Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
Comments welcomed, as always.
|1||Southern Cal||Wavering a little bit here but Texas' marquee win over OSU is losing luster by the week.|
|2||Texas||I am required by law to include the words "monkey" and "back" and "off" in this section of the poll. So: BACK OFF, MONKEY!|
|3||Virginia Tech||What should have been a functional DNP against Marshall was close for a half, but given that their offense has always been bad I don't think it's particularly surprising or troubling.|
|4||Georgia||Okay. I'm a believer. Watching UGA throttle the Vols was impressive. There are a large number of giant angry defensive linemen in the SEC this year and Georgia appears to be playing 13 of them at once.|
|6||Florida State||Again a supposed functional DNP goes somewhat awry.|
|7||Miami||Functional DNP vs. Duke.|
|10||Florida||Another wobbly day at the office for Leak.|
|11||Penn State||The offense is a tiny increment better and the defense is just as good, so Penn State is squeaking out wins instead of losses this year.|
|12||UCLA||Largely unsure of exactly what to do with these teams.|
|13||LSU||Functional DNP vs. Vandy. Sorry Vandy, but you lost to MTSU: functional DNP you are once more.|
|14||Boston College||Beat UVA soundly.|
|15||Cal||Shoulda won. Did not.|
|16||Ohio State||Ohio State was the one team I pegged exactly: despite Troy Smith's heroics against Michigan he's a far below average DI QB, and he's wasting Holmes, Ginn, and a spectacular defense all by himself.|
|17||Minnesota||I want chicken, I want liver, meow mix meow mix please deliver.|
|19||Wisconsin||51 points to Northwestern. 42 points to BGSU. Michigan scores 20. Ugh.|
|20||Texas Tech||Fluky win over a flukily undefeated team.|
|21||Louisville||Crushed a not-awful UNC team.|
|22||Oregon||Er... now is the time on BlogPoll when we grab whoever's left.|
|23||Tennessee||Utterly dominated by Georgia.|
|24||Colorado||Put the nail in the A&M coffin; only loss to #7 Miami.|
|25||Georgia Tech||It's either them or some mid-major, and they have three wins over not bad teams, including Auburn, and one shoulda-won against NCSU. It's unfortunate that the Golden Tornado/DJL detente had harsh reality intervene.|
Dropped Out: Arizona State (#11, "a third loss will be met with harsh reassessment"), Michigan (#24)
Games I Saw: Michigan-Minnesota; PSU-OSU; UT-UGA; last bit of GT-NCSU
Help Requested: What should I do with Cal and UCLA? Any better suggestions for the tail end of the poll?
Update: Commenters make cases for UCLA and PSU so they rise a bit at the expense of LSU and BC.
Cathartic or something. IBFC has a clip of the deadly third down. You can see what happened for yourself. Vijay breaks it down very well, so I won't go into tremendous detail. Run over there and read it for yourself, then come back...
doGsinairB: OMG U R soooo dumb MannMann1997
MannMann1997: LOL thn why am i defnsive cooordinator n u r not
doGsinairB: UR such a homo. man+man = homo.
Okay. If you want to assign blame (and you do), #1 is Jim Herrmann, who lined up his players in a fundamentally flawed, excessively aggressive alignment, #2 is Prescott Burgess, who lost contain two seconds after the ball was snapped, and #3 is Chris Graham, who shot up into an interior hole and thus left the outside open. The sad part is that Alan Branch makes a great play but just can't make it outside to tackle. You can't blame Mason, who correctly forced the runner inside of himself, but it was all for naught.
What to do about Herrmann? The guy sits back on every third and long, rushing three, when Minnesota wants to convert them and then when Minnesota is clearly playing for overtime he calls a fundamentally unsound blitz that pulls any sort of safety help away from the run to the short side that the defensive alignment obviously invites. Michigan set up in a 3-3 nickel with Burgess--an undersized SAM--lined up as the strongside DE, taking on a tight end who outweighs him by 50 pounds, and Michigan's best linebacker (Harris) and defensive linemen (Woodley, Watson) lined up on the weak side of the formation, ready to attack the run to the wide side which never comes.
