Fifty years of Patrick Mynhardt

first_img5 July 2002He’s 70, he’s been an actor for 50 years, lives in a cosy house in Norwood, Johannesburg, and has no plans to retire. He’s Patrick Mynhardt, and he’s full of deprecating comments about himself, despite having achieved great success in his years in the theatre.“Retire? What would I do? I can do nothing but talk shit”, he says, with a hint of a smile.He’s recently finished his 500-page autobiography, which took him 10 years to do. “It just ‘borrelled’ out of my nostrils and ears,” he explains. He doesn’t have a publisher yet because he’s still working out how to put it all on disk – “I bought my computer in 1987, and I don’t really know how to put the pages on disk.”Patrick is usually associated with works he’s adapted from one of South Africa’s best storytellers, Herman Charles Bosman, but in fact he has played a range of roles – Cassius in Julius Caesar, Napoleon in War and Peace, Victor in Private Lives, Dr Josef Mengele in Nemesis and many others, as well as numerous roles in Afrikaans plays.Patrick Mynhardt and Oom Schalk Lourens: ‘Those stories are bloody beautiful’Despite the successes, he is somewhat madcap about his ability. “If people tell me I’m good, I think they’re mad. If they don’t, I’m hurt”, he says.Patrick, a resident of Johannesburg for 42 years, was born in the small Free State town of Bethulie in 1932 to an Afrikaner father and an Irish mother, and retains, he says, aspects of his Irish heritage. “I love the Irish and their whimsicality – I have a lot of it in me.”His Afrikaner side emerges in his storytelling abilities. He used to go around to the old folk in Bethulie and say to them: “Vertel my ‘n storie”. The storytelling engendered a love of theatre, he says.But perhaps what pushed him into the theatre was an abortive three-year university career. He started off doing a BA at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, where, in his first year, he did English, Afrikaans and chemistry. “The chemistry was a disaster, I learnt the formulae and definitions by heart.” But that didn’t help.He then changed courses, and chose law, but that turned out to be much worse than chemistry. In his third year he dropped law, and went back to the arts.He considered “self-moord”, but that didn’t work either, because he “used a Minora razor blade because it was cheaper than a Minette”, and it didn’t do the trick.By now friends suggested he become an actor, so in 1953 he moved to Pretoria with that in mind. Within a year he left for London where he spent six years learning the craft. He also learnt something about potato peeling and dish washing, as part-time jobs, treating each dish as a battleship in fantasy games to try and relieve the boredom.He says he hated reciting “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers …” and would have preferred to have said: “Wie weet waar Willie Wouters woon, Willie Wouters woon waar westa winda waai.”But it was a productive time in England – he worked all over England and in London in two West End plays, got parts in television plays and serials for the BBC and commercial TV companies. He also had roles in films, for the Rank Organisation and MGM. He worked with many famous actors, among them Judi Dench.Back to South AfricaIn 1960 he “longed for South Africa” and decided to come back. In the sixties he played in Private Lives, War and Peace and The Staircase, amongst others, and the film Majuba. Altogether he has appeared in 150 stage plays here and in England. He has worked in other media too – 100 local and international films and around 100 television plays and serials, in South Africa and overseas.In 1968 various authors were asked to read their stories at a theatre dinner by candlelight. Patrick was invited to read a Herman Charles Bosman story. He was offered R30, a meal and the pre-condition that he hold the book and refer to it. He turned it down. But eventually he was persuaded – and read Willem Prinsloo’s Peach Brandy.Patrick went on holiday after this, but before he left he bought all Bosman’s books and read them while he was away.“He didn’t attract me at all, I don’t love him more than anyone else”, he says in one breath, but in another: “Those stories are bloody beautiful.”The one-man Bosman shows are still in demand 34 years later. He put together four shows – A Sip of Jerepigo, More Jerepigo, Just Jerepigo and Another Sip of Jerepigo – and has toured the country extensively. He took the shows to England and toured the top cities, but wasn’t sure of how successful he was there, except in Manchester, where, although “they wouldn’t let me leave the stage, they weren’t warm”.Patrick doesn’t think he’ll put together a fifth Bosman show, but if he did, he would call it Tjeerio Jerepigo.His own storyIn 1982 he was encouraged by actor Gordon Mulholland and comedian Hal Orlandini to put together a show of his life story – “Your own stories are so marvellous,” they said.And so The Boy from Bethulie was born. In it you’ll hear about his “drinking problem”. He recounts: “My mother had a big problem with me, she had to hide the drink from me, my favourite was peppermint liqueur. I had my first stomach pump before I was six.”There’s the anecdote about the five little Jewish boys, aged five to nine, who lived in Bethulie and came to his house to play after watching a war movie. Patrick had them marching and saluting to Hitler by the time their parents came to fetch them at the end of the afternoon. “They didn’t come to play for six weeks.”Or the story about having his name in lights. When he arrived to play at Ermelo in Mpumalanga, his name was underneath the name of the show: “A spi of Jerepigo”.The next move was to combine the Bosman and Mynhardt – the result was The Best of Bosman and Bethulie, which he has performed in Brussels, New York, Washington, San Francisco and Israel, as well as back home.“For 50 years I have had the rare privilege of being an actor. Even though I’ve been an actor for those years, I know nothing,” says Patrick.He has no immediate plans for the future but several regrets – he would love to do “the odd cameo for South Africans in Australia who remember the country with nostalgia”. He makes it clear he doesn’t need to do the shows for money, but for another reason: “I am a rich actor, I don’t need the money. I need the therapy.”Another regret: “I would love to be a better spiritual human being, a truly good person. I believe in a god, I would love to be a born-again Christian, but the fault is mine for not working on it.”Patrick has brought Bosman alive for thousands of people, and given those people lots to laugh about in Oom Schalk Lourens’ view of the world. He’s given even more people a great night at the theatre with his own story, The Boy from Bethulie, and his The Best of Bosman and Bethulie.He says: “I just wanted to be a wonderful actor.” Forget about regrets. If you’ve achieved your great desire in life, what else matters?Source: City of Johannesburg web site Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

