Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
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|M32||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||3||Brown||Zone left|
|Seven in the box, so, like, okay. But Minnesota is lying in wait for this, shifted to the strongside. As a result, Boren doesn't have an angle for his second level block and there's a linebacker ready to meet Brown a few yards downfield. Fairly well blocked save for the Boren thing, which wasn't really his fault.|
|The TE-pull makes its first appearance since it showed up once against Penn State. Except instead of a tight end the pulling guy is a wide receiver. Seems like this would be a dead giveaway, no? It doesn't matter, though, as Minnesota bites like whoah. Mallett holds onto the ball â€“ there's no one in his face this time as the backside DE had crashed down on the run play â€“ until he finds Arrington open for a significant gain. Like the ability to take the deeper route here. (CA+, 3)|
|O46||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Brown||Zone left|
|Boren(-2) doesn't bother to block the strongside DE. Bleah. Think this was supposed to be a counter thing as the FB headed to the backsie; no matter.|
|O47||2||11||I-Form Twins||Pass||Inc||Hemingway||WR Screen|
|Mallett horribly underthrows a screen. I think this is a fumble; it's called incomplete. Fortunate. (IN, 0)|
|DE speed rush almost gets past Long but does not; Schilling, however, is beaten. Mallett steps up past the pressure but can't find anyone and is eventually collapsed upon. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt,0-0, 11 min 1st Q. Stewart(-1) lets a Zoltan punt bounce at the five and into the endzone.|
|Mallett checks into a pass with Minnesota showing eight in the box and everyone fairly close to the LOS. He can't find anyone, checking down to Moundros. Throw is late and behind him; a linebacker, drawn up by the delay, hits him as the ball gets there. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|M33||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Minor||Zone right|
|Pretty crappy block from Mathews as Minor goes for the edge; Minor does very well to stiffarm a corner and get outside the safety and up the sideline for a few. Minnesota all over the frontside of the play, in a 5-3-1-7 split of their own; counter counter counter dammit.|
|No idea what Minnesota is thinking on the coverage, as they pull up a safety in sort of a robber zone but he's nowhere near anyone. A simple slant is wide open to the outside. This is a completion so I can't be too hard but I think the placement of this ball is too far in front of Arrington and if he was being tightly covered, or someone had jumped the route, is a potential interception. Results based charting service says: (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|50||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||8||Brown||Zone left|
|Long(+1) and Butler(+1) seal the corner, giving Brown an opportunity to use the jets. If Schilling can get a block on the WLB this could go the distance; he doesn't. Tough assignment, but worth noting. Brown doesn't switch arms, fumbling the ball as the WLB gets there; turnover.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-3, 5 min 1st Q.|
|Pass interference called; looked weak live and still looks weak to me. Ball is way too far inside â€“ Manningham has a ton of room to the sideline â€“ and could have been intercepted if this corner wasn't ten. (IN, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|O46||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Kraus and Ciulla attempt to execute one of these zone blocks we've seen of late wherein the first blocker blows the guy back and the second blocker picks him up as the other peels downfield. These need a name: they are now handoff blocks. This one is executed poorly, as Kraus(-1) never gets into him and Ciulla can't get there; the result is the DT tackling at the LOS.|
|Linebackers take steps back and get themselves in trouble; three second-level blockers get out to their man and momentarily this looks like a brewing big play; Ciulla(-1) loses his guy, who forces Minor outside, robbing a couple second level guys of their angles and limiting this to a small gain.|
|Minnesota sends the house; Mallett reads it and finds an open Manningham. The ball's knocked down; IMO just bad luck and a good play from the Gopher DL. (BA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 1 min 1st Q.|
|50||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-4||--||Free touchdown|
|Hey, that sucked ass. One clarification from earlier: this was intended to be a run play, not a pass.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-10, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|M21||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||3||Minor||Zone left|
|Michigan seals the edge, as Butler, with some help from Long, blows the DE off the ball and gets out on a linebacker. If he wants it Minor can get the corner; he inexplicably cuts it up. He does get a good push after making contact, but this was a missed read.|
|Minnesota blitzes, opening this up. Good throw and catch; little YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|We get this, but another example of why I hate the stretch on third ands hort. Minnesota loads up the frontside with two linebackers and has eight in the box with one deep safety; Butler takes a hit from a charging LB, eventually stalemating him and driving him back a bit; his one-armed tackle attempt is warded off by Minor at the LOS. The backside pursuers fall, and Minor has a lane.|
