“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
|1||10||M15||Pass||Manningham||15||Dude we took the ball. Manningham's out is wide open. (CA)|
|1||10||M30||Run||Hart||6||Henige pulls around and gets a good block, as does Thompson.|
|2||4||M36||Pass||Breaston||10||Slip screen to Breaston. Mass and Avant block it well; Breaston looks about as healthy as possible. (CA)|
|1||10||M46||Run||Hart||5||Hart injury. On this play he cuts outside and slices up, but he should have gone straight upfield.|
|2||5||O49||Run||Grady||2||Takes a draw and slips after a few steps. This probably would have worked for something close to a first down without the slip.|
|3||3||O47||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||A really, really bad throw. Massaquoi is open and stationary; Henne misses him badly. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. Second straight game Michigan's initial drive has ended with a third and three with an open receiver that Henne just misses.|
|1||10||M19||Run||Hart||2||Hart again cuts out side because there's absolutely nothing where the play is supposed to go. You can clearly see he doesn't have his usual explosion.|
|2||8||M21||Pass/Penalty||Breaston||Inc / 5||Uh, yeah, another terribly thrown ball (IN). The call is ridiculous as well; ball is uncatchable; guy is on time.|
|1||10||M26||Run||Hart||1||He ain't right. Another cut outside, would have been 5 with a good ankle.|
|2||9||M27||Pass||Avant||15||Slant to Avant in some softish zone coverage. The interior WR's route opens up the space for Avant, and a very good throw opens up some YAC. (DO)|
|1||10||M42||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Breaston is open on an out ten yards downfield, Henne plain misses him. (IN)|
|2||10||M42||Pass||No one||Sack, -4||Self sack. Ugh.|
|3||14||M38||Pass||Tabb||12||Henne has all day to throw; no one seems open from the TV replay. He hits Tabb in stride but it's short of the first down. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q. The first bad call with the weak PI call, though Michigan doesn't capitalize. Henne is alternating NFL-caliber throws with total flakeouts.|
|1||10||M32||Run||Martin||3||Yes, this a fumble, and no, Max Martin shouldn't be playing.|
|2||7||M35||Run||Grady||4||Grinding forward a little bit.|
|3||3||M39||Run||Grady||7||Grady makes a Hart-like cut outside and then moves up into the hole quickly.|
|1||10||M46||Scramble||Henne||3||Play action; Henne has a ton of time but can't find anyone and runs straight upfield. (TA)|
|2||7||M49||Run||Grady||9||A pitch play that Grady makes a good, hard cut against the grain on when Iowa overcommits outside.|
|1||10||O42||Pass||Hart||9||A checkdown to Hart that I can live with, I mean, 9 yards. (CA)|
|2||1||O33||Run||Hart||2||Nothing resembling a hole; the OL does a nice job of driving the Iowa DL a couple yards down the field and picking up the first.|
|1||10||O31||Pass||Avant||24||More play action; Avant cuts on an in route and is wide open; Henne hits him downfield between the numbers (DO).|
|1||G||O7||Run||Grady||2||Just a ton of guys in the box... not too surprising on first and goal, but there's no crease.|
|2||G||O5||Pass||Avant||5||Touchdown. Beautifully floated over the zone coverage on a clever little fade route to the center of the endzone. Excellent play all around. (DO)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 14 min 2nd Q. Good running from Grady on this drive, though his hole-picking abilities are limited later on. I just don't think we have an OL good enough to take advantage of his abilities. Henne makes two great throws on the drive.|
|1||10||M20||Pass/Penalty||Breaston||2||Henne checks down to Breaston; Antwaan Allen is all over the route and gets called for PI. The replay is unhelpful in detemining legit-ness.|
|1||10||M22||Run||Bass||3||QB sweep highly remiscent of the Randall Cunningham Super Tecmo Bowl money play that we've run a few time with Bass. This was going to work for a lot, except Avant's feet trip Bass up. Why does this work? It is the mystery.|
|2||7||M25||Pass/Penalty||Dutch||15||Uh... yeah. This call is ridiculous on two levels: 1) Johnson had jumped the route perfectly and was making a play on the ball. 2) Instead of a spot foul they mark off a full 15 yards. Ugly all around. I bet famous PSU internet nutcases MarshCreek and Beast of da East sit in a dark room, watching this play over and over again, touching themselves in an impure manner.|
|1||10||M40||Run||Grady||7||Grady's offset and we pull a guard over to the right side. Grady finds a cutback lane and heads upfield nicely. Credit to Kraus and Lentz, who drive the DTs back a long way.|
|2||3||M47||Run||Grady||4||Another good job by the interior OL. Grady clearly makes a wrong cut, going to a jammed up right instead of an open left.|
