Referee Mathieu RaynalReferee Mathieu Raynal was born in 1981 in Perpignan, Southern France. Part of a successful Junior Perpignan team, they went on to win the French Junior Championships in 1998. However, that was the extent of Raynal’s playing career before choosing to take up the whistle.Raynal’s promotion to Rugby Pro D2, France’s second division of professional rugby, at 25 for the 2006-07 season became quickly followed by his appointment to the Top 14 refereeing panel for the 2007-08 season. The Perpignan native’s rise has been slightly more gradual ever since in comparison.The referee’s first Test match came during the 2008-10 European Nations Cup Second Division fixture between Malta and Netherlands, before Mathieu Raynal took charge of his first Tier 1 fixture between Scotland and Tonga in 2012 for the Autumn Internationals. This was following his appointment by the International Rugby Board to referee four games at the 2011 Junior World Championship.A factor in Raynal’s gradual rise is in part down to an horrific injury he suffered in 2013. During a Top 14 match between Montpellier and Racing, Mathieu fractured both his tibia and fibula as he was caught between two players. It took Mathieu Raynal 11 months before refereeing again, stunting his progress on the international scene. Also make sure you know about the Fixtures, Injuries, Table, Venues, TV Coverage by clicking on the highlighted links.Finally, don’t forget to follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Follow our Six Nations homepage which we update regularly with news and features. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Not one to shy away from a red card, Raynal famously sent off CJ Stander for the first time in his career after a high, and late, challenge on South African Patrick Lambie.The Frenchman’s first Six Nations appearance came in 2017, in the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham. Due to his injury in 2013, Raynal unfortunately missed out on refereeing at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. However, 2019 was a year of redemption for Raynal, taking charge of South Africa v Namibia at the World Cup. In charge: Mathieu Raynal made his World Cup referee debut in 2019, 14 years after turning professional (Getty Images) Learn more about the Frenchman who has emerged as one of the nation’s top referees
Airlines and seat manufacturers are far wiser about their seats these days than they used to be. For the most part gone are the days when – as was the case in some coach seats – a metal plate barely embedded in the back cushion would bother some passengers’ backs. Contrary to conventional wisdom, today’s seats – even some economy seats – are more comfortable than ever. It’s the spacing of those seats that annoys passengers. Seat pitch in the back of airliners the world over seems in perpetual retreat as carriers have seen fuel prices skyrocket in the past few years. One way to ease that problem is to add more seats, to squeeze more revenue out of each flight. The trick is how to do that without cutting into a passenger’’ perceived space.Better Than You Think Economy ClassFirst, some perspective. Economy Class ‘seat sets’ (usually three seats to a set) sell for between US$7,500 and US$15,000 absent the in-flight entertainment, or IFE. Despite all the focus on the front of the aircraft, where business class seats cost carriers from US$100,000 to US$150,000, airlines and seat manufacturers are investing heavily in re-working economy class.Some deal with shrinking seat pitch by adding articulated, moving ‘seat-bottom pans.’ They contend the idea seat comfort is automatically linked to seat recline is wrong. Robert Funk, Zodiac Seat US’s vice president of sales and marketing says data show as your seat reclines, if that bottom pan is fixed and doesn’t move, the angle “between where your waist opens up from your thighs” increases. “As that angle opens more and more, it actually becomes more uncomfortable.” That’s why many seat manufacturers use seat bottom pans “that will move a little bit,” dropping down to render the angle comparatively comfortable.With the goal to “own” the economy class seat segment of the airline industry, TIMCO Aerosystems is focusing on airlines that want to improve the comfort of flyers in the back of the aircraft. “The good news for passengers,” says TIMCO Aviation Services Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Leonard Kazmerski, is “there’s a greater emphasis on [seat] comfort and aesthetics.” Despite all-consuming fuel costs and the mandate to cut aircraft weight, Kazmerski believes the pendulum is swinging from “[airline] financial guys who are much more interested in [cutting back] immediate capital costs” and toward marketers, who want to put more paying passengers in more comfortable seats.Most seat manufacturers spend a lot of time up front on ergonomics, ‘pressure mapping’ precisely where seats and passengers meet. That’s where you determine weight distribution of various types of people – short and tall, slim and not-so-slim. Sensors detect where the “hot spots” are says TIMCO Aerosystems President Rick Salanitri. “It’s an amazing science.”One particularly bothersome hot spot lay at the leading edge of the seat cushion, which can rub up against the back of the knee. On longer flights that can be a problem. It would seem simple enough to shave off a bit of seat cushion foam. The issue is, how to do that without violating regulatory requirements regarding cushion flotation capabilities.Violating a larger passenger’s lap space can be a problem too. TIMCO, like many seat