that is nice bonus change
Week two. Ann Arbor. Shit got peculiar.
Going into week two I had a nervous feeling that a chicken may get when crossing a high wire over a pit of rabid mauling crocodiles. Coming off a win of an abnormal scenario, there was a chance of a letdown that would put Charlie Sheen’s live standup routine in Detroit to shame. There was going to be lights, security shipped in from Blackwater, jets flying over, paratroopers dropping in at halftime, and uniforms that a future art student at age seven made on NCAA ’12. If it weren’t a football game, many people in the Ann Arbor vicinity may have thought Red Dawn 2 was being filmed in the Big House.
Notre Dame was coming off an embarrassing loss to a far less talented team from the swamps of Florida. One emotion of the Notre Dame Fighting Kellys was obviously anger. Brian Kelly is the only coach I know of that earned his coaching degree from the Homeland Security Department. It was Kelly that spurred Tom Ridge and other brainiacs to come up with the color coded alert levels. After last week, the South Florida Bulls are now on the U.S. Terrorist List.
Notre Dame was gunning to ruin a night of history in Michigan Stadium. They are not a team that lacks neither talent nor coaching skill (notice I didn’t say class). After doubling up the offensive production and producing a stifling defense against South Florida, they themselves lost the game due to the curse of Lou Holtz. Ever since ridding themselves of Lou Holtz, spittle traced back to Dr. Lou’s DNA can be found on every game ball ND touches. This logically explains the many fumbles and miscommunication. I believed naively that the curse would be lifted against Michigan due to Kelly’s coaching prowess and it just didn’t sit well statistically that Michigan could beat ND three years in a row. I respect statistics and precedence. Three in a row, especially with the transitions and coaching clusterfucks Michigan has experienced the past four years, just didn’t seem plausible.
The game began and I didn’t watch it. The beginning of it that is. I was too busy caught up watching ESS EEE SEE FOOTBAWW as Georgia went 0-2 against the Gamecocks of South Carolina in what seemed to be the longest two minutes of fourth quarter in college football history. I think it can be chalked up to a combination of a lack of number skills and a conference hell bent on ruining the lives of scholarship players and intelligent people everywhere.
When the game finally came on, I witnessed a déjà vu of last week’s first drive by the opponent. Michigan made Rees look like an All-American. Brent Musberger was getting off on being able to show off his counting skillz by constantly updating an already irritable Michigan fan base watching on TV the pass attempt/pass completed ratio of Kelly’s poodle QB. After the first drive, I expected a repeat performance of Michigan’s offense moving down the field in electrifying fashion. I couldn’t have been anymore wrong. Denard seemed like a mortal man that had his shoes not tied out of choice, but because he was just incapable. The offense was grim and the defense, well the defense was reminiscent of the finest looking Swiss Cheese west of the Prime Meridian. Not only was Notre Dame racking up passing yards that went mostly to Calvin Johnson Jr., but the running game of Notre Dame’s was also slicing and dicing the Michigan defense. The game began looking grim. Michigan looked more helpless than a bag of kittens smothered with BBQ sauce sitting on a silver platter in front of John Madden. Halftime ended 17-7 in favor of the Notre Lame Fighting Kellys.
Once halftime started, I had to take a shower. I had this disgusting film of disappointment covering my body. As mentioned before, I did not expect this game to have an outcome that I desired, but I did expect MANBAWW FOOTBAWW to put up a better fight than a nun in a UFC fight. I texted one of my colleagues that was sitting inside the Big House amongst the mass of people that was watching the horror show live to walk into the locker room and demand that HOKE either start pointing magical rays of football into the players or get out while he still could and join me at a shindig in Detroit I was readying myself for. The shindig included many beautiful women and alcohol. I was not sticking around to see Notre Dame light up the scoreboard as I sat alone in my Livonia basement mancave. Alcohol seemed to be the perfect remedy to obliterate my memory and women seemed to be the perfect cure for a bad case of grumpypantsitis due to their nurturing demeanor.
