Mustangs Back In Tournament Action On Tuesday

first_imgThe Smoky Mountain High School Mustangs basketball teams head to Tuscola on Tuesday for the second round of the Western North Carolina High School Athletic Association Tournament.  On Friday the top seeded Smoky Mountain High School boys defeated the Brevard Blue Devils 82 to 46, Number three seed Pisgah slipped by East Henderson 60 to 48, and Tuscola earned the right to face the Mustangs with their 53 to 41 win over West Henderson. In two meetings this season the Mustangs took a 79 to 72 point overtime win surviving a scare after Jayce Wolfe left the game with a severe ankle sprain which kept him out of action for a month. In the second meeting on January 19th the Mustangs dominated action 85 to 46. The tip-off for the game will be at 5:30  The Tournament will feature the Pisgah Bears and North Henderson at 8:30.IN GIRLS ACTION: The Smoky Mountain High School Lady Mustangs will take on Tuscola with a 4:00 p.m. tip-off at the Tuscola Gym. On Friday; Top Seeded Smoky Mountain walloped East Henderson 48 to 28 in Sylva. Also Friday  Number two seed Pisgah beat North Henderson 58 to 32, number three seed Franklin over the number six seeded Brevard 50 to 31, and number four seed Tuscola over number five seed West Henderson 50 to 45.  Those outcomes set up the pairing for the Tuesday night games. In the two prior games with Tuscola the Lady Mustangs have been victorious winning 58 to 28 in December and 62 to 47 in January.The games on Tuesday from Tuscola will be aired live on 540 WRGC  with Roy and Janice Burnette bringing you all the action.The JV Games have been cancelled.last_img read more

Disney Cruise Line Preview – Week of March 17, 2018

first_imgShare This!Sponsored by Storybook DestinationsAhoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Welcome back again this week. Let’s see what’s new in the DCL world.Ports of Call Last week, the Disney Magic set sail once again after her quick two-week dry dock. Those lucky guests onboard were the first to experience the brand new Rapunzel’s Royal Table, a highly themed main dining room in the likes of Tiana’s Place on the Disney Wonder. The Disney Cruise Line Blog has some photos, along with the menu, which you can see here. It’s unsurprisingly clever from appetizers to dessert. How could we not expect to see Angel Hair pasta as a dinner choice? It’s fantastic!On Tuesday, Disney announced that due to the ongoing restoration in Tortola following the damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Disney Fantasy will visit St. Maarten instead of Tortola on the upcoming Eastern Caribbean itineraries. This change is currently being implemented through June. Guests who have already booked Port Adventures for Tortola will see that those activities will be removed from their account. Guests will be able to reserve activities in St. Maarten beginning on March 16, based on their Castaway Club level booking window.And finally, this week’s special offers. Most every week of the year, Disney Cruise Line releases special offers for Florida Residents and U.S. Military Personnel.  There are also frequently IGT/OGT/VGT rates available for all guests to book.  These offers are extremely limited in availability, and all come with certain restrictions, but the prices are amazing! You can book these online, on the phone, or with your travel agent. These are the current offers available this week: Disney Cruise Line: In The Newscenter_img Upcoming EntertainmentThe following films are being shown aboard the Disney Cruise Line ships this month:Beauty and the BeastBorn In ChinaGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesCars 3Doctor StrangeStar Wars: The Force AwakensThor: RagnarokCocoMoanaStar Wars: The Last JediBlack PantherA Wrinkle In TimeFor future reference, films debut on Disney Cruise Line the same day of their initial release in the United States. Films do vary by ship. Show times are available in your Personal Navigator or the official Disney Cruise Line app.Captain’s Log: Important Tips and InformationEverybody likes to be part of a club, right? Disney Cruise Line makes is really easy for you to join their club, the Castaway Club! All you have to do is….cruise. That’s it. This right here, this is my kind of club! If you aren’t familiar with the Castaway Club, here are the highlights on how it works, and of course the perks! • There are three levels of Castaway Club Status: Silver, Gold, and Platinum.• If you’ve completed 1-4 cruises, you are a Silver member. For 5-9 cruises, you are Gold. At 10 or more, you’re Platinum!• You are automatically a Silver member at the end of your first cruise. How easy was that?• Castaway Club members get fun gifts, like lanyards at check-in that are specific to your level, and a welcome back gift in your stateroom.• Gold and Platinum members get shopping discounts onboard.• Platinum members (and each guest in their stateroom) get one free dinner at Palo, per sailing – a most delicious perk! They also are able to board the ship at anytime after they’ve completed their check-in at the port, and the ship has been cleared.• Online check-in and activity booking is tiered by level; Platinum can book first (along with Concierge guests regardless of Castaway Club level), then Gold, then Silver, and finally first-time cruisers.• When new itineraries are released, this same tiered advantage applies, with Platinum booking on opening day, Gold the next day, and Silver the next.Whatever your level goals are, the Castaway Club is not a bad place to be!Are you deciding whether to book a Disney Cruise but are having a tough time picking which ship fits all of your desires? Well, our own Laurel Stewart has put together a chart that makes it easy to compare all of the options in one place. Also available as a valuable planning and companion guide from authors Len Testa, Erin Foster, and Laurel Stewart is The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line. The companion guide contains a complete overview of each Disney ship as well as Castaway Cay and includes valuable tips on how to save time and money during your cruise!Special thanks Scott Sanders of The DCL Blog for assistance on this article.Thanks for joining me again this week. “Sea” you next time!!The Disney Cruise Line Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.last_img read more