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Lennox sings for HIV/Aids

first_imgAnnie Lennox performing in Hong Kong in April to raise funds for Sing. (Image: Sandy Lum) During a visit to the Bethany Children’shome in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, one of the children fell asleep in Lennox’s arms. (Image: Sing)Khanyi MagubaneRenowned international pop star Annie Lennox is set to dazzle fans during a one-night performance in Johannesburg, to raise funds for her HIV/Aids charity organisation, Sing.Lennox’s concert, An Evening with Annie Lennox – Unplugged, in Concert and in Conversation, will take place on 8 July at the upmarket Teatro at Montecasino, one of South Africa’s premier casino and entertainment venues.The musician’s repertoire for the evening will include songs from her new compilation of hits, The Annie Lennox Collection, which features songs recorded throughout her music career.For this special performance, Lennox has waived her fee and will donate all the proceeds to her charity.Tickets for the once-off concert were selling at R1 000 (US$125) each, with organisers announcing that the performance is already sold out.On her blog Lennox shares her excitement about her upcoming visit: “I’m going to South Africa … AT LAST! I would have been there last year if it hadn’t been for the issue with my back/foot.”Fame for a good causeThe journey for Lennox, which resulted in the formation of Sing, started when she was invited in 2003, to take part in the inaugural 46664 concert in Cape Town.On her website, Lennox writes that it was during this visit and her interaction with Nelson Mandela that inspired her to start her charity work. “Several years ago I personally witnessed Nelson Mandela, standing in front of his former prison cell on Robben Island, addressing the world’s press.“His message was that the pandemic of HIV/Aids in Africa was in fact, a genocide. Since that time I resolved to do as much as I can to bring attention to the HIV/Aids crisis.”Lennox continued with her work as a 46664 ambassador, and has since performed at two other 46664 concerts .Former President Nelson Mandela formed the 46664 campaign to raise global awareness of the scourge of HIV/Aids in Africa. 46664 was Mandela’s prison number on Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for several years.He decided to use his prison number as symbol of hope, as opposed to a symbol of oppression that it once represented.As to why she decided to name the organisation Sing, Lennox says during her many visits to South Africa; she learned that music and singing was an intricate part of the country’s culture. “South Africa has a tradition of activist songs and singing, as a way to create solidarity and communicate messages.“When people get together to sing, they become encouraged and inspired. In the words of Nelson Mandela: ‘Let us use the universal language of music, to sing out our message around the world’.”Sing’s resources are mainly used to help women and children infected and affected by the pandemic.In conjunction with South African Aids lobby group the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Sing provided a grant of R3.9-million ($491 000) over a period of three years to conduct programmes which include; helping South Africans access HIV testing and treatment, educating the public about HIV/Aids and preventing further transmission.Part of the work that TAC is involved in includes advocacy for women’s rights, lobbying pharmaceutical companies and the government on the cost of medicine and its Aids policies.For the love of itScottish-born Annie Lennox is celebrated as one of the most successful pop artists alive.After touring the world in the late 1970s with the group The Tourists, Lennox and fellow band member, Dave Stewart went on to form the rock/pop band Eurythmics in 1980, during which Lennox gained most of her initial success as a musician.It was Eurythmics’ second album Sweet Dreams (are made of this), which catapulted the duo into worldwide success.After they were thrust into the limelight, the duo went on to tour incessantly, selling over 75-million albums and achieving more than 20 recognised hits across the world.In 1989, after much success, Lennox and Stewart amicably agreed it was time to pursue solo careers.Lennox’s first album Diva debuted at number one on the UK pop charts and sold about six-million albums around the world.The versatile singer has toured with the much-acclaimed singer Sting, and together they performed 52 concerts throughout the United States and Canada.At was also during this time, that Lennox started her philanthropy work.Since her involvement with Sing, Lennox has been vocal about a number of international issues concerning the scourge of HIV/Aids.In May this year, Lennox criticised Pope Benedict XVI for the comments he allegedly made in Angola during his multi-stop visit to African countries.Lennox was livid that the pontiff had spoken against the use of condoms, and rather called for abstinence as the preferred form of curbing transmissions.“If there was ever an example of irresponsibility, it’s the Pope going to a country like Angola, where people are dying … because of unprotected sex, and telling them they should carry on or that they should abstain. What planet is this person on?” she was quoted saying by the Australian newspaper, Herald Sun.Although Lennox was quick to point out her respect for the Catholic church, she did however feel that the Pope missed an opportunity as an influential leader of sending out the right message about HIV/Aids.In November 2008, Lennox was presented with the Award for Merit at the 36th American Music Award in the US.She was presented the award by US pop singer Justin Timberlake, who also paid tribute to her philanthropy work.“She’s been an activist for just causes all over the world, mostly in silent ways that you’ve never even heard about. She does this from her heart, motivated purely by love.”Related articlesHIV in South Africa stabilising Loving Life, fighting Aids Preventing HIV with OneLove HIV/Aids in South Africa Useful linksSing Annie Lennox – official websiteTreatment Action Campaign 46664Nelson Mandela Foundationlast_img read more