Once the third quarter started I smelled good and was ready to cut rug in Detroit. I figured I’d wait one or two more drives to see if HOKE inspired the team, the team, the team to fight back and make this a respectable game. I was at first sorely disappointed again. ND scored making the first night game in Michigan’s history 24-7 bad guys. As I started making the finishing touches on making myself presentable to the public eye, Michigan scored! Not only did they just score, they made a play that became a cliffhanger for me. Denard threw a long bomb to Hemingway as a ND defender gnawed upon his leg. I guess he could make this throw and play due to the drills in practice where Gorgeous Borges holds onto Denard’s legs preventing him from running and making insane plays with his legs. This forces Denard to make insane plays with his arm.
After that score making the game 24-14, I decided to stay, so I could be a champion. I am glad I did. Sitting helplessly in my chair I worried that this game would keep my hopes alive just enough that I didn’t get to use my new pack of razor blades I picked up at Ace Hardware earlier until the end. Then the hour would be too late to get a quality suicide hotline operator to talk me down. The graveyard shift gets its name for a reason. Not only was I working on my third ulcer, but my ex-girlfriend half a world away thought it would be a wise idea to send a shitstorm of insults at my team’s first night game just because she was jealous that her alma mater of Penn State‘s only tradition was waving a cane at a pep rally and excusing himself for foul language the night before. This night could not be anymore nervewracking.
The fourth quarter turned out to be a footballgasm that I will never forget. Michigan outscored ND 28-7 to defeat the Fighting Kellys. Not only was it a comeback of a lifetime, but the way ND crumbled was pure Shadenfreude. The most memorable was when the curse of Dr. Lou attacked Rees into throwing the ball…without the ball. At this point, the Michigan National Guard was put on high alert as the Kelly Alert Level reached violet. From late in the game on, the breaks bounced Michigan’s way. The Hopkins fumble into Denard’s magical hands and the five turnovers in all seemed to be luck that slid in the direction of the Maize and Blue. Michigan pulled out a victory of epic proportions and I felt like a champion for staying. I texted back by ex’s comment of this being an embarrassing moment of Michigan football history, “Fuck your history.”
As for the seeming luck that the Irish did not have and Michigan did, I believe there was something more. I think it was Vince Lombardi or someone important like that that once said, “Luck is when hard work meets opportunity.” After watching this game I believe this quote a little more. This team for the last three years, would have never been able to pull this off. You can bicker about it being the coaches, player’s age, or lack of skill, but I saw a team believing in themselves that I haven’t seen in a long time. The breaks in the game have not bounced in Michigan’s favor against a formidable opponent in such away for at least three years. You may argue Wisconsin 2008, but they ended up 7-6. As I said earlier, ND is going to be a decent team this year. As a matter of fact, I expect them to knock off Michigan State. Brian Kelly will turn Notre Dame into kamikazes before he lets ND go 0-3. I am sure they are practicing ball handling skills with duct tape and battering rams at this very moment. Anyways, this Michigan team shows fight. Something I knew the last couple of years they didn’t. In the past, as soon as the offensive momentum ceased, so did the whole team’s chances. Not in 2011. This Michigan team may end up 7-6 or something close, but at least I know they will die fighting.
Screaming, yelling, and having your face mocking a chameleon in heat may be therapeutic for some, but a resolve to never give up and keep giving your opponent everything you got on a big stage at home in the style I saw last Saturday night, is true Homeland Security.
After finally making it back to Arlington,Tx from that epic game at the Big House, I realized it was time to move on to the next week's game (even though my heart and mind continue to relive that wonderful night.) I wasn't planning on doing more wallpaper as I hate mediocrity and feel like the feeble attempts I make are just not worth it. Of course this week I doubt monuMental will sweep in and save us like he did for UTL since he has much more important things to do than worry about Eastern Michigan.
My 11 year, the homer that he is, swears that his daddy's wallpaper was better anyways (I do not see eye to eye with him on this) and wants me to pick up where monuMental left off until the game against MSU. I thought of a couple things to do for the week's look before I got frustrated with the attempts and decided to just pass on it. Then the 5 year old comes along. That's the one with those deep blue eyes and dimples that have already landed him a new car and credit card at such an early age. He looks at me and says, "dad Michigan did not give up when they were losing to the flower team (that's four leaf clovers to normal people.) How could I resist?
