"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Homecoming 2015. Northwestern 0, Michigan 38. The third shutout in a row! And, as we would be reminded, the first since 1980, my super-senior year (5th year). Do I remember those shutouts? In a word, no.
Mr. Peabody, set the Way Back Machine.
My first Michigan game was as a freshman in 1976. I attended most home games through my undergraduate years. In 1976, there were 5 shutouts, including a 22-0 beat down on OSU. 1 shutout in 1977. 4 shutouts in 1978. 1 shutout in 1979. Then the 3 in a row shutouts of 1980. Obviously, shutouts were not unusual. Crushing opponents was the norm. In 1976, Michigan outscored opponents 432-95; 1977, 353-124; 1978, 372-105; 1979, 312-151; 1980, 322-129.
During those years, I was one of the quietest 100,000. The loud, screaming, annoying little kid sitting behind me was encouraged to shut the hell up (turned out it was a fraternity brother's still-in-junior-high little brother - but that is another story). During my undergrad years, we came to watch a game. Audience participation was not required. Why? Because it was not the norm of the day and, more importantly, the team did not need it.
Over the intervening years, things changed and eventually I moved out west. Throughout the football landscape, audience participation became a means to impact the game. I mean, we had always heard of the Texas A&M 12th man, but that was them, not us and what did it really mean? I had no idea.
I've heard Autzen Stadium was loud. I'd heard Ryan Field was loud. Turns out, both schools had been using the noise as an offensive weapon to interrupt the opponent. I live north of Seattle and the Seahawks' 12th man has been around for nearly 30 years. But it wasn't until 2004, with a new stadium and the noise-reflecting, angled roof, that the impact of the 12th man really hit home to me. The fan's noise is deafening, to the point where it physically hurts to be in the stadium. I liken it to standing between an EA-6B Prowler's exhaust nozzle and a jet blast deflector on an aircraft carrier: It will literally liquefy and shake the snot out of your sinuses (a great cold remedy). The QWest Field noise and its impact is well documented. Washington Huskies used QWest Field well while their stadium was remodeled. At QWest and Husky Stadium, the fans are making noise whenever the opponent has the ball. Not just when they are approaching the line of scrimmage, but in the huddle and during time outs: Whenever communication needs to be interrupted. I'm learning.
Fast forward to 2012, Michigan is playing Northwestern and my frat bro and I get tickets. He lives south of Seattle and has also learned the impact of fan noise. During this Northwestern game, like always, most people are viewers and not participants. My bro and I try to get the folks near us to make noise. We are mostly ignored. A few people bring out keys to shake...WTF? That is not noise.
Late in the 4th with 30 seconds left, Devin hits Roy setting up a TD to tie the game. I'm screaming like a little girl. Up until that moment, the Big House contained the quietest 100,000 on the planet. But worse, throughout the entire gamethere was a feeling of trepidation, of despondency. The entire game! This was not my Michigan. I'd not experienced any trepidation during a Michigan game since 1989 when, during the last 5 minutes of the UM vs UCLA game, it looked like Michigan was going to lose. Michigan made a comeback to win it 24-23 and the place exploded.
Fast forward again to the 2015 Utah game. My frat bro and I make the drive. Wandering around before the game, we hit a couple pubs. In one, a local asks if we brought our ear plugs. His buddy said, "They've got 110,000 in their stadium, they KNOW what noise is." I did not dissuade them.
The Ute fans were very congenial: Hand shakes and thanking us for coming. Most asked, "No matter what happens tonight, please kick BYU's ass." Apparently they hate that school in Provo. I did not bring ear plugs and found myself sticking fingers in my ears. Polite people yes...but extremely loud. Excepting the outcome, a great experience. There was a lessen learned though: Doing 88 in an 80 zone in Idaho is frowned upon!
Fast forward to the afore mentioned homecoming 2015. Two organizations my bro and I belonged to were having 35th reunions. We got tickets and had a great time getting together and swapping lies with everyone. I am amazed though, at the change in the atmosphere inside the Big House. Upbeat, loud, confident. Whenever Northwestern had the ball, the crowd was making real noise. Another frat bro, a member of the alumni band, was on the field. He said it was loud on the field, not as loud as some stadiums, but loud.
Late in the 4th, up 38-zip, from the south end zone seats starts the defense chant. Brian interpreted it as encouraging the D to finish the shutout. It could have been. My buddies and I participated, but our interpretation was it was a tribute to the team, to include the fans. The atmosphere was fantastic!
On that note, I conclude with a request for the MSU game: MAKE NOISE. Do not let MSU go into a huddle without it. Do not let MSU get to the line without it. If MSU is our toughest opponent to date, noise is required. Every false start, every delay of game, every misalignment, every busted play can be directly attributed to miscommunication. Those in the stands are the disruptors. MAKE NOISE.
PS, sorry about your sore throats on Sunday. A win will make the pain worthwhile!
As these days slowly tick by (CMON hurry) I thought I'd do an interesting thought experiment.
Going into the year some MSU friends and commentators had comments about how how many UM players would even start for MSU. The # was miniscule.
It came off of the 2014 game experience where maybe Jake ryan, Frank Clark and Jake Butt would be the only 3 UM guys who could start for 2014 MSU. And I had a tough time really refuting it. So a 19 to 3 advantage is pretty vast.
Fast forward a year. NOT SO FAST STAEE FANS.
Let's see how it stacks up below. I put UM in traditional 4-3 although we have been doing 4-2-5 so the 2 teams parallel better. I also assumed all the "or" guys for MSU will play i.e. a healthy Jack Allen vs a healthy Graham Glasgow. Of course that won't be the exact case Saturday.
And yes I know the offenses dont play the offenses etc but it's fun to see the change in 12 months.
Trying to not be a homer (I think Price is a damn good TE in fact) I still see MSU having the advantages on offense esp at receiver and QB. Chesson if he could actually get passes thrown to him might be a Kings equivalent but right now is a receiver we mostly get the ball to via non receiver things.
MSU has 2 clear outliers if Conklin and Jack Allen are healthy even if Glasgow is our best OL; Allen is a 2x All American. I admit I don't know that much about the other 3 linemen in terms of game to game play so I put them as washes with our guys.
Both teams have good FBs who can be dangerous and both have been hurt this year on and off. Price has been hurt but when healthy I see these both as good pass receiving TEs who are not great blockers.
I think of the current crop of running backs on both teams LJ Scott has the most upside in terms of power/speed profile (not a speed back per se but for 230 lbs he is fast) I'd have loved to see that sort of back in a UM uniform. Scott seems a lot like Smith but with more speed.
So I still have Butt as the only clear winner (and MSU has a very good player at TE) and then quite a few washes on the OL and FB. UM is still a year or two behind at skill positions and we know that.
This is where the magic happens and yes I'll acknowledge MSU lost a very good OLB.
The 2 DLs are a battle royale. I was a bit surprised at Henry's UFr this week as it was below what I expected but on the year thus far I did think he'd be better but I think the position change hurts him a bit as he is more of an inside guy. Calhoun is a clear 2nd round pick and has been for 2 years. Heath is a good DT but Wormley has more ceiling. McDowell is going to be in the NFL but outside of Anthony Zettel of PSU I dont see another DT in the conf I'd take over Glasgow at current play level; and even with Zettel I'd have to flip a coin! LT is also going to be in the NFL just based on physical prowess alone and rjs has been a 1 game starter - I would have given the nod on LT over Mario as well and like Henry I think LT is a better interior player than end. Overall I grade this 2 to 2.
Again we usually only play 2 LBs so MSU gets an advantage here as Darien Harris is a good LB esp in the pass game covering TEs and the such. Bullough is another Bulloughh in the long line of them and QB of their D....Morgan has been stout as heck and a bigger homer would say Morgan but I think its a wash. Bolden is the least productive UM defender but still solid and Davis has been replaced by Reschke at a decent level. So 2 washes and 1 MSU here. (If Davis was healthy this would be a MSU advantage)
Secondary is where MSU has fallen apart due to graduations and injury. I'd take Lewis over anyone not named Vernon Hargreaves right now. Stribling and Clark have been the revelations of 2015 on the D and Colquhoun is a starter by default. Wilson is difficult to judge because so few plays have gotten to him; Cox is prob the best DB left for MSU. Peppers is a run destroyer who has some coverage issues but athletic as hell. Montae looked like the breakout star for that D in preseason but has a massive sophomore slump going on. So 3 wins for UM and a wash.
So on defense, what a difference a year makes. Outside of DEs there is not a position group you say MSU clearly has an advantage. Last year you'd be pressed to find 2 UM players that would be starting on MSU's D was decent.
I'll skip the special teams because it's just sad for MSU....
Here is the updated mini-program for this weekend vs MSU. Once again, please post any changes direcly on here...
Now that I've achieved the magical 100-pt. threshhold for my account, I can actually create a new post instead of merely replying to prior content. Woohoo!
So without further adieu, here's a table I first ginned up after week 3 (before the BYU game) that gives a comparison of the advanced stats discussed above (the root sources coming from Football Outsiders). In addition to S&P+, FEI, GE and F+, I've included FPI, which is ESPN's Monte Carlo analysis. The basic idea for this comparison I got from SaxonRBR on CFBSH, who does something similar for the upcoming SEC games each week.
This table summarizes the actual values and national rankings for M and all its opponents this season (both past & future games), and also applies a pseudo-color scale to the values relative to M's values, to make differentials more visually apparent. The color-coding goes along the lines of a threat-level:
Red => DangerTeam
Grey => sort of rhymes with "meh" ... statistical equivalence
Blue => as cool and inviting as the other side of the pillow
Some interesting things to note from the results:
- The statistical basis for unbridled hype and hysterical smack-talk is now complete. UM is favored in all of its remaining games in both the S&P+ and FPI indices, although clearly the difference between the associated spreads is significant.
- As of this writing, the only game UM is not favored in (including it's prior games), is Utah, and only based on the FPI spread.
- As has already been mentioned in other posts, but bears repeating here: the most difficult remaining game per S&P+ is Penn State, followed closely by Minny.
- Lastly, shameless jumping to conclusions compels me to also mention that UM winning out would also include an additional victory over most-expected West division champion Iowa to earn its first outright Big Ten Championship since 2003. Yup. It's been 12 long years...
So, can anyone recommend any good hotels in Indianapolis? I think I might go ahead and at least reserve a room! BTW, my SO & I prefer non-chain, more boutique-type accommodations.
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I went into this wallpaper week with two main ideas (one to come later if I can get it done tonight). This one is pretty obvious - Michigan State loves them some "chip on the shoulder." Grumpy Mark always seems to find a way to feel disrespected and this wallpaper celebrates the Spartans' favorite snack. As always, I welcome constructive criticism and/or wallpaper ideas. Let me know what you think. I hope you all like this one. I'll finish the mobile version tonight and edit the post. Go Blue! Beat State!
EDIT: Fixed to EDT from EST, added iPhone/Mobile version.
EDIT II: This was my second idea. It's so perfectly set up. With the official "future" date only 4 days removed from the game, I went with this. Additionally, Oct. 12, 1985 was a 31 - 0 shutout of MSU with Harbaugh at the helm. Those dates are reflected in the time-circuits details. I'm happy with how it turned out. I first had this idea a while back and made the following:
That was just the beginning...I knew I wanted to do more. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED CLEANED UP FILES FOR GAMEDAY POSTERS. I WILL OBLIGE.
Chips Desktop (16:9) 1920x1080
Chips Mobile (750x1334) iPhone 6s
BTTF Desktop (16:9) 1920x1080
We are halfway through #HateWeek, and I think it's time for some wallpaper.
The Michigan State game has always been a special one for me. I've lived in Lansing my entire life, but I've always been a Michigan fan. Many of my friends and family members are Spartans, which makes this game very important to me. I'm ready for things to get back to normal.
My inspiration for this wallpaper is obviousy Jim Harbaugh and his love for whole milk. If winners drink whole milk, then losers drink skim. Michigan State may be a dairy school, but we win this milk battle.