“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
For those of you bored, I'll do another installment of CRex and Korean In Laws. Wedding edition, Part I. It's a special one since I got married three times.
If you have no idea what the hell this is, see here. Scroll down to the Humor section and look for the Korean Saga. Also if you forgot who Little Sister is, you might want to scan those and brush up on it. Also posbang M-Wolverine when you get a chance, since he kept copies of those for me to restore.
As a general note I'm pleased to report we're back to more or less funny things. Parts 4 and 5 got kind of dark. When you get right down to it my wife's parents had been in an alien culture for a long period by that point and also were dealing with jet lag and a surprise boyfriend. People got grumpy and we went through the drama period. Those days are long gone, now when I visit I go drinking with the father and all is well. Her mother actually really likes my mother which has also smoothed some things over.
To begin with the first marriage was solely to avoid the whole HS1B and OPT issue. So the deal is if you're a foreign student and graduate, you get a year (OPT) to find a job. If you don't, INS tells you to get your ass out of the country. If you're an American dating someone on OPT time, it's kind of lose-lose. I've seen girls stressing out because they're 8 months into their year and their boyfriend still hasn't proposed. They're walking around going "Doesn't he love me? Doesn't he want to help me stay here?". Then if they do propose, they walk around all offended, "Oh he doesn't respect me. He doesn't think I can get a job and a green card on my own. He thinks the only way I can become an American is to marry one." I know who a guy who got yelled at for taking so long to propose and then yelled at for proposing based on the above. All in the span of 5 minutes, at the time he was on his knee in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac. She did take the ring and they're happily married, but he described OPT as the worst time in their relationship.
So I decided to run an end around on all this and suggested we go down and do the paperwork for tax reasons and so we could just get it out of the way before my girlfriend graduated and started the job search. I'm just romantic like that when it comes to getting married. "Look honey, I bought you a ring, now fill this form in so you can be my little tax write-off."
This leads to the citizenship interview. The one where you get split up and questioned about each other. It's the government way of attempting to make sure some foreigner isn't paying you to green card them in. It's also rather difficult to know exactly what it entails. You show up with bunch of proof of your relationship (photos, flight ticket stubs from trips we took together, etc) and then it all depends on which agents you get and how grumpy or biased against interracial marriage they are. I know couples that got the paperwork in one visit. Others got four or five rounds of fun and eventually had to call in lawyers.
I got one of the guys who apparently was going to be a pain. Despite all our photos and proof of a multiyear relationship, he wasn't buying it. He noted she was about to go on OPT and seemed convinced this was a paid marriage and forged all the photos in photoshop or something. We finally reached the question of "What she do?".Me: "Well she's a PhD student at Michigan. About to graduate." Agent: "Yes, but what is her research." Me: "She's working on some projects with Aerospace and remote controls." Agent: "You can't be close if you don't know what she researches." Me: "Something military, she and her adviser drive to Dayton frequently and all I know is drone warfare. They don't tell me much else." Agent: "She's not even a citizen, she can't work on that." Me: "Actually since South Korea is a closely allied power, their citizens can work on certain level of projects." Agent: "I don't believe you." Me: "The officers she works with figured this would happen. One of them gave us his card and said you should call him with the questions."
So the agent gets on the phone and calls up the USAF. The officer asks to speak to us, so it ends up with the agent, myself, and my wife sitting in the room on speakerphone.Officer: "So how's it going?" Wife: "I was called some rude things to my face today. Not great." (Her agent was worse than mine as it turned out.) Officer: "Oh one of those…" (there are some other foreigners working on this project, so I guess the military has had this happen before). Agent: "We have some very valid concerns…" Officer: "We'd be happy to provide 'supplemental' material to address your bullshit concerns. What are your GPS coordinates? I'm about to send up a drone for testing and I'd be happy to have it drop 'something' off." Agent: "…" Officer: "Look, you can do the paperwork or I can call my boss at the Pentagon and tell them a billion dollar project is going to be delayed because immigration is jerking one of our researchers around."
We left with all the paperwork.
The next part was getting married in Korea. The Korean tradition was you were married at the house of the bride. These days a lot of people do it in hotels or other venues were you can rent a wedding room, but due to the idea of the bride's parents kind of running the wedding it was agreed we'd do the first ceremony over there.
As a side note with international travel, I can't stress how awesome ANA is. I'm not associated them in anyway (aside from having all kinds of frequent flier miles with them). Basically imagine an American 777. Now replace the grumpy 40 year old stewardesses who give you a dirty look when you ask for the entire can of Coke instead of some tiny cup of it with a bunch of 20 something year old Japanese girls who somehow keep a perky smile on their face for an entire 13 hour flight. You also get a show when it comes to take off.
