UFR coming ASAP, but it will be 5 or 6.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Earlier in the week, I fretted that my insane ballot would be a sure Mr. Manic-Depressive lock and perhaps a major outlier in general. Wrong. This is the week of anarchy. Kentucky, Cal, and South Carolina shoot right out of the poll, each losing for the second consecutive week. Florida finally takes a major hit; South Florida goes with them. UConn, Georgia, Alabama, and, oddly, Michigan shoot up a minimum of eight spots each. At the top, the damage wrought to LSU's SOS and one dominant performance by Ohio State solidify the Buckeye's grasp on the top spot.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Scattered first place votes this week. Oregon's vote comes from Tomahawk Nation; BC's is from Dan Shanoff; Arizona State retains Boi From Troy's vote and picks up Burnt Orange Nation's.
- Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician ranks Virginia #10, up six after a loss to UConn. Missed the score?
- MOOS, absent last week, returns and is still ranking Hawaii #4. Why? We've heard an eloquent case against Hawaii; what is the case for? Why are you ranking Hawaii #4, MOOS?
- Dan Shanoff loves him some very probably overrated Big East teams. After banging the drum for Rutgers early in the year, he's now got UConn #7, three spots higher than anyone else in the poll. A commenter on my ballot reminded me of this: have we all (myself included) forgotten that UConn was an obviously blown call away from losing to Temple?
- BFT is uncommonly hard on Kansas, ranking them #13; #10 is the worst anyone else can manage.
- A cluster of voters placing Boise State on the verge of the top ten also grates: Boise's one test against BCS competition came against 2-6 Washington. The Huskies' other win: Syracuse. Boise lost to this very bad UW team by two touchdowns. Maybe they deserve to be ranked towards the bottom of the poll -- lord knows teams get thin down there -- but #11, Jonathan Tu? #12, Saurian Sagacity and Black Heart, Gold Pants?
- DumpDorrell has Texas #8, which even Texas-biased folk would strenuously disagree with.
- Eagle In Atlanta votes Wake Forest #9.
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.
I generally don't comment on these, but I would like to point out Missouri's remarkable distribution: every voter placed them somewhere from #7 to #10, with the vast majority picking #8 or #9. It's highly unusual for a team not ranked at the very top of the poll to have the lowest standard deviation.
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.
Mr. Bold is Every Day Should Be Saturday's. Nothing looks too off until we get to wanton enthusiasm for Texas and Wake Forest at #11 and #12, then more wanton enthusiasm for Clemson and Cal. Georgia is seven spots lower than the poll at large, as is Michigan; Florida and USC figure in not at all.
Creepy mind-reading domination of this category by Double Extra Point continues: they win Mr. Numb Existence for the third time this year and fifth or sixth in their two years of participation. A salute to you, sirs, and a request for lotto numbers when you get the time.
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.
Yes. #*. Not one but two Michigan blogs, Maize n Brew and The M Zone, share The CK Award this week. You will note that the award's dire power helped USC lose to Oregon, though that was probably going to happen anyway. Quick... to the justification machine!
Well, first of all, a margin of 2.91 isn't that big. Also, both Michigan blogs in question ranked the Wolverines #11... precisely where they're located in the blogpoll. (How can this be? The numbers here are based on average points per ballot, not the actual
poll rank.) Also, four other voters ranked Michigan even higher and two also joined in at #11. Surely this will evade the wrath of the award. We are humble, foul pundits! Humble! A penitent man... KNEELS!
Florida fans wrest the Straight Bangin' Award from the sweaty grasp of USC fans, as both Saurian Sagacity and Every Day Should Be Saturday totally omit the Gators from their ballots in a typical bout of "we lost, we are the suckiest sucks who ever sucked". See: USC fans the last three weeks, or Conquest Chronicles this week.
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 EDSBS, which is just all over this week's poll. Ohio State shoots up from #6 to #1; every team from 11 to 19 has moved at least eight spots save static Texas, and Florida, USC, Kentucky, and Penn State (#14 last week) plummet from the ballot entirely. I'm dizzy.
Mr. Stubborn is Bruins Nation, which was uncommonly restrained about Connecticut -- whereas most of the poll flipped out and shoved them in the top 15, they deigned to include them at #25 -- and Florida, down only five. Already low opinions on South Carolina, Kentucky, and South Florida also helped.
Changes: moved USF in front of Michigan, dropped Penn State out entirely -- their placement in the last poll was an out-and-out error, not some Big Ten fever dream -- and grudgingly re-inserted Florida. I know, I know, there are about ten teams too high. My favorite comment on the last poll came from bluewolverine, who argued that about fifteen teams were too high. Believe me, I know. I know.
re: USC. Yes, they had a more competitive game against Oregon than Michigan did, but 1) Michigan did rack up a bunch of yards with Henne and 2) played Mallett in the second half. I think Oregon still wins if you play that game again but it's a competitive shootout. Meanwhile, Michigan has wins over teams with winning records. USC does not.
