Economy grows at 3.8% in fourth quarter

first_img26 February 2014 South Africa’s economy bounced back in the fourth quarter of 2013, growing at a rate of 3.8% on the back of stronger performances from the country’s manufacturing and mining sectors, Statistics SA reported on Tuesday. This followed gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 0.7% for the third quarter. Investec senior economist Annabel Bishop warned against reading too much into the figures, however, telling Business Report that the rebound reflected not economic strength so much as the return to work of strikers following protracted strikes earlier in the year. Stats SA also reported that South Africa’s overall economic growth for 2013, according to the first preliminary estimates, stood at 1.9%. This was down from 2.5% growth in 2012 and 3.6% growth in 2011. “The nominal GDP at market prices in 2013 was R3.4-trillion, which is R246-billion more than in 2012,” Stats SA said in a statement, adding that the most notable performers for the year were finance, real estate and business services (expanding by R54-billion to R652-billion) and general government services (expanding by R52-billion to R518-billion). In the fourth quarter, Stats SA said, the country’s manufacturing sector recorded growth of 12.3%, thanks to higher production in food and beverages, petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastics, and motor vehicles, parts and accessories. Mining, driven by higher production on the country’s gold and platinum mines, grew by 15.7% in the quarter. SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

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GPS fencing to be highlighted at Ohio Sheep Day

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farm dogs can be very important to livestock operations for the purposes of predator control, but they can also be a source of headaches and additional expense when fences fail to keep them contained.A farm dog ending up in places other than where they are needed is an all-too-familiar problem that those in the livestock industry deal with. Finding a way to keep those farm protectors inside set boundaries, like an invisible fence, is often not economically feasible when those boundaries are measured in acres.That may not be the case anymore, as now, the same technology that maps out travels plans and keeps farm equipment heading in a straight line is being used to keep a farm’s four-legged predator defense system from venturing off of the homestead.This GPS containment system is one of the ideas that will be highlighted at the 2015 Ohio Sheep Day at Jim and Denise Percival’s Schoolhouse Shropshires farm in Xenia on July 11.“Essentially, each dog that would be on the system (up to 10) would wear a GPS collar which communicates directly with GPS satellites,” said Brandon Baker, Sales Supervisor with Invisible Fence of Dayton and Columbus West. “The central base station, which is mounted to a structure on the property, increases the accuracy of the fence to three feet of the selected boundaries.”Setting up the perimeter of the GPS fencing system begins with software that utilizes Google Maps that electronically plots out points to set preferred boundaries. Those points can be changed or customized as the farm’s situation may change.When you compare the GPS option to the conventional underground wire fencing, there is a point where the newer, high-tech choice is more cost effective.“The underground wire systems typically cover areas as small as a quarter of an acre or less up to fifteen acres or so,” Baker said. “Because of the GPS system’s size requirements, we generally like to start with properties that are five acres and above and there is no upward limit as to how many acres we can cover, we could put a boundaries around the entire U.S. if we wanted to.”When a wired system is installed on 10 to 15 acres, the cost would be the equivalent of what the new GPS technology would run. The unit’s price point is around the $3,000 mark, including the equipment, installation and training.“We take the time to teach dogs that will be on the GPS system how their new collars work, how to find their boundaries using the collar and how to respond properly by stopping, turning around and backing away when they come too close to the boundaries,” Baker said.The Percival’s, who have over 40 years in the sheep industry and currently have 65 brood ewes in Greene Country, are putting this new fencing technology to use. Keeping their two Great Pyrenees dogs close by is important to their bottom-line.“Our dogs do a really good job at controlling predators in our area,” Jim Percival said. “Most recently we have found that black vultures are an issue and our Great Pyrenees are great for those as well.”Great Pyrenees, by nature, have a wide range of ground they like to protect. Sometimes for Percival, that meant his dogs were getting a bit too far away from where they were needed the most.“Since we had the new GPS containment system put in, when the dogs get within 30 feet of one of their boundaries, it stops them and turns them around,” Percival said. “Before we installed the new system, our oldest dog would not only protect our livestock, but everyone else’s within a three-mile radius. Now, he stays put and hasn’t left the farm at all.”Recently, Percival was introduced to the folks in Tennessee that developed the GPS technology and once he was sold on the idea, he called Invisible Fence to start the process.“It was very, very easy to implement,” Percival said. “They came by with their computers and pulled up the county auditor’s website, then they set up the perimeter of our farm and put in the points we wanted and drew straight lines about 30 feet off of the property line to adjust for the satellite ranges and we were all set.”As with any new technology added to an operation, the start-up cost may be the hardest bite to swallow, but Percival sees the GPS system paying for itself once he takes into account the lambs he may be saving from keeping his dogs close by.“Since we have implemented this new system, we have not lost any lambs to predators,” Percival said. “This past winter, we did have some coyotes starting to come around and our dogs and donkey chased them off before any harm was done.”In the future this technology has the potential of being used on larger animals, not only to keep them within a certain area, but to also track each individual animal to know their location at any given time.Percival is getting his farm prepped for Ohio Sheep Day and he is not only proud to host the event on his farm, but he says this is a great opportunity for his part of the state.“This is the first year that I recall the event coming to southwest Ohio,” Percival said. “There are a lot of small sheep breeders in this area and we wanted to give them the opportunity to learn about some of the new ideas that make our industry better.”The topic of predator control and management is where the new GPS technology will fit in the event’s program. The day will also include helpful tips for those just getting started in the sheep business and some discussions about manure management, which is a topic that is front and center in Ohio.Bob Hendershot will be on hand to hold a forage clinic on Percival’s alfalfa fields, and the topics of approved EQIP practices for sheep farms, basic sheep management practices, lambing barn arrangements and proper selection of sheep equipment will also be covered.Registration for the 2015 Ohio Sheep Day on July 11th is $15 for Ohio Sheep Improvement Association members and $25 for non-members and includes lunch.For additional information on the event visit OhioSheep.org.last_img read more