The stewardess start closing up the overhead bins. Our plane had the kind where you have to push the entire bin up to secure it. So this featured a tiny little girl valiantly trying to close a bin that Americans filled with a good 100 pounds worth of carry on luggage. Eventually a guy in that row notices the stewardess is struggling, unbuckles, and closes the bin for her. If the guy fails to notice you'll hear a progressively louder series of cute little squeaks as she indirectly tries to get the guy's attention. She moves to the next row and it repeats. For the entire length of the 777. It's stupid, but also damn funny. Sadly some of the ANA flights actually have tall stewardesses, so it isn't every flight.
So I eventually herd my family onto the plane (my father has never left the country before so it takes some prodding to get him to go the ROK) and head off to my doom, errr wedding. My wife's family has decided I'm likable enough. I'm still not entirely in until I aid in the production of a grandson, but they like me well enough. I think they accepted their daughter isn't in a terrible hurry to return to Korea, which is fairly patriarchal and she's too rebellious to be happy with it, and as far as round eyed devils go, I'm not that bad.
There are a variety of pre wedding traditions in Korean, centered around gift and money exchange. Since I'm not Korean and the whole thing isn't exactly traditional the only one we opt to follow is Sansu. The exchange of wine and food between families, which comes close to leading to disaster.
My family had brought a number of American things. For example: Michigan dried cherries, beef jerky, Grand Traverse Cherry Vodka, and Irish Whiskey due to our Irish roots. The problem begins when Little Sister manages to confuse the Cherry Vodka with flavored soju. Since soju normally runs around 20% abv she's used to putting down a bottle of soju and not feeling much pain (soju also comes in smaller bottles). In Korea they do all kinds of flavored sojus. Yogurt, strawberry, lychee, etc. You get a carafe of it and drink it (Tomokun also does this in Ann Arbor). I realize Little Sister has put down 2/3s of a bottle of vodka about the time she stands up on the bar, proposes a toast to our happiness and promptly face plants off the bar and onto the tile floor. Luckily without any visible injuries since a stool breaks her fall (to a degree).
My wife and I are tasked with take her out for some noodles and sober her up. We're in the cab when Little Sister loses it and pukes all over the place. The driver calmly opens the glove box and hands us a pack of cleaning wipes and an airplane style barf bag. We then get informed there is a standard fee for vomit cleaning. We also get a lecture on how we should have told him she was drunk and he could just have given the bag and avoided the see.
As it turns puking in cabs isn't all that uncommon in the party districts of Seoul. The driver isn't mad about the puke, it's a standard job hazard I guess, just mad we didn't ask for a bag. I'm not saying Korea has a drinking problem, but when they have standard fees for drunk vomiting, they probably do.
We pour a combination of Pocari Sweat (a Korean energy drink) and ramen into Little Sister to get her functioning again, perhaps too functional. Since we're out she demands we do some clubbing and karaoke. She calls in my wife's older sister and the four of us hit the town.
The real fun starts at karaoke club. A couple friends of my older sister in law met us at the club and we have a pretty good group going. I'm a big fan of the older sister because she works as a model/back-up dancer. So she has lots of friend who run on the tall side for Korean girls. They always want to dance with me since they have a hard time finding guys significantly taller than them. So of course I have to dance with them, you know to be polite.
Little Sister excuses herself out to the bathroom and returns twenty minutes later with four other girls. Rather scantily clad karaoke helpers. She proudly announces this can be my Korean bachelor's party and then points the helpers my way, with my wife standing right beside me. As to what a karaoke helper is, the way it works is you pay for some girls to help you come in and sing the songs. This is cover for you to get a look at the girls and negotiate some extra services after karaoke (prostitution). You don't have to get anything extra and there isn't any assurance the girls will accept your offer anyway. It's just a time when you scope each other out.Me: "Fuck you cherry vodka, fuck you very much." My wife: "Well she already paid for them, so it's just wasted money if we kick them out." Me: "So you yell at me when I'm polite and dance with your sister's friends, but you want me to keep the hookers?" Wife: "I don't like wasting money." Me: "By that logic if I get a mistress, buy her an expensive handbag, you're okay with me sleeping with her? Because otherwise I'd have just wasted money on the handbag? Wife: "It's only wasting money when I say it is."
So that was my Korean bachelor party. My wife's sister younger sister hiring hookers for me, in the presence of my wife and her older sister. My friends back in America didn't even get me a stripper, a trip to a strip club, or anything of that nature (We did the ever classic drinking and camping thing, my friend got drunk, fell asleep in a kayak and woke up on the Au Sable River five miles downstream from the campground). Nope, my hookers came from a 18 year old girl. Hooray. Even better her dad may have slipped her the money to cover it. I guess he thought it would be funny.
The girls were actually cool. They were happy enough to party with us and work as waitresses. They'd duck out and grab more beer, noodles, or snacks when we ran dry. One of them also appeared to work out a business deal with one of the single male friends since the two of them left early. I ended up doing Empire of State Mind and Live your Life with one of the girls who spoke solid English. As a group we all did Lollipop.
As we're walking out of karaoke we happen to walk past a pair of white folk, likely Americans teaching English based on their look. I'm surrounded by a pack of girls, the two guys are on their own. One of the guys is wearing a tOSU ball cap.Me: "O-H!" *guy turn around with a big smile on his face: "I-O!" Me: *gestures at the girls* "Hail to the Victors!" A moment of silence as the Bucknut stares at me and then I lead the girls (well the ones who can speak English) in "It's great to be…a Michigan Wolverine!". He just turns around and walks away. Ah rivalries, how you define us.
The night ends though with Little Sister passing out, likely due to the fact she started drinking again at karaoke. By night I mean about 5 am, Koreans go hard. At Michigan of course we think a party night is hitting the Jug at 11 and leaving three hours later when it closes. Then if you're really on a roll you go have a couple drinks at someone's house. In Korea you hit the night market around 8 or 9, then you hit the clubs, then a break for food, and then back out. One of my in-laws explains to me he keeps a spare suit in his office so he can go directly from the clubs to work. He staggers in, changes, and sleeps it off. He doesn't get in trouble since his boss and his boss's boss are doing the same.
I'm sitting there on a bench with her head in my leg and her snoring away while my wife and the older sister go check the subway map and get some water to pour into Little Sister. I'm about half a beer away from either vomiting up my internal organs or passing out myself. I'm just peacefully floating around in that drunken haze when two shadows fall across me. I glance up and see a pair of Korean cops staring at me.Me: "So officers, what can I do for you?" Officers: *glares of death at me with the teenage girl passed out on me* Me: "I know this looks like date rape, but I swear it isn't."
I'm separated from her and over against the patrol car by the time my wife returns to straighten everything out.
The actual wedding is smooth (thankfully). We do the initial ceremony with me in a tuxedo and my wife in an American wedding dress (they caught on in Korea). The ceremony itself is quick since a long ceremony would just delay the guests access to the feast and the booze. She then changes into a traditional outfit for the feast. The food is a lot better than most American weddings, its a real banquet with entire fish and the like. The only hitch is that the Christian branch of her family is confused as to the lack of a Christian ceremony. They get that my wife isn't Korea, but they couldn't get their head around the fact I'm American and not Christian. All Americans are supposed to own guns and be Christian it seems. To keep the peace we let one of her cousins, who is a Minister, do a simple little ceremony on the tail end.
After the ceremony and feast, the younger section of the wedding party hits a bar. My father in law rented out the entire bar for us, so we had the place to ourself for 4 hours and had a good time. it was murder on my liver because I had to drink with everyone at the feast (individual toasts with all the males present) and then another round of toasts at the bar with everyone. At the feast first I went around the tables and toasted everyone. Then everyone came up to the table and toasted me. All one on one, with about 40 guys there. I reached the point where I was faking taking sips of soju to survive. Luckily Little Sister was not fully recovered from her introduction to vodka and passed out early on rather than engaging on another spree of hooker hiring.
And thus I was married on one of the two continents where I had to have a ceremony.
This diary takes a look at the spring roster data currently available from the schools’ home sites, Rivals recruiting profiles from 2008 to the present and depth charts from bloggers like you. I mash these up to share some data hopefully in an interesting way.
First the disclaimers… this is down and dirty. Like most of you there isn’t a ton of time to do this sort of thing. The data is broadly categorical and prone to errors on my part. The depth charts are just for comparison purposes and don’t mean much. The 1s look pretty solid to me though for both teams. Enough said… let’s do this…
Every team comes from the crucible of recruits who are signed and walk-ons who show up in the present and previous 5-6 years. Here is a table of the recruiting classes from Rivals for both schools.
Alabama averages 26.6, Michigan 23.6 . You can’t talk about this game without this elephant in the room. The way Alabama does football is different. This has been discussed openly here (long may Meechigan Dan run) , in the WSJ… and by everyone including recently the local media in Alabama but not by Saban (not openly) or the University of ******* (name redacted to protect it’s privacy.)
Here is a table of the players who are on the roster now by class…
Not quite accurate perhaps… one of the class of 2008 took a greyshirt and is currently a RS Sophomore. There are 4 JUCO players on the Alabama roster – 2 of whom will start on the defensive line in September. The other two are on the 2s but will probably see time. One them was a member of the 2010 class but was shunted to a JUCO for
roster school work. Suffice to say the charts above look relatively matched by class especially with the JUCO/Greyshirt disclaimer with respect to this years roster at least on the face of it.
College football is never the same at any school. Teams follow the rules of the NCAA (supposedly), their conference and their school. Northwestern is more severe on admissions than most all if not all B1G teams. Service academies have JV squads that follow different rules. BYU and other schools send athletes on 2 year missions…CFB is complex, varied and… freaking pretty great all together. So let’s not cry about the insanity that is Oversigning or discuss it further. There are better places for that.
In fact oversigning is only significant when the players who show up are good to begin with. How good are the players from each school?
Here’s the Rivals ratings of Alabama and Michigan for the crucible classes of 2008 up to and including 2012 class by school…including the current walk-ons.
The green diamonds are mean diamonds. When they don’t overlap in general the populations are demonstrably different. These do overlap.
Here’s the same analysis but just for the current roster plus 2012 class.
Note that Alabama will have 119 players (noted as observations in the lower right corner above). Some people will not be invited to Fall camp. Hmmm… that happens to the best of teams. Note also the crucible dataset is better than the actual roster. It hurts to lose people to the NFL – early or otherwise.
Let’s break this down by position.
I don’t have time or inclination to make this pretty. Notice the Defense is on average more highly rated for Michigan – but not at safety – which is a key position for Alabama and any team.
The “Adjusted” tick mark is to signify the positions have been normalized. How I did that is not worthy of discussion but suffice to say it wasn’t categorically fun – but I wanted to compare them head to head and it’s adequate IMO for this purpose.
Here’s a similar breakdown by body mass index (BMI) and straight weight.
BMI works for positional analysis and can yield interesting insight IMO. I did a diary last year that showed JR Hemmingway’s outlierish BMI. I seem to recall him pawning a few DBs on underthrown balls last year with said BMI. I’m going to say this just to get pissy comments… BMI even points to fitness wrt football. If you don’t think that is true then bring it on. There are few coaches in the game that don’t give a player a target weight to train toward. BMI points to stockiness good and bad and possible leverage advantages. It also kills more NFL players in retirement than PCS.
But I digress… back to the charty things….
Kenny Demens is the lone max outlier point at LB for either team. We are thin there and everywhere (pun intended.)
Here are the weight comparisons with the exact same analysis.
Our defensive ends, safeties and backers are statistically different (especially without Demens.) Bama’s safeties are tightly packed by weight. Most of this has to do with my normalization of position I think. I would have to look at this more closely.
The biggest complaint with this analysis (and yes I know there are many) is that it’s 11 on 11 not 119 on 102. Let’s look at depth chart’s and do a little more charting.
Here’s what I will use…
|Alabama Offense||Michigan Offense|
|QB||AJ McCarron||Phillip Ely||Blake Sims||QB||D. Robinson||D. Gardner||R. Bellomy|
|TB||Eddie Lacy||Jalston Fowler||T.J. Yeldon||TB||F. Toussaint||V. Smith||T. Rawls|
|X||Kevin Norwood||Amari Cooper||Marvin Shinn||X||R. Roundtree||D. Gardner||J. Robinson|
|Y||Kenny Bell||Chris Black||Blake Sims||Y||D. Dileo||R. Miller||J. Hayes|
|Z||Christion Jones||DeAndrew White||Danny Woodson, Jr.||Z||J. Gallon||J. Jackson||A. Darboh|
|HB||Brian Vogler||Harrison Jones||Brent Calloway||HB||S. Hopkins||J. Kerridge||D. Funchess|
|TE||Michael Williams||Malcolm Faciane||Brian Vogler||TE||B. Moore||A.J. Williams||C. Eddins|
|LT||Cyrus Kouandjio||Barrett Jones||Kellen Williams||LT||T. Lewan||K. Kalis||E. Gunderson|
|LG||Chance Warmack||Chad Lindsay||Isaac Luatua||LG||E. Mealer||C. Bryant||J. Burzynski|
|C||Barrett Jones||Ryan Kelly||Chad Lindsay||C||R. Barnum||J. Miller||E. Mealer|
|RG||Anthony Steen||Isaac Luatua||Austin Shepherd||RG||P. Omameh||C. Bryant||G. Glasgow|
|RT||D.J. Fluker||Austin Shepherd||Barrett Jones||RT||M. Schofield||K. Kalis||B. Braden|
|Michigan Defense||Alabama Defense|
|SS||J. Kovacs||M. Robinson||T. Carter||SS||Vinnie Sunseri||Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix||Jarrick Williams|
|FS||T. Gordon||J. Furman||J. Wilson||FS||Robert Lester||Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix||Nick Perry|
|CB1||B. Countess||C. Avery||D. Hollowell||CB1||John Fulton||Bradley Sylve||Travell Dixon|
|WLB||D. Morgan||B. Hawthorne||J. Ross||WLB||C.J. Mosley||Tana Patrick||Dillon Lee|
|CB2||J. Floyd||R. Taylor||T. Talbott||CB2||DeMarcus Milliner||Deion Belue||Jabriel Washington|
|WDE||F. Clark||B. Beyer||M. Ojemudia||WDE||Xzavier Dickson||Adrian Hubbard||Ryan Anderson|
|DT||J. Black||Q. Washington||K. Wilkins||DT||Quinton Dial||Jeoffrey Pagan||LaMichael Fanning|
|MLB||K. Demens||J. Bolden||M. Jones||MLB||Nico Johnson||Trey DePriest||Dillon Lee|
|NT||W. Campbell||R. Ash||O. Pipkins||NT||Jesse Williams||Brandon Ivory||Jeoffrey Pagan|
|SLB||J. Ryan||C. Gordon||K. Ringer||SLB||Adrian Hubbard||Dillon Lee||Jonathan Atchison|
|SDE||C. Roh||N. Brink||K. Heitzman||SDE||Damion Square||Ed Stinson||D.J. Pettway|
|Alabama Special Teams||Michigan Special Teams|
|P||Cody Mandell||P||W. Hagerup||M. Wile|
|K||Jeremy Shelley||Cade Foster||K||B. Gibbons||M. Wile|
|PR||Christion Jones||Dee Hart||Deion Belue||PR||J. Gallon||B. Countess|
|KR||Christion Jones||Dee Milliner||Deion Belue||KR||J. Hayes||T. Rawls|
|H||D. Dileo||J. Gallon|
I followed the HB convention for Alabama and XYZ nomenclature subbing in FB and WR1, Slot and WR2 for Michigan with plenty of fudge. I used common Michigan terms on defense. It is what it is. I said I wasn’t going to get into the normalization of positions and I did… back to charts.
This is worse case for Michigan (barring injury - not to tempt the fates) and best case for Alabama. I don’t see any of the non EEs playing for the Tide from the 2012 class. I do see a strong possibility that some 2012 non EEs play for Michigan (though not well enough to start the first game – there is too much to learn. Glasgow will play when Mich goes up by 30 in the final five minutes of the game.) This is just to separate out the players from the scout team for comparison purposes anyway.
Let’s get back to charts looking only at the players on the depth charts above. These are pretty busy…zoom your screens. I’m to lazy to break out the sides.
OK… I’m surprised more diaries don’t end like this. My wife just told me to get to bed. I must obey.
I can say a few things here but really it’s the data I want to share – not so much my opinion. But let me say this… so far not much new here. :-|
I have a ton more comparisons here as well as a novel way of looking at walk-on talent (nothing sexy but I think it’s interesting.) I hope you guys can make this out and that there aren’t too many errors in my data.
I will throw up other charts looking at the roster, rivals DB and depth charts at a later date if time allows.
Before I sign off though… let me leave you with 3 points as to why Saban is God’s gift to coaching. You can’t argue with these…
He’s the smartest guy in the room if you listen to the talking heads and hangers on. I can’t stand SEC hubris. Here are some counterpoints.
- Saban has been beat before.
- Saban isn’t going to play on the field in Texas.
- I sure would like Hoke to hold one of these someday…if only there was a team and a schedule that could make that happen…
After looking at the teams and where they are at…I don’t think we are 10 points worse than Alabama. I say we win this game. If I could prove that then CFB wouldn’t be worth watching.
I must go. If I must… then I choose to Go Blue!
Edit: I screwed the pooch on the formatting - fixing a data error for Hasean - a five star...how could I miss that?
Hey all. Before we get started, a reminder: Its been 566 days, and counting, since Ohio defeated Michigan in football.
Technically, the offseason is officially OVAH. How so? Because now we have a full(ish) board of games to bet on thanks to the esteemed Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas releasing well over 100 games of the year lines back on Monday. This has become an annual tradition for the casino's sportsbook and, for me, it tells me two things: One, hurry up and get your summer on because pretty soon it will be football season, and, two, it's time to start studying up on these teams and getting them down cold because if it's football season, that also means it's gambling season. For full analysis on the games on the Nugget's betting board, bookmark the JCB. We'll be looking into these throughout the summer. And while we havent produced any posts yet on the subject, we do have a killer Wisconsin preview on the blog this week as well as daily Euro Cup 2012 coverage. For now, lets focus on the five games involving Michigan. Here are the lines as they opened and later adjusted as action came in, with a full breadown following:
|Opponent||Opening Line||Current Line|
|vs Alabama||Bama -12||Bama -10|
|at Notre Dame||ND -1||ND -1|
|vs Michigan St||UM -6||UM -6|
|at Nebraska||UM -2||UM -1|
|at Ohio State||UM -3||Pick 'Em|
WE HAVE A DIFFERING OF OPINIONS: NEBRASKA, OHIO STATE
What jumped right off the page for me is the fact that the Golden Nugget installed Michigan as road chalk in both the Nebraska and Ohio State games. The Nugget's opening line called for Michigan -2 at Nebraska and -3 at Ohio State. This is in direct contrast to the spread projections put forth by Beyond The Bets, which we discussed in the MGoForum last week.
To review, BTB did spread projections on all the scheduled college football games for the upcoming season. Per their numbers, Nebraska was -3 vs Michigan and OSU was -4 vs the Wolverines. In both cases, the first actual betting line was nearly a full touchdown different from the BTB projections. Of the 111 lines the Nugget released, a handful differed a point or two from those BTB projections, but very few had a different team favored which was the case with these two Michigan games. I caught up with Behind The Bets in an email exchange to get their take on the differing opinions on these games. Home field played a big role in their initial numbers and it was revealed that their numbers pegged OSU to be upwards of a 6-point favorite, but given Michigan's bounceback season in 2011, new found skill at defense and rivalry game intensity, BTB felt it more prudent to project a smaller number. They think the Bucks are the best team in the Big 10:
We power rated Ohio State as the best team in the Big Ten. Obviously, the Golden Nugget disagrees and - to some extent - it's apparent that Las Vegas wiseguys do, too. Otherwise, it's likely that the line in the Michigan-Ohio State matchup would have moved from Michigan -3 to Ohio State being favored. At some point, it very well could, and the guess here is that Ohio State will be at least a three-point favorite by kickoff. But that's the great thing about making opinions in June: They aren't exact, we all have different ones, and it makes for some great discussion.
Dont loook too deep into their power rankings calling OSU the league's best team. For one, its only summer. We're all speculating at this point. But more importantly, very little separates the teams at the top of the league. BTB forecasts a conference race thats too close to call. In their rankings, Michigan is just a point behind OSU, and there's a minuscule 3-point difference between OSU, the highest rated team, and the fifth-rated team, in this case MSU. BTB said that Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska are basically dead even in their ratings, and if the Cornhusker game was in Ann Arbor this year, their spread projections might have listed the Wolverines as 5- or 6-point chalk.
One of the themes in past summers in the wake of early betting lines being released was that Books couldnt throw numbers on the board to stop people from betting against Michigan. Whether it was Michigan being an unknown commodity in the wake of coaching changes in 2008 and 2011, or, frankly being a known stinky commodity after losing years in '08 and '09, nobody seemed interested in backing the Wolverines. That might be shifting and seeing the Nugget install the Wolverines initially as road chalk in the Nebraska and OSU games is an example of that changing mindset. The public loves betting on stars and few shine as brightly or are as popular as Denard Xavier Robinson. BTB expects the Wolverines to be a public darling most of the season.
Expect Michigan to be a heavy public team all season long - no different than USC, another storied program who has a Heisman Trophy hopeful at quarterback. And again, the Mattison factor can't be underestimated. The days of watching Greg Robinson's Swiss Cheese defense are over, and Michigan fans can again expect to see the defense make great second-half adjustments and keep them in games they otherwise have no business winning.
However, early action, at least on the Nebraska and OSU games, shows that the early bird gamblers are still going against Michigan. The OSU line was immediately bet down to a pick 'em and enough Cornhusker action was lured in to shave a full point off the Nugget's original line from UM -2 to UM -1. Living in Ohio, I can tell you that word is going around about a pick 'em line for this year's The Game, and I received a handful of texts and emails from Buckeye friends wondering if I was ready to bet them. The answer to that is No. I suspect the Bucks will have a really good season this year. And that come game week, Michigan will be catching a field goal. The smart investor will wait for those points to materialize, so dont pull the trigger just yet.
As for the Nebraska game, I'm a bit more bullish on Michigan and the current line than I was at first blush. When I broke down the 9.5 regular season win total prop for Michigan at the JCB, I wasnt very confident about any bigtime road game, admitting I couldnt even give a lean to a Michigan win in Lincoln. Since then, however, I've done soemthing radical. I rewatched last years game. I have new found Michigan confidence. I had forgotten just how much Michigan dominated the game and worked over Nebraska's allegedly vaunted Black Shirt defense. I recall the game getting out of hand in the second half thanks to some quirky turnovers by Michigan, but if this game was scored like a boxing match, it would have been a rout, all rounds to the Wolverines. It was the best four quarter game Michigan put together all season. Fitzgerald Toussaint was a beast. Michigan's offense was unstoppable. And the Nebraska offense, led by Tyler Martinez, generated no offense without the help of turnovers or after the game had long been decided. You know the woodsheds that Michigan seemed to end every season with under Rodriguez? It was like that, but with the good guys being the bully. After rewatching last year's game, I could buy the Wolverines being the slight chalk that the Nugget has made them. I think people are as unsure as ever on Nebraska. And nobody is interested in laying many points with them and Martinez. If you want my advice, go ahead and take Michigan against Nebraska. But hold on to your money until game week for OSU and wait until Michigan is catching points.
THE MONSTER OPENING GAME: ALABAMA
The online sportsbook 5Dimes got a jump on everybody with this game, releasing a line of Alabama -7 in the dead of winter. Sharps pounded Alabama on that line and eventually the line grew from Bama as one touchdown favorite to two touchdown favorites. To be clear, this wasnt a case of constant, daily action coming in against Michigan, making the line -8 one day, then -9 the next and so on. It was more of a shock and awe type of thing than anything else. That opening line of -7 got so much one side action that the book pulled the line, went back to the drawing board and rereleased it as -14. They seemed to have a found a fair number for the middle of the offseason, but, in the last month, a slow trickle of Michigan money came streaming in, and 5Dimes knocked the line down to 13.5, then to 13 and just before last weekend all the way down to Alabama -12.
When the Nugget released their much ballyhooed lines on Monday, they agreed with the latest 5Dimes shift and hung a Alabama -12 number. And in a sign that BTB's intimations that Michigan could be a public play this year, money did come pouring in on the Wolverines. The line at the Nugget currently sits at Bama -10. However, back at 5Dimes, where the online didnt get the hyped injection of action like the Nugget got on Monday, the line remains -12. So, if you want to bet Michigan and the points, go over and do it at 5Dimes while you can still get an extra two points. You know what I am thinking? I am wondering how sizeable the demographic is who has Alabama -7 on that very early 5Dimes line, but also has Michigan +12 on the Nugget line, or even +13 or +14 on the 5Dimes re-release. I want to watch this game with that crowd. Otherwise, I'm probably going to sit this one out.
I honestly dont have a true feel for exactly how Michigan will fare in this game. I do know that last summer I figured only a miracle could keep the Wolverines in this game. But their performance, especially on defense, a season ago, has at least given me a flicker of real hope in this game. I am not reassured that Alabama has to replace a lot of defensive parts, but it still will be athletic, fast and talented. And still coached by Nick Saban. It's easy imagining them choking Michigan the way similarly frothed defenses from MSU and Va Tech did to the Wolverines a year ago, despite the Renaissaince season. And the Tide's offensive line might be a mismatch going against the inexperienced and unproven Michigan defensive line. This might be the worst matchup for Michigan's defensive line to be playing without stalwarts up front Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen for the first time in years. Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler will handle the rock for Bama now that Trent Richardson is in the NFL. They have just theee 100-yard games between them, but I wouldnt be surprised if one of them pops over the century mark in this one, taking advantage of Michigan transition up front. I cant shake the feeling that this game may just take the form of the recent Bama/Penn St matches from the last couple of seasons. Bama strangled those games in their favor, slowly, but surely pulling away for 24-3, 27-11 wins, covering the spread in each. Michigan at least has a much more capable offense than Penn State ever did coming into those games. The playmaking ability of Robinson alone might be enough of an offensive counterpunch for the Wolverines to, unlike PSU, stay in the game and make the Tide sweat in the end. That might not sound like the most optimistic assessment, but a year ago at this time, I figured Michigan would be lucky to stay within three touchdowns of the Tide. #Progress
THE UNDERDOG SERIES: NOTRE DAME
I really dont have any new ways to present this well known factoid of the Michigan-Notre Dame series, so I'll just say it. This is an underdog series, with the dog logging a 21-5 ATS mark and actually winning the series outright on the real scoreboard by a 13-12-1 count. I always say the underdog in this series usually ends up playing its best game of the season. On the current 4-0 SUATS run the dog in this series is riding right now, you could for sure that say the 2008 Irish squad and the 2009 and 2010 Michigan squads didnt play better games or earned bigger wins in those years than what they accomplished in the annual grudge match between these historic programs. You'd be hard pressed to find an annual series that tilts so strongly to the underdog. Clemson-Georgia Tech in the ACC gives it a run for its money. Both games are ones that I will always play the underdog in, no questions asked. Sometimes its that easy to pull the trigger.
I know some partisan Michigan fans will grumble at the audacious lack of respect oddsmakers are giving the Wolverines here by making the Irish the favored team at home. But I want to Wolverines to be the underdog all the time in this matchup. Nothing good really comes from being chalk in this series. The Irish havent covered as chalk in this series since 1982, while the Wolverines have only covered twice as chalk in this series during my adult life. At least Michigan has some history of winning, but not covering in this series like in 1997 and 1999, but those were major escape jobs from our heroes.
The Irish are always a tricky team to handicap. Other than this Michigan game, the Irish are either eye opening dogs--catching double digits against USC and Oklahoma--or do-a-double-take heavy chalk, such as laying 10 points against Miami. Wise guy bettors have long loved Brian Kelly, but so far in two seasons in South Bend, he hasnt rewarded that faith with a great record against the spread. The Irish perpetually seem to be overvalued more than any other team in the early going of college football seasons. The money quote from Kegs 'N Eggs Adam from the above link:
There were also other games later in the season posted, and Vegas is taking plenty of Notre Dame action, again, because they are Notre Dame. The Golden Nugget clearly likes this team and are making lines that stretch beyond protecting themselves against public betting. That’s not the first time we’ve seen that happen, though.
Yes, we have seen it happen. In fact, it's become a little bit of a cottage industry for me (and the JCB, natch) to spend every September betting against the Irish before people realize just how overrated they are and how skewed the lines are as a result. Did you know that Notre Dame is just 32-31 straight up in the month of September and before since Lou Holtz left town? Well, now you do. That nets out to 27-35-1 against the spread, so betting against the Irish on the blind during the opening month of the season has turned a decent profit since 1996. As chalk, they are especially good money burners during the first month of year, logging just a 12-23-1 ATS mark during this stretch. Basically, they have been annual slow starters since Uncle Lou left town and have failed to cover the spread two out of every three times they've been September chalk since then. With the Irish laying 13.5 to Navy, a single point to Michigan and likely to be chalk against Purdue, you'll make money by betting against them in these games if past history is any indication. And even though they've covered the spread the last couple years against MSU, you could probably add in MSU -2.5 to the Fade Notre Dame Early profit mix. It's a Fall Tradition like no other.