|1||10||O49||Pass||Avant||Inc||Greenway's zone drop deflects the pass on an in route very similar to the one Avant caught on Michigan's earlier touchdown drive. (BA)|
|2||10||O49||Run||Grady||4||Not much here. Grady's power gets two or three as he just burrows behind the linemen.|
|3||6||O45||Pass/Penalty||Avant||-5||Depressing that this gets called back, as Henne nails Avant well downfield right in stride. The penalty is illegal motion on Avant, who took a tiny step forward before the snap. (DO)|
|3||11||50||Pass||No one||Inc||Iowa rushes three; Henne immediately panics and throws it into the third row despite not having anyone within five yards of him. (BR).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 5 min 2nd Q. Brandt is yammering on about how the last play was smart. I am yammering on about how Brandt is dumb. Before it Henne had been having a sustained period of good play. From this point on, Iowa rushes three and waits for Hennepanic on critical third downs all day.|
|2||9||M33||Pass||Avant||11||Avant gets free from Hodge in man coverage--Hodge is good, but that's a mismatch. Henne hits him right in stride, allowing some YAC. (DO)|
|1||10||M44||Pass||Manningham||Int||The Manningham route controversy. Okay. He ran a bad route. Why did Henne throw it to his bad, covered route? Why didn't he check off to Avant, wide open on a deep corner route? Why didn't he just lob it downfield when Manningham was about to break open? That safety is not invisible, and by the time Henne throws it's clear Manningham's not breaking his route off. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 7-14, 3 min 2nd Q. Partial exoneration to Henne here, but not total.|
|1||10||M17||Run||Grady||7||Draw against a six man front with three wide. Grady cuts it outside where the hole is after a nice block from Massaquoi.|
|2||3||M24||Run||Grady||1||Stenavich can't control his man and lets him disengage, screwing up this play which was otherwise well blocked. Grady actually plows into Stenavich.|
|3||2||M25||Run||Grady||1||Check with me into a run aginst a six man front, reasonable. Unfortunately, our OL just get its ass kicked. Long misses his block on Hodge, though he doesn't have an angle for it... Grady may have picked the wrong hole.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-14, 1 min 2nd Q. Okay, Brandt has to go screw himself, since he just started talking about how Henne was so good at the end of the PSU game at managing the clock. He's intolerable. I don't have a problem with the playcalling here. Michigan should be able to get two yards against six guys in the box--I think this third down is on Grady, as the blocking scheme makes no sense given the direction he takes.|
|1||10||O42||Run||Grady||5||Grady runs off guard behind Henige and runs right up his back. He pushes the pile for a bit.|
|2||5||O37||Run||Grady||3||Ugh. Hart pops this baby outside and picks up 10 or 15, since the linebackers all draw up and get blocked and the corner on the slot also gets plugged. Grady just kind of plows into Long from behind. This run really disturbed me--Underwood flashback.|
|3||2||O34||Run||Grady||-1||This is supposed to be a stretch to the far side of the field but it's blown up because exactly one Iowa player gets blocked. Total failure.|
|4||3||O35||Pass||Ecker||13||Waggle that everyone bites on hard, thus Ecker is open. Henne its him between the numbers on the run. (DO)|
|1||10||O22||Run||Grady||5||Pitch short side. Grady shows his good side by fighting through a tackle fiercely for an extra couple at the end.|
|2||5||O17||Pass||Avant||13||Thrown by Bass (thus not charted). Avant's wide open and any throw that doesn't take him off his feet is a touchdown. A beautiful catch by Avant.|
|1||G||O4||Run||Grady||0||Have we passed on first down and goal yet? This is just ugly. No one gets blocked.|
|2||G||O4||Pass||Avant||Inc||Fade to Avant is just off his fingertips. (CA, even though he didn't.)|
|3||G||O4||Run||Henne||-3||Just because the quarterback draw always works against us does not mean it always works.|
|Drive Notes: FG(26) 10-14, 8 min 3rd Q. There's an obvious dropoff from Hart to Grady, and another straw on the camel back here that eventually leads to Jackson's entrance.|
|1||10||M24||Pass||Ecker||5||Christ. This is a completion that Henne throws rolling out, across his body that had INT written all over it. Arm strength to the rescue. (CA? DO? BR? Freakin' insane? We'll go with CA.)|
|2||5||M29||Run||Grady||2||Draw looks very open before Hodge manages to slip through a crease and attack Grady from the side as he passes. Nice play from him; wonder if maybe Hart avoids him.|
