at least it's not just us?
THE KNOWLEDGE CHALLENGE did not appear last week because THE KNOWLEDGE was personally present in Michigan Stadium to see Michigan destroy Nebraska. THE KNOWLEDGE adopts the same policy as TV folks who do not pick games they will be present at and calling
and, no, that does not mean THE KNOWLEDGE is Lloyd Carr. Michigan's record in the presence of THE KNOWLEDGE in 19-0. This is obvious because THE KNOWLEDGE does not go to games that Michigan loses
On the note of identity, many people here have posited over the years that "Brian Cook" is the alter ago of THE KNOWLEDGE. These people don't understand THE KNOWLEDGE
THE KNOWLEDGE is the greatest writer on these very pages, and specializes in things no one else can even fathom
THE KNOWLEDGE had initially called a 12-2 season record for Michigan. In that scenario, Michigan wins against Iowa and wins the BTCG and loses to Oregon in overtime in the Rose Bowl
that was the correct way for the season to play out, until the referees intervened in the Iowa game and changed the spatio-temporal continuum. These kinds of events happen extremely infrequently, and that is why THE KNOWLEDGE is wrong on some extremely rare occasions
THE KNOWLEDGE has already owned up to this unexpected error, and called quits to the season that is being announced in this post
of course, everyone wants to know what the final record will be in this referee-altered reality
obviously, everyone knows by now that Michigan will handily beat the Buckeyes this week. Hence, the final regular season edition of THE KNOWLEDGE CHALLENGE is for you to guess the right score with these pointers:
Michigan will win
OSU will lose
OSU's offense will break out a couple of big plays, but will be held in check for the remainder of the game
Michigan's offense is not as prolific as it was against Nebraska
at the end of the season, the POTWs and the TOP FRIEND OF THE KNOWLEDGE will be announced
Michigan's final record is 11-2 with a BCS bowl game win
some may even call this a better scenario than the unaltered version where M wins the Big Ten but loses in the Rose Bowl. These people are actually correct
Finally, on to the other issue regarding OSU. THE KNOWLEDGE clearly noted on these very pages - much before the world realized Tressel is a rogue and a cheater - that Urban Meyer will be coaching OSU in 2012. The people who laughed at that suggestion are now eating crow
just as THE KNOWLEDGE soars again
leaving every doubter in a trail of dust
PS: Some may want to go and read that post where THE KNOWLEDGE noted Meyer will be OSU's coach to understand what happens to the Michigan 2012 season
The Curve Bends Down!: Michigan's trend of dropping in the the National Rankings for Turnover Margin once B1G games started was brought to an abrupt halt with the +2 TOM against Nebraska. For the first time this year, I am absolutely convinced that once again "This is Michigan for God's Sake!"
Fitzgerald recovered the forced fumble on a KO to add his name to a list that now boasts 19 different defensive players that have either forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, or intercepted a pass!
Turnover Percentages: Michigan is ranked #4 in takeaway fumble recovery percentage at 83% (M is recovering 83% of the opponent fumbles) and #12 in giveaway fumble recovery percentage at 64% (M is recovering 64% of its own fumbles). Both of these will tend to average around 50% over many years but individual years do experience wide variations. The chart includes only FBS games and is based on data from Teamrankings.
Synopsis for Turnovers: M ended the game with a +2 TOM. For the year, M has had 6 games with a positive TOM, 4 games with a negative TOM and 1 game with a zero TOM. Michigan has lost a total of 20 TOs (ranked #75) but has gained 26 TOs (ranked #11) for a turnover margin of +6 or 0.55 per game (ranked #25). Michigan is ranked #6 in fumbles lost but is #112 in interceptions thrown. The 19 fumbles recovered is ranked #1 and is the reason the turnover margin is excellent instead of horrible.
T. Robinson, Simmons (now with 2), and Ryan all forced a fumble. Avery (now with 2), Fitzgerald, and Van Bergen (now with 3) recovered fumbles. DRob had the screen pass tipped and then intercepted (his 14th).
M blocked their first punt of the year. It was recovered behind the line of scrimmage by Nebraska and could have been advanced for a first down but Michigan's defense came thru once again. BTW, blocked punts are not considered a turnover.
(See the Section on Gory Details below for how the adjustment for Expected Points (EP) is calculated.)
National Rankings: Remember the chart and table below includes the WMU game and will NOT be the same as the (incorrect) NCAA Rankings.
The Gory Details
Details for Turnovers: Here is overall summary for all games by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game).
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.
It's Thanksgiving week, so here's my list of things I'm thankful for (on the topic of ugly games, that is).
1. Eastern is bowl-egible. They've got a long way to go to get the third MAC bowl spot, but they can at least dream of the Famous Idaho Potao Bowl. Don't we all. Beating Northern Illinois this week would help their chances a little, but they'll need some help. Northern Illinois looks to be in the upper echelon of MAC teams, with a 6-1 conference record and winning a trackmeet against Toledo 63-60. That game featured 11 passing TDs. Bonus EMU related thankfulness: me making ESPN wonder "Why is Eastern's page getting so much traffic from Colorado?" I know Eastern is the Eagles, but they will always be the EMUs to me.
