SANTA CLARA — Losing 33-30 at Green Bay not only extended the 49ers’ losing streak to four games, it also incited fans to tap into our weekly mailbag:Can we acknowledge that if we are rebuilding, we need to start with the most important position, coach. Kyle Shanahan doesn’t know how to win. (@thewillenium1)Shanahan won quite well when he inserted Jimmy Garoppolo for a 5-0 December debut. But Shanahan did come with the reputation of stubbornly preferring pass plays over clock-killing runs, …
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Harold Watters, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University ExtensionExam registration for the February 1, 2019 exam date is open now through December 14th. Interested in becoming a Certified Crop Adviser or becoming certified in one of the specialty certifications (4R Nutrient Management Specialty, Resistance Management Specialist, Sustainability Specialty, and new in 2019 is the Precision Agriculture Specialty)? Find Performance Objectives, registration, and other materials for all exams on the CCA Exam website: https://www.certifiedcropadviser.org/exams.The OSU Agronomic Crops Team offers a basic CCA exam preparation workshop on January 9 and 10 in Sidney Ohio. We provide presentations and guidance on how and what to study for the exam – our goal is to help you pass, but at the same time show you where you may be deficient and need a little more study. The price for the exam preparation class is $250. Secure on-line registration via credit card, debit card or check is available at: http://go.osu.edu/Reg2019class. We are almost full, so reserve your spot soon.Want more information? Contact Harold Watters at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone 937 604-2415.
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Arsenal boss Emery explains substituting Dani Ceballosby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal manager Unai Emery has explained his decision to substitute midfielder Dani Ceballos.The Spanish loanee was taken off during the second half, when the Gunners were struggling to retain control over the game.Some fans criticised the decision, believing the sub only made the team worse.But Emery defended his choices, saying to the club’s official website: “But today it was very, very hot. We needed in the second half, some fresh players. “We were struggling second half and I was thinking how we can improve with three players, fresh players, for give us more energy and give us also more capacity to be strong physically and tactically and also technically.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
Genoa confirm appointment of new coach Thiago Mottaby Carlos Volcano3 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveGenoa have confirmed the appointment of Thiago Motta as new coach.Motta has already taken charge of the first training session.Aurelio Andreazzoli was fired earlier on Tuesday, the Motta announcement was made several hours later.Motta takes charge of a Genoa side who have lost six of their last seven games, resulting in Andreazzoli’s demise.He retired from professional football at the end of 17-18 and spent last season coaching PSG’s Under-19 team. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Casablanca – Reyes Monfrte, Spanish writer and journalist, has recently released a novel based on real events depicting slavery and appalling living conditions of the Saharawis living in Tindouf camps.The 414-pages novel notably depicts the suffering endured by dark skinned girls in Tindouf’s Polisario camps, where practices of slavery are still ongoing.“BESOS de ARENA” tells the story of a young Saharwi woman who was subjected to slavery practices as a little girl. Her “masters” in Tindouf camps changed her origin name from Noah to Laia, just as they tragically altered her innocent childhood. The writer recalls the bad memories of Laia when she had to spend numerous nights in the open air tied with a rope for the simple reason that she couldn’t finish her daily chores.Laia’s early life reflects a story of a girl whose rights to childhood are cruelly violated, the simplest of which is the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child, as stated by the international Convention on the rights of the child.The main character’s testimonies went so far as to mirror the miserable living conditions of thousands of Saharawis inside what can be described as one of the largest open-air prisons in the world.Yet, the work is not the first of its kind. Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw filmed a controversial documentary in the Tindouf camps, exposing slave trade and depicting scenes of little girls offered for sale and subsequently tortured.Human Rights Watch showed at the time concerns over the facts revealed through the film.“In 2007 two Australian documentary filmmakers who had been filming in the camps stated that they had found evidence that dark-skinned refugees in the camps were victims of ongoing, traditional practices of slavery,” said the human rights watchdog.“These inhuman practices have been criticized by international NGOs,” the author of “Besos de Arena” told Argentina’s Telam press agency.She went on to explain that in the past people indulged “in trafficking in exchange for camels or settling a debt, but now many women are subjected to this tradition without asking anything in return.” Reyes Monforte added that “women are also bartered for goods.”Slavery is still a common practice in the camps, condemned by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.HRW highlighted that “Black-skinned Sahrawis constitute a small minority of the population in the camps. Some members of that minority are “owned” by “white” persons or families.”Polisario denied its responsibility over the practice, but the reality is in sharp contrast with the Front’s allegations, given the fact that a “slave” woman cannot marry without the consent of her “owner.” According to HRW, a religious judge or “qadi” will decline to perform the marriage in case a “master” doesn’t approve of it.Slavery practices will continue to take place in the camps run by Polisario, just as human conscience will go on condemning unjust inhuman practices around the world, including Tindouf.
