a terrible blight on our fine country
Some Penn State Fan who works with Anonymous Blog Reader, you have been pwned:
A remote co-worker of mine is a PSU fan. I spent last week in his location, in his cube to be exact since he was on vacation. His entire cube is decorated in PSU memorabilia, quite nice if you're a PSU fan, however I am not
I took the liberty of modifying the August page of his official PSU calendar. My only regret is that I can't be there when he flips that page on August 1st and is greeted by one of the greatest college football pictures ever snapped.
That is all. Carry on with your weekend.
Lines. Here are a bunch of Vegas lines, all of which are unfriendly to Michigan:
- vs Notre Dame –2.5
- @ Michigan State –4
- vs Penn State –5
- @ Illinois –7
- vs Ohio State –6
Notre Dame is a touchdown favorite over Michigan State despite State's recent ownage in South Bend. This has given Jamie happy pants.
(HT: Get The Picture.)
A tempo-free start. Texas blog Barking Carnival has put together a listing of teams by "pace," which is a concept unfamiliar in football but should be known to all who have heard me rail on about how Ken Pomeroy is an American hero. It's basically the number of possessions in a game. Adjusting for that can radically change perceptions of who is best and by how much:
As we move forward, one important thing to keep an eye on is that according to the standard per game stats, which are of course all that most “analysts” are able to wrap their heads around, Oklahoma’s offense was just over 37% more effective in Big 12 games than our offense was. It’s hard to argue that they were better according to raw numbers, but 37%? Sounds crazy. …
Here we can see that Oklahoma’s offense is now rated a more reasonable shade under 11% better than Texas’ offense. And whereas Texas’ defensive advantage was nearly 27% it is now just over 8% in the new analysis.
Oklahoma's offense wasn't that much more efficient, it just moved at warp speed.
Notes on the national list:
- Unsurprisingly, spread teams Oklahoma, Oregon, Houston, Troy, and Rice played the most possession-intensive games of anyone last year. Most of the top 20 are pass-oriented spread teams.
- Gus Mahlzahn and his Ludicrous Speed offense was tenth.
- Michigan was middle of the pack at 47; West Virginia was 69th.
- Interesting teams towards the bottom: Virginia Tech (118), Ohio State (117), Georgia (111), Iowa (108), Alabama(107), and Florida (106). There does not appear to be much correlation between pace and excellence.
It's a good start, but there are a lot of limitations to the study. KenPom adjusts his official pace measures by the pace of your opponents. That corrects for situations like playing Northwestern's basketball team a lot. This study doesn't have it. Also, there's no shot clock in football* and game situations dictate hurrying up or slowing down depending on who's in the lead, so one reason you might find a bunch of good teams at the bottom is their ability to get in front and then boa constrictor the life out of a game.
I'm working on getting a comprehensive play database from Bill Connolly of Football Outsiders, and when I get that my first priority is to put together offensive and defensive rankings by drive efficiency instead of raw yardage.
*(There is a play clock but here we're looking one level higher.)
Sad Pandas. It's been a bad week for the Feagin clan. Justin, of course, got the boot from Michigan for reasons unspecified. His uncle is in much, much deeper trouble:
Meanwhile, Steven Feagin, who played at another Big Ten school, the University of Illinois, stands accused of breaking into a woman's home in Pompano Beach, knocking her out with a chemical, then raping her twice.
By no means do I want to imply that Justin's thing was anything similar, or try to draw some link between the two. It's just… it's just a bad week for Feagins, is all. Poor mom.
(HT: Big House Blog.)
Come on down. Er, up. Memphis SF Casey Prather, one of two plan A wings Michigan is pursuing fervently, should be taking an official visit this fall. Rivals' Jerry Meyer:
Michigan is very much in the running for Prather, who recently had a strong showing in the adidas Super 64 event. There is talk that Prather might visit Michigan the second week in September for the Notre Dame football game, but those plans have not been finalized yet. Regardless, Michigan is expected to get a visit from Prather. … Prather is intrigued by the opportunity for immediate playing time at Michigan.
