I GET IT
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here. 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.
Now on to the blog-specific rankings. 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.
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.
Swing is essentially 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.
Okay. Previewing the Football Team Loosely Affiliated With The Ohio State University (FTLAWTOSU) has necessitated actually going to the website of FTLAWTOSU and reading
We are slaughtering the Northwestern Wildcats
things that are on it, which makes me feel dirtier than that one time with the midget porn and an unwelcome early return of my grandmother*, especially because every word on the site sounds like it's coming straight from the mouth of the Iraqi Minister of Information. It serves as an interesting counterpoint between the two schools. Michigan: understated, subtle, classy. The classic elegance of the deep blue hues it wears on Saturdays. Ohio State: all the subtlety of a hepatitis-ridden hooker. The intelligence and volume level of Stephen A. Smith.
See for yourself. Here's the introductory section on Gabe Watson, probable NFL first-round pick:
At Michigan... three-year letterman ... returning starter at defensive tackle ... has played in 33 career games and made 11 starts ... has 52 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks during career ... 2004 All-Big Ten first team (coaches).
Here is the introductory section on Buckeye DT Quinn Pitcock, probable football player:
A terrific football player who started for the first time last year and had a sensational season ... is big, strong, tough and makes plays at crunch time ... comes-to-play every game and is a blue collar guy who thrives on competition ... [ETC ETC ETC]
If you're wondering to yourself "I wonder, self, does the tOSU SID cream himself when discussing every player on the roster," the answer to that question is "AAAAARGH YES AAAAAAAARGH." Any opportunity to insert a puffy, meaningless adjective is taken. Journeymen with little playing time and fewer NFL prospects than Rudy are made to seem like SuperJesus. (A side note: what Estonian pickle farmer did they hire to do this? "comes-to-play" hyphenated? I don't understand how that even crossed someone's mind.)
The worst part of the whole thing is the season prospectus. Now, these things are always mindless propaganda but holy crap, OSU has next-levelled this puppy. Believe me, I am probably the person most qualified to determine these things, having actually read 10 of them (why would I read Michigan's?). Just... just... Christ on a pogostick:
But the Buckeyes, who won the national championship in 2002, won't get caught looking too far ahead. Tressel will see to that. The skillful Buckeye mentor is a believer in staying focused and taking one game at a time. His first four teams at Ohio State have dined on that recipe and the result has been a sumptuous overall record of 40-11, two BCS victories, a perfect 14-0 season and a national championship. It is a proven formula for success, one that the players have readily adapted as their own mantra.
We are slaughtering the infidels. They die by the thousands. I write short ridiculous Hemingwayesque sentences and then launch into long ridiculous metaphors that imply that people are consuming little cards that say things like "2 cups sugar, 1 scraped vanilla bean." I can't decide if I am amused or deeply angered. Apparently both. I mean, when you see sentences like this:
Additionally, Roy Hall, Devon Lyons and Devin Jordan are talented receivers who will see playing time. The latter three would start for most teams.
You have to marvel at what a strange world we live in... but you also have to wonder how people in Ohio manage to not punch themselves to death accidentally, you know, in case I'msa oneothem queers or sumptin'. The whole thing finishes with this handy definition of the word "hubris":
Pollsters will rate this team high
The Buckeyes appear to be talented on both sides of the ball. The offense is explosive and versatile, capable of long drives and quick strikes. The defense is physical, deep and can run. The schedule is challenging, but the Buckeyes have gone 33-6 the past three years and know how to win. Many of the preseason pollsters will have this team rated in their top five. All will have it their top 10.
Yeah, I ranked OSU 10th to start the season... until I saw that! Say hello to #11, bitches!
PS: Carr and Tressel are generally as different as your gruff but deeply good grandfather and that sweater-vest-wearing uncle who molests you but gets away with it because you have no proof, but they have one thing in common:
The Buckeye coach calls the punt, "the most important play in football."
*(ha ha, just kidding, Mom.)
I guess Ron English can get bent. Oh well. At least it wasn't Washington--Michigan is recruiting both Jonas Mouton and Antwine Perez, safeties with identical three-team lists: USC, Michigan, and LSU. Probably helps some with them.
Now that Mays has decided I can finally reveal that I thought he was terribly, terribly overrated based on my extensive lack of knowledge about his playing abilities. Also he probably eats babies.
Okay, okay. I promise that I'm not going to make this post more than two, maybe three more times at the outside: Jack Johnson has made it very clear he's attending Michigan. JJ Defcon should head to five and remain there once you peruse Justin Spiro's interview with Johnson over at... the Detroit Sports Rag?