|3||3||M31||Scramble||Henne||0||All day to throw again, another three man rush that turns into a TWO man rush when DT Kroul just sort of stops running. Henne just decides to run up into him. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 2 min 3rd Q. Another instance of Henne panicking in the face of lots of dudes in a zone.|
|1||10||M27||Run||Bass||0||The "fumble." Funny how no one mentions this play in their conspiracy theories.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-14, 14 min 3rd Q. If you do not know the rules, you should not be an official.|
|1||10||M12||Run||Jackson||19||Huge run from Jackson, who manages to pop out of the pile four yards downfield. Great job by everyone to maintain their blocks, Ecker especially.|
|1||10||M31||Run||Jackson||2||Jackson's delayed by a linebacker who falls at his feet, allowing Merrick to come up make the stop near the LOS.|
|2||8||M33||Pass||Grady||-3||A screen that's going nowhere. Grady turns around and is instantly popped.|
|3||11||M30||Pass||Avant||18||They try the same rush three trick and Henne finally waits for his guys downfield, hitting Avant with a bullet on a deep in route. (DO)|
|1||10||M48||Pass||Breaston||52||Yeehaw! Breaston feints inside of Tabb's excellent block and then pops outside of it, delaying the safety just enough with the move so that he can only dive at Breaston's legs as he streaks by. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-14, 9 min 3rd Q. Someone get Tabb a cookie STAT. It's still a mystery to me why he doesn't play more. He should have all the routes down by now, apparently has good hands, and we know he's fast... he's the safety on the kickoff team.|
|1||10||M32||Run||Jackson||3||Dive up the middle.|
|2||7||M35||Pass||Thompson||Inc||He's open in the flat; Henne throws it hard and off target, forcing him to dive. (IN)|
|3||7||M35||Pass/Penalty||No one||5||Henne's sacked but is incidentally facemasked. Henige exits the field with an injury; Alex Mitchell is the replacement. Good news for next year?|
|3||2||M40||Run||Jackson||7||A nice play by Jackson to read the no-hole in the middle and slide outside for the first. Totally disturbing how our OL can't get anything here against a six man front.|
|1||10||M47||Run||Jackson||1||Eight guys in the box; this is no check with me, either. Just nothing from the OL at all.|
|2||9||M48||Run||Jackson||4||Pitch outside that's reasonably well blocked.|
|3||5||O48||Run||Jackson||2||This is, in fact, a check with me; Henne goes with the run play and it goes behind Mitchell and Steno, both of whom get stood up at the line.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-14, 3 min 4th Q. I really dislike the first down play call. And the second down play call given it's 2nd and 9. Henne's check with me on third down was reasonble; we single block those guys and Jackson acquires the first with ease. We just totally failed to get it done against Iowa's undersized line. Story of the year.|
|1||10||O25||Run||Jackson||2||Long doesn't block anyone and anyone makes the tackle.|
|2||8||O23||Pass||Avant||18||Goddamn, Jason. That's an unbelievable catch of a terribly thrown ball, now that I see that the Iowa defender was not in position to pick that off if it was thrown accurately. (IN)|
|1||G||O5||Run||Jackson||4||Just sort of falls four yards forward somehow. Michigan manages to create a tiny crease that Jackson squirts through.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 23-20, EOG. Praise the lawd!|
I thought I had security deal with you. All right, here's the scoop:
- Michigan fumbled around its 30 in the first half, and it was wrongly called down and then not reviewed. Michigan did not fumble around its 30 in the second half, it was correctly called down (and whistled) and then incorrectly overturned by review. This is essentially a wash.
As many Michigan fans have commented or emailed, there is a specific portion of the rulebook that makes it very clear that actual contact is not necessary for kick catch interference to be called:
VI. On a scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone, a Team A player stands in or runs through an area close to a Team B player who is in position to catch the ball and is deemed to have impeded the Team B player. RULING: Interference with the opportunity to catch a kick. Penaltyâ€”15 yards from the spot of the foul, which is where the Team B player was positioned to catch the kick.
Given this passage this passage also in the rulebook: "When in question, it is an interference foul," I think it's clear that the correct call was made on the Breaston muff.
- Michigan was the beneficiary of two awful pass interference calls and one that was iffy. Especially egregious was the Dutch/Allen play where Allen jumped the route and was clearly making a play on the ball but was flagged, especially because instead of a six or seven yard penalty the referees incorrectly assessed a full fifteen yards.
