Prospects You Should Avoid

first_imgAs you sell, there are certain types of prospects you will encounter that should be avoided. These prospects will waste your time, and winning their business would cost you far more than your time. Your time is better spent with your dream clients. One key to your success will be identifying these prospects quickly and moving on.These are the prospects you should avoid: Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now Price Shoppers: Avoid any prospective customer who reveals their current price with your competitor and suggests that they will meet with you if you can do better. If the only motivation for change is a lower price, then there is no real value you can create as there is no outcome that is worth paying more to obtain. Besides, your bottom-feeding competitor’s will undercut you by another penny to win the business.Unsolicited RFP Requesters: Avoid prospects who invite you to respond to their Request for Proposal without ever having met you. There is no value in being column fodder for an RFP that you have 0.0% chance of winning. If you can’t get beyond arms-length, your time and effort is better spent with prospects who will meet with you face-to-face, or virtually face to virtual face.Responsibility Avoiders: Avoid any prospect who confesses your competitor’s sins and failings when you recognize that their challenges have nothing to do with your competitor and are really your prospect’s unwillingness to change. You’ve no doubt experienced this, and if you haven’t, you will. Once you know that your prospect’s real problems are not your competitor’s fault, you also know that your prospect is unwilling to change.Dominators: Avoid any prospect who reveals a belief that you are a vendor and, as such, should be subservient. You sell from the position of a peer. You work as a trusted advisor. You are consultative. If you allow them to dominate you, you are cannot be a value creator.Freeloaders: Avoid prospects who are going to require a massive amount of work without the willingness or ability to pay for what they need. Anyone can have anything they want, as long as they are willing to pay for it. But wanting things and not being willing to pay for those things is a poor combination and not one you want to deal with. Invest your time with those who are going to make the necessary investments for the results they want.Unqualified: Avoid every prospect who does not perceive value in what you do and how you do it. Even if they want to buy, neither of you will ever be happy working together. Your time is better spent identifying, pursuing, and working with people who value you.last_img read more

UAAP goes back to its roots with first 3×3 tournament

first_imgLATEST STORIES In the men’s side, Adamson, Ateneo, La Salle, and UE are in Group A, while FEU, NU, and UP are in Group B. UST opted to forego a chance to field a squad in the tournament.READ: High expectations for 2018 FIBA 3×3 World CupThe Soaring Falcons will parade Brendan Espeleta, Jude Longalong, June Buenaventura, and Lenda Douanga; the Blue Eagles will lean on Rodney Manuel, Dan Wong, Gabe Natividad, and Quintin Banzon; while the Red Warriors will field Philip Manalang, Mark Maloles, Alvin Pasaol, and Jason Varilla.Also, the Tamaraws will bank on Michael John Casiño, Wendel Comboy, Richard Escoto, and Ken Tuffin while the Bulldogs will rely on JP Cauilan, Chami Diputado, Theo Joshua Flores, and Anthony Sistoza.The women’s side will also have essentially the same groupings.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netLa Salle and University of the Philippines emerge as the heavy favorites to win the first UAAP 3×3 basketball tournament on Sunday at SM Mall of Asia Music Hall.The Green Archers, bannered by Andrei Caracut, Aljun Melecio, Justine Baltazar, and Santi Santillan, as well as the Fighting Maroons, led by Jun Manzo, Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño, and Gelo Vito, are primed to make a deep run in the landmark staging as the collegiate league brings the action from the hardcourt to the half-court.ADVERTISEMENT Rondina says ‘no one to blame but ourselves’ amid losing skid John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus MOST READ Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico “We’re going back to our roots because even before I played 5-on-5 basketball, we all started in 3-on-3 in the streets,” said UAAP commissioner Rebo Saguisag. “It was a rite of passage. Manhood was measured by how good you were in the basketball court.”READ: New tournament aims to promote ‘fun, entertaining’ 3×3 basketball FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSeven men’s squad and eight women’s teams will participate in the one-day tournament, which will serve as a demonstration sport this UAAP Season 80.Teams are divided into two groups with crews playing in a single-round elimination format. The top two teams from each group will progress in a crossover semifinals, with the victors facing off in the Finals. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Read Next AFP official booed out of forum Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police 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 City READ: SBP starts forming best PH team for 2018 Fiba 3×3 World CupAdamson (Jonalyn Lacson, Jaime Grace Alcoy, April Cabug and Nathalia Prado), Ateneo (Katrina Guytingco, Johanne Nimes, Nicole Cancio, and Jhazmine Jason), La Salle (Vea Malarde, Lauryn del Campo, Angel Figueroa, and Marga Jimenez), and UE (Christine Cortizano, Joyce Francisco, Princess Pedregosa, and Anna Requiron) will make up Group A, while FEU (Claire Castro, Princess Soraya Jumuad, Valerie Mae Mamaril, and Fatima Quiapo), NU (Jack Animam, Afril Bernardino, Annick Fabienne Edimo Tiky, and Ria Nabalan), UP (Lourdes Ordoveza, Justine Domingo, Christine Iriss Isip, and Gene Amar) and UST (Angelica Anies, Jhenn Angeles, Karla Manuel, and Maria Sangalang) complete Group B.League officials are hoping that the initial staging of the 3×3 event will be a success as it serves as a platform for the discipline on its potential inclusion in the succeeding seasons.READ: 3×3 could be PH’s path to Olympic basketball stint“When 3-on-3 was announced to be an Olympic sport, we discussed it internally in FEU, then afterwards with ABS-CBN as something we wanted to push,” shared FEU athletic director Mark Molina.“This will be the start. Hopefully, this will be a regular sport in the UAAP come next season. If volleyball has indoor and beach volleyball, I don’t see any reason why UAAP can’t have 3×3 as a regular sport in the second semester by Season 81.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

Jelling as a team biggest challenge for PH volleybelles, says Reyes

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant National team skipper Mika Reyes. Photo by Bong Lozada/iNQUIRERThe biggest challenge for national team skipper Mika Reyes is not managing egos. Instead, it’s bringing together a group of players who came from different teams gathered for one common goal.“Actually, I think my work as a captain isn’t that hard because we’re not kids anymore,” said Reyes in Filipino during the team’s media day Friday at Arellano School of Law. “You won’t have to always tell them what to do.”ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Gilas battles title favorite Canada in Jones Cup opener MOST READ Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet LATEST STORIES National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim “This will be a new opportunity for us, yes everyone is good individually, but the challenge is how we’ll jell as one team because it’s not just one or two players who plays in a team,” said Reyes.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes “The challenge here is how we’ll bond together as one group, skills-wise, attitude-wise, and character-wise because we didn’t come from one team, we were selected from different teams and this was the only time we were together.”The national squad is composed of players selected from several teams in the Philippine Super Liga with Alyssa Valdez the only one coming from the Premier Volleyball League.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsReyes added their upcoming training camp in Japan is the prime opportunity for them to bond further as a team following episodes where they had to cancel practices due to absent players.The team is set to leave for Japan late July to prepare for the upcoming 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’last_img read more