Holy crap. Yes, the home of Jordan Acker--the dumbest semi-literate person in the Western Hemisphere--has come through with an interview which is really good but poorly copyedited. The key sequence for the paranoid:
Spiro: It was reported in the Ann Arbor newspapers that you have opted to attend the University of Michigan for at least 1 season, though you have not publicly confirmed this yet. Is the report true, and why did you make the decision that you did?
Johnson: The report is true. I simply do not feel ready at this point in time to make the jump to the professional level. I committed to Michigan at age 14, and I've been looking forward to wearing the UM sweater ever since. Plus, I want to win a National Championship.
Spiro: So if Michigan wins the National Championship your freshman season, will that mark the end of your career in the collegiate ranks?
Johnson:Not necessarily. Why stop at 1 if I can get another? It really boils down to my progression as a player. I will go when I feel prepared.
The door to a second year... open? Quick, Yost Built, we need a JJ Defcon 2006! In any case, the whole thing is worth reading. (Thanks to reader Y2K for the heads up.)
Bonus! Johnson also conversed with McKeen's. The mound-charging incident is covered in bizarre detail.
Further football article wrap: Carty says he can't see Carr retiring until he's "content," which presumably means that either A) Michigan has a big year or B) Drew Sharp is jailed. Rivals has some photos up and a video interview with freshman cornerback Brandon Harrison, who, uh, wants to win the Heisman. (He said that on the radio, not in this interview.) Good luck with that; I guarantee that I'll be a generally happy, contented person if that were to happen. Scout has articles on Leon Hall and Tim Massaquoi.
Larry Harrison is really, officially gone now, having enrolled at North Carolina A&T, much to the surprise of the Ann Arbor police:
"I was surprised to hear he was playing football somewhere," said Ann Arbor police detective Chris Fitzpatrick, who was involved in Harrison's cases. "Nobody from that college has contacted anybody in our department that I know of."
Harrison's lawyer appears to be attempting to claim that this whole thing is just a case of mistaken identity. He takes the mgoblog prize for "worst defensive strategy EVER (non-Jim Herrmann division)." How many muscular 300-pound black guys are running around Ann Arbor? Probably about ten, and they're all on the football team.
Opponent stuff: Northern Illinois is not your typical MAC pushover. They're gunning for the title this year behind a grinding ground game, which is sort of a "yes, but" situation when confronting Michigan. Yes, you can plow the MAC, but Gabe Watson is a bird of an entirely different, much more nacho-friendly feather. Northwestern is probably going to lose DE Loren Howard for the entire season. That's a devastating loss should it come to pass. Howard is the team's best player and the Northwestern DL is proverbially paper thin. Not to mention that Wildcat running back Terrell Jordan, the probable starter, partially tore his hamstring. Things are looking very grim in Evanston.
The heat is on Tommy Amaker this year. You can tell by examining ESPN's offseason Big Ten feature and noting that the team they focus on was 13-18 last year, 4-12 in conference. Also, the headline reads "It's time for Amaker to deliver in Ann Arbor." The power of deduction!
New commit Deshawn Sims is goin' to work on 7 foot Michigan C Tom Herzog. He called him immediately after committing and "lobbied" Herzog to join him. The expectation is that this will happen sooner or later.
It's the end of an era. Terry Foster's blog is moving to MLive. I'm somewhere between heartbroken and despairing. MLive: I beg you, do not copy edit his blog. I... I don't think I could take it.
I realize that ESPN Insider is having a 30-day free trial at the moment, so I can freely link to stuff there, at least for now, if they are interesting. So you can see that ESPN's new Recruiting Insider service is definitely being pitched differently than Scout and Rivals. It focuses more on NFL Draft-style scouting reports and player evaluation and less on finding out what Myron Rolle ate for breakfast and what it means for his future college decision. Witness the moderately detailed scouting reports they've put up as a "sneak peek" into their upcoming ESPN 150. David Cone's evaluation contains this tantalizing teaser:
Cone is a big and physical quarterback, with outstanding size and more than adequate arm strength, but he is not an ideal athlete for the position.
Holy John Navarre, Batman!
They're sold on Myron Rolle:
Overall: Spectacular is the word that comes to mind when evaluating Myron Rolle. This guy has the total package: size, speed, athleticism, toughness and versatility. He could be an impact player immediately at three different positions; running back, safety or cornerback. We project him as a corner or cover safety.
Micah Johnson is the only other Michigan recruit currently profiled.
At the very least, this will provide a third point of reference when attempting to determine who is all that at the end of the year. It'll be interesting to see if ESPN's opinion differs wildly with Scout and Rivals, who definitely seem more invested in making every kid seem like the next Jim Brown.