this may be of some local interest
Editor's note: with the recent influx of quality diary entries I'm reviving a short-lived plan from last football season and bumping my favorite to the front page once a week.This might be tricky during football season but we'll play it by ear.
UConn taking popular choice Virginia to the woodshed 45-10 last year (sorry MaizeandBlueWahoo)
Donald Brown the 27th overall choice of the 2009 NFL Draft
Okay, it's UConn, the general reaction from the MGoCommunity has been, "UConn, why would we play them for the opener? Bill Martin is an idiot!" UConn's blog has caught wind of the opener and is pretty excited but has however noted our comments on the situation.
Man UCONN would be a HORRIBLE game. We all had illusions of grandeur for a huge opponent and per usual they get blown to bits.
It’s a lose/lose for UM! We win and no one really cares outside the fan base. We lose and we just lost to a middling to low BCS team from a weak, weak conference. I’d rather schedule a true pansy and just annihilate them.
UConn is worse than WMU. I hope it’s not them because a 7-5 team in the Big East does not deserve a home and home.
Ouch. Not our highest praise for the Huskies, they even said MGoBlog was "a simply fantastic website devoted to Michigan football". We do have a basketball program too, even if it is nothing like yours. To be fair, Connecticut, a program that has been in a BCS conference for less than a decade, is not our illusion of the Wolverines taking on the Bulldogs (no, not Fresno State) nor the Broncos. It's not the big splash that we anticipated to be sure, but this late in the process it's not totally a terrible "MAC-level opponent." They play in a BCS conference (the BCS is not every conference in the FCS Division, there are six BCS Conferences. The Big East is one).
Another reason that we are angry with this choice is the fact that it is indeed a home-and-home with the 2013 return game being played here. Rentschler stadium is not the Big House, it's only approximately 36% of the capacity. Michigan fans are frustrated with the fact that a precious OOC road game that isn't in South Bend is being played at a relatively tiny staium, and that Connecticut is getting a home-and-home instead of a 2-for-1 at least. Proposed locations for the return game include Gillette Stadium, Yankee Stadium, and the Meadowlands but are not legitimate choices because of this. Notre Dame screwed over UConn with the "5 games in South Bend, and the rest not in Connecticut" schedule which UConn did to get some exposure and go from "basketball school who has a new football team" to "big-time major college football program."
Not the Big House
Thus Michigan is resigned to play a game in the state of Connecticut , which is nice for the East Coast fans and alumni who haven't seen a game out there since Michigan defeated Boston College in 1994, but not great for many others. Brodie proposed going to the Yale Bowl, which has more capacity than Rentschler. Michigan will be the biggest name ever to play there, and UConn is lucky to have a big-time team there while only sacrificing one away game.
The MGoCommunity is also not too happy with the fact that UConn is not a team with the "prestige" of another potential BCS opponent, such as Virginia (see above). The point is, Michigan doesn't need a phenomenal (read conference championship contender in a BCS conference) opponent next year. Reasons are here, in Michigan Arrogance's excellent diary.
Some quick facts on Connecticut, not a lot is known around here about the Huskies. Most historical information (that being said, not much) found here:
- The Huskies have been playing football since 1896, and in 1-A since 2001. (Interestingly, they and Villanova were both given the choice to become a football member in the Big East. Obviously Villanova passed).
- They have been to three bowl games, going 2-1.
- UConn tied West Virginia for their only Big East title, but WVU got the BCS berth because of this loss at the hands of Rich Rodriguez. More on Rich Rod versus Connecticut here.
- Coach Randy Edsall is 58-60 at UConn, 49-36 in the FCS, and was rumored to be a candidate for the Syracuse job vacated by Michigan Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson.
- This is how the Huskies have fared since entering the Big East in 2004, not phenomenal but pretty successful at 34-29:
- In 2009, the Huskies look to replace 4(!) first day draft choices including Brown (above). They have a new offensive coordinator who looks to ignite an anemic passing game, which reminds me of Michigan's last year. They have a four-star former Notre Dame quarterback Zach Frazer who looks to lock down the starting job and a stable of backs to replace Brown. CFN, NY Times on Connecticut's 2009 season. We will be rooting for the Huskies this year because we want Michigan to beat a good team* in the opener. They are a young team and figure to be more experienced and successful next year.
