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Moodys Downgrades CMA CGM due to Weakened Liquidity

first_imgzoomImage by Navingo The corporate family rating of French shipping major CMA CGM was downgraded to B2 from B1 amid the company’s weakened liquidity profile, according to rating agency Moody’s.Additionally, CMA CGM’s probability default rating was set to B2-PD from B1-PD, senior unsecured ratings were downgraded to Caa1 from B3, while the outlook was changed to stable from negative.“Today’s rating action reflects that CMA CGM’s liquidity profile has weakened materially in the last 12 months as a consequence of the acquisition of CEVA Logistics AG, although expected by Moody’s to improve somewhat in 2020,” Daniel Harlid, Assistant Vice President — Analyst and lead analyst for CMA CGM, said.The downgrade of CMA CGM’s rating follows the acquisition of CEVA Logistics, that together with the a large capex programme and difficult, albeit stable, market environment has and will continue to put pressure on the company’s liquidity profile.Given Moody’s base case, where the free cash flow generation of the company leaves very limited room for debt reduction, Moody’s now expects adjusted debt/EBITDA to be sustained above 5x and adjusted FFO Interest coverage to be sustained below 3x during the next 12-18 months.Moody’s notes that CMA GCM has historically shown “good access to capital and that there is some optionality when it comes to delay capex which would improve the current liquidity profile.”Also, Moody’s understands the company is planning to sell a minority stake in Ceva and divest terminals, both of which would improve liquidity.Nevertheless, the rating action reflects that available liquidity has decreased substantially since June 2018, when the company had USD 1.6 billion of cash on balance sheet and USD 1.2 billion of undrawn RCFs. This is in stark contrast with the liquidity position in June 2019, consisting of USD 1.5 billion (of which USD 270 million is at a Ceva level) and only around USD 280 million in undrawn RCFs.As Moody’s currently have a stable outlook on the container shipping sector, expectations on CMA CGM’s operating performance for the next 12-18 months reflects volumes growing with low single digits coupled with some further improvements in operating expenses per TEU (excluding bunker costs).This translates to a Moody’s-adjusted EBIT margin in the range of 3.5%-4.0% and Moody’s-adjusted debt/EBITDA of 5.6x-5.1x. The stable outlook is also based on a successful divestment of terminals for a total amount of at least USD 500 million.last_img read more

Tyendinaga Mohawks launch temporary rail blockade on main line between Toronto Montreal

first_img(Correction: Dan Doreen’s name was incorrectly spelled.)By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsAbout three dozen Mohawks from Tyendinaga blocked the main rail line between Toronto and Montreal for several hours Sunday in support of hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement.The move forced CN to suspend all rail traffic along the line.The blockade stranded about 2,000 passengers, said VIA Rail in a statement to media.This was the same rail line, between Belleville, Ont., and Napanee, Ont., shut down in 2007 for almost 12 hours by the Mohawks as part of a planned national day of action.“It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about Chief Spence and everyone else dying,” said Tom Maracle, a Mohawk from Tyendinaga, at the blockade.Maracle, however, issued a warning.“This is peaceful. The next one won’t be,” he said.A fire was keeping the blockaders warm. The blockade was launched at about 4 p.m. local time. OPP arrived on the scene at about 8 p.m. The blockade was expected to end sometime late Sunday evening.CN spokesman Jim Feeny said CN had suspended all rail traffic until the blockade ended.“This is the main line,” he said. “It is a heavily used line…We are hoping that the issue can be resolved and that traffic can be resumed as quickly as possible.”kjackson@aptn.ca@afixedaddressjbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Notley denies Keystone XL backing as a subsidy cites need for more