So the process looked something like the following. I thought about using an oversized birdcage to put Eastern's mascot, Swoop, in. I couldn't create the right look in the limited time so I moved on to more of a cell-block look. This would give the idea of a jail bird or just an oversized bird cage. This is kind of where that ended up at...
It just didn't really seem to have the pop I wanted and seemed cheesy. This is about the time my 5 year old convinced me not to give up but try something else.
I then thought more about a real eagle since I didn't have a great shot of Swoop and didn't have enough time to re-create him. Of course Swoop is a bald eagle which is probably one of my favorite animals. When I started to consider placing such a great bird in a cell or cage it caused some inner tension. Blast those people in Ypsilanti for having such a fine species as their rallying point in sports. Against the inner turmoil, I went ahead and considered some options. I took the bald eagle and placed him in a cell. Some writing on the wall and the right lighting allowed me to find a concept I liked. Now it is extremely raw and not the shadowing I really wanted. When I really step back and take a look it seems like I threw it together. Oh wait, I did.
I may try to tweak it some more but since the weekend is just around the corner I thought I would throw up the concept on this fine MGoBoard and take the beating and criticism like a man. Hope I don't embarrass the photoshop family too much. Even if I do, at least I have an 11 and 5 year old that goes to school and says "my dad can photoshop better than your dad." Yeah they get beat up a lot.
[Ed: PGB - Bumped for general awesomeness in the topic and the cerebral discussion that follows. This is a very good example of why the MGoBoard is great. Make sure to read the article before joining in on the discussion, if possible.]
Dr. Saturday linked to this (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college...) treatise on the NCAA suggesting it:
"may legitimately be the most important article ever written about college sports. If not, it's certainly the most comprehensive, tracing the history of the NCAA from its humble, impotent origins, and making the most convincing case yet that the organization is not only the bastion of an exploitive, plantation-like system that violates antitrust law, but may in fact be little more than a basketball tournament with an empty office building in Kansas City. (Also: It includes a former coach describing his profession as "whoremaster.")"
I haven't read the whole thing yet (because I'm not one of those speed-readers), but it's both very well written and researched, and I thought it would be good to disseminate it to the masses for consumption and discussion.
There were 1,149 people who entered the Pick Six contest and 1,013 unique entries. 225 of you picked the same six teams as somebody else which means you can share in the joy and glory if you picked well, or commiserate if your teams go down in flames. The other 924 of us have nobody who agrees with us about the six best teams.
Before we get on with the analysis of the picks, I’m sure everybody wants to know who Brian picked
- Boise State (looking good)
- Stanford (in good shape)
- Wisconsin (very strong)
- Notre Dame (u mad bro?)
- West Virginia (meh)
- Texas (meh)
If everybody picked randomly we would expect that each team would get 20% of the votes. Let’s see which bandwagons MGoBlog is riding, and which teams we’re shunning.
We overwhelmingly think Oklahoma and Alabama will be the best teams this season. Almost nobody has any faith in Les Miles and his insanely brave/crazy game strategies.
Again the highest two ranked teams get a large majority of the picks. In this group our new Big Ten comrade Nebraska gets its fair share of the votes however. We don’t have much belief that the pair of Big Twelve teams will do well because everybody thinks Oklahoma is going to dominate.
This group has both the largest percentage and the smallest percentage (of ranked teams). Wisconsin has so far certainly seemed to prove that those 42% of people are correct. South Carolina, Virginia Tech and TCU (Wisconsin’s kryptonite from last year) all get pretty close to the baseline 20% share of the vote. So almost all of Wisconsin’s extra votes came at the expense of people who think Petrino won’t do as well at Arkansas without Ryan Mallet.
The group of death. Every World Cup has one and so does Pick Six. Our three rivals and two SEC teams make Group D a tough pick. One commenter said that he picked his entire ballot of teams that he dislikes, so he picked Michigan St because he would be most pissed if they ended the season highly ranked. For other “rational entries” MGoBlog collectively thought that Notre Dame would do well. How’s that working out for you?
