COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP):Sri Lanka cricket captain Angelo Mathews testified before police yesterday over a complaint that some national team players have been approached by a person with an offer to fix matches for money.Financial crimes investigators interviewed Mathews for several hours.”They wanted to know, as the captain, if I knew anything in detail. I answered all the questions,” Mathews said outside the police station. “We all want this game to be clean. Whoever has done something wrong, we want them brought before the court.”Mathews said the inquiry was only about the match-fixing approaches reported by players, not against the players themselves.”The cricketers felt really uncomfortable in the last few days because they were the ones who came forward and reported this to the ICC (International Cricket Council) and SLC,” Mathews said.The questioning came a day after Sri Lanka Cricket, the sport’s local governing body, suspended senior fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake for links with a practice bowler who is said to have brought the offers.Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and opening batsman Kusal Perera reported the approaches to the authorities.Samaranayake, who has been working with the fast bowling academy for many years and helped in the development of many leading bowlers, has been suspended for two months pending an inquiry. The net bowler identified as Gayan Wishwajith has been banned from all cricket activities.- AP
0Shares0000Manchester City escaped with a fine after FIFA investigated the transfer of minors © AFP/File / Paul ELLISPARIS, France, Aug 13 – Manchester City have been found guilty by FIFA of breaking the rules on international transfer and registration of players aged under 18, world football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.The Premier League champions could have faced a transfer ban, but instead FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee fined City 370,000 Swiss Francs (Sh39mn). A FIFA statement said that the punishment “took into account the fact that Manchester City FC accepted its responsibility”.While confirming they were willing to accept the fine, City claimed the problems occurred before FIFA clarified the rules.The club said in a statement that the fine concerned “the international transfer of players under the age of 18, particularly in relation to their trial periods and participation in friendly games.”“The club accepts responsibility for the breaches which arose as a result of misinterpretation of the regulations in question. All of the breaches occurred before December 2016 when guidance on the interpretation of the provisions was issued, since which date Manchester City has been fully compliant.”Last year, FIFA cleared City of any wrongdoing over their 2016 signing of Benjamin Garre from Velez Sarsfield just after the Argentinian midfielder’s 16th birthday.Also in 2018, two players from the Right to Dream football academy in Ghana, Sierra Leone’s George Davies and Ghanaian Dominic Oduro, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that they signed for City and played in youth matches before they turned 18. Both spent two years at the club.Davies last played for Riga FC and Oduro now plays for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the United States.City are also being investigated by both the Premier League and the Football Association in England and by UEFA, the governing body of European football.The FA said in February it was looking into allegations that City paid £200,000 (Sh26mn) to winger Jadon Sancho’s agent when the player was 14 and still at Watford.FA rules state that young players cannot be represented by an agent until the year they turn 16.Sancho later left City for Borussia Dortmund. He is now an England international.UEFA is focusing on another area and investigating whether City has breached Financial Fair Play rules.City’s English rivals Chelsea are currently serving a one-year transfer ban after also being found guilty by the body in February of breaching regulations relating to the recruitment of minors.Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all served recent transfer bans for breaking FIFA rules on the issue.0Shares0000(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)
