[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.
First a few notes:
(1) Turnover Statistics for the WMU Game: Although the NCAA is not including any statistics from the WMU game, I will include TOs from the game. Excluding TOs for any specific game would significantly distort the analysis for the year since the NCAA National Rankings are based on total TO data and not per game TO data! Therefore, my data will reflect U-M with +3 TOM better than the NCAA data and the National Ranking for U-M will reflect this +3 TOM also.
(2) Situational Analysis: Instead of using an average value for each TO, Expected Points are used to enhance the analysis.
Now, on to the good stuff.
Whoooo Baby!: Oh what a game. Mid September Twenty Eleven. What a very special game for me. Cause I remember, what a night……
Synopsis for Turnovers: WTF! The game had a total of 8 turnovers. Michigan lost 3 but gained 5 from ND, leaving M with a TOM of +2 for the game and +5 for the year. (This does include the meaningless TO on the last play of the game. Of course, no impact was included for this TO.)
For the second week in a row, TOs were a significant reason M won the game. Eliminating the meaningless TO at the end of the game, M had a TOM of just +1. But, the net result was a whopping advantage of 7.5 Expected Points. There should be no doubt – without the TOs, M does not win this game.
|Adjust for TOs||-7.5||0.0|
|Score Without TOs||27.5||31.0|
(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 include the WMU game and will NOT be the same as the (incorrect) NCAA Rankings. It should come as no surprise that DRob is not throwing the ball consistently. Interceptions are ranked #100 Nationally. Overall, M is Numero Uno in turnover margin (be still my heart!).
|TO Lost||TO Gained|
|M Natl Rank||N/A||1||100||50||N/A||2||11||2||1|
Synopsis for "Un-Official" Turnovers: Missed field goals, blocked punts, being stopped on fourth down, etc. are not officially counted as turnovers even though the impact is often the same as a turnover. None occurred in the game.
The Gory Details
Expected Point (EP) Analysis: Last year I used an average of 5 points for each TO (based on sites such as Football Outsiders). This always seemed a little weird to me since TOs are not created equal. I am now using the concept of Expected Points (EP) the the Mathlete and others have explained in detail. Basically, the probability of scoring depends on the yard line that the offense is at (which seems fairly obvious in retrospect). 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.
Here are the details for the ND game.
|Qtr||Time||Down||LOS||TO Lost By||EP Lost||TO Gain By||Spot||EP Gain||EP Gain W/O TO||Net EP Gain||Total EP Diff|
EP Differential: + is M advantage, – is M disadvantage
The analysis is a bit tricky because: (A) the TO directly results 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.
For example, in Line 1 of the Table above.
(1) The EP for a team at their own 30 yard line = 2.0. As soon as DRob threw the interception, M lost these EP (Columns 4, 5, & 6 in yellow above).
(2) ND took over at the M39, which has an EP of 3.4 (Columns 7, 8, & 9 in green Cells above).
(3) However, if the TO had not occurred, ND would have eventually had another possession. What yard line would the possession have started? Uh, no one knows! For this analysis, I calculate the yard line for the next possession based on a net punt of 36 yards from either: (A) the original line of scrimmage (LOS) for interceptions or (B) the spot of the fumble.
If M had not thrown the interception and had punted the ball a net 36 yards from the M35, ND would have taken possession at their own 29 with an EP = 1.8 (Column 10 in purple Cell above).
(4) The net gain for intercepting the ball is 3.4 EP minus 1.8 EP = 1.6 EP (Column 11 in white Cell above).
(5) The total EP for this TO = EP Lost by M + Net EP Gained by ND = 2.0 + 1.6 = 3.6 EP.
Therefore, the interception resulted in 3.6 fewer expected points for M.
Details for Turnovers: Here is overall summary for all games by player (data in yellow was affected by this week's game).
|TO Lost||TO Gained|
In Case You Were Wondering About WMU: Last week I made a mistake that I have made many times before – I trusted the "experts". I decided not to include the WMU statistics since the NCAA did not consider the game to be "official". As stated above, the NCAA is simply and obviously wrong in their decision. The distortion caused by excluding the WMU game is far greater than the distortion (if, in fact, there is any) of including the WMU game.
|Adjust for TOs||-22.7||0|
|Score W/O TOs||11.3||10.0|
After adjusting for the TOs, M had a slim 1.3 EP lead when the game was called due to weather. This is close enough to conclude that TOs were a significant reason that M also won the WMU game.
I'll do my best to fit in here amongst all the Saturday navel-gazing. For me, Saturday was an exercise in How to Go Nuts and not Wake Up a Sleeping Three Month Old. But on to this week in train wrecks. First, let's catch up on the first two weeks "action".
Week One brought some humdingers. Bowling Green versus Idaho featured punts of 71 and 81 yards. I'm not sure how you punt 81 yards, but the guy that booted one 71 has to feel pretty bad about it. Maryland versus Miami was as big of a mess as expected. Maryland kicked 4 field goals for most of their 24 points, then gave up a pick-6 in the last minute to blow it. That game should be in the UGotW Year in Review. Crab cakes and football, that's what Maryland does? Well, the crab cakes are good.
Week Two featured Iowa making a bold move by refusing the Cy-Hawk trophy by giving up a late TD to Iowa State to tie, then losing in triple OT. In a twist, TCU bombed Air Force 35-19. AF scored two 4th quarter TDs to make the score reasonable. Air Force then declared TCU a state sponsor of terrorism and left Predator drones circling the stadium. CSU/UNCO was attended by 25,000 students dressed as empty seats to watch CSU club the Bears 33-14. Three CSU picks kept this from getting really messy. CSU had 28 first downs to go with only 4-14 on third down. That means they didn't need third down very often.
This week is Mascot Week! First off is the UTEP Miners versus the New Mexico State Aggies. I'm a sucker for good ol' blue-collar mascots, preferably mascots wielding weapons. This one comes down to pick-ax versus pistols.
Next is one of my favorite categories: Non-Plural Mascot fights! The Alabama Crimson Tide play the North Texas Mean Green. North Texas's real mascot is some sort of eagle, but I don't think eagle wins against elephant, not even if it's one of the eagles from Lord of the Rings (nerd!). They've already lost to FIU and Houston, so we may have to watch North Texas for a possible 0-for-season.
Last is Creepy/Crazy Mascot matchup, featuring the Indiana State Sycamores versus the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. "Big Red" was created in 1979 and we can only assume there were drugs involved, and possibly a medical procedure. I guess calling your team the Fightin' Polyps was out of the question. Big Red in action:
If that's not nightmare-inducing enough for you, they are playing this:
Indiana State decided not to go the Stanford route and have a tree on the sidelines, and created Sycamore Sam instead. Why they didn't cartoonize Larry Bird into a mascot, a la UNLV I'll never know.