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Man shot dead in J&K, cow vigilantes blamed

first_imgA civilian was shot dead and another injured by an armed group in the Chenab Valley’s Bhaderwah district, sparking violent protests amid curfew in the communally-sensitive area.Armed assailants opened fire at Nayeem Ahmed Shah, 50, a resident of Qilla Mohalla in Bhaderwah and Yasir Hussain, around 2 a.m. when they were on the way home from Basti village along with their horses. Mr. Shah died on the spot.“Around eight men stopped us and hurled abuses near a bridge at Nalthi village. They were cow vigilantes. One of them fired at Mr. Shah on the forehead,” said an eyewitness Hussian, who also suffered injuries in the attack.A country-made single-barrel gun was used to open fire. The accused’s relatives, in a counter-claim, said “fire was opened after spotting suspicious movement.”Meanwhile, seven accused were arrested and the eighth is on the run, according to the locals.Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, M.K. Sinha said curfew was imposed in the town after the incident.Without divulging details, Mr. Sinha said Mr. Shah was killed and another person injured “in a firing incident.” “The situation is under control,” he added. Army called outThe Army was called out when locals staged violent protests in Seri Bazaar, Tekiya Chowk, and Pasri Bus Stand. Several vehicles and government property were damaged by the protesters. The agitators attacked the Bhaderwah police station with stones. Tear gas shells were fired to control the situation, a police official said.Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh, president of Bhaderwah’s Anjuman-e-Islamia, said, “It’s a cold blooded murder. All accused should be arrested.” Shutdown callMeanwhile, separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have called for a Valley-wide shutdown over the incident.Peoples Democratic Party MLA Firdous Tak blamed cow vigilantes. “Mr. Shah was murdered by cow vigilantes. The silence of the nation is noticeable,” said Mr. Tak. Omar for probeNational Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said, “The frequency and severity of cow vigilante violence has been a dreadful hallmark of the Modi-led Central government. I urge the incumbent administration to initiate a time-bound inquiry into the incident and bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book.”Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Jitendra Singh termed the incident “unfortunate.” “It’s time to exercise restraint instead of causing provocation. We are in constant touch with the district and State administration as well as police high-ups. I have also spoken to Governor Satya Pal Malik,” said Mr. Singh.last_img read more

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Sallu poaching SRK buddies

first_imgSalman KhanSalman Khan seems to have taken it upon himself to ensure Shah Rukh Khan’s list of foes increase.Farah Khan opted for Salman instead of SRK in her next film after picking Akshay Kumar for Tees Maar Khan. Now Salman is making her feel special. We learnt that to mark Farah’s 44th birthday, he has planned a special bash.The actor is holding a get-together for all her family members and friends at his farmhouse in Panvel, Navi Mumbai.Salman has been good friends with Farah’s hubby Shirish Kunder too. We wonder if Sallu is doing this only to ensure that Farah doesn’t get back on the old backslapping terms with SRK.last_img read more