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All-Star Harden question Paul snub

first_imgJohn Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ Gasol, Mills lead balanced Spurs attack over Grizzlies 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next “He averages what 19 (points) and nine assists?” Harden asked after getting 25 points and 13 assists in a 104-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. “What are we rewarding? We’re winning and he’s putting up the numbers, there’s no question.“Obviously, we have a lot of depth on this team, but I’m not doing it out there by myself. He’s controlling the games as well.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutPaul scored 12 points with seven rebounds and four assists as the Rockets beat their Texas rivals for the sixth straight time. The streak started with a four-game sweep last season. Houston won its fourth straight game and seventh in the past nine.After missing the first 14 games with a left knee injury, Paul later sat another three with a left abductor strain. But the Rockets are 24-5 in games he has played, and won his first 15 starts. He is averaging 18.8 points, 8.8 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shakes hands with Chris Paul after a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)DALLAS — James Harden is an All-Star for the sixth straight season. New Houston teammate Chris Paul will miss the February party for the second year in a row following nine consecutive appearances for the Western Conference.The Rockets aren’t exactly pleased about the Paul part.ADVERTISEMENT “People that should be watching games don’t watch the games and see how important a guy is,” coach Mike D’Antoni said before the game. “It’s perplexing.” NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers View comments Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon Citylast_img read more

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10 months agoPSG keeper Buffon: Man Utd? They could buy new players – and change coach

first_imgPSG keeper Buffon: Man Utd? They could buy new players – and change coachby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePSG goalkeeper Gigi Buffon says they cannot underestimate Champions League opponents Manchester United.The two teams will meet in the round of 16.Buffon said, “No, it’s not an easy draw. Some teams had a complicated draw, others did better. I saw that Juve inherited a difficult draw with Atlético de Madrid. Bayern Munich drew Liverpool. Then there is Barcelona again, Real Madrid. “This is an intermediate draw. We will have to be brave. We will have to have the same mentality as that shown in the last matches of the Champions League. But I will also add that the Champions League resumes only in February, in two months. There can be many things happening. They can change coach, players, there is a transfer window. “In my opinion, this is not the right time to analyse this team.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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A deeper look into new research on factors that drive northern populism

