the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
So, it appears that I'm in this for real. As such I feel compelled to lay down some guidelines for myself. Perhaps this will all look rather quaint years from now when I get bored of my mountain of million dollar bills and scan through my archives in search of a quick confirmation of my naivete, but, hell, this won't compare to "Purdue 2005: 10-1, national championship contender."
Anyway, the point of this is so y'all can police me if I start slipping. Yes, there are places to slip to.
The Tao of Blog
["I tell you what, the show is being recorded and televised for... England... and uh..."]
"They said you gotta do this song, you gotta do that song, you gotta stand like this or act like this... I just don't get it, man. I'm here to do what you want me to and what I want to do. So what do you want to hear?"
-Johnny Cash @ San Quentin
Minor factual errors and typos will be corrected without announcements. Misspellings or awkward constructions I catch after the fact regularly get revamped. Erroneous names (as long as they don't identify another person easily confused with the person in question) or factual errors best characterized as "piddling" will be fixed. Anything that doesn't change the meaning of something I said gets this treatment. Statistical or factual errors that could influence the strength of my conclusions will be called out separately.
Posts will not be deleted. Even that one. So cut me a little slack if I get a little heated or say something dumb; that's life. I try to retract when I make an ass of myself.
Assertions that could be damaging to a person or group's reputation will be made carefully. Ran across this with the Scout/Rivals/Myron Rolle/MSM bitching stuff. Allegations were made against both sites in separate articles which I quoted and commented on. Both sites categorically denied the accusations levelled, and I posted those, too, in separate posts that hit the top of the blog. In a separate incident, I misidentified a former recruit who had led Michigan on and then laughed about it in an extremely douche-y fashion. That got a separate update as well.
Rumors will be reported as such. When something from the bowels of the internet rises to a level where it seems likely to be true I will post it even without external media vorification (<-- inside joke). What's "likely"? That's a judgement call on my part. I try to err on the side of caution. Sometimes I get email from sources I trust. Sometimes there are reports from multiple sources, none of which have been really truly confirmed. Long experience has taught me that, shockingly, Internet rumors are usually right. I have developed something of a spidey-sense relating to which ones pass the smell test, and I offer it as a service.
Yes, sometimes some loon jumps on MLive and says Chris Perry's ankle is broken, but I (hopefully) wouldn't report that. If rumors I report as likely to be true in fact turn out to be false, I will create a new post and tell you that explicitly. Hopefully that doesn't happen at anything approaching "often" but it'll probably happen once in a blue moon. Remember, I am not a journalist. I don't feel I'm doing readers a service by holding off on something I believe to be 99% likely based on internet scuttlebutt. This allows me to post on things earlier than the MSM and the Scout/Rivals sites about things like Jake Long's ankle injury or Mike Brown signing with the Canucks. The tradeoff is that I could be wrong, and that erodes the trust I've built up by not being wrong. It's a fine line. I will always identify unverified voracity to be what it is, though. No bold pronouncements of truth when I don't know something to be 100% true. You'll get "probably" and "likely."
Yes, occasionally this will lead to widespread forest fires of totally ludicrous speculation. Call it the Tenuta effect. If such things happen, I'll address them.
If I find something on your blog I will hat tip you, unless I forget to copy your URL, which happens sometimes. If you think this has happened, I would prefer you leave a comment or drop an email instead of skulking away, thinking I'm a bastard. Sometimes I find stuff on my own, sometimes I just forget. If you've been slighted I promise it's an oversight.
If I call you a flaming idiot I will link to your source material so readers can judge for themselves, even if you're being really flagrantly obtuse.
I'll try to keep the flaming idiot identification to a minimum. Every once in a while it's good to have a few whacks at a prominent waste of space, but it gets old quick. I reserve the right to make snarky passing references indefinitely, however.
I'll quote portions of your post but never the whole thing unless it's really short. This goes for some premium information as well under a quasi-fair-use doctrine. Obviously excerpting relevant parts of recruiting stories is a no-no. That's a major basis for Rivals/Scout revenue and the tiny tidbit of who leads is the golden nugget that stories get spun out around. Excerpting that basically steals the content. Something like the Feld-blog is a different matter. He posts frequently and every word is in some way valuable, so by taking out little relevant chunks from time to time I'm advertising the worthwhile-itude of ESPN Insider. As long as I don't make it a point to lift everything said about Michigan (which I don't), I think I'm doing them a service. If ESPN deigns to notice me and asks me to stop, I'll stop.