World Cup Cricket schedule

first_imgHere is the tournament schedule: No.Date & TimeMatchVenueResult1Sat 19 Feb 02:00 PM ISTIND vs BANShere Bangla National Stadium, MirpurIND won by 87 runs Scorecard | Match report2Sun 20 Feb 09:30 AM ISTNZ vs KENMA Chidambaram Stadium, ChennaiNZ won by 10 wickets Scorecard | Match report3Sun 20 Feb 02:30 PM ISTSL vs CANMahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, HambantotaSL won by 210 runs Scorecard | Match report4Mon 21 Feb 02:30 PM ISTAUS vs ZIMSardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, MoteraAUS won by 91 runsScorecard | Match report5Tue 22 Feb 02:30 PM ISTENG vs NEDVidarbha Cricket Association Ground, NagpurENG won by 6 wicketsScorecard | Match report6Wed 23 Feb 02:30 PM ISTPAK vs KENMahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, HambantotaPAK won by 205 runsScorecard | Match report7Thu 24 Feb 02:30 PM ISTSA vs WIFerozeshah Kotla, DelhiSA won by 7 wicketsScorecard | Match report8Fri 25 Feb 09:30 AM ISTAUS vs NZVidarbha Cricket Association Ground, NagpurAUS won by 7 wicketsScorecard | Match report9Fri 25 Feb 02:00 PM ISTBAN vs IREShere Bangla National Stadium, MirpurBAN won by 27 runsScorecard | Match report10Sat 26 Feb 02:30 PM ISTPAK vs SLR.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboPAK won by 11 runsScorecard | Match report 11Sun 27 Feb 02:30 PM ISTIND vs ENGEden Gardens, KolkataMatch ends in tieScorecard | Match report12Mon 28 Feb 09:30 AM ISTZIM vs CANVidarbha Cricket Association Ground, NagpurZIM won by 175 runsScorecard | Match report13Mon 28 Feb 02:30 PM ISTWI vs NEDFerozeshah Kotla, DelhiWI won by 215 runsScorecard | Match report14Tue 01 Mar 02:30 PM ISTSL vs KENR.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboSL won by 9 wicketsScorecard | Match report15Wed 02 Mar 02:30 PM ISTENG vs IREM Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru (Bangalore)IRE won by 3 wicketsScorecard | Match report16Thu 03 Mar 09:30 AM ISTSA vs NEDPunjab Cricket Association Stadium, MohaliSA won by 231 runsScorecard | Match report17Thu 03 Mar 02:30 PM ISTPAK vs CANR.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboPak won by 46 runsScorecard | Match report18Fri 04 Mar 09:30 AM ISTNZ vs ZIMSardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, MoteraNZ won by 10 wicketsScorecard | Match report19Fri 04 Mar 02:00 PM ISTBAN vs WIShere Bangla National Stadium, MirpurWI won by 9 wicketsScorecard | Match report20Sat 05 Mar 02:30 PM ISTAUS vs SLR.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboMatch abandonedScorecard | Match report21Sun 06 Mar 09:30 AM ISTSA vs ENGMA Chidambaram Stadium, ChennaiENG won by 6 runsScorecard | Match report22Sun 06 Mar 02:30 PM ISTIND vs IREM Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru (Bangalore)IND won by 5 wicketsScorecard | Match report23Mon 07 Mar 02:30 PM ISTCAN vs KENFerozeshah Kotla, DelhiCAN won by 5 wicketsScorecard | Match report24Tue 08 Mar 02:30 PM ISTPAK vs NZPallekele International Cricket Stadium, KandyNZ won by 110 runsScorecard | Match report25Wed 09 Mar 02:30 PM ISTIND vs NEDFerozeshah Kotla, DelhiIND won by 5 wicketsScorecard | Match report26Thu 10 Mar 02:30 PM ISTSL vs ZIMPallekele International Cricket Stadium, KandySL won by 139 runsScorecard | Match report27Fri 11 Mar 09:30 AM ISTWI vs IREPunjab Cricket Association Stadium, MohaliWI won by 44 runsScorecard | Match report28Fri 11 Mar 02:00 PM ISTBAN vs ENGZahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, ChittagongBAN won by 2 wktsScorecard | Match report29Sat 12 Mar 02:30 PM ISTIND vs SAVidarbha Cricket Association Ground, NagpurSA won by 3 wktsScorecard | Match report30Sun 13 Mar 09:30 AM ISTNZ vs CANWankhede Stadium, MumbaiNZ won by 97 runsScorecard | Match report31Sun 13 Mar 02:30 PM ISTAUS vs KENM Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru (Bangalore)AUS won by 60 runsScorecard | Match report32Mon 14 Mar 09:00 AM ISTBAN vs NEDZahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, ChittagongBAN won by 6 wktsScorecard | Match report33Mon 14 Mar 02:30 PM ISTPAK vs ZIMPallekele International Cricket Stadium, KandyPAK won by 7 wkts (D/L)Scorecard | Match report34Tue 15 Mar 02:30 PM ISTSA vs IREEden Gardens, KolkataSA won by 131 runsScorecard | Match report35Wed 16 Mar 02:30 PM ISTAUS vs CANM Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru (Bangalore)AUS won by 7 wktsScorecard | Match report36Thu 17 Mar 02:30 PM ISTENG vs WIMA Chidambaram Stadium, ChennaiENG won by 18 runsScorecard | Match report37Fri 18 Mar 09:30 AM ISTNED vs IREEden Gardens, KolkataIRE won by 6 wktsScorecard | Match report38Fri 18 Mar 02:30 PM ISTNZ vs SLWankhede Stadium, MumbaiSL won by 112 runsScorecard | Match report39Sat 19 Mar 09:00 AM ISTBAN vs SAShere Bangla National Stadium, MirpurSA won by 206 runsScorecard | Match report40Sat 19 Mar 02:30 PM ISTAUS vs PAKR.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboPAK won by 4 wktsScorecard | Match report41Sun 20 Mar 09:30 AM ISTZIM vs KENEden Gardens, KolkataZIM won by 161 runsScorecard | Match report 42Sun 20 Mar 02:30 PM ISTIND vs WIMA Chidambaram Stadium, ChennaiIND won by 80 runsScorecard | Match report43Wed 23 Mar 02:00 PM ISTPAK v WI 1st Quarterfinal (C)Shere Bangla National Stadium, MirpurPAK won 10 wktsScorecard | Match report44Thu 24 Mar 02:30 PM ISTIND vs AUS2nd Quarterfinal (E)Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, MoteraIND won by 5 wktsScorecard | Match report45Fri 25 Mar 02:00 PM ISTNZ vs SA 3rd Quarterfinal (F)Shere Bangla National Stadium, MirpurNZ won by 49 runsScorecard | Match report46Sat 26 Mar 02:30 PM ISTSL v ENG4th Quarterfinal (D)R.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboSL won by 10 wktsScorecard | Match report47Tue 29 Mar 02:30 PM ISTSL vs NZ 1st SemifinalR.Premadasa Stadium, ColomboSL won by 5 wktsScorecard | Match report48Wed 30 Mar 02:30 PM ISTIND vs PAK 2nd SemifinalPunjab Cricket Association Stadium, MohaliIND won by 29 runsScorecard | Match report49Sat 02 Apr 02:30 PM ISTSF1 vs SF2 (Final)Wankhede Stadium, MumbaiIND won by 6 wktsScorecard | Match reportadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Film Study: How Ramon Richards’ got his first pick-6

