This past weekend, sandwiched around men’s hockey winning its national championship, Phil Mickelson not blowing a Master’s title (while Tiger Woods did) and the Brewers losing their first game of the year, Brett Favre made his way into the headlines yet again, calling for a press conference basically to say that he hasn’t made a decision.Now, I realize Brett Favre is quite the touchy topic in the land of milk and Honeyweiss, so I’ll have to tread carefully while I tackle the subject of Favre, Wisconsin’s adopted son of football, and No. 1 write-in ballot winner of any state election.So, speaking of write-ins, that is exactly what this will be. Write your own column on the future for Favre:Brett Favre is such a ________ (noun). Do you know what kind of ________ (noun) it takes to call a 7:30 a.m. press conference in ________ (Tunica, or description of your choice), Miss., to discuss your future, ensuring every major media outlet would be there, and then just basically say that you haven’t decided yet? It’s pretty ________ (adjective), keeping his Packer nation ________ (verb).This whole Favre situation has me ________ (verb). If Brett comes back, the Pack could compete for ________ (your choice).If I had things my way, Favre would be sporting ________ (clothes, color, etc.) and ________ (clothes, color, etc.) on opening day, Sunday, Sept. 10, throwing ________ (noun plural) for the ________ (team, person, etc.), just the way it was meant to be. Surely, Dan Marino’s all-time TD record of 420 would be _______ (adjective, verb), while Aaron Rodgers’ record of consecutive games started on the bench by a first-round pick would ________ (adjective, verb).The problem is ________ (adverb) Favre loves ________ (noun) too much. How could he ________ (verb), when he still has so _______ (quantifier) left in the ________ (noun)? Sure, Favre had a down season, but half of those interceptions were just as much the fault of ________ (perpetrator). It also didn’t help that half of Green Bay’s starting lineup was ________ (your choice) last season, or that the Chicago Bears had the best ________ (your choice) in the division.The sad fact is that Favre will probably ________ (verb), and go spend more time with his ________ (noun plural).Regardless though, Favre’s legacy will live on, and to me he will always be ________________ (your choice expression… Make it good!).Just for the record, here’s how mine would look.Brett Favre is such a meanie. Do you know what kind of gumption it takes to call a 7:30 a.m. press conference in middle of nowhere (Tunica?), Miss., to discuss your future, ensuring every major media outlet would be there, and then just basically say that you haven’t decided yet? It’s nice though, keeping his Packer nation well informed.This whole Favre situation has me bored to tears. If Brett comes back, the Pack could compete for third place in the North. Woohoo.If I had things my way, Favre would be sporting PJs and a beer belly on opening day, Sunday, Sept. 10, throwing half-eaten bean burritos at the TV for the constant close-ups of Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson, just the way it was meant to be.Surely, Dan Marino’s all-time TD record of 420 would be as untouchable as the 56-game hitting streak of baseball while Aaron Rodgers’ record of consecutive games started on the bench by a first-round pick would continue, after JT O’Sullivan beats him out in camp.The problem is Favre loves throwing the ball up for grabs too much. How could he throw touchdowns, when he still has so many defenders left in the buff, they are so wide open?Sure, Favre had a down season, but it wasn’t all his fault, as half of those interceptions were just as much the fault of opposing defensive linemen double-daring him to throw with his eyes closed. It also didn’t help that half of Green Bay’s starting lineup was a J.V. unit last season, or that the Chicago Bears had the best quarterback and defense in the division.The sad fact for Packer fans is that Favre will probably run for governor — in Missisippi, and go spend more time with his Dungeons and Dragons buddies at 7-11.Regardless though, Favre’s legacy will live on, and to me he will always be the guy who backed up Chris Miller and Billie Joe Tolliver in Atlanta.Dave McGrath is a senior majoring in English and journalism. Please send your filled out column to [email protected]
Two teams of USC students have made it to the finals of Adobe’s 15th annual Analytics Challenge, a business and technology competition open to university students from across the country.This year’s teams consist of first-year Master’s in Business Administration students Edward Cho, Mary Qin and Mrinal Trikha, who make up Team DataInsights, and Naman Gupta, Kathryn Lin and Seerut Sidhu, who call themselves Team Adobe Task Force.Team DataInsights said that they assembled their team after realizing that they had similar interests and skills, specifically focusing on digital marketing competition along with data analytics. They felt as if they could fill in the gaps that the other teams possessed.“We all love data analytics, and there are so many insights that we have gained,” Cho said. “I personally have learned so much about customer-level data analytics. Big data in marketing gives really big opportunities for companies to capitalize on.”Adobe started the Analytics Challenge to recognize the importance of analyzing data, as the competition seeks to close the data skills gap and nurture the next wave of tech leaders. This year’s sponsor, Sony, will provide $50,000 in total prizes to the top six teams, with first place receiving $30,000.Participants have the opportunity to utilize their skills to analyze data from the real world offered by Sony’s PlayStation app and Playstation.com. This offered competitors access to information on site traffic, visitor retention and conversion, in-app user action metrics, device information and average session length. Students are tasked with analyzing the user experience, conversion rates and “stickiness” in order to provide Sony with recommendations for optimization.Qin said that her team’s strategy focused on combining all of their individual talents to analyze the data and look for patterns.