Milos Raonic served his way into the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday with a pulsating 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 7-6(11), 7-6(5) victory against former champion Stan Wawrinka.In one of the best matches of the opening rounds, the 196 cm (6.43 ft) Canadian repeatedly served his way out of trouble against an opponent armed with an elegant as well as destructive single-handed backhand.The reserved Canadian raised his fists in triumph after his Swiss opponent misfired on his forehand on match point after four hours of intense play.Raonic, seeded 16, will play Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the third round.Always a pleasure, @stanwawrinka #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/97Ub8jrklk#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2019NISHIKORI’S GREAT ESCAPEKei Nishikori made another great escape at the Australian Open on Thursday, surviving a second five-set battle and 59 aces from Ivo Karlovic to squeeze into the third round.The Japanese eighth seed was lucky just to be facing the big-serving Croat, having been two sets down in his opener against qualifier Kamil Majchrzak before the Pole suffered muscle cramping and retired mid-way through the fifth.Against Karlovic, however, Nishikori squandered a two-set lead before closing out a tense tiebreak to prevail 6-3, 7-6(6), 5-7, 5-7, 7-6(7) on a sweltering day at Margaret Court Arena.Dripping sweat, the former U.S. Open finalist slumped to his knees in relief, having had to save three break points at 4-4 in the fifth set to prevent towering 39-year-old Karlovic from serving for the match.What it means to survive an #AusOpen 2R five-set thriller pic.twitter.com/mYWHaEDr5oadvertisement#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2019The first Asian man to ever contest a Grand Slam final, Nishikori joked that Karlovic served as many aces in the match as he would manage in a year.”Even after a few sets he was serving still really well, and there was, yeah, too many aces and (it was) frustrating, too, you know, for my side,” he told reporters.”I (would) rather do three sets, but today he was playing well, and first match, too, the guy was playing really solid.”I could (have) lost these two matches. So yeah, I just need to recover well. But, I mean, it’s only two matches, so I’m not too tired yet.”The 2014 U.S. Open finalist will nonetheless feel lucky to be alive, having squandered a 6-3 lead in the final tiebreak which has a new first-to-10 points format.Karlovic was also wasteful, thumping a regulation volley into the net that would have put him within two points of victory.The 6ft-11in (2.11m) Croat, the oldest man in the second round at Melbourne Park in over 40 years, was unable to serve his way out of trouble and Nishikori nosed in front with a searing return that proved too much for the net-rushing Karlovic’s lunging backhand.Having watched the ball fly past him 59 times from serving machine Karlovic, Nishikori closed out the match with two big first serves of his own, both down the ‘T’, to set up a clash with unseeded Portuguese Joao Sousa.A three-times quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park, Nishikori will hope to ride the wave of support from the army of travelling Japanese fans who chanted his name throughout the Karlovic match.”I feel more support here,” he said when asked to compare the four Grand Slams.”You can tell there are so many Japanese. And also many Asians. I’m sure I feel more comfortable playing this Grand Slam than (any) other Grand Slam.”Also Read | Madison Keys, Elina Svitolina advance to third roundAlso Read | Dhoni, Shaw and Bencic with Federer shine in #10YearChallengeAlso Read | Andy Murray slams Britain Lawn Tennis Association for failing to build on his success
KELOWNA, B.C. – A mother and her two daughters are dead and murder charges have been laid after the RCMP discovered three bodies at a home in Kelowna, B.C.Court documents show Jacob Daniel Forman, who is in his 30s, appeared in court Wednesday.A document filed by the RCMP in court says Forman is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Clara Forman, Karina Forman and Yesenia Forman. The document says they were killed sometime between Sunday and Tuesday.Heritage Christian Online School said Clara Forman was the mother of Karina and Yesenia.In a statement Thursday the school said it “wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our students Karina and Yesenia Forman and their mother, Clara. As our community mourns their loss, there are not adequate words to express our deep sorrow at this tragedy.”Kelowna RCMP have not commented on the murder charges.Const. Lesley Smith said the three bodies were found Tuesday in Kelowna’s Rutland neighbourhood and police are treating the deaths as “suspicious.”Smith declined to release the names, ages or genders of those who died. She also would not say whether the dead individuals were related to one another or describe their relationship to a man who police took into custody.Smith described the deaths as an “isolated incident.”Jeff McLeod, a resident of Bolotzky Court since 1994, said he believed a man, woman, and two children lived in the home in Rutland, which was surrounded by police tape on Wednesday.