One of Alabama’s top offensive linemen has committed to play for the Auburn Tigers. Austin Troxell, a four-star tackle out of Madison Academy, made his decision during a campus visit this afternoon, according to multiple reports.4-star OT Austin Troxell (@austintroxell33) has verbally committed to Auburn today during his campus visit. #MGMAuburn— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) June 18, 2016Boom!!!!!!!! #WDE— Coach Gus Malzahn (@CoachGusMalzahn) June 18, 2016Troxell’s decision comes after two trips to campus this month, solidifying his choice between the Tigers and rival Alabama. AL.com spoke to Troxell about his choice. “I have committed to the University of Auburn, so I’m ready,” Troxell said. “I’m ready to start my journey and be an Auburn Tiger… It’s a burden lifted off my shoulders. I finally got my decision made. No looking back now. It’s 100 percent Auburn now so I’m ready.”Troxell is yet to tweet about the decision himself, but has retweeted a few of his future teammates that have offered him congratulations. Troxell is Auburn’s ninth commit, and fifth blue-chip player.[AL.com]MORE FROM COLLEGE SPUN:The 10 Most Aggressive Fan Bases In CFBIn Photos: Golfer Paige SpiranacESPN Makes Decision On Dick Vitale
LUNENBURG, N.S. – The RCMP are seeking the public’s help in the theft of an historic object once owned by Nova Scotia’s most famous sea captain — Capt. Angus Walters, skipper of the schooner Bluenose.The Mounties say that some time between last September and July 17, someone broke into a property in Kingsburg, N.S., and stole a brass weather vane once owned by Walters, who skippered the famous schooner during its racing heyday in the 1920s and 1930s.The 45-centimetre weather vane is in the shape of a sperm whale, and was stolen from a shed.Police say the item holds sentimental as well as historic value.Built in Lunenburg in 1921, the original Bluenose was a Grand Banks schooner often used for fishing, but it won international fame for its speed — routinely defeating the fastest American schooners.It remained undefeated until its final race in 1938 and was later sold off and used as a tramp freighter until it hit a reef and was wrecked off Haiti in 1946.
In the third minute of added extra time in Tuesday’s Belgium-U.S. World Cup match, Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne took a pass in the box, dribbled to his right and hooked the ball into the left side of the net. Finally, after 31 shots, the Belgians had broken through. Or … wait. Was it 32 shots?It depends on which Twitter account you follow. ESPN’s Stats & Information Group tweeted that Belgium had scored on its 31st shot of the day. OptaJoe, the U.K. Twitter account of the soccer stats company Opta, said it was the 32nd.At the World Cup, shots are in the eye of the beholder. At least three major soccer stats companies are logging every match, and they have yet to all agree on each team’s number of shots and shots on goal. For every one of the 58 games so far, the companies can’t quite get their stories straight. Sometimes their counts have differed by as much as two or three.Even small discrepancies like these have repercussions beyond mere trivia. Advanced analyses of the sport, such as my colleague Benjamin Morris’s magnum opus on Lionel Messi this week, rely on match loggers for shot counts and characteristics. Some teams base tactics and personnel decisions partly on stats. And the disputes are proxy battles for soccer’s more philosophical debates: If a shot is deflected in a forest of defenders, was it on target?According to World Cup organizer FIFA, it was; but according to Opta and Prozone, two of the companies that employ analysts to log every match of the tournament and provide data for media coverage, it wasn’t. That disagreement is responsible for the bulk of the numbers mismatch. Through the round of 16, FIFA’s official match stats — which are being collected by the Italian company Deltatre — included 68 percent more shots on target than Prozone’s, and 74 percent more than Opta’s.1I used Opta data compiled by TruMedia Networks, which provides stats for ESPN. Prozone emailed me their match reports and other data, which — along with match statistics posted on FIFA.com — allowed me to compile shots and shots on goal for every match so far during the World Cup. Remove blocked shots, though, and the discrepancies drop to 4 percent and 8 percent, respectively.And what about a ball crossed in the box near the goalie — does it count as a shot or a cross? In the 120th minute of the Belgium-U.S. match, DeAndre Yedlin kicked the ball well wide of goal as the U.S. hunted desperately for an equalizer. Was he trying to