first_imgAlberta Premier Rachel Notley says the decision to back the Keystone XL pipeline shouldn’t be seen as a subsidy and all new pipelines are needed to meet growing oil and gas production.“We are ourselves a shipper at the end of the day,” Notley said Thursday. “It’s not that, and again as I’ve said, we’ve got these three pipelines and we as a government are looking at the best way to work with each proponent to support them as effectively as we can.On Wednesday, TransCanada confirmed it had commercial support for the pipeline, securing 500,000 barrels a day from producers for 20 years.50,000 of those will come from the provincial government’s Crown corporation.In response, competitor Enbridge told the Globe and Mail that TransCanada had previously announced it had enough commercial support months ago, so a taxpayer subsidy isn’t necessary.Notley said they’ve been working closely with Enbridge – whose Line 3 pipeline began construction last summer – along with Kinder Morgan on the Trans Mountain pipeline.But the Keystone support is a change from the NDP’s previous position, as it said during the 2015 election to focus on other projects since it didn’t appear it would get approval at the time by the United States.When asked why she changed her mind, Notley said production is up and capacity is down.“We do have a market in the States and if we can put that product on pipeline as opposed to on rail, that means more returns for Albertans,” she said. “The projected oil and gas production are going to require Kinder, they’re going to require Line 3, they’re going to require Keystone.”As for the overall growth of the economy, Notley responded to Statistics Canada data that cited EI increases in November, specifically by a big jump of in Edmonton.“We know that employment lags behind to some degree business, GDP growth and those kinds of things,” she said. “That being said, what we have seen is the province has created about 70,000 jobs in the last year, we are at the highest employment rate that we have been at since 2014.“The indicators overall is that we are making progress on jobs, we’re about halfway there, we’ve got more to do.”last_img read more

Chinese armed drones now flying across Mideast battlefields

first_imgDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – High above Yemen’s rebel-held city of Hodeida, a drone controlled by Emirati forces hovered as an SUV carrying a top Shiite Houthi rebel official turned onto a small street and stopped, waiting for another vehicle in its convoy to catch up.Seconds later, the SUV exploded in flames, killing Saleh al-Samad, a top political figure.The drone that fired that missile in April was not one of the many American aircraft that have been buzzing across the skies of Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. It was Chinese.Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones.“The Chinese product now doesn’t lack technology, it only lacks market share,” said Song Zhongping, a Chinese military analyst and former lecturer at the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force University of Engineering. “And the United States restricting its arms exports is precisely what gives China a great opportunity.”The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region vital to American security interests.“It’s a hedging strategy and the Chinese will look to benefit from that,” said Douglas Barrie, an airpower specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “I think the Chinese are far less liable to be swayed by concerns over civilian casualties,” he said.At the start of the year, a satellite passing over southern Saudi Arabia photographed U.S.-made surveillance drones at an airfield, alongside Chinese-manufactured armed ones.According to the Center for the Study of the Drone at New York’s Bard College, that was the first documented example of the two drone systems being used in the war in Yemen. The country has emerged as a “sort of a testing ground for these strike-capable drones,” said Dan Gettinger, the co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone. “There’s a rapid turnaround from delivery to deployment.”U.S. drones were first used in Yemen to kill suspected al-Qaida militants in 2002.One of the biggest Chinese exports is the Cai-Hong, or Rainbow, series made by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., or CASC, the largest contractor for the Chinese space program.CASC’s CH-4 and CH-5 models are on a par with San Diego-based General Atomics’ Predator and Reaper drones, and much cheaper. Independent analysts say the Chinese models lag behind their American counterparts but the technology is good enough to justify the price tag, which might be half or less.A CASC executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, said cutting-edge U.S. models like Boeing Co.’s Stingray, introduced this year for the U.S. Navy, still hold a technological advantage.And while price is an advantage, so too is a more relaxed attitude toward how drones are used, said Ulrike Franke, an expert on drones and policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign RelationsSince 2014, China has sold more than 30 CH-4’s to countries including Saudi Arabia and Iraq in deals worth over $700 million, according to CASC. Ten countries are currently in negotiations to purchase the CH-4, according to the firm.Last year, China sold to the UAE the Wing Loong II, an armed unmanned aerial vehicle roughly equivalent to the American MQ-9 Reaper.“In recent years, all types of drones have proven their value and importance through a high degree of use in warfare, and the military has noticed,” said the top CASC executive. “Many countries are now speeding up the development for these weapons systems, including China.”During President Xi Jinping’s five years in power, China has stepped up spending on stealth fighters and aircraft carriers for its own military, while boosting sales of advanced equipment such as attack submarines to close allies like Pakistan.China still lags behind the U.S., Russia, France, and Germany in total arms sales but it’s catching up. Chinese arms exports rose by 38 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks the global arms trade.Mounting criticism over the rising civilian death toll in Yemen prompted the U.S. to impose restrictions on drone sales, forcing foreign countries to go through the U.S. government to buy armed drones, including those with laser-guidance systems.The Washington-based New America Foundation estimates more than 240 drone strikes in Yemen have killed more than 1,300 people, including at least 111 civilians.But with China’s drone sales booming, there’s growing pressure from U.S. arms makers to remove restrictions to let them catch up.After some U.S. lawmakers urged President Donald Trump to loosen controls and let General Atomics sell its armed Reapers to Jordan and the UAE, the administration on April 19 permitted U.S. manufacturers to directly market and sell drones, including armed versions.The government must still approve and license the sales, which are also contingent on human rights and proliferation reviews and congressional authorization.General Atomics did not respond to a request for comment.China doesn’t routinely announce arms sales like the U.S. and others, but a review of drone spottings gives some indication of who its customers are.— In Iraq in October 2015, the country’s then-defence minister inspected a CH-4 drone at an air base in the city of Kut.— Chinese armed drones have been operating at Jordan’s Zarqa Airport, at an air base in Pakistan and from bases in Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula and near its border with Libya, according to satellite photos analyzed by the Center for the Study of the Drone.— Satellite photographs taken of a mysterious air base in the United Arab Emirates’ deep south — a desert area known as the Empty Quarter — appear to show three Wing Loong IIs, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reported in January.— Two CH-4s were spotted by satellite alongside surveillance-only Predators purchased by the UAE at Jizan Regional Airport in southern Saudi Arabia, near the kingdom’s border with Yemen, according to the Center for the Study of the Drone.— Outside of the Mideast, Nigeria has used Chinese armed drones against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.___Shih reported from Beijing.last_img read more

