no, YOU'RE off topic
Wisconsin’s still at the top (source)
Your Weekly B1G Hoops Column
Table of Contents
Revisiting preseason predictions
Checking in on Wisconsin
Creativity charts – Ohio State and Maryland
Nebraska spends too much time at the beach
Indiana, Purdue both lose
Is Penn State for real?
Halfway-point All-Conference teams
Re-Ranking the conference
Viewer’s guide: Week One
1. Revisiting preseason predictions
Back before the season, I made some predictions as to how the Big Ten pecking order would shake out. With the end of non-conference play, it’s time to check on who I hit and missed on:
Here’s how the teams rank according to a variety of metrics:
The biggest outliers (from what I predicted) so far:
- Michigan (minus 8) – the Wolverines’ performance in the non-conference season failed to meet even the most pessimistic of expectations, as a 6-5 record against D-I opponents and brutal home upsets at the hands of NJIT and Eastern Michigan are far cries from the lofty standards of these past few years. John Beilein’s characteristically beautiful offense has become a stagnant mess and Michigan simply doesn’t shoot the ball well enough from the field to succeed. Chances are that UM isn’t as bad as they’ve shown, but there needs to be a lot of improvement for an NCAA Tournament bid to be in play.
- Nebraska (minus 6) – Tim Miles doesn’t have Michigan’s excuse (inexperience), as the Huskers returned pretty much the same team as the upstart squad from a year ago and have looked incredibly listless. Losses to Incarnate Word and Hawaii rival Michigan’s bad results and Nebraska’s offense actually worsened from “mediocre” to “bad.” Walter Pitchford has gone invisible, Terran Petteway is still quite inefficient, and the Huskers might have the worst point guard play in the entire conference.
- TIE: Minnesota and Maryland (plus 4) – both of these teams have been pleasant surprises thus far; neither have bad losses and both have a great chanceof finishing above .500 in conference play. Minnesota beat a surprisingly decent Georgia team, Maryland defeated Iowa State and won at Oklahoma State. Impressively, the Terrapins have been operating without star senior Dez Wells, though true freshman lead guard Melo Trimble has been a revelation. Minnesota’s freshman PG, Nate Mason, hasn’t garnered the attention Trimble has, but he’s been a key part of a devastating pressure defense by the Gophers.
WE CAN RECRUIT AGAIN
Jim Harbaugh hasn't even been formally introduced and I'm panic-checking Twitter every few minutes to make sure I'm not late to start a Hello post. This is because recruits
read the papers watch the local news have the internet too, and they're excited. Really excited. There's a darn good chance top-100 tight end Chris Clark ends up back in the fold in the near future:
At this point, he says the three schools he's interested in are UCLA, Michigan State and Michigan.
But Harbaugh could be a game changer for him.
"He'd 100 percent (excite me)," Clark said. "I still love Michigan, I've always liked the school.
Harbaugh's track record of utilizing and producing quality TEs certainly won't hurt here.
Five-star 2015 CB Iman Marshall, who's readying to play in the Under Armour AA Game, told 247's Tom Loy that Michigan could vault back into contention for him ($):
The “big pick up” for Michigan, as Marshall calls it, is regarding the potential hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the new head coach of the Wolverines.
“That would be great,” said Marshall. “The fact that Michigan would have a dude that came from the league with the [San Francisco] 49ers and someone who has coached a national championship contending team is big. That would be real dope.”
Marshall said he's visit Ann Arbor if Harbaugh was hired, per TomVH. USC is the heavy favorite to land Marshall, but just getting him on campus would be a huge step forward after his interest in the Wolverines had cooled significantly.
Another elite defensive back, four-star DC CB Marcus Lewis, told Rivals' Mike Farrell in a video interview that he'd consider Michigan again if Harbaugh was hired, and mentioned the possibility of an official visit. Lewis, who'd previously held the Wolverines in very high regard, currently has a top three of Kentucky, Washington State, and Miami, in that order—that seems like a top group a Harbaugh-led Michigan program could crack pretty easily.
Michigan could also jump back into the mix for four-star OLB Joshua McMillon, who told Rivals' Adam Gorney he'd consider taking an official should Harbaugh take over ($). McMillon's coach, however, said he expects McMillon to stick with his Alabama commitment either way.
