0

Hot Takedown for March 17 2015 Bracketology NFL Free Agency and Chris

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Links to what we discuss in this week’s show:FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings.Seth Davis’s story in Sports Illustrated about the pace of play in men’s college basketball.The UConn women’s team’s incredible margin of victory this season.Neil’s conversation with Benjamin Morris and Walt Hickey about Chip Kelly’s mad spree.Chris Borland talks about his decision to retire from football. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Embed Code Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. This week, we discuss the start of March Madness and what the FiveThirtyEight men’s and women’s brackets reveal; whether Chip Kelly is a free-agency genius; and the retirement of 49ers linebacker Chris Borland at the age of 24.Stream the episode by clicking play above, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients below. By Chadwick Matlin, Neil Paine, Kate Fagan and Jody Avirgan read more

0

On The Verge Top 3 Stories of NBA Offseason

Sports journalist Chris Mannix gives his three things to keep an eye on during the NBA’s offseason.The main story is on the future of Dwight Howard. Will he resign with the Los Angeles Lakers? Time is running out.What will the Nets look like after they acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pearse? With the addition of those two, the Nets starting five are bound to command attention, especially with Jason Kidd as the new head coach.Finally, the Miami Heat year after year have always added someone to their roster to make them a better team. Who will it be this year? read more

0

Condoleezza Rice Joins College Football Playoff Committee

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of nine people expected to be part of the selection committee for the College Football Playoff that begins in 2014.George Schreeder of USA Today Sports wrote: “A person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the committee has not been announced, also confirmed the following members: Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez, USC athletics director Pat Haden, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long, West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck and Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich, in addition to Rice, former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback Archie Manning, former NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt and former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese all to be selections.”Apparently Rice’s appeal came from her diverse background, she holds degrees from the University of Denver and Notre Dame, and is currently a professor of political science at Stanford. She served as national security advisor from 2001-05 and secretary of state from 2005-09.Rice and the others are expected to be charged with weighing in on head-to-head competitions, comparable opponents, conference championships and how key injuries might influence a team’s performance.“It’s an all-star cast,” the source boasted.This information was supposed to be kept confidential until an official announcement was made, but obviously that didn’t happen. read more

