Mike Spath points out that doing an interview for the official site is a pretty good indicator he'll be back.
SAE's Annual Mud Bowl: MVictors
The Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) isn't out yet for this week, so this data is outdated, but I had to turn in my office pool's bowl selections today for the ESPN confidence poll, and because I believe in using the internet to steal money from my co-workers, I grabbed their latest numbers (11/27) and did a little Excel work to make my picks.
In doing so, I realized my spreadsheet might also have a secondary, and perhaps more profitable use: determining a ranking of bowl games to watch so as to maximize my December/January bowl game enjoyment quotient without tripping the spousal "all you're doing is watching football; why don't you spend some time with me!" line (which with Misopogal is about 2.4 games per week).
All I did was create a list of bowl games, select the expected winner based on their FEI scores, and compare the standard deviations in FEI to decide which games were blowouts, tossups, etc. The spreadsheet's up on Google Docs if you want to play with it yourself.
The results are interesting enough I thought them worth sharing. Nebraska over Washington is a holy lock. Northwestern and Texas Tech might as well be playing themselves (although not really: see below).
In the following chart, the team listed first is expected to win. The FEI StD is the standard deviation between the combatants' FEI scores. Those at the top are the biggest expected blowouts; at the bottom are the pick-'ems. Michigan's expected to lose to Mississippi State, but it's only about a moderate expectation.
|Holiday||Nebraska vs. Washington||0.18|
|Fiesta||Oklahoma vs. Connecticut||0.14|
|Las Vegas||Boise State vs. Utah||0.13|
|Military||Maryland vs. East Carolina||0.12|
|Humanitarian||Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State||0.11|
|Texas||Illinois vs. Baylor||0.11|
|Little Caesars||Florida International vs. Toledo||0.1|
|Music City||North Carolina vs. Tennessee||0.09|
|Poinsetta||Navy vs. San Diego State||0.08|
|Alamo||Oklahoma State vs. Arizona||0.08|
|Capital One||Alabama vs. Michigan State||0.08|
|St. Petersburg||Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi||0.06|
|Cotton||LSU vs. Texas A&M||0.06|
|New Mexico||BYU vs. UTEP||0.05|
|GoDaddy.com||Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (OH)||0.05|
|Outback||Florida vs. Penn State||0.05|
|BBVA Compass||Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky||0.05|
|Sun||Miami vs. Notre Dame||0.05|
|BCS Championship||Auburn vs. Oregon||0.05|
|Gator||Mississippi State vs. Michigan||0.04|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||Nevada vs. Boston College||0.04|
|Chick-fil-A||South Carolina vs. Florida State||0.03|
|Liberty||Georgia vs. Central Florida||0.03|
|Meineke Car||Clemson vs. South Florida||0.02|
|Independence||Air Force vs. Georgia Tech||0.02|
|Rose||Wisconsin vs. TCU||0.02|
|Insight||Missouri vs. Iowa||0.02|
|Sugar||Arkansas vs. Ohio State||0.02|
|Armed Forces||Army vs. SMU||0.01|
|Champs Sports||West Virginia vs. North Carolina State||0.01|
|Orange||Stanford vs. Virginia Tech||0|
|Hawaii||Hawaii vs. Tulsa||0|
|New Orleans||Troy vs. Ohio||0|
|Pinstripe||Syracuse vs. Kansas State||0|
|TicketCity||Texas Tech vs. Northwestern||0|
Obviously this doesn't take into account things like having your entire offensive line return from injury, having your First Team All Big Ten Quarterback (Dan Persa: further proof that the dimension we are living in is not the real one) injured, teams that have historically put up embarrassing performances against a certain conference, or if your school's annual pre-bowl residence hall assault is liable to get a fifth of your team suspended*, so if you're planning on using this for your own pools, it's best you educate yourself on each teams' respective roster situations before making your selections.
