But to examine the broader question of whether balance helps a team, we need to see if our measure of balance — specifically, the absolute difference between a team’s index and the league average of 100 on both offense and defense — tracks meaningfully with a team’s future success after controlling for its overall talent level.To that end, I computed the same offensive and defensive indices as above for each team on July 31 of every season since 1986, when the trade deadline was permanently moved to that date (except this year, when the commish moved it to Aug. 1 because July 31 fell on a Sunday). As a first pass, I checked whether a change in a team’s balance correlated with improved play over the remainder of the regular season — and the relationship was practically non-existent.2In statistical parlance, the r between the change in a team’s balance from before the trade deadline to after and its change in winning percentage was 0.018. I then did the same thing but for eventual playoff teams only … and got the same result.3This time, the correlation was -0.009. Finally, I looked at whether a playoff-bound team’s balance had any real bearing on its World Series odds after controlling for its talent, and again, a team’s balance had no significant effect. (If anything, less balanced playoff teams have tended to win the World Series more often since 1986, though that finding is likely just noise.)In other words, balance isn’t something for a team to seek at the deadline — talent is. Teams should be wary about dealing from a strength to improve a weakness if it doesn’t leave them in a better overall place than where they started. Even under the bright lights, a run saved is still worth the same as a run scored, balance be damned.Check out our latest MLB predictions. One school of thinking about the MLB trade deadline, which passes at 4 p.m. Eastern time, is that teams should address their weaknesses and become more balanced in preparation for the stretch run. The notion, which we’ve taken as a given around these parts in the past, is that sacrificing in some area of strength (whether on offense, pitching or defense) to plug a weakness makes a team less vulnerable in the postseason. But is that true? Certainly teams should patch up their weaknesses if it doesn’t mean taking away from their strengths, but all else being equal, balance for its own sake may not necessarily help improve a team’s chances.It’s easy to look at a team’s offense/defense balance — defined as how closely matched a team’s run-scoring and run-prevention capabilities are. We can quantify the clubs most in need of it at the deadline this season by indexing each team’s (park-adjusted) runs scored and allowed per game against the league average. In the chart below, the teams in the bottom right-hand corner are the most balanced — they’re good at both scoring and preventing runs1In this case, a lower defensive index is better because it means a team allowed fewer runs. — but those in the adjacent quadrants have a weakness in one of the two categories. (Those in the top left are just bad at everything.)
Reggie Jackson’s back-peddling and apologizing were not enough to prevent the New York Yankees from banning the Hall of Fame slugger from being around the team indefinitely.Jackson, a special adviser to the team, was quoted in Sports Illustrated blasting Yankee Alex Rodriguez, saying, among other things, that Rodriguez’ statistics are tainted because of his admitted use of performance enhancing drugs and that old timers would not vote for him for the Hall of Fame.On Friday Jackson called Rodriguez, manager Joe Giradi and team officials to apologize. That did not temper the team’s anger. Jackson was not in Boston over the weekend, where the Yankees played the Red Sox.“A cooling-off period, but not a death penalty,” a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking called it Jackson’s banishment to ESPNNewYork.com.At some point, Jackson is expected to be back with the team, the source said.Rodriguez said he heard from Jackson but would not get into details of the conversation. “We’re going to keep that very private,” Rodriguez said Friday.In the Sports Illustrated article, Jackson said “Al’s a very good friend,” Jackson said of the Yankees’ third baseman, who has 642 career home runs, placing him fifth all-time.“But I think there are real questions about his numbers,” Jackson said. “As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records.”He went on to say that Rodriguez and Barry Bonds and others who have been part of the steroids scandal should not be in the Hall of Fame.“If any of those guys get in, no Hall of Famer will attend,” Jackson told SI.Rodriguez handled the disrespect with aplomb. But he did say, apparently jokingly, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”He might have offered that in jest. But if Rodriguez was serious, who could blame him?
Photo by Flickr/Scott MecumLos Angeles Lakers owners Jeanie and Jim Buss have both expressed their feelings publicly about the departure of Dwight Howard.In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Jim said Howard “was never really a Laker. He was just passing through.”In a recent interview, Jeanie’s opinion of the Howard’s exit differed.“It’s disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,” Jeanie said. “I feel like we failed him.”The free agent center left the Los Angeles Lakers and signed a four-year deal with the Houston Rockets worth $88 million.In February, longtime Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss died from cancer. His executive position and ownership passed to two of his children, Jeanie and Jim. Jeanie is in charge of business and Jim is in charge of basketball operations.“My brother ultimately makes the [basketball] decisions,” said Jeanie. “I defer and will continue to defer because that’s what my dad believed would be successful.”Jeanie let it be known that she would like to be more involved with the Lakers’ basketball decisions.“I would be more comfortable if I understood what the decision process was, and I’m not always involved in it,” she continued. “To be held accountable by the league and not have a seat at the table when decisions are made is hard.”Jeanie also said she believes her father might have had success persuading Howard to stay in LA.
QBR48.245.5 yearFOllowing year Cardinals2010308th101926th0 49ers2013306th (tied)5294th (tied)3 Bills2011309th62123th (tied)1 Patriots2010382nd5343rd3 Bears2012441st92813th (tied)6 Bengals2013313rd (tied)52610th (tied)3 Jacksonville’s defense regressed even more than expectedNFL teams from 2010 to 2016 that had at least 30 takeaways and five defensive touchdowns with how they fared the following year, along with the 2017-2018 Jacksonville Jaguars Texans2014342nd52512th (tied)3 Patriots2012412nd52910th (tied)3 There’s no denying that Bortles and the offense are a problem. But this was perfectly predictable. This year, Bortles is playing exactly like you would have expected. His QBR and passer rating are similar to his career rates, and his yards per dropbacks metric is actually significantly better.Bortles has led his team to only 34 points in four losses, though all of those came without bell-cow running back and 2017 fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette in action. While the Jaguars have averaged 4.3 yards per rush this year, the same rate as in 2017, it could reasonably be argued that defenses no longer need to focus as much on stopping the run, making the sledding more difficult for Bortles and the passing game.But more importantly, last season the Jaguars could count on getting some offense from their defense. They had a league-high seven return touchdowns on picks and fumbles in 2017. But this year, they have had only one — and none in the games they lost. And their defense is not even setting up their offense with good field position via the turnover, as they had just two takeaways in the four defeats after finishing second in the league last year by averaging more than two per game. Sources: Pro-Football-Reference.com, ESPN Stats & Information 2018 Blake Bortles compared with his career average prior to this season Passer rating80.380.8 Chiefs2016331st5267th (tied)3 2018Career Chiefs2013362nd71430th (tied)1 Lions2011343rd (tied)71727th0 Yards per pass play6.415.98 Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com Packers2011381st (tied)52318th (tied)2 The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Super Bowl dreams are turning into a nightmare. And the obvious culprit is quarterback Blake Bortles, who was benched early in the second half of Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans — the team’s third-straight defeat.A civil war appeared to erupt after the game in the locker room, which beat writer Daniel Popper of The Athletic described as having “surpassed 212 degrees Fahrenheit.”“The Jaguars are sinking helplessly into the burning cauldron with no lifeline in sight,” Popper wrote on Twitter.The defensive players were yelling the loudest, so the narrative is that the finger-pointing is at Bortles and the club’s offense. But those fingers may be pointing the wrong way: The real reason for the team’s struggles is that its super-human defense is not merely regressing as expected in forcing turnovers and converting them into touchdowns — it’s collapsing. Cardinals2015332nd6284th (tied)3 DefenseYearTake-awaysLeague RankDef. TDsTake-awaysLeague RankDef. TDs Jaguars2017332nd7529th (tied)1 Bears2011315th (tied)5441st9 Cardinals2013306th (tied)52514th (tied)4 Make no mistake, the Jaguars defense overall is still very good — second in yards allowed and second in yards allowed per pass play. It’s just not supplementing an offense that needs supplementing. So now the Jaguars attack isn’t Bortles-plus — it’s just Bortles. And completely unsurprisingly, “just Bortles” is not a recipe for NFL success.NFL teams this decade that had at least 30 turnovers and at least five defensive touchdowns generally badly regressed — from an average league rank of 3.5 in turnovers to 13.5. But the Jaguars thus far have gone from second to a tie for 29th. So now a team that appeared poised to return to the postseason after reaching the AFC Championship is on life support.Head coach Doug Marrone seemed to concede after Sunday’s game that Bortles wasn’t really to blame for the team’s woes, but he had to do something.