This topic has popped up on the MGoBoard periodically over my time here so I wanted to share my experience with cord cutting. I want to start by saying I don't work for any of the companies mentioned nor do I get anything from them if you switch.
I was a Comcast subscriber for years (first during my time in AA then when I first moved out to DC) and I thought the service was good but the price was too high. I was paying over $120 for the most basic cable and internet bundle. This included 120 channels and 25 Mbps internet and HD DVR. Most of those channels I never watched, in fact with Netflix nad Hulu, the only live programming I watched were sports and GoT.
I recently discovered an App called Playstation Vue. It works a lot like Sling TV but it is better in my opinion. Playstation Vue can be accessed only on a playstation (3 or 4) or Amazon Fire TV. I had Apple TV before (I thought it was great) but I switched to save money. If you already have Fire TV or a Playstation 3/4 you don't need anything else. Amazon Fire TV is $85 (at least at the BestBuy where I got them) and a Playstation 3 is about $220 with a Playstation 4 running about $350.
You must create a log in for playstation if you don't already have one, butat it is free. However, once you create the profile (which can be done on a computer/tablet/phone) you will need to sign up for the service on a Fire TV or Playstation. At this point you will have to enter your credit card information. However, there is a 7 day trial so if you don't like it in your first week, you can always cancel and pay nothing.
Playstation Vue has 3 different packages you can choose from one that hass 55 channels for $30/month one that has 70 channels for $35 and one with 100 channels for $45. I purchased the $35 option becuase it has ESPN 1/2/U/News, FS1 and FS2 and BTN with alternates. It obviously has more channels but those are relevant ones for the purposes of this blog.
In addition to more channels, one advantage the Vue has over Sling TV is that you can stream on up to 5 devices under the same account, while Sling TV only allows 1 stream.
I recently added RCN internet and local channels when I dropped Comcast. I pay $50/month for the 70 channels that could be picked up with an antenna (though not with a lot of consistency) and 155 Mbps wifi (which is probably overkill).
So total I am paying $85 for something I was paying $120 for. Saving $35 a month seems like a no-brainer.
One thing most of you will ask is how are the live sports? I will tell you my expericence so far. When I first ordered the Vue with my old Comcast internet (25 Mbps) I was watching baseball and it was not the best quality. After I switched to RCN with my 155 Mbps internet, I watched the Kentucky spring football game on the league of extraordinary bagmen channel and it was if I had not switched at all! While the quality of play on the field was subpar, the clarity was great!
Now for the drawbacks, and there are a few. First, it only has NBC and Fox locals as part of the package. If you live in an area where an antenna can reliably pick up the local channels, this will be of no concern to you. If you want your local channels, such as ABC and CBS, then you will have to pay for them from your cable company, those this option is pretty inexpensive from most cable companies.
The second note of caution is your internet speed and the size of your dwelling. I live in a one bedroom apartment with my modem/router in the center of the apartment. I also have one of the Amazon Fire boxes plugged directly into the modem via ethernet cable. The internet I have is ridiculously fast, the guy who installed it said 50 Mbps would have been sufficient but for $10, I thought it was worth it. Obviously the slower your internet speed and the further away your Fire TV is from your router, the worse your picture will be. I suggest you try test these things during your 7 day trial period.
The last thing I would caution against it internet data caps. Some companies have them and streaming live TV will use a lot of data. You want to make sure your internet company doesn't have a data cap.
On balance, I think this is a good alternative to cable and I suggest you give it a try!
Sanity Check: Will having a first year quarterback prevent Michigan from competing for a national title?
Edit: this diary is not meant to be taken as a homer-rific prognostication of making or winning the playoffs, but only looks to dissuade the notion that Michigan cannot reach or win the playoffs solely because of the QB situation.
As many of you may have noticed, Michigan has been ranked inside the top 4 in quite a few national “way too early” Top 25 polls. Of course, if Michigan were to finish in the top 4, that would mean that we would be competing in the 3rd edition of the NCAA football playoffs.
Many jimmies across the land have been rustled (and many revenue-friendly clicks generated) because of this lofty ranking bestowed upon Michigan football in these meaningless pre-preseason polls. This playoff prognostication has driven any or all of the following reactions in the Michigan community, in no particular order:
Meanwhile, other fanbases be like
One of the reasons that I see cited most frequently that Michigan should not be ranked so highly is because we will be breaking a new quarterback (and we don't even know who that quarterback will be). Admittedly, this does feel like a pretty valid reason to expect that Michigan will not reach the very top of the football post-season. Because of this, I've decided to investigate a simple question: ignoring other factors, has having a first year QB historically prevented teams from making the national title game?
