Embed from Getty ImagesIan Holloway reiterated his determination to revamp QPR’s squad after they ended a miserable season with a 4-0 defeat at Norwich. The result, Rangers’ seventh loss in eight matches, meant they finished 18th in the Championship – the club’s lowest placing for 10 years.Now manager Holloway is keen to bring in new faces.“It’s all about the people we bring. I’ve got to get them right,” he said.“I’m old enough to know that it’s not about today. It’s all about pre-season, it’s about getting the scouting network to find us some new different faces.“If I can move some things in and out it’ll be a joy to be able to try to get better than we have been.”Rangers were soundly beaten at Carrow Road and Holloway admitted the scoreline could have been even more embarrassing, but he defended the effort of his players.“I don’t think my lads didn’t try, but we were nowhere near,” he said.“We had one or two efforts, but that was one game too much for the squad, with the injuries we had.“It just proved a huge learning curve for the people we have got in there and it was probably too much for them on the day.”See also:QPR end season with another dismal defeatNorwich v QPR player ratingsQPR need two more transfer windows – HollowayMackie offered new contract by QPRHolloway bemoans change to loan system Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch) x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
MTN and Cell C have sold towers to theAmerican Tower Corporation for almostR6-billion in total.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library) Lars Reichelt, Cell C CEO, says the deal with ATC will help the network enhanceits service quality and coverage.(Image: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Pearl MajolaMTN Group+27 11 912 3000• Binita JhinaMedia manager, Cell C+27 11 324 8352 RELATED ARTICLES • Telkom teams up with AT&T • High-speed internet from Cell C• Telkom mobile to launch soon• Cheaper internet for South AfricaShamin ChibbaTwo of South Africa’s leading mobile networks have struck multi-billion deals with Boston-based American Tower Corporation (ATC) for the sale of thousands of mobile towers.ATC, a tower operator that owns about 33 000 communications sites in seven countries, has reached agreements with both Cell C and MTN within a matter of a month.In November, Cell C agreed to sell their towers to ATC in a deal worth an estimated R2.97-billion ($431-million) while earlier in December MTN announced they are to jointly establish a tower holding company with the multinational organisation in sub-Saharan Africa. The venture, called TowerCo Ghana, is said to be worth about R2.95-billion ($428-million).ATC chair Jim Taiclet described South Africa as a compelling investment opportunity for his company.“There is strong demand for voice and advanced wireless data services. In addition, our newly established presence in South Africa will provide us with a platform for our future growth in the region,” he said.MTN reduces infrastructure costsAccording to the MTN Group’s website, the transaction involved the sale of over 1 800 of MTN Ghana’s existing sites to TowerCo Ghana.It was agreed that a wholly owned ATC subsidiary would hold a 51% stake – about R1.5-billion ($218-million) – while an MTN Group subsidiary would own 49%.It is expected that TowerCo Ghana will construct a further 400 sites for MTN Ghana and other operators over the next five years.Taiclet believes the holding company is well placed to take advantage of the market in the West African country.“Creating an independent tower company in Ghana reflects the execution of our strategy to invest in selected African markets with strong wireless growth potential and a positive investment climate,” he said.President of the MTN Group, Phuthuma Nhleko, said sharing infrastructure makes sense for his company as they have been looking to reduce both roll-out and operating costs.“We have already established a good working relationship with the [ATC] team who have demonstrated their extensive experience in operating towers in both the developed world and in emerging markets,” said Nhleko.Cell C enhancing their qualityA report on Cell C’s website says that the deal included the sale of 1 400 of their existing towers to ATC as well as 1 800 additional towers that are either under construction or will be constructed in the next two years.The sale for the existing towers is expected to conclude by early 2011.Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt said the transaction was a strategic move for the company.“This allows us to realise the value embedded in our passive infrastructure. We believe our relationship with American Tower will enable us to further enhance the quality and coverage of our network.”It was confirmed that Cell C would be the anchor tenant on each of the towers being purchased.