“I just literally did it to try to get a damn spark from this football team, to put everyone on notice that they have to focus, and they have to go out there and play better,” he told reporters. “That’s not fair to the quarterback, but that’s the way this business is. … The one thing you do with that position, doesn’t matter the name, doesn’t matter who it is: When you make a move to get a spark, everyone goes on notice. Everyone.”But the spark Marrone was trying to get isn’t really the spark that the Jaguars need. It’s some turnovers.There’s a chicken and egg issue here though. Turnovers are easier to come by when you have the lead. In 2017, the Jaguars forced 41 sacks and 13 picks in 372 pass plays while they were leading — when the opposing offense was more reckless and pass-happy.Those 372 plays were 63 percent of all opponent dropbacks last year and led to 62 percent of the Jags’ picks and 75 percent of their sacks. This year, opponents are throwing only 44 percent of their passes while trailing — and those plays accounted for just 47 percent of their sacks and 33 percent of their picks.So the way for the Jaguars to function better as a team is for someone on either side of the ball to make a play early and give Jacksonville a lead. They’ll get a chance Sunday in London against another team that’s learning that success in the NFL is far from stable, the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles, who are also just 3-4. But if the Jags can’t turn it around, the temperature in their locker room might never go down.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
CIN0.00.0PIT15.85.411.01491 ATL0.00.0TB0.00.00.91470 NO74NO67NO 31, PIT 28-6.6– PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS DAL100.00.0NYG0.00.00.91488 TEN62.147.1IND37.847.094.71552 IND74IND75IND 28, NYG 27-1.4– CHI68CHI73CHI 14, SF 9+0.9– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 16Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 16 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game MIA61MIA61JAX 17, MIA 7-2.2– KC100.00.0OAK0.00.00.51492 DEN61DEN62OAK 27, DEN 14-3.1– PHI66PHI51PHI 32, HOU 30-14.7– CLE60CLE66CLE 26, CIN 18+2.6– The best matchups of Week 17Week 17 games by the highest average Elo rating (using the harmonic mean) plus the total potential swing for all NFL teams’ playoff chances based on the result, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions KC54KC56SEA 38, KC 31-5.0– CAR62%CAR51%ATL 24, CAR 10+9.5– NE100.00.0NYJ0.00.00.81467 Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality DEN0.00.0LAC100.00.01.01518 LAR77LAR83LAR 31, ARI 9+0.7– MIN72.0%+/-31.6CHI100.0%+/-0.063.41597 BUF0.00.0MIA0.00.00.81395 HOU100.00.0JAX0.00.01.21489 LAC66LAC67BAL 22, LAC 10-3.5– MIN55MIN63MIN 27, DET 9+4.4– There are a few other games with playoff probability on the line. As mentioned earlier, the outcome of the Eagles’ game with Washington is very much of importance to the Vikings, who would clinch with a Philadelphia loss. The Cleveland Browns’ matchup with the Baltimore Ravens has done the unthinkable — made Pittsburgh Steeler fans root for the Browns — since a Baltimore win would eliminate the Steelers from the postseason picture. Baltimore could still make the playoffs with a loss, but the Ravens would need Pittsburgh to lose its game against Cincinnati, which is also happening simultaneously at 4:25 p.m. ET. (In related news: Are you ready for a completely insane Sunday afternoon of football?)Although other games could determine seeding, and there are a few stray percentage points of playoff odds’ difference at stake around the league, those are basically the games that will carry the most weight in Week 17, and we can’t wait to see how they all play out.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersWhile you’re prepping for the playoffs, be sure to check out FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings using our NFL prediction interactive, which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and tracks how often each team should make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Did you know you can also pick against the Elo algorithm in our prediction game? Maybe you can also climb up our giant leaderboard.Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the reader picks last week: ARI0.00.0SEA100.00.00.61451 Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. PHI28.020.0WSH0.00.040.81512 GB57GB59GB 44, NYJ 38-0.3– OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION CAR0.00.0NO100.00.00.51587 NE84NE83NE 24, BUF 12-2.0– Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup. Total Change adds up the potential swing in playoff odds for every team in the league (not just the two teams listed).*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN TEN73TEN74TEN 25, WSH 16-1.4– LAR100.00.0SF0.00.01.21499 It’s the last week of the NFL’s regular season, and that means it’s time to game out all of the fun playoff scenarios facing each team.Here at FiveThirtyEight, we like to measure the most important games of the week based on how much they swing every team’s odds of making the postseason (across every team in the entire league). And by that standard, you can’t top Sunday night’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, which will shift around nearly 95 total points of playoff probability. (Really, that’s for the two teams involved — the winner will make the playoffs and the loser won’t, which effectively makes it a play-in playoff game.) Oddly, it’s only the third time ever that the Titans will play in NBC’s flagship Sunday night game (the last was in 2009), while for the Colts, it will have been exactly 60 years and two days since they beat the New York Giants for the NFL title in the Greatest Game Ever Played, which helped make TV-spectacle games like this one possible.That may not be the best game of Week 17, however. We also like to include an element for team quality, and Titans-Colts is still just the No. 13 team in our Elo ratings against No. 14. When the Minnesota Vikings face the Chicago Bears, it will be No. 6 vs. No. 11 in Elo, and it’s a game that has plenty of playoff significance in its own right. The Vikings wouldn’t automatically miss the playoffs if they lose, but they would not be in great shape (35 percent), while they would clinch with a victory. And the Bears have plenty to play for as well; a win and a Rams loss would help them get a first-round playoff bye. Of course, fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will be watching this game closely: A Vikings win would end Philly’s season, while a Bears win would give the Eagles a chance to play their way in. (Both games kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET.) DET0.00.0GB0.00.01.41456 Playoff %Playoff % DAL75DAL72DAL 27, TB 20-3.2– BAL84.325.4CLE0.00.051.11524 After a shellacking at the hands of our algorithm in Week 15, readers rebounded slightly this week, losing by an average of 25.3 points. Philadelphia’s last-second win over Houston may have kept the Eagles in the playoff hunt, but it cost readers 14.7 points on average in our game. Readers did pick up 9.5 points on average in the Atlanta-Carolina game; though they incorrectly picked the Panthers to beat the Falcons, they did so by a smaller win probability than Elo.Congrats to Scott S, who led all users in Week 16 with an even 300 points, and to Greg Chili Van Hollebeke, who maintained his No. 1 ranking on the season with 1,075.4 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code FiveThirtyEight The Hot Takedown crew gathers this week to discuss March Madness upsets and the first few MLB games. Over the weekend, Michigan State clinched a spot in the Final Four with a 1-point win over the pre-tournament favorite, Duke. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo lauded the top seed, calling the Blue Devils arguably “the best team in the country.” We look at whether Duke is worthy of the praise and what we can expect going into this weekend’s games. Also, Neil has a perfect bracket and we’ll never let it go.Our second segment takes stock of MLB’s opening weekend, including which teams faltered and which are surging. With the season barely underway, what warrants concern and what’s an overreaction? Could the Braves’ lackluster start have been predicted? Andy Bunker of Atlanta’s 92.9 “The Game” sure seems to think so. Using our Elo model, we discuss whether other weekend surprises and uproars deserve our attention — or if it’s still too early to tell.Finally, our Rabbit Hole of the Week takes a look at the youngest athlete in pro baseball. There’s a lot of, “He was born when?!” “Gen Z?!”Here’s what we’re looking at this week:We can’t take our eyes off the FiveThirtyEight March Madness interactive.FiveThirtyEight’s MLB predictions are also demanding our attention.Revisiting Travis Sawchik’s analysis of Christian Yelich feels particularly relevant after his opening weekend performance.
