This weekend marks the opening weekend to Big Ten play for the baseball team, so now seems the appropriate time to give an update on how well the other teams are performing around the conference. First, the standings, taken directly from BigTen.org:
|Team #s||National #s|
As we can see, Michigan is doing pretty well here with a winning record against a decent schedule (that's out of 301). But we knew that about the Wolverines already. So let's take a walk through the other teams, and we'll go in order of RPI, a better indicator of how well they've done.
For those interested, my preseason outlook.
The Spartans are the national headliners as far as the Big Ten goes right now. They lead the nation in fielding at .987 have handled the medium to bad teams on their schedule as they should. That shiny 16-4 record is justified, with two great pitchers on the front end of their bullpen and some good hitting to back it up.
As of right now, they're the national pick for taking the Big Ten crown, but the local coverage (particularly the bloggers of the Big Ten) tends to be more skeptical. Michigan State has played a meh schedule for the most part and lacks any wins over a major opponent. All four of the Spartan losses came against quality opponents, including a blow out at the hands of Louisville, a close loss and blow out loss at Mississippi State, and a 10-2 game in the opening week at Clemson. The rest of the schedule has been pretty light. There aren't many creampuffs, but the competition has not been strong. For instance, a sweep of Oakland dropped MSU 4 spots in the RPI.
There is definitely this feeling that much like any other Spartan team, they're due for a collapse somewhere in the middle of the conference season. They haven't had that consistent, successful season to build on yet, and this will be that learning year for a leap next year. I still like them to finish in the top 3-4 of the conference, but I just don't see them going wire to wire in the driver's seat.
The Buckeyes are probably the best team in the conference if their coach would maximize their players' potential, or provide any sort of motivating force. I've long heard rumblings from some Ohio State fans that Bob Todd isn't a great coach, that he's just rode the talent he's found through blind luck. While I'm a bit skeptical of all that, I recently did a guest post and statistical break down of Ohio State over at Buckeye State Baseball and the way he handles his lineup does make me question just how great of a coach he is. The number of pitchers that have missed seasons due to arm injuries would worry me, too.
This season that the Buckeye players have been playing well below their projections. Add that they are playing a seriously light schedule, the players just don't seem motivated. That is reflected most by their losses to DII Rollins and NAIA Webber International. That will probably change in conference, but if Todd's goal is to win the Big Ten and host a regional, he has to have a better OOC record with better OOC opponents.
When it comes to the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will probably pick up the slack. They still have the best lineup in the Big Ten. Their starting rotation is the only one in the Big Ten comparable to Michigan, so it's hard not to see them in the top two to finish the year, and probably in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The loss of Ryan LaMarre was devastating for the Maize and Blue. It probably cost them at least one win per weekend against Texas Tech, St. John's/Louisville, UNC, and Coastal Carolina and sunk any hopes of an at-large bid. Who knows how much better the season would be going with their star, especially with the emergence of Coley Crank and Chris Berset. Now that Mike Dufek is getting hot, they've got the best 3-6 hitters in the conference. On top of that, they have the deepest pitching staff.
I think we see Michigan run through conference season and really get themselves worked back into the national picture. They probably finish between Michigan State and Ohio State in the final standings, and I think they're the team to give the Buckeyes a run for their money in the tournament. The series at Ann Arbor between the two will be huge. [Ed: rest of the conference after the jump.]
For all-time updates on recruits, check out the Michigan Football Recruiting Board. The technology has been working up lately, so you may need to re-login to get all the latest info.
In The Trenches
Covering the offensive and defensive lines.
The [Florida State] Seminoles, along with Florida, Miami, LSU, Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisville, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida International, Boston College, Duke, Maryland, Marshall, among others, have offered.
The most interesting part of the article to me was the following:
Athletic defensive end Giorgio Newberry (Fort Pierce, Fla./Central) doesn't mind that some believe his best position in college could be on the offensive line, while others say it is in the interior of the defensive line.
