28 Sep

We Updated Our College Football Model And Now Michigan Looks Slightly Less

2Ohio StateMichigan Wisconsin OklahomaPenn State— How accounting for head-to-head results changes playoff odds 5MichiganWisconsin Penn State ColoradoOhio State— 8Colorado—MichiganWashington Alabama9292 How the top 10 teams have fared head-to-head 6Wisconsin—Ohio State MichiganPenn State 4Washington——Colorado We’ve been getting a lot of angry notes from Michigan fans. And even though I’m from East Lansing, I think they have a point. Sort of.Here’s the rub: Michigan fans claim their Wolverines have a shot at the college football playoff, even though they rank fifth (the top four teams make the playoff) and have finished their regular season (Wisconsin and Penn State are playing for the Big Ten championship instead).Even the most rabid Michigan backers don’t expect their team to displace any of the current top four if everyone wins out. Undefeated No. 1 Alabama is one of the strongest college teams in history and will become the SEC Champion if it beats Florida on Saturday. No. 2 Ohio State — which, like Michigan, is idle this weekend — just beat Michigan last Saturday. And No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Washington are potential one-loss conference champions, while two-loss Michigan is neither of those things.Alabama would have a decent shot at the playoff even with a loss, but if either Clemson or Washington falls, another slot could open up. Apart from Michigan, the most plausible contenders to fill it are Wisconsin and Penn State — whichever one wins the Big Ten championship — and Colorado, if it beats Washington for the Pac-12 title.Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado would each be 11-2 conference champions, as compared to 10-2 non-champion Michigan. The playoff selection committee explicitly accounts for conference championships as part of its selection criteria. So Michigan has a hard argument to make, it would seem.Except for one thing: Michigan played Wisconsin, Penn State and Colorado. It beat all three of them. And although the committee says it considers conference championships, it also says it takes head-to-head results into account. How would the committee weigh everything? Nobody’s quite sure. RANKSCHOOLWINSLOSSESPLAYING THIS WEEK Oklahoma65 10Oklahoma State——Oklahoma Oklahoma State12 Michigan16 3Clemson——— Ohio State92%94% CHANCE OF MAKING COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF Penn State2122 Clemson8081 Washington6666 SCHOOLPREVIOUSLYWITH HEAD-TO-HEAD ADJUSTMENT Wisconsin3021 Colorado1010 7Penn StateOhio StateMichiganWisconsin 9Oklahoma—Ohio StateOklahoma State Our college football playoff model, however, had been putting a fairly heavy thumb on the scale against Michigan. That’s because we’d programmed it to account for conference championships, but not for head-to-head results. Why not? There wasn’t any particularly good reason; we’d intended to build in a head-to-head adjustment earlier this fall and then got distracted by that whole presidential election thing. Also, because head-to-head results didn’t happen to matter very much in the first two years of the committee’s rankings — there was no case analogous to the one Michigan faces this year — we didn’t have much data on how much the committee really cares about them.Still, we think making some effort to account for head-to-head results is better than nothing, even if we’re basically just making an educated guess about the magnitude of the effect. So we’ve built an adjustment into our model. As before, the program runs a series of simulations in which it plays out the remaining games and estimates how the committee will rank the teams. Then there’s a new step: It checks to see if teams that are ranked in close proximity played one another. If in one simulation it initially had Colorado ranked No. 4 and Michigan No. 5, for instance, it might flip them because of the head-to-head result. Or it might not: The magnitude of the head-to-head adjustment is randomized a bit from simulation to simulation but generally set to a fairly conservative value. (We’ll recalibrate everything next year; how the committee untangles Michigan and the other teams will tell us a lot about how much it really cares about head-to-head play.)As a result of this change, Michigan’s chance of making the playoff increases to 6 percent. That’s still not very good — the model thinks it’s unlikely that the committee will put an idle team into the playoff, especially when it has two losses and didn’t win its conference championship. (The loss to Ohio State is especially complicating, because the committee would have to take two teams from the Big Ten but not the conference champion?) The committee could also evade the head-to-head question by taking two-loss Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, whichever one wins the Big 12 this weekend,1The Big 12 doesn’t have a championship game, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are playing one another, and it just so happens that the winner of that game will win the Big 12. instead of a second Big Ten team. But 6 percent is an improvement for Michigan from the 1 percent chance our model gave it before the adjustment. 1Alabama——— Apart from Michigan, this change also affects Ohio State’s calculus a bit. Aren’t the Buckeyes shoo-ins? Would the committee really demote a team all the way from No. 2 to No. 5?Probably not, but consider what happened in 2014. The committee — to our model’s surprise — dropped TCU all the way from No. 3 to No. 6 in its final rankings despite TCU having won. We learned from that experience that the committee isn’t necessarily all that consistent from week to week. So Ohio State, which won’t be the Big Ten champion, might be just a little bit nervous if the committee decides it values conference championships highly.But it matters which team wins the Big Ten instead of Ohio State. If it’s Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have less to worry about because they beat the Badgers head-to-head. (Wisconsin might make the playoff as a second Big Ten team, but probably not without Ohio State making it as well.) Ohio State lost to Penn State in the regular season, however. So if Penn State wins the Big Ten, it will be able to cite both a head-to-head victory and a conference championship in its case to get in ahead of Ohio State. Our model expects that Ohio State would probably still make it under such circumstances — quite possibly alongside Penn State — but it isn’t quite as safe. (In the new version of our model, Ohio State has a 97 percent chance of making the playoff if Wisconsin wins the Big Ten and a 91 percent chance if Penn State wins instead.)So almost no matter what happens, we’ll be left with a bit of a mess. One solution? Expand the playoff to six or eight teams, so the close calls stemming from janky conference-championship scenarios are resolved on the field and not in a conference room. read more