first_imgOTTAWA – Across the world, citizens who have felt sideswiped by technological, cultural and economic progress have sought to regain some measure of control by seeking to upend the political status quo in their home countries.EKOS Research and The Canadian Press sought to explore to what extent similar discontent exists here and in particular, where, by devising an index to measure attitudes.The methodology:Two telephone polls from June and December probed respondents for their opinions in categories covering their economic outlook on the future and sense of class mobility, how well they know Canada’s ethnic makeup, their racial tolerance and finally, whether they believe so-called populism is a good or bad thing.The answer to each question was allotted a point value. Negative answers — such as respondents reporting they were falling backward — received more points than positive ones.The sum of the points determined where someone sits on a spectrum of views ranging from ‘open’ to ‘mixed’ to ‘ordered’. Put another way, it measures how insecure Canadians are feeling.The higher the point total, the more ‘ordered’ a person’s world view, meaning they were more likely to have a negative outlook on the economy and their future and also concerns about the diversity of the country.Taken together, the sample size amounted to 12,604 people, large enough to allow for a deep dive into the data to chart results not just nationally but regionally and by census metropolitan area. The polls had a margin of error of 0.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.The results:Geography:Most ‘open’ cities: In St. John’s, 61 per cent of respondents fell into this category. They were followed by Victoria at 59 per cent, and Kelowna, B.C. at 55 per cent.Most ‘mixed’ cities: Windsor, Ont., 34 per cent, followed by Sherbrooke, Que., at 32 per cent.Most ‘ordered’ cities: Oshawa, Ont., 38 per cent, followed by Saskatoon at 37 per cent and Calgary at 36 per cent.More broadly, people with an ordered world view were more likely to live in places with 100,000 people or less.By gender:Open: 47 per cent of male respondents, 44 per cent of female respondents.Mixed: 24 per cent of males, 26 per cent of females.Ordered: 30 per cent of males, 30 per cent of females.By age:Respondents under 35: 50 per cent open, 20 per cent mixed, 30 per cent ordered.35-29: 48 per cent open, 24 per cent mixed, 28 per cent ordered.50-64: 42 per cent open, 26 per cent mixed, 32 per cent ordered.65+: 40 per cent open, 31 per cent mixed, 29 per cent ordered.By party affiliation:The vast majority of all respondents have not held membership in a political party in the last five years, but of those who have, 18 per cent were classified as open, 16 as mixed and 15 as ordered.Liberals: 56 per cent were classified as open, 25 per cent were mixed and 19 per cent were ordered.Conservatives: 35 per cent open, 26 per cent mixed, 40 per cent ordered.New Democrats: 52 per cent open, 20 per cent mixed, 28 per cent ordered.Source: EKOS Researchlast_img read more

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‘I have an opinion, but I’ll keep it to myself’

first_imgMumbai: After Kangana Ranaut slammed Alia Bhatt for not speaking over contemporary issues, the actor said while she respects the Queen star for voicing her opinions, she would like to keep hers private. Kangana had called Alia and her Gully Boy co-star Ranveer Singh’s comments of being apolitical “irresponsible” and lashed out at the duo for refusing to speak on politics. Asked about Kangana’s comments, Alia told reporters, “I definitely don’t have the ability to speak as candidly as Kangana Ranaut does, and I really do respect her for that ability and maybe in a way I think she is right, sometimes we do hold back.” “My dad also says that there are already so many opinions in the world that it can do with one less opinion,” the Udta Punjab actor asserted. “So, even if I have an opinion but I’ll keep it to myself. But, kudos to her as she genuinely speaks really well,” Bhatt further added. The Badrinath ki Dulhania actor was speaking at an event in Mumbai recently. “I am somebody who loves being an actor, I love acting. But in life I want to do so much more. I want to produce films, I won’t ever direct though. I want to work on social causes. I can do so much more with my life, this is just a beginning.” Alia will next be seen in Brahmastra and Kalank, both the films’ journey she described as “beautiful.” “Kalank is an unbelievable journey. It is an honour to be a part of such a great cast. The film’s director, Abhishek Varman is a dear friend. We all have really put in a lot of hard work for this one.”last_img read more

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Who Are The Favorites In The 2019 NFL Season