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Bid On Celebrity Eyewear And Benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles

first_imgUnique eyewear designer, Stevie Boi, is auctioning off some of his celebrity-worn items to raise money for AIDS Project Los Angeles on Closets For Causes.Steve Boi Charity AuctionStevie Boi has teamed up with Closets For Causes to auction off some of his one-of-a-kind glasses like the ones worn by Anna Dello Russo, Fergie and Eva Marcille.Fans have the opportunity to bid on the Attackz shades and limited edition gold-spiked eye patch seen on and adored by Anna Dello Russo, the Fergz glasses rocked by Fergie during her Black Eyed Peas performance for Science is Rock and Roll, the Shines shades that were fiercely worn by America’s Next Top Model winner Eva Marcille, and a pair that graced the cover of Vogue Italia. In addition to these eye-catching sunglasses, Closets For Causes is also auctioning hand-painted tees, adorned with images of celebrity icons that were part of an exclusive collaboration with Anthony Pieters for Australia Fashion Week 2011.The Baltimore native has pushed the boundaries with his latest collection, “Leather” which features dark, sexy and chic pieces. His pieces have been worn by daring stars who push the limits of fashion. Stevie’s big break was landing his eyewear on the cover of the Vogue Italia November 2011 issue, shot by Steven Meisel plus an additional six page spread entitled The A Train featuring pieces from his collection “Coexist”. Stevie Boi now specializes in high fashion, runway, ready-wear shades and accessories, and is a favorite of Vogue Japan Editor-at-Large Anna Dello Russo.“I am very excited to team up with Closets For Causes on this campaign. I make fearless sunglasses so people can be who they are while rockin’ their own style. I’m honored to help support the fight against AIDS, and have my creations touch more lives than just those who wear them” says Stevie Boi.AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), one of the largest non-profit AIDS service organizations in the United States, provides bilingual direct services, prevention education, and leadership on HIV/AIDS-related policy and legislation.In 2013, APLA marks its 30th year of operation and is a community-based, volunteer-supported organization with local, national and global reach. Annually, the agency provides direct services and HIV prevention education to more than 11,000 clients in Los Angeles, a city with the second-largest HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation.“We are extremely happy to have the support of Stevie Boi. His decision to support our efforts to end the spread of HIV/AIDS and get those infected with the disease into the medical care system so that they can live happy, healthy and productive lives is commendable” says Clarence Williams, Corporate & Major Gifts Officer.Find out more here.last_img read more

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Heads of various depts asked to ensure compliance of poll code

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Chief Electoral Office (CEO)’s office in Delhi has asked heads of various departments under the Delhi government to ensure compliance of the poll code after it received a complaint that MLAs were allegedly “alluring” voters in the garb of undertaking field inspections during installation of CCTV cameras in the city.In a letter to all principal secretaries and secretaries of the Delhi government, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer in has said the matter appears to be “violation of instructions”. The CEO’s office said it is in receipt of a complaint that certain public representatives or MLAs were allegedly “alluring” the voters in the garb of field inspections during installation of CCTV cameras in residential colonies and market places in their respective constituencies. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe poll panel has also attached instructions containing point number 2 and 5 of Chapter 4 — special measures taken by the Election Commission to enforce model code. “It appears to be violation of instructions contained in point-2 and 5…All are requested to comply with the above instruction, in letter and spirit,” the CEO office stated. According to sources, Bharat Electronics (BEL), a state-owned company, had recently agreed to execute the project, under which 2,000 cameras will be installed in each of the 70 assembly constituencies and the work for installation of 2,000 CCTV cameras each in every assembly constituency has begun. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe motive behind huge installation of CCTV cameras are to curb cases of chain and mobile snatching. Thousands of people do not even file complaint with the police. Installation of CCTV cameras in every street will bring the situation under control and also help the police. The Arvind Kejriwal government has been installing CCTV cameras across the national capital, saying it will contribute towards the safety of women. Last month, the CEO office had also received several complaints about various departments of the AAP government and BJP-ruled MCDs which had started work on projects before the poll code came into force and had sought formal approvals later, an official said. The CEO office had shot off a letter to head of departments, saying the projects that actually started on the ground after obtaining all necessary permission, before the poll code came into force, can be continued.last_img read more

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Shameful PM seeking votes in name of soldiers

first_imgIslampur: Mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his failure to build Ram Temple at Ayodhya in the last five years, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised him for seeking votes in the name of soldiers and martyrs.Armed forces belong to each and every Indian and Modi and BJP should not think the forces to be their fiefdom, she said at an election rally here in Uttar Dinajpur district. “For the last five years he could not build the Ram temple (at Ayodhya). But whenever election approaches, he rakes up the issue. The people are not fools. You cannot befool them every time,” she said and mentioned that she has respect for every religion in the country. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe Trinamool Congress supremo said Modi should be ashamed to seek votes in the name of soldiers and martyrs. Banerjee said, “He is now seeking votes in the name of martyrs and soldiers as if the army belongs to him, as if it their fiefdom. Armed forces belong to everybody. It is our pride. He should first answer why so many jawans were killed in Pulwama despite intelligence inputs of such an attack.” Comparing Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah with Duryodhana and Dushshasana of the Mahabharata, she claimed that they are trying to take away the independence of the country.last_img read more

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Did The Packers Squander Aaron Rodgers