Photo of the Week: Pink Columbines in Bloom

first_imgWe’ve had a wet, cool spring in southeast Michigan. But my pink Columbines didn’t seem to mind. They’ve been blooming for the past three weeks.Somehow the delicate pink flowers withstood the downpours of rain and strong winds this month’s storms brought to southeast Michigan. The columbines are one of the few flowers in bloom in my garden this week, while the rose buds are still forming and my cleomes, asters, and snapdragons have yet to form any buds. For me, it sure seemed like we had one of the wettest months of May. But my memory must be failing me. According to the Detroit Free Press article about raining 21 out of 28 days in May, metro Detroit had less than half the precipitation as one year ago, in May 2018.Tell that to my waterlogged lawn, as I make squish-squish sounds every time I walk on it. How about you? How are your spring flowers doing? What’s in bloom in your garden today? Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedPhoto of the Week: Mini Daffodils in BloomWith all the rain showers we’ve had in southeast Michigan in the past week, it’s no surprise my spring bulbs have finally started to burst into bloom. My mini daffodils popped through the soil earlier this month. The gorgeous yellow flowers, less than eight inches tall, started blooming a few…In “Garden”Photo of the Week: My Garden Today, Coreopsis in BloomWith the cool weather and heavy spring rains ending (we hope!) in southeast Michigan, my early summer flowers are finally in bloom. Including one of my favorites, the yellow-petaled Coreopsis that blooms in my front courtyard. I believe the blooms in this post are a hybrid between the field Coreopsis…In “Garden”Photo of the Week: First Bloom on my Pink HibiscusWhat a treat to see the first blooms of my pink Hibiscus plant in my garden today! I planted it two years ago and this year was the first year the Hibiscus bloomed. All I could say when I saw the bloom this morning was, what a gorgeous flower! My…In “Garden”last_img read more