score, or just to cross the ball? FIFA thinks the latter, but Opta thinks the former. Short of interviewing every player immediately after every subjective touch, the statkeepers are left to guess at the intent, divining purpose in actions that may have been performed instinctively, rather than with premeditation.With 58 of the tournament’s 64 matches in the books through Friday, there have been 116 opportunities to compare the three data providers on a team’s shooting profile in a match. There have been just 14 times, or fewer than one out of eight, that all three organizations counted the same number of shots and shots on goal for a team in a match — and none for both teams in the same match.The counts appear to reflect genuine disagreement over tricky cases — touches that look like passes to some but shots to others, say. Or, a shot that hits the post or crossbar and goes out. Typically these don’t qualify as shots on target, but they can if they are deflected onto the woodwork by the goalkeeper, who then gets credit for a save. If they are blocked onto the woodwork by a player other than the goalkeeper, that’s a block. The stats, then, pivot on an arbitrary criterion: Was the player who deflected the ball a goalkeeper or did he happen to play another position?My analysis showed that, overall, the companies weren’t consistently stingy or generous in their statkeeping. No provider consistently tallied many more shots or shots on goals than another. The major philosophical divide was over (unblocked) shots on goal: Deltatre sees more than Prozone, which sees more than Opta. But that amounted to only about one additional shot on target counted in every three matches.The disputes have touched every team, to similar degrees, but teams with less active offenses tend to have higher differences among statkeepers because one uncounted shot matters more in their overall percentages. These include the U.S., England and Cameroon. Analysts attempting to study whether Cameroon threw its matches, as Der Spiegel has reported, might get subtly different results depending on which set of stats they consult. So might England manager Roy Hodgson and U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann as they assess how to improve their teams.Discrepancies between data providers don’t stop at shot counts. Most soccer events are subjective. Someone must decide, was that a tackle? Was that shot weak? Was that attack a dangerous one? Possession stats also differ by provider, as Slate noted last week.Shooting stats have particular relevance for one form of analysis that tries to divine a team’s true skill by gauging whether or not they’re getting lucky. It’s a technique that’s based on the theory that generating chances is the part that teams can control — converting them is based more on luck (unless you’re named Lionel Messi). Teams that convert and save a high percentage of their chances are due for a regression in their results. Change the underlying data, and any conclusions about which teams are good and which are just lucky could shift.When I spoke with Garth Lagerwey, general manager of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, in a telephone interview last week, he said data discrepancies are a prevalent problem in soccer stats at all levels, not just a World Cup anomaly. When I contacted the companies, they declined to comment or didn’t respond to a question about why their numbers differ. In other contexts, they tout the training they provide to match analysts; the consistent guidelines they enforce across analysts, competitions and time; and the oversight of experienced checkers. Some shots just might not look like shots to everyone.Other sports’ stats also require subjective judgment: errors in baseball; assists in basketball. But in baseball and basketball, the official scorer’s decision is what goes into the record book and, generally, what fuels advanced statistical analysis. In soccer, with different leagues and competitions worldwide at varying levels of stats sophistication, third parties with standardized methods report alternative numbers to the official ones. Opta and Prozone are scoring every match alongside the official scorers and releasing their numbers in real time to media organizations — hence the potential for conflicting tweets like those about Tuesday’s Belgium-U.S. match.2ESPN Stats & Info typically uses FIFA for shot counts, and Opta stats — via TruMedia — for everything else.“Shots should not be that subjective, let alone shots on goal,” Lagerwey said. On the other hand, “A lot of companies use human beings to code this stuff. It’s easy to understand how you’re going to have an error rate.”
