thoughtful piece from Jacobi on middle finger lady
When we last left our other winged-helmet wearing heroes they were 4-0-1 and coming off a tie against Michigan State. Since that time Michigan has split with Alaska Fairbanks on the road--as predicted in this space--and swept the Fighting Irish in a home and home to run their record to a highly respectable 7-1-1. Andrew Cogliano is in the process of blowing up all over the CCHA, recording 15 points in his last 6 games.
If you will it, Dude, it is no dream. I done figured some stuff out, and though the grab-convert-edit process is an unwieldy thing requiring three different programs, it's done. I wouldn't expect this every week, but I'll try to get up some clips on a semiregular basis. Strictly links at this moment; I hope to get non-crushing embedding going soon. Also, these clips are much smaller... perhaps too small(?). They're about 3-5 megs. On with the show, IBFC style. (All clips in WMV, should play no problem in Windows Media Player. Does this work for Mac people? Please inform. Right click and "Save As" to get a clip
in your belly on your hard drive.)
First on the docket are a pair of nice plays from the Friday game against Notre Dame that ended 8-5 for the good guys due in large part to one Andrew Cogliano. One is a sweet cross-ice pass to give TJ Hensick a tip in; the other is a Tambellini special where Cogs warps into the offensive zone and gives the water bottle a ride.
Second is Cogliano's goal from Saturday against ND. It's not a hard shot but it's well placed and uses a screen cleverly.
Third is Chad Kolarik's first goal against ND, which is a combination of sloppy penalty killing and a healthy fear of one Jack Johnson. Notice how when he gets the puck everyone freaks out. Kolarik's left wide open for a tap-in rebound.
Fourth is some additonal Cogliano hotness--if I was Sam from BC&RS I would make some refence to it being Brandon-Inge-ass-level hawtness. Fortunately for Brandon Inge, I'm not. Anyway, Cogs receives the puck from Johnson on the power play and then whips an unpossible cross-ice pass right to Kolarik's stick; Kolarik then roofs it. A real NHL '95 special here, and a beauty.
Finally we have TJ Hensick using his quickosity to pick up a loose puck and bury a wraparound before anyone realizes what's going on. The color commentator, former Michigan player Sean Ritchlin, has just finished claiming that Hensick's the premiere player in college hockey. Good on yer, Sean.
- I had been disappointed with Cogliano early in the year and was wondering if he could end up with Milan Gajic disease. Yeah... not so much anymore. That cross-ice pass from above is a thing of beauty and the rifle shot from Friday is pure Tambellini...
- Goddammit, I hate you, LA Kings.
- Both of the goals Sauer yielded on Saturday against Notre Dame were pretty soft. On the first one he left a Star Jones rebound lying right in the crease on a puck he should have been able to kick to the corner. He failed to hold the near post on the second one and was going down in a butterfly as the stoppable ND shot flew by him. A Josh Blackburn special.
- But, yeah, he didn't give up five.
- Refereeing level was "harmless monkey."
- Ebbett and Kal haven't been filling up the scoresheet but it's just a matter of time, as Ebbett is playing very well.
- Remember when we thought this team would have trouble scoring? Yeah: we're #2 with 4.56 goals per game. That will probably come down as the year rolls along but Hensick, Colgiano, Porter, Kolarik, Johnson, Hunwick, Ebbett, and Kal are a hell of a scoring combination. Cogliano has 15 points and is leading all freshmen in scoring. Johnson is #2 with 14.
- Powerplay is diiiirty, having gone 24 for 72. That's 33 percent, and is tops in the nation by a wide margin. The penalty kill is 55 for 60 and is fourth nationwide.
That OSU-preseason-favorite thing went in the tank after, oh, about a weekend of CCHA play. After getting three points from Bowling Green the Buckeyes went on to get swept by Western Michigan and Miami. Miami actually has the look of a good team, but Western's four games against non-OSU competition: loss to second-year program Robert Morris, loss to Niagara, and a sweep at the hands of Lake State, including a 10-0 whomping. Lake State used to go a month without scoring 10 goals under Crazy Frank Anazalone. Suffice it to say that the already ghostly Buckeye bandwagon has entirely ceased to exist.
Miami and Michigan State, and UAF have emerged as Michigan's main competition for the league title. Miami has swept UNO and OSU; State has swept Northern, tied us, and tied Ferris State. UAF has a split with us and three points on the road from Ferris. Then there's a group of no less than five teams currently .500 in league play. Major shmozz at the moment.
