If you're going to the game, and especially tailgating, you may want to bring your rain gear! We have a low pressure system crossing the Great Lakes to the north of us, dragging a cold front along with it. The cold front will cross through in the late-night, but out ahead of it we'll have passing showers and storms. Severe weather isn't expected, but we'll watch for heavy rain, gusty winds, and lightning. The good news is that the latest models have things improving around the time the game starts. If you traveled for the weekend, the weather will be beautiful Sunday - sun, around 75, and low humidity.
Expect a gray, rainy start to the day! Temps will be in the mid 60s through the morning - so we'll be mild - but we'll be under cloudy skies with passing showers, so you may want to have a tailgate spot that has a tent, and not wear any shoes that couldn't get a little muddy if you'll be on the grass. Thunderstorms are possible, particularly in the early part of the day. They aren't expected to be severe, but we'll monitor them. Winds will be out of the SW around 10mph (a lighter breeze). Rain look likely into the lunchtime and early afternoon before the chances start to diminish. Temps will rise to the mid 70s for lunch. Winds will start to go up a bit by then, staying out of the SW at 15mph, gusting to the low 20s (papers blow about, you'd see small waves).
Plenty of cloud cover with a temp of 78 degrees to start the game! Expect breezy conditions with SW winds at 15mph, gusting to the mid 20s. Scattered showers are still possible, but it's a much lower chance than earlier in the morning.
77 degrees at the half, with a chance for scattered showers. You actually may start to see a few peeks of brightness here and there! It's still a little windy with SW winds at 15mph, gusting to the low 20s. You'll notice we start to lose the gusts heading into the end of the game.
Things will start to really quiet down in the evening due to the cold front moving through. Temps will be in the low 70s leaving the game with WSW winds around 10mph. You might still run into a spotty shower lingering into the dinner period. As we head further into the late-night hours, temps will drop to the mid 60s with winds turning to come out of the W and remaining light. If you're staying out late to celebrate the win, last call will find you with low 60s, partly cloudy skies, and light WNW winds ( and hopefully making smart decisions as the night winds down!) Let's go blue!!
Christina Burkhart is the morning meteorologist for ABC in Flint, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
revised mini-programs. some errors changed and the MGoBlog PFFF charts included.
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It's time for another wallpaper!
The opponent this week is well known in the Michigan fanbase (we won't talk about why). The Buffaloes from Colorado come into the Big House this week. Before the season, this seemed like another cupcake game. It could still end up being a cupcake game, but Colorado does seem to be a little better than Hawaii and UCF.
It's time for 'ol Harbaugh and the boys to wrangle up some buffs.
This wallpaper is an edit of an old John Mix Stanley painting. He was an artist in the mid-1800's that painted a lot of of landscapes and Native Americans. This specific painting can be found in the Smithsonian.
This is one of the more difficult wallpapers I've created. I cobbled together a few photos from the MGoBlog Flickr to get Harbaugh in the right pose. Hope you enjoy it.
Recently my new BFF It's Harambe took on the thankless task of asking his fellow MgoBloggers to rank the top 25 Michigan athletes of all time. As the list was revealed it was clear to this reader that some of the most notable players who competed during the athletic stone age (pre-internet) had been forgotten about. This weekly diary will take a look at the more notable players from our past to remind everyone of what they did and why they deserve to be honored and remembered.
Dusty Baker, Reds manager
"Barry not only was one of the most talented and gifted players, but he was one of the most intelligent on and off the field. He had great speed but had the ability to slow down the game, so he made very few mistakes. He is one of the few players who maximized the ability he was born with. Barry could do it all. He is the six-tool player all the scouts are looking for now, one with all the baseball skills plus intellect."
One of the more glaring omissions in the top 25 greatest Michigan athletes poll was the absence of any baseball or hockey players on the list when in fact; one of the greatest baseball players of all time was a “Michigan Man” – Barry Larkin.
Larkin accepted a football scholarship to the University of Michigan to play for legendary coach Bo Schembechler, but during his freshman year he decided to play baseball exclusively
Born April 28, 1964, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Larkin was an honor student and athletic star at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School and enrolled at the University of Michigan with the idea of playing both baseball and football. But when legendary UM football coach Bo Schembechler advised Larkin to redshirt his freshman year, Larkin’s path to Cooperstown began. “The best decision Bo Schembechler ever made, in my opinion,” Larkin said. “It allowed me to focus on only one sport (baseball) for the first time.” . He was a two-time All-American and led the Wolverines to berths in two College World Series, in 1983 and 1984 (the last time Michigan reached the finals). Larkin was also named Big Ten Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985.
