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Ohio State Football was named the overwhelming 2021 Big Ten favorite in’s preseason poll



ohio state football was named the overwhelming 2021 big ten

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State Football kicks off the season with a first-time quarterback, troubled running back situation, and new starters in over half of its defensive positions.

These unknowns do not diminish the expectations of the Buckeyes within the Big Ten Conference.

Ohio State was the almost unanimous preseason favorite in the Preseason Big Ten poll 2021. All but one of the 34 members of our voting panel selected the Buckeyes – the four-time defending champions – to win the Big Ten East and the championship game .

(NOTE: Due to a table error, Ohio State was originally credited with the unanimous vote to win the Big Ten championship game.)

Voters voted Wisconsin the first place favorite of the West with 29 votes. Runner-up Iowa received the other five first-place finishes. One voter picked Wisconsin to defeat the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game. took responsibility for organizing the poll for posterity when the Big Ten dropped it 11 years ago. The panel included at least one beat writer from all 14 Big Ten teams and some who cover the league as a whole or have a national perspective.

• Olave was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

• Northwestern Safety Brandon Joseph named Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Ohio State was named a preseason favorite for the seventh time in the past nine years. It narrowly missed being the first unanimous vote for the champion since 2015. Michigan State won the Big Ten that season because voters couldn’t predict the champion in each of the first six polls.

Each author was asked to vote 1-7 in both divisions, with first place votes being worth seven points, second place votes being six, and so on.


1. Wisconsin (29 winners) 233 points

2. Iowa (5) 202

3. Northwestern 160

4. Minnesota 146

5. Nebraska 91.5

6. Purdue 72.5

7. Illinois 47


1. Ohio State (34 first place finishers) 238

2. Penn State 192

3. Indiana 169

4. Michigan 144

5. Maryland 79

6. Rutgers 77.5

7. Michigan State 52.5


State of Ohio via Wisconsin (28)

Ohio State via Iowa (5)

Wisconsin via Ohio State (1)


• Iowa received votes to finish between first and fifth in the west. Rutgers was the most polarizing team in the East, chosen to land between third and last place.

• For second place in the east, many voters probably had to choose between Penn State and Indiana. They picked the Nittany Lions 23:11 ahead of second place.

• Only one voter (Doug Lesmerises of correctly picked Northwestern to win the West in the 2020 poll. Wisconsin and Minnesota were considered the division’s top two contenders, and the consensus vote put the Wildcats in fifth place. Instead, they reached the Big Ten championship game for the second time in three years.

Looking back at the history of the survey, here’s the favorites and the later league champions since the division split, the introduction of the title game and the Big Ten who dodged a full preseason rankings.

2020: Selection: Ohio State. Current: Ohio State

2019: Selection: Michigan. Current: Ohio State

2018: Selection: Ohio State. Current: Ohio State.

2017: Selection: Ohio State. Current: Ohio State.

2016: Selection: Ohio State. Current: Penn State.

2015: Selection: Ohio State. Current: Michigan State.

2014: Selection: Michigan State. Current: Ohio State.

2013: Selection: Ohio State. Current: Michigan State.

2012: Selection: Michigan. Current: Wisconsin.

2011: Selection: Nebraska. Current: Wisconsin.

Fields ‘Bears Jersey: Ohio State football fans can purchase Justin Fields’ new Chicago Bears jersey here. It is available in white, blue and orange – and in men’s, women’s and youth sizes. There is also a cheaper t-shirt option.

Justin Fields Bears jerseys

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Tonga’s Olympic flag bearer Pita Taufatofua is oiled up, wearing no shirt and passed out on social media again



tonga's olympic flag bearer pita taufatofua is oiled up, wearing

Pita Taufatofua was back at the Olympics on Friday, holding the Tongan flag and fainting social media again.

It is the third time that Taufatofua has carried the flag for Tonga. It initially caused a stir at the 2016 Rio Games and then competed again at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.


