Just Win Baby And Youll Probably Make The College Football Playoff

Clemson 9-013667%67%17% Navy 7-1—155419%<1%<1% Oklahoma St. 9-01441337%23%5% TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title Florida State 7-21624170%<1%<1% Toledo 7-12440539%<1%<1% TCU 8-1812310%11%4% Stanford 8-11151152%26%5% Notre Dame 8-1569—30%7% Michigan 7-217201613%6%1% RankingProbability of … Texas A&M 6-3194923<1%<1%<1% UCLA 7-22321186%3%<1% Oklahoma 8-11514119%17%7% Ohio State 9-032544%57%15% Temple 8-122283943%<1%<1% Florida 8-110101438%19%3% LSU 7-129814%15%4% Memphis 8-11331453%<1%<1% Last season’s first-ever College Football Playoff might have miscalibrated everyone’s sense of what it takes to make it to the final four. Six power conference champions or co-champions1Thanks to a dubious decision by the Big 12. — Alabama, Baylor, Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon and TCU — were undefeated or had one loss against reasonably good schedules. There’s plenty of room to critique how the committee went about leaving Baylor and TCU out, but there was no one inherently correct way to slot six fairly equally matched teams into four playoff positions.But a field as crowded and qualified as last year’s was atypical. Most of the time there are a couple of teams that are weak links: a three-loss conference champion here, a one-loss team that played an incredibly weak schedule there. A mess like last year’s isn’t impossible, obviously. But usually the knot will untangle itself through conference championships, rivalry games and upsets that knock teams out late in the season.So don’t despair, Michigan State fans. (Of which I’m one.) Yeah, you probably lost on a bad call last weekend. But you’re still highly likely to make the playoff if your team wins all of its remaining games, in which case you’ll have defeated Ohio State and (probably) Iowa in the Big Ten championship. Pretty much every one-loss team from a power conference is more likely than not to make the playoff if it wins out.And an undefeated power conference team like Oklahoma State shouldn’t fret, even if it is currently outside the committee’s top four. Some of the teams ranked in front of it are almost certain to lose — and even if they don’t, there’s a good chance Oklahoma State will leapfrog some one-loss teams if it keeps winning.Our subjective perceptions of the playoff picture aren’t the only thing that may be miscalibrated, though. The same could be said about the FiveThirtyEight College Football Playoff model. At least, that’s the conclusion we came to when we were conducting research for this article. Although the model seems to give basically reasonable answers, a couple of things left us scratching our heads when we examined it more deeply.For instance, it posited a conspicuously large gap between Iowa’s chance of winning the Big Ten championship (27 percent) and making the playoff (8 percent). Iowa is undefeated, and while it’s possible they could win the Big Ten with one loss or more, the internal calculations in the model also implied that they’d have only about a 55 percent chance of making the playoff even if they ran their record to 13-0. One can see why a computer might come to that conclusion — Iowa has played a pretty bad schedule, and its margin of victory hasn’t been impressive — but human beings are going to vote an undefeated Big Ten champion into the playoff unless almost everything else2For instance, incredibly strong contenders from the other power conferences. is working against them.Readers had some questions for us too. Why was USC, which already has three losses, given any realistic chance by the model (granted, it was just 4 percent) of making the playoff? And why was one-loss Alabama’s chance of making the playoff so much higher than its SEC championship chances? There are some good reasons for that one,3In particular, if both Alabama and Mississippi had won out, Alabama would have lost the tiebreaker in the SEC West and missed the SEC championship game. The model inferred, correctly I think, that a one-loss Alabama team probably would still have made the playoff (perhaps along with a second SEC team) under those circumstances. This became a moot point when Mississippi was spectacularly upset by Arkansas. but even accounting for those, the gap seemed to be too wide and the model seemed to be too optimistic about Alabama still making the playoff if it endured a second loss.The theme here