no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
I’ve always been a fan of the bowl games, and over the past few years, have spent too much time wondering which school would slot into which bowl. With several schools ineligible to play in the postseason due to a variety of sanctions, I have been curious to see if would be enough teams this year to fill up every game.
This is my first Diary Entry, so please let me know of any formatting issues or other comments. Hopefully you will find this at least mildly interesting.
First, let me start with conference bowl affiliation numbers:
Big Ten – 8 affiliations
Rose, Heart of Dallas, Outback, Gator, Capital One, Buffalo Wild Wings, Meineke Car Care and Little Ceasars
ACC – 8 affiliations
Orange, Sun, Music City, Chik Fil A, Russell Athletic, Independence, Military and Belk
B12 – 7 affiliations
Fiesta, Cotton, Pinstripe, Buffalo Wild Wings, Alamo, Meineke Car Care and Holiday
Big East – 6 affiliations
BBVA Compass, Liberty*, Pin Stripe, Russell Athletic, Belk and Beef O’Brady’s
Conference USA – 6 affiliations
Heart of Dallas, Liberty*, Armed Forces, Hawaii, New Orleans and Beef O’Brady’s
MAC – 3 affiliations
Go Daddy, Little Caesars and Famous Idaho Potato
Mountain West – 5 affiliations
Armed Forces, Hawaii*, Las Vegas, Poinsettia and New Mexico
PAC 12 – 7 affiliations
Rose, Sun, Kraft Fight Hunger, Alamo, Holiday, Las Vegas and New Mexico
SEC – 10 affiliations
Sugar, BBVA Compass, Cotton, Outback, Gator, Capital One, Music City, Liberty*, Chik Fil A and Independence
Sun Belt – 2 affiliations
Go Daddy and New Orleans
WAC – 2 affiliations
Hawaii* and Famous Idaho Potato
At Large Bids – 5
BCS Championship, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange
Other Bids (Independent) – 3
Poinsettia (takes BYU eligible), Kraft Fight Hunger (takes Navy if eligible) and Military (takes Army if eligible)
* Liberty takes either CUSA or SEC team and Hawaii takes Mountain West or WAC team
In total, 35 bowl games meaning 70 slots that have to be filled by eligible teams. Let us see how each conference fairs in terms of eligible teams. The information below is broken down as follows: Eligible Teams (have 6 wins already), On the Cusp (5 wins) and Still Have a Shot (4 wins). I did not account for any 3 win teams since it seems unlikely they will win out to become bowl eligible. I have also provided the remaining schedule beside each team listed under On the Cusp or Still Have a Shot.
Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin
On the Cusp:
Michigan State (Northwestern and Minnesota)
Minnesota (Illinois, Nebraska and Michigan State)
Still a Shot:
Iowa (Purdue, Michigan and Nebraska)
Indiana (Wisconsin, Penn State and Purdue)
With 8 slots to fill, the Big Ten will be hard pressed to have enough teams eligible. The sanctions against Ohio State and Penn State are really hurting the Big Ten’s chances to fill up their complement. Minnesota’s best chance is this weekend against Illinois while MSU should become eligible against the aforementioned Gophers. Iowa needs two wins and most of us would cheer if they became eligible with a victory over Nebraska. Indiana has a tough road and needs one against Wisconsin or PSU before taking down in-state rival Purdue in their last game. Schools from non-power conferences are likely watching the Big Ten with interest since the trickle down effect of not having enough teams will only permit more of those teams to get an invitation.
Clemson, Florida State, Duke
On the Cusp:
Wake Forest (NC State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt)
NC State (Wake Forest, Clemson and Boston College)
Miami (Fla.) (Virginia, South Florida and Duke)
Still a Shot:
Maryland (Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina)
Georgia Tech (North Carolina, Duke and Georgia)
Virginia Tech (Florida State, Boston College and Virginia)
If not for sanctions against North Carolina, the ACC had the potential to have ten teams bowl eligible. As it is, there should be a strong complement. Personally, I see eight with either Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech winning two of their final three games. GT has to win the next two games as I do not believe they will be competitive against Georgia. VT should win the final two games, but as they have been inconsistent this year, neither game is guaranteed.
Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech
On the Cusp:
Oklahoma State (West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor)
West Virginia (Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas)
Iowa State (Texas, Kansas and West Virginia)
Still a Shot:
Baylor (Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State)
With only seven spots to fill, the Big 12 will have at least that many bowl eligible teams. Two of the three On the Cusp will become eligible when they play each other. If Oklahoma State wins at West Virginia, I expect the Big 12 will have eight eligible teams since West Virginia and Iowa State both play Kansas and should win. Baylor has a tough road needing two victories against tough competition. I do not expect that happen.
On the Cusp:
Cincinnati (Temple, Rutgers, South Florida and Connecticut)
Still a Shot:
Syracuse (Louisville, Missouri and Temple)
Pittsburgh (Connecticut, Rutgers and South Florida)
It is all but assured that the Big East will not have the six teams it requires to fulfill its bowl obligations. Cincinnati should already be eligible, but as they played and defeated two FCS teams, they need a seventh win. Beyond that, only Syracuse and Pittsburgh have a realistic chance to reach the six win total, and even for them, that is doubtful. Temple, South Florida and Connecticut each have three wins and need to win out to become eligible.
UCF, East Carolina, Tulsa
On the Cusp:
Still a Shot:
Houston (Tulsa, Marshall and Tulane)
Marshall (UAB, Houston and East Carolina)
Rice (SMU and UTEP)
SMU (Southern Miss, Rice and Tulsa)
CUSA has six slots to fill, and at this point, I doubt they will get there. To me, the winner of the SMU/Rice game has the best shot followed by the winner of the Houston/Marshall matchup. That would only get them to five leaving one bowl game searching.
Notre Dame, Navy
On the Cusp:
BYU (Idaho, San Jose State and New Mexico State)
Still a Shot:
I think we can expect Notre Dame to reach a BCS game. Navy is already ticketed to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. BYU needs one win, and if achieved, is slotted to fill one spot in the Poinsettia Bowl. Army, who was to go to the Military Bowl, will not be eligible. I expect Air Force might take their spot.
Kent State, Ohio, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ball State
On the Cusp:
Still a Shot:
Miami (Ohio) (Kent State, Central Michigan and Ball State)
Western Michigan (Central Michigan, Buffalo and Eastern Michigan)
The MAC is clearly going to benefit from other conferences inability to field a full complement of bowl eligible teams. With only three slots to fill, there are already six teams eligible with Western Michigan having a great shot to make it seven. That would mean four teams looking for an invite to an at-large bid.
Fresno State, San Diego State, Boise State, Nevada
On the Cusp:
Air Force (San Diego State, Hawaii and Fresno State)
Still a Shot:
New Mexico (Wyoming, Nevada and Colorado State)
With five slots to fill, the Mountain West is in good shape. Air Force should become eligible against Hawaii, and if New Mexico can take care of Wyoming and Colorado State, that would result in six eligible teams.
Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC
On the Cusp:
Washington (Utah, Colorado, Washington State)
Arizona State (USC, Washington State, Arizona)
Arizona (Colorado, Utah and Arizona State)
Still a Shot:
Utah (Washington, Arizona, Colorado)
With seven slots to fill, the PAC 12 should fill its complement. Both Washington and Arizona play Colorado, which we can assume they both win. This would give the PAC 12 seven eligible teams. If Utah can beat either Washington or Arizona, they should become eligible after defeating Colorado. Arizona State’s best chance is against Washington State. There is a good chance the PAC 12 could have nine eligible teams.
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State
On the Cusp:
Mississippi (Vanderbilt, LSU and Mississippi State)
Vanderbilt (Mississippi, Tennessee and Wake Forest)
Still a Shot:
Missouri (Tennessee, Syracuse and Texas A&M)
Tennessee (Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky)
Arkansas (South Carolina, Mississippi and LSU)
Though the SEC is affiliated with ten bowls, I think they only need nine teams as there is joint responsibility with the Liberty Bowl. I would expect them to reach this figure as the winner of the Ole Miss/Vanderbilt game will become eligible and I think the winner of the Missouri/Tennessee matchup has a great chance. Arkansas has four wins and are listed due to my criteria, but I do not expect them to win any of their remaining games. As I expect the SEC will get two teams in a BCS bowl, this will mean tougher opponents for the Big Ten in their joint affiliations.
Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky
On the Cusp:
Louisiana-Lafayette (Arkansas State, North Texas and FIU)
Still a Shot:
Troy (Navy, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee State)
The Sun Belt is only affiliated with two bowl games, and with four teams already eligible, the fact that there are so many schools ineligible this year due to sanctions will only help these schools get into a game. Louisiana-Lafayette looks primed to get enough wins, but I have a hard time believing Troy will get that sixth win.
Utah State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State
On the Cusp:
Still a Shot:
The WAC has two slots to fill with three teams currently eligible. Texas-San Antonio should be On the Cusp, but they have played too many FCS teams to qualify. This is not a big year for the WAC, which is on life support and may not even exist as a conference for football next year.
Of the 70 slots available, 53 teams have already qualified. I have a further 17 teams listed as On the Cusp. Even if all those teams qualify, bowl games administrators will breath a sigh of relief. A few of the Still a Shot schools could also come through, which will help to ensure there are enough teams. Otherwise, we go to the new “bowl eligibility” rules, which were summarized at ESPN:
Now, first consideration will go to 6-6 teams with a win against any FCS teams, regardless of scholarships, then 6-6 teams with two wins against FCS schools.
A team that finishes 6-7 and loses in a conference championship would be next, followed by 6-7 teams that normally play a 13-team schedule, such as Hawaii and its home opponents.
Then bowls could then invite FCS teams making the move to FBS, if they have at least a 6-6 record.
Finally, a team with a top-five APR that finishes 5-7 could be selected.
Let’s hope these scenarios are not necessary.
As for the winners/losers, to me, the MAC and Sun Belt conferences will be rewarded for having more than their required complement. With the Big Ten, Conference USA and Big East all expected to fall beneath their affiliated allotment, those games will be looking for teams. Of course, the result will be less desirable matchups, but that has become par for the course.
Preseason Prediction: Michigan will end the year with a +8 Turnover Margin (TOM) or better (2011 was +7). The prediction for TOM for M for this year is based on the prediction that M will be a very good team again this year and is not based on the actual TOM of last year. (Very good teams will have a TOM of +5 or better.) Turnover Margin for the year is currently – 4.
Psychic?: From last week "This is a recurring problem that is not going away and it is very likely that Denard will miss major portions of the next 4 games." Gardner started out shaky but after not playing QB for over a year what else could we have expected? If Gardner had not made that one spectacular play (which seemed to turn everyone's confidence around), it may have been a very scary game.
I am as confused as everyone else as to why the coaches decided to gamble with Bellomy as the backup this year. I had (erroneously) thought that Bellomy had shown himself to be the better QB. That hardly seems likely based on the immediate switch to Gardner for this game. Yes, Denard had never missed an entire game but running QBs are always at risk and DRob is not the biggest in physical size. Just another question we will never know the real answer to.
Michigan Football: Michigan had just 18 pass attempts and 41 rushing attempts for a 66% run play percentage. Overall M has a 62% run play percentage (ranked #11). In 2011 M ranked #11 at 65% run play %.
M forced 2 more fumbles (Kovacs & Clark) and recovered one (Avery). The fumble recovery was at 2:49 of the 4th quarter and was completely meaningless. Gardner threw the one pick. Michigan now has 14 different players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass.
For giveaways, Michigan is ranked #14 in fumbles and #6 in fumbles lost but is #124 in interceptions thrown %. Even if you take out the 4 interceptions thrown by Bellomy, M would still be ranked #123 in interceptions thrown %. The good news is that in B1G games, Robinson/Gardner have been much better with an interception % of 2.4% (which would be ranked #45).
For takeaways, M is ranked #71 in forced fumbles, #67 in fumbles recovered, #90 in takeaway fumble recovery %, and #66 in interceptions.
Synopsis for Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Turnovers resulted in a net of 0.41 expected points benefitting Michigan. Eliminating the meaningless fumble recovery at the end of the game, turnovers benefitted Minnesota by 3.41 EP.