Irish border dispute looms large over the UKEU Brexit talks

first_imgLUXEMBOURG – The moods in Britain and the European Union swung between hope and gloom on Monday over an intractable dispute about the Irish border — shifts that came only two days ahead of a summit once seen as the last moment to reach a deal on Britain’s divorce from the bloc.After a flurry of weekend meetings had raised expectations for a Brexit agreement only to dash them again, EU and British leaders sought to keep alive the possibility that Wednesday’s summit could see a Brexit breakthrough, despite their conflicting stances.After a year and a half of talks aimed at a smooth breakup, both sides were still dogged by the same issue — how to ensure that no hard border is created between the EU’s Ireland and Britain’s Northern Ireland once Brexit happens on March 29.EU Council president and summit host Donald Tusk searched for a positive outlook.He used a quote saying “It always seems impossible until it’s done” before adding himself “let us not give up.” At the same time, he acknowledged that a breakup with no rules in place “is more likely than ever before.”Despite a failed meeting Sunday between the two sides’ Brexit negotiators, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons in London on Monday that “I do not believe the EU and the UK are far apart.”Yet a chasm remains over a solution for the Irish border.The EU wants Northern Ireland to stay in its customs union to avoid a hard, policed land border between it and Ireland. But May says that would create “a border in the Irish Sea” between two parts of the United Kingdom — a scenario that she and Britain will not accept.Britain is proposing instead to keep all of the U.K. in a customs union with the bloc — but only temporarily. Tying Britain to the EU on customs would limit the U.K.’s power to strike new trade deals around the world — a key goal of those who voted to leave the EU.“I need to be able to look the British people in the eye and say this ‘backstop’ is a temporary solution,” May told the lawmakers.Insisting that a Brexit divorce deal was “achievable,” May said the border dispute should not “derail the prospects of a good deal and leave us with the no-deal outcome that no one wants.”May is under intense pressure from her Conservative Party and its parliamentary allies not to give any more ground in Brexit negotiations.May’s political allies in Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party, stand ready to scuttle a Brexit deal over the Irish border issue. DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said “it is probably inevitable that we will end up with a no-deal scenario” over Brexit.Many fear that any return to customs checks and other controls on the Ireland-Northern Ireland border could revive tensions between Northern Ireland’s Irish Catholic community and its British Protestant one. More than 3,700 people were killed in Northern Ireland amid 30 years of violence between the two groups and Britain before a 1998 peace deal.Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, speaking at a meeting Monday of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, said the delays in solving the border issue were frustrating. He suggested that May was reneging on part of Britain’s commitment, made in December, to ensure that there is no hard border on the island of Ireland.He said a backstop “cannot be time-limited.”“Nobody wants to ever trigger the backstop, but it needs to be there as an insurance mechanism, to calm nerves that we’re not going to see physical border infrastructure re-emerging,” Coveney said.The border impasse makes it is almost impossible that EU leaders will reach a Brexit deal at their summit this week. The British and EU parliaments need to approve any deal, a process that could take months.German Chancellor Angela Merkel, perhaps the strongest voice in the EU, insisted Monday that May should not count on the EU to blink first for fear of losing valuable business. Merkel said Germany wants an orderly departure of Britain from the bloc “but not at any price.”EU negotiators and leaders have said that Britain should not seek to cherry-pick the best parts of staying in the EU without the costs and responsibilities.“We must not allow our single market, which is really our competitive advantage, to be destroyed by such a withdrawal,” Merkel said told Germany’s main exporters’ association. “And if it doesn’t work out this week, we must continue negotiating, that is clear — but time is pressing.”If Britain leaves the EU without an agreement on future relations, there could be chaos — tariffs would go up on trade, airlines could no longer have permits to fly between the two regions, and freight could be lined up for miles at border crossings as customs checks are restored overnight.The EU has said it is willing to call an extra meeting in November if needed to seal a Brexit deal, but only if there was decisive progress this week.“I figure November or December is the best opportunity for a deal,” said Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. “This is a dynamic situation.”As the chances of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal rise, so do calls from pro-EU campaigners in Britain for a new referendum — dubbed a “People’s Vote” — on whether to accept a divorce deal or stay in the bloc.Several opposition lawmakers, and even a few Conservatives, stood in Parliament on Monday to call for a new Brexit referendum.“We had a people’s vote,” May replied. “It was called the referendum and the people voted to leave.”___Lawless reported from London. Geir Moulson in Berlin and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed.last_img read more