Link whoring is only acceptable if you have a directly relevant Michigan blog/site. I appreciate notifications of your existence if you are more general or blogging on a rival school, but each link I add to the sidebar devalues all the other links and implies some sort of endorsement. I'll add your site if I think it's worth doing that, after I read it for a while. (Tip: don't call Michigan "scUM.") If you're an alum I've got a section for your blog even if it's totally irrelevant.
All Michigan blogs/sites that are updated regularly and don't exist for the purpose of getting someone fired are welcome on the blogroll; I would like to be as comprehensive as possible.
Sometimes I forget things or emails slip off my radar. Feel free to resend something. If I haven't replied to you there is a 99% chance it was an oversight unless you are a Nigerian detailing an amazing amount of money I can acquire.
If I said I'd do something and then I didn't, I almost definitely forgot. A reminder that you are patiently waiting for something will spur me to action.
If you email me information please be specific on the following points:
- who you are and how you came about the information
- if it is off the record or not
- if you'd like to be anonymous
I appreciate off the record stuff and double-dog promise to keep it there. (Vague leakage may occur if I say something like "I heard X impressed in practice" if other people are also saying it.) Please be clear about your confidence level in the information.
If you email me pointers to stuff and I don't use it, please don't be offended. Either I don't have time to address it directly or others in the blogosphere have made mention of it.
Comments will be left to stand as long as they are not severely mouthbreathing. This has not been a major problem so far. You'll get a warning if you're treading close to bad territory. Pure flames will be deleted if they bore me and left to stand if their stupidity amuses me. Regular commenters: please do me
a favor and Don't Feed The Trolls. Some sport with the AOL-OMG-NASCAR crowd is okay, but full on flame wars are not cool. If you've got something funny, go ahead, but let them have the last, dumb word after you display your utter superiority.
I reserve the right to think about advertising someday. TINSTAAFL. Given the vectors of site traffic, general attention paid to blogs, and my desired career and stuff, there may come a time in the future when I look to this thing as a source of personal revenue. A job, if you will. This is good news--once it gets locked in the decision to stop would be a long and hard one.
I will not use the following terms, ever ever (unless I'm being ironic):
- "Drinking the Kool Aid"
- "Wanting it more"
- "Stud" and or "Freak"
- "Flat out"
- "Ohio State University"
Clever nicknames will be kept to a minimum. I'll use something sporadically but I will not go into full TMQ mode. Cute nicknames just get annoying after a while.
I won't call myself "we." Obviously the most annoying textual tic in all of blogdom. (Unless, of course, you are actually "we.") I will occasionally refer to mgoblog the entity, but I try to keep the referring-to-self-in-third-person thing to a minimum.
I will try very hard to maintain perspective. I'm not good at this, but I try to hew a middle ground between mindless rah rah and equally mindless AAAARGH!!!! Moderation in all things. Some things.
I will maintain focus. Appropriate topic areas for mgoblog in descending order of relevance:
- Michigan sports.
- Sports media; print, broadcast, and blog.
- Opponent news.
- General NCAA news.
- Other sports of interest (Pistons, USMNT soccer mostly)
- Dancing bananas, Walken 2008, etc.
Things I wont post on:
- Karate Kid
- The White Shadow
- Musical groups that were last relevant in 1986.
Did I leave something out? Propose something and we'll see if it gets ratified.
An intermittent observation on the probable postseason fates of the hockey and basketball teams.
If The Season Ended Today...
Michigan would make it as the last #2 seed in the bracket by virtue of their eighth place PWR ranking despite their recent run of uninspired play. Unlike March Madness, the seeding of the hockey tournament is a mechanical process that can be projected with a high degree of accuracy. Thus USCHO runs mechanically accurate bracketology columns with some regularity. In their latest, Michigan ends up in an ugly place, figuratively and literally:
#16 Alabama-Huntsville vs. #1 Wisconsin
#11 Harvard vs. #8 Michigan
(#11 vs #8? Well, 9 and 10 are both CCHA teams and there can be no intraconference matchups in the first round)
The first round matchup is a good one--ECAC teams have highly insular schedules and are thus always overrated by the PWR rankings--but the prospect of playing #1 Wisconsin in the Cheese State does not appeal. And you're damn skippy that the wildly partisan Green Bay crowd will be rah-rah-rahing for old Harvard in the opening round.
...But Since It Doesn't
Yay. You're good.