first_imgRamon Richards has had a tough go of things this year. (USATSI)Ramon Richards has had a tough go of things this year. (USATSI)It came late in a 48-14 blowout loss to Kansas State, but Ramon Richards picked off a pass from backup KSU quarterback Joe Hubener and took it 40 yards for the touchdown.And if you ignore the fact that it was 45-7 at this point and KSU was playing its second string compromised of former community college all-Americans, it was a good play.What the offense was doingKansas State is attempting to run a swing pass to the inside receiver.KSU is lined up in an offset pistol formation with a halfback to the left of Hubener and a HB directly behind that HB.1There is a WR lined up on the line of scrimmage on the weak side of the field, and two WRs lined up on the wide side of the field, with the inside receiver a little off the line of scrimmage.The ball is snapped and the HB to the left of Hubener takes off across the backfield to go block a linebacker. The HB behind Hubener runs up and Hubener fakes the handoff to him.2Immediately after he fakes the handoff, Hubener looks up to find the inside receiver, who is now running a swing route.3Hubener throws the ball to the receiver but before it reaches his hands, Richards has already stepped in and intercepted the pass.4Why this play workedOSU is lined up in its base 4-3 defense, running the familiar Cover 2 zone.We know it’s a Cover 2 zone because the safeties are dropped back covering the deep halves of the field while the corners are sitting in a zone that is within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.The two outside linebackers play up close to the line of scrimmage, keeping an eye out for the run. MLB Ryan Simmons immediately drops back about 5 yards into zone coverage.SimmonsWhen the ball is snapped, the outside receiver comes off the line of scrimmage and just runs a go route.Richards collisions the outside WR to knock him off his route momentarily and then sits in his zone, waiting for a play that may come his way.Sometimes, a CB might go with the outside WR for too long and put himself in a bad position to make a play at or near the line of scrimmage if its run that way.Instead of being within 3-4 yards of the line of scrimmage a CB who follows the outside WR too long before releasing him is now 6-8 yards off the line of scrimmage.5However, Richards gives the necessary quick collision to the outside WR, and then releases him so that the WR is now the safety’s concern.Because of his attentiveness from the time the ball is snapped, Richards is able run up when the ball is thrown, cut off the route, and intercept the pass for the easy score.Much like a screen pass, an offense will run a swing pass to expose a defense’s vulnerabilities and get its playmakers out in space.The majority of the time, a swing pass is run to the side with the multiple receivers, as is the case here.The main reason for this is it somewhat keeps the defense guessing – though it’s fairly easy to identify once the ball is snapped – but also it allows for a WR to block either the CB or safety while the WR who catches the pass only has one defender to worry about instead of two.It is important for a defense to have sure tacklers in the secondary to prevent a play like a swing pass from going from a 2-3 yard gain to an 8, 9, or 10 (or more) yard gain.Richards has had a lot of criticism thrown his way this year, and whether you think that criticism is justifiable or not, it’s good to see a true freshman have moments like this after being prematurely thrown into the starting lineup.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Amendments to Trafficking in Persons Act for Parliament

first_imgCabinet has given approval for the newly amended Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, (TIP ACT) to be tabled in the Houses of Parliament.Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, made the disclosure at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing on Wednesday, May 22.She noted that the TIP Act was enacted in 2007 to prescribe penalties and combat trafficking in persons. Section four of the Act criminalises trafficking, the facilitation of trafficking or receiving financial or other benefits from trafficking.The Information Minister said the amendments will increase the penalty for the offence of trafficking in persons and make new provisions for similar offences.“The current penalty for these crimes is a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years. This will be increased to a term not exceeding 20 years or to both such fine and imprisonment,” Minister Falconer informed.She added that the new provision recognises that trafficking may also involve other offences connected to trafficking such as assault, carnal abuse, rape, child pornography, forced labour and forced begging.“There were no specific provisions for these additional offences, and when they occurred, the practice had been to prosecute them as separate offences under existing laws. With the amendments, the court will impose on a person convicted of a trafficking offence an additional 10 years if there are aggravating factors,” she explained.Contact: Andrea Brahamlast_img read more

Victim in Quebec dog attack thanks community for outpouring of support

first_imgMONTREAL — A Quebec woman who was seriously injured in an attack by three dogs last month in the Eastern Townships is thanking the community for its support.The message from Dominique Alain and her family was published on the website of Potton Township today, thanking first-responders and staff at the hospital in Sherbrooke, Que., for taking care of her following the mauling.Alain was attacked while jogging along a road in Potton Township on March 29, about 125 kilometres southeast of Montreal.Animal welfare authorities deemed the dogs too dangerous to be returned to their owners, and local councillors voted to euthanize the animals.Mayor Jacques Marcoux, who knows Alain personally, says she is out of intensive care but will be in hospital for sometime.Marcoux says the entire community — several villages make up the township — was deeply affected by the attack.A Go Fund Me page launched in April to help pay for prosthetics, retrofitting of her home and other expenses has raised more than $21,000 so far.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

The Latest Trump suspends proposed tariffs on Mexico

WASHINGTON — The Latest on U.S. threats to impose tariffs on Mexico (all times local):8:35 p.m.President Donald Trump says he has “indefinitely suspended” tariffs he has threatened to impose Monday on Mexican imports.Trump says on Twitter that the U.S. and Mexico “reached a signed agreement” Friday night.The president says Mexico “has agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of Migration through Mexico, and to our Southern Border.”___6 p.m.After a week of threats, President Donald Trump declared Friday that “there is a good chance” the U.S. will strike a deal with Mexico to avert the tariffs he’s scheduled to take effect Monday to force the U.S. ally to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States.Trump tweeted his more optimistic view from Air Force One as he flew home from Europe, but added, “If we are unable to make the deal, Mexico will begin paying Tariffs at the 5% level on Monday!”The tweet marked a change in tone from earlier Friday, when his spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters: “Our position has not changed. The tariffs are going forward as of Monday.”Trump has often said unpredictability helps him negotiate.The Associated Press read more

