikely to make a significant impact at the next level. That still won’t erase the work the Bowling Green quarterback did over his sophomore and senior seasons.

A hip injury wiped out most of Johnson’s junior campaign, but he recovered to lead the country in passing yards (4,700) while finishing second in passing touchdowns (43).

Scott Swegan, Bowling Green’s assistant director of athletic communications, believes Johnson has left quite an impression on the Falcons’ football program:

Part of the beauty of bowl season is getting exposed to players you have otherwise never heard of. Whether or not Bowling Green delivers a victory, Johnson and the Eagles offense should put on a great show for the fans.


Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State

The fall of Christian Hackenberg has been the dominant storyline around Penn State in 2015. But the Nittany Lions wouldn’t be bowling without their strong defense, which ranks 16th in Football Outsiders‘ S&P+ rating.

Few players on that defense have contributed more than Carl Nassib. He’s first in the nation with 15.5 sacks and tied for second in the nation with 19.5 tackles for loss. Nassib joined a list of Penn State legends after winning the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year award, per BTN Live:

It’s quite a rise for a player who walked on at Penn State and only earned a scholarship ahead of the 2013 season.

Given the Nittany Lions’ issues on offense this year, Nassib and the rest of the front seven will likely need to harass the quarterback to get a win in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Nassib has already earned an invite to the Senior Bowl, and bowl season will be one more opportunity for him to bolster his NFL draft stock.


Jeremy Cash, S, Duke

Like Nassib, Jeremy Cash is now the owner of his conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award after edging Clemson’s Shaq Lawson.

“I don’t think you can say anything better about an athlete than they were a great teammate,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said, perSteve Phillips for “Jeremy became a great teammate when he came here and had to sit out for a year after transferring. That experience taught me a lot about him and how much he cared about his team and his teammates.”

Cash is one of the best safeties in the 2016 draft class and is a lock to hear his name in the first few rounds. He did a little bit of everything for the Blue Devils in 2015, as evidenced by his 101 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and four pass breakups.

It’s highly probable Cash’s strong all-around game will lead to him making at least one or two big plays in his final college appearance.


Playoff Preview

North Carolina and Florida had a chance to create a little upheaval atop the College Football Playoff rankings, but they fell short, and the top four spots remained unchanged with the exception of Michigan State swapping spots with Iowa.

Here’s a look at how Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma stack up against one another:

CFP Teams By the Numbers
No. 1 Clemson No. 2 Alabama No. 3 Michigan State No. 4 Oklahoma
Record 13-0 12-1 12-1 11-1
Strength of Schedule 42nd 4th 44th 19th
Total Offense (YPG) 510.6 (12th) 422.5 (49th) 396.8 (68th) 542.9 (7th)
Total Defense (YPG) 295.7 (7th) 258.2 (2nd) 342.9 (26th) 350.7 (31st)
S&P+ Offense 41.3 (10th) 36.3 (27th) 36.5 (26th) 43.4 (3rd)
S&P+ Defense 15.0 (6th) 7.6 (1st) 18.8 (13th) 18.7 (12th)
F/+ Combined Rating 59.0% (2nd) 64.5% (1st) 44.8% (6th) 55.7% (3rd)

Sources:, Football Outsiders, Jeff Sagarin

The Tigers and Tide made strong cases for being the most complete team in the country, and they each boast a dynamic playmaker who can carry the load. Derrick Henry is the presumptive Heisman Trophy winner, while Deshaun Watson is among the top quarterbacks in the FBS.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, enters the playoff on a hot streak, having beaten Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State in succession to close out the regular season. Ohio State showed last year how valuable momentum can be in the playoff.

Most fans will likely discount Michigan State’s chances. On paper, the Spartans are the weakest team of the four, but their tendency to win ugly could prove valuable in the playoff.

Some fans were a bit surprised Michigan State climbed from fifth to third following its victory over Iowa.

“Ultimately, Michigan State’s two wins against Top 10 teams gave them the edge,” CFP selection committee chairman Jeff Long said, per Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman.

The selection committee didn’t do Michigan State any favors, however. The Spartans may be a higher seed than Oklahoma, but they arguably have the tougher matchup. Although Alabama may not be quite as good as some of Saban’s other national-championship-winning teams, the Crimson Tide boast a dominant defense and an above-average-to-great offense depending on how Henry is running the ball.