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomistI like to think about how to improve on my crop every year. It looks like yields will be good, but I think I missed out on a few bushels. On my mind for 2019 are several items for both corn and soybeans.For soybean variety selection, I comb the data. I have great friends with all the seed companies, and I want to buy from them all — but I really hold no loyalty to any one company. So I look at data, I often make a seed payment early, and sometimes commit to a particular variety, but I prefer to wait for university results to get a comparison across company offerings. I will also be looking hard for Frogeye leafspot resistance. I saw this disease everywhere this year so I need a boatload of protection. And for herbicide trait I am looking at LibertyLink again. I see plenty of high yielding varieties with the trait. I just need to match yield with Frogeye protection. Waterhemp management isn’t happening. This weed went ballistic this year. I study weed resistance and this one appears to be at about year three in the buildup to full blown resistance. I can control it in corn, with a good pre-emergent herbicide and a dicamba post application. But I know that overusing dicamba will find those resistance genes in there sooner rather than later, so I use Liberty in soybeans. And from Mark Loux, remember “Leave no pigweed behind” because the plant/seed you run through the combine will be out there to germinate next year, and the next too.What about timing of your herbicide application? Early is better, we missed the boat in 2018 with a very wet April and dry May (we were planting, not spraying). But several farmers have come back to me and said they will make a fall herbicide application, for Marestail, and load up on the residuals seven days pre-plant for their 2019 soybean crop. Then they will probably an application of a small seeded broadleaf herbicide (think metolachlor, acetochlor, or similar) with their early post application. I like the sounds of that, and I have seen it work well.Disease protection — we have to put scouting back in our vocabulary and in our methods. Choose resistant hybrids and varieties and then check on them for disease. This business of buying your air-applied fungicide in the dead of winter guarantees an application, but not the need. And with commodity prices I see right now, I want to save money not spend it. Know what your corn and soybean (and wheat) diseases look like and check for them at the appropriate time. If no disease is present, then don’t spray — and know the economic thresholds.Sudden death syndrome “came in” late this year. Did it cause yield loss? Typically in Ohio we see soybean cyst nematode associated with SDS, and SCN often doesn’t show up in plant growth but still causes yield loss. So check for SCN, there are some free sampling kits out there. But really sampling at soybean harvest and getting a feel for your SCN numbers is about maintenance – take advantage of those free tests, but you really ought to sample all of your soybean fields. So whether we had “late SDS” or SCN, we ought to know our levels. And here too, variety selection can help with both of these problems, and so can crop rotation.Gray leaf spot — I never saw so much. I heard that from industry agronomists, and I said it too. I think we need to look a little harder for those good high-yielding hybrids that will tolerate the disease, and even gripe a little to the seed company agronomists and plant breeders when you see them. Things can get better but pressure must be applied. That’s how biological systems make improvements.Hybrid selection — I’ve hit on it some already but again I like data. I WILL check company and university trial results very carefully this year. Yield works for me but I am willing to give up a bit for better disease protection. If I have to pay $30 an acre for a fungicide application that may be 10 bushels per acre if prices don’t improve.Nutrient applications — I am looking for free manure. The nutrients are the same and likely brings along some nitrogen too along with P, K, even sulfur for my crop. My next concern with no manure is potassium. Even though we saw no dry periods this year, I saw K deficiencies. My soil test says I am just a little low, but crops are definitely looking deficient at times. Also, phosphorus I am putting in my most needed spots. I can run a while in areas where I sit in the maintenance range.And then there’s nitrogen — still a concern in 2018. We made a lot, but lost a lot. I still think I was a bit short early when we had rapid growth, and before sidedress timing. And I think it showed up in rows-around on my ears — too many 14s, not enough 18s. So I’ll up my at-plant N, and make sure I have 50 pounds of N at plant not the 22 I had this year. As to rate, I want to move to a variable rate application, but don’t own my own applicator. The easiest way for me to get variable rate is by urea broadcast, and that has issues too so I will probably use the Corn Nitrogen Rate Calculator again this next year and put on the right economic rate for the price.Keep up with us at http://agcrops.osu.edu.Harold Watters, Extension Field Agronomist, works out of the Extension office in Bellefontaine and can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 937 599-4227.
