in town for free camps
|1||Southern Cal (65)||24.6||3.0||--|
|14||East Carolina (1)||12.9||4.7||4|
Total Ballots: 70
Well, it was nice knowing you, Ohio State. OSU takes the pipe, USC takes #1 by a vast margin, and the rest of the shakeout is pretty interesting. Though the preseason AP and Blog polls were nearly identical, three weeks in we have some large discrepancies:
- The BP is way more enthusiastic about #9 Penn State (#16 AP), #21 Vandy (UR AP), #22 Oklahoma State (UR AP)
- The BP is down on #15 Auburn (#10 AP), #18 OSU (#13 AP), and #25 West Virginia (#21 AP).
Last week the BP was much higher on ECU (then #10) than the AP (then #14) was, but enthusiasm scaled back after a narrow win against Tulane.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
I’ve again omitted anything from the resume zealots, such as “Texas #24”. We know the reasons behind these votes and as such they aren’t “wack.”
- ARRGH THIS IS WHY YOU POST YOUR BALLOTS FOR REVISION ON MONDAY: Buffs.tv has South Carolina #1. Wrong SC.
- To the four guys voting for Tennessee… really? I mean, seriously? Similarly… Cal voters?
- From Old Virginia shot Nebraska up to #11, three spots higher than any other voter and one of only three voters to place the Huskers above #20, after NU beat—woo!—New Mexico State.
- Except for couple resume zealots who have the Tigers lower, Garnet and Black Attack’s ranking of #20 for LSU is five spots worse than any other voter.
- Georgia #18 is weird even for a resume zealot (Rakes of Mallow in this case), especially since they have a win over an actual half-respectable SEC team and a similar team (Vandy) that had a narrower win over the same freakin’ team ends up #12. WTF.
- Fulmer’s Belly: dinging Arizona State one spot for a loss against UNLV seems generous.
There’s still not much because we have little data. Extracurriculars after the jump.
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.
Ah, Texas Tech, atop your familiar highest standard deviation throne. Play someone ever, please. Meanwhile, pay no attention to the “lowest STDEV” please: the Buffs.tv vote above throws it off like whoah.
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 will probably be the end of DocSat’s iron-fisted grip over one of the top two spots as voters start moving towards ranking by resume, but not yet. I can go into ballot oddities if you like, but you know the story already: voting exclusively by results on the field in the first few weeks is an exercise in wild swings and weird rankings:
- ECU #2, BYU #4, USF #6, Vandy #9
- Utah and Notre Dame living at #11 and #12 off victories over a distinctly non-vintage Michigan team.
- LSU #24, OU #13, OSU gone.
I should probably just denote resume zealots early in the year and have a separate table for them, eh?
I never have much to say about Mr. Numb Existence since by definition the winner of the award has submitted a ballot closely in line with the poll as a whole. And this is the one award that goes to a sane voter instead of an extremist. And I’m a bit concerned that people will think all publicity is good publicity. So, new feature: Mr. Numb Existence gets a good recent post highlighted.
Our inaugural Suck Up To The Sane people recipient is Third Saturday in Blogtober, which is a weird concept blog based around the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry. It covers both schools and is the kind of blog that actually seeks out painful moments from years past to relive; TSIB knows that pain is part of college football fandom. They’ve just dredged up a horrible, horrible moment from Vol history:
You’ve experienced it. It’s the moment when you stare ahead but you can’t really see anything. You know there’s noise around you, but you just hear a hum. Movement is everywhere, but you don’t notice.
Fourteen seconds. Dead silence. Players celebrating. Game-winner. Throat-slash. Dropped ball.
That’s all that fit in my small mind as I watched from the sideline.
It’s known simply as “The Catch” to Tennessee fans - Sept. 16, 2000.
Tennessee fans get their catharsis… Bama fans get their schadenfreude… all in one place!
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 could not claim a third straight victim, as Auburn beat Mississippi State 3-2, but hey, man, do you doubt this thing’s power? Just place the words “3-2 victory over Mississippi State” in your head with your favorite team in place of Auburn and see how you like it. That’s what I thought. This thing is evil. I give it 4/5 CKs for its performance last weekend.
