NFL Week 20 Elo Ratings And Playoff Odds Conference Championships

This has not been an enormously surprising NFL season. The four teams remaining in the playoffs — the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts — were well liked by Vegas bettors before the season began. There are a couple of compelling story lines surrounding Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. (Is Manning finished? Not necessarily. Is he a playoff choker? Not really.) But betting favorites have won six of eight playoff games so far, and the two upsets (Indianapolis over Denver last week; the Baltimore Ravens over the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago) were fairly ordinary.One of the great things about being a sports fan is that you can take some pleasure either way. Upsets are fun when they happen. But when they don’t, you get to see higher-quality opponents remain in contention. The joy football fans might take from the remainder of this NFL season is tilted toward the latter: We should have two compelling conference championship games this weekend, and they ought to produce a compelling Super Bowl.In fact, the four remaining teams rank Nos. 1 through 4 in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Elo Ratings. The Colts were ranked No. 7 last week, but their big win over the Broncos was enough to vault them into the fourth position.None of the remaining teams is a slouch. And one has a chance to finish among the best NFL teams of all-time.The Elo ratings have a bird crush on the Seahawks. Only four previous teams (the 2004 and 2007 Patriots, the 1997 Packers and the 1983 Washington Redskins) have entered the conference championship game with a higher Elo rating.So, is this the best conference championship field of all time? No, that’s getting a little carried away. But it’s well above average. Based on the average Elo rating of the four conference championship teams, it ranks seventh among the 45 seasons since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. We’ve seen a shift away from the parity of the late 1980s and 1990s toward more dominant franchises.Seattle remains the Elo favorite to win the Super Bowl — as it was at the start of the season. Its chances of a repeat are up to 45 percent — not quite even money, but close — followed by the Patriots at 30 percent and the Packers and Colts at 12 percent each.These probabilities are almost identical to those established by betting markets. Accordingly, the point spreads that Elo sets for the conference championship games — Elo has had a pretty good year against Vegas, but we don’t recommend that you bet on these — are largely in line with the gambling consensus:Elo has Seattle favored by a touchdown over Green Bay, just as prevailing betting lines do. This is a bit surprising given how much Elo likes the Seahawks and how it’s been comparatively down on Green Bay. But Elo does not consider that the Seahawks may have an especially large home-field advantage.In the AFC Championship game, Elo favors the Patriots by five points — consensus betting lines have New England as 6.5-point favorites instead. That’s a marginal difference. And as I’ve said, we wouldn’t recommend placing bets based on Elo ratings, especially given that it’s been unwise historically to wager against Bill Belichick and the Pats. read more

Has NFL Play Gotten Worse Or Is It Just You

FiveThirtyEight Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. The New York Giants’ season is off to a disappointing 0-2 start, and quarterback Eli Manning is getting much of the blame. On this week’s episode (Sept. 19, 2017), we take a deeper look at Manning’s stats, discuss whether he’s a Hall of Famer and ponder where the Giants go from here. Next, after a second week of blowouts in the NFL, some are complaining that the quality of play has decreased significantly. We discuss a piece by our ESPN colleague Bill Barnwell that pushes back against that idea. Plus, a significant digit on baseball.If you have suggestions for what we should call our new NBA podcast, please drop us a note at podcasts@fivethirtyeight.com!Here are links to what we discussed this week:Eli Manning is profoundly mediocre, writes Ty Schalter for FiveThirtyEight.A 2015 analysis from Nate Silver found that Eli Manning is the most clutch postseason quarterback of all time.ESPN’s Bill Barnwell says NFL quality of play isn’t worse (but Colin Kaepernick might make it better).Significant Digit: 1 in 65,566, the odds that a generic, contending-quality MLB team would be able to pull off the Cleveland Indians’ streak of 22 victories in a row. Cleveland’s streak finally came to an end Friday night, and while it wasn’t MLB’s longest, it was perhaps the most impressive, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine. read more