IND9.810.1HOU98.22.423.61515 Although the Packers hadn’t replaced a coach at midseason since 1953, Sunday’s loss forced their hand. Now they’ll need to figure out who’s next, from a candidate list that includes big names among both pro coordinators (Josh McDaniels) and up-and-coming college coaches (Lincoln Riley). They’ll also need to hope Rodgers’s issues were more related to McCarthy’s offense and less to his getting older and less productive — basically, that the next Packer coach will be more Mike Shanahan to Rodgers’s John Elway than Jimmy Johnson to his Dan Marino. So while the Packers may not have much on the line over the rest of their games, this promises to be the most interesting offseason Green Bay has had since Favre was retiring and unretiring more than a decade ago.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersMake sure to check out FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings using our NFL prediction interactive, which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and tracks how often each team should make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. And did you know you can also pick against the Elo algorithm in our prediction game? Maybe you can also climb up our giant leaderboard (or, if you’re like me, fall down it with each passing week).Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the reader picks last week: Rodgers hasn’t won as much as he should haveTop 10 NFL starting quarterbacks by Yards Above Backup QB, 1990-2017, with their actual and expected Super Bowl appearances PIT62PIT54LAC 33, PIT 30+6.7– 1Peyton Manning1721,58544.15-0.15 PHI28.324.2DAL81.119.451.01578 3Drew Brees1617,25012.89-1.89 KC83KC89KC 40, OAK 33+0.4– Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. 6Ben Roethlisberger1410,94531.35+1.65 CAR17.89.9CLE0.30.422.01454 8Steve Young810,02211.65-0.65 4Brett Favre1913,04721.86+0.14 Over time, it became more and more difficult for the Packers to come within striking distance of the Super Bowl. In 2015, Rodgers slumped to career-worst numbers without top wideout Jordy Nelson, though the team as a whole was still good enough to get to the divisional playoffs before losing. In 2016, it was more of the same when Rodgers mused that Green Bay could still “run the table” — sparking an eight-game winning streak that saw the QB return to vintage form and left the Packers a win away from the Super Bowl.4Though their defense was shredded by Matt Ryan and the Falcons for 493 yards, ending the streak. By then Rodgers was 34 years old, so a sense of urgency was setting in when 2017 came and went without a playoff berth — even though that could be written off as the byproduct of Rodgers missing nine starts.The 2018 season was always going to be the real crossroads for McCarthy. With a healthy Rodgers leading the way, the Pack could always count on contending in the past, so this year’s expectations were no different. But Rodgers’s numbers have been merely good, not great. Brett Hundley isn’t around anymore to take any blame. And unlike in 2015, when Green Bay was talented enough to survive despite a downturn in its QB’s individual stats, there has been no answer from the team’s supporting cast this time around. It all came crashing down around McCarthy in the loss to Arizona as 13½-point favorites, Green Bay’s single most disappointing defeat since the merger according to Pro-Football-Reference’s point-spread data.We can visualize the Packers’ decline over McCarthy’s final few years at the helm using FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings. Specifically, I’ve been tinkering with an experimental version of Elo that keeps a separate adjustment for the primary QB in each game, similar to how we treat starting pitchers in our MLB ratings.5For those curious, it uses what I’m calling a QB’s Performance Value Added (PVA). That metric starts with an estimate of a primary QB’s value over replacement (according to ESPN’s expected-points data) in a game:PVA = -2.2*Attempts + 3.7*Completions + (Pass Yds / 5) + 11.3*Pass TDs – 14.1*Interceptions – 8*Sacks – 1.1*Rushes + 0.6*Rush Yds + 15.9*Rush TDsIt then compares that number to the per-game average allowed by the opposing defense in all other games that season (excluding the game in question). By definition, an average PVA is 0.0. Then a running mean of PVA is kept for both teams and individual QBs, which is used to modify the team’s base rating depending on which QB is used. (Interestingly, the predictions work best when the individual ratings update slightly faster than the team ones, which suggest QB “hot streaks” do contain extra information.) Debut QBs are assigned an expected PVA of -47, and they reduce a team’s effective Elo rating by 108 points relative to an average QB. Using this, we can trace how a team’s performance rises and falls independent of its QB — which is useful in cases like 2017, when Rodgers was hurt and Hundley started nine games. (For instance, by season’s end, the Packers would have projected to be a 1529 Elo team with Rodgers starting — compared to a 1427 team with Hundley. And remember, 1500 is average.) HOU77HOU69HOU 29, CLE 13-6.6– LAC96.03.6CIN0.91.39.11504 Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup. Total Change adds up the potential swing in playoff odds for every team in the league (not just the two teams listed).*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN.com Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 13Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 13 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game Playoff %Playoff % The dismissal of Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy — who was let go after the Packers’ stunning home loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday — wasn’t exactly a shock. Perennially tabbed as a Super Bowl contender out of the NFC, McCarthy’s team had gone just 11-16-1 over the past two seasons, including a disappointing 8-9-1 in games that featured future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay’s primary passer.1Meaning he led the team in attempts for the game. It was time for a change along the sidelines that Vince Lombardi once roamed.Things weren’t always so bleak on the frozen tundra. The McCarthy era had its high points, particularly early on — when he and Rodgers appeared to have Green Bay positioned on the cusp of a potential dynasty. But between postseason near-misses, roster changes, injuries and coaching miscues, McCarthy’s Packers never fulfilled that promise. Instead, it’s fair to wonder whether Green Bay squandered the prime of one of the most talented QBs in NFL history.The Packers team that McCarthy inherited in 2006 from Mike Sherman2Because every Packer coach must be named “Mike”. was one in transition — and that meant navigating some heavy-duty Brett Favre melodrama in his first two seasons at Green Bay’s helm. However, McCarthy quickly found that he had an all-time great on his hands in Rodgers, who, when he took over the starting job at age 25, was just entering his best years as a passer. The McCarthy-Rodgers marriage sputtered to a 6-10 finish in its first season but yielded great results shortly thereafter: an 11-5 playoff campaign in Year 2, then a Super Bowl crown in Year 3 and a 15-1 regular season (with Rodgers winning