Clemson vs. Oklahoma could be a national championship game by itself. The Sooners defense will be tested in a big way. Their offense was strong enough to navigate the Big 12, but that might not be enough to get past the Tigers, who are dangerous in their own right.


College Football Playoffs

Dec 06, 2015 10:00 AM CSTUpdated: Dec 06, 2015 2:19 PM CST

College Football Playoff pairings finalized

(RNN) – The script remained unchanged over championship week and the College Football Playoff committee didn’t have a difficult choice to make in finalizing the bracket.

 Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State and Oklahoma will vie for the national championship in the second College Football Playoff.

The national semifinals will be No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. Both games will be played New Year’s Eve.

The only question entering Sunday’s announcement was where each team would be ranked. Oklahoma had been ranked No. 3 last week with Michigan State No. 5, but after a 16-13 win over No. Iowa in the Big Ten championship game, the Spartans took the No. 3 spot.

Playoff committee chairman Jeff Long said the Spartans’ two wins over teams in the top 10 at the time – Oregon and Ohio State – and the Big Ten championship game was enough to move them over Oklahoma.

“Michigan State had two top 10 wins and added a win over No. 4 ranked team,” Long said. “Their body of work and their complete resume is slightly ahead of Oklahoma. We don’t look at seeding. Our charge is rank one through four four – the four best teams. The placement in semifinals take care of itself.”

Entering championship week, top-ranked Clemson and No. 2 Alabama needed only to win their respective championship games to earn a berth, which both did. The No. 5 Spartans defeated No. 4 Iowa 16-13 in the Big Ten championship game in what amounted to a de facto quarterfinal. No. 3 Oklahoma did not have to play a championship game and was widely believed to have already clinched a bid.

Long said Clemson was clearly the No. 1 team due to be the only undefeated team in college football and having three wins over top 10 opponents.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the Tigers weren’t expected to make it this far with nine new starters, but the team has been tested with several close wins. Clemson has had four games – Louisville, Notre Dame, South Carolina and North Carolina – settled by a touchdown or less.

“A lot of people looked at this team and undervalued them, but they were dialed in,” Swinney said. “Championship teams find ways to win and that’s what this team has done time and time again.”

While Alabama is the only team to make a repeat appearance from the inaugural playoff in 2015, the Big Ten and ACC are both represented again. The Big 12 was punished last season when Baylor and TCU split the conference’s championship, but Oklahoma won the conference outright this year.

The two semifinals each have interesting connections. Clemson and Oklahoma met in last year’s Russell Athletics Bowl with the Tigers winning 40-6.

“We’re not that much better than Oklahoma, we just were on that day,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.

The other semifinal pits Alabama coach Nick Saban against the team he coached from 1995-99 before leaving to become the head coach at LSU.

Saban said he watched the Spartans’ win over Iowa, which included a long drive at the end of the game, reminiscent of how Alabama has finished off some of its opponents.

“It was enough for me to see the competitive spirit of that team to come through when they needed it most,” Saban said. “We know what kind of physically tough teams they have.”

The playoff is in just its second year, but it didn’t take long for the College Football Playoff to show its value. In last year’s inaugural playoff, No. 4 Ohio State took down No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and then bested No. 2 Oregon in the national championship game. The Buckeyes had jumped from into the playoff from No. 6 after winning the Big Ten.

Under the Bowl Championship Series, which the playoff replaced, the Crimson Tide and Ducks would have met for the national championship.

The Spartans are in a position to do that for the Big Ten again, while Alabama is trying to get to get the SEC back on top. The SEC had won seven consecutive national championships from 2006-2013, and has now gone two years without one.

Oklahoma is trying to bring the title back to the Big 12, which hasn’t won since Texas took the 2005 championship with a Rose Bowl win over Southern Cal. That was the last season before the creation of the BCS championship game.

A championship by Clemson would give the ACC its second in three years after Florida State won the last title under the BCS.

The first two teams left out of this year’s playoff were No. 5 Iowa following its close loss to the Spartans and No. 6 Stanford, which won the Pac 12 championship over Southern Cal on Saturday but has two losses on the year. Stanford jumped ahead of Ohio State, which is ranked seventh, and Long cited not making the Big Ten championship game as the reason the Buckeyes fell from their No. 6 ranking.

“Having an additional top game against a top level team made the difference in putting Stanford over Ohio State,” Long said. “But it was still very, very close.”

The committee also sets the matchups in the other so-called New Year’s six bowl games.

