Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Troy falls and how, down to #13 after gacking it up against Stanford. Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Missouri, and South Carolina enter the top ten, Georgia drops out of the poll entirely, and some wag puts in a vote for a 2-3 team with all three losses by 20+ point margins. LSU is a near-consensus #1 with just three Cal holdouts.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Our three Stanford wags: EDSBS, The Enlightened Spartan, and Boi From Troy.
- Less ireful than weird, this but: pollsters generally agree that Missouri could be ranked anywhere from 6 to 13... except definitely not number ten. Only Maize 'n' Brew dares to place them there.
- My Opinion On Sports (henceforth MOOS) ranks VT #5; Frank McGrath places them #5. I realize they beat the sin out of Clemson, but doesn't that seem sort of exuberant for a team with no offense?
- Texas #14? Given their best performance YTD was a loss to Oklahoma, uh... seems high. EDSBS the offender.
- Two voters are completely insane about Rutgers; Both DeepSouthSports and BruinsNation plug the Knights #15 after two consecutive losses and no victories of note.
- MOOS has Penn State #18.
- Florida is #2 to Losers With Socks and #4 to DeepSouthSports. There exists football outside the south, gentlemen.
- The whole host of people voting Hawaii high up disgust me. I am repulsed by your odor, which is immensely displeasing. Hawaii's stirring victory this week was over 0-6 Utah State, and every single one of the I-A opponents Hawaii has played to date lost over the weekend. Hawaii's opponents still have not beaten anyone outside of the state of Utah. And yet there are plenty of people voting them in the top fifteen. Inexplicable.
- Pitch Right is the only voter to rank Cal lower than #3, placing the Bears seventh.
- Pitch Right and Jonthan Tu, place Boise State at 16 and 15, respectively.
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.
This week's Mr. Bold. is Frank McGrath, one of the Cal voters. His ballot's top ten looks fairly reasonable save the inclusion of Virginia Tech and a very soft landing for Kentucky, down only three. Nothing on the rest of the ballot seems truly unjustifiable -- though what is these days? -- except maybe holding on to a thoroughly uninspiring Wisconsin at #11 and bothering to rank Texas at all. Still, if this season has been anything it's been bold. Approbation withdrawn for this week.
Mr. Numb Existence goes to Double Extra Point (ballot), which wins this award so often it's freaky. Other things DEP likes: white bread, vanilla ice cream, and the Ford Taurus. If that makes them sound racist, that's not the intent. Boring is what we were looking for. Boring.
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 remains strong like bull, bestowing a horrible loss upon the school favored by its winner for the fourth straight week. This week's demonstration of the award's dire power: Northwestern 48, Michigan State 41. Battered and without reason to rank Michigan State at all, The Enlightened Spartan finally gives up the ghost.
Next up: Dan Shanoff overrates Florida at #10, up one after losing to LSU (on the road against the #1 team in the country, okay). A potentially dicey game that pits Florida's wonky-to-date secondary against Andre Woodson and Kentucky approaches... can the CK award keep the streak going?
During the season, the Straight Bangin' Award is often the property of blogs covering a highly-ranked team coming off a dispiriting loss. This week Saurian Sagacity goes flapjack nuts, as mentioned, ranking UF #21.
Our top four voters in this category represent USC, Florida, Wisconsin, and USC. The winner is Jonathan Tu, who one-ups Saurian Sagacity by leaving USC completely out of his poll. Saurian Sagacity's own total omission of Florida from their ballot can't compare; they narrowly finish second. I believe Tu's winning margin of -12.46 is the highest score ever recorded in this category.
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 the property of Mr. Tu, as tends to happen when you chuck the #3 (USC) and #11 (Florida) teams out of your poll entirely. We'll chalk things like Boise State up ten to the insane grief of losing to Stanford.
Tennessee blog Losers With Socks is (are?) Mr. Stubborn. They did move a lot of guys around, but, like... wtf: USC down only two, to #4; Florida up two, to #2.
38-0. This year's Notre Dame game? No, 2003's, though it's sort of hard to tell:
Return from exile. The Diag notes that the Illinois game will not be on the BTN. I think we knew this well before the season, as Ill/M was scheduled as a night game to be on one of the three Mouse networks, but it's good to have confirmation.
Also... uh... anyone have a couple extra tickets? I am going, but am currently without tickets; given the reputation of Illini fans I would prefer to snag a couple in the Michigan section. Email me if you have a pair you need to sell.
Hockey highlights. Varsity Blue has a highlight package from the Wontario game:
Awesome to be able to see that third goal, which was a beauty.
