Having not won a major in six years could be a reason Tiger Woods is considering changing his pre-Masters preparation.Woods shot a 71 in the first round of the Honda Classic Thursday and afterward said he could alter his playing schedule or the way he prepares for the year’s first major in April at Augusta National.“It could be all of the above,” he said to ESPN.After the Honda Classic, Woods is scheduled to defend his titles at next week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in three weeks, giving him two tournament weeks off prior to the Masters, which begins April 10.“Still looking into that, yeah,” Woods said of his preparation. “Still looking to possibly make some changes going in there.”Woods being Woods, he did not elaborate on the potential changes.He skipped last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and his 1-over 71 at PGA National on Thursday was just his eighth official round of 2014. He missed the secondary 54-hole cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and also played the Dubai Desert Classic.The only tournaments he could add are the Valspar Championship in two weeks at Innisbrook, near Tampa, Fla.; the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which follows Palmer’s tournament; or the Shell Houston Open, which is played the week before the Masters.To play near Tampa would mean competing four straight weeks, something Woods rarely does; he has not played the San Antonio event since first turning pro in 1996; and Woods has never played the Houston Open or the week prior to the Masters as a pro.
NBA59.9+9.864.5+13.9+4.1 The NBA and NFL have the biggest regular-season home advantages, improving a team’s chance of winning by 10 and 7 percentage points, respectively. And those benefits grow even larger in the playoffs, ballooning to as high as 14 percentage points for NBA teams. NFL home teams gain almost 5 extra points of win probability in the playoffs — again, after controlling for the fact that better teams tend to get more postseason home games.In baseball and hockey, on the other hand, playing at home doesn’t get you nearly as much help. MLB teams win about 54 percent of home games whether it’s the postseason or not (so much for last licks!), and while NHL teams do a bit better at home in the regular season (55 percent), they actually see their advantage decrease slightly in the playoffs.In general, home advantage is a subject that deserves more research, simply because we’re still not entirely sure what combination of factors actually cause it. Some, like crowd noise, are obvious, while others are written into the sport’s rules (home hockey teams have the right to make the final line change before the puck drops, giving them a consistent edge in matchups). Other phenomena, like the home team getting preferential treatment by officials, still need further study. But numbers like the ones in the table above show that each sport brings its own weird nuggets to the overall topic of home-field/court/ice.Either way, after their loss Tuesday night, maybe the Rangers and their fans will take solace in being the latest case study for a fascinating natural experiment. (Probably not.) What’s home-field/court/ice worth in the postseason? LEAGUEWIN PERCENTBOOST*WIN PERCENTBOOSTPLAYOFF DIFF. NFL57.1%+7.064.7%+11.8+4.8 NHL55.1+5.155.3+4.8-0.3 When the Ottawa Senators traveled to New York to take on the Rangers in Game 6 on Tuesday night, it was fair to think the series would probably head back to Ottawa for a Game 7. The Senators got drubbed in the series’ first two contests in New York, and the nervously raucous Madison Square Garden crowd was hoping to give the Rangers a key home-ice edge in an otherwise tight series. The problem with this thinking, though, is that home-ice advantage is not much of an advantage in the NHL — and it has proven even less important in the playoffs.And so, the Rangers’ 4-2 loss at home (and playoff elimination) provided just the latest in a string of home-ice disappointments this postseason. So far, home teams are exactly .500 (33-33) in 2017, their worst playoff showing since 2012, when teams actually had a losing record at home at 39-47. Hockey home-ice isn’t actually the disadvantage that record would imply, but it’s also not the game-changer we’re used to seeing in other sports like football and basketball, where home teams have been very spoiled over the years.To measure the strength of each league’s home edge, I gathered data on every regular-season and playoff game since 2000, tracking how often the home team won. I also used our Elo ratings1Or, in the case of the NHL, Hockey-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS). to calculate an “expected” winning percentage for each game — based on the quality of the two teams — had the matchup been staged at a neutral site. (This isn’t important for the regular season, because every team is scheduled for roughly equal home and road games. But in the playoffs, better teams are rewarded with more home games, a factor for which we must control.)Comparing home teams’ actual winning percentages to what we’d expect on neutral ground, we can see how much of a boost teams get by being at home in each sport. We can also see how that boost changes from the regular season to the playoffs — if indeed there is a change. HOME TEAMS IN REG. SEASONHOME TEAMS IN PLAYOFFS MLB54.0+4.054.2+4.0+0.0 Percentage point change from home team’s expected win percentage at a neutral location. In the playoffs, better teams are awarded more home games, so expected home win percentage is higher than 50 percent.Source: Sports-Reference.com
Heading into college football’s conference championship week, we knew three schools (Alabama, Clemson and Washington) could basically punch tickets to the College Football Playoff with victories in their respective conference title games. The only real questions involved what would happen in the event of an upset or two — and, just as important, what the selection committee would do with Ohio State. The Buckeyes ranked second in the committee’s rankings going into the week, but they also weren’t playing in the Big Ten championship game. How the committee handled that dilemma would in effect be a referendum on the value of a conference championship in the CFP era.The upsets never really came. Although Virginia Tech gave Clemson a fight, the Hokies ultimately succumbed to the Tigers in the ACC championship by a touchdown. Washington, meanwhile, routed Colorado 41-10 in Friday night’s Pac-12 title game, and Alabama secured the greatest peak Elo rating by a college football team in the last 80 years when they crushed Florida 54-16 to win the SEC. The only real drama came from an upset victory in the Big Ten championship for Penn State, which could build a case around beating Ohio State earlier in the season.For what it was worth, our CFP projection model thought there was very little chance the committee would jettison the one-loss Buckeyes in favor of the two-loss Nittany Lions, even after we made a tweak that placed