UCF Might Not Even Be As Good As Fresno State — Let

Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group TEAMTotal EfficiencyRKFPIRKSagarinRKOpp. Win %RK Fresno State81.6713.11982.617.48888 Share of plays for 10+ yards19.3%20.2% Utah State77.81111.62679.829.415122 Share of rush first downs or TDs per rush23.5%27.2% While UCF has indeed blown out its competition, the Knights are effectively playing a junior-varsity schedule.3Though so is Utah State. Central Florida’s case is acutely hurt by its mere membership in the American Athletic Conference, which boasts five of the 35 worst teams nationally, according to ESPN’s FPI. In total, UCF’s opponents have combined to go 37-51 over the season — and the Knights have yet to play a team that has compiled fewer than four losses or one ranked better than 50th in FPI.4UCF hosts No. 24 Cincinnati this weekend in what will be the Knights’ toughest game of the regular season. The Bearcats rank 44th in FPI. The Knights’ nonconference schedule didn’t do the team any favors; South Carolina State, for example, is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision. As ESPN’s Heather Dinich notes, an average team ranked in the top 25 would have a 42 percent chance of going 9-0 against UCF’s schedule, according to ESPN’s strength of record metric.Then there’s another team that UCF can’t measure up to: the 2017 Knights. This year’s version is lagging the team from a season ago, when it had a much stronger case for playoff inclusion, in nearly every phase of the game. Some of that is certainly attributable to the departure of head coach Scott Frost and his entire coaching staff. New head coach Josh Heupel hasn’t had difficulty hitting his talking points, but the Knights have regressed in offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency.5Efficiency is ESPN’s measure of per-play effectiveness on a 0-100 scale. No facet has ebbed more than the defense. No modern-day college football program has publicly coveted the role of Cinderella quite like Central Florida. Just two years removed from a winless season in 2015, the Knights went undefeated a year ago and even proclaimed themselves national champions. After beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl, the Knights threw themselves a parade at Disney World and took photos in front of, yes, Cinderella’s Castle.But a more fitting photo might have been in front of Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion. UCF’s fairytale narrative, at least for the time being, doesn’t really exist. After all, it’s not much of a story if Cinderella never gets invited to the ball and just continues scrubbing the floors.Just like last year, 11th-ranked UCF is again undefeated and clamoring for a spot in the College Football Playoff — which, barring a late-season Armageddon, it won’t get. This doesn’t sit too well with the team holding the nation’s longest winning streak, nor with officials of the American Athletic Conference, one of the Group-of-Five conferences1The others are Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt Conference. that sit just below the Power Five.2The Big Ten, the Big 12, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference and the Pac-12. But lost in the endless debate over whether UCF deserves to be considered one of the four best teams in the country is a more interesting question: Is UCF even the best Group-of-Five team?Two teams from the Mountain West — Fresno State (8-2) and Utah State (9-1) — have arguably better resumes than the Knights. Utah State lost in the waning moments to Michigan State in East Lansing but has rebounded to win nine consecutive games by ostentatious scores — only Alabama and Clemson tout stronger average scoring margins. Fresno State has dropped two road games — at Minnesota and Boise State — but has overwhelmed the rest of its schedule. Fresno State is averaging 20-point victories this season, the sixth-best average scoring margin in the country.Comprehensive metrics such as ESPN’s team efficiency and Football Power Index and Jeff Sagarin’s team ratings all favor Fresno State over UCF, and both of the ESPN metrics also favor Utah State over the Knights. The Knights trail six teams with one loss in the College Football Playoff rankings. A team with two losses is also ranked ahead of the Knights. The Knights’ defense has regressedHow Central Florida’s defense this year compares with the defense of last year’s team Share of plays for 5+ yards39.3%40.0% Defensive efficiency national ranking32nd54th Undefeated UCF may not be the best non-Power Five teamHow Central Florida, Fresno State and Utah State compare in a variety of metrics and ranking systems UCF71.7219.93080.823.458104 Defensive StatisTIC20172018 Source: ESPN.com, Jeff Sagarin Rate of drives with a first down resulting in a score37.8%40.5% Share of plays for zero or negative yards35.6%34.8% The Knights startled the country last season when their defensive front dominated an SEC offensive line in the Peach Bowl. However, this season has been chock-full of poor defensive performances. UCF transitioned to a 4-3 base scheme from a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Randy Shannon, and the team has seen improvements in yardage allowed per play and per contest. However, the Knights have dropped from 32nd to 54th in defensive efficiency. Only 27 teams have allowed more running yards after contact than UCF, and the school ranks 96th in three-and-out rate and 83rd in third-down conversion defense. These shoddy marks are further amplified when taking into consideration the quality of opponent that UCF has faced.Until the playoffs expand beyond four teams, there will always be frustrated fan bases at the end of the regular season. The playoff selection committee has never taken a Group-of-Five team, a streak that will almost certainly be extended this season because the argument for UCF’s inclusion doesn’t hold much water. If anything, Fresno State and Utah State have pieced together stronger seasons and candidacies for a spot in the playoff. The Knights desperately want their Cinderella slipper to fit, but the clock may have already struck midnight for them.Check out our latest college football predictions. read more

The NCAA Tournament Has Turned Into A Dunk Contest

In one of the most intoxicating games of this year’s NCAA Tournament, the UCF Knights went toe-to-toe with the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils. Leading up to and throughout the game, considerable bandwidth was spent debating whether the soon-to-be top pick in this year’s NBA draft, Zion Williamson, would add another body to his posterized graveyard. UCF center Tacko Fall, the would-be victim, chipped in 15 points on seven made shots, each of which came in eerily similar fashion. They were all dunks. At 7-foot-6, Fall is genetically predisposed to excel above the rim, as evidenced by his ability to jam it, flat-footed.Nobody this season dunked on Mike Krzyzewski’s squad more than Fall and the Knights. But the Blue Devils, which ultimately moved on with a win, are even more dunk crazy. And they aren’t the only team still playing in this tournament with eyes trained on the rim.This season’s Sweet 16 features a number of teams that relish slamming the ball through the cylinder. The teams have combined to produce 1,866 dunks this season. Three of the four dunk-happiest teams this season — Florida State, Duke, and LSU — are still in the field. Another contender, Gonzaga, ranks in the top 10 while Auburn, Virginia, Tennessee and Michigan rank in the top 30 by this measure. In all, six of this year’s Sweet 16 entries have a dunk share1The percentage of 2-point field-goal attempts that were dunks. exceeding 10 percent. Four years ago, only one did. Murray St.13.8✓ The dunkers are thrivingDivision I men’s college basketball teams for whom at least 10 percent of their 2-point field-goal attempts in 2018-19 were dunk attempts Stanford14.9 Of course, there are outliers. Most noticeably, Loyola-Chicago made a surprise run into and past the Sweet 16 a season ago. The Ramblers had just 15 dunks, accumulating a 1.6 percent dunk share. Duke squares off with Virginia Tech on Friday and has a clear edge on dunking; the Hokies (62 dunks) have fewer than a third as many dunks as the Blue Devils (188). But far more often, it seems that the high-flyers are moving on.Dunks have held a special place in the NCAA Tournament for decades. It’s how many came to know the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. It’s where Florida Gulf Coast, a plucky No. 15-seed in 2013, became known Dunk City. They have been everywhere this season and will continue to be, particularly with the regional semifinals featuring Florida State, Duke and LSU, three teams that have already skied for at least 177 dunks. The play has elevated the entertainment of the sport by a considerable measure.While the rise of the 3-pointer has justifiably garnered much attention, the dunk is the sport’s most marketable shot. The feat of athleticism is frequent fodder for highlight reels and commercials. And, since nearly 90 percent of all dunk attempts since 2010 have been converted into points, it’s likely the most efficient shot in basketball. What was once banned is now propelling the sport forward. So keep your eye on the rim this weekend as the Sweet 16 takes flight. Mississippi St.12.3✓ Little Rock10.6 William & Mary10.4 Marshall10.1 Xavier13.2 Auburn13.4✓✓ UCF14.0✓ Duke14.4✓✓ Nevada11.3✓ UCLA13.5 Vanderbilt10.3 Texas12.8 This is less about a few dunk-crazed teams and more a reflection of the nationwide trend in college basketball. As of Tuesday, there had been 19,550 dunks this season, the highest total of any season since at least 2010. Five years ago, for comparison, there were 17,687. Individually, the 2010 season featured 23 players who had at least 45 dunks. This season there are 36, seven of whom remain in the tournament. “We’re seeing more dunks,” Jay Bilas told The New York Times, “because there are more spectacular athletes out there.” Arkansas12.5 Arizona St.12.0✓ LSU14.2✓✓ Maryland10.7✓ To be sure, some of this is intuitive. Advances in science and technology make comparing today’s college athlete to those of yesteryear a comical examination. Perhaps more than ever, basketball rewards height — and, increasingly, arm length — and athleticism. Nowadays, warm-up lines seem to be as much for the fans as for the players. Tennessee is credited for starting a choreographed dunk during warm-ups that involves the entire team. It spread around the country and even reached the NBA.The digital market is saturated with looped clips of diminutive high-flyers, players leapfrogging multiple humans and guards audaciously double-pumping in transition. The NCAA’s official website ran a listicle of players it wants to see in a dunk contest.2Some posit that college already boasts the better contest. Because of his dunking prowess, Williamson eclipsed 1 million Instagram followers before he even got to college.As the number of dunk attempts has spiked, so too has their importance. Dunks accounted for 5.4 percent of all 2-point field goal attempts this season, the highest portion since 2014-15, and the fourth consecutive season that the national dunk share has risen.In fact, according to Bart Torvik’s website, three3Duke, Florida State and LSU. of the 12 teams with the most single-season dunks since 2010 can be found in this weekend’s regional semifinals. Source: Barttovik.com Georgia10.9 Alabama10.6 Texas Southern10.5 Washington10.3✓ Villanova12.8✓ Creighton10.3 Eastern Michigan12.6 Florida St.16.0✓✓ Texas A&M10.2 Virginia10.7✓✓ Gonzaga11.4✓✓ Dayton12.2 TeamShare of offense from DunksMade Tournament?Made Sweet 16? Northeastern10.4✓ read more