I also added up the FEI scores of both opponents for each bowl game, to create an approximation of which bowls have the highest total performance, figuring games that feature better teams are more compelling. This quality of play index is pretty much in line with the general bowl ranks:
|BCS Championship||Auburn vs. Oregon||0.577|
|Orange||Stanford vs. Virginia Tech||0.520|
|Sugar||Arkansas vs. Ohio State||0.493|
|Rose||Wisconsin vs. TCU||0.423|
|Capital One||Alabama vs. Michigan State||0.418|
|Chick-fil-A||South Carolina vs. Florida State||0.412|
|Champs Sports||West Virginia vs. North Carolina State||0.387|
|Cotton||LSU vs. Texas A&M||0.376|
|Insight||Missouri vs. Iowa||0.361|
|Sun||Miami vs. Notre Dame||0.283|
|Las Vegas||Boise State vs. Utah||0.263|
|Fiesta||Oklahoma vs. Connecticut||0.249|
|Meineke Car||Clemson vs. South Florida||0.239|
|Alamo||Oklahoma State vs. Arizona||0.230|
|BBVA Compass||Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky||0.218|
|Liberty||Georgia vs. Central Florida||0.172|
|Poinsetta||Navy vs. San Diego State||0.155|
|Holiday||Nebraska vs. Washington||0.153|
|Gator||Mississippi State vs. Michigan||0.148|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||Nevada vs. Boston College||0.129|
|St. Petersburg||Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi||0.112|
|Outback||Florida vs. Penn State||0.102|
|Pinstripe||Syracuse vs. Kansas State||0.094|
|Music City||North Carolina vs. Tennessee||0.091|
|Military||Maryland vs. East Carolina||0.088|
|Independence||Air Force vs. Georgia Tech||0.072|
|Texas||Illinois vs. Baylor||0.069|
|Humanitarian||Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State||0.000|
|Hawaii||Hawaii vs. Tulsa||-0.007|
|Armed Forces||Army vs. SMU||-0.047|
|TicketCity||Texas Tech vs. Northwestern||-0.049|
|Little Caesars||Florida International vs. Toledo||-0.127|
|New Orleans||Troy vs. Ohio||-0.154|
|New Mexico||BYU vs. UTEP||-0.179|
|GoDaddy.com||Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (OH)||-0.320|
The data gave up some other interesting bowl tidbits:
- USC (28th, with an FEI of 0.113) is the best team that's not going to a bowl game.
- The best team not going due to things other than NCAA sanctions: Arizona State (41st, 0.061), those unlucky bastards.
- Miami (Not THAT Miami) is the worst team going to a bowl; their -0.198 is 110th out of 120.
If you subtract the (negative of the) defensive FEI of each team's opponent from its offensive FEI, then add up the scores, we get an approximation of which games will feature a lot of scoring. Top 10 predicted score-fests:
|Bowl||Teams||OFEI v Opp|
|Military||Maryland vs. East Carolina||0.76|
|Poinsetta||Navy vs. San Diego State||0.59|
|Independence||Air Force vs. Georgia Tech||0.56|
|Hawaii||Hawaii vs. Tulsa||0.55|
|Alamo||Oklahoma State vs. Arizona||0.48|
|BBVA Compass||Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky||0.48|
|Gator||Mississippi State vs. Michigan||0.47|
|BCS Championship||Auburn vs. Oregon||0.37|
|Chick-fil-A||South Carolina vs. Florida State||0.34|
|Armed Forces||Army vs. SMU||0.28|
Finally, for a Watchability Index, I ranked, then combined all three factors:
- Team Quality (TQ)
- High-Scoring (HS)
- Competitiveness (CO)
And came up with a final order of importance for games and how much they're worth watching, independent from school and conference interest:
|Orange||Stanford vs. Virginia Tech||2||19||3||84|
|BCS Championship||Auburn vs. Oregon||1||8||18||81|
|Chick-fil-A||South Carolina vs. Florida State||6||9||13||80|
|Sugar||Arkansas vs. Ohio State||3||16||12||77|
|Rose||Wisconsin vs. TCU||4||17||11||76|
|Hawaii||Hawaii vs. Tulsa||29||4||1||74|
|Independence||Air Force vs. Georgia Tech||26||3||8||71|
|BBVA Compass||Pittsburgh vs. Kentucky||15||6||17||70|
|Gator||Mississippi State vs. Michigan||19||7||15||67|
|Liberty||Georgia vs. Central Florida||16||13||14||65|
|Alamo||Oklahoma State vs. Arizona||14||5||25||64|
|Pinstripe||Syracuse vs. Kansas State||23||18||4||63|
|Capital One||Alabama vs. Michigan State||5||15||26||62|
|Poinsetta||Navy vs. San Diego State||17||2||27||62|
|Armed Forces||Army vs. SMU||30||10||6||62|
|TicketCity||Texas Tech vs. Northwestern||31||11||5||61|
|Champs Sports||West Virginia vs. North Carolina State||7||34||7||60|
|Insight||Missouri vs. Iowa||9||30||9||60|
|Meineke Car||Clemson vs. South Florida||13||35||10||50|
|Military||Maryland vs. East Carolina||25||1||32||50|