MVP) in Year 4. The sky seemed to be the limit for McCarthy and his star QB.Since the end of the 2011 regular season, however, the Packers have gone just 5-6 in the playoffs; by comparison, Tom Brady and the postseason Patriots are 13-5 over the same span. Green Bay’s record includes a crushing home defeat against the New York Giants two weeks after that 15-1 season ended and another loss in which they watched helplessly as ex-49er Colin Kaepernick destroyed their defense in 2012 — still one of the greatest individual QB games in playoff history. The Packers’ postseason circumstances have not always been ideal: For instance, that Giants game was actually the only time since 2011 that Green Bay lost in the playoffs while favored — meaning the rest of the losses were as underdogs. But at the same time, the Pack have also had clear chances to return to the Super Bowl, and they came up short in each of them.All told, it remains mystifying that a quarterback of Rodgers’s stature hasn’t won more frequently. If we run a simple logit regression between a QB’s Yards Above Backup in a season and whether his team made the Super Bowl,3Minimum six starts during the season, using data since 1990 (the era of the current playoff setup). we’d expect Rodgers to have made 1.86 Super Bowls in his career through 2017 — roughly twice as many as he’s actually been to. (Meanwhile, other contemporary QBs — such as Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and even Brady — have gone to more than twice as many Super Bowls as we’d expect from their individual stats.) BAL65.0%+/-15.1KC100.0%+/-0.031.81628 TB1.72.0NO100.00.06.91570 9Matt Ryan108,25111.14-0.14 DEN20.911.1SF0.00.024.71427 LAR68LAR79LAR 30, DET 16+4.1– CHI69CHI72NYG 30, CHI 27-6.1– TEN78TEN72TEN 26, NYJ 22-4.4– TEN18.910.6JAX0.10.121.91478 GB73GB79ARI 20, GB 17-10.5– PIT83.811.0OAK0.00.023.71453 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION 1990 was the first season of the NFL’s current playoff format. Expected Super Bowls are based on a season-by-season logit regression between a QB’s Yards Above Backup and whether his team made the Super Bowl.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com MIN59.719.9SEA87.711.841.41572 GB1.41.3ATL1.11.25.51469 7Philip Rivers1210,72101.54-1.54 MIA6.67.4NE99.70.516.21537 Super Bowls Made NE67NE65NE 24, MIN 10-3.8– 10Tony Romo98,19201.11-1.11 IND51IND62JAX 6, IND 0-14.0– NO64NO74DAL 13, NO 10-15.3– CIN52%DEN59%DEN 24, CIN 10+8.5– CHI94.44.3LAR100.00.010.81615 BUF0.00.0NYJ0.00.02.41377 PHI69PHI66PHI 28, WSH 13-4.1– After a series of narrow wins at midseason, the algorithm handed the readers their worst loss (-55.2 points on average) since Week 3. Some of the blame can go to the subject of this column — the Green Bay Packers, whose loss not only cost Mike McCarthy his job but also cost users 10.5 points on average. But readers were also burned by the Jaguars’ win over the Colts and the Cowboys’ upset victory over the Saints. Add it up, and Elo has beaten the average reader 12 times in 13 weeks this season.But congrats to Mike Edelstein, who led all users in Week 13 with 137.0 points, and to one of my favorite leaderboard names, Greg Chili Van Hollebeke, who maintained his No. 1 ranking on the season with 1,002.1 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 5Aaron Rodgers1010,98811.86-0.86 CAR59CAR64TB 24, CAR 17-7.8– WSH26.411.7NYG0.10.124.91435 The best matchups of Week 14Week 14 games by the highest average Elo rating (using the harmonic mean) plus the total potential swing for all NFL teams’ playoff chances based on the result, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions ATL53ATL50BAL 26, ATL 16+1.5– Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS DET0.30.3ARI0.00.04.21412 2Tom Brady1619,73583.63+4.37 SEA83SEA83SEA 43, SF 16-1.5– MIA58MIA57MIA 21, BUF 17-2.3– QuarterbackYears StartingYARDS Above BackupActualExpectedDiff. At the beginning of 2015, the Packers had an effective Elo of 1622, which included a 73-point boost from having Rodgers at QB and a 49-point boost from his teammates. By the end of the year, Green Bay’s effective Elo was still in the same neighborhood (1597), despite Rodgers’s adjustment actually dropping to negative 11, because the rest of the team carried a larger share of the weight (+108). Meanwhile, at the peak of the Packers’ run-the-table surge in 2016, the team’s 1657 effective Elo arose out of a 61-point boost from Rodgers and 97 additional points (relative to league average) from the rest of the team.But fast-forward to now, and it’s clear how much the Packers have crumbled around Rodgers. His own adjustment is 16 points of Elo above an average QB, the lowest it’s been since Week 10 of the 2016 season. But he’s still expected to be above average; his supporting cast, by contrast, has fallen to a negative-67 score relative to the average team. That’s the worst they have been in Rodgers’s entire NFL career, and it isn’t especially close. Keeping QB play constant, the Packers’ Elo has dropped by a total of 139 points since the end of the 2016 season, which is essentially the difference in current Elo ratings of the 11-1 Los Angeles Rams and the 6-6 Carolina Panthers.The reasons for the slide are varied, but many can be traced back to a series of poor drafts under former general manager Ted Thompson, who was replaced by current front-office chief Brian Gutekunst in January. As Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler pointed out last week, only three of Green Bay’s 17 draftees from 2014 and 2015 remain on the current roster. While no team can avoid dry spells in the NFL draft if given enough time, the Packers also — largely by design — did little in the way of enlisting outside help as a backup plan.6In addition to the lack of starters from recent drafts, only two of the team’s current starters were drafted by a team other than Green Bay. Again, this was the byproduct of the Packers’ religious devotion to drafting and developing their own prospects, but that plan only really works when you draft well. Combine those infrastructural problems with criticisms of McCarthy’s offensive scheme (criticisms of a perceived lack of innovation that Rodgers apparently shared), plus legitimate complaints about Rodgers’s own decline in performance, and a season like this was bound to happen to Green Bay sooner or later.Even so, it came contrary to preseason predictions. Going into the schedule, you might have penciled in this week’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons as a marquee game with playoff implications. Instead, it will be the third-worst game of the week, according to our combination of matchup quality (i.e., the harmonic mean of the teams’ Elo ratings in each game) and game importance (how likely it is to swing every team’s odds of making the playoffs):7A little note is in order here, to explain how these game importance ratings are now calculated. All season long, I have been crunching the numbers on how a given game affects the two teams involved. But this week, with the playoffs on the horizon and certain matchups taking on more importance because of their outside implications, I changed the formula to add up a game’s potential swing in playoff odds for every team in the league — including those not participating in the game itself. read more