Loyal hands Columbus Catholic boys basketball its first loss of season

first_imgDons have 34-game conference win streak snappedBy Paul LeckerSports ReporterLOYAL — The Marshfield Columbus Catholic boys basketball team suffered its first loss of the season — and its first in conference play in two years — losing to Loyal 66-60 in a Cloverbelt Conference East Division matchup Friday night at Loyal High School.Columbus Catholic’s win streaks of 19 in a row to start this season and 34 straight in the Cloverbelt East went by the wayside with Loyal’s victory. The Dons had not lost a conference game since falling at Colby 54-51 on Feb. 3, 2015.Columbus Catholic is now 19-1 overall and 14-1 in the Cloverbelt East, one game ahead of Loyal. The Dons finish their conference schedule Monday at home against Neillsville and with a win would clinch their second-straight outright conference title.Loyal (16-4, 13-2 Cloverbelt East) can still grab a share of the Cloverbelt East crown with a win Monday at Owen-Withee and a Columbus loss.(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)last_img read more

The wide angle

first_imgParamjit Chawla with his thriving automobile business was successful and wealthy. His life was perfect and almost envious. But in search of more creative pursuits he closed down his company and took up an unconventional profession – photography. Chawla says, “I did not have the required knowledge, but soon realised,Paramjit Chawla with his thriving automobile business was successful and wealthy. His life was perfect and almost envious. But in search of more creative pursuits he closed down his company and took up an unconventional profession – photography.Chawla says, “I did not have the required knowledge, but soon realised this was my calling.” He is now a successful Delhi-based advertising photographer. Although he faced many hardships even to the point of losing his constant source of income, it did not deter him. “Passion and hard work are the mantras of becoming a successful photographer,” he says.A few years back thinking photography as a steady profession was difficult. But today different creative doors have opened for photographers. They may choose to take up wildlife, commercial, events, underwater, fine art, nude, sports, astrophotography or portfolio, to name a few.One of the most dependable professions in terms of income is photojournalism. Pictures are said to multiply news content and emotion of a story four-fold. A photojournalistic image must have the impact that will make the reader want to know more about the story being reported. “It is a field-based profession and requires a lot of creativity. More importantly, photographers need to be on their toes and produce captivating images,” says Sucheta Das, a Kolkatabased photojournalist.Photojournalists with a keen sense of intuition and flair for photography are in great demand. According to Das, the last six years have witnessed immense change in people’s mindset towards them. “A photojournalist can easily earn up to Rs 30,000 per month,” she says.Aside from photojournalism, fashion photography is fast picking up as the coolest bite in town. With its huge audience, high paychecks and glamourous international lifestyle, it can be viewed as one of the world’s most sought after professions.”To be a fashion photographer one needs to learn to experiment. But more importantly one needs to study and comprehend photography. Most aspiring photographers choose their genre of specialisation even before they have studied or practiced it thoroughly. It is important to first learn and then enjoy the medium,” says Tarun Khiwal, a renowned fashion photographer.But for every fashion photographer who makes it through the doors of a top magazine, many others find their niche in art photography, celebrity portraits or fashion and advertising. Hardesh Dhingra, a noted advertising photographer, started out over 20 years back. “At that time cameras were unaffordable and processing the film used to cost a fortune,” he recalls. But now all of this has become a thing of the past. Computers have replaced the darkroom and initial investment is only limited to the cost of a camera. “The combination of digital photography and computer graphic imaging has lessened workload,” he says.Three-dimensional softwares have almost replaced what initially had to be photographed. The technique uses one photographed image, which is treated with image management softwares and recreated for exposition purposes. This technique is in use for almost every subject, from automobiles to beverage and cosmetics.This perhaps is the reason why there is an increased demand for photography schools in India. “We teach our students various image management and editing softwares along with audio-visual techniques to create images. They are also taught post production work such as resizing and digital image creation,” says Farhat Basir Khan, professor, A J Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. With backing of such techniques one must also have the basic understanding of photography. AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre conducts a one-year post graduate diploma in still photography. Students with a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 50 per cent marks are eligible for admission.Another unconventional variant of professional photography is wildlife. As it is almost impossible to shoot a lion in a well-lit studio with five horses encircling it without the chances of you becoming the meal, the only option is to be in the wild and be ready to capture perfect moments. “Basic comprehension of the subject and its environment is extremely important in wildlife photography,” says Rathika Ramasamy, a wildlife photographer. She feels it is a tough job but if one knows the chemistry of photography and studies the environment carefully, one can easily excel. “The equipment itself is around 8-9 kilos and travelling is an essential component. So photographers must have patience and endurance,” informs Ramasamy.Survival is difficult and requires a lot of effort. Rajesh Bedi, a renowned wildlife photographer says, “Selling such photographs was a tedious task. Not many periodicals were interested in paying large amounts. But today it has its own market.” The starting range of photographs can be anything between Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh. A nature photographer may also enjoy luxurious resorts while working as a tour guide. “Many travel companies need photographers for their catalogues and magazines. While on the job they can also adorn the cap of a tour guide. It pays well and one gets to stay in opulent resorts,” says Ramasamy.Students can study subjects such as botany or wildlife management and conservation to make the fieldwork easier. Wildlife Institute of India, Uttarakhand, offers a master in wildlife science and postgraduate diploma in wildlife management. Marketing and talent guarantee steady money but it all depends on how well the pictures are presented. Salaries can range from anything between Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh per month. Photography has witnessed a boom and with the advent of digital technology, it has become relatively easier. All you need is zest. Hardesh Dhingra, Commercial photographerI started photography as a hobby, but in 1988 developed serious inclination towards it. During that time possessing a camera was a luxury and film processing required a lot of money. But today, with the advent of computer graphic imaging it has become quite easy. I got into the field because I had a passion for photography, and to keep myself updated with latest technology I attended a few workshops abroad. I was soon able to combine the best of both photography and digital world. I have never been trained but learning photography is the prerogative of a student. If you are interested in studying photography before entering, you can enroll yourself in various courses. But you need to have the basic knowledge of the camera and the art of photography. Although a lot of this is instinctive, today photography is not just about clicking pictures; it is also about post production and making it look skillful.Rathika Ramasamy, Wildlife photographerRathika Ramasamy, a computer engineer by profession, has now turned into a full-time wildlife photographer. Her love for nature and passion for photography pushed her to join the field. “It is no office job and requires a lot of endurance. But with true love for nature and basics of the subject, photography becomes much easier,” says Ramasamy. The equipment she carries usually weighs 8-9 kilos and so it becomes imperative to be quick and capture reactions in split seconds. She started her career in photography in 2004 and has never looked back. “There is no fixed income in this profession; it depends entirely on your work. With three to four years of good work one can easily earn anything between Rs 20,000 to Rs 1 lakh per month,” she says. Understanding the elements of nature is the key attribute of a photographer.Career options: Photographers may choose to specialise in a range of fields such as wildlife, commercial, events, underwater, fine art nude, sports, astrophotography, portfolio, adventure or photojournalismStarting salary: Rs 30,000-Rs 1.2 lakh per monthInstitutes:Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia Delhiwww.ajkmcrc.org Film & Television Institute of India Punewww.ftiindia.com Xavier Institute of Communications www.xaviercomm.orgadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