The chart above contains two extreme outliers: the 2016 Texas Rangers and the 2012 Baltimore Orioles, the only two teams in recent history with a better than .750 winning percentage in one-run games. In isolation, both performances were extremely unlikely to happen by chance (less than 1-in-10,000 odds), though given the huge sample of seasons we have so far — 2,452 team-seasons in MLB’s history — you’d expect such a thing to happen eventually.One-run performance is messy, but it isn’t all luck. The correlation between a team’s bullpen strength and its one-run winning percentage is significant but fairly weak, highlighting the role of randomness in these situations.3The r value is .28. Just as any given plate appearance can produce almost any imaginable outcome, a game that hinges on only a single run is mostly up to chance.That said, a good bullpen elevates the probability of holding a one-run lead. Add up that edge over the course of a season, and each win above replacement from the bullpen is worth about one extra point to a team’s winning percentage in one-run games. A five-win bullpen upgrade, which could take a team from roughly the bottom 10 percent of MLB bullpens to the top 10 percent, would net an extra five points of winning percentage. Over an average number of one-run games (46 per season), that’s equivalent to 2.3 more wins. If you total up that improved bullpen’s contribution in one-run games and their estimated contribution over the rest of the season (3.6 wins4If there are 46 one-run games per season, that leaves 116 other games, or 71.6 percent of the season. 71.6 percent of their five wins is 3.6 wins.), that five additional bullpen WAR ends up buying you about 5.9 wins in on-field results.55 WAR of bullpen talent can buy 5.9 wins for a team because of the high-leverage situations in which relievers are deployed, where talent is able to be converted to wins at a greater rate. This fact may help to explain why relievers seem to be overvalued by front offices relative to the sabermetric consensus.But all of this assumes a top-notch bullpen anyway. And, surprisingly, the Rangers’ bullpen hasn’t been exceptional — or even good — this year. Although the 2012 Orioles’ relievers produced more than six wins of value, the Rangers’ pen has a paltry 1.1 WAR between them. Based on that alone, we’d expect their record in one-run games to fall below .500.Anchored by closer Sam Dyson and Matt Bush, the top of the Rangers’ bullpen has been fine. But that duo has been dragged down by poor outings from other relievers such as Tom Wilhelmsen and Cesar Ramos.Of course, Wilhelmsen and Ramos are typically used in low-leverage situations, only appearing in one-run games as a last resort. So I also looked to see whether I could explain one-run performance better by focusing on the top relievers in a given bullpen. But counting only the top three or top five relievers didn’t improve the model after controlling for the total WAR of the bullpen. Neither did looking at exceptionally unbalanced bullpens, i.e. those whose top relievers produced much more WAR than their teammates. That doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility that WAR fails to account for something special that the Rangers’ bullpen might be doing to win one-run games, but league-wide data doesn’t provide much support for that notion.If the Rangers can’t attribute their one-run success to the greatness of their bullpen, to what do they owe it? The answer is timing. The Rangers have played much better when the game is on the line, as measured by FanGraphs’ Clutch score. Their bullpen ranks eighth in the league in Clutch score, but even more impressively, their offense ranks first.6Their starting pitchers are more average, ranking 13th in baseball. Combine these two performances and you have a team that saves and scores runs better than any other when it counts.But unfortunately for the Rangers, performance in the clutch is not a stable indicator of success. We need look no further than the 2016 Phillies for proof: Philly dominated the league in one-run games for the first two months of the year, rolling out to a 14-3 record in those contests through May 20th, which would have shattered the all-time mark if it had continued. It didn’t. By the end of the first half, the Phillies’ one-run record was down to 20-9 (which still would have been put them in the top 25 all-time); now they’re at a pedestrian 25-17 for the year, which drops them below the 200th position on the all-time list.The lesson here is that a team’s record in one-run games tends to regress to the mean. The Rangers are more than 90 percent likely to make the playoffs, but they won’t be able to count on this kind of luck in tight contests when they get there. The 2016 Texas Rangers are making history. Their 30-8 record in one-run games gives them a .789 winning percentage that, if it holds up, would set a record for the best winning percentage in one-run games since 1901. But the Rangers have a not-so-slight problem that could haunt them in the playoffs: performance in one-run games is almost entirely — though not exclusively — a matter of good timing and luck, not skill.By all accounts, the Rangers are a decent team. Their run differential is +9, and sophisticated projection models such as FanGraphs’ (which looks at talent alone, not their record so far) would call for them to win 84 games over the course of a full season. Their excellent record in one-run games has helped put them over the top, though. They’ll probably finish with more than 90 wins and the AL West crown, despite the rival Houston Astros posting a much better run differential.Performance in one-run games is notoriously variable. But one argument for the Rangers’ ability to sustain their record-setting mark might be a lights-out bullpen. Closer Sam Dyson has 30 saves, so perhaps the Rangers’ relief corps has earned more of those one-run wins than most teams with a similar record would deserve.To test this theory, I looked at the relationship between a team’s bullpen performance and its record in one-run games, going back to 1988.1That year was chosen because it is the beginning of the current era of baseball. I used data gathered through Aug. 27, after which the Rangers won two more one-run games. I summed up FanGraphs’ wins above replacement for each team’s bullpen, and then plotted it against the team’s winning percentage in one-run contests.2I also tried the same analysis with Baseball Prospectus’ version of wins above replacement and got similar results.