0

What If Tom Brady Missed Four Games Every Year

201411 201325Bye 200711 200644 20093T4Possible playoffs 201111 This one looks a lot worse. If you took one win away from every Pats team since 2001, not only could they have missed the playoffs two more times (depending on whom they lost to), but they would also lose a playoff bye at least twice and possibly four times, again depending on which game they lost and by how much. It’s also probably worth noting that the 2008 Patriots, who had Brady for less than one quarter of one game, would have been a No. 3 seed if they could have squeezed out one more win, or even been a bye team if they managed two more wins. Instead, they missed the playoffs.More importantly, losing one more game would have had negative effects on New England’s playoff position in three of its four Super Bowl-winning years. And that’s why four games of Brady might be even more valuable than the draft pick — to the Patriots. For most teams, a first-round draft pick is probably worth more than a single win. But if that one win is crucial to your Super Bowl chances, you take it. 200422 20031T1Possible home adv. 20012T4Bye 20132T2Possible bye 2002outout YEARSEEDSEED W/ ONE FEWER WIN IN FIRST FOUR GAMESCOST 2008outout 20054T4Possible playoffs But that version of this examination is probably too granular. In the Patriots’ four games without Brady, there are only so many outcomes — they can only win zero, one, two, three or four games with or without Brady. While technically every swing has some probability (they might have won zero games with Brady but now win four games without him), the most likely effect is that the Patriots drop zero or one games — that’s the outcome the 7-point estimate produced in 10 of the 12 years in which Brady played in all of the season’s first four games. That is, if they would have gone 3-1 with Brady, without him they’d probably stay at 3-1 or drop to 2-2. Now let’s focus on the most likely negative scenario. What would happen if we just took one teensy-tiny win away each season? 201011 2008outout 201223Bye 2002outout 201011 20111T1Possible home adv. Tom Brady, Super Bowl MVP; Tom Brady, NFL icon; Tom Brady, scofflaw. The Deflategate punishments have been handed down by the league office, and the official report on the incident refused to speculate about whether the New England Patriots got any advantage from their deflated balls, saying: “It is impossible to determine whether this activity had an effect on the outcome of games or what that effect was.” But suspending Brady (and taking away draft picks) is almost sure to have an effect.The Patriots owe the league $1 million, one first-round draft pick in 2016, and one fourth-round draft pick in 2017. All of that for “violation of the playing rules and the failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation.” Meanwhile, for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL,” Tom Brady — the Patriots’ reasonably well-known quarterback — received a 4-game suspension, which he is planning to appeal.The best spin on this news for Patriots fans is that Brady’s value is relatively unknown. While he has a history of great accomplishments and stats, QB success is much more of a team accomplishment than an individual one. Unlike certain other quarterbacks who have played for multiple teams and multiple coaches, Brady has only played for Bill Belichick’s Patriots. We don’t know if the Patriots would collapse without him — the one season where he missed significant time (in 2008), the Patriots went 11-5 with Matt Cassel under center.1I certainly look forward to some empirically significant games next year if Brady’s appeal fails. The Patriots’ backup quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, actually had a higher passer rating than Brady last year, though he only had 27 attempts and was sacked five times.But while I don’t know what Brady is really worth, I can lay out a couple of estimates and see what the effects of his suspension might be. Let’s use history as our guide and look at the past 14 years to see what might have happened had Brady been forced to sit the first four games of each season.While I’m not always in love with how Vegas values QBs, it’s a decent place to start: According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, the betting line in the Patriots opener against the Steelers has shifted by about 5 points, though Bell claims gamblers usually consider Brady’s value to be closer to 7 points. So for this first test, I took each game that Brady played for the Patriots in the first four team games of each season and took away 6.5 points. In other words, if the Patriots won by 7 or more, I assumed that they would have won even without Brady, while if they won by 6 or less I counted it as a loss (if he didn’t play, I left the result as is). I then re-jiggered the playoff standings to see how the Patriots’ new record would have affected their playoff position each season. This recalculation cost the Pats eight wins since 2001, knocked them out of the playoffs in 2005 and 2009, and cost them a first-round bye in 2013.2Assuming everything else had played out the same — which is unlikely, but counterfactuals are pretty much always just mind candy. However, it also leaves all of their Super Bowl-winning seasons unscathed: 20054outPlayoffs 20093outPlayoffs YEARSEEDSEED W/ BRADY OUT FIRST FOUR GAMESCOST 200644 20141T2Possible bye 200422 200711 201222 200122 200311 read more

0

Alabama Is OhSoClose To Being The Best Team In History

A few weeks ago, I wrote that Alabama might be on track to become the greatest college football team of the AP poll era,1So, going back to 1936. at least according to the Elo rating system we like to use here at FiveThirtyEight. At the time, the Crimson Tide had two regular-season games remaining: Home games against Chattanooga (an FCS team they had essentially no chance of losing to), and Auburn (in the Iron Bowl). By my reckoning, there was no way Alabama could pass the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers for No. 1 all-time in Elo versus Chattanooga, and they’d have to win by at least 32 against Auburn to pull off the feat. Instead, they beat the Tigers by 18, so here’s where the Tide stand going into next Saturday’s SEC championship game against Florida:By the slimmest of margins, Alabama is still No. 2 all-time behind Nebraska. But if the Crimson Tide wins the SEC championship by at least 11 points, it would also break the record for the highest peak Elo rating of any team since 1936. Elo says ‘Bama should be favored by 23 points at the Georgia Dome’s neutral field, and the consensus of the betting lines favors the Tide by 24.5, so it’s probably more likely to happen than not.2It’s worth noting, of course, that teams always gain Elo after winning, even if they win by less than would have been expected going into the game. So Alabama will keep picking up rating points as long as it keeps winning. But if not — say, Alabama only beats Florida by a touchdown instead — the Tide would need to win their first game of the College Football Playoff (most likely against Washington, if our CFP model holds up) by any margin in order to break the record. After that, there’s just the little matter of finishing out the season with another win to keep pace with Osborne’s Cornhuskers, who peaked at the end of the season with a national title.CORRECTION (Nov. 28, 5:26 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated Nebraska’s 1995 football ranking. They were the sole champions, ranking No. 1 according to both the AP and Coaches’ polls; they did not share in the national title. VIDEO: Ohio State’s chances are better than most read more