Ridings to Watch Tories try to tear Regina—Wascana from Goodales grip

Kram said voters seem equally amenable to the Conservatives twin lines of attack. The party has so far focused on what it says is a rising cost of living, as well as the Liberal record on ethics and integrity.Goodale knows he has an uphill battle making the case for carbon pricing, which has faced unrelenting attacks from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who calls it “job killing,” and from the Conservatives, who say it will make everything more expensive.The minister counters that employment in Saskatchewan remains strong. He said the federal Climate Action Incentive means eight out of 10 Saskatchewan people will get more back in tax credits than they’ll pay in higher costs.“It’s counterintuitive, and we’ve got to work very hard to make sure that that message is clearly delivered and clearly understood,” he said.But he admits it’s a “complex argument” to explain how a levy on fuel means more money for consumers.The SNC-Lavalin affair, resting as it does on “deferred prosecution agreements” and the esoteric “Shawcross Doctrine,” might seem even more byzantine. But Kram frames it in simple terms.“My hope is that once Andrew Scheer is prime minister after October 21, these ethics violations won’t be happening anymore,” said Kram.In the heat of the scandal, Goodale defended the prime minister, who was accused of inappropriately pressuring his former attorney general to intervene to spare SNC-Lavalin. He said it’s not among the top issues he hears on the voters’ doorsteps. But when it does come up, he’s willing to acknowledge that “mistakes were made.”“It should not have been handled in the way it was,” Goodale said. “The prime minister’s acknowledged that.”He said the government is moving to ensure everyone understands the line drawn around the attorney general.“The protocol will be clear,” said Goodale. “If you’re dealing with the attorney general, that person is not a minister like any other minister. They have independent responsibilities.”There’s another factor that could shift the dynamics of the campaign for Regina—Wascana. Kram’s campaign manager has said she’s eager to see an NDP candidate enter the race, in the hopes of peeling off some of Goodale’s votes.As the campaign began, the New Democrats were completely absent. But Kram’s campaign can rest easy that the NDP finally nominated a candidate on Thursday. Hailey Clark works in sales and is a “super active volunteer,” according to NDP provincial secretary John Tzupa. But her late start and low profile leaves Goodale with less to worry about on his left flank.“There’s a strong, clear, undeniable, progressive choice,” said Goodale.He will have to watch Green Party candidate Tamela Friesen, who believes the riding is more in flux than it was in 2015. She said the Liberals won’t be able to play the Stop Harper card this time. Voters, she said, are shopping around.But in another reflection of Goodale’s popularity, she can’t find a bad thing to say about the minister. Her problem isn’t with Goodale, but with the “mixed message” his party has given on climate change, notably by buying the Trans Mountain pipeline.“I am so pleased to be running against him,” Friesen said. “He’s done an excellent job over the years. He is a superb public servant, an excellent role model to any politician and to any person.” The Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix are delving into the races in four key Saskatchewan ridings during the federal election campaign. The series begins with Regina—Wascana, where incumbent Ralph Goodale seeks his ninth consecutive victory.The official start of a stormy campaign was just days away from breaking out in Regina—Wascana, but Ralph Goodale’s thoughts were on the Atlantic Ocean, following the path of a faraway hurricane.As he watched the TV news in his University Park Drive constituency office late last week, Dorian threatened the east coast. “It looks like it’s heading more or less straight for Halifax,” the public safety minister forecasted.Days later, he was on a plane to assess the damage three time zones away. He jetted back home to Regina just in time to help his staff assemble lawn signs for the first official day of campaigning on Wednesday. His staff say he’s now in election mode, but Goodale always has his ministerial Blackberry at the ready.“If there’s another hurricane — let’s hope not — or some other issue related to public safety or national security, that will take priority,” he said.Goodale seems more worried about the weather than his electoral prospects in Regina—Wascana, which he’s held for 26 years and eight consecutive terms. Data gleaned from phone calls and door knocking has shown “no discernible trend” in his support, which he insists is “holding very solid.”“I’m very, very optimistic,” he said.But Goodale faces headwinds that weren’t blowing in 2015, when he beat the Conservative candidate by more than 10,000 votes. This time he’s part of a government. Along with the pressure that comes from his public safety duties, he now has a record to defend on the doorsteps.“It’s always a greater challenge when you are the incumbent,” he says.“I think it’s only logical to expect a somewhat closer race.” Green Party candidate Tamela Friesen during the 2015 campaign, when she ran for the Greens in Regina—Lewvan. She has now made the jump to Regina—Wascana. TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post Campaign manager Shawn McEachern, left, and Liberal Ralph Goodale put together campaign signs at their office in Regina. Regina—Wascana has survived as the lone speck of Liberal red in a province that looks ready to swing even more decisively against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It’s a rare example of what Goodale calls an “intensely personal” race, where the local candidate matters as much as the leader.His rivals will be looking to connect him to the baggage that comes from four years of Liberal rule, in the hope of overcoming his strong personal brand.Conservative candidate Michael Kram thinks voters are “savvy” enough to make the link. In his view, a vote for the candidate is a vote for the Trudeau Liberals.Kram is running against Goodale for the second time, after 2015’s punishing loss. He claims he’s undaunted. He even set up his campaign headquarters right across the street from Goodale’s constituency office, in another University Park Drive strip mall.Here, as Goodale got ready for his Halifax trip, Kram told his supporters to believe it: the minister can be beat.“If you’re one of those people who believes that this riding is unwinnable because it’s been Liberal for the last quarter century, get those thoughts out of your head,” Kram urged a capacity crowd last weekend.“This riding is very much in play this time around.”Kram, an IT professional who’s wanted to be a politician since elementary school social studies, said he’s noticed a lot of voters “falling out of love with Justin Trudeau.” He said his volunteers seem more motivated to push the prime minister out of office. But despite Trudeau’s unpopularity, Conservatives know Goodale’s reputation is their biggest hurdle.“If he didn’t run, Michael would win this riding by 10 points,” said Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan MP Tom Lukiwski, the keynote speaker at Kram’s launch party. “The only chance that they’ve got to win any seats in Saskatchewan is Ralph Goodale’s, but he’s in a neck and neck race right now.”Lukiwski played on Goodale’s billboards, which call him “the most reliable voice in Regina” but don’t feature any reference to the prime minister. Lukiwski was happy to make that link, calling Justin Trudeau “arrogant” and claiming his policies are “absolutely devastating” for the Prairie economy. TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post Goodale rejects any notion that he’s keeping his distance, or that Trudeau is a liability on the campaign trail.“The prime minister is always an asset,” Goodale insists. “Always.”Kram’s supporters see other areas of weakness. Talk at the launch party turned to the $10.5-million payout to Omar Khadr, who, depending on one’s view, is either a child soldier or a convicted terrorist. Lukiwski points out that Goodale was the minister responsible. He urges Conservative door knockers to make sure voters don’t forget it.People’s Party candidate Mario Milanovski, who previously worked alongside Kram at 3S Health, will also attack Goodale from the right. Although Milanovski commends the minister as a “good person,” he joins the Conservatives in questioning Goodale’s record on public safety files. He’s upset about the prospective return of Canadians who’ve fought for terrorist groups overseas.He said the People’s Party’s hard stance on immigration levels is his number-one issue. Goodale, by contrast, celebrates multiculturalism as “a triumph of the human spirit.”It seems like sound policy in a riding with Regina’s highest population of visible minority residents.Goodale calls the return of foreign fighters a “very difficult problem,” but insists his first priority is to prosecute alleged terrorists while keeping Canadians safe.He also stands by the Khadr decision, noting the Supreme Court made “decisive judgements” that forced the government’s hand on the payment. He said the issue comes up rarely at the doorstep, usually from people who are “following the Conservative talking points.”Goodale door knocks in jaunts throughout his tenure to keep up with voters. Kram left his job in June to start campaigning full time.Both are starting in their areas of strength. But for Goodale, that’s almost everywhere. His staff point to only a few areas where he was behind in 2015, notably in the riding’s far east end.Goodale’s schedule is filling up with invites to events across the riding. And his campaign manager, Sean McEachern, is preparing to fight off an expected wave of demands for the minister to travel across the country to shore up other Liberal candidates.“He needs to be on the street, he needs to be engaging with people, and he can’t do that if he’s somewhere else,” said McEachern. “So we make sure that there’s a good balance.”But Goodale has more to worry about than his timetable. What he calls “the incumbency factor” leaves him more vulnerable to attacks against Liberal policies. He has to explain the decisions made over four years of government, facing tough questions on everything from carbon pricing to the SNC-Lavalin affair.“Describing a policy is always more complicated than attacking a policy,” Goodale said. “You can usually reduce your attack to a bumper sticker. The defence takes a greater argument.” Conservative candidate Michael Kram putting together election signs at his campaign office in Regina. read more

Former dean heads to Trent to work with grad students

Marilyn RoseA Brock professor and former Dean of Graduate Studies will spend part of her time this year at Trent University to help graduate students prepare for their professional lives after graduation.Marilyn Rose, Department of English, has been named the 2011-12 Traill Visiting Fellow at Catharine Parr Traill College, Trent University’s Graduate Studies College in Peterborough.She will focus on professional development initiatives for graduate students enrolled in Trent’s 13 programs. That means co-ordinating and leading professional development workshops to help prepare students for careers in academia or beyond.Rose spent seven years as Brock’s Dean of Graduate Studies and is also a long-time executive member of the Council of Ontario Universities.“Her work in helping students to prepare for a smooth transition from graduate studies to meaningful careers in the public and private sectors is important if we are to ensure a strong competitive advantage for Trent students in today’s challenging job markets,” said Douglas Evans, principal of Traill College.Rose will present a series of similar workshops at Brock from November to April.“Much like Brock, Trent has a very close-knit graduate community that features a similar atmosphere that values collaboration and an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and research,” Rose said. “Both schools are committed to the success of their students and recognize how vitally important it is that students be workplace-ready.”Rose has “experience and passion for graduate education,” said Mike Plyley, Dean of Graduate Studies.That makes her “an ideal candidate to mentor and guide our students as they negotiate their future in a wide world of career opportunities.”This academic year, Rose will also produce a research report on programs that are available to graduate students in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Canada. The report, jointly sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies, will include an analysis of best practices and recommendations for future program development. read more