Pogba is finally free & Solskjaer’s five tactical lessons

first_imgOle Gunnar Solskjaer could hardly have asked for an easier start to life as Manchester United manager, but nevertheless the manner of their 8-2 aggregate wins over Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town point to an expansive, joyful future under the new head coach.Here are five things we have learned from watching the Norwegian’s first two games in charge:Fluidity of Rashford, Lingard & Martial in attackAside from a general upturn in tempo and progressive pass selection (more on that below), the single biggest change is how Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Jesse Lingard have been used as a fluid front three – with Juan Mata and Angel Gomes backing up well. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Solskjaer recognises that positional interchanging is of paramount importance to high-tempo football and appears to have instructed his young attackers to play narrowly, staying close to one another in order to maximise short-passing options in the area usually occupied by the number 10.Against Cardiff, Martial and Lingard frequently drifted into central attacking midfield as Rashford dropped deep like a number 10, creating an overload that helped United swarm and dominate their opponents. This was most notable in the superb one-touch move for the third United goal, but was a feature throughout the 90 minutes.Cardiff Man Utd tacticsLingard, Martial, and Rashford are highly intelligent footballers with an unusual ability to find space for themselves – qualities that were criminally under-exploited by Jose Mourinho, a dogmatic manager with a very rigid structure.Lingard and Rashford work particularly well together, regularly swapping positions and constantly on the move; Cardiff were pulled out of their shape and gradually became more confused by the speed of United’s interplay.Huddersfield weren’t so easily distracted, although Angel Gomes’s bright cameo for the final 10 minutes – brought on when Solskjaer could easily have made a defensive substitution – suggests a scurrying front three is part of the Norwegian’s long-term plan.Risk-taking & quick forward passes trigger attacking footballWhat stood out most clearly from Solskjaer’s first two games in charge is the emphasis on risk-taking. Freed from the shackles of Mourinho, the United players are obviously revelling in the instruction to get creative in all areas of the pitch.This includes the licence to take on your man instead of turn and pass it backwards, to bust a gut to make a decoy run instead of holding your position, and to try the 15-yard vertical pass instead of the safe sideways option.Fred and Nemanja Matic weren’t so good at doing this against Huddersfield, but the defence have taken to it surprisingly well. David de Gea is passing the ball out from the back more frequently than before, while Victor Lindelof has transformed overnight into a marauding centre-half. The Sweden international can now be found playing one-twos and sprinting into the opposition half with an attacking purpose not even Paul Pogba could muster under Mourinho (see all his touches against Huddersfield on the graphic below).Victor Lindelof touches v HuddersfieldThis progressive attitude has a psychological and tactical advantage. By moving forward in possession Lindelof lifts the atmosphere inside Old Trafford and helps maintain a sense of urgency, instigating the ‘wave-after-wave’ attacking mentality that characterised Sir Alex Ferguson’s approach.But it also means United break the first line of the opposition defence without their creative players needing to come short, as they so often did under Mourinho. A centre-back piercing the lines allows everyone to step forward, forcing the opponent to press (and thus come out of their shape) before the ball has reached the more dangerous players.Recycler Herrera has huge role to playSolskjaer’s biggest problem so far has been maintaining energy in central midfield. Things were fairly static for the first hour against Huddersfield, primarily because Fred and Nemanja Matic struggled in possession. Fred is still adapting to the pace of English football while Matic isn’t capable of incisive forward passes or sudden bursts of pace.United moved up through the gears after Ander Herrera’s introduction in the 54th minute, with the Spaniard’s nippy, scuttling playing style helping Solskjaer’s side to shift the ball with greater urgency. He also set up Pogba’s first goal with a neat assist that effectively ended the contest.Ander Herrera v Cardiff, passesHerrera’s influence on Boxing Day came as no surprise after his commanding performance in the win at Cardiff (see graphic above for all his passes in that game, with only four unsuccessful attempts all match in yellow). The Spaniard was everywhere that day, setting the tone with constant give-and-gos, darting up and down the centre-right channel to connect United’s defence with the front three.Herrera – a calming presence in midfield – will no doubt play a big role under Solskjaer throughout the rest of the season.Pogba has been given free role he cravesPaul Pogba is an enigma chiefly because he wants to be involved in every move in every area of the pitch, believing himself to be the complete footballer despite his poor positional play and inability to track back effectively. He is a park player: a luxury playmaker at heart who sees himself as an all-action midfield engine.And so Solskjaer deserves credit for giving Pogba total freedom, rather than attempting to clip his wings as Mourinho did. Pogba is the most talented player at the club on his day, and those days will become more frequent if the FrenchWorld Cup winner is made to feel special. If he wants to drop deep and pretend he’s Luka Modric, let him. If he fancies a stroll down the left wing because Martial’s having a good game and he wants in, let him.Paradoxically, Solskjaer appears to be building the team around Pogba by ensuring the defensive and attacking structures are robust enough without him. The result has been the return of Pogba’s swagger, scoring and creating with the sort of idiosyncratic magic that justifies letting this maverick genius go rogue.Full-backs starting higher up pitchIn Mourinho’s final win as United manager, a 4-1 defeat of Fulham, Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young excelled as roaming full-backs. United looked to get the ball out wide as quickly as possible and cross into the box, winning the match thanks to this attritional wing-focused style. It was classic Fergie-era football but, inevitably, it was just a one off.Solskjaer was a key player during the years when Gary Neville and Denis Irwin would overlap constantly while David Beckham and Ryan Giggs swung crosses in from deep. The Norwegian knows what the ‘United Way’ means, which is why Luke Shaw and Dalot will play key roles.Diego Dalot Manchester UnitedAlready the full-backs are holding higher starting positions than under Mourinho, although so far Shaw, Dalot, Antonio Valencia, and Young have all failed to make significant contributions. You can see the intent is there, but it might take some time before Mourinho’s ultra-conservative instructions are wiped from the muscle memory of the United full-backs. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