extra emphasis on head-to-head results. Yes, the committee once dropped a team that won its final game by 52 points (TCU) from third to sixth when they reshuffled the field for their final rankings. But the model still said there was only a 13 percent probability that Penn State would bump Ohio State this year.1Our model output from Dec. 3 showed Ohio State with an 87 percent chance of being selected, so the rest of Penn State’s probability must have come from the (extremely remote) possibility that they’d bump one of the other three teams in the top four.And, sure enough, the CFP committee went with the Buckeyes. On Sunday, it produced a final four of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington, the semifinals of which will be sorted out on New Year’s Eve.Although Penn State was understandably frustrated by the decision, it would have been difficult to justify taking the Lions over the Buckeyes. Ohio State was a consensus No. 2 in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ polls, as well as most statistical rankings, including ESPN’s Football Power Index and Strength of Record metric. Undefeated Alabama is clearly the nation’s best team — quite possibly the best in college football history, in fact — but Ohio State is an obvious No. 2 by most measures. We can always debate the eternal question of whether the CFP should reward the best team or the “most deserving” one, but in the end the committee took the team that had the more dominating season against the tougher schedule, just as it usually does.So, now that we have a final four, who will win? From here on out, our model no longer has to forecast the committee’s decision making, so it’s all about what ESPN’s Football Power Index predicts. The FPI sees Alabama as 64 percent favorites to beat Washington in the Peach Bowl (which, we should also note, is held in Atlanta — far closer to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, than to Seattle), and it gives Ohio State a 55 percent chance of knocking off Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.Overall, that works out to a 39 percent chance of yet another Alabama national title — it would be the school’s fifth in the last eight seasons under coach Nick Saban — though the rest of the field is still more likely to upset ’Bama than not. If the Crimson Tide beat the Huskies, Alabama’s title odds would rise to 62 percent; if Washington pulls the upset, the CFP championship would basically be a coin flip no matter who wins in Clemson-OSU.But that’s all about a month away. There’s still plenty of college football to consume between now and then, including Army-Navy next week, the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Dec. 10, and about a trillion bowl games (which I mostly enjoy, even if they often lose money and feature increasingly poor teams). For college fans, the most wonderful time of the year is just beginning.CORRECTION (Dec. 6, 7:30 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated TCU’s final 2014 College Football Playoff ranking. TCU dropped to sixth place in the final week, not to fifth.
Ohio State junior forward Claudia Kepler (24) controls the puck during a game against Bemidji State University on Nov. 6 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost 2-1. Credit: Eileen McClory | Senior Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State women’s ice hockey team is still searching for consistency after losing both games in its weekend series to Bemidji State, falling to 4-6-0 on the season.On Friday, the Buckeyes lost 2-1 despite outshooting the Beavers 22-17 in what turned out to be a stifling defensive game. Freshman forward Dana Rasmussen scored the lone goal for OSU. Senior Hannah Moher and sophomore Bailey Wright scored for the Beavers.On Saturday, the third period began tied 1-1 with the Buckeyes leading in shots 27-14. But two goals late in the third period gave Bemidji State the victory and the series sweep.“I think for the most part we controlled both the games. I thought we outplayed them for the majority of the game,” OSU coach Jenny Potter said. “I think there were just a few times that our players broke down mentally.” Bemidji State junior goaltender Brittni Mowat started both games for the Beavers, allowing just two goals on the weekend despite facing a combined 55 shots in the two games.“Bemidji has a great team, but they’re not invincible. We had plenty of scoring opportunities, plenty of chances, our team needs to learn how to bury them,” Potter said.Redshirt freshman Alex LaMere started both games in goal for the Buckeyes, turning away all but three shots on the weekend, while going through long stretches of quiet net play. With the lull in opportunities to save shots, LaMere said she just tries to stay locked in.“It’s definitely a mental game at that point, you just have to keep sharp on your edges,” LaMere said.The second game opened with the Buckeyes holding an 8-1 shot advantage, but the team believed the tempo of the game picked up considerably as it wore on. LaMere said she thinks the defense was able to keep pace with the Beavers’ attack. “Our defensive zone has come a really long way,” LaMere said. “(The skaters) stick with your girl, if we can play five-on-five that way we’ll be just fine.”LaMere expressed no frustration in having sit through a quiet first half of play before a run of fast-paced play in the final 30 minutes.“Yesterday we saw a lot of the same thing as today, it started off slower and then the pace picked up, from a goalie’s standpoint. (We) just have to keep moving and keep in the game,” LaMere said.Bemidji State entered the weekend series with one of the top ranked defenses in all of college hockey, however, OSU expressed frustration at the opportunities missed having outshot the Beavers in both games.“I guess they’re learning the hard way,” Potter said. “It can be frustrating as a coach, but it’s the learning process they’re going through.”Senior forward Kendall Curtis, who scored the lone OSU goal on Saturday, voiced her irritation with the lack of offensive results, but she said she believes in the team’s system.“Sometimes it can get frustrating, but we what want to focus on is getting new looks and how to create new offense, that was our focus,” Curtis said.Curtis’ goal was the product of strong communication and game planning with her linemates: sophomore Julianna Iafallo and junior Claudia Kepler.“We really know our roles,” Curtis said. “We know that the best way for us to operate is by playing with some giddy-up, winning battles, keeping it simple, keeping our feet moving.”Curtis, who earlier this week was named an alternate captain, said she thinks the play of her line is important to the success of the program, which is struggling to score with only 22 goals in its first 10 games.“The giddy-up we bring to the ice every shift is really important,” Curtis said. “We know that.”The Buckeyes are set to begin a five-game road swing when they travel to face North Dakota in Grand Forks for a weekend series on Nov. 14 and 15.