What an absolutely arrogant call! Michigan lines up as if to say "don't run here," thinking they've outsmarted the Gopher offense, and then calls a blitz from that side of the formation, abandoning the last, disaster-preventing line of defense on the short side of the field, as if there was no possibility that the Gophers might recognize the blatant overload and attack the defense's weak point. If there was ever a time to send in a base nickel formation and drop seven, this was it--who blitzes on third and ten when you know a run is coming? The point is to get the stop, and the probabilities of doing so are greatly increased when you don't blitz. There was no advantage to blitzing; we saw the disadvantage unfold in front of our eyes. This is a clear instance of brain-dead coaching, combined with two bad plays from the linebackers, costing us a game.
Yeah, Jim Herrmann coaches the linebackers, too.
"After watching it, we had some guys kind of loafing,'' cornerback Leon Hall said Monday, two days after Minnesota's 23-20 win.
"The guys that were loafing, they know,'' Hall later added. "I'm sure they're down on themselves about it."
That's a really strange statement. Graham made a bad decision. Everyone else was out of position because of the playcall except Burgess, who I think screwed up, but I don't think there's any indication of loafing. Were it so simple.
I highly recommend the Big Ten basketball season preview being assembled by Hawkeye Hoops. He's got Minnesota up and more are on the way. You will be notified when Michigan shows.
Tempting... I'm trying to not uselessly bash media people--bad for the image, dontchaknow--but when Deadspin posts something like this in its ongoing series "Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks," it's like walking out of an AA meeting and into Oktoberfest. Must... not... write... DrewSharpequivalent SPOCK! So dead on:
It's not so much that American newspaper editors want to employ mean-spirited sports columnists such as Bill Conlin; we're pretty sure it's the law. How else would one explain it? Every large paper seems to have its resident sports bastard.
And the reasons why are mystifying. They get ratings, I guess--anyone reading RJYH's passages about 'Bama public enemy #1 Paul Finebaum knows that well--but they also engender a deep distaste. Though St. John manages to humanize Finebaum by following him around on a 'Bama football Saturday when the threat of violence against him is palpable, I found little sympathy in my heart for a man who's consciously chosen to piss off a state full of people in exchange for money and notoriety, who's built an entire career out of gleeful, cynical schadenfreude. It would be different if people like Sharp or Conlin or Finebaum gave a damn about the teams they berate--there's something endearing about watching Joey short-circuit like Johnny Five--but they don't.
If you're going to do it, do it right.
DO bitch about Lloyd Carr playing his tight end with a cast on his hand simply because he's a senior. He can't block or catch.
DON'T bitch about Carr not playing Grady or Martin against Minnesota. Mike Hart didn't have an excessive number of carries and is obviously better than his backups. Given the overall crappiness of our offense we can't afford to yank Hart just because backup want a lolly.
DO bitch about the offensive line's complete inability to drive block a team of small children. There is no such thing as "push" on our offensive line unless we're playing MAC teams. Hart is our most effective runner because he's very effective running draws and can pick his way through tiny holes--which are the only holes available.
DON'T bitch about the Riley/Kolodziej combo at RT singlehandedly dragging our offense down. Long is out; Riley is a guard who is playing injured; Kolodziej had a mysterious illness that forced him to the hospital for a number of days and prevented him from practicing for a month. There's just no way any team could take those sorts of hits and still get anywhere near competent production from that position.
DO bitch about Carr's occasional ridiculous expectation-scorning decisions made because of a tiny chance of a big play, e.g., the pooched kickoff after Minnesota's good return in the second half last week. You can also bitch about Carr's thoroughly mediocre understanding of clock management.
I dunno; ask Google.
DON'T bitch about Carr's excessively conservative second-half playcalling costing us games. The ND, UW, and MSU games all opened up the second half with Henne throwing the ball, usually inaccurately or into the hands of the opponent. He's also gone for it on all the fourth downs he should have--it's actually been a radical improvement. Unfortunately it hasn't resulted in anything positive.