is that human beings pay a lot of attention to wins and losses — more than our computer seemed to be doing. An undefeated power conference team is going to get in except under rare circumstances. Two-loss power conference teams have historically finished in the AP top four more often than you might think, but it’s still a hard road. And a three-loss team making the playoff? Almost impossible unless there’s total carnage everywhere else.Since the whole point of our model is to mimic human intuition, reader feedback made us think it had some blind spots. So we re-examined the historical data4Since the playoff selection committee is only one year old, this also includes the behavior of the coaches’ poll since 2002. and concluded that our model should be placing more weight on plain-vanilla wins and losses. Or at least, it should be doing so for power conference teams (and for Notre Dame); minor conference teams historically haven’t been treated that kindly by either poll voters or the committee. Even if the committee currently ranks a one-loss team ahead of an undefeated team, or a two-loss team ahead of a one-loss team, it may re-examine the case in future weeks, and the team with fewer losses will often get the benefit of the doubt. (For a more technical explanation of how this is implemented in the model, see the footnotes.5One change we introduced earlier to the model is that it reverts the projected committee standings each week toward a team’s Elo rating. Elo ratings are a fairly simple method that often correspond pretty well with human judgment in ranking sports teams. But there’s an even simpler method: a rating based solely on a team’s win-loss record and whether it plays in a power conference. The new version of the model reverts a team’s ranking based on a combination of its Elo rating and its win-loss record, instead of its Elo rating alone.)This relatively simple change has little impact for most teams, but it does affect a couple of the cases that had bothered us (and some of our loyal readers). Iowa’s chances of making the playoff are now 18 percent instead of 8 percent. Alabama’s are 42 percent instead of 54 percent. USC’s are 1 percent6USC has a decent chance of winning the Pac-12 championship, but it would take a perfect storm of circumstances to get them into the playoff even if they did. instead of 4 percent. Here’s how everyone’s odds were affected by the change: Utah 8-112112122%12%2% Mississippi 7-31826109%<1%<1% Northwestern 7-2212961<1%<1%<1% Houston 9-025223633%2%<1% Wisconsin 8-2—17243%<1%<1% But back to football substance. I mentioned before how lots of teams, even if they don’t technically control their own destiny,7No team controls its own destiny, technically, since there are no guaranteed bids in the playoff. are favored to make the playoff if they win the rest of their games. Now that the model is (hopefully) doing a better job of mimicking the emphasis that human voters place on wins and losses, we can be more precise about that. Specifically, the model estimates that 14 teams have a 50 percent or greater likelihood of making the playoff conditional on winning out.The model figures that Michigan State, for instance, has an 86 percent chance of making the playoff if it wins out. Even the lowliest one-loss major conference team, North Carolina, which wasn’t ranked by the committee last week, is about even-money to make the playoff if it wins out. And undefeated Iowa (91 percent) and Oklahoma State (97 percent) are all but assured of making the playoff if they finish the year without a loss, even if the committee doesn’t have them in the top four tonight. Mississippi St. 7-22016153%3%<1% North Carolina 8-1—182030%5%<1% And here’s a new summary table showing the playoff picture heading into tonight, when the playoff committee will release its new rankings at 7 p.m. Undefeated Baylor has moved slightly ahead of one-loss Notre Dame in our forecast, but otherwise the top six are unchanged. USC 6-3—19719%1%<1% Baylor 8-067234%32%12% College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as of Nov. 3. Michigan St. 8-1782212%10%1% Iowa 9-09132927%18%2% Alabama 8-141435%42%12% So the tough part for teams like Michigan State isn’t sweating the committee’s decision if it wins the Big Ten; it’s getting to that point in the first place. With Ohio State and Iowa still in the way; the Spartans have only an 11 percent chance of running the table. read more