Michigan is locked into a #2 or #3 seed at this point unless they suddenly turn into a very crappy or very good team. The teams ahead of them have solid leads in most of the components of the pairwise. Likewise, Michigan leads the three and four seeds by a healthy enough margin that there's little danger of missing the tournament without a wholesale, Kirstie-Alley level collapse.
However, there is an opportunity to move up if Michigan gets right. All six games left in the regular season are against teams that are (and will finish the season) with an RPI of over .5000, which makes them "teams under consideration" in NCAA hockey jargon. One of the components of the PWR is your record against these teams. .500 is considered pretty good; Michigan is 9-9-3 as of this moment. Going 5-1 or--dare I say it--6-0 over the closing stretch against a series of teams all fighting for NCAA berths could vault Michigan up the PWR. Michigan's opponent in their CCHA playoff series would also be a TUC unless two of the four CCHA teams destined for the road in the first round spring upsets.
Michigan's going to be playing ten games against good teams... if head gets removed from ass things could happen. That would require a different team from the one that's muddled its way through this season, but the possibility exists.
So, You're Telling Me...
Michigan is in. Upward or downward mobility from a middle of the pack seed is unlikely.
And You Think...
This team isn't all that good. There is the slight possibility that Johnson and Hunwick have been screwing around all season and will suddenly get serious about that whole defending people thing, but I think that's unlikely. Splitting Johnson and Hunwick may provide a cure if Mitera and Dest can cover for their partner's occasional forays into total insanity... but there are other issues yet.
Michigan does okay against their tough closing slate, finishing 4-2 in the regular season and making it to the CCHA final before bowing out. This nets them a #2 seed.
Paper... er, Internet Telephone. Right! On that Jon Tenuta guy: there's no meat to that particular rumor, as I indicated in the last post:
what follows is total wild-ass speculation, voracity at its most unverified, literally a list of names nutballs on message boards have thrown out
EDSBS saw that and posted something with the headline "Jon Tenuta to Michigan?" and this is how we all got convinced Chris Perry's spleen exploded--by not checking the source. Idle speculation now turns into an Internet rumor train--not that EDSBS did anything other than point to my post and say "this is interesting and we hate Chan Gailey" and thus are totally blameless, but that's showbiz. Tenuta's there for no reason other than he would probably regard the job as a step up and might cause spontaneous nocturnal emissions if hired; that's why he got included. There are no insiders whispering about him. You may now resume your candelight vigil with reduced expectations.
This is an example of blogs destroying the universe; mea culpa. Chagrined, I shall be more cautious in the future.
But since I haven't decided to kill myself, we move on. I think this little masterpiece from the RCMB is supposed to be insulting in some way, but I think it's the greatest thing ever, save Dick Vitale's presence:
Outstanding. If you hear me inexplicably referring to Face, Murdoc, or BA Baracus in future discussions of Michigan basketball, this is why.
They're pissed! They're not pissed! Ron English's sudden post-signing-day departure understandably upset Jonas Mouton's coach:
The high school coach of one of Michigan's newest recruits, California safety Jonas Mouton, expressed frustration at the timing of the move by English, who recruited Mouton. English was offered the Bears' job last Thursday, one day after Mouton and other high school seniors signed binding national letters of intent.
"It's pretty disappointing for Jonas,'' Venice High School coach Angelo Gasca said. "One of the links these young men have to the university is the coaches that they have relationships with.''
Jonas, having signed a LOI, is sort of screwed. He could decide to transfer right away but would lose two years of eligibility instead of one. This isn't an issue anyway, as Mouton's mother confirmed:
"We didn't know that Ron was looking elsewhere when Jonas sent in his letter. But we know that coaches move around, and he is happy with Michigan and he is looking forward to going there. I guess they want him back there in July."
S'all right? S'all right.
Side note: Mouton's mother is named "Duran." God willing, her middle name is also Duran. That is all.
The smiting continues. There were a series of posts in the blog's infancy all about how God was busy smiting the various bits of the basketball team and Jason Ryznar. The smiting continues, as Lester Abram is going to miss tomorrow's Ohio State game. $&*#&@!
Rivals also has a free update on the performance of Michigan's '06 and '07 basketball recruits.
Etc: The M Zone cosigns my letter of protest to EDSBS; Joey applies to be an assistant football coach, but makes the fatal mistake of mentioning the word "punt" only once and implying that he doesn't like said act. Next!
...is that Ron English's departure is not a sure sign that Jim Herrmann is going to remain the Michigan defensive coordinator. Mutterings are taking place here there and everywhere. Most suggest that Herrmann will end up with the J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets (and Victor Hobson) as the linebackers coach.