Kansas CityP. Mahomes+59161510.369%50%9% Chance To… Travel distance and rest matter. We used to give a blanket home-field advantage of 65 Elo points for every game that wasn’t at a neutral site. Now, we modify our home-field effect4Which is worth a flat adjustment of 55 Elo points. using the distance the visiting team needed to travel to get to the game, docking a team by 4 points of Elo for every 1,000 miles traveled.5This effect is not applied to international games, though it is used for the Super Bowl. Teams also perform better after a bye week (including teams that don’t play during the opening week of the playoffs), so we now give a bonus of 25 Elo points whenever a team is coming into a game fresh and extra-rested. The AFC South experienced a dramatic shakeup when Andrew Luck retired two weeks ago, giving the division a whole new favorite: the Texans. Now, Houston is in somewhat tenuous possession of that distinction, with No. 6-ranked QB Deshaun Watson leading the way — despite last weekend’s bombshell trade that shipped star pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle. The Titans aren’t far behind Houston, although QB Marcus Mariota has regressed over the past few years: In Week 12 of the 2016 season, his Elo adjustment would have been 61 points higher than an average quarterback; now it’s 34 points below average. The Jaguars are right in the mix as well, thanks in part to the acquisition of former Eagles backup Nick Foles; Foles adds 14 points of Elo compared with the team’s long-term historical QB rating (i.e., Blake Bortles). Finally, the Colts went from first to last in Elo’s division prediction — literally overnight — after Luck retired. Backup Jacoby Brissett is worth about 90 fewer Elo points by himself than Luck would have been — a huge blow to Indy’s chances of making a return trip to the playoffs. Even so, this is the most uncertain division race in the league. Chance To… ClevelandB. Mayfield+915168.441252 TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl New EnglandT. Brady+52164011.180%69%14% Chance To… N.Y. JetsS. Darnold-4814527.124111 L.A. RamsJ. Goff-915889.660%46%7% How we’re predicting the AFC North race OaklandD. Carr-2614135.8125<1 L.A. ChargersP. Rivers+415809.659366 Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN PittsburghB. Roethlisberger+8715699.558%41%5% MiamiR. Fitzpatrick-213895.5104<1 MinnesotaK. Cousins+1215408.543273 Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN CincinnatiA. Dalton-4014146.2158<1 TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 29, 2019.Source: ESPN This is the tightest division race in the NFC. The Bears are favored to win again, though Mitchell Trubisky is Elo’s second-lowest rated QB in the North. (He’s 13th overall, so it mainly speaks to the quality of passers in this division.) On the other side of the ball, the amount of talent on Chicago’s defense is impressive, a necessary component as the Bears are hoping to repeat as last year’s stingiest defense in terms of points allowed. The Vikings come in slightly lower but are still 13th overall by the Elo rankings. So should we blame QB Kirk Cousins for Minnesota’s disappointing 2018 season? Probably not. Although his Elo rating wasn’t as high as during his 2016 or 2017 campaigns, Cousins was good for most of last year, and he enters 2019 as our 12th-ranked quarterback. But the best QB Elo in the division belongs to Aaron Rodgers of the Packers. Even if former coach Mike McCarthy didn’t always put him in the best position to succeed, Rodgers still had solid numbers last season and is currently ranked seventh in QB Elo. (It’s the rest of the roster that’s holding Green Bay back from a division probability better than that 24 percent.) Last, we have the Lions. They project to finish fourth, with QB Matthew Stafford coming off his worst season in years and a second-year coach already on the hot seat. But we do call for Detroit to return to its rightful place in the NFL standings, with roughly a 7-9 record, after last season’s 6-10 hiatus. The Chiefs are the second-most-likely team to win the Super Bowl, trailing only the Patriots. One of the biggest reasons: Elo ranks Patrick Mahomes as the fourth-most-valuable QB in the league behind Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees. Although K.C. will probably regress some after last year’s breakout (we think the Chiefs’ point differential will fall from +144 to +79), and the defense is no better than average (it ranks 16th in ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index), we think this is the team most likely to dethrone New England. The Chargers aren’t running very far behind, either, ranking sixth in overall Elo. L.A. didn’t do much over the offseason — and its trademark injury problems are already cropping up — but this remains one of the most talented rosters in the game. The gap between this division’s top two and bottom two is vast. The Broncos upgraded under center with former Ravens QB Joe Flacco, but he’s still mediocre at best. Late summer for the Raiders has been a circus even by the standards of a “Hard Knocks” team; maybe Brown will improve QB Derek Carr’s numbers, but the team has plenty of other question marks. Oakland and Denver won’t be helped by playing the two toughest schedules in the league, either. Chance To… WashingtonC. Keenum-2414276.31691 Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN Chance To… TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl How we’re predicting the NFC South race How we’re predicting the NFC North race DenverJ. Flacco-1614626.82091 TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl How we’re predicting the AFC East race San FranciscoJ. Garoppolo-2114807.428171 HoustonD. Watson+2915338.443%32%3% As we said above, the Patriots are not only the division favorites (for what feels like the millionth consecutive season) but are also the model’s top Super Bowl pick. Their fate is tied to Tom Brady continuing to play well at an age when basically no other QB has done that, of course, and he’ll have to do it without favorite security blanket Rob Gronkowski, who retired in March. But Brady hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down yet, and he’ll get to face the NFL’s easiest schedule7According to the average Elo ratings of New England’s regular-season opponents, adjusted for expected starting QBs and home-field advantage. in 2019. Perhaps surprisingly, Elo gives the Bills a slight edge over the Jets for second place in the East. Both teams’ sophomore QBs (Josh Allen and Sam Darnold) played well down the stretch last season, though our model likes Allen a bit more. New York had the more eventful offseason, signing Le’Veon Bell and abruptly firing GM Mike Maccagnan, but the Bills might have made steadier progress. And the Dolphins bring up the rear, though they have the division’s second-highest rated Elo QB in newcomer Ryan Fitzpatrick. (Amid questions of Miami tanking, Vegas gives the Phins 500-to-1 Super Bowl odds, the worst in football.) IndianapolisJ. Brissett-5514797.328191 Chance To… How we’re predicting the NFC East race AtlantaM. Ryan+6715338.339233 TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl N.Y. GiantsE. Manning-2714246.4179<1 DallasD. Prescott+1815478.949334 TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl New OrleansD. Brees+61160410.063%46%8% ArizonaK. Murray-5013895.5106<1 Tampa BayJ. Winston+714466.61791 Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN The more things change in the NFL, the more they stay the same. Fresh off of their sixth Super Bowl win with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm, the defending champion New England Patriots open the 2019 season as our favorite to win again. The rest of the top contenders are similar to last season’s as well: the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles round out the top five in Super Bowl odds, according to our predictions.But our NFL Elo model has changed in a somewhat significant way. You can read more about how it all works here, but in a nutshell, we have added a number of wrinkles to make our football picks more accurate:Quarterback adjustments. We hinted at this over the summer, but we now track rolling performance ratings1Based on a regression between Total QBR yards