It can take days to weeks for users to adjust to Windows 8, the new head of Windows product development admits in a recent interview. What’s wrong with this picture?In an interview with the MIT Technology Review, Julie Larson-Green explained that most users “don’t have trouble upfront” with Microsoft’s new operating system. But for those that do, it can take some time to get used to. “Two days to two weeks is what we used to say in Office, and it’s similar in Windows 8,” Larson-Green said. “We do a ‘living with Windows’ program where we watched people over a series of months in their household. A lot of people don’t have trouble upfront.”Larson-Green should know; she was the mastermind behind the “ribbon” interface that appears in the most recent versions of Microsoft Office. She told the Tech Review that it took about the same amount of time for users to become accustomed to the ribbon interface as it did for Windows 8. Let’s think about that for a minute. At least on the surface, there are two immediate responses to that point:A business productivity perspective.The out-of-the-box, consumer response.Neither favor Microsoft.Is Windows 8 More Efficient?Productivity is an interesting metric; Basically, it equates to useful work done in a given amount of time. Generally, increased efficiency equals increased productivity, but that’s not necessarily true: an inefficient process that adds an extra step or two can be just as productive if performed quickly. Put another way: the Macintosh OS may in fact be simpler and more efficient than Windows 7. But I never completely switched because years of habit made me more productive on Windows.The same thing may hold true for Windows 8, at least according to Larson-Green.“Some people who review it for a shorter period of time may not feel how rich it really is. We’re going for the over-time impression rather than the first 20 minutes out of the box. We’ve found that the more invested you were in the old way, the more difficult the transition is, which is unfortunate because we first hear about everything in the tech press. Those are the ones that we knew up front are going to have the most challenge.”Way to alienate your influencer base, Julie. Are you saying that Windows 8 wasn’t designed for the liberal tech press “experts, but for the real ‘Mericans who have never used a computer before?”In all seriousness, what we haven’t seen from Microsoft is any justification to buy Windows 8 based on productivity. To be fair, the switch from Windows Vista to Windows 7 didn’t provoke many productivity studies, either; aside from an English town council that loved Windows 7, as well as an English gambling community, Betfair, which felt similarly, most merely assumed that Windows 7 was far more efficient than Vista. What we do know, however, is that usability experts, such as Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu, have panned Windows 8 for aspects like too much “cognitive overhead,” a fancy term for forcing users to remember how to do things in a new way. In fact, Larson-Green herself put it well in 2009: “It was really about how we make the PC more productive, and get out of the way more so that people can spend less time interacting with the PC and more time doing the tasks they use the PC to do,” she told InformationWeek, describing Windows 7.From a productivity standpoint, the bottom line is this: Yes, new applications and technologies require training. According to Microsoft, at least some percentage of users take up to two weeks to get up to speed. If you’re a decision maker at a large enterprise, are you wlling to sacrifice two days to two weeks of your entire employee base to learn an operating system that replaces a perfectly functional Windows 7? Two weeks of lost productivity costs a heck of a lot of money.I’d be asking this question: If Windows 8 can make up that lost time in some other way, shouldn’t Microsoft be telling us about it? So far, it hasn’t.Found The Windows 8 Charms Yet? Good Job!From there, Larson-Green gets a little patronizing. “Over 90% of customers, from our data, use the charms and find the start screen all in the first session,” Larson-Green added. “Even if you’re a desktop user, over time there’s a cutover point