3Wagner Seahawks2-4 TEAMRECORD One of the greatest turnarounds in college athletics is occurring in the media capital of the world, and you probably haven’t heard about it.1Unless you follow Twitter.com/ForecasterEnten. The Columbia Lions football squad sits at 4-0 and on top of the Ivy League heading into homecoming against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on Saturday. To say its undefeated start is shocking would be an understatement.Just three years ago, I wrote that Columbia was taking part in the worst college football game of the year. The 0-8 Lions were hosting the 0-8 Cornell Big Red in Upper Manhattan. Columbia would lose that game 30-27 and finish the year 0-10. That season was part of a 24-game losing streak, which one might call a baby version of the Lions’ 44-game losing streak in the 1980s.Indeed, Columbia hasn’t won more than four games in a season in more than a decade and hasn’t had a winning season since 1996. In fact, there have only been three seasons since 1982 when the Lions finished .500 or better:Perhaps the strangest thing about what’s happening at the top of Manhattan is this: Columbia is arguably the best college or pro football team in New York City right now. The Giants are 0-5, the Jets are 3-2 (talk about weird), and all the other college teams that play in the five boroughs have worse records. (Though being the best college football team in New York City is like being the most accurate Stormtrooper.) 2New York Jets*3-2 *Technically not New York CitySource: ESPN So how the heck did the constant losers turn it around and make this Lions fan2I went to every home game from 1994 to 2000 and still attend at least one game a year. very happy? It all started when the school hired former Quaker head coach Al Bagnoli in 2015. The team has progressed incrementally since then, and a look at the stats reveals that Columbia has improved in nearly every facet since entering the game against the Big Red three years ago. Simply put, the Lions are scoring a lot more points than they did then. Heading into that game against Cornell, they were dead last (out of 121 teams) in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with just 8.6 points per game. They had scored more than 7 points only once. But through four games this year, the Lions have scored at least 17 points every game and have put up an average of 30.3 points per game. That ranks 35th out of 123 teams.The main cause of the offensive explosion has been an improvement in the passing game. Three years ago, Columbia ranked 52nd with 221.6 passing yards per game (YPG). This year the Lions have jumped to 21st with 276.8 YPG, thanks in part to the strong play of senior quarterback Anders Hill. Of course, as I pointed out in 2014, Columbia was always so far behind that year that they needed to pass pretty much all the time. In passing efficiency — which takes into account completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown rate and interception rate — Columbia has jumped from 120th to 21st.Although the rushing game hasn’t improved anywhere near as much as the passing game, Columbia has shown it can move the ball on the ground. Heading into their 2014 game against Cornell, the Lions averaged just 51.3 rushing YPG. Again, that was dead last. This year, they’re up to 68th place with 136.0 YPG. As anyone who has ever watched football can tell you, the ability to both pass and run the ball gives you a better opportunity to fool the defense and score more points.On the other side of the field, the Lions put one of the worst defenses in the country on the field just three years ago. They were giving up an average of 273.8 rushing YPG (120th worst in the FCS) and 246.9 YPG (100th worst). It’s tough to win football games when you can stop neither the run nor the pass.This year, Columbia is doing a good job of stopping both. The Lions are giving up only 121.8 rushing YPG (32nd least in the FCS) and 194.8 passing YPG (39th least). In total defense (which combines both of these), Columbia ranks 26th for the least yards by giving up 316.5 YPG. That has allowed them to give up the 17th least points per game overall at just 17.3.The Lions have also excelled at special teams, where their kicking, punting and return games have all improved dramatically.3Three years ago, Columbia made just two field goals in its first eight games and was ranked 111th and 75th in average yards per kickoff and punt return, respectively. This season, the Lions have already made three field goals in four games, and are ranked 23rd in yards per kickoff return (with 23.27) and 13th in yards per punt return (with 13.00). And they have a point differential average of +13.0 points per game, which is 16th best in the country. That’s 44.2 points better per game than when they had a -31.2 point differential that ranked 118th when heading into their game against Cornell in 2014.So can this streak continue?Columbia’s season is not even halfway to completion. The rest of the games are against Ivy League opponents, which will help to determine whether Columbia wins its first league title since 1961.The team has had a little luck on its side. The Lions seem to be doing a little better on third down than their overall offensive and defensive ranking. Such success usually reverts to the mean. I’d also be worried about the fact that they rank 92nd in fewest penalty yards per game. Older Columbia fans may remember that a pivotal Marcellus Wiley penalty hurt the team dearly in its unsuccessful bid for a perfect season in 1996.Even so, Columbia is off to an impressive start. It’s been strong in all facets of the game — offense, defense and special teams. Other New York area football teams (OK, mainly the Giants) could only dream of doing so well. Bizarro New YorkCollege and pro football programs in New York City as of Oct. 13, 2017 5New York Giants*0-5 4Fordham Rams1-5 1Columbia Lions4-0