On Friday, Taufatofua was shirtless, oiled and groundbreaking for his country. He went next to Malia Paseka, who competes on the female side of the Taekwondo event.

Taufatofua has qualified in Taekwondo for the 2020 Tokyo Games. He will compete in the men’s +80 kilogram category at the event. His first competition is on Monday against Vladislav Larin from the Russian Olympic Committee.


He took to the stage during the 2016 Rio Olympics as he flaunted his greased and torn body in front of a crowded house. It was the first time that the Olympic Games were held in a South American country. He was eliminated after his first fight in the competition.

Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua from Tonga carry the flag of their country during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium of the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Hannah McKay / Pool Photo via AP)

Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua from Tonga carry the flag of their country during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium of the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (Hannah McKay / Pool Photo via AP)

The bare chest returned during the 2018 Winter Olympics when he ventured into cross-country skinning. He was the only Tongan to perform at these games and did not seem to be affected by the cold at the time. He finished 114th out of 119 participants in the 15-kilometer freestyle race.


He first tried to qualify for the 2020 Games in the sprint canoe, but only came up short. He later returned to the Olympic team for the second time in Taekwondo.

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4 takeaways when the Red Sox rallied three times to outlast the Yankees, 5-4



4 takeaways when the red sox rallied three times to

Red Sox

Hunter Renfroe’s sack fly ultimately made all the difference in a back and forth fight.

The Red Sox congratulate Hunter Renfroe. Elise Amendola / AP Photo

The Red Sox made up three deficits against the Yankees on Thursday, scooping an unlikely 5-4 win in 10 innings to open a four-game streak at Fenway Park.

Here’s what happened when the Red Sox snapped the Yankees’ four-game winning streak.

The big picture

Until their last out, the Red Sox equalized with 3 in ninth place on a double-run double from Kiké Hernández, who scored Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran. Hern ández joked that it would probably have been a home run in Buffalo, but even so, he was thrilled to help the Red Sox with what manager Alex Cora called his biggest hit with the team to date.

“It was definitely the loudest thing I’ve heard from Fenway this year,” said Hernández.

The Yankees reacted in the 10th when Brett Gardner rode a sacrificial fly in Tyler Wade. Rafael Devers rushed home on a wild rope in the lower part of the frame to knot it at 4. Xander Bogaerts left, finished second on a wild rope and third, and came home with a Hunter Renfroe sacrificial fly that sealed it and sent the Fenway believers into a frenzy.

Both teams took advantage of runner-up in the Extras, and the Red Sox had the last laugh as All-Star seamstress Matt Barnes took the win. The four wild pitches of the Yankees relief Brooks Kriske in one inning set a record in the major league regular season.

“There are a lot of guys who fight their asses,” said Kriske. “It sucks being the one to blow it for the team.”

Stars of the game

For the Red Sox, it was Verdugo – who finished 3-for-4 with two runs and was keen on the base paths – and Hernández for his Moxie in the late game. Without Verdugo’s hustle and bustle, the Red Sox would not have finished the game in seventh and given themselves a chance. Without the hit by Hernández they would not have gotten extras.

For the Yankees, it was starter Jordan Montgomery who scored six goals in 5 ⅔ goalless innings. The left-hander only allowed three hits and was just as sharp after a rain delay of almost an hour.

What it means

The Red Sox, who defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in a series of two games, are unbeaten at home by the Yankees and 8-3 against them for the season. You’ve been 4-2 since the All-Star Break and are 59-38 a year.

The Tampa Bay Rays outlasted the Cleveland Indians by 5-4 in 10 innings, so the Red Sox are still one game ahead of the Rays in the American League East. Boston has three more against the Yankees, four against the Blue Jays and three against the Rays in the coming weeks.


1. Red Sox starter Tanner Houck started the night electrically, knocking out nine of the first 10 thugs he faced and beating six of them. He let the Yankees guess and relied heavily on his slider.