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Mens basketball Battle of two 35 Big Ten teams Ohio State –

Members of the Ohio State men’s basketball team huddle before the start of the second half versus Northwestern on Jan. 22 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorIn late February 2016, Ohio State took down No. 9 Iowa to stay afloat in the NCAA tournament picture. The Hawkeyes choked down the stretch, losing four of its final five games to finish 12-6 in the Big Ten. Iowa then lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament to Illinois.The Hawkeyes enter Saturday’s contest versus the Buckeyes having lost three in a row after beginning Big Ten play 3-2. OSU started the conference slate 0-4 but finds itself in the same place as Iowa — one of six teams tied at 3-5 in the Big Ten.Since the two teams last met, both rosters have seen great turnover, but in different ways, after they each had disappointing finishes to the season. Nonetheless, Iowa and OSU are both fighting for a crucial win in conference play in Iowa City.IowaCoach Fran McCaffery had to replace four starters from last year’s roster. The lone returning starter is senior guard Peter Jok, who leads the Big Ten with 21 points per game.“He’s a big-time scorer,” said junior forward Jae’Sean Tate. “He’s been a big-time scorer since I’ve been in college. We’re not going to change anything we do. We’re still going to guard the ball, play Ohio State defense. But we’re going to try to dock him, make him uncomfortable.”For the four starters alongside Jok, McCaffery has yet to settle on a lineup. Eight different Hawkeyes, excluding Jok, have started at least six of the 21 games in 2016-17. Down 16 at the beginning of the second half on Wednesday at Illinois, McCaffery switched 80 percent of his starters. Freshmen Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl were replaced by sophomores Nicholas Baer, Ahmad Wagner and Christian Williams, as well as freshman Ryan Kriener.The Hawkeyes lost 76-64.Iowa sits at No. 96 in the KenPom advanced-statistical ratings. OSU and Iowa are identical in adjusted offensive efficiency, averaging 110.2 per 100 possessions. However, the Hawkeyes rank third in conference averaging more than 80 points per game and third in total rebounds with 39.4 per contest.Losing four starters is certainly a challenge to a coach, and often times the defense is what drops off the most. For Iowa, its defense is without a doubt its greatest weakness.The Hawkeyes are last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and opponent rebounding, allowing 78.2 points and 38.7 rebounds per game. However, at home, Iowa allows 75 points compared to 82 points away from Iowa City.Cook is the only other player for Iowa that averages double figures with 11.9 points. Jok leads the Hawkeyes in points, assists, steals and 3-point field goal percentage.The GameThe Buckeyes arguably put together its most complete game of the season on Wednesday against Minnesota, something the team is trying to build on.“I would say (the Minnesota game is) just a stepping stone,” Tate said. “Like I said, this year, there’s been multiple times that you’ve seen us play at the level we’re supposed to play at all the time. I think we did that against Minnesota, but we still didn’t do it for the whole 40 minutes.”Redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson and senior forward Marc Loving led the team with 19 points a piece — a career high for Thompson. It was the former Virginia Tech transfer’s seventh double-double this season, which is the most for an OSU big man since Jared Sullinger had 17 in the 2011-2012 season. Expect Thompson to register his eighth against Iowa. One thing OSU has had difficulty with is keeping possession. Turnovers have cost the Buckeyes a few games this year and will need to tighten up against McCaffery who likes to implement a half-court trap and 3-2 zone at points in the game.“It’s just, it’s a matter of whatever they throw at us we’ve got to know exactly what we’re doing and get the best shot we possibly can,” OSU coach Thad Matta said.OSU has played completely different away from home this season, and Matta said he has about given up trying to figure out why his guys don’t engage into the action from the get-go. He said his team has to become more consistent in every aspect of the game.Iowa will likely go on a few runs in the first half, but OSU’s rebounding should be the difference in the game and allow OSU to have more scoring chances than the Hawkeyes.Prediction: Ohio State – 76, Iowa – 72Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. read more

