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Our 3 favorites
Lyra's three favorite things with bold leadins.
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Audi is part of the Volkswagen Group, which is currently embroiled in an emissions-cheating scandal over its diesel-powered cars. VW recently issued a stop-sale order for several of its diesel vehicles, including the 2015 Audi Q7 TDI that we drove recently. Hopefully, this will be sorted out soon. In the meantime, here are our thoughts on the full-size luxury crossover.
Appearance: The Q7, first introduced in 2005, is winding down its first-generation life. (The second generation is due out soon.) The Q7 has a stately look that is beginning to feel a bit dated — we can't wait to see the redesign. Our tester, the Premium Plus trim, had the optional Offroad Style Plus package (which seems mostly for cosmetic purposes at $3,200) that includes matte-black roof rails, more-rugged fender flares, front and rear stainless steel skid plates and 20-inch Audi Sport wheels with titanium finish. It's a custom look, especially with the Daytona Gray Pearl Effect paint. ...
Today, USF isn't merely relevant, it's rolling. Saturday night's 44-23 victory against No. 21 Temple — its first triumph against a ranked team since the 2011 opener at Notre Dame — assured the Bulls' season of stretching into December.
Coach Willie Taggart's tenure now seems certain to stretch a bit longer as well.
"I don't know anything about hot seats," athletic director Mark Harlan said. "He's certainly my coach now and beyond."...
The Subaru WRX STI has always been among our favorites with its rally-inspired ride and raw power. The 2016 model brings a few tweaks, mostly inside, which makes this car even more desirable for gearheads.
Appearance: The WRX, no matter the model, is a compact sedan whose styling is driven by its performance trim. For example: We were both glad that it also came with the low-profile trunk-lip spoiler. An option for STI Limited buyers is the tall wing spoiler that borders on ridiculous. (Of course, that's just us. The Fast and Furious set, no doubt, will love the oversized down force-reducing wing.) Elsewhere, the car's functional hood scoop, front wheel vents, dual twin-exhaust tips and 18-inch BBS aluminum wheels tell us this isn't your average commuter compact. To further emphasize that point, our tester came in a distinctive WR Blue Pearl paint....
One by one they roll onto the football field, accompanied by a hush, and carry the injured away.
In Week 8 alone, a Toro Workman in Pittsburgh, a Club Car in Arlington, Texas, and Cushman carts in St. Louis and New Orleans scooped up NFL players and whisked them out of sight so that the games could resume.
Injury carts are the overlooked workhorses of the underbelly of football. Already this season, they have shuttled dozens of lame players away, including three Green Bay Packers hauled by a Taylor-Dunn cart in a single half. A line judge with a broken collarbone was carried away by a John Deere in Denver. A New York Jets player, after regaining consciousness, was strapped to the bed of a Cushman in New Jersey....
Though this would once would have been considered automotive heresy, the Cayenne has proved to be a bestseller for Porsche — even with a popular new SUV sibling, the smaller Macan, nipping at its heels. Now far along in its second generation, the Cayenne may be getting older, but it's also getting better.
Appearance: The Cayenne was redesigned in 2011 and it hasn't changed much since. Still, the 2015 crossover gets revisions — refinements, really — that include the hood, front fenders and headlights. In our model-S tester, this was evident in a blacked-out grille and modified air scoops. The BiXenon headlights now have integrated daytime running lights with four LED spotlights per unit. Our tester also featured optional 20-inch RS Spyder double-spoke alloy wheels, two dual-exhaust tips and a hatch-top spoiler. Overall, the Cayenne manages to have a classic Porsche look without trying to push the envelope of SUV design....
Mercedes-Benz purists must shake their heads when they see the GLA 45: Is this M-B pandering to younger drivers? Is the GLA 45 a crossover? An SUV? Or in the case of this AMG version, a hot hatch? The answers are yes, yes and yes. We're not M-B purists, so we say: Pander all you want, M-B.
Appearance: Mercedes would be happy to hear that the GLA 45 AMG got a lot of admiring glances from millennials while we had it. Maybe it's because this SUV (Mercedes' words) is really a hot hatchback in luxury clothing. We're not surprised our car drew looks; it's a swept-back collection of sharp creases with a long hood, sculpted body panels and a truncated rear end that is crowned with a rear wing that makes it look like a custom tuner from The Fast and the Furious. Up front, the car sports a more minimalist grille, with the Mercedes emblem set in the AMG cross-wing. Our tester had the optional AMG Aerodynamic Package combined with the Night Styling Package, which includes a large gloss-black front splitter and the rear-hatch spoiler. Our tester had 20-inch AMG 10-spoke alloy wheels painted black with bright red brake calipers. That combination looked great when contrasted with the Cirrus White paint....