Meanwhile, this week I believe we have a first: a non-BCS team taking the award. Block U has the temerity to rank Utah #13. Some mitigating factors: this is a bit high but the margin here isn’t in the outrageous range, Block U also has hated rival BYU a spot ahead of the Utes, and that vote isn’t even the highest for the school in question. In the past these things have sometimes let a CK victim off the hook.
There’s a dangerous game ahead for Utah: a roadie against Air Force.
Rope-a-dope wins the Straight Bangin’ award as Buckeye Commentary completely excises Ohio State from its ballot. This is a common coping mechanism for FAIL teams that have performed FAIL poorly the previous FAIL week. FAIL.
With all due respect to their win at Fresno State, this might be the worst top-ten team in the history of the major polls. They're just not very good on defense, with too much of a penchant for missed tackles, bad angles to ball-carriers, and blown assignments. Fresno couldn't take advantage because of an inaccurate kicker and some key drops. Teams like Penn State, Ohio State, and even Michigan State won't make those mistakes as much once we're in the teeth of the Big Ten season.
While I can’t sign up for “worst top ten team in the history of the major polls” because there has to be some 4-6 Notre Dame team out there claiming a national title, that’s a damning assessment from an actual Wisconsin fan.
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.
I’m all in favor of these massive swings from the resume zealots since they all represent their ballots coming more in line with those of the poll at large. Here, Saurian Sagacity’s strict tier system of voting improves massively from week two to week three. Here is an award. You are Manic-Depressive.
Sometimes the Mr. Stubborn winner isn’t all that stubborn, it’s just freakishly prescient. This is the case this week, as RazorBloggers already had USC at #1, USF pretty high, Kansas, ASU, UCLA, and Cal pretty low, ECU right around where they fall in the poll at large. It’s more amazing Kreskin than Mr. Stubborn.
Mizzourah is also is in a similar boat with extreme skepticism of the Pac-10 and Ohio State serving him well; oddly, they go from one of the poll’s most negative OSU voters (#8 last week) to one of its more optimistic ones (#13 this week).
GURU RATINGS & CHATTER
|3*, #32 WLB||3*, #61 OLB||78, #37 OLB|
Though Hawthorne is literally OMG shirtless above, he is not metaphorically OMG shirtless. Everyone’s like “eh… meh.” This is because they see him as a project. He’s not that tall and not that big at the moment; to perform in college he’ll have to bulk up considerably. The two-sentence review:
Brandon Hawthorne -- Another small but athletic linebacker prospect, Hawthorne's body type will enable him to add some weight pretty easily. … He covers ground in a hurry at linebacker and looked good in drills.
STRENGTHS: Speedy outside linebacker has good speed to the ball. He can rush the passer, using his quickness and athleticism.
WEAKNESSES: Hawthorne is undersized and needs development in the weight room. Can get lost sometimes at the point of attack.
And so does ESPN, although they’re more enthusiastic($):
Hawthorne possesses all the physical tools for a college program to mold into a disruptive perimeter player at the next level if they are patient with his development. He can run, close, and hit and has incredible upside. Tall, rangy frame with a very long wingspan; should play at close to 225-pounds at next level while retaining his good play speed and athleticism.
After some more of the usual about needing to add strength and bulk, they finish with a flourish: “Hawthorne is greatly underrated and is a definite late bloomer with a ton of natural gifts to develop at the next level.” Calling someone “underrated” when you’re doing the rating seems odd, but whatever. Maybe they’re talking about Scout and Rivals.
Pahokee QB and Gator WR commit Nu’Keese Richardson—who plans to visit M with Hawthorne and Smith on Hawthorne:
"I've never seen anyone hit like Hawthorne, even [2008 Florida recruit] Janoris [Jenkins]," Richardson said. "Brandin Hawthorne will make you think twice about coming his way."