Two nonconference series of note from two weeks ago: Notre Dame split with Princeton and Michigan State split with Cornell, both par for the course. The CCHA has already put itself in a much better position than it did last year for tournament seeding. The next major nonconference test for the CCHA will be the always-huge College Hockey Showcase over Thanksgiving.
The Nonconference Opponents
Why? Well, when Mr. Pairwise comes around he's heavily based on how our opponents do. Better opponents means better seeding relative to our record. I'll keep an eye on how they're doing.
The first bit of good news is that Quinnipiac came off its opening-weekend sweep at the hands of the Wolverines and ran off eight straight victories. Granted, six of those wins are against the very bottom of D-I, but the Q did sweep its first-ever ECAC weekend, taking one each against Harvard and Dartmouth. Boston College is 3-2-1, having had last weekend off after beating UNH. They'll be a Hockey East contender as per usual. Merrimack, on the other hand, is going to be berry, berry bad.
- A "Mr. Johnson" clapclapclap after he danced during "I Can't Turn You Loose," like, again.
- The tiny shirtless guy who's, like Cogliano's creepy best friend or something was back, this time with a shirt.
The Next Weekend
A pair in Marquette versus Northern Michigan, who were just swept at the hands of Michigan State. The Wildcats always give Michigan trouble and really need to pull something out of this weekend or they'll be reeling. The results will depend heavily on the refereeing. Michigan's been awful attempting to clear the puck from their zone 5 on 5 and (obviously) lights out on special teams. If ticky-tack home crowd-hating Wilkins shows up Michigan will have a major advantage. If the ref lets them stay out of the box, the Wildcats will take at least one.
I'll stick with my bold split pronouncements: 4-3 NMU Friday, 5-3 Michigan Saturday.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Fallers: UCLA's magic carpet ride died with a dull thud on Saturday and they're currently in the plummet-to-earth-with-bowling-ball phase of their totally trippy 2005 season, dropping an impressive ten slots to #15. Boston College dropped out from #19. Virginia Tech found itself relatively elastic after its its crushing loss at the hands of Miami, as did Wisconsin--both teams only fell four spots despite being thoroughly dominated.
Risers: Both Penn State and Miami made headway in the top ten by dominating highly ranked opponents. Blogpoll voters collectively resolved the Miami-Alabama debate by calling it a draw: we really have a 3(T). We also have an 8(T), as Notre Dame and Georgia both check in with the same number of points. Everbody else fell orderly upwards past the fallers.
Outrage!!! Still mystified at the votes Rutgers and Cal are getting, along with the brutal treatment given to a Georgia team that was without Shockley when they struggled against Arkansas and lost to Florida--why LSU in front of them? We continue to have the same issues that other polls do that rank almost exclusively by losses, preferring teams that haven't proven anything over teams that have proven they're good but not great.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: Er... okay, Rob, I see where you're coming from on the Alabama not so hot thing, but #9? This in response to JournoRock's continued placement of Alabama #1 for reasons that boil down to "no one else thinks Alabama is #1"?
And let it not be said that Boi From Troy is stubborn. Instead of placing Texas #6, he listened to everyone's reasoned input and ranked them #5.
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.
Voters are clearly undecided on what exactly to do with a team that has one loss by a billion points to a crappy team and several other hair-raising escapes, as UCLA is the new King of Variance.
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 Texas blogger actionBERG and his ballot is uh... yeah. New this week to the poll is (drumroll, please...) #15(!) UTEP, who rocket up into the poll on the strength of a 41-38 win over mighty Tulsa. Apparently this means that they are better than #16 Ohio State, #17 Notre Dame, #19 Florida State, etc. He also persists in ranking Texas Tech #7 and has a major mid-major (major major) fetish going with TCU #12 and Fresno State #13. This is what you get when you rank strictly on the basis of losses.
Mr. Numb Existence is Notre Dame blog the Blue-Gray Sky. Their one fobile is slightly overrating ND versus the poll at large. The Irish check in at #5.
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 goes to Northwestern blogger SportsBiz, who's probably just ecstatic he can plausibly win this thing. The Wildcats' cardiac win over Iowa vaults them up into 19th on his ballot, and not coincidentally forces Michigan far up the ladder: on their off week he bumped them up 7 spots.
The Straight Bangin' Award has new home, as RD didn't manage to get a ballot in on time this week. Bruins Nation takes over the top spot for dumping UCLA down to #22 after the Arizona debacle. Yet another example of a team blog getting vicious after a brutal loss. Straight Bangin' is back and kicking in this category, slotting Michigan behind the mighty Scarlet Knights for some reason.