Cabreras Millions And Baseballs Billions

I was surprised by my colleague Neil Paine’s analysis of Miguel Cabrera’s record-breaking new contract extension. I thought the Detroit Tigers would come out looking much worse.According to Neil’s estimate, which used projections from Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system, Cabrera’s market value for the next 10 years is roughly $275 million. That’s not as much as the $292 million that the Tigers will be paying him, but the difference is modest.Neil’s valuation assumed that teams are willing to pay about $6.5 million per additional win in the free-agent market, based on research from Dave Cameron and Lewie Pollis. These estimates come from comparing the salaries given to free agents against their expected on-field production. (Neil further assumed that the market price of a win will increase by 5 percent per year.)In other words, Cabrera isn’t that vastly overpaid as compared to recent free agents. If Mike Napoli is making $16 million per year, then Cabrera’s $29 million per year doesn’t look so bad.But Cabrera’s market value is not the same as Cabrera’s economic value to the Tigers. It could be that free agents as a group are vastly overpaid, relative to the revenue they bring to their teams.In the 2006 book “Baseball Between the Numbers,” I estimated the marginal value of a win to a baseball team, based on how responsive different categories of revenue (such as ticket sales and TV deals) are to a team’s quality. I estimated that an additional game won added only about $1.2 million to a team’s bottom line, after subtracting revenue-sharing payments. (This assumes that the value of a win is constant from team to team, which it isn’t, but we’ll leave that aside for now.)That estimate is now eight years old. Total gross revenue accruing to the 30 Major League Baseball clubs has increased since then; it was $7.1 billion in 2013, according to Forbes, as compared to $4.7 billion in 2005.If the marginal economic value of a win has increased proportionately, a win would now be worth about $1.8 million. That’s still far less than the $6.5 million that teams are willing to pay for a win. Are baseball owners being irrational?Perhaps, but their motivation to own a baseball team may not be based solely in profits and losses. They may just be having fun. (I can think of a lot of worse ways to splurge.)And they may know that if they choose to sell their teams, they can do so — probably at a significant profit. The market value of an MLB franchise has increased by more than 600 percent since 1990, according to valuations from Financial World and Forbes magazine (see Rodney Fort’s website for the data). By comparison, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose by about 450 percent between March 27, 1990, and March 27, 2014. (Framed in terms of compound annual growth rates, baseball teams have increased in value by 8.5 percent per year since 1990, as compared with 7.3 percent for the stock market.)Not only have baseball franchises outperformed the stock market, but the patterns in their growth rates have been quite different. The stock market rose dramatically in the 1990s, but has teetered back and forth since then. By contrast, the rise in MLB franchise values has been much steadier.What accounts for this?Here’s a theory. The average baseball franchise is now worth $817 million, according to Forbes. Loosely speaking, you need to be a billionaire to afford one. And there are a lot more billionaires than there used to be.Forbes estimates that there are 492 billionaires in the United States, as compared to 99 in 1990. The increase in the number of billionaires, like the increase in baseball franchise values, has been relatively steady. (The number of American billionaires fell after the financial crisis of 2007-09 but has risen to a new high since then.)In a sense, the Tigers may be betting less on Cabrera’s performance and more on economic and regulatory conditions. If the number of billionaires continues to rise, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch (worth $3.6 billion) should find plenty of buyers should he sell the team down the line. Cabrera’s presence might make the Tigers a more attractive purchase — or if not, the liability might be modest as compared with the Tigers’ resale price. But if the rise of the billionaire reverses, Cabrera’s contract might come to look like the peak of a bubble. read more