2. Florida Atlantic is down to their last two chances to end the season winless. I think I'm becoming a kinder, gentler person who wants to see them win. Unless I don't like their coach or something, like Alabama. Their next two games are against teams with 3 wins, but Troy was in that category as well and FAU lost by 27. FAU has a -24 point scoring difference, so this may be a big hill to climb for the Owls.UAB is almost as bad, with a -22 point scoring difference, but I think the competition in C-USA is better than the Sun Belt. I'm going with green bean casserole, because who likes green bean casserole?
3. The Big East. I could have written this entire column for the season with just the Big East. For example: the team currently leading is Louisville, 6-5 overall. Rutgers is tied with a conference record of 4-2, then Cincinnati and West Virginia are tied at 7-3, 3-2. I'm really hoping that Louisville beats USF and everybody else loses so there can be a 5 loss team in the BCS. There's way too many combinations at this point to figure it out, but at best, a 9-3 team is going to win the conference. This one gets the KFC Potato Bowl, because everything is in one big pile, and the end is not very good.
Now with bacon!
4. That everything looks like it's shaping up for Sparty to get fed to Oklahoma, or Oregon, or Arkansas. Karma, baby. The crazy man throwing the pie should be Chip Kelly.
So that was a pretty good weekend, no? If you'll recall from last week's installment, most of the pundits expected Michigan to end up somewhere around the Outback against some roughly equivalent SEC team, like Georgia or S Carolina. What a difference a week makes. There is now a concensus in terms of Michigan's projected destination.
So, on with the show...
|Post Week 12||Rittenberg||ESPN-Schlabach||ESPN-Edwards||CBS Sports||CNNSI||BTN||CFN|
|Fiesta||Oklahoma||Oklahoma||Ok State||Ok St||Ok State|
|Orange||Va Tech||Va Tech||Va Tech||Va Tech||Clemson|
|Outback||Nebraska||Nebraska||Penn St||msu||msu||Penn St||Penn St|
|S Car||S Car||S Car||S Car||S Car||Georgia|
|Care Care||Iowa||NW||Iowa||Purdue||Penn St||osu||Iowa|
|Little Caesars||Purdue||Ohio (YTO)||NW||NW||NW||NW||Illinois|
|Ohio (NTO)||Toledo||Toledo||Ohio (NTO)||Ohio (NTO)||NIU|
|Fight Hunger||Penn St|
First, the good news - every single projection has Michigan in the firckin' Sugar Bowl, baby! Who cares that it could be against Houston? I'd be fine with it.
In other near-unanimous news, all except Schlabach have Wisco-Oregon in the Rose. Schlabach sees msu winning the B1G.
The Big Ten is also expected to get 10 teams bowl eligible, hence the random R+L Carrier New Orleans Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, and the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
Our little bros to the north are projected into the Rose (x1), Cap1 (x4), and Outback (x2). Nice how-do-you-do as the Big 10 runner up. Nebraska, on the other hand, is projected to the Cap 1 (x2), Outback (x2), Gator (x1), and the Insight (x2). You can bet the Insight planners would LOVE to see Nebraska-Oklahoma (BTN's projection).
Finally, those dudes in Ohio are projected as high as the Gator, but also as low as the Meineke Car Care Texas Bowl and the Little Caesar's Bowl. Personally, I hope Schlabach's prediction of Ohio (YTO) vs. Ohio (NTO) in the Pizza Pizza Bowl happens.
So yeah - big game coming up. Go Blue! Beat Ohio!
I think we all know it’s inevitable. Not Meyer taking the job, I still have a minimal amount of unrealistic hope that he’ll turn them down, and that I get to laugh at my OSU acquaintances. But they’re going to offer, if they haven’t already. They aren’t going to handle things in a businesslike manner, waiting until after the season wraps up in January, getting together with Fickel for a few chats, and sleeping a few nights on it. No. They are moving now, in season, and reminding us that a metaphorical discipline bomb could be dropped at the 50 of the Horseshoe and this organization’s immediate response would be : “Well, what can we do to keep winning football games at any cost?”
Should Urban Meyer take the job, what would it mean for Ohio State and Michigan both in short terms and a few years from now? Here are my thoughts:
Do you remember when you were a child, and did something very bad? Do you remember a disciplinary figure giving you hell for it? Do you remember the day your father, or older brother, or mentor, or person that everyone in the room loved and respected, stepped in on your behalf and told those in charge of keeping order that “they’d talk to you about it”?
If Urban Meyer takes over at OSU, put your popcorn carts away. He’ll intercede for them. With Tressel at the helm the Buckeyes would have suffered the long dick of the law. With anybody else, they’d still get nailed for pulling off and covering up a scandal rivaled only by the past three decades at Miami, but not with Meyer.