THE GREEN ELEPHANT LAYING IN THE WEEDS: MICHIGAN STATE
The Michigan State Spartans, the current program Waterloo (please, no mail from Iowa. kthnxbai). I brought this up last week, but I am inclined to take the points here and side with MSU. I've been picking MSU to at least cover, if not win, pretty much the entire time during their nifty little historic winning streak over Michigan. I feel Michigan is finally ready to win this game and have just the right circumstances to do that this season--game is at home, senior QB, seemingly extra focus finally being put on this game and so on. But will they? I cant see them doing so in anything other than a close fight that goes right down to the gun.
I have a betting paranoia on taking a team thats favored by a decent amount while trying to snap a noteworthy losing streak against Foe X. A great recent example was last year's OSU game where Michigan won, breaking a 7-game losing streak to the Bucks, but failed to cover the closing -8 line. Yes, I realize there was a shaky replay call that overturned a Michigan touchdown late in the game, keeping them from opening a 10-point lead. But that wasnt the last play of the game. And part of my anxiety in these spots stems from situations like that, even if the TD is granted. There is plenty of time for a worthless late score and back door cover. The dreaded Prevent Defense burns chalk bettors every week with late scores. Given how fast OSU scored some of their TDs that afternoon, you cant say that replay was the difference between covering or not. The back door cover would have been in major play. I'm convinced that had the TD stayed on the board, Michigan would still need to recover an on-side kick to finally clinch a victory.
Getting back to this MSU game, I just dont think more than field goal really should separate these teams this year. And as far as that back door cover scenario, Michigan would need to be up more than 13 points in the fourth quarter to avoid the back door threat. I dont see that happening. We'll see how this line evolves between now and October, but right now I would take those points to the bank.
THE KNOWLEDGE will soon be reviewing the 2012 Michigan football season results in a series of posts. This series will consist of two posts: one outlining the overall season results, and other documenting the out of conference results
as per usual, THE KNOWLEDGE will provide individual game pointers before each game to aid the seekers of the ultimate glory: the title of TOP FRIEND OF THE KNOWLEDGE, as THE CHALLENGE makes a successful return to these very pages
in the meanwhile, THE KNOWLEDGE shall tackle the issue of recruiting in this post
the questions asked by many folks is: in the future, will Bo Scarbrough be in the Michigan back field along with Shane Morris, and behind the line of Cameron Robinson and Damian Prince?
many people also were chomping at the bits to coin the awful MIT pun ro refer to the trinity of the Morris-Isaac-Treadwell before the fact that Isaac will not attend Michigan was revealed as time moved from future to present
of course, these people are and were wrong
on the other hand, many is the number of folks who have been dismayed at what they consider to be lackadaisical progress of Michigan's recruiting after the initial burst. these people see OSU and USC stock up on great talent while Michigan is signing long snappers
and these people are worried (rightfully, in their own minds) if Michigan's coaches can keep up with the Meyers and Kiffins of the world - failing to realize that keeping up with such experts of illegal tactics as Meyer is an extraordinary achievement
and these people are wrong as well
so, where to turn for sanity?
to THE KNOWLEDGE of course. THE KNOWLEDGE has a long, illustrious and peerless history of revealing the future correctly even in the midst of highly irregular abnormalities of the spatio-temporal continuum
as a result, THE KNOWLEDGE has soared to great heights countless times leaving every doubter in a trail of dust
thus, THE KNOWLEDGE is the sole course of relieving people's anxieties about the future
those that follow THE KNOWLEDGE shall be worry free
THE KNOWLEDGE has already revealed in these very pages that the 2012 recruit who will have the greatest success is the lowly rated Sione Houma
people that don't understand the future don't know this; hence, they are highly confused ans greatly stressed by such matters as recruiting
the only thing that matters is winning the games and winning with class and integrity; that is the end product all fans care about
since this result is already revealed by THE KNOWLEDGE at the beginning of each season, people should quit worrying about other things and focus only on THE KNOWLEDGE's revelations
THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar and bask in glory as ever
(Click the image to view full size)
For How bad is your fanaticism of Michigan sports? Does it warrant professional psychiatric help like the devotion of Tom Blockham? When I started writing this I tried to consider the type of questions that a shrink might pose to such a patient, and tried to be honest with my own answers as well. I invite you to do the same as Mr. Blockham visits the couch for the next few episodes to analyze his devotion to Michigan.
Tom's reclamation continues on Thursday. Don't miss it.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least
every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out Friday Roughs,
a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending Michigan events,
available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Michigan picks up a commitment and there's a change at the two-spot in this week's recruiting rankings. To answer your question, no, Indiana still doesn't have a commit. Yes, I'm pretty sure they still have a football program. Changes since the last rankings:
6-4-12: Penn State picks up Neiko Robinson.
6-6-12: Michigan picks up Scott Sypniewski. Penn State picks up William Fuller.
6-7-12: Notre Dame picks up Isaac Rochell.
6-8-12: Northwestern picks up Tyler Lancaster, Brad North, and Macan Wilson.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.