“They hadn’t been there very long, maybe a year or less,” McLeod told the Kelowna Daily Courier.“They pretty much stuck to their own. Never attracted attention, so I never paid them that much attention,” he added.“You’d see two girls, maybe about six or seven, playing outside once in awhile, that’s about it.”There had never been any police cars or ambulances at the home before Tuesday evening, McLeod said.“This is a very quiet neighbourhood,” he said. “It’s pretty shocking, what’s happened.”Land title documents show Jacob Daniel Forman, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning supervisor, owns a home on Bolotzky Court.David Patchell-Evans, founder of GoodLife Fitness, said Clara Forman was a beloved fitness instructor at the company’s gym in Kelowna. He offered his sympathies in a statement to friends and family members following her death and the death of her young children.“She touched so many lives through the classes that she taught and through all of the positive interactions she had with associates and members in our club,” Patchell-Evans said.“She will be greatly missed.”(The Canadian Press, Kelowna Daily Courier)
CALGARY, A.B. – Precision Drilling Corp. says it is entitled to a $20-million break fee after Ensign Energy Services Inc. announced Tuesday that it will take control of Trinidad Drilling Ltd. by acquiring a majority of Trinidad’s shares.Calgary-based Precision, the largest driller in Canada, said the fee is owed as part of the Oct. 5 arrangement it had with Trinidad after terminating the friendly deal following Ensign’s success.Ensign says 56.38 percent of Trinidad shares have been tendered by its Tuesday deadline. The 154.1 million shares are in addition to the 26.9 million it also owns, raising its stake in Trinidad to 66.18 percent. Each Trinidad shareholder will receive by Thursday $1.68 per share for a total of about $470 million, with the offer price representing a 17.2 percent premium over the all-share Precision proposal.With all conditions of its offer satisfied or waived, Ensign has extended the deadline until Dec. 10 for Trinidad shareholders who have not done so to tender their shares.Ensign had given Trinidad shareholders less time to consider its hostile takeover bid by pushing its offer deadline ahead of a planned Dec. 11 meeting where Trinidad shareholders were scheduled to vote on the proposed merger with Precision.
Marrakech – Minister of State, Abdellah Baha, held talks on Saturday with the Attorney General of the United Kingdom, Dominic Griev on ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 2nd Arab Forum on Asset Recovery, co- organized by Morocco and the United Kingdom with the support of the initiative StAr (The Stolen Assert Recovery initiative), the World Bank (WB), and the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC).In a statement to the press after the meeting, Mr. Baha said the meeting was an opportunity to discuss ways to expand cooperation between the two countries, adding that bilateral relations between the two kingdoms continue to grow and improve, and should be consolidated in the future. He noted that the Attorney General of Great Britain, whose country chairs the G8 group, praised Morocco’s efforts to organize the Arab Forum which aims to bolster international cooperation for the recovery of assets in countries in transition in the Middle East and North Africa.Morocco and Britain celebrate the 800th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two kingdoms this year. Relations between the two countries have enjoyed a great dynamic in various fields in recent years.The Arab Forum on Asset Recovery, the second after the Doha meeting in 2012, is an initiative aimed at bringing together the Arab states in transition, the Group of Eight (G8) and other financial centers and States in the region for the recovery of stolen funds placed in banks and foreign financial institutions.