Ohio State senior safety Damon Webb (7) celebrates a pass break-up in the third quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: James King II | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — “Defense wins championships” is the most overused phrase in sports. It will be used one million times or more in the coming weeks as four teams prepare for a shot at a national title.Saturday, the phrase was gospel.No. 8 Ohio State made two momentous defensive stops in the final five minutes against No. 4 Wisconsin to win its first Big Ten title since 2014, and more importantly for the Buckeyes, they have a realistic shot at earning the final spot in the College Football Playoff just vacated by the Badgers.“Their preparation this week, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a college football team prepare the way these kids did,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “I think that gave them great confidence to go execute.”Ohio State elected to kick a field goal on a fourth-and-1 with 5:20 remaining, which extended the lead to 27-21. That’s a spot where head coach Urban Meyer is notorious for rolling the dice and winning a football game by winning that 1 yard. He said after the game that it was his decision to kick the field goal and go against his traditional action of attempting the conversion.The truth was that the defense was playing too well not to have faith that it could get a stop. It did. And after another three-and-out by the Ohio State offense, the defense made the game-ending stop.Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrooke threw his second interception of the game on fourth-and-20 to Damon Webb with less than two minutes left in the game.“I just thought our defense was playing so good,” Meyer said. Let’s let that quarterback and let our defensive line do what they do best and get after that quarterback. But that was one of the toughest calls of the day.”Hornibrooke’s has the worst touchdown to interception ratio of any Power 5 conference quarterback at 21 to 15. But he wasn’t what concerned Ohio State’s defense. Big Ten freshman of the year Jonathan Taylor, who averaged more than 150 rushing yards per game entering the contest, was the main focus on defense.In response, the defensive line played one of its best games of the year by continually penetrating Wisconsin’s vaunted offensive line and stopping Taylor before he got any momentum.The running back had 15 carries for 41 yards, his lowest total in one game this season.The defense answered any challenged thrown at them, most especially when the offense failed to put away Wisconsin.Ohio State had four three-and-outs, two field goals and an interception in the second half. There was no touchdown to decisively split the Badgers from the playoff field and the ranks of the unbeaten. The defense had to do that.“I think we were super confident the whole game,” sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa said. “I don’t think there was a moment we thought we were going to lose at all.”Wisconsin could have been the team that was on the podium celebrating as the Buckeyes walked off the field without any detection and with their heads held low, for everyone’s eyes would be on the team with the shiny football and hardware hoisted in the air. Everyone in attendance would watch the players and coaches pack themselves onto a makeshift stage that looks like it should be in a town parade rather than on a football field.Instead, Ohio State celebrated. A dominant offense at times that then went cold late couldn’t put the game on ice. To win the game, it had to be done on defense.An opportunity was there for the Badgers. Ohio State left the door open after each missed chance to deliver a decisive blow, but the defense seized it when the Badgers couldn’t. That’s why Ohio State is the Big Ten champion.
Manchester City’s Premier League title defence will receive further stiff tests according to Pep Guardiola, who believes it is a five horse race.Liverpool failed to extend their lead at the top after back to back slip-ups against the Foxes and the Hammers.And Guardiola whose side travel to Everton on Wednesday feels other teams like Manchester United and Chelsea could mount a late charge for the title race.A victory over the Toffees will move them above leaders Liverpool on goal difference. But the former Bayern boss is particularly wary of the threat posed by Solskjaer’s resurgent United.“I never put out [of the race] all five or six teams and United is making this run of victories every single week. They will be there to fight for the Premier League.“We see the table and see the first two or three and say, ‘they are able to be champions’ and we don’t look further than that. If Chelsea win games in a row they will be a contender too to win the Premier League.“Everybody is there. The gap is not too big. With 39 points to play for, nine or 10 points behind is not too much. Seeing the Premier League now, everybody is ready to take points.”It amounts to the type of title battle the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach expected when he moved to England, stating City’s 100-point season last time around is something of an outlier.Guardiola thinks there’s a five-team title race brewinghttps://t.co/uNjOa0w3Q8 pic.twitter.com/Na6fuu5nu1Mourinho knows why City and Liverpool are so far ahead George Patchias – September 13, 2019 Jose Mourinho knows why Manchester City and Liverpool are so far ahead of everyone else in the Premier League.In an interview with the Telegraph,…— AS English (@English_AS) February 5, 2019“I would say it is typical in England, this type of situation. What is not common is what happened last season – a team with 100 points and a lot of distance, 18 games winning,” Guardiola said via FourFourTwo.“Normal is what happens now. Every game is tough. You can win and lose every single game.“Everybody is involved for all the chances to win all the titles, [qualify for] Europe, trying to stay in the Premier League.”Marco Silva received the backing of his midweek opponent with having won three and lost seven of 12 Premier League games since the start of December.“The people do not know how difficult it is to create a team. The people believe I buy three or four players as a new manager and everything fits perfectly immediately,” Guardiola added.“Sometimes it takes time. My advice, if they believe in one project, if they believe in him, they have to move forward with him. No one can ensure the new manager is going to be better.”