Harbaugh won't be the only big recruiting pull, in all likelihood. Florida defensive coordinator and current interim head coach DJ Durkin, the 2012 Rivals Recruiter of the Year, should also attract serious talent if he takes the DC job at Michigan, as expected. Top-50 2015 OLB Roquan Smith told TomVH he'd take an official to Michigan should Durkin join Harbaugh's staff.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup. Yes, you'll actually want to read it this time.]
|HC @ San Francisco||2011-14|
|HC @ Stanford||2007-10|
|HC @ San Diego||2004-06|
|QB @ Oakland||2002-03|
|GA(?) @ WKU||1994-01|
|QB at Michigan, 1983-86|
|QB, various NFL, 1987-2001|
Jim Harbaugh is a high-functioning lunatic. The other way to say this is "FOOTBALL COACH," all-caps mandatory. Raised by a high-functioning lunatic who exhorted his kids to attack each day with "an enthusiasm unknown to mankind," coached by a high-functioning lunatic who could repeat "the team" until it became a mantra to live by, brother to a high-functioning lunatic who beat him in a Super Bowl, Jim Harbaugh was born to do this job, in this place, at this time.
Jim Harbaugh repeatedly shoots ten-year-olds to win laser tag. He smears his players' blood on his face as war paint. He yells at ESPN camera crews to talk to his quarterback instead of him when his third-string pottery major orchestrates the biggest upset in the history of college football. He quotes Bo and his dad, who is also of Bo, probably without even realizing it anymore. He will not get yelled at when ordering at Blimpy, and he is the fifth-winningest NFL coach of all time. He resurrected Stanford from the dead and set them up for their longest sustained success ever. He can recite Bob Ufer calls from memory.
He is the head coach of the University of Michigan. Finally.
Harbaugh's coaching career actually started while he was still an NFL player. Not content with merely being a quarterback, Harbaugh started helping out with father Jack's Western Kentucky program. Harbaugh was a freelance recruiter:
The plan was simple: Jim owned a home in Orlando, the heart of one of the most talent-rich recruiting areas in the country. So he became an NCAA-certified volunteer assistant coach for WKU, which allowed him to recruit. John, meanwhile, leaned on the scouting services, deep contacts and endless high school game footage they had at Cincinnati, which as a Division I-A school had a far larger budget than Division I-AA Western Kentucky.
…That's how Willie Taggart came home one day from track practice at Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee High School and got a message from his sister.
"She told me a guy by the name of Jim Harbaugh called," Taggart said. "I was like, 'What?' "
Harbaugh recruited 17 kids on WKU's 2002 I-AA national championship team, after which both Jim and Jack retired—Jack from coaching, Jim from the NFL. The next year Harbaugh was the Raiders' QB coach, and two years after that he left, crazily, for San Diego, a non-scholarship I-AA school.
In San Diego he inherited at 8-2 outfit, but one that had bounced around .500 for the previous four years. Harbaugh went 7-4 in year one and then took the Toreros to back to back conference championships—their first ever. He was 11-1 in both of those years, and finished 2005 as the #1 team in the mid-major (ie: non-scholarship) I-AA poll. That's a sort of national title.
After Harbaugh's third year at San Diego, a plainly desperate Stanford took a flier on him. After the departure of Ty Willingham to Notre Dame, Stanford hired Buddy Teevens. Teevens lasted only three years, winning all of five conference games and never finishing better than 4-7. Pitt head coach Walt Harris was brought in, had a decent first season, and then cratered. Stanford was one of the worst teams in D-I in Harris's second season, going 1-11. Harris lost to San Jose State and suffered humiliating blowouts against most of the schedule: 48-10 against Oregon, 37-9 against Navy, 38-3 against Arizona State, etc etc etc. Stanford was 110th in the 2006 S&P ratings (FEI only goes back to '07), barely ahead of Eastern Michigan.
[Italics == not coached by Harbaugh]
Harbaugh instantly took Stanford from one of the worst teams in the country to competitive, and then depending on which metric you're looking at either had an unlucky and high quality 2009 or made an enormous leap in 2010.
Stanford is an interesting case in the context of these rating systems: S&P is a play-based metric that prizes explosiveness. FEI uses drives and doesn't care if you take 1 or 15 plays to get to the endzone. Harbaugh Stanford was manball to end all manball, and unsurprisingly FEI is generally more enthused than S&P. Harbaugh defied statistical convention—S&P has very good reasons to prize explosiveness—to create one of the ass-kickingest teams in all of college football. In a world where the spread has come to dominate, Harbaugh is a proven outlier.
Harbaugh also built a program. When I do these I generally like to see declines when the coach in question is a coordinator. That shows the guy was able to do more with basically the same talent. But when he's in charge of the whole shebang sustained quality after departure is a good sign, especially when the program you left decides their best course of action is to hire internally to keep a good thing going. When Brady Hoke left Ball State after their breakout year, the Cardinals went with an entirely new staff and immediately collapsed back to the pack. When Harbaugh left Stanford, they hired his offensive coordinator, attempted to preserve everything he'd brought the program, and ripped off three consecutive 11-win seasons.