Status. Another suggestion of Hart's health, this from the man himself:
"Yeah, I'm playing next week," Hart said after the game, heading across the field into the tunnel. Later he added: "Yeah, I could have played today."
Fingers crossed; I expect he'll go. Indications on Henne are murkier, and though at the moment I expect he'll start I think there is a nonzero chance he's unable to go.
Fine. Fine. Fine. Seven hundred people have sent this to me, so you've already seen this. But in an effort to stem the tide:
I dunno... I was hoping for more.
- Michigan is going to have to conform. Both Notre Dame and Ohio State ran up against this and had to conform; Michigan will be next.
- This will make the renovations more expensive, but if the Hero of Tienanmen Square is sipping champagne underneath a giant painting of himself, declaring victory, he's got another thing coming. More cost yields more motivation for the luxury suites. At worst this issue is orthogonal to the renovations.
- Thousands of seats will be lost to this. Combined with the seat-widening, the overall capacity of Michigan Stadium is going to drop unless additional seats are added.
The major issue, IMO, is the seat thing. It's long been a point of pride that Michigan has the largest stadium in the country. When the renovations were first proposed they featured a several-thousand seat reduction in capacity; this, met with hue and cry, was quickly repaired. A 7000-9000 seat hit would be tough to stomach.
Speaking of tHOTS, the New York Times again writes on the skyboxes at the prompting of Pollack. Please remember this whenever he or his ilk presents information:
Practically from the moment Martin submitted the plan for skyboxes, Pollack has been obsessed with defeating it.
Everything he says is aimed at that goal; things like "facts" are to be discarded when inconvenient. Pollack is a former Bill Clinton speechwriter and, like anyone who has crafted the things politicians say, is trained in the art of deception.
The really offensive portion of the Pollack campaign is the disingenuous assertion that the boxes will cost more money than they make. Occam's Razor screams that said assertion is preposterous: everyone has built them in a period when collegiate athletic revenue is skyrocketing. We are supposed to believe that Martin, and Bill Martin alone, has cobbled together a plan that will actively hurt his university. No possible motivation is provided for this, probably because it's hard to think of one other than megalomania.
Pollack is essentially a professional liar attempting to inflict the point of view shared by his particular social circle on the university at large. He's also breathtakingly arrogant:
Mainly, though, Pollack argues that the University of Michigan simply shouldn't be the kind of school that sells skyboxes to high-rollers; it should be better than that. "Michigan doesn't need to keep up with the Joneses," he said. "We are the Joneses." He added, "One of the great things about college football, especially Michigan football, is that it is a great public space â€” a place where autoworkers and millionaires can come together to cheer on their team."
Yep. Autoworkers and millionaires coming togeth--
Annual Gift Category - 2006 Results
($20,000 or more)
|4-8 Season Tickets in the Victors Tier|
|2 Season Tickets in the Victors Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Valiant Tier
|2 Season Tickets in the Valiant Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Maize Tier
|Go Blue Level
|2 Season Tickets in the Maize Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier
|Up to 4 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier|
|2 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the End Zone
|First Team Level
|2 Season Tickets in the End Zone|
|No Season Ticket Assignment;
Special Ticket Offer "Go Blue Pack"
Oops. That damn reality, always messing with utopia. Pollack is attempting to preserve something that no longer exists, if it ever did.
Historian. Michigan-Ohio State, 1991:
It's a 300-level class. Michigan zingers re: MSU countdown clock:
â€¢ Johnson: "I guess they can keep time. I guess if they need that for motivation, to get ready for the game, good for them."
â€¢ Cornerback Morgan Trent: "That's cool. Whatever, we know when the game is. So that's fine."
â€¢ Carr: "I can remember checking my watch just to make sure I knew what time it was. The only clock I'm concerned with is mine."
Michigan Against The World has a recap of great moments in the series.
Oh God. Unofficial MGoBlog cartoonist Joel A. Morgan sent in a doozy this week. Sadly, I don't know where he lives so I can't send him a
bomb flower basket in appreciation:
So there you go. I'll be over here in this hole, hiding.
Guest post, this from FOB Nick Mahanic.
(I really need to give massive credit to Vijay from iBlog For Cookies, who pulled all of the data that I have here out of James Howell's database. Any Hot Blog Groupies who get turned on by this should send gratitude his way.)
