Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
I've started this post three separate times now and the agony of defeat has left me bereft of words the first two. This time no fooling around: Rum makes words happen. Rum and bullet points... prose makes pain.
Learn from yesterday...
What can we learn from yesterday?
- That it is not indicative of how well Michigan will play, nor fare going forward. Every game remains winnable.
- That this Michigan team is still composed of personnel that does not match up well with Michigan State, especially when the wind is howling.
- That strong winds + Kirk Cousins > strong winds + Denard Robinson.
- That punting to the moon is not necessarily the best idea in a windstorm.
- That Dantonio is a good coach that hates Michigan more than anything in the whole wide world and is willing to overlook, if not coach his players to play dirty and take cheap shots at anyone in a winged helmet.
- That sometimes you can just punch a guy in a game and it's all good. No need to get hasty and eject anyone.
- That having in-laws that went to MSU, and are smart, respectable people does not seem bad at all until Michigan loses to little brother 4 years in a row and they make sure to call and rub it in even though they would be totally embarrassed if they had actually seen the game and how the representatives of their fine university conducted themselves.
- That yesterday sucked.
Live for Today…
Only two things to hang my hat on:
1. Brady Hoke – Despite everything that transpired on the field, our team looked well coached and kept their composure. There was not a whiff of retaliation and we should all be proud as fans of how classy our team was. More than anything else so far, the game yesterday showed us that this is Hoke's team, and that Michigan is still in the business of coaching young men to greatness on and off the field.
2. Michigan's Seniors – It would have been easy to let emotions take over and start taking cheap shots at the end. These guys took the high road, kudos to them. They are the ones that will bring this team back together to finish the season strong.
Hope for Tomorrow
We may look back at that game as strong medicine, a vile tonic that both humbles and gives that fire in the belly that can lead to great things. There couldn't be a better time for a bye week to regroup. Then the season begins anew, with a warm-up against Purdue before the real tests begin. Michigan was never out of the MSU game until that pick-six. They were right there to tie it up late in the 4th and are again the equal of the Spartans at least. Two weeks to coach off of that game film will yield dividends for a disciplined group such as this. Hopefully everyone can stomach the 4th loss to Sparty in a row and keep their faith in our coach. He will have Michigan a team to take pride in, and he is doing it the right way, the Michigan way.
Go Blue and stay safe.
Mark Dantonio has now coached in five Michigan-Michigan State games. If you're wondering whether UM's players have justification to start feeling a bit like a roughed-up MSU dorm-hall coed and her friends, you're right.
Inglorious stats from the past five Michigan-Michigan State games, if I gleaned the play-by-play logs accurately:
|YEAR||MSU PFs||MSU RPs||MSU UCs||MSU all 3 combined||UM all 3 combined|
PF = personal foul RP = roughing the passer UC = unsportsmanlike conduct
Basically, Dantonio's Spartans are going to play like a bunch of hooligans when Michigan plays at Michigan State -- 11 personal fouls and 3 roughing-the-passer penalties in three games played at Spartan Stadium. And in the past three Michigan games alone, the Spartans have committed 9 personal fouls, 3 roughing-the-passer penalties and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. (By comparison, Michigan has committed 2 such penalties in the past thee games, and 5 in the past 5 Michigan State games.)
All this excludes the chop-block penalty incurred late last year on Michigan State, which crushed Mike Martin's leg -- a vicous attempt to injure -- and excludes the likely suspension coming to Gholston on Monday.
Maybe we've all got it wrong, however.
Maybe Dantonio isn't modelling his football program after Jim Tressel's at Ohio State's; rather, maybe he's patterning it on Dennis Erickson's notorious Miami-Florida teams of the early 1990s. True, Saturday's total of four personal fouls and two roughing-the-passer penalties isn't nudging up next to Miami's bellwether game when it comes to notoriety -- the 1991 Cotton Bowl, when Erickson's Hurricanes were flagged 10 times either for personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct in a 16-penalty victory over Texas. But six ugly penalties is in the ballpark, let's not sell Gholston and co. short.
More encouragingly, Dantonio's players have only a short ways to go to match those Hurricanes' worst off-field crime incident. The Hurricanes weren't wearing ski masks or roughing up co-eds, but back in their bad-ass heyday some 40 Miami players were involved in an on-campus disturbance that could be put down only by 14 squad cars worth of cops and a police dog.