More Miles. Michigan is one of the better programs in the country at getting its kids through school; Oklahoma State and LSU are not popularly perceived as such. Thus one frequently-lodged objection against Miles: he can't operate under the strictures imposed by Michigan. (Full disclosure: This is something I myself leveled in the summer.) Given his eight years as a Michigan assistant, that might be something of an overblown concern, but it's worth a glance. Meaningful numbers don't exist for Miles' tenure at LSU, but Oklahoma State didn't do too badly with Miles at the helm (all numbers are GSRs, which take transfers into account and are more accurate than federal rates; Oklahoma included for a glimpse at the general environment Miles was operating in):
Miles started at Oklahoma State in 2001, so the 1997-2000 cohort includes his entire team when he got to campus, but no recruits. This is therefore inconclusive, but it at least suggests that Miles wasn't completely irresponsible when it comes to academics.
In any case, these trends are more institutional than anything else. Northwestern would still graduate 90% of its players even if it hired Lou Holth; Michigan isn't going to cut back on its academic support no matter who coaches the team. Academics, IMO, are nonfactor.
Braves & Birds on Miles in the Florida game:
Bo Schembechler would have been proud of the execution of that last drive. Miles has also taken to heart a lesson from Schembechler that the current Michigan coaching staff has completely forgotten, which is the importance of being multiple in the running game. Bo's offenses ran the ball so well despite the fact that their opponents knew that the run was coming because they didn't know the direction or type of run. Bo's offenses typically featured a mobile quarterback who could threaten the defense with the option, a fullback who could do damage between the tackles, and multiple tailbacks who could run all over the place. Miles' offense has all of these ingredients. (LSU's undoing might be the same as the undoing of all of those Michigan teams under Bo: a spotty passing game.)
Depth Chart? Depth Chart has some changes:
- Likely meaningless disciplinary items: Minor OR Brown; Manningham OR Hemingway.
- The opposite of the first bullet point: Carson Butler listed as the starter at tight end.
- Probably returning from injury: MacAvoy is listed the top right guard. Will Johnson listed as a starter at DT. CGraham OR Brandon Logan.
- Probably not returning from injury: Ciulla back on the depth chart but second-string behind Kraus; Thompson second-string behind Ezeh.
By the way, I think we can officially rename Angry Michigan Safety Hating God "Angry Michigan Right Guard Hating God."
What happened to Wisconsin? It's been a weird year in the league, and college football as a whole, but one of the most inexplicable developments has been the wholesale collapse of the Badger run defense. Colin emerges from deep slumber to poke at the corpse of the Wisconsin-Illinois game, and this is what he sees:
The game stats pretty much tell the story for Wisconsin's front 7. 6.6 per carry, 1 sack recorded in 19 chances. I'm going through the game to pick up the nuances, but it's pretty clear why Wisconsin lost this game. They pretty much deserved to.
Meanwhile, last week Michigan State shredded the Wisconsin rush defense, too. And this team returned five of its front seven. Go figure.
Etc.: Maize 'n' Brew is pretty meh about the meh game.
Editorial Opinion: Woo nothin' happenin'! Two notes that don't show up above: long-discarded OH OT Zebrie Sanders took an unofficial to the thrilling EMU game, and Michigan has started looking at Traverse City kicker John Potter, a teammate of Dann O'Neill. Both sides will wait to see what the situation is.
There is good news on the safety front; CA S Vaughn Telemaque -- a three star but the rare three star with an offer from USC -- is still seriously considering Michigan and might (is probably)? even still favoring M. This from an article on his Long Beach Poly teammate Jurrell Casey:
"I'll probably try to make my announcement sometime before the holidays," he said. "Me and (teammate and close friend) Vaughn Telemaque (recently offered by USC) have talked about making our announcement together on FSN (Fox Sports Network).
"We're good friends and we've talked about going to the same school together, but I know he likes Michigan and I like USC, so it may not happen. It's just cool to have somebody to talk to who is also going through the same stuff. We're just trying to have fun with recruiting and not rush it."
Well all right, then(!). Given the performance of our current Jackrabbit sporting a USC offer, adding Telemaque would be excellent; hopefully Casey's forecast is correct.
Meanwhile, NJ S Brandon Smith took a trip to Colorado for the Oklahoma game. It's always good when an article purportedly about another team starts off like this:
Growing up, Smith says he followed Michigan. "My visit was great," he said. "I really liked the atmosphere there. The stadium is huge and I think it's the biggest in college football. It gets really loud and the fans get really into it. It's a college town so it's all about Michigan football there."