a month agoMan Utd post scout to watch Benfica centre-back Ruben Dias

first_imgMan Utd post scout to watch Benfica centre-back Ruben Diasby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United remain interested in Benfica’s young centre-back Ruben Dias.Record says AC Milan, Wolves and United are among clubs that have been identified as possible destinations for Dias.And United have posted a scout to Portugal to study the Benfica defender.Dias is regarded highly across Europe, but chose remain with Benfica this season. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Video: Michigan Fan Pops Champagne Before Final Play vs. Michigan State, Loses His Mind After Loss

first_imgMichigan fans pops a champagne bottle.YouTube/amskowr1It has been a few weeks since Michigan’s devastating loss to rival Michigan State, so some Michigan fans are coming to terms with things now. It took a while, but maybe the craziest reaction to the loss has hit the internet, via Reddit. With the game appearing to be in hand, an excited Michigan fan (who is stripped down to his underwear, for whatever reason) pops a bottle of champagne. Unfortunately, we now know that he was just a bit premature with the celebration. After Michigan State’s fateful touchdown on the final play, he and his friends absolutely freak out. He also slips and falls on the spilled champagne. The video is quite ‘not safe for work’ for language.A Redditor claiming to be the fan in the yellow shirt answers some questions in the thread about the video.michigan champagneWe can’t really hold the reaction against them. That game was insane. Remember though, everyone, keep the cork in the bottle until the clock hits zero.[Reddit]last_img read more