After earning a spot on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, Larkin was taken by the Reds with the fourth overall pick in the 1985 MLB Draft.
Larkin finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1985 despite playing just 41 games. The next season, he won the Reds’ starting shortstop job, and by 1988 Larkin was a first-time All-Star with a .296 average, 91 runs scored, 32 doubles and 40 stolen bases.
In 1990, Larkin finished seventh in the NL MVP voting after hitting .301 with 30 steals and 67 RBIs. The Reds went wire-to-wire in winning the NL West that year, then dispatched the Pirates and the A’s in the postseason to win the World Series. In the four-game sweep over Oakland in the Fall Classic, Larkin hit .353 and scored three runs.
Larkin began to develop power in 1991 when he hit 20 homers, and his all-around play continued to improve. He won the first of three consecutive Gold Glove awards in 1994, was named the NL MVP in 1995 after hitting .319 en route to the Reds’ NL Central title and trip to the NLCS, and became the first shortstop – and just the second Reds player – to post a 30-homer/30-steal season in 1996.
“I’m not a home run hitter,” said Larkin, who hit five home runs in two consecutive days in 1991 – another first for a shortstop. “I’m a line drive hitter. (In 1996), I hit (33) line drives that went over the fence.”
Larkin was also a role model off the field, winning the Roberto Clemente Award in 1993 and the Lou Gehrig Award in 1994.
Larkin retired after the 2004 season – he was named an All-Star in his final year in the big leagues – with a .295 career average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Larkin scored at least 80 runs in a season seven times, hit 30-plus doubles in six seasons and stole 30-or-more bases five times. He won his three Gold Glove awards at shortstop en route to a career fielding percentage of .975, and won nine Silver Slugger awards. He played every one of his 19 big league seasons with the Reds.
Larkin's number 16 was retired by Michigan on May 1, 2010.
Expectations: Week 2 Total Wins Update
Granted, after week 2, the statistical sample size remains small, and the quality of competition lacks the robustness required to keep games from lapsing into garbage time by early in the third quarter, which further aggravates the lack of data that makes up the advanced analytics. Nonetheless, the Vegas bookies aren’t going to stop setting lines and taking your money, because it’s their job; and your favorite fancy-stats analysts will still put out equivalent point-based ratings because it’s their job to help you give less of your money to the Vegas bookies. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning, and the publication of the statistics such as they are goes on. Coming up with more reasons for ignoring these early season statistics is left an exercise for the reader in the comments below. Here you will find further ruminations on said statistics into still more statistics as a means for enabling further discussion, jumping to conclusions, flying off of the handle or goading your rival.
Previous diaries presented overall as well as in-conference win probability distributions for all Big Ten teams based on relative expected points ratings from Bill Connelly (S&P+ preseason on SBNation), ESPN (FPI) and Ed Feng (Power Rank). Last week bore witness to the shift from the more subjective preseason elements that are re-evaluated after each season to the more objective factors that are updated with each game played. Now we can press on with the first iteration of the in-season ratings.
Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities
Since we remain in the midst of the glorious non-conference segment of the season, it seems reasonable to stick with analyses of the overall schedules.
B1G East Schedule Rundown
The table of schedules below shows the overall schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East with attendant point spreads and win probabilities for each game based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their expected in-conference win totals, it’s not a projection of divisional standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers.
What was particularly notable last week in the S&P+ results - that was, U-M being favored in all of its games - was apparently short-lived, as once again no team in the B1G East can make that claim. The love affair between S&P+ and our beloved Wolverines does go on - just not so hot and heavy as last week. Michigan and Ohio State are underdogs in one game apiece, Penn State in three (including its loss), and Michigan State in four. What is especially nice is that both OSU and MSU are underdogs in their games coming up. The rub is that OSU's only underdog matchup is in a non-conference game, and their being favored over U-M although not good, does not entirely kill U-M's chances for the B1GCG. This will be re-examined next week after the non-conference schedule is wrapped up (with the exception of MSU, who has an Oct. 8 matchup with BYU).
