Mike Lantry, 1972
Obviously, LSU #1 is something that requires justification. This is it: I do not subscribe to the mentality that who you lose to and when should be most of the assemblage of a poll. A table:
|Wins Over Top 25||#10, #13, #14||#12, #16||None|
|Wins Over Other .500+ Teams||Mississippi State||FAU, UCF||Purdue, NW|
|Losses||@ UK, 3OT||None||None|
The first and most obvious conclusion: AP and Coaches #1 OSU has no claim to that spot. They have played no one. The second, debatable issue is USF or LSU. I value LSU's triplet of wins minus a loss to an apparent top-ten team more than USF's pair of ugly, grinding, turnover-filled and frankly ill-played victories over Auburn and WVU. I believe their resume is better even considering the loss, and they remain static.
- I'm actually pretty content with the top ten.
- Auburn jumps up after an ugly win against Arkansas because 1) Kansas State keeps proving itself a better win, 2) USF keeps proving itself a better loss, 3) I can't keep Auburn behind Florida when Auburn has the head-to-head without some powerful reason that I can't find in Florida's play.
- As the season moves on and WVU continues playing no one, teams steadily move ahead of them. With UL and Rutgers tanking, they have precious little opportunity to move up.
- Anyone who puts Hawaii in the top ten this week should be horsewhipped.
- Hey... Michigan. Weird.
- Question: what should I do with Arizona State? I haven't seen them much, just bits and pieces, and am completely in the dark about how good they are.
Mike Hart's teammates fully expect him to play this week.
Michigan defensive end Tim Jamison guaranteed that Hart, who appeared to hurt his right ankle in the first half Saturday against Purdue, would be on the field for the 24th-ranked Wolverines when they play Saturday night at Illinois.
Offensive tackle Jake Long agreed.
"There's no doubt in my mind he'll play," Long said Monday.
Carr, ever circumspect, declined to confirm that. Given statements from Jamison, Long, Warren, and Adams, plus the unconcerned visage above after the Purdue game, I think we are in the relative clear as long as he doesn't tweak it. Knock on wood.
Wheeeeee for continued complete lack of coverage.
Michigan's game against Minnesota is scheduled for 3:30 on ESPN Classic. Awful. ESPN is showing the Breeder's Cup, which is a frickin' horse race that takes two minutes, for six hours that day, and ESPN2 is showing a Busch series race. Even when we're not on the BTN we're on an obscure channel few people get. Classic was moved to the digital expanded tier on Comcast recently.
Those complaining about the BTN should remember the Ball State game last year and this fiasco before leveling criticisms. (Not that there aren't criticisms to level, mind you, but the situation was rapidly heading towards this over the past couple years.)
10/13/2007 - Michigan 48, Purdue 21 - 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten.
Is it better if the opening two weeks of the season were a prelude to enormous disappointment or a soul-crushing aberration? After brief consideration the answer is obviously the latter, but the lingering effect of The Horror and the post-apocalyptic Oregon game has, unfortunately, put a damper on what should be a time to celebrate an emphatic win. We finally get what everyone envisioned when they put on their nightcaps August 31st and dreamed sugarplum dreams of the season ahead, and the result? Mostly "aaargh, this reinforces everything I already thought."
Hey, don't ask me, ask the MZone:
This team has had seven chances to look impressive this year. They're 1 for 7 so far. Even in baseball, that's a horrible average. Their best wins before Saturday - Penn State and Notre Dame - had as much to do with their opponents' incompetence than Michigan's superior ability. Games against patsies Northwestern and Eastern Michigan were struggles far longer than they should have been. And let's not forget the first two games as much as we would like to.
Well, that's... mostly depressing. And then there's this guy from the open thread:
Wow, this game makes me so pissed about the first two weeks of the season.
Well... yeah. There is no Michigan fan out there who saw the game or even just the score and didn't have a momentary what-if spasm about missed field goals and unspent timeouts and the whole Oregon fiasco.
The deranged are still there. Those deranged in the opposite direction -- not cited here, as said lifeforms tend to exist exclusively in the true believer zones of premium message boards -- have erased all memory of the systemic flaws this coaching staff exposed for the nth time and are not thinking about possible pratfalls hence. Both are annoying genres of person to interact with, as they typically resort to sarcasm instead of acknowledge that things are not perfectly bad nor perfectly good, deny that they think things are perfectly bad or good when challenged on their continual optimism or pessimism, and imply that anyone who thinks differently than they do is either an idiot or a greedy child.
But to be in the middle is to be bored, lazy, lackadaisical. Yay we beat Purdue by lots. Boo we fell out of the national championship picture before October for the ninth time in ten years. Yay we beat Penn State. Boo we were crushed by running quarterbacks. Yay we're probably going to play Ohio State for the Big Ten. Boo Tressel will eat our babies. It's hard to get excited either way once the immediate flush of "oh my God we don't suck" passes.