Comparing the WWFs Death Rate to the NFLs And Other Pro Leagues

On Monday, we posted “Are Pro Wrestlers Dying at an Unusual Rate?,” showing that wrestlers from the WWF era have passed away at a clip far exceeding actuarial expectations. One of the most common questions I received about the blog post was how wrestlers compared to other professional athletes.  Here’s commenter Matthew Durst:Is this phenomenon unique to wrestling or is it a cost of doing any professional sport? What’s the years of life loss on average for the big 4 sports?I’m glad he asked.To investigate, I used ESPN’s athlete bio database, pulling out anyone who had played at least five seasons in any of the Big Four sports (football, baseball, basketball and hockey). I used the same five age groups (35-40, 40-45, 45-50, 50-55, 55-60) that I did for the wrestling analysis, except as of Dec. 31, 2010 (the most recent year for which we have data). I used only athletes whose careers had ended in 1998 or earlier (to match the period I looked at for the WWF, which changed its name to WWE in 2002). Then I took the simple percentage dead from each age group, as before:Outside of the WWF, professional athletes beat actuarial expectations. The NFL — which is commonly portrayed as being one step up from the Ludi —  at the very least doesn’t appear to produce many early deaths. Even offensive linemen, whose curve would be a bit higher on the grid, come in well under average (with about 4 percent dead in the entire age range).Though a bit surprising, there are good reasons why we might expect successful pro athletes to be better than average at surviving the 35- to 60-year-old period of their lives. They make a lot of money during their careers and have fairly good job prospects (relative to average) thereafter. They operate in a disciplined, highly regulated environment during a formative period of their lives and face extensive drug testing. Not to mention, these athletes are highly skilled and physically honed professionals. Their bodies may take a lot of damage that may stay with them for the rest of their lives, but it’s not the kind of damage that typically leads to an early grave.Wrestling in the WWF era, on the other hand, is reputed to have had a party culture, extensive performance-enhancing and recreational drug use, training focused on more aesthetic than functional physical improvements, a brutal schedule, and fewer monetary rewards than fans might think. read more

Listen To How Walt Hickey And Neil Paine Tried To Break Madden

Neil on the statistical importance of Madden ratings:“It can be a kind of strange archival record of who was good or who was bad in a given year. And the players take it very seriously.” Walt on how the piece came together:“We came up with the originally that was, ‘What would the ratings of a normal person in Madden be?’ This was originally going to be a quick blog post, and then it just started snowballing. And then they [EA Sports] said, ‘OK, cool, how many people do you want to do?’ That wasn’t a question we were expecting.” (This is part of the prelaunch experimentation for the FiveThirtyEight podcast. We’ll be posting audio of different kinds on SoundCloud and then launching the actual podcast later this spring. Stay tuned! And let us know what you think by tweeting our podcast producer/host, @jodyavirgan, or emailing us.) Neil on whether Madden Ratings Czar Donny Moore is basically a scout:“Scouts are trying to project what a player will do, perhaps five or even more years down the road. … Donny [Moore’s] process is a little different — he’s just trying to capture a snapshot of how good a guy is at this moment.” Audio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/fivethirtyeight_maddenpod.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Elsewhere on FiveThirtyEight, Walt Hickey and Neil Paine have a two-part opus describing how EA Sports makes the wildly popular Madden video game. Go read it if you haven’t.The story doesn’t end there. Listen to the two talk with podcast producer/host Jody Avirgan about how the piece came together, what they learned about Madden — and how Walt’s totally inept avatar got Tom Coughlin fired, over and over.Play or download using the player above. Some highlights from the conversation are below. Walt on trying to break Madden:“It was a cool challenge, seeing how bad someone could get.” Walt Hickey tells Neil Paine and Jody Avirgan how awful his Madden self was at quarterback. read more

Limiting fouls is key to Buckeye defense

Thad Matta and his team will tell you it’s their focus on defense that has gotten them their 24-1 record this season. But a key detail that often goes overlooked is how the team rarely fouls its opponents. Ohio State is the second-best team in the country in terms of average fouls per game, with 14.3. In turn, the Buckeyes lead the country in opponents’ free throws attempted per game at 10.8 — 3.5 fewer than second-place Florida. Matta’s emphasis on defensive fundamentals and positioning is critical to his team’s success in that area. “I think that you foul when you’re not playing hard because you automatically put yourself out of position,” Matta said. “That’s something we’ve tried to get these guys to understand.” Keeping opponents off the charity stripe is a key factor to the team being No. 6 in the nation in scoring defense by allowing only 58.3 points per game. Matta and his team critique the film after each game they play. Often, they discuss the difference between a “good” foul and a “bad” foul. The fouls that come from lack of effort are the ones that Matta and his players try to avoid. “He always says, ‘If you’re fouling, you’re not playing hard.’ So that’s one thing we take into consideration when we’re out there, and just playing smart and knowing the system,” fifth-year senior forward David Lighty said after the Jan. 22 win against Illinois. The Buckeyes’ rotation usually features only seven players, whose ability to stay on the floor, out of foul trouble, is key to the team’s success. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, their key players have yet to put themselves in a position where foul trouble has cost them significantly. Arguably the team’s most important player, freshman forward Jared Sullinger, averages fewer than 2.3 fouls per game — an impressive number for a post player who relies heavily on physicality. “I think Jared has really grown as a defensive player early on this season,” Matta said. Freshman point guard Aaron Craft’s 69 fouls are the most on the team, but he only averages 2.8 fouls per game. Craft uses lateral quickness to beat his opponent to the spot and avoid blocking fouls. Junior guard William Buford and senior guard Jon Diebler average 2.4 fouls and 1 foul per game, respectively. Matta has campaigned throughout the season for Lighty, who commits just two fouls per contest, to receive the Defensive Player of the Year award for his work on the perimeter. The 6-foot-5 swingman has quickness comparable to Craft’s, but has the size to guard both post and perimeter players. Lighty’s defensive versatility is one of Matta’s favorite attributes. In Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin, Lighty spent time guarding the 6-10 Jon Leuer, and later switched to 6-1 Badger point guard Jordan Taylor after he caught fire from beyond the 3-point line in the second half. “I think at times we’re all kind of on a different page defensively, but when we’re making those runs and shutting teams out, we’re playing as a unit on the defensive end,” Diebler said. “We all have each other’s back. … That’s what makes good defensive teams.” read more