|Lead draw fake with Minnesota showing eight in the box. Arrington has one-on-one coverage, running a comeback route that's ends up pretty well covered. Not sure if this was a poor route or poor timing. In any case, the window here is small and Mallett hits it. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) Curry says this is a horrible read. I don't think it's so bad.|
|M42||2||3||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Minor||Zone right|
|Excellent push from the right side of the line but four players end up sprawled on the ground in a mess. Minor hops over them, getting popped by Steve Davis after picking up the first. Clay Matvick is always wrong about the yardage. I hate him.|
|M47||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||22||Arrington||Stop and go|
|Mallett pumps; the corner bites on a stop route. Mallett then lofts it into the space vacated. The ball is a little long â€“ Arrington lays out, making a gorgeous grab â€“ but catchable enough. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|We're watching replays as this snaps. Looks like Ciulla can't maintain his block.|
|Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draw is a week late. Next time be infinity weeks late. Minnesota's MLB shoots up between OL as if this play is sort of... predictable.|
|Batted down. Bleah! (BA, 0, protection 0/1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(42), 3-10, 10 min 2nd Q. Lopata called a senior; he does have another year.|
|M37||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||5||Brown||Zone left|
|Again attacking the edge; a combo block from Long and Butler drives the DE back as Criswell takes on the corner. There's a gap between the two. Butler eventually loses the Long-provided momentum and allows his guy to come free to tackle with the help of a linebacker.|
|M42||2||5||Ace 4-wide||Pen||-5||Boren||False start|
|Butler spread wide; Mallett tosses a short out that's well covered. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Mallett with all day, eventually firing it long to Manningham in virtually the same spot on the field Arrington was. Like that pass, this is a little long and outside, but Manningham makes a fantastic juggling catch. (CA, 1, protection 3/3)|
|O15||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||8||Minor||Zone left|
|Going after the edge. Helmuth in as a second tight end. Butler can't really seal his guy (Long does a great job to make him the only relevant player) but does stalemate him. Minor meets him two yards downfield; he, Butler, and Helmuth combine to make a train that plows its way inside the ten. Powerful running.|
|O7||2||2||I-Form Twins||Run||-2||Minor||Zone left|
|Ciulla's asked to make a near-impossible block as Boren ignores the NT lined up directly in front of him. Ciulla can do little but chase him to Minor. Minor manages to get past him, but the play's messed up. Stretch on short yardage.|
|Overthrown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Curry says he's just throwing it away, but there's a window here since Arrington can jump out of the stadium; Mallett misses it entirely.|
|Drive Notes: FG(26), 6-10, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|Arrington runs a stop route; a Minnesota player plows him. Mallett has to take off. After initially trying to get something downfield, he settles for a decent run. (TA, protection 2/2)|
|Eight in the box for Minnesota. We have an inverted TE set with Webb [erroneously IDed as Butler earlier. -ed] in a two-point stance on the line next to Moundros in the backfield; we run a draw off this. Webb(+1) gets an outstanding block on the linebacker attempting to contain; two guys come up inside; Moundros does a good job with one. This time Minor makes the right read, shooting outside into acres of space for a big gain. Long also excellent here.|
|O45||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||12||Minor||Zone right|
|Shuffle right, run right, away from the TE. This time we get an actual zone block from Ciulla and Boren, who drive the DT back; Ciulla(+1) peels out on to a linebacker as Helmuth hits the hole. Long has made the tough stretch block on the backside DT, the one Ciulla could not make on the last drive. This allows Boren to head downfield and flatten a linebacker. With a crease and no chasers, Minor hits the secondary again. (Replay)|
|Miscommunication between Long and Boren; both head out to the second level, allowing the frontside DE in unmolested. Think this is on Boren because, well, obviously, right? Brown runs past the DE; he makes a shoestring tackle.|
|Minnesota stacks the line and sends them all, six in total. Arrington gets a step on the seam and has the opportunity to make a catch with only a safety to juke for the endzone; Mallett overthrows it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Excellent coverage from Minnesota: a bump and no separation; Manningham forced to the sideline. Mallett loads up and threads it in there; Manningham makes a good catch as the corner fails to locate the ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|O5||1||G||Ace Twins||Pen||-5||Ciulla||False start|
|Ciulla(-1); he's yanked for McAvoy.|
|A horrible decision; an equally horrible throw bails him out or Mallett throws an interception here. What's worse is he had a simple dumpoff to Mathews on the "TE" pull with no one within ten yards of him. Maybe a touchdown; definitely five yards. (BR, 0)|
|O10||2||G||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Manningham||WR Screen|
|Mathews in the backfield; he motions out to two guys at the top of the formation; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Excellent blocks from Arrington and Mathews; I wish Manningham had attacked this a little harder and picked up another yard or three. (CA, 3)|
|O4||3||G||Ace 3-wide||Pass||2 (pen)||Manningham||Slant|
|Manningham abused; flag. (CA, N/A, protection 1/1)|
|O2||1||G||I-Form Big||Run||2||Minor||Zone left|
|Can I use a touchdown as a further example of why I hate stretches on short yardage? The Minnesota MLB shoots into the backfield, nearly tripping Minor at the five. Minor manages to run past him, then cut up into a massive hole as Boren(+1) blocks a mofo into the wall.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 13-10, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|We motion the TE to the side oppose our FB offset, then run to the offset. Ciulla and Kraus combine on a crushing zone block that drives the Minnesota DT five yards downfield; there's a gaping hole up the middle as a result. Good job by Boren to seal the backside DT, and good downfield block by Long. Helmuth uselessly runs up the back of the zone block, allowing the MLB to tackle unblocked, but only after six yards; Minor carries him for three more.|
|Kraus has a tough time with the DT, getting no push and no seal; escorting him down the line to Minor. They meet at the LOS; Minor pushes forward for the first down. Think Minor misses a cutback opportunity here, as Schilling cut the backside DT to the ground.|
|Schilling(-2) lets this guy in, sure, and this is another instance where he's been shaky in pass pro. But Mallett has to help the guy out and step up in the pocket instead of running right into the DL and fumbling. (PR, 0, 0/2, Schilling -2)|
|Drive Notes: EOH, 13-10, EOH.|
|M31||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||3||Minor||Zone left|
|A late-blitzing safety makes this a seven-man front with another cornerback coming up to cut off the outside. Kraus again does an adequate but not great job on the DT. No penetration but no push and no seal. There is still a small gap between the DT and DE that Mallett flows up into. The Gopher safety does a good job of picking through traffic to pop Minor after he squeezes through the hole; more Gophers converge, including the aforementioned DT.|
|Same story with Kraus and the DT except a charging Moundros does a great job of chipping him as he plunges through the hole, knocking him backwards and to the ground. Moundros then continues on, helping Minor get a cutback lane by shoving a linebacker on the second level. Minor into the secondary. A Dudley-level play from Moundros here. Also, kudos to Schilling for getting a late cut on a backside DT.|
|Minnesota brings an eighth guy in the box and blitzes a linebacker right into the G-C gap on the frontside where the last two plays have gone. He gets through and tackles for loss. On Debord.|
|M40||2||13||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||WR Screen|
|Michigan motions a TE out to two receivers at the top of the screen; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Mallett throws it over Manningham's head. (IN, 0)|
|Mallett with time; can't find anyone. He steps up, continues to look around, and eventually scrambles for a few yards. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 13 min 3rd Q.|
|Miss the first portion of this play coming back from commercial... I mean, no big deal, it's just a 48-yard run. Even better: the replay is from ground level. From what I can tell, Kraus gets a seal on aDT; a frontside zone double shoves the other guy out of the hole, and Boren(+1) plows the MLB. Long must have gotten a good cut as tehre's no one on the backside when Minor cuts back. From there he's off to the races.|
|O43||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Eight in the box; Kraus(-1) has a bit of a hard time with his guy and Minor decides to take it outside instead of heading upfield in the gap. Butler(-1) doesn't to a good job on Davis, forcing Minor further outside; the play is strung out.|
|Minnesota blitzing up the middle; one unblocked linebacker picked off by Moundros; the other is forced to halt by the traffic. Unfortunately, McAvoy has peeled off in a futile attempt to get the second blitzing linebacker, allowing Davis to fill on a play that otherwise would have worked for near first-down yardage.|
|Mallett one-hops a stop route that wasn't going for the first down, anyway. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 9 min 3rd Q. Zoltan, angry, boots it into the endzone.|
|M25||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||8||Minor||Inside zone|
|A rare zone play that's not a stretch. Michigan is fortunate the unblocked Davis doesn't shoot into Minor on this play; as it is he's a foot away. Minor cuts out of the intended hole, finding a crease between Butler and Schilling; he meets resistance 3-4 yards downfield, powering forward for a sizable gain a