Nearly Every Team Is Playing Like The Rockets And Thats Hurting The

SeasonMorey+ score During that 2016-17 season, though, five other teams exceeded the Moreyball Rate of the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who had the highest non-Rockets Moreyball Rate of any team from 2012 through 2016. That incredible jump from one-sixth of the league foreshadowed what has happened since: The league’s Moreyball Rate has been rising far faster than it did during the McHale years, meaning that the Rockets’ math advantage is once again shrinking, through no fault of their own offensive priorities.While the average Moreyball Rate jumped only 3.7 percentage points from 2012 (58.1 percent) through 2016 (60.8 percent), it has rocketed (pun very much intended) all the way up to 68.3 percent in 2019. That’s a jump of 7.5 percentage points in just three seasons, compared with the four it took to erase a smaller advantage for the previous incarnation of the Rockets. And at the same time that the NBA’s average Moreyball Rate has shot through the roof, the Rockets themselves have once again stalled out. They appear to have hit a ceiling in terms of how many of their shots can really be taken from the most efficient areas of the floor.Houston’s sky-high Moreyball Rates during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons helped them to two of the most efficient offensive seasons in NBA history. During that 2016-17 campaign, the Rockets registered the 10th-best offensive efficiency in NBA history, per Basketball-Reference. During the 2017-18 season, they posted the 11th-best offensive efficiency in history. And during both seasons, the Rockets led the NBA in Moreyball Rate by a healthy margin, even while the league as a whole was catching up.This year, however, they don’t even lead the league in Moreyball Rate, marking the first time since the 2011-12 campaign that they’ve fallen out of first place. (They’ve been passed by Mike Budenholzer’s Milwaukee Bucks, who are at 82.6 percent, the highest figure that can be gleaned from the shot location data in NBA.com’s database, which reaches back to the 1996-97 season.) Amazingly, Houston’s Morey+ this season has already dropped below where it was during the 2015-16 season that inspired Morey to bring in D’Antoni in the first place. And even while they’ve cleaned up their defense a bit these past two years, the rate at which leaguewide Moreyball Rates are spiking has left their Moreyball Advantage at the lowest point it’s been in years.It seems unlikely that other NBA teams will simply stop pursuing shots from the Moreyball areas of the floor, so the league average will presumably continue to rise — if not necessarily at quite the rate it has these past few years. And with the Rockets having seemingly maxed out their own Moreyball Rates in the low 80s, it looks like the best way for them to regain the sky-high Moreyball Advantage they had in the early 2010s is by engineering their defense so that opponents simply can’t access the most efficient areas of the floor. But that’s also what every other team in the league has been trying to do to the Rockets for years, and as they’ve been showing us for quite some time now, it’s easier said than done. 2013-14124.8– Winners of five straight games, the Houston Rockets nudged their record back up to their season-high mark of two games over .500 (16-14) with a blowout win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, during which they set an NBA record by making 26 3-pointers. Despite this hot streak, however, it’s still fair to say that the Rockets have not performed as expected thus far this season. When searching for reasons why that might be the case, the focus has often been on their inability to replicate last season’s switch-happy defense or the early-season injuries and suspensions they had to weather or their general offensive malaise. (If ranking fifth in offensive efficiency can be described as a malaise.) But the root of Houston’s issues may actually just be that the rest of the league is increasingly subscribing to Houston’s core beliefs, which has eaten into the team’s math advantage.To fully understand what that means and how that’s happened, we need to back up a bit. Daryl Morey has been the general manager of the Rockets since 2007, but it wasn’t until the 2012-13 season that the purest form of Morey’s basketball philosophies truly began to shine through on the floor.Coming off three consecutive non-playoff seasons and having just traded for James Harden, the Rockets re-engineered their offense to play not only to their new star’s strengths, but also to The Math. It was during that season that the Rockets began their maniacal pursuit of the most efficient shot on every single possession, turning their collective backs on years of NBA tradition by eschewing the lost art of the mid-range jumper whenever possible in favor of attempts either at the rim or behind the three-point line.It’s easy to see the benefits of that offensive strategy now — six years after the Rockets took it to what then seemed like its logical extreme — but at the time, it was not yet really accepted that this was a healthy way to construct an offense. Not everybody believed in The Math. The Rockets did, however, and they did to a degree that was then unheard of in league history.During that 2012-13 campaign, the Rockets attempted 73.6 percent of their shots from either the restricted area or three-point range, per NBA.com. (For the balance of this piece, we’ll refer to this percentage as a team’s “Moreyball Rate,” in keeping with certain segments of the basketball analytics community.) The next closest team was the Denver Nuggets at 67.4 percent, while the average NBA team had a Moreyball Rate of 57.1 percent. 