|New Orleans||Troy vs. Ohio||33||23||2||50|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||Nevada vs. Boston College||20||24||16||48|
|Cotton||LSU vs. Texas A&M||8||31||23||46|
|Sun||Miami vs. Notre Dame||10||32||22||44|
|St. Petersburg||Louisville vs. Southern Mississippi||21||20||24||43|
|Texas||Illinois vs. Baylor||27||12||31||38|
|Las Vegas||Boise State vs. Utah||11||27||33||37|
|Outback||Florida vs. Penn State||22||28||21||37|
|Humanitarian||Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State||28||14||30||36|
|Fiesta||Oklahoma vs. Connecticut||12||29||34||33|
|New Mexico||BYU vs. UTEP||34||21||20||33|
|Music City||North Carolina vs. Tennessee||24||25||28||31|
|Holiday||Nebraska vs. Washington||18||26||35||29|
|Little Caesars||Florida International vs. Toledo||32||22||29||25|
|GoDaddy.com||Middle Tennessee vs. Miami (OH)||35||33||19||21|
Right, so of course all the good ones are on at the same damn time. Also, usefulness of this chart is made more questionable considering it doesn't take into account last week's games because of the old FEI scores, and things like Oregon/Auburn predicted as less competitive than Pitt/Kentucky. But it was fun, no?
*Last year's 20-percent turnout beat the 2008 record of 18 percent; this year with sponsorship from Capital One, expect about 27 percent of Michigan State's football team to join in the campaign, with Greg Jones given the ultimate honor of being the marauder who gets to turn to the camera and say "What's in YOUR wallet?"
No, I don't believe Sagarin rigged his schedule ratings to help Oregon and prevent TCU from miraculously slipping by Oregon. But it is interesting to note that while I have heard plenty of talk about TCU and Boise St. lacking schedule strength, I hadn't really heard much regarding Oregon's.
Step in unnamed MGoBlogger* (**edit** named Drakeep) who pointed out that the Big Ten teams' schedules included an average of 7 winning opponents (while each SEC team faced an average of 5.8, and the PAC-10 something like 4...) This savvy blogger also pointed out that Oregon had only faced 3 teams with a winning record. I could barely believe it, and checked the stats myself. Such is true.
So I head over to Sagarin to see where exactly a schedule against 3 winning teams and a very much non-winning FCS school would rank. 20th. What was U of M's against 7 winning teams and a winning FCS school? 40th. Hmmm....
Next, I give Sagarin the benefit of the doubt and assume that although Oregon's opponents didn't all win a lot of games, the games they did win must have been meaningful. (In other words, Oregon's opponents must have combined to beat a lot of winning teams... as beating crappy teams and losing to good ones should not build a team's own strength.)
Oregon - Played 3 teams with winning records (out of 11, plus one losing FCS team.) The 12 teams Oreg played, combined to achieve 12 victories over "winning FBS opponents" and 7 victories over "winning FCS opponents." That equates to Oregon's opponents each beating ONE winning team.
Mich - Played 7 teams with winning records (out of 11, plus one winning FCS team.) The 12 teams Mich played, combined to achieve 32 victories over "winning FBS opponents" and 7 victories over "winning FCS opponents." That equates to Michigan's opponents each beating 2.67 winning teams.
These statistics are not even close, on either the primary or secondary level. Yet, there it is: Oregon's SOS at 20 and Michigan's SOS at 40.
For another reference point: Mich St. played 5 teams with a winning record, and MSU's opponents combined to haul in 19 wins against "winning FBS opponents." They lie between Michigan and Oregon on both the primary and secondary levels, and have a SOS rated 65th.
In conclusion, based on the ranking of Michigan and MSU schedules, Oregon's schedule should probably rate somewhere between 70 and 80. This has placed me in the odd position of questioning the legitimacy of Sagarin's rankings... if any mathematician out there can point out how strength of schedule might use something more meaningful and direct than opponent's wins and opponents' wins against winning teams to rank schedules, let me know. Until then, I'm going to have to believe that Sagarin is off his rocker.
*Unnamed MGoBlogger - my apologies, but I went in search of your forum and could no longer find it. If you (or anyone else) would care to link to your post, I will gladly edit the above content to include your name and a link.