Ohio State senior linebacker Storm Klein was arrested Friday night for alleged domestic violence and assault, according to Franklin County Municipal Court Records. Klein pleaded not guilty to both charges at his arraignment Saturday morning and a temporary protection order will keep him away from the complainant, according to ESPN. OSU athletics spokesman Jerry Emig said the athletic department is aware of the situation and confirmed that Klein was arrested. Emig wouldn’t comment on Klein’s status with OSU coach Urban Meyer and the football team. “We are in the process of gathering more information in order to understand all the details,” Emig said in an email to The Lantern. Klein’s lawyer, Columbus attorney Timothy Walsh, did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s Satuday request for comment. According to an NBC4 report, the alleged altercation developed after an argument about the future of a relationship between Klein and the alleged victim. According to the report, the prosecutor at Saturday’s court hearing said Klein “purposefully threw her against the front door causing her head to hit the door” and that “there were noticeable injuries all over the prosecuting witness’ body including to her arms.”
For nearly a year-and-a-half as the sports editor of The Lantern, I suppressed my inner sports fan out of professional obligation. Having come out the other side and attempted to rekindle my love of sports this past weekend for the first time since resigning from my post in January, I’m not sure how much of a sports fan still resides in me. The times I spent as the sports editor of The Lantern were some of the best of my life. I had the privilege of roaming sidelines and locker rooms all over America while bearing witness to the Ohio State athletic department’s many teams and student-athletes. The price of admission for this rare opportunity was shelving the sports fan in me. Upon taking the position in the summer 2011, I was all too happy to abide by that stipulation, which all sports writers must do, of course. I didn’t stop to realize what I was looking at during my editorship, but there were times when covering the OSU athletic department went far beyond the chalk on the field. In truth, the editorship was a lot like walking in on your parents having sex. By this, I mean that you also bear witness to the ugly side of things – things that are burned into your memory forever. It is the kind of stuff that is obviously taking place but you’d rather not see. In the case of the sports writer, it is the kind of thing you’d prefer not to report on or witness, but must. It is the things you read while sifting through hefty documents after Freedom of Information Act open records requests are fulfilled. It is the stories you hear about coaches and athletes being jerks when the bright lights aren’t shining their way. Of course, it is also the public relations person that argues you have misrepresented the truth about their team or their department. There is no ugly side to the true sports fan, though. Fandom, in its purest form, is innocent and unassuming. Men, women and children of all ages commit themselves to their chosen team and make an emotional investment with no promise of a return. The team’s success can be the daily metric of a fan’s happiness or despair. This can be a cruel way to live, but it’s the chosen way of life for so many. When I attempted to awaken my inner sports fan for the occasion of the OSU men’s basketball team’s game against Indiana on Sunday at the Schottenstein Center, my inner sports fan didn’t wake up. I don’t know if he ever will. With only a vague recollection of the game day rituals OSU fans partake in, I did my best to recreate an authentic fan experience. To gain admittance to the stadium, I pulled a crumbled ticket from my coat pocket and held my breath as an usher scanned the barcode – I had purchased the ticket for an exorbitant price from a scalper just five minutes earlier. This, of course, was a departure from flashing a press badge to get inside. Once inside, I didn’t have a free meal with unlimited Coca-Cola products provided for me. Rather, I had to pay for a hot dog and a pop like the other 18,808 fans in attendance. And my seat wasn’t arm’s length from the court. I was up in Section 332, Row “R,” Seat 12. It is not as posh as press row, but true fans take pride in simply being present for the big event, proximity to the playing surface aside. I even perused the souvenir shop on the lower level and wore an OSU T-shirt to the game – to the untrained eye I was just another nameless, ticket-bearing, die-hard member of Buckeye Nation. This die-hard died quickly, though, and I quickly had to concede that my experience was anything but authentic. I observed the game with the submissive silence and shifty eyes of a deadline reporter. No time or cause for cheering as far as I could see. Of course, silence in the presence of two top-10-ranked basketball teams playing in sold-out arenas was beginning to make me stick out. The media resist emotional reaction to game play, but the wild crowing and bellowing of the sports fan – let us call those reactions “fangasms” – is accepted bleacher etiquette in most stadiums. In a desperate attempt to participate and gain the approval of the people I was sitting near, I began to curse and cry out loudly during the second half of the game. Having not attended an OSU game of any kind as a fan in about a year-and-a-half, I had all but forgotten how to cheer. I was crying out at inappropriate moments, or too long after the play was over. My reactions were a forgery. I was a fraud. I was faking my fangasms. The embarrassment of my fraudulent fangasms arrived midway through the second half, and Indiana was in control of the game by that point. The Hoosiers went on to coast to an 81-68 win. I stayed until the final buzzer, but I knew I had spent each second of the 40 minutes of game action occupying a seat that would have been better suited for someone eager to twirl a Homage rally towel and root hard for OSU. If there was a way for me to realize I wasn’t fan enough anymore that didn’t involve handing a fistful of cash to a ticket scalper, surely I would have pursued that action. For all that I gained as sports editor of The Lantern, and I promise you that I gained greatly, I lost the fan in me, for now at least. Sports are my lifeblood, so shelving my fandom and my passion for sports writing simultaneously is out of the question. I suppose it is really a win-win situation because, as I did during my editorship, I’m sure to continue meeting interesting people and seeing things that true fans can only dream of seeing. There are more good days ahead. Perhaps I came into the field of sports writing too naive about how things really work. Maybe my view of sports fans is more of an idealistic hope than a reality. In any event, the path of the sports writer, and not that of the sports fan, is the path I will continue down. That is to say, I’ll stay on this path as long as I can continue to stomach a job that occasionally requires me to witness things that we don’t always want to see.
