A playoff will determine who gets this trophy.History was made today in Washington, D.C. when the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee – made up of presidents from each of the FBS conferences and Notre Dame – approved a four-team, seeded playoff within the current bowl structure.The committee has approved a model with a selection committee selecting the four teams. The committee will rank the four playoff teams based on win-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head record, and if a team is a conference champion.According to Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, the playoff will occur within the existing bowl structure.“It’s a best of both worlds result that capture the excitement of the playoff while keeping the best regular season in sports and the tradition of the bowls,” Steger said in the press conference following the meeting.The semifinal games will rotate among six different bowl games. BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock informed the media that the six bowl games were chosen to make the rotations easy for the length of the new deal: 12 years.The specific rotation for the six semifinals over the next 12 years has not been determined as this time. The four BCS bowls (Orange, Rose, Fiesta, Sugar) plus possibly the Champions Bowl or Cotton Bowl are likely candidates, but the specific six bowls were not identified either.While the semifinals will be held at existing bowls, the dates of those bowls will be moved back to accommodate the seminfials before the new national championship game. One of the semifinals will be held on New Years Eve, the other on New Years Day.Also left to be determined includes how the selection committee will be chosen, the funding and payout, and of course – the name of the new event.Many did not know what to expect out of Tuesday’s meeting in the nation’s capitol, but it was national history. For at least 12 years starting in January 2015 – college football will have a four-team seeded playoff to determine the national champion.
In the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s Thursday night win over Los Angeles, Thunder coach Scott Brooks, long maligned for doing the same old thing, discovered something new: a lineup of Nick Collison, Steven Adams, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson could bend the court to its will.The group had rarely played together before — just six minutes during the regular season and just seven minutes in the playoffs. But that didn’t seem to be a problem. Over the next 15 minutes of play Thursday night, they scored 42 points and allowed just 24 points on 41 percent shooting, turning a 7-point deficit into an 11-point lead. Extrapolated to a 100-possession pace, the lineup’s point differential was +64.3.Small sample size, of course, but whoa, what a sample. The Thunder’s most-played lineup in the regular season (with Jackson in place of an injured Westbrook) had a per-100-possession point differential of +5.8. If we look at just the Thunder’s most frequently used front-court pairing, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka, we find a per-100-possession point differential of just +2.0.Something about the fresh lineup on Thursday spaced the floor for Durant to do his best work of the night, scoring 13 points on just six shots. Neither Collison nor Adams is a particularly dangerous offensive player, but they are both good offensive rebounders. When they were on the floor together for 494 minutes in the regular season, the Thunder rebounded 33.4 percent of their own misses, compared to 26.5 across the whole season. Collison and Adams can also set screens and roll hard to the basket, allowing the Thunder to spread the defense even without a great perimeter-shooting big guy on the floor.Durant has played just a small percentage of his minutes with a Collison-Adams front-court pairing this season, but he’s been remarkably effective when he does, netting his highest true shooting percentage.Front Court Combinations Playing With DurantIt’s hard to suss out whether playing this group together was a shrewd and intentional move by Brooks, or whether he stumbled upon the lineup after Ibaka’s calf injury. But it’s an important development as the Thunder get ready for the San Antonio Spurs. Going into Thursday night’s game, seven of the Thunder’s 10 most-used lineups in the playoffs had a positive point differential. With the emphatic arrival of this group, it’s now eight of 10.Lineups matter especially for the Thunder, a team whose starting five tend to start slowly. That group finished the series with a negative first-quarter point differential and was outscored to begin four of the six games in the series. Inserting Collison and Adams into the starting lineup is probably not the solution to those slow starts, but the Spurs are waiting with a deep and versatile matchup nightmare. Every opportunity Brooks has to experiment with a seldom-used but potentially explosive lineup gives him more options to handle the varied scenarios the Spurs will throw at the Thunder.
