Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Paul Finebaum is criticizing Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for not living up to the hype.Finebaum has put Harbaugh on blast multiple times in the past, most recently after this season’s Week 1 loss to Notre Dame. Today, he called the coach out during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take with Stephen A. Smith.Asked by Smith about college coaches who have not lived up to expectations, Finebaum paused briefly and then said Harbaugh is probably the one who has underachieved the most.“I think it’s probably Harbaugh,” Finebaum said.. “I was flying up to Connecticut (ESPN) on Saturday and the only game on was Michigan-Northwestern. I watched the last quarter of that game. It was one of the worst football games I have ever seen.“There’s not much else to do on a plane, but it was unwatchable. Jim Harbaugh just can not develop an offense. Having said that, he’s probably going to end up with a pretty good record this year.”Finebaum also mentioned Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly as someone he thought was in trouble a year ago but has rebounded. He added that Texas’ Tom Herman “is going to have to beat someone” but is “doing better than it looks.”It seems like the only thing that Harbaugh can do to impress Finebuam would be to win a title of some sorts, either the Big Ten or the national title.The Wolverines still have a shot at the former, but the latter will be tough to attain this year as they already have a loss on their resume.
The province is forecasting a slim budget surplus for 2006-2007, as higher expenses for government pensions and labour settlements in the health care sector put pressure on the budget. The province’s second budget forecast update this year shows $3.3 million remaining in the unallocated surplus — the amount available to cover spending and revenue pressures for the rest of the year. The total surplus of $64.7 million — $8.88 million down from the $73.5 million budgeted — includes $57.4 million legislated for debt reduction, and a $4-million debt-reduction contingency. “The province continues to perform well overall,” said Finance Minister Michael Baker. “However, with a razor thin surplus, we will be taking a very prudent approach to managing our budget risks in the last quarter of the year. We must keep our expenses in line.” Total revenues are forecast to rise slightly, to $6.928 billion, including net income from government business enterprises of $340.3 million. Total expenses will go up $11.8 million to $6.917 billion, as higher program and pension expenses are offset by savings in debt servicing costs. Net program spending is forecast to increase by $21.3 million over the original budget, primarily because of an additional $23.7 million to cover the recent contract settlement with acute-care health-care workers. Costs related to government pension plans are also expected to rise, with a negative variance in the pension valuation adjustment of $35.8 million. The higher expenses are offset by a $45.3-million decrease in net debt servicing costs, to $830.9 million. The Department of Finance has revised its calculation for sinking fund interest earnings, and taken advantage of favourable market conditions for the refinancing of government debt. Net revenues, excluding government business enterprises, were down $900,000, with a number of significant changes in revenue categories. Nova Scotia’s own-source revenues are forecast to drop $12.5 million, with federal revenues $11.6 million higher than budget. Provincial and federal income tax revenues are forecast to be higher, offset by lower revenues for petroleum royalties and tobacco taxes. Mr. Baker said higher pension expenses are a significant risk for the last quarter, when new benefit and premium estimates are expected. Nova Scotia may also be hurt by income tax changes potentially coming forward in the federal spring budget. Details have not yet been announced. Nova Scotia’s real Gross Domestic Product for 2006 is forecast to be 2 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent in the budget. This is because of slowing economic growth in Canada and the United States. Mr. Baker said government departments will be asked to defer, or eliminate, non-essential spending to ensure that the province ends the year with the surplus required by the Provincial Finance Act.