The Wolverines upset Penn State when Smith visited. "Michigan is bouncing back well since their early loss," he said. "They have a great coach in Lloyd Carr and great players and I knew they'd do it."
The Wolverines are the lone team that is recruiting Smith for safety. Everyone else is recruiting him as an athlete.
"It's gorgeous in Colorado," he said. "I loved how beautiful the campus is and how nice all the surroundings are. It's not really a college town quite like Michigan, but it's still a great place and the fans are great too.
Although Smith says he doesn't have any real favorites beyond Michigan and Colorado, he admits that South Carolina has impressed him the most so far this season.
Smith's also changed his commitment plans from a Signing Day press conference to an announcement at the Army game.
So... three mentions of Michigan, no mentions of Rutgers, the school presumed to be Michigan's primary competition for Smith, and a visit to Colorado -- a school that strikes no fear into this intrepid reporter's heart given how down they've been for a while, their distance from Smith's hometown, and the lack of that childhood-fan thing. Very positive update there.
TX S Keanon Cooper is visiting this weekend:
The Gophers now lead slightly over Wisconsin, Alabama, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Michigan. Cooper says he plans to visit Michigan for the Purdue game on Oct. 13, but the date isn't 100 percent yet. "It's not official yet," he said. "I really want to see what the game time experience is like at Michigan and get a feel for the whole school. They seem to have gotten back on track this season and the coaches are really coming after me hard."
Can't imagine that Minnesota maintains its slight lead after he gets done visiting; Michigan's got a good shot here, too.
Full board here and can always be found on the sidebar.
Oh, God, this ballot is insane. Why shoot up Oklahoma nine spots? Why move VT into the top ten from right outside the poll? Why shoot WVU up? Can I still justify Auburn behind UF? (Yes, I think I can.) I don't know anymore. Leave protestations in the comments.
Not that Emu. Highlights from the BTN:
More Penn State victorizing. This WolverineHistorian guy over at Youtube seems to be cataloging Michigan's win streak over Penn State one clip reel at at time. The current installment is 2000:
There is also a compilation of Michigan game-winning touchdowns over the years:
Miles, availability, etc. The occasional grumpy commenter who would like us all to prepare for the Brian Kelly era (which doesn't seem that bad an alternative) will drop in and assert that Les Miles will get a boatload of money dropped on him and will stay at LSU should he win -- or even just reach -- the national championship game. This NYT article that came out Friday implies otherwise heavily; this NYT blog post with fuller quotes from the principles of that article slathers it on even thicker. Former Oklahoma State player Sam Mayes:
He was never an Oklahoma State Cowboy, and I don't think that he's an L.S.U. Tiger right now. I think he's always going to be a Michigan man. I don't think he'll be content until he gets to that point. The way he would talk about Michigan and bring it up, 'When I was at Michigan.' Michigan this and that. It was like this golden fleece for him. I love my school, but with him it was something different. You had to see it. He'd say Michigan and get down on one knee. It was just crazy. People around here are joking that Les Miles has got Michigan colors on under his L.S.U. colors.
I'm sure some deranged Corn Nuts magnate can offer Miles his own effing Saban money, but I assume Michigan can and will make a competitive offer, and then we're into the whole "how many gold toilets do you need?" issue. Ben Wallace's answer was "all of them kthxbye"; Miles will probably say "just one, as long as it's Bo's."
Here's Miles' full quote about the Michigan job:
I don't want you to take the fast, hard line. I want you to hear me out.
I am indebted to that school and those people. Not Lloyd or the president there. But the tremendous memory of Bo Schembechler, and the quality that I was exposed to both academically and in football at the school. So I cannot in any way change that view. That's an honesty. I can't tell you my appreciation. My wife, my first born, my entire life is marked by my time at Michigan. Yet, I'm in a wonderful place here. I've got a great team. If I lose or have any distraction to that fact, that I would spend fun time, my time on something else like the view of that, would be a mistake. It would be a mistake and I really can't.
When I was a young coach, I had a school call me. It was so distracting. I did everything that I was supposed to do, but it affected me. Things like this really have no day-to-day change in the way I do things. I woke up at 4 a.m. today and I'm daydreaming, I'm not thinking about anything else but how to make this football team better. That to me is the right feel. I have great confidence in Michigan and they have a great staff there and they're going to do great things this year. I have no designs and nor has it ever been displayed to me that I'm the next guy, by anybody. I have given little or no thought to things that are not imminent. I really don't want to spend any more time talking about another program.
Lloyd Carr won a national championship and that staff is as quality as there is. I fully support what they're doing there.
Read from that what you will, but I have received multiple emails on this from people I trust: if Miles is offered the job he will take it.
