No deltas because I forgot to insert a ballot last week.
Things got a little weird this week.
Oregon State? They've got three games in the books, all wins against BCS competition: Wisconsin, UCLA, and Arizona. Arizona and UCLA have wins against Nebraska and Arizona. Wisconsin kind of sucks I guess but still is favored to make the B10 championship game. As we move almost entirely towards resume voting, theirs stands out.
Texas so low? Combination of lingering preseason skepticism plus the fact that they maybe probably could have should have lost to Okie State but got bailed out by a non-fumble call.
GUH POLL GUH GUH GUH. Speaking of the poll at large, you know where USC is? 14. Stanford? 18. You know what happened when they played like two weeks ago? Yeah. Stanford won, you guys.
Hate Oklahoma. They have nothing on their resume at this point except a closer-than-it-looks win over UTEP and a loss to K-State. I am still hanging on to some expectation-based voting, and that's the only reason on they're still in there.
LA Tech. Two road wins over Illinois and Virginia plus a couple other shootout wins over Houston and Rice, which aren't good. Could ascend to legit BCS buster status in two weeks against A&M.
MIAMI? 3-0 in the ACC and almost locked into the championship game already.
It's been two weeks since Michigan's last home game, and for me and the wife it meant two Saturdays at someone else's stadium: Notre Dame and—unrelated to the Great Meeting of the Bloggerati—Georgia. The first I went with my cousin and her kid, who's about the age I was when his father took me up to campus and I got Desmond'ed. The second was with two of my best friends from college, one of whom married a major Bulldog fan and couldn't bring his kid because you don't bring kids to SEC conference games—maybe Florida-Atlantic, but people still look at you strange.
I thought I'd use the bye week opportunity to share the experiences as compared to Michigan.
South Bend and Notre Dame du Lac vs. Ann Arbor: If not for the signs (which you should ignore because they tell dirty lies) you wouldn't realize there's a city here. Northern Indiana once you leave the part you pass to get to Chicago is right out of Rudy: small industrial belt homes nooked close together right up to the point campus has to start. We parked (for free) on the south side of Coquillard Park and at this point you notice or somebody informs you that Notre Dame is a fifth of the size of your median Big Ten school. The closest thing they have to a State Street or South University is a one-block collection of chain-ish restaurants in a pair of newer building complexes that straddle Eddy Street.
Their Main Street/downtown is about 2 miles southwest of the stadium and reminds me of Kalamazoo or a smaller Grand Rapids. The College Football Hall of Fame is here but we wanted to tailgate and it's something you rope Greg Dooley into doing with you but probably not a 12-year-old.
Coming from the south you are hitting a collection of buildings constructed or heavily renovated after 2004. The stadium owns this area. Once past (and to the left of) that and the new stuff you're in something a late Bourbon king probably commissioned. And it's here you remember or someone tells you that despite the mascot this started as a French institution, and was designed to French tastes. Having been to Ireland extensively and lived in France, this is a good thing.
On to the stadium and such, after a jump.
New Yost. Looks nice…
…but is set to further erode the atmosphere in the stadium as the first three rows of the student section have been excised for additional handicap seating. I guess it's inevitable that would eat out a chunk of the students because money is the primary motivator for the department, but that continues a long tradition of crapping on the student section without offering anything in return that started with the terribly-designed (and perpetually half-empty) club seat overhang that eliminated the last four rows on that side of the arena and made a further four or five partially obstructed when you stand, as students do. With every renovation the capacity gets smaller and the prices go up.
Meanwhile, this is not a good idea:
On the bright side, it appears that opposing parents are sitting next to us this year. [insert evil laugh here]
Maybe the student section has mellowed enough in the past five years to make this workable but the last time this happened, hockey parents moving into the students to find who was talking about their boy were an annual occurrence. Michigan's asking for it.
Descent into Captain Queeg-dom: 75% complete. Mark Dantonio's presided over two mass player brawls, picked multiple players up from jail to drive them to practice, seen William Gholston treat Denard Robinson's head like a beer with a twist-off cap and punch Taylor Lewan without lifting a finger (the Big Ten levied the suspension, remember), had a public hissy fit after last week's EMU game, and he's just getting started.
As I was checking out the Brayfriend Experience in Athens, Michigan State was playing Ohio State in East Lansing. A film kerfuffle and eye-gouging incident have obscured the true WTF moment from that game:
Will Gholston laid motionless on top of Braxton Miller for a good 30 seconds after that hit, wobbled off the field, and then returned. The sideline reporter dutifully related that Gholston "had the wind knocked out of him."