Buckeye briefs Mens tennis loses first Big Ten Championship in 7 years

Men’s Tennis loses to Illinois in Big Ten Tournament Final All was going as planned for the No. 3 Ohio State tennis team when they reached the Big Ten Tournament final for the seventh consecutive year, but Illinois threw that plan off track Sunday. The Illini defeated the Buckeyes, 4-3, and earned the Big Ten Tournament Championship at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center in Evanston, Ill. Illinios and OSU weren’t strangers in the conference final. In six of the last seven years, the two teams met in the final with the championship on the line. But for the first time, the Buckeyes did not come away with the victory. OSU led 3-1 after the first four matches, but two Illini victories tied the match, 3-3. The Big Ten Championship came down to the final match of the contest between OSU sophomore Blaz Rola and Illinois senior Roy Kalmanovich. They split the first two sets, but Kalmanovich broke Rola twice in the final set to win the match and the Big Ten Championship. The OSU team will await to hear what seed it will be in the NCAA Tournament which begins May 10. Men’s golf sputters in Big Ten Championships The Ohio State men’s golf team lost its mojo at the Big Ten Championships over the weekend, finishing ninth with a team score of 1220 (+68). Entering the competition, the Buckeyes had top-five finishes in their previous three events, including a win earlier this month at the Wildcat Invitational. OSU’s ninth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships, played Friday through Sunday in French Lick, Ind., ties its worst-finish at the event in the last six seasons. The Buckeyes finished ninth in 2010 as well. Freshman Grant Weaver led OSU with a 14-over 302 in his first conference championship. Weaver shot 75s in each of the first three rounds on the par-72 Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, and closed out the tournament with a 77. The Buckeyes No. 1 golfer, senior Alex Redfield, struggled after an opening-round 72. The Columbus-native finished 24-over shooting 85, 75 and 80 in the final three rounds, respectively. The 85 was his highest round of the season. Freshmen Boo Timko and Logan Jones each finished the championship 22-over while junior Matt Turner finished the event at 23-over. Illinois won the event and the automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament with a four-round score of 1175 (+23). The Illini also captured the individual title as senior Luke Guthrie posted a 5-under 283, four strokes better than Northwestern senior Sam Chien. The Buckeyes top individual finisher was Weaver, finishing tied for 21st. The NCAA Regional Tournament begins May 17, but the field of teams and individuals competing has not been set. Women’s track finds success in relay competition The No. 22 Ohio State women’s track and field team closed out competition at the 118th Penn Relays Saturday with performances in the 4×400-meter and 4×800-meter relays. The Buckeyes began the three-day competition in Philadelphia on Thursday. Thirteen members of the Scarlet and Gray competed during the opening day of the meet. In the first running event of the meet, junior Nyjah Cousar posted a time of 58.64 to finish third in the 400-meter hurdles race. Senior Big Ten rival Latoya Griffith from Illinois claimed first with a time of 57.88. Senior Norianna Brown set a personal record of 15.48 meters (50-9.5) and took the bronze medal in the shot put. Freshman Carly Pendleton joined Cousar and Brown in collecting bronze for the Buckeyes. Pendleton set a personal record throw of 47.86 meters (157-0) in the discus throw college division; Brown took ninth overall with a mark of 44.16 meters (144-10). Also taking the track Thursday was the distance medley relay team. The Buckeyes competed in the Championship of the America division, which highlights the best college relay teams in the country. The team consisted of redshirt senior Jordan Jennewine, freshman Alexandria Johnson, junior Tori Brink and freshman Katie Betts, who finished 10th with a time of 11:52.34. In the 100-meter dash college division, senior Christina Manning (11.68) qualified for the finals, while sophomore Chesna Sykes (11.90) came in 17th. In the college division of the 100-meter hurdles, junior Christienne Linton (14.19) placed 21st. The sprint medley team also competed in the Championship of America division. Recording the second-best time in OSU history were Linton, Johnson, senior Jackie Dim and senior Shaniqua McGinnis, who posted a 3:53.90. On the final day of competition, Cousar, Dim, Cavin and McGinnis competed in the Championship of America division to earn a fourth-place finish in the 4×400 with a time of 3:36.53. The Buckeyes will head to Madison, Wis. for the 2012 Big Ten Championships May 11-13. read more

Ohio State puts end to West Lafayette blues beats Purdue 560

Senior runningback, Carlos Hyde (34), jumps over Purdue defenders as he carries the ball down the field. OSU won against Purdue, 56-0, Nov. 2 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The outcome was never in doubt for the Ohio State Buckeyes against Purdue.OSU (9-0, 5-0) was in command from the outset Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind., beating the Boilermakers (1-7, 0-4) 56-0 to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 games.The Buckeyes scored early and often, wasting no time to get on the board as junior cornerback Doran Grant picked off a pass from freshman quarterback Danny Etling on the second play from scrimmage and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.“Any time we play pass defense like that we have a chance to be a really, really good team,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the win. “I thought that the way we kick-started the game with Doran Grant with the interception return, that’s a good sign that we play much better pass defense.”Grant said the interception “meant a lot” to him, but it was more important for the team.“It meant a lot to me, but it meant a whole lot more to the team,” Grant said. “It was a great momentum breaker, it got the team going, offense got going. It was good.”The defense held Purdue to just 116 offensive yards in the game, with only 89 of them coming through the air.After a quick three-and-out on Purdue’s next drive, the OSU offense again got in the end zone quickly. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller found junior tight end Jeff Heuerman wide open on the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown.“You gotta reward big guys like that all the time,” Miller said of Heuerman. “They do a hell of a job blocking for the running backs and me as well. It was a perfect defense for Jeff to get open like that.”Heuerman, who finished the game with a team-high 116 yards on five receptions to go along with the score, credited his day’s success on the abilities of his teammates rather than himself.“I don’t think it’s me as much as it is the other guys,” Heuerman said. “Having a running back like (senior) Carlos Hyde and a quarterback like Braxton Miller and some of our offensive weapons – Dontre Wilson, Devin (Smith) and Evan (Spencer), Philly Brown – the defenses, they’ve gotta respect all of them…Having all those guys being so productive, it puts me in a position where I can make my block easier sometimes. It makes my route easier.”Fellow Buckeye tight end, sophomore Nick Vannett, scored OSU’s third touchdown of the game two possessions later. He grabbed an eight-yard pass from Miller and took it the rest of the way for the score.After a Boilermaker fumble on its next drive, Miller delivered a shovel pass to senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown near the goal line to give OSU a 28-0 lead.The Buckeyes led, 35-0, after redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton threw a one-yard jump pass to senior wide receiver Chris Fields for a touchdown with Miller lined up at receiver.Freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott then caught a 10-yard pass from Miller, giving OSU a 42-0 lead it took to the break.The Buckeyes tallied 350 total yards in the first half compared to Purdue’s 87.Guiton relieved Miller when the second half began, promptly leading the offense right down the field and scoring on a four-yard touchdown run. He would find the end zone again in the fourth quarter on the ground, this time from one-yard out to give OSU the lead, 56-0.Miller finished the day 19-of-23 passing for 233 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.Sophomore right tackle Taylor Decker left the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury. Meyer said after the game Decker sprained his MCL and will “probably be out for a week or so.”The Buckeyes will take their second bye of the season next week before returning to action Nov. 16 against Illinois in Champaign, Ill. read more