around six weeks where you start using the new things more than the things you’re familiar with.”Patting your customers on the head for using the basic functions of the operating system isn’t something she should tout. It’s something that she should assume. But although I’m not entirely sure where Larson-Green is going when she refers to desktop users (versus mobile? the desktop UI?) one thing is clear: six weeks is an awfully long time to start using the “new things”.Comparisons to Apple are unavoidable. How long does it take a new user to learn how to use an iPad? Some time, certainly. But days? Weeks? And I would argue that discovering new features should be a delight, not a chore.In many ways, this is Microsoft’s equivalent of Apple’s pathetic “you’re holding it wrong” moment on the iPhone 4.Most customers are invested in the “old way,” Ms. Larson-Green – and that’s not a problem, it’s actually an advantage for Microsoft since that old way usually involves your products. Instead of blaming the customers, many think you should have met them halfway. At least. Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Tags:#Microsoft#Microsoft Office#Windows 8 markhachman
PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMarck Espejo’s name has been synonymous to Most Valuable Player.The Ateneo superstar added another MVP award to his resume as the best player in the 2017 Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brownlee happy with Ginebra’s aggressive start in PBA Finals Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa The 20-year-old Espejo, who has already four UAAP titles, was officially named PVL MVP on Saturday before the Blue Eagles pulled off a finals sweep of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.Apart from being the conference MVP, Espejo also bagged the Finals MVP plum and was recognized as the Best Outside Spiker. He had 20 points in the title-clinching win.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHis teammates Esmilzo Joner Polvorosa and Manuel Sumanguid III was named Best Setter and Best Libero, respectively.The other awardees were Fauzi Ismail of National University (2nd Best Outside Spiker), John Paul Bugaoan of Far Eastern University (Best Middle Blocker), Kib Malabunga of NU (2nd Best Middle Blocker), Joshua Umandal of University of Santo Tomas (Best Opposite Spiker). Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary MOST READ LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters “I went through a lot of hardships. In training. In everything. But the I know in my heart that I really have to deliver,” said Tabal in Filipino. “I can’t let disappoint my country.READ: Tabal pleads with Patafa to reconsider: I did nothing wrong FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“To my fellow athletes, if we really do our best, we can do it,” added Tabal who clocked two hours, 48 minutes and 26 seconds, almost seven minutes clear of silver winner Hoang Thi Thanh.Tabal said she was feeling cramps on her tibialis or shin muscle during the first loop around the Putrajaya government complex that lined with gleaming office skyscrapers. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ GOLD! Mary Joy Tabal rules women’s marathon in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ/INQUIRERPUTRAJAYA, Malaysia Rising up through emotional ups and down, Mary Joy Tabal just crowned herself the queen of the 29th Southeast Asian Games marathon.The 28-year-old Tabal broke down in tears right after crossing the finish line, literally beating the Vietnam contestant by a mile, to deliver that gold medal she hoped would open the flood gates for Team Philippines.ADVERTISEMENT At least, there’s the promise of a dogfight “That’s why on the first loop I tried to warm up, then in the second loop I saw the other runners being left behind,” added the Rio Olympian and silver medals in the 2015 SEAG.READ: Patafa cuts Tabal, runner says ‘I just want to run for PH’ The race was held on well paved city streets with four and half loops on the main street on a cloudy day and weather cooled down by the previous night’s heavy downpour.“I felt that God was gifting me with this victory and all I needed to do was take it,” said Tabal.Her compatriot in the men’s side, Jeson Agravante didn’t finish the race.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul READ: Patafa reinstates TabalTabal, who trained for three months in Italy, hugged Athletics chief Philip Ella Juico and Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez right after draping herself with the Philippine flag at the finish line.“Thank you to all people who believed in me and for all your support,” said Tabal who has had strained relationship with the national athletics body for the past two years.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES
Rangers veteran McAuley backing move for Southampton midfielder Davisby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveRangers veteran Gareth McAuley has backed a move for Southampton midfielder Steven Davis.McAuley believes that his Northern Ireland team-mate would be an ideal addition.”I don’t know if it’s on the cards, but he’s certainly the player who has been here before, who has captained the club and knows what it’s about,” said McAuley.”The last time I spoke to Steven was at the last international game. He was keeping his cards close to his chest.”I know he’s frustrated that he’s not playing football and, if the opportunity is there for him and things are right with Southampton, then I’m sure that he would love to (come back).”It’s an amazing club. I can’t think of anywhere better to play.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
DONE DEAL: Iborra leaves Leicester for Villarrealby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveVicente Iborra has left Leicester City for Villarreal. The Spanish midfielder made 37 appearances for the Foxes since joining from Sevilla in July 2017.A statement on the Villarreal website read: “Iborra is an experienced midfielder who is dominant in the air. “He has quality in front of goal, timing his runs from deep to perfection. He is a prestigious signing for the Yellow Submarine.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
[email protected] [email protected] TBDTBDTBDTBD 8W–IowaL–MinnesotaL–NebraskaW–N’Western 3W–NebraskaL–MarylandL–IllinoisL–Michigan Here’s what a schedule would look like with these rules in place: 2Ohio [email protected] Mich. St.N’[email protected] Penn St.Minnesota Indiana3-1Ohio State3-1 7L–Penn St.L–WisconsinL–IowaW–IllinoisW–Michigan WeekMichigan St.MinnesotaNebraskaNorthwesternOhio State Michigan4-0Penn State4-0 5L–PurdueL–Ohio St.W–MarylandL–IowaW–Penn St. I’m going to proceed — fairly quickly — through a simulation of this schedule, in order to show you how the power-pairings would work. If a matchup was actually played in real life during the 2016 Big Ten regular season, I abided by the original result — so Ohio State still beats Michigan, for instance.3This holds even if there’s a different home team than in the original matchup. Otherwise, I simulated the result using ESPN’s Football Power Index, accounting for home-field advantage. Based on FPI, for instance, Iowa would have an 87 percent chance of winning a home game against Maryland, a matchup that didn’t occur in the actual Big Ten schedule but which could occur under power-pairing.We’ll zoom ahead to Week 5, when we encounter our first flex-scheduling week. (To see the simulated results for every game, scroll down to the big table toward the end of this article.) Here’s how it works: We take the 14 Big Ten teams and split them into pools of seven home teams and seven away teams based on where they’d been assigned to play ahead of time. We then have to pair the teams so as to give each one exactly one opponent for the week. There are, in theory, 5,040 possible ways to do this. An algorithm sorts through each of the combinations to find the best possible set of pairings, using the following rules:It eliminates all combinations that involve a game that was already played or which was already scheduled to be played. This cuts down on the number of legal combinations quite a lot — to about 600 for Week 5, for example.From among the remaining combinations, the algorithm finds those cases where the win totals match up as well as possible.4More specifically, it identifies cases where the average number of wins separating the paired teams is the smallest. It’s best to pair three-win home team Indiana against a three-win team from the road pool, for instance. If you can’t do that, then pairing Indiana against a four-win team or a two-win team is the next-best option.If several combinations are tied after Steps 1 and 2, the algorithm picks the set of matchups that are least likely to occur in the future, based on how the teams are assigned to home and away games in subsequent flex weeks.5For instance, Nebraska and Northwestern are both scheduled to play on the road in Week 8 and both scheduled to play at home in Week 9, so if they aren’t matched up against each other in Week 5, the only other chance is Week 6. The algorithm will prioritize that matchup before others in which teams have several more opportunities to face each other.If several combinations are still tied for being the most optimal after Steps 1, 2 and 3, the algorithm picks one of them at random.Here’s what the algorithm came up with for Week 5, for example: TEAMRECORDTEAMRECORD [email protected] [email protected] TBD [email protected] [email protected] TBDTBDTBD [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] TBD 1MarylandPenn StateOhio [email protected] [email protected] Nebraska [email protected] MichiganIowaWisconsinMarylandPenn St. WeekPenn StatePurdueRutgersWisconsin Wisconsin2-2Michigan State0-4 Nebraska1-3Northwestern1-3 2L–Ohio St.W–Mich. St.L–N’WesternL–Penn St.W–Minnesota That worked out pretty nicely — 12 of the 14 teams were power-paired against an opponent with the same win total, generating a key early matchup between 4-0 Michigan and 4-0 Penn State. Still, the home pool was slightly stronger than the road pool and some team had to draw the short end of the stick. It turned out to be 0-4 Michigan State, which was matched up against 2-2 Wisconsin.From there, Michigan beat Penn State in that matchup of undefeateds to go to 5-0. Meanwhile, a couple of overachieving 3-1 teams encountered a dose of reality against stiffer competition, as Indiana lost to Ohio State and Maryland lost to Iowa. That’s one of the benefits of power-pairing teams: The pretenders who benefited from quirky wins are fairly quickly weeded out because they face a tougher schedule.Since hearing about a hypothetical college football season is about as exciting as someone else’s fantasy football team, we’ll work through the rest of the schedule quickly. Ohio State ruined its chances by losing to Iowa in Week 6 (in a matchup that didn’t occur in real life). After Week 8, Penn State and Michigan both wound up at 7-1, with Michigan in the driver’s seat for the conference championship by virtue of having defeated Penn State in Week 5. However, Michigan drew a tough matchup against Iowa in Week 9, which it lost, while Penn State (having already defeated most of the good teams in the conference) beat Illinois to win the conference title. Here are all the simulated games in one chart, in case you want to see the dirty detail: WeekPenn StatePurdueRutgersWisconsin 4L–IndianaW–IllinoisW–MinnesotaW–N’WesternW–Mich. St. Minnesota1-3Rutgers1-3 [email protected] [email protected] MarylandIllinoisMichigan [email protected] Ohio [email protected] [email protected] Nebraska [email protected] [email protected] TBDTBD [email protected] [email protected] TBD Big Ten simulated schedule with power-paired matchups 8L–IllinoisW–PurdueW–RutgersL–WisconsinW–Maryland WeekMich. St.MinnesotaNebraskaNorthwesternOhio State HOME POOLROAD POOL 1L–MarylandL–Penn St.L–Ohio St.L–RutgersW–Nebraska A Big Ten schedule with predetermined and power-paired games [email protected] N’[email protected] Ohio St. 4L–MichiganL–IowaL–WisconsinL–MarylandL–Penn St. 1W–MinnesotaL–IowaW–N’WesternL–Indiana 9L–NebraskaW–MarylandW–Mich. St.W–PurdueW–Wisconsin WeekIllinoisIndianaIowaMarylandMichigan [email protected] [email protected] TBDTBD For me at least, that feels a lot cleaner than having a conference championship game. Thanks to power-pairing, the top four finishers — Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan in our simulation — all played one another, so a championship game wouldn’t have left a lot more to prove or disprove.It’s true that we got slightly lucky in this simulation by having a lone champion (Penn State) instead of a tie. But the bounty of head-to-head games between the top teams under power pairing makes potential ties easier to break, because the best teams would play each other more often.I hear what you’re saying: Penn State beat Ohio State in the real-life Big Ten and the committee chose to ignore that, or at least to de-emphasize it. I certainly don’t mean to suggest that power-pairing would remove every controversy. But in the spirit of a team debate, I have a couple of rebuttals.First, power-pairing would create a higher number of meaningful games, making it more likely that disputes would be settled on the field. In our simulated season, Penn State played (and defeated) Wisconsin, Nebraska and Illinois, a decent group of opponents whom they didn’t play in the actual regular season,6Penn State played Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, but not in the regular season. but skipped games against mediocre Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers, whom they pointlessly faced in real life. That made Penn State’s schedule harder and made its one-loss conference record even more impressive. On the flip side, Ohio State’s schedule got tougher also,7Ohio State played Iowa and Illinois in our simulated season, sacrificing real-life games against Michigan State and Rutgers. but they couldn’t handle the heat, blowing a game against Iowa that they didn’t have to play in real life. This is the algorithm working as intended: It improves the résumés of the very best teams while also thinning out the crop with (at least theoretically) entertaining games against closely matched opponents.Second, power-pairing would make teams easier to compare, by eliminating divisions and the potential ambiguities created by conference championship games (such as if Florida had become the nominal conference champion despite having more losses because it beat Alabama in the SEC championship). The top teams would simply be those that won the most games from the start of the regular season to the finish. And under power-pairing, the top teams would usually play one another, further aiding comparison.And third, eliminating conference championship games would free up a week in the schedule, so we could tack on another round to the College Football Playoff without further bloating the college football schedule. That would make it easier for strong conferences such as the Big Ten to place two or three teams into the playoff when deserving.It isn’t a perfect system, and it’s easy enough to imagine what some of the complaints would sound like. A team’s partisans would curse “the computer” every time the algorithm came up with an opponent they didn’t like. Coordinating travel logistics would become mildly more annoying. But power-pairing would get the best teams in the conference to play one another more often and create more deserving conference champions. It might be a nerdy solution, but it would make for better football. 6L–NebraskaW–MarylandW–Ohio St.L–IndianaW–Purdue Purdue1-3Illinois1-3 [email protected] [email protected] Mich. [email protected] Wisconsin 9W–IllinoisL–N’WesternL–IndianaL–Ohio St. 1L–MichiganW–WisconsinW–PurdueW–Mich. St.W–Illinois [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Illinois [email protected] TBDTBDTBD WeekIllinoisIndianaIowaMarylandMichigan [email protected] Penn [email protected] [email protected] IowaIllinoisMichigan 7Mich. [email protected] [email protected] MarylandMinnesota [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] TBDTBDTBD [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] TBD 9L–Penn St.W–RutgersW–MichiganL–MinnesotaL–Iowa [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] TBD [email protected] Rutgers Ohio State somewhat embarrassed the Big Ten in getting shut out by Clemson 31-0 in the College Football Playoff semifinal last week. Still, hindsight is 20/20, and I don’t necessarily begrudge the playoff selection committee for having turned down Penn State, which won the Big Ten championship, in favor of the Buckeyes. Ohio State was probably the better regular-season team and had fewer losses against a tougher schedule. Penn State — which for its part blew a big lead to lose the Rose Bowl to USC — had a head-to-head win against Ohio State and the conference title, two factors the committee explicitly says it considers in ranking the teams. It was a tough decision.My point is simply this: Conference championships, as currently devised, don’t make much sense. Because of imbalanced divisions, championship games often don’t pit the two best teams in a conference against each other (Big Ten championship participant Wisconsin was probably the fourth-best team in its league, for instance). They’ll sometimes result in an awkward rematch of a game that was already played during the regular season. And conference championship games waste a weekend that could be better spent on something else, such as expanding the College Football Playoff to six or eight teams.And now we have pretty good evidence that the playoff selection committee doesn’t really care one way or another. So let’s get rid of them! Imagine a world in which we’re spared the annual indignation of having to watch Florida lose to Alabama 59-2. Imagine a world in which historical rivals always play each other every year and yet, by almighty Rockne, the best teams in a conference always play one another, too. Imagine a world with no divisions. By which I mean: a world in which we eliminate divisions such as the ACC’s perplexingly named Atlantic and Coastal divisions, and all teams within the same college football conference compete as one.Not only have I imagined such a world, my friends, but I have seen one. I have seen it in the hallways of a high-school debate tournament.High-school debate tournaments — all of you will be shocked to learn that I was a master debater in high school — face some of the same constraints that college football conferences do. In any given tournament, there are lots of teams of radically varying quality levels, and there’s not nearly enough time to have them all play one another. A typical debate tournament, for example, might involve 60 teams but only six rounds of competition, with the best eight or 16 teams advancing to the playoffs (or what debaters call the “outrounds”). Each round is precious, and you don’t necessarily want to watch some some pimply-faced sophomores from a Class D school debating a Class A juggernaut like my alma mater, East Lansing High School, any more than you want to watch