There's a strain of conventional wisdom which suggests that Lloyd Carr is a very good coach against top teams but struggles against mediocre ones. I wanted to cut to the core of it: how good is Lloyd against top teams, and how bad is he against weaker ones?
To solve this problem, I decided to break out the statistics. I took a look at Lloyd Carr's record against teams in different ranking groups based on the final AP poll. The record often cited by announcers is his record against teams in the top ten when Michigan plays them. There's nothing wrong with this, but not all rankings are equal. Rankings early in the year reflect more speculation and less information based on actual performance; does beating #9 Colorado in 1997 when they wound up 5-6 (or 0-11 counting those pesky forfeits) really count as beating a top team? Maybe Carr's stats were propped up by running into an above average number of overrated teams.
The problem with these numbers is that there isn't a well-known basis for comparison. Everyone knows that a .300 batting average, a 2.00 ERA, and rushing for 150 yards in a game are pretty good because they see these stats used all the time. But you rarely see a stat showing that Coach Sobchak is 4-7 against teams ranked 11-25 in final AP polls.
The best way to figure assess this information was to compare Carr's records to those of his coaching peers. To simplify, I compared him to coaches who are either approximately as good as him (say, Mack Brown) or better, specifically coaches that we can all agree are excellent (Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz, Tom Osborne). Then I threw in some random people like Mark Richt and John Cooper.
Here's the data. A couple of things to note. First, the records are based on tenure for one team. This would be the most successful of a given coach's career: Florida for Spurrier, Notre Dame for Holtz, Texas for Mack Brown. You get the idea. Also, the AP only ranked the Top 20 until 1989, when it began to rank 25 teams. This explains why Tom Osborne only has 3 games against teams in that range despite coaching for many years. This oddity also affects Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno. Lastly, I'd really like to do this with some more coaches (Beamer, Fulmer) and with the Sagarin rankings.
Versus Teams Ranked 1-5:
Lloyd Carr is in impressive company here. Paired with Steve Spurrier, Mack Brown, and Pete Carroll (albeit over a very small sample), and below only Lou Holtz and Bob Stoops. If you think about it, 4-8 is pretty good against Top 5 teams. The Top 5 in any given year is going to have unbeaten teams, 1 loss teams, and maybe 1 or 2 2-loss teams. To beat a team that finishes in the Top 5 is to likely give it its only loss. No one should be able to do this over half the time. Note Tom Osborne at the bottom.
Versus Teams Ranked 6-10:
Mark Richt's ranking is flimsy given the puny sample size. I'd be surprised if Stoops' level is sustainable too but we're never going to get a big sample here, and he is pretty close to Osborne, who coached for a long time. Carr is still faring very well here. He's ahead of Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. Being behind the people he is behind is no loss; remember, these are some legendary coaches. Notice Paterno and Cooper again near the bottom. More on that later.
Versus Teams Ranked 11-15:
| Tom Osborne <|
Ugh. Now we get to it. Lloyd is woefully behind everyone here. At this point I wish I had thrown in a few coaches with obviously mediocre records (not Weis-like, but maybe Joe Tiller) to see who he sits with. But the point is clear: this is bad.
Versus Teams Ranked 16-20:
Lloyd's actually pretty good this time around, right in the middle of the pack. Better than Bowden and Carroll. The most significant thing here is that Steve Spurrier at Florida was damned good. If you doubted this somehow, it's about to become even clearer.
Versus Teams Ranked 21-25:
And back to the cellar for Lloyd. His record here (and in the 11-15) is actually worse than his record at 6-10 and 1-5 (technically 1-5/11-15 are equal). This is probably a sample size issue, since it is almost impossible that whatever strategic flaws he has, he's actually more likely to win against (much) better teams. Nevertheless, the point is that while the man can do a great job against top opponents, he leaves something to be desired against weaker opponents.
Versus Unranked Teams:
Yeah, Lloyd's numbers are all well and good here (better than Carroll, actually), but be honest: you stopped at Spurrier. There was a man who didn't fool around and took care of business. Kind of shocking that he only won one title at Florida (and that with a loss). Or was it? More on that soon.
First, though, another grouping:
So the conventional wisdom is right. Carr is terrific against elite teams but poor against mediocre ones, and fine against really bad ones. One fun fact: if Carr can beat OSU this year (and OSU finishes in the Top Ten) he will have as many wins against Top Ten teams as JoePa, except in five hundred million fewer years. Joe Paterno does not look particularly good relative to this group, which ordinarily would be no shame, but if you are in a race against death with Bobby Bowden for the most wins ever, you'd take this as a disappointment. Also, John Cooper sucks (at least relative to this group, which should be no surprise). Note, though, that Bowden, Osborne, and Paterno's "Unranked" records should be upped a bit to compensate for the fact that at least some of the teams they faced might otherwise have fallen into the 21-25 group in a different era (all else being equal, their unranked group is tougher than everyone else's, at least a little bit).