He says that many schools are telling him that he can play whichever position he prefers, and I wouldn't be surprised if Michigan one of those schools. They have a need for defensive linemen and offensive tackles, so he could hit campus and figure out where he fits in the best.
He was the defensive line MVP at the weekend's Miami Nike combine, but doesn't plan to take any more visits over the summer at this time.
NM OL Matt Hegarty plans to decide before his senior season ($, info in header). The 6-5, 265lb offensive tackle prospect planned to make it to Michigan last week, but didn't manage to get to Ann Arbor.
LA OL Trai Turner doesn't mention Michigan in this Rivals fluff. He sounds like a backup option for LSU and Aabama, but doesn't mention any other schools. He's spoken positively of the Wolverines in the past, and holds a verbal offer from the Wolverines.
AZ OL Christian Westerman will be narrowing his list of 25+ suitors sometime in the next month ($, info in header). Don't forget, he has mentioned in the past that he'd like to see Michigan's Spring Game.
A bit of fluff from The Gainesville Sun about IN DT Joel Hale, who was offered last week:
While the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hale is listed as a defensive tackle, he said that he’s also being recruited as an offensive lineman by some schools, though he prefers defense. Florida is currently recruiting him as a defensive lineman.
“I can fit into that defensive tackle position fairly well — maybe the strong side end,” he said.
At 290 pounds, he would make a huge strongside end - though maybe that would work perfectly for Michigan's 3-man front. I've moved him from OL to DT on the recruiting board. The article confirms his Michigan offer, but he says he's thinking about heading south now that he's seeing interest from some SEC schools.
OH DT Kevin Williams will visit Nebraska for their annual spring game. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, Nebraska's scrimmage takes place on the same day as Michigan's spring game, so Williams will not be able to attend (assuming he does indeed travel to Lincoln).
Williams said he started putting the Huskers on his radar in the middle of last season. People kept telling him about this defensive lineman from Nebraska. You have to watch this guy, his high school coach told him. “So I watched him,” Williams said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, Ndamukong Suh.’ And I’ve kind of been trying to pattern myself after him ever since.”
He’s also interested in schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Stanford. No clear favorite yet. But the defensive tackle feels a strong connection with Nebraska’s coaching staff.
Michigan and Nebraska are regarded to be Williams's top two, and he's planning an early decision, so he could make a commitment shortly after his trip to Lincoln.
Quarterbacks And Quarterback-like Substances
"It raised my interest level in them and I can see myself there," Jones said after the visit. “It really was a good vibe, especially with their quarterback situation right now. I watched film and watched their whole practice, and they run the same offense we run here at Glenville, so it would be an easy transition."
Michigan hasn't signed a player from Glenville since Pierre Woods in 2001, partially due to a strained relationship between Ted Ginn Sr. and Lloyd Carr (and on the flipside, a verrrry close relationship with Jim Tressel). With the Buckeyes recruiting the quarterback position with a "Braxton Miller or bust" mentality, Jones is unlikely to grab an offer from the Scarlet and Gray, and could ultimately choose the Wolverines.
The Baltimore Sun brings some recruiting fluff on MD Ath/QB Darius Jennings:
The 24 schools that have offered Jennings are “Oregon, Stanford, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State..."
Notable only because Michigan is in the first couple schools he lists. As far as what position schools are recruiting him for:
"Some schools see me as a slot receiver, some as an all-purpose back, some as a corner, some are giving me the opportunity to try offense and defense -- whichever I prefer,” Jennings said... "All the schools I've talked to are recruiting me as a return man, and since we somewhat run the Wildcat in high school, a lot of schools are talking about me doing that as well."
Michigan is likely looking at him as a slot guy and return man. He plans to take the recruiting process slowly, taking several visits this summer in addition to all five of his officials in the fall. He doesn't currently have a list of top schools, but Iowa signed his teammate (and the son of Gilman's coach) Jim Poggi in the 2010 recruiting class.
Last Line Of Defense
Linebackers and DBs.