|M33||2||2||Ace 3-wide||Pen||-5||McAvoy||False start|
|A well-timed corner blitz gets to Minor in the backfield; the corner trips him up by his ankles. Kraus(-1) defeated on a second level block; this wasn't going anywhere anyway.|
|Well, yeah, of course he makes this throw. Wish it was a little bit inside, as then it's a touchdown, but that's a tiny nit to pick. Manningham blew by on a straight fly route. Oh, I hope you're really really back. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Minnesota shifts very late, bringing up an eighth guy and throwing two linebackers at the strong side of the play. In the stands, I go "noooooooo" as Michigan snaps it and runs right into it; Brown breaks it big. Outstanding job by Helmuth to stone one of the strongside linebackers; Brown heads outside of him. Long blows the DE back; Boren... uh... definitely gets away with holding, dragging the DT to the ground. Criswell loses another LB but manages to block him out of the Long-generated crease. Secondary time. Five yards downfield, Brown meets up with Long still driving his guy back; a filling safety trips over the Minnesota DE's legs. Brown slips down to the five. This should go on Long's Heisman reel.|
|O4||1||G||I-Form||Run||4||Brown||Inside zone left|
|Key to this play is a powerful zone double from Boren and Kraus that drives the DT back four yards; McAvoy just barely gets enough of a cut on the backside DE; Schilling heads out to the second level and gets a good cut on a LB. Helmuth stones a guy on the fronside; Brown runs up the backs of Boren and Kraus for the TD.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 20-10, 3 min 3rd Q.|
|The Minnesota LBs are washed out; the MLB shoots upfield and is shoved to the ground by Kraus; Long engulfs the SLB. A safety heads outside for contain; Minor follows the FB between Butler and Boren(+1), who got the DT sealed at the last moment â€“ no grasping arms. Minor bolts through the hole and into daylight. (Replay)|
|Not sure what Moundros(-1) is thinking here, as there's a cavernous hole on the frontside that Davis is trying to fill. He peels off and hits a backside DT who's not a threat, leaving Davis alone. Minor manages to cut back for a few because the drive blocks mentioned previously (Boren +1, Kraus +1, Long +1) have opened up major space.|
|O48||2||7||I-Form Twins||Run||6||Brown||Zone left|
|Our unbalanced line that we toyed with against Eastern; still a 100% run formation. Minnesota appears to know this, shoving an eighth guy in the box and shifting to the overloaded side; doesn't matter. Boren(+1) again gets the DT sealed; Long and Butler have crushed the DE downfield. A desperate arm tackle from a pancaked backside DT and Schilling's inability to cut his guy lead to a tackle, but it's six yards downfield.|
|O42||3||1||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|The unblocked backside DE comes in to make this play... actual blocking was definitely sufficient for the first. I dunno... Brown sometimes goes down too easy for my tastes. Not much YAC in his legs.|
|I disagree with Bill Curry on everything. I just wanted to say that. Everything. Except an Englemon tackle earlier in this game. Mallett sneaks it.|
|Perfect throw; Manningham toast his guy; ballgame. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 27-10, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Criswell(-1) gets beat; the delay that causes allows the backside unblocked guys to close it down.|
|Critical error from the Gopher DT, who takes a step back instead of slanting hard left; this allows McAvoy to slide out on him and get a block as Kraus heads to the second level. Boren does a good job on the other DT; Moundros crushes one linebacker; Schilling cuts the other one. Brown jets for the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 34-10, 8 min 4th Q. Charting? Over.|
Well, that was... confusing.
Indeed. I mean, just look at the--
Those three DOs were all near-perfect bombs; two more CAs were further bombs that receivers laid out for. Other than that, though... ugly, ugly, ugly. Many of those incompletions were on screens and stops. The BR was also IN or Mallett throws a terrible redzone interception; in general TAs and BAs and PRs are not held against the quarterback unless they start to pile up... six is starting to pile up. And then there was the free touchdown. This was without question the most schizophrenic quarterback performance I can remember.
As a result: several scoring drives when the long completions came in with bupkis otherwise. Frankly, Mallett is a C- quarterback at the moment, and Henne's health will be critical for the stretch run.
It is nice that when Mallett does something right it's often damned impressive. He seems to have terrific command of the pocket and has arm strength for days. He was supposedly very accurate in high school; both Navarre and Henne had skittish days where they sailed a lot of balls before working their mechanics out and getting accurate. Mallett has a world of potential; still, I'm concerned that he will remain thoroughly bad through most of next year.
A flawless day from the wideouts, albeit in limited opportunities to actually catch the ball. The first two bombs from Mallett were circus catches.
Protection: 27/31, Schilling -3, Team -1.
A great day from anyone who wasn't Schilling, and Schilling wasn't awful. Just Minnesota, though.