Ohio State football’s sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller was named Big Ten offensive player of the week on Monday, and also received praise from OSU coach Urban Meyer about his play through the first three weeks of the season.While the Buckeyes’ first-year coach has been among the many praising Miller, he is not yet ready to advertise his quarterback as a contender to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy.“I will not say he’s not (a candidate to win the Heisman),” Meyer said. “I don’t believe he is now. He’s not playing well enough yet.”Meyer, though, was full of praise regarding Miller.“I have a lot of confidence in Braxton,” Meyer said. “He’s our best player right now on offense.”Miller led the Buckeyes to a 35-28 victory over California on Saturday, completing 16-of-30 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 75 yards and another score. Miller’s plays in that game included a 55-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and a game-winning, 72-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Devin Smith with 3:26 left to play in the game.Miller’s recognition announced Monday marks the first time that the sophomore has earned an offensive player of the week award, but he was last year’s Big Ten Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year.Miller has led the Buckeyes to victories in each of the team’s first three games, and has accounted for 988 yards of total offense, which ranks ninth in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. With 377 rushing yards, he ranks fifth nationally among all players in rushing yardage, and first among all quarterbacks.OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman said opposing defenses have been making adjustments to account for Miller’s ability to run the ball.“I’ve seen defenses in the last three weeks that I’ve never even dreamt of in my mind to try to stop the QB from running the football,” Herman said. “Teams now are trying to get eight, nine guys in the box to be sound against him pulling the ball and running, so the variety of coverage that we see on first- and second-down is absolutely mind-boggling.”For the overall year, Miller has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 611 yards, with seven touchdown throws and two interceptions.Herman said he has been pleased with his quarterback’s development this season.“In terms of progress, I think he’s seeing the field better, I think he communicates with me on the sideline better than maybe I had expected,” Herman said. “He’s come a long ways.”While Herman described Miller’s mental progress as a quarterback, he said there has “never been an issue with (Miller’s) upper-body mechanics.”“The ball comes out very smoothly, he’s got a quick release, he’s got a strong arm,” Herman said of Miller.Lower-body mechanics, however, remain a concern for Herman.Herman said that to improve in that area, it comes down to “tying that into his feet and making sure that his hips and his feet are aligned properly to the throw, on time, when that throw needs to be made.”OSU coaches and Big Ten voters are not the only ones praising Miller after his strong start through three games this season. Following their loss on Saturday, California’s coach and players also gave credit to Miller’s play.“Braxton is a hard guy to contain because he is so big and physical,” said California coach Jeff Tedford. “For most of the day he made great decisions and threw some great passes. When he threw that long ball down the left side of the field, it was a perfect pass. He is fast, accurate and a great athlete.”California senior cornerback Marc Anthony felt similarly.“Braxton is one of the best in the game and he came through for his team,” Anthony said. “All of our eyes were on Braxton. We wanted other players to make something happen for them.”