2018-19119.8– * A rating where 100 equals the NBA average and every point above or below 100 equals a one percent change (up or down). 2017-18126.1– 2015-16120.1– Morey+ score* for the Houston Rockets 2016-17128.8– 2014-15125.3– 2012-13129.1– By attempting so many more of their shots from the most efficient areas of the floor than any other team, the Rockets created for themselves a healthy math advantage. Through shot selection alone, they essentially began each game with a small lead that their opponents needed to erase in addition to out-scoring them over the course of 48 minutes in order to win the game.For the next three seasons under Kevin McHale, however, the Rockets’ Moreyball Rate stayed fairly stagnant. They still led the NBA in Moreyball Rate during each of those seasons, but they did so with rates that hovered between 72.6 and 73.8 percent. At the same time, the league average Moreyball Rate crept upward, eating into the Rockets’ math advantage and, by extension, that small de facto lead with which they began every game.This is perhaps best exemplified by scaling their Moreyball Rate against the league average. Fans familiar with baseball statistics like OPS+ will recognize this formula: The NBA average Moreyball Rate is given a score of 100, while a team whose Moreyball Rate is 10 percent better than league average receives a Morey+ score of 110, and a team whose Moreyball Rate is 10 percent worse than league average receives a Morey+ score of 90. So, in a world where the league average Moreyball Rate is 50 percent, a team with a 55 percent Moreyball Rate has a Morey+ of 110, while a team with a 45 percent Moreyball Rate has a Morey+ of 90.Using the same formula, we can calculate that during the 2012-13 season when the Rockets had a Moreyball Rate of 73.6 percent against a league average of 57.1 percent, they had a Morey+ of 129.1, meaning they attempted shots in the restricted area or from three-point territory at a rate 29.1 percent higher than that of the average NBA team. That is a ridiculously high mark. But it was also essentially the high-water mark for the McHale-era Rockets, whose Morey+ plummeted over the next few seasons, though not through any offensive fault of their own.At the same time the Rockets’ math advantage on offense was shrinking, the same thing was happening on the defensive end of the court. During that 2012-13 campaign, the Rockets did an excellent job of limiting their opponents’ attempts from the Moreyball areas of the floor. Slowly but surely, however, they ended up yielding better and better shots, and their opponents’ Moreyball Rate crept upward at an even faster rate than the league average.The decline of the Rockets’ math advantage during that time looks even starker when pitting their offense and defense against each other. At the same time as they were shooting 29.1 percent more often from Moreyball areas than the average team in 2012-13, they were forcing opponents to shoot from those areas 3.2 percent less often than the average squad. Add those two numbers up, and the Rockets had a Moreyball Advantage of 32.2 points during that season. By the time they got to the 2015-16 campaign, however, their Moreyball Advantage had been cut by more than half (to 13.8 points).During those four years, the Rockets were the only team to have a Moreyball Rate above 68.8 percent, but the average team still gained steadily gained on them, and their ability to prevent their own opponents from getting to Moreyball areas declined as well. And it was then that Morey decided to hire Mike D’Antoni. Because if the Rockets couldn’t stop the rest of the league from following their lead in following The Math, then the next-best option was for them to take The Math to new heights.In D’Antoni’s first season, the Rockets had a Moreyball Rate of 81.8 percent, blasting the previous league highs they’d set over the prior few seasons. That 81.8 percent figure was, obviously, the highest in the NBA by far, making it the fifth consecutive season during which the Rockets led the league. Crucially, that rate bumped their Morey+ all the way back up to 128.8 — almost all the way back to where it was during that 2012-13 campaign, when the Rockets first began truly orienting their offense around The Math. read more