manufacturers, sees it customer base as global. Seats have got to accommodate passengers ranging from tall, lanky Scandinavian males to petite Asian females. In testing earlier seat/tray combinations, “Larger passengers found…seat trays sitting on top of their laps,” says Kazmerski. “That can be very uncomfortable.”In response, the company designed a tray table a little bit more elevated. “At the same time, we addressed the cushion height of the seat…[so] the smaller passenger’s feet are not left dangling.”Tweak, tweak, tweak – and, on occasion – compromise. Kazmerski says, “There are always going to be compromises at some level [in] such a confined space.”What Southwest Airlines manifestly didn’t want to do in designing its new Evolve interior was compromise passengers’ personal space. Yet the airline was able to add another full seat row to its Boeing 737-700s without, it says, cutting into it passengers’ living room. “The objective of Evolve wasn’t to see how many seats we could cram into the cabin,” contends Angela Vargo, the airline’s manager of product innovation. “We just wanted to improve the seat.”Southwest’s old bottom seat cushions were too fat, the victim of weighty flotation diaphragms. The carrier removed the old cushions and put life vests under every seat to meet regulatory requirements. As a result, each of its refitted jets shed 635 pounds of weight, saved fuel and boosted the seat count from 137 to 143. In the process it shaved an inch off overall average seat pitch. What was 32 inches is now 31. Still, Vargo asserts “the cubic space around your body actually increased.”Southwest did that by substituting a slimmer bottom cushion, one that “provides more personal space,” she says. “Because all of a sudden you’re sitting further back in the seat.”A couple of added advantages flow from that. First, you now actually feel the lumbar support. The old cushion masked it, because it was simply too plump. You’re also now far more engaged with the armrests. Before, you had to scrunch down to properly reach them. You also had to crane down your neck to see out of the window. Over the course of a long flight that can, quite literally, be pain in the neck.Passenger perceptions of the seat have been “positive” says Vargo, although she concedes, “It’s hard to overcome the [shrunken seat pitch] perceptions people come on board with. It can influence how they feel about the seat.”To see a video of Southwest mechanics fitting a 737 with the new seats click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjMq0zEUABkBack to that pain in the neck for a moment. British Airways is attacking the problem by installing hammock-style neck rests in place of traditional neck rests in its World Traveller economy cabin. “The design decision was a direct result of comfort trials with customers,” says Kathryn Slack, BA’s cabin development manager.Pure Premium EconomyBA’s also battling it out in the next higher tier, increasingly popular premium economy. It’s laying on more seat pitch, seat width and – yes-recline in World Traveller Plus to fashion what Slack says is more “living space in a smaller, more intimate and quiet environment.”Don’t mistake some offerings as “true” international premium economy cautions Zodiac Seats US’s Robert Funk. “There are airlines which offer an expanded coach class product, when they identify as ‘premium.’…But all they’ve done is take a standard coach seat and increase the pitch.”True premium economy usually offers about 38 inches of pitch, gives you in a wider seat, and offers more recline – while easing that annoying angle Funk alluded to by employing a movable seat pan. But seat pans are not necessarily the whole answer. Remember, all passengers are not created equal with it comes to physical stature.Funk says designers need to consider the consequences of that forward-moving seat pan. You don’t want “the front edge of the pan lifting your feet off the floor. Because then it will cut off the blood into your legs by bighting into underside of your legs.” That can help trigger Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), blood clots that can form in your legs. The consequences can be very bad indeed.Premium economy seats are largely mechanical – as opposed to the larger, more luxurious, electronically-actuated seats in business class. Premium economy seats cost carriers anywhere from US$20,000 to US$30,000 per seat set (two seats usually).Direct-Aisle Access Business ClassUp beyond the curtain lies business class, the place where dreams come true. It’s also where carriers make a significant amount of their money. That’s why they’re willing to invest so much in their premium product. Ben Orson sums it up best. Business class seats are “far more than something just to take your weight,” says the managing director of London-based JPA Design, a high-end travel design house. They’ve got to be bedroom, office, theater and restaurant – all “in one carefully managed space.”What’s popular just now is direct-aisle access. Window seat business class flyers hate having to stumble over their seatmate in the middle of the night to get to the lavatory. Zodiac’s Cirrus seat is arrayed so you don’t have to climb over the person next to you. The seat was designed by JPA for Zodiac. Its true genius lies in “how you [arrange] the’‘deck chairs’,” says Funk, “whether you point the feet together, whether you angle the feet out.” The result is a 1x2x1 set-up that makes the most of scarce cabin space. Zodiac Seats US’s marketing vp says direct aisle access now “comes up [in] virtually every conversation we have with customers when talking about business