His command over three was excellent, but it proved costly to lead Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton to start the fourth. Both passed with a pass, Gleyber Torres covered Gardner with a grounder to shortstop and the Yankees took a 1-0 cross.

Houck returned to a rhythm on the fifth round, registering another strikeout before allowing a rain-induced infield single where the ball bounced across the grass and was essentially unplayable. Then came the 55-minute rain delay and Houck didn’t return – a decision he understood and supported. He finished with eight strikeouts in 4 ⅔ innings, allowing only one undeserved run on two hits.

“Excellent,” Cora said of Houck. “The rain delay killed us right there.”

Houck stayed 0-2 in the season and lowered his ERA to 2.50. His 44 strikeouts are the third most shared by a Red Sox pitcher in the first eight career games.

He threw 33 sliders Thursday and got the Yankees swinging at 11, including seven misses.

“I knew immediately that the slider felt just right,” said Houck. “You won’t wake up every day feeling the best about everything. I went out and competed with what I had. “

2. Boston tied the game 1 in seventh on a Hernández sacrificial fly that hit Verdugo. Verdugo, who recently pulled out an infield single and recently pushed into third place on a hit, sprinted home and slipped his left hand in just before Rob Brantly could hit the tag.

Moments later, the Red Sox instantly got the Yankees going again. New York threw Bobby Dalbec out at home and then took two runs in the top of eighth on an RBI single by Giancarlo Stanton and a sacrificial fly by Gleyber Torres. Adam Ottavino went the first two thugs, Hernández misplayed a ball in the middle, and the Yankees effectively played small ball.

However, when the Yankees met again, so did the Red Sox – and again in 10th place. Every time New York pushed forward, Boston responded.

“It was a good fight,” said Cora, “and in the end we won.”

3. This was the MLB’s 30th best come-from-behind win for the Red Sox and one of the most unlikely.

Although they ended up scoring 10 hits to the Yankees’ four and making no mistakes, the odds were still stacked against them at several points during the night.

They relied on a variety of sources, including Duran, who pounded on Hernández’s ball all the way home from the start.

“As soon as the ball hit the gap, we knew it was going to hit,” said Cora.

They also turned to Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Ottavino, Yacksel Rios, and Barnes with relief. Ottavino fought in the eighth, but the other relievers combined for 4 ⅓ shutout innings.

4. Many familiar faces were in the house, including former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, former Red Sox outfielder JD Drew and first-round pick 2021 Marcelo Mayer, to name a few.

The Red Sox made the fans happy, put together another exciting win and stayed at the top of the league.

Houck said: “The atmosphere, there is nothing like it.”

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So use Nelson Cruz, Barry Bonds, and Hank Aaron in the same sentence



so use nelson cruz, barry bonds, and hank aaron in

Nelson Cruz is so old that when Roger Maris first signed with the New York Mets in 1998 he still held the one-season home run record.

Nelson Cruz is so old that his new team-mate Wander Franco wasn’t born when he played his first professional game.

Nelson Cruz is so old …

Okay, you got the idea. Cruz is 41 years old and still one of the best hitters in the game, and the Tampa Bay Rays hope he’s the missing thug they need to not only hunt the Red Sox in the American League East, but the ones World return series and – this time – one step ahead.

The Rays acquired Cruz from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday for pitcher Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman in the minor league to breathe life into an offensive that ranks seventh in runs per game in the majors but only 16 in OPS lies. You fought particularly against left-handers and only hit .226 / .303 / .380 against southpaws. Cruz hits .362 / .410 / .600 against left-handers and .294 / .370 / .537 overall, with 19 homers in 85 games.

Cruz’s production is no accident. He ranks ninth in the majors in OPS + in 2021, fourth in the last two seasons, and third in the last three seasons. Few players hit the ball consistently harder as it ranks in the 95th percentile of the average exit speed, the 94th percentile of the hard hit rate, the 98th percentile of the maximum exit speed, and the 92nd percentile of the expected slugging percentage.