Why did we run so much better in the second half? Was it the Ciulla-McAvoy switch? Something different we did schematically?
Not in my opinion. The key, IMO, were a few truly outstanding blocks from Boren and Kraus on some of Michigan's many zone lefts. Long was also near flawless, but he is always near flawless. During the Illinois game it was clear that Michigan was one block away from breaking into the secondary time and again. Against Minnesota they were again one block away through much of the first half; in the second half they started getting those blocks. I'd like to see Boren match that level of performance against a defense that isn't the worst in I-A before anointing him Arrived, but it was a really encouraging performance from him.
Also, Mark Moundros spent much less time flopping at the feet of linebackers and more time punching them in the facemask with his head; this was the first time this year the fullbacks were a definite positive.
As far as the scheme goes, there were a few instances where we saw true zone doubles on the interior of the line -- Brown's first touchdown run for one -- instead of the stretch blocking we've gotten used to over the past year and a half. These were generally very effective, perhaps because the Minnesota DTs were in no way able to stand up to them. That might not be as effective against lumbering tubs of goo.
Long, Kraus, and Boren; Manningham. Minor, I thought, was the better of the backs, consistently running with power and picking up YAC.
Mallett was the main reason the offense sputtered early. Schilling appears to be a weak link in pass protection.
What does this mean for Michigan State?
Very little assuming Henne and Hart plays. I think everyone's more worried about Henne now that Hart's backups have shown they aren't straight off the short bus, if that's a takeaway lesson.
Other things that might be relevant: Boren is quickly playing himself out of "oh God, so young" status. Manningham looks to be back to the form he
flashed before the meniscus injury last year; Spartan cornerbacks beware.
Overall, this offense was sabotaged/saved by a freshman backup quarterback playing against the nation's worst defense. Little can be gleaned.
UFR coming ASAP, but it will be 5 or 6.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Earlier in the week, I fretted that my insane ballot would be a sure Mr. Manic-Depressive lock and perhaps a major outlier in general. Wrong. This is the week of anarchy. Kentucky, Cal, and South Carolina shoot right out of the poll, each losing for the second consecutive week. Florida finally takes a major hit; South Florida goes with them. UConn, Georgia, Alabama, and, oddly, Michigan shoot up a minimum of eight spots each. At the top, the damage wrought to LSU's SOS and one dominant performance by Ohio State solidify the Buckeye's grasp on the top spot.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Scattered first place votes this week. Oregon's vote comes from Tomahawk Nation; BC's is from Dan Shanoff; Arizona State retains Boi From Troy's vote and picks up Burnt Orange Nation's.
- Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician ranks Virginia #10, up six after a loss to UConn. Missed the score?
- MOOS, absent last week, returns and is still ranking Hawaii #4. Why? We've heard an eloquent case against Hawaii; what is the case for? Why are you ranking Hawaii #4, MOOS?
- Dan Shanoff loves him some very probably overrated Big East teams. After banging the drum for Rutgers early in the year, he's now got UConn #7, three spots higher than anyone else in the poll. A commenter on my ballot reminded me of this: have we all (myself included) forgotten that UConn was an obviously blown call away from losing to Temple?
- BFT is uncommonly hard on Kansas, ranking them #13; #10 is the worst anyone else can manage.
- A cluster of voters placing Boise State on the verge of the top ten also grates: Boise's one test against BCS competition came against 2-6 Washington. The Huskies' other win: Syracuse. Boise lost to this very bad UW team by two touchdowns. Maybe they deserve to be ranked towards the bottom of the poll -- lord knows teams get thin down there -- but #11, Jonathan Tu? #12, Saurian Sagacity and Black Heart, Gold Pants?
- DumpDorrell has Texas #8, which even Texas-biased folk would strenuously disagree with.
- Eagle In Atlanta votes Wake Forest #9.
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.
I generally don't comment on these, but I would like to point out Missouri's remarkable distribution: every voter placed them somewhere from #7 to #10, with the vast majority picking #8 or #9. It's highly unusual for a team not ranked at the very top of the poll to have the lowest standard deviation.
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.
Mr. Bold is Every Day Should Be Saturday's. Nothing looks too off until we get to wanton enthusiasm for Texas and Wake Forest at #11 and #12, then more wanton enthusiasm for Clemson and Cal. Georgia is seven spots lower than the poll at large, as is Michigan; Florida and USC figure in not at all.
Creepy mind-reading domination of this category by Double Extra Point continues: they win Mr. Numb Existence for the third time this year and fifth or sixth in their two years of participation. A salute to you, sirs, and a request for lotto numbers when you get the time.