The play he’s talking about came as the Falcons clung to a 28-20 lead with about four minutes left in regulation time. The Patriots had just finished scoring 17 unanswered points to pull to within a single score of Atlanta, and the Falcons had run a grand total of six offensive plays over that span before QB Matt Ryan started the drive at his own 10. Atlanta still had about a 92 percent chance of winning the game according to ESPN’s win probability model, but a window had been opened for the Pats.At first, the Falcons appeared to close it again. Ryan hit Devonta Freeman for a 39-yard gain to reach midfield, and a few plays later, Julio Jones made an amazing catch that seemed destined to join the pantheon of great Patriot-killing Super Bowl grabs. But on second and 11 from the New England 23, the Falcons decided to pass instead of running the ball and setting up an insurance field goal, and Ryan was sacked for a loss of 12. Between that and a 10-yard holding penalty on the subsequent play, the Falcons were pushed out of accurate kicker Matt Bryant’s field-goal range and had to punt the ball back to Brady.The rest, as they say, was history.If the Falcons had run the ball on those second and third downs instead, then kicked the field goal, they’d have forced the Patriots to mount an 11-point comeback with something like 2:30 to play — not an 8-point comeback with 3:30 to go. The odds of a team doing the former are about 3 percent; for the latter, 8 percent.The counter-argument, of course, is that 8 percent is still improbable. Even after the sack and the punt, the Falcons were still overwhelmingly likely to win the game. Only one Super Bowl in history had ever seen a team overcome longer second-half odds. (Granted, it was the Patriots’ victory two years ago.) In order to tie the game, Brady and the Pats still needed to:Convert a third-and-10 from their own 9;Complete a 23-yard pass to Julian Edelman, whose catch rivaled the greatest in Super Bowl history;Complete a 20-yard pass to Danny Amendola;Have James White scamper 20 more yards on two catches;Score a touchdown from the Falcons’ 1;Successfully pull off the 2-point conversion.If just one of those plays goes differently, we might be talking about Atlanta’s first Super Bowl title. And even after all that, the Pats still needed to stop Ryan and the Falcons from quickly driving for the game-winning score with under a minute left (which has happened before), and they needed luck on the opening coin toss of overtime and they needed a handful of big plays in OT in order to win. Hot Takedown’s Super Bowl Special As you may have heard by now — perhaps from the eardrum-shattering sound of New England Patriots fans booing Roger Goodell — the Patriots are Super Bowl champs, having rallied back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 on Sunday. The comeback alone was historic, ranking as the most improbable in Super Bowl history, but there’s also a whole layer of history attached to the accomplishments of New England quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, plus the revenge narrative of Deflategate. It’s a lot to keep track of.Amidst all the postgame analysis, however, there’s always a place for second-guessing the Super Bowl loser’s coach. And on Sunday night, New Yorker staff writer James Surowiecki provided an instant classic in the genre: Related: Hot Takedown It’s true that the decision to pass instead of run and kick was the proverbial turning point, from which most subsequent plays saw the Pats increase their chances of winning until they hit 100 percent on White’s game-winning TD run. It’s also true that running the ball and going up 11 would have made the Pats’ comeback more difficult — and when you’re going up against the best coach/QB tandem ever, it’s generally not a good idea to gift them free win probability.But in the end, the Falcons still had plenty more chances to snuff out the Pats’ comeback from that point onward. Whether because of poor defense or Brady’s clutch-ness (or both), they didn’t — and it’s the totality of many plays that has us talking about Brady and Belichick’s legacies on Monday, and not crowning a new champion in Atlanta.
OSU junior forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) looks for an open teammate during the Buckeyes home opener against North Carolina Central. The Buckeyes won 69-63. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team opened up its 2016-17 home schedule on Monday night against the North Carolina Central Eagles out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In front of a crowd that seemed to be less than the 9,787 reported people in attendance, the Buckeyes underwhelmed in what many thought would be an easy blowout victory.OSU won Monday night’s affair versus the Eagles 69-63 in what was a flashback to the 2015-16 team that strung together several games of uninspired play. OSU was still able to come away with a victory in a game that looked similar to last season’s early losses to Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. However, there were hardly any positives other than it was a win. The performance was so discouraging that junior forward Jae’Sean Tate offered an apology to the Buckeye faithful after the game.“We didn’t come ready to play today,” Tate said. “This one is on us, as the players. We didn’t come out like we had practiced. I apologize to Buckeye Nation and we’re going to try our best to go out there on Thursday and play as hard as we can.”After Friday’s season-opening victory in Annapolis, Maryland, against Navy, OSU coach Thad Matta said that there were times in which he could tell his players weren’t “thinking the game.” Monday at the Schottenstein Center was a bit more concerning to Matta, who said he couldn’t pinpoint the reason behind the absence of a competitive mindset.“We, for whatever reason, we weren’t thinking. Some things happened that I’ve never seen happen before in terms of 38 practices,” he said. “We weren’t mentally and physically very tough. We obviously got to get that corrected.”In the Navy game, the Buckeyes struggled at times to figure out the Midshipmen’s zone defense. Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams, sophomore point guard C.J. Jackson and redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson all came off the bench and provided a spark that ignited a sluggish offense.On Monday against NC Central, the difficulties against a zone were still present, but the bench was not there to boost the OSU attack. Williams scored 23 points in the first game of the season, including 5-for-6 from 3-point land. It took him until 6:24 remaining in the second half for him to cash in his first 3-point bucket of the game. He scored just nine points in 31 minutes.Thompson grabbed seven rebounds and scored six points in 17 minutes and was a factor in the second half. However, the amount of dispassionate play on defense left much to be desired after 40 minutes.Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop followed up his 14-point, 14-rebound game against Navy with just nine points and two rebounds on Monday night. After the game, Matta said that Bates-Diop had been out of practice for the past two days with an illness, which contributed to his lack of production.Without Bates-Diop and senior forward Marc Loving, who sat with foul trouble for much of the game, OSU couldn’t produce a lot of offense against several zone and man-to-man looks NC Central threw at the Buckeyes.“We did some things that were so uncharacteristic … we never had that flow,” Matta said. “We got work to do.”With OSU up 12, Jackson made a steal off of an inbounds pass and patiently waited for Williams to dart down the lane. Williams bobbled the pass and his shot was blocked, which turned into a transition three on the other end. NC Central guard Patrick Cole then hit another three on the next possession, trimming the lead to six for OSU. Cole torched the Scarlet and Gray with 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting.Another major factor was free-throw shooting. OSU shot just 11-for-23 from the line, including 1-for-4 down the stretch.Jackson played more minutes than sophomore starting point guard JaQuan Lyle for a second straight game. Lyle had a minus-six plus-minus rating while Jackson had a plus-three. Jackson had eight assists compared to just two from Lyle.Matta said that before Thursday’s game against Providence, there could be a few changes in the lineup. For Tate, he knows that OSU can’t win many games based on its play on Monday.“We just got to make sure it’s not a repeat of last year. We can’t be lackadaisical. We got to be the first team to punch the other in the mouth.”
In times of uncertainty, it’s nice to have a security blanket.Lately, as the offense has struggled to find consistency, quarterback Terrelle Pryor has used the time to develop a sense of security in fellow sophomore and starting wide receiver DeVier Posey.The pressure felt by Pryor is not on him alone, but the recruiting class he was a part of. The 2007 recruits were some of the most coveted in OSU’s history, and several of those young players have been thrust into big roles on offense early in their careers.“I don’t feel like it’s pressure on him, I feel like it’s pressure on everyone,” Posey said. “Even though he’s the quarterback, we’re part of the offense too.”Posey, like Pryor, was highly touted. The five-star recruit from Cincinnati was seen by many as the “go-to guy” Pryor would need. His rare blend of size, speed and hands allows him to make plays down field with speed or over the middle as a possession receiver.Posey and Pryor’s connection on the field has become more apparent this season, especially in the last few games.The duo only hooked up once for a score in the Buckeyes’ first four outings, but Pryor has found Posey for five touchdowns in the last four games.Although Posey has been Pryor’s main target recently, he knows Pryor is trying to make whatever play he can.“I feel like the quarterback that he is, he’s just trying to find someone,” Posey said. “I think he finds Dane [Sanzenbacher] in big situations, he finds Ray [Small] in big situations and even Duron [Carter]. I really don’t feel like he’s just looking for me, I feel like he’s just looking for somebody to throw to. To be a great quarterback, you have to spread the ball around, and I feel like he’s trying to do that.”Posey had a career-high nine receptions and a touchdown against Purdue, but the Buckeyes’ loss to the Boilermakers put a damper on the numbers. While Posey and Pryor connected quite a bit two weeks ago, it wasn’t the offensive output the Buckeyes needed against a Big Ten opponent. That has seemed to be the story of OSU’s young offense this season, but Posey and Pryor have become the lead playmakers together.“We’ve definitely had drives when we’ve been on the same page, it’s just been a little bit bumpy certain games,” Posey said. “But we know what we’re capable of. We’ve shown it in spurts, we’re just hopeful that we can do that more.”The chemistry between Posey and Pryor has been key for big plays. All of the combo’s touchdowns in the last four games have been for more than 20 yards. Big scores from outside the red zone give the offense momentum.“It feels good, but it’s better for our offense,” Posey said of becoming more of a playmaker. “As an offense, we needed plays like that. We need big plays for our feeling. Last week was so rough, it just makes us feel better.”Pryor hooked up with Posey eight times for 161 yards and two scores in OSU’s win over Minnesota. Both touchdowns were bombs hurled by Pryor, who found an open Posey for 62 and 57 yards.“The touchdowns feel good, but I’m only half of the equation,” Posey said. “Terrelle made great passes. I know he’s definitely relieved, he’s going to be able to relax now. But I know he’s going to want to do more, because that’s just the kind of kid he is. He always wants to get better.”Pryor’s progression in his second year has been heavily scrutinized by fans and the media. Posey, however, has also been making strides, but his biggest critic may be himself.“I feel like I still have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “I feel like I can make more plays. I always feel like when I leave the game, I’m not satisfied. I feel like that’s how I have to be. I feel, personally, that I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet. I haven’t reached my full potential. I’m learning a lot and really trying to incorporate that knowledge onto the field.”Like Pryor, the coaches know that with time, bigger things will come from the young receiver. His big play recently, however, hasn’t gone unnoticed.“We felt like DeVier was always going to end up being a good player and he’s steadily done that,” coach Jim Tressel said. “He had a little bit of a hamstring or something in preseason where he missed a bunch of time and didn’t develop quite like we’d hoped early on there, but DeVier’s going to be a good player. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s a learner.”Only sophomores, Pryor and Posey have time to grow and progress together, something that could be key for the Buckeyes‘ future.