Just like a pastor, or a youth care worker, he’ll step in, have a short chat with the NCAA board and say exactly this, or something like it, “I’ll talk to them about it.” At this point, everyone in the room will put on their bedroom eyes, and look fondly on Meyer as though he is a returning vet with a purple heart. Someone might even say “You go get em’ TIGER!”
Meyer will save Ohio the slap on the wrist. Write this down.
THE YEARS AHEAD:
This is going to end in one of two ways. Both of them will benefit Michigan.
Option 1: This whole thing blows up in their face. We’ve beaten Urban Meyer before. We will continue to beat him. The recruiting momentum is in our favor right now, and with this Michigan team rising to the current occasion, I don’t see it changing any time soon. Even if Les Miles showed up in Columbus with a scarlet hoodie and a headset. And remember, while Meyer is one hell of a coach, he’s a quitter. When the going got tough in Gainesville, he left, for health reasons. I am not going all conspiracy theorist on this. He probably had shit going on. But then he came back, swept in and took his Castle back a la Jay Leno, and when the ratings didn’t go back up, it was all of a sudden “family-time” for the Meyers. He proceeded to bail on Florida once more, and then proceeded to
spend considerable amounts of time with his family travel around the country producing editorial segments and calling games for ESPN. Now that college football season is winding down and he will finally have that valuable time with his kids and wife, he is settling in at home, and making plans for vacations and down time with his family talking about and addressing rumors about a return to Columbus as if he were waiting on the phone call. If he takes the job this winter, and we’re looking at an 8-4 buckeye squad in 2013 and 2014, will he stick around? The only thing more entertaining than Braxton Miller’s attempt at passing the ball fourteen yards will be Meyer’s newest excuse. Grandchildren? Erectile Dysfunction? Time to spend a few months responding to fan mail?
It works. Two years from now, the Buckeyes are looking at 10-3 post bowl game, and as a result are ranked #3 in the preseason polls for the next year. Don’t get me wrong, while I wish we Beat Ohio every year, instead of rolling a squad that can’t put a decent drive together, I’d rather take a big old piss in their chicken noodle soup. I don’t just want Michigan to beat them, I want them to ruin Ohio’s season. And as a result, our path to a National Championship just got a little straighter. We need our #1 rival to be a top ten team. It’s just how it is. Texas-Oklahoma Alabama-Auburn-LSU, Michigan-Ohio State. It’s rare that any one of these teams makes waves in the annual run at the BCS championship when their (or one of their) corresponding rivals don’t have a decent shot at 10-11 wins.
Meyer may mean we go from taking the Buckeyes 9 times out of 10 to maybe 6 or 7, but at least with him at the helm, we’ll not only get beat by a clean, talented program, we’ll have the opportunity to do it to them, just after thanksgiving, every year.
Either way, bring it on! Whichever one of our rivals (Notre Dame. Lolz) (Michigan State. Perpetual dream state that I’m confident will end soon. Very soon.) (Ohio. A big fat mess right now) wants to try and derail us….I say let them in.
In one year, Hoke and Co. have taught this team to play like Michigan again. But they’ve only gotten the job halfway done. Last off season, the fundamentals were laid in place. Last off season, they learned (and are finally showing it) how to play the game right. But his spring and summer, these athletes learn the other half of what Michigan football is: The toughness, the swagger, the Tremendous Tremendousosity. We’re only at the summit, friends.
And whether he’s in the media booth, or on the opposite sideline, Urban Meyer won’t change that.
I started working on this season's Ohio State wallpaper several months ago. The concept was more fun than anything I've worked on (other than the Denard Robinson Action Figures) and soon it grew into my most ambitious project to-date. Nothing even comes close with regard to the skills required to pull it off and the number of hours I'd require to finish it.
In case it's not obvious to you already, this is not that wallpaper. Two things changed my mind about releasing it now: first, I realized that my concept had nothing to do with Ohio State and would work better as a pro-Michigan season theme; second, the memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal provided the first true opportunity to poke fun at Ohio State in nearly a decade.
As I write this explanation I'm reminded of the classic line by rock greats Tenacious D: "This is not The Greatest Song in the World, no. This is just a tribute." Next August I'll publish "The Greatest Wallpaper in the World" for the 2012 season to massive disappointment now that I've stupidly overhyped the thing to the five people who actually read these explanations. For now, I hope you'll enjoy this artwork inspired by Ohio State's fall (and Fall).
The images below are a previews only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
How it was made
The Riddell Revo Speed helmets were illustrated in Illustrator (they really nailed the naming of that product) and then superimposed on the forearm photograph in Photoshop. I used a dash of Gaussian blur, a mix of blending modes and a smidge of smudge tool action to make the color boundaries look more tattoo-ish. If you look closely you can see a little red around the edges of the tattoo that gives the skin the "I was at one time in the past punctured over and over by needles" look. I toyed with a much more elaborate tattoo that used a blackletter font (and went so far as to design an ambigram for the word "game") but in the end I decided on simplicity; I used a type treatment consistent with this season's Notre Dame and Michigan State wallpapers.