But here's where you can be proud, Sparty. When Sports Illustrated wrote an open letter to Miami's president in 1995 compelling him to shut down his renegade football program, the author cited a Miami Herald story in which it claimed -- in shocking italics! -- that "No fewer than one of every seven scholarship players on last season's team has been arrested while enrolled at your university." Hell, everyone knows the 2009 Sparties had that beat by a mile after ski-maskgate.
As for Miami's other records of notoriety, maybe next year, Hurricanes. Er, Sparties.
Despite the fact that I didn't even post rankings last week (sorry about that—life stuff came up), barely anything happened in recruiting outside of Purdue adding a few commits and jumping Minnesota in the standings. Action since last rankings:
10-2-11: Purdue picks up Dion Witty.
10-3-11: Purdue picks up Cameron Cermin.
10-10-11: Purdue picks up Cameron Posey.
10-12-11: Northwestern picks up Traveon Henry.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota), Darius Stroud and Jacarri Alexander (Indiana), and Steffon Martin and Devin Smith (Purdue) are excluded from their respective team averages.
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka 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.
On to the full data, after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
No change for the Wolverines.
|#2 Notre Dame - 16 Commits|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Nittany Lions.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
No change for the Spartans.
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
No change for the Badgers.
|#7 Indiana - 19 Commits|
No change for the Hoosiers. Broken record is broken.
|#8 Northwestern - 17 Commits|
The Wildcats land FL running back Traveon Henry.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes.
|#10 Purdue - 20 Commits|
The Boilermakers pick up commits from CB Dion Witty, OL Cameron Cermin, and WR Cameron Posey. They leapfrog Minnesota in a battle of teams with a ton of commits but no highly-rated recruits.
|#11 Minnesota - 21 Commits|
No change for the Gophers.
|#12 Nebraska - 7 Commits|
The Huskers stay stuck on seven recruits. I keep waiting for the week when they add a bunch of four-star recruits, and it keeps not happening.
|#13 Illinois - 9 Commits|
No change for the Illini.
I go inside the boxscore so you don’t have to. It was all dark and scary in there this week. I should probably sleep on this and delete half of these bullets*, but the sooner we put this behind us, the better.
Big John R. Studd Referee Section
I’m moving this section to the beginning this week because I can. It’s also so I can subtly point out a few things that bothered me about this game. (Skip this section if you already got your fill of the Gholston issue.)
- MSU penalties: 13 for 124 yards.
- UofM penalties: 5 for 40 yards.
- 1stdowns from penalties: UofM 6, MSU 0.
- Gholston picked up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for a late hit on Denard and for punching Taylor Lewan. The late hit on Denard preceded Gholston grabbing Denard’s helmet and twisting it, in an obvious attempt to injure another player. The sucker punch to Lewan came after Lewan helped Gholston get back up.
- Either penalty should have been enough to draw a red card (for those unfamiliar with soccer terms, that’s a permanent ticket to the sidelines.) Instead, after the second penalty, Dantonio took him out of the game for all of 1 minute and 1 second of game time. On Gholston’s first play back in the game, he made the tackle. That’s symbolic of the win-at-all-costs attitude of Mark Dantonio.
- Reading through the post-game press conference comments of our players, I must say that I am impressed with the dignity and class that they demonstrated by taking the high road. I am not that mature. F Dantonio and his win-at-all-costs attitude. His program is degenerating into a minor-league affiliate of the Oakland Raiders. There are no lessons of sportsmanship, integrity, accountability, or respect being learned on the Spartan sideline.
- After the 2ndGholston penalty, Chris Spielman (more on him later) said, Dantonio represents, “Clean, hard, hitting football.” I nearly threw up in my mouth. I suppose that’s in the same manner that Jim Tressel wins with honesty. Spielman’s problem with the Gholston penalties was that it is “costing your team.” I think it goes way deeper than that, Chris. Gholston was trying to injure another person playing a game. Gholston has behavioral issues that are reminiscent of Roger Clemens at his worst. If you think that I am implying he suffers from ‘roid rage, don’t forget that Tony Mandarich was the original face of steroids in college football. So yeah, I went there.
- I’m sure Dantonio will respond to this outrageous behavior by suspending Gholston… for the Indiana or Minnesota games.
