I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
I'm trying to pull down the game so I can bring forth some highlights... this is not going that well. So a double-barrel UFR blast tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to do video clips, but maybe not. There's not that much to discuss about the defense: it sucks.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Wow. I believe this is the first time in Blogpoll history that voters have spit on the general consensus for #1 and gone their own way, and not only is AP/Coaches #1 USC not first but they aren't even second. Oklahoma and LSU have surged into the top two spots on the strength of their opening two weeks; USC gets to return serve this weekend against Nebraska. Other major gaps between the bloggers and the AP:
- Penn State is the highest ranked Big Ten team instead of third. The three suffered to be in the poll:
PSU 8 12
Wisc 9 7
OSU 11 10
I'm obviously biased, but the BP ordering makes much more sense given Wisconsin's narrow escape over UNLV and OSU struggling with Akron. PSU, meanwhile, clunked Notre Dame... though it remains to be seen how meaningful that is. Initial returns: not very.
- Bloggers are much higher on Oregon (#14) than the AP (#19).
- They're also sufficiently impressed with Washington and South Florida to move them in at #22 and #21, respectively; both are unranked by the AP.
- Virginia Tech, barely hanging on at #25 in the blogpoll, is #18 to the AP.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:We now have some ammo:
- Rakes has some weird placement for a lot of teams, probably because of resume ranking stuff, which I will get to later. Anyway: Arizona State #5?
- Bruce Ciskie is still holding on to Boise at #21. The Fiesta Bowl is so over, Bruce.
- One of many totally egregious rankings from Dawg Sports this week: Cal #21. This is also a "resume" thing.
- Saurian Sagacity drops Cinci in at #10 after their fluky turnover fest win over Oregon State. No other voter has them higher than 17th.
- They also have Clemson #4. WTF?
- They also have Florida #17... WTF WTF?
- And they're not even the most pessimistic about UF: Rakes has them #20, Dawg Sports #23.
- The Hoosier report holds on to Miami at #22. Miami(OH)? No.
- Dan Shanoff puts Rutgers #3.
There are more wack anomalies with the ballots of Rakes and Dawg Sports. It's all pretty weird out here in week two.
Hey, at least no one put Appalachian State #13. Not that they could have if they wanted to anyway.
Note: the CSS below is messed up. Sorry. Will fix ASAP.
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.
This week's Mr. Bold. is not SMQB but another proponent of this "resume ranking" thing I railed against last week: Dawg Sports. To get a number like 9.0 in this category, you have to be totally insane. One glance at this ballot confirms: UCLA #3, Washington #4, Missouri #5, BC #6, etc. etc. etc. Because beating one of the worst schools in a BCS conference (Stanford and Syracuse for UCLA and Washington) and a respectable mid-major (BYU and Boise, respectively) is much more impressive than beating Auburn on the road (#9 USF)? And beating Tennessee thoroughly means nothing if a couple quick scores in a road game against Colorado State narrows that game and causes you to rank Cal #21? Pure resume ranking often produces incoherent results in the first few weeks, but this ballot doesn't even make internal sense and comes dangerously close to the level at which I would spike a ballot.
Look: it's good that bloggers have paid attention to the first couple weeks enough to elevate LSU and ding VT and do all the things that made this week's poll an interesting item, but there is a happy medium between rote AP "they win they stay" and this stuff. At this point, polls should still have some element of projection if only because many teams haven't actually shown their wares on the field. When we get into week five and week six, resume rank all you want (and by the end of the year, you should have completely discarded your preseason projections for Actual Events), but at the moment is leads to incoherent, silly-ass ballots. All things in moderation.
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 Ramblin' Racket returns to wrest the CK Award away from Bruins Nation after a one-week hiatus. Last year any blogger with the hubris to rank high in this category saw his team immediately struck down... GT #5 deserves some smiting, oh yes.
Holy crap, what did Florida do last week that so soured Saurian Sagacity? The Straight Bangin' Award is theirs for dropping UF from #5 to #17 after the Gators beat Troy 59-31. Maybe the 31 alarms? Were there no meaningless garbage time touchdowns?
Swing is 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.
Mr. Manic Depressive also goes to Dawg Sports. When you entirely throw out your previous ballot in favor of something insane, you tend to win here.
Falcon Nation, a Bowling Green blog, was unmoved by last week's events and wins Mr. Stubborn. LSU clattering Virginia Tech really only warrants a four-spot drop from #5 to #9? (Also: Oregon drops a spot after beating Michigan like a mule? I mean... obviously Michigan isn't that good, but that's harsh.)
The obviously starting point for Saturday's game is Jimmy Clausen, and while pundits who note it's hard to take much away from a game where he was limited by both the offensive playcalling and defensive expertise are somewhat right, I saw enough to be happy. There were several times when he held onto the ball for too long, including the first sack of the day where simply stepping up in the pocket and delivering a strike to any of the open receivers (they all had separation to some degree, including a lonely John Carlson in the middle) would have warranted a first down, but these are correctable issues. If our biggest problems from Clausen in a game starting against those linebackers in that atmosphere is a moderate case of happy feet in leaving the pocket too soon and a willingness to hold onto the ball instead of just throwing it away, I think that's a very good thing.
Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have found our quarterback. He wasn't perfect by any means, but there were a lot of positives to Clausen's play. He throws a great ball, both accurate and quick. He was sacked a few times, but considering the line's play and the amount of times he was able to get rid of it, I can't really put too much blame in his hands. He seemed like a quarterback with a purpose, a leader that the offense sorely needs. Perhaps what I was most impressed with was his toughness. We hear about him being this prima donna, but that wasn't the case at all. He got up after every hit and was even getting on some of the wide receivers when they weren't on the same page as him.
Jimmy Clausen is going to be very good. He handled himself about as well as could be expected.
Clausen's statistics are nothing special, and he occasionally held onto the ball too long or tucked and ran too early. Yet Clausen did show the resilience and poise that Brady Quinn demonstrated in the losing effort against Purdue in 2003.
A complete dossier of all Clausen pass attempts: DRIVE ONE
- five yard swing to Armando Allen
- Allen dumpoff.
- Allen screen.
- Long handoff to George West.
- Nine yard scramble; does not see wide open Carlson in endzone.
- Swing pass to Allen for loss of one.
- Three yard scramble.
- Incomplete Armando Allen screen.
- Six yard completion to Duval Kamara on third and twenty-five.
- Long handoff to David Grimes.
- Pass to David Grimes for eight yards. Not specified what this is but probably a slant or an out given the description.
- Long handoff to David Grimes.
- Incomplete fade to George West.
- Pass to Armando Allen for seven yards. At the end of the half, Penn State is in a prevent.
- Scramble for ten yards. This runs out the clock.
- Armando Allen swing pass for one yard.
- Pass incomplete to John Carlson. Possibly dropped or batted away, apparently a good throw.
- Six yard dumpoff to Will Yeatman on third and eleven.
- Out incomplete to David Grimes on a sprintout.
- Scrambles for three yards on third and twenty. A roughing the kicker call gives them another opportunity.
- Pass complete to Golden Tate for 42 yard gain -- not specified what the route was; called back for holding.
- Dumpoff to Carlson for five yards.
- Incomplete to Grimes; details omitted.
- Incomplete to Grimes... nearly intercepted?
- George West screen for four yards.
- Pass complete to Robby Paris for 35 yards... lots of YAC apparently.
- Completion to Grimes for 14 yards.
- "Decent pass" behind Kamara that is dropped.
- Interception by Justin King on overthrown ball.
All this adds up to:
I was very encouraged by what I saw of Jimmy Clausen on Saturday. Did he miss some reads? Of course. Did he hold on the football a couple of times? Absolutely. But there was much to like about his performance on Saturday. The most important thing was his poise. ... Jimmy Clausen is special. The Irish have a future star.
Maybe he threw downfield three times and mostly against Penn State's backups long after the game was decided, but by God that's a special swing pass to Armando Allen.
The final word goes to Black Shoe Diaries:
Jimmy Clausen is the best screen passer I've ever seen.
Official Naming. From the comments of SMQB comes the official name for this game:
He's not dead yet. The Free Press, citing the always reliable "people with knowledge," reports that Henne's knee injury is a 2-3 week thing:
People with knowledge of Henne's left knee injury expect him to be out at least 2-3 weeks.
(Nice blockquote there, Brian: it communicates nothing that the opening sentence didn't. God. Where's my mojo? It's gone.) If true, this would render the "OMG what if he medically redshirts" conversation moot. Mallett gets a three-week audition, probably loses to Penn State badly, and then Henne returns for our Insight Bowl push.
FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! Michigan is playing Notre Dame on Saturday and people are so desperate to get rid of their tickets on the frickin' 40 that they're offering them up for face on their blogs:
I have 4 excellent seats for sale for the upcoming ND game.
Section 22, 40 yrd. line, 75 rows up under the press box.
Would just like to recoup my cost only which is $60 face value + the
preferred seating surcharge of $63 or a total of $123 per ticket.
Let me know if anyone is interested.
Do they make winged stovepipe hats? Autumn Thunder discusses some more unconventional Michigan coaching candidates:
Meanwhile... if you think it's straightjacket time around here, Notre Dame fans have really gone off the deep end:
Make no mistake about it, the Notre Dame team we had out there could have beaten that Penn State team. Unfortunately, it's becoming rapidly apparent that our greatest opponent is ourselves. But fortunately, when you are your own worst enemy, you get plenty of time to work on beating that opponent. Schizophrenia, once again.
I love the idea that "schizophrenia" is the reason Notre Dame's players will make one good play amongst a host of bad ones, and not a lack of "talent" or "experience." Notre Dame net yards against Penn State: 199. Notre Dame rush offense: 119th. They're averaging -4 yards per game. Total points generated by Notre Dame's offense against Penn State: zero.
Sure, here it's kittens and crying children, but goddammit at least we know we suck.
Also in the realm of delusion:
Michigan lost, again. At least everyone thought we were going to be bad. But Michigan? Dayum. The pain of a Notre Dame loss is generally mitigated by 30% whenever Michigan also loses, but that number can go as high as 45% when Michigan's loss is at home to a Division 1-AA would-be powderpuff or by 30+ points. I say this acknowledging that Notre Dame sucks this year and will probably lose to Michigan on Saturday, but I am loving the fact that this is just the beginning for UM. This is the beginning of the implosion. We're rebuilding now, but they don't even get to start rebuilding until next year after they fire everyone except Bo's ghost(who, quite frankly, is not pulling his weight either). Icing on the cake: watching a certain UM blogger take his site offline rather than face the music. OMG sooooooo teh bedwett0r!
This would be accurate only if Michigan had sucked down Ty Willingham recruiting classes the past two years instead of consecutive top-ten classes (after evaluating everyone who got to campus). This year it will be tetchy and probably ultimately disappointing, but still decent enough to bridge the gap to a new regime. Michigan won't be throwing out like two contributing seniors or whatever at any point. As long as you're dreaming, you could ask for a bowl win and a college down that's not a hole.
Also: tough words from a dip who waited a full two weeks to deal with his own team's crap sandwich, but ND fans are always criticizing Michigan for not living up to standards they don't meet themselves.
Na ga da. Les Miles ain't talking:
"I know you guys want me to get into this, but I'm not," Miles told reporters. "I am at a great school with a great team. I'm at a place I love. I am not going to talk about any other school. That would be a waste of productive time for my team."
Someone start harrassing Tedford, please.
No deltas since I didn't vote last week. Lack of voting was Appalachian State self-pity related, obvs, and a general lack of knowledge about WTF happened in week one after the Hindenburg blew up. So some of the above may be spotty. Of note: the exclusion of the SEC trio I was pessimistic about preseason: UT got clunked good by Cal, Auburn blew it against South Florida, and Georgia's offense squeezed out four field goals in a loss to South Carolina.
Oregon is clearly a good offensive team, but they have no run defense and had the luxury of playing Michigan's disjointed crew. Still, six billion yards is six billion yards and the final score of that game could have been 56-7 with a couple breaks.
I am skeptical about UL after that Middle Tennessee game, and the end of the poll is a melange that is mercifully mid-major and Hawaii free. It does not matter what Hawaii does the rest of the season: I will not rank it except as a 20-25 afterthought given their schedule, the Boise loss, and the LTU game.
Any comments or corrections are most welcome.
Yeah, I've gotten a lot of email of late, as you might imagine. Quickly, quickly:
Did I miss it or did you not criticize Lloyd for the 2 point conversion in the 3rd quarter? [note: this email came after App St. -ed] Of all the gaffes in that game, that one was just crystal clear and indisputable. You don't go for 2 in the 3rd quarter unless you are a zillion behind. It is incorrect mathematically and it sends a message to the other team that you are desperate. Just what A State needed at the time. Bo would have said - "Kick the point, stuff 'em and let's go back and get some more".