Site C workforce broke the 2100 mark in March

first_imgThere were 22 additional B.C. residents employed on Site C as contractors, making up 83 percent of contractors and bringing the total to 1,331. The number of Peace River Regional District resident contractors dropped from 642 to 598. The percentage of PRRD resident contractors dropped from 41 percent to 37 percent during the month.According to the rest of the statistics, there were only three temporary foreign workers employed at Site C during the month. There were also 22 apprentices, along with 256 women and 213 Indigenous workers. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro has released the employment statistics for the Site C dam during the month of March, which shows the dam’s workforce did increase during the third month of this year, though not nearly as much as it did in February.In March, there were 2,124 workers directly employed on the Site C project in some capacity. The number of contractors on site jumped by 54 compared to February to 1,611, while the number of engineers and project team members fell by 16. Photo by BC Hydro Photo by BC Hydro Photo by BC Hydro Photo by BC Hydro last_img read more

Congs Sunil declares Rs 153 cr movable assets deposits in Swiss bank

first_imgGurdaspur: Congress’s Lok Sabha candidate from here Sunil Kumar Jakhar has declared movable assets worth Rs 1.53 crore, besides an over Rs 7 crore deposit in a Swiss bank in his wife’s name, according to an affidavit filed with poll authorities. Son of former Madhya Pradesh governor late Balram Jakhar, the Congress nominee has declared Rs 1.23 crore as deposits in different bank accounts. He has declared deposits worth Rs 7.37 crore by his wife Silvia Jakhar in the Zurcher Kantonal Bank, Zurich, Switzerland, according to the affidavit. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe Zurcher Kantonal Bank is one of the biggest Swiss banks, as per its website. Sunil Jakhar has Rs 4.49 lakh as cash in hand and his wife Rs 1.38 lakh. He has declared immovable assets worth Rs 2.88 crore, including those which are self acquired and inherited, and that of his wife as Rs 12.06 crore in the affidavit. Sunil Jakhar, the sitting MP from Gurdaspur, is up against actor-politician Ajay Singh Dharmendra Deol, popularly known as Sunny Deol. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadDeol has declared movable assets worth Rs 60.46 crore, including bank deposits, and Rs 5.72 crore assets of his wife Lynda Deol, according to his affidavit. He has declared immovable assets worth Rs 21 crore in the affidavit. Sunny Deol has Rs 26 lakh cash in hand and his wife Rs 16 lakh. The actor has declared liabilities, as loan or dues to financial institutions or individuals of Rs 49.3 crore. His wife’s liabilities, as mentioned in the affidavit, are of Rs 1.66 crore. Sunny Deol has declared Rs 2.49 crore as “government dues”, including Rs 1.07 crore as Goods and Services Tax dues in the affidavit. Voting in all 13 Lok Sabha seats of Punjab, including Gurdaspur, will be held on Sunday.last_img read more