Of the other three Rutgers remains absolute cannon fodder, but Indiana is favored to win six total games, and Maryland, five, so either may well be bowl-eligible at the end of the season.
Honestly, six of seven teams in the Big Ten East becoming bowl eligible would be something quite significant toward laying claim to the title of most powerful division in all the land.
In the aggregate, Michigan still looks to be the team to beat with about 10.2 expected wins, edging Ohio State for the top spot by just under 1.2 wins - down from 1.4 wins last week. Michigan is still the only team expected to have a double-digit win total.
Here is a link to a similar table of schedule win probabilities based on FPI Ratings. Ed Feng is being a slacker, so there are no results from Power Rank.
The FPI results differ to some extent, most notably that the spreads of expected win totals are not as wide, which suggests more closely contested races. All of the “contenders” are underdogs in at least one game. U-M and OSU are both underdogs in a single game. PSU is an underdog in four games; MSU, five; and Maryland, six. Interestingly, FPI result now show Maryland edging Michigan State in total expected wins, both within 0.1 of 6 wins. Michigan remains the only team expecting double-digit wins.
B1G East Expected Overall Wins
The bar plots below show the expected total overall wins distributions for teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the probability for that number of wins (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also marked on each plot is the expected overall win total (the mean). The last line plot is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.
What remains noticeable in the S&P+ results even going back to the preseason forecasts is how much higher the peak of Michigan’s distribution is than any other team. The spread is also narrower, but that is less obvious. What this means is that not only does Michigan have the highest expected win total, but it is also the most likely to hit that mark. Also, Michigan has the highest mode of any team at 10 wins, one ahead of OSU follows at 9, followed by MSU at 8, and PSU at 7. Michigan still maintains the best chance of having an undefeated season at 11.1% or about 9:1 odds, followed by OSU with a 2.0% likelihood.
At this point, the distributions of Maryland and Indiana are almost indistinguishable, as are both of their expected win totals, less than 0.1 wins apart.
Here is a link to a similar plot of conference win distributions based on FPI ratings.
The FPI results favor OSU to much greater extent, showing both U-M and OSU with the same mode of 10 wins; U-M tilting to the higher side, and OSU to the lower. A clear separation of nearly 3 games has expanded to next closest contender, Penn State with a mode of 7 wins. Maryland, Indiana and MSU are in a three-way tie for the fourth place mode with 6 wins, with Indiana tilting to the lower side.
B1G West Schedule Rundown
The next table of schedules shows the overall schedules for the B1G West based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ weekly ratings. Again, the last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GW teams based on their expected win totals - it’s not a projection of divisional conference standings.
Since the emergence of game-based S&P+ ratings the contenders in order of overall expected wins in the B1GW are Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. That said, the first three are tightly packed, within 0.25 wins of each other, and less than 0.7 wins separate Minnesota from fourth place Wisconsin. No team is favored in all of its games. No team is expected to have a double-digit win total. Indeed, Minnesota and Iowa are underdogs in 3 games apiece; Nebraska and Wisconsin in 4 games. However, Minnesota is favored at home over Iowa on Oct. 8, which would give the Gophers the inside track for the B1GCG in Indy.
After Northwestern dropped its second game of the season, they are on their way to becoming the doormat of the B1GW. Favored in only 4 remaining games, the Wildcats hopes of a bowl-bid may have evaporated. At this point Illinois is expected to win more games than Northwestern, but is favored in fewer: 3. Meanwhile, Purdue is only favored in one of its games the remainder of the year, its matchup with Nevada this week.
Here is a link to a similar table of schedule win probabilities based on FPI ratings.
FPI also expects the same four teams to have winning records. In order of expected wins, they are Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Nebraska and Iowa are essentially tied at the top, followed by Wisconsin, less than 0.3 wins behind. Minnesota lags by another 1.7 games. No team is favored in all of its games. No team is expected to have a double-digit win total. Iowa is an underdog in the fewest number of games: only one! Nebraska and Wisconsin are underdogs in three; and Minnesota, five.
The bottom line remains that the B1GW race is wide open in the statistical prediction sense. The consensus at this point is that Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin are all evenly matched teams within about 0.3 games of each other. On the other hand, ranging in expected wins from 6.8 to 8.2 and being an underdog in anywhere from three to five games, it still remains that Minnesota is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
B1G West Expected Overall Wins
The bar plots below show the expected overall win distributions for the B1G West teams, in alphabetical order.
The story here is nearly the same as last week, except now add Iowa to Nebraska and Minnesota, whose distributions are almost indistinguishable (within 0.3 expected wins of each other, and the same mode of 8 wins). The distribution for Wisconsin tilts slightly to the lower side, but still with a mode of 8 wins as well. It appears highly unlikely that any team will have an undefeated season. Minnesota has the best chance of a one-loss season at 3.8%, followed by Iowa at 2.7% and Wisconsin at 1.3%.
Here is a link to a similar plot of conference win distributions based on FPI ratings.
The FPI results tell a similar story, but with Wisconsin and Minnesota essentially swapped - and Minnesota with a mode of 7 wins, instead of 8. The distributions for Iowa and Nebraska are practically identical, and Wisconsin tilts to the lower side.
Yours in football, and Go Blue!
Well it's football season again, and not only do we get to enjoy all the awesome games but also all the tradition, pageantry, fandom, and music that go into the package as well. I love fight songs in particular. Fight songs are a very particular genre of music, even within the larger set of college songs. Some are plain great, some are plain awful, and most fall in the middle. So here, for absolutely no reason, is the official unofficial listing of my national top ten (along with some comments on each), followed by my ranking of all of the B1G's fourteen fight songs. Enjoy!
NATIONAL TOP TEN:
1. THE VICTORS (Michigan). Can’t disagree with John Philip Sousa’s assessment of it as “one of the finest military marches, and the best original college song I ever heard.” Michigan’s secondary song, “Varsity,” is spectacular for its Tin Pan Alley bent on the college song genre.
2. VICTORY MARCH (Notre Dame). Okay, basically call these top two choices numbers 1 and 1A, because they’re clearly the two best fight songs in the country, and it’s not close. I’m giving the edge to “The Victors” for a few reasons: (1) duh; (2) John Philip Sousa’s assessment; and (3) Notre Dame’s very wind-heavy band makes the “Victory March” sound a bit tinny in live performance, and also as if there’s a rest at the end of each phrase of the chorus which leaves each phrase sounding unfinished. Notre Dame has two extraordinary secondary songs: “Hike, Notre Dame” would appear on this top ten list all on its own; and “When Irish Backs Go Marching By” is great as well. Add in the “Victory Clog” and a gorgeous alma mater, and Notre Dame might have the most glorious top-to-bottom array of original football music in the country.
3. YEA ALABAMA. Very original in the meter of setting its lyrics to a rollicking tune. Up-tempo and fun. Uses Alabama’s 1926 Rose Bowl victory as a rallying cry, and references rivals Georgia (“Go teach the Bulldogs to behave”) and Georgia Tech (“Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave”). The song begins with a mini-fanfare that’s very effective after touchdowns.
4. FIGHT ON (Southern California). A classic. Though simple and repetitive in its lyrics, the tune is extremely catchy and morphs over two repeats from firstly a standard orchestration, then to a more delicate setting, and finally to a rather grand affair complete with fanfare ornamentations on each phrase.
5. (FIGHT THE TEAM) ACROSS THE FIELD (Ohio State). Another classic. As a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan opera I’m not going to argue with a fight song that includes the music of Arthur Sullivan by way of borrowing from “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.” “Set the earth reverberating with our mighty cheer” is a great lyric. OSU’s secondary fight song, “Buckeye Battle Cry,” is good enough to have made this list on its own.
6. SONS OF WESTWOOD (UCLA). UCLA stole this tune from one of Cal-Berkeley’s secondary fight songs, “Big C.” But UCLA gave it some great lyrics and a wonderful arrangement. A spectacular tune full of fun and interest in its treatment by UCLA, particularly in the ultra-legato “True to thee our hearts will be…” leading into an almost dissonant set of three connecting chords.