UPDATE Police investigate suspicious package on campus

Updated 4:30 p.m.The police investigation into the suspicious package continues.Denis Morris High School has its graduation ceremony scheduled for tonight in the Walker Complex, which is not affected by this afternoon’s precautionary building and road closures.Denis Morris officials are waiting for more information from the investigation before making a decision about the status of tonight’s ceremony.—–Updated 3:51 p.m.Police continue to investigate a suspicious package found in the Alumni-Student Centre earlier Wednesday this afternoon.Both the Alumni-Student Centre and Plaza Building have been evacuated. All other buildings on campus have not been evacuated and operations in those buildings continue.Both the Alumni-Student Centre and Plaza Building remain closed.Interior campus roads near the investigation remain closed and pedestrians are asked to avoid the area and the front of the Schmon Tower.All transit users are asked to make their way to the Rosalind Bauer day care centre near Parking Lot D via Thistle Complex and Welch Hall.—–Police and emergency services were called to the Brock campus around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after a suspicious package was reported in the Alumni-Student Centre.As a precaution, officials closed nearby interior campus roads to traffic and evacuated the Alumni-Student Centre and Plaza Building.The campus is not being evacuated at the moment.Transit users are being routed through Thistle Complex to Welch Hall to Parking Lot D in order to catch buses in front of the day care centre. Pedestrians are asked to avoid the investigation area and the front of the Schmon Tower.Please watch the Brock home page for updates. read more

Who Are The NBAs Best Defenders Right Now

For the past few seasons, the best defenders in the NBA have been some combination of Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard. But with Leonard and Gobert out for all or much of the season so far and Green’s production falling off just a bit, we’ve got some new blood in contention to be the NBA’s best defender.To put a number to this, we’ll use data from Second Spectrum that shows us both the total number of shots defended by a player and how much he affected those shots. There are a few ways to get at this, but we’re going to use “quantified shot probability” (qSP) — which determines the expected value of shots defended using shot distance, shot location and defender position, among other variables — and “quantified shot making” (qSM) — which subtracts the expected effective field goal percentage on those shots from the actual eFG to determine how much of an effect the defender had. In other words, does the defender make shots worse? And if so, by how much?We’ve used metrics like this in the past, but the rub with this set is it adjusts for who’s taking the shot, meaning weak defenders who guard bad shooters don’t get as much credit, and defenders tasked with guarding superstars aren’t punished for their assignment — the star’s excellence is baked into the stat.The per possession numbers will look a little different from the overall effect — players like Tarik Black and Marreese Speights have defended a lot of shots very well in short minutes — but this chart should demonstrate that there is a wide spread on defender effect. What we’re missing here, though, is how many shots a defender actually affects. Here we’ve got total shots as well as the qSM (the difference a defender makes on each shot) plotted against each other to show who’s affecting how many shots to what degree. This isn’t perfect. For one, a great defender doesn’t simply challenge shots — he denies them from happening, forcing a team to reset its offense. But by the same token, great defenders also work their way back into plays, affecting shots by playing smart help defense and covering acres of ground. Another thing these numbers don’t reflect the is overall quality of the shot — there are a few defenders who don’t depress value of each individual shot by as much as others but who force opponents into low-quality shots in general (through hard work and smart positioning) so that the overall effect is the same. Kevin Durant, Golden State WarriorsThe Warriors are unfair. Draymond Green — for my money the best defensive player in the league — has for whatever reason been a little off during the first quarter of the season, possibly because the Warriors can sleepwalk to a bare-minimum 2-seed. He’s not been bad, mind you, just not quite as dominant as usual. That’s left quite a lot of slack in the Golden State scheme, and Durant has picked up more than his fair share of it. Golden State ranks eighth in defensive rating, down from second a season ago, but that almost feels like a threat more than a falloff given how flat the team has looked at times. Beware, it says, this is a top 10 defense even while almost completely half-assing things, just on the virtue of Kevin Durant showing up to work. Durant has been improving as a defender for years, going back to his time with the Thunder. (If you ever go back and watch the 2016 series between OKC and San Antonio, watch Durant on defense — he was the best defensive big man in that series.) His style is also entirely his own: KD gives up relatively “great” shots — ones his opponents would be expected to turn into 52.3 eFG against an average defender, or about what Austin Rivers gives you as a defender. Not great. But because Durant is so long, so mobile and so smart positionally, the actual shots against him fall at a rate of just 45.2 eFG. This still happens within the overall Golden State system — Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry have similar opponent eFG numbers, albeit on fewer shots defended — but Durant’s role has him not only locking down his own man but also covering up for lapses by his teammates.Green may remain the more important defender for the Warriors — he’s the anchor, and what he does from his position is impossible to replicate. But Durant’s play so far has been the strongest on a Golden State defense that should end up being a top-3-type unit, at minimum. Honorable mentionGiannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have both been outstanding through the first quarter of the season, but they don’t have quite the same track record as some of the players listed above. Just the same, neither seems to be a fluke. We’ll be a little more certain how permanent their new defensive excellence is by the All-Star break. The same goes for Kristaps Porzingis, who last season was in the tier just behind Gobert and Green for overall defensive value, but this year fell off early before making up some ground in the past few weeks.Some others seem more like early-season mirages — Josh Richardson, Gary Harris and Eric Gordon are all having excessively good years by the metrics but are playing way above the levels they had in previous seasons.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Anthony Davis, New Orleans PelicansFrom the time he was a rookie, Anthony Davis has had all the tools. He’d block shots and steal alley-oops and tug on his shorts and check the opposing point guard 30 feet from the basket. He came into the league as a destructive defensive force, but for reasons ranging from injury to scheme to sheer offensive burden, Davis’s aggregate effect on the defensive end hasn’t always lived up to the promise of those moments. This season, it has. Davis ranks seventh in the league in shots defended overall, and the defense gets 12.7 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits down. That’s nearly double his defensive on/off split from last season, which was already by far the best of his career.Partly this is because of his partnership with DeMarcus Cousins. Defensive intensity hasn’t always been Cousins’s strong point, and that’s still true today, but he has defended the most shots in the league, and done so while holding opponents to a middle-of-the-road 51.4 eFG on shots he defends. Not great, certainly, but it’s a respectable backstop for the defense.Because of Cousins’s role as a reliable constant, Davis is free to cover more ground without making risky moves to get back into plays. And because of that, his personal foul rate is at an all-time low (2.6 fouls per 100 possessions). This allows Davis to do what he does best — stick to his man, rotate to help in the paint without overextending, and blitz spot-up shooters on the perimeter faster than anyone else his size in the league. But despite the limitations, these metrics are a pretty good way to look at who’s having the best defensive season. A few players stand out on the list: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, Boston CelticsThe Celtic defense has continued to crush opponents. Boston is 18-4, with a league-leading defensive rating (100), the second-lowest effective field goal percentage allowed (48.6) and a roster full of live-bodied defenders who can switch practically any assignment. Even Kyrie Irving is chipping in on the effort. But while every Celtic is doing his part, some parts are more critical than others. It’s undeniably been the play from Smart, Brown and Horford that has carried the Celts so far.Smart does not possess the most graceful set of skills, but what he provides is unmistakable to anyone watching. He’s all over the floor, hounding ball handlers, bodying up on bigger players in the post and bumping cutting players he isn’t even guarding, like a middle linebacker jamming a slot receiver.Brown is a little different. While the Boston defense is built on interchangeable pieces switching and denying an offense space, it also needs players who can stick to their man across multiple screens, then square up and check their man as he plants and drives. Brown has stepped into that role and dominated so far. He can fight over screens (or just outright avoid them) to allow the defense to keep its shape, and he has the quicks to shut down first steps with the length to challenge pull-up attempts.Horford, meanwhile, does not have nearly the same reputation as the other two, but this season, he looks livelier than he has in the past when making switches, and he has defended the most shots of any Celtic. The newfound agility in space is especially important — because the defense will semi-regularly ask him to survive on an island against a wing, but also because his role at the center of the defense requires him to scuttle shooters who’ve just run over two or three screens trying to escape Smart or Brown. read more