Cornerback Willie Hickman:
''Brandin's a monster,'' Hickman said. ``He goes 100 percent -- the whole play, the whole game -- he's just a monster. It's good to have him on your team. You don't have to sit around and wait for somebody else to make the play, because he's going to make the play.''
Aaand he’s got something in common with Charlie Weis:
Hawthorne is a 6-foot-0, 185-pounder, who goes by the nickname “The Animal” because of the tenacity he plays with.
Many people question his size, but he has a message for the doubters:
“Don’t let size fool you,” Hawthorne said. “There’s a grown man inside me.”
Smith’s decision came down to Louisville and Michigan; he also had offers from South Florida, Tennessee, Kansas State, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. A respectable set.
Hawthorne, a linebacker, recorded 80 tackles last year, including 31 for a loss.
FAKE 40 TIME
Fake! Fake! Fa—
Hawthorne is 6-2 and 200 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds.
Actually, that seems almost feasible. In fact, we’ve got an electronic time from a Scout camp. Survey says:
At 6-feet and 185 now, he ran a 4.72/40 and jumped 36 inches.
That was in April; more recent reports have him around 200 or even higher.
Nothing out there, unfortunately.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Despite the fact he’ll enroll early, Hawthorne seems like a holy lock for a redshirt what with the whole add-bulk-add-bulk-add-bulk trifecta from the scouting services. Also, GBMW notes that he plays a standup end position at Pahokee and probably has little idea what to do in pass coverage. Past that it’s a crapshoot. He’s rated where he is for a reason, but that reason is “obvious project with major upside” instead of “meh,” so there’s reason to hope he blows up under the tutelage of the Great and Holy Barwis.
Possibly off base socioeconomic thingy: Pahokee is poor and the kids from it are tough guys who play football as a way to get out, so he might have a better shot of reaching that ceiling than your average bear.
One other note: though Hawthorne may be undersized in the realm of traditional run-stuffing linebacker sorts, one way in which teams are defending the spread is by stockpiling these OLB/S hybrids. Hawthorne sounds like that sort of player.
I don’t want to see Hawthorne on the field for at least two years, but I think he’s got a better shot at being a major contributor than your run-of-the-mill three star.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
With the loss of OLBs Marcus Witherspoon and Taylor Hill the position went from a minor need to a major one; Hawthorne helps mitigate that. Safety commits Isaiah Bell and Mike Jones are both reputed to be future linebackers, too. Three is probably enough; I think they’re done unless Jelani Jenkins wants to sign up. They might take another OLB sort if they think one of the safeties can stick in the secondary.
Michigan is still recruiting a couple of inside linebackers: NC LB Hawatha Bell has M in his top four and plans a visit, and Michigan just shot an offer out to FL LB Mike Marry.
Both Hawthorne and teammate Vincent Smith plan on taking visits elsewhere, something the staff is apparently aware of:
"Michigan isn't worried about us visiting other schools, they just said to keep Michigan No. 1," Smith said.
Carnage in the Pac ten rips three schools from well up the poll to out of it, but ASU’s got a couple wins over meh teams and a loss to UNLV, Cal got housed by a team that lost to MTSU, and UCLA lost 59-0.
Major jumps for:
- USF, for beating a legit opponent
- Wisconsin, for doing so on the road whilst getting hosed by the refs
- Florida for no apparent reason
- BYU for hosing UCLA
- Utah and Wake Forest for no apparent reason.
Descents were mostly for obvious reasons: playing bad against bad teams like South Carolina or Mississippi State. I think I should have dinged ECU, maybe, and will do so in a revised ballot.
Programming note: UFR will be Thurs/Fri this week since there’s no game to preview.
Yeesh. I thought that Golden Tate was one of two receivers in the pattern that got him open deep. Close, but not quite:
That was a one-man route. Trent on the screwup:
He used a double move to create confusion between senior cornerback Morgan Trent and junior safety Stevie Brown. Seconds later, he was behind both of them, celebrating in the end zone. At the time the play-action pass was Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s longest career completion.
“I guess we were both pretty confident that guy was taken,” senior Morgan Trent said. “I put that on myself as a senior.”
