Who’s the best team in the NFL?The answer is as muddled as at any point in the season. According to our Elo ratings, the answer is technically the New England Patriots, who overtook the Denver Broncos after beating them in Week 9. But the Broncos gained ground by beating the Oakland Raiders on Sunday while the Patriots had a bye. Just one Elo point now separates the teams; they’re tied for all intents and purposes.A case could also be made for the Arizona Cardinals, who have the NFL’s best record at 8-1. But the deeper we go, the less impressive the Cardinals look. Jeff Sagarin’s “pure points” rating, based on margin of victory and strength of schedule, has the Cardinals just eighth in the league. Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) ratings, based on an analysis of play-by-play data, has them 15th. The Cardinals’ top quarterback, Carson Palmer, is out for the year. Elo, which tends to strike a middle ground between conventional wisdom and advanced statistics, has the Cardinals fourth.A credible case could also be made for the Seattle Seahawks on the basis of their longer-term performance. They came into the season ranked No. 1 and are the fourth-best team so far this year on the basis of DVOA. And they looked as good as they have since Week 1 while beating the New York Giants 38-17 last week. The Seahawks’ next six weeks consist of home-and-home games against the Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, and road games at Kansas City and Philadelphia. Within a couple of weeks, we could be talking about how the Seahawks playoff hopes are torpedoed, or how Seattle was the best team in the league all along.So far, however, this season has been characterized by the lack of any one truly dominant team. It’s also been characterized by a bunch of awful teams, such as the Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Raiders have a 31 percent chance of finishing at 0-16, according to our simulations. The Jaguars and the Raiders also have an outside shot at finishing with the lowest Elo rating of all-time.If the elite teams aren’t as great as usual, and the worst teams are worse than usual, that means there are more wins (and Elo ratings points) to go around among the upper-middle class of the league. There is a glut of 12 teams at an Elo rating between 1532 and 1608 — somewhere between “slightly above average” and “pretty good.”The Cincinnati Bengals, who lost at home Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, fell out of that group last week. These types of games — a clear underdog (the Bengals were 8.5-point favorites, according to Elo) winning definitively (the Browns won 24-3) — produce the biggest swings in the Elo ratings. In fact, the 53-point shift against the Bengals and toward the Browns is the largest of the season so far. (The largest swing of all time, 77 points, came Sept. 21, 2008, when the Miami Dolphins ended the Patriots’ 21-game regular-season winning streak by beating them 38-13 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.)Even the result in Cincinnati, however, did nothing to clarify the playoff picture. The Browns, at 6-3, are first in the AFC North; the Bengals, 5-3-1, are second. Both have lower Elo ratings than the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, who are tied for third at 6-4. No AFC North team has better than a 31 percent chance or worse than a 20 percent chance of winning the division. Playoff odds for the rest of the league follow:My ESPN colleague Gregg Easterbrook wrote this week about the inequities of the NFL playoff system. As Gregg noted, the 4-5 New Orleans Saints would make the playoffs if the season ended today (as NFC South champions). The 6-3 Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, would miss out.One might protest that the Saints aren’t such a bad team: They have plenty of talent and a +26 point differential, and they’re 12th in the league in DVOA. Still, what division a team plays in makes a huge amount of difference to its playoff odds.To demonstrate this, I extracted some additional data from our Elo simulations this week, estimating a team’s chances of winning its division based on its regular-season record. In the NFC North, for example, a roughly average division, teams finishing the season with 10 wins won the division 30 percent of the time.The same 10-win finish would produce a drastically different result in other divisions. In the NFC West, 10 wins were good enough for the division title just 4 percent of the time. In the Saints’ NFC South, meanwhile, 10 wins took the division more than 99 percent of the time.Even an eight-win finish would be good more often than not in the NFC South; teams finishing with that win total won the division 65 percent of the time. (This includes cases where the Carolina Panthers, who tied a game this year, finish at 8-7-1.) Seven wins might be enough. In one of the 5,000 simulations we ran this week, the Panthers even won the division with a 5-10-1 record.If anything, this understates the importance of divisional placement. Not only are teams from weaker divisions more likely to make the playoffs with, for instance, a 9-7 record, they’ll also have an easier time achieving that record because they’re facing softer competition. And the NFL protects division winners in the playoffs, giving them a higher seed than wild cards and a home game in the opening round.These problems will be hard to avoid so long as the NFL insists on having such small divisions and placing such importance upon them. In a four-team division, there’s a 1-in-16 chance that all four teams will be below average — one of them will make the playoffs anyway. Because there are eight divisions, a case like that will come up about once every other season.This is one reason I’d like to see the NFL expand to 36 teams, which would allow for six-team divisions. Short of that, the league could adopt any number of approaches to make division placement less important. The least radical would be to no longer prioritize division winners in setting playoff seedings. (A 7-9 division winner could still make the playoffs, but it wouldn’t get a home game.) More fun: The league could “bump” any division winners that failed to finish with a winning record and replace them with an additional wild-card team.Elo Point SpreadsRecord against point spread: 70-67-3 (6-5 in Week 10)Straight-up record: 103-43-1 (9-4 in Week 10)The point spreads implied by Elo ratings have just barely climbed to a winning record against closing Las Vegas lines. Still, we wouldn’t recommend that you bet on them. Indeed, as the season has worn on, there have been fewer and fewer differences between them, and most of those that exist are easy to explain. Elo is more bullish on the Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles this week than Las Vegas lines imply, for example, but it doesn’t know that their starting quarterbacks are sidelined.Still, there’s a difference of opinion in what’s undoubtedly the biggest game of the week. Whereas Vegas has the Indianapolis Colts as 2.5- or three-point favorites at home against the Patriots, Elo has the Patriots just slightly favored. New England has been one of Elo’s favorite teams this year. It’s strange to think Vegas could underrate a team as high-profile as New England, but that’s been the case historically: The Patriots have covered the point spread about 57 percent of the time since Bill Belichick took over as coach.
Not long after 14th-seeded UAB defeated 3rd-seeded Iowa State in the South Regional, another No. 14 seed toppled another No. 3 seed — this time, Georgia State over Baylor in the West Regional. It’s the first time that two No. 14 seeds have won in the same NCAA tournament since 1995.As far as 14-over-3 upsets go, Georgia State’s victory wasn’t anywhere near as unlikely as UAB’s. While the Blazers had a mere 9.2 percent pre-game probability of advancing to the round of 32, the Panthers’ chances of pulling the upset were a more reasonable 24.2 percent. But in many ways, the manner in which Georgia State won makes its upset even more remarkable.According to FiveThirtyEight contributor Stephen Pettigrew’s research about the likelihood of an upset at any given stage of an NCAA tournament game, only 2 percent of major underdogs1A difference of at least five seeds between the two teams. that trailed by any margin with 2:39 left went on to win the game, and when those teams were down by more than 6 points with that much time on the clock, they only won 0.4 percent of the time.And Georgia State was down by even more than that — it trailed by 12 points with 2:39 remaining. Of the 262 NCAA tournament games since 2004 in which an underdog trailed by 10 or more points with 2:39 to go, only one (0.38 percent) went on to win the game. … Until Thursday, that is. And that one upset was a No. 4 seed over a No. 1 seed — so this is unprecedented in the past 11 years.As for the ripple effect of the Panthers’ victory, Xavier’s Sweet 16 probability jumped 11.5 percentage points with Baylor out of the picture, while Ole Miss saw its chances of a spot in the Sweet 16 improve by 8.8 percentage points. And Arizona’s path to the Final Four is now clearer; its odds of an Elite Eight berth increased by 5.2 percentage points, and its odds of making the Final Four improved by 3.2 percentage points.Stephen Pettigrew contributed to this post in a major way.CORRECTION (March 19, 4:55 p.m.): An earlier version of this post misstated the last year two No. 14 seeds won in the same NCAA tournament. It was 1995, not 1997. It also misstated the percentage of underdogs that trailed by 10 or more with 2:39 to go and still won. It was 0.38 percent, not 0.0038 percent. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.