Dan Orlovsky, former HuskyThus, 'tis Connecticut. A bunch of anonymous MGoBloggers will not change Bill Martin's mind (or a contract for that matter). This move does make sense as it is a BCS opponent, Michigan has a good chance of winning since by then Rodriguez should have the ball moving, and it is far harder to schedule and defeat a big-name opponent in real life than it is in a video game (I note your examples of Alabama-Penn State, and Ohio State-USC and counter with the seven mediocre opponents that PSU and OSU combine for OOC this year). Martin is reaching out to a very large alumni base out east and giving them a game in their vicinity for the first time in a long time, even if it is in a small stadium and a home-and-home (the largest athletic department in the country scheduled a home-and-home in Laramie, Texas plays at Wyoming this year). It's hard to call UConn a great, up-and-coming program, but the Huskies are improving and playing good football. Maybe it wasn't the Gameday game we were looking for, but it should still be a good game (which we will have a far greater chance of winning than if it was against Boise State or Georgia), the comparisons to the 2006 game against Vanderbilt are not fair. Kudos to Martin for scheduling the Huskies.
Some Penn State Fan who works with Anonymous Blog Reader, you have been pwned:
A remote co-worker of mine is a PSU fan. I spent last week in his location, in his cube to be exact since he was on vacation. His entire cube is decorated in PSU memorabilia, quite nice if you're a PSU fan, however I am not
I took the liberty of modifying the August page of his official PSU calendar. My only regret is that I can't be there when he flips that page on August 1st and is greeted by one of the greatest college football pictures ever snapped.
That is all. Carry on with your weekend.
Lines. Here are a bunch of Vegas lines, all of which are unfriendly to Michigan:
- vs Notre Dame –2.5
- @ Michigan State –4
- vs Penn State –5
- @ Illinois –7
- vs Ohio State –6
Notre Dame is a touchdown favorite over Michigan State despite State's recent ownage in South Bend. This has given Jamie happy pants.
(HT: Get The Picture.)
A tempo-free start. Texas blog Barking Carnival has put together a listing of teams by "pace," which is a concept unfamiliar in football but should be known to all who have heard me rail on about how Ken Pomeroy is an American hero. It's basically the number of possessions in a game. Adjusting for that can radically change perceptions of who is best and by how much:
As we move forward, one important thing to keep an eye on is that according to the standard per game stats, which are of course all that most “analysts” are able to wrap their heads around, Oklahoma’s offense was just over 37% more effective in Big 12 games than our offense was. It’s hard to argue that they were better according to raw numbers, but 37%? Sounds crazy. …
Here we can see that Oklahoma’s offense is now rated a more reasonable shade under 11% better than Texas’ offense. And whereas Texas’ defensive advantage was nearly 27% it is now just over 8% in the new analysis.
Oklahoma's offense wasn't that much more efficient, it just moved at warp speed.
Notes on the national list:
- Unsurprisingly, spread teams Oklahoma, Oregon, Houston, Troy, and Rice played the most possession-intensive games of anyone last year. Most of the top 20 are pass-oriented spread teams.
- Gus Mahlzahn and his Ludicrous Speed offense was tenth.
- Michigan was middle of the pack at 47; West Virginia was 69th.
- Interesting teams towards the bottom: Virginia Tech (118), Ohio State (117), Georgia (111), Iowa (108), Alabama(107), and Florida (106). There does not appear to be much correlation between pace and excellence.
It's a good start, but there are a lot of limitations to the study. KenPom adjusts his official pace measures by the pace of your opponents. That corrects for situations like playing Northwestern's basketball team a lot. This study doesn't have it. Also, there's no shot clock in football* and game situations dictate hurrying up or slowing down depending on who's in the lead, so one reason you might find a bunch of good teams at the bottom is their ability to get in front and then boa constrictor the life out of a game.
I'm working on getting a comprehensive play database from Bill Connolly of Football Outsiders, and when I get that my first priority is to put together offensive and defensive rankings by drive efficiency instead of raw yardage.
*(There is a play clock but here we're looking one level higher.)
Sad Pandas. It's been a bad week for the Feagin clan. Justin, of course, got the boot from Michigan for reasons unspecified. His uncle is in much, much deeper trouble:
Meanwhile, Steven Feagin, who played at another Big Ten school, the University of Illinois, stands accused of breaking into a woman's home in Pompano Beach, knocking her out with a chemical, then raping her twice.
By no means do I want to imply that Justin's thing was anything similar, or try to draw some link between the two. It's just… it's just a bad week for Feagins, is all. Poor mom.