DO bitch about how there's no particular reason that Chad Henne should be getting so much slack from the coaches. Unless Gutierrez is simply incapable of playing, he should have made an appearance at some point in the UW or Minnesota games when it became clear that Henne was out of it.
DON'T bitch about how we never throw it over the middle. The routes in the passing game have been good enough to get guys open just fine. It's always easier to pick your spots along the sideline since most defenses have safeties patrolling the deep middle.
DO bitch about how our outside linebackers have absolutely no idea how to keep contain, or tackle, or take an angle, or shed a block.
DON'T bitch about David Harris.
DO bitch about how Jim Herrmann's affection for Charmin-soft zone defenses paired with three or four man rushes has made third and long an easy conversion for most of our opponents.
DON'T... no, I have nothing to defend the defensive playcalling, which has crumbled at every moment it's really been needed, sat in obvious, flaccid zones for the majority of the year and hasn't kept a single opposing ballcarrier under 100 yards other than EMU's cast of invalids and the Michigan State three-headed monster.
DO express concern about the state of the program and its direction.
DON'T puff yourself up as an insider and then drop vague hints about discontent within the program and double standards unless you're prepared to back it up with details. Otherwise you're okay with sounding like a petulant child.
So, a clarification... I've been kicking around an "Ethics of MGoBlog" post for a while that hasn't quite materialized yet, but now seems like a good time to delineate a particular portion of said ethics: I won't detatch emotionally from the football team and use it as a punching bag to minimize whatever issues I'm having with our Alamo Bowl-bound (at best) warrior-poets. That's a cop-out. I'm here. I'm posting UFR for the rest of the season. I'm talking frankly about the relative gaywaddery of the team in no uncertain terms.
It will be okay. As I exited the stadium after the 30-17 Iowa win last year I witnessed a strangely moving scene between some Iowa frat boys wearing football-theme frat T-shirt prominently featuring the phrase "GIT R DUN." One of them was in full hangdog mode. His buddy said softly "it's only football, man," and put his arm around his friend in a non-ironic, genuinely comforting way that--given the general attitudes of frat boys towards male-on-male touching--completely put the lie to his statement.
So: it's just football. Those of you who are freaking out, disconnecting, and generally saying things that will be regretted later even if their dire predictions turn out to be entirely correct, console yourselves: it's only football. It is only football; repeat until sedated. Release upon temporally nearest major, soul-freeing victory.
Anyway. On with the show.
Mmmph. I said this in regards to the MSU flag-planting:
I would hate whatever team did that at Michigan Stadium, but I would *love* hating them for doing it. It would make my hate strong, and I love having my hate strong.
The Gophers then did this:
Now I say this: I would also love to hate the fact that Mike Hart stubbed his toe in garbage time of next year's national championship game. Are you there, God? It's me, Brian.
Also I say that there is a critical difference here. Michigan State's flag stunt came after five straight victories at Notre Dame. Minnesota last beat Michigan in 1986, back when Abraham Lincoln was still the nation's top dinosaur hunter. State's stunt was funny, relatively original, and apropos. The Gopher stunt is just sad. As Seinfeld would say, I'm offended as a comedian. Enjoy the Jug, kids. Maybe your grandkids will see it again one day.
Meanwhile, why is it that when Michigan loses to Minnesota I have to delete useless comments from Notre Dame fans instead of Minnesota fans?
You know, in the sports bar I watched the game there were 10 other guys watching too. It could have been that they were just too drunk to do anything else, and it could have been that they liked football in general. But it seemed like they were rooting for
, and when they lost it was like none of them were surprised. Well, that makes 11 of us. Michigan
But perhaps the question I haven't asked enough is how many times in a game like this do I stop and say, of Terry Malone's calls, "Wow, that was a great play call there." or "that was the perfect play ... caught them off guard"?