- The refs did miss one backwards pass from Cousins, who clearly let go of the ball on state’s 37 and hit his receiver’s hands on the 36. The explanation was really lame, something along the lines of Michigan didn’t recover the football right away. The way I saw it, the ball hit the ground and the Michigan defender bent down and picked it up. What am I missing?
- Dave Pasch from ESPN pointed out that state should have been called for taunting on their last TD, but I think the refs just got tired of throwing flags against state.
I can honestly say that I am proud of the way my team played. Any sparty fan who tells you the same about their team is either lying or is a Neanderthal juggalo. Was that subtle enough for you?
Burst of Impetus
- We won the turnover battle, 2-1, but lost the 4thdown conversion battle. We were 2 of 4 on 4thdown, state didn’t go for it on 4thdown.
- The fourth down stop in the 4thquarter was the burst of impetus play of the game. If Denard sneaks over the left guard (Spielman incorrectly identified the gap over the right guard as being open), we continue the drive and have a chance to tie the game. Instead, we got too cute and State stopped us. This game came down to 3 plays, and yet we lost by 14. It was a lot closer than that. Frustrating.
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
- Mark Messner is our career leader in TFLs with 64. That’s an average of 16 per season. In his best season he had 24 TFLs. I bring this up because some of our D-linemen are highly thought of on this blog. I generally agree, and I like this current group of players, but the production just has not been Messnerian this year. That is the standard that we must strive for.
- State had 10 TFLs. We had 5.5. Whoever is doing our defensive stats, how do you not end up with an integer here?
- Desmond Morgan and Thomas Gordon were each credited with half a TFL for 0 yards. I was just joking about TFNG in a previous ItBS diary. I didn’t expect you guys to actually start crediting them.
- We list QH’s in the boxscore. I’m guessing that’s for quarterback hurries. Kovacs got one and Van Bergen got two.
- Our leading tacklers were Gordon, Kovacs, Roh, and Countess, with 8, 6, 6, and 6, respectively. Do you notice what’s missing? Linebackers. Demens was the leading tackler among the linebackers with 5. I noticed this week that Touch the Banner was high on Demens for last week’s performance against NU, but Brian was critical of him in the UFRs. I think this game was the tie-breaker. I don’t think our LBs were productive enough. Baker gashed us all day long. His longest run was only 25 yards, yet he gained 167 yards on 26 carries. State was consistently able to pound the football against us.
- We got McGloined. I was expecting us to be able to shut down the state running game due to the inexperience along state’s O-line. I was expecting us to shut down PSU last year when they had to start McGloin. Well, we know how that went. I was just amazed at the inability of our front four to get any penetration or push.
- When Denard was lined up as a split end, he was a step or two behind the other WR. The image of a bubble screen to Denard flashed in my mind. Maybe we’re saving that for the osu game.
- The best stat we had was that Will Hagerup put four punts inside the 20. Like I said, it’s dark and scary in here.
- Denard ran the ball 18 times. Very few were of the designed variety. I think he was playing hurt, but he's too classy to use that as an excuse.
- Roundtree had an amazing catch, and a TD. Otherwise, the WRs didn't do too much.
- I liked the jerseys. ESPN’s guys pointed out that the uniforms are a part of recruiting 17 year old players. I’m 41 years old, but I often think like a 17 year old. If I was picking a school just on the basis of their uniforms, I’d pick Michigan. State’s “throwbacks” (throw-ups?) reminded me of a snot-rag. Black, green, and bronze? No thanks. I felt bad for state’s fans because they couldn’t do the “go green, go white” cheer because they didn’t want to cheer for us, since we were the only team wearing white.
- The yellow undershirts said “Victors” on one sleeve and “Valiant” on the other.
Chris Spielman Hates Us
- Phew, I finally have a subtitle for the announcers section. I know announcers aren’t listed in the boxscore, but since moving to SoCal, I watch the games on TV so they are a part of my experience.
- Spielman had a premeditated critique of our QB Oh Noes, play. He said numerous times that our O-linemen were 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Urban corrected him once, saying they were allowed to be 3 yards beyond the line. I don’t know what the rule is exactly, but it was clear to me that the pass was thrown, the ball hit the ground and rolled around a little, Spielman looked up and saw our guys 3-5 yards beyond the line. However, when the ball was thrown, they were still within the three yards, at least according to me and Urban Meyer. Maybe Spielman feels a kinship with Dantonio, or is hurting from the troubles in Columbus, but he just seemed really petty and one-sided during the game. I normally find him to be fair, but not during this game.
