‘A Christmas Story’ Butter Sculpture at The Ohio State Fair

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Pink bunny pajamas, leg lamps and triple dog dares have become a part of many holiday traditions as families gather around to watch A Christmas Story every December. Now families that come together at the 2018 Ohio State Fair will be able to relive butter-sculpted scenes from the movie! The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins has more.last_img

The 5thWave Forum

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Tregg CroninDTN Contributing AnalystThere’s an old market adage that says, “There is always a bull market somewhere.” Corn, soybean and wheat bulls have had opportunities during the 2019-20 marketing year, and some of that story is still being written as harvest continues to plod along across the Midwest. One market that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention until combines began to roll, however, is the sunflower market.For obvious reasons, the sunflower market doesn’t garner the interest other grain and oilseed markets do given the largest number of planted acres over the last 10 years was 2 million. The sunflower market is taking on added importance this year given the tightening U.S. and global vegetable oil markets, as some DTN authors have written about recently.South and North Dakota rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in sunflower production in the United States. It is no secret to anyone that these two states were inundated with rain throughout the summer growing season with both running 150% to 600% above normal precipitation over the last 90 days. Unlike corn and soybean crops, sunflower crops do not need near the amount of moisture as their row-crop brethren to produce bumper yields. As producers know all too well, excess moisture can be a large hindrance to yield in the way of disease pressure. Producers in the Dakotas are seeing that play out this year with anecdotal reports from both Dakotas suggesting yields are down anywhere from 15% to 50% versus a year ago.Based on the last production estimates from USDA, the national average sunflower yield in the United States was expected to be 1,722 pounds per acre (ppa), which would be down from last year’s record-tying yield of 1,731 ppa, but still the second highest in history. That percentage change would be down half of 1%. Total sunflower supplies of 2.748 billion pounds are expected to be essentially flat from a year ago.Assuming USDA is close on their ideas for demand at 2.492 billion pounds, this would produce a carryout of 253.4 million pounds. If accurate, this would be the smallest carryout since 2014-15. The projected stocks-to-use ratio at current estimates of 10.17% would be the smallest since 2013-14. The USDA assumptions are based on yield ideas that clearly look elevated at this juncture, not to mention harvested acreage, which could prove optimistic given the soggy field conditions in the Northern Plains.If the national average yield is reduced even 10%, which would seem conservative based on reports from producers, projected carryout would be reduced to just 20.2 million pounds versus 286.5 million pounds a year ago. If we plug in the lowest yield of the last 10 years, which would be 1,383 ppa from 2013-14, and down 20% from last year, carryout goes negative by 189.6 million pounds if demand is left unchanged. Obviously, demand will not remain static, but it helps illustrate the degree to which rationing could be necessary in 2020.If the U.S. situation weren’t enough on its own, the global sunflower balance sheet offers its own compelling argument for higher prices. Using USDA’s latest estimates, global sunflower production is expected to be the second largest on record at 51.381 million metric tons (mmt), or 113.2 billion pounds, just behind 2018-19’s record number of 51.417 mmt (113.3 billion pounds).Total supplies in 2019-20 are essentially flat from last year’s record while demand is expected to rise to 54.055 mmt (119.1 billion pounds), a new record. Carryout is projected at 2.450 mmt (5.399 billion pounds), which would be the tightest since 2010-11. The projected stocks-to-use ratio of 4.53% is seen as the tightest since 1997-98. All of the aforementioned assumptions are obviously before making any changes to the U.S. To be fair, the U.S. ranks 10th in global sunflower production with Ukraine, Russia and the European Union ranking first through third, respectively.As noted above, a tight sunflower market takes on added importance in a year with a tightening global vegetable oil market. Combining supplies of coconut oil, cottonseed oil, olive oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, rapeseed oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil yields, the largest total supplies on record sit at 313.4 mmt. Combined demand for these individual markets is estimated by USDA at 293.8 mmt, also a new record, and providing a carryout of 19.659 mmt. Assuming this to be accurate, carryout would be the smallest since 2010-11. The estimated stocks-to-use ratio of 6.69% would be the tightest since 1976-77.With general market expectations that the soybean supply situation could tighten further before the end of the 2019-20 marketing year, the global vegetable oil outlook could get even more constructive. The largest vegetable oil markets in the world are palm oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil, respectively. When just these three markets are isolated, the trends remain the same with the smallest carryout since 2010-11 and the tightest stocks-to-use ratio since 1976-77.Based on the latest crop progress data from USDA, sunflower harvest nationally was estimated at 31% complete as of Nov. 3, which is the slowest since 2013 but above 2009’s record-slow harvest progress of 15% at this time. Over two-thirds of the U.S. crop is yet to be harvested, but if early yields are an overall indicator of this year’s sunflower crop, much tighter supplies look like a certainty in 2019-20. With an abundance of prevented planting acres in the Dakotas this growing season and wet conditions pointing toward another year of prevented planting in 2020, sunflowers may need to send a strong price signal next spring to ensure producers do not opt for other crops.Tregg Cronin can be reached at [email protected] Tregg Cronin on Twitter @5thWave_tcronin(BE/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

