Look-ahead lines favor Alabama over College Football Playoff contenders

BetOnline released look-ahead lines for potential College Football Playoff matchups on Saturday.

It’s possible to wager money on those lines, but they’ll be graded as no contest (and your money returned) if they don’t ever take place.

The College Football Playoff committee slotted Alabama at No. 1 in its initial rankings prior to the Iron Bowl, which the Tide won 42-13. Alabama also is the consensus No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

So it isn’t surprising that BetOnline installed Alabama as a favorite against the other three programs that rank in the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings:

  • Alabama -4 vs. Ohio State
  • Alabama -6.5 vs. Clemson
  • Alabama -10.5 vs. Notre Dame

BetOnline posted odds for three other potential College Football Playoff title games:

  • Ohio State -1.5 vs. Clemson
  • Ohio State -6 vs. Notre Dame
  • Clemson -5 vs. Notre Dame

As of Sunday evening, Alabama (-28 at LSU), Notre Dame (-33 vs. Syracuse), Clemson (-21.5 at Virginia Tech) and Ohio State (-22.5 at Michigan State) were all heavy favorites this week.

The presumptive SEC and ACC championship games should have a big impact on the final College Football Playoff selection. It seems like No. 1 Alabama will play No. 6 Florida and No. 3 Clemson will get a rematch with No. 2 Notre Dame.

But the drama unfolding in Columbus, Ohio, may be just as significant.

Undefeated Ohio State keeps losing opportunities

According to the BetOnline oddsmakers, Ohio State is the second-best team in college football, 1.5 points better than Clemson.

Quarterback Justin Fields has completed 79.6 percent of his passes, leading an offense that averages 45.3 points per game against Big Ten competition.

However, Ohio State didn’t play its first game until Oct. 24, the opening weekend for the Big Ten due to COVID-related decisions by the conference.

Compounding the issue, COVID-19 canceled Ohio State’s games at Maryland (Nov. 14) and at Illinois (Nov. 28). Ohio State’s game at Michigan State presumably is in jeopardy this week as the Buckeyes continue to deal with a COVID outbreak.

According to Big Ten rules, a team must play at least six games in order to qualify for the conference title game.

There are loopholes that involve a number of canceled games by other teams in the conference. But Ohio State may need to play Michigan State and Michigan in the next two weeks in order to have a chance at a conference championship win.

If the Buckeyes are unable to play the Spartans, they could be sitting at 5-0 in two weeks.

It’s hard to predict what will happen from there. Perhaps that would still be a strong enough resume to justify keeping Ohio State in the four-team field ahead of a one-loss Texas A&M or an unbeaten Cincinnati.

In any event, another Ohio State cancelation will make it more likely that the Buckeyes get the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Alabama almost certainly will get the No. 1 overall seed if the Tide win

Read more

Who will Electoral College favor in 2020 presidential election?

Researchers from Columbia University explored thousands of simulations to figure out who the Electoral College will favor this presidential election based on who it voted for in past elections.

The trio’s calculations revealed a “slight bias” toward President Donald Trump, but one that is about “half as severe” as that of 2016, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There’s also the possibility that if Trump were to win the popular vote by a “slim margin,” he could lose the Electoral College, with the predicted bias favoring former Vice President Joe Biden instead.

“We note that 2016 was a statistical outlier,” Robert Erikson, a political science professor at Columbia University, who pointed out that Trump won in 2016 by barely winning Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania., said in a news release. “The Democratic versus Republican divisions in the prior election have mattered, but only up to a point. That is why the same national popular vote as 2016 could have a different Electoral College outcome.”

What is the Electoral College?

Trump’s 2016 victory with the Electoral College, despite losing the popular vote, inspired the researchers to explore all the possibilities of 2020’s presidential outcome and biases.

U.S. presidents are not elected directly by the citizens, known as the popular vote. They are chosen by “electors” through a process called the Electoral College. This process was established in the Constitution as a compromise to give both citizens and Congress members a chance to choose who they think is fit for presidency.

