"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
Roundtable X + 1! At IBFC! Yow!
1. The Envy Poll (as seen on rsfc)
Name the five teams, other than yours, whose accomplishments you respect / envy the most. Use whatever criteria you feel is appropriate (wins, titles, consistency, academic integrity, competitive integrity, NCAA violations, general thuggery, mascot intimidation factor ...).
I wince when Michigan welcomes various MAC teams to Michigan Stadium, the PA announcer offers whatever sacrificial lamb we've imported a warm welcome, and in response the crowd viciously boos. I am despondent when I'm standing up during a timeout and someone asks me to sit down. I've honestly considered bitching out old ladies who say things like "we'll leave after the band plays." But I really like it when we're told that we're the largest crowd watching a football game anywhere in America. And I love the Michigan wave, which has to be the most gloriously complicated wave anywhere on the planet.
I guess what I'm going for is a sense of fervent community fandom that isn't coupled with total unbearability. Michigan is middling in this respect, and that's unfortunate. So the following teams are a combination of respectful-yet-dangerously-insane fan passion, historic and current success, and a general impression of how fun being a fan of a said team would be. Teams like USC and Miami with their fairweather fans come nowhere near this list despite their success. Teams like West Virginia and Ohio State that accompany their passion with violence and bags of urine are also off the list. I also try to shy away from teams with vast NCAA troubles where I can and skew heavily towards tradition. In no particular order:
- Alabama: The archetype, save for the distasteful NCAA sanctions.
- Iowa: Historically quite successful under Fry and now under Ferentz. Fans are maniacal and classy. Sorry about those pass interference calls.
- Texas A&M: Yes, practicing your cheers does have great appeal to me. The 12th Man embodies the spirit of the crowd.
- Florida: has been as whistle-clean as SEC programs get; I am developing an EDSBS-level Spurrier mancrush; I wore jean-shorts as a child; the Swamp has a rep for a reason.
- LSU: Howling maelstrom.
With regard to Question #1, what is the most damaging criticism of your program that you will admit is a legitimate criticism? That is, what negative trait does the most damage to the overall respect level of your program (in your eyes, or to others, interpret as you will).
That you-always-lose-Rose-Bowls thing drives me absolutely mad because it's true. Our record there is dismal and has ruined many an otherwise standout year. Even more maddening was that stretch during the 90s were the Pac 10 was awful, awful, awful and we were busy pissing away games to Illinois and Northwestern and such, watching Wisconsin draw Stanford or whatever. I'll take a cheapie at this point.
3. Unrelated Discussion Question
Who do you think is the best player in the history of your program? Tell us a little about him (especially if he's not a household name). Feel free to pick someone from 50 years ago that none of us has seen play.
Well, you've got your Woodson. He's a cornerback; he won the Heisman. There is no other answer. Except Anthony Carter, who singlehandedly changed the way Michigan thought about football. Sort of.
But wait! What of Tom Harmon? Harmon, who you can see above, won the Heisman, cured polio, and once played all eleven positions on the same play. Not to mention that his genetic code eventually produced
Angie Harmon Kelly Harmon (whoops) down the line. And then you've got the whole bomber/WWII thing:
Not satisfied with destroying the midwest, Harmon's next target was an entire continent:
Early in 1943, Harmon parachuted when his plane went down in a tropical storm in South America. He lived through one of the great man-against-nature survival stories. In a vast, virtually unexplored rain forest, armed with a machete and a compass, he headed east to the Atlantic coast on what was to be the greatest "run" of his career. Four days and fifty nightmare miles later, he stumbled into a clearning in Dutch Guina. "I had nothing to eat and little to drink even with all that rain," Harmon said. "I was afraid bad water would sicken me. If my strength went, I would die."