The Buckeyes celebrate as redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley (8) intercepts the ball during the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorLast year, Ohio State was tasked with replacing 12 players – including five first-rounders – who were selected in the 2016 NFL draft. Though the Buckeyes won’t have to deal with the large quantity of losses this year, they will once again be forced to identify new starters at seven different positions. Here is how Ohio State will replace its seven 2017 NFL draft picks.Players Lost to NFL: Cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints, first round) and Gareon Conley (Oakland Raiders, first round)Candidate(s) to replace: Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette, Kendall Sheffield, Shaun Wade and Jeffrey OkudahSituation: Ohio State’s recent track record of sending defensive backs to the NFL is unparalleled. Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, who each had four interceptions in 2016, joined Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Doran Grant and Bradley Roby, whom were all drafted in the last four years. The loss of Lattimore and Conley will hurt, but Ohio State has been in this position before. Last spring, Lattimore had to fight to win his job, and a season later he developed into a first-round draft pick.Junior Denzel Ward will step into a starting role. Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, who believes Ward is due for a breakout season, repeatedly said in the spring the Macedonia, Ohio, native played as much as Lattimore and Ward last season. Ward had 23 tackles and nine pass breakups in 2016.An extremely skilled group of cornerbacks will battle to start opposite Ward. Redshirt junior Damon Arnette experienced some struggles last year, but he earned praise for his improvement in the spring. Junior-college transfer and former five-star prospect Kendall Sheffield’s elite physical tools make him a strong candidate to start. Freshmen five-star prospects Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah will be in the mix as they were the No. 1 (Okudah) and No. 2 (Wade) cornerback prospects in the 2017 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.OSU redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker (24) returns an interception during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5, 2016. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorPlayer Lost to NFL: Safety Malik Hooker (Indianapolis Colts, first round)Candidate(s) to replace: Erick Smith and Jordan FullerSituation: Entering the 2016 season, no one expected former three-star recruit Malik Hooker to become a first-team All-American and first-round NFL draft pick in less than a year. But that’s exactly what the ball-hawking safety did. Hooker snagged seven interceptions, returning three for touchdowns, including one during the Buckeyes’ 30-27 double-overtime win against Michigan.In Hooker’s place, either a veteran (senior Erick Smith) or a young up-and-comer (sophomore Jordan Fuller) with likely start next to senior safety Damon Webb, the only returning starting defensive back.Fuller seems to have the edge on Smith as he played with the first-team defense during the spring game. Last season, the Old Tappan, New Jersey, product played 71 defensive snaps and finished with 11 tackles. Smith, who suffered a torn ACL in November 2015, has played in 33 career games while at Ohio State. Last season, the backup played in all 13 games and picked up 16 tackles, one tackle for loss and a pass break-up. Player Lost to NFL: H-back Curtis Samuel (second round, Carolina Panthers)Candidate(s) to replace: Parris Campbell, Demario McCall and K.J. HillSituation: The loss of the best and, at times last year, only playmaker on the Buckeyes in Curtis Samuel leaves a massive void that must be filled by relatively inexperienced players. In 2016, Samuel led Ohio State with 74 catches for 865 yards and seven touchdowns. On the ground, he gained 771 yards on 97 rushing attempts, an average of 7.9 yards per carry.In 2017, Ohio State is relying on redshirt junior Parris Campbell, sophomore Demario McCall or redshirt sophomore K.J. Hill to shoulder the loss of Samuel and his production. The problem for the Buckeyes is that none of the three have been particularly impactful with the ball in their hands since arriving on campus.Campbell was named to the Paul Hornung Award watch list in July since he’s expected to get the first shot as starting H-back. But last year, the speedy Akron St. Vincent St. Mary product reeled in just 13 passes for 121 yards and rushed the ball four times. McCall offers the best running ability of the trio as he took 49 carries for 273 yards as a freshman. Hill caught 18 passes following 262 yards, but he might be needed as an outside receiver.OSU then-redshirt junior linebacker Chris Worley (35) quiets opposing fans after an interception in the first half during the Buckeyes game against the Wisconsin Badgers on Oct. 15, 2016 The Buckeyes won 30-23 in overtime. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorPlayer Lost to NFL: Middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan (second round, Miami Dolphins)Candidate(s) to replace: Chris WorleySituation: A stalwart in the middle of Ohio State’s defense for the past two seasons, Raekwon McMillan’s loss as a leader and a defensive stopper will be felt. He led the Buckeyes in tackles last season, with 102, and he added seven tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. McMillan was twice named to the All-Big Ten first team.In his place, redshirt senior Chris Worley will move from strongside outside linebacker to middle linebacker. In 2016, Worley finished with 70 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and four pass break-ups. The vocal linebacker must transition smoothly to quarterbacking the defense as McMillan set a high bar.On the outside, redshirt junior Dante Booker will start at Worley’s former strongside linebacker position. Booker began the 2016 season as the starting weakside linebacker, but injured his knee and sat out the season, using a redshirt. Worley and Booker will be joined on the second level of the defense by junior Jerome Baker, who finished second on the team in tackles (83) and tackles for loss (9.5).Player Lost to NFL: Center Pat Elflein (third round, Minnesota Vikings)Candidate(s) to replace: Billy PriceSituation: Prior to the 2016 season, the Buckeyes decided to move Pat Elflein, who was playing right guard, to center. There, he won the Rimington Trophy – given to the best interior lineman in the nation – and was a first-team All-American. Redshirt senior Billy Price will follow in Elflein’s footsteps by sliding from right guard to center for his final season in scarlet and gray. Price,who was also named a first-team All-American in 2016, is a leading candidate to win the 2017 Rimington Trophy.In his place at right guard, redshirt junior Malcolm Pridgeon, redshirt junior Demetrius Knox and redshirt sophomore Matthew Burrell will compete during fall camp to start next to Price and junior right tackle Isaiah Prince. Burrell exited the spring seemingly holding a slight lead in the position battle as he started the spring game with the first-team offense.However, the competition is far from over. Pridgeon, who missed last season after a knee injury forced him to redshirt, and Knox, a former top recruit from Texas, will have an opportunity to win the job during fall camp. A fourth option to start at right guard, incoming freshman and five-star recruit Wyatt Davis, seems like an unlikely option, but the top guard in the 2017 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, shouldn’t be counted out.OSU then-redshirt freshman wide receiver K.J. Hill (14) avoids a tackle during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5, 2016. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorPlayer Lost to NFL: Wide receiver Noah Brown (seventh round, Dallas Cowboys)Candidate(s) to replace: K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin, Austin Mack, Trevon Grimes and Jaylen HarrisSituation: Though Noah Brown was not the consistent threat as an outside receiver that he was expected to be, he played a key role in a certain game for the Buckeyes’ offense. Notably, Brown gathered four touchdown receptions in Ohio State’s 45-24 win over Oklahoma. He finished the season second on the team with 32 catches for 402 yards and tied with Samuel for team lead with seven touchdowns.A large group of receivers, led by Hill, sophomore Binjimen Victor, redshirt junior Johnnie Dixon and redshirt junior Terry McLaurin, battled in the spring for starting reps.Hill finished with the most receptions (18) of any starting receiver candidate. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Victor is the most physically gifted receiver on Ohio State’s roster, but his route-running is raw and he wasn’t able to break through in a relatively weak receiver group last year. Dixon exploded in the spring game, catching six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns, but he as dealt with numerous knee and leg injuries since arriving in Columbus. McLaurin caught 11 passes for 114 yards last season. Sophomore Austin Mack and freshmen Trevon Grimes and Jaylen Harris could earn some playing time, but their youth hurts their potential to be relied upon in 2017.
Senegal international Moussa Wague has completed his transfer to BarcelonaAt just 19 years old, Wague proved to be one of Senegal’s star players at the World Cup this summer and scored for Aliou Cisse’s side in the 2-2 draw with Japan to become the youngest African goalscorer in finals’ history.Now Football-Espana have reported that Wague has completed a €5m move from Belgian club Eupen after agreeing on a long-term contract that will include a buy-out clause of €100m.Ernesto Valverde has decided to go ahead with a deal for the young full-back due to his plans to put Sergi Roberto into a central midfielder role for the upcoming season, while ensuring that his replacement Nelson Semedo has competition for the right-back spot.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.The move for Wague was masterminded by general manager Pep Segura and sporting director Eric AbidalAlthough the teenager may have to start life at the Camp Nou in the Barcelona B team before he makes his debut for the senior side.Wague has made a total of 52 professional appearances for club and country.