In his stead? Well, three names are being tossed around (warning: what follows is total wild-ass speculation, voracity at its most unverified, literally a list of names nutballs on message boards have thrown out):
- Carolina Panthers DC Mike Trgovac. The least likely candidate comes with the most verification in the form of a Detroit News article that tosses his name out. I doubt this happens without a wink-wink nudge-nudge agreement that Trgovac will be the head coach when Carr retires, a la Bret Bielema at Wisconsin. Trgovac, a player under Bo, would be taking a pay/prestige cut to return to college. As someone who is beginning to build head coach buzz in the NFL, Michigan would probably have to knock socks off to get him back in Ann Arbor.
- Seattle Seahawks DB coach Teryl Austin, who served in the same capacity at Michigan from 1999 to 2002. Austin was an ace recruiter who really opened up talent-rich Pennsylvania, dragging Tim Massaquoi, Steve Breaston, Marlin Jackson, and Scott McClintock out of the state (plus a few others who didn't pan out), but he never could get Todd Howard to look for the freaking ball. I'd be somewhat leery of bringing back the guy who presided over 2000's notoriously dumbtarded defensive secondary, which was nicknamed the "Suspects" for good reason--by the end of the year they should have been named the "Convicts." Also, he just got pwned by Antwaan Randle-El. I'm just sayin'.
- Georgia Tech DC Jon Tenuta, who has been defensive coordinator at a bevy of D-I schools including Ohio State. Tenuta--OSU's DB coach from '96 to '99 and DC in 2000--got the boot when Cooper did, was immediately hired by UNC in the same capacity, and got poached the next year by the Jackets. Tenuta's D has kicked enough ass to get a team quarterbacked by Reggie Ball to the 7-5 heights that represent the AD-approved theoretical maximum for the Georgia Tech program.
Of those three, Tenuta represents the best combination of plausibility and palatability. His defense was 12th in total yardage in 2004 and 22nd in 2005. That's all the more impressive when you consider the Georgia Tech offense, a craptacular thing that ended up about 80th overall both years. He's been a college coordinator for going on a decade now, has recruiting experience in the south and Ohio (he's from Columbus), and going from Georgia Tech to Michigan would be a step forward in his career and possibly a stepping stone to a head coaching job.
Austin would be okay--he's the Pied Piper of Pennsylvania--but I still have night terrors thinking about that Todd Howard-led secondary. If "led" is the right term for it. I'm unthrilled by Seattle's pass defense over the past few years, too (Stats from Football Outsiders; low is good for defense):
- 2005 Pass Defense DVOA: 10.0%, 25th in the league.
- 2004: 0.7%, 17th in the league.
- 2003: 6.9%, 22nd in the league.
Is this the result of a crappy defensive line giving opponents time to throw? Uh... no. In '05 the line was #1 in defensive line yards and #6 in sack percentage. Strangely, the line was terrible in 2004, when the Seahawks had their best pass defense under Austin. Go figure.
Wither certified Boy Genius Scot Loeffler?
WTKA's WXYT's Doug Karsch declared him to be staying yesterday--yes, after WTKA declared him gone the day before. Whatever. There's also a Detroit News article with a direct quote from Loeffler:
"I am not leaving the University of Michigan," Loeffler said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "I am happy and perfectly content here."
Ryan Mallet, come on down.
Remember: all this speculation is guaranteed to be just as accurate as all that English-to-DC talk. See your bookie today!
Being Ron English-ovich. Ah, my favorite part of collegiate coaching switches: the government mandate that all such positions be posted on the Internet for a given length of time. I applied to be the head coach of Clarkson hockey a couple years back (and aren't they regretting their decision now). Well, now you can apply to fill the shoes of Terry Malone or Ron English:
DUTIES: As Assistant Football Coach: Recruit, condition, train, and monitor performance of football team members within a facet of the sport and assist in the intercollegiate athletic competition of the team. Recruit and participate in the selection of athletes for the football team; coach team members individually or in groups, demonstrating techniques of a game. Observe team members and determine the need for individual or team improvement; determine the position assignments of team members within a facet of the sport; recommend contest strategy for a facet of the sport; insure adherence to all association and conference rules by athletes and supporting staff; assist in the monitoring of academic progress and status of team members.
A word of warning, though... this bit is, er, not so accurate:
Want to get hired? Have no idea how? Never fear! MGoBlog is here, with...