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or position of Atlanta Black Star or its employees Michael Jordan’s arrogance — and poor sense of style — got him banned from the posh private La Gorce Country Club in Miami more than his fashion faux pas.The NBA icon and owner of the Charlotte Bobcats violated a dress code at the swanky country club by wearing cargo pants, according to myriad reports. Golfers are required to wear a collared shirt and Bermuda shorts while playing.But when a club official approached him on the 12th hole and asked him to change his wardrobe, Jordan refused. Arrogant. Not good and just plain old arrogant. The country club might be stuffy and over the top, but it is the rule and everyone else abides by them . . . except Jordan.No problem, La Gorce contends. Just do not show up to play there again, Mr. Jordan.Now here’s a statement from Jordan’s public relations office:“Michael Jordan did wear cargo pants . . . He had been there many times before and had worn cargo pants previously, and had never been made aware that he was violating any dress code. This time, he was made aware of the violation on the 12th hole, and at that point . . . he did refuse to interrupt his game, and return to the clubhouse and change. We were not aware that he is not allowed to return to La Gorce. I guess it’s their loss – as MJ is a great golfer, and a great guest.”Four things: Jordan is not a great golfer. He’s a hack, like most golfers in the world. Two, he’s a hack despite playing more than most golfers in the world and on the best courses, meaning he’s probably a little worse than a hack.Third, he’s obnoxious and arrogant. “It’s their loss?” the statement said. Really? Seems the private club will go on just fine without Jordan spraying balls all over the place and tearing up the turf.And fourth, Jordan, once a fashionable guy, has fallen off considerably. He dresses like he’s from the back roads of North Carolina. Oh, wait; he is.None other than GQ magazine tweeted, “Michael Jordan’s style: so bad, it gets him kicked out of places.” In an article, GQ writes that Jordan could be “the worst dressed man in the universe.”Jordan made $60 million in endorsements last year, according to Forbes. Nike’s Jordan Brand has annual revenues of more than $1 billion, with his brand’s shoes controlling 71 percent of the American basketball shoe market.Forbes estimated Jordan’s net worth at $500 million in 2010, a number it believes will increase. Jordan owns 80 percent of the Bobcats.If only all that money could buy Jordan some class and humility.
2018-0.17–+0.73–+0.53–+0.74– SeasonsOff TeeApproachAround GreenPutting 2004-09+0.58–+1.34–+0.24–+0.73– * Woods failed to qualify for official PGA Tour leaderboards for any years in these stretches. He also failed to qualify in 2008.The strokes gained statistic isolates the effect of each shot by measuring how much it adds to or subtracts from a player’s expected score on a given hole.Source: PGA Tour Tiger’s back … sort ofStrokes gained per round (relative to PGA Tour average) for Tiger Woods on each type of shot 2012-13+0.22–+1.37–+0.22–+0.38– 2010-11*-0.23–+0.65–-0.09–+0.06– This website recently argued that even if Tiger Woods’s golf game took a multiyear hiatus, his celebrity didn’t. Though up-and-coming stars like Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson were learning to make moves on Saturday and close things out on Sunday, none of their on-course exploits were able to propel them to the pinnacle of the sport’s fame. And even though nearly a decade had passed since Woods won his last major, golf was still Tiger’s world, and everyone else was just putting in it.And now, it appears as though Woods may finally be in a position to justify all that hype. In his last two PGA Tour starts, Tiger finished in a tie for second and then a tie for fifth. His play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational three weeks ago kept him in contention for most of Sunday, with only an errant drive on number 16 — and the impressive final-round 64 from McIlroy — keeping Tiger from claiming his 80th PGA Tour victory. Woods’s great play on consecutive weekends, along with his generally impressive stats for the season so far, has fans tuning in and the golf world believing in its messiah again. But is he really returning to his old form? Let’s check the numbers to compare the resurgent Tiger to the Tiger of years past and figure out what his performance so far may mean for the Masters this week.To be sure, what we’re seeing from Tiger this season isn’t precisely his prime form. Woods was indisputably the best player in the world from at least 2004, which is the first year for which the PGA Tour’s strokes gained metric is calculated, and he stayed at the top through 2009. Strokes gained measures how many shots a player picks up relative to the rest of the field in each of four shot types: off the tee, approaching the green, around the green