The Hawkeyes and Cardinal will meet New Year’s Day in their conferences’ traditional meeting in the Rose Bowl. Additionally, No. 7 Ohio State will square off against No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and No. 12 Ole Miss will face No. 16 Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.

On New Year’s Eve, No. 9 Florida State will meet No. 18 Houston in the Peach Bowl.

Scott Weiland: A Photo History of His Wild Life


Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
(R. Diamond/Getty)

Scott Weiland, the troubled and gifted lead singer of alt-rock icons Stone Temple Pilots passed away last night at the age of 48. Here is a look back at a tumultuous lifetime of hits, arrests, restarts and indelible music.

October 27th, 1967: Scott Weiland Born

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

The future alt-rock chart-topper was born Scott Richard Kline in San Jose, California. His parents, Sharon and Kent, divorced two years later, and Weiland took his stepfather Dave’s last name when he was five.

1986: Mighty Joe Young Formed

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics

According to a 1993 SPIN article, Scott Weiland had been playing in bands since he was 15 and met bassist Robert DeLeo at a Black Flag concert in Long Beach. After recruiting DeLeo’s brother Dean on guitar and Eric Kretz on drums, the group recorded a demo as Mighty Joe Young. The name, however, already belonged to a blues musician, so the band chose Shirley Temple’s Pussy as an alternative. After signing with Atlantic Records in 1989, the band was pressured to rename again, settling on Stone Temple Pilots to maintain the STP initials.

September 29th, 1992: Stone Temple Pilots Release ‘Core’

Stone Temple Pilots; Core; 2015

Powered by two huge singles, “Plush” and “Creep,” the band’s debut, produced by Brendan O’Brien, shot to Number Three. It eventually went 8 times platinum and remains the band’s best selling album. During the time, the band would endure comparisons to another brooding West Coast band — but not the one they expected. “It’s funny, when we were recording the record, I was listening to a lot of Doors, and I was worried about the fact that people would say I was trying to sounds like Jim Morrison,” Weiland told Rolling Stone in 1994. “I never thought there was going to be this Pearl Jam Thing. I never thought it would blow up the way it has.”

June 25th, 1994: ‘Purple’ Becomes STP’s First Number One

Stone Temple Pilots; Scott Weiland; Purple
Patrick Ford/Getty

Again working with O’Brien, the band quickly recorded their follow-up, which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 and stayed there for three weeks — the longest run of any any alt-rock album that year. As the singles “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song” dominated mainstream and alternative rock radio, Purpleseemed to indicate that STP was here to stay.

September 17th, 1994: Weiland Marries Janina Castenada

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; marriage

At the peak of his band’s success, Weiland married his longtime girlfriend Janina Castenada, who already was the inspiration for more than one STP song: the love song “Still Remains” and the the apology song “Lounge Fly.” “I love my wife more than anything in the world — I love being married,” Weiland told Rolling Stone in 1995. “Marriage used to scare the shit out of me. Now it doesn’t.”

1995: Weiland Busted on Heroin and Cocaine Possession

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Cocaine
Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA

Weiland’s drug problems became public when he was charged with possession of cocaine and heroin after a California drug bust. He avoided jail time after agreeing to a counseling program. “I am in the process of getting sober,” he told Rolling Stone‘s Erin Culley in June of 1995. “I want to be happy again, and I’m going to do something about it before it kills me or fucks up everything in my life.” He was optimistic about the future: “I took the time that I felt I needed to chill and become a human being again, and now I need to do something musical. … Musically, right now, I feel like I’m in a birth period, and I don’t want to just let it slip by. Songs come in a wave, and right now I’m on a nice, big, long board. I’m not going to let them pass me by.”

March 26th, 1996: STP Switches Things Up on ‘Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop’

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics

On their third album, the band’s sound evolved in a glammier, poppier direction. Tiny Music was in step with the brighter mood of mid-Nineties alt-rock and demonstrated STP’s stylistic range, eventually winning over critics who’d originally been dismissive.

1996-1997: Tours Cancelled; STP on Hiatus

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Stefan De Batselier/ZUMA

Weiland’s drug problem and legal run-ins made touring difficult for the band. By the end of ’96 they made it pretty much impossible. STP was forced to turn down an opening slot on the much-ballyhooed Kiss reunion tour, and then canceled their own headlining tour dates. “Scott called and said, ‘I’m fucking up — I need help,'” STP guitarist Dean DeLeo toldRolling Stone in 1997. “When I talked to him, I could hear his condition. He said, ‘I’m going into treatment.’ I said, ‘I’d love to believe that.’ And on Monday, he checked himself in.”