7. OSKEE WOW-WOW (Illinois). Maybe the country’s most underrated fight song. Great lyrics and great melody, and based on the school’s classic college cheer. Great use especially in conjunction with the clock’s buzzer at basketball games, which usually rings on the same pitch as the held chord at the start of the chorus. (Despite the common perception due to Illinois’s controversial use of native imagery over the years, the words “oskee wow-wow” are not meant as a faux American Indian exclamation. “Oskee” or a variation thereof was a not uncommon inclusion in schools’ traditional athletic cheers -- a genre of expressing spirit now almost entirely arcane… think “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” as one of the few that still exist as being somewhat famous other than when the decrepit old cheerleader comes back to lead the student section for homecoming. Notable among other schools using “oskee” in cheers and still in their athletic traditions are Cal-Berkeley and Tennessee. Illinois’s cheer went something like this: Oskee wow wow, Skinny wow wow, Illinois Illinois, Wow! “Oskee!” is apparently also traditionally used in some parts of the country, particularly at the high school level, as a shout to defenders after a turnover, alerting them that the ball has changed hands and that they need to block.) Illinois’s secondary song, “Illinois Loyalty,” is pretty good too.
8. ISU FIGHTS (Iowa State). The clear dark horse on this list. But a wonderfully catchy, up-tempo tune, with lots of great ornamentation accompanying the melody. A very effective meter and rhyme scheme in the last few phrases: “And when we hit that line, we’ll hit it hard, every yard for I-S-U!”
9. RAMBLIN’ WRECK FROM GEORGIA TECH. Classic! “Like all good jolly fellows, I drink my whiskey clear.” Can you argue with that lyric? This song has its origins in an old drinking song, and it mostly still is one. Melodically it’s a coincidental cousin of West Point’s “On, Brave Old Army Team,” another classic fight song (but which I find a bit too boring in its melody and saccharine in its lyrics to make a modern top ten list).
10. FIGHT ON, STATE (Penn State). I had a tough time deciding which song to include in the ten spot. There are several honorable mentions listed below, but each of those I think has one glaring flaw or other reason not to include it on the list. “Fight On, State” is simply a really good tune, with an excellent orchestration in its usual presentation. “Strike your gait and win” is a great lyric.
HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order):
“I’m a Tar Heel Born” (North Carolina)
“Tiger Rag” (Clemson)
“Boomer Sooner” (Oklahoma)
“War Eagle” (Auburn)
“I’m a Jayhawk” (Kansas)
ALL B1G RANKED (see above for comments on 1-4):
1. THE VICTORS (Michigan).
2. (FIGHT THE TEAM) ACROSS THE FIELD (Ohio State).
3. OSKEE WOW-WOW (Illinois).
4. FIGHT ON, STATE (Penn State).
5. DEAR OLD NEBRASKA U (THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE NEBRASKA). Really solid melody, and there’s something charming about starting off with the whimsical lyric, “There is no place like Nebraska…”
7. MSU FIGHT SONG (Michigan State). Ditto. Pretty good tune, but loses out to Iowa’s for the weak lyrics; more rhyme in the chorus would go a long way here, and the natural spoken stresses of the lyrics don’t very well match the meter of the tune.
8. THE BELLS MUST RING (Rutgers). Again, ditto.
9. GO U NORTHWESTERN. Here we get to the subpar songs of the conference. This is a generally annoying melody, but it redeems itself at the very end with some interesting meter.
10. INDIANA, OUR INDIANA. Unexciting melody, blah lyrics.
11. HAIL PURDUE! The chorus is annoying, and boring in the extreme. The melody and lyrics of the verses are actually quite good. Of course, it’s the chorus that gets played. Purdue gonna Purdue.
12. MINNESOTA ROUSER. The opposite of “Hail Purdue!” This one is boring, and annoying in the extreme. Without the word “rah,” half of this song couldn’t exist. It only beats “On, Wisconsin!” for its reference to the school’s classic “Ski-u-mah!” cheer. And for not sucking so hard.
13. ON, WISCONSIN! Boring, boring, boring, boring. Both music and lyrics. And to think this song competed with the “Minnesota Rouser” in the big 1909 fight song contest in Minneapolis to find a fight song for the Gophers before the writer pulled it out of the running to sell it to Wisconsin. Apparently, fight song writing talent was severely lacking in the Upper Midwest in the early days of the last century. Often this fight song is rated pretty highly, but I just don’t understand it. Wisconsin still uses “There’ll Be a Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight” as its secondary song (many schools, including Michigan, used it for their fight song in the 1890s); there’s no way it’s worse than “On, Wisconsin!”