Womens basketball coach Patrick Kleins career continuing to soar since unconventional beginning

Patrick Klein calls out a play from the sideline during an OSU basketball game. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsPatrick Klein didn’t quite get the introduction to basketball that he expected. He wished to become a walk-on player as an Ohio State student, but things changed quickly.“I left my dorm and my friends were wishing me luck,” Klein said. “I came back and said ‘Hey, I made it, but the women’s practice team.’”Even though the position was not what he had originally envisioned, Klein rolled with the punches and quickly began working his way up the ranks of women’s college basketball, recently leading to a promotion to associate head coach of the OSU women’s basketball team.By the time he graduated from OSU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Klein — a native of Belpre, Ohio — served as a student manager for the women’s basketball team from 2004-2005.Upon earning his undergraduate degree, Klein stayed at OSU as a graduate assistant under former head coach Jim Foster from 2005-2007.Klein then moved on to the University of Illinois, where he was an assistant coach from 2008 to 2010. For the 2011-2012 season, he returned to OSU, where he spent the next five seasons as an assistant coach.“For them to make that job title for me, it was an honor,” Klein said.Although he is appreciative of the promotion, Klein has never been caught up with labels.“When you work with great people, it’s not about the titles,” Klein said. “It’s just about every day working together for that common goal.”Despite the new title, Klein’s duties for the team remain the same. He will continue to be a key contributor in the recruiting process, provide detailed analysis on OSU and its opponents and will continue to push his agenda of proving OSU has a top women’s college basketball program“One of the big things for us here is being the best, the absolute best at developing young people,” Klein said. “In order to be the best, you have to really have the opportunity to focus on the details every single day.”Coach Kevin McGuff has had Klein as an assistant coach in his first three years at OSU.“He’s done a great job since he’s been here,” McGuff said. “He’s really helped us develop the program.”Off the court, Klein has helped bring in several highly rated recruiting classes for the Buckeyes.“Really, he’s been impactful on all of the recruits that we have gotten here,” McGuff said. “He’s very much a people person and he’s got great organization skills.”Klein also helped aid the club’s scoring spike in the 2015-2016 season, when OSU scored 86 points per game to set a new school record.“I think it’s just trying to execute coach McGuff’s vision, it’s trying to play really fast and aggressive,” Klein said. “We have great players out there that play hard and create an environment where both defense and offense creates points.”Looking ahead to the upcoming campaign, Klein said he is excited to see this year’s group take the floor.“Not only from a talent standpoint, but just the chemistry and how our team has grown together. I think that makes us really special,” Klein said. “When we’re playing the schedule that we’re playing — South Carolina, Miami, UConn — these are teams that you have to be totally focused and you have to continue to be prepared. Everybody’s role is going to be important this year.”As for his coaching future, Klein isn’t in any rush to move on from his current role with the Buckeyes.“Any time that you can coach at your alma mater, it’s a really special thing.” Klein said. “I have one of the best jobs in women’s college basketball.” read more

Football Curtis Samuel forgoing senior season for 2017 NFL draft

OSU junior H-back Curtis Samuel (4) rushes upfield with his teammates during their game against Michigan on Nov. 26 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 30-27. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo EditorJunior H-back Curtis Samuel has decided to enter the NFL draft, forgoing his final season at Ohio State. Samuel’s decision was arguably the most important one of any players who could have declared early.The news was first reported by Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.com, then confirmed later by Samuel on Twitter.Samuel was the glue to OSU’s offense in 2016. The do-it-all running back/wide receiver was perhaps coach Urban Meyer’s closest replica of the production he witnessed from Percy Harvin at Florida. Samuel accumulated 771 rushing yards and 865 receiving yards with 15 total touchdowns.The Brooklyn, New York, native was the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision with more than 700 yards both receiving and rushing.OSU redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett will be without his top two targets, Samuel and Noah Brown, in 2017. The departure of Samuel could lead to a starting role for freshman running back Demario McCall, who provides a speedy threat both out of the backfield and on routes.Samuel is currently ranked as the fourth overall wide receiver and sixth best running back in this year’s NFL draft according to WalterFootball.com. He will most likely be a first or second round selection.#Gobucks pic.twitter.com/5U8guwNMn7— Curtis Samuel (@CurtisSamuel4__) January 9, 2017 read more