Is Nebraskas Preseason Ranking Based On Ability Or Just Pedigree

When the Associated Press preseason Top 25 was released earlier this month, the names at the top were familiar. Clemson was first, Alabama second, and the rest of the top 10 was littered with recent contenders like Oklahoma, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame. But toward the bottom, there was a bit of a surprise. The Nebraska Cornhuskers were ranked No. 24 (with one voter putting them as high as No. 12) despite finishing each of the past two seasons at 4-8.That puts Nebraska in rare company. Since preseason polls began in 1950, only 31 teams have ever been ranked after a losing season, most recently Texas two years ago. And just five had a record worse than the Huskers.What makes Nebraska even more unusual is the sustained losing entering this season. Just nine other schools have been ranked in the preseason after consecutive losing seasons. None came off consecutive eight-loss seasons — or even had as many combined losses over the previous two years.So, why Nebraska? Do the Huskers deserve the early recognition?A lot of the excitement comes from Scott Frost, in his second year coaching Nebraska. In Frost’s second year at the University of Central Florida, just two years removed from a winless season, his team finished undefeated. Husker fans and the media seem to expect a similar second-year bump.Quarterback Adrian Martinez showed promise last season as a true freshman despite battling injuries. Just 19 years old, Martinez is in the top five of Heisman betting favorites.And in Frost’s first year, the Huskers did finish with a better team than the one that started — possibly only because the one that started was horrible. Nebraska began 0-6, the worst start in program history, before winning four of its last six and losing a one-score game to eventual Big Ten champion Ohio State — though the Huskers’ “signature win” was a touchdown-free 9-6 victory over Michigan State, which finished just 7-6 on the year.Despite finishing 2018 sixth in a weak Big Ten West division, Nebraska is getting a lot of attention, with some even saying it could be a title contender. The question is if that will translate to an improved team this season.Let’s look at the 31 teams who were ranked in the preseason poll after a losing season and see what we can learn from them. ✓✓ 171969UCLA3-7✓✓✓ 242002PSU5-6✓ 182012OSU6-7✓✓✓✓ 251999ASU5-6 191990UCLA3-7-1✓✓✓✓ 111989PSU5-6✓✓✓ 161960OSU3-5-1✓✓✓✓ 181954Oregon4-5-1 192011UGA6-7✓✓✓ 232006UT5-6✓✓✓✓ 252002UW5-7 81950Illinois3-4-2✓✓✓ 171977ASU4-7 201974A&M5-6✓ 181982ND5-6✓✓✓ 161995UCLA5-6✓✓✓ 181972Purdue3-7 Teams like Nebraska rarely rank in the preseasonEvery team that was ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll after a below .500 season 191958Pitt4-6✓✓ ✓ 181957ND2-8✓✓✓✓ ✓✓ 241991UCLA5-6✓✓ 251992Texas5-6✓✓✓ 231993Clemson5-6✓✓✓ You might think that teams with a new coach or quarterback would get the nod in the polls, with a new regime the sign of a turnaround to come. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Of those 31 ranked teams, 27 had the same coach as the previous season, and 23 had the same quarterback;1The primary passer from the previous year threw at least one pass that year. 61 percent kept both; not a single one had a new coach and a new quarterback. Voters may be expecting an improvement from teams keeping the same core.Most of these teams also didn’t have a “hot” finish to the prior season. Only UCLA in 1995 came in with three straight wins. Just six teams won their last game of the season (1990 UCLA had a tie) and the 31 teams averaged barely one win over the last three games and less than two wins over the last five.These teams do seem to get the benefit of the doubt from their pedigree, something Nebraska certainly has. More than 80 percent had won a championship at some point in team history, and more than half within the past 25 years. All but one played in a major conference.2Arizona State, 1977, was in the WAC. Nebraska seems to fit this category. Most voters probably still remember Nebraska’s three championships between 1994 and 1997, the last two when Frost was quarterback.Unlike Nebraska, however, most of the 31 ranked teams had a more recent track record of success, even within their two previous years. And the majority had a postseason top-10 ranking within just the previous five years. Nebraska, meanwhile, hasn’t won even its division since 2012 and has lost at least four games for 15 straight years.But history may be on Big Red’s side. Of those 30 other ranked teams, we would expect3Given their placement in the rankings, based on the historical share of teams at each preseason ranking that were ranked anywhere in the year’s final poll. 12 or 13 to be top 25 in the postseason. Sixteen were. And of the other nine that were ranked after two losing seasons, six finished top 20, and all finished with more wins than losses.The high hopes in Nebraska are a lot to live up to. But a significant turnaround wouldn’t be unprecedented. Five years ago, TCU went from 4-8 to 12-1 and very nearly made the college football playoff. In 2012, Ohio State rebounded from a 6-7 season to finish 12-0 under new head coach Urban Meyer (though the Buckeyes were ineligible for the postseason). And back in 1964, coming off a 2-7 season, Notre Dame and new head coach Ara Parseghian from Northwestern went 9-1 for a share of the national championship.A lot will have to go right for Nebraska to complete a major rise. We’ll soon find out if they’re up to the task. 242019Nebraska4-8✓ 252001Alabama3-8✓✓✓✓ ✓✓ 171958SMU4-5-1 252008Pitt5-7✓ rankYearSchoolprevious recordnew qb or coachever champsRecent top-10 finish.600+ YEAR BEFORE 232017Texas5-7✓✓ 251989OSU4-6-1✓✓ 211994Illinois5-6✓✓ 191959MSU3-5-1✓✓✓✓ Source: Sports-Reference.com 181987ND5-6✓✓ read more