I sadly put the column back on the shelf for another season, but first look forward to the upcoming bowl season with the usual eye towards the lopsided, shorthanded, or just plain visually offensive. But first:
Nothing exciting happened in the Big East, which actually shouldn't be that noteworthy given the rest of the season. So instead, we'll review the Arizona/Arizona State debacle. In the first half, nothing happened. Well, lots happened, just very little of it was good. Two field goals, maybe seven first downs, and 14 punts worth of "action." In the second half, Arizona managed a 14-6 lead but gave up two FGs in a long day of FGs and ASU's lone TD to fall behind 14-20. Arizona scored a late TD, but had the extra point blocked to tie at 20-20 and go into overtime. Both teams traded FGs in the first OT, and ASU scored first in the second OT. Arizona scored a TD as well, but had their second extra point blocked, giving the win to Arizona State.
The "Racial Integration is a State Right" Bowl, aka the BBVA Compass Bowl, brings us Pitt versus Kentucky. Kentucky has beaten everyone they should have beaten, and lost to everyone they should have lost to. Wins: Louisville, Western Kentucky, Akron, Charleston Southern, and Vandy. Losses: Florida, Mississippi, Auburn, Georgia, MissState, Tennessee to finish 6-6. They do have the win against South Carolina but managed only one more conference win. Pitt, was two Big East-shenanigans games away from a BCS bowl, even though they lost to both of the teams that they would have moved a head of. The best thing I can say about Pitt is that they're not better than UConn or West Virginia.
The New Mexico Bowl is the "Someone gets to be over .500" Bowl for the second year running, pitting BYU against UTEP in the Alphabet Soup game of the week. UTEP limped in with a 3-5 record in Conference USA. They ended their season with a loss to Tulsa and also have a loss to Tulane on their record. BYU has first week win against Washington and a season-ending close loss to Utah to bookend their season.
I propose some sort of playoff between the winners of the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, and the Autozone Liberty Bowl to play for some sort of "Symbol of the American Economy - Rusted-out Car On Blocks" Trophy. Oh right, I forgot, there already is one:
The "Great Game - 20 Years Ago" Bowl is a toss-up between Florida v Penn State and Notre Dame v Miami. Florida and Penn State are both "offensively challenged," Penn State and walk-on QBs moreso. Miami has been bi-polar all season, so it's anybody's guess as to which team will show up: the one that beat Maryland and Pitt, or the one that lost to USF and Virginia.
The "Perseverance in the Face of Insurmountable Odds aka The Bunny in a Chipper-Shredder" award is between Michigan State against Alabama, or UConn against Oklahoma. Both of these games look like the results of picking sides for a game at recess: both teams are left standing in their Horace Grant glasses, knee socks and bony white elbows. "I had UConn last time!" And yeah, I don't care that State is ranked higher. Alabama is the 5th ranked scoring defense. It's going to look like this:
So goodnight until next season, and now maybe I'll get a chance to work on the OSU UFR.
I've delayed a few days in posting this; I had doubts about whether I would post or not. It is a story (cool story, bro!) that sheds just a little light on the intersection of Dave Brandon, the press and the Michigan alumni/fan base. Anecdotally only, of course.
One year ago, I attended the annual dinner of one of the suburban Detroit alumni groups. The alumni members of that group do an amazing job of raising money for scholarships; there are a handful of kids getting degrees right now, who wouldn't be there without this group of loyal interested alums. They have an annual fundraising dinner at a golf club, and last year, December of 2009, the invited dinner speaker was Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press, who was ostensibly there to talk about his book, "War As They Knew It."
The audience was, in the parlance of this blog, pure "blue-hair." Most attendees were in their 60's, 70's and 80's. If that makes some younger fans think less of them, so be it. They are donors; loyal alums; many are season ticket holders; a number are former lettermen. They mostly all read the Free Press, and if they don't like the Free Press it is probably because they are Republicans, not because they care about sportswriting. And, as I already mentioned, they are making it possible for some great, worthy kids to go to Michigan.
There was the usual Q-and-A session after Rosenberg's short talk about his book. And there were the usual questions about the history of Bo and Woody, and before that Bump Elliott, and some timid questions about whether the football team was going to start winning soon and how Mike Rosenberg thought that might happen.
I waited to the end of the general questions, then rose, and proceeded to ask Rosenberg a series of pointed questions about the Free Press story of August 30, 2009:
- Q - Why didn't you ever talk to any of the people who actually understood Compliance Services operations and CARA reporting details? A - That wasn't Rosenberg's story, he said.