Mens Basketball Ohio State falls 7459 to Houston suffers Round of 32

Ohio State junior forward Andre Wesson (24) drives toward the basket in the second half of the game against Indiana at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago on Mar. 14. Ohio State won 79-74. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State knew the level of defense Houston had to offer. The Cougars came into the game allowing 61.1 points per game, forcing opponents to shoot 36.5 percent from the field, the lowest percentage in the country. Shooting 38.8 percent from the field, the Buckeyes’ 14 turnovers, including five by sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson, proved to be too costly, as Ohio State lost to Houston 74-59, eliminating the Buckeyes from the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has lost four of his five career appearances in the Round of 32. After a cold start to the second half, missing its first four attempts from deep, Ohio State began to heat up. Senior guard C.J. Jackson hit a jumper and a 3, cutting the Buckeyes’ deficit to five with 11:44 left. But the five-point deficit was one that the Buckeyes could not overcome. After Jackson’s 3, Ohio State did not record another field-goal make until Wesson recorded a layup with 3:27 to go in the game. The Buckeyes shot 32 percent from the field in the second half, making 2-of-12 attempts from 3. In the final game of his collegiate career, Jackson finished the game with a team-leading 18 points, shooting 46.7 percent from the field, including 4-of-11 from deep. The turnovers came early for the Buckeyes, turning the ball over in four of the first five possessions of the game. Ohio State left the half with eight turnovers, including four by Wesson. Turnover troubles continued in the second half, recording two on the first two possessions in the second half. Houston finished the game scoring 13 points off of the Buckeyes’ turnovers. When retaining possession, offense did not prove to be difficult for Ohio State. The Buckeyes connected on six of their first nine attempts from deep, including back-to-back makes by Wesson early in the half. After attempting four shots, all 3-point attempts, in the first half, Wesson finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds, shooting 42.9 percent from the field.However, success from deep slowed, as Ohio State finished the game hitting 10 of its 29 attempts from 3.Houston outscored Ohio State 34-12 inside the paint, outrebounding the Buckeyes 37-31. After scoring 53 points in his previous three games, redshirt senior Keyshawn Woods scored 10 points, making 4-of-11 from the field, missing four of his five 3-point attempts. He added four assists and three rebounds. As Ohio State slowed, Houston took advantage. When redshirt sophomore guard DeJon Jarreau hit a jumper to tie the game at 25 with 7:49 left in the first half, Houston began a 16-6 run, giving the Cougars the 39-31 halftime lead. The Houston offense could not continue its momentum out of halftime, starting the second half missing its first eight attempts from the field.Despite shooting 37 percent from the field in the second half, the Cougars were able to outscore Ohio State 35-28 in the final 20 minutes. Houston senior guard Corey Davis Jr. led the Cougars with 21 points, making 6-of-15 from the field. Ohio State made its second straight NCAA Tournament under Holtmann, losing in the Round of 32 for the second season in a row. read more

Flagship government policy to supervise inmates leaving prison severely criticised by inspectors

first_imgRe-offending rates among criminals given short jail sentences remain high and public protection work is “weak” despite a probation revolution, watchdogs have warned.Risks of harm presented by prisoners are not always recognised and victims are not always protected, according to an assessment of a key plank of a shake-up of how offenders are managed.Campaigners labelled the reforms a “reckless experiment”, while the Government insisted public protection is its “top priority”.The overhaul launched in 2014 saw the creation of National Probation Service (NPS) to deal with high-risk offenders, while remaining work was assigned to 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). Turning prisoners’ lives around is difficult, and success in individual cases is not guaranteed, even when everything possible is doneDame Glenys Stacey Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Under the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, all prisoners sentenced to a year or less are now subject to 12 months of supervision on release. The change means an extra 50,000 individuals are supervised – an increase of around 25 per cent.CRCs are responsible for “through the gate” services, helping inmates to prepare for release and resettle in the community – including finding accommodation, employment or training and managing finances.A joint report from HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons said public protection work around short-sentence prisoners is “weak” and warned this is a “systemic problem”.The watchdogs raised concerns that the risk of harm to others from prisoners was not always recognised, which meant victims were not always protected – particularly in cases of domestic abuse.In one case, a registered sex offender released without any accommodation has since disappeared, according to the report. The inspectorates said rates of re-offending and recall to prison were high.A follow-up found that a quarter of the prisoners in the inspection sample had already been recalled to prison in connection with alleged new offences and/or for not keeping appointments under their licences.The picture was more positive for women, but the report said that many officers “conveyed a lack of hope and an almost fatalistic acceptance of the likelihood of failure”.In other findings the inspectorates, which looked at a sample of 86 cases, said:Not enough assistance was given to prisoners to resolve debts;Too many prisoners were released without any accommodation;Basic custody screenings, completed at the start of sentence by prison staff, drew only upon what the prisoner had said and were a “wholly inadequate” basis for resettlement planning;None of the prisoners in the sample had been helped into employment by through the gate services;CRCs are not sufficiently incentivised under their contract arrangements to give priority to through the gate work.HM Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said: “There were great hopes for Through the Gate and there is still the potential for change that government and others wish to see.”But turning prisoners’ lives around is difficult, and success in individual cases is not guaranteed, even when everything possible is done, particular for those with mental illness or addictions.”There is far more chance of success if those involved are determined and incentivised to do the best possible job and systems are designed to support them.” Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Transforming Rehabilitation was supposed to turn lives around, reduce re-offending and make us all safer.”It is doing precisely the opposite – failing to help people find homes and employment, failing to prevent people committing further offences, and failing by exposing victims of crime to more danger.”Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said:”We are already carrying out a comprehensive review of our probation reforms to improve outcomes for offenders and communities.”We want to incentivise good resettlement outcomes to cut crime and protect the public.”Public protection is our top priority and we will not hesitate to take the necessary action to make sure our vital reforms are being delivered to reduce re-offending, cut crime and prevent future victims.”last_img read more