The first group in which the most common pick was not the highest ranked team from the original poll. People finally got bored of picking the first team on the list so West Virginia is barely more popular than Southern Cal (333 votes to 325). Florida with Charlie Weis’s offense also gets a large percentage of picks while nobody thinks Auburn can afford another Heisman and National Championship.
The number one rule of playing Pick Six while it was hosted on Blue Gray Sky was “Do not pick Notre Dame.” In the final year 90% (literally! check it out) of the BGS readers chose Notre Dame (who started ranked but ended up unranked), so I and the other brave souls who picked other teams did well. On MGoBlog it appears that a lot of us followed the “Do not pick Michigan” rule. Texas beats Michigan as the most popular unranked team by fourteen votes (344 to 330). I showed the top seven teams in the bar chart because they represent just over three-fourths of the total picks. The pie chart has the most teams that is still legible. In all there were 50 unranked teams selected, including 10 teams that were selected by only a single person. Perhaps we’ll talk about some of these other selections in future updates.
Only two of these most popular picks are actually ranked in week 2, Texas at #24 and Arizona State ranked #22. The 8 people who picked Baylor are currently doing the best earning 7 points for that #19 ranking. South Florida, the fourth and final team currently ranked, is close behind at #20 earning 6 points in the unranked column for 13 people who thought they would upset Notre Dame in week 1.
Individual ballot analysis
Only one person picked the highest ranked team from each group and then he picked Michigan. So this unnamed user (you know who you are) gets called out for the laziest Pick Six entry.
The most popular ballot according to individual group percentages was Oklahoma, Florida State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, WVU and Texas. It turns out that this was also tied for the most common ballot with 7 people all picking it. There were 7 people who switched Stanford and Michigan for Florida State and Texas. Both Stanford and Michigan were 2nd place in their respective groups. The five most popular ballots are:
|# Entries||Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D||Group E||Unranked|
|7||Oklahoma||Florida St||Wisconsin||Notre Dame||WVU||Texas|
|6||Oklahoma||Florida St||Wisconsin||Notre Dame||USC||Texas|
|5||Oklahoma||Florida St||Wisconsin||Notre Dame||USC||Michigan|
|5||Oklahoma||Florida St||Wisconsin||Notre Dame||Florida||Texas|
Nobody picked the least popular team from each group but the closest is Juager who picked LSU (least popular), Texas A&M (least), South Carolina (second-least), Mississippi State (third-least) and Auburn (least).
Week 2 Rankings
Just like the polls during the season, weekly rankings have no bearing on the final winner. They are merely fun to look at and discuss. The standings at this link should be updated every week regardless of if there is a new Diary.
The current perfect ballot is Oklahoma, Florida State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Florida, Baylor earning 93 points. Nobody is perfect yet, but our current leader mattodell15 was right on the money with the ranked teams and only lost 5 points by picking Texas instead of Baylor as his unranked team. Those teams play the last week of the season and he will be rooting hard for the Longhorns that week.
The lowest score of 33 is hurt by Notre Dame, Missouri and Michigan all being unranked and TCU dropping to 22nd in the polls. I don’t know if it is good or bad that this is the worst possible score somebody could have.
The weekly Brian watch has him tied with 36 others for 280th place. Notre Dame is killing his picks but all his other teams have a good chance.
I know a couple members of the football support staff and spoke to one today about the defense...I was definitely happy to hear that a few changes or "test situations" were spotted on the field.
What I wanted to share was regarding sub packages, situational subbing and changes on the defensive side of the ball. Here are some things that ARE being worked on:
WDE - Roh/Black (rotating)
NG - Martin
DT - Campbell
SDE - Van Bergen
WDE - Heininger
NG - Martin
DT - Campbell
SDE - Van Bergen
WDE - Ryan
NG - Martin
DT - Van Bergen
SDE - Black
WLB - Hawthorne
MLB - Demens
SLB - Gordon/Ryan (rotating)
WLB - Gordon/Hawthorne (rotating)
MLB - Demens
SLB - Ryan
WLB - Hawthorne/Jones
MLB - Demens/Jones
SLB - Gordon (remember, Ryan is at WDE)
I think this is a work in progress, and a lot depends on the health of Hawthorne and Cam Gordon...but it's good to see they're trying things and making personnel adjustments after the first two games. Not to say they weren't practicing these groups before, they were...just more time now. I personally think they're going to try a few "new" things over the next game or two to find out who can play and where he should be playing.