Is This The Year Georgia Finally Wins The College Football Playoff

USCPac 10200512-12,061200611-22,003 *Season Score is a blend of a team’s final end-of-season Elo, its peak Elo and its overall average Elo throughout the season.Source: ESPN Year 1Year 2 SchoolConferenceYearRecordSeason Sc.YearRecordSeason Sc. PittsburghIndep.198011-12,002198111-12,012 UGA has been great … but not great enoughTeams since 1980 with a Season Score* of 2,000 in back-to-back seasons, but no national championship in either season AlabamaSEC201311-22,066201412-22,099 Ohio StateBig Ten201712-22,002201813-12,057 The hallmark of Georgia’s recent run under Smart might be how complete his teams are. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, UGA had the nation’s fifth-best offense and third-best defense in 2017. They then inverted that with the third-best offense and fifth-best defense last season. The Bulldogs boasted not one but two 1,200-yard rushers (Nick Chubb and Sony Michel) back in 2017, when Fromm was a freshman, but they showcased more passing last season — with Fromm ranking as the third-best QB in the nation according to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, trailing only Tagovailoa and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray.Georgia does lose five starters apiece on offense and defense from last season, including cornerback Deandre Baker, who won 2018’s Jim Thorpe Award as the country’s top defensive back, and receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley. But Fromm’s return negates one of the biggest factors in an offense’s demise: losing the starting quarterback.According to data collected from the 2001 through 2017 seasons, a previously average offense that loses five starters including the QB would expect to be about 12 percent less efficient than before. However, if the team retains its signal-caller, it can basically expect to carry on without missing a beat — great news for an offense as strong as UGA’s last season. The same can be said for a defense that loses five starters between seasons; our research says that team can also expect no real drop-off in efficiency between seasons, generally speaking.And this Georgia team might be better equipped to handle moderate personnel losses than just about any other program. According to’s Team Talent Composite, which adds up the total value of all the players on a roster based on their high school recruiting ratings, the Bulldogs rank third nationally going into the 2019 season with a score of 961.85 points. That’s effectively no different from last season, when UGA ranked third with a composite score of 963.87. Add in another year of seasoning for Fromm, who ranks as one of the top QB prospects in next spring’s NFL draft, and the fourth-most returning experience of any team in the SEC according to Phil Steele’s calculations, and the talent in Athens should rival that of almost any other team in the nation.However, one team that still may be running ahead of Georgia in that regard is the same rival that’s been a thorn in the Bulldogs’ side over the past few years: Alabama. The Crimson Tide have scored better than UGA in the Team Talent Composite for five consecutive seasons, and they are also ahead in ESPN’s early season projected FPI right now. It appears Georgia will need another breakthrough to join Clemson and Bama at the very top of the college football mountain, since the gap between Alabama at No. 2 and UGA at No. 3 (5.6 points) is the same as the gap between UGA and No. 10 Oregon.And that’s to say nothing of the Bulldogs’ crushing schedule strength. With games against Texas A&M and Notre Dame on tap, in addition to a trip to Auburn and what looks like a tougher-than-usual matchup with Florida, all before even potentially reaching the SEC title game for a third-straight season, it’s no surprise that FPI has Georgia’s schedule rated as the fourth-most difficult in the country this year. That’s even tougher than Alabama’s slate (which ranks 22nd), and it’s a big reason why FPI gives Georgia only a 2.7 percent chance of navigating through its regular-season schedule without a loss, while Bama has 15.3 percent chance of doing the same.But Georgia has also shown these past few seasons that it belongs squarely in the College Football Playoff conversation, even if it does lose a game during the regular season. Remember, in order to blow late leads over Alabama in crushing fashion, you first have to get late leads over Alabama — and the only other team that can say it has done that recently is Clemson. The Bulldogs have proven they can hang with the game’s top programs, and they have the talent to do it again. Now it’s up to Smart, Fromm and company to finally turn that potential into championship results this season. FloridaSEC19849-12,03319859-12,017 Florida StateIndep.198811-12,004198910-22,034 It’s hard to come closer to a national title without winning one than the Georgia Bulldogs did over the past two seasons. In 2017, UGA had a 20-7 second half lead over Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship — at one point, ESPN’s win probability model gave the Dawgs a 92.5 percent chance of winning — before Bama backup QB Tua Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to an incredible comeback win. Last season, the Bulldogs were an elite team again, and yet again they had the Tide on the ropes in the second half of a hugely important game (this time the SEC Championship) before ultimately losing when a backup QB helped engineer another Alabama rally.1In Part II, it was Jalen Hurts relieving an injured Tagovailoa, in a role reversal that Hollywood would have laughed at if you’d pitched it in a movie script. UGA ultimately missed the playoff as a result, despite probably having enough talent to deserve inclusion.If, as they say, the third time is the charm, then this is it for head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia. The team has been good enough to win a championship in each of the previous two seasons, only to be thwarted by extraordinary circumstances — and an extraordinary opponent in the form of Smart’s old boss, Nick Saban. With junior quarterback Jake Fromm coming back for what might be the last time, this could be UGA’s most talented team yet under Smart. But can they finally break through in another college football season that figures to be dominated by Clemson and Alabama?Other teams from history have been as good as the 2017-18 Dawgs in consecutive seasons with zero titles to show for it — but it’s pretty rare. For each team in every season since 1980,2The 1980s can be viewed as the decade that kicked off college football’s true modern era; the Ivy League was moved out of Division I-A in 1982, for instance, while powerhouse programs gained more control over lucrative television revenues, making the sport resemble its professional counterpart more and more. I calculated a “Season Score” based on our Elo ratings. The Season Score takes three measures of a team’s performance — its end-of-season Elo; its average season-long Elo; and its peak Elo3The latter two of which are computed excluding a team’s first three games of the season, to avoid undue influence from preseason ratings (which are based largely on the previous season). — and averages them together to create a composite rating on the same scale as regular Elo, where the FBS average is about 1,500.A Season Score of 2,000 is very impressive; only 100 have happened since 1980, and 33 percent of those teams have won the national championship.4Counting split titles as half-championships. (The best Season Score belongs to Alabama in 2016 — ironically, a team that didn’t win the championship — with a mark of 2,229.) But a score of 2,000 in consecutive seasons is even rarer. Last season, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State joined the ranks of just 43 teams since 1980 to have back-to-back Season Scores of at least 2,000. All but eight of those teams — a number that includes both Georgia and Ohio State — failed to win at least a share of a championship in either season. OregonPac 12201112-22,008201212-12,025 GeorgiaSEC201713-22,077201811-32,007 read more