March 31st, 1998: Scott Weiland Releases First Solo Album, ’12 Bar Blues’

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Stone Temple Pilots’ hiatus led to no shortage of musical output: The Weiland-less musicians, alongside Ten Inch Men lead singer Dave Coutts, put out a record as Talk Show in 1997, and Weiland soon followed with his first solo LP. The Daniel Lanois-assisted 12 Bar Blues was expansive and winding, veering far beyond the constraints of alt-rock radio. “12 Bar Blues isn’t really a rock album, or even a pop album,” David Fricke wrote in a 3.5-star review for Rolling Stone.“Weiland, out on his own, has simply made an honest album – honest in its confusion, ambition and indulgence.” “I feel lucky to be alive,” Weiland told the Los Angeles Times in an interview that year. “Life doesn’t make any sense unless you can enjoy the journey, and sometimes I take that for granted. But I try not to do that now. I try to learn from my mistakes.”

July 7th, 1999, Weiland Hospitalized After Suffering a Near-Fatal Heroin Overdose

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Kevin Mazur/Getty

This OD served as the third probation violation on Weiland’s 1997 conviction for heroin possession. Under California’s “three strikes” law, this meant a mandatory prison stint. On August 13, a day after STP performed a concert in Las Vegas, a Los Angeles County judge sentenced Weiland to a year in prison. He served a little over four months, spending most of the term in the L.A. Sheriff’s Department’s Biscaluz Recovery Center, and was paroled on December 30. In an early 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, Weiland described his experience in Biscaluz as an ultimately positive one. “I felt I was achieving something after I had been there a month and a half,” he said. “They say that in order for [sobriety] to work, you have to surrender. It happened over a period of time, being locked down, dealing with fear of the unknown. But once I surrendered, stopped trying to control everything, I started getting peace of mind.”


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1999: “Sour Girl” Becomes STP’s Biggest Hit

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
R. Diamond/Getty

After the tumultuous hiatus, the band reunited for 1999’s No. 4. The effort was something of a back-to-basics move; many of its tracks, most notably piledriving first single, “Down,” would have fit much more comfortably on Core than Tiny Music. But the album also featured the gentle, largely acoustic “Sour Girl,” which Weiland wrote about the collapse of his marriage to first wife, Janina Castaneda. The song, fueled by Weiland’s straightforward, emotive vocal, went on to be their only song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

May 20th, 2000: Weiland Marries His Second Wife, Model Mary Forsberg

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Evan Agostini/Getty

Weiland got married for the second time, tying the knot with model Mary Forsberg. Their son Noah was born that November and their daughter Lucy followed in July 2002. The couple split up in 2007. Forsberg recounted their tumultuous marriage, marked by drug and physical abuse, in her 2009 book, Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Mental Illness.

2001: Weiland Arrested for Battery

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Kypros/REX Shutterstock

In the early hours of November 20, 2001, Weiland was arrested at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas — where Stone Temple Pilots was performing — on domestic violence charges, following an incident in which the singer repeatedly pushed his wife Mary into a wall in their hotel room during an argument over a prescription medication. Weiland spent 12 hours in jail, then returned to the stage that night after posting $3,000 bail. On December 19, Weiland pleaded guilty in a Las Vegas justice court to domestic battery charges. In exchange for the guilty plea, Weiland was fined, sentenced to six months’ probation and directed to attend 26 counseling sessions with his wife.

June 19th, 2001: STP Release ‘Shangri-La Dee Da’

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Kevin Winter/Getty

Stone Temple Pilots’ fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da, came out of sessions where the band hung out at a Malibu mansion, bouncing ideas off one another in a lower-pressure environment than the ones surrounding their previous records. Weiland, who was clean, was particularly energized by the reboot: “There was that innocence there again,” he told the Toronto Star in the summer of 2001. “And that’s one thing I’ve always really missed, with all the success we’ve had, and longed for, the days in the beginning, when we were making our first record and touring our first album. The innocence that was there when everything was just so beautiful and exciting and every experience was new, and even the fears and the pains were new.” The brisk, poppy “Days of the Week,” which undercut its catchiness with self-lacerating lyrics about addiction, was a minor hit on modern rock radio.