class seats.”Orson says the direct-aisle access concept “has gone on to be one of the giants in terms of seat design.” It’s flying on Cathay Pacific, American, Delta, EVA and Air France and Orson says, “there are multiple other customers coming down the pipeline.”First Class – the Final FrontierFirst class suites, fully enclosed and very private, have come of age. Exploring the pleasures and perks of these most preeminent of airline seats is a story in itself, one better saved for another time. Singapore Airlines helped pioneer the concept back in 1998, fitting its 747s with its then breathtakingly new Singapore Suite.It’s in first class that Orson says passenger comfort and national pride meet. Suites are “overtly luxurious,” reflecting both the airline brand and the country from which the airline comes, all in the same instant.Regular RebirthAirlines, the really competitive upper-tier ones, renew their cabins every five to seven years. The focus is firmly on the seat. Perhaps on the way two to three years from now, says Orson without being terribly specific about it, could be seating arrangements that accommodate groups of passengers. “Middle Eastern carriers will tell you that they have a fairly high percentage of families who travel business class; while Asian airlines will tell you [their passengers] place a high priority on privacy.”Orson says JPA is looking at ways to give the former “a chance to enjoy group experiences” such as “dining or watching a movie together”– while nearby passengers particularly partial to privacy get some work done or sleep.And so it is that seat design is a matter of creative compromise – combining smart space management with subtle sex appeal. “I think,” says Ben Orson, “there’s always an appetite on the part of [passengers] to walk into a cabin and say, “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest This jam-packed episode of the Ohio Ag Net Podcast, sponsored by AgriGold, covers the wide-ranging concerns of farmers in a time of prevented plant and cover crop questions, among others.On this week’s podcast, Matt, Dale and Joel talk about the recent meeting by the Ohio No-till Council at Ohio Northern, chatting with Jan Layman, Gary Wilson, and Bob Hendershot in the process. The third week of Feeding Farmers brought a talk with farmer Willie Murphy and his diversified operation. It’s also a busy time for listening sessions between the Ohio Director of Agriculture Dorothy Pelanda and farmers around the state. Pelanda, as well as farmer Christy Leeds, talks about the tough time had so far this year. All that, plus we hear from grain merchandiser Jon Scheve on the surprising June acreage report, in the Ohio Ag Net Podcast.
Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. Powered attic ventilators cause problemsI’ve been in lots of attics. I’ve seen lots of powered attic ventilators, including the one in the top photo. That one was hooked up at one of the gable vents. The other seven fans in the attic were spread across the roof, and they were naturally fighting against each other. There’s no way there was enough open vent area in that attic to supply all eight of those fans.In another home, I found three powered attic ventilators in the roof. We had been called in to solve a mold problem in two of the bathrooms, and those three fans turned out to be the main problem. We turned them off and the negative pressure pulling humid outdoor air into the bathrooms has gone away. Fans in the Attic: Do They Help or Do They Hurt?Are Solar-Powered Attic Ventilators Green?Martin’s Useless Products ListGeorgia Pulls the Attic-Ventilator Plug (Sort of) The clever commentWell, I promised I’d share the wisdom of the latest commenter with you, so here it is: “OK… I’m going to say it because no one else will… Allison Bailes, you’re an ASS!! :-)”It makes me feel so much better that he used that smiley face at the end. ;~) One reason powered attic ventilators don’t helpIn my original article, I focused on makeup air. That is, I said that when you run a powered attic ventilator in a typical house, yes, it will cool the attic down. A significant amount of that cooling is likely to come from conditioned air being sucked up from the house below. Most ceilings aren’t air-sealed well, so putting a negative pressure on the attic will do that. I quoted Peter Yost in the earlier article, and in the comments, David Butler made a similar remark:“In a particular home, if a PAV truly reduces cooling costs enough to pay for itself (don’t forget to consider the energy the fan consumes), then that tells me there are issues with ceiling insulation and/or attic venting.”That’s as true today as it was three years ago when I wrote the first article. And it’s part of the reason that my state, Georgia, has banned power attic ventilators (unless they’re solar-powered, which was a concession needed to get the grid-powered fans banned). But there’s really a more fundamental reason that powered attic ventilators won’t help a lot, and for some reason, I didn’t mention that in the original article. Three years ago I wrote an article titled, Don’t Let Your Attic Suck: Power Attic Ventilators Are a Bad Idea. Nearly a hundred thousand page views and 93 comments later, it’s still generating lots of heat. I don’t know why so many people are so defensive about powered attic ventilators (PAVs), but here are a few of the things they’ve said to me in the comments:You really should do more research before you post blogs like this.Common Sense!!!! is in the building world, you really ought to check it out sometimes.I challenge you to a battle of applied knowledge