The all-stock deal values each share of Sprint at slightly more than 0.10 T-Mobile shares. Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile’s parent, would own about 42 percent of the combined company. Japan’s SoftBank, which controls Sprint, would own 27 percent, and the remainder would be held by the public.The companies said they expect the deal to close by the first half of 2019 and would result in about $6 billion in annual cost savings. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, left, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere are interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 30, 2018. To gain approval for their $26.5 billion merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint aim to convince antitrust regulators that there is plenty of competition for wireless service beyond Verizon and AT&T. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) The deal announced Sunday would combine the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and bulk them up to a similar size to Verizon and AT&T, the industry giants.But the companies argued that the combination would allow them to better compete not only with those two rivals but also with Comcast and others as the wireless, broadband and video industries converge.”This isn’t a case of going from 4 to 3 wireless companies—there are now at least 7 or 8 big competitors in this converging market,” T-Mobile chief executive John Legere said in a statement. He would be the CEO of the combined company.T-Mobile and Sprint have been considering a combination for years. But a 2014 attempt fell apart amid resistance from the Obama administration. And in 2017 another potential deal fell through as well.The combined company, to be called T-Mobile, would have about 127 million customers. Consumers worry a less crowded telecom field could result in higher prices, while unions are concerned about potential job losses.In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure acknowledged that getting regulatory approval is “the elephant in the room.” One of the first things the companies did after sending out the deal’s news release was to call Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Explore further The companies stressed that they plan to have more employees following the combination, particularly in rural areas, than they do as stand-alone companies now.They also emphasized that the deal would help accelerate their development of faster 5G wireless networks and ensure that the U.S. doesn’t cede leadership on the technology to China.And they said the combination would allow them to better compete with a growing number of competitors in a changing market.Verizon and AT&T have been expanding their video-content businesses, while cable companies have been moving into wireless. That allows a single company to combine home and wireless internet and use content to support the communications businesses.Comcast, the cable giant that finished buying NBCUniversal in 2013, offers customers wireless service by reselling access to Verizon’s network. So does another dominant cable company, Charter. To gain approval for their $26.5 billion merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint aim to convince antitrust regulators that there is plenty of competition for wireless service beyond Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile CEO John Legere, left, and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure pose for photos on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 30, 2018. To gain approval for their $26.5 billion merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint aim to convince antitrust regulators that there is plenty of competition for wireless service beyond Verizon and AT&T. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Investors have been anticipating a deal like this for some time. In addition to the thwarted attempt three years ago, the two companies were poised to combine in October, but the deal was called off after what analysts said was a disagreement over control of the combined company.The deal will have to be reviewed by the Justice Department and the FCC.National carriers had not been able to get a deal through under President Barack Obama. But the FCC in September deemed the wireless market “competitive” for the first time since 2009, which some analysts say could make it easier to present a deal.The 5G aspirations are at the heart of the agreement, and the new technology could allow companies to provide faster service to people’s homes.Sprint’s Claure likened going from 4G to 5G to switching from black-and-white television to color. The combined company plans to invest up to $40 billion in its network in the first three years, which executives said would drive more hiring and better service for customers.Sprint has a lot of debt and has posted a string of annual losses. It has cut costs and made itself more attractive to customers, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk said, but it hasn’t invested enough in its network and doesn’t have enough airwave rights for quality service in rural areas.T-Mobile, meanwhile, has been on a yearslong streak of adding customers. After the government nixed AT&T’s attempt to buy the company in 2011, T-Mobile led the way in many consumer-friendly changes, such as ditching two-year contracts and bringing back unlimited data plans. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 30, 2018. To gain approval for their $26.5 billion merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint aim to convince antitrust regulators that there is plenty of competition for wireless service beyond Verizon and AT&T. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) Consumers are paying less for cellphone service thanks to T-Mobile’s influence on the industry and the resulting price wars.Advocacy organizations said the deal will likely lead to higher cellphone plans because there will be less competition. Michael Copps, a former FCC chairman and an adviser to the watchdog group Common Cause, said consumers will “lose a lot of the innovation and competitive spirit that T-Mobile had” when it was challenging not just AT&T and Verizon, but Sprint as well.But Mark Lowenstein, a mobile-industry consultant, said the move shouldn’t be seen as a consolidation in the wireless industry.”That era is over,” he said. “This is a new industry structure—where wireless is competing in the larger broadband space.”The move makes sense for developing 5G, he added.”There is no way we were going to build four national 5G networks,” he said. The combination “gives the U.S. a better chance of getting to 5G faster, innovating quicker, and competing with China in the global 5G race.”Shares of T-Mobile fell $4.80, or 7.4 percent, to $59.72 in afternoon trading Monday. Sprint shares fell 97 cents, or 15 percent, to $5.53. Sprint, T-Mobile end merger talks Citation: Sprint, T-Mobile have to sell $26.5B deal to antitrust cops (Update) (2018, April 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-sprint-t-mobile-265b-antitrust-cops.html T-Mobile CEO John Legere wears Sprint-yellow sunglasses on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, April 30, 2018. To gain approval for their $26.5 billion merger agreement, T-Mobile and Sprint aim to convince antitrust regulators that there is plenty of competition for wireless service beyond Verizon and AT&T. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)