- Q - Why did you wait until the Friday before going to print on Saturday, to drop this bombshell on Martin, Rodriguez and Bruce Madej? A - That was enough time for them to answer, and if they had something to say, we might have delayed publication, but they didn't.
- Q - How do you justify the anonymity afforded to the unnamed "former" players, but meanwhile you named (and substantially traumatized) Je'Ron Stokes and Brandin Hawthorne, both of whom say they were misqoted and their commets were misused? A - We gave anonymity to players who asked for it, and the two freshmen did not ask for it.
- Q - What about Toney Clemons; he says he never asked for anonymity, and he admits that you interviewed him? A - How do you know he was one of the sources we used for the story?
- Q - What about Justin Boren; a guy who was so unconcerned about "retaliation" that he dressed up as Rich Rod for Halloween, with his girlfriend as a "Bunny/stripper" Rita? A - No comment on Boren as a source, and as for the justification of anonymitiy, it would have been better to cite "general retribution" instead of "retribution from coaches."
At one point, Rosenberg asked, "Am I being cross-examined?" The mood in the dining room was a bit tense. It was not what a lot of the guests might have anticipated for a holiday-season dinner. Rosenberg had no good answers, and the audience, not particularly well-attuned to the issues of what Jon Chait called "journalistic malpractice," probably didn't know quite what to think. At that time, December of 2009, little was publicly known about the NCAA investigation. The University had not yet responded to anything. Bill Martin was the AD, and there was not much thought about David Brandon at that time, other than that he was a former Regent, was now at Domino's, he had made a lot of money, and some thought he might someday run for governor.
Fast-forward to December, 2010; last week, the night before the Football Bust. The annual dinner takes place at the same golf club dining room. The speaker, this year, is David Brandon.
Brandon speaks for about 35 minutes, without a note, about his lifelong connections with Michigan, and it was so organized, so cogent and so well-crafted, that a transcript of the talk would look like it had been pre-written, carefully edited over a week or so, and then delivered with a TelePrompTer.
Brandon then answered questions. Everyone pretty much knew what he would and would not answer. At one point a lady mischeivously asked Brandon what criteria he will grade his football coaches on; a cute way of asking about Rich Rodriguez. People were laughing as she tried to ask the question from the back of the room. Instead of fouling off the question and giving a nothing response, Brandon asked the lady to repeat the question, because the laughter drowned her out just a bit. She rephrased the question, over more giggles and whispers. Again, Brandon asked her to repeat a part of it, so that he had her exact question. He was not going to dodge a single word, and he was going to answer the exact question, directly.
When all of the routine questions were done, I rose to let Brandon know who last year's speaker was, and relate what had happened. As soon as I mentioned the name of Michael Rosenberg, there were scattered of boos and hisses from throughout the room. What a difference a year makes, even to a group of older, conservative Free Press readers. I let Brandon know what had happened last year, and aksed what was his feeling about the Free Press story of August 30, 2009.
Brandon said he was proud of the way that everyone had responded. The investigation had been solid. Naturally, it uncovered some problems and the University had to take full responsibility for what the investigation had found. They did so, and they did it without whining to the media about how it had all gotten started.
Brandon said that he had spent more of his time and energy with the lawyers on the Michigan/NCAA football investigation, than he had on the biggest deal of his life in the corporate world, which was a 1.2 billion-dollar series of transactions.
Then Brandon opened up about the press. He said that the newspaper story that had led to NCAA investigation had been "crap." He said that he had taken a yellow highlighter to the printed story, and had highlighted all of the parts that were unfounded, untrue, exaggerated or eroneous. He ended up with a story that was more yellow than not. If there had been any doubt in the room about Rosenberg and the Free Press, the two December meetings, in 2009 and 2010, had erased it.
He thanked me for my question.
This past weekend was host to a few important official visitors, and this weekend will see even more prospects coming in for the Big Chill hockey game. A slightly different format:
Visitors from this Past Weekend (12/3)
There were no commitments from Maryland DB Blake Countess or Florida S Wayne Lyons. I spoke briefly with Lyons, and have a full interview scheduled for later today. He had this to say so far:
"It was a good trip. The academic side of it was good, and I know my mom liked that too."
Rumors had Michigan potentially leading for Countess, and this visit was a big one since it was his first official. Blake was tweeting the whole weekend; here's a few of them:
- goblue !!!!!!!!!!
- Michigan was great. i could def. see myself there!