That's appalling. Anyone who hits the video above can see the ref tapping Gholston in the back to get up; he does not get up. He's just taken a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit and lays there for 30 seconds. Does it matter if he's actually unconscious or just incapable of moving for 30 seconds? No. That guy is done for the day, unless you're Dantonio. The blatant lie about what happened to him is just the cherry on top.
I guess it's nice that Dantonio has the same disregard for the safety of his own players as he does for his opponents, though. (Remember who was Robert Reynolds's DC: Dantonio.) He's got that going for him.
I assume this will once and for all end the bible-thumping, square-jawed discipline dean media meme, right?
BONUS: hey, guess what everyone who said words to the effect of "good" in the thread on this on the board got? Banned.
In other MSU news. Their OL took another hit when starting center Travis Jackson went out for the year against OSU. They inserted journeyman senior Ethan Ruhland at center after the injury and are rolling with a redshirt freshman at LG; Blake Treadwell has been bouncing in and out of the lineup with injury. If Michigan had suffered the injuries they have already we'd be sitting here in sackcloth and ashes—okay, more sackcloth and ashes—gibbering.
OSU's Jordan Hall tore his PCL and is doubtful for next week but apparently will be "evaluated on a week to week basis."
Uniforms. No Z. We'll see how the motion shortz go with these things but these actually look pretty slick from the rear:
This will all be ruined by Muff the Magic Block M on the front, I know.
UPDATE: front. I like 'em.
Why are we stopping this again? Michigan-ND kills, man:
SATURDAY PRIMETIME COLLEGE FOOTBALL TELECASTS
That was an NBC record. Surely NBC is pissed off that Stanford for some reason is taking the place of M-ND and that Purdue and Duke and Wake Forest are hitting up Irish schedules now.
Maisel also points out that this is all Texas's fault.
If only anyone had paid any attention last year. Gholston a draft faller:
William Gholston*/DE/Michigan State: Gholston failed to impress during the Spartans' devastating conference defeat at the hands of Ohio State. Though he continued to play despite being injured in the first half, Gholston provided no impact and was minimally productive. In five games this season, he has posted just a single sack.
I thought they were nice. I may have been wrong.
Yeah, but have they had two people on Survivor? Georgia has. I saw it on their jumbotron.
News bullets and other important items:
- Bye weeks. They are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal.
- Aside from the guys who are out for the year, everyone except maybe Brandon Moore and maybe Marvin Robinson should be back for Purdue.
- Also except for Nathan Brink.
“You know, the bye weeks, I think you never know when a good bye week is, when it’s not a good bye week -- I don’t think you really know that until you go through it. I think it was good because of the productivity that we got from having the bye week. I would hope we have that, the productivity, anytime the bye week was, but I think we got to really re-evaluate where we’re at and what we want to do. I think you evaluate yourselves a little bit as coaches. I think that’s always a big part of it. Different things in the aspects that you’re involved with, from the kicking, the defense, the offense. You always look at self-scouting, see where you’re at, what you might want to do different or what you like, what you’re doing.
"I think the other part of it is the teaching part, the fundamentals, and those things that go along with it. I think the other part, which was big, was the guys who are traveling who are freshmen have not been home since June 25th. We have a lot of those guys from the state, got a lot of those guys within driving distance from Ohio and Chicago. It was good to give them about 36 hours to be a human being and go home and maybe watch their high school play, see mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncles, whoever -- I thought that was positive. And then from the academic side also I think it’s always a help.
"So we’ll find out obviously Saturday. We’ve got a tremendous challenge because I think Purdue’s playing as well as anybody in our league right now. Three and one. Went to South Bend and played a hard-fought tough game, had a chance to win the game. So we got our work cut out for us.”
Michigan football senior/junior defensive lineman Nathan Brink (Holland, Mich./Holland Christian) suffered an undisclosed injury during practice last week and will be out indefinitely. Brink has appeared in all four games this season and has two tackles, including 1.5 stops for losses
I take that to mean his season's over since The Fort doesn't release any injury information it absolutely doesn't have to. If they're telling people it's because they know word will get out anyway once Brink is spotted on crutches or whatever walking around campus or on gameday.
Brink's not a huge loss but Michigan's thin DL just got thinner. This means more playing time for Keith Heitzman and… well, Keith Heitzman. Also Jibreel Black, who will probably take some of the snaps Brink was getting as a rotation 3-tech.
UPDATE: Heritage Newspaper is saying it's a neck injury, so Brink will transfer to MSU and play next weekend because he's just had the wind knocked out of him.