28 Sep

Twitter ban instituted for Ohio State football players

Following Ohio State football’s 24-17 loss to Florida in the 2012 Gator Bowl, members of the team are turning the page on this past season and turning off their Twitter accounts. Several players confirmed after the Monday loss to the Gators in Jacksonville, Fla., that new OSU head coach Urban Meyer had scheduled a 7 a.m. Tuesday meeting with non-senior members of the program. At the meeting, the team was informed that Twitter use would be banned, according to several players’ Twitter accounts. The OSU athletic department did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment regarding the team’s new social media guidelines. Players took their Twitter accounts to alert the public to the new policy. From his Twitter account, @STONEYeleven, junior tight end Jake Stoneburner said at approximately 1 p.m.: “Twitter=Done. Me=back for senior year, leading this team, and shocking the world!! #gobucks #12-0″ Junior tight end Reid Fragel commented on the newly implemented Twitter ban from his account, @FRAGEL88, at around noon Tuesday, saying: “New staff new rules. No more twitter, not a big deal and probably for the better. Love our fans, love this place. Go Bucks #2012” Not every player praised the social media ban. From his account, @phillybrown10, sophomore wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown said: “I’m not leaving my followers lol.” Meyer, along with his new coaching staff, assumed control of the football team following OSU’s Monday loss in the bowl game. read more

31 Aug

Mamata makes Safe Drive stickers mandatory for vehicles

first_imgKolkata: Stressing the need to strengthen road safety campaigns in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today asked the transport department to ensure that every vehicle has ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ stickers pasted on its front and back sides. The state government launched the ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ drive in 2016 as part of its initiative to inculcate a “sense of safe driving and responsible road behaviour” among people. Banerjee, who inaugurated 20 state-run Volvo buses, 21 trauma-care ambulances and 13 wrecker vans here, said the transport department would involve children for the sticker campaign “as the motorists might be more receptive to their requests”. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life “Once the weather improves, we will rope in young boys and girls to paste the stickers on the front and the back sides of the vehicles at traffic intersections,” she said at the programme, in presence of Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and senior transport officials. The newly inaugurated Volvo buses would ply between district headquarters and Kolkata. The objective of the sticker drive is to drill the message of road safety in the minds of people, Banerjee said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed “The ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ stickers, in big fonts, will have to be pasted on two ends of the vehicles to instill traffic discipline,” she asserted. Talking about the new Volvo buses- ‘Banglashree Express’ – Banerjee said these high-speed vehicles would provide “comfortable and economic travelling experience” to the public. “Twenty new buses, each worth around 1.5 crore, have joined the fleet and six more will hit the road in the near future,” she said. The high-speed buses, connecting district towns with Kolkata, are being introduced at a time when debates over high-speed trains are doing the rounds across the country, the chief minister said, in an obvious reference to the bullet train project of the NDA government. “During flood-like situations, when rail tracks are inundated, buses can be of help to stranded people. Last year, during north Bengal floods, bus services turned out to be the only means of transport,” she said. The CM also said 80 electric buses would be introduced in greater Kolkata area before Durga Puja. Referring to the wrecker vans, the CM said, “The vans can be of great help after a road mishap, especially at places like Maa flyover in central Kolkata,” she said. Adhikari, on his part, credited the chief minister for the improved transport facilities in the state. The non-stop Volvo buses were introduced today to provide “comfortable and affordable” services to middle-class people, the transport minister added.last_img read more