“Swan Valley Safe” GC2MRF0 GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – February 21, 2011

first_img SharePrint RelatedVergissmeinnicht – Geocache of the WeekJuly 11, 2018In “Community”Padlocks, RFID chips, and secret briefcases: an interview with a geocaching maniacMarch 12, 2019In “Geocaching Weekly Newsletter”The Most Found Geocache in the WorldMay 19, 2013In “Community” The safe from “Swan Valley Safe”Australian geocacher Astrohiker felt inspired to make a cache that would leave those who found it saying, “Wow, that’s something else.” His inspiration was sparked by a Multi-Cache that he found. The cache had a padlock that could only be opened after discovering the combination through clues.Astrohiker decided his Multi-Cache would also have a lock, but he took the concept a few steps further. He came up with “Swan Valley Safe” (GC2MRF0).There is a combination to unlock the cache. But the cache box is a hand-made safe designed and constructed by Astrohiker [picture on left].He says, “Cachers have to go to three topical places in the Swan Valley, Perth, Western Australia to get the numbers [for the combination]. One is a Cenotaph commemorating the two world wars.” Directions on where to go and what to find are located on the cache page.Once you find all the clues, Astrohiker says,”You turn the tumblers. If you have the correct numbers lined up when you turn the handle, the 3 steel pins enter the holes of the tumblers allowing the handle to turn further allowing the latch to open.”The inner workings of the safeHe says his cache also educates: “People get to see important places in the Swan Valley, have a short hike & can see a mechanical cache in the form of a three digit combination working safe. Oh and don`t forget the views of the city from the cache site.”But the cache almost didn’t survive its first 24 hours: “It was amazing that I placed the cache at 9am and at 9pm that night a bush fire came through nearly destroying the cache. It was good planning that I placed the cache in rocks on a rocky area where the fire got close to but did not burn the cache. Hundreds of acres were burnt in the nearby National Park but no houses.”“Swan Valley Safe” was just hidden on the 5th of February. It’s been logged only three times, and already has three Geocaching.com Favorite Points. One geocacher wrote, “Wow, what an ingenious well made cache. I passed a couple of kangaroos resting under a burnt out bush on the way up.”AstrohikerAstrohiker says he’s not finished with creative caches. He says, “The next one is going to be a winch (already made) and will fit up a hollowed out log courtesy of local white ants.”Continue your exploration of some of the most engaging geocaches from around the world. Explore all the Geocaches of the Week on our blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img