The folks at Football Outsiders – FEI are also doing weekly "Revisionist Box Scores" that strips out TOs, Special Teams, and Field Position. FEI calculates the value generated by each drive and then lost on the drive up until the turnover, as if the drive had concluded at that spot on the field. Thru Week #10, FEI has 16% of games where TOs were significant.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: All rankings include games between two FBS teams ONLY and are from TeamRankings except for forced fumbles which is from CFBStats. The four columns with *** show the best correlation to offense and defense (per Advanced NFL stats).
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the line of scrimmage for the offense. Therefore, the impact of a TO also depends on the yard line where the TO is lost and the yard line where the TO is gained. Each turnover may result in an immediate lost opportunity for the team committing the TO and a potential gain in field position by the opponent. Both of these components can vary dramatically based upon the down when the TO occurred, the yards the TO is returned, and whether the TO was a fumble or an interception.
Here are the details for the game.
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO may directly result in lost EP for the offense but (B) only modifies the EP for the team gaining the TO because the team gaining the TO would have gotten another possession even without the TO (due to a punt, KO after a TD, KO after a field goal, etc.). The Net EP Gain must take into account the potential EP gain without the TO. The EP gain without the turnover is based on where the field position would have been for the next possession if the TO had not occurred.
The expected point calculations are based on data from Brian Fremeau at BCFToys (he also posts at Football Outsiders). Fremeau's data reflects all offensive possessions played in 2007-2010 FBS vs. FBS games. I "smoothed" the actual data.
Here is a summary of the smoothed expected points.
(Click the image to view full size)
Don't know about the rest of you... but I had a hard time feeling good on Saturday night, even after a strong win that spoke very well about the program. First, watching Notre Dame "un-lose" their game in triple overtime was just plain disturbing. But even worse was the whole experience of 'rooting' for Michigan State to win, and ultimately being let down by their shortcomings and occasional ineptitude.
And, of course, it cost us dearly.
So even after the compelling performance by Devin Gardner against a pesky Minnesota team fueled by overconfidence and a sidelined Shoelace... going to bed after the Bama-LSU game still felt like... a loss. And I wanted to address it in this week's strip, even if it meant digging up emotions I've since moved on from. Apologies if it's done the same to you.
On Thursday Tom... wakes up.
CAPTION CHALLENGE RESULTS
Congratulations go out to the winner of the first ever Blockhams Caption Challenge! Our first ever winner is a young, talented and sarcasm-free writer named Brian Cook, who took home over 20% of the 400 reader votes.
For the victory Brian will win an all expense-paid trip to this weekend's Northwestern game, complete with excellent tickets, a tailgate party, media accessibility, and even a meet and greet with media personalities Heiko Yang and Ace Anbender. Thanks to the proprietor of MGoBlog.com for donating this excellent prize package to the winner.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog,
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During his first offensive coordinator job at Portland State University (1986-1992) under famous HC Pokey Allen, Al Borges coached one of Division II's most talented quarterbacks in John Charles.
Charles' career at PSU was brief. He played only his junior and senior years at PSU, but broke dozens of passing records at the Division II level and won several post season awards. Charles is most famous for leading the Vikings to an improbable 1992 52-26 trouncing of Boise State on the road, a game that later cost Skip Allen his job at Boise State and motiviated Boise State administrators to hire away Allen and his entire staff (including Al Borges) to Boise State in 1993.
As a junior, Portland State finished 11-3. Charles went 201 of 331 (61%) for 3,527 yards, 41 TDs and only 11 INTs. As a senior, Charles was 194 of 281(69%) for 2,944 yards, 24 TDs and 8 INTs.
Here is some footage of John Charles' quarterbacking exploits vs. Boise State in 1992, running what many regarded as the most complex offense in the nation. Note the variations of offensive formations, tons of 3+ wide, single, 2- and 3-back sets, lots of pre-snap motion, screen passes, reverses and all of it with the QB under center.
Today John Charles runs his own quarterbacking clinic in Camas, Washington called AirOne Quarterback Academy.
Al Borges provides his own testimonial of John Charles below:
"John Charles was one of the finest fundamentals quarterbacks I ever coached. His courage in the pocket and overall understanding of our offense made him one of the finest quarterbacks I've ever coached. He has great communication skills and is a valuable resource to anyone he comes into contact with. I've been fortunate enough to coach four first-round draft picks at the quarterback position. John was as good as any of them."
Prediction for Northwestern: The FEI Forecast for this Saturday is Northwestern 22 – Michigan 21 with a 52% Probable Win Expectation for Northwestern. Another toss up game? NSFMF! FEI is wrong yet again and M wins this one 31 —13. M has the #3 ranked Strength of Schedule and NW is #69 in SoS. In National statistics, M & NW are ranked about equal in scoring offense (#50 & #53) but M is ranked #13 in scoring defense with 16.8 PPG and NW is ranked #43 allowing 24.2 PPG.
Michigan's offense continues to be excellent (4.81 PPPo) against poor teams (AFA, UMass, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota) but has struggled (0.90 PPPo) against every good team (Alabama, ND, MSU, Nebraska). Northwestern would be classified as a poor defensive team.
Fremeau Efficiency Index: Not much movement in the FEI. In the detailed chart below, GE represents the raw data for FEI before adjustments for opponents. M is ranked #28 in GE and overall FEI is #34. This seems about right since M has lost 3 of the 4 games to their highly ranked opponents.
The S&P Ratings (Also from Football Outsiders) is a play based analysis (rather than possession based) and M is ranked #20 overall, #19 in offense, and #20 in defense. The S&P ratings DO include games against non-FBS opponents (go figure).
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in FBS vs. FBS college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams.
National Rankings: The rankings for offense and defense are based on scoring (yardage statistics are inherently flawed). These are simply raw numbers without any adjustments for opponent, garbage time, or anything else. The data is from TeamRankings and includes only games between two FBS teams.
FEI Details: Here are the FEI numbers for Michigan and their opponent ( Football Outsiders FEI ).
Points Per Possession: Cumulative PPPo is 2.5 for the offense and 1.5 for the defense. M finished 2011 outscoring opponents by almost a 2:1 margin with PPPo for offense of 2.8 and defense of 1.4. The 2 charts show the raw data for offense and defense with the number of possessions adjusted for "kneel downs" at the half or end-of-game (maximum deduction = 2).
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).
It's Michigan versus Minnesota week, at Minnesota, which means one thing. A University of Michigan quarterback is going to have a career day. In 2008, Nick Sheridan was 18 of 30 for 203 yards and a 127.8 QB rating. In 2006, Chad Henne was 17 of 24 for 284 yards, 3 TDs, and a QB rating of 211.5. That may not have been his best performance, but I don't ever remember seeing a QB rating greater than 200. In 2003, John Navarre was 33 for 47 for 353 yards and 2 TDs. During my college years, we put up these scoring numbers at Minnesota: 49, 52, 58, and 44 ('89, '91, '93, '96.) I guess what I'm saying is, we shouldn't have been surprised by what transpired yesterday, but after that first quarter, I'm betting that I'm not the only one that was shocked by the next three quarters. After 9 consecutive TD-less quarters, we scored 5 in the next 3.
Burst of Impetus
* We stopped Minnesota early on a 4th and 1, but promptly turned the ball over on an INT, so net impetus = 0.
* Michigan started the 2nd quarter trailing Minnesota 7-0, with the ball at our own 9 yard line, due to less than special special teams. Rawls got the ball for 4 of the next 5 plays, and we pushed the ball out to our 34. However, the drive was about to stall as we faced 3rd and 17 from the Minnesota 45. Gardner was chased out of the pocket, did some Gardner things, and found Dileo WIDE open in the end zone. Boom, 7-7. The team collectively took a deep breath, regained their confidence, and controlled the impetus for the rest of the game.
* Minnesota had a chance to get right back in the game in the 3rd quarter, but decided to run a fake FG on 4th and 16. It would have been a great call on 4th and 1 or 2, or even 5, but 4th and 16?
* 22 Michigan defenders recorded a defensive stat, lead by linebackers Kenny Demens and Jake Ryan with 10 and 9 tackles, respectively.
* Our one sack was from a patented Jordan Kovacs heat-seaking-missile style blitz that also forced a fumble. Unfortunately, that was the only pressure on Minnesota's QB, as Michigan registered 0 QHs.
* Michigan recorded 7 TFLs, led by Ryan with 3. He returned to super-human status this week.
* Floyd had 2 pass breakups and Morgan had 1.
* Minnesota was held to only 275 yards total offense. However, they managed to eek out 21 first downs from those meager yards.
Ermahgerd Dehrvern ERMAHGERDNER
* Gardner threw an early INT, but then settled down. That's what experience will do for you.
* He finished 12 of 18 for 234 yards and two TDs passing.
* Gardner also ran 10 times for 21 yards and a TD, but subtracting sacks he was 7 for 44, for a healthy 6.3 YPC. He also showed an ability, time and again, to make the first tackler miss.
* For anyone who thinks height is overrated in a QB, the Devin/Denard case study should be exhibit A. I got the sense that Devin's height allowed him to see open receivers better, particularly on the bomb to Dileo.
Bunches of Funchess
* Michigan receivers had long catches of 47, 45, 47, and 22 yards. It was that kind of day.
* Jeremy Gallon caught four balls for 72 yards and a TD. Chris Martin of the B1G Network continuously criticized Gallon for being inconsistent this season. Has anyone in the MGoUniverse felt like that? Where did that comment even come from? I wouldn't make a big deal of it, if he only said it once, but he must've come back to that three more times during the telecast. Did someone tell Martin that Gallon was a pre-season All-American, or something? I just don't get it. I'll take Jeremy Gallon on my team any day.
And Justice for Rawls
* Is Thomas Rawls our new #1 running back? Except for Toussaint's last run, I'd have to say yes. Rawls had three more carries than Fitz, and they were about even in yards until Fitz' last run. Granted, I'm just a casual fan watching from home, but I see Rawls break tackles, move the pile, and fall forward for extra yards. I see Fitz getting brought down by the first defender he faces.
* Fitz, Rawls, and Gardner all ran for TDs.
Norf and Souf
* Ugh, where do we begin. Our net yards per kickoff was 33.8. Their net was 43.7. Our net punt was 29.3 yards. Their net was 41.3. So every time we had an exchange of punts or kickoffs, they gained the equivalent of a first down.
* Even Norfleet comes in for a little blame this week, as he brought one kickoff out of the endzone that he should have downed. We had a penalty on the play and started the drive at our 9. When you are starting a new QB in the 9th week of the season and he's been practicing at WR all year, I want to give him every chance for success. Starting from the 25 instead of the 9 could have been a big advantage. However, it didn't matter this week as we had scoring drives of 91, 90, 86, 79, and 50 yards.
* Jerry Kill did not appear to agree with a pass interference penalty against his gophers. I hope the lip readers at home weren't easily offended. I tend to think that shoving a WR with both hands in the chest, and then grabbing an arm to prevent the receiver from reaching for the ball is pass interference, but maybe that's just me. The refs may have felt bad for Jerry, because they appeared to give the gophers three make up call PI penalties on a drive later in the game.
* Memo to the B1G Network: No more Chris Martin, please. And by the way, a 45 yard TD pass does not count as a Red zone score. You actually have to be in the red zone for that to occur.
* Minnesota had some great names, lead by Martez Shabazz and their kicker, J. Wettstein. Sorry Minnesota, no little brown jug for you, but at least you have a wet stein. Lincoln Plsek caught a pass, now he just needs to buy a vowel. And Cam Botticelli made three tackles. Somewhere, Elaine Benis is asking why I'm writing about her shoes. (I know that's a stretch, but I had to continue the sitcom theme we've been exploring this year.)
* How about a little game theory from ItBS. Why did Minnesota spike the ball with 16 seconds and two timeouts left in the first half? They proceeded to throw two incomplete passes and miss a 55 yard FG with 2 timeouts still in their pocket. Also, I'd normally agree with Kill going for it on 4th and 1 early from our 40, but under the circumstances, I think you punt the ball and keep the pressure on Gardner.
Outside the Boxscore
* I spent a lot of time last year discussing our myriad uniform combinations - throwbacks, shoulder stripes, pink accents, helmet numbers, etc. Fortunately, I haven't had to go there this year. But I did notice something on the base of the Minnesota players' helmets. It says "Ski-U-Mah." Being the inquisitive sort, I started looking into the origin of this. It dates way back to the old tongue of the Sioux nation. Apparently, Ski-U-Mah is Sioux for "Man without jug."