By the time Harbaugh had built Stanford into Football Ron Swanson, he was the hottest coaching prospect anywhere, college or pro. In 2011 he accepted the 49ers job, taking over a franchise that hadn't been to the playoffs since 2002 and was coming off a 6-10 year.
Harbaugh instantly made them excellent.
|Team||Year||Record||DVOA – overall||DVOA – D||DVOA – O|
In year one the Niners went from a –41 point differential to +151, went 13-3, and lost in the NFC championship game. The next year he made the Super Bowl, losing a three-point game to his brother. In 2013 the Niners were one infamous Richard Sherman play away from returning to the Super Bowl. It was only this year, long after the Niners management had undermined Harbaugh's tenure, that the 49ers slipped to average. Even then they went 8-8 despite facing an avalanche of injuries. The main reason they weren't in the playoff hunt was the NFC South losing every game outside of its division.
Even with the slip to .500 in year four, it would take a truly moronic owner to cast Jim Harbaugh aside. Jed York is that man. And now Michigan has theirs.
[After THE JUMP: Xs and Os, recruiting, HARBAUGH.]
I made a hype video.
How did Michigan get a top five NFL coach to come back to college? There's actually one word for it: passion.
The school is so passionate about football that it was willing to give Harbaugh whatever tools and control he asked for. The big money donors are so passionate that they offered to finance NFL-/Saban-like money for Harbaugh and a top-echelon staff. The fans are so passionate that they flooded onto every message board and commented on every medium every time some writer or TV person seemed likely to breath so much as "Har…" Jim's friends and former teammates are so passionate that they reportedly formed a train of callers and kept up an unrelenting press since November. And finally Jim is so passionate about his school that he gave up/set aside his (apparently real) NFL aspirations to come back to the farm.
College doesn't have the NFL's money, nor its cachet, nor is it the pinnacle of the sport. But the thing about college football is we care way more. That's why it happened.
SITE NOTE: we're caching the front page hardcore. Logins don't work on it, but will work on other pages.
It has happened. Jim Harbaugh will be Michigan's head coach starting Tuesday. The race to tell you water is wet is on in earnest, but with even ESPN grudgingly admitting it, it's 100%. These four gentlemen were the first:
I just got off the phone with more sources tonight. It's done. Jim Harbaugh is coming to Michigan - and his friends are flying in Monday.
— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) December 28, 2014
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 28, 2014
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) December 28, 2014
Summation per multiple sources (including one within 49ers organization) - Michigan Expecting to Name Harbaugh Coach http://t.co/3dRTBHfYiu
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) December 28, 2014
John Clayton is saying it's "100%" with Harbaugh pinging NFL assistants about their desire to come with him; there is an army of comically out of touch NFL people saying the Raiders aren't dead yet without even considering what the 49ers would prefer—not the Raiders.
HOLDING STEADY. I haven't gotten anything that would change my stance her\e since yesterday. That, of course, is this:
I did get a terrifyingly titled email ("John Harbaugh –> Jim To Oakland = $5 million") that turned out to be a third hand report that if Jim wanted to go to the Raiders the 49ers were planning on extracting the full freight of his contract from him. I have lectured this person on titling emails.
Other than that it's just more of the same. I can't quite say it's a done deal but I would be shocked if this did not happen.
THEY'RE OUT THERE. Feldman reports that Michigan officials are going to be in San Francisco today and tomorrow.
#Michigan brass & search firm will be up in the Bay Area this weekend as part of the Jim Harbaugh pursuit, per source.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 27, 2014
I've heard this is not so much a negotiation as just picking him up. Terms are settled.
ANOTHER MOVE. In the last couple days, even Rivals—the most cautious of the three paysites—has moved off their 50/50 and declared things to be 85% likely, and then said they'd call it if it was election day, and then that "this is happening" which HEY BUDDY THAT'S OUR PHRASE TO FLOG INTO THE GROUND. Balas now says it would be "beyond surreal"—squared!—if it did not happen.
In any case: the most conservative set of Michigan insiders has the lampshade on its head and is trying to drink shots through it.
ANOTHER REPORT? It's unclear whether this report from Harbaugh's (currently) local ABC station is independent or not. It uses SOURCES in its title (#sources) but the text is may only be referencing Joe Pequeno, the Arizona sportscaster who is this search's most random insider. This may be actual SOURCES, though:
Friday night, the unconfirmed reports began surfacing that Harbaugh will meet with representatives from the University of Michigan and one source says that a deal is already done.
The phrasing there makes it hard to tell if they're actually talking to people or just taking other stuff and not mentioning or linking it because BLOGS. Take it FWIW. Local news is not often the kind of place that breaks these things, but if San Francisco-based folks are hearing the same things Michigan-oriented ones are that's another quality sign.