9 Aug

Rep Albert Retirees in Michigan deserve tax relief

first_img State Rep. Thomas Albert today detailed his legislation to provide income tax relief to more retirees in Michigan, delaying some of the so-called “pension tax” changes made to state law earlier this decade.Albert’s bill would restore tax deductions on retirement income to those born before 1950 – covering more Michiganders than current law, which allows those exemptions for people born before 1946.Albert’s plan also would provide more retirement income deductions for people born in 1950 and later than under current Michigan law.Michigan began taxing pensions and some other forms of retirement income in 2011. The abrupt changes did not allow older Michigan residents enough time to plan for a more limited retirement income, Albert said.“People plan for retirement for decades. Deciding to take away income tax exemptions right before thousands of residents were about to retire isn’t fair,” Albert said. “We should provide more time for people to adjust and prepare when their income is not going to be what they planned for in retirement. This is a fairer approach for seniors on fixed incomes and everyone approaching retirement in Michigan.”Albert’s proposal would alter the ages in Michigan’s three-tier approach to retirement income taxation, making more deductions available to more people:Taxpayers born before 1950 would have the same income tax exemptions deductions all retirees had before the 2011 changes. (Current law allows those tax benefits only for people born before 1946).Taxpayers born in 1950 through 1955 could take a deduction of $20,000 for a single return and $40,000 for a joint return against retirement income. When those taxpayers turn 67, they could take the deduction against all forms of income. Different deductions would apply to retirees from governmental units that weren’t covered by Social Security. (Current law starts this phase-in for taxpayers born in 1946 through 1952.)Taxpayers born after 1955 would receive no exemption for retirement income until they turn 67, except for the Social Security exemption. They could claim some deductions against all income once they turn 67. (Current law starts this phase-in for taxpayers born after 1952.)Albert’s bill has been assigned to the House Tax Policy Committee.### 21Jul Rep. Albert: Retirees in Michigan deserve tax relief Categories: Albert News,Newslast_img read more