We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here. The Thunder are coming off an agonizing season: Durant missed 55 games, and the team went 45-37. That has set up a transitional kind of season with a new coach, Billy Donovan, as well as a partially remade roster that has allowed the Thunder to get younger while their core has gotten older (and by older, we’re still talking 27 and younger). “Good health” has been the Thunder’s white whale over the past few years, but if they can finally avoid major injuries start to finish, they’re going to be really, really good. CARMELO,1Career-Arc Regression Model Estimator with Local Optimization. FiveThirtyEight’s new NBA projection system, forecasts the Thunder to go 56-26.You can check out what CARMELO thinks of all the Thunder players (and everyone else in the NBA) here. But here’s what CARMELO expects from Oklahoma City’s key players: Andre Roberson is a consistent 3-point shot away from ending the Thunder’s search for a two-way shooting guard. But that’s like saying Nate Robinson is just a foot away from being tall. Enes Kanter’s defense is really bad. But he averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder in 26 games. But his defense is really bad. But he had 11 20-10 games for OKC, when no Thunder center ever had one before he arrived. But did I mention his defense is bad? Coming off a season that featured three surgeries and only 27 games, Durant is a motivated man. Not only does he want to re-establish his rightful place among the game’s most elite, but also this could possibly, maybe, potentially be his last chance at a title in Oklahoma City. The final three months of last season, Anthony Morrow hit 50 percent from 3. Imagine what he might do with a full season of Durant and Westbrook distracting defenses. The only Steven Adams stat that really matters: How many players will he bait into punching him this season? Serge Ibaka isn’t quite “big” enough to help form a Thunder big three, but he’s without question integral to the team’s success. With the expansion of his game to include a consistent 3, is Ibaka the first 3-and-D shot-blocking power forward? Even coming off one of the more outrageous statistical seasons in league history, Russell Westbrook may still not be at his very best yet. He’ll have to readjust to playing with Durant again, but Westbrook is unmoved by those concerns. “It’s not rocket science,” he said. There are lots of league storylines to follow this season, but really, is there any better one than “Contract Year Dion Waiters“? There are a lot of words you could attach to this Thunder season. The one I’ll go with is “super-duper-important,” because of all the implications it carries for the franchise, the most notable of which is Kevin Durant’s looming free agency. Will Durant stay in Oklahoma after this season or leave for greener pastures?The good news for Thunder fans: Oklahoma City itself is likely to be a pretty green pasture this year. Kyle Singler is going to be the equivalent of a well-paid bullpen catcher this season as Durant’s backup.
OSU’s 2 existing ‘Fuel Zones,’ with a 3rd on the way, provide all student-athletes with fast, on-the-go snacks to keep them energized throughout the day.Credit: Courtesy of LanternTV.Nicole Jontony used to compete alongside Ohio State athletes, now she helps make sure they have the nutrition they need.Jontony, a registered dietitian for Ohio State Sports Medicine, was a four-year member of the OSU women’s gymnastics team and two-time team captain. Now, she’s a registered dietitian who works with OSU athletes to help them pick nutritious pre- and post-workout snacks and meals in one of the two new “fuel zones” at St. John Arena and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.“I know when the athletes come in and what they have before they’re practicing,” Jontony said. “I can relate to the feeling of being too full at practice or being hungry in the middle of practice.”The fuel zones, rooms just big enough for a refrigerator, cabinet and small table, were built earlier this semester. They followed an NCAA rule change from last year that allowed all athletes to have unlimited meals and snacks. Previously, only scholarship athletes could receive three meals a day or food stipends from the university, according to the NCAA website.Janine Oman, OSU associate athletic director for sport performance, said the athletics department budgeted for $850,000 for meals this year.Don Patko, associate athletics director for facilities operations, said the two fuel zones cost about $257,000 to build.Jontony, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in medical dietetics, said her experience as an OSU athlete has helped her understand why athletes need the fuel. She’s been through the experience of needing calories and nutrition with a low grocery budget and a lack of time between class and practice to eat.