9/29/2012 – Georgia 51, Tennessee 44
[WHAT THIS IS: I took the opportunity presented by the Michigan bye week to head down to Georgia and take in an ESS-EEE-CEE game with Spencer Hall, Doug Gillett, and Michael of Braves and Birds and SBN Atlanta. I'd gone to an Auburn game a few years back because a good friend is an Auburn guy and acquired a taste for college football tourism, which is why I went.]
You go on a plane and get off of it and eventually you end up in the upper deck of a stadium far more vertical than Michigan's and look down at everything and in that moment you get the full weight of college football.
When it's your fandom, you've got a lifetime of dog-kicking and air-walking that tethers you to the larger institution. On Sunday I ended up watching most of the Falcons-Panthers game with a couple of Falcons fans who had mostly contempt for the larger NFL*. When you're just there to catch some football, you can appreciate the thing itself. On Saturday, I wiped the corners of my eye when Georgia put that Herschel Walker run on the screen and saw Orson do the same when they put a solo trumpeter in the corner of the upper deck to play the opening notes of the Battle Hymn of the Republic as Larry Munson said the same thing he always has.
Neither of us gives a damn about Georgia; both of us are pledged to other outfits. Doesn't matter. The weight of the institution is heavy, and genuine, and involves weird things that evoke Ghostbusters…
…and that Herschel Walker run. There's a dog on the opponent's sideline with an air conditioned house, and Tyler Bray is about to take the field. Football.
I was pretty sure the guy who would leave the lasting impression would be Jarvis Jones, Georgia's missile OLB/DE. He'd spent most of Georgia's game against Missouri flossing Tiger QB James Franklin's teeth and promised to do so again against college football's leading artillery piece, Tyler Bray. That was not to be the case. Jones did little, and I left thinking "I saw Tyler Bray play."
Bray is not great. He may be good, but it's hard to tell on a Tennessee team that can't run the ball or stop the run or maintain leverage even one damn time in a three-hour football game. This only increases the enjoyment of watching Bray play as he tries to cover up for Tennessee's myriad other flaws. Bray is gonna Bray. We have Derek Dooley to thank for this.
Several times a game you will see Bray decide to unleash the dragon well before it's clear this is a good idea. If you see Bray lean back, the ball is going 40 to 60 yards. He will do this ages before it's clear this is a good idea. Bray don't care. You will see teams of orange-pantsed gnomes wind the kid up as the play develops. He'll sidestep a rusher (or fumble) as the gnomes get a satisfying CHUNK out of Bray and he clicks further back. Once sufficient chunks have been chunked, the ball will zing out of Bray's hand at lethal speeds, destination unknown but awesome.
After Georgia rolled out to a 27-10 lead that was one fluky pick-six away from being game over, they did neutrals a favor by taking a shotgun to their foot repeatedly at the end of the first half. After the first of these, the game became a series of spectacular MMA knockouts. Orson and I ended independently going "OHHHHHHHHHH" and jumping up and down and laughing when Bray would laser a flat-footed pass 60 yards downfield into coverage for a completion, or do the same for an interception, or fumble, or throw a perfect deep ball that Cordarelle Patterson would drop, or chop a linebacker down as Patterson turns a failed trick play into a knee-slapping did-you-see-that winding touchdown run that took him from one side of the field to the other.
By the fourth quarter, the Bray lean was Christmas morning. On Tennessee's second to last drive, he tossed a back-foot laser to Patterson 30 yards downfield (dropped), then leaned back to hurl a spectacular NFL interception twenty yards downfield on a line. On UT's last drive he scrambled around in the pocket, leaning back the whole way until he fumbled, ending the Vols' hopes. Bray finished 24 for 45 with two touchdowns, a third eighty-yarder dropped, three interceptions, and a lost fumble.
I have seen Tyler Bray play football, and it was everything it could have possibly been. He's three hours of jumping up and down and going "OHHHHH" as you feel a stadium you don't belong to lurch back and forth queasily, in a place that puts the weight of Herschel Walker on your shoulders.
*[As they should, since this is a league that looks at fourth and one for the game with Cam Newton at QB and says "punt." Rod Gilmore swells with pride, NFL.]
Obligatory Comparison Bullets
Apparently I only do this when Michigan has two losses. M was 1-2 in 2008 when I went to Auburn.
Auburn test: passed. The weirdest thing about that Auburn game a few years back was preparing to stand and yell on what would eventually be LSU's gamewinning drive, looking around, and having to sit down sheepishly because no one else in the section thought this might be a good moment to yell their throat raw. I really needed "they s'posed to be SEC!" to be invented already to describe that.