- Urban said he would run Denard on 1st, 2nd, and 3rddowns. I may be wrong, but didn’t he recruit Denard to play WR or DB?
- With about 6 minutes left in the 2ndquarter, Urban said that Michigan was dominating time of possession with 14 minutes to state’s 6. I was left to wonder what third team was playing and what did they do with their 4 minutes of TOP.
Random, as Yet Unnamed, Bullets
- We had more first downs that state, 20-16. I was surprised to see that.
- We were 3 for 15 on third down, which sort of negates that previous bullet. Oh what a difference a week makes.
- I went through the play-by-play link from the boxscore and counted how many times we had 2ndand 10 or longer. There were 9 times we were 2ndand 10, and 5 more times where we had 2ndand longer than 10. To me, that was the story of the game. We couldn’t get in 2nd or 3rd and short, forcing us to pass and the wind got in our heads. And with all that trash flying around, it was hard to ignore the wind. Really state, I get that you are an agricultural school, but do you have to behave like animals?
- If you subtract the sacks, we did gain 151 yards to State’s 224. So we weren’t as dominated on the ground as the rushing yard stats make it seem. We just lost a ton of yards on sacks, 69.
- I think Denard’s 3 INTs last week hurt more this week than they did last week. I know this sounds odd, but we won the game last week. This week, Denard seemed to be missing badly, away from traffic, as if he was overcompensating for last week. He ended up 9-24 passing. All those incompletions prevented us from sustaining drives.
*In diaries, "smack talk is strongly discouraged." Does comparing Gholston to Roger Clemens constitute "smack talk?"
The rain will move out by 8am, and if you're headed out tailgating you'll be dry, but may want to put a few extra stakes in your tent to make sure your wind protection doesn't blow over! We'll be at 45 degrees, but it'll feel chillier with west winds at 20mph, gusts higher. Grab something warm to drink, put the chili in the crockpot, and bundle up!
Looking at 52 degrees and partly cloudy for the kickoff. That west wind is just beginning to reach it's peak- seeing a steady 25mph wind (this is when you can hear the wind howling, it's hard to use an umbrella) and gusts could be up to 40mph (big trees sway, you can feel your car veering.)
Only going up a couple degrees by halftime, and seeing more sun but some clouds remain. Winds steady at 30mph with gusts over 40mph possible. Gale force winds mean you can see some branches down, construction barricades can blow over.
Reaching the high temperature as we approach the end of the game, 56 degrees. The clouds will continue to clear as we go through the remainder of the afternoon and evening hours, but the important thing is that the winds will begin to wind down. By 8pm, sitting at 50 degrees, west wind at 18mph, gusts up to 30mph. By midnight, they've calmed to 15mph, gusts in the low 20s, with temps in the upper 40s. If you're headed home Sunday morning, you'll see less wind (about 10mph-leaves move about) but the chance of a shower returns.
If you're staying home... Very similar weather, but we'll be a bit warmer. Looking to hit the upper 50s in Ann Arbor tomorrow, and a little less windy than E. Lansing- we'll have west winds between 20-28mph, with gusts in the upper 30s. 54 degrees at kickoff, 56 by halftime, and seeing mostly sunny skies for the afternoon. Cooling to the upper 40s by last call, wind at 15mph (no gusts), with clouds increasing late night as showers move in for Sunday morning. Bundle up on this windy Saturday to head downtown and celebrate victory!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
The Pick Six standings are starting to settle down. There will still be lots of change over the course of the season but fewer teams will make 15+ place jumps and so people will move up and down slower in the standings. If you've forgotten your username send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can look you up.
Pick Six welcomes the Houston Cougars into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season. All 31 people who chose Houston are glad they finally made it into the poll. With 31 people Houston was actually the 6th most popular unranked teams. The only top 8 most popular unranked teams that have not gotten into the rankings yet are BYU and Iowa. With the way the season is going so far, it looks like only BYU has a chance of ever being ranked, and that is a pretty smal chance.
In fact there have been 11 preseason unranked teams who have made appearances in the poll. Nine of those eleven are still ranked this week (South Florida are the teams that returned to the unranked masses).