PA LB Ben Kline visited over the weekend ($, info in header). It wasn't his first visit, and he plans to make it back to Ann Arbor as well.
Longtime Michigan lean NC LB Kris Frost now has North Carolina near the top with the Wolverines ($, info in header). Frost is visiting Ann Arbor sometime this spring or summer, so Michigan should be able to re-widen the gap then.
PA CB Kyshoen Jarrett, who holds a Michigan offer, comes in for a round of fluff from the York Daily Record, primarily that he takes care of his older brother Daishawn, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
ESPN profiled OH CB Doran Grant (pictured at right), who has Michigan among his 30+ offers:
His decision likely will come down to MSU or Ohio State. The ESPNU 150 Watch List recruit says the two schools are even in his book...
Grant shied away from naming a top five but listed eight schools that he likes the most at this stage.
"These are not in order, but Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and USC," he said.
Grant is an Under Armour All-American Game selection, but it looks like Michigan State and Ohio State are the only schools with a great chance to land him. He will make a decision in January or earlier:
"As of right now, that is when I'm going to make my decision: at the Under Armour [All-American] game or right before," he said. "That is the plan right now."
However, Grant could decide to pull the trigger earlier than that. He intends to give very close looks to Michigan State and Ohio State this spring on unofficial visits.
Grant recently spoke with Michigan's coaches, so maybe there's a chance for Michigan to make a run.
MI WR Commit Shawn Conway was "dominant" in the BadgerSports 7-on-7 in Ann Arbor last weekend ($, info in header). FL TE Jeff Heuerman, a Michigan legacy, should be receiving his Michigan offer soon. MD DT Vincent Croce was unable to make a planned visit to Ann Arbor earlier this winter, but he will make up for it by attending the Wolverines' spring game on April 17th ($, info in header). FL DE/TE Brandon Fulse is interested in visiting Michigan sometime ($, info in header). IN OL Kody Woods will visit Michigan over the summer. SC DE Gerald Dixon has a Michigan offer.
A glimpse into the future: here's a table of schools that would fall under the 925 line if we just look at the last three years of data. These schools could be subject to contemporaneous penalties if they lose a kid because he is ineligible unless they improve this year.
Columns are mostly self explanatory. APR XX = single-year APR. SS XX = squad size for a particular year. 09 APR so far is a combination of the APR scores weighted by the squad sizes, so UAB's 756 counts more than their 931 because the 756 saw 97 players and the 931 just 80. I think I might be slightly off on the weightings here because squad size may not directly correspond with points available, but these should be close.
The last column is the score the school needs to break to get out of the contemporaneous penalties zone. Obviously, the top four teams are not going to climb out in one year. BCS teams have been bolded.
|School||Conf.||APR||APR 08||SS 08||APR 07||SS 07||APR 06||SS 06||09 APR
|Florida International||Sun Belt||904||965||81||891||77||822||90||890||1030|
|San Jose State University||WAC||888||952||78||876||82||853||86||892||1024|
|Washington State University||Pac-10||918||922||84||874||88||921||90||906||983|
|University of Mississippi||SEC||910||891||85||945||76||890||85||907||978|
|University of Idaho||WAC||905||938||77||880||87||911||90||909||974|
|New Mexico State University||WAC||905||900||95||920||87||913||89||911||968|
|University at Buffalo||MAC||908||921||80||933||81||884||86||912||964|
|University of Minnesota||Big Ten||915||887||89||935||88||924||86||915||955|
|University of Colorado||Big 12||929||935||90||893||90||918||94||915||954|
|University of North Texas||Sun Belt||911||914||87||917||87||924||85||918||945|
|University of South Florida||Big East||909||938||85||937||85||879||79||919||943|
|Florida Atlantic University||Sun Belt||913||935||85||918||77||911||85||921||936|
|University of Arkansas||SEC||927||918||91||937||91||910||96||921||936|
|University of Akron||MAC||926||948||90||906||90||912||89||922||934|
|Florida State University||ACC||932||871||91||960||83||938||94||922||934|
Ole Miss is the most relevant team in the danger zone, and it looks doubtful they will be able to avoid a small penalty or two. Florida State's ugly 871 will be an anchor for a few years but if they bounce back with numbers similar to their record to date it won't be a serious problem. And Tim Brewster's gift to whoever replaces him in two years is going to be that 887.