0

3 notes from Urban Meyers Monday press conference

OSU coach Urban Meyer looks out toward the field during a game against Rutgers on Oct. 24. OSU won, 49-7. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor Despite not playing a game on Saturday, No. 1 Ohio State consumed much of the headlines in the college football universe after news broke that redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett had been suspended for the Buckeyes’ upcoming game against Minnesota after being cited for operating a motor vehicle while impaired.On Monday, OSU coach Urban Meyer spoke to the media for his weekly press conference in which he discussed the Barrett situation and looked ahead to the game against Minnesota.Here are three notes from his presser.J.T. Barrett As expected, the majority of Meyer’s time at the podium was spent discussing the situation surrounding Barrett.Probably the most interesting wrinkle that came to light is that Barrett will have his summer aid revoked, Meyer announced.Initially, the thought was that the Wichita Falls, Texas, native was having to pay for his fall or spring semester — which would have been a hefty payment since Barrett is from out of state.An OSU spokesman later clarified that it is Barrett’s summer aid that is being rescinded.This precedent was set in 2012 when former offensive lineman Jack Mewhort was involved in an alcohol incident. The same punishment was handed out to now-redshirt sophomore tight end Marcus Baugh in 2013.One thing that Barrett has not lost, at least yet, is his role of being a team captain. Meyer said the possibility of removing the hypothetical ‘C’ from the redshirt sophomore’s uniform has been tossed around among the team, but as of now, it will remain.“I visited with some older players about that,” Meyer said. “My initial reaction was that he might but we just talked to some guys but it was very strong with the leadership on the team to (not take it away). I’m still in my own mind going through that. But as of now, no.”For many fans on Saturday, the news of Barrett’s citation greeted them when they awoke from their Friday night slumber. The same was true for OSU’s coach.“(I found out through) a text message at 6 a.m.,” Meyer said. “ I called the person who texted me and said, ‘is this right?’”After getting the message, Meyer said he went about dealing with it, considering all the facts and consulting with athletic director Gene Smith before settling on the one-game suspension.Later in the day, the coach said, Barrett came over to his house “blown away, devastated” by his actions. Meyer stressed that the redshirt sophomore was distraught over the possible harm his mistake would place on the team.Meyer said he is “disappointed it happened” but the team is set to turn the page on the issue.“We did what we did and we’re moving forward,” he said.Braxton MillerRedshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones will reassume the role of starting quarterback, which he occupied for the season’s first seven games. This Saturday, however, Barrett will no longer be backing him up.So who slides into that spot in case something, like an injury, were to happen to Jones during the game?Is it redshirt freshman Stephen Collier who has seen the field in garbage time once already this year? Or is it a certain former two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?The latter.“As of right now, it would be Braxton (Miller),” Meyer said of the backup role. “There is no question he is our No. 2 quarterback.”Even if the situation where another quarterback would have to come in for Jones in case of injury fails to materialize, there is a chance that Miller still may be used in some capacity as quarterback, specifically in the red zone.In the first seven games with Jones at the helm, red zone efficiency was an area of concern for OSU. To strengthen that weakness, Meyer capitalized on Barrett’s added dimension of running the football inside the red zone for two games before promoting him to full-time starter.Now, potentially, Miller might assume Barrett’s old role.“We’re not there yet, it’s still early in the week so we’re having those conversations right now,” Meyer said.Wide receiver depthContinuing with the discussion of the offensive side of the ball, Meyer talked about the hobbled state of the wide receiver position for the Buckeyes.The coach said that junior H-back Dontre Wilson, who was been in and out of the rotation this season, is questionable for the Minnesota game after having a procedure on his foot.Redshirt freshman Parris Campbell has seen the field sparingly in 2015 because an array of minor injuries, which continue to affect him into this week. Meyer said that the Akron native is also listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest.Johnnie Dixon, a redshirt freshman, was a player that appeared to be poised to fill at wide receiver in the beginning of the season. But like Campbell, injuries have plagued the Palm Beach, Florida, native, limiting him to just one catch for 29 yards in the season opener against Virginia Tech.Meyer said that Dixon has a microfracture right below his patella in his knee that will keep him out a couple of weeks.All of this means that redshirt senior Jeff Greene and redshirt sophomore James Clark will most likely spend meaningful time on the turf against the Golden Gophers.Both the said players saw most of their action this season on special teams, but in OSU’s game against Rutgers on Oct. 24, Greene and Clark both were in at wide receiver before garbage time arrived.The duo received champion grades from Meyer mainly for their effort in perimeter blocking, although Greene did have one catch for 10 yards.With the availability of Wilson and Campbell up in the air, Greene and Clark should be split out wide at some point on Saturday, as OSU and Minnesota are set to kickoff at 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. read more