Did this deter him? Not so much. He was so scared of this experience that he immediately did it again:
Later that year, Harmon bailed out again. In a battle with Japanese Zeros over Chungking, China, his P-38 fighter took a fatal hit. But Harmon made it back, thanks to the Chinese underground. "If you didn't have religion before the war, you did then" Harmon wrote in his book "Pilots Also Pray." For his war efforts "Ole 98" received the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
So maybe he's not a great pilot, but he could kill you with his bare teeth, and he died in 1990. Don't eff with Tom Harmon.
BIG TEN = PWN3D
OHIO STATE = PWN3D
VAST, VIRTUALLY UNEXPLORED JUNGLE = PWN3D
CHINA = PWN3D
HITLER = PWN3D
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Zounds! It appears that the big winner of the Texas-Texas Tech game was... Virginia Tech? Damn skippy, it was. For the first time this year they've picked up a first place vote, and they've actually got three from Golden Tornado, Cheap Seats, and The Bemusement Park. The latter two have USC at (gasp!) #3! RD's ballot actually had Texas #1 last week but after watching UT demolish his Red Raiders he dropped them(?). All told, Texas's big win over the good-on-paper Red Raiders netted them one whole extra first place vote.
And that's all the intrigue we get in the top ten, as not a single team moved even a spot. Further down, though, Northwestern debuts at #20, marking the first time in BlogPoll history that a team with the nation's worst defense is in the poll. Which of course means Michigan will score like 27 against them.
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.
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 justly RD Baker from Cheap Seats. RD, of course, has the Hokies #1 and USC #3. His ballot is relatively normal for a while (PSU is sort of high at #8 relative to the poll) and then gets funky: Auburn #11, moving up a slot after losing to LSU; WVU #12; ND #16; OSU #17; UTEP #20 (UTEP got exactly two other votes, both #25).
Yes, I did finish second here, probably largely because I think LSU, Texas Tech, and Auburn are stinky cheese, plus I have Penn State and Ohio State real high and Notre Dame low (relatively: #12).
Mr. Numb Existence is Texas blogger PoliBlog; as per usual the winner of this category's ballot does not stand out as wacky.
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 belongs to the WV Law Dog for placing WVU at #13, though he's followed in hot pursuit by various other bloggers committing acts of misdemeanor homerism. It seems likely he'll keep the award for a while since most others are highly skeptical of the Big East and WVU should cruise for a good long while.
The Straight Bangin' Award goes to RD again (busy week, eh?) for totally omitting Texas Tech from his ballot. (Last week: #9, like a lot of voters) I think we've seen this phenomenon before where a dispiriting loss causes bloggers of that team to show up on the SB list the week following; remember when 4/5 were Michigan bloggers? Uh, yeah.
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.
Swing doesn't work. Apologies; I find myself fairly busy during the season. When I can find time to fix it I will.
Comments welcomed, as always.
Number one Texas! Why? I think I would go with Texas if the two played, since USC has obvious deficiencies in the secondary and the Texas defense is sixth in the country. Texas can run and throw and has OMG Vince Young going up against a definite weak link, whereas USC would have its hands full against one of the best defenses in the country. It's very close, but there it is. And don't give me any of this "the champs are #1 until they lose" garbage. The poll doesn't know who the "champs" are, because that was last year. This is... this year!