above replacement and basic box score numbers (including rushing stats) from a given game, adjusted for the quality of opposing defenses. for each QB in the league, which can then be compared with a team’s own rolling QB rating to adjust its Elo in games with a different quarterback starting.2This is very similar to the way we handle starting-pitcher adjustments in our MLB Elo model. (Related to this, we have a new interactive page that shows the relative quality of every quarterback in the league.)3Initial ratings for rookies are based on draft position, ranging from a 0 for an undrafted free agent to a +113 for a No. 1 overall pick like Arizona’s Kyler Murray. TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl JacksonvilleN. Foles+914987.835242 TennesseeM. Mariota-3415027.836252 Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN CarolinaC. Newton+1415158.338223 BuffaloJ. Allen-1214757.630151 SeattleR. Wilson+1415458.746314 Green BayA. Rodgers+2815228.238243 Rumors of the Steelers’ demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. Despite a tumultuous offseason that involved officially losing Bell8The running back sat out all of last season as part of a contractual dispute. and also shipping receiver Antonio Brown to the Raiders, Pittsburgh remains the top-ranked team in the North. Part of that is thanks to Ben Roethlisberger, who checks in as Elo’s No. 1 overall QB, and part of it is because the Steelers have one of the league’s easiest schedules. The Ravens and Browns are neck-and-neck behind them; Elo is skeptical about Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson after he posted not-so-great numbers as a rookie, but it thinks his supporting cast is superior to Baker Mayfield’s in Cleveland — despite the Browns’ big offseason (hi, Odell) and general hype level heading into 2019. Meanwhile, the Bengals are a distant No. 4, as QB Andy Dalton has seen better days, and the team is breaking in a first-time head coach (Zac Taylor). TeamStarting QBvs. avgElo RatingProj. WinsMake PlayoffsWin DivisionWin Super Bowl BaltimoreL. Jackson-4015278.441263 DetroitM. Stafford-2214586.922121 Chance To… PhiladelphiaC. Wentz+2015869.863%49%7% Last year, the defending champion Eagles suffered a historic hangover to start their 2018 season, but eventually righted the ship to make the playoffs and even win a first-round game. Armed with Elo’s eighth-ranked QB (Carson Wentz), a talented supporting cast and one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, our model thinks Philadelphia should be division favorites in 2019 — particularly if the Eagles have better injury luck. The defending East champ Cowboys might have something to say about the Eagles being favorites, however, regardless of the holdout of RB Ezekiel Elliott. We rank QB Dak Prescott ninth in Elo, right behind Wentz. Once again trailing in the division are the Giants and Redskins; Washington has the better Elo rating but is slightly less likely to make the playoffs because of a tougher schedule than that of New York. Fittingly, both teams have mediocre veteran QBs (Eli Manning and Case Keenum) trying to fend off highly drafted rookies (Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins). At the top of the NFC South, we have Drew Brees and the Saints coming in as favorites to win the division for a third straight year. Elo rates Brees as the league’s third-best QB, even though he sputtered down the stretch of last season and will turn 41 in January. Fortunately for New Orleans, its supporting cast appears to be good enough to help ease Brees into old age, ranking eighth in QB-independent Elo.9I.e., the team’s adjusted Elo rating if Brees were to be replaced with an average starter at quarterback. As for the Falcons, Matt Ryan is No. 2 in our QB rankings, but the rest of the team ranks 25th in QB-independent Elo. That’s more an indictment of a defense that ranks 23rd in preseason projected FPI than an offense that still includes hyper-productive WR Julio Jones, but Atlanta is hoping that a coaching staff of all new coordinators can help Ryan. The Panthers are still only three seasons removed from a Super Bowl appearance, but they’ve gone exactly 24-24 since then. Elo calls for more of the same this season, with an 8-8 projected record, although Carolina does have the No. 10 QB in our rankings (Cam Newton) and a respectable 38 percent chance of getting back to the playoffs. Finally, the Buccaneers are hoping to end the franchise’s postseason drought at 11 seasons — but they need to improve on last year’s horrid defensive performance and get more consistency from both Jameis Winston and a passing attack that had the third-highest game-to-game QB Elo variance10Trailing only the Rams and the Nathan Peterman-led Bills. of any team in 2018. How we’re predicting the AFC South race ChicagoM. Trubisky+1215669.152%37%5% How we’re predicting the AFC West race The playoffs are different. We found that differences in talent between opposing teams tend to be amplified in the NFL postseason, so now Elo differentials are multiplied by 1.2 before computing the expected win probabilities and point spreads for playoff games.Altogether, these changes improved our historical predictions by quite a bit in backtesting, so we’re feeling confident that our 2019 picks will be better than ever before.6You might notice that we don’t have a dedicated factor for defense included in the model. For one thing, defense would implicitly be part of a team’s non-quarterback Elo rating; for another thing, it was difficult to find specific defensive variables (such as coordinators) which improved predictive accuracy — perhaps because defense is notoriously difficult to predict between seasons. For cases below where we do need to refer to a team’s projected defensive quality, we used ESPN’s Football Power Index projections for the upcoming season.And what are those picks, exactly? Let’s run down what our Elo model thinks of each division in the NFL, starting with… Quarterback ratings are relative to the average NFL team’s long-term rolling QB performance and are included in the listed Elo ratings. Simulations are updated as of Sept. 3, 2019.Source: ESPN How we’re predicting the NFC West race What would Vegas do? In the past, our preseason ratings would simply be each team’s final rating from the previous season, reverted to the league’s average Elo rating by one-third. But our new system also incorporates ratings derived from a team’s over/under win total according to the Las Vegas sportsbooks, giving those twice the weight of mean-reverted Elo when setting a team’s preseason rating. Chance To… The Rams are coming off a Super Bowl run, and there were times last season when they looked unbeatable, not least because of a GOAT-level performance by defensive lineman Aaron Donald. But with questions remaining about QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley — to say that neither were major factors in the playoffs would be an understatement — L.A. might be due for a regression, even if Elo does still consider the Rams division favorites. A number of signs point to a decline, from L.A.’s 6-1 record in close games last year and favorable bounces in recovering fumbles, to a more difficult schedule and even the possibility of adverse effects due to more injuries. Elo thinks the Rams’ point differential will drop from +143 to +58 this season. Behind them, the Seahawks have the division’s best (slash only above-average) Elo QB in Russell Wilson, and they did some offseason shuffling — Clowney and Ziggy Ansah will replace Frank Clark on the pass rush, for example. But Seattle mostly looks like the same good-but-not-great team it was last season. The 49ers will get a do-over with Jimmy Garoppolo after the QB was injured three games into the 2018 season. But is Jimmy G. any good? Elo’s still not sure. It ranks Garoppolo 22nd among starters heading into 2019, despite his hefty price tag. All three of those teams could potentially contend for the division, though. For the Cardinals, that looks like a long shot at best with the tandem of rookie QB Kyler Murray and first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Elo gives Arizona the worst rating and tied for the lowest playoff odds of any team in the NFL this season. read more