"Hey, Gophers! Hey Gophers! Go eat some more weeds!" (note: as the gopher's diet does consist of a wide variety of vegetation, this chant was surprsingly accurate)
It's not just Carr. During Sunday's Baltimore-Detroit game, a total self-destruction thing for the Ravens and their nigh-NFL-record number of penalties, Detroit was the recipient of not one but two personal foul penalties after an extra point. As a result they kicked off from the Baltimore 40. Instead of attempting an onside kick that would have ended up with the Ravens at their 30 at best, Jason Hanson kicked it through the uprights for a touchback. Not that it really mattered, given Baltimore's impression of the VIBE awards, but Steve Mariucci continues to fall on the gym teacher side of the coach scale.
Dear Detroit News, I know that college hockey is not A1 on the importance scale, but there's no one named "Matt Hensick." The name you're looking for is Hunwick.
Also with the skating and the shooting and the red lights, CSTV's resuming their "Tuesdays at the Rink" series of Internet chats. Tomorrow at 2 they'll have color guy Dave Starman on. Starman saw Michigan up close and personal at the Quinnipiac game on Friday; perhaps if you ask him something about the kids and if they are all right he'll respond with an interesting tidbit or two.
Personally, I was impressed with Tim Miller, who was rough and ready all weekend, then capped it off with a sweet pass he flicked through his own legs that created a scoring chance. Also, the fact that Jack Johnson can shoot it hard and low from anywhere on the ice in any position is kind of totally awesome.
Halloween is possibly the greatest of all collegiate holidays--the women get dressed up like prostitutes and the men just follow them around, drinking. Good times. Unfortunately, it also falls right smack dab in the middle of football season, when a lot of people in our community are just too busy to give the Holiday of Holidays proper consideration. Thus they end up going as "apathy" or "college student" or "Larry Eustachy Wannabe" and the hot chicks dressed up like Sailor Moon (what? I went to Michigan Engineering, bitches!) will pay you no mind because they do not like postmodern intelligence, instead preferring, you know, obvious stuff.
So, as a service to those of us who coach, play, announce, cover, or blog college football, I provide suggested costumes for some of the notable names of this year's college football season:
Florida coach Urban Meyer
Aargh, sayeth Florida.
Suggested Costume: Ron Zook.
Reasoning: The scariest concept in all of Gainesville is the Zooker wandering around the football offices, blowing 4-0 foosball leads.
Materials required: One frat house, several defensive starters, copious alcohol, and something to grab your nuts with. Probably a hand.
Estimated cost: One Florida head coaching job.
Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro
Suggested Costume: Your ankle.
Reasoning: The pure futile horror is unmatched.
Materials Required: One ball, floating meaninglessly towards the endzone in a four-touchdown blowout. One football field. One Mike Shula who can't count or subtract. One badly misplaced ankle.
Estimated Cost: The SEC Championship Game.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis
Suggested Costume: Wow. The possibilities are endless. Wile E. Coyote? Well, you haven't really blown yourself up yet. Wait a couple years. Jabba the Hutt? Played. Jesus Freakin' Christ? Eh... probably not unless you stairmaster the shi'ite out of those frontal buttocks. No, the only option is...
Reasoning: You can see, can't you?
Materials Required: Grape juice concentrate.
Estimated cost: The dignity you never had.
The Big Ten
Suggested Costume: The New Pornographers
Reasoning: There are too many of you to fit in one entity and you could not possibly be more overrated.
Materials Required: One artistically crushed alt-country chanteuse; overwhelmingly indie sensibilities that make me want to strangle you.
Estimated Cost: These are college towns we're talking about; free.
College football bloggers Orson Swindle and Stranko Montana
Suggested Costume: Ted "Theodore" Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire
Reasoning: It just fits, doesn't it?
Materials Required: None.
Estimated Cost: My free time.
Big Ten unsensations Ted Ginn and Steve Breaston
Suggested Costume: Kid n Play
Reasoning: Yeah... I remember you. Weren't you big in 1995? Clean my pool, bitches.
Materials Required: Giant flattop.
Estimated Cost: WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO PHIL HARTMAN.