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Baseball Ohio State looking for surprise in Arizona against pair of heavyweight

Ohio State redshirt senior first baseman Zach Ratcliff at bat during the Scarlet and Gray World Series in October 2016. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe past weekend was a tale of two halves for the Ohio State baseball team. They combined for 21 runs in the two victories, only to falter in their final two games with a combined four runs. Now looking ahead to the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, OSU (2-2) will have to find the bats again if it hopes to have success against No. 5 Oregon State (4-0) and the reigning Pac-12 champion Utah Utes (2-1) in Surprise, Arizona.Despite the daunting task ahead of the Buckeyes, OSU coach Greg Beals said he’s excited to lead the team to the Grand Canyon State for the first time in 20 years and play some high-quality competition.“We’re heading out to Arizona for the first time — site of Spring Training, we’re going out and playing in a Spring Training facility. Excited for that to take our guys to a Major League complex,” Beals said. “To play teams from the Pac-12, that west-coast style baseball, I think it’s important for us to see different styles and have to be prepared to compete against a different style of baseball.”Scouting Oregon StateEntering the season, expectations were high for an Oregon State team that showed a lot of promise last season, finishing 35-19 (16-14 Pac-12). The NCAA’s consensus rankings placed the Beavers as the No. 6 team in the country. After an undefeated opening weekend, they have risen in the rankings.Pitching was the strength of this team last season and it appears this will be their backbone once again. In the first series, the Beavers’ pitching staff had surrendered a total of six runs (only three earned) with 37 total strikeouts, only 11 walks and 23 hits (.177 opponents’ batting average).Oregon State’s offense does not stand out, but can score runs when necessary. The team owns a collective .270 batting average with 22 runs scored, two home runs and three stolen bases so far on the season. Beals knows that Oregon State operates under a different style of play and that if the Buckeyes are going to come away with a win, they will have to force the Beavers to play a higher-scoring game. “They’re going to play a smaller game that they like to bunt, to run and they really emphasize their pitching and defense and play lower-scoring games is their ideal way of playing out there,” Beals said. “Our goal is to shape the game where we can get out and score some runs and force them — if we can get out a couple runs — force them to have to play for more than just one run at a time”Ratcliff emerging as power threat in final collegiate seasonRedshirt senior designated hitter Zach Ratcliff has never registered more than 100 at-bats in a single season for the Buckeyes and, prior to the weekend, he had never hit more than two home runs in a single season. After just the first weekend, he has already matched that single-season home run total. In last Saturday’s game against Delaware, Ratcliff blasted two home runs — one in the second inning and another in the fourth.Ratcliff has been given an opportunity to serve as the regular designated hitter for OSU in his final season of eligibility and, so far, has been making the most of it. He attributes his newfound success in large part to the work he put in over the summer with Beals and assistant coach Matt Angle.“This summer — when we got back to work with coach Angle, coach Beals — we kind of tore my swing down and worked from the ground up and made a few adjustments, just to kind of simplify everything,” Ratcliff said. “It’s obviously paying off early so, hopefully, I can keep things rolling.”OSU will face Utah on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET and Saturday with games against Oregon State coming on Friday and Sunday. read more

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