Ashutosh has some thoughts on the Miles candidacy at What The Deuce:
Even with what Miles' has going for him, I still feel "eh" about him. I want to feel like Homer Simpson looking at a plate of bacon when the new hire is made/announced.
Mmmm baconcoach. That post went up Saturday... wonder if the needle has moved at all after the Florida game?
USA Today takes a look at said game and the fourth-down conversions therein. It slipped my mind in Sunday's post that one of the fourth-down attempts was a fake field goal; don't know if that changes the decision calculus any. It (obviously) worked, though.
Hot dog man. Missed this Daily article on the tube-meat-slinging cult hero of the student section:
As Michigan was beginning its comeback in Evanston, Ill. against Northwestern on Saturday, College of Engineering senior Jay Trzcinski walked to the front corner of the Michigan student section with an armful of hot dogs. At first, the crowd didn't recognize him, but soon murmurs began. Then the crowd started chanting "Hot Dog Man."
The rest of it is a depressing rehash of Michigan's attitude towards the stadium atmosphere ("anything fun is prohibited") compared to Northwestern's ("we are not crotchety"). Upshot:
He said he doesn't plan on throwing a hot dog anytime soon because he doesn't want a criminal charge and wants to be able to cheer on Michigan during the big games at the end of the season.
Hot Dog Man has been told his season tickets will be revoked if he throws any more tubed meats, which is preposterous. Maybe the administration's leeriness would have some merit if the hot dog tossing took place when the students were precariously perched on the seats, but at halftime everyone's sitting down. Les Miles would let the kid th
row hot dogs.
Wontario, defeated. Michigan opened up its 2007-2008 hockey season with a 5-1 exhibition win over Western Ontario that was somewhat dispiriting as these things go. Usually the final score of the exhibition is something like 8-2 and Michigan puts up like 60 shots to the opponent's 15; this game was 1-0 until a few minutes into the third when the floodgates opened. The Wolverine's Bob Miller has some impressions. Upshot:
This is going to be a very fun season for those who love developmental hockey. This Michigan team will have a solid core of players who should (no guarantees, of course) be four-year players and will be able develop naturally over time. No doubt, there will be some very frustrating games, but I can already see significant progress in most of the freshman from the first practice I attended 12 days ago. Very encouraging progress, in many cases. For those who demand lots of wins to enjoy the experience...well... you may have to decide if you can be patient through the inevitable growing pains.
Yikes. Some player-by-player breakdown follows. Personal opinions:
- Steve Kampfer still looks like the guy who got benched early last year. Lots of turnovers, occasionally turned inside out by Wontarians, still smallish. It remains a mystery how or why NHL teams thought he was worth drafting at all, let alone in the third round. Hopefully he comes around; I'm not seeing it.
- No offense to Scooter Vaughn, but God it's depressing to see #3 out there, think JMFJ(!!!) and then have it turn out to be anyone else. Similarly, the new #7, Chad Langlais, is exactly the same build as TJ except he plays defense. This is going to be a source of cognitive dissonance all year. They really shouldn't have issued thoes numbers until an appropriate mourning period had passed.
- Side note: Scooter Vaughn is a black guy from California named, obviously, "Scooter" who plays on the hockey team. Most unlikely Michigan athlete ever?
- None of the freshman jumped out like JMFJ or Hensick did when they were freshmen, but several of them showed flashes of talent. Matt Rust was compared to Andrew Ebbett by Miller, but the comparison in my head was Dwight Helminen. He has Helminen's wheels, faceoff ability, and backchecking prowess with a dash of offensive flair. Doubt he has Helminen's wicked snap shot, but his assist on Michigan's third goal -- a one-two-three tic-tac-toe job that was pure class -- was a beauty.
- Other guys I liked: Ben Winnett, a good combination of size and skill, Carl Hagelin, who probably didn't deserve a hat trick but was all over the ice, and Max Pacioretty.
- We're about to find out if Kevin Porter, top five scorer, was entirely a creation of TJ Hensick. Survey says: hell yes. He's still probably the team's best player, but is uninspiring as those go.
- One freshman defender I liked: the aforementioned Langlais. He's tiny and old (20 or 21 already, IIRC) but has some stickhandling and passing chops. Will be a fixture on the power play; reminds me of swashbuckling Eric Werner, who I loved.
- Sauer faced like one scoring chance. Goal was at the other end of the ice and I didn't get a good look, but it seemed like a goal-line scrum that ended up with him getting bumped by someone and then there was pointing and a red light. Not egregious. For that, see the Blue-White game.