I foresee a shower of –3s for the secondary on that play.
Sssssh. Iowa beat Iowa State 17-5 last weekend, then did this:
Those classless wads, telling… uh… the home crowd to be quiet? This year’s BATTLE FOR CORN was at Iowa. WTF?
there is absolutely no way King's and Dalton's derisive "shhh" gestures were directed toward anywhere but the student section. Why, you ask, would the football team treat its home crowd like hostile intruders? Oh, Jake Christensen might know.
There have been smatterings of boos at Michigan home games so far… let’s not get it to the point where Michigan players are making the above gesture.
This sounds familiar. Rey Maualuga in the aftermath of USC’s 35-3 pantsing of Ohio State:
"They did everything we saw on film, nothing changed," said USC linebacker Rey Maualuga.
This, of course, is straight out of the Lloyd Carr Bowl Opponent handbook and should send shivers down the spine of any Ohio State fan. Not that they aren’t already shivering.
Update 9/15: Linked to articles on FL S Angelo Hadley, MN WR commit Bryce McNeal, VA DE Will Hill, OK RB David Oku (second, third, fourth, fifth), MI DT Will Campbell (second), MI S Thomas Gordon, MS S Dennis Thames, SC S Devontae Holloman, NJ WR Nyshier Olivier, SC DE Sam Montgomery. Moved NJ DE Anthony Lalota to committed.
Added FL QB Denard Robinson, FL LB Mike Marry, OH CB Mike Edwards, LA WR Rueben Randle. Re-added MA OL Brennan Williams, SC OL Quinton Washington.
Dropped VA QB Kevin Newsome, TN LB Greg King, AL CB Dre Kirkpatrick, IN OL Kyle Kohene, CA OL Everett Benyard.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Programming note: going forward, the recruiting posts will be on Tuesday, since Monday already has a game column and a presser bits recap as anchor content.
What has ESPN reduced us to?
The Beav was on the teevee on Thursday. If you missed it to do something more socially respectable like drink a fifth of Wild Turkey and throw up on a clown, Varsity Blue has your back:
Aren’t those otters, by the way? I’m pretty sure they’re otters.
Beaver’s final numbers were impressive: 21 for 33 for 249 yards and two touchdowns plus 18 carries for 84 yards; the rushing average goes up significantly if you cut out the sacks. There was a bad interception and a back-breaking fumble late when Beaver attempted to do too much with the ball.
The overall opinion on Beaver from people in the chat was positive with some reservations. Beaver showed excellent touch on his short passes and kept his eyes downfield while scrambling around, sometimes with spectacular results. His running between effective and dynamic. There were a couple Favre-ian moments where he ran around and threw a ball that looked like a terrible idea only to see it hauled in by an open receiver. The reservations: dude is a bit of a toothpick, he occasionally loops a pass he should rifle in, and general high-school-kid-doing-too-much stuff. He outplayed the Sulfur Springs quarterback, a top 100 player to Rivals.
Come home, prodigal Thor.
Everyone’s still a little freaked out about MI DT Will Campbell’s decommitment but I am telling you not to fret. So is Campbell’s mom:
"He's still basically committed to U-M, but I said there is nothing wrong with going to visit a few schools. There is nothing wrong with that."
Also, Mike Farrell says this:
Sources close to Campbell say that while he's going to enjoy the process, take his official visits and see some other programs, he is inclined to re-commit to Michigan in the end unless he's absolutely blown away by someone else. Michigan already has a commitment from Cass Tech running back Teric Jones and expects to add Cass Tech athlete Thomas Gordon soon, and you can bet both will be working on Campbell to stay home.
Insert default language about bler bler nothing’s settled until he’s signed a piece of paper in February; given this and other chatter from and about the Cass Tech guys I’ma keeping Campbell blue.
Other bits from that Farrell piece:
- MD DE Jason Ankrah tried to commit to PSU but got rebuffed and is now listing M, Tennessee, and VT. Ankrah and MD CB Travis Hawkins, his teammate, will be in for officials October third.