Navigating through the minefield that is Big Ten wrestling might be difficult enough, but pushing through the toughest part of the conference schedule without arguably your best wrestler – a reigning national champion – is an entirely different challenge. The No. 6 Ohio State wrestling team, however, has dealt with this problem the past five matches, emerging at a respectable 3-2 in the conference, but dropping tough decisions to No. 4 Minnesota and No. 3 Iowa. “Unfortunately, we didn’t fare as well as I thought they would,” said OSU coach Tom Ryan. “Overall, some individuals handled it really well … the others didn’t handle it so well, but we’re in the middle of a hard training period getting ready for the end, so we’re looking forward to it.” And here comes the calvary. Redshirt sophomore and team captain Logan Stieber, the reigning 133-pound NCAA Champion, will make his return to the OSU lineup Friday against No. 8 Illinois in a pivotal, late-season Big Ten showdown after a lower leg strain kept him off the mat. “I’m excited, you know it’s hard watching everybody and not being able to help,” Stieber said. “Illinois is a (top-eight) ranked team, so it should be a good match. I’m excited to come back.” Some OSU wrestlers said with Steiber’s return, the team can get back on track. “We should have handled it better,” said sophomore Hunter Stieber, Logan’s teammate and younger brother. “It didn’t help that we didn’t have Logan with us, but still, he’s one person, everyone needs to step up and be a leader, but we did an OK job with it.” Illinois poses a tough challenge for the Buckeyes, but the prospect of Logan Stieber’s return has helped infuse some confidence in the team. “I think the team’s excited,” Ryan said. “Fired up to have a solid unit in there, 10 guys, shoulder to shoulder, so I think it’s going to be great to get him back.” Logan Stieber’s return likely means OSU can refocus on its team goals instead of worrying about the 2012 All-American and Big Ten Champion’s absence. “I want to win a national title again,” Logan Stieber said. “We can bring home a team title.” His coach agreed. “We have to improve,” Ryan said. “We got a shot at winning a national tournament, but we got to get way better to do that. We can be a much better team than we are now, but everyone’s got to do the right things when nobody’s looking.” OSU is set to take on Illinois Friday in Oak Harbor, Ohio, at 7 p.m.
Junior midfielder Yianni Sarris (6) attempts to tackle the opposing player during a match against IPFW Aug. 20 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won, 2-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe struggles for the Ohio State men’s soccer team (2-6-3, 0-2) have continued against rival Michigan, as the Buckeyes fell to the Wolverines 1-0. It was the fourth consecutive match in which OSU has failed to net a goal.Nearly 1,000 fans were in attendance for the game Sunday, and members of the Ohio State Marching Band were present for the rivalry matchup. Buckeye senior defender and captain Sage Gardner said the support of the fans and the band was great for the team.“It’s always awesome here at (Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium) and having that big of a crowd — especially against Michigan — just pumps us up,” he said. “It’s tough we couldn’t get the result today, though.”Gardner said it will be important to keep the spirits of the younger guys high as the team still has the majority of its in-conference games yet to play in addition to the Big Ten Tournament scheduled to be held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in November.“I don’t remember how many games we have left, but the majority of them are Big Ten and the season is still not over,” Gardner said. “We can turn things around easily by giving (the younger guys) motivation with a Big Ten Championship ring and with the Big Ten Tournament being here.”A 25th minute goal for Michigan (4-3-3, 1-1) was all it took for the Wolverines to leave Columbus with a victory.Sophomore forward James Murphy scored his third goal of the season for the Wolverines from the middle of the box, giving Michigan a 1-0 lead. Murphy’s shot went into the upper left corner of the net after he receiving a pass from Michigan junior midfielder Marcos Ugarte.OSU took 11 of its 15 shots in the second half but was unable to capitalize. The lack of scoring has become an unfortunate, yet familiar trend with this Buckeye team, OSU coach John Bluem said.“We have to elevate our intensity throughout the game,” Bluem said after the loss. “I think we may have to start looking at some different combinations and getting some other players a chance to play because we can’t seem to get it done with the players we are putting out there.”With just more than five minutes left in the match, the Buckeyes fired multiple shots, including two by junior midfielders Alec Lowell and Yianni Sarris. Lowell’s shot was high and sailed over the goal and the shot by Sarris was blocked by Wolverine redshirt-junior goalkeeper Adam Grinwis.OSU freshman forward Danny Jensen gave the Buckeyes one final chance to send the game into overtime when his header sailed toward the goal with just more than a minute left in play, but it was saved by Grinwis.Buckeye redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov said the team must stay positive moving forward. He called the team’s next game against Michigan State a “must-win.”“Well, we are 2-6-3 now and well, we have nothing to lose,” Ivanov said. “We got six guaranteed regular season games left, so the motivation there is to capture as many points out of those six games as we can and you always got to be looking forward.”OSU is set to play its next match in East Lansing, Mich., against Michigan State Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.