He emerged from a local ten-year-old's He-Man rerun last Wednesday and is in the midst of a series of hilarious foibles in which he adapts to the modern world. He will master his strength, get the girl, and go to college. There will be a short-lived spinoff show at Purdue, Louisville, Tennessee, or another place that looks kindly on men wielding swords longer than themselves.
No, Michigan is not involved, but who cares? Carvajal's hair should be in the running for Name of the Year.
Good work there. You know that vandalism that took place in Michigan Stadium? Yeah…
It's not exactly earth-shattering. The turf should be fixed for the spring game, at which point it's getting replaced anyway. It did give Orson a chance to continue his campaign against the area media, at least.
Guh. 96 team NCAA tournament reaches DEFCON 2:
"I said from Day 1 that I would support the decision that came out of the (NCAA's) Board of Directors, which ostensibly is linked back to the presidents (in) the conferences," Delany said. "And if that's where it ends up, I support that."
Asked how he expects the expansion issue to play out, he said, "It's probable."
Won't someone think about the children? Is anyone going to care about any first round game at this point? What is the point of folding the NIT into the NCAA tournament? What is the NCAA's problem with a reasonable playoff field in either basketball or football? Is this the most roundly-despised inevitable idea in history?
The latest from spring. Inside Michigan Football translated into a non-browser-crippling format by anonymous heroes of the internet:
Maybe? No. But you keep waving your gums around. Jack Swarbrick had to open his mouth about conference affiliation. Hubbub ensued, and I pretty much dismissed it. But he keeps talking about it and every time he drops something it seems slightly more plausible than before. The latest tiny step towards plausibility comes from a KC Star article in which the Notre Dame AD elaborates on his previous comments:
“The traditional model, where a conference had a fixed fee media rights deal, if you added somebody you sliced the pie a little thinner,” Swarbrick said. “When you’re dealing with equity in a network ... it’s a situation we haven’t had before.”
At this rate he will elaborate ND right into the Big Ten by the 23rd century. He also said stuff about the Big East being an "extraordinary" partner and so forth and so on. I peg the chances of ND joining the Big Ten in the near future at 1.5%, up from 1%. Points to Mike Dearmond, the author, for deploying "tizzy" in his article.
The worst Final Four ever… and Butler. I guess it would have been more frustrating if Ekpe Udoh and Baylor had made it, but Michigan State, West Virginia, and Duke suck pretty hard because they are Michigan's primary rival, the school that Michigan yoinked its current coach from, and Duke.
Here's where I point out that Udoh's coach hired John Wall's AAU coach in the hopes of landing him and falls on the Calipari end of the dirtiness scale.
Etc.: UMHoops scouts Cody Zeller and Yogi Farrell. Georgia president Michael Adams is the guy who attempted to kill the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" nickname and appears to be spectacularly corrupt to boot. Naturally, the NCAA is considering him in their search to find Myles Brand's replacement.
SOMEONE HIRED TIM FLOYD. IT MAKES A GREGG DOYEL COLUMN LOOK SANE. RUN.
Data ho. Current four-year rates for eligibility and retention plus squad sizes and overall APRs for all of I-A, organized by conference. This was always hard to get out of the PDFs and prevented wide-scale comparisons without enormous amounts of grunt work.
|Conference||APR||Eligibility Rate||Retention Rate||Squad Size|
The ACC is your APR champion by a healthy margin; the rest of the BCS is virtually indistinguishable from another (and the Mountain West) save for the Big 12, which lags. The MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt bring up the rear, with the Sun Belt's appalling eligibility rate standing as yet another reason that conference is a blight on I-A.
Individual conference numbers after the jump.