Bayern Braced for Klopp Reunion at Liverpool and a UCL Week Preview

first_imgSCHALKE VS. MANCHESTER CITYMan City was given a kind draw against a Schalke side clearly struggling in its second season under coach Domenico Tedesco.Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home against Freiburg was indicative of the Gelsenkirchen-based team’s season to date – an unattractive game of few chances with midfielder Suat Serdar sent off before the break for a studs-up challenge.Schalke has won only six of its 22 league games so far and languishes in 14th place in the 18-team standings. It could yet be drawn into a relegation fight before the season is out.The contrast could hardly be greater.City, in its Premier League title defense, is ahead of Liverpool at the top on goal difference.Coach Pep Guardiola had the luxury of resting some leading players on Saturday for the FA Cup win over fourth-tier side Newport. Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva were not summoned from the bench and Sergio Aguero had the afternoon off entirely.The team was back in training on Sunday ahead of the trip to Germany.A European trophy has eluded City since the Abu Dhabi takeover 11 years ago, with the semifinals the furthest the team has progressed in the Champions League. BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich knows all too well how tough an opponent Juergen Klopp can be.Now in his fourth season at Anfield, the former Borussia Dortmund coach is facing Bayern for the first time while leading Liverpool.Bayern visits Liverpool for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 game on Tuesday, mindful that it didn’t always come out on top against Klopp during his time at Dortmund.While Bayern defeated Klopp’s Dortmund side in the 2013 Champions League final, Klopp had the upper hand in the 2012 German Cup final, which Dortmund won 5-2. Klopp also led Dortmund to successive league titles at Bayern’s expense in 2011 and 2012.“Personally I like Juergen Klopp a lot,” said Bayern president Uli Hoeness, who revealed that he almost signed Klopp to take over before the club decided on Jurgen Klinsmann in 2008.Also Tuesday, Lyon hosts Barcelona.On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid welcomes Juventus, and Schalke hosts Manchester City.Liverpool has not lost a European match at Anfield since the 3-0 group stage defeat to Real Madrid in 2014 and Bayern has questions over its defense ahead of its trip.The Bavarian powerhouse conceded twice to relegation-threatened Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday, when Leon Goretzka scored an own-goal after just 13 seconds – the quickest own-goal in 56 years of the league. Bayern won 3-2.Bayern’s scorer Serge Gnabry and his teammates celebrate their side’s first goal during a German Soccer Cup round of sixteen match between Hertha BSC Berlin and FC Bayern Munich in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola gives instruction to Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)By Ciaran Fahey, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Sharescenter_img “We’ll have to deliver a whole other performance on the day, especially in defense,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac said, warning of the danger posed by “the three up front,” referring to Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.Liverpool also had the luxury of a week without a game before Bayern’s visit, due to its early FA Cup exit. The team spent four days at a training camp in Marbella, Spain.“Our little preparation for the rest of the season,” Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said.Bayern winger Kingsley Coman is an option for Kovac after fears of an injury sustained in Augsburg proved unfounded. Coman scored twice, set up David Alaba’s winner and struck the crossbar in Augsburg, while he also underlined his growing importance to the side with the winning goal against Hertha Berlin in the German Cup.Liverpool will have to cope without central defender Virgil van Dijk as he serves a UEFA suspension for the first leg. Klopp faces the prospect of having to deploy midfielder Fabinho alongside Joel Matip with Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren both injured.While Liverpool is accustomed to deep runs in Europe – winning the Champions League in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007 and last season – the club has not won the English league since 1990.Although a chance to pull away from Manchester City at the top of the Premier League was squandered with two recent draws, Liverpool is still only behind City on goal difference and has a game in hand.Here’s a look at the other Champions League games this week:LYON VS. BARCELONABarcelona is back in good spirits after ending a three-game winless streak and extending its comfortable lead in the Spanish league at the weekend.But it heads into the game against Lyon showing signs it still hasn’t recovered its best form despite having a whole week to prepare before a hard-fought 1-0 home win against Valladolid in the league on Saturday.Lionel Messi and most of his teammates struggled, and the team looked off both in attack and in defense.Arthur’s absence in midfield has become a problem for coach Ernesto Valverde, as the young Brazilian was the main player controlling the team’s pace. Arthur needs a few more weeks to recover from a hamstring injury.The game could go a long way to deciding Lyon coach Bruno Genesio’s chances of keeping his job.Although Genesio guided Lyon to the last 16 without losing a group game, long-serving club president Jean-Michel Aulas has yet to say whether Genesio will stay on next season.Genesio will have to find a way to beat Barca without Nabil Fekir, the main provider and scorer in Lyon’s attack, who is suspended.With Fekir absent, Netherlands forward Memphis Depay has the chance to put in the kind of performance to help him fulfill his wish of joining a bigger club next season.ATLETICO MADRID VS. JUVENTUSCristiano Ronaldo is returning to Madrid with his Juventus side hitting its stride at just the right time and Atletico should be worried – the former Real Madrid forward has scored 22 goals in 31 matches against Atletico.The Bianconeri are on a seemingly unstoppable march to a record-extending eighth successive league title in Italy and could be forgiven for relaxing slightly.While the 3-0 defeat at Atalanta in the Italian Cup ended its chances of a treble, followed by a 3-3 draw against Parma, it appears to have been just a blip with Juve then beating Sassuolo and Frosinone, 3-0 each time.“Yes, we are in a good condition,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Apart from the setback against Parma we are doing well, and we are at a particularly important moment.”Ronaldo scored again against Frosinone on Friday to take his tally to 19 in Serie A. He also showed as good an understanding with Paulo Dybala as he has had with Mario Mandzukic, who joined Juventus from Atletico in 2015.Allegri was able to rest several players for Friday’s match while also giving a run to key defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, back from injury.Atletico has not looked convincing in the Spanish league, scraping a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after two defeats.Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring during the Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Frosinone at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019. (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP)last_img read more