Urban Meyer Ohio State secure recruits during weekend

Ohio State football was banned from the postseason, but you can’t say the Buckeyes didn’t make progress during college football’s bowl season. OSU grabbed two coveted recruits at the linebacker position during weekend all-star games to add to a 2013 recruiting class ranked No. 3 in America by Rivals.com. The two commits fill an area of need for coach Urban Meyer’s 2013 class, which lost linebacker Alex Anzalone to Notre Dame in May. Starting linebackers Zach Boren and Etienne Sabino will be lost to graduation, leaving sophomore Ryan Shazier as the only returning starter at the position. OSU gobbled up four-star linebacker recruit Mike Mitchell of Plano, Texas, late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Mitchell, of Prestonwood Christian Academy, boasts a 6-foot-4, 216-pound frame and was ranked the third-best player in talent-rich Texas, according to Rivals.com. The weekend’s first piece of good recruiting news for OSU came Friday during the Under Armour All-American Game when four-star linebacker Trey Johnson of Lawrenceville, Ga., and Central Gwinnett High School donned an OSU ball cap to announce his decision to join Meyer’s 2013 recruiting class. Johnson stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 221 pounds, according to Rivals.com. The verbal commitments from Mitchell and Johnson bring the total number of four-star players in the Buckeyes’ 2013 class to 14, according to Rivals.com. Only Notre Dame and Alabama, respectively, have classes ranked higher than OSU’s. Verbal commitments are something of an appetizer in the world of college football, with the main course coming on National Signing Day, which falls on Feb. 6. Recruits are able to put pen to paper on that day and make their commitment to a given program binding. read more

Opinion 2015 MLB playoff race still wide open for many teams

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is greeted at home by Andrew McCutchen after hitting a three-run homer against the New York Mets on May 24, 2015, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.Credit: Courtesy of TNSAs the summer has heated up, so too has the playoff race in Major League Baseball.Teams have now gone through the July 31 trade deadline, are tweaking their 25-man rosters for their playoff pushes, and are looking at players who clear the waivers until Aug. 31 (most notably being Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes). These teams will be looking to get the right formula to make a strong run at the playoffs to be one of the 10 teams with a chance at obtaining the coveted World Series trophy.At this point, teams are either all in or looking at what they can manage out of this year. There are just five spots in each league to make the playoffs and only two ways to get in: winning a division crown or wild card.This year has shown us that the game of baseball can be very strange at times. For example, at this moment the best five teams, by record in order, are: the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. The National League has four of these teams, with all but Kansas City. Three of these teams are even in the same division with St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Chicago all being from the National League Central.In the National League, if the playoffs started today the top seed would be the Cardinals, the No. 2 seed would be the Dodgers, the No. 3 seed would be the New York Mets and the Pirates would host the Cubs for the wild card game. The winner of the wild card game would move on to face St. Louis in the divisional round, with whoever winning that series meeting either the Mets or Dodgers in the National League Championship Series and a chance to play for the World Series.Going back to how baseball this year is strange, look at the third- and fourth-best teams in baseball. Both would get a wild card, and the fourth-best team even has to go on the road. Look a little closer at it, though.The best team in baseball also gets shorted due to having to play either the third- or fourth-best team in the division series. When playing a wild card, you expect it to at least be worse than most of the division winners. In the National League, bizarrely, both of the wild cards are better than the leaders of the National League East and West divisions.The Dodgers and Mets are looking to win their divisions with weaker teams, meaning they need one fewer game to play to advance to the NLCS than the better-record wild-card teams. This is only in the National League, and we haven’t even talked about the defending World Series champion, the San Francisco Giants, who are a handful of games out of the second wild card.The National League has a lot of other storylines as well, with the other two division races.The East has been between the Washington Nationals and the Mets all year. The Mets have taken over at this point, but if the Nationals can string some victories together they can make a run for it. Plus these teams still have six games remaining on the schedule against the other.The National League West is having a very typical year as of recent. The Dodgers lead the division, but only by a couple of games over the Giants. These two have been going at it all season; both teams have the right pieces to make a late-September run. These two teams have seven games left against each other.The American League may not have as many teams in the top five, but they do have some good storylines, too. Kansas City starts it off by running away with the best record in the league, as well as in the American League Central. The American League East, which started out the year as the “American League Least,” has come into form with New York Yankees leading the Toronto Blue Jays by a shred of a game. They also have seven games left between one another. The American League West is slowly turning into the most talked about division in the league. The West features the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels in a back-and-forth battle this summer. Houston sits atop right now with a slight lead over the Angels.This season still has a lot to offer with October baseball just around the corner. Teams that might be viewed as a non-contender at the moment could go on a surprising run all the way to and through the playoffs. As we work our way into September and the air gets a little colder, look for MLB to be heating up into the 2015 playoffs. read more