Play ‘Em Josh Freeman: Freeman continues to be clutch, leading the Bucs to four fourth-quarter comebacks this season. Aside from that, Freeman is having an impressive fantasy year, with 1,533 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. This week, Freeman faces the Falcons, who allow 260 yards passing per game. Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson continues to battle a concussion, which should open the passing game for Freeman and Tampa Bay. Matt Ryan: Much like Freeman, I like the opposing quarterback, Matt Ryan. The Falcons are coming off a bye-week, so expect them to treat Week 9 like a playoff game. Ryan has yet to surpass 300 yards in a game but has thrown at least one touchdown pass in five straight games. Worth noting, Tampa Bay ranks 25th in the league in total yards allowed. Peyton Hillis: Hillis has scored a touchdown in six of the first seven games this season. This week, Hillis takes on a Patriots’ defense that allowed a total of 125 rushing yards and a touchdown to the Vikings last week. Hillis will continue to be the goal line back, despite sharing carries with Mike Bell. BenJarvus Green-Ellis: If you’re looking for a sleeper this week, consider the law firm. Green-Ellis had his best game against Minnesota with 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Green-Ellis is emerging as the primary back because of Fred Taylor’s toe injury. Consider Green-Ellis a solid No. 2 Fantasy running back this week. Mike Williams (TB): The most impressive rookie wide receiver has been Williams. Williams had a career day last week with 105 yards and a touchdown. It’s time to consider Williams a legitimate Fantasy wide receiver, as he is Tampa Bay’s go-to guy. Look for Williams to run past Atlanta’s secondary. Jacob Tamme: This is the first time I’m recommending a tight end. My reasons are Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark’s injury. Tamme filled in nicely on Monday Night with 64 yards and a touchdown. This week the Colts face the Eagles, who give up the fifth most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Look for more success, because Manning makes everyone around him better. If you’re struggling with the tight end position, run to the waiver wire and claim Tamme. Bench ‘Em Matthew Stafford: Stafford was lights-out against Washington with 212 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. However, I’m benching him this week against of the Jets, who shut down Aaron Rodgers (7 Fantasy points) and the Packers last week. The Lions will get the same dose and expect Calvin Johnson to be stranded on Revis Island. Stafford’s shoulder and the Jets’ defense are a bad combination. Cedric Benson: Benson has been non-existent in the Bengals’ offense with 69 rushing yards last week. Benson hasn’t recorded a touchdown in four straight games and gets to face a Steelers’ defense that allows eight fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Bengals will look to pass, led by Terrell Owens. Jonathan Stewart: Stewart got a major boost in value after DeAngelo Williams was out but failed to produce. If Williams is out, Stewart will start, but not for your fantasy team. The Saints rank 16th in rushing yards allowed and are coming off a huge win against the Steelers. Stewart, at best, is a flex option in this matchup. Jahvid Best: Best has been struggling with that turf toe injury, and it showed last week against Washington, as he had 12 carries for 48 yards. This week, Best faces a Jets’ defense that allows 89 rushing yards per game. Best will continue to split carries with Kevin Smith, who is running well in limited action. Deion Branch: Although Branch has a tasty matchup against the Browns, I’m benching Branch. He had one great game since his return to New England but has slowed down because of a hamstring injury. Last week, Branch had one pass for 21 yards. Brady will continue to look for Brandon Tate downfield, and I expect Welker to break out of his slump.
Courtesy of MCTBuffalo Bulls quarterback Alex Zordich (15) directs his offensive line where to block against Connecticut at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, Saturday, September 29, 2012. UConn defeated Buffalo, 24-17.The University of Buffalo football team came to Columbus last year to finish its 2012 football season, losing 21-7 to Bowling Green in a neutral game site at Crew Stadium. The Bulls are returning to Columbus this weekend to kick off their 2013 season, and they aren’t expecting to lose again.This time around, the Bulls will be playing Ohio State, as the two teams kick off their seasons at Ohio Stadium Saturday at noon. OSU will be starting its campaign for a second consecutive undefeated season under Urban Meyer’s second year as coach, while the Bulls are looking to improve on a 4-8 record from last year.Although the Buckeyes may be heavily favored to win, the Bulls aren’t backing down from their opponent.“Our thinking is go in and get a win,” said Buffalo senior linebackerKhalil Mack. “We’re looking forward to the challenge.”The Buckeyes, ranked No. 2 the AP preseason poll, are expected to be among the top contenders for a college football National Championship this season. Sophomore quarterback Joe Licata, however, said the Bulls also come into this game with high expectations.“They have obviously very high expectations,” Licata said. “They want to play in the National Championship at the end of the year, but we have expectations too, we want to make a bowl game at the end of the year.”The Buckeyes are the highest-ranked opponent the Bulls have played since 2006, when they suffered a 38-7 loss to then-No. 2 Auburn. That said, Bulls coach Jeff Quinn said his team’s preparation will not change in response to the team’s opponent.“I prepare our football team the same way each and every week,” Quinn said during the Mid-American Conference coaches’ teleconference Monday. “I don’t think we try to get too far ahead of ourselves. We know we’re playing one of the best football teams in the country.”If Buffalo is going to pull off the upset, they are going to have to hold Buckeyes junior quarterback and reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Braxton Miller in check.Quinn first saw Miller play while he was the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati, while Miller was a freshman quarterback at Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio.“Even though he was a young high school freshman, I saw a lot of skills that I hadn’t seen in players that were juniors and seniors at that time,” Quinn said.Since then, Quinn said Miller has developed into “by far one of the best” players in college football.“We were the first ones to get in there and get our eyes on it and the more I’ve studied him, the more I think he’s a complete player,” Quinn said. “He can throw the ball, he can run the ball, he manages the offense. He’s making good quality decisions and this team really rallies behind him.”One of the players most responsible for bringing pressure on Miller will be Mack. A first-team All-MAC selection for the past two years, Mack’s 21 tackles for loss were the seventh-most in the Football Bowl Subdivision last year. He also holds Buffalo school records with 56 tackles for loss and 11 forced fumbles.Mack said what stands out with the Buckeyes offense is “how well they play together.”“They have a nice tempo offense,” Mack said. “They move fast, Braxton is fast, they complement each other, they complement his speed with the protection that they use. It’s a very disciplined team all around.”On the other side of the equation, Meyer has also been impressed by Mack. He said Monday that Mack is the second-best NFL draft prospect among outside linebackers in college football this season, and called him a “tremendous player.”“(Mack) would start for Ohio State and will be a very good NFL player,” Meyer said during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference.The Bulls run a 3-4 defensive scheme, in which they employ Mack as a pass-rusher off the edge from the outside linebacker position. He is expected to match up primarily against Buckeyes redshirt-senior left tackle Jack Mewhort, an NFL prospect in his own right who was named a captain for the Buckeyes earlier this week.