0

OSU hockey players Crosby and Rothgery share special bond since childhood

Current OSU hockey players Maggie Rothgery and Nick Crosby hold up trophies from their time on the Elyria Panthers.Credit: Courtesy of Maggie RothgeryNick Crosby always thought he would “end up with her.”The “her” Crosby, a fourth-year in health sciences and a forward on the Ohio State men’s club ice hockey team, is referring to is Maggie Rothgery, a senior forward on the OSU women’s varsity ice hockey team.What did she think of her current boyfriend way back when?“I always thought he was out of my league,” Rothgery said with a smile.Irony aside, the two have been together for quite some time, even when they weren’t dating.Crosby and Rothgery grew up in Elyria, Ohio, playing on a line under Maggie’s father, and former Buckeye hockey player, Don Rothgery when they were six years old.It was under her father’s tutelage where the two developed their relationship and became the talented players they are today.“They hit it off right away as friends when Nick came in our last year on mite hockey,” Don Rothgery said. “They are two of the nicest people I know. They’ve been friends forever.”Current OSU hockey players Maggie Rothgery and Nick Crosby during their days on the Ohio Flames and St. Edwards Eagles, respectively.Credit: Courtesy of Maggie RothgeryIt was not until their high school years when they officially starting dating. Nick attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, while Maggie stayed close to home, attending Elyria High School.Crosby competed for state titles as an Eagle, while Rothgery further honed her skills with the Ohio Flames AAA program.Following graduation, Crosby began his time at OSU while Rothgery took her talents to Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, to play for the Lakers.As one might imagine, the four-hour separation between Columbus and Erie wasn’t easy for the two.“Distance was difficult, but I was very lucky that Nick was willing to come visit me almost every other weekend,” Rothgery said. “The hardest part was that we went from living two minutes apart and seeing each other everyday, to living in completely different states.”After a few years, Rothgery decided to transfer to OSU to become a Buckeye.“I was struggling at Mercyhurst and I knew being closer to Nick, regardless, would be better than the situation I was in there,” Rothgery said. “Mercyhurst just wasn’t the right fit for me and in the times that I visited, I loved OSU. The campus is beautiful and it’s arguably the best education you can get in Ohio, and in the country for that matter.”Now in Columbus, the two continue to have a relationship as solid as the ice they play on.OSU hockey players Nick Crosby and Maggie Rothgery.Credit: Courtesy of Maggie Rothgery“She’s my best friend,” Crosby said. “I’ve talked to some of my friends about it. They say, ‘Usually, when I hang out with my girlfriend, we have to try and find stuff to do.’ We can just go out, play hockey, and have a great time.”Granted, there are challenges that come along with dating and being student-athletes.The two are in the same major, meaning they see each other in class during the day, but homework, practice throughout the week and traveling for out-of-town games on weekends can be tough to work around.“We dedicate a few nights a week to each other,” Crosby said. “That’s pretty much all we get are nights.”With no Big Ten hockey conference established for women, Rothgery has to endure the rigorous travel accompanied with life in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Flights to Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin are scattered throughout the season.However, she said having Crosby waiting for her when she returns home is quite the luxury.“It’s nice to date your best friend,” Rothgery said. “He makes it easy. Sometimes I’ll come home and he’ll make me dinner. It’s nice to just relax and have someone to relax with.”Seeming like it has all happened so fast, Rothgery still finds herself in disbelief. Her linemate at 6 years old continues to be right by her side to this day. read more