Which NFL Teams Really Have the Toughest And Easiest Schedules in 2014

The NFL released its 2014 schedule Wednesday night, confirming the dates and locations of all 256 matchups (and ending your chance to enter the St. Louis Rams’ schedule-guessing contest, even though you had no chance of winning). With the slate solidified, you can probably expect to see more of the standard strength-of-schedule analysis that averages the 2013 winning percentages of a team’s opponents. Unfortunately, those numbers aren’t especially useful, because they assume each team will be exactly as good in 2014 as it was in 2013; in reality, NFL teams vary quite a bit from season to season, and our ability to predict which ones will and won’t be good in a given year is extremely limited.For example, going into the 2013 season, the Detroit Lions were expected to have the league’s second-hardest schedule based on the 2012 records of their opponents. So, what ended up happening? According to the strength-of-schedule component of Pro-Football-Reference’s Simple Rating System, Detroit actually had the league’s easiest slate of opponents last season.In cases like this, a better tactic is to make regressive predictions. We can use a regression formula to predict each team’s 2014 Simple Rating from its ratings over the previous two seasons, while building in plenty of regression to the mean to reflect our limited knowledge. If we base each team’s projected 2014 strength of schedule on these regressive predictions (while also taking into account a 2.5-point home-field advantage depending on where the game is being played), we arrive at the following projected schedule strengths for 2014:The biggest differences between our projected SOS numbers and the NFL’s official rankings center around a handful of teams in the AFC East and NFC South. The AFC East’s record was better in 2013 than it had been in 2012 — despite posting a poorer point differential — while the NFC South had a better record in 2012 than in 2013 (mainly because the Atlanta Falcons’ record declined so much in 2013).Because the regression is looking at two years’ worth of data (albeit weighing results from 2013 about 2½ times as strongly as those from 2012), it expects Atlanta to be roughly an average team in 2014 — not the 4-12 team it’s perceived to be by the NFL’s official SOS metric — which feeds most heavily into the SOS ratings of Atlanta’s divisional foes in Carolina, Tampa Bay and New Orleans.Meanwhile, the two-year regression is skeptical about the AFC East having as good a record in 2014 as it did in 2013. It’s not so much about the AFC East’s improved out-of-division win-loss record in 2013 (it was 22-18 outside the division in 2013, only a modest improvement over its 19-21 record in 2012), but more about the way the division’s records didn’t match up with its teams’ point differentials. According to Football Outsiders, AFC East teams’ actual wins exceeded their pythagorean wins by 3.9 victories in 2013, including 2.6 for the New York Jets alone. Research has shown that such overachievement is rarely sustainable, so our regression method would be expecting a decline for the Jets (and the division as a whole) in 2014.Such a regression-based system is far from perfect; for example, it doesn’t even know about which players changed teams in the offseason between 2013 and 2014. (But even methods that try to account for such wrinkles do a relatively poor job of prediction compared with simple metrics like our regression.) In other words, the above SOS rankings are going to be wrong — but they’re almost certain to be a more accurate gauge of each team’s schedule difficulty in 2014 than the official rankings that only tap into last year’s records. read more

Opinion NFLs punishments for Patriots Brady are fair

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks to the media at a press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday. Jan. 22, 2015. The press conference centered around the fact that 11 of 12 Patriot game balls were under-inflated according to NFL rules during the first half of Sunday’s AFC Championship victory over the Colts. Credit: Courtesy of TNSThe NFL announced its punishment for the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady on Monday for the underinflation of footballs used in the 2015 AFC Championship Game, five days after league-appointed attorney Ted Wells released the findings of his lengthy investigation.Wells concluded that it is “more probable than not” that members of Patriots personnel — specifically, Jim McNally, who is the officials’ locker room attendant for New England, and John Jastremski, an equipment assistant for the Pats — deliberately released air from game footballs after they were inspected by the referee.The report also found that Brady, who would go on to be named this year’s Super Bowl MVP, “was at least generally aware” of McNally and Jastremski’s illegal actions “involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”New England was fined $1 million and was stripped of two future draft picks — a 2016 first-round selection and a fourth-rounder in 2017. Brady received a four-game suspension, without pay, for the start of the 2015-16 NFL season. Additionally, McNally and Jastremski were suspended by the league indefinitely.The Wells report has garnered plenty of criticism. Brady’s agent, Don Yee, said in a statement that there was “no fairness” in the investigation and that it had a “pre-determined” outcome. The use of the language “more probable than not” in the report has drawn flak for not being definitive enough.As for the punishment, Yee called it “ridiculous.” He said they will appeal the suspension.Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement Monday night after he was informed of the discipline.“Today’s punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation,” he said. “It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.”He added that they still believe there was “no tampering with footballs” but that their “intention was to accept any discipline levied by the league.”I believe this discipline is fair — for the most part.First off, the comments from Yee and Kraft are expected. Of course they would not flat out say they agree.I looked through the report and read the text messages between McNally and Jastremski. I took note of the other evidence Wells brought forth, and my personal conclusion was that a calculated and purposeful effort was made to deflate the footballs and that Brady knew about it. I do not think that such actions to deflate the balls would happen without the man who would be throwing them during the game — Brady — knowing about it.And because of my personal conclusion drawn from the Wells report, I feel a four-game suspension for Brady is spot on. The argument is that an underinflated football becomes softer, which make it easier to grip, throw and catch. The extent of this competitive advantage is unknown to me but regardless, it is inconsequential.If a cyclist uses banned performance-enhancing drugs but still loses in the Tour De France, he still broke a rule. Or if a wide receiver uses Stickum but still drops a pass, he still broke a rule. The fact of the matter is that a violation occurred. There are rules for a reason. A rule was broken and punishment rightfully should follow.Do I think that if Brady played the AFC Championship Game with properly inflated footballs that they would have lost the game against the Indianapolis Colts? Obviously I can’t say for sure, but I do believe New England still would have won and advanced to Super Bowl XLIX.The fact that they still might have won the game without committing the violation does not make the fact that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the violation any better. He needed to be punished, and I believe he received the proper discipline. It is a matter of protecting the integrity of the game.To me, anything more than a four-game suspension would have been excessive. Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer recently was suspended for four games in 2015 for sending text messages to the sidelines during games. Considering this, I think four games for Brady being “at least generally aware” that the game balls for a crucial AFC Championship Game were being tampered with is totally reasonable and fair.As for the rest of the punishment, there is no question McNally and Jastremski should be suspended indefinitely. The $1 million fine — tied for the largest in league history — given to the organization is also adequate, in my opinion. Bear in mind that this occurred in a game that determined who would play in the Super Bowl. Violating a rule in such a pivotal game should have harsh consequences.The league also took two future draft picks away from the Patriots. This is a relatively common disciplinary action. Since 1980, 14 teams have lost draft choices because of infractions.New England forfeits next year’s first-round selection and a fourth-round pick in 2017. It is only the second time since 1980 that a first-round pick was lost. The first time was in 2008, when the NFL took took away New England’s as a result of illegally videotaping an opposing team’s sideline.The one in 2017 makes sense. However, I feel taking away a first-rounder is steep. The New Orleans Saints did not even lose a first-round pick because of their illegal paying of players to purposely injure the opposition. They lost second-round choices in 2012 and 2013.Losing multiple draft picks is certainly reasonable, but taking away such a high selection seems to be slightly excessive. Vacating a third-round selection next year, instead of the first-rounder, would have satisfied me.With that said though, I believe the NFL handed down mostly appropriate punishments. The “deliberate effort to circumvent the rules” deserved severe discipline, and the league issued just that.The impact this has on Brady’s legacy and the Patriots franchise in the future remains to be seen.But one thing is for sure: Brady’s first game back from his looming suspension is scheduled to be on Oct. 18 at 8:30 p.m. in Indianapolis against the Colts — the same team the Patriots faced during the AFC Championship Game with the deflated balls.Interesting timing, to say the least. Mark your calendars for that one. read more