4 Aug

first_img — If Doug had bought the hotel in 1979 and sold it six years later, he could have made 150 times his original investment. These are the kinds of returns you can make by investing in crisis markets and only by investing in crisis markets. You don’t have to trek through a civil war battle zone or dodge bullets to find these kinds of colossal returns. I was just recently in Zimbabwe with Doug. And like in 1979, it has huge potential for profit. If you’ve ever seen Zimbabwe in the news, I’m certain it wasn’t positive. If you’ve ever seen Zimbabwe in some sort of international competitiveness rankings, I’m sure it ranked at or near the bottom. There’s good reason for that. The country is in an economic and political crisis. Hyperinflation has totally destroyed the local currency. There’s been some bad press, and rightly so. But there’s a lot more to the story… Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources… gold, platinum, diamonds, and fertile farmland. The geological potential of the country is huge. Zimbabwe has production upside in platinum and other minerals that few can match. The bad press has conveniently (for us) camouflaged the opportunities in Zimbabwe. And that’s part of what makes it so appealing for us as contrarians. Zimbabwe currently has a severe cash shortage. ATMs are running out of money, liquidity has dried up, and there’s panic selling. Plus, Zimbabwe has absolutely dismal public relations. You’ve probably heard only bad things about Zimbabwe, if you’ve heard about it at all. Some of those negative opinions are valid. But having just spent 10 days in the capital city of Harare, I think they’re mostly overblown. Zimbabwe isn’t that different from other places I’ve visited with very poor external images, like Lebanon and Colombia. None of these places is even a fraction as bad as the press would suggest. Another misconception about Zimbabwe is that it’s dangerous and full of crime. While there is a crime problem in neighboring South Africa, Zimbabwe is pretty safe. I never once felt uncomfortable and neither did any of the locals we spoke with. In South Africa, it wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to kill for a cell phone. But not in Zimbabwe. For whatever reason, that’s just not their culture. Zimbabwe has enormous wealth. It has some of the largest platinum, diamond, and gold reserves in the world. It has an educated population, relatively decent roads and other infrastructure, and an abundance of productive farmland. The country should be one of the richest in Africa… not one of the poorest. For Zimbabwe to improve, the government must be less hostile to the country’s crucial industries. That could happen soon. President Robert Mugabe has basically run the show since the country’s independence. But he is 92 years old, and it’s only a matter of time before the country moves on. There’s a real chance for things to get “less bad.” And because things are so dirt-cheap, that could mean huge profits. Doug and I met with the top dogs in the government on our recent trip. It appears that, after hitting rock bottom, they understand they have to make some radical changes. Surprisingly, in our meetings, nearly all of the top officials in the government understood the perils of Keynesian economics. Some even quoted Ludwig von Mises, the godfather of free-market Austrian economics, in their internal memos. Seeing this in a country known for its destructive economic policies felt like stepping into the twilight zone. Nobody knows if the government will actually make the needed changes. But I think there is a plausible chance the country will turn around. And given how cheap some asset prices are right now, the risk-reward ratio is in our favor. This is exactly the kind of contrarian situation I look for in Crisis Investing. It’s an environment where we can find huge bargains. It’s a risky bet. But because the upside is so large, it’s one worth taking. Regards, Nick Giambruno Editor’s note: In April, Nick revealed to his readers two ways to profit from Zimbabwe’s crisis. One of those picks is up 9%. The other has surged 31%. Those are big moves for such a short period. But Nick thinks both could deliver 100%+ gains. You can get in on these investments by signing up for Crisis Investing. But before you do, we want you to try our newest training series. This FREE, four-part workshop tells you everything you need to know about crisis investing. As you’ll see, many of the world’s legendary investors used this same simple approach to make billions. Just remember, both of Nick’s Zimbabwe picks are on the run already. If you want to make money in this crisis market, now is the time to strike. Click here to get started today. Leopard Rock Hotel It was the crisis and fear that generated such a dirt-cheap price. Investor sentiment couldn’t have been worse. In 1979, Zimbabwe was the last place most people wanted to put money into… which made it the best place in the world to go looking for bargains. Happening Now! Historic Free Training Event with Doug Casey… Doug Casey’s forecasts helped investors prepare and profit from: 1) the S&L blowup in the ’80s and ’90s, 2) the 2001 tech stock collapse, 3) the 2008 financial crisis, 4) and now… Doug’s sounding the alarms about a catastrophic event. One he believes could strike America, just months from now. To help you prepare and profit, this week, we’re hosting a free online training event. Click here now to accept your invitation. Editor’s note: This week, we’re focusing on “crisis investing,” a little-known investing strategy that involves buying hated markets for cheap. Casey Research founder Doug Casey used this simple method to make millions. In the following essay, Nick Giambruno, editor of Crisis Investing, talks about the time Doug went to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1979 looking for opportunity. At the time, Rhodesia was in the middle of a civil war. Most investors wanted nothing to do with the country, which is exactly why Doug went there. According to Nick, there’s a similar investing opportunity in Zimbabwe right now. Investors who take advantage of this could quickly double their money. We’ll show you how at the end of this essay. If you were in a window seat, you’d pull down the shade to reduce the risk of anti-aircraft fire hitting the plane. At least that’s what flight crews used to tell tourists to do when landing in the African country of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The year was 1979. Rhodesia was in the midst of a civil war. On the ground, it was like a scene out of the movie Mad Max… soldiers, armored vehicles, danger and confusion everywhere. Doug Casey was perhaps the only foreign investor still there. Doug took a bus across the country, trying to avoid the Rhodesian Army and the rebels they were fighting. He kept asking what he should see while he was in the country, and he kept hearing about the Leopard Rock Hotel. So there he went. What he found was a grand castle complex that Italian prisoners (captured by British forces) had helped build during World War II. By 1979, the owners had converted it into a fantastical luxury hotel. It had 12 enormous suites, oversized fireplaces, crystal chandeliers, broad terraces, miles of horseback trails, a nine-hole golf course, 200 acres of garden with vast mountain views, and 50 acres of coffee trees. It was beautiful and huge. It had everything you would want in a luxury resort hotel.last_img read more