(HT: Big House Blog.)
Come on down. Er, up. Memphis SF Casey Prather, one of two plan A wings Michigan is pursuing fervently, should be taking an official visit this fall. Rivals' Jerry Meyer:
Michigan is very much in the running for Prather, who recently had a strong showing in the adidas Super 64 event. There is talk that Prather might visit Michigan the second week in September for the Notre Dame football game, but those plans have not been finalized yet. Regardless, Michigan is expected to get a visit from Prather. … Prather is intrigued by the opportunity for immediate playing time at Michigan.
Securing Prather would go a long way towards crushing this blog's previous skepticism about Beilein's ability to recruit at a Big Ten championship level. Also: the Trey Zeigler rumblings have shifted towards Central Michigan, where his dad coaches. Rumblings subject to change, as per usual.
Etc.: AnnArbor.com is actually linking out. The homepage needs the equivalent of radioactivity something fierce, though. Yost and Crisler lookin' swanky. Texas Monthly explains the Longhorn money machine.
Terry Talbott recently took a trip up to Michigan with his brother Terrence. Terry is a smallish defensive tackle prospect (video), while his brother is a defensive back prospect. Both are out of Huber Heights, Ohio, the same town that boasts 2011 QB prospect Braxton Miller.
If their names aren't confusing enough, Terry is about 100 pounds heavier than Terrence, and uses that to his advantage. Here's how they felt about their trip, and the wrestling moves Terry uses against his brother.
TOM: I want to get the first question out of the way, it’s probably the most important question. You're quite a bit bigger than your brother Terrence, do you ever use that to your advantage; tease him ever, abuse your weight advantage?
TERRY: All the time, ya know, when we play around and we wrestle sometimes. I just come up to him, and we play around. I don’t use my weight to sit on him, or anything. Just mostly when we play around with everybody else, I try to use my weight to my advantage.
TOM: You just went up to Michigan for a visit. Tell me how everything went, you went with your brother, I guess if you can speak for him too, just tell me how everything went, who you talked to, and everything you saw.
TERRY: We talked to some of the coaches, and we went around campus, and we just went around the football stadium. We saw where all the academics are. We both really liked it because we went through a lot of the drills too. The coaches taught us some things that we both can use when we play, to make us a better player. It was real nice.
TOM: You were offered before this visit right?
TOM: Terrence was offered during the visit, or after?
TERRY: I think it was after the visit.
TOM: Tell me a little about what they liked about, and what they liked about your brother. How you can fit into the defense that they were talking about.
TERRY: I guess they were saying I need to work more on the technique, and they want to make both of us better players.
TOM: I know you play defensive tackle right now for your high school, but you’re a little bit smaller for defensive tackle in college. Did they say you have a chance to move over to defensive end, or do they want you to stay at defensive tackle?
TERRY: I’m not too sure.
TOM: What prompted this visit, it seems kind of like you came out of nowhere. Was there always interest in Michigan, or was this an on the whim decided to come up and visit?
TERRY: It’s just one place that I’ve always wanted to see, it’s the Big House. Everyone knows what the Big House is, so we wanted to come in and see what it looked like. I’ve heard a lot about Michigan, so I just wanted to see for myself.
TOM: What other visits have you taken, and how does this one compare? I read that you went to Wisconsin, just talk about how that compared to that visit, and maybe some others you’ve taken.
TERRY: I liked both of them; they’re all different places. The facilities, they have a little more with facilities than Wisconsin. I liked Wisconsin too, but that was the main difference about everything. The stadium is bigger, that’s how everything is.
TOM: With your brother, you guys are going on some visits together, are you guys going to end up being a package deal, with where you end up going to school?
TERRY: We’re going to try to see if we can do that, we’re going to try to see if we can go together, but you never know what can happen. What if he goes to some school that I’m not really interested in, and I go to a school that he’s not interested in. That is one of the things we would like to do, it’s always been the dream for me and him to be on the same team, not just for him, but for my mom.
TOM: Yeah, you mentioned your mom there. Is distance going to be a factor? You hope to have your family be able to come watch you in person?
TERRY: That’s one of the things we’ve been thinking about too. I mean, she really wants us to get out of Ohio. So just find somewhere to get out, so that’s not really a problem.
TOM: When you were on your visit, did you get a chance to meet with Mike Barwis, or hear any stories about him?