in this field any day, it’s people like you who make people who need an attic fan second guess themselves out of speaking with a true professional.Oh, and let’s not forget: “You just are not getting it lady…” Last week I got another one so clever and witty I was at a loss as to how to respond. As it has mild profanity, I’ll post it at the end so you can avoid it if you’d like. With so many delicate construction types hanging around here at GBA, I try to be sensitive to your needs. ;~) INFORMATION ON POWERED ATTIC VENTILATORS Effective Attic VentilationHome Energy: Drawbacks Of Powered Attic Ventilators FSEC: Performance Assessment of Photovoltaic Attic Ventilator Fans The #1 reasonHow does heat get into the attic? Well, it starts at the sun and radiates down to the rooftop. We make sure that most rooftops can soak up as much heat as possible by using asphalt shingles. They’re often dark-colored. They’re granular. And many roof surfaces are tilted toward the sun for enhanced absorption.That heat then conducts down through the roofing materials. The underside of the roof deck can get very hot — so hot you can’t keep your hand on it. At temperatures of 150°F or more, that’s a lot of heat sitting there in that plywood or OSB. Some of it will go directly into the attic air by conduction, but that’s a small amount because air isn’t a good conductor.The main way that heat gets into the attic is through radiation. That hot roof deck radiates heat down into the attic. But that radiant heat passes through the attic air and hits the solid materials. It gets absorbed by the framing, insulation, the stuff you’re storing up there, and, unfortunately, any ductwork and HVAC systems that are up there.Those materials heat up. They give up most of their heat by conducting it downwards into the house or into the ductwork and HVAC system and then into the house from there. Some of that heat gets into the air above the hot materials on the attic floor, but the attic air getting heated up is a secondary effect. See it now? Here it is: Using a fan to blow hot air out of the attic doesn’t address the radiant heat flow from the roof to the attic floor. Much of that heat then conducts downward and finds its way into the house.Trying to solve the heat gain problem in your attic by using a fan is like lying out at the beach with a fan blowing over you and thinking you’re not going to get a sunburn.â€ A radiant barrier would be a better way to attack this problem, but the cost-effectiveness of radiant barriers is marginal. RELATED ARTICLES Footnote:â€ My friend Mike Barcik gets credit for this analogy, except that when he tells it, you’re lying naked in the sun. Naturally, this being a family blog and all, I don’t talk about naked people here. (And no – that’s not me in the photo.)
Touch Football Australia (TFA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Deaf Sports Australia (DSA), highlighting the inclusive nature of Touch Football and its accessibility to all people. TFA CEO, Colm Maguire and DSA General Manager, Garry West-Bail signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Monday at the TFA office. Hearing impairments currently affect one in five Australians with that number expected to increase in coming years. This commitment from TFA to those who may describe themselves as deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired or a cochlear implantee, is another example of how the sport wants to improve the experience for all persons as well as create an environment where persons with a hearing impairment feel comfortable.Maguire said that the organisation hopes to ‘make a real difference in the deaf community’. “What we’ve set about trying to achieve with this relationship in terms of inclusive nature is something that, from our perspective, we needed to identify and hone in on a community we could really help and embrace, rather than trying to be all encompassing. Around one in five Australians has a hearing impairment. That’s a wide community as is the Touch Football community, it is a very big sport, very inclusive and no impediment to participation and certainly we see the opportunity of further formalising in a Memorandum of Understanding the things that we’ve been doing on a day by day nature,” Maguire said. “From our perspective it’s now about the key strategies that we set about in our Participation Plan, how we grow this, how we embrace it, and certainly the Silent Sports Challenge from the 24th to the 30th August is one of those key opportunities to really highlight what our relationship can be into the future. West-Bail said that the Deaf Sports Australia community is ‘greatly appreciative’ for the partnership with Touch Football Australia. “The Deaf Sports Australia community, is greatly appreciative of what we see now we can do together in a partnership so hopefully it works well throughout Australia. The first program we’ll be working on is the Silent Sports Challenge in late August…playing the sport of Touch Football in Adelaide, Melbourne, ACT and the Gold Coast. So it’s really exciting, a positive benefit for us,” West-Bail said.The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to increase the number of participants who are deaf or hard of hearing in Touch Football, through community based initiatives, the creation of specific material for hearing impaired persons and the identification of development pathways in Touch Football.The first community initiative for the two organisations, the Silent Sports Challenge, will be held during Hearing Awareness Week – Sunday, 24 August to Saturday, 30 August 2014. Four locations across Australia – Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Gold Coast – will host Touch Football events during the week. Further information on the events will be available in the coming weeks at www.touchfootball.com.au and www.deafsports.org.au. Related LinksTFA signs MOU