10 months agoVan Gaal: Liverpool stronger team than Man City

first_imgVan Gaal: Liverpool stronger team than Man Cityby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal believes Liverpool are a superior team to Manchester City despite Thursday’s defeat.Van Gaal felt the thrill-a-minute clash at the Etihad illustrated the weaknesses that Pep Guardiola has to address.He told the Mirror: “The match proved to me that City cannot defend.“When Liverpool equalised, there were enough City ­defenders around the box to prevent it.“But most of the time, in the Premier League, City don’t have to defend because they outplay most opponents.“When they face a strong side like Liverpool, you can see that the City players are not able to defend properly. They look erratic.“Liverpool deserve applause because most teams cannot force Man City into a situation where they have to defend.“Liverpool did push them at one point in the second half and then we could see that City were in trouble. Just look at Roberto ­Firmino, he hardly touched the ball, but his amount of running for the team was ­incredible.“Klopp also has Sadio Mane and even Mo Salah running their socks off in all matches.“Those three help the others to defend and they also have the energy to counter-attack and create things when they win the ball back.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Michigan State Takes Over As Consensus No. 1 In College Basketball Polls

first_imgCollege Basketball polls for week 7 of the season.Twitter/@MSU_BasketballLast week saw a major shake-up at the top of the college basketball world, and it is definitely reflected in the updated AP and Coaches Polls. After Kentucky fell at UCLA and Maryland dropped to former No. 1 UNC, we have a new top team: the Michigan State Spartans. Tom Izzo’s club is 9-0, and followed up by Kansas in the AP, and Iowa State in the Coaches Poll. The Spartans are the new No. 1 according to the latest USA TODAY Coaches Poll. pic.twitter.com/gWxtC9vt88— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) December 7, 2015Here are both full Top 25 polls:AP Poll:1. Michigan State2. Kansas3. North Carolina4. Iowa State5. Kentucky6. Maryland7. Oklahoma8. Duke9. Villanova10. Virginia11. Purdue12. Xavier13. Arizona14. West Virginia15. Providence16. Baylor17. Miami (FL)18. Butler19. SMU20. Gonzaga21. Vanderbilt22. Louisville23. Cincinnati24. Oregon25. UtahUSA Today Coaches Poll:1. Michigan State2. Iowa State3. North Carolina4. Kentucky5. Duke6. Villanova7. Kansas8. Oklahoma9. Maryland10. Virginia11. Purdue12. Arizona13. Xavier14. West Virginia15. Baylor16. Vanderbilt17. Gonzaga18. Providence19. Louisville20. Miami (FL)21. Butler22. Cincinnati23. Oregon24. Utah25. Texas A&Mlast_img read more