With a hat-trick by the Brazilian and goals from Cavani, Di Maria, and Mbappé, PSG battered Red Star from Belgrade at Parc des Princes.After that first painful defeat from the first Champions League match of the season at Anfield Road, PSG really needed to win their second match this Wednesday against Red Star from Belgrade.This was supposed to be an easier match for the French giants, they of course didn’t disappoint and offered a great performance. But out of all the stars that the French champions have, there is no question that the absolute leader of the team is Neymar Jr who scored a hat-trick and was involved in pretty much all the rest of the goals from his teammates.The Brazilian star began his goal-romp with a beautiful free-kick over the men-barrier only 20 minutes after the match started, it took him only two minutes to get his second goal after a combination with Kylian Mbappé.Past the half-hour of the match, Edinson Cavani took a shot from inside the box and the ball got a deflection that confused the Red Star goalkeeper enough for Edinson to get his goal. But PSG was hungry for more goals, they were just getting started as they wanted to get at least half a dozen.Hat-trick hero 😍😍😍#PSGFKCZ pic.twitter.com/VU445N2csT— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) October 3, 2018Just a few minutes before halftime, PSG was in the middle of a long build-up that Thomas Meunier took on the right wing. The Belgian full-back saw Di Maria making the run towards the box and he sent a beautiful assist with the outside of his foot, the Argentinean didn’t waste the opportunity and scored his side’s fourth goal of the match right before the half-time whistle.German manager Thomas Tuchel asked his players to slow down a little bit, this is the moment in which players like Neymar can get fouled the most due to the frustration from his rivals. The French champions took note and played a much more reserved style of football until the final 20 minutes, when Kylian Mbappé appeared to score his goal because he obviously didn’t want to miss out on all the fun.PSG ultras sent a warning letter to Neymar Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Brazilian superstar Neymar might play today his first game of the season for Paris Saint-Germain and the team’s ultras have warned him.Neymar was involved in the goal again, he saw Cavani making the run towards the box and dinked the ball for him to send the assist to the French lad, who only pushed the ball inside. It was already 5-0 at Parc des Princes, German midfielder Marko Marin was able to pull one back for Red Star with 15 minutes from the final whistle.But the star of the night, Neymar Jr wanted to get that hat-trick in order to feel that he was closer to his best form and he did it in style. With nine minutes still left on the clock, the Brazilian start took another free-kick but he did it with a lot more power and collocation than his first goal of the evening and gave PSG their sixth goal of the match for a convincing victory in the Champions League.Unfortunately for the French champions, this win tells us absolutely nothing in regards to the club’s actual level of performance. Red Star from Belgrade can hardly be considered a worthy opponent that can challenge them at all, we are going to have to wait for them to play against Napoli in the next two matches to know how well they can respond against a more competitive opponent.Also, in Ligue 1, PSG will play against Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday before the final international break of 2018. Neymar will get a new chance to prove his worth again, but today’s performance was more than enough for him to keep earning that lost confidence he had before, during, and right after the summer.FULL TIME: PSG flex their offensive 💪in the @ChampionsLeague with a 6-1 win over Red Star Belgrade! #PSGFKCZ #ALLEZPARIS!! 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/4F5XPRBdyw— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) October 3, 2018Which of these was your favorite goal from PSG against Red Star from Belgrade? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale is set to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering another calf injury.A medical report on Madrid’s official website confirmed tests had shown a ‘grade-I calf injury’ to Bale’s left leg.Consequently, Reports from Football Espana is speculating a recovery time in the region of ‘2-4 weeks.Mourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.Meaning he will be out of Los Blancos’ upcoming Liga games against Real Sociedad, Real Betis and Sevilla, as well as their Copa del Rey tie with Leganes.Further reports also alluded to the Welshman’s fitness problems on its front page for Saturday, noting ‘he has now suffered 22 injuries and missed 84 games, amounting to 54.2 percent of minutes on offer.’Real Madrid drew their last game 2-2 with Villareal and they face an uphill task to keep up the pace with runaway leaders Barcelona in the title race.