Real Madrid organise shirt number for Man City midfielder Brahim Diazby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid already have a shirt number organised for Manchester City midfielder Brahim Diaz.Cadena SER says Diaz will wear the number 21 shirt at Real Madrid.The 19-year-old will sign a six-year deal at the Bernabeu.Real and City have reportedly reached an agreement over a £13.6million (€15million) transfer that will see Diaz head back to Spain, having joined the Blues from Malaga in 2013.The details of the add-ons are the only hold up to the transfer now, according to Marca, and Real are hoping to present Diaz at the Bernabeu at some point next week. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Ex-Liverpool keeper Adam Bogdan explains AIK trialsby Paul Vegas10 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan is trialling with AIK.The Hungary international, 32, has been a free agent since leaving the Reds last summer.He told Sportbladet: “Of course, it’s very interesting. This is a huge club. I have done my research and really understand how big it is,.”A club that is top class and one of the biggest teams in Sweden. People all over Europe know about AIK and they have played a part in Europe in recent years. “So I’m going to train here for a week. Then we’ll see. What do I have and what does AIK have for me?” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Twitter/@coachjfranklinBack in 2012, then-Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin awarded walk-on Marc Panu a scholarship, and the video quickly went viral in college football circles. Franklin is now at Penn State, but he still values his walk-ons, and yesterday he awarded junior linebacker Von Walker with a full ride. Here is the video, in a tweet from Franklin.Really proud of @VTW21 -your attitude & hard work earned this. Great representation of the blue & white. #PSUnrivaled http://t.co/6OfW2MDEaZ— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) April 28, 2015Franklin spoke more about Walker in a Penn State press release about the move.Junior Von Walker (Mill Hall, Pa.) has made the most of his time as a run-on linebacker for the Penn State football team. That hard work has culminated in a scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year by head coach James Franklin this week. “Von Walker is the example of everything that represents Penn State football,” Franklin said. “He is blue collar, hard-nosed, works his butt off day in and day out and always has positive energy at practice. He has improved as much as anybody on our team since we arrived. Make no mistake about it, I am not giving Von a scholarship, he has earned this full scholarship.”These videos are always very touching, and it is clear that Walker has the full respect of his teammates and coaches, based on many of the tweets that rolled in on Monday.Big S/O to my best friend @VTW21 on EARNING that full ride today baby. The future is bright , love you FAMILY #25 pic.twitter.com/otZxwkoMaG— Brian Tomasetti (@OFBubbaT21) April 27, 2015Congratulations to my great friend @VTW21 on earning his athletic scholarship here to play football. All love man— DaeSean Hamilton (@SkeeterMills__) April 27, 2015#WWO moving up again @VTW21 earned it the hard way brother the only way there is!!!— Jesse Della Valle (@TheKidJDV) April 27, 2015Congrats to my bro @VTW21 on EARNING an athletic scholarship to play football here! #LinebackerU— Jason Cabinda (@jasoncabinda) April 27, 2015Congrats to @VTW21 on EARNING his $$$$..Von has earned the respect of this coaching staff as much as anyone in the program. #MostImproved— Bob Shoop (@Coach_ShoopPSU) April 28, 2015Great job by Franklin and Penn State football here, and of course, congratulations to Walker.
Kyle Wagner: (sports editor): So FiveThirtyEight has U.S. Open predictions for the first time, and I’m sure lots of folks have questions about how they work and, more important, why they’re any good. Someone want to give us the 30-second version of how they’re made?Ben Morris (writer/researcher): For player strength and individual match win probabilities, we use our tennis Elo ratings system, tailored to a hard-court tournament like the U.S. Open.Jay Boice (computational journalist): Then we take those Elo ratings and head-to-head win probabilities along with the bracket structure and calculate the chance that each player will reach each round, who their likely opponents would be in that round, and how those opponents would affect their Elo rating. A big tree of conditional probabilities …Kyle Wagner: And that’s basically the same way that we forecast NBA and NFL seasons, yeah?Ben Morris: Pretty similar, yes. Though Elo works somewhat differently in individual sports like tennis than in league sports like the NBA.Reuben Fischer-Baum (visual journalist): One big difference: Tennis Elo doesn’t account for margin of victory, plus some other, more technical differences (NBA and NFL are simulation-based).Ben Morris: This is true, but not necessarily a limitation in my view. Trying to account for margins in tennis often leads to worse predictions. Winning actually matters! Most of the information is carried in who wins and loses, and the information beyond that isn’t super reliable.Reuben Fischer-Baum: I agree with Ben on that. In other major sports, margin of victory tracks