Sidenote: As Wolverines we don't want to be compared to a Buckeye...but when I heard about Ryan playing WDE in passing situations and asked about it, it was "yea, it's crazy, he looks SO much like Bobby Carpenter did late in his career at Ohio, SLB and rush DE on passing down with the locks flowing out the back. But the real similarity is that both are sound and smart players from Ohio who love to HIT!" I looked up Carpenter and they're similar height/weight wise too (I ALMOST said "and they're similar in size too).
Pickerington (OH) Central DE Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton—a member of both the ESPNU 150 Watch List and the Early Top247 for the class of 2013—visited Ann Arbor for the Notre Dame game and picked up an offer from Michigan yesterday. Charlton also holds offers from Cincinnati, Purdue, Syracuse, and UCLA, and he has garnered interest from Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and several others.
When I talked to him last week, Charlton said that his favorites were the teams that had offered him, because they "showed [him] a lot of love." How does his newest offer change things? I caught up with him this evening to talk about the Wolverines, his visit, and the timeline for his recruitment:
ACE: How'd the visit go for you? Describe the experience of being at the Notre Dame game.
TACO: It was great. The fans were crazy, the coaches showed me a lot of love, and it was a really good atmosphere altogether. I loved it.
ACE: Were you able to meet any of the other recruits on the visit?
TACO: Yeah. I know a couple of them—[2013 OH TE] Jake Matuska, [2013 OH QB] Brogan Roback. I talked to [2013 OH S] Cam Burrows and [2013 OH LB] Mike McCray.
ACE: Did you get to meet any of the current players?
TACO: Not really. I talked to [Mike] Martin before the game, but by the time I got there they were getting ready and everything.
ACE: You were able to pick up a Michigan offer. Describe what that means in terms of your recruitment right now.
TACO: Oh, man, it was big. That's a big offer. It's probably one of the biggest offers I've got right now. It's one of the schools I'm looking at that I really like, so I like that they gave me an offer. It meant a lot to me—this is something that is really hard to get.
ACE: I know you said last week when I asked you about your favorites that they were the teams that had offered you. Does this put Michigan right up in that top group?
TACO: Yeah, of course. I like Michigan—I've been down to visit and the offer just improves [their standing] even more.
ACE: Would you say they're your favorite right now, or is it too early to say at this point?
TACO: Yeah, I'm not going to pull out a favorite yet, but I could tell even as my recruitment goes on that they're definitely going to be one of the top teams that I will want to go to.
ACE: After the game, were you able to talk to the coaches at all? When did you get the offer?
TACO: I talked to them last night on the phone, I called them and everything. I got a chance to talk to Coach Montgomery and Coach Smith, and that's when they offered me. When I got down there before the game I got a chance to talk to them then [as well].
ACE: I know you've been mostly playing defensive end [at Pickerington Central]. Have the coaches outlined where they see you potentially fitting in on the defense?
TACO: They just said that I'm going to have to come in and work hard, and that it'll be a good challenge between me and the other defensive ends that will be coming in. They just told me that for now they'll have all of us [defensive ends, I presume] all together.
ACE: It's still early in the whole process, but do you have any idea of a timeline for your recruitment?
TACO: My dad said maybe some time around the start of my senior year, but it'll go until I feel right with a school and I feel that's the school I really want to take my college career to. I will probably take all my official visits before I decide, too.
ACE: Do you have any other visits set up for this season?
TACO: I don't know for sure. I think I might go somewhere this week, but I haven't decided where exactly. Yeah, I definitely will take some more visits and see some more games.
ACE: Any plans to return to Ann Arbor again this year?
TACO: Yeah, definitely. It really depends on where we go in the playoffs and how far that plays out to see for sure, but right now I'm definitely looking to get back up there, it just depends on how the season goes.