Football Ohio States Urban Meyer investigation to reportedly receive 500K budget

Urban Meyer paces during a Buckeye offensive possession from the sideline in the third quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game on Nov. 4. Ohio State lost 55-24. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State could be given $500,000 to spend in its investigation into how football head coach Urban Meyer handled the domestic abuse allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, according to Columbus Dispatch reporter Jenn Smola.According to the report, Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine has given Ohio State a budget of $500,000 to spend on the law firm handling the investigation. That budget will require approval from the Ohio Controlling Board on Monday. The report goes on to say that Ohio State cannot exceed a $1,620 per hour rate.Ohio State will be responsible for compensating the law firm, Debevoise and Plimpton, when the investigation has concluded, the report said.According to a statement issued by the university on August 5, an independent group will complete its investigation in 14 days. That group is chaired by former Ohio House speaker Jo Ann Davidson and is responsible for directing the work of the investigative team led by former Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Mary Jo White. She is also the senior chair for the law firm Debevoise and Plimpton. read more

Football Greg Studrawa continues to make decisions through head coaching change

Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa coaches his unit at a fall practice on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorPASADENA, Calif. — Ryan Day is focused on the Rose Bowl. Although Day has not been shy in expressing his feelings towards taking the Ohio State head coaching job after his stint as offensive coordinator for the past two seasons under head coach Urban Meyer, the current offensive coordinator would not disclose the specifics of the position, the decisions he will make after he officially takes the job on Jan. 2. He has not disclosed information regarding his coaching staff for the 2019 season other than taking the interim tag off wide receivers coach Brian Hartline on Dec. 8. “Right now it’s all about winning this game,” Day said. “It’s on us right now. That’s where the focus is.” Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is one of the position coaches seemingly in limbo, not knowing whether his contract will be retained when Day officially takes over. Studrawa has a similar story to many other coaches on the roster, including defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and linebackers coach Billy Davis. After leaving the offensive line coaching job at Maryland in 2015, Studrawa joined the Ohio State staff because of a close friend: Meyer. “I’m going to miss him, obviously, because we are friends,” Studrawa said. “I came back to coach for him and obviously that is a part of our relationship that I am going to miss, seeing him every day and doing those things.” Studrawa knows his job is in flux, something he said is part of the business. He said he has to focus on his current job: getting his offensive line ready for its Rose Bowl matchup with Washington on Tuesday. However, Studrawa said he has been given no indication that he would be losing his position after the leadership change from Day. He and Day have discussed plans for the future on the offensive line, significant plans that are vital for success of the line in 2019. “We’ve had discussions of when we get back, what is going to happen with the line, how are we going to get this thing moving forward,” Studrawa said. “Those things, we have talked about a plan with him being the boss.”And one of those plans has begun being implemented in bowl practice. If junior Michael Jordan returns to Ohio State for his final season of eligibility, he said Saturday he wants to return to left guard, the initial position he held with Ohio State and was an All-American for before moving to center. With Jordan back at his original position, Day and Studrawa told redshirt freshman Josh Myers he would be the leading candidate for the starting center position heading into the 2019 season. To Myers, it’s an honor to be considered for this position, following in the footsteps of who he considered to be elite guard-turned-centers: Jordan, Pat Elflein and Billy Price. As a converted center himself, Myers said it takes a level of experience, a level of confidence and vocal leadership to take charge of the position in the middle of the offensive line. Even though he may be the favorite for the position heading into 2019, he said job security is no guarantee. “It’s something I will still have to fight for,” Myers said. “I understand that it’s not going to be a position given to me. It’s an elite position with a lot of really good players that have been there in the past. It’s something I have to go win for myself. It’s not given and I understand that.” That is a recent history Studrawa was there for, molding Price, molding Elflein into two Rimington Award winners, two NFL-caliber centers after spending three years at guard. He helped Jordan, even though he is moving back to his original position next season, to have an All-American season in the middle. This was something Studrawa mentioned when talking about his own job security, talking about how Ohio State held a top-ranked offense and had All-Conference players on his line. Studrawa knows football is a business. He knows that it’s Day’s decision to make. But, at this point, Studrawa is going to continue to coach the offensive line, preparing his unit for the 2019 season. “It’s unbelievable, but you know what? That’s part of this business, everybody understands it, you know, and you hope that you’ve done a good enough job and you’ve got the proof in the pudding, and that the guy wants you on his staff,” Studrawa said. “I’ve got no indications otherwise, so I’m looking forward to getting the guys ready to play this game.” read more