ECC Remains Focused on Certifyng 300 Basic Schools by 2019

first_imgStory Highlights Director of Sector Support Services at the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Nordia Seymour-Hall, says the ECC remains focused on certifying approximately 300 basic schools by 2019. The presentations, representing proceeds raised from the 2017 MoBay City Run 5K/10K road races, were made during a brief ceremony at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay on Tuesday (March 6). “This is what we call the formative years. This is where the brain starts developing and where education – the art of learning – actually begins. These life basics include mental and physical development and are essential building blocks for life,” Mrs. Seymour-Hall added. Director of Sector Support Services at the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Nordia Seymour-Hall, says the ECC remains focused on certifying approximately 300 basic schools by 2019.She emphasised the importance of this against the background of the early-childhood phase being regarded as one of the most critical stages of the education system.“This is what we call the formative years. This is where the brain starts developing and where education – the art of learning – actually begins. These life basics include mental and physical development and are essential building blocks for life,” Mrs. Seymour-Hall added.She was speaking at the presentation of cheques totalling $4 million to cover tuition for tertiary students as well as donations to four early-childhood institutions in western Jamaica.The presentations, representing proceeds raised from the 2017 MoBay City Run 5K/10K road races, were made during a brief ceremony at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Western Jamaica Campus in Montego Bay on Tuesday (March 6).Mrs. Seymour-Hall said it is important that educational development be spot on during the early stages of a child’s life, arguing that if something should go wrong, “it can have an effect on how the person grows and develops later” during adolescence and adulthood.She further contended that after age 25 it becomes extremely difficult, if not impossible, to alter or change what has become ingrained.“This is why we have to reach the little ones. Studies have shown that when you invest in early-childhood education you will get the desired and also quick results,” Mrs. Seymour-Hall added.Two cheques totalling $4 million dollars were presented. One for $3.5 was handed over to representatives of the UWI’s and University of Technology’s Western Campuses, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, and Montego Bay Community College to assist needy tertiary students enrolled at those institutions.The other cheque, for $500,000, was presented for four early-childhood institutions.“It is also important to point out that of the over 100 certified early-childhood institutions in the country, a third of them are in western Jamaica. This is why it is important to have organisations like the MoBay City Run (organising committee) lending support to the sector in this region,” Mrs. Seymour-Hall said.For his part, Acting Director for the UWI Western Jamaica Campus, Patrick Prendergast, welcomed the gesture by the MoBay City Run’s organisers, whom he lauded for displaying “both the vision and virtues” of investing in education.“There is really no substitute for a good education, and it is very encouraging to have organisations like these assisting students to realise their dreams,” he added.Since its inception in 2014, the charity run has raised and handed out more than $15 million to needy beneficiaries.last_img read more

Latvian Shipping Lends USD 348 Mn to Vitol

first_imgzoom Latvian Shipping Company (LSC) has issued a short term loan to Dutch oil trading company Vitol Netherlands B.V. in the amount of EUR 284 million (USD 347.8 million).The loan to Vitol Netherlands B.V., an LSC shareholder which owns 97% of shares with voting rights and has decisive influence on the company, has a maturity date of September 30, 2018.The interest rate is 0.5% per annum including an option to terminate the loan before the maturity in order to partly cover the company’s group financial obligations.LSC completed its capital rising process on December 8, 2017. The purpose of the share capital rising was partly to cover the Group’s financial obligations from the proceeds received from the issue of shares and to strengthen competitiveness.The company said that the share capital rising process was carried out in due time, adding that the nearest balloon payments in total for 28 million USD for loans issued for the financing of the company’s vessels are due in June and July, 2018.LSC said that the loan transaction has a positive impact both on its commercial and financial results.last_img read more