Dog lovers invited to join in with pets last walk before hes

first_img Show more Walnut A dog owner from Cornwall has posted an open invitation on Facebook inviting animals lovers to join him on Saturday as he takes his beloved pet whippet for a final walk before he is put down.Mark Woods, from Newquay, has owned Walnut since he was a puppy.The dog is now 18 years old and, due to ailing health, the decision has been taken to end his life this weekend.Mark is taking time off work to spend as much time with Walnut as possible before the time comes to take him to the vets – and he’s planning to give his pet a celebratory send off in one of their favourite spots. Credit:Mark Woodscenter_img In a Facebook post that’s been shared hundreds of times, Mark wrote: “Sadly I am having to have Walnut euthanised on Saturday 12th November and so we will be having a last walk together on his beloved Porth Beach at 9.30am.“I would love it if dog lovers/owners and friends would join us for a celebration of Walnut on his favourite Porth Beach.“He has had an incredible life and having reached the grand age of 18 is ready for his final sleep. Hope to see you on Saturday.”Mark has been inundated with messages of love and support on social media.One commenter, noting that Walnut was still walking, asked if the euthanasia was definitely necessary, to which Mark replied: “If you saw him and looked into his eyes you would know.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

NHS workers quitting to stack shelves because it pays more

first_imgThe senior executive told Health Service Journal one NHS employer said “lower banded staff were going off to stack shelves in Sainsbury’s because they could get [better pay] that way”.Others said care homes were increasingly poaching NHS staff, having increased their pay rates following the introduction of the living wage.Mr Hopson told an NHS Providers conference in Birmingham that the health service was now facing “impossible” demands amid squeezed finances and shortages of staff.He said the situation was such that the service risks entering a “long slow inexorable decline” amid longer waiting lists, increased rationing, and a crisis in social care.Mr Hopson, who has been criticised for his £200,000 salary after making repeated demands for increased NHS funding, said trust chief executives were asking themselves: “How do I provide the right of quality of care without enough people and without adequate sums of money?”The senior leader said NHS employers felt stuck between a “rock and a hard place” because they could not afford to give rises of more than 1 per cent, which might not be enough to keep staff.“If we try and maintain that 1 per cent to the end of the parliament, we are seriously worried that we will not be able to maintain the staff we need or recruit new ones,” he said.The organisation’s poll of 172 chief executives and chairmen found 55 per cent said they are worried that their trust does not have the right numbers, quality and mix of staff to deliver high-quality care. Low-paid NHS workers are quitting to stack shelves in supermarkets because they can earn more money for less stress, the leader of NHS hospitals has said.Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospitals, said workers were leaving because pay in the health service had not kept up with rises in some parts of the private sector.Mr Hopson said the health service was struggling to hire and retain staff because pay restraint in the NHS meant pay was “starting to become uncompetitive in certain areas”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Romanian migrant raped woman in the UK days after release from prison

first_imgPhilip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, where the attack took place, said: “This was a vicious, horrendous and vile crime, which has tainted our town.”Foreign nationals who commit crimes in the UK should serve their prison sentences in full back in their country of origin and never be allowed to re-enter the UK.”I am afraid that whilst we remain in the EU, EU nationals with criminal records are free to travel from one EU country to another, but once we leave we can get back control of our borders and we could put a stop to free movement for criminals.”EU laws on sharing information relating to criminal records came into effect in 2012 but campaigners warn that in practice only the most dangerous criminals are flagged up by some member states.  Moraru had been sentenced to five years in prison in 2014 and was released early before moving to the UK. On New Year’s Eve he had kissed the woman in a nightclub and then began pestering her for sex. When she denied his advances he followed her. Sentencing, Judge Rupert Mayo said: “It was plain to anybody that she did not want your company.”You waited, you were a minute behind her as you followed her into a churchyard.”In the churchyard you brutally raped her and used your fists to smash her face in.”Passers-by who heard her screams dialled 999 and Moraru’s DNA was found at the scene and he was arrested on January 6 at the car wash where he was working. A victim impact statement read to the court described the consequences of the attack on the woman. Nicola Moore, prosecuting, said: “She said that she felt responsible for what happened and felt physically sick when she thought about it.”She indicated that she does not like to go out after dark and insists that she is accompanied.”Moraru initially denied causing the injuries and said the sex was consensual, but later pleaded guilty to rape and causing actual bodily harm.He was also made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and made to sign the sex offenders’ register for life. Northampton Crown Court, where Florin Moraru was jailedCredit:Jonathan Lodge After the case, Detective Sergeant Nick Cobley, from Northamptonshire Police, said: “Florin Moraru is an extremely violent man who carried out a despicable act. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Northampton Crown Court, where Florin Moraru was jailedcenter_img “His behaviour on the night of the incident was predatory and calculated, showing a high level of persistence and having no regard for his victim’s rights or wishes.”Today’s sentencing has brought a swift resolution to an horrific incident, ensuring this evil man is locked up and unable to commit further offences or put anybody else through such a terrifying ordeal.”I’d like to commend the victim for her bravery and hope today’s sentencing brings some form of closure for her.” Florin Moraru has been jailed for 10 years and eight months Florin Moraru has been jailed for 10 years and eight monthsCredit: SWNS A Romanian immigrant battered and raped a woman just 11 days after arriving in the UK having been released from prison in his home country.Florin Moraru, 25, fled Romania when judges released him on licence from a prison sentence for attacking another woman during a violent robbery. Less than a fortnight later after his arrival in Britain, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, Moraru followed a young woman who had spurned his advances from a nightclub into a churchyard, crept up behind her and punched her in the face.She fell to the floor screaming “no, no, no” but he continued to punching her until she stopped struggling and then raped her. As he was jailed for 10 years and eight months there were renewed calls for tighter restrictions to be placed on foreign criminals entering Britain.    last_img read more

