Patrick Hruby is doing God's work.
I caught up with Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton, an OLB/DE on the 2013 ESPNU 150 Watch List who's already ranked as the #118 overall player in the junior class by 247Sports, over the phone last night. It's been a busy fall for Charlton, as Central made it all the way to last weekend's Division 1 state title game before falling to St. Ignatius, while Taco has picked up offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Syracuse, and UCLA as well as interest from several big-name schools. Here's the latest on Charlton's recruitment:
ACE: How are things going with your recruitment?
TACO: It's been going well. We just had our state championship game Saturday, so it's just been a long road from that, and then looking past that.
ACE: You mentioned being in the state title game—you guys had a big run at the end of the season. How did the season go for you?
TACO: It was good, I definitely had a chance to impact my team more than I did last year. I don't know my statistics right now, but in the next couple weeks we'll get our stats from the start of the season to the championship game. But it was a successful season—I'm just working on getting better, being more dominating in my senior year.
ACE: How do you feel you improved your game over the course of the season?
TACO: Each game I started to do more and more to help my team out and make more plays to help our team in games. So if there's anything I could improve, you know, rush moves, rushing the passer, getting off the ball, stuff like that—anything to help my team out to win games and get us to a championship game.
ACE: Were you playing more outside linebacker or defensive end during the season?
TACO: At the beginning of the season I was playing outside linebacker, then towards the end of the year I started playing more defensive end.
ACE: Where do you like playing more?
TACO: It really doesn't matter. Wherever I go, wherever they like me at, you know, I'm athletic, so I can play either one. When I look at the college I want to go to and wherever they'd like to put me at, I'll play.
ACE: Now, back to recruiting, I see you're on Twitter (@thekidTC33) posting a lot of Michigan stuff and a lot of Notre Dame stuff. Are those the two schools that are sticking out for you right now?
TACO: I haven't been able to declare any favorites yet, but those are definitely schools I have good relationships with and I talk to their coaches a lot. Now there are more offers coming in and I have more options but those are definitely the two schools I have a lot of contact with. But no favorites, yet.
ACE: Who are you talking to from Michigan? Which coaches and which recruits?
TACO: Coach Smith, Coach Montgomery—I talk to Coach Montgomery a lot, almost every week at least. I talk a lot to [2013 DL] Billy Price, he's from Austintown Fitch, and he's a Michigan recruit, he got offered. Also [2013 Columbus Bishop Hartley TE] Jake Matuska, he's a recruit but he hasn't been offered yet, but he's interested in the University of Michigan. Just those guys right now.
ACE: Did you get a chance to watch Michigan at all after the Notre Dame game, and if so, what did you think of them?
TACO: Yeah, I watched them a lot, you know, to see how their defense is. They had a really good defense. Coach Mattison, he's a real great coach, he coached at Florida when Urban Meyer was there and he coached the Ravens too. So he's a real good coach, it'd be wonderful just to get a chance to play for him, and I know he could definitely improve my game.
This week The Ugly Game of the week hands out our very own post season awards. I may call these the Schnellys, since 1. he almost ended his career with a winless season, 2. karma is a bitch after all those years at Miami, and 3. just look at the guy:
No, wait, that's Captain Kangaroo. My mistake. Here we go:
Here clearly is the most interesting man in the world.
The "Viagra" award for inability to score is a tie between New Mexico and Florida Atlantic. New Mexico is last in red-zone efficiency, scoring at a 61% rate (Stanford leads with 63 for 64 attempts), while FlaAtl is last in total offense. Both teams are 119th and 120th in scoring offense. That's a toss-up to me. Congratulations, you both win. No, I'm not going to GIS for anything related to Viagra, at work or ever.
The "Turnstyle" award for worst defense goes to Kansas. Dead last in total and scoring defense, they've given up 50+ 4 times, and 40+ 8 times (including one in a win). Turner Gill, we hardly knew ya. Well Kansas, there's always basketball.
Worst Coach Still Employed goes to Robb Akey of the Idaho Vandals. The Vandals are 19-43 since 2007, and 2-10 this year. It's cold and lonely in Idaho, so maybe they could get Dennis Erickson back a la Billy Martin. Honorable mention goes to Rick Stockstill, coach of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, for having the best MST3K "Big McLargeHuge" name on a 2-10 team. Because I can:
Worst Combined Record in a Bowl Game goes to Florida versus Ohio State in the TaxSlayer.com (sic) bowl. Both teams are 6-6 and 3-5 in conference. Both teams are about +5 Points For/Points Against, and neither team is very good on offense. Honorable mention goes to Illinois versus UCLA for playing without coaches. I expect someone on the sidelines spinning a Twister spinner thing calling plays "Run Left! Pass Right!" Not quite what I had in mind, but it'll do:
And the award for The Worst Team in the Country goes to New Mexico, who combines their bad defense with an equally bad offense, making one wonder if they could beat themselves, and if so, how? Honorable mention goes to UNLV, who managed to lose to New Mexico by a TD. New Mexico started off the season with a 4 point loss to CSU, then got clobbered by Arkansas and Texas Tech. They took Sam Houston State to OT, scoring a game-tying TD as time expired, but had to settle for a FG in OT and couldn't stop the Bearkats (sic). The bright spot on the season was against UNLV, scoring on their first play and second drive, then missed two FG attempts, finally scoring a TD in the last minute to seal it. New Mexico does have the spectacularly named Crusoe Gongbay at running back.
Congratulations, your award is Bob Davie. Good luck with that. Footbaw!
So - we have a lot of speculation around how a 'fair system should work'
Here is a formula suggested for a playoff system. It is inspired by the continental European club soccer championship.
EDIT - Changing number of games played to account for revenue, tradition et all.
STEP 1 - CONFERENCE PLAY
Each team plays a 10/ 11 game regular season
7 conference games against opponents in its division.
STEP 2 - CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
At the end of the 10/11 games - the winners of each division play for the conference title. Nothin much has changed so far
STEP 3 - PLAYOFF QUALIFICATION
In the national playoff system (16 teams) - each conference champion gets an automatic in. This means 11 automatic bids of the 16 teams (Independents will get slotted into the playoffs). The number of bids for a single conference shall not exceed 3. If a conference is consistently performing weakly in the playoffs - it may have to play an additional game instead of an auto bid, The slot thus vacated becomes an auto-bid for another conference or an additional at-large slot.
Example - If the C-USA last never won any playoff game in the past 5 seasons and the B12 runner up has consistently sent teams to the at -large for the past 5 seasons - B12 may earn a second auto-bid. Or if no clear conference winner emerges then the C-USA autobid now becomes at at-large bid. C-USA will still be able to qualify using the at-large qualification route.
Based on strength of conference, better conferences may get an automatic second bid for the runner up. So, B1G, PAC12, SEC would likely get 2 auto bids. Smaller conference runner ups may play for an at-large bid along with independents.
So - now we have 11 autobid - first placed teams, 3 auto bid - second place teams, and 2 at large bids for independents and other second placed conference teams at initiation.
At large eligibility
1) Conference Champion of no autobid conference
2) Runner up of eligible conference
The highest ranked teams of eligible teams in the BCS poll will get the right to play for at-large playoff places.
Example - If 2 at-large bids are available - the top 4 ranked teams such that they are not in the playoffs through an autobid and champion/ runner up of a conference. In single matched, top ranked team plays lowest ranked team for booking a place in the playoff.
Higher ranked team plays the game at home
STEP 4 - PLAYOFF SEEDINGS/ PAIRINGS
Teams will be seeded according to their BCS rankings at the end of the regular season.
Pairings - Pairings are made such that the top 8 ranked teams in the playoffs do not play each other in the initial round.
The top 8 ranked teams get selected from a pool (called Champions) and bottom teams get selected from a pool (called Contenders).
Same conference teams do not play each other in the initial round even if a matchup is possible. This ensures no Championship game rematch is possible in the first round. Subsequent rounds may however force this. Example - Michigan is ranked 4 and Iowa is ranked 15 - they may not draw each other even though they may be eligible to play each other
Teams in Champions pool play their games at home.
STEP 5 - THE PLAYOFF
At this stage all teams should have played 8 or 9 games. In rare cases it may be 10 games if a team lost the Championship game, played in a qualifying round and became eligible for an at-large bid.
The winning 8 teams participate in 4 bowl games at their historic locations. Bowl games are now decided through a draw, where a each bowl pickss teams in a pre-determined order in a draft system. They may/ may not agree to keep the traditional conference tie-ins.
STEP 6 - ROAD TO NCG
The winners of the four bowl games will proceed to the Winner's Circle. Here the four will be randomly paired to play in two Grand Bowls for a chance to compete in the NCG. Grand Bowl locations can be either rotating around the country in an NFL stadium or one of the existing bowl locations.
STEP 7 - NCG Game
The winner of the 2 Grand Bowls will have the right to play in the NCG.
Long but fair I suppose.
Well, it's that time of year again, folks. The leaves have all shed themselves from the trees and the cold is starting to settle upon the midwest. The days are getting shorter and the nights longer. If you flip on the six-o-clock Sportscenter during this evening you will, no doubt, be serenaded to the soothing sounds of SEC bias while the moon is peeking gently through the window.
The geese have taken flight to the warmer climes down south, and so too do our football teams. For it is bowl season again. Time for us all to regale upon bowl seasons past, and look forward to our annual unfavorable bowl matchups.
"What's that you say? Unfavorable bowl matchups? But Michigan is playing Va Tech! Purdue plays Western Michigan, those don't seem unreasonable. Why... when I was still a youth (circa 2007-08) I remember playing 5 of our 8 bowl games in the HOME STATE of our competition. Indiana actually played a bowl game that year. I remember Illinois being sacrificed on the alter of a pissed off USC. The game was in SoCal. OSU was embarrased by an LSU team that had to travel all of an hour to get to the game. Michigan miraculously pulled an upset on Florida that NOBODY predicted. Florida had to endure nearly two hours on a bus, after all. Now THAT was an unfavorable bowl season."
True, my crotchety and slightly older grandfather.
While this year is not quite as bad as we had it a few years ago, we are still playing five away games this bowl season compared to zero home games. The away games are all held within a few hours of our competition. We are also only favored in three games. The aforementioned Sugar Bowl and Little Caeser's Bowl; as well as Illinois over UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl*. Since Illinois has not won a game since they ended apartheid, let's just call that game a push.
Sick of my attempt at witty banter? Here are the hard facts. Lines provided by Yahoo because, why not? I'm at work anyway and can't get to any of the good sports sites.
Little Caesar's Bowl - Detroit, MI (away game)
Insight Bowl - Tempe, AZ
Texas Bowl - Houston, TX (away game)
Fight Hunger Bowl - San Francisco, CA (away game)
|Illinois||6-6||10||-3 (Uh, no?)|
Ticket City Bowl - Dallas, TX (away game)
Gator Bowl - Jacksonville, FL (away game)
Outback Bowl - Tampa, FL
Capital One Bowl - Orlando, FL
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA
Sugar Bowl - New Orleans, LA
We're screwed because...
- The average bowl team in the Big Ten placed at a rank of 5.5 in conference (this makes sense as the top 10 teams made it). Our average opponent is ranked at 3.9 in its respective conference. That means we are consistently playing nearly two positions above our head. If you compare the 8 teams we have that are playing against AQ schools, you come out with a rank of 5.5 as well. You would expect a big drop in the rank of the AQ schools, but they are ranked an average of 4.1 in conference, nearly a spot and a half ahead of the good guys.
- We have the better W/L record in exactly one bowl game, and only because UCLA was allowed to embarass themselves in the PAC-12 title game. Four of the games match teams with identical records. The other five games have us playing teams with better records. Since the B1G record against the other Big 6 conferences was above .500 this year, this difference doesn't reflect poor OOC play. Instead it reflects the disparity in conference rankings outlined above.
- The eye test. Penn State plays arguable the best non-qualifier in Houston. Oregon, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida, Virginia Tech, UCLA, and TAMU are all teams with names that have cache. More cache than say... Northwestern, Illinois, or Purdue.
- Half of our bowl games are in the state of the opposing team.
But it's cool because...
- Michigan is favored in a BCS game. Run that one through your head again...
What does it all mean?
The Big Ten has an image problem, largely due to the SEC pandering that ESPN has been hocking. Couple this with OSU's 'performance' problem in big games and Michigan's temporary loss of luster, and there has been a stigma attached to the conference for the past 5-6 years.
I think a playoff system will aid the Big Ten in returning to the dominant force in college football, if a playoff system is ever implemented. Home games would be nice. Picture Alabama coming to Ann Arbor in December. Pipe dream, yes. But that would be an equalizer.
The Big Ten may well go anywhere from 2-8 to 6-4 this year. The ceiling is not high. Not because it is a bad conference, but because not unlike a drunk OSU coed, we can't make it through a bowl weekend without getting screwed.
*Ironic that the head coach of both schools lost their jobs right before the Fight Hunger Bowl.
**I ranked teams by conference W/L record and ignored the conference championships (looking at you UCLA). After conference W/L, I looked at overall W/L. After that, BCS rank. If those three were all identical, I used a super secret method to determine which team was to be ranked higher (my uneducated opinion, akin to random computer rankings). Kinda cool.
After reading wolfman81's diary about Conference Title Games, the BCS, and playoffs, I wanted to write a reply that focused on whether there was any suitable alternative to the Conference Title Game. I threw out an idea and saw how recent history would affect it, and was surprised that (a) I actually found it a plausible alternative, and (b) my response was uber-long. So I decided to make my own diary. This is my first diary, so if it's not diary worthy, please go easy on me and mods just bump it back down to the board.
I've often felt the same as wolfman81- that Conference Championship games are an unfair way to determine who the Conference Champion is. To me the perfect way is to have a complete round-robin in the league, where everybody plays everybody and a champ is determined by league record. This is obviously not possible in a 12 team league, or even the 11 team Big Ten of yesterday. And I do think a conference title game is a better solution than having teams in the conference not play each other and just having a hot mess at the end of the season (see: 2010 Big Ten standings). So what's the alternative?
You could say "let's limit conferences to ten teams, kick out Penn State and Nebraska AARGH!" Let's step into la-la land for a second. Even when the Big Ten had ten teams, we still only played 8 conference games, and only had a true round-robin for a few years in the '80s. But why couldn't they do it now? Obviously the cash from a title game, and the bonds from the CIC don't care too much about what's the best idea for us naive football fans. Yet if we are focused on the best way to pick a champion from a league, and a way where every game truly matters, this is it - true round robins in ten team leagues, with three additional regular season games.
So now accepting that we can't do that, what's the best way within the current paramaters? How do you pick a champion from a 12 team league, where you're allowed to play a title game at the end of the season, and you want an "every game matters" mentality?
Well, what if we had no divisions? Teams played their schedules, missed a few opponents, and then at the end of the year you'd set up a title game based on the two best teams - except with two extra provisions. To limit rematches, if you lost to the #1 team in the conference, you don't get to play them again. If you beat them, and you're next in line, you've got a chance to prove you're the league's best - and they've got a chance to prove that it was all just a fluke. And of course, in a tie, the head-to-head winner has a tiebreaker. So for this year's SEC, your standings would look like this:
(1) LSU 8-0 (2) Alabama/UGA 7-1 (4) Arkansas 6-2 (5) USC 6-2...
And lo and behold! A tie at #2 - but since Bama LOST AT HOME to LSU (note: yes, I'm bitter), UGA would get to play in the Georgia Dome. And so we get the same thing as this year. Well that's one instance where it works. Let's look at the B1G, 2011:
(1) Sparty 7-1 (2) Penn State, Wiscy, Michigan 6-2...
So we've got a three-way knot of doom at #2, where M didn't play either of the other two guys. Except since Sparty beat Wiscy and Michigan, it's not so bad - they play Penn State in Indy. The same Penn State who lost handily to Wiscy - not exactly ideal, but then, is it fair for Sparty to have to beat Wiscy twice? Maybe so, maybe not. Let's look at this year's Pac 12 and then ACC. Pac 12:
(1) Oregon 8-1 (2) Stanford 8-1 (3) USC 7-2 (4) Washington, UCLA 5-4...
So by my rules, since Oregon beat #2 Stanford, and USC is ineligible, and Washington lost to #1 Oregon...we're left with UCLA. Wow. Same as this year. ACC:
(1) VT 7-1 (2) Clemson 6-2 (3) 4 teams at 5-3...
So VT would get a chance for revenge at Clemson. Really, the only title game that would change this year is the B1G, where Penn State would get a shot at the title. And while I do feel for Sparty, I don't think anybody believes Penn State is more deserving than Wisconsin this year for the B1G title. But that is just my opinion, and this system doesn't look too bad yet. So let's look at recent history, to find some examples that might blow up my system completely. Your 2010 Big Ten:
(1) Sparty 7-1 (2) Wiscy 7-1 (3) Ohio 7-1 (4) Iowa, Illinois 4-4 (6) Penn State 4-4
So (if Nebraska had missed all of these guys hypothetically in a 12-team 2010 Big Ten) Sparty would play Ohio for the title, since Sparty beat Wiscy head-to-head. But if Ohio beats Sparty and wins the title, theny you've got a situation where Wiscy > B1G Champ Ohio > Sparty. And Sparty did get blown up by middle-class Iowa. But really this isn't any more unfair than what actually happened, and we'd avoid a rematch, and Wiscy's defeat at Sparty clearly matters. But apparently it matters more than their defeat of Ohio? Clearly my plan isn't ideal - but then, neither is the current system. One last example, the 2008 Big 12:
(1) Texas, OU, Texas Tech (4) OK St 5-3 (5) Mizzou 5-3 (6) Nebraska 5-3...
Oh, right. That whole triangle of doom scenario. Which would be broken by the BCS probably, giving Oklahoma the #1 spot. At least they'd get to play Texas again, for revenge. Hmm, come to think of it, that's better than playing Mizzou, isn't it? And it's a better solution to the triangle of doom than the current system has.
I started off thinking my idea was completely ridiculous and would be proven so with just this season's standings alone. I was certain it'd have a tougher time dealing with the most ridiculous issues of recent memory. I now actually think I might prefer my way a little bit - it mostly follows the current system pretty closely, and actually avoids rematches where the #1 team has to prove it's better again - but instead gives them a chance to avenge a loss and prove they are truly the conference's #1. Two negative side effects are that it gives some pretty unworthy teams a shot at the title - but mostly not any moreso than today's system - and that it screws with the BCS a bit more. For example if in 2008, UT had been ranked higher than OU, Tech and UT would have played the title game. If Tech upset UT a second time, OU would have gone to the BCS Title game while not playing for their conference title. Wait a sec...where have I heard that before?
Actually, it has no more negative side effects than the traditional "division" system used today. I started off a skeptic of my own plan, to try to prove the validity of the conventional thinking. I've convinced myself that this is better. Its negatives are the same as the current system, and its positives are that the regular season matters more. What are your guys' thoughts? Is this better than the present system? Is there a better alternative? If it's worse, why and how?
EDIT: I just thought of a pretty big time negative - it's conceivable that a team goes 9-0 in conference, and the only teams they didn't play have losing conference records. I guess one additional provision would be this: if the only teams who haven't been beat by #1 have losing conference records, then #1 will just play #2. I mean this is totally bats and la-la land anyway, right?
EDIT II: I had originally gotten my 2008 Big 12 tie-breaker wrong. I incorrectly said UT won the tie-breaker that year. It was OU. It's been fixed.
After Cliff Keen Invite
- Michigan hasn’t put out a full strength lineup yet for any duals or tournament. This last weekends Cliff Keen Invite was the closest, still missing just 9th ranked 125lber Sean Boyle.
- The Wolverines have had two exhibition tournaments, a dual win at Buffalo 27-13, a dual loss at #11 Pitt 13-19 and a second place finish at Cliff Keen.
- Michigan went without #9 Boyle(125), #1 Russell(141), #6 Grajales(149) and Collins(184) for the Buffalo Dual. Only putting Grajales back in for the one at Pitt.
- Kellen Russell missed both duals as he was selected to the NWCA All-Star match. He ended up pulling out and not wrestling, but, was still honored.
- Michigan was ranked 8th with 7 top 20 wrestlers. (125 Boyle 9th, 133 Stevens 13th, 141 Russell 1st, 149 Grajales 6th, 165 Yates 18th, 174 J.Zeerip 11th, Hwt Apland 13th)
Recap by Weight:
- 125 – Grant Pizzo has filled in for Boyle, losing both dual matches and posting a 1-2 finish at Cliff Keen. Would have been interesting to see how Boyle did at CK. He would have made 4 top 10 competitors at the tournament.