It's nice not to suck. It is. But we've seen this script before. It ends poorly. To get excited is to be vulnerable; caution and forced boredom is the order of the day. I am buying a beret and some urchins to smash upon my tummy. I will watch some reality television and complain about the weather. I may remark on the fact that the urchins these days don't taste as good as urchins used to. No quality in these urchins.
It's a front, but it's a useful one. Otter Lucy is holding the otterball for Otter Charlie Brown; get back to me in November to see whether we rush towards the cliff, hopes aloft, in 2007.
- Shawn Crable takes some great pictures:
- Attn Joe Tiller: escaping with a 27 point loss does not maintain your dignity.
- That said, can we please recover an onside kick? That's four straight we've failed at, which has to be approaching an NCAA record.
- More special teams hijinks: huge returns for Purdue followed by a kick out of bounds and then the failure to even pop the ball up to the 30. It's depressing that Michigan has to kick off like it's a high school team.
- KC Lopata, on the other hand, looks like a completely uninspiring but largely accurate kicker, which I will take.
- Does Carr hate Tiller or something? The starting offense was in for way longer than anyone expected and Michigan actually punched in a couple of late touchdowns to push the score out to a prodigious margin. Every year, the Sporting News quotes some anonymous Big Ten coach who trashes every other program, saving special venom for Carr and Michigan. This is always Tiller -- TSN caveman Tom Dienhart and Tiller are BFFs. Maybe Carr's just tired of it?
- Henne's PC had one interesting comment in it: early on, Purdue was doing a you-check-we-check thing on defense that confused some playcalls. This was probably the cause of the two ineffective Hart runs that led to Michigan's first punt.
- The parabolas that drop directly into the waiting arms of Mario Manningham returned. I missed them so.
- Until Carlos Brown's touchdown explosion, I was convinced we were going to suuuuuck at running back next year. Minor hasn't made a yard the offensive line didn't get for him all year save for his spectacular truck job on a Notre Dame safety; Brown had spent most of his time either fumbling or running directly into the backs of his offensive linemen. Both have been disadvantaged by the mop-up situations they find themselves in, but McGuffie will have a major opportunity, IMO.
- Ciulla saw the field late; is he healthy enough to play? Will he be healthy enough for Illinois? Is the Schilling-Ortmann right side a voluntary decision?
Game column coming.
The finale. WolverineHistorian has put together a highlight reel from OSU 1989, Bo's last home game:
Ha ha. Horrible quality, but this is the ND spoof AD SNL ran this weekend:
Sweet fancy fortune. The statistically inclined will look upon this as potential bad news:
Michigan entered Saturday ranked third nationally in forcing turnovers.
And the Wolverines weren't intimidated by facing one of the Big Ten's most prolific offenses Saturday, producing four more takeaways to push their season total to 23 in a 48-21 victory.
("Most prolific" against awful teams, sure, but whatever.) Michigan is now second only to Cincinnati in takeaways -- the Bearcats have 25. The theory around these parts has always been that there's very little a defense can do that consistently produces turnovers other than rush the passer. Michigan's done that extremely well -- 9th in sacks at 3.43 -- but even three and a half sacks a game can't explain 25 turnovers with almost half a season left to go. Michigan's remarkable turnaround* on defense is partially due to fortune. Against teams that can pass block, things will look considerably more grim.
One potential mitigating factor: despite having Mike Hart, Michigan has already lost eight fumbles via a combination of backups with oily hands, Mallett-related snap pratfalls, and the occasional blindsided quarterback.
*(And it has been pretty remarkable. Since Oregon, the first string D has given up 0, 9, 16, 10, and 7 points. Purdue's TD drive was five yards; Penn State had a field goal drive that started at the Michigan 35.)
Hey, buddy, leave some for the fish.
Jim Carty grumbles about Lloyd Carr's latest outburst of crotchety old-manness:
Hard to understand why he would be after whipping up on Purdue and Joe Tiller 48-21, but University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr was particularly cranky Saturday afternoon, especially toward our own beat writer, John Heuser.
At one point Carr accused John of asking too many questions, which would be understandable if, you know, the point of a press conference wasn't to ask questions.
Michigantailgate.net says NSFMF(!):
First off, I did not hear Carr say that Heuser was asking too many questions. It was more like "Is there anyone else who has some questions?" after Heuser machine gunned nine consecutive questions without stopping during the press conferenceâ€“possibly more. Maybe Heuser ought to just take his turn when asking questions instead of dominating the press conference scene . . .
This is accurate, as anyone who viewed MLive's own video of the PC knows. The reason Heuser got cut off is because he 1) asked a million questions all right in a row and 2) pressed Carr for injury information he was not going to give out like four times straight. If Carty is mystified about Heuser's treatment it says more about Carty and the media's thin skin than Carr.
Baseball? Yeah. A commenter pointed out this ESPN article from the summer that slipped by my radar. A uniform start date goes into effect this year, rosters are going to be much smaller, and scholarships can be no smaller than 0.25. The former will definitely help Northern teams; everyone seems crabby about the last two changes.
Etc.: The Michigan library has put together a Bo exhibit that starts the 19th.
Carr Pt 1:
Carr Pt 2: