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!.
All of the 2010 Wallpapers
Fear and Loathing in Ann Arbor Volume I
The 2010 Regular Season
Pre UConn- MSU
Disclaimer: The following diary is a combination of a narrative for the 2010 Michigan football season excluding the Gator Bowl and a collection of work from author Hunter S. Thompson. I made minor changes to his work such as places, names, coaches, players, etc to make it relevant to our 2010 season. The work in this diary was lifted from the pages of Dr. Thompson’s work in “Hey Rube”. If you wonder what lines were his and which were mine, thank you for the compliment and then get the book. This is a trial run at my first diary. If the majority of you like the content, I shall release part two of the 2010 season. If the majority of you do not like the content, I will keep part two to myself and would appreciate FAIL pics more than pointed insults. At least I will be able to laugh AND cry at the same time.
The autumn months are never a calm time in America. Back to work, back to football practice, etc….Autumn is a very traditional period, a time of strong rituals and the celebrating of strange holidays like Halloween and Satanism and the fateful harvest Moon, which can have ominous implications for some people.
Ominous it was. A second half season collapse leaving us 5-7 after a 4-0 start left the Michigan family feeling like getting in line for free turkey at the homeless shelter for our first hot meal in ages only to be told that chilled peas and week old fruitcake were left once it was our turn. More grumblings came not from our tummies, but alumni, fans, and current students at the time. Also the Detroit Free Press and their head henchman of death, Rosenberg, were hellbent on sinking Michigan football into Lake Huron.
September 4th, 2010. UConn. A kid nicknamed “shoelaces” that had the best smile east of the Mississippi takes the field as the starting quarterback. We witnessed the possible talent the year before with his blazing speed. Some of us worried of the inaccuracy and arm strength however, but this was a new season and nothing having to do with shoelaces, jockstraps, and sports bras would prevent us from feeling the overwhelming lust for the spoils of hearing Hail to the Victors with smiles all around when the clock ticked to 0:00 in the 4th quarter. Shoelace D Robinson proved his offseason training when he threw for 186 yards, ran for 197, and garnered 2 TDs. Victory was ours and we were headed to a showdown in South Bend riding on a 30-10 victory over a favored conference champion on the grand opening of a renovated stadium that rivaled the Roman Coliseum.
September 11th, 2010. Notre Dame, a college of hopeless alcoholics with huge egos and a weakness for mob hysteria in tense situations. They are the ones who will get angry when their lofty pregame predictions start going awry. They then guarantee some last minute fumble or shocking interception. I have seen these loonies win on some days, but lately, not often. They are the spiritual descendents of legendary old west gamblers who would bet the ranch and even their wives and daughters on one game of impossible odds that they cannot see due to denial of the mediocrity of their program. The fact remained the same though. We hate them and would hate even more to lose to the bastards. Games in South Bend can be scary, but again Shoelace D Robinson led our band of warriors to victory over the Brian Kelly led pack of degenerates. The week before’s performance against UConn was not expected again. That expectation turned out to be true. The performance of 244 yards in the air, 258 on the ground, 3 TD’s, and the last minute game winning drive shattered the expectation. 2-0. The next week? A I-AA opponent that was a sure win.
September 18th, 2010. UMass. This game was thought of as a lock before it even started. Call your bookie and tell them you are betting your soul. There would be no way we could lose this with Shoelace D Robinson. We soon found out that Denard doesn’t play defense. Although Shoelace put up 345 total yards and 3 TD’s, I sat by the internet radio gnashing teeth on my dog’s chew toy at the possible upset of Michigan by another I-AA team. Most if not all of Michigan’s fan base went rigid with fear of “The Horror” part duex. If any innocent bystander were to walk into a house with an avid Michigan fan, they would witness something similar to watching a brain-damaged cow with wild eyes staggering crazily around in circles with its legs caving in, its spine seizing up, and its hooves lashing out in the air with Mad Cow Disease. Michigan won 42-37, but it felt more like a tie and the defense was concerning. Oh well. It is a win and seeing how we came one win short of bowl eligibility a year before, we chalked it up to our horrible luck against small teams in the Eastern Time Zone.
September 25th, 2010. Bowling Green. Not much to say here. Every human being needs a reason to wake up, and this would be a good one for this Saturday. Many of us were curious to see how the defense would respond to its questionable performance the week before. There was an eerie feeling in the air before that game, at least on my owl farm. Most of my body was confident as a red blooded American man that just won the National Arm Wrestling competition and drove off feeling like a winner with Anne Hathaway in a blood red 1963 Chevy Impala convertible. However, I kept one eye open and fixed upon the defense anticipating a meltdown of epic proportion so that I could find the nearest sharp object and ram it into my pupil. Turns out I kept my eyesight and Meeeechigan won again with Denard able to leave early and Tater Nutz making it a record setting day for two quarterbacks in the season.
October 2nd, 2010. Indiana. The Big Ten schedule would officially be started this day. Indiana would be the first foe. By this time we were saturated with the voices of various experts claiming that Shoelace D Robinson could not sustain his demi-god like numbers on the field. It was said repeatedly, like most news and catchy memes, that Michigan would be risking destroying Denard and QBs like him in the future faster than high schools being able to churn them out. Michigan must have two QBs, because one of them is certain to get crippled or mashed by some steroid crazed monster who weighs 388 pounds, runs faster than Deion Sanders, and is hell bent on hurting people. Once Big Ten played started, Denard would suffer a compound fracture beyond our wildest nightmares.
Onto Indiana then. Last year’s contest was a white knuckle ride that left me scrounging for clean underwear at the conclusion. Indiana was and rarely has been good. It shouldn’t have been that close. If we lost this year to Chappell and his rightfully hyped passing show, I could only guarantee one thing. It would be a night in Ann Arbor of booze and violence that, 99 times out of 100, would swamp anybody that goes near it in a hurricane of fear, pain, and stupefying disasters that will haunt them for the rest of their life. Thankfully this was not the case. Michigan wins again, but in close fashion because of the growing liability and unluckiness of the defense. I did not shart my pants this year, but I did almost choke on my gum.
October 9th, 2010. Michigan State. Our intellectually challenged brethren to the west in East Lansing. We lost two years in a row to these shmucks and this year would be different. The noise about falling off a cliff into a pit of shame and despair at 5-0 reached deafening levels. Not this year chaps. This year, we would beat the forces of dumb into Bolivia and become bowl eligible for the first time under our coach Rich Rodriguez. The planets aligned, the moon was in Virgo, and our eggs were counted and ready to launch at that clown disguised as a coach, Dantonio.
The planets may have been aligned, but it wasn’t in our solar system. Michigan State brutalized us, making us look like the Chinese Crested Powderpuff pedigree of the state of Michigan. We came down like a car off a cliff from the week before’s high. There was a savage 180 degree swings between totally opposite poles like joy and fear, wild passions and violent rages, sudden love and sudden hate. Hate for Dantonio and his clown college beating us for three years in a row. Hate for Rich Rodriguez for only filling our hot air balloons with half fuel and mentioning it after we were 10,000 feet high. Hate for hate sake. Nonetheless, the whole situation, without exaggeration, was like sitting in a traffic jam on the San Diego Freeway with your windows rolled up and no air condition while Portuguese hip hop boomed out of your surround-sound speakers, animals gnawing at our necks and diseased bill collectors hammered on our doors with golf clubs. At least we got Iowa at home the next week and have deflated any lofty invincibility complexes…