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 include
d). 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.
Swing's fixed. Yay.
Mr. Manic Depressive is Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, who apparently forgot about Florida last week and absolutely Yellow Hammered former #5 UCLA for their loss to Arizona, dropping them from the poll entirely.
Mr. Stubborn is the DJL Zone, and I can already tell this is going to be a category I'm not going to have a ton of interesting things to say about.
Introducing the Fraud Squad.
I will take this opportunity to force BlogPoll voters to look deep into the sausagey bowels of some of the teams they're voting for.
|Best Win||Oklahoma||Florida||Texas A&M||South Carolina||Pitt or UConn||Arizona|
|Worst Loss||Arizona||Tennessee||Texas||Georgia Tech||Illinois!||Oregon State|
|Cheap Shot||Transitive property of college football indicates that UC-Davis would pwn you.||Wins over ASU, Auburn were total flukes.||Made Michigan's mobile quarterback defense look sweet.||Uh, you suck and stuff.||ILLI- FREAKIN' -NOIS||Quarterback's name spelled backward is "HELP ME I CANNOT THROW-YA"|
|Advice||12-ish or worse.||11-12.||#22 with a bullet.||Squeak them in at the bottom.||Omit with ferocity.||Omit until they beat a non-shortbus riding team.|
I have bitchslapped the above teams in my ballot. I recommend you do the same.
|1||Texas||Why #1? To me USC and Texas are equal, so I will vote with the minority.|
|2||Southern Cal||No offense.|
|3||Penn State||Defense wins championships, but I also like it when the defense comes with an offense.|
|5||Miami||Overtaken by the spirit of Bo Schembechler on Saturday.|
|6||Alabama||Score an offensive touchdown.|
|7||Virginia Tech||But I wanted to like you so much.|
|8||Ohio State||Ugh. Pending 1-4 against Tressell == awful.|
|9||Notre Dame||Listen to Michael here; this offense is not almighty, and SEC defenses are pretty good. Still, ND has been consistently good. Few teams can say that.|
|10||Oregon||Main beneficiary of this carnage below.|
|11||LSU||Running out of snark!|
|12||UCLA||Finally got what was coming to them.|
|13||Wisconsin||A better team than they showed against PSU. Tamba Hali was a terrible matchup problem and PSU defense is one of the best in the country.|
|14||Florida||Yeah, well, Vandy... I dunno. Weird day for the middle of the poll.|
|15||Florida State||No QB problem rears up again. Was fortunate to beat Miami.|
|16||Georgia Tech||Put up or shut up coming soon.|
|17||Fresno State||Please beat USC. It would be sweet.|
|18||West Virginia||I guess.|
|20||Texas Tech||Has proven it can annihilate terrible pass defenses.|
|21||Auburn||Still haven't played anyone.|
|23||TCU||Still suspicious of that SMU loss.|
|24||Colorado||But meeem I wanted to vote for Spurrier.|
|25||Northwestern||Big Ten bias? Who else down here has beaten an 8-2 BCS team?|
Dropped Out: BC(#13)
Games I Saw: VT-Miami, UW-PSU, Alabama-Miss State, ND-UT)
Help Requested: #11-16 are drawn out of a hat mostly.
Update: Sadly, had to excise South Carolina in favor of Colorado. If you're wondering about 'Bama, my "defense wins championships" statement was an ironic one. If Alabama manages to defensive touchdown its way through the SEC undefeated they'll be #3; as long as there's some projection aspect, though, I project that a couple field goals will not be sufficient to beat all comers.
I continue to defy Big Ten Wonk's wishes by covering hockey like a rabid, er, wolverine! I apologize but my love for puck is deep and true, though I will make an effort to do right by the basketball team... after the Ohio State game.
Michigan has picked up a commitment from BCHL forward Brian Lebler, (HT: Western College Hockey) who will accelerate his schooling and join the team next year. This is a bit of a rally for Michigan as Lebler seemed ticketed for Wisconsin only a week ago. Lebler's dad played for the Badgers. This madison.com article has details:
Brian Lebler, a 17-year-old winger playing his second season with Penticton of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, has been offered the last scholarship UW has available for next year.
Lebler, whose father Ed was a winger for the Badgers from 1978 to '81, also is considering Michigan and Ohio State. Ed Lebler said his son intends to make campus visits to those three schools before making a decision.