“With myself being here, being able to answer their questions, I can guide them to what’s going to be the best option before or after their practice,” Jontony said. “It provides them with an opportunity to make sure they’re getting the best fuel before practice and that they’re getting the best option after practice.”OSU women’s volleyball junior outside hitter Katie Mitchell said she likes the new system and added that it helps athletes receive the nutrition they need to be compete at a high level.“We have a lot of healthy choices and it lets me get something before and after practice, so it helps with recovery,” Mitchell said. “I don’t feel like I have to run home and grab something right after practice.”Sophomore outside hitter Kylie Randall said she finds the fuel zones convenient, helping athletes make sure they get exactly what they need.“It’s really convenient before practice. You know, just getting some breakfast food like cereal, milk bars,” Randall said. “Then after practice, it’s convenient when you’re going to class and you just want to get a sandwich and a drink.”Jontony said she never packed a lunchbox when she was an athlete at OSU, so she would rely on granola bars and fruit, or whatever she could pack into her backpack, to keep her going.She said she would have liked to have the fuel zone because it would have provided her with better nutrition.“I think it would have provided healthy foods on the go,” Jontony said. “I relied on granola bars. It would have provided a quality meal.”Khalid Moalim contributed to this story.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The new figures are part of the British Social Attitudes Survey of more than 2,000 adults, which also found over half of people disagree with the assertion that “whatever the law says, most people are safe to drive after a pint of beer”.Commenting on the report, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, leading liver doctor and chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “As drink-driving costs lives, affects road safety and places significant pressure on the emergency services, it is no surprise the public are keen to see a lowering of the drink-drive limit.”This is a measure that has the full support of road safety charities, emergency services and motoring associations.”We urge the Government to listen to the public and adopt these evidence-based measures that will save lives and make our communities safer.” Three quarters of people think the drink drive alcohol limit should be reduced, a survey found.Research commissioned by Public Health England found 77 per cent of people are in favour of the law being changed so drivers are legally allowed to consume less alcohol before getting behind a wheel.It comes after suggestions earlier this year that the Government could follow the example of Scotland by lowering the limit in England and Wales. John Larsen, director of evidence and impact at alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive. “It takes roughly an hour for your body to process one unit of alcohol, and once in your system it can affect many of the functions that we depend on to drive safely.”It takes longer for messages to travel from the eye to the brain. and instructions to the body’s muscles are delayed resulting in slower reaction times.”The safest advice is to avoid alcohol altogether if you are driving.” We urge the Government to listen to the public and adopt these evidence-based measuresProfessor Sir Ian Gilmore, Alcohol Health Alliance A pint of beer is about as much as a man can drink before drivingCredit:Justin Tallis /Getty Campaigners have urged the Government to take the new research on board and change the law. North of the border, the limit was brought down from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg two years ago.The amount a person can drink before being over the legal level varies on a number of factors including weight, age, sex and how much food the individual has eaten. But the 50mg limit is equivalent to roughly a pint of beer or large glass of wine for a man. In Scotland most people think no alcohol should be consumed before drivingCredit:Darren Woolway /Alamy The Government’s perspective has previously been that the current drink driving limit in England and Wales “strikes an important balance between safety and personal freedom”.But Conservative MP Andrew Jones, a transport minister, said in February that he would discuss with his Scottish counterpart how the lower impact had impacted drivers.He said at the time: “It is important to base our decisions on evidence and the Scottish experience will be crucial to that before we consider any possible changes to the limits in England and Wales.”However the Department for Transport has since said there were no plans to lower the limit.A survey at the end of last year suggested attitudes in Scotland were changing following the ban, with 82 per cent of people saying they thought drinking any alcohol before driving was unacceptable.