I’ve compiled a list of the national champions and runner-ups from each of the past seasons from 2000-2015. The list includes starting quarterback, whether or not the quarterback was a first year starter, and if so, what year the quarterback was at in that point in their career. Behold:
|Year||Name||QB||1st yr starter?||Year||Name||QB||1st yr starter?||Year|
|2000||Oklahoma||J. Heupel||N||FSU||C. Weinke||N|
|2001||Miami||K. Dorsey||N||Nebraska||E. Crouch||N|
|2002||Ohio State||C. Krenzel||Y||RS JR||Miami||K. Dorsey||N|
|2003||LSU||M. Mauck||Y||RS JR||Oklahoma||J. White||Y||JR|
|2004||USC||M. Leinart||Y||JR||Oklahoma||J. White||N|
|2005||Texas||V. Young||N||USC||M. Leinart||N|
|2006||Florida||C. Leak||N||Ohio State||T. Smith||N|
|2007||LSU||M. Flynn||Y||RS SR||Ohio State||T. Boeckman||Y||RS SR|
|2008||Florida||T. Tebow||N||Oklahoma||S. Bradford||N|
|2009||Alabama||G. McElroy||Y||JR||Texas||C. McCoy||N|
|2010||Auburn||C. Newton||Y||JR||Oregon||D. Thomas||Y||RS FR|
|2011||Alabama||A. McCarron||Y||SO||LSU||J. Jefferson||N|
|2012||Alabama||A. McCarron||N||Notre Dame||E. Golson||Y||RS FR|
|2013||FSU||J. Winston||Y||FR||Auburn||N. Marshall||Y||JR|
|2014||Ohio State||C. Jones||Y*||SO||Oregon||M. Mariota||N|
|2015||Alabama||J. Coker||Y||SR||Clemson||D. Watson||Y||SO|
Huh. Exactly half of the teams competing in the National Title game over the last 16 years were using first year starting QBs. Interestingly, 10 first year QBs won the national title, while only 6 lost (and 5 of those were facing other first year starters!)
Also interestingly, many or most of the guys on the list were not perceived as "big-time" quarterbacks. The data seems to indicate that even younger first year QBs can, in fact, play in, and win the national title, but will probably be an athletic QB in a high-powered spread offense, so that will not apply to us.
Michigan seems to have most other pieces in place going into the year - we have what looks like a dominating defense (LB questions notwithstanding), solid-to-great skill position players on offense (Chesson, Butt, Darboh, PEPPERS), and a pretty solid, if not overly deep or dominating offensive line. Our QB options do not look like absolute stars, but they don't need to be, if the above data is taken into account.
In conclusion, yes, it is entirely possible for a team to not only make, but win the national title with a first year starting quarterback, and not necessarily a star quarterback. There is a lot of historical precedent that bodes well for Michigan in 2016 in terms of the quarterback situation.
This is an admittedly over-simplified analysis, only intended to disprove the notion I've seen across the web that our QB situation will prevent us from making the playoffs or winning it all this year.
That's all I got, but for those of you who read this far, here's an unrelated bonus gif (one of my absolute favorites of all time):
June 1 - Thursday
Liveblog from game 5 of the Pistons vs. Heat Eastern Conference finals. Here is the box score if anyone is interested. Lots of good stuff here, but I will just add this early autobench gripe:
Then some other stuff happens... Wade gets his second and is yanked with 12 seconds let in the half, which brings me to a pet peeve of mine: why is it verboten to play Wade with 12 seconds left in the half but okay at the start of the third? Do you get spanked if you have a player with three fouls before the half?
A game recap to accompany the liveblog.
If -- and I want to stress "if," as the chances the Pistons win the next two are certainly below 50 percent -- the Pistons manage to win this series, then no matter what happens in the Finals they'll have cemented their reputation as best Rasputins in the history of the NBA*. Shot, stabbed, drowned, maimed, assaulted with hamburgers, attacked by leering gangs of bicyclists, thrown from a balloon, shot across the Channel in a V2 rocket, beaten, locked in a room with Stephen A. Smith on speed, run over by extremely determined ant skateboarders, abducted, or stuffed into the overhead compartment on a flight to hell: it matters not. What yesterday seemed like an insurmountable challenge is now just one slightly improbable road win followed by game seven in the Palace. It could happen. Maybe. Probably not. But maybe.
June 2 - Friday
Recruiting board update. Steve Paskorz commits to ND. Toney Clemons is Steve Breaston’s cousin.
June 3 - Saturday
The Pistons lost game 6 and the series. Brian says it was because they were out coached. Now, speculation begins on what Ben will do in the offseason.
June 5 - Monday
Brian gives fair warning that if you hate soccer, you’re not going to enjoy the upcoming contents of the blog (World Cup coverage). I must admit to only following soccer peripherally, so my comments on the soccer posts will be pretty light.
Brief recruiting board update mentioning John Ditto and Taurian Washington.
June 6 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Yee Haw Hee Haw includes a comparison of top 100 rankings for Rivals and Scout. Also this is of interest to Lions’ fans:
Something you must know: Tennessee's Jim Bob Cooter was arrested for DUI. God willing, this was a moonshine incident.
June 7 - Wednesday
Brian gives a defense of soccer.
It seems the best way to shore up your average comment count is to declare that the World Cup is of interest and that you intend to post on it. It also helps if you then mis-date the next day's post so that the shocking revelation that you are some sort of hippie euro-snob fairy remains at or near the top of the blog for all red-white-and-blue blooded to see and fret over. If you, the blogger, do this, then you will return to see the soccer-sucks-no-it-doesn't sniping has bloomed like algae across any surface it can attach itself to. It's so bad that other noted college football bloggers have retreated to obscurer interwebs in a (thwarted) attempt to avoid serious loss of street cred.
June 8 - Thursday
There is a new MSU blog call Spartan Bob who is attacking the gameday atmosphere at the Big House. Brian’s assessment?
I do know that Spartan Stadium has all the atmosphere of your local Walmart and the class of the woman selling herself outside of it.
June 9 - Friday
The internet is down.
Unverified Voracity: Better Late. Chris Summers and Mark Mitera are looking good to join the hockey team.
June 10 - Saturday
Game recap of Trinidad and Tobago’s tie against Sweden.
June 12 - Monday
June 13 - Tuesday
Recruiting Board Update. Added David Molk and Troy Woolfolk. A few more notes about Molk camping at ND.
Zach Gibson is transferring to the basketball team from Rutgers, and Bryan Hogan has committed to the hockey team.
June 14 - Wednesday
There seems to be some progress in the attitude toward soccer in the US. There were various moments of outrage over the loss to the Czechs.
More hockey notes on Chris Summers and Mark Mitera.
June 15 - Thursday
A post containing various, murky insider tidbits. Some prove accurate (Junior Hemingway); some prove very murky (Ronald Johnson).
Edmonton beats Carolina to force game 6 in the Stanley Cup Finals (In case you didn’t read the May edition, Brian has become a huge Oilers fan).
June 16 - Friday
Updates and corrections on the recruiting tidbits from the previous day. Taurian Washington is likely to commit soon.
Brian’s answers for an offseason roundtable on another blog. Most interesting is that Brian has never purchased any CFB preview magazines.
June 17 - Saturday
The game ends in a tie. Sounds like the US scored a goal that was called off because of offsides. Brian is not happy.
June 19 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: Fried Ice Cream. There is a new ‘M’ blog (Michigan Football Saturdays). One of the first posts is to highlight the 3rd annual “Carr Wash”. Apparently, this was a regular thing where players would wash cars at the stadium to raise money for charity. The link to the original post is still active, and I would recommend it for some great pictures of Alan Branch.
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals is about to begin. Brian pays tribute to the Cup and recaps Edmonton’s run through the playoffs.
June 20 - Tuesday
The Oilers lose game 7.
Still, today I'm going to shave the playoff beard and I will not be putting it in a plastic baggie carefully labeled Playoff Beard 2006(!) WOO! GOILERS! WOO! In times of stress I will not remove the baggie from its secure location, gingerly open it, and stroke the hairs therein as Michigan plays Notre Dame or my sixth wife says she wants to divorce me because I watch too much football or someone close to me is gravely ill or Michigan plays Ohio State.
June 21 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: They Will Suffer has details of the Big Ten’s renegotiated TV contract. Also this:
Also, the rumored Big Ten Channel is official. Coming next summer
June 22 - Thursday
USA vs. Ghana open thread (no content is still available).
Woolfolk is some sort of defensive back but is still sixteen and growing, so whether he ends up at corner or safety is yet to be determined.
Four years of college wouldn’t help to figure this out.
The US lost 2-1. Brian tries to figure out who to blame. I think soccer fans will find this line interesting:
Maybe the fault lies more at Donovan and Reyna and Beasley's feet than in Arena's head, but at this point I just want a Dutchman. Or Klinsmann. Or just anyone who doesn't remind me very strongly of Lloyd Carr with a two-touchdown lead.
June 23 - Friday
More NHL draft news regarding incoming ‘M’ freshmen.
June 26 - Monday
Recruiting Board Update. Lots about a legacy recruit named David Arnold. I couldn’t find much about him on the internet, but it looks like he might have ended up at Northwestern.
June 27 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Seriously. Trevor Lewis, Mitera, and Summers were all taken in the 1st round of the NHL draft. Also, some quotes from Uni Watch about how the outrageous Oregon uniforms came to be.
Link to a helmet being auctioned off on Ebay. It has been signed by many current players and proceeds will go to charity.
June 28 - Wednesday
The first of the opponent previews. Up first: Michigan State.
On a micro level MSU is completely unpredictable week-to-week. On a macro level it's always Same Old Spartans.
In short, Stanton and Ringer are good. The O line, D line, and DBs are terrible. The linebackers are okay. (Also, a Josh Thornhill mention, so shoutout to his uncle Nay, a former co-worker of mine.)
June 29 - Thursday
Hello Reed Baker, and Brian is not pleased. It does sound pretty sketchy. He was dropped by the Citadel after their coach left, committed to Birmingham Southern but then they dropped from D-I to D-III because of finances, was offered a scholarship by the Air Force but couldn’t commit because of a severe peanut allergy, and finally was offered a scholarship by Amaker...who never saw him play in person. (It is interesting to contrast this to the leeway that Beilein still gets and deservedly so. “Oh, I guess he’s the next Spike Albrecht.”)
The Big 10 only had three team defenses give up fewer than 400 yards per game. Too much spread? Too many experienced QBs?
June 30 - Friday
Brian was born in Saudi Arabia? Here’s another offseason roundtable of bloggers, this one focusing on biographical information.
Also...Brian was in the World Series of Poker. Apparently we’re going to find out more in July.
If I get far enough to actually be on TV, and find myself in a big TV-worthy hand, I will tell the world that Lloyd Carr needs to stop punting on fourth and medium when a first down seals the game.
Unverified Voracity: Bakermania. Randy Walker has passed away. Also, more complaints about Reed Baker. Brian is fully on board with firing Amaker.
When announcing the schedule for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the conference's web release proclaimed, apparently proud of itself, that "Every [team will] play against every other team in the conference at least once during a four-year period."
This is inane.
What if I told you that delay could be cut down to the point where you play every team in the conference twice every three years? The catch I'll put right up front: except for your designated rival, whom you play every year, you only get any other team twice every three years.
Caveat: I've done a quick search both on mgoblog and the rest of the web to see if anybody else has had this idea. I haven't found it elsewhere. If you came up with it first, claim credit!
Here's how it works: a 14-team conference can easily be split into you, your rival, and twelve other teams. Those "twelve others" can be broken down into three per-school pods of four each. In any given year, you play two of your pods.
Here's a sample of how the conference might be broken down:
Unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to get the grid lines to show, but corresponding to this particular arrangement, we get the resulting schedule of opponents:
A couple notes:
- Each school and its rival play the same teams in any given year. Additionally, teams are paired up rival and rival, so that home/away sorts itself out fairly naturally. Unfortunately for perfect comparison purposes, although Michigan and Ohio State (say) have the same opponents, Michigan will e.g. play Iowa at home and Nebraska on the road while Ohio State gets Nebraska at home but has to travel to Iowa. I did not go through and work out what the whole home/away schedule would be, but the process should be fairly straightforward (if annoying) unless I've missed some crucial detail.
- The rivalry games are the 9th game on each team's schedule and naturally will alternate home and away.