Jameis Winston is not a lost cause, after all. Mired in self-induced drama much of his second and final season at Florida State, the former Heisman Trophy winner—thought at one point to be a risk as an NFL high draft pick—has blossomed nicely into the sure-fire No. 1 selection. Turnabout is fair play.This position for Winston is almost stunning, considering he continually, immaturely raised questions about his stability to run a team, which is the last mark any quarterback wants on him. But being accused of sexual assault, stealing crab legs from a grocery store and shouting an obscenity on campus can put you in that dreaded box. Quickly.Amazing thing was that Winston continued to perform at a high level as he and his supporters continually fought off the troubles, including facing expulsion over the sexual assault case. Winston claimed consensual sex and a school investigation found that the accuser tried to extort money, had picked up Winston at a bar and overall did not have a case. The woman, in a telling act, participated in a documentary called “The Hunting Ground” about her experience with Winston.Whatever the case, Winston played on and played well. And as those who looked on after he engaged in one controversy after the next, he always spun it back to being a kid.Well, he has not only been without incident for months, he has shown marked improvement in his judgment, so much so that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost assuredly will take him with the No. 1 selection in the upcoming draft.That’s a major leap for a player who looked to be falling off a self-created bridge not that long ago.“I haven’t changed at all,” Winston said on ESPN. “I’ve grown.”Yes, that’s a contradiction, but his point was made.“I’ve grown into the person I am now,” he added, “the young man that I am now. And my actions have to speak [to that]. … At the end of the day, all my mistakes make me a better person. I get to learn from that.”Under scrutiny, what has been learned about Winston is encouraging that he really has become this young man who has learned from past missteps. More than that, he’s as good—or maybe even better—as he played for the Seminoles, and has the leadership qualities to match.At his Pro Day for NFL scouts, Winston was on the field two hours before he was scheduled to throw, mixing it up with teammates and encouraging them. When he did throw, reports are that he was fantastic. And he threw 100 more passes than necessary.As a comparison, Sports Illustrated pointed out that last year, quarterback coach George Whitfield designed a pro day for 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel that featured music by rapper Drake and 64 throws in helmet and shoulder pads.For Winston, Whitfield designed a workout that was devoid of music. Winston threw more than 135 times, including 35 warmup passes. Whitfield and his assistants regularly chased Winston from the pocket, sometimes with tennis rackets or a broom.“It goes to each man’s idea of how he wants to make his statement,” Whitfield said to SI. “That’s how Johnny wanted to make his statement. You go off how they want to make their statement and you try to engineer something functional around it. This is what Jameis wanted to do. Blue collar, no music, high volume [of throws], stress.”And it worked.“He had a great day,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “He threw a full nine innings.”The Bucs will not commit on the record to Winston, but the QB has visited the team’s offices and met with the owner. Trust that the team has vetted him through-and-through. “It’s just part of the process,” Licht said. “We’re going to use every minute of time that we have here in the next few weeks to make a decision.”Winston’s decision to grow up has helped him immeasurably. Could he slip up and fall into trouble? Of course, he could. But the feeling is that the falling is over and the only trouble he will be involved in is causing it for NFL teams next year.