Source says verbal agreement in place for Jim Harbaugh to become new Michigan coach. No contracts signed, but UM feels real confident.
— Joe Pequeno (@JoePequenoCBS5) December 27, 2014
That was just a few minutes ago and did not spur the ABC report.
THEY DON'T WANT TO GO ON THE CART. Rapoport raporeports that the Raiders are going to try.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2014
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2014
(Rapoport knows the Raiders are always in the Bay Area. Also, check the extensive reply lists on those tweets for a quick compare/contrast with the La Canforas and Kawakamis of the world. Rapoport doesn't seem to have the best sources here but at least he's a professional.)
I don't think that's going to change much of anything. While the Raiders have been restricted by NFL tampering rules it's not like Harbaugh doesn't know they're interested and prepared to hand him full control. I don't buy the random tweet claiming a Sirius XM report that the 49ers have given the Raiders permission to contact Harbaugh, since it hasn't been replicated anywhere credible. Radio is always the worst for breaking news. Half of it is bunk and the other half is misheard. In this case, that would be tampering.
If Michigan wasn't already operating like their guy was in the bag I'd be more concerned, but with the entire department and folks like DJ Durkin acting like it's a fait accompli this looks like the Raiders trying to save face with their fanbase. Or just doing the usual Raiders stuff and having no idea what the score is.
STAFF STUFF. I'm pretty confident that Greg Mattison is indeed going to be part of the new staff. I've got multiple reports that he's planning on staying in town and would like to continue, and Mattison has a long history with various Harbaughs. DJ Durkin seems all but assured as well given what we've heard about him, but I don't have anything that's been shared with me privately to add to the obvious. Scout has a freebie with some pretty strong indications that Durkin's on his way:
Word from a rival SEC assistant is that scenario [Durkin to M] is much more than rumor.
“He is waiting for Harbaugh to call him within the next 24 hours to make him the defensive coordinator at Michigan,” the assistant said.
I'd also bet a dollar that Ty Wheatley joins the staff as a RB coach with something like "run game coordinator" or "co-OC" tacked on and a salary bump from generic assistant coach.
[NOTE: Last time I bet a dollar in searchbits (on Mullen being plan B) a number of people thought this was a coy way to say "this is a lock"—it's not. It just means I bet a dollar. I have reason to think that thing is happening but would not bet, say, the MGoWife on it.]
Past that I don't have any names that I think are particularly likely. Mattison sticking might be bad news for Roy Manning, who is a LB coach by trade. Mattison and Durkin are both capable of handling LBs, and Mattison fills the ace recruiter and holdover the guys trust roles. I still think Manning's got a shot since every staff needs a guy on it who knows what this means…
— Ty Isaac (@TyIsaac) December 26, 2014
…but I haven't heard much about him sticking.
247 brings up an interesting name($): Vince Marrow, currently the tight ends coach at Kentucky. Marrow's had a deeply weird career, with a few years as a fringe NFL player followed by short stints in NFL Europe as a player and coach, a year in the Arena league, a year as Toledo's TE coach, a singe year as a HS head coach, a TE coach job with the Omaha Nighthawks(?!), two years as a GA at Nebraska, and finally his three years at Kentucky under Mark Stoops as the TE coach/recruiting coordinator.
Why is a guy like this on the radar? Kentucky's Ohio recruiting. Kentucky has been killing it in the state under Marrow, beating out Big Ten teams not named Michigan or Ohio State for prospect after prospect. With Harbaugh likely to be the QB coach Michigan has a spot to play with for a guy like Marrow.
Rivals just brought up Stanford DC Lance Anderson as a likely staff member, but getting both Durkin and Anderson seems extremely far-fetched. Anderson's unit kept Stanford afloat this year, so he's not getting a demotion. Durkin seems all but certain, so is he really coming for a co-DC slot? Is Durkin? Are we not even handing Mattison title frippery appropriate to his station? There are obviously a number of connections between Anderson and Harbaugh, but unless Durkin's waiting on a DC spot that's not guaranteed to be his—highly unlikely—that fails common sense checks.
WHY. The NFL doesn't understand this.
Last thing: The fan fervor for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan cannot be duplicated by the NFL or many actual religions. This I can attest to.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 27, 2014
That's why it's happening.
ETC.: Utah's coaching staff has been raided over the past week or so and now a local radio guy says it's "highly unlikely" Whittingham returns. Weird stuff, though radio disclaimer applies.
Colin Cowherd tweets out Seth's Harbaugh photoshop, hopefully teaching Seth to watermark things in the future. Iman Marshall interested? Stability a good thing, and a thing the Raiders aren't into offering.
Harbaugh on Brisco County Jr., because we all need to be reminded of these things.