A Royal Marine imprisoned for murdering a wounded Taliban captive is being denied justice because of delays in reviewing his case, his supporters have said as they protested outside Parliament.Around 800 supporters of Alexander Blackman including many former Royal Marines and senior officers called on the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to speed up a decision on whether he suffered a miscarriage of justice.Blackman was convicted at court martial, where he was identified only as Marine A, given a life sentence and then told he must serve at least eight years in prison for the killing. He is not eligible for release until November 2021. Show more Helmet camera footage showed him shooting the gravely injured insurgent fighter in the chest at point blank range, before quoting Shakespeare. He then turned to his patrol and told them to keep quiet because he had broken the Geneva Convention.His supporters argue he should have faced a lesser manslaughter charge because of the strain and appalling conditions he had faced before the incident in Helmand province in September 2011.They have submitted a dossier to the commission saying he was let down by his original legal team and senior officers failed to reveal significant evidence during his court martial.The commission has been reviewing his case since January.Maj Gen Julian Thompson demanded the commission make its decision quickly.He said: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”Maj Gen Malcolm Hunt added: “Did Al Blackman do wrong? Answer: yes. She he be punished? Answer: yes. But is he a murderer? The answer is absolutely not.”Addressing the commission, he said: “For goodness sake, how long do you need to bring this thing to an end? This travesty has gone on long enough. Just get on with it and let us have a decision.”A spokesman for the CCRC said the case was still under investigation. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam during the Spanish Inquisition sketch ‘Monty Python Live (Mostly)’ at The O2 Arena in 2014Credit:Rex “It doesn’t seem to me that he’s unhappy,” he said. “I think it’s harder for people around them than for the person themselves.”Idle said Jones “hasn’t forgotten who he is, yet”, adding: “It hasn’t got to that point. Terry’s still here, he’s not gone.”The comedian said he and the other remaining surviving members of the comedy troupe – John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin – have known about Jones’ illness for some time.Ahead of their live shows at the O2 in 2014, he said, they told him: “We said, ‘look, Terry, don’t worry, we’re going to get you through this. We’re all in this together. You’re not to blame. Terry Jones accepts his Outstanding Contribution To The Film And Television Award BAFTA in OctoberCredit:Rex The Monty Pythons attend the Cannes Film Festival in 1983Credit:Rex Terry Jones was already suffering from dementia during the Monty Python’s 2014 live shows, with his fellow comedians rallying round to support him, Eric Idle has disclosed.Idle said the other Pythons had told him “don’t worry, we’re going to get you through this” as they embarked on the surprise live O2 performances, adding he felt lucky to have done the shows “while we could still get him through it”.Earlier this year, it emerged Jones, 74, is suffering from primary progressive aphasia, a form of dementia that affects his ability to communicate.But Idle told Radio Times that the illness is tougher for the people close to Jones than it is for the star himself. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Jones directed Monty Python’s Life Of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life, and co-directed Monty Python And The Holy Grail with Gilliam.His diagnosis was announced in September.Idle’s work will next appear on the BBC this Christmas, after a wrote a musical entitled The Entire Universe with Professor Brian Cox. “It’s like people who have bipolar disorder or something, it’s not their fault.”These are genes and things that have got into our systems and we are now at the mercy of them.”While Palin goes on regular trips to the pub with Jones in London, Idle, 73, last saw him a few months ago and also spent time with him in New York last year.Idle said: “He was on stage there, but he was having trouble stringing sentences together and it was becoming noticeable – so I’m glad they came out with it and acknowledged his illness in public.”