Assuming that you're not a complete nutcase, the end result is horrible officiating all around that ended up slightly benefiting Michigan. More concerning than wild-ass conspiracy theories is the overall state of Big Ten officiating, which is dismal. In the Ohio State-Indiana game actually featured a mulligan on a kick return that the referees couldn't figure out:
IU's Austin Starr popped a short kickoff in the air, and Ohio State linebacker Mike D'Andrea called for a fair catch at the Buckeyes' 30. He fumbled the ball and Indiana linebacker Josh Powers recovered for the Hoosiers.
But one of the officials apparently blew what was later described as an inadvertent whistle when D'Andrea was attempting to make the catch.
Instead of giving either team the ball, the officials huddled and opted to replay the kickoff. In golf terms, it was a mulligan.
(HT: Buckeye Commentary)
Multiple Michigan games have featured replay officials who simply don't know the rule book. This probably has something to do with the fact that the officials are actually insurance salesmen or taco vendors or vacuum repairdudes who moonlight as referees. How much would it actually cost to get some professional referees? I'm completely baffled by major college football's reliance on part-timers when a relative drop in the revenue bucket would mean that referees would know the rules of the game.
How did Henne play?
I'm torn. On the one hand he rifled a fair quantity of balls directly into the hands of Michigan wide receivers. On the other, he rifled a few critical third downs into the crowd without an Iowa player within three yards of him.
This is what the chart says:
|Team||Dead on||Catchable||Inaccurate||Bad Read||Throwaways||Batted|
(I didn't chart two of the PI plays.)
Henne threw much less than he did against Penn State but ended up with more very nice passes than he's had since I shifted the numbers to something more sane. However, he also threw five inaccurate balls and had the three bad reads, one of which was the Manningham interception. If you buy the idea that said interception was all on Manningham then it looks like a pretty good day, but I don't.
Strangely enough, Henne seemed to be inaccurate on a lot of short stop routes that should be easy for any quarterback (and certainly were for Tate). Also, we didn't go deep all day unless you count the Manningham interception--probably because Iowa was content to sit back and let their linebackers make plays against whoever was Not Mike Hart at the moment.
Still, this was probably his best performance of the year considering the level of competition. Those seven DOs were all nice throws that were either far downfield or that led receivers for big chunks of YAC.
Why can't we run?
God, I don't know. The constant theme of this year's running game has been terrible run blocking. Hart's been able to magic his way into a productive year when he's been on the field but the severe dropoff to his backups is more than evident.
Will Jake Long's return help?
To some extent, though I th ink it's more important for pass coverage. If Long is healthy and in-form he should make the right side of the line a more credible area to run, no offense intended to Riley. It won't fix our problems at guard. Neither Lentz or Henige has really shown any ability to crease a line and drive someone out of the hole. We've been facing a lot of Pat Masseys this year, but when was the last time you saw anyone crush an opposing Massey to the ground and a running back flit through the vast hole opened?
I don't think this will be much of a problem against Northwestern or Indiana, but I would be shocked if we averaged anything more than two yards a carry against OSU.
[INCOHERENT SCREAMING ABOUT MANNINGHAM]
Look, I know he's nicknamed and everything, but he's got a long way to go if he doesn't know to break that route off into a wide open area of the field. It has to bother you that at this point in the year he still lines up wrong on a consistent basis. He is just a freshman, he's probably dinged up, and he's having issues picking up the whole offense. You're probably going to see him come in less often than you'd like, but that doesn't mean anyone's holding him back. He's just young.
Why does running Antonio Bass from the QB spot always seem to work?
I have no idea. Against Iowa the first iteration would have gone for a big gain save for an unfortunate trip. They did defense the second one well, but so far it's hitting at a 75% rate. It doesn't make a lick of sense to me.
What does it mean for Northwestern?
Given that the Wildcats are dead freakin' last in DI defense, I would certainly hope that we can get into a 54-51 type game, no matter how much Lloyd wants to avoid a shootout. As you'll see tomorrow, I don't think we win anything but a shootout. It's either blowout or shootout.
So. We need Mike Hart back. We need Long and the rest of the OL to give Henne time to throw, and we need Henne to keep mistakes to a reasonable minimum, because this should be an up-and-down game. Northwestern's defense is not going to make a lot of plays. What will kill drives will probably be Michigan's own mistakes, and we'll only be able to afford a limited number of them. Therefore Grady and his wrong cuts and Martin and his ball repulsion skills should take a hefty back seat to Run DNC against the Wildcats. The offensive gameplan should revolve heavily around Avant's ultra-reliability and WR screens to our fast bastards against the small Northwestern secondary.
We're going to try to run, which isn't a totally dumb idea given Northwestern's 188 YPG yielded and tendency to yield huge chunks against, er, everybody. If we can, we'll have a good shot. If Hart can't go or we decide to uselessly hurl ourselves into stacked fronts, we be toast.
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.