Would Baseballs AllTime AllStar Team Go 1620

Every year, MLB’s All-Star game brings together the best players from each league to form two superteams. For one game, we get to see Jose Fernandez as a reliever against lineups in which Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera hit back to back. But unlike the NBA’s fantasy rosters made real, we never get to glimpse how dominant such a talent-laden squad would be against normal MLB competition. So with a little statistical analysis and some conjecture, I took a guess at how well an MLB All-Star team would fare in a regular season — and even how often they’d go a perfect 162-0.1This piece was prompted by an email from reader Rich Chiesa, so thanks, Rich.To get an idea of how good each All-Star team would be, I added up the wins above replacement2The FanGraphs version. for every All-Star team’s best player at each position since 1933 (the first year of the All-Star Game). To further make things comparable to regular-season teams, I summed the top five pitchers’ WAR totals to get a rotation’s worth of pitching WAR.3I excluded relievers from the rosters in order to make an apples-to-apples comparison across history, since relief pitching didn’t really exist in anything like its current form until the 1970s. I also did not consider any WAR contributed by the designated hitter for each All-Star and regular season team, since the DH did not exist before 1973. The result of all this was a predicted WAR total for each All-Star team, which I could use as a comparison against real regular-season teams.Not surprisingly, All-Star teams tend to carry far more talent in their ranks than most normal teams. The average All-Star squad put 60 full-season WAR on the field, which is about the same as the 1976 Reds — widely regarded as one of the best teams in MLB history. No regular-season team in history exceeded the 1927 Yankees’ 66.3 WAR, but about 30 percent of All-Star teams would have if given the chance to play together in the regular season.But 66.3 WAR is kind of an abstract idea; what most fans care about is Ws and Ls. To establish how well these All-Star rosters might have fared in the standings, I used regular-season teams as a guide. I regressed their winning percentages against the total WAR on their rosters to get a sense for how much each additional WAR was worth.4I used a logit transformation on these winning percentages, since I expected them to become asymptotic at some point (i.e., no team can win more than 100 percent of its games). The correlation between a team’s WAR total and its winning percentage was a robust and statistically significant 0.82. As expected, each win above replacement contributed to a team increases winning percentage by roughly 0.7 points, or the equivalent of about one win in a 162-game schedule. By this method, practically every All-Star team would be predicted to have a winning record, and the average All-Star squad would be predicted to win 73.4 percent of its games.5The sole All-Star team predicted to have a losing record was the 1933 National League’s outfit, and this is largely by virtue of the fact that they listed only four pitchers on their roster. In a 162-game schedule a .734 winning percentage would lead to 120 wins, a feat no real-life team has ever achieved. And that’s just the average; the very best All-Star teams — the top 10 percent — would be predicted to win more than 81 percent of their games, or 132 contests in a regular season.Standing atop that group as the best All-Star team ever was the 1997 National League squad. (Which, by the way, lost to the AL 3-1, a reminder that in any one game a superteam can lose to a merely great team, especially if there isn’t much at stake.) Seven players from that roster have already made the Hall of Fame, with two more (third baseman Chipper Jones and pitcher Curt Schilling) likely to reach induction in the near future, and a few others (such as outfielder Barry Bonds and first baseman Jeff Bagwell) mainly excluded over performance-enhancing drug concerns. (By comparison, only five players from the AL team that opposed them have made the hall so far.) Combined, the top players on the ’97 NL team produced 86.2 WAR; six of them reached the MVP level threshold of 6 WAR; their worst position player, Jones, ended up producing 3.7 WAR — still 23rd best in the NL.We can’t say for sure how such a team might have fared over a 162-game schedule; the assumptions of any model can break down at the extremes, particularly since we’re trying to extrapolate from a sample of regular-season teams that have never been anywhere near as powerful. But by the model outlined above, the 1997 NL All-Stars would have been predicted to win 87 percent of their games, or 140 times in a season. Even given the amount of luck in baseball records,6Random variation can can cause a team’s win total to fluctuate by something like 6 to 10 wins per year. the ’97 NL would hypothetically go undefeated only once every six billion seasons. (So the best team in baseball history — by a huge margin — would still be the longest of long shots for a perfect record.)I can, of course, take things a step further and assemble the all-time greatest All-Star team. By assembling the greatest single-season performances at each position throughout history, I can build a team with almost 137 WAR, more than 50 percent better than the greatest single All-Star team ever. This team — with Lou Gehrig from 1934 manning first base, Barry Bonds from 2002 in the outfield, and ’99 Pedro Martinez sharing a rotation with ’72 Steve Carlton — would be predicted to win 96.8 percent of its games, becoming the first 157-game winner. With a lot of luck, it could eke out an undefeated regular season, but even for them it would be far from a certainty. (According to the binomial distribution, it would happen once every 200 or so seasons.)Obviously, no such team will ever play the regular season, and this simplified approach ignores many factors that limit teams from such otherworldly performance, such as injuries and the grind of the long schedule. Even so, it’s intriguing to consider how overwhelming an All-Star team likely would be in the face of regular-season competition. For a game in which the default is to fail seven times out of 10, most All-Star teams would suddenly make baseball look quite easy.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