The study says patients are being forced to wait longer for some of the most common procedures amid “unsustainable” rising pressures on services.It shows the average waiting times for a hip operation is now 14 weeks – a week longer than it was a year ago – with more than 500,000 patients on the waiting list for trauma and orthopaedics.The analysis shows 62,577 patients waiting more than 18 months last October, a rise from 43,289 a year before.The Kings’ Fund study examined the impact of financial pressures on the NHS on a number of aspects of patient care.Lead author Ruth Robertson said: “Longer waiting times for hospital treatment and restrictions to operations are just one small part of the picture. Our research shows that services like district nursing and sexual health, where we found evidence that access and quality are deteriorating for some patients, have been hardest hit by the financial pressures facing the NHS but that this is often going unseen.”“Staff across the NHS are working hard to maintain service quality and protect patients in the face of growing pressures,” she said. “This is not sustainable and is particularly worrying given the well-established link between staff wellbeing and the quality of patient care.”Janet Davies, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This report lifts the lid on the dangers of trying to provide nursing care on the cheap. Patients waiting for district nurses at home are being let down as the funding pressures bite. The number of patients seeking hip surgery has risen significantly amid an ageing population Credit:Alamy The number of district nurses fell by almost half between 2000 and 2014, and fell by a further 15 per cent between 2014 and 2016 for full-time posts.One hospice manager told the King’s Fund: “The district nurses working at night are not able to give effective response times. “You can wait up to eight hours… for patients experiencing pain and discomfort in the last two to three days of their life, it has a massive impact.”The report also examined common procedures such as hip surgery.It found the number of patients waiting more than 18 months for orthopaedic operations like hip and knee surgery has risen by 45 per cent in just one year, a new report warns. NHS rationing is leaving dying patients to suffer in pain, a leading think tank has warned.A report by the King’s Fund found people at the end of their life are being left for hours without pain relief due to nursing shortages.The think tank looked at four areas where rationing has affected patient care – sexual health services, district nursing, planned hip operations and neonatal care.It said in some areas there is “clear evidence that access to and quality of patient care has suffered”.District nurses support the care of people at home, including those who are housebound, suffering a long-term illness or who are at the end of their life.The report found services in this area are under “significant financial pressure”, with funding either static or reducing, despite rising demand. “Nursing staff are straining to hold things together for their patients but they can only hold the fort for so long,” she said.Health officials have warned that “arbitrary” rationing measures restricting NHS surgery to those in most pain must be lifted.NHS England has warned clinical commisisoning groups (CCGs) to stop denying hip and knee operations to patients using criteria which only allow surgery to those in the worst discomfort.Health officials intervened after warnings from the Royal College of Surgeons of “alarming” restrictions on surgery, with patients told they could only have surgery on the NHS if pain left them unable to sleep or carry out daily tasks.A Department of Health spokesman said: “Blanket restrictions on treatment are unacceptable – but the NHS is now doing 5,000 more operations every day compared to 2010, so accusations of inappropriate rationing are misplaced.“We’re investing £10 billion to fund the NHS’s own plan for the future, supported by an immediate cash injection of £2bn for social care and £100m for A&E to help to improve care in the community and ease the pressure on hospitals.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
It may seem an unlikely pairing, but when Natalie Haywood brought home a two-day old lamb home her sheepdog Blake adopted her as his companion.Soon the pair were inseparable, playing together and taking snoozes on a family rug.But fears are now growing for the safety of Bella and Blake, after the two suddenly disappeared from Ms Haywood’s Nottinghamshire home on Monday afternoon .“I’m desperate for news about them,” said Miss Haywood. “I’m so worried about what might have happened.” The 22-year-old mother of two took in Bella from a neighbouring farm just over a month ago and was still bottle feeding her when the pair went missing.“She was an orphan and the farmer let me have her. The two of them have been inseparable ever since. Bella thinks Blake is her mum and follows her around everywhere and Blake is so gentle with her,” said Miss Haywood.She discovered the pair were missing when she returned to her home in the village of Perlethorpe, near Mansfield, after running an errand.The local postman told her he had seen Bella and Blake in the garden when he made his morning call, but since then the only report has been of a dog matching Blake’s description spotted in Nottingham, 30 minutes drive away.Miss Haywood says that someone may have either stolen Blake or found him and was taking him to the authorities, and that he may have managed to escape from their vehicle. She has since spent hours searching the local area, particularly walks where she used to take Blake, a border collie, in case the two have wandered there and become disorientated. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Border Collie sheepdog called BlakeCredit:Newark and Sherwood District Council/PA Miss Haywood has appealed for anyone who sees the pair to contact her and pictures of Blake and Bella have been widely shared on social media.“My little girl keeps asking where Bella and Blake are. I’ve just said they’ve gone for a walk in the woods and hopefully they’ll come back soon,” said Miss Haywood. “If the pair have become separated it may be that Bella has found a flock to live with, but I’m desperate to know what’s become of them.”The disappearance was reported to a local authority dog warden and Newark and Sherwood District Council has since joined in the hunt for the pair.A spokesman for Newark and Sherwood District Council said: “We think they may have escaped, but we can’t rule anything out.”We are asking anyone who may have seen them to get in touch by calling us on 01636 650000.”Blake has a microchip but no collar. Bella was wearing a pink collar with a flower on it.