As the NBA starts a new season this week, the salary cap for players will climb to a record $70 million per team at the same time that a federal court considers charges that cheerleaders have been cheated out of fair pay.
This fall, legal claims of wage theft in professional cheerleading have spread from the NFL to the NBA, and basketball teams' treatment of female performers is under scrutiny....
Seminoles left dazed and confused
Roberto Aguayo had never missed a kick in the fourth quarter for Florida State. At the very least, the Seminoles seemed assured of going to overtime against Georgia Tech. Instead, Aguayo's 56-yard field-goal attempt was blocked, and it only got worse from there. Lance Austin scooped up the loose ball and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the game, giving the Yellow Jackets (3-5) a stunning 22-16 upset Saturday night. With Kick Six, The Sequel, FSU's national title hopes were dealt a devastating blow. "We know when there's a blocked kick, you've got to cover it," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We talk about it all the time." They'll be talking about this one for years. The 'Noles (6-1) hadn't dropped an ACC game since 2012. "I thought I hit the ball well," Aguayo said. "I looked up and didn't see it flying down the middle. Then I saw it on the ground. A lot of their guys, a lot of our guys thought it was dead. It was kind of confusing." Not for Austin. "When I picked it up and started running . . . I saw a lot of green," the sophomore said. "So I was like, 'Okay, I can return it.' " He did. The finish was reminiscent of when Auburn ran back a missed field goal 109 yards to beat Alabama two seasons ago. "Everybody should have pursued to the ball and that's what didn't happen," FSU offensive lineman Rod Johnson said. The 'Noles fell to 17th in the AP Top 25 released Sunday....
We had high hopes for the TLX, Acura's new sedan that replaced the zippy TSX and comfortable TL. But we were slightly disappointed after we tested the 4-cylinder sedan, which left us wanting more power. Now comes the V-6 version loaded with high-tech safety features and a new transmission.
Appearance: The TLX is elegant but conservative. Some might even call it bland. Slender five-lamp Jewel Eye LED headlights have strong chrome borders for a visual punch. They flank a now-subdued brushed-metallic "beak" grille. Chrome also surrounds the side windows that taper with the roof line. Elongated and slender taillights wrap around toward the rear fenders. The 18-inch machine-finished aluminum alloy wheels look crisp against the Crystal Black Pearl exterior paint. ...
The Colts' attempt to fool the Patriots with a fake punt Sunday night only made Indianapolis look foolish. It might not have been the dumbest call or execution of a play in NFL history, but it certainly ranks down there in the litany of failures.
Indy, trailing by six points in the third quarter, lined up nine players to the right, with only the snapper (wideout Griff Whalen) and the quarterback (safety Colt Anderson) on the left. New England wasn't tricked, and the Colts' plan was supposed to include taking a delay of game. Instead, Anderson took a premature snap and was at the bottom of a tidal wave of Patriots tacklers. ...
We've driven the Corvette Stingray — convertible and coupe — on a few occasions since its 2014 redesign, and found it greatly improved compared with the previous-generation Vette. Still, we always thought we weren't getting its true essence because those cars had automatic transmissions. Now we know what we've been missing.
Appearance: Someone — no, not Prince — once said that all Corvettes are red in spirit. Well, for once, our tester actually was red. Torch Red. Even though we prefer the profile of the coupe, the convertible is not without its allure — even with the top down — thanks to its bold, angular body contours. Our tester's Z51 Performance Package also came with painted aluminum wheels that complement against the Torch Red paint. The power convertible cloth top retracts smoothly and tucks away cleanly; even its rear window has a defogger. (The top can even be put down remotely with a push of a fob button.)...
As Florida State officials tried to hurry coach Jimbo Fisher out of his post-game news conference Saturday, Fisher leaned back in his chair.
"It's Miami-Florida State," Fisher said. "You don't win six in a row very often."
In fact, the Seminoles hadn't done it in more than four decades, during a stretch of seven in a row that ended in 1972.
So after remaining unbeaten against Miami with a 29-24 win, Fisher was in no hurry to leave. He had plenty more to say about another gutsy victory by his young Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC)....
The bottom line: The Cadillac Escalade is for those who need a luxurious family vehicle that also carries some cachet. (Don't need that? Try the Chevy Suburban.) As long as gas prices don't rocket, big is back.
When we tested the newly redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade ESV (extended wheelbase) last year, we said the changes would put the big SUV back on the A-list for those who like their luxury large. Recently, we drove the regular Escalade — in the fully loaded Platinum trim — and it's still a case of livin' large. ...
Not the NFL or NBA or Major League Baseball. And certainly not the fantasy industry.
All claim that picking a virtual team and wagering money on its performance is different from picking a real team and wagering money on its performance.
The first is legal because it's based on skill. The second isn't because it's based on chance.
Feel free to laugh at the distinction.
Of course fantasy sports is gambling. And you know what — that's all right....