Manchester attack Fears over second bomb after police find huge chemical explosive

first_imgThe Manchester suicide bomber may have built a second device which is now in the hands of fellow jihadists, police fear.Officers who raided the home of Salman Abedi discovered a working bomb factory with a huge stash of explosive chemicals and other components.Security sources now believe that Abedi assembled the bomb himself after learning his trade in Libya.But the amount of material in his home has led to fears that he could have built more than one device and and distributed them to other British-based extremists. The building in Manchester where Abedi rented his flat Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. On Thursday night the search for his Islamist network was continuing with a total of eight people being questioned on suspicion of involvement in what officers described as “significant arrests”.However fears that a bombmaker was on the loose were played down. US media outlet reported security sources in America as saying that officers no longer believed that to be the case.It appears officers now believe Abadi is the bombmaker and may have built more bombs which have yet to be discovered. Such a belief is likely to have contributed to the increase in the terror threat level, which was lifted from severe to critical – meaning an attack is imminent – on Tuesday evening.Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police said: “I want to reassure people that the arrests that we have made are significant, and initial searches of premises have revealed items that we believe are very important to the investigation.”He previously confirmed that his officers were hunting a “network” linked to Abedi.center_img Sources believe Abedi may have used the £75 a night apartment to put all the components of the device together, before heading off late on Monday evening to make his way to the Manchester Arena where he killed 22 people.The use of two addresses to assemble the device was a tactic used by the 7/7 bombers who also spent months learning how to build a bomb at a training camp in Pakistan.Former Metropolitan Police officer, David Videcette, who helped investigate the tube bombings said it was likely Abedi had spent many months abroad practising how to assemble a device before returning to the UK.He said: “This is not something you can just put together by reading a book or watching a YouTube video. He will have spent time at a camp somewhere, possibly in Libya, being shown how to do it. “But once you have the skills and the materials, assembling the device itself can be done fairly quickly.” A security source told the Telegraph: “The worry is there was enough to build two or three bombs and we can’t rule that out.”Abedi arrived back in Manchester from Libya on Thursday, travelling via Istanbul and Dusseldorf.The following day he visited the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester, where he was caught on CCTV buying a Karrimor rucksack.It is believed he then spent the weekend putting together the main components of the device, including the detonator.On Monday he then travelled the three miles from his home in Elsmore Road in the Fallowfield district to a rented apartment in Granby Row on the edge of Manchester’s Gay Village.The building was raided by special forces at lunchtime on Wednesday and specialist forensics teams and bomb squad operatives were still at the building on Thursday. The building in Manchester where Abedi rented his flatlast_img read more

Prince Harry and Meghan Markles wedding cake royal bakes through the ages

first_imgIt was not ever thus. The intense interest in royal fare has gathered pace over the last 200 years, especially when it comes to big occasions and, apart from coronations, which are always tinged with a certain level of uncertainty, there’s little bigger than a wedding. … Meghan and Harry have chosen their wedding cake, and it is to be a celebration of spring; a zingy, floral confection with firm nods to all of the current fashionable food preoccupations – seasonality, provenance and natural ingredients. Claire Ptak, the Hackney-based chef-pâtissier of Violet Bakery who will be making it, shares a Californian background with the bride, and the commission will doubtless boost her profile enormously.last_img read more

Police pursue speeding Jet Ski riders on the Thames

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Four speeding jet ski riders escaped the grasp of police today who chased them along the River Thames.Officers gave chase this evening after receiving reports that the vessels were “being driven at speed” through London – but had to stand down for “safety reasons”.A Met Police spokesman said: “Police were called at approximately 18:29hrs on Friday, 03 August to reports of four jet skis driving at speed down the River Thames.”Officers from the Met’s Marine Policing Unit (MPU) pursued all four jet skis.”The jet skis were approaching central London and the MPU were able to make them change their course.”Following this the decision was taken to no longer pursue the jet skis for safety reasons.” read more

England gets newest mountain as Lake District hill reclassified

“We can confirm that we will be updating our maps to show a spot height of 610m for Miller Moss. “This magic figure of 610m will now give Miller Moss mountain status and becomes another Great British mountain summit for outdoor enthusiasts to reach this summer.” Mr Barnard, who lives in Mold, North Wales, has been an avid walker since his twenties, but alongside Jackson only started measuring hills in 2006.  England has registered its newest mountain after two adventurers scaled a “nondescript bump” in the Lake District.Keen mountaineers John Barnard, 69, and Graham Jackson, 68, have helped Miller Moss in the Northern Fells become the 446th mountain listed in Anne and John Nuttalls’ books ‘The Mountains of England and Wales’.The former work colleagues have been climbing Britain’s biggest hills for over a decade in the hope of reclassifying them as mountains, and are now responsible for 30 alterations to the Ordnance Survey’s Land Ranger and Explorer maps.The recognised threshold for when a hill becomes a mountain is 609.6m (2000ft).–– ADVERTISEMENT ––The men decided to check the measurements at Miller Moss after noticing it was marked on OS maps as being 609m. After eight hours of measurements using a sophisticated GPS worth £3,700 , the men discovered it actually measured at 610.1m.Mr Jackson, who studied chemistry at Corpus Christi, Oxford, and now lives in Chester, said: “It’s a great feeling.”There is a degree of elation. It’s great – we’ve got something changed.“We’re always pleased,” said Barnard, who worked with Jackson at Imperial Chemical Industries for many years. “It’s nice to do this. A lot of the time you go up, spend hours there, come down and nothing has changed, so to get a result like this is great. Having said that, it is a bit of a nondescript bump,” he added.  He said: “It started off slowly, but now we’ve made it our passion.“Our first reclassification was called Birks Fell, in Yorkshire. We found that to be over 2000ft, where before it was just under.“Ordnance Survey measure hills and mountains by flying a plane over and taking photographs, a process called photogrammetry,” he added.”They can then use those to make a 3D model and measure heights from that but it only gives an accuracy of plus or minus three metres, so anything classified between 606m and 612m is always of interest.” He added: “We have done several hundred now, in England, Scotland and Wales, but we have only had around 30 reclassified. The OS data is very good.”A spokesman for the Ordnance Survey said: “We have been working with John and Graham for several years and have supported them in verifying their survey results for many summits across Great Britain. “As the national mapping agency OS maintains the geospatial database for Great Britain and it is our role to ensure that any changes are checked and verified. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

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