Playoff LeBron Is Amazing But That Hasnt Been Enough

Shaquille O’Neal21 PLAYERWON TITLELOST TITLE Michael Jordan62 Dave Cowens10 LeBron James26 The Cleveland Cavaliers’ season could come to an end Monday night, and with it the latest chance for the city to end its half-century championship drought. A pair of NBA Finals losses is not the legacy LeBron James was hoping to leave when he returned home two summers ago.As usual, it isn’t because of a lack of statistical performance on James’s part. In these finals, he’s averaging 24.8 points, 11 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game, which would mark only the second time since 19841The first year for which Basketball-Reference.com has complete game-level data. that a player has averaged at least 20, 10 and 8 in the finals. (The only other time? That would be when James did it last year.)In terms of average Game Score in the series, nobody else on the Cavaliers — or the Golden State Warriors — is close to James’s 20.2 per-game mark. And in the playoffs as a whole, James leads the NBA in value over replacement player (VORP), Win Shares and John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating-based value metric Estimated Wins Added.Yet it’s not enough, as it seldom has been for LeBron. If he hangs on to his lead this year, James will have been the playoff leader by consensus of these three statistics eight times over his career, tying Michael Jordan for the most since ’74. But he’ll have won a championship in just two of those playoff campaigns; Jordan, by contrast, went six for eight. Elvin Hayes10 IN YEARS LEADING THE POSTSEASON, NUMBER OF TIMES … LeBron’s losses are out of place among playoff stars Tim Duncan20 Clyde Drexler10 “Lost Title” includes losses at any stage of the postseason.Source: Basketball-reference.com Magic Johnson30 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar12 Larry Bird30 How uncommon is it for a player to lead the NBA playoffs numerically and still not lead his team to a championship? Since 1974, the consensus best statistical player of the postseason also won the title about 70 percent of the time. James, on the other hand, has won a ring on only a quarter of the occasions he’s been the playoffs’ best individual performer. If he, like his peers, had 70 percent odds each time, there’d be only a 1 percent chance he’d go two for eight.On the one hand, this is kerosene-soaked kindling for fans who decry James as a choker with a disappointing postseason record. (For what it’s worth, a loss to Golden State would put him about 0.6 titles below expectation, after accounting for the strength of his finals opponents.) On the other hand, it’s tough to criticize LeBron too harshly for some of his off-the-charts statistical performances in losing efforts over the years, particularly given the supporting casts he’s been saddled with at times.But on the — um, third hand? — James’s teammates also have a history of undershooting expectations in ways that go beyond even their performances in the finals. As part of my research into Kobe Bryant’s career, I looked for the effect a player had on his teammates, in terms of whether they met their preseason projections while suiting up with the player in question. And among the top 100 players since 1974 by VORP, only seven2Elton Brand, Alvin Robertson, Charles Barkley, Josh Smith, Hersey Hawkins, Tracy McGrady and Andrei Kirilenko. were associated with bigger, more persistent shortfalls by teammates than James. Mystifying as it may be for a player known for his vision and playmaking skills, LeBron might simply be a difficult player to slot in next to and play your best alongside.All of this makes James’s legacy one of the most complicated to assess of any player in NBA history. And unless he and the Cavs can capitalize on Draymond Green’s Game 5 suspension — then conjure up miracles in games 6 and 7 as well — the stark juxtaposition between James’s own numbers and his teams’ record in the finals will continue to dog LeBron into the summer and beyond.Check out our NBA Finals predictions. read more