“They got a good defense,” Mewhort said. “They throw some different looks at us and they do some different things, and that’s what we’ve been preparing for, so I’m excited to get out there.”Mack said he is excited for the opportunity to play against a top team and Mewhort and said he expects to take advantage of it.“Being able to go against some of the best competition, that’s more than I can ask for,” Mack said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”On the other side of the ball, the Bulls will be led by Licata, who replaced then-junior Alex Zordich as the Bulls’ starting quarterback during the team’s final four games of last season.In nine total games last season, Licata completed 52.8 percent of his passes for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns, with three interceptions.Licata wants to prove himself further by leading the Bulls to a win Saturday.“You don’t go looking to have a moral victory, you go in to look to win the game,” Licata said. “If you have a moral victory, that means you lost the game.”Even if the Bulls do not win, however, Licata said it is more important that the team feels good about the way they play Saturday.“We need to just stay confident and keep pushing,” Licata said. “Things are going to go wrong at some point. That’s the game of football, that’s what happens. So when that one thing goes wrong, we can’t let it escalate and turn it two things or three things and get ourselves behind.”Although the Buckeyes will have eight new starters on their defense Saturday, Licata acknowledged that the Bulls offense will face a tough test.“I know that they’re very aggressive and they have a lot of great players,” Licata said. “They’re the most athletic team that we’ll face all year probably. There’s a reason why they were undefeated last year, and it started with their defense.”Licata will need help from some of the key players around him. Those key players include senior running back Branden Oliver, who has 2,514 career rushing yards and 18 career rushing touchdowns and senior wide receiver Alex Neutz, who caught 65 passes for 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.Many of the Bulls are familiar with the Ohio. Thirteen players are natives, including sophomore punter Tyler Grassman, who played at Lincoln High School in Gahanna.Playing in Ohio Stadium, however, presents a different challenge for the Bulls. At a capacity of 102,329 people, Ohio Stadium is more than three times larger than Buffalo’s home stadium (29,013).Quinn said it is key for his team to “keep their poise and composure” as they deal with the road environment.“I know they’re going to be excited about being in that kind of environment,” Quinn said. “The energy is going to be outstanding. How you control and how you respond is going to be a big part of the beginning of that game. Be in the moment, focus on the process, staying very very locked in, trying to block out all that noise and that environment and just play football.”
Senior student-athletes from the OSU and Rutgers women’s soccer teams line up to be recognized for Senior Night prior to a match on Oct. 31 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 2-0. Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternTrying to keep its chance of making the Big Ten tournament alive, the Ohio State women’s soccer team ended its season with a 2-0 loss to No. 23 Rutgers on Senior Night.Prior to kickoff on Friday, four seniors on the team were recognized for their accomplishments over the years. Midfielder Ellyn Gruber, forward Kayla Varner, defender Ashely Gruenbaum and midfielder Kenzie Schlemitz achieved 44 victories in their time at OSU including a Big Ten Championship in 2012.The Buckeyes (6-10-3, 3-7-3) had an early chance just over a minute into the game when junior midfielder Michela Paradiso’s eight-yard header off a free kick from freshman midfielder Nikki Walts sailed over the crossbar. Gruber got a chance in the 15th minute off a cross from Paradiso but her 18-yard shot drifted high.The Scarlet Knights (12-4-1, 8-4-1) took the lead in the 20th minute after senior forward Stefanie Scholz nailed a 10-yard shot off a cross from redshirt-junior forward Amanda DeVolk. Scholz almost doubled the lead in the 33rd minute with a shot from the top of the box but redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Megan Geldernick was there to make the save.The Buckeyes and Scarlet Knights were tied with four shots apiece while the Scarlet Knights held a 3-0 lead in shots on goal when the first half ended.The Scarlet Knights closed out the scoring in the 50th minute as sophomore forward Madison Tiernan tapped in a rebound off a shot by sophomore midfielder Jennifer Andresen to make it a 2-0 game.The Buckeyes came close to cutting the deficit in half in the 52nd minute but freshman forward Sammy Edwards’ header from in the box hit the woodwork. Sophomore forward Nichelle Prince attempted to cut into the lead in the 63rd minute but had her shot blocked.OSU was unable to overcome the Scarlet Knights defense for the rest of the half, giving Rutgers the shutout win.The Buckeyes finished their season with a record of 6-10-3 overall and 3-7-3 in the Big Ten.
Freshman defender Theo Alexis (18) splits two defenders during the OSU vs. Penn State game on Tuesday. Credit: Ris Twigg | Assistant Photo EditorWhere there was plenty of rain Tuesday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, there was no shortage of offense as Ohio State (5-1-0, 2-0-0 Big Ten) defeated Penn State (1-2-2, 0-1-0 Big Ten), 3-0.The first goal came in the 49th minute from senior defender Niall Logue, his second of the season, and kicked off the scoring. Six minutes later, in the 55th minute, senior forward Nate Kohl buried his first of the season.The final tally was off the head of freshman forward Mitch Bergman in the 84th minute for his first career goal. Abdi Mohamed and Kevin Blackwood recorded assists.“We put it away in the last couple minutes there against a quality side in Penn State,” Bergman said. “Out of my mind right now, don’t know really what to think, just living up the moment right now.”The Buckeyes ended the game with 15 shot attempts, Bluem said the first goal opened up the Penn State defense and allowed for more opportunities.“It was a hard game when they were able to sit back defensively, they had a lot of numbers behind the ball,” Bluem said. This marks goalie Parker Siegfried’s fourth straight win and shutout. “It’s a team effort when you get a shutout, and we’ve been stressing that a lot with our team,” Bluem said. “Trying to make sure we’re organized defensively, we know what we want to do, where people are supposed to be then it comes down to individual effort. Are the guys on the field making that extra effort to do their job defensively, and if they are it makes it easier for us to get a shutout.”Despite having eight shots in the first half, the Buckeyes still ended the first half with a scoreless tie. Ohio State coach John Bluem thought the weather might have had something to do with it.“You know it’s funny, it didn’t rain till right when the game started, so we didn’t get used to the field being wet. So, I think both teams had a difficult time adjusting to the wet conditions. It was easier in the second half.”The Buckeyes next game will be in Piscataway, New Jersey, as they challenge in-conference opponent Rutgers at 1 p.m.Even though the Buckeyes have plenty of momentum, Bluem doesn’t believe they should be over-confident heading into Sunday.“We got to go back on the road again in the conference, it’s never easy to go on the road,” Bluem said. “Rutgers is a very good team, I watched them the other night. They’re very dangerous going forward, they’re going to cause us some problems. I think it’s going to be a wide-open game and a very difficult contest for us.”