So I was planning on putting up a post at the usual time and then I fell down the rabbit hole at the NCAA's new APR data-dump site, which happens to be a joint project with Michigan itself. After pounding at their online interface for a while, screaming "why?" the whole time, I just downloaded the whole dataset and set about doing stuff in Open Office's Excel clone.
First, a clear explanation of how the numbers are calculated from the site's Codebook:
A team’s APR cohort for a given year is composed of student-athletes who receive financial aid based on athletic ability; if a team does not offer athletics aid, then the cohort consists of those student-athletes who are listed on the varsity roster on the first day of competition. Each student-athlete in the APR cohort has the ability to earn two points for each regular academic term of full-time enrollment. One point is awarded if the student-athlete is academically eligible to compete in the following regular academic term. The other point is awarded if the student-athlete is retained by the institution (i.e., returns to school as a full-time student) in the next regular academic term. Student-athletes who graduate are given both the eligibility and retention points for the term. Squads can also earn a delayed graduation point if a student-athlete who left the institution without graduating returns to the institution and graduates.
At the start of each academic year, each Division I team's APR is calculated by adding all points earned by student-athletes in the team's cohorts in each of the previous four years, dividing that total by the number of possible points the student-athletes could have earned and multiplying by 1,000. Thus, an APR of 950 means that the student-athletes in the cohort earned 95 percent of the eligibility and retention points that they could have earned.
This answers a few questions I had before: walk-ons don't count, but walk-ons who pick up scholarships do. They even include a handy football example:
Example of APR Calculation for a Men’s Football Team (n=85 at start of year)
Semester 1 (Fall) Points Earned
75 student-athletes eligible and retained to next term (or graduate in that term)
75*(2 of 2) = 150 of 150
3 student-athletes are retained to next term but are academically ineligible
3*(1 of 2) = 3 of 6
5 student-athletes leave the university while academically eligible
5*(1 of 2) = 5 of 10
2 student-athletes leave the university while academically ineligible
2*(0 of 2) = 0 of 4
Semester Total 158 of 170 (929 APR)
There are also separate rates for eligibility and retention provided as part of the data set that only consider the appropriate halves of the equation. For example, the retention rate above is 78/85 or 918.
Also: it is super hard to get serious penalties. The 925 Mendoza line everyone has been throwing around is indeed the cutoff above which a player leaving ineligible does not hurt you, but falling below that line does not immediately bring penalties with it. It only hurts you if 1) you are below 925 and 2) you have a player leave ineligible. The punishment is an inability to use that player's scholarship the next year. You have to get below 900 before the NCAA comes in with a stick looking for trouble. Only three schools (Temple, San Jose State, and UAB) fell below that line.
Nevermind The Panic
A drumroll for Michigan's exact numbers:
|Year||APR||Eligibility Rate||Retention Rate||Squad Size|
A couple oddities are immediately apparent:
- Michigan's 2008 APR is higher than either of their individual breakout scores, which should be mathematically impossible. This also happens in 2006.
- Squad sizes somehow range from 85—the theoretical maximum—to 99. Early departures from mid-year graduates and transfers could bring the numbers up somewhat if the second semester has a bunch of new faces, be they freshmen or walk-ons, but those numbers seem abnormally high.
- Lloyd Carr's last year: guh. Remember that picture where Mike Hart is staring down five Buckeyes? "889" is that in numerical form.
Also, the NCAA official numbers confirm my back-of-envelope doodling: despite the flood of transfers over the last few years, Michigan is nowhere near even the "contemporaneous penalties" cutoff line. It would take a 2009 APR of 863 or worse to get into trouble. This is actually four points more buffer than this site's previous estimate.
863 is spectacularly low. Only four teams have managed that over the past three years: SJSU, UAB, Temple, and Florida State(!). Those are three mid-major schools who specialize in the marginally eligible and a school that endured a massive institutional cheating scandal. Michigan is not in either situation. We can officially stop worrying about this. Not that you would have been worrying about it without my prompting.