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.
Yes. #*. Not one but two Michigan blogs, Maize n Brew and The M Zone, share The CK Award this week. You will note that the award's dire power helped USC lose to Oregon, though that was probably going to happen anyway. Quick... to the justification machine!
Well, first of all, a margin of 2.91 isn't that big. Also, both Michigan blogs in question ranked the Wolverines #11... precisely where they're located in the blogpoll. (How can this be? The numbers here are based on average points per ballot, not the actual
poll rank.) Also, four other voters ranked Michigan even higher and two also joined in at #11. Surely this will evade the wrath of the award. We are humble, foul pundits! Humble! A penitent man... KNEELS!
Florida fans wrest the Straight Bangin' Award from the sweaty grasp of USC fans, as both Saurian Sagacity and Every Day Should Be Saturday totally omit the Gators from their ballots in a typical bout of "we lost, we are the suckiest sucks who ever sucked". See: USC fans the last three weeks, or Conquest Chronicles this week.
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 also EDSBS, which is just all over this week's poll. Ohio State shoots up from #6 to #1; every team from 11 to 19 has moved at least eight spots save static Texas, and Florida, USC, Kentucky, and Penn State (#14 last week) plummet from the ballot entirely. I'm dizzy.
Mr. Stubborn is Bruins Nation, which was uncommonly restrained about Connecticut -- whereas most of the poll flipped out and shoved them in the top 15, they deigned to include them at #25 -- and Florida, down only five. Already low opinions on South Carolina, Kentucky, and South Florida also helped.
Changes: moved USF in front of Michigan, dropped Penn State out entirely -- their placement in the last poll was an out-and-out error, not some Big Ten fever dream -- and grudgingly re-inserted Florida. I know, I know, there are about ten teams too high. My favorite comment on the last poll came from bluewolverine, who argued that about fifteen teams were too high. Believe me, I know. I know.
re: USC. Yes, they had a more competitive game against Oregon than Michigan did, but 1) Michigan did rack up a bunch of yards with Henne and 2) played Mallett in the second half. I think Oregon still wins if you play that game again but it's a competitive shootout. Meanwhile, Michigan has wins over teams with winning records. USC does not.
Status. Another suggestion of Hart's health, this from the man himself:
"Yeah, I'm playing next week," Hart said after the game, heading across the field into the tunnel. Later he added: "Yeah, I could have played today."
Fingers crossed; I expect he'll go. Indications on Henne are murkier, and though at the moment I expect he'll start I think there is a nonzero chance he's unable to go.
Fine. Fine. Fine. Seven hundred people have sent this to me, so you've already seen this. But in an effort to stem the tide:
I dunno... I was hoping for more.
- Michigan is going to have to conform. Both Notre Dame and Ohio State ran up against this and had to conform; Michigan will be next.
- This will make the renovations more expensive, but if the Hero of Tienanmen Square is sipping champagne underneath a giant painting of himself, declaring victory, he's got another thing coming. More cost yields more motivation for the luxury suites. At worst this issue is orthogonal to the renovations.
- Thousands of seats will be lost to this. Combined with the seat-widening, the overall capacity of Michigan Stadium is going to drop unless additional seats are added.
The major issue, IMO, is the seat thing. It's long been a point of pride that Michigan has the largest stadium in the country. When the renovations were first proposed they featured a several-thousand seat reduction in capacity; this, met with hue and cry, was quickly repaired. A 7000-9000 seat hit would be tough to stomach.
Speaking of tHOTS, the New York Times again writes on the skyboxes at the prompting of Pollack. Please remember this whenever he or his ilk presents information:
Practically from the moment Martin submitted the plan for skyboxes, Pollack has been obsessed with defeating it.
Everything he says is aimed at that goal; things like "facts" are to be discarded when inconvenient. Pollack is a former Bill Clinton speechwriter and, like anyone who has crafted the things politicians say, is trained in the art of deception.
The really offensive portion of the Pollack campaign is the disingenuous assertion that the boxes will cost more money than they make. Occam's Razor screams that said assertion is preposterous: everyone has built them in a period when collegiate athletic revenue is skyrocketing. We are supposed to believe that Martin, and Bill Martin alone, has cobbled together a plan that will actively hurt his university. No possible motivation is provided for this, probably because it's hard to think of one other than megalomania.