How unpredictable has this year’s NCAA men’s tournament been? The most lopsided win of the Elite Eight belonged to an 11 seed that advanced to its first Final Four appearance in 55 years. At the same time, the three national semifinalists other than Loyola of Chicago — Kansas, Villanova and Michigan — are among the most successful programs in college basketball history. Together, they fill out a Final Four that nicely mixes the traditional with the unexpected.Loyola is the most compelling story of the tourney, thanks to a run that slowly turned them from a fun Cinderella into something much more special. But they’re not merely a George Mason or Virginia Commonwealth that’ll be easy to knock off, despite the identical seed numbers. According to our Elo ratings — a measure of a team’s strength that is based on game-by-game results — the Ramblers were the 25th-best team in the field going into the tournament, compared with No. 44 for George Mason in 2006 and No. 52 for VCU. (Loyola is a little more like LSU in 1986, which ranked 32nd in the field before the tournament and became the first double-digit seed ever to make a Final Four.) Going back to the start of the 64-team era in 1985, Loyola’s pre-tourney Elo ranks sixth-best among the 14 Final Four teams who were seeded seventh or worse: Either way, Michigan’s defense has been dominant — it’s holding opponents to 38 percent shooting from the field in the NCAAs thus far — and in some ways the Wolverines will be facing a smaller and less-heralded version of themselves in the defensive-minded, slow-paced Ramblers. Plus, for all the talk of Loyola’s last championship coming in 1963, it’s also been nearly three decades since Michigan, behind Glen Rice and coach Steve Fisher, last cut down the nets — a somewhat surprising title drought for a marquee program like UM. Our prediction model gives Michigan a 69 percent chance of advancing to its second title game in six years under John Beilein.2In 2013, the Wolverines lost in the final to Louisville, which later vacated its title.Meanwhile, for all the chaos of this tournament, chalk prevailed in the other regional finals, producing a pair of No. 1 seeds in Kansas and Villanova. It’ll be the tournament’s 15th battle of top-seeded teams in the national semifinals, and the first since Wisconsin-Kentucky in 2015.Kansas had its hands full with Duke in the Midwest region’s titanic 1-vs-2 clash. According to our excitement index, which measures how thrilling a game was by computing the average change in win probability on each play, the Jayhawks and Blue Devils tied for the second-most heart-pounding game of the entire tournament so far, trailing only Michigan vs. Houston from the Round of 32. It was the kind of game Kansas hasn’t tended to come out on top of in recent years — it’d lost a regional final in each of the past two seasons, and was 1-3 in chances to go to the Final Four since last winning the championship in 2008.When we looked at March Madness’s best coaches — in terms of exceeding the record we would expect a team to earn in their tournament games based on Elo — the statistical contrast between Kansas’s Bill Self and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski pretty much summed up the narrative for the two coaches. While each had guided tournament teams with roughly the same seed on average (Self’s teams had an average seed of 2.7, while Coach K’s were at 2.2), Self had played almost exactly to his expected record over the years (+0.1 wins, 188th-best among all coaches), while Krzyzewski had outpaced his expectations by 5.8 wins (seventh-best) since 1985.But Self and the Jayhawks found redemption behind the outstanding play of Malik Newman, who scored 32 against the Blue Devils, including all 13 Kansas points in overtime. We weren’t fully sold on the Jayhawks before the tournament began — we thought there was a glimmer of hope for Penn to upset them in the first round — but KU has now worked itself up to the fourth-highest power rating of any team in the nation, giving itself a 23 percent title probability according