Lebron James of the Miami Heat gives a thumbs up before a 95-88 win against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida, June 20. Credit: Courtesy of MCTIn arguably its biggest game of the 2013 season to date, the Ohio State football team will hear from a fellow Ohioan and current NBA World Champion before its tilt with Wisconsin Saturday night.An OSU spokesman confirmed that Miami Heat forward LeBron James will be on the Buckeyes’ sideline during the game. The four-time NBA MVP will also address the team before kickoff according to media reports.James, a graduate of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, is a longtime fan of OSU, even though he never went to the school. The NBA star even has his own locker inside the newly renovated locker rooms at The Jerome Schottenstein Center.OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta showed his own support for the Heat star, when the new facility was released to the media. OSU was the first team to wear Nike’s LeBron line of shoes as well as have their jerseys sponsored by him in 2007.“He’s done a lot of things in his time, but I think from a standpoint we always want to pay our respects to him for what he did for us in ’07 in terms of we were the first LeBron school,” Matta said Sept. 3. “I know he’s very proud of what he does for us.”Matta was not the only person to express his gratitude for arguably the biggest star in sports.“I feel sorry that our fans won’t rally around LeBron because of the way he did his things, because for us, he’s been unbelievable,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said Sept. 3. “He’s always kept us at the top of his thoughts when he’s doing things.”OSU is scheduled to take on Wisconsin at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Redshirt-junior tight end Nick Vannett carries the ball into the end zone during a game against Maryland on Oct. 4 in College Park, Md. OSU won, 52-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWith all the success the Ohio State offense has had in recent weeks, there is one spot where the Buckeyes aren’t up to par: the red zone.Coach Urban Meyer said his team’s play inside the opponent’s 20-yard line simply isn’t on track with the expectations at OSU.“It’s not very good at all,” Meyer said Monday. “For what we expect, it’s not good.”Overall this season, the Buckeyes have put points on the scoreboard 23 times in 28 trips to the red zone, coming out to a conversion rate of just 82 percent. Of those 23 scores, just 19 have been touchdowns. Those numbers compare to a 92 percent success rate for opponents, who have scored 10 touchdowns and added one field goal in 12 red zone tries against OSU this season.In 2013, the Buckeyes scored 60 times in 63 attempts — a 95 percent success rate — including 53 touchdowns in the red zone. That means the 2014 Buckeyes are putting points on the board in the red zone less often than last year’s counterparts were able to come away with touchdowns alone. Their opponents, meanwhile, were held to a 79 percent rate of success inside the 20 last season.OSU’s success rate was just over 71 percent in its most recent game — a 52-24 win against Maryland on Oct. 4 — as it went just five for seven in the red zone.Meyer said the success — or lack thereof — near the goal line comes down to coaching and not the ability of the players on the field.“It’s not the players’ fault, it’s our fault,” Meyer said. “It’s coaching errors, whether it be tempo, we just have to do a better job.”OSU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said he agreed the team’s red zone offense isn’t rolling at the necessary level, but noted the expectations are high when it comes to putting the ball in the end zone in Columbus, especially considering the success the Buckeyes have had since he and Meyer arrived in 2012.“I think our red zone, goal line or scoring touchdowns in the red zone is certainly not where we want it to be,” Herman said Monday. “Now we’ve set the bar pretty high finishing first in the country, I think second in our first year, first last year in touchdown percentage in the red zone.”The Buckeyes’ struggles in the red zone have them ranked all the way down at No. 72 in the country for red zone scoring percentage and No. 42 in the nation in red zone touchdown percentage. OSU was ranked in the top five for both scoring and touchdown percentage last year and 16th and second, respectively, in 2012.Senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said he has noticed the Buckeyes’ less-than-expected success in the red zone so far this season.“On offense, we’ve got to try to make sure that we’re capitalizing in the red zone,” Spencer said Monday. “We had a few times — last week I’m not sure, but I know the week before — we had a few times we got stalled in the end zone. Granted we’re putting up a lot of points at the same time, but there’s little small things that we can do personally and as a team.”Herman said one of the problems OSU has had near the goal line this season is making sure it takes advantage of soft spots in the opposing defense.“We don’t care what those weaknesses are,” Herman said. “We just need (to do) a better job of exploiting those weaknesses and not trying to beat our head against the wall into their strengths.”As players and the coaching staff have taken notice of the need to convert more often inside the 20, there has been more of an emphasis on it in practice — especially during OSU’s recent bye week.Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the coaching staff focused on red zone offense more often than normal last week after the less-than-stellar showing against the Terrapins.“We obviously had three days of practice, I think we did red zone two of the three,” Heuerman said Monday. “We usually only do red zone once a week.”He said the Buckeyes also practiced “some live short yardage situations” that they wouldn’t normally.Herman said improvement on that part of OSU’s game will be key going forward, and added he believes it can happen if the Buckeyes continue to work toward executing every play throughout the game.“I think we’re capable now and moving in the direction of, ‘Hey, you need to play with great technique for 80 plays in a row,’” Herman said. “And I think that’s a fair expectation given the point in the season that we’re at.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the field Saturday against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.
Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) waits for the snap during a game against Michigan State on Nov. 8 in East Lansing, Mich. OSU won, 49-37.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorThe script surrounding the Ohio State quarterback picture is the same as it was three months ago — the lead character just has a different name.When the Buckeyes took the field for fall practice in August, their top quarterback was a Heisman Trophy contender with the ability to rewrite the record books.But that quarterback — senior Braxton Miller — was lost for the season with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder during fall camp, leaving the door open for redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett to take reigns of the OSU offense.Now with three regular season games still remaining for the Buckeyes, Barrett is just four touchdown passes away from tying the single-season school record of 30. That record just so happens to have been set by OSU’s most recent Heisman winner, Troy Smith in 2006.On Monday, coach Urban Meyer said he thinks Barrett’s play — at least on paper — should have him in the conversation for the sport’s most prestigious postseason award.“I think statistically he’s got to be in the mix somewhere,” Meyer said, but he conceded he hadn’t had a chance to watch most other players who are in the Heisman conversation.But before Barrett’s play elevated him into that conversation, all signs pointed toward Miller returning to the Buckeyes as the starter next season. Since his injury was season-ending, Miller qualifies for a medical redshirt, meaning he can choose to stay at OSU next season with one year of eligibility remaining.In fact, Miller’s future at OSU was even qualified by Meyer on Sept. 29.“Braxton is our quarterback,” Meyer said, seemingly ending any debate as to whether Barrett — the former understudy — could send Miller packing.But now with Barrett’s play putting him in the national spotlight and Miller having already come in ninth in Heisman voting last season and fifth in 2012, Meyer could be tasked with choosing between two of the top signal callers in the nation next season.And after saying he was committed to Miller less than two months ago, Meyer’s stance shifted Monday when he addressed a potential Barrett vs. Miller battle next season.“Competition brings out the best,” he said. “And I’m really excited to have two really good quarterbacks next year.”But with that potential decision still months away, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said he’s focused on 2014, and not who will be under center on Sept. 7, 2015, when the Buckeyes are scheduled to open their season against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.“I honestly give that zero, zero thought,” Herman said Monday. “Zero.“I’m focused on this team and I’m also focused on Braxton and his rehab, which is going greatly from what I understand.”Herman added that the Buckeyes will “cross that bridge when we come to it,” in reference to possibly having a quarterback competition on their hands next fall.Meyer said having both quarterbacks on the roster isn’t a problem for him — even saying the Buckeyes are “fortunate and blessed” to have Barrett and Miller — and agreed with Herman that he’ll worry about making any decisions at a later date.Then-junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) looks for an open receiver during the 2014 Discover Orange Bowl against Clemson Jan. 3 at Sun Life Stadium. OSU lost, 40-35.Credit: Lantern file photo“I think they’re both excellent quarterbacks. Excellent quarterbacks,” Meyer said Monday. “And we’ll worry about that day when it comes.”Miller proved that excellence to Meyer by picking up back-to-back Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year awards, while Barrett has done so by progressing after taking over before the season opener against Navy. For Herman, Barrett’s speed of that progression has come as a surprise, he said, but not a big one.“I think the pace at which his improvement has accelerated is mildly surprising,” Herman said.“To see a kid that’s played nine college games now, to make the progress that he’s made,” he expanded. “It’s visual … You don’t have to be a coach to know that.”Now coming off a 49-37 win against then-No. 7 Michigan State on the road in which he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns while adding another two scores on the ground, Barrett has totaled 2,156 passing yards and 26 touchdowns through the air this season. He’s also tallied a 172.9 quarterback efficiency rating and is second on the team with 582 rushing yards and first with eight rushing touchdowns.In comparison, Miller threw for just 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns in his entire first season as the Buckeyes’ full-time starter in 2012. But the then-sophomore also rushed for 1,271 yards and 13 more scores that season.While that production has mostly been replaced by Barrett’s play this year, many might not have expected such an output. But at least one of Barrett’s receivers said he expected the Wichita Falls, Texas, native to step in seamlessly after replacing the injured Miller.“It’s kind of like the next man up, and he’s a mature dude and he took his job real serious,” redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas said Monday. “So I had a lot of confidence in him.”While the Buckeyes had championship aspirations under Miller, those plans seemed to take a hit when Barrett stepped in. But — with the right team around him — Herman said he feels Barrett is the type of quarterback who can lead OSU to a title as well.“I think with the right pieces around him and the right preparation and the right protection and ability to block people up front, yeah, he can certainly win any game that we put him out on the field to go against,” Herman said.But if Barrett can win any game Miller can, does that leave the door open for the Buckeyes’ injured star to leave OSU for another school next season?“I can’t even imagine that,” Herman said about the prospect of Miller transferring after he graduates from OSU this year.Whether or not the curtain has dropped on Miller’s time as OSU’s starter, Barrett is set to be the man taking the lead when the curtain rises for the Buckeyes on Saturday in Minneapolis. OSU is scheduled to kick off against Minnesota at noon.
Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) holds the ball during a game against Wright State on Dec. 27 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 100-55. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorIn its last game before opening conference play, the No. 21 Ohio State men’s basketball team flexed its muscle in a 100-55 rout of intrastate foe Wright State.The Buckeyes built on a 47-18 halftime lead, outscoring the Raiders by 16 in the second half, as freshman guard D’Angelo Russell scored 11 points in a less than nine-minute stretch to help propel OSU in the blowout win.The Buckeyes (11-2) scored 22 of their 47 first half points in the paint as the Raiders (8-6) could not stop OSU senior center Amir Williams who posted 11 of his career-high 21 points in the opening frame.Williams said after the game that because of Wright State’s lack of size, he, along with his teammates, were able to take advantage of the size discrepancy.“The guy guarding me wasn’t as tall as I was,” Williams said. “So D’Angelo saw the mismatch right away and gave me a couple of early post feeds and we just played off of that.”OSU coach Thad Matta added that getting Williams involved in the offense early was planned as the Buckeyes head into Big Ten play.“Amir has practiced the last couple days just like he played there (tonight),” Matta said. “It was good to see him get the success and finish around the basket. He did a tremendous job for us.”Williams scored the first five Buckeye points as OSU started the game on a 10-0 run, capitalized by a three-point make from Russell.OSU’s defense stood tall alongside its inside offensive game, as the Buckeyes held the Raiders to just 20.6 percent shooting in the first half and allowed just six points in the paint.The Buckeyes also tallied nine blocks in the contest, four from Williams.Despite his big game, Williams said that whether or not he has the size advantage in a game doesn’t matter to him once the game starts.