- Michigan is “making a push” for FL CB Josh Robinson but the “smart money” is on UCF or USF unless one of the instate big three gets involved. Sounds like the kid wants to stay home. He will take an official.
Dude: Fitzgerald Toussaint. Toussaint has been bludgeoning people. Killing them. Hopping up and down on his vanquished foes drinking mead out of their skulls and ravishing their women. And running. For touchdowns. Rivals’ All The Way To Friday featured Liberty last week; Toussaint went for 261 yards and four touchdowns. You can check out video here; you might have to find the Liberty game underneath the main window. It’s worth it: Toussaint hurdles a guy a la McGuffie and just generally looks sweet.
On Friday, Toussaint did this in a 32-14 win:
Toussaint opened the scoring with a 72-yard scamper in the first quarter, scored a second-quarter touchdown from 35 yards out, and added scoring runs of 57 and 37 yards in the second half.
The University of Michigan recruit carried the ball 19 times for 258 yard, boosting his rushing total to 843 yards after only four games.
Toussaint is averaging 13.5 YPC. Here come the fawning quotes:
Toussaint “ran hard, he ran through some tacklers,” Liberty coach Jeff Whittaker said. “He’s got great speed, great acceleration.” …
Toussaint “runs angry,” [Struthers coach Dallas] Saunders said. “He’s not brought down by first contact. Even when we were on him, he made things happen.”
A couple Rivals observers reported being very impressed; he’s one to watch for a possible flight up the rankings.
Update: highlights from that Struthers game:
With NJ DE Anthony Lalota in the fold, Michigan finally has a shiny defensive end prospect to show all the cool kids and is up to 17 commitments.
Up next on the watch list are MI S Thomas “Prison Abs” Gordon, who plans to decide between Michigan and Michigan State on the 26th, and AZ DE Craig Roh, who’s changed his visit plans up a bit and plans to decide sometime in the next few weeks. Michigan is believed to be in strong position for both.
Meanwhile, OK RB David Oku dropped Michigan, then re-added them, then said he would announce Wednesday and everyone said it was Tennessee, then publicly disavowed Tennessee, then moved his date back to October. OMG. Drama.
All of this is probably moot for Michigan fans, as M got the boot once before and seems to be on the list as an afterthought. Also: Michigan has two or three RBs already in the class, depending on whether or not Smith and Jones end up in the slot. Also also:
"I want an offense that I like and fits my style. Other than that I really don't care about anything else."
So what kind of offense is Oku looking for? "I really like the west coast offense," he admitted. "I think that suits me the best. I'm actually not too big a fan of the spread offense though."
Oku is not coming to Michigan unless he does a sudden 180. Given the events of the past week this will happen Thursday and he will commit. On Sunday he will decommit and announce he’s headed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; next Tuesday he will exclaim “too much nitrogen!” and commit to the moon.
A number of additions to the board: FL LB Mike Marry is a high three-star sort who claims to have picked up a Michigan offer. Meanwhile, LA WR Rueben Randle has long listed Michigan but I never bothered to put him on the board because I naturally assumed he would stay south. This remains the general feeling but he is planning an official, so on the board he goes. OH CB Mike Edwards picked up an offer.He goes to Glenville, which is normally a dead zone for Michigan recruiting, but Ohio State is full up on defensive backs and won’t be leaping in with an offer.
Two OL show back up because M recruiting sites put out articles on them, but we’re still a longshot for MA OL Brennan Williams and no one knows much about where SC OL Quinton Washington might like to go to school. FWIW.
Finally, FL QB Denard Robinson says Michigan’s recruiting him as a quarterback-plus-other-options. He seems like a longshot, too.
Etc. MS S Dennis Thames is kind of noncommital about schools; Michigan may be fading. Sounds like he really wants to go to LSU but isn’t likely to pick up an offer. SC S and Clemson soft commit Devontae Holloman says he’s “really only looking at SEC schools” for his visits; this conflicts with previous information indicating he would trip to M. MN WR commit Bryce McNeal comes in for some fluff.