How Penn State Can Still Make The College Football Playoff

13Auburn def. Alabama37.732.3+5.3 Which of Penn State’s games holds the most weight?PSU’s remaining 2017 matchups by the impact they have on the team’s playoff chances 13Michigan def. Ohio State35.419.2+16.3 12Nebraska99.892.4+7.4 10NC State def. Clemson41.530.6+10.9 13Maryland99.688.8+10.8 11Michigan State def. Ohio State16.17.0+9.1 Each week in this space, we examine all the things a certain contending team needs to have happen in order for it to make the College Football Playoff. This week, we look at the Penn State Nittany Lions, who suffered their first loss of the season Saturday after a fourth-quarter collapse on the road against Ohio State.Current situation: Undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country, Penn State had a clear playoff path laid out in front of it — provided it could beat the Buckeyes, that is, in what was the program’s biggest game since the late 1990s. The Nittany Lions scored on the game’s first play and held control for three quarters, but Ohio State kept chipping away at PSU’s lead late, capping off a 19-3 fourth-quarter run with a go-ahead touchdown pass from which Penn State never recovered. Now ranked seventh in the first edition of the CFP committee rankings, the Lions have only a 14 percent chance of making the playoff, according to the FiveThirtyEight model.What the Lions can do: Because the loss came relatively late in the season, it left Penn State without much time to rebuild its playoff status. Even if the Lions win the rest of their games, our model gives them only a 20 percent chance of making the playoff. One important factor driving that number is a lack of opportunities for another signature win down the season’s final stretch: According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Penn State’s future strength of schedule ranks just 67th in the country — easily the worst among the top 15 teams in the country by FPI. The only ranked team remaining on Penn State’s schedule (assuming it doesn’t go to the Big Ten championship) is Michigan State — and if PSU beats Michigan State, the Spartans will surely lose their ranking, which is currently only No. 24. With this weak slate of remaining games, it will be difficult for the Lions to impress the committee solely with their performance on the field before season’s end.Even so, here are the most important games left in the regular season for Penn State, based on the biggest difference in winning percentages between our simulations where the Lions make the playoff and ones where they don’t: WKOPPONENTMAKES PLAYOFFDOESN’T MAKE PLAYOFFDIFF. The other games that need to go right for the Nittany LionsNon-Penn State matchups that have the biggest impact on the team’s playoff chances 11Stanford def. Washington46.440.7+5.7 Differences may not add up because of rounding. 13Stanford def. Notre Dame43.435.7+7.7 Where they need help: As if losing to the Buckeyes wasn’t enough, Penn State fans now need to keep a close eye on every Ohio State game from here out. Because the teams share a division and because OSU now holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over Penn State, Ohio State will need to lose twice in conference play to give PSU a shot at winning the East. That’s not very likely; our model gives Ohio State a 44 percent chance of winning every remaining regular-season game, much less winning at least three of four. But OSU’s best chances to lose will come in its games at Iowa this weekend and at Michigan on Nov. 25, so those are also Penn State’s highest-leverage games left in the season (aside from the Lions’ own matchup against Michigan State on Saturday). 