and putting.1In a nutshell, strokes gained judges each shot you take based on how much it reduces your expected score on a given hole, relative to the field average. And during his peak, Woods easily led the Tour in that stat, crushing his next-closest competitor by 1.2 total strokes gained per round, ranking eighth in strokes gained off the tee and first in strokes gained from both approach shots and putting. So in a rare double, Woods was the game’s best player from tee to green and on the greens themselves, which is a pretty unbeatable combination. This is the Tiger we think of when we reminisce about the guy who looked like he might win 25 major championships.But then came the injuries, the scandals, and multiple coaching changes. Woods struggled in 2010 and 2011, failing to win on tour in consecutive seasons for the first time since he went pro. But he did bounce back in 2012 and 2013 — becoming, yet again, the best golfer on the planet, albeit by a slimmer margin. During those two seasons, Woods dropped about 0.7 strokes relative to the field when compared with his dominant run from 2004 through 2009. His driving and putting both slipped in 2012 and ’13, but because of his customarily exceptional iron play — Woods again lapped the field in approach-shot strokes gained per round — he still led the Tour in average strokes gained overall. He also won eight times in 35 starts, and it looked as though order had been restored to the universe. But that’s when Woods was hit with even more injuries, limiting him to just 11 cuts made over the four seasons from 2014 through 2017. With his body breaking down, Tiger’s second ascension began to look like merely a false start.And yet here we are, just a day before the Masters is set to begin, and Tiger has roared back into the debate about who might triumph on Sunday. Along with players like Spieth, Johnson and McIlroy, Woods is among the favorites to win the tournament, according the Vegas books.2He is just behind the favorites according to Tuesday’s odds from the Westgate, and he is listed as the co-favorite at other sportsbooks as of 10 a.m. Wednesday. And it’s not just sentiment that’s driving those bets. Woods’ play this season mostly justifies the hype, even if he hasn’t quite matched the sublime numbers he achieved earlier in his career. Tiger currently ranks seventh in total strokes gained per round relative to the field — not bad for an old guy coming back from spinal fusion surgery. He’s also doing most of the same old things pretty well, earning a 14th-place ranking in strokes gained per round on approach shots and an 11th-place showing with the putter. In fact, relative to the field, Tiger is adding more strokes per round with the flatstick this season than he did during his prime. And while his overall stats aren’t quite as good as they once were, they’re also a far cry from the downright terrible statistics Woods was producing whenever he managed to play in the previous four seasons. 2014-17*-0.44–+0.22–-0.49–+0.24– So it’s fair to say that Tiger is playing closer to peak form than he has in years. But if one part of his game is cause for concern this week at Augusta, it’s his play off the tee. Driving was never exactly Woods’s strong suit — he was barely above average from the tee box even during his successful 2012-13 comeback — and he’s getting even less out of his drives so far this season, giving away 0.174 strokes per round to the field. As has been the case with Tiger for a while, it’s all about missing his mark with the long clubs: He currently ranks 201st in driving accuracy percentage, hitting the fairway on just 51.6 percent of his measured drives. And although Woods used to compensate for his poor driving accuracy with raw distance, he now also ranks just 34th in average yards per drive this season, and he hasn’t cracked the top 20 in that category since 2007. (Granted, he does rank fourth in average club-head speed so far this year.) Even though accuracy off the tee is a little overrated at the Masters, Tiger might be wise to leave the TaylorMade M3 in the bag and hit that stinger 2 iron around Augusta all week.It’s probably too early to proclaim with any degree of certainty that Tiger the all-time great golfer — rather than Tiger the overhyped media celebrity — is officially back, but his recent performances suggest he’s getting there. Win or lose at Augusta, all those youngsters who grew up worshipping Woods might have to bow down again in 2018. Even now that he’s 42, and after he’s been through many unexpected career twists and turns, it’s tough to make a talent like Tiger’s go away quietly.