0

Field hockey knocks off Michigan

An offensive burst led the No. 19 Ohio State field hockey team to a win over rival Michigan Sunday.Sophomore forward Maria Briones led the Buckeyes with two first-half goals in the 4-3 victory.Freshman forward Berta Queralt also scored in the first half for the Buckeyes. Queralt drilled her shot into the top shelf, pushing the Buckeyes’ lead to 2-0.“It was just a beautiful goal,” coach Anne Wilkinson said. Michigan struck back just two minutes later, but Briones’ second goal pushed the Buckeyes’ lead to 3-1 at the half. Early in the second half, OSU increased the lead to three when junior Aisling McKeon finished a pass from Queralt.Both Briones and Queralt admitted that the Buckeyes relaxed after building the three-goal lead, letting Michigan back into the game. The letdown forced the Buckeyes to fend off a late Michigan rally led by midfielder Meredith Way, who finished the game with two goals and an assist.The Wolverines scored two unanswered goals, making it 4-3. “They kept coming at us, which we knew they would,” Wilkinson said.The Buckeyes are now 3-2 against the Wolverines in their last five meetings. OSU also improved to 8-1 at home this season and has won 10 of its last 11 games overall.The Buckeyes improved to 3-1 in the Big Ten with the victory and are now second place in the conference. OSU will battle Michigan State for the conference’s top spot Wednesday in East Lansing, Mich. MSU is currently first in the Big Ten at 3-0. read more

0

Team chemistry key to Columbus Clippers continuing hot streak

They’re at it again. After winning the 2010 International League championship, the Columbus Clippers are delivering more of the same in 2011. The Cleveland Indians may have the best record in the American League but their Class AAA affiliate is off to an even hotter start. The Clippers (24-8) lead the west division and own the best record in the league by 4.5 games. “We’ve won a bunch of different games already in different ways,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “It hasn’t been just the offense or just the pitching staff.” Though the team was adamant that success has come from all phases of the game, the team’s hitting has been most impressive. As of Tuesday, Columbus leads the league in batting average (.297), runs batted in (191), and on base percentage (.389). “It’s kind of contagious when one guy is hitting,” right fielder Jerad Head said. “Everybody in the group is feeling group and everybody is swinging the bat well in the lineup.” Head has been especially proficient at the plate as he leads the Clippers in batting average. The hot hitting has taken the pressure off of the Columbus pitching staff. Though pitcher Zach McAllister leads the league in wins, the team is only tenth in the league in earned run average and seventh in strikeouts. Shortstop Cord Phelps attributed the fast start, which included a 13-game winning streak, to the team’s chemistry. “I think everybody enjoys being around each other and when that’s the case the atmosphere is more relaxed and people are able to play at the top of their ability,” he said. “When you kind of have all those working parts that go together it translates to wins.” Despite the camaraderie, the players have also been fueled by battles for playing time and the opportunity to play for the Indians. “I think the depth on this team has been causing a lot of great competition. A lot of players have stepped their games up,” Kipnis said. With 113 games remaining, keeping the wins coming may not be easy. “We’ve had a really hot start and I think we can continue to play at a high level but it’s important to realize that the really hot streaks don’t always happen even when you are playing good baseball,” Phelps said. “I think we’ve just got to continue with our approach and continue to have fun and we’ll be alright.” The chemistry the team has been able to establish may be the key to staying on top the remainder of the season and having an opportunity to repeat as champions. “We have veterans and young guys that have really jelled and meshed together well early,” Kipnis said. “So I really don’t think it will be a problem.” The Clippers continue their series with the Charlotte Knights tonight at Huntington Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. read more

0

Buckeye briefs Tidbits from around Ohio State athletics

Even on a rainy, September day when the men’s golf team is the lone Ohio State team in action, there’s still plenty going on in the world of OSU athletics.OSU football’s Oct. 8 meeting with Nebraska will be nationally televised on ABC, according to an athletic department release.The game, scheduled to take place at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium at 8 p.m., is the Buckeyes’ first-ever trip to Lincoln, Neb., and the teams’ first meeting since 1956.Players on both the OSU men’s and women’s soccer teams grabbed weekly awards from the Big Ten conference.Senior goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner claimed the Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 18. Baumgardner helped lead the Buckeyes to a 2-0-1 record last week, which included a 1-1 tie to Minnesota and a 2-1 win against Illinois. Baumgardner then capped her week with a 2-0 shutout against Northwestern. Thanks in part to Baumgardner, OSU (7-3-1, 2-0-1) remains unbeaten in conference play.On the men’s side, junior midfielder Chris Hegngi was named co-Offensive Player of the Week along with Indiana’s Alec Purdie.Hegngi slid the game-winning goal home for the Buckeyes’ in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win against Michigan. Hegngi is OSU’s leading scorer on the year with five goals.Hegngi and the men’s team (5-3-1, 1-0-0) will continue play on Wednesday against defending national champion Akron. Kickoff at Akron is set for 7:30 p.m. read more

1 2 3 22