rundown of Michigan's riser
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Blogpoll Declares Victory! Um... yeah, Auburn is lower than Wisconsin. I love you guys.
Fallers: As expected, both Miami and Oregon got thumped heavily, Miami because they lost by 37 points and Oregon because they finished the season as unimpressively as any 10-2 team ever has. Also getting pounded was Auburn after they were run out of the (cough) Citrus Bowl by Brian Calhoun and Wisconson. Fellow top-ten losers Georgia and Notre Dame found a softer landing, dropping only 3 and 4 slots respectively.
Risers: Mass carnage in the top ten allowed several teams to slide up quite a ways, most notably Wisconsin. Their unexpected throttling of the aforementioned Tigers catapulted them from #17 to #10. Also shooting upwards: Sugar Bowl-shockers West Virginia and Miami-assistant-coach-murderers LSU, each gaining five slots. Towards the bottom, an 8-4 Oklahoma team parlayed a victory over Oregon into the #20 spot, largely because down there a lot of nose-holding took place.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: Come on, now, Boi From Troy. Y'all lost. It does the poll no credit to be the only one in existence with someone holding out for USC. Nor does your sanity seem, uh, sane when Florida State is #10. Not to be outdone, Pitt Sports Blather ranks the Tide #17, a full six spots worse than any other voter.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Go ahead, take a guess as to who Mr. Bold is. Yes, it's Boi From Troy. We've discussed TCU, Texas, and FSU already. Georgia at #17 is also a huge outlier and various smaller ones are dispersed throughout the ballot. It's okay, BFT: two national titles is still pretty good.
Oddly enough, our final Mr. Numb Existence is is RD Baker from Cheap Seats, who was a frequent visitor in the "Mr. Bold" category, winning it three times (I think). Newly staid and plaid-donning RD Baker, the BlogPoll salutes your for your ruthelessly efficient ballot! [/Big Ten Wonk]
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award belongs to Oklahoma blog The Gaylord Memorial Gathering for placing the Sooners #15... but given the mess in the middle of this year's poll that's not too insane.
Straight Bangin' Award candidates number exactly two in the post-season, as only two blogs got above the paltry -0.4 registered by any Michigan blogger who (justly) omitted his team from the final poll: Bruins Nation, your champion, and Mayor Kyle King. One wants Karl Dorrell fired... the other is above such petty things as overrating his own team. Salutes all around.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive is a less notably insane version of The View From Rocky Top, who dropped his tremendous SEC fixation in favor of... well, a lot of stuff. You don't hit 172 on the swing scale without seriously revamping your ballot.
Mr. Stubborn goes to the aforementioned Pitt Sports Blather, who had West Virginia in front of Georgia even before all this crazy Sugar Bowl stuff happened... and reacted to that game by bumping WVU up two spots and Georgia... up one spot! Likewise, the (cough) Citrus Bowl saw both participants drop a single slot. I, uh... okay.
Aaaaand that's all folks. Except not really. I'll throw together some season averages for next week so we can have some fun badgering the outlying voters with evidence o
f their clear insanity. Thanks to all who participated by voting, writing roundtable responses, commenting, and reading. We'll wind down over the course of a few weeks, discuss what went wrong and what went right, and then start up again in the summer when the impending season can no longer be ignored.
Well, it ain't Maine... but it ain't all that good either. Michigan managed to spin its schedule around and cram the Vanderbilt Commodores in as the season opener. Sacrificial lamb Ball State has been moved back to the November 4th bye week. Vandy will not have that Cutler guy who beat Tennessee and scared the jean shorts off of Florida. They'll probably revert to their total doormat status after reaching the hallowed heights of Michigan State's annual 5-6 record, but at least they're a semi-credible I-A team. The Wolverine has further details.
Note: The final BlogPoll will be posted at noonish tomorrow. Get your bets in.
In other news, Ohio State stands for gooded edumuhcation and strict NCAA compliance. Recently dismissed Miami running backs coach Don Seldinger:
'The one thing that bothers me is the U stood for family and tradition and all the things that other colleges don't have,'' Soldinger said.
You knew this picture was coming. (Er... second bullet.)
Holy balls. What is Seldinger's family like? Is he part harpy? Has he gotten his double-digit Jerry Spring guest chip? Is the most delusional thing that has been uttered in the last ten years? Fifteen?
Also of note: Miami offensive line coach Art Kehoe got the boot despite approximately two million years of quality service. He's regarded as one of the best, and with current OL coach Andy Moeller a former linebacker and current LB coach Jim Herrmann, uh, looking around, we could finagle ourselves an opening... nah.
Unfathomable! Inconceivable! I guess if you live in Idaho many things aren't fathomed on a regular basis, like disliking potatoes and turf that doesn't burn your eyes and, like, electricity. Thus Gutierrez's decision to leave Michigan gets this sentence in the Idaho State Journal:
The thought of another year on the sidelines as Henne's backup was unfathomable.
Other than that instance of thesaurus overload, the rest of the article on Gutierrez's future is quite good. Peruse.
(HT: "Wolverines," the simply-titled MLive blog that replaced Gregg Henson's abomination.)
Good riddance, various NFL-bound future opponents! The list of people we won't have to deal with next year is fairly heartening:
- OSU has lost WR Santonio Holmes, CB Ashton Youboty, and S Donte Whitner, bringing their total count of returning defensive starters down to two. Despite graduating the finest assemblage of remarkably ugly, remarkably effective linebackers in all the land, I wouldn't expect that unit to be anything less than average next year, but the secondary is now looking questionable at best.
- Notre Dame TE Anthony Fasano has left early. No doubt Weis E. Coyote will construct a new tight end from the mighty sinews of his frontal buttocks.
- Laurence Maroney and his warp drive are gone, though Minnesota seems to have a never-ending supply of guys they can plug in who will grind out 1,500 yards and watch helplessly as their defense blows yet another season. Gary Russel is next in line, though he won't have the opportunity to run behind Setterstrom and Eslinger.
- Diminutive, evil, Michigan-smiting Brian Calhoun has not officially announced his departure but is widely expected to enter the draft. His replacement can't possibly be as good... right?
- Purdue isn't technically an opponent, but there is a slight chance that they could be a bothersome contender for the Big Ten title next year (hey, I said a slight chance). This chance has gotten even slimmer, as both trash-talking safety Bernard Pollard and prototype DE Ray Edwards have declared.
If you can't beat 'em, inflate their NFL prospects enough to make 'em jump to the league, I guess.
Say goodbye to your little friend? After last year's dismal defensive finish there was a small assortment of tentative rumors regarding Jim Herrmann's demise that amounted to nothing. This year the rumors have returned after a year of Barry Bonds' Totally Legal And Healthy Supplements. They're pissed off... and likely true. Herrmann is reportedly scouring the professional ranks for a face-saving job of any description whatsoever (maybe he can be Butt of Cato June's Jokes Guy for the Colts), as he is unlikely to have a post at Michigan much longer.
Zounds! Three or four years after most Michigan fans had mentally written Herrmann out of the Michigan will and he finally takes the pipe... probably. Replacing him? That's not clear at this point. Humor me for a moment when I say that poster "dwags" from the RCMB has proven in the past that he knows a Michigan insider of some description and gander at this misspelled beauty:
Anyway, English and Lafloer? What do you think of that combo?
(Might have to start calling him "Guy.") I realize this is not the most rock-hard evidence in the world, but others have offered up a comparable rumor; I think there's a good chance that one or both will come to fruition. Loeffler is clearly in line for bigger things sometime soon, either here or elsewhere, and is a key player in the recruitment of one Ryan Mallet. Michigan is probably plotting clever ways to get him more responsibility without thrusting a guy who still gets carded into the role of full-time offensive coordinator.
As for English, he arrived from Arizona State three years ago with a reputation for liking big corners and press coverage, so I think it's safe to say that last year's gameplan did not heavily feature his input. Certain insiders have muttered about English's frustration with the passivity employed by the Wolverines leading to his departure sooner rather than later--that would clearly change if he was the guy in charge of the passivity... er... defense.
English and Loeffler as Michigan's offensive and defensive coordinators would likely signal a wholesale change in the philosophy of the program. Long known primarily for his stodginess, Lloyd Carr would be sporting two charismatic coordinators, one of whom is ethnic, under 40. And we might see a cornerback within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. I suggest you cease praying for orphaned dolphins and switch to an English/Loeffler double bill.
Also saying goodbye is backup quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who is transferring to I-AA Idaho State so he can play. Good luck to Matt, who got a major beating from fate about a year and a half ago but handled with as much class and maturity as is possible. It wouldn't be surprising to see him back on the sidelines in some capacity sometime in the future.
Also also (probably) saying goodbye is greasy-armed malcontent Max Martin. No doubt this will prompt a storm of criticism from those who saw him as something other than Fumblor The Misplaced Linebacker, but um... trust me on this one: we're better off without his presence. Gird yourselves, women and bouncers of Tuscaloosa, for he is coming.
All aboard the I-AA train of total boredom. Michigan finds themselves in a tough spot since the NCAA has authorized a 12-game regular season schedule but no additional week to play it in. Thus if Michigan is to schedule that 12th game it has to be their Big Ten bye week, November 4th. Obviously, this isn't the easiest date to find a free I-A school that wouldn't demand a return engagement. As a result Michigan is likely to welcome someone like the Maine Black Bears for a ritual slaughter.
There is another option: decline to schedule a glorified scrimmage in the middle of November and forgo the five million dollars. Fat chance of that even though Lloyd Carr has publicly slammed the twelfth game, as that five million could be used to build another opulent palace in which to stash the ever-more-important
harem girls academic advisors that are the linchpin of modern day recruiting. It seems more and more apparent that collegiate sports needs its own version of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Each BCS team has more than enough firepower to provide sexual congress to every recruit in the country hundreds of times over. It's time to stop the arms race.
|2||Southern Cal||...this is the exact order...|
|3||Penn State||...these somewhat controversial...|
|4||Ohio State||...top four teams were in before. Ha.|
|5||West Virginia||Uh... and I had WVU 13th.|
|6||LSU||Please make up your mind about the sucking.|
|7||Virginia Tech||At least next year will be mercifully devoid of Michael Vick and his chili cheese fries.|
|8||Wisconsin||My great hope for the BlogPoll is that a 10-3 Wisconsin team that played a very tough schedule and beat the tar out of a 9-3 Auburn team ends up, you know, in front of Auburn. Then, and only then, can the BlogPoll declare victory.|
|9||Alabama||It's good! Sort of!|
|10||Georgia||Kyle said it best when he bemoaned the fact that we won't be getting rid of this Big East autobid thanks to the Sugar Bowl.|
|13||Florida||Were handed the game by Iowa with a small assist from Conference USA. Still, 9-3, tough schedule, defense that tends to choke small children to death, etc.|
|14||TCU||Stupid SMU game.|
|15||Notre Dame||Fiesta was a few OSU turnovers from being a lot like that game against the other OSU (Oregon version) a few years back. In the end, ND's best result was a loss to USC. They beat one meh team in Michigan but showed that in reality not even a Super Genius like Weis E. Coyote can make his cornerbacks fast. Worse resume than any of the 9-3 teams ahead of them, thus the harsh assessement.|
|16||UCLA||Hard to believe they're 10-2.|
|17||Louisville||Oversight on first draft.|
|18||Boston College||Winning the Depression Bowl a tough trick for many teams.|
|19||Oklahoma||Not so much of a disaster after all.|
|20||Oregon||The Holiday Bowl: shutting up Pac-10 teams that whine about BCS at-large berths since 2004. And thank you for that.|
|22||Florida State||Wide everything!|
|24||Michigan||Best 7-5 team ever.|
|25||Iowa||Second best 7-5 team ever.|
Games I Saw: BCS bowls, Alamo fiasco, Iowa-UF, AU-UW, bits of VT-UL, and some other random stuff.
Help requested: Anything. There is a vast swath after about #8 where arguments are being heard.
Update: Bumped Oregon down and UCLA up (in front of Oklahoma), Added Louisville at #17, revamped the bottom of the poll to be more internally consistent: if I'm going to overrate Big Ten teams it may as well be the right ones. Thanks to commenter statprof for offering a strong argument in favor of the Cards.
That's Jai Eugene. You recognize the hat, I'm sure. Mr. Eugene is a Louisiana cornerback who everyone thinks is totally excellent (Scout #30, Rivals 250)... the first really high profile corner recruit Michigan has latched on to since Marlin Jackson. Informative update coming; until then Scout has a bunch of pictures and stuff; Rivals has an article.
Also, the basketball team managed to squeak by Purdue 68-65... less than inspiring but better than a loss. Mas later.
Update: There's clearly a strong difference of opinion between Scout and Rivals in this case. ESPN sides with Scout's "yowza!" take, giving him a grade of 7.9 and ranking him #15 overall and the #1 corner:
Eugene has all the tools to develop into a special player at the next level. ... has cover corner written all over him. He is the definition of a fluid football player.
They also chip in some caveats about experience, since Eugene is such a freaky athlete he ended up playing mostly quarterback--much like Antonio Bass. An article announcing his selection to the Army All-American team has a couple additional quotes on his ability (warning! Lemming alert!):
"A quarterback first in high school, Jai has tremendous athleticism. He sees the game extremely well, and has the physical tools to star at corner on the college level," says Scout.com.
"Jai shows big-time speed, instincts, and always gets a good break on the ball," says Lemming. "He takes good angles to the ball and shows tremendous range."
...and finally, this article has a quote from Eugene's coach:
...School's best prospect since safety Ed Reed, an All-American at Miami and first-round pick of the Ravens. "Everybody is looking for cornerbacks with the speed and physical ability to shut down the passing games in college," Destrehan coach Steve Robicheaux said. "Jai will fit the bill."
Destrehan quarterback Jai Eugene already had thrown five interceptions, including picks on the previous four possessions. But when it mattered most, Eugene lofted a pass to Joshua Martin at the 25-yard line, and Martin broke away from the St. James defense to sprint into the end zone for the winning touchdown.
; track supahstar.... as a sophomore.
Tennessee was also recruiting Eugene heavily, thus a series of articles concerning him from orange-clad parts. Here's an extensive one from April concerning him and his infant son (Google cache link; here's the original with Annoying Reg) with some quotes that if I had seen earlier I may have considered Eugene a strong possibility:
"That's [LSU's proximity to home] the only reason I'd stay here for school," Eugene said. "I like LSU a lot because my family can see me. I'd be here more. LSU is great. They have great fans. If I went there, I'd be able to see my son and my family. I'd say I'm 75-80 percent sure I'll go out of state, though.
"...I'll go to whichever college I need to, which one fits me best."
For extra bonus creepiness, check the comments out and revel in Tennessee eating it at the hands of, um, everyone this year. Actual quote: "God does not condone fornication." Yeah, well God doesn't condone Tennessee, either. You can tell because of the smiting. You can check out this video interview and see for yourself that Jai's a personable young man.
Insightful Editorial Summary: OMG YAY. This is the year of defying the curse of the south and picking up really fast dudes. Given Michigan's persistent whiffery on Darrin Walls, Justin King, Victor Harris, and every other major corner target Michigan set its sights on over the past couple years, Eugene's commitment is a unexpected, important bonus going forward. I would not expect him to redshirt, as his combination of freaky athleticism and financial need means that he will probably enter the NFL draft as soon as it makes sense.
Also, this is the second improbable commit who has been eerily projected by anonymous commenter "Matt," in case you're wandering around said comments wondering who to take seriously.
The Larger Picture: A second southern heist of one of the country's best athletes changes the perception of this recruiting class drastically. Michigan still needs an offensive tackle badly, but every other major need Michigan entered the year with has been met. An edge rusher, a second safety, and a tight end would all be nice, but if all of Michigan's commitments stick and reasonably good players fill out the rest of the class at a minimum it will grade out as a B, which isn't bad at all given the down year in-state, the excitement of new coaches at Pitt and ND, and the dismal on-field results.