Rutgers lose to Michigan 78-0.The solution that debate tournaments devised is something called power-pairing. Power-pairing just means that teams with the same record are paired off against each other, so that a team that starts off the tournament 2-0 will face off against another 2-0 team, for instance. It usually works by drawing the first two rounds of a tournament at random,1Alternatively, the teams may be seeded somehow, such that everyone starts out with one matchup against an experienced team and another matchup against an inexperienced team in their first two rounds, for example. and after that, everything is power-paired.This turns out to be a surprisingly elegant solution. It helps to make the matchups relatively even, which not only helps students to learn more but also usually tells you more in determining the best teams. Furthermore, the pairings are somewhat self-correcting. Suppose a good team happens to randomly draw very tough opponents in its first two rounds and gets off to an 0-2 start. They’ll receive some compensation by being paired with easier opponents the rest of the way out — an 0-2 team and then a 1-2 team, and so forth. As another bonus to this system, the best teams are put through the gantlet and really earn their keep. A team that finishes its tournament undefeated or with just one loss will have beaten a lot of very good teams along the way.What would power-pairing look like in the context of a college football season? Here’s an example that I drew up involving this year’s Big Ten. I experimented with a few different setups, and happen to like this one, but feel free to disagree with the particulars (this is more a proof-of-concept than anything I’ve thought all that much about).It works like this: Each team plays nine conference games, the same number they play under the Big Ten’s current rules. Five of these are scheduled in advance, while four are power-paired or “flex” matchups determined only once the season is underway. To be more specific:Teams play rivalry games in weeks 2, 4 and 7. These matchups are the same every year. Week 7 features the most storied rivalries such as Michigan vs. Ohio State — the games that the Big Ten currently plays in the last week of the season. The games in weeks 2 and 4 involve secondary or tertiary rivals, such as Ohio State vs. Illinois or Michigan vs. Minnesota. Granted, this doesn’t always work out perfectly, since some teams (such as Michigan) have lots of Big Ten rivals and others (here’s looking at you, Maryland) don’t really have any. In real life, you might retain some of these games but have others chosen on a random or rotating basis.The matchups in weeks 1 and 3 are based on the previous season’s standings. Week 1 is a high-low pairing (the best teams from the previous season play the worst teams) while Week 3 is a high-high pairing (the best teams play the best teams and the worst teams play the worst teams). In theory, this gives each team one relatively tough and one relatively easy matchup within the first few weeks of the season.Weeks 5, 6, 8 and 9 are flex or power-paired matchups, where teams are paired against others with similar records that they haven’t played previously and that they aren’t already scheduled to play against in the future. (I’ll describe the procedure for pairing teams in a moment.) Each team has two home flex games and two away flex games, with the weeks designated in advance: For instance, Penn State has away games in weeks 5 and 9 and home flex games in weeks 6 and 8. Home and away weeks are set up such that every team has the opportunity to play every other team at least once.2For example, since Michigan State and Ohio State weren’t originally scheduled to play one another, there has to be at least one flex week where one of them is scheduled to be on the road and the other is scheduled to be at home. 3L–IowaW–IndianaL–Penn St.L–Ohio St.W–N’Western [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] N’westernMich. St. 5L–WisconsinW–RutgersW–N’WesternL–NebraskaW–Indiana 3W–RutgersL–MinnesotaW–Mich. St.W–PurdueW–Wisconsin 7W–Mich. St.L–IndianaL–MarylandW–Minnesota Iowa3-1Maryland3-1 7L–N’WesternW–PurdueW–NebraskaW–RutgersL–Ohio St. 4W–Ohio St.W–RutgersL–PurdueW–Nebraska [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] TBD [email protected] Mich. [email protected] Illinois 6W–RutgersW–N’WesternW–IllinoisL–MinnesotaL–Iowa [email protected] IndianaPenn St.Ohio [email protected] N’western 5L–MichiganW–IllinoisL–MinnesotaW–Mich. St. 6W–WisconsinL–MichiganL–Mich. St.L–Penn St. 2W–MarylandL–NebraskaL–WisconsinW–Rutgers [email protected] [email protected] IowaN’[email protected] Indiana 8W–Mich. St.L–MichiganL–Penn St.L–Ohio St.W–Indiana Power-paired Week 5 matchups in hypothetical Big Ten schedule 2L–IndianaL–MichiganW–PurdueW–IowaW–Illinois