“I just like playing whether it is a mismatch or not,” Williams said. “Doing what I do in the post or on the defensive end…I think we just do a good job of staying within the offense and finding ways to score.”While it was inside in the first half, OSU used its outside game to its advantage in the second half as the Buckeyes hit seven of their 11 three-point makes in the second frame, three of which came from Russell.Every Buckeye that took the floor scored at least two points, aside from walk-on Jake Lorbach who checked in with less than three minutes to play.Redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee did not play for the Buckeyes as he injured his ankle during OSU’s 93-55 win over the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks on Dec. 22.Matta said after the game against the Raiders that he is not sure how long Lee will be out.Russell led all scorers with 24, tallying 12 in each half. Russell finished six of eight shooting from the floor and made all of his six three-point attempts.Wright State coach Billy Donlon said after the game that it was Russell’s demeanor that impressed him at first.“What I am incredibly impressed with is, for a freshman, the amount of poise he plays with,” Donlon said. “He has a scoring mentality, but understands how to distribute.”Donlon added that ultimately it was Russell’s shooting that hurt the Raiders and even gave the freshman guard his own title.“His ability to make shots. He made three straight three’s on us in the second half,” Donlon said. “He is an absolute assassin out there.”The Raiders were led by freshman guard Grant Benzinger who scored 12 points to go along with six rebounds.With the first conference game of the season looming, Russell admitted he is not sure of what is coming down the road.“I don’t know what to expect. I am just trying to prepare the best way I can for it,” Russell said. “I am definitely looking forward to it. I just don’t know what to expect.”Matta said he has pulled Russell aside to let him know that Big Ten play has arrived.“One of the biggest things for freshmen is they have to learn how to take care of their bodies throughout,” Matta said. “It (Big Ten play) just keeps hitting you. He is going to work on his game.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to open Big Ten conference play Tuesday at home against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Tip is set for 1 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
Ohio State celebrates after junior forward Dakota Joshua’s goal in the second period of the Buckeyes’ 1-1 draw against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Oct. 13. Credit: Ohio State AthleticsOhio State (1-1-2) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (0-0-2) fought to another 1-1 tie — the second in as many days — with the Buckeyes once again winning in the shootout after the tie had been decided.RPI jumped on the Buckeyes early with a goal less than a minute into the game, but Ohio State tied the game up at one early in the second period. The battle between the pipes of the two goalies raged on the rest of the night as both teams failed to send a puck behind either netminder until the shootout. The Buckeyes were forced to play comeback hockey early on, but Ohio State junior forward John Wiitala said the team stayed true to their normal game.“I don’t think it changes anything,” Wiitala said. “I think we always try to stick to our game plan, whether that’s up by five goals or down by five, it’s the same game plan throughout.”The scoring started early for the Engineers with a goal by junior forward Evan Tironese just 56 seconds into the first period. Freshman forward Troy York fed a pass to the back post for an easy tip-in by Tironese that redshirt junior goalie Sean Romeo had no chance at stopping, giving RPI an early 1-0 lead.The Buckeyes couldn’t find the back of the net in the first, then quickly knotted the score at one in the second period on a goal by senior forward Christian Lampasso. Wiitala tipped the puck away from the RPI defender, and senior forward Luke Stork found Lampasso wide open in the slot, giving Lampasso an opportunity to bury the shot past junior goalie Chase Perry.“[Wiitala] just made a great play,” Stork said. “He back checked the puck really well and it just happened to come back on my stick, and I looked up and saw [Lampasso] wide open in the middle, and he put it away.”Much like the previous night’s game, Romeo and Perry faced off in a goalie battle for much of this contest. The first big save came on the Ohio State end, as Romeo stuffed sophomore forward Jacob Hayhurst on a wide open shot in the slot.Not to be outdone, Perry held strong on a tough Wiitala shot with an incredible save with six minutes to go in the third period. Perry would end the game with 27 saves, Romeo had 22.“[Romeo] got the game puck again tonight, head coach Steve Rohlik said. “At the end of the day you’re always as good as your goaltending, and certainly he was a backbone again tonight.”The game headed into overtime deadlocked at one, with neither team able to create much momentum in the third period. Ohio State led in shots 27-20 going into the extra frame.Stork created a strong chance early in the overtime, but Perry tracked the shot down with a kick save on his right pad. Junior forward Dakota Joshua had an opportunity off a pass from junior forward Brendon Kearney, but the shot went wide.RPI’s greatest chance came on a breakaway by sophomore forward Patrick Polino, but his shot went wide with under a minute to go in the overtime.The game went to a shootout where the Buckeyes won on a goal by sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski. Romeo made all three saves to secure another shootout victory. Shootouts are not counted in the standings for non-conference opponents in collegiate hockey, so the game went down as a 1-1 tie for both teams.Ohio State continued to struggle on the power play, as their 0-for-3 tally in the game moves them to 0-for-20 on the season with a man advantage.“It’s a work in progress right now,” Rohlik said. “We’re going to have to keep tweaking it before we find the right combinations.”The Buckeyes travel to play a pair of road games against University of Massachusetts Amherst. The games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and at 8 p.m Saturday.
Ohio State junior defensive end Sam Hubbard (6) prepares for a Trojan possession in the first quarter of the 2017 Cotton Bowl against USC on Dec. 29 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Ohio State won 24-7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorFormer Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard was selected as the No. 77 overall pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Hubbard was the second Ohio State player taken by the Bengals after the team selected offensive lineman Billy Price with the 21st pick in the first round. After playing in 40 career games and starting 22 contests, Hubbard left Ohio State with the 15th-most sacks in school history with 17.Coming in as a four-star safety recruit, Hubbard switched to defensive end when he came to Ohio State. After redshirting his freshman season, Hubbard was named a USA Today Freshman All-American in 2015, recording eight tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and an interception.In his redshirt sophomore season, Hubbard was named as an honorable mention All-Big Ten, adding 46 tackles and eight tackles for loss.Hubbard earned second-team All-Big Ten honors during his redshirt junior season in 2017, ending the season with 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks, good for second-most on the team in both categories.Hubbard announced he would forgo his redshirt senior season and enter the NFL Draft on Dec. 30, only one day after Ohio State’s Cotton Bowl win over USC. Hubbard had a 35-inch vertical jump, ranked as fourth best at the NFL Combine. He also led all defensive linemen with an 11.61-second 60-yard shuttle.The Bengals begin their 2018 season on Sept. 9 against recently drafted former Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis and the Indianapolis Colts.