May 2003: Arrested For Drug Possession

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Steve Grayson/Getty

After being pulled over in Burbank on May 17th for driving without headlights on, police noticed drug paraphernalia in a car in which Weiland was a passenger. He and the driver, a 29-year-old woman, were arrested and later charged with cocaine and heroin possession. At his court appearance Weiland pleaded innocent and said he would enter a rehab program to seek treatment.

October 27th, 2003: The Birthday Car Crash

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
James & James/ZumaPress

At 6:37 a.m. on his 36th birthday, Weiland was taken in by Los Angeles police after his BMW struck a parked van. He was promptly arrested for driving under the influence and released on bail later in the day.

Late 2003: Stone Temple Pilots Break Up

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Following the commercial underperformance of Shangri-La Dee Da and a difficult 2002 tour which saw Stone Temple Pilots management demand that the backstage areas of the venues the band played be kept alcohol- and drug-free by security (and which was reportedly capped by an altercation between Weiland and Dean DeLeo during the final show of the tour), STP fell apart. While no official breakup announcement was made at the time, the Atlantic’s release of the greatest hits package Thank You made it pretty clear that the band was over, at least for the time being.

2004: Velvet Revolver Form

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Jeff Kravitz/Getty

Weiland rebounded by forming a supergroup with three former members of Guns N’ Roses: guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum. Dave Kushner, who had played in Dave Navarro’s band, rounded out the lineup as rhythm guitarist. “Everyone in this band has been strung out,” Slash told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ve all managed to function one way or another, although it’s been difficult. [Weiland is] an amazing singer, an amazing lyricist. He shows up every day and wants to work.” Weiland later recounted in his memoir, Not Dead and Not For Sale, that he was initially reluctant to join the supergroup — “Sounds like a lot of egos,” he told his wife at the time — but that the money involved made him put his reservations aside. Ultimately, he said, he “was blown away by the powerful chemistry between us.”

June 8th, 2004: Velvet Revolver Deliver ‘Contraband’

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Camera Press/Redux

Velvet Revolver’s first album made a big splash, debuting at Number One on the Billboard 200 and spinning off a sizeable rock hit with “Slither.” Critics were kind: “The bulk of Contraband (skip the power ballads) is vicious, unapologetic Sunset Strip glam-metal classicism – the kind of dynamite deja vu that almost makes you believe in the word ‘supergroup’ again,” RS wrote in its year-end list of 2004’s best albums. The LP was released during a relatively calm time in Weiland’s life, which found him living in a group home in California with an 11:30 P.M. curfew as part of court-ordered rehab. “I’m tired of being a good boy,” he told Rolling Stone‘s Gavin Edwards. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t be living in a sober fraternity house.” Nonetheless, he said that he’d stayed completely clean for the past six months, and had used heroin “only…three or four times in the last year.” “I’m sick of talking about heroin and cocaine,” he said. “I’m sick of talking about what it’s like to be in the back of a cop car.”

July 3rd, 2007: Velvet Revolver Release Second and Final Album, ‘Libertad’

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Libertad‘s highlights included “For a Brother,” Weiland’s sorrowful tribute to the sibling he lost to a drug overdose between Contraband and this album. In his RS review, David Fricke said that Velvet Revolver’s “rocket-guitar racket” was “more compelling than most current woe-is-me punk and emo,” and noted their cover of ELO’s “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” suggesting that it might be “Weiland’s way of describing the daily battles he still fights with his own dark impulses.”


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November 11th, 2007: Weiland Arrested for DUI

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

After crashing his car and refusing to take a mandatory sobriety test to determine if he was driving under the influence with a prior conviction, Weiland was arrested and later sentenced to eight days in jail. By now, his bandmates in Velvet Revolver had had enough: A few months later, in April 2008, they kicked him out of the supergroup, citing “increasingly erratic on-stage behavior and personal problems.”

November 25th, 2008: The Personal ‘”Happy” In Galoshes’ Released

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Dove Shore/Getty

Weiland’s second album, “Happy” In Galoshes, took on the tumult going on in his life — the split with his wife Mary Forsberg, the 2007 death of his brother Michael (who had played percussion on Weiland’s 1998 solo album 12 Bar Blues) and his mother’s cancer diagnosis. “I need adversity to write,” he told the New York Post around the album’s release. “Rock guys can’t look sensitive,” he added. “You have to look tough, but it’s really a myth, a mask. Maybe that’s why all the real emotion ends up in my songs.” Rolling Stone gave the album 3.5 stars, with David Fricke citing “Weiland’s passion for another chameleon, David Bowie” as the driving force behind tracks like the spindly “She Sold Her System.”