Once and future powers Notre Dame, Alabama, and Penn State
Suggested Costume: Destiny's Child.
Reasoning: I thought you guys broke up. I kind of preferred it that way.
Materials Required: One record executive father; one fired, extraneous fourth member (Pitt); bumpin' new beats you already had (Smajajrjejafd, Croyle) and a new one (Williams).
Estimated Cost: The sanity of the nation.
OMG #1!!! USC
Suggested Costume: Whatever Beatles remain unmercifully alive.
Reasoning: Yeah, yeah, you're freaking great. Now please go away and never, ever return. We are sick of you. Despite your reputed greatness, no one ever shows up at your performances. Date of last tolerability: 1965.
Materials Required: A media blowjob that never, ever stops.
Estimated Cost: We gots extra!
USC head coach Pete Carroll
Suggested Costume: Pamela Anderson
Reasoning: Your fake tits have certainly lured a bevy of unsuspecting young males into your trap, but how much longer can it last?
Materials Required: Fake tits.
Estimated Cost: In LA? Not much.
USC running back Reggie Bush
Suggested Costume: George Bush.
Reasoning: OMG DID YOU KNOW THEY CALL YOU PRESIDENT BUSH
Materials Required: One squinty glare, ten billion dollars.
Estimated Cost: Just the glare if you borrow on your future NFL earnings.
Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr
This man doesn't lose to Minnesota.
Suggested Costume: CTU agent Jack Bauer.
Reasoning: YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.
Materials Required: Badass, do-anything-to-get-the-job-done mentality.
Estimated Cost: Let's get serious here.
ABC studio analyst Aaron Taylor
Suggested Costume: The gimp from Pulp Fiction
Reasoning: It's got a gag.
Materials Required: Various pieces of bondage gear.
Estimated Cost: Just check your basement.
Michigan blogger Brian from MGoBlog
Suggested Costume: Sniper cat.
Reasoning: What costume?
Materials required: Nearby belltower.
Estimated Cost: One, two dozen, depending on how much cover I have.
Alabama blogger/Legitimate Journalist Warren St. John
Suggested Costume: Bear Bryant.
Reasoning: You can point to the picture on the wall of your office and talk about that time you met Warren St. John.
Materials Required: Houndstooth fedora, legions of worshipping admirers.
Estimated Cost: $34.95 for the fedora, check on the latter.
College football ruling class The Gang Of Six
Suggested Costume: Thomas Pynchon
Reasoning: I don't really understand anything that's going on with your complicated plots and frankly some of them sort of suck, but I am assured by others that it's all freaking genius.
terials Required: Learned English Dog, robot mallard, V1 rocket, meandering incomprehensible plot, musical numbers.
Estimated Cost: Two months of my life.
Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton
Suggested Costume: Charles Woodson
Reasoning: You're God, aren't you?
Materials Required: Heisman trophy, whining Tennessee fans, national championship, finest season ever produced by a defensive player in the history of college football.
Estimated Cost: 10-12 years of a Woodson-less Jim Herrmann.
College football blogger Joey from Straight Bangin'
Suggested Costume: Lloyd Carr
Reasoning: I just want to see if the Universe explodes.
Materials Required: Jowls.
Estimated Cost: 3 losses per year. Unless it's this year.
Suggested Costume: Bunsen and Beaker
Reasoning: EEEP EEEP MEEP EEP MEEEP EEP
Materials required: Copious scientific analysis; hand up your ass.
Estimated Cost: Hand up your ass.
Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt
Suggested Costume: Carrot Top.
Reasoning: Your entire existence appears to be an unfunny joke.
Materials required: Ridiculous hair, set of props that are poisoned by association.
Estimated cost: Check and check!
Can Texas get unschnieded? Will anyone score in the PSU-OSU game? What the hell is going on in the SEC? What about those other undefeated teams in California? How many touchdowns will Arizona beat USC by? Negative sixty!
ALL THIS AND MORE! NEW AND IMPROVED! COMMENT A HEAH!