Ohio State junior infielder Kobie Foppe (2) connects with a pitch in the third inning of the game against Ohio University in April 10. Ohio State won 4-0. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State and Iowa have a recent history in the Big Ten baseball tournament. Iowa beat Ohio State in 2016 to send the Buckeyes to the loser’s bracket. However, Ohio State battled its way back to the Big Ten tournament championship game and beat Iowa to claim the tournament title. This time, the two squared off in an elimination game with their tournament lives on the line. And once again, it was No. 7 Ohio State that came out on top with a 2-0 victory against No. 6 Iowa.Ohio State’s top MLB draft prospect, junior starting pitcher Ryan Feltner, delivered one of his strongest outings of the season, allowing three hits over six shutout innings. He struck out six and walked three.Feltner received all the support he would need in the top of the first inning when senior left fielder Tyler Cowles shot a double into the left-center field gap to score junior shortstop Kobie Foppe from first.Foppe drove in a run of his own in the top of the fifth when he singled to the right side to score redshirt sophomore pinch runner Matt Carpenter from third base. Foppe led all players with three hits in four at-bats. After allowing back-to-back baserunners to reach base to start the seventh inning, Feltner was chased from the game with senior reliever Seth Kinker being called in from the bullpen. He struck out the first batter he faced and then got a ground ball to get the Buckeyes out of the inning. Kinker slammed the door, finishing the game with three shutout innings, XX strikeouts and no walks.Feltner and Kinker combined to hold the Hawkeyes to just four hits. Ohio State finished the game with 10 hits.Ohio State will face the loser of the Michigan-Purdue game, which takes place at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Buckeyes will next play at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
The final Monday of August offers one last chance to soak-up the sun – or rain – over a long weekend, with a Met Office forecast predicting warm dry weather for many in the South and rainfall in the North. Three days of garden parties, outdoor escapes and seaside frolics can be had, on what many consider to be the last weekend of summer. Here is our guide to British bank holidays, from when they are to where they came from. Plus, if memories of holidays and the heatwave are beginning to fade and you wish you could have spent more time in the sun this summer, we have a handy guide on how to get 24 days off in a row using only 14 days of annual leave. Public holidays,… Bank holidays explained
Julie Arnold, formerly Sharp, has called for divorce law to be modernised to better support couples who are facing divorce after a short marriage having had no children. She said such cases were likely to become more common as couples marry later in life, noting that in such circumstances, when one partner earns more than the other, the current principle that assets should be shared equally, was wholly unjust. “Matrimonial law relies on a 1973 act and distributes wealth based on case law involving a couple who married in 1961 and stayed together for 30 years,” she… A city trader at the centre of a landmark multimillion divorce case says her former husband “won the lottery” by having an affair.
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. Priti Patel, the former international development secretary, said she had told Conservative colleagues not to “label me as BME”.The leading Brexiteer said she considered the term, which is a common abbreviation for Black and Minority Ethnic, “patronising” and “insulting”.”I don’t like the labelling of people. I don’t like the term BME. I’m British first and foremost, because I was born in Britain,” she told BBC radio.”I challenge all my colleagues in the Conservative Party and in Westminster: Don’t label me as a BME. I’ve said that to people in the cabinet. I’ve said that to civil servants. I think it’s patronising and insulting.”She said the term was “totally unhelpful because we are people and everybody wants to be recognised for their individual merits”. Ms Patel is the daughter of Indian immigrants of Gujarati origin who left Uganda shortly before Idi Amin expelled the Asian community.The Whitham MP, who was the first female Indian cabinet minister, said she was “not sure” if Britain would ever see a prime minister from a minority background, explaining there were many institutional barriers.But she said such a milestone would show the country was a “true meritocracy” and did not rule out a bid for the Conservative leadership herself at some point.”Who knows?” she said, when asked if she could be prime minister. The general election last year returned more black and minority ethnic MPs than ever before. The House of commons now has 52 BME MPs, amounting to eight per cent of seats, a two per cent increase on 2015.Ms Patel, who resigned from her cabinet post in November for failing to disclose 14 meetings with Israeli figures, said she would like to see more people from Indian backgrounds in politics, but said it would be a “regressive step” for any political party or government to put people in posts “just because they are women or because they represent a minority group”.
Shimon Goldwater, a senior solicitor at the firm, said that decision on how to proceed will be taken in the next few weeks, and it is likely that if a case is brought, it would be “a set of 10 to 20 universities that we would be suing”.Which universities are involved is likely to depend on which students come forward, he said.He claimed that if a class action suit was successful, institutions could have to pay out millions of pounds.”Over 20,000 undergraduates attend each large UK university,” he suggested. “Paying approximately £500 compensation each to 20,000 students would cost £10 million.” Students can sign up on a website set up by specialist law firm Asserson, which would mean all the individual claims could be grouped together and heard at the same time if a law suit goes ahead. Over 1,000 students from some of the UK’s biggest universities have launched collective legal action which could see universities pay out millions in compensation for lost teaching time during recent lecturer strikes.The law firm behind the group action believe institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Manchester, could end up paying out £10m each.It comes after staff from 64 universities around the UK were hit bay 14 days of strikes in a dispute over pensions.When the action collected 1,000 signatures, it triggered the number needed to apply for a Group Litigation Order. It’s expected that more students could sign up too.According to lawyers, a quarter of those who signed up are overseas students. The most number of signatories have come from the University of Manchester.Members of the University and College Union staged a wave of strikes in February and March as part of a bitter dispute over changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a major pension scheme. UCU called off further action earlier this month after members accepted new proposals put forward by Universities UK. 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.