much more nicely with quality (with some weird exceptions, like the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who had a surprisingly consistent margin regardless of opponent strength).Kyle Wagner: What would accounting for matchups look like?Carl Bialik (writer): One challenge is the sample size: Most players don’t play any other specific opponent all that often. I’ve wondered if you could overcome that by accounting for matchup style: building taxonomies of player types like we’ve done for NFL quarterbacks and see how certain players do against, say, tall players with big serves or small ones with great backhands and speed.Kyle Wagner: One thing we’ve seen with this projection is that our model likes Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic a lot more than the betting markets. Do you think that’s mainly because of those differences? Or is it something more basic, like the length of a tournament or the fact that Williams’s and Djokovic’s health is uncertain?Reuben Fischer-Baum: In terms of the betting markets, tennis Elo, like NBA and NFL, isn’t accounting for injuries. That could make a big difference! For reference: Betfair has Djokovic at around 36 percent right now and has Djokovic and Andy Murray more or less neck-and-neck. Fifteen Minutes In Flushing: Our U.S. Open Podcast Returns Jay Boice: A good way to judge the model is just to look at its calibration: Did players with an X percent chance of winning a match actually win X percent of the time?Reuben Fischer-Baum: Damn, we’re killing it. Next question.Ben Morris: As with all models that give win percentages, evaluating its performance is tricky. You want the predicted winners to win as often as possible, but you also want people predicted to win 70 percent of the time to win 70 percent of the time, etc.Incidentally, those goals can sometimes be at odds. What if one model predicts the correct winner 70 percent of the time, but another model predicts the correct winner only 69 percent of the time, but the 80 percent guys win 80 percent and the 50 percent guys win 50 percent, etc. Note: For simulation purposes, having the second of those is almost certainly better.Reuben Fischer-Baum: In a much blunter way, our model will sort of inevitably be judged by the performance of Djokovic and Williams at this point — not that that would be our preference!Jay Boice: You can also throw Brier score in there, Ben, and sometimes that’s also at odds with predicting winners and calibration.Ben Morris: Yeah, I mean, the odds of one of Djokovic/Williams winning and the other losing are greater than the odds of both of them winning.Kyle Wagner: Maybe we should start headlining like that.Ben Morris: Yet, if we miss one, Twitter will be all, “LOL 538.”Reuben Fischer-Baum: The lesson is to not predict stuff.CORRECTION (Aug. 31, 12:10 p.m.): An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect winner of the 2016 Wimbledon men’s singles title. It was Andy Murray, not Novak Djokovic. Reuben Fischer-Baum: This might not be an answerable question, but how far back do you have to go (for Murray and Djokovic) before matches are making negligible impacts on current Elo ratings?Ben Morris: OK, so perspective: When Andy Murray beat Djokovic at the Rome Masters in May, he gained 13.9 Elo points; that was in the final. When he beat Lucas Pouille in the semifinal, he gained 2.1 points. Elo is unimpressed by beating people you’re supposed to beat.Carl Bialik: The faster way for Murray to catch up is for Djokovic to lose more to guys like Sam Querrey, who beat him at Wimbledon.Reuben Fischer-Baum: But Murray’s behind Djokovic by like 170 points!Ben Morris: Yes.Reuben Fischer-Baum: So that means that he’d have to beat Djokovic in like 12 straight finals to pass him?Ben Morris: Djokovic lost 13 points in Rome. So like six straight finals.Reuben Fischer-Baum: Ah, right. Well a little more, because they’d gain and lose less the closer they get in Elo?Ben Morris: Yes. Quick — someone run the simulation on a Murray v. Djokovic only tournament!But there’s also some sense in that. Just because Murray beat Djokovic a bunch of times doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the better player. See, e.g., Nadal and Federer.Carl Bialik: Headline this chat: Federer Is Better Than Nadal Even Though He Always Loses To Him and people will click.Reuben Fischer-Baum: But Nadal-Federer was a surface thing, right? Or nah?Ben Morris: Nadal beat Federer more than he was supposed to on every surface.Carl Bialik: Nadal almost always beats Federer on clay but also is 9-7 against him on hard courts.Kyle Wagner: That gets into why you have a system, though. If we’re pretty sure that one player is the best in the world and another player beats the shit out of him every time they play, this should inform a prediction on what happens in their next match, no?Ben Morris: Well, that’s what we were chatting about. It would be a nice feature to add. But I suspect that there are few cases in which it would make a significant difference. Even Nadal vs. Federer — like the most famous example in all of tennis — wasn’t completely outside the realm of variance.Reuben Fischer-Baum: It certainly wouldn’t boost Murray’s chances in our interactive at the moment.Carl Bialik: Not against Djokovic or Nadal in a possible final, anyway. Murray owns most guys in his half of the draw.Kyle Wagner: OK, “should we have a thing that is better” was probably not the right question — but does the fact that we don’t have a mechanism in place that can deal with that mean we think our projections are more effective in a Player vs. The Field scenario