2008: Scott Returns to Stone Temple Pilots for Tour

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
John Shearer/Getty

STP kicked off a 75-date comeback tour in 2008 with a private show outside Harry Houdini’s estate in Los Angeles. In a few early shows, several of Weiland’s early performances were erratic, with the singer missing lyrics and stumbling around onstage, leading to rumors of his continued drug and alcohol use. Overall, however, the tour was well-reviewed, well-received and financially successful.

May 25, 2010: Stone Temple Pilots Release Their Final Weiland-Led Album

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Matt Sayles/AP

“I always felt it would happen,” Weiland said of the band’s first album in nine years. “We left things incomplete.” He insisted on recording all his vocals at his own Lavish Studios, miles away from his old bandmates – but the album’s poppy hooks and Bowie echoes received positive reviews. “The sunshine is overdue, but it suits them,” David Fricke wrote in his RS review, in which he called the album STP’s “most focused record since 1992’s critically abused Core.” In an unsettling sign, Weiland told RS‘ Austin Scaggs that he wasn’t fully on the wagon: “I drink sometimes, yeah. Whiskey. But I don’t do any other drugs.”

October 4th 2011: Weiland Goes Christmas For Third Solo LP, ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty

Drawing from the classic holiday songbook, Weiland recorded crooning takes on “White Christmas,” “Silent Night” and more. His lounge-y version of Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” featured him wearing vintage military garb in a surreal accompanying video. He told Rolling Stone: “These songs, however they are stylized, have been done and redone by so many different people — yet people love to listen to them every holiday season. It’s something that I want to just be part of.”

May 31st, 2011: ‘Not Dead & Not for Sale: The Earthling Papers’ Autobiography

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Tibrina Hobson/Getty

One year after his ex-wife Mary Forsberg recounted their tumultuous marriage in her memoir Fall to Pieces, Weiland teamed up with David Ritz to share his side of the story. Not Dead & Not for Sale: A Memoir is an unflinching look at the rise of Stone Temple Pilots along with the horrific drug addiction that lead to the band’s premature demise. “I’ve relived pains as well as the highest of heights,” Weiland wrote in the preface. “I’ve felt deflated and elated to dig through the cobwebs to expire the why’s and why not’s.”

The book seethes with frustration. “Every time I try to catch up with my life, something stops me,” he writes in the book’s opening sentence. “Different people making claims on my life. Old friends telling me new friends aren’t true friends. All friends trying to convince me that I can’t survive without them.” The book received mixed reviews, with some critics feeling he glossed over key parts of his life.

February 23rd, 2013: Scott Weiland Fired by STP

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Robb Cohen/AP

Stone Temple Pilots had become a regular presence on the concert circuit by 2013, though it was clear the band was headed for yet another meltdown. They announced plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Core with a special tour, but it never materialized. Instead, they took on sporadic dates and continued with the same hits set they’d been presenting since the first reunion shows. Some shows began hours late and the onstage tension was impossible to ignore, especially when Weiland went public with his desire to reunite with Velvet Revolver. The band fired him in February 23rd, kicking off a nasty legal battle over the name rights. It was resolved in a private settlement.

June 22nd, 2013: Weiland Marries Third Wife, Photographer Jamie Wachtel

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Chelsea Lauren/Getty

Weiland met photographer Jamie Wachtel while filming videos for his Christmas album. He told Rolling Stone in 2012 that she had helped to calm his nerves on set: “I was leaning against this fireplace, and she’s like, ‘You might want to tuck in your belly a little bit,'” he recalled. “It was around the holidays – it was after Thanksgiving, and you know how that tends to be. I was kind of caught off guard, and I started laughing and she started laughing. And I don’t know … something magical happened.”

March 30th, 2015: Wildabouts Guitarist Dies One Day Before Release of Debut Album

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Jeff Vespa/Getty

Tragedy hit Scott Weiland and his new band the Wildabouts just a day before the release of their debut album, Blaster, when guitarist Jeremy Brown died from an overdose. “We received a call today about my friend Jeremy Brown that has shaken me to the core,” Weiland said in a written statement. “We were all concerned this afternoon when Jeremy didn’t show up for a long-scheduled rehearsal for tonight’s album release show at School Night. An hour later, Jeremy’s family called us to say that he had passed away. I am in shock right now; everyone that knows him is devastated.” The tour carried on with a replacement guitarist, but it served as another example of the devastating impact hard drugs have had on Weiland and those around him.