Pollack is essentially a professional liar attempting to inflict the point of view shared by his particular social circle on the university at large. He's also breathtakingly arrogant:
Mainly, though, Pollack argues that the University of Michigan simply shouldn't be the kind of school that sells skyboxes to high-rollers; it should be better than that. "Michigan doesn't need to keep up with the Joneses," he said. "We are the Joneses." He added, "One of the great things about college football, especially Michigan football, is that it is a great public space â€” a place where autoworkers and millionaires can come together to cheer on their team."
Yep. Autoworkers and millionaires coming togeth--
Annual Gift Category - 2006 Results
($20,000 or more)
|4-8 Season Tickets in the Victors Tier|
|2 Season Tickets in the Victors Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Valiant Tier
|2 Season Tickets in the Valiant Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Maize Tier
|Go Blue Level
|2 Season Tickets in the Maize Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier
|Up to 4 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier|
|2 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the End Zone
|First Team Level
|2 Season Tickets in the End Zone|
|No Season Ticket Assignment;
Special Ticket Offer "Go Blue Pack"
Oops. That damn reality, always messing with utopia. Pollack is attempting to preserve something that no longer exists, if it ever did.
Historian. Michigan-Ohio State, 1991:
It's a 300-level class. Michigan zingers re: MSU countdown clock:
â€¢ Johnson: "I guess they can keep time. I guess if they need that for motivation, to get ready for the game, good for them."
â€¢ Cornerback Morgan Trent: "That's cool. Whatever, we know when the game is. So that's fine."
â€¢ Carr: "I can remember checking my watch just to make sure I knew what time it was. The only clock I'm concerned with is mine."
Michigan Against The World has a recap of great moments in the series.
Oh God. Unofficial MGoBlog cartoonist Joel A. Morgan sent in a doozy this week. Sadly, I don't know where he lives so I can't send him a
bomb flower basket in appreciation:
So there you go. I'll be over here in this hole, hiding.
Guest post, this from FOB Nick Mahanic.
(I really need to give massive credit to Vijay from iBlog For Cookies, who pulled all of the data that I have here out of James Howell's database. Any Hot Blog Groupies who get turned on by this should send gratitude his way.)
There's a strain of conventional wisdom which suggests that Lloyd Carr is a very good coach against top teams but struggles against mediocre ones. I wanted to cut to the core of it: how good is Lloyd against top teams, and how bad is he against weaker ones?
To solve this problem, I decided to break out the statistics. I took a look at Lloyd Carr's record against teams in different ranking groups based on the final AP poll. The record often cited by announcers is his record against teams in the top ten when Michigan plays them. There's nothing wrong with this, but not all rankings are equal. Rankings early in the year reflect more speculation and less information based on actual performance; does beating #9 Colorado in 1997 when they wound up 5-6 (or 0-11 counting those pesky forfeits) really count as beating a top team? Maybe Carr's stats were propped up by running into an above average number of overrated teams.
The problem with these numbers is that there isn't a well-known basis for comparison. Everyone knows that a .300 batting average, a 2.00 ERA, and rushing for 150 yards in a game are pretty good because they see these stats used all the time. But you rarely see a stat showing that Coach Sobchak is 4-7 against teams ranked 11-25 in final AP polls.
The best way to figure assess this information was to compare Carr's records to those of his coaching peers. To simplify, I compared him to coaches who are either approximately as good as him (say, Mack Brown) or better, specifically coaches that we can all agree are excellent (Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz, Tom Osborne). Then I threw in some random people like Mark Richt and John Cooper.
Here's the data. A couple of things to note. First, the records are based on tenure for one team. This would be the most successful of a given coach's career: Florida for Spurrier, Notre Dame for Holtz, Texas for Mack Brown. You get the idea. Also, the AP only ranked the Top 20 until 1989, when it began to rank 25 teams. This explains why Tom Osborne only has 3 games against teams in that range despite coaching for many years. This oddity also affects Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno. Lastly, I'd really like to do this with some more coaches (Beamer, Fulmer) and with the Sagarin rankings.
Versus Teams Ranked 1-5:
Lloyd Carr is in impressive company here. Paired with Steve Spurrier, Mack Brown, and Pete Carroll (albeit over a very small sample), and below only Lou Holtz and Bob Stoops. If you think about it, 4-8 is pretty good against Top 5 teams. The Top 5 in any given year is going to have unbeaten teams, 1 loss teams, and maybe 1 or 2 2-loss teams. To beat a team that finishes in the Top 5 is to likely give it its only loss. No one should be able to do this over half the time. Note Tom Osborne at the bottom.
Versus Teams Ranked 6-10:
Mark Richt's ranking is flimsy given the puny sample size. I'd be surprised if Stoops' level is sustainable too but we're never going to get a big sample here, and he is pretty close to Osborne, who coached for a long time. Carr is still faring very well here. He's ahead of Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. Being behind the people he is behind is no loss; remember, these are some legendary coaches. Notice Paterno and Cooper again near the bottom. More on that later.
Versus Teams Ranked 11-15:
| Tom Osborne <|
Ugh. Now we get to it. Lloyd is woefully behind everyone here. At this point I wish I had thrown in a few coaches with obviously mediocre records (not Weis-like, but maybe Joe Tiller) to see who he sits with. But the point is clear: this is bad.
Versus Teams Ranked 16-20:
Lloyd's actually pretty good this time around, right in the middle of the pack. Better than Bowden and Carroll. The most significant thing here is that Steve Spurrier at Florida was damned good. If you doubted this somehow, it's about to become even clearer.
Versus Teams Ranked 21-25:
And back to the cellar for Lloyd. His record here (and in the 11-15) is actually worse than his record at 6-10 and 1-5 (technically 1-5/11-15 are equal). This is probably a sample size issue, since it is almost impossible that whatever strategic flaws he has, he's actually more likely to win against (much) better teams. Nevertheless, the point is that while the man can do a great job against top opponents, he leaves something to be desired against weaker opponents.
Versus Unranked Teams:
Yeah, Lloyd's numbers are all well and good here (better than Carroll, actually), but be honest: you stopped at Spurrier. There was a man who didn't fool around and took care of business. Kind of shocking that he only won one title at Florida (and that with a loss). Or was it? More on that soon.
First, though, another grouping:
So the conventional wisdom is right. Carr is terrific against elite teams but poor against mediocre ones, and fine against really bad ones. One fun fact: if Carr can beat OSU this year (and OSU finishes in the Top Ten) he will have as many wins against Top Ten teams as JoePa, except in five hundred million fewer years. Joe Paterno does not look particularly good relative to this group, which ordinarily would be no shame, but if you are in a race against death with Bobby Bowden for the most wins ever, you'd take this as a disappointment. Also, John Cooper sucks (at least relative to this group, which should be no surprise). Note, though, that Bowden, Osborne, and Paterno's "Unranked" records should be upped a bit to compensate for the fact that at least some of the teams they faced might otherwise have fallen into the 21-25 group in a different era (all else being equal, their unranked group is tougher than everyone else's, at least a little bit).
One more chart (last one, I swear).
|Games||% of schedule|
This chart shows the breakdown of games played for each coach, both in raw numbers (the left) and by percentage (the right). While this doesn't say much about anyone's performance within a group, it does tell us how that is reflected in their overall record.
For example, remember when I mentioned how great Spurrier's numbers were, but how he only won 1 national title? Looking at this, it's no wonder he didn't win more. 44% of his games were against ranked teams. 23% were against teams that finished in the Top Ten. That's an average of almost 3 top ten opponents a season! A good part of this is because his tenure overlapped with FSU's glory years, and the rest probably due to the SEC being strong (as well as Florida making a lot of SEC title games and good bowl games). In this respect, he's very similar to Lou Holtz: excellent numbers but very daunting schedules.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have our good friends in the Big Twelve, Bob Stoops and Mack Brown. Stoops has played the smallest percentage of Top Ten teams; Brown barely plays more than 1 team ranked 11-25 in a season. This isn't necessarily their fault: the Big Twelve hasn't had much of a middle from the looks of things, and their foes in the North have been struggling to put together any elite team for a few years now. Still, it makes their accomplishments slightly less shiny when you consider the road they've traveled.
And finally, Lloyd Carr is on the higher end of all categories but not at the top of any. He's certainly earned the achievements he's won.
So what does this all mean? In a sense, this confirms one of the more common adjectives to describe a Lloyd Carr-coached team: maddening. Take an athlete with decent speed but not enough to be an elite runner. You understand why he can beat bad runners but can never beat the best. You understand it and can live with it. If Carr could handle weak teams but came up short against the top teams we could come to a conclusion that makes sense: Lloyd is decent but not up to par with the top coaches in the game.
Yet this evidence suggests he can coach his team well when he "needs" to. But he does something when playing weaker teams that really hurts Michigan's record. A decent job against those teams means 4 or 5 more wins over his tenure. That's a couple more Big Ten titles, a couple more BCS bowl berths, and, if they happened at the right time, another shot at a national title.
I cannot answer the "why", but suffice it to say that Carr is what he is. Let's hope he has at least one more big win in him.