Redshirt-senior wide receiver Corey Smith (84) had 6 catches for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns during OSU’s annual Spring Game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium. His 37-yard touchdown with 3:43 to play sealed the 17-14 win for the Gray team. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerSaturday’s Ohio State Spring Game featured phantom tackles, zero-yard penalties and rules seemingly made up on the spot.The score, which ended as a 17-14 victory for Gray over Scarlet, did not matter. Nor did the stats, which featured six turnovers from the two starting quarterbacks. However, in front of a record crowd of 99,391, players on the field, new and old, had a chance to shine.One such player who used Saturday’s contest to make a name for himself was freshman linebacker Nick Conner. The early enrollee was active in the first half, totaling an interception, a pass breakup, three total tackles and a forced fumble. He finished with a game-high seven total tackles.“He was good. We had high expectations for him, though,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “Hope he doesn’t redshirt and gets involved in the kicking game. He … had a good day today. He’s a tough guy and plays hard. Good qualities to have.”Also featured prominently, but with less success, was sophomore running back Curtis Samuel.The Brooklyn native pulled in just 11 catches in the 2014-15 season. On Saturday, however, he was targeted six times while lined up primarily as an H-back. He finished with just three catches for 30 yards, but looks poised to see more action this season.Sophomore wide receiver Noah Brown, who also figures to see an increased role in the offense following the departures of Devin Smith and Evan Spencer, seemed to struggle as well. He tallied 44 yards on four receptions but was targeted a game-high 11 times by redshirt-junior quarterback Cardale Jones.Despite the struggles of two of the primary targets on the afternoon, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner said he considers OSU’s receiving depth its strongest attribute.“We spent a lot of time focusing on developing our passing game and getting the ball in those guys’ hands, the playmakers, so I saw a lot of development in the receiver position, with guys like Noah Brown making some development,” he said.Warinner also singled out redshirt-senior Corey Smith and redshirt-freshmen Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin as receivers who made strides this spring. The latter two pulled down Scarlet’s two touchdowns Saturday.Corey Smith finished with six catches for 174 yards and each of Gray’s two scores.On the other side of the ball, sophomore safety Erick Smith shone as well, picking off redshirt-freshman quarterback Stephen Collier twice.While players like Conner, Campbell and McLaurin have used the spring to try to introduce themselves to the fan base and coaching staff, others are battling for continued prominence in the fall.Although neither quarterback got a chance to play in front of the Ohio Stadium crowd as they each recover from injuries, redshirt-senior Braxton Miller and redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett stood in the backfield next to Meyer throughout the game.Barrett and Miller are expected to compete with Jones in the fall for the starting spot before OSU opens its season Sept. 7 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.Barrett, who is recovering from a fractured ankle suffered Nov. 29 against Michigan, was able to take part in a halftime quarterback competition that included Jones and former OSU Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.Miller was unable to show off his passing talent next to his teammates as he recovers from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the entire 2014 season, but he was still permitted to take part in the halftime festivities — with his legs. He was one of three Buckeyes — along with redshirt-sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall and junior running back Ezekiel Elliott — to participate in the fastest student competition.Elliott won the contest, jumping out to an early lead and edging out Miller.While Meyer remained mum about who holds the edge in the quarterback competition, he did pencil in a starting cornerback opposite redshirt-sophomore cornerback Eli Apple: fellow redshirt-sophomore Gareon Conley.Conley was not the only player whom Meyer chose as a starter after the game, as he also announced that redshirt-senior offensive lineman Chase Farris will be the starting right tackle when fall camp rolls around.Correction: The photo caption initially said the Scarlet team won the Spring Game, when in fact, the Gray team won.
Ohio State and Indiana will wear this sticker on their helmet during Thursday night’s season opener | Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsAmid the devastation in Houston and the surrounding areas caused by Hurricane Harvey, Ohio State announced the football program will donate $10,000 to the American Red Cross on Friday morning. Coach Urban Meyer, the assistant coaches and each player will each make individual contributions to reach the five-figure sum. Seven buckeye players — quarterback J.T. Barrett, linebacker Baron Browning, running back J.K. Dobbins, receiver Elijah Gardiner, offensive guard Demetrius Knox and cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah and Kendall Sheffield — hail from Texas. Meyer said on Monday he spoke with Sheffield’s family and that they were safe in their homes. On Thursday, Ohio State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams announced they would be sending clothes and shoes to Houston. Earlier on Thursday, University of Houston men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson requested teams from all levels of sports send shirts and shoes to the university which will be donated to Houstonians in need.Package is on its way @CoachSampsonUH! Our thoughts and prayers are with the city of Houston #HOUSTONSTRONG #BuckeyesCare pic.twitter.com/h77E3uJPZm— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) August 29, 2017According to the New York Times, the death toll from Hurricane Harvey has reached 30 with the storm nearing its second landfall. There has been a record 51.88 inches of rain in the city of Houston.The Buckeyes and their opponent, Indiana, will wear “Houston Strong” helmet stickers during Thursday’s season opener.The American Red Cross is accepting donations on its website. You can also text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10.
Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the first quarter against Nebraska in Memorial Stadium on Oct. 14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe Ohio State football team that lost to Oklahoma in the second week of the season would not beat Penn State Saturday afternoon. It would not even be a competitive game.But the Buckeye team that lost is not the same one that will take the field against the Nittany Lions. Ohio State has improved at every facet of the game over the past six weeks — besides special teams, of course — and will enter the game with a nice mix of momentum, health and energy, as it had last week off.Ohio State’s steady improvement begins with an offense that in the first couple games of the season looked anything but threatening, despite quarterback J.T. Barrett returning for his fifth year and the addition of heralded co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day. Barrett completed just 19-of-35 passes for 183 yards and an interception against Oklahoma. Since that game, everything on offense changed, none of it happened overnight. With the next five games against overmatched opponents, the Buckeyes slowly added facets to their offense. Now, Ohio State enters its game against Penn State as an offense capable of hitting plays in the pass and run games. It has six receivers who have defined roles, two consistently productive running backs, two improving tight ends and a confident quarterback playing potentially the best football of his collegiate career.Head coach Urban Meyer praised the Nittany Lions’ defensive aggression. Last week, the unit, which averages the fourth-most sacks per game in the nation, sacked Michigan quarterback John O’Korn seven times. It will not have nearly as much success against an Ohio State line led by center Billy Price and left tackle Jamarco Jones. Last year, Penn State picked apart right tackle Isaiah Prince, pressuring Barrett throughout the game. But even he has looked substantially improved.Wilson and Day have had two weeks of rest, preparing to attack a defense buoyed by Thorpe Award semifinalists safety Marcus Allen and cornerback Grant Haley. On Wednesday, Meyer called Penn State’s defense the best in the country. With a month and a half of consistent improvement, Ohio State is ready for the task at hand, one they weren’t ready for early in the season.On the other side of the ball, Ohio State’s defensive line has the potential to make quarterback Trace McSorley’s night difficult. The dual-threat signal-caller combined with running back Saquon Barkley, tight end Mike Gesicki and a talented group of wideouts led by DaeSean Hamilton is one of the best skill position groups in the country. But to Penn State’s detriment, the offensive line is its weakness. That’s a problem when defensive ends Nick Bosa, Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard are taking their turns rushing McSorley — or all rushing at once. If the Nittany Lion offensive line can give McSorley a chance to drop back and view the field, Penn State might be dangerous. What was Ohio State’s biggest weakness at the beginning of the year remains just that, as its defensive backfield has not impressed. In the last five games, teams have struggled to put up passing yardage, but that has happened due to their weak passing attacks rather than Ohio State’s marked improvement.The Buckeyes’ linebackers, led by Jerome Baker, can help cover Gesicki and Barkley. But if McSorley has time in the pocket or can escape pressure, as Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did successfully, Ohio State could find itself in trouble.But that scenario will not happen. With two weeks to prepare for its opponent, a home game with a packed crowd and a team out for revenge, the seemingly loose Buckeyes are more than prepared for this top-10 matchup. After Ohio State’s victory at Nebraska, Lewis admitted he and his team had been looking forward to this game for weeks. It’s finally here.With Barrett at his peak and a defensive front menacing enough to make McSorley uncomfortable enough to get rid of the ball quicker than desired, Ohio State will cruise to a 45-31 victory, stunning those who believe this will be a close game and the people who picked Penn State to take down the lower ranked team.