|2||Southern Cal||I mean, don't you have to be concerned when Washington has scored more points against you than any team not named "Idaho"?|
|3||Georgia||Argh. At this point I'm not dinging teams for injuries.|
|4||Virginia Tech||Choked out Maryland in brutal fashion.|
|5||UCLA||Solid win over an Oregon State team that's pretty good.|
|6||Alabama||Rammer Jammer cheers are getting progressively more deafening as the season progresses, but a touchdown or something would be nice.|
|7||Penn State||Functional DNP versus Illinois... and yeesh. Moving up because I reviewed the schedules of the following set of teams, and PSU's trifecta of Minnesota/Ohio State/Northwestern is better than any other team's set of wins, though the bottom drops out really fast.|
|8||Florida State||Functional DNP vs. Duke.|
|9||Miami||Actual DNP. Miami hasn't played anyone with a clue since South Florida on 10/1.|
|11||Ohio State||Over under on total yards for Michigan in The Game: 72.|
|12||Notre Dame||Functional DNP versus BYU.|
|13||LSU||Yeah, you won, I guess. (New acronym: YYWIG, used for thoroughly unimpressive wins due more to the other team failing than anything else.)|
|14||Oregon||Again with the not punishing for losing starting QB.|
|15||Wisconsin||Stocco does look incrementally better this year, but if you can throw, you can eat these gentlemen to bits.|
|17||Florida||DNP; huge opportuny to steal the Cocktail Party from Shock-less Dawgs.|
|18||Georgia Tech||DNP Hurricanes due to hurricane. Uh.|
|19||Fresno State||Mustache gives Hill Samson-like power.|
|20||West Virginia||Yay automatic BCS bid.|
|21||Northwestern||Ok, ok, nice offense and stuff but dead last in defense. Last. Like, worse than Buffalo. Of course this means Michigan will put up 27 or something.|
|22||Michigan||Not that we're good or anything. We're just average, though we are getting healthier, and winning on the road minus the two best players on the team (Hart/Woodley) is something. Officially on the "coaching holding us back" bandwagon now.|
|23||Auburn||Probably should have won, but didn't.|
|24||Texas Tech||Certainly proved something.|
|25||TCU||You had to go and lose to SMU..|
Dropped Out: Michigan State(#18), Tennesee(#21), Virginia(#25)
Games I Saw: VT-Maryland, Michigan-Iowa, second half of Alabama-Tennessee, pieces of ND-BYU, most of UW-Purdue.
Help Requested: Suggestions at the bottom requested; what to do with QB-free Oregon and Georgia?
Update: After re-watching the Iowa game, I drop Michigan down below Northwestern. Not much else was offered.
So, I'm innocently fast forwarding through most of the Michigan-Michigan State hockey game, trying to assign blame and credit. When I stop right before the second State goal, the play-by-play guy says this, verbatim:
When we got done [talking to Jack Johnson, Sr.] he said "my son will be here for at least two years at Michigan, you can be sure of that."
I've heard that from a second source who also had talked with Johnson, Sr., though the timeframe was not expressed so explicitly. Now I know we've been burned before, but I'm just saying. Just sayin'. Tentative yay!
By the way, the two-minute crosschecking penalty was definitely a hit from behind into the boards and should have been five and a game. But y'all probably knew that.
I've got a crack team of speculators working around the clock on this one, so hear me out. Yes, they're monkeys. Yes, I'm teaching them to skate so they can radically improve the efficacy of CCHA officiating. What?
Er. In any case, does anyone think Lloyd Carr is acting a little... weird this year? tienmao screencapped exhibit A. It's Carr hugging ABC sideline reporter Suzy Shuster in the immediate aftermath of the Iowa game. Yeah. Weird. He's also got video up if you're interested.
Quite a change from "that's a stupid question" (it was a stupid question, by the way) a few years ago, albeit in different circumstances. To boot, when I watched Michigan Replay this weekend Lloyd was extra special choked up upon receiving the game ball from his players in commemoration of his 100th win.
(Also, you know that Starbucks commercial where Survivor shows up and starts going "Roy! Roy Roy Roy!" at office workers enjoying whatever caffeine explosion they happened to be marketing? Yeah... imagine the entire Michigan team doing that in the locker room after the game except replacing "Roy! Roy Roy Roy!" with "Lloyd! Lloyd Lloyd Lloyd!"
Go on. Imagine it.
Exactly. It's fantastic. Once I get a six pin to six pin firewire cable (thanks for nothing, Circuit City) it's the first thing off my DVR, I promise. )
This outburst of weird follows a bunch of similar statements about never forgetting the Penn State game or the Michigan State game or whatever, the kind of things you say when you're getting hopelessly maudlin about something that's about to be a part of your past. I mean, there's no real reason to go OMG BFF 4EVER about the wins we've eked out in this season of mediocrity. They've been nice, sure, but Carr's reaction strikes me as something similar to that of a cube-dweller on the verge of getting gold-watched. I will never forget this penholder. I treasure the memory of this fine and excellent stapler for all time. O Phone, without whom I am naught, I shall always hold your prominently-displayed number close to my heart. Paper clips! Finest of the shaped metal office aids! I sing thy name! And so forth and so on.