- 133 - #13 Zac Stevens posted major decisions and bonus points in both duals against unranked wrestlers. He went 4-2 and a 4th place finish at Cliff Keen. His losses came to #4 Stieber from Ohio (6-14) and #18 Keith from Harvard (0-6), while picking up a win against #17 Kiley from Nebraska (7-4). Solid showing for Stevens.
- 141 – Michigan put out Donnie Watkins for both duals in place a Russell where he dropped both two unranked wrestlers. Russell Returned for Cliff Keen for a 3rd place finish and a 6-1 record. His loss was to #15 and Freshman Hunter Stieber from Ohio (5-6). He notched wins against #20 Pennesi from WVU (8-1), #12 Nevinger from Cornell (7-1) and #2 Novachkov in a tiebreaker from Cal Poly (same guy he beat for the National Title last year). Bump in the road against Stieber, which he will see again a few more times. Russell tends to wrestle on the edge with his tremendous feel and confidence, opening himself up for something like that. The tournament winner was #5 Mangrum from Oregon State, so the field was pretty stacked at this one.
- 149 – #6 Grajales missed the first dual where Mike Hillock fell to an unranked. Grajales returned for Pitt and dropped a close one to #3 Nauman (2-4). Grajales almost got his rematch at Cliff Keen, but, Nauman fell in the quarters, while Grajales took down #17 Walsh from Indiana (19-4) and #5 Von Ohlen from Air Force (9-1) to win the 149lb title. Grajales dominated the tournament.
- 157 – Brandon Zeerip won both is duals against unranked competition. He made a run at Cliff Keen before losing to #1 ranked and returning national champion 0-6 in the quarters. No signature wins yet for Zeerip or bad losses. I’ve said I think he is a top 20 wrestler by the end of the year. He wrestled like it last year before getting wore down in his first full season. He’ll still be in the fringe after this tournament.
- 165 – #18 Dan Yates off to a slow solid start. Picked up both dual wins against unranked guys. Posted a 4-2 record as well as a 7th place finish at Cliff Keen. His losses were against #12 Burak from Northern Colorado (6-9 in a tiebreaker) and #16 Ben Jordan from Wisconsin (3-8). He gets another shot at Jordan Sunday when Wisconsin comes to Michigan for a dual.
- 174 - #11 Justin Zeerip is up and running in his senior campaign. He went 2-0 in duals with a pin and 4-1 at Cliff Keen with a 2nd place finish. He was aided by a med forfeit in the semis against #1 Amuchastegui from Stanford, but, only lost in a 5-6 tiebreak loss to #7 DesRoches from Cal Poly in the finals. He is certainly one to look out for this year.
- 184 – Chris Heald filled in for Collins for both duals, going 0-2. Collins returned for Cliff Keen and went 1-2. His shot at #3 Bosak from Cornell ended in him getting pinned. This continues to be the weak spot for the Wolverines.
- 197 – The lone Newcomer to the projected starting lineup Max Huntley has started off strong. He pinned in his dual at Buffalo and dropped a close one to #7 Wilps from Pitt (2-6) in the other. He went 3-3 with an 8th place finish at Cliff Keen. In doing so he picked up a win against #19 Smith from Cal Poly (11-5) and closed the gap to Wilps in a 4-6 lose. The Big Ten has some quality at this weight they need Huntley to compete.
- Hwt – #13 Ben Apland got a tech fall in his dual against Buffalo and then dropped a 1-3 tiebreaker loss against an unranked at Pitt. He fell in the quarters of Cliff Keen to an unranked Capone from Ohio (2-5). Dropped another to #16 Barlow from Kent State (1-3 in a tiebreaker) and then won the 7th place match over #20 Felix from Boise State (10-2). Finished with a 4-2 record.
Michigan looks to still be getting into the swing of things. Which is fine, it’s a long season. A Full lineup would have won the Cliff Keen tournament. Ohio certainly showed they will make a big leap this year with their freshmen. Michigan has a home dual Sunday the 11th against Wisconsin that should provide a couple good matchups as they kick off the B1G schedule.