Softball Ohio State sweeps Indiana with 20 win Sunday

Ohio State then-freshman pitcher Morgan Ray (6) throws a pitch during a game against Maryland on March 26. Credit: Gabriella DiGiovanni | Lantern photographerThe Ohio State softball team (18-9, 3-0 Big Ten) blanked Indiana (25-9, 0-3 Big Ten) in the final game 2-0, sweeping the three-game series against the Hoosiers. Senior pitcher Morgan Ray recorded a complete game, striking out five while allowing two hits in seven innings pitched. Ray complimented the play of sophomore catcher Claire Nicholson in her seventh complete game of the season. “Claire did awesome behind the plate today,” Ray said. “I can’t do it without her.”Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly  said Ray is a true competitor and a great model for the rest of the team, getting better every day. The game tied at zero until the fourth inning when senior second baseman Emily Clark doubled down the left field line, scoring senior shortstop Lilli Piper and giving the Buckeyes the lead. Freshman right fielder Kaitlyn Coffman singled up the middle, brought Clark in and extended the lead to 2-0 for Ohio State.After losing three games against Indiana this past year, Schonely said this was a big series for Ohio State. “This is like one of the most rewarding series,” Schoenly said. “It’s great to see the kids put all together. They deserve all the credit. They did all the work. I am super proud of them.”Ohio State will next take on Kentucky on the road Wednesday at 5 p.m. read more

97 nail bar workers arrested in crackdown on barbaric modern slavery

first_imgThe operation, led by Immigration Enforcement, took place from November 27 to December 3 and saw officers visit more than 280 businesses across the UK.The majority of the 97 people arrested were Vietnamese nationals, but the number also included suspected immigration offenders from Mongolia, Ghana, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.Those who are potential victims of trafficking will be offered support, while those who have no right to be in the UK will be removed, the Home Office said.Officers also issued notices to 68 businesses warning them they may be liable for financial penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal worker found if they cannot provide evidence that appropriate right to work document checks were carried out.Fourteen people were referred to the National Referral Mechanism hub, which supports those identified as possible victims of slavery and human trafficking.Operation Magnify is an initiative aiming to tackle exploitative employers who provide low-paid jobs to illegal migrants.It focused on the construction, care, cleaning, catering, taxi and car wash industries during 2016, with further activity in similar sectors planned for 2017. Scores of people were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences in a crackdown on alleged illegal working in nail bars.A total of 97 people were held during the week-long operation launched at the end of last month.It also saw dozens of businesses warned they could face fines and 14 people identified as potentially being at risk of modern slavery.The activity was part of Operation Magnify, a cross-government drive to clamp down on illegal working by targeting specific “risk” industries. Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said: “This operation sends a strong message to those employers who ruthlessly seek to exploit vulnerable people and wilfully abuse our immigration laws.”Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society.”This Government has taken world-leading action to tackle it by introducing the Modern Slavery Act, giving law enforcement agencies the tools they need and increasing support and protection for victims.”At the same time, we have also introduced strong measures through the Immigration Act to tackle illegal working, including making it easier to prosecute employers who repeatedly break the rules and creating the power to temporarily close businesses that do not comply with the law.” Modern slavery is a barbaric crime which destroys the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our societyRobert Goodwill Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more