than they are in individual matchups?Ben Morris: No. I think our model is pretty solid for individual matchups, with the caveat that occasionally one player who has dominated another player may be given too low of a chance. But I think those situations are rarer and mean less than people may think.Carl Bialik: I have a question. How will we judge how well this model did? In addition to whether or not Williams and Djokovic win, which is how everyone else will judge it (validly).Posted this Monday night: Related: Baseline Carl Bialik: I agree. The betting markets were showing Djokovic and Williams as odds-on favorites for the U.S. Open after Wimbledon. Their Elo ratings were a little higher then — they both lost early at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — but the bigger change is that they both are struggling with injuries. Here, reporters and fans are reporting from their practices — and canceled practices. Djokovic looked rusty early in his first match, better by the end. Elo doesn’t care about any of that. It just knows he survived and advanced.Reuben Fischer-Baum: If we’re willing to say that the betting market maybe overcorrects for injury/margin/rustiness (and I’m not sure we are), Djokovic’s match on Monday night might be a good one to point to. The announcers couldn’t stop talking about how he looked rusty, and he dropped a set, but he still stomped the guy in the end. The match itself was never really in doubt.Carl Bialik: I was watching behind another writer who kept turning away from the court and to me to say how terrible Djokovic looked as he hit winners and coasted in the last two sets.And it was hilarious after the match when ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi tried to get Djokovic on court to say anything specific about his wrist and Djokovic kept changing the subject to the stadium, the crowd, Phil Collins — didn’t want to give those bettors any info to overreact to. Although I won’t be too quick to dismiss the betting markets, not when Djokovic has to win six more matches and they won’t all be against opponents as overmatched as last night’s.Ben Morris: FWIW, our model is definitely more bullish on Djokovic/Williams than I expected, even before the injury issues. I think this is largely due to the lack of strong second/third tiers that normally grind down the favorites’ chances over the course of a tournament.Jay Boice: Yeah, Elo really, really likes Williams and Djokovic. For example, Williams is about 260 Elo points better than her nearest competitor (Simona Halep) and the rest of the field. That’s kind of like filling the NBA playoffs with the Warriors and all the teams who didn’t make the playoffs last year.Reuben Fischer-Baum: Betfair has Williams at 38 percent to win it all, but Angelique Kerber, the second favorite, at just 13 percent — a much bigger gap than the betting odds in the men’s field.1Kerber is the second favorite in our model, too, even though we rate Halep higher, in part because Kerber, unlike Halep, wouldn’t have to face Williams until the final.Ben Morris: Generally, if I model something and there’s a small gap with betting markets, I might think, “Yeah, I’m doing it better.” But if there’s a big gap, I think, “There’s probably something my model is missing.”Reuben Fischer-Baum: I think injuries are a big deal! This is a pretty obvious point, but an injury in tennis means a lot more than an injury in basketball or football because … there’s just one player.Carl Bialik: Another reason to be a little surprised by the confidence of the model is that players have to win seven matches in a row. Even winning March Madness takes just six. Though favorites at majors get a lot of protection in the draw.On the other hand: Williams has won nine of the last 17 majors. Djokovic has won six of the last nine. Cherry-picked end points and all that, but more often than not lately, they’ve both won. And when they haven’t, they usually have come really close.Kyle Wagner: Is the weak second or third rung the case for just this tournament, or would it be the norm if we did predictions for every major?Carl Bialik: It’s been the norm during this current age of Williams and Djokovic — but particularly here with Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka out.Kyle Wagner: Do injuries to players like Federer or suspensions like Sharapova’s — big chunks of the competitive ecosystem — throw off a zero-sum model like Elo in an outsize way, or should the model be able to adjust for that?Jay Boice: Injuries are just so varied — it’s tough to quantify them and fit them into a model …Reuben Fischer-Baum: I don’t think players missing the tournament throws off Elo though.Ben Morris: Well, our Elo isn’t a zero-sum model. Players missing shouldn’t throw it off in any way. Nor should players retiring, etc. In the long run, the points they take off the table get picked up by new players with the more rapid adjustment to their ratings.Reuben Fischer-Baum: I have a question! So Djokovic has a much higher Elo rating than Andy Murray, which fits how you might think about their two careers, but not necessarily how you’d think about their 2016 performances. Is it possible that part of the difference with the betting markets is that Elo is less reactive?Ben Morris: Well, with or without matchup style, history between players is relevant information that at least in some circumstances can be predictively useful. That is definitely something that could be incorporated, even if the effect is small. But more is possible.Reuben, I think you can definitely say that part of the difference is likely that betting markets