We also have to say hello to Michigan State as they reentered the poll with a #23 ranking. We went 3 weeks without anybody from Group D in the rankings. Surprisingly the return of points from Group D didn’t have much of an effect on the leaderboard. None of the top 16 people in this week’s standings picked Michigan State.
Other than that the only major changes were Texas dropping to #22 and Florida dropping out of the poll. That gives the 330 people who picked Michigan an advantage over the 344 people who picked Texas.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Once again our leader stays on top from last week. But it’s not actually BlueMars24 and Cottonpicker whose fortunes fell with Florida. This week, Willhouse stays on top with 95 points and claims first place all by himself. It’s his West Virginia and Clemson picks that are keeping him in first.
The perfect ballot has finally cracked 100 points this week with #1 LSU, #6 Oklahoma State, #4 Wisconsin, #23 Michigan State, #13 West Virginia and #8 Clemson. That is three teams earning at least 20 points this week.
The two people with the worst possible ballot actually have managed to go even lower than last week’s 20 points. This week Florida State dropped out of the poll so Oregon is their sole ranked team earning them 17 points. If Oregon somehow loses badly to Arizona State and Stanford there could be the mythical zero point ballot.
Weekly Brian watch
Not much to update here. Brian drops slightly to 70th place. West Virginia picked up a few more points but Texas lost them and more.
Judging your picks
Even though the perfect ballot is at its highest point yet, the average ballots are falling. The mean and median of the MGoBlogosphere is 55 points (down from 60). A ballot picked randomly would be expected to have 49 points this week.
A full two thirds of the MGoBlog pickers are above that random level. So congratulations MGoBloggers, you are definitely value-added Pick Six Pickers.
Games to Not Watch
As stubob pointed out in his Ugly Game of the Week diary most of the Top 25 is taking on cupcakes. However I think he posted far too pretty of cupcakes in his post. Most of these matchups are against bad cupcakes. Arkansas is not playing this week but 7 of the 9 active Top Ten teams are favored by 2+ touchdowns. The average line on those 9 games is 22 points.
So, no these games do not deserve good looking cupcake pictures. Before we list the good games to watch here are 2 games that will satisfy your urge for carnage.
Indiana at #4 Wisconsin
Line: Wisconsin –40, Over/Under 60
#3 Oklahoma at Kansas
Line: Oklahoma –35.5, Over/Under 72.5
Here are two games where the winning team might cover the point total all by themselves. The last time Wisconsin scored more than 60 points was last year against Northwestern (70), Indiana (83) and Austin Peay (70). Scoring 60 at home against the Hoosiers should be no problem.
It has been a surprisingly long time since Oklahoma scored more than 72.5. It goes all the way back to opening day of the 2007 season when they scored 79 against North Texas. However they have scored in the mid 60s seven times since then.
Games to Watch
Despite all the crappy games this week one can actually find a solid day of good football that will have an impact on the Pick Six standings. In order of quality:
- #11 Michigan at #23 Michigan State (noon, ESPN)
- #18 Arizona St at #9 Oregon (10:15, ESPN)
- #6 Oklahoma St at #22 Texas (3:30, ABC/ESPN)
- #20 Baylor at #21 Texas A&M (noon, FX)
- Florida at #24 Auburn (7:00, ESPN)
We’re all obviously going to be watching the Michigan game but keep an eye on any highlights of the Baylor-Texas A&M game. Both of those teams will be fighting to hang on to their ranking for one more week. After plummeting down the poll 2 weeks ago both teams had a pretty easy matchup last week that kept them around the bottom of the poll. The loser will be unranked next week and probably for several weeks afterward.
After the Michigan game switch over to the Oklahoma State game at Texas. Depending on how good you think Texas actually is, this might be the Cowboys toughest game until December 3 against Oklahoma.
Then watch the Florida-Auburn game at 7 pm. Auburn barely stayed in the poll at #24 and Florida is the top unranked team. The winner will probably still be in the 20-25 range but how far down the unranked teams will the loser drop? At the same time as this game, I will also try to watch some of the Iowa-Northwestern game. While it doesn’t affect Pick Six, it should be a pretty good game.
Finally, watch Arizona State at Oregon playing at 10:15 eastern time until you fall asleep in front of the TV. This has the potential to be the best game of the weekend but it also has the potential to be a blowout.