TERRY: I think I saw him, but I haven’t heard a lot of stories.
TOM: When do you see yourself making a decision, do you think you’re going to wait awhile and take all your visits?
TERRY: Yes sir, that’s what I’m going to do. Wait awhile and take all my visits, and then I’m going to see what’s going to happen.
TOM: What other visits do you plan on taking, or do you want to take?
TERRY: I’ll try to go see some like UCLA, in California, I’ve never been to California before. Kentucky, and Arkansas, just a couple of them come to mind. I’m not really sure which ones I’m going to take yet.
So I posted up a press release that was sent to me and various other folks by the AAGO, the entity that is in charge of the golf course and the parking therein. In it, the Powers That Be make some mumbles about listening to the protest and complaints from people who've been tailgating at the same spot since time began…
"We appreciate the time and effort that a number of people have taken to ask for reconsideration due to their desire to remain in private parking areas where they can be with the longtime friends and colleagues," said Larry Eiler, chairman of AAGO parking.
…and then immediately dispel any lingering hopes you might have that they actually gave a crap:
"We are disappointed at the decision of patrons to disagree with the new regulations, which were made for safety concerns."
Mmmm that's tasty public relations.
Before all this came down, I attempted to commit an act of journalism by reaching out to Eiler. We eventually settled on some emailed questions, the gist of which boiled down to "people have complained and we will make an announcement." The tone of the conversation was similar to the above:
It interests me that everyone just ignores the serious safety issue posed by people who place tents, cookers, tables, chairs, games in the manner shown in the photos attached from last year's M State game.
The following photos from second fairway 08 MSU game. They thus occupy ingress and egress routes for emergency vehicles and create an unsafe environment.
This is the "serious safety issue":
I guess if someone had a major medical issue it would be difficult for them to get out, and according to a commenter on the press release there have been some recent incidents:
Apparently, within the past couple years, there has been at least one heart attack and one broken leg on the course during football saturday tailgates. I guess some dude was tossing a football around and ran off the top side of a steep fairway bunker and fractured his leg. The emergency services took a long time to make it back to the scene due to the parking situation. If it had been a broken neck, the guy likely would have died.
Not sure about details on the heart attack, except the guy was closer to the front and managed to walk to the clubhouse.
The police, insurance company, worried board members, all felt that it was necessary to prevent any potential future disasters by ensuring that there are clear paths for emergency vehicles to enter.
So the canopy thing, whatever. Be stricter about clearing some aisleways, sure. It's a litigious country. I wish we lived in a place where you just sort of accepted "hey if I keel over on this golf course during a tailgate there's a slightly reduced chance I make it." We don't. I think the safety thing is a pretty silly mandate but silly mandates are par for the course (HA! I kill me!) when suin' looms.
However, I fail to see what this has to do with not reserving spots. Everyone ignores the serious safety issue posed by people who place tents and whatnot everywhere because they don't care about the rule change associated with it. No one has complained about the canopy thing. They do not care. They care an awful lot about having their tailgate disrupted.
A lot of people cared enough about it to raise a stink; if you just got over yourself and sat down with them there was an opportunity to work something out. One idea off the cuff: sell season passes in certain areas that can be revoked if the parking there ends up unsafe. Sell specific—specifically orderly—spots. Everyone wins.
Instead no one wins. There was an opportunity to make a little more money and keep the people who really care about this happy, and it was condescendingly rejected. The main reason appears to be that the tailgaters got too outraged and accused the AAGO of being money-grubbing so-and-sos. In response the AAGO said "well, I never" and lifted their noses skyward, refusing to… gah… parley with those ruffians.
The AAGO leadership failed spectacularly here. Kevin Werner on AnnArbor.com:
"It's a shame - a real shame that the traditions of hundreds and relationships of many and a special aspect of this community is giving way to stubbornness."
Postscript. The most unbelievable part of all this is that all of the emails from Eiler come from "Larry Eiler PR." The guy runs a public relations firm. PROTIP: you should not hire it any circumstances whatsoever.
Stupid being correct:
UConn has reached an agreement with Michigan on a home-and-home series that will see the Huskies travel to Ann Arbor in 2010 and the Wolverines head to Rentschler Field in 2013, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Well, at least it's not a MAC school, but if Michigan was going to give up a home game I'd rather seem them play someone more interesting.
(That's Henri, The Otter of Ennui, by the way. Wave all you want: he doesn't care.)