“We had to figure out the relationships between the sets of data,” Qin said. “When we came up with the initial plan, we tried many different approaches and then finally narrowed it down to the one we presented and kept winning. Hopefully we will continue to do so.”Trikha added that perseverance helped the team get to the final round of the competition.“Sometimes you are hoping for some things out of the data, but you don’t always get that,” Trikha said. “Through this process, I have learned that you have to provide recommendations that are actually impactful. It is so important, because through this information we can predict future patterns, and it will become so much easier to collect information and store it with advancing technology.”Members of Team Adobe Task Force, meanwhile, said that though it has been difficult working with only three people, they have been able to learn from their peers and develop their own skills over time.“It’s great exposure to actually use the software,” Lin said. “We are able to use information to create a better experience for customers, but also increased revenue for the company.”Gupta expressed gratitude to the competition for providing him the opportunity to engage in an activity that will help him with his future career in the technology field.“The competition has been going on for over a month now, so our time-management skills have improved drastically since we have had to balance this with midterms, finals and other schoolwork,” Gupta said.The finals of the competition will take place on Nov. 18 at the Adobe campus in Lehi, Utah. The two USC teams are competing against teams from Yale University, Brigham Young University, the University of Utah and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Now, about that botched television contract.Scully’s impending retirement has been used as a political tool by the Dodgers’ president, the mayor of Los Angeles, and the commissioner of baseball to pressure providers into accepting a reduced rate to carry SportsNet LA this season. Currently the Dodgers’ channel is only available to Time Warner Cable subscribers in most of Southern California; TWC also holds the distribution rights to SportsNet LA. It recently pledged to reduce the carriage fee for the channel by 30 percent to AT&T/DirecTV.Had anyone asked Scully if he wanted to be a political tool, he would have declined.“The thing that bothers me is making it sound like because it’s my last year, I’m almost more important than the game,” he said. “That scares me to death. That’s the last thought. I just want to do the game. I just want to have fun.” GLENDALE, Ariz. >> Vin Scully was holding court with a large group of reporters Friday, hours before the last spring training game he’ll maybe ever broadcast, when a cell phone rang. The sound was that of an old dial-up telephone — the kind that might have rung in Scully’s Manhattan apartment as a child.As the reporters nervously checked their pockets, Scully paused.“That’s my phone,” he said, and the relieved reporters chuckled.Opening day is 10 days away, but already a powerful sentiment has been attached to Scully’s 67th and final season with the franchise. Nothing — not a ringing phone, not a botched television contract — will stand in the way of Vin Scully riding smoothly into the sunset, preferably on Vin Scully Avenue. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error For Scully, that means doing the same thing he did last year — nothing more — and maybe a little less. He is planning to broadcast 87 games this season: all 81 at home, Opening Day in San Diego on April 4, two games in Anaheim in May, and three in San Francisco to end the season.Any offers to be part of a national broadcast have so far fallen on deaf ears. That includes the All-Star Game in San Diego in July.“A lot of the networks have been very nice asking me to do an inning or two, and I don’t belong there,” Scully said. “When I did Game Of The Week, we worked every week together and I did it. Now I don’t do it. If they say — Fox for instance, they’ve been great — ‘c’mon in, do the game.’ Joe (Buck) said ‘do the whole game.’ No, no, no. I don’t belong there. I belong in Dodger Stadium in the booth. That’s where I belong. That’s where I live. That’s where I’ll stay until it’s over.”Of course, Scully’s career won’t end until the Dodgers’ season ends, and that might extend weeks into October if a long playoff run is involved.Last year Scully missed the Dodgers’ playoff series because of a medical issue. He’s fine now, he says, and his reaction to missing the National League Division Series was not what you might expect.“Instead of saying, ‘I’m missing the playoffs with the Mets,’ my mind kept telling me ‘do you realize how lucky you are that all the World Series and the playoffs and the All-Star Games, and you never missed one?’ Instead of feeling sad I was eternally grateful for all those opportunities. I guess it’s just the way you look at things, really.”More than anything, Scully said, he’ll miss the sound of fans cheering once he’s retired. It gave him goosebumps as a child, and it still does.“I used to crawl under the radio with a pillow, a glass of milk, and some Saltine crackers,” he recalled. “And this big radio had a cross-piece. I’d put the pillow on that, crawl underneath, and the speaker would be directly overhead. … Someone would score and the crowd would go crazy. That crowd noise would come down and wash over me, really, like water out of the showerhead. I used to get ecstatic just over the roar. Later, I thought I’d like to be calling the game.“To this day if there is a very good play in the ballpark and the crowd lets out a roar, I shut up. During that time that I shut up, I’m 8 years old underneath the radio. When it’s over, that’s probably the first thing I’ll miss. I’m not going to crawl under the television set.”