10Iowa def. Ohio State34.1%12.7%+21.5 PROBABILITY BY PENN STATE OUTCOME 13Georgia Tech def. Georgia29.522.9+6.6 11Rutgers99.996.3+3.6 10Michigan State99.4%79.2%+20.1 11Miami (FL) def. Notre Dame42.035.2+6.8 13South Carolina def. Clemson27.521.2+6.3 WKRESULTMAKES PLAYOFFDOESN’T MAKE PLAYOFFDIFF. PENN STATE WIN % BY OUTCOME Based on two sets of simulations: one where the team makes the playoff and one where it doesn’t. Differences may not add up exactly because of rounding. Of course, it’s also possible that the committee could slot in both Penn State and Ohio State come selection day. (In 28 percent of simulations where the Lions make the CFP, the Buckeyes are also in, making OSU Penn State’s fourth-most-likely playoff “companion” behind Alabama, Georgia and Clemson.) But the chance of two Big Ten teams making the playoff is pretty remote; our model gives it an 8.3 percent probability of happening, mainly because it would require some major shakeups elsewhere in the country — most likely losses by Clemson, Washington, Notre Dame and/or one of the Big 12 front-runners — to clear space. And although the most common combination among those multiple-Big Ten-playoff-team universes features Penn State and Ohio State making the playoff together (47 percent of the times that two Big Ten teams make it), our model assigns a 27 percent chance to a scenario where Ohio State and Wisconsin are the Big Ten picks, and the Nittany Lions are left out.1And in 22 of our 20,000 simulations — or 0.1 percent of the time — three Big Ten teams somehow make the playoff.But maybe that’s also an area where the model doesn’t have enough information yet. If Wisconsin and OSU are on a collision course in the Big Ten championship (and they appear to be), then those Badger-Buckeye universes would mean that the committee selected a conference title-game loser for a playoff spot. That may not be very realistic: In 12 chances over three seasons, only once — Ohio State in 2016 — did the real-life committee pick a team that didn’t win its conference (and those Buckeyes didn’t lose their championship game but rather missed it entirely on a tiebreaker).That should give Penn State hope that its current odds are being slightly understated by our model — that if they just keep winning and get a little lucky, the Lions could slip in as a second Big Ten playoff bid at the very least. Then again, if college football’s playoff era has proven nothing else, it’s that the committee might do something we’ve never seen before. We’ll see whether that works in Penn State’s favor or not.Check out our latest college football predictions. Also, see what it will take for Notre Dame, Clemson, Washington and Oklahoma to still make the playoff. read more

Football Redshirt freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin enters name in transfer portal

Redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin (12) throws a pass down the field in the first half of the 2019 Spring Game on April 13. Gray beat Scarlet 35-17. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorAfter entering spring camp expecting to battle with sophomore Justin Fields for first-team quarterback reps, redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin has entered his name into the transfer portal. Ohio State confirmed the report Thursday. Lettermen Row was first to report.In the Spring Game, Baldwin completed 20-of-36 passes for 246 yards, throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions. Fields finished the game completing 4-of-13 pass attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown, adding a rushing touchdown with 38 rushing yards. Baldwin spent his first season with the Buckeyes overcoming an ACL injury he suffered in the 2017 Texas 6A State Championship game when he was at Lake Travis High School.As spring practice continued, Fields and Baldwin split first-team reps, and Baldwin was confident in is chances of playing time. “Now Tate leaves and Justin comes in,” Baldwin said. “I guess he is kind of chasing me.”With the loss of Baldwin, Fields and redshirt senior Chris Chugunov are the only quarterbacks on scholarship for the Buckeyes. Sophomore quarterback Danny Vanatsky is also on the roster as a walk-on. read more