UM Ken in Troy - Old Guy - '68 BS, '84 MBA
PS - I have always admired Lloyd's integrity and what he has accomplished. That should not be dismissed. But it is now time for a regime change. The king (Bo) is dead, long live the king!
I did not criticize Carr for that decision because I'm not exactly sure what the right move is there. I lean towards that being wrong because 1) you have not established your field goal kicker and should prefer touchdowns (er... "more heavily prefer" would probably be better) and 2) your offense is racking up lots of yards against Appalachian State and you should expect to score another touchdown. So... yes, I think that was the wrong call but there was so much to criticize some thing slipped through the cracks.
A positive note on recruit Elliot Mealer from an Ohioan:
I got to see '08 early commit, Elliott Mealer of Wauseon. My former high school football team played Wauseon last Friday, and he is probably a little more than 300 pounds, yet stil playing TE. They ran off-tackle to take advantage of the huge down block Mealer provided. They seriously ran the ball 90-95% of the time and 80-85% of runs went to his side. It seemed like he was taking about three or four defending players out of the play every down. Additionally, he played some defense even though he wasn't the focal point of the defense like he seemed to be on offense. Defensively he ended up with three or four sacks against a sub par offensive line and a clueless quarterback.
Watching this game really changed my mind about Mealer. I played against him his sophomore year and my brother played against him his junior year and this year. We both thought he was a bum prior to this year. He changed both of our minds this year and now I'm thinking he might not be a complete bust. With his size and some toughing up, maybe he will see the field when he gets a little older. Its hard to say how good he really is though, because he plays mostly Division 4 and 5 teams (In Ohio, the higher the division the smaller the school).
"Might not be a complete bust"... sweet! It might not matter; if Ohio State offers Mealer (looking more and more possible with Josh Jenkins looking unlikely and targets getting thin on the ground) and Carr retires Mealer, a lifelong OSU fan, is probably one of Michigan's biggest flight risks.
One of the nice things about this blog is that there are a lot of intelligent commenters. The post about who was responsible for the field goal block got a lot of interesting responses; Aaron Lewis provides the most definitive answer over email:
I played football down the road at Albion College. While I was there, a guy by the name of Dave Arnold (http://csurams.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/arnold_dave00.html) was the offensive line coach so he also was the coach for the FG team. He coached under Dennis Erickson when Miami won the national title and with the Seahawks.
Anyhoo, I played Crable's spot several times on FGs. You DO NOT LUNGE for ANYBODY. You step with your inside foot and simply lean to the inside. Stepping with your inside foot creates a stronger bond, for lack of a better word, with the guy inside you so that guys cannot creep through an inside gap and have more of a direct line to the kick point. Anything and everything must go to the outside for it is the longest and lengthiest route from a time perspective.
That said, Crable and Banks have a second step for their job. Once they step and lean to secure their inside gap, they also must look (literally just turn their heads) to their outside gap and throw up an arm jab once their inside is secure because they are blocking at the weakest protection points. Everyone else (save for the guys playing the exact same position on the opposite end) has direct protection on their outside gap from their fellow lineman. You step to the inside, lean to the inside, and arm jab late to the outside if you can. If you look at the video, the end on the right side has no inside pressure after stepping so he takes on the guy to his outside.
The worst case scenario happened for this team with Banks and Crable. Banks got much too wrapped up on his inside gap with a man who was essentially blocked, taking himself out of the play by willingly washing himself down to the inside. You can see the offensive tackle's left leg is even past the midpoint(!) of Banks stance in the second frame, when Banks right knee should simply be behind the tackle's left knee.
Crable compounds a small mistake into an utter disaster by wholeheartedly going after a guy who is the least threat, essentially taking himself out of the play and opening up the kick for a disaster. Which, of course, it was. I would say that as a senior he should know this, but people often forget that even the most important special teams roles are taken on by guys who have little to no experience at them. Coaches often throw together a mix of veterans (who they assume won't lose their heads) and young players who they want to get on the field, but normally none are comfortable unless they play the same role throughout the season. You could probably say with a more informed opinion, but I have little doubt that Crable did not play that position last year. Nobody plays the same special teams role for three or four years straight save for kickers.