Sophomore safety Jordan Fuller (4) intercepts a pass intended for an Indiana wide receiver during the 2017 season opener. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorIn Ohio State’s first two games of the year, its passing defense performed poorly, allowing more than 380 passing yards in each game. The inexperienced defensive backfield, which lost three players early to the NFL draft, looked incompetent at times.But in the Buckeyes’ next four games, all of which came against lowly regarded, run-heavy teams, no opposing quarterback passed for more than 88 yards. In Saturday’s game against Nebraska, their secondary might be tested for the first time in more than a month.When redshirt junior quarterback Tanner Lee transferred to Nebraska from Tulane, the Cornhuskers thought they might have just landed a stud signal-caller. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds, Lee looks the part. And when he throws the ball, his cannon arm is readily apparent. But the early on-field results were not pretty to open the year. He combined for five touchdowns and nine interceptions in consecutive games against Oregon, Northern Illinois and Rutgers. Despite the struggles, Ohio State still sees the talent.“We definitely respect him,” sophomore safety Jordan Fuller said. “We see the talent. We see the arm. We see his confidence in the pocket. So we have to be ready for that.”Through six games, Lee has completed 109-of-202 passes for an average of 243.3 yards per game, and tacked on 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The one trait Lee does not possess is an ability to run or escape the pocket. He has not rushed for more than five yards in a game this season. Lee often uses five-step drops and waits for plays to develop which will give Ohio State’s defensive line more opportunities than usual to rush the quarterback.“I think it’ll be a good game for us just because he’s a pro-style guy who wants to sit back there and scan the field a little bit, which we haven’t seen very much of,” sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa said. “So, we’re excited for that, to get after him.”The Buckeyes have not faced a team whose primary offensive strategy was to have its immobile quarterback drop back since Lagow tore their defensive backfield up in Week 1. Even when Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield racked up yards against Ohio State, he used his mobility as a threat.If Bosa and the Buckeyes’ fearsome defensive front, which combined for six sacks and 12 tackles for loss against Maryland Saturday, can pressure Lee, he could be forced to make poor passing decisions. Lee will be dropping back with a less-experienced offensive line, which includes a true freshman protecting him at right tackle.Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said he believes Lee had difficulties early in the season because he struggled to get over bad plays, especially when he threw two pick-6s against Northern Illinois. He said improving quarterbacks’ ability to rebound from interceptions is the hardest thing to coach, but he believes Lee is constantly improving in the area.“We’re going to have to really work hard to affect the passer,” Schiano said. “Because if we don’t, he’s a very fundamentally sound quarterback and he’s got a good arm.”Given the Buckeyes’ early-season secondary issues, not allowing Lee to have time in the pocket could help negate the concern of Lee picking on inexperienced cornerbacks. That will be even more important due to the smaller-than-normal cornerback rotation.Ohio State will be without starting cornerback Damon Arnette for the first half of the game due to a suspension as he was flagged for targeting in the second half of the game against the Terrapins. Head coach Urban Meyer said cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kendall Sheffield will start and freshman Jeffrey Okudah “will work in.”
Ohio State senior offensive lineman Billy Price (54) talks to linemen Michael Jordan (73) and Jamarco Jones (74) prior to a play in the second quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignOhio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa took no time in changing the outlook of his new unit when he was hired prior to the start of the 2016 season. After switching the most experienced guard to the center position in each of his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, Studrawa could be in a similar position with junior guard Michael Jordan heading into 2018. The third-year starter at left guard was taking snaps for the Buckeyes as a part of the second-team offensive line during fall practice. The decision to play a guard at center has become something of a trend for Studrawa. Without an obvious answer to fill the center position in 2016, Studrawa moved guard Pat Elflein to the middle.The Pickerington, Ohio native ended up thriving, winning the Rimington Trophy as the best center in college football and taking home the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year Award in the Big Ten. Studrawa did not stop there. After Elflein departed to the NFL, the second-year offensive line coach made the switch again, this time with fifth-year senior guard Billy Price. The outcome was the same. Price won the Rimington Trophy and was named a first-team All-American at center in 2017. Having watched both Elflein and Price move from guard to the starting center, now fifth-year center Brady Taylor seemed to be in the position to seamlessly transition into the starting role as Ohio State’s first true center since Jacoby Boren in 2015. Despite being recruited as a three-star offensive tackle in the 2014 class, Taylor has played in 29 games for the Buckeyes, recording 55 snaps against UNLV and 41 snaps against Illinois last season. As the only true freshman to start during the 2016 season, Jordan was named as a Freshman All-American in 2016 and first-team All-Big Ten team member after the 2017 season. However, the move for Jordan could be because of something not related to the center position at all. With the main objective being to get the best five offensive lineman on the field at one time, Jordan, senior tackle Isaiah Prince and redshirt senior Demetrius Knox seem to be locks on the line. Also, after playing in 12 of 14 games last season, sophomore Thayer Munford seems to be in a good position to take a starting tackle spot. With four spots filled on the line, that leaves one: center or, possibly, left guard. Studrawa has linemen with experience to fill those spots, with junior Branden Bowen coming off of a leg injury, and redshirt senior Malcolm Pridgeon, who is in in his third season with the program. When it comes down to it, the final spot on the offensive line could come down to a simple question: who is the best lineman between Bowen, Pridgeon and Taylor? If it is Pridgeon or Bowen that takes the final spot on the line and Jordan moves to center for his junior season, Studrawa can be confident that it will work out just fine. He has the track record to prove it.
Ms Curtis-Taylor has flown vintage planes around the world.Credit:Andrew Crowley She was pictured earlier this year arriving in Sydney Credit:Peter Parks Members of the group claimed that she had misled the public and voted for her to be stripped of the trophy by a majority of nearly two to one. It is thought to be the first time such an award has been withdrawn.Ms Curtis-Taylor, who attended the meeting in an attempt to head off the motion, has been mired in controversy after flight instructor Ewald Gritsch came forward to say that he had occupied the forward cockpit of her vintage biplane for most of the legs of her “solo” journeys.Speaking in the wake of the disclosure, Ms Curtis-Taylor previously said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I have always been the sole pilot.” She later said that she had never claimed to be flying solo and insisted that Mr Gritsch had simply been a passenger. I have the greatest of respect for women pilots, but I think Tracey Curtis-Taylor has not done a lot to further their causeBarry Tempest, LAA When Ms Curtis-Taylor crashed in Arizona earlier this year on the third leg of a round-the-world flight, Mr Gritsch was seen scrambling from the wreckage. His presence triggered widespread protest on respected flight forums Flyer and the Professional Pilots Rumour Network. The controversy has also caused concern among the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, which awarded Ms Curtis-Taylor a Masters Medal earlier this year.The LAA said it would respect the vote of its members. Steve Slater, the chief executive, said: “This issue has divided opinion but it is not for me to decide.“I am happy that the members feel able to air their views and it’s down to the members to decide.