WEEK▲▼PICK▲▼WIN PROB.▲▼PICK▲▼WIN PROB.▲▼WINNER▲▼READERS’ NET PTS▲▼ The Dallas Cowboys were overrated going into Week 4Top 10 NFL teams by current Elo and their chances of making the playoffs 3BAL70BAL71JAX-4.3– 81557Seattle4852+4– 3SEA53SEA54TEN-3.5– 3DEN55DEN70BUF-20.6– Most of Dallas’s metrics are roughly the same as they were last season, with the major exception of the passing game (and some faulty special teams). Last year, in QB Dak Prescott’s first NFL season, he led the Cowboys to the sixth-most expected points added (EPA) through the air of any offense in football — a highly effective complement to Dallas’s second-ranked running game. But although the Cowboys still rank among the top five in rushing EPA, Prescott and the passing offense has fallen to 19th in the league in EPA. Prescott’s traditional numbers aren’t bad, but he’s all but stopped throwing the deep ball and the Dallas receivers are picking up very few yards after the catch. The result has been an aerial attack that struggles to move the chains, keeping the Cowboys from scoring as many points as they should.The bad news doesn’t stop there for Dallas. The Cowboys face a tough road if they hope to win the division, because even though the Giants are floundering, the rest of the NFC East has played better than we predicted in the preseason. And based on FiveThirtyEight’s Week 5 NFL Elo ratings, Dallas has the toughest remaining schedule of any team in its division; the Cowboys’ opponents have an average Elo rating of 1525, while the teams New York is facing average 1514, Washington’s opponents average 1499, and the rest of Philadelphia’s schedule averages 1496.The Cowboys and Eagles’ next five games could further increase the gap between those two teams — the Eagles currently have a one-game lead. Dallas’ next five opponents have an average Elo of 1549, and the Cowboys will face three of those teams on the road. Compare that with Philadelphia’s next five games — in which the Eagles’ opponents average an Elo of 1490 and only one game will be on the road — and the Cowboys’ playoff hopes could be essentially done by Week 10.FiveThirtyEight vs. the crowdWeeks 3 and 4 in our NFL prediction game — in which we invite you to pick football games and try to outsmart our Elo algorithm — were triumphant victories for machine over man. Over a combined 32 games, our Elo model beat you, the readers, by a whopping 146.2 points! You can blame the New York Jets for your two largest net losses. The Jets upset the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 — which both our model and the readers got wrong — and this weekend the Jets pulled out an overtime victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, which our Elo picked right and you readers got wrong. (Note: We don’t blame you for not picking the Jets.)Despite Elo correctly predicting the winners in only two more games than readers through Week 4, our model holds a lead of 181.7 net points. This is because our game rewards not just correct picks, but also how much confidence the model and our readers had in the outcome. For example, despite our bashing the Cowboys here, both Elo and the readers predicted Dallas would win at home over the Rams this past weekend. Though we both predicted incorrectly, the readers netted 5.5 points on that game because Elo had more confidence in Dallas winning (78 percent) than readers did (72 percent). 4MIN57MIN51DET+4.2– 4SEA69SEA79SEA+3.1– 4TB63TB61TB-4.5– 3PIT76PIT84CHI-14.1– ELOTEAMWEEK 4WEEK 5CHANGE 21646New England8270-12– 3CAR72CAR66NO+5.8– 4NYJ59JAX61NYJ-22.6– 3NE82NE89NE+0.6– 31627Atlanta8772-15– 4PHI60PHI60PHI-2.2– 41614Pittsburgh7386+13– We’re a quarter of the way through the NFL season, and Week 4 brought its fair share of surprises. The Buffalo Bills upset the Atlanta Falcons on the road, a last-second Carolina Panthers field goal delivered Tom Brady’s New England Patriots their second home loss of the year, and Andy Dalton was actually good.Through four weeks, very few teams are following the course predicted for them at the season’s outset. Many pundits thought a Los Angeles team would be sneaky dangerous this season — they just didn’t think it would be the Rams. Others assumed a New York team would start 0-4 — they just didn’t pick the Giants. But in a season marked by surprises, the most perplexing start may belong to the Dallas Cowboys.After Week 1, Dallas had every reason for optimism: The expected suspension of running back Ezekiel Elliott was delayed by the courts, and the team that was 13-3 last year was fresh off a dominating win over the New York Giants. Dallas’ Elo rating climbed, and many analysts (most of them in Texas) viewed the Cowboys as a surefire Super Bowl team. As it turned out, the Giants are terrible and Dallas would spend the next three weeks showing that it was not the same team it was last year — even with Elliott in uniform.