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Ohio State Golf Club provides a fair but tough challenge

Challenging but fair. It is a phrase that a professor might use to describe that last calculus test, but it also happens to fit the Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club.The Scarlet Course, the club’s main attraction, re-opened on April 2 after being shuttered since November for the winter season.Topping out at more than 7,400 yards from the back tees, the course is often compared with the marquee country clubs of central Ohio.“Some people say it’s just as difficult as a Scioto Country Club or Muirfield Village,” said the club’s assistant golf professional Ben Mersy. “It’s pretty forgiving off the tees. The bunkers will get you, and the greens can be pretty tough.”Mersy added, “Overall it’s a fair but tough challenge.”The Scarlet Course was originally completed in 1938 and saw a major renovation between 2005 and 2006 under the guidance of former OSU golfer and PGA Tour legend Jack Nicklaus.A frequent user of the course, Daron Prater, a second-year in engineering, vouched for the venue’s difficulty.“The greens are nearly impossible,” he said. “You have to leave (the ball) below the hole or else you won’t stand a chance.”For those looking for an easier course, Mersy said the OSU Golf Club is still the place to go.“We have two golf courses here, which is unique to central Ohio,” he said.The Gray Course, completed in 1940, tops out at 5,800 yards.Prater said that the Scarlet Course is beautiful.“There are some really nice views, it’s a very scenic course,” Prater said. “It gives you a great view of Ohio.”The course is also known for its pristine condition, Mersy said.“The condition of the course is great all year round,” he said. “We have a superintendent and his crew that do a wonderful job.”Mersy also said, though, that the Gray Course is just as nice as the Scarlet.“They take just as good of care on Gray as they do on Scarlet,” Mersy said. “(But) Gray is a much easier golf course for beginner to moderate golfers.”The club tries to keep the Gray course open throughout the winter if the weather permits, said Marc Lucas, the club’s general manager.Mersy said having two courses isn’t its most notable quality.The Scarlet Golf Course was ranked No. 7 on “Golfweek’s” list of the best college course of 2012.The OSU Golf Club is not only one of the best in the nation, but Mersy said that it also is one of the only establishments of its kind in Ohio as one of the few university-owned and operated clubs.Mersey said that Kent State has Windmill Lakes Golf Club, but the facility is not owned and operated by the university.Brian Kelly, OSU Golf Club’s head golf professional, said there is only one other college-operated course in the state.“The only other one that’s around is Bridgeview, which is owned by Columbus State Community College now,” he said.Bridgeview Golf Course is a nine-hole course, while OSU’s courses both have 18 holes.OSU Golf Club hosts a multitude of tournaments at all levels. Beyond some of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state tournaments and various collegiate competitions, Mersy said the club also hosts an event for the PGA Web.com Tour and is now part of the PGA Tour Qualifying Series.The club will be hosting the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship from Sept. 9 to 15.OSU Golf Club is located at 3605 Tremont Road. For OSU students, a day on the Scarlet Course costs $33 and on the Gray Course is $20. read more

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Theo Walcott hopeful of England recall

first_imgEverton winger Theo Walcott insists that he still hopes of earning a recall into the England squadWalcott became the youngest player to represent the senior team at international level in May 2006 at the age of 17, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 3-1 friendly win over Hungary.However, after making no appearances in the 2006 World Cup, Walcott’s international career has gradually declined over the years with the now 29-year-old having been omitted from the Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup teams.In fact, there has been no call-up for Walcott since 2016.But Walcott is hoping that his strong start at Everton this season, which has seen him score two goals in his three Premier League appearances, will change that.“My ambition is to play well for this club, and for this club to achieve what I believed they can when I joined it. And then if I play well, then who knows?” said Walcott, according to the Independent.Jadon Sancho, Borussia DortmundCrouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“But yes, that’s obviously that’s one big thing for me to get back into the England squad,” The Independent quotes Walcott as saying.“I haven’t been in there for a couple of years now but yes, if I continue to play the right stuff I’ll hopefully get back in there.“But my goal isn’t to be thinking of England, my goal is to be playing well for Everton football club first, and then obviously we can cross that bridge when we come to it.“But yes, obviously you always want to play for your country. I’ve got 47 caps and I want that to be a lot more. So yes, I’ll continue to play well and we’ll see where that takes me.”Walcott has scored eight goals in 47 appearances for the Three Lions.last_img read more

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