"We'd like to see Brian go to Wisconsin," Ed Lebler said last week, noting that his wife, the former Mary Botham, grew up in Madison and has family living in the state. "But we'll have to wait and see."
Brian Lebler, listed at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, had 21 goals and 31 points in 56 games for Penticton last year. He had six goals in his first eight games with the Vees this season.
It sounds like he's a low four star to use the parlance of football recruitnickery. Bob Miller of The Wolverine says thusly:
Big kid who patrols his wing, gives full effort and has some offensive ability. He's a likely draft pick, yes, and I'd spot him somewhere between big and medium on the splashometer.
Given Michigan's roster situation for next year Lebler is an important pickup. Michigan's scratching only one recruited forward this year, has no other forwards committed, and will graduate Andrew Ebbett and Brandon Kaleniecki.
Welcome. Don't piss off #3.
Add in the potential NHL defection of TJ Hensick and Michigan was looking at a fairly gaping hole going forward. Even with Lebler things seem a little thin given that Michigan will have nothing but Krikor Arman 2006 past the 12 recruited forwards, and that's with Hensick. Hensick is a year than most juniors and was just drafted so he may stick around, but I wouldn't count on it after last year's defectionfest.
The solution: pencil in brand-new defenseman David Rohlfs at wing next year. Michigan graduates no defensemen and is bringing in Chris Summers and Steven Kampfer. What about defections? Well, as I've asserted previously, the college senior with a serious NHL future is a dying breed that just got a lethal injection from the new CBA. Matt Hunwick's stellar play thus far certainly indicates that he has an NHL future; it's highly unlikely he returns. I had written off Jack Johnson as well, but his dad's strident position that Johnson will stick around for "at least" two years has me convinced, since they're obviously not trying to improve their bargaining position. Johnson's going to get the rookie cap whenever he signs.
Thus the winds indicate that Michigan will likely have seven recruited defensemen and either 11 or 12 forwards. Rent, don't buy, David.
Argh. Vicious headache == no blog + sorry for self. Carrying on.
Everyone agrees that Tommy Amaker's team collapsed in the face of devastating losses in personnel. (Again, Abram missed all but the first two games and was given a medical redshirt. Horton missed 18 games. Chris Hunter was out for eight. You get the idea....) But need the collapse have been so total?
Wonk concludes the answer to this question is "probably not," and I agree with him, though I think his opinion of Michigan's talent level is too kind. That nailbiter against Illinois--which was obviously Michigan playing way over its head, reduced to spreading the floor and desperately trying to reduce the number of possessions--probably lingers in Wonk's mind. Still, some of the dire blowouts to teams like Purdue cannot be explained away with a wave of the Ashtyn Bell wand.
Amaker's main problem seems to be that he's a really nice guy who often seems less like a coach and more like an interested observer on the receiving end of questionable advice re: turtlenecks and their relation to sportcoats. Michigan's players that arrived soft are still soft; those that arrived one-dimensional are still one-dimensional; those that arrived with a license to brick still have it. One cannot help but look across the state to the God-Emporer of East Lansing's totalitarian regime that turns tall goo into robotic, effective players and ponder how he would mold the mercurial talent that Amaker has assembled. Amaker seems to totally forgo the whole molding thing. Given the way he's been recruiting lately (thoroughly meh), continuing this state of affairs will only lead to more mediocrity.
No freaking kidding.
Lost in the constant Terrell Owens everything: Clinton Portis is full on bats. Extra spicy bats. He's taken to dressing up in garish costumes when talking to the media. The top image is "Jerome from Southeast DC" (racist?); the bottom is "Dr. I Don't Know." This is the first I've heard of this and I was required to get it from always-on-top-of-stuff Deadspin instead of ESPN, despite the fact that Portis has made this a habit:
It was the fifth time in six weeks that he has dressed up for the scribes and cameras.
This has been going on for a month and a half and no one notified the national media! It was at a press conference! The mind... boggling!
Wait a minute, this has no relation to this blog's topic area. Strict Blog Ethics require that I relate this to Michigan somehow. Wait, wait... former Michigan tackle Jon Jansen, what do you think?
"I have no idea what he's doing all the time, but he makes it fun," tackle Jon Jansen said. "If he dresses like that in New York, he's on his own. Only when he's on the field will we protect him."
Thanks, Jon. Close shave there.
I leave you with this:
So how did Jerome meet his demise?
"Dr. Don't Know don't know a lot," Portis said. "Complication of a panic attack. He never traveled back with us from New York. The guy, he had an amazing upside. I talked to his family and friends. He's going to be missed, but on with this life."