June 2nd, 2015: ‘Art of Anarchy’ Released

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics

Weiland had some connection with the self-described “mega group” Art of Anarchy, featuring Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Disturbed bassist John Moyer — but soon distanced himself from the group. He had been paid to write and record vocals for the band’s self-titled album, their first and only release, but stated that he wouldn’t be touring with the band to the support the album. “I was paid to do it. But they were an unsigned band and they’re still an unsigned band. Hey, they’re gonna put it out on the Internet, and as fate will have it they don’t even have a lead singer,” he told in aninterview. Weiland said he wanted to focus on his own project, the Wildabouts.

April 28th, 2015: Weiland Offers Bizarre Performance with Wildabouts in Texas Sparking Rumors

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Scott Legato/Getty

Despite claiming sobriety, Weiland showed signs that suggested otherwise while on tour with the Wildabouts. During an April show in Corpus Christi, Texas at the Brewster Street Icehouse, Weiland offered a bizarre rendition of “Vasoline” that sparked rumors of drug abuse. “Alright, this is a new song. We just worked it out today,” announced Weiland before going into an odd, uncharacteristically monotone version of the Stone Temple Pilots classic. Weiland’s rep blamed the mishap on fatigue and a faulty earpiece. Weiland later commented on the event: “That show the other night where I didn’t have any in-ears, so I couldn’t hear myself, and people were saying I was back on drugs, which is absolutely not the case,” the singer said. “It’s been 13 years.”

December 3rd, 2015: Scott Weiland Passes Away

Scott Weiland; Stone Temple Pilots; Life in Pics
Scott Legato/Getty

Weiland passed away in his sleep in Bloomington, Minnesota, on a Wildabouts tour stop. “We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our old friend and bandmate,” Velvet Revolver posted on member Duff McKagan’s Facebook. “We experienced a good chunk of life with Scott, and even in his darkest times, we all had hope and love for him. His artistry will live on, of that, there is no doubt.”

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Congrats St. Jude marathoners

Marathon weekend raises $8.2 million for St. Jude

By Kayleigh Skinner of The Commercial Appeal Yesterday 4:07 p.m

The St. Jude marathon weekend event ended with more than $8 million raised for the hospital, officials said.

Roughly 21,500 runners registered to compete in the 1-mile fun run, 5,000 meter, half or full marathon and collectively raised $8.2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This is St. Jude’s largest event of the year, said ALSAC CEO Richard Shadyac.

The majority of the runners traveled to Memphis from out of town. The weekend brought an estimated $20 million in economic impact to the city through hotels, restaurants and shops.–2642acb7-6b03-7182-e053-0100007f802a-360727531.html


Scott Weiland dead at 48: Singer’s amazing wailing gave Stone Temple Pilots their soul 

BY  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Friday, December 4, 2015, 2:54 AM

I just looked up the setlist for the one Stone Temple Pilots show I attended — Nov. 26, 1996 at the Nassau Coliseum — and was floored by how badass it was. 24 songs, nary a clunker. OK, maybe one or two.

But then I made the mistake of looking up the show the night before at MSG that a co-worker here said he attended, and saw that he caught the band’s one-and-only performances of “Sweet Emotion” and “Lick and a Promise” WITH Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Instant jealousy.

STP had hits. Lots of them. More than you’ll remember at first blush and plenty you could still sing if someone gave you just a few notes. That’s a lot of brain matter still taken up by 20-some-odd-year-old songs. That’s the impact Scott Weiland and his mates’ work had and has.


Weiland in his younger days. The 48-year-old was found dead Thursday.JEFF KRAVITZ/FILMMAGICEnlarge
Weiland with his wife Jamie Wachtel in November 2014. Wachtel confirmed the news of his death.KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/REUTERSEnlarge

Weiland in his younger days (left) and with his wife Jamie Wachtel in November 2014 (right). The 48-year-old was found dead Thursday.

Weiland was the face and gravelly-throated soul of a band that is sometimes forgotten as part of the grunge/alt landslide of the early 90s, when I was in my formative musical years. I was a senior in high school when “Core” dropped, a freshman in college for “Purple.”

By the time “Tiny Music Songs … ” came along, I was a full-fledged rock n’ roll college deejay cranking the monitors in the studio. STP was a crankable band. “Sex Type Thing.” “Plush.” “Big Bang Baby .” “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” Turn it up and rip the knob off, FTW.