Man sentenced after robbing shop and threatening to stab worker with red

first_img A MAN TOLD a shop worker he had “the virus” and threatened to stab her with a syringe filled with red liquid unless they opened the till, a court has heard.Michael Rooney Dignam (38) of St Mark’s Gardens, Clondalkin, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at Centra, New Cabra Road, Dublin, on 7 May 2017.Garda Claire Fitzgerald told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that Rooney Dignam entered the shop on the day in question and told a shop worker to open the till or he would stab her.“I’ve just got told I have the virus, I’m a very sick man,” he said. The worker noticed he was holding a syringe filled with red liquid which she believed was his own blood.Rooney Dignam stole €600 from the tills. He told gardaí on arrest that he did not remember the events occurring, but he later identified himself on CCTV footage.He has 47 previous convictions, including 18 convictions for robbery and one conviction for manslaughter.Garda Fitzgerald agreed with Tony McGillicuddy BL, defending, that his client told gardaí he never meant to hurt anyone. He also told gardaí that he did not have “the virus”.McGillicuddy said the conviction for manslaughter involved a family member and that it occurred in “very tragic circumstances”. He said his client had been on crack cocaine and heroin at the time of this robbery.Rooney Dignam is currently serving a six-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended for three robberies which also occurred in May 2017. He is scheduled for release on 29 September 2020.Judge Martin Nolan said he believed he would not have prolonged the prison sentence had he heard this case along with the three previous robberies. He sentenced Rooney Dignam to 18 months’ imprisonment, to start today. Share3 Tweet Email Feb 22nd 2019, 2:47 PM 18 Comments Friday 22 Feb 2019, 2:47 PM By Brion Hoban 13,246 Views Man sentenced after robbing shop and threatening to stab worker with red liquid-filled syringe Rooney Dignam entered the shop on the day in question and told the worker to open the till or he would stab her. Image: Sasko Lazarov via Image: Sasko Lazarov via Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Night in the Woods is My Horror Game of the Year

first_img Night in the Woods was one of our favorite video games of last year. And now it’s available on the Nintendo Switch, our favorite new video game system of last year. So we’re looking back on what this adventure resonate so deeply with us now that you can take it with you anywhere, including on a trip back to your own Possum Springs.Night in the Woods is a fantastic game with a charming art style that belies its incredibly honest and resonant stories. In other words, Scott Benson, Alec Holowka, and Bethany Hockenberry made a Game of the Year. You can look at it however you want, as an adventure game, a visual novel, a social simulator, a series of minigames threaded by a plot. I personally see it as the most effective horror game I’ve ever played.I’m an exile from a small town in central Pennsylvania. It’s a self-imposed exile, the typical story of a nerd growing up in rural America and then leaving to make a life in the city. I went to college, graduated, and moved to New York. I recognize how luck was a big factor in getting to where I am, and that makes Mae Borowski and her friends’ stories genuinely terrifying to me.Mae is a college dropout returning home and dealing with aimless restlessness. She’s back in her small town, with her old friends trying to build their lives while her own future is a complete blank. She moves back in with her parents, touches base with her old friends, and tries to just find things to do. All while her parents try to be supportive and hide their disappointment and her friends struggle with her disruptive presence and the temptation to pull them back into old, juvenile habits.There’s a murder and maybe ghosts, but that stuff isn’t really the point of Night in the Woods. It isn’t about a thrilling mystery. It’s about banal existential horror. And it’s a horror that literally hits close to home.I’m from central/northeastern PA, which isn’t quite coal country but is really close and has much of the same feel. And Possum Springs is clearly inspired by the rural areas near Pittsburgh, hollowed out by fading industry and mining. It’s in a worse state than my hometown (which has been buoyed by a small state university and some remaining factories), but it’s a parallel to several of my friends’ hometowns. And it’s built on a flood plain, which is the case for literally half of my hometown.Night in the Woods might have a colorful art style depicting a world full of bipedal animals running around and being friends, but it’s still the most real game I’ve seen in years. Mae’s a cat, her best friend Gregg’s a fox, his boyfriend Angus is a bear, and their friend Bea is an alligator, and they’re all adorable. But they’re also frustrated, troubled people returning to and trying to get out of the small town they were born in by fate and are trapped in by circumstance.  All while trying to entertain themselves by grabbing any diversion they can no matter how meager (like hanging out at a donut shop) or random (like wandering through the woods at night).Every character in the game is a person, dealing with their own and others’ problems and frustrations. Sure, they’re cute animals, but they’re also beating their heads against minimum wage jobs, struggling with loss, and only barely getting through another day in a town where they feel like they have no future. They’re people, written incredibly well with heartfelt and complex motivations and flaws.More than cosmic horror, more than homicidal ghosts, more than the undead or werewolves or robots or aliens, I’m terrified of going through what Mae goes through in the game. Failing, returning home with no prospects for the future, and struggling to stay entertained and positive even when your very presence can be disruptive to your friends who never made it out in the first place. All while clinging to scraps of nostalgia because there’s nothing new in town to look forward to.I’ve been in New York for over ten years, and I still sometimes have dreams of just ending up in my hometown, failed and directionless. And Night in the Woods is so well-written and hits so many notes that resonate with my experiences growing up in a town like Possum Springs that it brings out that fear in a very real way. And, as an exile, it comes with a deep sense of guilt for everyone who couldn’t get out, and who ended up back there like Mae and her friends.Besides my personal experiences and fears, Night in the Woods is fantastic thanks to its charming art style, excellent characters, incredibly well-constructed and quirky-but-natural humor, and Gregg. Because Gregg is the freaking best. And as you learn why Gregg is the best, you start to understand exactly why Night in the Woods is so good.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target Kickstarter Games Castle Gives a Spotlight to Independent Games at PAX East last_img read more

Don Benton tapped to lead US Selective Service System

first_imgDon Benton, a former state lawmaker from Vancouver who reportedly frustrated officials in his current role as the Environmental Protection Agency’s senior White House adviser, is being tapped to oversee the U.S. Selective Service System, according to a press release from the White House.The selective service has about 125 full-time equivalent employees, according to the agency’s website. If confirmed, Benton would be responsible for mobilizing and expanding the agency to ensure the military meets manpower requirements by conducting a draft, should Congress and the president authorize one.Benton apparently clashed with officials at the EPA.Last month, the Washington Post reported Benton “piped up so frequently during policy discussions that he had been disinvited from many of them.” More recently, Politico reported, “Benton has repeatedly butted heads with Ryan Jackson, (EPA Director Scott) Pruitt’s chief of staff. Multiple sources speculated that Benton might soon leave the agency.”History of conflictsBenton, who ran Trump’s state campaign, has a long history of local conflicts. As the chairman of the state party more than a decade ago, he lasted less than a year before being voted out by the party. While serving in the state Senate, he told a colleague she was acting as a “trashy trampy-mouthed little girl.”The press release from the White House notes Benton served in the Legislature for two decades, served as an elected college trustee on the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees and started his first company when he was 17 years old.last_img read more

Crews suppress blaze at apparently abandoned house

first_imgFirefighters quickly put out a house fire in the Truman neighborhood Monday afternoon that heavily damaged a house that appeared to have been abandoned, vandalized and used as a hangout.Crews with the Vancouver Fire Department were called to the fire at 4204 N.E. 49th St. just after 1 p.m. Monday.Firefighters saw smoke and flames coming out of multiple windows, Vancouver Fire Department spokesman Mark Johnston said.Crews took a defensive approach, attacking from outside with water, and controlled the flames within 20 minutes. They remained on the scene to search for and extinguish any remaining hot spots, according to emergency radio traffic monitored by The Columbian. A power line was downed due to the blaze, Johnston said, but crews from Clark Public Utilities responded and shut off the power so crews could work safely. Nineteen firefighters responded. No one was injured.Deputy Clark County Fire Marshal Susan Anderson said the fire appeared to have been human-caused.The fire started in what appeared to be the former master bedroom, she said, but how it started couldn’t be determined. The home still stands, but the fire did ample damage to the bedroom and attic, along with smoke damage to the rest of the building.last_img read more