Baseball Ohio State prepares for first threegame road series of the season

Junior outfielder Tre’ Gantt is greeted by teammates outside the dugout after scoring a run over the weekend in the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge in Surprise, Arizona. Credit: Courtesy of Press Pros MagazineFor the first time this season, the Ohio State baseball team will play a three-game weekend series against the same team rather than engage in a split-weekend series. After dropping three of the four games in the Big Ten/Pac-12 challenge over the weekend, the Buckeyes (3-5) will again travel south, this time to Buies Creek, North Carolina, to take on the Campbell University Camels (4-3). OSU coach Greg Beals said scheduling an away series this early was going to be valuable to the team in not only preparing for playing a full series in an away ballpark, but for playing against the same team three times in a weekend.“In a series, you get an opportunity to make adjustments as a team to compete against them the next day,” Beals said. “You also get to see what adjustments the other team is going to make. That’s going to give you an idea (of) what you think your opponents are going to do in the future, so you can see how other teams go about playing you as well.”Scouting CampbellThe Campbell Camels come into the weekend as match-up winners of their past two games, having combined for a total of 21 runs.Offense is the name of the game for the Camels, as they rely more heavily on their bats than their arms. This season, they have a team batting average of .281 with 49 runs scored in seven games. They tend to find most of their offense not in the air, evidenced by their low total of four home runs on the season, but rather on the ground. They already have stolen 24 bases this season while having only been caught twice. However, pitching has been an issue for them. The Camels’ pitching staff has a combined ERA of 5.43, and only four of their pitchers have an ERA below 4.50 (two of which have thrown fewer than three innings on the season).Beals said the best way to beat the Camels this weekend will be to get the bats going early, and keep their opponents off the bases.“Offensively, they like to run the bases. So we have to do two things to prevent that,” he said. “One, keep them off the bases. We pitch the ball well, play good defense and keep them off the bases. And then once they do get on base, we’ve just got to vary our looks and use things that we know. We have mechanisms for controlling the running game. We’re going to need to use those this weekend.”Tighten Up DefensivelyThis past weekend, against two Pac-12 teams, the Buckeyes were not able to play the consistent, strong defense they demonstrated last season.Over the weekend, the team combined for 10 errors and throughout the course of the season, those numbers are not looking much better. The team that last season had a fielding percentage of .975 has a team fielding percentage of .947 this season, with senior shortstop Jalen Washington and sophomore third baseman Brady Cherry tied for the team lead with five errors each. Last season, only three players had five or more errors. And while the bats did not consistently put up the kind of run totals the team would like to see, junior center fielder Tre’ Gantt said he believes that if the defense tightens up, they will start to find more consistency at the plate.“We just have to play clean baseball,” Gantt said. “I believe that when we play clean baseball and our defense is pretty solid, that’s when our bats really come alive because we’re not trying to focus on ‘we need to get runs, we need to get runs.’ We just focus on good (at-bats) and try not to stress ourselves.”Redshirt junior pitcher Yianni Pavlopoulos agreed, saying that if OSU can improve its defensive play, the team will be capable of competing with anyone. “I think, kind of like what we did against Oregon State Game 2, just play good defense, good all-around defense,” Pavlopoulos said. “If we can field the ball, I think we’re going to be a tough team to beat for sure.”First pitch of the weekend is set for Friday at 6 p.m. with redshirt junior Adam Niemeyer taking the hill for the Buckeyes. Redshirt senior Jake Post will start on Saturday, with sophomore Ryan Feltner starting in the series finale on Sunday. read more