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 Chechnya director for Russia’s oldest human rights group Memorial, Oyub Titiyev, was arrested in January and faces 10 years in jail for drugs, which he said were planted in his car by police.“If Titiev is not released, it’ll be a dark stain on FIFA. It’ll mean that FIFA hasn’t fully used its leverage with Russian authorities to do the right thing,” Ms Lokshina said. Mo Salaha receiving honour at gala dinner “It is unacceptable for a footballer who should talk about equality and acceptance of all people in football to receive an award from a man who rejects any equality and acceptance of LGBTi people, who is accused of persecuting gay people and human rights defenders,” Mr Agapov said. He has exploited the arrival of the international football star to boost his own standing, even dragging Mr Salah out of bed to show him off to thousands of adoring fans at the local stadium.Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch said Kadyrov was “using the World Cup to gloss over the staggering repressions in Chechnya”. At least five died after Chechen authorities rounded up and tortured hundreds of gay men in a witch hunt last year. One victim said he was kept for 12 days in a cell “doused in blood” and repeatedly beaten with a club until he could no longer stand.Kadyrov told the BBC this month that these allegations were “made-up” and Chechnya does not have a single gay person. Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been given honorary citizenship in Russia’s Chechnya republic by Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman ruler who has been accused of human rights violations including the widespread torture of gay men.Kadyrov handed Mr Salah a decree declaring him a citizen and pinned a medal on his chest at a dinner in honour of the Egypt team, who are training in Chechnya during the World Cup.“Mohamed Salah thanked us for our surprisingly warm and good hospitality, great affection for the team and excellent conditions for their stay and training,” Kadyrov, who was banned last year from his beloved Instagram, wrote on Russian social network VK. “I’m sure our Akhmat club and the Egypt team will at some point hold a friendly match in Grozny.”Human rights defenders have condemned the approval of Chechnya as a World Cup training base due to its crackdowns on LGBT people and activists.Alexander Agapov, president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, said he had questions for FIFA, the Egyptian football association, the Liverpool team and Mr Saleh about the dubious honour bestowed on him.
Traditional care homes will be increasingly replaced by luxury developments with spas, hairdressers and beauty salons in a bid to keep pensioners independent for longer, ministers say today.The Government plans will see £76 million invested annually for the next three years in new homes specially designed for those who are frail, elderly or suffering from disabilities.Health officials said the plans aim to keep people independent for longer – with their own front door, but more support on hand, with use of sensors and video monitoring to track the most vulnerable.Housing developers will be able to bid for funds, from the programme which has already seen £315 million allocated to projects which design such homes.–– ADVERTISEMENT –– Communities likes these can improve quality of life… and keep the pressure off our health and social care systemCaroline Dinenage, care minister Developments include bungalows tailored to the needs of those with high level autism, with curved walls without sharp edges, with bedrooms built a little below ground level to diffuse outside noise, in one scheme in Bicester.Other projects include homes in London for adults with learning disabilities, with garden areas, substantial communal areas, and staff available around-the-clock.Ms Dinenage said: “There are still far far too many people living in substandard accommodation, faced with stairs they can no longer climb or cupboards beyond their reach. This is not the quality of life we would want for our own mums or dads – or indeed ourselves.” It comes alongside NHS plans to embed smart technology into homes.The Healthy Towns project is working with developers to allow remote monitoring of those with health conditions, with results sent directly to GPs and hospitals.New-build homes will contain movement sensors and other smart technology linked to a tablet computer, meaning health tips can be flashed up on screens if activity levels fall. “Far too often, older people who could have stayed at home for longer are ending up in hospital or residential care. We must do much more to ensure the quality of our housing keeps up with ever-evolving health needs,” she said. 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. Calling for more investment in supported living schemes, she said the Manchester project, developed by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group – which offers flats for sale, rent or shared ownership – is a prime example of the kind of housing which should be rolled out more widely.“We need to encourage far more of these types of developments. Communities likes these can improve quality of life, help more people live in the community for longer and keep the pressure off our health and social care system – something we all want to see,” she said.So far, 3,300 specially designed new homes have been built following previous bidding rounds. One scheme in Manchester is using the funds to develop 135 flats for the elderly which have onsite facilities including a spa, beauty salon and a bistro. The plans also include dementia-friendly design, landscaped sensory gardens and communal function rooms.Caroline Dinenage, care minister, said the schemes aimed to ensure that elderly people were able to live in suitable housing, which helped them to maintain independence.
They used to rank alongside a slice of cake in a party bag and pass the parcel as mainstays of a children’s birthday party. But clowns are increasingly being frozen out of the celebrations as children are more interested in seeing performing Disney characters and pirates than juggling and animals balloons.In the face of stiff competition from characters in films such as Frozen and Beauty and the Beast, the clown is struggling more than ever for bookings and the oldest organisation to support the act of clowning has warned that clowns are in danger of dying out.Clowns International, set up in 1946, says that there are now only about 100 registered clowns in the country, and that the situation is getting worse.Mattie Faint, from the body, said: “There aren’t so many clowns around these days. I think most clowns are children’s party clowns, rather than, say, being part of a circus, but now children want Disney characters or pirates so the times have changed. At one point the only person you ever saw at a child’s party was a clown – now it can really be whatever they like.”Now, in an attempt to save their reputation, a new exhibition run by Clowns Gallery Museum in London, which details the history of the clown, will be touring the country to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the circus. The eggs, which are made from clay, make up the Clown Egg Register, which represents an informal copyright to clowns who design an egg based on their facial make-up.In fact, the register proves such interesting viewing it has been captured in a book by Luke Stephenson and Helen Champion.The practice of painting eggs began in the Forties by the late Stan Bult, founder of the International Circus Clowns Club, now Clowns International. As a clown enthusiast, he would capture the appearances of various clowns by painting them on to hollowed-out eggs as a way to copyright their facial features, ensuring that no two clowns looked the same. To prevent the theft of a clown’s face, members of Clowns International must painstakingly paint their clown faces onto eggs Eventually the collection grew into what is now the Clown Egg Register.Mr Stephenson, photographer of the latest edition of The Clown Egg Register book, said: “While I haven’t seen any particular trends in the eggs, the personas of the clowns are certainly captured in the paintings.“They are quite remarkable little things and something quite unusual but interesting to photograph.”Mr Faint added: “We’re now holding a number of events this year and we really hope this will help boost the popularity of clowns. Maybe parents will see the display of eggs and it will make them consider that for their children.” The museum, which is curated by Mr Faint, is planning to put more than 150 clown eggheads on display as part of the tour. 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.