- I was with Josh Furman, Denard and Devin Gardner..and the other players that were there on officials.Delonte, wayne and G.Brown
His coaches aren't easy to get ahold of, so I'm still working on getting more from him. Lyons is expected to make his decision at the Army game, and will take a trip to Nebraska next.
Official Visitors for the Big Chill
This weekend is not only host to the Big Chill and fireworks, but a plethora of official visitors. Here's the list I have compiled so far. As always this list will be posted permanently in the diary section to add and remove recruits.
- LB Desmond Morgan - This could be the last visit before Morgan makes his decision. I wouldn't be surprised if he announces his choice shortly after.
- DE Anthony Zettel - This is Zettel's last official visit. He's already been to MSU, Penn State, and Iowa.
- OL Chris Bryant - This probably won't be the last visit for Chris. He's been wavering on when he wants to make his decision. He might wait until signing day, or he might just pull the trigger. Michigan is in a favorable position either way.
I'll continue to add to this as I confirm more names.
On to specific recruits:
6'3", 210 lbs.
Matthews, North Carolina
Frost is down to Auburn and Michigan, and has been for some time now. He still plans on enrolling early, and will be announcing his choice at the Army All American game in January. I'm in constant contact with Kris, and I believe that Michigan is in good position right now… as long as Rodriguez is retained. If Michigan were to make a change, then there might be some trouble. I don't believe that a defensive coaching change would make too much of a difference with Kris. The coaches have been on him, and are continuing to show him that they want him, as well:
Coach Rod will actually be out to my house on Thursday. They've just really been telling me how I fit in there, and how much I'm wanted. I don't think I'm going to be able to make it back up there for another visit, but that shouldn't matter too much anyway.
If you remember, Kris was going to try to come back up for another unofficial visit. That won't be happening, but it's not a big deal.
6'1", 189 lbs.
If you read my post yesterday you already know that Devin has scheduled his official visit out to Michigan for January 7th. Since Michigan has offered they have shot up Devin's list, and this visit could potentially vault the Wolverines into the top spot.
I love the overall tradition at Michigan. The tradition they have reminds me a lot of what we have at Crespi (High School). The brotherhood that the players have is amazing. I love the fans, and the whole community of Ann Arbor. I can't wait to visit.
A lot of people have wondered what recruits are thinking as far as the coaching situation with regards to Michigan. Devin felt comfortable enough to share how he was thinking.
I like Michigan for Michigan, so it doesn't really matter to me. I think it matters more to my parents just because they want me to be somewhere stable. Coach Dews has talked to both my parents and they both like him a lot. He's actually coming out this week on Thursday.
This is just one point of view but Devin is more interested in the program, and since he could probably play in most systems anyway, it won't matter much. The timing of this visit could help Michigan too, since Lucien is planning on making his decision on signing day, which is only 3 or 4 weeks from when he'll be on campus.
Other items [from the editor]
- The Orlando Sentinel caught up with FL RB Dee Hart, who says he will remain committed to Michigan if Rodriguez is retained. If he isn't, he's going to Florida to play in the spread.
- MI WR Shawn Conway will not qualify and is headed to a JUCO. He says he would like to return to the fold after his time there is finished but it is extremely rare for Michigan to take a JUCO kid who did not qualify out of high school. Austin Panter, the last JUCO at Michigan, was a qualifier who played seven on seven and went to JUCO for exposure, and the last one before that was Russell Shaw. Michigan's coaches have clearly known about this for a while given the offer to Lucien and late push for Arnett.
This is the first in a series of wallpapers leading up to the 2011 Gator Bowl. I wanted to have a basic name-of-the-bowl-game-themed wallpaper in place while I work on the opponent-specific graphics over the next few weeks. I also might produce a state-of-the-program commentary and will hopefully finish that Denard Robinson Action Figure behind-the-scenes article I've been promising. If there's time left after all of that I'd like to write a less-hyphenated version of this paragraph.
After the bowl destination and opponent were announced yesterday I did some superficial research on Mississippi State and was surprised at how close they played some of their highly ranked opponents (they only lost to Auburn by 3 and Arkansas by 7 in double overtime). I realize that the W-L column and game scores are statistically less significant than other data sure to appear over the next month in the writings of football minds much greater than mine, but I didn't have room for a grid of opponent points per possession adjusted for field position, strength of schedule and coach seat hotness so all you're getting on this wallpaper are the basics.
The image below is a preview only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.