One more chart (last one, I swear).
|Games||% of schedule|
This chart shows the breakdown of games played for each coach, both in raw numbers (the left) and by percentage (the right). While this doesn't say much about anyone's performance within a group, it does tell us how that is reflected in their overall record.
For example, remember when I mentioned how great Spurrier's numbers were, but how he only won 1 national title? Looking at this, it's no wonder he didn't win more. 44% of his games were against ranked teams. 23% were against teams that finished in the Top Ten. That's an average of almost 3 top ten opponents a season! A good part of this is because his tenure overlapped with FSU's glory years, and the rest probably due to the SEC being strong (as well as Florida making a lot of SEC title games and good bowl games). In this respect, he's very similar to Lou Holtz: excellent numbers but very daunting schedules.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have our good friends in the Big Twelve, Bob Stoops and Mack Brown. Stoops has played the smallest percentage of Top Ten teams; Brown barely plays more than 1 team ranked 11-25 in a season. This isn't necessarily their fault: the Big Twelve hasn't had much of a middle from the looks of things, and their foes in the North have been struggling to put together any elite team for a few years now. Still, it makes their accomplishments slightly less shiny when you consider the road they've traveled.
And finally, Lloyd Carr is on the higher end of all categories but not at the top of any. He's certainly earned the achievements he's won.
So what does this all mean? In a sense, this confirms one of the more common adjectives to describe a Lloyd Carr-coached team: maddening. Take an athlete with decent speed but not enough to be an elite runner. You understand why he can beat bad runners but can never beat the best. You understand it and can live with it. If Carr could handle weak teams but came up short against the top teams we could come to a conclusion that makes sense: Lloyd is decent but not up to par with the top coaches in the game.
Yet this evidence suggests he can coach his team well when he "needs" to. But he does something when playing weaker teams that really hurts Michigan's record. A decent job against those teams means 4 or 5 more wins over his tenure. That's a couple more Big Ten titles, a couple more BCS bowl berths, and, if they happened at the right time, another shot at a national title.
I cannot answer the "why", but suffice it to say that Carr is what he is. Let's hope he has at least one more big win in him.
Oh God. Anarchy. High, high probability I win Mr. Manic-Depressive, which IIRC would be the first time an MGoBlog ballot has won any of the always-dubious awards:
What the hell is going on here? The events of the past few weeks have caused me to radically revalue the SEC. To wit: it sucks. (For the record, the Big Ten also sucks. The Pac-10 is where it's at this year.) When Mississippi State takes down two supposed contenders, your conference is not good. What real evidence do we have of the SEC dominance that braindead sportswriters and southern yokels proclaim every fall? A brief SEC OOC dossier:
LSU crushes VT. Georgia handles Oklahoma State who, yes, lost to Troy but is rounding into a decent Big 12 team. Auburn beats another decent Big 12 team, Kansas State.
LOOKED GOOD BUT UH...
Kentucky beats Louisville. Congratulations. Get in line behind Syracuse.
Auburn loses to USF. Tennessee is crushed by Cal. Mississippi State, competitive in conference, is obliterated by WVU. South Carolina struggles with awful UNC team. 'Bama loses to thoroughly mediocre FSU.
Ole Miss loses to Mizzou, but they've also lost to every SEC team they've played so no points off.
That is the entire listing of SEC games against BCS competition and it's mostly bad. Mississippi State sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks sucks, sucks and they've beaten Auburn and Kentucky. 3-2 in the SEC Tennessee was crushed by 2-3 in the Pac-10 Cal. 4-1 in the SEC 'Bama lost to 2-3 in the ACC Florida State. So the SEC can suck it.
Florida? Gone. South Carolina? Gone. Kentucky? Gone. None has proven anything except they're mediocre teams in a mediocre conference. LSU takes a hit from this re-evaluation and a two-week span in which schedule strength got pounded with the UK loss, the UF loss, the VT loss, and the back-to-back South Carolina losses.
Meanwhile, Georgia shoots up along with Bama for not being 3-3 in conference; Georgia gets a bigger boost for having an actual OOC win of consequence. Tennessee is still locked behind Cal.
And, oh, God, Michigan #12. Coulter and Krugman lick their paws already shiny with the blood of previous victims. Where else do they go, though? Comments and criticisms accepted.
Update: Oh, yes. Right. No Hawaii. SMQB is on the same warpath and does all my explaining for me; though we've disagreed about resume ranking in the past here we are as one. Excelsior, SMQB!