10 things to look for at 2014 Big Ten Media Days

Then-junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) rushes the ball during a game against Iowa Oct. 19 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 34-24.Credit: Lantern file photoWith kickoff just a little over a month away, the best players from the Big Ten are set to join their coaches for a media frenzy in Chicago scheduled for July 28 to 29.There will be plenty to talk about as the players and coaches take the podium, but here are 10 of the top storylines to look for during the 2014 Big Ten Media Days.10. Player unionizationThe topic of player unionization has been discussed throughout the past year with former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter leading the charge for the players. While the discussion of player unionization has died down over the past few months, look for it to resurface in Chicago, especially when Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and his players take the stand.9. Michigan vs. Notre Dame in its final yearWhen Notre Dame signed a contract last year to play six ACC teams per season, it was announced that the Fighting Irish would not renew their yearly battle with the Wolverines after the 2014 season. Michigan coach Brady Hoke famously called out the Fighting Irish last spring saying that Notre Dame was “chickening out” of the rivalry game.Michigan went on to win the 2013 matchup in Ann Arbor, Mich. However, with the final year of the rivalry game looming, expect more bulletin board material coming from the Wolverines.8. Record amount of night games for Ohio StateOSU coach Urban Meyer has always been an advocate of night games in college football, and with the recent announcement of the Buckeyes’ fifth night game in 2014, he has gotten his wish. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and Illinois at home under the lights as well as Penn State and Michigan State on the road in prime-time starts.The matchup with the Spartans is the game that seems to be circled on everyone’s schedule as the game of the season, as the two met in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game when MSU won 34-24, snapping a 24-game winning streak for OSU.7. OSU’s defenseFor a team that went 12-2 last season, the Buckeyes boasted a less than stellar defense.Enter new defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who joined the Buckeye staff after leaving Bret Bielema’s staff in Arkansas. Ash is no stranger to the Big Ten, as he coached under Bielema while he was at Wisconsin, even helping coach the Badgers to an upset win against the Buckeyes in 2010 –– the only game OSU dropped that season.Expect OSU’s only defensive representative, defensive lineman Michael Bennett, to receive plenty of questions about not only Ash but also of longtime Penn State coach Larry Johnson Sr., who replaced Mike Vrabel after he bolted for a coaching job with the Houston Texans in the NFL.6. Braxton Miller’s off-seasonEver since getting banged up in the Orange Bowl against Clemson, OSU senior quarterback Braxton Miller has stayed out of the spotlight, something a Heisman Trophy candidate usually doesn’t do.Miller sat out all of spring practice after undergoing minor shoulder surgery as redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones and redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett took the majority of the snaps.Buckeye fans are hoping for a Troy Smith-like jump from Miller’s junior to senior year, but Miller and Meyer will surely be bombarded with questions as to whether Miller can stay healthy for an entire season.5. Addition of Maryland, RutgersWith Maryland and Rutgers now in the Big Ten, we will see two new coaches and a handful of players who largely have not been heard from by Big Ten fans and members alike.Coaches Randy Edsall of Maryland and Kyle Flood of Rutgers will likely be bombarded with questions as to what their expectations are in the Big Ten East Division and how they plan to make a smooth transition. Players to watch for from these two teams are Maryland wide receiver and preseason all-conference selection Stefon Diggs and now-former Rutgers quarterback Philip Nelson.Nelson was a two-year starter for the Minnesota Golden Gophers before transferring to Rutgers this offseason. He was then involved in an altercation with another man and is facing charges of first and third degree assault. He was kicked off the team by Flood. Expect both Flood and Golden Gophers coach Jerry Kill to receive plenty of questions on the situation.4. Penn State coach James FranklinThe second coach to take the reins of the Penn State program since the unfortunate Jerry Sandusky scandal, Franklin will face the Big Ten media for the first time.The former Vanderbilt coach led the Commodores to three consecutive bowl games, something that had never been done in the history of the Vanderbilt program.Franklin inherits a scholarship-deprived team in Happy Valley but brings an intensity that could very well be contagious in the PSU locker room.3. College football playoffAlthough it has been discussed for years, 2014 will be the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff. Gone are the ways of the controversial BCS, and players and coaches will undoubtedly be asked about their feelings on the new process.This topic will be very hit-or-miss as coaches will either dismiss the questions concerning the process completely or express strong opinions either for or against the playoff.2. OSU vs. Michigan State rematchAs alluded to earlier, the Buckeye-Spartan rematch is being tabbed as the biggest game in the conference this year –– as it should be.The Spartans’ upset of OSU in the Big Ten Championship game last year kept the Buckeyes out of the national championship discussion and sent MSU to Pasadena, Calif., where it defeated Stanford.The winner of the Nov. 8 showdown will be the favorite to go on to represent the East Division in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game, and both Meyer and MSU coach Mark Dantonio will probably be asked if it is circled on their calendars just like it is on everyone else’s.1. Bob Bowlsby’s commentsThe Big 12 commissioner’s comments concerning the NCAA have sent wavelengths through not only the college football landscape but college athletics in general.Bowlsby thrashed the NCAA saying that “cheating pays” and that the NCAA “enforcement is broken.” This will absolutely be one of, if not the most, discussed topics at Big Ten Media Days, especially for OSU and PSU, who have been the most recent Big Ten schools to receive heavy punishments for NCAA violations. read more