I don't ask for much as the purveyor of this blog, but please do this one thing for me: should I meet my untimely demise and you find yourself talking about it, please mention my tremendous upside. Otherwise I will haunt your ass.
Better late than never: IBFC has received foreign aid and has posted some belated Iowa highlights.
Fire in the BlogPoll! Wow. Stuffs is getting heated around these parts. All Things Longhorn is not happy about Boi From Troy placing Texas #6(!):
He's either dumb, misinformed, or excessively biased.
BFT fires back:
After all, we're not the ones who have been homering for UT all season long. Just try to beat Kansas without paying off the refs before you book tickets to Pasadena!
Well, no, BFT, you haven't been homering for UT, but you have had an obvious tendency to overrate USC opponents. What's that? Another salvo?
In other precincts, 50-Yard Lion has his tinfoil hat on:
As you may know, I participate in a blog poll. The poll is run by a THEM [== "Michigan" -ed] fan, and is weighted in their favor (their are two of us for PSU, one for Iowa, one for MSU, one for NW and 2 for OSU, but 5 THEM blogs! There are about 50 votes each week--10% are THEM bloggers.)
All of the non-THEM blogs had PSU ranked ahead of OSU last week (including the Buckeye Bloggers), before the our match-up with Wisconsin. Three of THEM, though, thought otherwise:
Paradigm Blog (Mich): OSU 9, PSU 12
Rob in Madtown (Mich): OSU 8, PSU 13!)
Straight Bangin (you guessed it--Mich): OSU 9, PSU 10
See a trend here? I find it amaizing [sic? pun? it is the mystery.] that these guys would rank their mortal enemy Buckeyes ahead of PSU--even when PSU beat the Buckeyes straight up!
Unfortunately I have to agree: ranking a two-loss OSU team over a one-loss, OSU-beating Penn State team is totally unpossible. I would point out that this disease is not exclusive to Michigan bloggers, though, having seen it many places. It's totally mystifying, but there it is. Of course, 50YL immediately cedes the high ground by totally omitting Michigan. Frequent commenter Pat has started up a new blog that appears poised to bring some measure of sanity to the Penn State Interniche; his first post takes on 50YL's paranoia.
Yet elsewhere: Mark Hasty's latest ballot, featuring #5 USC, drew fire from me and spawned another comment thread featuring tremendous back and forth salvos; his latest moves the Trojans back to #2... and totally omits a Michigan team that has a top-25 resume in favor of Rutgers. This is not exclusive to Mark--Joey at SH has Rutgers #24 and Michigan #25--but Rutgers is a fraudtastic fraud getting Vandy votes at the moment. Let's be clear: bowl-eligible Rutgers is a cute story for the kids, but it's still team that lost to this guy:e="text-align: center;">
Victories? Over I-AA Villanova, 0-9 Buffalo, national punchline Pitt, 1-7 Syracuse, UConn, and Navy. This is more impressive than a team with the same record, one of the nation's toughest schedules, and wins over Penn State, Iowa, and Northwestern? That steams my clam, in the parlance of our times.
I guess it's good that people care about this stuff, though.
What's the moral of the story? Hell if I know. Polling, like many other things, appears to be a lot like sausage. Perhaps it's difficult to take the end result seriously when you see that the ingredients include a heavy dose of flapjack nuts, but as 50-Yard Lion pointed out, the scary thing is that we are obviously no worse than the jokers who actually determine who goes to the BCS... unless you think that this is a reasonable stretch for a poll released in the immediate aftermath of Penn State's domination of the Badgers:
14. Ohio State
16. West Virginia
17. Penn State
That's an actual ballot from Harris poll voter Dick Harmon. The thing also has Texas Tech #8 and TCU #11; it's worse than any ballot I've clashed with all year. Ironically, checking his column archive shows an article titled "'Big Least' one reason why BCS is a fraud". I've got another reason the BCS is a fraud: Dick Harmon.
Stuck at the bottom with you. As predicted, my predictions suck. I'm 2-5 with the sole solace being that I'm tied with the great predictor of all things future.
Why did Peter King say this? King managed to fire off this during his weekly column on his daughter's lacrosse team and his coffee drinking habits:
I think the one thing you can't understand unless you live somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard between Washington and Boston -- or unless you once lived there -- is the intensity of a big sports event.
I mean... um. That's just... wow. Gunslingers has your bile covered, natch.