MGoBlog's Guide To Being Hired As An Assistant Coach:
- Try to be good friends with Lloyd Carr.
- When asked what to do on fourth and medium with the game in the balance, say "punt."
- When asked what to do on first and ten from the opponent's 16, say "punt."
- When given the brain teaser about the missionaries and the cannibals, say "punt."
- In fact, you might just want to say "punt" as frequently as possible. Changing your name to "Punty McPunterson" might be a good idea.
- When asked what a blitz is, scream "don't mention the war!"
- Remember: silly mustache == job security.
No doubt I expose myself...
to charges of being a "typical Michigan whiner" by saying this, but I must object to EDSBS's placement of Lloyd Carr in the "Meatnormous" division of their Coaches Death Match tournament. I will provide you some handy pictures; you tell me which of these things does not belong:
Hint: it's the one that looks vaguely human. In any case, if you'd like to vote, follow the link above. I would caution against the comments section, which turned out exactly like you would expect it to.
Coaching stuff is official, by the way. The News done verified that voracity. English and Malone out, DeBord OC. Chengelis claims that Loeffler is not interviewing with any NFL teams, but I think the message board insiders are closer to the situation than she is. If Loeffler stays and the coaches who are brought in are agreeable, I think this whole thing will be remembered as one of the more uselessly hysterical episodes of Michigan Internet fandom.
An intermittent observation on the probable postseason fates of the hockey and basketball teams.
We now resume your regularly scheduled sports blogging, sans meta-, with a look at Michigan's March Madness prospects. Pleasantly, this year "none" is not an option.
Garrett Rivas clapclapclap
If The Season Ended Today...
Everyone would be very surprised. Also, Michigan would be a middling seed. Joe Lundardi has them #7 against Colorado, ex-home of both Chauncey Billups and, er, me. A seven seed seems harsh to me for a 16-4 team with a fairly good SOS (#70) and an RPI that would have them a #5 if it was the sole basis for seeding (#18). Template-beridden but long-in-the- tooth blog Bracketology 101 has Michigan a #5 in their latest projection. Bracketography.com splits the difference, placing Michigan #6 and setting up a titanic storyline game that may see me rush the court and beat an elderly man about the head: Michigan versus Steve "I Ruined The Program" Fisher's San Diego State Aztecs.
...But Since It Doesn't
Michigan would be well served to win some additional games. The schedule breaks down like so:
- Tomato Cans*: @ Purdue, Minnesota
- Swing Games:Ohio State, @ Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois
- Er... Um: @ Michigan State
(*Obviously, that whole Penn State-beating-Illinois-at-Illinois thing means there is no such thing as a gimme in the Big Ten. Nonetheless, there are two teams on the schedule that inspire far less panic than the others.)
The good news is that there's only two games left in hostile environments against non-tomato cans. The bad news is that there are only two games left against the Big Ten's Four Horsemen of Incompetence.
Michigan could probably squeeze into the tournament by beating Purdue and Minnesota and winning one game against one of the bottom four in the Big Ten tournament, but they'd be one of the last teams in if they made it. Win a couple of the swing games and Michigan looks very solid at 10-6 in the conference anointed by the RPI as the nation's toughest with three or four of the committee-coveted good wins. They would be in no question and would likely recieve a seed in the #5-6 range.
The tough closing stretch provides a major opportunity if Abram gets healthy and Michigan's threes keep falling. Getting hot and going on a tear at the end of the season--while extremely difficult--could see them shoot up the fake brackets of projectioneers around the country. I don't think that'll happen, but college basketball is weird.
So, You're Telling Me...
Barring total collapse, Michigan is in. They probably need three more wins the rest of the season (Big Ten tournament included) to be assured of a bid. In a scenario where Michigan's bid is in question they would get to play one of the FHOI in the first round of the BTT. They would really, really have to blow it to show up in the NIT now. (No whammies.)
To maintain their current seed projections (anywhere from #5 to #7), Michigan has to go 10-6 or 9-7 in conference (#5-ish for the former, #7-ish for the latter). If they do something stupid like go nuts and streak towards 11-5 or 12-4 with a strong showing in the BTT, they will get a sweet sixteen seed and possibly home games at the Palace. (<-- that depends on how MSU does down the stretch.)
And you think?
Beat Purdue and Minnesota; split with OSU; lose @ MSU; beat one of Indiana/Illinois at home; 10-6 in conference; out in BTT semis; #6 seed. If we play Steve Fisher I strap myself to a chair to stop myself from pulling a reverse Artest.