- I set up this particular set of pods with the goal of making sure Michigan's home schedule stays interesting and fairly balanced every year. Some other pairs of schools come off well also (Iowa/Nebraska get balanced schedules, while Indiana/Purdue and Illinois/Northwestern are no worse off than they have to be) but others are unbalanced year to year based on current expectations (Penn State/MSU and Minnesota/Wisconsin get easy-hard-balanced, while Rutgers/Maryland get killer-balanced-balanced). I've played around with the pairings a bit to try to fix this and this was the best I could come up with.
[Ed-S: We asked SBW to cover one of the best teams in Michigan sports history. Previously: Postseason primer]
All photos from Bryan Fuller
The Ann Arbor regional featured one of the more noteworthy upsets of the opening weekend of the NCAA softball tournament. Fortunately for Michigan, it didn’t happen to us. The Maize & Blue marched through the regional with relative ease, not quite hitting on all cylinders, but never seriously threatened either. Before looking ahead to the upcoming super-regional showdown with the Missouri Tigers, let’s take a quick look back at how Michigan became one of 16 teams in the nation lucky enough to go to practice this week.
The Wolverines started the weekend off against a Valparaiso team still trying to figure out just how they found their way into the tournament in the first place. With a record well below .500, the Horizon League tournament champions were one of the strangest sights in regional play in years. Michigan didn’t wait long to get on the board, with senior super-star Sierra Romero lining what’s known in Ann Arbor as a “Rom-Bomb” over the wall in the first inning. In addition to giving Michigan an early lead, the solo shot gave Romero her 300th career RBI. The Wolverines added a couple more in the 2nd, but were not able to fully solve Valpo’s pitching until the 5th inning, when all Hell broke loose. 5 singles earned Michigan 3 runs and brought about a pitching change. The change didn’t help, as the relief pitcher walked the next three batters on only 14 pitches to drive in the game-ending runs. Megan Betsa was majestic in the circle, ceding just one hit and one walk while piling up 9 Ks in the 8-0 run-rule walkover.
On Saturday, Michigan was expecting a tougher challenge, and they got one from an unexpected source. Instead of the presumptive challenger Notre Dame, the Maize & Blue had to square off against Miami (NTM), who had upset the Irish with a controversial 3-2 win on Friday. Betsa was again phenomenal, but the story of the early part of the game was Redhawks hurler Amber Logemann, who didn’t allow a hit until the 4th inning. In the 4th, though, Michigan showed a tendency familiar to anyone who watched the 2015 NCAA tournament. A good pitcher can get through Michigan’s order once, maybe twice. After that, though, the offense starts to lock in on tendencies & weaknesses, and the runs can come in bunches. 2 runs in the 4th led to 4 more in the 6th, and Michigan finally had the breathing room they wanted. Hutch took advantage of the extra cushion, resting ace Megan Betsa for the rest of the game. After a wobbly start put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, Driesenga retired the next 6 batters she faced on 6 consecutive ground-outs, securing a 6-0 win.
To no one’s surprise, the Irish shook off their Friday funk and emerged from the losers’ bracket to face Michigan in the regional final on Sunday. The Irish have seen their season end in Ann Arbor again and again in recent years, and would need to take 2 in a row from #2 Michigan to avoid the same fate in 2016. Sierra Romero sent a message early on that the “luck of the Irish” wasn’t going to apply in Ann Arbor, getting her money’s worth on her 300th career hit, launching a first-inning long ball for the 2nd time on the weekend (the blast was also good for her 299th career run scored, extending her own NCAA record). Another Sierra home run, this one from Sierra Lawrence, put Michigan up 2-0, but an unexpected blast from Irish lead-off hitter Karley Wester trimmed the lead back down to 1. Again it took a few innings for Michigan’s bats to acquire target-lock, but when the Irish gifted Romero 1st base on an error to start the 5th, the Wolverines were determined to take advantage. A bunt single & a walk loaded the bases, and singles from Aidan Falk and Lindsay Montemarano stretched the lead to 6-1. The Irish would get one back in the 6th, but never seriously threatened to catch up to the heavy favorites.
On the weekend, Michigan outscored their opponents a combined 20-2. On a historical note, Sierra Romero joined the extremely exclusive 300/300 club (hits & RBIs), and moved to just one run away from creating an entirely new 300/300/300 club (hits, RBIs, & runs-scored). For a team of Michigan’s caliber, the victories were expected, and celebrations were moderate compared to scenes around the country. The Wolverines will not be satisfied with anything less than a trip to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series, and they know that just one team stands between them and that goal.
[Hit THE JUMP for a Super-regional preview]