“The award was made in good faith but in the light of what has emerged since we made the award, it is fair to say maybe we would have made a different decision.”Ms Curtis-Taylor was unavailable for comment on Monday. A self-styled “bird in a biplane” who became the poster girl for female flyers has been stripped of an award amid claims she used a co-pilot on a solo mission.The Light Aircraft Association (LAA) has rescinded a trophy given to Tracey Curtis-Taylor in 2015 for flying from Cape Town to Britain.Ms Curtis-Taylor, who is a close friend of Prince Michael of Kent, has made a career of flying vintage planes around the world.But the 54-year-old was unceremoniously stripped of the Bill Woodhams Trophy during an LAA annual general meeting at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire at the weekend. On the surface, the former waitress’s trips in her 1942 Boeing Stearman mirrored some of history’s greatest exploits by solo female flyers.The trip from Cape Town to Goodwood, West Sussex, was first completed solo by Irish aviator Lady Mary Heath in 1928.Ms Curtis-Taylor completed the 36-leg, 10,000-mile-flight in 2013, and in 2015 received the award from the LAA as a result.Mr Gritsch, who comes from Austria, was also on board for parts of her trip from Farnborough to Sydney, where she arrived in January after a flight that covered 23 countries over 50 legs. The route was the same as the 1930 journey made by Amy Johnson, the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia. Ms Curtis-Taylor said she flew soloCredit:Jason Reed /Reuters However, her logistics manager, Sam Rutherford, said the airman gave her vital flight instruction and helped with engineering.He also accused her of embellishing the truth and said that she had only flown four of the 36 legs from Cape Town to Goodwood on her own.Barry Tempest, a veteran member of the LAA, who suggested that her award be withdrawn in the light of the claims, said: “I am delighted the award has been rescinded and her name will removed from the annals of the Light Aircraft Association.“I have the greatest of respect for women pilots, but I think Tracey Curtis-Taylor has not done a lot to further their cause.“I think she is a boastful lady who needs bringing down a peg or two. She made these claims about flying solo, or at least that is what we were led to believe, and now it has come out that they were not that at all. Far from it. I believe the integrity of the LAA has been restored.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. There will need to be work outside of the negotiation box… in order to avoid financial instabilityEuropean Parliament minutes “Some very specific work has to be done in this area,” he said, according to the minutes.”There will be a special/specific relationship. There will need to be work outside of the negotiation box… in order to avoid financial instability.”A spokesman for the European Commission told the Guardian that the minutes, drawn up by European parliament officials, did not “correctly reflect what Mr Barnier said”.But the paper quoted a source who was at the meeting as saying the minutes represented a “more or less accurate” account of the discussions.The disclosure will encourage pro-Brexit MPs who have long argued that the UK will have more leverage in the negotiations than some critics have allowed. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said he wants to secure easy access to the City of London for countries in the bloc, in the first sign of a softer stance. Michel Barnier reportedly told MEPs that he wanted a “special” relationship between the 27 remaining EU countries and Britain’s financial centre after Brexit.The comments chime with warnings by Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, who said this week that the EU’s financial stability is more at risk from Brexit than the UK.It suggests that the EU will be willing to compromise with Britain at the negotiating table to make sure their financial institutions are not locked out of the City.Eurosceptic MPs said the remarks showed that “commercial self-interest is overtaking mere politics” among EU leaders and boded well for Brexit negotiations.Mr Barnier’s remarks were contained in minutes of a private meeting he had with MEPs which was obtained by the Guardian. Steve Baker, the Tory MP and chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said: “As we were advised to expect by trade negotiators at the Special Trade Commission, commercial self-interest is overtaking mere politics. I hope we can accelerate that necessary process.”Mr Barnier’s comments appear to reflect concerns that EU governments and countries will find it harder and more costly to raise capital if they no longer have free access to the City.They echo the views of Mr Carney who told MPs on Tuesday that – at least in the short-term – the risks to financial stability from Brexit were now greater for the remaining members than they were for the UK. “If you rely on a jurisdiction (the UK) for three-quarters of your hedging activities, three-quarters of your foreign exchange activity, half your lending and half your securities transactions, you should think very carefully about the transition from where you are today to where the new equilibrium will be,” he said.
Mountain rescuers refused to pick up a Ben Nevis climber who complained he was too wet to continue. The man reached the 4411ft summit of the UK’s highest mountain on Wednesday but got hit by a downpour – having climbed without waterproofs. He then called police for help saying he was “soaked.”Officers in turn contacted Lochaber Mountain Rescue.”Anybody who goes up Ben Nevis without any type of cover is asking for trouble,” said team leader John Stevenson. “This chap appears not to have had adequate waterproofs, if any.”It can rain and even snow on the Ben at any time of year – it is Scotland after all! In fact it was snowing on the mountain last night. Only one in ten days do not have cloud on the Ben. “There wasn’t anything wrong with him – he wasn’t injured. He was just wet. We can’t attend incidents like this – or people running out of batteries for their torches, which we have also had calls about before.”A spokesman for Police Scotland confirmed that they had received a call from a solo walker at 9.33pm on Wednesday.”He said he was soaked through and was at the summit. The mountain rescue team were informed but did not attend. He spent the night in the summit shelter and walked himself off the following morning.” “The police called us for advice about the guy saying he was wet and at the top. We are not here to go up and walk down somebody who is OK but just wet.”I said ‘if he’s wet, he’s wet.’ He can come off himself. We are all volunteers not full-time professionals.”The weather on the Ben is cold – it can be freezing any time of the year. You have to have proper gear. The weather on the Ben can change very quickly – you have to be prepared and this chap wasn’t. I said ‘if he’s wet, he’s wet.’ He can come off himselfMountain rescuer John Stevenson Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Brands which confirmed they hand-pick their olives are mostly the smaller, more expensive companies. These include Clearspring, Donna Lucia, Kalios, Morocco Gold, Olivocracy, Oro del Desierto, Terre di San Vito and Zaytoun. British supermarkets have admitted that they could be selling olive oil produced in a way which kills millions of songbirds every year, as they promise to investigate their sourcing.Many harvesters across Italy, Spain and France suck olives from trees using machines, and do this at night, which means sleeping birds who think they have found sanctuary in the olive branches are dazzled by the bright lights and sucked to their deaths.These companies harvest during the evening because doing so is believed to preserve the aroma of the olives, due to the cooler air temperatures.Birds including robins, goldfinches, greenfinches, warblers and wagtails are among the worst affected during the harvest season which is between October and January. Findings in the journal Nature suggested that over two million birds were killed in Spain alone in a year.An investigation by The Telegraph found that British supermarket shelves are likely stocking olive oils produced in this ecologically destructive method.Supermarkets including Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s could not confirm whether the brands they stock are machine harvested at night.A Tesco spokesperson said the supermarket is investigating how it will pick olives for its oils this year after concerns were raised by shoppers. They said: “All the whole olives that we sell are harvested during the day by hand or by using hand held tools. We won’t be harvesting olives for olive oil until October.”We’re currently looking into how we pick these olives so, by the time it comes to harvest them, all the necessary changes will have been made.”Waitrose and Sainsbury’s spokespeople confirmed that their own-brand olives and olive products are hand-picked, but did not confirm whether the other brands they stock are similarly ethical.A Waitrose spokesperson added: “All the olives that are either destined to be used in Waitrose table olives or Waitrose olive oils are either picked by hand or picked using a handheld tool.”Major olive oil brand Filippo Berio is investigating its olive sourcing after being contacted. A spokesperson said in a statement: “As far as we are aware, all the co-operatives that Filippo Berio buy olive oil from have mills that work during the day and clean-up at night. We will keep consumers updated as and when we have more information.”Consumers who want to make sure they are using bird-friendly olive oil should check for ‘FAO GIAHS’ on Italian olive oil brands – it stands for ‘Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System’ which means it’s picked by hand. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Analysis of temperature records which have been extended back to the 19th century also reveals that none of the 10 coldest years have occurred since 1963, giving more indication that the climate is warming.In the Met Office’s latest annual state of the climate report, the temperature series for the UK has been extended back by 26 years from 1910, as the data was added as part of ongoing work to digitise historic weather records.Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s national climate information centre, said: “Looking back further into the UK’s weather reveals a very interesting timeline, with the top 10 warmest years at the most recent end, since 2002.“Extending the record back by 26 years from 1910 to 1884 didn’t bring in any new warm years, but it did bring in a number of new cold years, including several that are now within the top 10 coldest years.” A flooded home in Fremington, North YorkshireCredit:Richard Rayner/NNP “Although water levels are slowly easing some bridges are out and lots of debris on the roads.”The Brymor Ice Cream parlour, near Masham, was caught in a freak hail storm which left some customers with minor injuries.The attraction posted on Facebook: “Earlier today along with other areas of the region the farm here at Brymor was severely affected by the storms and flash floods.”Our parlour suffered damage to the roof, power failures and some visitors suffered minor injuries.”Our team of staff acted as quickly and professionally as possible to ensure all our visitors were made safe.”We hope everyone made it home safely and we are sorry the extreme weather caused distress to visitors in the local area today.”Landslip causes train chaosTrain passengers faced disruption after a landslip between Carlisle and Skipton.Northern Rail said trains had been suspended between Ribblehead and Kirkby Stephen. Bridges have collapsed and roads have been washed away in Yorkshire amid extreme wet weather as the Met Office warned communities in the north to expect more of the same. Yorkshire Dales residents have been hit by flash flooding and hail storms as forecasters warned that parts of Britain could face more “persistent and heavy” rain through to midnight on Wednesday.The Met Office has said storms could dump up to 1.6in (40mm) of rain in two hours in places on Wednesday.Reports of flash floods washing away roads and inundating houses came in from across North Yorkshire on Tuesday night and early on Wednesday morning.North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received around 115 calls to flooding incidents in Leyburn and Reeth on Tuesday evening.A spokesman said: “We had several appliances as well as our swift water rescue teams and high volume pumping appliance within the area attending various incidents involving flooded properties and cars stuck in flood water.”Pictures and videos on social media showed widespread flooding across the Swaledale area in the Yorkshire Dales.Roads resembled rivers, with many cars stranded, and fields were under water.Pictures on the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team Facebook page showed a bridge that had collapsed on the road between Grinton and Leyburn. Holme Farm, Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire, where animals were swept away by flood waterCredit:David Forster/Alamy ⚠️DISRUPTION⚠️Flooding from the heavy rain has lead to a Landslip in Dent. Trains between Carlisle and Leeds are affected. If you are planning to travel today please check @nationalrailenq.We are very sorry about this. We will keep you updated. @northernassist pic.twitter.com/zofv12rCfv— The GNRP (@TheGNRP) July 31, 2019 Almost month’s worth of rail falls in four hoursMalham Tarn, in the Yorkshire Dales, had 3.2in (82.2mm) of rain in 24 hours, the majority in the space of four hours. The monthly average in the area for this time of year is 3.5in (89mm). A yellow weather warning for rain has been issued for parts of central and northern England, while a similar alert for thunderstorms is in place in Scotland.There are 10 flood warnings in place across the UK – from North Yorkshire, Lancashire and the West Midlands – with the Environment Agency saying local flooding was possible due to the thunderstorms and outbreaks of heavy rain. The Met Office said: “Rain will be persistent and heavy in places across parts of central, northern and eastern England and north-east Wales at first on Wednesday.”During the day rain may turn more showery in places but with a higher chance of thunderstorms by afternoon.”Some parts of northern England could see as much as 40mm-60mm (1.6in-2.4in) of rain through Wednesday, while thunderstorms could produce as much as 30mm-40mm (1.2in-1.6in) in 1-2 hours.”The unsettled weather is a continuation from Tuesday, when hailstones the size of sweets fell in some areas and others having a month’s worth of rain in four hours.UK flooding, in pictures The records now show 1892 as the coldest year, with the average temperature of just over 44F (7C), while the warmest year was 2014, with an average temperature approaching 50F (10C), he said.The top 10 hottest years are (in order): 2014; 2006; 2011; 2007; 2017; 2003; 2018; 2004; 2002; and 2005. Another landslip between near Beeston Castle has also caused disruption in the Manchester area. Flooding in Leyburn The annual report shows that 2018 joined the top 10 warmest years at number seven, despite the severe ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap early in the year which saw the most significant snowfall since 2010. ⚠️DISRUPTION⚠️There has been a landslip overnight near Beeston Castle.Trains between Crewe and Chester are cancelled until engineers repair the issue. If you are planning to travel today please check @nationalrailenq.We are very sorry for this and will keep you updated. pic.twitter.com/gjrBcKrJHB— ManchesterPiccadilly (@NetworkRailMAN) July 31, 2019 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Collapse of bridge in the Swaledale area of North YorkshireCredit:Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team/PA A bridge on Grinton Moor has been destroyed by water leaving the route between Wensleydale and Swaledale impassable A woman walks through flood water outside Dales Cafe and Cakery in YorkshireCredit:Danny Lawson/PA In a post on Tuesday evening, the team said: “Please note heavy flooding on all roads in the Swaledale area only travel if essential as many routes impassable. Leyburn fire station flooded The coldest years in the record are: 1892; 1888; 1885; 1963; 1919; 1886; 1917; 1909; 1887; and 1962. Hottest 10 years in Britain since records began all since 2002The hottest 10 years in Britain since records began in 1884 have all occurred since 2002, the Met Office confirmed on Wednesday, Science Editor Sarah Knapton writes. A Smart car struggles through the waterCredit:Kevin Donald
Police ranks in B Division (Berbice) have arrested two persons after they were found in possession of several packages of compressed marijuana on Saturday night.According to the Police Force’s Public Relations Officer, Jairam Ramlakhan, the ranks were acting on information received when they went to a fenced yard at Number 51 Village, Corentyne, Berbice.The compressed marijuana that was foundWhile there, they conducted a search during which they unearthed a quantity of dried cannabis. The narcotic was confiscated and when weighed amounted to 11 kilograms.Two persons who were found on the property were arrested and taken into custody. They are currently being processed for court. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDuo busted with ganja in separate operationsDecember 12, 2018In “Crime”Prison officers accused of trafficking marijuana remandedMay 30, 2018In “Court”Kwakwani resident arrested with 1654 grams cannabisDecember 3, 2017In “Crime”
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedFlyover, pedestrian overpasses for EBD highway – Minister PattersonMay 21, 2016In “latest news”Contract for pedestrian overhead crossing in Diamond awarded- HarmonApril 20, 2017In “latest news”LETTER: Not in support of overhead pedestrian crossingsJuly 14, 2017In “latest news” -all piles installedDriven piles at Peter’s Hall near the Demerara Harbour BridgeWorks on the East Bank Demerara (EBD) pedestrian overpasses at Houston, Peter’s Hall, Eccles and Diamond, East Bank Demerara continue to move apace.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that to date all the piles have been driven (into place) and works should be completed by November.“Some of the contractors started doing the foundations… all five will be completed by November this year. When completed, the overpasses will (be accepted) as a normal design. For those who may not be able to walk the stairs to get up to the bypass, the elevator will take them up, and they will go to the other side and get down. I’m excited to have that done and completed,” Minister Patterson explained.Earlier in the year, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had announced that a US$364,000 contract was awarded for the pedestrian overpass at Diamond and a US$1M contract for those at Houston, Peter’s Hall and at Eccles.These efforts, the Government had announced, are geared at eliminating congestion on the EBD road which is among the busiest in the country.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBeating the odds: Visually impaired students successful at CSECAugust 21, 2019In “latest news”Visually impaired Guyanese cricketer dies in St LuciaAugust 3, 2015In “Crime”Blind Society to engage GECOM on voting mechanisms for electionsMarch 15, 2019In “latest news” The Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB) located at High Street, Georgetown was on Tuesday evening ambushed, and robbed while some of its visually impaired members were reportedly assaulted.The Guyana Society for the Blind headquarters at High StreetSpeaking to INews on Wednesday morning, one of the victims of assault, identified as 27-year-old Anthony Robinson –who is visually impaired- explained that at around 22:00hrs, he, in the company of an older man –who was sighted- went outside of the building to bring in the laundry.“Last night, we were outside picking up some clothes. Me and another guy, a big man, named “Smoker”. He went outside to pick up some clothes and same time [I recalled] I had some clothes outside too and I went out to pick up my clothes,” he explained.Robinson said that as they were in the process of locking the doors, several men ambushed them and held them at gunpoint.“[They] start running to the sighted person, the big man who does watch over us in here, they run to he and they start asking he for the money and the keys. ‘Where’s the money and the keys?! Where’s the money and the keys?!”The 27-year-old, who still appeared to be traumatised, told INews that according to his sighted friend- who was not available to speak to the media- there were four perpetrators who were armed.He explained that one of the suspects hit his colleague above the head, causing him to collapse on the ground, while ordering him [Robinson] not to move.“They run to the big man back again and tell he that anytime he move, they gon shoot he,” the man recounted.The visually impaired man said that the suspects continued to demand “money and the key”. However, upon noticing that the duo they were attacking were not being helpful, the bandits rushed to another section of the GBS, where other visually challenged persons were gathered.The perpetrators then assaulted at least four other members, before breaking the door to a storage room, where they reportedly stole one laptop.The storage room doorINews was told that when the victims were ordered to empty their pockets and the bandits saw only a few hundred dollars, they [bandits] said “keep it” and fled the scene in a waiting vehicle.One of the persons who was present at the time of the incident was a Broadcaster attached to the National Communication Network (NCN), Leroy Phillips.Phillips told this online publication that he was in a classroom when he heard the commotion outside and as such, quickly ran into the washroom where he secured himself throughout the ordeal, which he said lasted approximately 10 minutes.Further, Cecil Morris, the President of the GSB, explained that he was in his room – located in the organisation’s building- when the robbery began.Cecil Morris, the President of the GSBHe said that while the perpetrators did not assault him, he attempted to contact the police but was greeted by an unfriendly female operator who “did not seem to know what she was doing.”He said after calling other police contact numbers, he was asked to wait for a patrol with ranks to arrive, but they never did.“After speaking to them, I waited about 20 minutes and I got no response from them. When I called them back, they gave me another phone number….Is Leroy had to call his friend that is in the police force and he [detective] came like 10 minutes after,” Morris said.As such, he called for members of the Guyana Police Force to take the complaints and reports of the GSB seriously, since according to him, several robbery attacks have been staged on the entity on previous occasions and in most instances, police fail to react.“This is a climax to what is happening in this area for a long time for persons who traverse this area who are being robbed and things like that and when you call the police, they could never ever come on time and sometimes they don’t come at all, most times they don’t come at all. We find this very annoying because our only hope of some kind of protection, we don’t get it from the police,” he explained.The GSB President also claimed that even after ranks visited the location this morning, no statements had been taken from the victims.Investigations are ongoing. (Ramona Luthi)
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOpposition Leader unimpressed by Govt’s sloth in dealing with fuel crisisJune 29, 2018In “Business”Some retailers yet to reduce price on new zero rated itemsNovember 19, 2015In “Business”Gov’t reduces fuel priceAugust 19, 2015In “Business” Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan says Cabinet has discussed the increased fuel prices and is considering options carefully to avoid future negative effects on the country’s balance of payments.Finance Minister Winston Jordan“The issue about price increases for the minibuses is also engaging the attention of the Cabinet. Only last Tuesday at Cabinet this matter was raised and so we will have to find creative solutions to the problem of rising fuel prices. I understand though that in the past week or so prices have trended downwards. I believe prices have fallen back to about sixty-something dollars per barrel from the high seventy-something,” Minister Jordan said.In addition, he noted the opposition calls for a previously used tax formula to be employed to ease the burden of increased fuel prices on citizens. However, he said while the previous administration was able to forego taxes to maintain fuel prices in the past, the conditions now were different.“They say they had a formula in place where they used to reduce the excise tax so that people used to buy gas at the same price they used to buy before. I’m aware that indeed they had such a formula, but this is not only about whether government will still get the same amount of revenues that they had budgeted. It also has that external side… the side that has to do with finding the foreign currency to buy the same quantity of gas that you were consuming when the prices were low,” Minister Jordan said in a Department of Public Information (DPI) release.In September 2017, world market prices for fuel increased due in part to the hurricane conditions in the southern hemisphere, which resulted in GuyOil adjusting the prices in gasoline, diesel and kerosene to a higher cost.Again, in February of this year, Guyana Oil Company (GuyOil) adjusted its prices upwards. GuyOil currently sells gasoline for approximately $220 per litre.The protest held in front of the Ministry of FinanceJordan’s comments comes on the heels of protest from Rice farmers and producers, on Thursday last in front of the Ministry of Finance office, who were calling on Government to review its tax policies on fuel with a view to ease the “burden” on the productive sector.At the protest demonstration, the Guyana Rice Producers Association (RPA) urged Government to reintroduce a sliding tax rate for rice farmers in light of the high cost of fuel and especially in light of ongoing period of land preparation.While on the protest line, General Secretary of the RPA Dharamkumar Seeraj told the media that the sliding tax rate method is easy and would not add any unnecessary burden to the budget.“The way it works is that when the price for fuel goes up on the World Market, the tax comes down so the price at the pump remains the same so it’s not rocket science and most importantly from the Government’s point of view, this will not affect the target budgeted for,” he explained.Further, Seeraj reasoned that if the price for fuel increases and Government reduces the percentage of taxes on fuel, they can still achieve their target.“If you implement that sliding rate, the country benefits. Production will go up, you’ll become more competitive on the export market and that is what a country needs,” he asserted.The RPA said farmers, who are currently harvesting, have been experiencing an increase in transportation costs from an average of $200 to $800 per bag, because access to their farmlands is poor.Additionally, most farmers are currently involved in land preparation exercises and sowing of their fields, where most fuel is being used compared to the crop duration, so the increase is coming at a really bad time for the farmers.As reported, the fuel woes are compounded by challenges of readily accessing fertilisers owing to financial challenges.The RPA has since said that the “good life” that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government promised was wanting, adding that the Administration’s inaction on the matter was not an option.In April 2017, Mahaica farmers, whose main source of income is rice, along with cash crops, said that the taxation measures were “harsh” to them.
Latest issue of International Mining Project News available (August 28): The biggest news of the fortnight is undoubtedly the announcement by the Mongolian Parliament of the amendment of four laws. This clears the way for the finalisation of the Investment Agreement for Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe Mines’ huge Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold complex in the South Gobi region. These amendments will have a big effect on Mongolia. As Tom Albanese, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto said, “the agreement is a landmark for the future development of Mongolia’s resources industry.” Oyu Tolgoi is expected to commence production as early as 2013 with an approximate five year ramp-up to full capacity. The mine is expected to produce 450,000 t/y of copper and 330,000 oz/y of gold on average over its lifetime. Another project to reach an important milestone is Osisko Mining Corp’s Canadian Malartic gold mine project in Quebec, Canada. The Conseil des ministres du Quebec has approved the order in council authorising the completion of the project. Construction work on the mine and the mill will begin shortly, immediately upon issuance of the required formal authorisation certificates. The construction work is scheduled to be completed over a period of 18 months, with the mine and mill planning to be fully operational by Q2, 2011. The project will be a large-scale open pit, bulk-tonnage mining operation. It currently represents one of the biggest gold reserves in Canada for a single deposit, and is still growing through ongoing drilling on new mineralised zones. Current reserves for the project are 6.28 Moz, plus (including the Barnat deposit) a Measured and Indicated resource of 3.65 Moz and an Inferred resource of 0.84 Moz.One of the hot metals at the moment is lithium. Mining companies are scrabbling to get hold of economical concessions in order to profit from the inevitable electric car influx. One company who is active in this sector is Galaxy resources. It has now signed a binding share subscription and debt facility agreement with Creat Group, which will result in a raising of at least A$26 million for the company’s lithium projects. Additionally, Creat is providing Galaxy with 100% debt finance of around A$130 million for the purpose of developing its Mt Cattlin spodumene (Ravensthorpe, Western Australia) and Jiangsu lithium carbonate (China) projects.The company has completed a definitive feasibility study which suggests the Mt Cattlin lithium/tantalum project is commercially viable based on a processing rate of 1 Mt/y over a 15 year mine life. It is planning to commence the development of the mine and the construction of the mineral processing plant in Q3, 2009 with first concentrate production scheduled for Q3, 2010. It also commenced a prefeasibility study into the value adding downstream production of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3). The company plans to establish a 17,000 t/y lithium carbonate plant in China due to lower associated capital and operating costs, as well as being close to the strategic growing battery markets in Asia. In iron ore the big news is the joint venture agreement signed by BC Iron and Fortescue Metals Group for the development of the Nullagine project in the Pilbara of Western Australia. This, according to BC Iron, opens the way for construction to commence later this year ahead of planned production in the first half of 2010. A recent feasibility study on the project confirmed an economically and technically robust direct shipping ore project based on a Probable reserve of 36 Mt at 56.9% Fe. It will commence production at an initial rate of 1.5 Mt/y, ramping up to 3 Mt/y and then 5 Mt/y as infrastructure is upgraded. As the study recommended, a 120,000 t bulk sample test pit at the Outcamp deposit is on schedule to commence in mid-September. BC Iron has received the native Title and Ministerial Approval for the removal of excess tonnes and is currently awaiting final approvals from the Department of Mining and Petroleum. In gold, the Yellowjacket joint venture (Eagle Plains Resources and Prize Mining Corp) has completed final commissioning and permit compliance requirements to allow for commencement of full production at the Yellowjacket gold mine in north-western British Columbia, Canada. The joint venture recently received its BC Mines Act Permit for the development and operation of an open-pit gold mine and onsite concentrator processing up to 75,000 t/y of gold ore. The mining plan for this year includes extraction of a minimum of 32,000 t of gold ore from the existing open pit. Pit excavation is anticipated to be completed in about five weeks, and milling at a throughput rate of 317 t/d expected to continue until mid-late October.In addition to these reports Project News features updates on Xstrata’s coal expansion plans in South Africa, Nautilus Minerals’ Solwara 1 Seafloor massive sulphides project off the coast of Papua New Guinea, Guyana Goldfields Aurora gold project in Ontario, Canada and Trevali Resources Corp’s Santander silver-lead-zinc mine project in west-central Peru, as well as many more.To receive the full 35+ page report, subscriptions to this service can be registered and paid for on-line (SUBSCRIBE TO IM PROJECT NEWS BUTTON), or contact email@example.com for a free trial copy.
Water scarcity and its careful management are a focus of the July issue of the magazine. A number of high profile desalination plants have been built by mines, for example in Chile. One of the main deterrents to this option is the high power cost involved. This may be overcome using a low-temperature distillation method of desalination developed by the New Mexico State University (NMSU) in the USA.Earlier this year this was licensed to Sterling Water LLC of Qatar. The system uses the natural effects of gravity and atmospheric pressure to create a vacuum in which water can evaporate and condense at lower temperatures than normal for distillation. Its energy requirements are so low that it can be powered by solar energy.A successful proof-of-concept model was developed last year and the NMSU-led project transferred the science and prototype model from lab bench to a market capable product. Sterling Water intends to bring the commercial model into full manufacturing in the coming year.The first unit built by the College of Engineering at NMSU produced over 750 litres/d – enough pure water for about 15 people. It is powered by a solar panel. Two 10 m vertical tubes, rising respectively from a tank of saline water and a tank of pure water, are connected by a horizontal tube. The barometric pressure of the water columns creates a vacuum in the headspace.At ambient temperatures, evaporation from the pure-water side will travel to the saline side and condense as the system seeks equilibrium. Raising the temperature of the water in the headspace over the saline column slightly more than that of the freshwater column causes the flow to go in the other direction, so that pure, distilled water collects on one side and the brine concentrate is left behind in a separate container.The origins of the technology can be traced to a process, first developed by researchers in Florida, that makes distillation of saline water possible at the relatively low temperatures of 45-50ºC rather than the 60-100ºC required by most distillation processes. Two problems to be addressed in the commercial version are the height of the water columns and brine disposal.Cheap power is important for so many aspects of today’s mining operations, helping them remain sustainable. Isis Innovation, a company that endeavours to commercialise some of the achievements of Oxford University, England, has a new approach for local generation of hydrogen as a fuel that operates cleanly, at low temperatures, for long periods and at high yield.Isis notes “there is a great deal of work ongoing on hydrogen storage materials (i.e. those that absorb hydrogen and release it on heating). The key difference of the Oxford approach is to use the earth’s vast resources of silica, with water as the hydrogen storage medium. The initial step involves the green conversion of silica (sand) to silicon nanopowder, which can then release hydrogen on demand, upon the addition of water. Silica, which is regenerated as a by-product, can either be safely disposed or recycled. This technology could be used as an emergency hydrogen source in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as in lower power fuel cell applications such as communication devices.“The Oxford technology offers a number of benefits:■ An innovative approach for local hydrogen supply■ Low grade silicon can be used as a feedstock■ Hydrogen generated at low temperatures (70-90°C)■ High yield of hydrogen (36-58%)■ Uses non-corrosive and easily disposed-of chemicals.”
The newly expanded Intergraph® Global Professional Services Consultancy and Delivery Organization has launched the improved Global Professional Services Methodology (GPSM) to provide consistent and predictable delivery results for projects worldwide. By establishing best practices and processes into a single methodology, GPSM will provide a structured approach for standard reporting and enhanced project execution globally. GPSM is scalable based on delivery complexity and is also oriented to customer alignment based on schedule and cost control.There are six phases in GPSM with decision gates and clear deliverables for better project governance. Quality control is a continuous process throughout GPSM, ensuring accuracy of project documentation and high-quality deliverables. The formal GPSM framework helps to streamline project execution and identifies any potential risk early, reducing the need for costly rework and delays. It also provides tools and capabilities for seamless project delivery.“Our customers from all over the world are increasingly looking to Intergraph for services and support on project implementations, and we are constantly improving our processes to ensure we are meeting their needs,” said Gerhard Sallinger, Intergraph Process, Power & Marine president. “GPSM is workflow-oriented and incorporates industry best practices into the project delivery process. It can effectively avoid or mitigate risk for projects, enhance project execution for on-time delivery and improve engagement with customers for greater customer satisfaction.”The ARC Advisory Group, a leading industry analyst firm, ranked Intergraph as the No. 1 overall worldwide provider of engineering design solutions for industry according to its Engineering Design Tools for Industry and Infrastructure Worldwide Outlook Market Analysis and Forecast Through 2016.