to our model. Villanova’s path was easier than Michigan’sPregame Elo ratings for Villanova’s and Michigan’s 2018 NCAA tournament opponents, by round Source: Sports-Reference.com/cbb, ESPN 1827Average1867 32014KentuckyMidwest81876 SeasonTeamRegionSeedPre-Tournament Elo 102013Wichita StateWest91791 62018Loyola (IL)South111838 Alabama1795Rd. of 321934Houston 122017South CarolinaEast71747 The best low-seeded Final Four teamsBest pre-tournament Elo rating for Final Four teams seeded seventh or lower, 1985-2018 142011VCUSouthwest111725 112016SyracuseMidwest101772 132006George MasonWashington111747 Radford1552Rd. of 641693Montana So you can build a case that the Ramblers are much better than the typical low-seeded Final Four squad. Still, history has not been kind to Cinderellas in the tournament’s third weekend. In fact, the Final Four is right around when the clock strikes midnight: Teams seeded ninth or worse are 0-6 all-time in the national semifinal.Michigan is an especially interesting opponent for the Ramblers, given that both teams are riding double-digit winning streaks (Loyola has won 14 straight, and Michigan has won 13) and that the chief knock on Michigan’s otherwise stellar tournament play has been a lack of difficult opponents. If they do beat Loyola, the Wolverines will become the first team in history to make it to the national title game without facing a single team seeded better than sixth. But that probably overstates how easy Michigan’s path was: The average Elo of the Wolverines’ opponents is not notably low by Final Four standards,1It ranks 82nd-lowest out of 136 Final Four teams since 1985. and what’s more, it’s not even the lowest of 2018. (Villanova has faced a much easier path to the Final Four, in terms of its opponents’ average Elo ratings.) 12015Michigan StateEast71914 Villanova Opp.Elo RatingRoundElo RatingMichigan Opp. 42011ButlerSoutheast81875 91985VillanovaSoutheast81802 81986Louisiana StateSoutheast111804 22014ConnecticutEast71909 West Virginia1972Sweet 161892Texas A&M 72000North CarolinaSouth81822 52000WisconsinWest81871 Texas Tech1988Elite Eight1948Florida State Source: Sports-Reference.com/cbb Villanova remains our favorite to win the tournament, however, with nearly a 50 percent chance against the field. Unlike Kansas versus Duke, the Wildcats were comfortably in control of their Elite Eight matchup with Texas Tech for practically the entire game, helping it produce the lowest excitement index of any regional final (even lower than Loyola’s rout of K-State). Aside from some midgame jockeying with West Virginia in the Sweet 16, Nova’s victories have seldom been in doubt on the road to the Final Four.Even when the Wildcats’ offense has sputtered — and against the Red Raiders, they were not impressive by any means, generating their fifth-fewest points per possession in any game this season — their defense has come through. During the tournament, only West Virginia has managed to crack 95 points per 100 possessions against Villanova, and even the Mountaineers were held to their sixth-worst offensive game of the season. Against the Red Raiders, the Wildcats’ two most dynamic players –Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson — combined to shoot 7-for-24 from the floor (including 0-for-9 from deep), and yet the defense was strong enough to help Nova not just overcome problems on offense, but cruise to victory.A Villanova win would put an uncharacteristically routine capper on what has been a wild season in college basketball. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, the Wildcats won their 134th game in the last four seasons when they beat Texas Tech, breaking the Division I record for the most wins by a program in a four-year span. If they win a couple more, they’d become the fourth program to win at least two championships in a three-year span since 1985.But it feels premature to speculate about that. This year has already offered some of the most unexpected moments in tournament history. So who knows, maybe the tourney still has a few surprises left in its final weekend.