Securing Prather would go a long way towards crushing this blog's previous skepticism about Beilein's ability to recruit at a Big Ten championship level. Also: the Trey Zeigler rumblings have shifted towards Central Michigan, where his dad coaches. Rumblings subject to change, as per usual.
Etc.: AnnArbor.com is actually linking out. The homepage needs the equivalent of radioactivity something fierce, though. Yost and Crisler lookin' swanky. Texas Monthly explains the Longhorn money machine.
Terry Talbott recently took a trip up to Michigan with his brother Terrence. Terry is a smallish defensive tackle prospect (video), while his brother is a defensive back prospect. Both are out of Huber Heights, Ohio, the same town that boasts 2011 QB prospect Braxton Miller.
If their names aren't confusing enough, Terry is about 100 pounds heavier than Terrence, and uses that to his advantage. Here's how they felt about their trip, and the wrestling moves Terry uses against his brother.
TOM: I want to get the first question out of the way, it’s probably the most important question. You're quite a bit bigger than your brother Terrence, do you ever use that to your advantage; tease him ever, abuse your weight advantage?
TERRY: All the time, ya know, when we play around and we wrestle sometimes. I just come up to him, and we play around. I don’t use my weight to sit on him, or anything. Just mostly when we play around with everybody else, I try to use my weight to my advantage.
TOM: You just went up to Michigan for a visit. Tell me how everything went, you went with your brother, I guess if you can speak for him too, just tell me how everything went, who you talked to, and everything you saw.
TERRY: We talked to some of the coaches, and we went around campus, and we just went around the football stadium. We saw where all the academics are. We both really liked it because we went through a lot of the drills too. The coaches taught us some things that we both can use when we play, to make us a better player. It was real nice.
TOM: You were offered before this visit right?
TOM: Terrence was offered during the visit, or after?
TERRY: I think it was after the visit.
TOM: Tell me a little about what they liked about, and what they liked about your brother. How you can fit into the defense that they were talking about.
TERRY: I guess they were saying I need to work more on the technique, and they want to make both of us better players.
TOM: I know you play defensive tackle right now for your high school, but you’re a little bit smaller for defensive tackle in college. Did they say you have a chance to move over to defensive end, or do they want you to stay at defensive tackle?
TERRY: I’m not too sure.
TOM: What prompted this visit, it seems kind of like you came out of nowhere. Was there always interest in Michigan, or was this an on the whim decided to come up and visit?
TERRY: It’s just one place that I’ve always wanted to see, it’s the Big House. Everyone knows what the Big House is, so we wanted to come in and see what it looked like. I’ve heard a lot about Michigan, so I just wanted to see for myself.
TOM: What other visits have you taken, and how does this one compare? I read that you went to Wisconsin, just talk about how that compared to that visit, and maybe some others you’ve taken.
TERRY: I liked both of them; they’re all different places. The facilities, they have a little more with facilities than Wisconsin. I liked Wisconsin too, but that was the main difference about everything. The stadium is bigger, that’s how everything is.
TOM: With your brother, you guys are going on some visits together, are you guys going to end up being a package deal, with where you end up going to school?
TERRY: We’re going to try to see if we can do that, we’re going to try to see if we can go together, but you never know what can happen. What if he goes to some school that I’m not really interested in, and I go to a school that he’s not interested in. That is one of the things we would like to do, it’s always been the dream for me and him to be on the same team, not just for him, but for my mom.
TOM: Yeah, you mentioned your mom there. Is distance going to be a factor? You hope to have your family be able to come watch you in person?
TERRY: That’s one of the things we’ve been thinking about too. I mean, she really wants us to get out of Ohio. So just find somewhere to get out, so that’s not really a problem.
TOM: When you were on your visit, did you get a chance to meet with Mike Barwis, or hear any stories about him?
TERRY: I think I saw him, but I haven’t heard a lot of stories.
TOM: When do you see yourself making a decision, do you think you’re going to wait awhile and take all your visits?