So there you go: blame to both Crable and Banks and the Michigan special teams coach, who doesn't exist.
Question on the Offense UFR...I was at the game and it seemed like a recurring problem was Henne struggling to get the play off as the play clock was winding down. Tough to tell if this would be Henne's fault or Debord's but it just looked like Henne was rushing the calls to get the snap off (while trying to set guys in motion or check to another play) and maybe this led to some of the false starts because everyone was out of synch?
Did you notice this being as much of a problem as I am remembering it?
I did not notice this particular issue in either game except in certain instances where the playcall got in late and the result was either a timeout or the world's most disastrous delay of game call. But I could be wrong. Commenters?
I'm glad I didn't have a blog following last week's loss, because I probably would have put some shit out in a rage that was regrettable later. I'd just like to point out, though, that your unconditional surrender was included in the ESPN Page 2 piece, and I was kind of embarrassed to think that everyone reading that would see UM as a program surrounded by fairweather quitters. (You're making me look stupid, panda jerk!)
Much more importantly, such a statement also reinforces the existing culture among a lot of younger fans that they should throw in the towel as soon as anything goes wrong with the team, and that only undefeated teams really deserve their support. Even when I was on campus (2000-2004), that attitude was way too widespread, and when someone as widely read and respected as you puts their imprimatur on that behavior, it can only make things worse.
uld ask as a favor on behalf of all UM fans who don't want our fan base to be labeled as - and who especially don't want to it actually become - spoiled, golf-clapping, whiny and spineless that you please refrain from surrendering our superiority again. I can understand surrendering for the season, but not for all time. I also truly think that almost any group of fans can concoct a list of Times My Team and the Universe Generally Tried to Fuck Me in the Pooper, and the lists would be largely comparable. I don't think we're unique in that regard, even though it certainly seems like it as a fan. The Lions, on the other hand, have a list that is head and shoulders above anyone in sports.
(STW P. Brabbs)
I'm all for profiles of potential coaches, and the limitless optimism you and I usually share certainly would be suspect at this point, but come on already! My friends and I have thanked the big guy upstairs many a time for having intelligent, entertaining discussion of M Football (read: not collegefootballnews.com or anything mainstream) finally, and we need you -- stop bitching out and sack up! Please:
1. Ditch the Emo Week banner with the crying already - it was funny and appropriate for a week, but we're Michigan after all - let's act like it.
2. Rally the base with the ups and downs -- obvious down being "defense = suckitude," but optimism is possible in watching the offense rack up 300 yards in the first half -- if we stop throwing picks and getting freak "lose points" moments (Brown's fumble with the cast on, two sacks that pushed back/eliminated the possibility of field goals, etc.) and if Henne hadn't gone down, the 2nd half could have at least made the score look respectable. The Big Ten doesn't have the speed/schemes to screw with us, etc. We have to believe the defense can not blow this much all year, and if they even bandaid it, the offense should dominate as they mature together.
3. IT'S NOTRE DAME WEEK -- let's do it proper (although humor is probably necessary) with some Holtz-laughs, some bashing of Rudy, etc.
4. Notre Dame stat of the week:
*Charlie Weis 20+ point losses in his last 13 games: 5
*Lloyd Carr 20+ point losses in his 13 year career: 3
5. Positive coaching search omen worth mentioning:
1930s -- Kipke suffered four 32+ point losses; he was replaced by FRITZ CRISLER.
1960s -- Elliott suffered three 32+ point losses; he was replaced by BO SCHEMBECHLER.
2007 -- Lloyd suffered one 32 point loss; he was replaced by _______________???
Before those two guys you have to go back to the 1800s for 32+ point losses, which were obviously wiped clean by (a) happening during the first 10 years of the program and (b) Yost being God.
Sorry for the ramble -- just please come back and be badass for Michigan again. If you fold up in the blogosphere because of a couple of losses, those other bitch bloggers (i.e., the terrorists) win.
These men are right. In our time of trial we must remember our hatred. Hatred makes us strong. We are weak without it. I have declared this "Emu" week. I dedicate it to all the ways in which Jimmah Clausen and Charlie Weis are the very embodiment of earthly evil. I will be relentless.
Hey... Clausen, the spiky-haired douche with fey gestures store called... they're all out of you!
I'll work on it. I'm rusty.