The Rays close a deal to acquire Nelson Cruz @JeffPassan.

Cruz’s 19 home runs rank second among designated hitters this season. While the Rays struggled to reach production from this point, the bottom 5 in AL rank in BA, OPS, and HR

– ESPN statistics and info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 22, 2021

It’s just the latest from one of the greatest “old” players in major league history. Cruz has hit 220 home runs since his 35th birthday – only Barry Bonds (340) and Henry Aaron (245) have hit more and Cruz seems like a good bet to overtake Aaron. The notable aspect of this trivia: Cruz hit 216 home runs before he turned 35, so he hit more after he was 35 than before.

Cruz was traded as a minor leaguer twice, from the A’s to the Mets – in 2000 – and then from the A’s to the Brewers. He played eight games for the Brewers in 2005 and was traded to the Rangers during the 2006 season. It would eventually make a name for itself in Texas, but not until the Rangers put it on in 2008. At the time, his strength potential was evident, but he was wild and undisciplined on the plate, hitting .235 with a .287 “on-base percentage for Texas in 2007. When the Rangers waived him after doing it in 2008 hadn’t managed to make the team out of spring training, every team could have claimed him for themselves. Neither team made it. He was 27 years old and back in Triple-A, the label “Quad-A” hung on him.

Little did we know that Cruz’s transformation was just beginning.

“You can watch videos and tee off, stuff like that, but at the same time you’re against the pitcher. All I need is a swing or a pitch to click and you can find your swing, ”said Cruz once. It would be easy to say that Cruz learned just that. It didn’t have to vibrate at every pitch – it just had to vibrate at the right one.

The strange thing is that, if you go through Cruz’s data, many of the various metrics have stayed the same since he returned to the Rangers in 2008, scoring 1,030 OPS in 31 games and then forming his first of seven All-Star teams in 2009 when he hit 33 homers. Things like swing rate, chase rate, where does it hit the ball – they’re essentially the same except for minor changes from year to year.

Quick Verdict on the Nelson Cruz Trade: The Rays are getting the best racket on the market and someone with an A + clubhouse reputation. But the twins also did very well to have Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, two tough right-handed people who are almost ready for the Big League.

-Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2021

At some level, all Cruz ever needed was an opportunity. His breakthrough in the 2009 season came during his season at the age of 28. Since then, he has hit 414 home runs – the ninth ever in a player’s season at the age of 28. One of the players ahead of him is David Ortiz, who has scored 452 home runs since his season at age 28, and there are some clear similarities between the two as both are big, strong Dominican thugs and are considered great clubhouse leaders too. Ortiz, however, had a clear change in his stroke approach between his 34- and 35-year seasons. In 2010, he cut 145 times in 606 record appearances. In 2011 he struck out only 83 times in 605 record appearances. In fact, even though strikeout rates rose dramatically across the league, Ortiz has never dropped 100 more times in its last six seasons.

That wasn’t the case of Cruz. He crossed the season 22.5% of the time at age 34 and 22.6% of the time since. His hearing rate has improved slightly – 8.1% to 10.2%, although his chase rates have not improved. In fact, his chase rate of 30.8% for each of the last two seasons is the highest of his career.

What Cruz seems to be doing so well is hunting down specific pitches. I don’t know if it’s fair to call him a rate hitter, but he can make some ugly swings if his guesswork is wrong. However, if his guesswork is correct, you’ll say goodbye to baseball. Ortiz had the same ability, looking terrible on one pitch and then crashing the next.

Ortiz could still score when he retired – he led the AL in slugging, OPS, Doubles and RBIs in his senior season, but the pain in his knees forced him to give it up. We don’t know how long he could have continued. That’s what’s fascinating about Cruz – who knows how long he can stay an elite hitter. With 436 home runs, 500 is possible, which would be a ridiculous feat for a player who was only 22-27 years old.

As for the Rays, they are only hoping for a bunch in the next three months – August, September, and October.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.

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