TERRY: Yes sir, that’s what I’m going to do. Wait awhile and take all my visits, and then I’m going to see what’s going to happen.
TOM: What other visits do you plan on taking, or do you want to take?
TERRY: I’ll try to go see some like UCLA, in California, I’ve never been to California before. Kentucky, and Arkansas, just a couple of them come to mind. I’m not really sure which ones I’m going to take yet.
So I posted up a press release that was sent to me and various other folks by the AAGO, the entity that is in charge of the golf course and the parking therein. In it, the Powers That Be make some mumbles about listening to the protest and complaints from people who've been tailgating at the same spot since time began…
"We appreciate the time and effort that a number of people have taken to ask for reconsideration due to their desire to remain in private parking areas where they can be with the longtime friends and colleagues," said Larry Eiler, chairman of AAGO parking.
…and then immediately dispel any lingering hopes you might have that they actually gave a crap:
"We are disappointed at the decision of patrons to disagree with the new regulations, which were made for safety concerns."
Mmmm that's tasty public relations.
Before all this came down, I attempted to commit an act of journalism by reaching out to Eiler. We eventually settled on some emailed questions, the gist of which boiled down to "people have complained and we will make an announcement." The tone of the conversation was similar to the above:
It interests me that everyone just ignores the serious safety issue posed by people who place tents, cookers, tables, chairs, games in the manner shown in the photos attached from last year's M State game.
The following photos from second fairway 08 MSU game. They thus occupy ingress and egress routes for emergency vehicles and create an unsafe environment.
This is the "serious safety issue":
I guess if someone had a major medical issue it would be difficult for them to get out, and according to a commenter on the press release there have been some recent incidents:
Apparently, within the past couple years, there has been at least one heart attack and one broken leg on the course during football saturday tailgates. I guess some dude was tossing a football around and ran off the top side of a steep fairway bunker and fractured his leg. The emergency services took a long time to make it back to the scene due to the parking situation. If it had been a broken neck, the guy likely would have died.
Not sure about details on the heart attack, except the guy was closer to the front and managed to walk to the clubhouse.
The police, insurance company, worried board members, all felt that it was necessary to prevent any potential future disasters by ensuring that there are clear paths for emergency vehicles to enter.
So the canopy thing, whatever. Be stricter about clearing some aisleways, sure. It's a litigious country. I wish we lived in a place where you just sort of accepted "hey if I keel over on this golf course during a tailgate there's a slightly reduced chance I make it." We don't. I think the safety thing is a pretty silly mandate but silly mandates are par for the course (HA! I kill me!) when suin' looms.
However, I fail to see what this has to do with not reserving spots. Everyone ignores the serious safety issue posed by people who place tents and whatnot everywhere because they don't care about the rule change associated with it. No one has complained about the canopy thing. They do not care. They care an awful lot about having their tailgate disrupted.
A lot of people cared enough about it to raise a stink; if you just got over yourself and sat down with them there was an opportunity to work something out. One idea off the cuff: sell season passes in certain areas that can be revoked if the parking there ends up unsafe. Sell specific—specifically orderly—spots. Everyone wins.
Instead no one wins. There was an opportunity to make a little more money and keep the people who really care about this happy, and it was condescendingly rejected. The main reason appears to be that the tailgaters got too outraged and accused the AAGO of being money-grubbing so-and-sos. In response the AAGO said "well, I never" and lifted their noses skyward, refusing to… gah… parley with those ruffians.
The AAGO leadership failed spectacularly here. Kevin Werner on AnnArbor.com:
"It's a shame - a real shame that the traditions of hundreds and relationships of many and a special aspect of this community is giving way to stubbornness."
Postscript. The most unbelievable part of all this is that all of the emails from Eiler come from "Larry Eiler PR." The guy runs a public relations firm. PROTIP: you should not hire it any circumstances whatsoever.
Stupid being correct:
UConn has reached an agreement with Michigan on a home-and-home series that will see the Huskies travel to Ann Arbor in 2010 and the Wolverines head to Rentschler Field in 2013, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Well, at least it's not a MAC school, but if Michigan was going to give up a home game I'd rather seem them play someone more interesting.