The upshot? (Joey, you may want to sit down, or at least grab something sturdy.) I think this is it for Carr. I think he's going to retire after the season. Now, I want to stress this is complete and total wild-ass speculation, but the rumblings have been going on for a few years now that Carr's tired of dealing with, um, our constant bitching and putting in the requisite head-coach 200-hour weeks. And now he's hugging sideline reporters. I just get this vibe that Lloyd's going to turn to the camera after our bowl game, scream "Seacrest out," and then teleport somewhere far, far away from us--probably an island in the Carribean where punting is always the right decision.
But I also said Purdue was going 10-1, so, uh... you know. Grain of salt and all that.
One 3-3 tie on Saturday versus Michigan State. Michigan is 4-0-1 on the year, 0-0-1 in the CCHA. The last three Michigan-Michigan State games have been unsatisfying ties.
- Tim Cook reverted to his old Tim Cook ways, getting stripped of the puck and letting a Michigan State player walk in on Sauer for the Spartans' first goal of the night and then taking a major and a game disqualification for uselessly checking a Michigan State player from behind. How long before Red throws the towel in, pairs him with Rohlfs, and sends them out strictly against checking lines? Probably not soon enough.
- Michigan was straight pwned in the first period. Their intermittent problems breaking out of the zone became constant and Michigan State decided to revert to their old Everything That's Wrong With Hockey ways and sit back at the blue line, intercepting passes. The freshmen obliged by throwing the puck around in places where there was no way it was going to get to a Michigan player.
- Hensick is under the impression that without Tambellini there's no one to pass to.
- Billy Sauer is very sound positionally, has good-to-great lateral movement, and occupies a lot of space. He made a lot of tough saves against Michigan State look very easy. Michigan gave up a ton of good scoring chances against; Sauer did very well to shut most of them down.
- Wilkins... can we just get one of those skating monkeys next time? Do they have skating monkeys? If not, why the hell isn't someone working on this?
- Johnson didn't have his strongest game but watching him in overtime, when he freaked out and tried to rush every puck he got into the zone and decided he was going to be a forward for five minutes, was impressive. Michigan completely dominated the OT period, pressing for a goal--Johnson wanted it more than anyone.
Yay we have a goalie again.
The CCHA performed close to expectations in nonconference play. Northern swept Michigan Tech in a home and home; Notre Dame was swept by CC and DU; Fairbanks split on the road against Anchorage. The net result is probably close to zero, though Michigan would be advised not to drop a game against the Irish if they'd like to win comparisons versus CC and DU at the end of the year.
Conference play kicked off elsewhere with a surprising Miami sweep of UNO. The Redhawks were coming off a 3-0 loss to North Dakota and the Mavs had just beaten UNH 5-3 and were looking good to start the season. League favorite Ohio State did everyone a favor by dropping a point to a Bowling Green team that doesn't look very good this year. Ferris State and Lake State played a pair of ties.
- "Happy Anniversary" directed at Jack Johnson's father... though there was no "Give Her Tongue" chant... probably for the best.
- A bunch of completely incoherent screaming from three tiny, shirtless Italian guys who freaked out whenever Cogliano did anything for three straight hours. I honestly wondered if the nipple-pierced ringleader was on cocaine.
The Next Weekend
A pair in Fairbanks, Alaska, against a Nanooks team off to a great 2-1-1 start. UAF's played nothing but road games so far and crashed Mariucci for a win and a tie on their opening weekend. Winning in Fairbanks is always tough and this seems to be one of the better incarnations of the Nanooks--a split would be okay, especially for all these freshmen on their first road trip.
Wild-ass guess: 4-3, Fairbanks and 2-1, Michigan.