“America’s Team” had an Elo advantage of 160 points heading into Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Rams, meaning they were favorites to win the game by about six points.1Every 25 Elo points is equivalent to 1 point in an actual game. The Cowboys lost and fell to 2-2 and, in the process, saw their chances of making the playoffs drop to 40 percent — their lowest of the season — according to our 2017 NFL Predictions. For Dallas — which dropped to a tie for eighth2With the Seattle Seahawks in our power rankings — a 4-in-10 chance of making the playoffs with three-quarters of the season left to play may not sound all that bad. But compared with the rest of the teams in the top 10, the Cowboys are noticeably out of place. 4NO53NO55NO-0.4– 3ATL53ATL62ATL+5.3– 3MIA55MIA70NYJ-20.8– 3LAR53LAR61LAR+4.2– 51601Green Bay6468+4– 3GB75GB84GB+2.1– 3OAK51OAK65WSH-19.0– 4KC78KC79KC-2.3– 4GB82GB83GB-1.8– 61578Denver4760+13– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Weeks 3 and 4Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 3 and 4 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game 11687Kansas City91%93%+2– 4HOU55TEN52HOU-9.9– 4NE78NE83CAR-9.9– 3KC74KC76KC-1.7– FIVETHIRTYEIGHT PLAYOFF ODDS BEFORE … OUR PREDICTIONREADERS’ PREDICTION 4ATL77ATL80BUF-7.0– 4DAL78DAL72LAR+5.5– 4PIT55PIT60PIT+1.7– 4DEN63DEN57DEN-8.1– 71565Detroit4863+15– 3MIN57TB53MIN-12.1– 4ARI81ARI77ARI-4.2– 81557Dallas6140-21– 3IND76IND59IND-15.3– 3PHI66PHI68PHI-1.1– 101550Philadelphia5563+8– 3ARI55%DAL59%DAL+9.8– 4CIN60CIN59CIN-3.1–
The quarterback competition between sophomore Justin Fields (1) and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin (12) is yet to be decided. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorWith the Spring Game over, Ohio State heads into the summer with plenty of areas already decided.Junior J.K. Dobbins is solidified as the starting running back, while redshirt senior K.J. Hill and seniors Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack are at the top of the wide-receiving core.On the defensive side, junior Chase Young and senior Jonathon Cooper are firmly coming in as the starting defensive ends with sophomore Tyreke Smith, sophomore Tyler Friday and freshman Zach Harrison backing them up.But there are still plenty of positions that Ohio State will need to have decided prior to Aug. 31, when the Buckeyes open their season against Florida Atlantic.Ohio State sophomore quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass during warmups prior to the start of the 2019 Spring Game on April 13. Gray beat Scarlet 35-17. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignQuarterbackLikely Starter: Justin FieldsIn Contention: Matthew BaldwinWhile sophomore Justin Fields holds a sizable advantage in this “battle,” the quarterback competition between him and redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin is yet to be decided.Throughout the spring and following the Spring Game, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has not given anything away as to which quarterback is in the lead, saying he will have to look at completion percentages throughout practice to get an answer.But Fields spent much of his practice time with the first team, earning the “start” in the Spring Game for Team Gray. In the start, Fields completed 4-of-13 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, while also running for 38 yards and a score.Baldwin played for both Gray and Team Scarlet, combining for 246 yards, completing 20 of his 36 pass attempts and throwing a pair of touchdowns and interceptions.Not from what’s been said, but has been shown, signs are pointing toward Fields earning the spot.Ohio State redshirt sophomore tight end Luke Farrell (89) catches a pass in the second half of the game against Purdue on Oct. 20. Ohio State lost 49-20. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorTight EndLikely Starter: Luke FarrellIn Contention: Rashod Berry, Jeremy RuckertWhile the tight-end position had been a blocking-heavy position for all of Urban Meyer’s tenure as head coach, the position has an opportunity to change under Day.That said, it appears that redshirt junior Luke Farrell is leading the pack among the group. Farrell was the starter in 2018, but that does not mean redshirt senior Rashod Berry will be held off the field. It seems that Ohio State will implement two tight-end sets more this upcoming season, which would bring in Berry, who has shown a strength in run-blocking.For more of a receiving threat, sophomore Jeremy Ruckert will be the option, who has gotten reps at H-back this spring. But only time will tell how much Day will bring him in instead of the two veterans ahead of him.Ohio State freshman offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere (77) blocks a Tulane player in the fourth quarter of the game against Tulane on Sept. 22. Ohio State won 49-6. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOffensive LineLikely Starters: Thayer Munford (LT), Jonah Jackson (LG), Josh Myers (C), Wyatt Davis (RG) In Contention: Josh Alabi, Branden Bowen, Nicholas Petit-Frere (RT)With junior Thayer Munford out this spring due to injury, there has been an opportunity for offensive line coach Greg Studrawa to move around some of his players to get the best five on the field.Munford, being the only major returning starter from this past season, is expected to stay at left tackle. Redshirt sophomore Wyatt Davis seems locked into the right guard position, as does redshirt sophomore Josh Myers at center.Redshirt senior Jonah Jackson, who will spend his final collegiate season with the Buckeyes after transferring from Rutgers, will likely take over at left guard, leaving one spot at right tackle to be won.A pair of redshirt seniors will be vying for the spot: Josh Alabi and Branden Bowen, while former five-star, sophomore Nicholas Petit-Frere, continues to impress in spring and is making a run for the position.In the Spring Game, with Munford injured and Jackson not playing, Day started Alabi at left tackle, Bowen at left guard and Petit-Frere at right tackle.While it should be expected that all three will find time in 2019, there is no clear frontrunner to who will earn the spot in the starting lineup.Ohio State redshirt sophomore linebacker Tuf Borland (32) celebrates in the fourth quarter of the game against Michigan State on Nov. 10. Ohio State won 26-6. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorLinebackerLikely Starter: Malik HarrisonIn Contention: Tuf Borland, Baron Browning, Pete Werner, Teradja Mitchell, Dallas GantThe linebacker position was a talking point for many this past season, with Ohio State’s group seemingly faltering by giving up dozens of deep plays in the course of the year.With new linebackers coach Al Washington, the position has a chance to be revamped, and so far senior Malik Harrison is the one who should be a lock to start come fall.Redshirt junior Tuf Borland is still a likely starter, but with an injury keeping him out of much of the spring, there is a chance he can be switched out with junior Baron Browning, who has been playing middle linebacker in his place.Still, the more likely scenario for Browning could be placing him in junior Pete Werner’s place on the outside.Sophomores Teradja Mitchell and Dallas Gant are also in contention as some of the less-experienced members of the linebacker room that hold loads of potential.The entirety of the starting linebackers group is back from a season ago, but because it was not necessarily a strong point, there is still plenty for Washington to experiment with before making a decision in August.Ohio State sophomore safety Brendon White (25) intercepts a pass in the second half of the game against Michigan on Nov. 24. Ohio State won 62-39. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorBulletLikely Starter: Brendon WhiteIn Contention: Jahsen WintThere will be a new position on the Ohio State defense in 2019, and it is yet to be seen just how much it will be used.The “bullet” position, played by Jabrill Peppers while at Michigan under the name “viper,” is considered a linebacker-safety hybrid that was created by Washington for this season.With the position, the frontrunner was and still is junior safety Brendon White. The position was seemingly built for his larger frame, and would allow someone like redshirt sophomore cornerback Shaun Wade to have more time on the field.But don’t count out redshirt junior Jahsen Wint. After failing to win a starting role in 2018, eventually being almost completely replaced by White, Wint has been named as a candidate for the new position.His chances may have been helped after a two-interception performance in the Spring Game, and if he continues to show progress, maybe White would retain his traditional safety spot alongside senior Jordan Fuller.Nothing is set in stone, so while White has a firm hold over Wint, performances like the one from Saturday could add up and help Wint make progress.