(That's Henri, The Otter of Ennui, by the way. Wave all you want: he doesn't care.)
Pull the string on a person with a dumb idea about Rich Rodriguez's job security and you will hear a variety of talking points parroted back to you, perhaps the dumbest of which is that Rodriguez "doesn't fit in" with the old bluehairs that secretly run the athletic department and probably the world. Rodriguez will fit in just fine as long as he wins, thanks much.
90% of the stuff used to put forth this viewpoint is silly at best. For example, someone not named Rodriguez assigned freshman cornerback JT Floyd the #1, which had just been endowed by Braylon Edwards for a non-freshman receiver who had earned the number. Braylon chose to mention this in a newspaper article instead of over the phone, an infinitesimal scandal transpired, and Floyd was given a different number. BFD unless you're a person with a dumb idea about Rich Rodriguez, in which case it must be mentioned in every one of your articles for the Bleacher Report or Detroit Free Press. The only changes Rodriguez has made to Michigan's traditions have been to add Team Walks To The Stadium and Hype Video to the pregame dossier, which fine. Hype Video is a huge missed opportunity to have three seniors say "the team, the team, the team" instead of "I am Michigan" but it's okay.
This, however, would suck:
“I think nowadays when people are coming to games they want entertainment,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously playing good football’s the best form of entertainment, but what else are you doing to get the crowd into the game and have it be a part of the game as opposed to just being there?”
Rodriguez said fans won’t see many noticeable changes this year.
“It’s a process,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
But in the works are things like making “the band and the students and some music” more a part of the gameday experience.
The band and some music? Does the band not play music? If you prick them, do they not play "Let's Go Blue"? This addendum can only mean one thing:
…One of the most powerful things that forges a fan community is the shared culture that naturally arises when you can say things like "one second left against Penn State" and know that the person you're talking to is thinking and feeling the exact same thing you are. It sets the group apart. This apart-ness is fundamental to the passion sports fans experience: it's us and them, and the more us our us is and the more them their them is, the more important the thing beneath us seems.
Michigan has a lot of culture. That, fundamentally, is its main asset. From that culture flows the passion, and from that passion flows the money. Part of that culture is a public address announcer who embodies neutral gravitas. Part of it is the lack of advertising in the stadium. And part of that is the way the game is presented inside the stadium, with no "NoISe!!!" signs or plastic chariots or electromagic Spartys with frickin' eye lasers.
I like it like that. I like my church with incense and deceased Jesus, my Christmas carols by Bing Crosby, and my Michigan Stadium without frickin' eye lasers.
This was in March. He keeps talking about it. This aggression will not stand. Could someone call up Braylon so he can talk about it in the newspaper?
I have been to places, yes I have. And I can tell you that everywhere I go the blaring of extremely bad music at extreme levels of volume does nothing to pump up the crowd. Case in point: Joe Louis Arena, home to extremely loud, extremely bad music at every stoppage in play. Also home to perhaps the worst crowd in the NHL. Contrast: Yost Ice Arena, where the only sounds are from the band and the PA announcer. Yost has about the best crowd in sports, adjusted for size. I've been to Auburn and Michigan State and Penn State and Illinois and Ohio State and Northwestern and there is a direct correlation between piped-in music and crappy, chintzy game experience. There is none between it and a fired-up, intimidating crowd.
So, hey, relevant. The Michigan Marching Band is looking for a new thing to play between the third and fourth quarters and is looking for suggestions, if you're interested. I'm thinking of putting together a poll once the thread runs its course with the things that seem to make the most sense, so get your good suggestions in now. My obvious suggestion: Hawaiian War Chant, which has been overlooked far too long.
Except. There is one thing I'd like to see change as far as music at Michigan Stadium goes: turn the band up to 11. At certain spots in the stands, especially the far corner on the pressbox side, the band is nearly inaudible. Mic them up and make sure the entire stadium can hear it.