Ohio State’s Micah Jordan wrestles Michael Kemerer in the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignNo. 2 Ohio State was able to knock off No. 10 Arizona State on Sunday to advance to 3-0 on the season.Despite being without two captains and All-Americans, senior Myles Martin and redshirt junior Kollin Moore, on Sunday, the Buckeyes were able to travel to Tempe, Arizona and escape with a win against a Sun Devils team that tried and knock the Buckeyes from the ranks of the unbeaten. Both Martin and Moore spent the weekend in Romania competing for Team USA in the U23 World Championships, and were not available for this Top-10 matchup on Sunday, but the Buckeyes held their own with a 22-17 victory. The match started out in the 125-pound division that saw redshirt freshman Brady Koontz make his debut. In a lopsided match that was quite the challenge, Koontz was able to get a lone point with an escape in a 18-1 loss to the sixth-best wrestler in the country in the 125-pound class, redshirt junior Ryan Millhof.Luke Pletcher gave Ohio State its first win in the 133-pound matchup. He was able to take a 16-6 major decision to make it just a 5-4 lead for the Sun Devils.Next up, it was another captain for the Buckeyes in Joey McKenna (141 lbs) taking Arizona State’s Corey Crooks down for a half-dozen points and ultimately winning in a shutout, 13-0.In the only matchup between two nationally ranked wrestlers the No. 2 redshirt senior Micah Jordan, was able to knock off No. 11, redshirt junior Josh Maruca of the Sun Devils. After three first-period takedowns, he added five more in the second period and won in a back-and-forth affair, 18-8 by decision.At 157 pounds, Ohio State redshirt junior Ke-Shawn Hayes went toe-to-toe with Arizona State redshirt senior Christian Pagdilao. After some back-and-forth action in the first two periods, things really heated up in the third when Hayes decided to hit the deck to begin the period, breaking free for a go-ahead takedown in the closing seconds for a 4-3 win.In the 165-pound division, Arizona State redshirt junior Josh Shields, the eighth-best wrestler in the country in his class, was able to handle Ohio State redshirt freshman Kaleb Romero to a decision victory, while in the 174-pound division, defending champion redshirt junior Zahid Valencia was able to knock off Buckeyes senior Te’Shan Campbell. The Sun Devils’ momentum would continue in the 184-pound division. Arizona State sophomore Kordell Norfleet pinned Ohio State redshirt freshman Ethan Smith, giving the Sun Devils the 17-15 lead with just two bouts left to go in the meet.Ohio State needed a momentum shifter, and redshirt sophomore Kevin Snyder came through. He jumped out to an early 6-2 lead before forcing a pair of stalling warnings after getting three takedowns, guiding him to a 12-3 decision victory against redshirt junior Austyn Harris. With the pressure mounting for the No. 2 team in the country, redshirt freshman Chase Singletary secured the victory. He and Arizona State redshirt freshman Brady Daniel battled to a 1-1 tie after six minutes. When it mattered the most, Singletary was able to get a match-winning takedown and Ohio State snuck out of Tempe with a 22-17 win and an undefeated record still intact.The Buckeyes have now won six meetings in a row against the Sun Devils, and lead the all-time series 6-2.Next up, Ohio State travels to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on November 30th.
Media psychologist, Emma Kenny, said: “Cooking programmes have been a part of our television viewing pleasure since the 1950s. Fast-forward to 2016 and there are over 18 days worth of cookery shows available on our screens each week plus social media offering so much delicious content. It seems that, as a nation, we are fixated with any activity related to food culture.”The study also found that despite our love of cooking shows and magazines, over a fifth of people have never cooked an evening meal from scratch. And those who do cook from scratch say only three of their evening meals a week are made using fresh ingredients.She added: “We’re being brainwashed into thinking that cooking is too difficult, takes too long and costs too much and it’s turning us to convenience food.” Those surveyed also spent a total of three-and-a-half hours digesting food content on digital platforms every week; 44 minutes on Facebook, 20 minutes on Twitter, 19 minutes on Instagram and Pinterest and 34 minutes on YouTube.It’s estimated that Britons also spend 58 minutes reading food websites and blogs, 15 minutes snapchatting about food and nine minutes browsing recipe books each week.Although seven in ten enjoy watching cooking programmes, only half have been inspired to try and cook something they’ve seen on screen. Another one in ten say it’s been at least a year since they tried to make a recipe they spotted online or on TV. We need to get stuck in to cooking – as opposed to eating ready meals on the sofaMark Sergeant One in five also admitted to making a dish at home just to take a photograph and share it on social media sites like Instagram.Michelin-starred chef, Mark Sergeant, said: “This is really interesting and I hope it’s not actually true. We need to get stuck in to cooking – as opposed to eating ready meals on the sofa.”Let’s transfer this love of onscreen cookery into our real-life kitchens.”A whopping 56 per cent of people wished they cooked the recipes they saw online more often, so there is an appetite for change. The nation’s obsession with cookery shows, famous chefs and new cookery books continues to grow: it turns out that Britons now spend more than five hours a week consuming ‘food media’ – but only four hours actually cooking, a study has found.The average adult spends more time watching, scrolling and reading about food on social media than they do cooking their daily meals. 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. More than half of the 2,000 people surveyed by Lurpak admitted they would rather watch a meal being cooked on TV, or look at photos online, than cook, with many saying they’re too short of time, or the dishes look to complicated to manage.The study found the average adult spends one hour and 37 minutes a week watching food-related shows, with the Great British Bake Off, Masterchef and Come Dine with Me being the most popular. Many people think the recipes they see online or on TV are too hard to make at homeCredit:Alamy
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. Derry McCann The victim thought she would be murdered throughout the nightmare, but McCann ran off after making her stand still in the bushes.He was arrested after the victim described details of the attack to police which closely resembled his 2006 attack for which he received nine years too.The victim identified him in an ID parade six days later.CCTV showed McCann lurking in a park that night and he nearly assaulted another women earlier, who exited the park just as he was about to grab her.Judge Martyn Zeidman QC sentenced him to three concurrent life sentences for three counts of rape.He said: “Friday 13 January 2017 is a date that your victim will never forget.”Raping this victim in this way and doing it in a manner that amounted to torture, playing games, asking her what she thought you were going to do next and taunting her for almost two hours.”Adding to the psychological harm, you setup to degrade and humiliate her in ways that are so cruel and gross that I will not identify them further.”I’m worried that you might relish a recital of it.”Amazingly, just hours later you married your pregnant girlfriend.”I’m just wondering what sentence you would impose if someone had done this to your wife or a female friend of yours.”The wrongdoing in this case is made even worse by the serious violence you have carried out before.”There’s no doubt that this case requires a life sentence and any sentence needs to give sufficient protection to the public. A convicted sex attacker who raped a woman hours before marrying his pregnant fiance was given three life sentences on Friday.Derry McCann, 28, carried out the savage two-hour assault in the early hours of the morning before tying the knot.Judge Martyn Zeidman branded McCann a “monster” and described the rape as “amounting to torture” before jailing him for at least nine years. “Parole will not consider your release until you have served nine years.”After nine years you will not be released, but the second stage of your sentence begins, and you may be in there forever if necessary.”I wish to pay tribute to the bravery and immense courage of the victim and its as a result of her immense courage that this dangerous criminal has been put away.”According to McCann’s defence barrister he has attempted suicide since being locked up in Belmarsh prison.Edmund Vickers QC, defending said: “He fully accepts the depravity of his offence.”He is devastated not about his current predicament but about the offence and the effect on the victim”.McCann was sentenced for nine years in 2006 for attacking a young lawyer, and a judge had said there was a “very substantial risk” he would strike again.But he was released on licence in December 2015 and was drinking with friends on the eve of his wedding.Kate Bex, earlier described the run up to the attack: “It was about midnight or just a little after and the victim was walking a short distance home having been out at an art gallery and socialising with friends.”She avoided walking through the middle of the park as that was too dangerous.”Unfortunately when near the exit to the park the defendant grabbed her arm and pulled her off the path to one side and began a sustained and systematic attack, penetration of every orifice accompanied by unusual conversation with the victim best described as mind games as an attempt to control her.” Describing the sex attacker’s previous conviction, the prosecutor added: “The oldest conviction may be of some relevance to the offence as the circumstances are very similar.”McCann was 17 and on a tag for burglary when he preyed on the 30-year-old trainee lawyer as she made her way home through another east London park in May 2006.After snatching the woman’s handbag he chillingly told an accomplice: “I’m gonna have some fun with this one.”He then dragged her down to the secluded banks of a pond in a park to inflict a string of disturbing sexual assaults. McCann attacked the 24-year-old woman in a park in east London, on January 13 this year after he was released from prison early for a similar attack.He married his fiance later that day and posted pictures of himself with his new wife on his public Facebook page.Just hours before, he had subjected his victim to a two hour ordeal, in which he toyed with his victim before raping her.Kate Bex, prosecuting, said: “McCann said he was just f****ing with her, demeaning her was clearly the theme of his interrogation.”When raping her he made her describe what was going on.”When she said they were having sex, he said ‘that’s not true, what’s happening?'”She responded ‘it’s rape, you’re raping me’.”He appeared to like her saying that.”She described him as clearly wanting to feel superior.”She described how she went to another place and in her head counting to 100 over and over again.”He said ‘what are they going to think of you now? Your boyfriend will never want to be with you now’.”This was a long drawn out psychological game.”
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. The NHS has been accused of presenting Accident & Emergency statistics in a way which could “mislead” the public after trusts were told to change the way they report their data.The UK Statistics Authority has written to health officials demanding explanations about the way performance against a target to treat A&E patients within four hours is being recorded.It has highlighted a letter from watchdogs NHS Improvement which told trusts to start including statistics from local walk-in centres – even if they were not run by the hospital, or on their site – in figures measuring their A&E performance.The changes, following instructions in October, mean some trusts appear to have made dramatic improvements in A&E performance, when in fact their waits are just as long.As a result, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS trust was able to say that 82 per cent of patients were treated within four hours in December. However, if performance of local walk-in centres – including four run by another trust – had not been included, the figure would have been just 69.5 per cent, analysis shows. For example, monthly NHS figures show that University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust treated 78.6 per cent of A&E patients within four hours in September, whereas the figure was 85.5 per cent in October.Those changes came after a more than doubling in the number of patients counted from minor injury units, after figures from the City of Coventry Walk In Centre, run by Virgin Care, were added to the trust’s data. However, the NHS mapping exercise carried out just a few weeks later does not show any additional activity for the trust.In the letter to NHS England, Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation at the UK Statistics Authority, tells health officials that the impact of changes to recording practice needs to be clearer.“This will support better decision making and avoid users reaching misleading conclusions,” it warns.In the same letter, it says statistics may in future be assesed against a code of practice, which would mean they would need to demonstrate that they “meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value, and as such can provide users with confidence in the statistics”.The NHS may now have to consider reviewing the data published since it changed its reporting rules. Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation trust saw a similar boost in performance, with a result of 85.5 per cent published, instead of the 73.4 per cent it would have achieved without adding in results from Corby Urgent Care Centre, run by GPs eight miles away.And Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation trust achieved a figure of 81 per cent – when the figure would have been 69 per cent if it had not included figures from a local walk-in centre run by local GPs.NHS Improvement said the letter was designed to address variation in the way A&E activity was reported, and ensure consistency. An NHS Improvement spokesman said: “This change was not intended to artificially inflate A&E performance figures.”A&E figures for November show a marginal deterioration over performance in October, when the instructions were given.An NHS mapping exercise for December which was supposed to track the changes suggests national A&E performance would have been the same – at 85.1 per cent – regardless of the changes in the way data was recorded.However, analysis suggests flaws in the published data, with a failure to properly record extra activity from walk-in centres.
It was also thought to be responsible for The Queen’s decision to ban plastic bottles and straws from the Royal estates.In this latest BBC film, wildlife biologist, Liz Bonnin travels around the world to highlight the growing crisis facing the marine environment.She visits a group of scientists who have spent the last 12 years examining the world’s largest colony of flesh footed shearwaters in the Tasman Sea.Around 40,000 birds migrate to Lord Howe island each year to lay their eggs in burrows deep inside the rainforest.Researchers believe the birds consume more plastic than any other marine animal, the equivalent of a human eating around 10 kilograms. By studying the impact this has on the birds, scientists hope they will learn more about how plastic could be harming all sea life.In the documentary the team can be seen pumping the stomachs of shearwater chicks and recovering a whole array of large and sharp plastic objects.But as well as the physical damage the objects cause to the birds, scientists claim they have now found evidence that suggests the chemicals in the plastic are interfering with the birds’ hormones. Shearwater birds consume more plastic than any other marine creature Plastics have been found in the systems of walruses Scientists examining the devastating impact plastics are having on the world’s oceans have identified seabirds with more than 250 man made objects lodged in their stomachs.From bottle tops to pen lids, the flesh footed shearwaters are thought to consume more plastic than any other marine animal.Often mistaking plastic objects floating in the sea for food, the adult birds pick them up and then feed them to their young, with disastrous consequences.Researchers working on Lord Howe island, off the coast of Australia, where the flesh footed shearwaters nest, claim that on average every chick has between 30 and 40 pieces of jagged plastic in their stomachs before they are fully fledged.–– ADVERTISEMENT –– But in one case scientists found a young bird with 260 separate items of plastic stuck in its gut.Even if the seabirds survive to leave the nest, the weight of the plastic resting in their stomach, means they are often too heavy to take off and many drown in the surf around the island.The shocking impact that pollution is having on the sheerwater population is revealed in a BBC documentary, Drowning in Plastic, which is being broadcast a year on from the landmark Blue Planet II series.Presented by Sir David Attenborough, Blue Planet II, was credited with raising international awareness of the threat posed by plastic pollution. Dr Jennifer Lavers, who leads the project, said the situation has worsened even in the last decade.She said: “The numbers have fluctuated, but definitely more and more of the birds have plastic in them and we are finding and increasing number of birds that are more heavily affected.”Quite a number of years ago the average numbers of pieces of plastic per bird may have been closer to five pieces per bird but now it is more likely to be closer to 30 or 40 pieces per bird, so things are shifting.” Over 200 marine species have been found to ingest plastic and work is being carried out to establish why.One theory, revealed in the documentary, is that algae growing on the surface of the plastic gives off a smell that attracts fish and other sea creatures.Tiny bits of plastic suspended in the water are thought to be mistaken for fish eggs, while plastic bags are often eaten in the belief that they are jellyfish. Plastic is thought to be getting into the food chain through marine life Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History & Specialist Factual added: “Blue Planet II had an extraordinary impact in raising awareness of the threat of plastics to our oceans.”This powerful and emotional 90 minute special signals our continued commitment to exploring the challenges facing the natural world and bringing our audience the very latest research from the field on this incredibly important subject.”:: Drowning in Plastic is on BBC One on Monday 1st October at 8.30pm Drowning in plastic will be broadcast on Monday October 1 The film also looks at the impact of microplastics on the Arctic, examining how its presence in the food chain can be found all the way from plankton up to walruses.Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content said: “BBC One continues its mission to uncover the devastating impact plastics are having on our oceans in this special film that looks at one of the most significant and important environmental crises of our time.” Shearwater birds often have dozens of pieces of plastic in their stomach 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.