Weiland (seen in 2000) was best known for his work with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.

Yet they also penned slower jams that could hit you deep. Many 90s acts failed here. They were one-trick ponies. Three-bar-chord-cowboys. But STP had Weiland, who was a crooner at heart. Go back and listen to “Big Empty.” Listen to “Creep.” They’re haunting.

Then there’s my personal favorite kind of STP song: the crankable ballad. “Interstate love Song.” “Seven Caged Tigers.” “Still Remains.” Boozy, measured, mellifluous lounge club vocal performances by Weiland, ensconced in perfectly cohesive rock ‘n’ roll songs. Genius.

Weiland performs at the Jones Beach Theater on Long Island in 2001. Stone Temple Pilots released five studio albums between 1992 and 2010.FRANK MICELOTTA ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

Weiland performs at the Jones Beach Theater on Long Island in 2001. Stone Temple Pilots released five studio albums between 1992 and 2010.

Unfortunately, Weiland’s life went off the rails after those first three albums. It’s the reason you need a minute to remember all his songs. It’s the reason he’s now gone at 48. The man was only eight years older than me. Yet, STP helped provide the soundtrack to my late teens and early 20s. I remember specific car rides with them blasting — moments in time. I haven’t thought of them a lot since, but every time they come on I sing along.

For 20 years, Weiland’s been a cautionary tale. And that’s sad. But man, could he wail. And that’s what I’ll remember.

Stone Temple Pilots (left to right), Eric Kretz, Dean DeLeo, Scott Weiland, and Robert DeLeo, film the video for their single "Days of the Week" from their 2001 album "Shangri-La Dee Da."KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES

Stone Temple Pilots (left to right), Eric Kretz, Dean DeLeo, Scott Weiland, and Robert DeLeo, film the video for their single “Days of the Week” from their 2001 album “Shangri-La Dee Da.”

A Tribute to Blue Eyes Sunday

Sinatra 100—This All-Star Grammy Concert Would Make Ol’ Blue Eyes Proud

If only The Chairman of The Board had lived to see it. A sea of stars and sequins filled the Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater last night in celebration ofFrank Sinatra and what would have been his 100th birthday this month. And every moment channeled the talent, sparkle and impact of the man and his magnificent musical legacy. Hosted by Seth McFarlane, whose vocals happened to blow away the audience, Sinatra 100—An All-Star GRAMMY Concert, airing Sunday night on CBS, was a kaleidoscope of top talent including other Grammy greats and best-selling artists. But in a room full of big-name entertainers, one thing was clear. It was Sinatra’s night.

With a beautiful set design that captured the feel of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ intimate Vegas venues, Sinatra 100 set the stage for a memorable evening. The camaraderie and collaboration among talent was reminiscent of the infamous Rat Pack—cool and supportive. No divas allowed. From Garth Brooks (who will be rocking the new Vegas 20,000-seat arena this July) and Alicia Keys to John Legend, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, the Sinatra influence crossed genres and generations.

Watch Sinatra 100—An All-Star GRAMMY Concert, Sunday night December 6 on CBS 9/8c.

And while Sinatra may be known for an astounding number of guy-driven hits, there was a great deal of girl power carrying the show and rocking Sinatra’s playbook. Alicia Keys’ outstanding performance of “I’ve Got A Crush On You,” earned her a standing ovation from a wowed audience. Celine Dion’s “All The Way” and Tricia Yearwood’s rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You” were flawless and inspirational. And Carrie Underwood’s performance of “Someone To Watch Over Me” drew gasps from the crowd which included the Sinatra family, celebrities and fans. PS: Don’t miss her spectacular black gown!

An audience view of The Encore Theater

Some things were expectedly wonderful, like Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr.’s ability to bring Sinatra’s music to life (Connick would later pair up with Nancy Sinatra to resurrect the father-daughter duet “Somethin’ Stupid”). But unexpected tributes from Sam Smith and Bono, and appearances by Quincy Jones, LL Cool J, and Nick Jonas added impact to the evening. And it seemed fitting that The Voice judge, Adam Levine would take the stage singing “The Best Is Yet To Come” to salute “The Voice” himself.

Sinatra will be forever known for “My Way” and doing it his way. So who better to close out the show than an artist who has made her own unique mark in the business by doing it her way? Lady Gaga embraced Sinatra brilliantly, one last time, bringing closure and confetti to the Grammy celebration. I’m pretty sure Frank would have loved it as much as we did.