[These] subtle conversational patterns… form an almost invisible biasUniversity of California and University of Southern California report Even shortlisted women with impressive CVs may still be assumed to be less competentUniversity of California and University of Southern California report As a result, many female interviewees responded by saying “for the sake of time, I’m going to skip this part”, “there’s not much time left; I will rush through this” and “I’m going really quick here because I want to get to the second part of the talk”.This, the researchers concluded, revealed a clear correlation between the number of questions faced by women and their tendency to rush more.They add that in a “masculine-typed job” there are “stricter standards of competence demanded by evaluators” when women are shortlisted.The study came on the same week that PwC disclosed that women employed in its UK operations earn on average 14 per cent less than their male counterparts, and receive smaller bonuses.Nationwide, the difference between men and women’s salaries stood at 18 per cent in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Women are given a tougher time during interviews and are interrupted more than men, a new study has found.According to researchers, women are more likely to be interrupted mid-sentence and face more follow-up questions in academic interviews, suggesting there is a gender imbalance in top jobs.The study, published last week in the journal of Social Sciences, found that men are also twice as likely to interject while speaking to a woman.And when they do cut-in during a man-on-man discussion, it is “generally more positive and affirming”. Analysing job interviews at two leading US universities over a two-year period, researchers found that women were questioned more by hiring panels, making them more prone to rushing through a presentation.The findings also show that there is a pervasive “prove it again” attitude displayed towards women, which may explain why many academic fields continue to be male-dominated.The research comes in stark contrast to recent undergraduate trends in the UK, with female students now outnumbering men in two-thirds of undergraduate courses.It suggests that, despite greater access to higher education, there are still sizeable gender barriers for women hoping to progress in academia.Conducted by the University of California and University of Southern California, 119 job interviews were video recorded and analysed by researchers. In engineering departments, where female staff quotas varied between four and 18 per cent, it claims that the frequent disruption caused during their talks resulted in women “often” having less time to deliver a “compelling conclusion”.While the study did not collect data on whether more questions helped or hindered candidates, video recordings revealed that “verbal cues…clearly indicate that they [women] are rushing to get through their carefully prepared slide decks and reach the punchline of their talk”. They found that on average, women faced five questions in which they were interrupted by the interviewer, whereas their male counterparts only faced four.Female academics also received two more follow-up questions, and 17 in total–at least three more than a typical male interviewee–meaning they spent a “higher proportion” of their time fielding queries.“Questions piled on to previous questions…may indicate a challenge to the presenter’s competence – not only in their prepared talk but also in their response to questions,” the report found, adding that women are caught in a “catch-22”.“Even shortlisted women with impressive CVs may still be assumed to be less competent, are challenged, sometimes excessively, and therefore have less time to present a coherent and compelling talk.“[These] subtle conversational patterns…form an almost invisible bias, which allows a climate of challenging women’s competence to persist.”