VIDEO: Ohio State’s chances are better than mostCheck out our latest NFL predictions. With news that New England tight end Rob Gronkowski probably is out for the rest of the season, it’s tempting to say the 9-2 Patriots will remain dominant over their remaining regular-season games and into the playoffs. After all, they did just fine without superstar 39-year-old quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of this season. Surely they can do without one seam-runner, right?Honestly, I’m not sure. While keeping in mind that football is an enigma, and that anyone who says they can tell you exactly how much any player is worth is either foolish or selling something, there’s a fairly strong case that “Gronk” is incredibly valuable to Brady and the Pats — more so than we might guess at first blush.Let’s step back for a second. From 2001 to 2006, Brady averaged 25 touchdowns per season (with a high of 28) and averaged 13 interceptions (with a low of 12).1To go with his 0.5 yearly Super Bowl wins, naturally. In 2007, he basically doubled his production by throwing 50 TDs, with just eight INTs. While those numbers were MVP-caliber gaudiness, they were fairly easy to ascribe to the arrival of one Randy Gene Moss, who had already demonstrated his otherworldly capacity to make QBs look amazing with the likes of Jeff George, Randall Cunningham and Daunte Culpepper.But the most shocking and mysterious period of Brady’s career may have begun in 2010, when — after Moss was bizarrely shipped to the Vikings with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a third-round pick after four games — Brady threw 27 TDs and just 2 INTs over the back 12. At the time, much of the credit for that was given to Wes Welker, the other star receiver brought to New England for that 2007 season. But that impressive stretch by Brady also included eight TDs (after two in the first four weeks) thrown to 6-foot-6-inch then-rookie tight end Gronkowski. And after that Moss trade cost Brady the ability to throw to what may have been one of the best, if not the best, wide receivers of all time, Brady has continued to flourish in the Patriots’ wide-open offense — in which Gronk has been heavily featured.Maybe Brady’s remarkably strong performance sans Moss isn’t so remarkable: Maybe Gronk is just so good that he has taken Moss’s place as the quarterback-maker du jour. To get a sense of Gronkowski’s impact, I did a little “with or without you”-style analysis of pairings between QBs and wide receivers or tight ends since 2006. This looks at how a pass-catcher being in the lineup or not affected his QB’s performance in both yards per attempt (which corresponds roughly to how explosive an offense is) and points above replacement (meaning how efficient the QB’s offense is relative to expectations for all the situations it finds itself in). So, Gronk is at the top of the pack in terms of observed impact. Note — and I can’t stress this enough — that these are incredibly high-variance comparisons and shouldn’t be taken as definitive about any player. (Moss had a fairly similar observed impact with eight different quarterbacks — and we still kept our conclusions at least a little tentative.) But coupled with Gronkowski’s production on paper, his effect on Brady’s stats makes a strong case that the Patriots aren’t just using Gronkowski, they’re relying on him. While he may never have as convincing a data set as Moss did (having so much impact over so many stints with so many quarterbacks is unique in NFL history), he appears to be on that track. Which is unfortunate news for Patriots fans, at least for now. But in the long run, any evidence that the Patriots’ stellar passing game isn’t going to retire anytime soon should be welcome.
Ohio State women’s soccer head coach Lori Walker-Hock paces the sidelines in the second of the game against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorThe Ohio State women’s soccer team, coming off a recent 1-0 loss to Florida Gulf Coast, heads to Pennsylvania to take on Penn State this Friday at 6 p.m. With a loss to the Eagles at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the Buckeyes ended a three-match win streak, dropping their overall record to 3-3-0 so far this season. Ohio State will look to get back on track as they enter Big Ten play on Friday. After wins over West Virginia and Duquesne to start the season, Penn State has lost three of its last five games. The Nittany Lions struggled in their previous game against Virginia, suffering a 1-2 loss at home, bringing their overall record to 4-3-0 on the year. Last season, the Buckeyes fell to the Nittany Lions 1-0 in double overtime loss in University Park, winning every game against Ohio State since 2011. .Freshmen midfielder Blair Cowan, who scored the game-winner in the 80th minute in the match against Notre Dame, said the team has been sharp in training heading into the matchup against Penn State. “We’ve worked on things we struggled with in our last match,” Cowan said. “I think we’re ready for Friday night.”Following the Penn State game, Ohio State will stay on the road for a series of away games against Illinois on Thursday Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. and Northwestern on Sunday Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. Ohio State will face Penn State on Friday at 6 p.m.