There are 538 electors based on 435 representatives and 100 senators from the 50 states, plus three electors from Washington, D.C. States with the most electors are California (55), Texas (38), New York (29), Florida (29), Illinois (20) and Pennsylvania (20). These numbers are based on each state’s population size.

A presidential candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes, or more than half of all electors, to win the election. But some deem the Electoral College biased because not all state laws require electors to follow their state’s popular vote.

Who will Electoral College favor in 2020 election?

The researchers examined historical Electoral College bias in past elections, as well as voting patterns in each state going back to 1980 using mathematical equations.

Over the nine presidential elections leading up to 2016, the Electoral College showed little bias toward one party over the other, according to the study. There was some bias working in the Democrats’ favor in the three presidential elections leading up to 2016, however, the researchers found.

“Although it has not granted either party a persistent historical advantage, the Electoral College has offered a mild, seemingly random, perturbation to the outcome, which matters in close elections,” the trio wrote in their study. “The Electoral College’s tilt toward Trump in 2016 stands out for its absolute magnitude, with the largest gap out of all elections.”

If Biden gets 51% of the popular vote, the team estimates that he would have a

Read more

Oxygen can do a favor to synthesize metal-organic frameworks

Oxygen can do a favor to synthesize metal-organic frameworks
Figure 1.The structure of the Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and copper atoms are gray, blue, red, white, and purple, respectively). Credit: Institute for Basic Science

Metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, are composed of metal ions periodically surrounded by organic bridging molecules, and these hybrid crystalline frameworks feature a cage-like hollow structure. This unique structure motif offers great potential for a range of applications in energy storage, chemical transformations, optoelectronics, chemiresistive sensing, and (photo)electrocatalysis, among others. Debuted in the early 2000s, MOFs are a fascinating nanomaterial. Though numerous applications exploit MOFs, little has been known as to how oxygen may work in the synthesis of MOFs.


Led by Director Rodney S. Ruoff and senior chemist Dr. Yi Jiang, chemists from the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials (CMCM) within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) located at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in collaboration with their colleagues at UNIST and Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) have identified how oxygen affects the synthesis of a novel MOF; copper 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-benznetriol metal-organic framework [Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF]. Their findings were published in a recent article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Since organic redox-active ligands are usually sensitive to oxygen, the presence of oxygen is not favored in many organic reactions. However, oxygen can be helpful for the synthesis of some redox-active ligand-based MOFs, but many chemists did not realize this,” notes Dr. Yi Jiang, the first author of the study. The researchers synthesized a 2-D conjugated MX2Y2-type (M = metal, X, Y = N, S, O, and X ≠ Y) Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF based on a redox-active ligand (1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-benzenetriol). The role of oxygen in the synthesis of this MOF was identified by comparing the results from experiments in air and inert gas (argon): Pure Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF was produced in the presence of oxygen, but the Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF together with copper metal was formed if oxygen was absent. Dr. Jiang adds, “Our study suggests that oxygen prevents these ligands from reducing the Cu (I and II) ions to Cu metal, facilitating the synthesis of a pure MOF.”

They also revealed that Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF became electrically conductive after being chemically oxidized by iodine because of the formation of CuI and carriers. It is originally an insulator with almost no electrical conductivity. The iodine-doping generates 0.78 siemens per centimeter of electrical conductivity in the Cu3(TABTO)2-MOF pellet that was synthesized in air. Further experiments and analysis found the metallic characteristics of the materials.

Modeling the structure via detailed density functional theory (DFT) calculations, the researchers also experimentally studied the structure of this 2-D MOF through X-ray diffraction, diffuse reflectance UV-vis, X-ray photoelectron, electron paramagnetic resonance, and Raman spectroscopies.

“Our work contributed to a fundamental understanding of the role of oxygen in the synthesis of redox-active ligands-based MOFs, and should inspire the community to pay more attention to the role oxygen can play in synthesis of redox-active ligands-based MOFs,”

Read more