Anyway, on two different Tennessee fourth quarter drives to tie, Georgia passed the Fans S'posed To Be SEC test. Auburn, you're on notice.
Bands. For the second straight week I was about as far away from a band as I could be—this time it was Tennessee's—and could hear them loud and clear. Unlike Notre Dame's, this had nothing to do with amplification. They were just loud as hell. Michigan either needs to figure their amplification out or start blasting it as loud as other folks, or they won't recover their lost status. The piped-in music at Georgia was significantly less frequent than it is at Michigan Stadium, FWIW.
I asked Orson, BTW, and he related that virtually all SEC games feature both bands. They're more tightly packed than the Big Ten—or at least were before expansion—but not busing the MMB down to Northwestern or Indiana or Purdue is pretty lame.
Also the MMB should play "Paint it Black," as the Georgia band did.
Chants. Georgia fans are short on them. They have a couple of generic GO X and GEOR-GIA chants but I didn't come away from the game with anything else in my head at all. Auburn was considerably different, and Michigan has a lot of inscrutable student stuff and Let's Go Blue and the wave and whatnot. [Ed-S: They bark a lot. There's also a "Who's that comin' down the line?" responsive chant the students were doing during the walk down to the stadium]
Georgia fans. A collared shirt tucked into khakis is their equivalent of OSU fans wearing jerseys. Median names are "Tad," "Chad," and "Brad." In general looked like a group of folks keenly interested in Ryder Cup updates. Extremely friendly—didn't see anything approximating crap given to Tennessee fans, or vice versa, though there weren't a whole lot of opportunities because Volunteers seemed scarce.
Michigan similarities are obvious.
Athens. Like Bray, everything it was supposed to be, at least insofar as that can be determined in a day. Gorgeous, seemed packed with things to do, kind of like an Ann Arbor that happened to be the best place in the state to catch a show. A college town with adult things in it.
SEC tailgating: great until you turn campus into Fallout. This was also a thing at Auburn I noticed: there's a lot of extremely pretty tailgating going down on the campus itself. The equivalent would be if a large portion of Michigan's tailgating was on the Diag, which is not possible because Michigan's main campus is extremely compact and the football stadium is a hike.
By contrast, a lot of Big Ten tailgating takes place in parking lots. Michigan: golf course or parking lots. Ohio State: all parking lot. ND: parking lot. PSU: not a parking lot because it is an open field. Northwestern: parking lot. Etc.
This makes for excellent tailgating, and a lot of dead grass on campus.
Desire to play Georgia: significantly incremented. I would love to go back to see winged helmets run out of the tunnel. That would be a wow experience.
Spread is dead, part XVIVII. Four years ago at Auburn I watched a guy do this:
Auburn now does the thing where the team doesn't huddle, lines up, looks ready to snap the ball, relaxes, and then looks to the sideline for the call. Whenever Auburn would do this, an elderly Auburn fan was visibly, I-can't-set-the-time-on-this-damned-VCR agitated, throwing his hands in the air in disgust. This obvious discontent seemed to spread to the other oldsters around him as the game continued.
This was during Tony Franklin's brief tenure as Auburn OC. Four years later Auburn has won a national title with a spread option and both of these teams spent a majority of their snaps in the shotgun, refusing to huddle and looking to the sideline for play checks. Now, this spread does not equal a Rodriguez spread 'n' shred or Oregon or the Air Raid or whatever, but I was struck by how much different the conventional wisdom is now. No one had a conniption fit about any of this; it was just natural.
This is bizarre.
That is all.
Orson on the game:
One scoreboard graphic is the shell game cartoon most stadiums use as interstitial entertainment. In UGA's case, a bulldog puts an order of fries beneath one of three small doghouses, and then shuffles them around quickly while fans scream out "THREEE! IT'S UNDER THREE, Y'ALL!!!"
At one point the cartoon came to a stop, and UGA pulled up one doghouse to reveal a tiny UGA. A guy behind us, in the thickest Georgia accent imaginable, cried out:
"NOOOOOO!!! YOU WANT THE FRIES, NOT THE DAWG!!!!"
Maybe it's because Tennessee fans have been beaten down by life, but I did not see a single angry word exchanged between Dawg and Vol fans in Athens on Saturday. It was really the best that the SEC can be in terms of a passionate crowd that does not spill over into being Philadelphian assholes.
Doug takes the UGA fan POV.