ARE more reactive than our Elo to recent performances, especially for players with long careers like these two. A very different question, however, is whether that’s right. Our Elo adjusts slowly for grizzled veterans for a reason — because it works.Carl Bialik: I agree. But also I think markets can make too much of streaks and titles. Murray won 22 in a row recently, but none of those came against Djokovic or Nadal, the two guys we think are the best men besides Murray in the draw. A win over Djokovic is the best way for Murray to gain Elo points and catch up. But he’s lost 13 of the last 15 to him.Ben Morris: Over the course of a long career, players have hot streaks and cold streaks, and when those come later in a player’s career, they mean less. The function we use to update ratings after matches reflects that, and makes better predictions overall as a result. Or put another way, if Murray’s hot year really reflects a huge jump in his ability, that would be the exception to the historical rule. We’re forecasting every match of the 2016 men’s and women’s U.S. Open tournaments. See our predictions here » As FiveThirtyEight’s staff watched U.S. Open results come in Monday and change the probabilities in our forecast — our first ever for a tennis tournament — we started asking ourselves some questions. Such as: Why did we think Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic looked dominant in our model when betting markets weren’t nearly as confident in the favorites? Since we were chatting about it anyway, we decided to have a chat worth publishing. (All numbers are as of when we talked on Tuesday afternoon, after Djokovic’s first match but before Williams’s.) It’s below, lightly edited. Check out our U.S. Open predictions.
OSU cheerleaders lead OSU football players out of the field at Ohio Stadium prior to the annual Spring Game on April 18. Team Gray defeated Team Scarlet, 17-14. Credit: Muyao Shen / Lantern photographer Despite playing with what coach Urban Meyer called a “makeshift offensive line” during Saturday’s Spring Game, members of the Ohio State football team had nothing but positive things to say about where the starting five blockers are at.And with four of the five starters from last season’s national championship team back in the fold, it is easy to see why.Senior Taylor Decker, redshirt-junior Pat Elflein, redshirt-sophomore Billy Price and senior Jacoby Boren all return as members of the “slobs,” the nickname given to the starting offensive line unit.Only departed tackle Darryl Baldwin’s job was up for grabs before the spring. Meyer announced after the Spring Game, however, that it now belongs to redshirt-senior Chase Farris.“Chase Farris has earned his way, he’s a starting right tackle at Ohio State,” Meyer said.Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner said having a successful season under a group’s belt is the best thing for an offensive line unit.“It’s amazing how much linemen get better in the offseason, because now they have a visual picture of how it all works,” he said. “Now, when they work on things, it just seems to make sense.”One player who Meyer and Warinner both said they feel has benefited the most from the offseason is Price, whom Meyer described as “night and day” from where he was last fall.“Billy has confidence now,” Warinner said. “Confidence comes from playing well in big games down the stretch. He’s so much further along in his development and where he’s at right now.“Billy’s just so confident in what he’s supposed to do and how he’s supposed to do it and now it just shows.”Price said OSU’s three postseason games marked a turning point in his playing career.“Those final three games, something clicked. When we played Wisconsin, and the whole offensive line’s a cohesive unit, and we continued that into Alabama and continued that into Oregon, it just felt like something finally clicked,” Price said.Despite Boren being held out of the Spring Game as he recovers from offseason surgery, Warinner said he has complete faith in the senior.“Jacoby’s great,” Warinner said. “Rehab’s good, work ethic’s great, leadership’s great, so expect him to be full speed sometime this summer, ready to be his best.”Warinner said sometimes the best practice an offensive lineman can get is competing with his own teammates on the other side of the ball. That can be especially beneficial for OSU — which features some of the best practice a player can find in Associated Press first-team All-American and junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa.“(Elflein) goes against Bosa on a daily basis, and that’s helped him grow and his confidence level,” Warinner said.While the five starting linemen have the full faith of the coaching staff, Meyer expressed some concern about the players waiting in the wings.“The area (of worry) is the offensive line. That’s the problem,” Meyer said. “And once again, not the starters, because I feel good (about them) … I’m very alarmed by the second group of offensive linemen right now.”Price said he feels like a lot of the responsibility in shaping the second unit to be ready to come in on the drop of a hat falls on the starters.“Working with younger guys, it’s like playing with clay,” Price said. “You get to mold them. As older players like Taylor, Pat and Jacoby, you get to really, really show what type of leadership we have in the room, and to fully develop those guys to become part of the ‘slobs.’”The “slobs” are set to look to carry over their strong play from last season’s title run when OSU opens its season against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 7.