I GET IT
Well, the nominations are all in. Below are the nominees for each category. We’re going to do the voting a little differently than the nominations. I contemplated doing voting similar to the nominations, where the nominees are listed in comments and upvoted for the winner, or by creating an online poll where people could vote. However, I wanted the results to be a surprise until the winner is revealed, and those methods would spoil the surprise. So, here’s the plan.
I’ve created a gmail account (MGoAwards@gmail.com). Please send your votes there, using a format of “Category – Vote” Where “Category” is obviously the category, and “Vote” is obviously who/what you’re voting as the winner. Where there are fewer than 3 nominees for any category, write in votes will be accepted.
Best Diary (Analysis)
Misopogon – A Countenance More in Sorrow Than in Anger
Misopogon – Decimated Defense (Part I, Part II, and Post Perdue Update)
steve sharik - Spread Game Nuances
Best Diary (Humorous)
Captain Obvious – Isn’t it Ironic
Treehugger - Forcier/Barkley Chat Room
Best Diary/Post (recurring)
jamiemac – Big Ten Picks
The Mathlete – By the Numbers
TomVH – Recruiting info/interviews
Best Post (Analysis)
No Nominations, write in votes accepted
Best Post (Humorous and/or OT)
chitownblue2 – Members Only
GoMBlue – Very OT: Showering
Steve Levy Sucks – OT - Chili Recipes
Best Poster (as in user providing the consistently best posts)
Write in votes accepted
Best Commenter (user providing the consistently best comments)
Comeback Poster of the Year (someone who got neg-banged but has since redeemed himself)
King of Belch
Best Troll (Rival fan who posts quality comments)
Write in votes accepted
Estours77 – Zoomed in Tom Hammond
Misopogon – Desmond to Helmet morph
KBLOW – Maize&Blue dolphin/shark thing
Best Graphic Art (MS Paint, T-shirt mockups, photoshop work, etc)
The Shredder – MS Paint
Six Zero – MgoShirts
chunkums – Pokemon Goal Line Stand
Best divergent conversation (when the comments get way OT of the original post)
Adrian Witty is Qualified – Math Discussion
Good Idea, Bad Idea – 12 Weeks of Michigan
Write in votes accepted
Best Use of Google to Find Stupid Movie Quote, GIF or Snark to respond to idiot post
IIIII GOT IT (See comment section (was comment #53))
No other nominations, write in votes accepted
Most Memorable Quote by Poster
MGoObes “but not for the reasons you think”
Write in votes accepted
Pregame - Tailgating
With the game scheduled for an 8pm kick off, we naturally began tailgating at 12:30pm at a Fraternity House near the stadium. Tailgate food was pretty standard, with additional foods such as Brunswick Stew and a Chick-Fil-A platter. Delicious.) Needless to say, with about 7 hours of tailgating, there were plenty of beverages consumed and shenanigans to be had.
The attire was different. Pledges wore shirts and ties, some had pants that matched the color of their team (e.g. Tech students had yellow slacks, while some Georgia students had red slacks...yikes!)
I already was aware that the girls wore sun dresses to games; but, when it gets cooler they wear jackets matching the color of their schools. This may be more accurate for those in the Greek system at Georgia Tech, but I saw many folks with outfits that match school colors, but don't explicitly say the school's name. I did see people with jerseys, shirts etc., but not among the Frat/Sorority crowds.
Speaking of attire...
I of course had to be "that guy" with my Michigan hat on. The top two questions people asked me were:
1. "What do you think of Rich Rodriguez?"
2. "You think y'all are going to fire him?"
My response probably came off a bit defensive in nature, but I responded that I am a supporter/buyer of what Rodriguez brings to Michigan and that I think the general public won't expect as much from Michigan, which will play in his favor nicely when he wins 8 or 9 games next season. (Homer? Maybe...) I also ran into a someone who yelled out a 'Go Blue!' Found out he was born in Grand Rapids but moved to the South, which confirmed, you can't go anywhere without running into at least one Michigan fan.
Similar to the Victors' Walk, Georgia Tech has a Players' Walk down Yellow Jacket Alley. The band, cheer leaders and Ramblin' Wreck and fans all participate. One interesting note here is that they allow the Recruits to join in on the walk. I'm not sure if we do this currently, but I noticed it specifically this weekend. I bet the recruits loved it. If you click the above link, you'll see what it was like for Saturday's game. You'll also notice how much closer everyone gets to the players, coaches, etc. than we do at Michigan.
During the Game:
The night atmosphere was pretty awesome. The sky was clear and the Atlanta skyline looked gorgeous. I was sitting in the Georgia section with my girlfriend, a GaTech alumnus. If I had to compare Georgia fans to MSU or OSU fans, I'd say our Big Ten rivals are worse, but when Georgia fans bark at you as part of their chant, I'll admit there are few chants that are more annoying.
I spent the first half in the Georgia section and the second half in the GaTech section. In the UGA section, we were above the GaTech band; due to acoustics I couldn't hear the Tech band. We heard Georgia's band pretty well from across the stadium.
The neatest thing to note, is the fact that Georgia Tech had a rap song (I think by Soulja Boy called "All the way turned up" as an official theme for their hype videos that were playing on the big screen. Not only was the song piped in throughout the game, the band also learned to play it too!
Here's a version of the hype video.
While this song is pretty atrocious, it pumped the student and alumni crowds, and it also prompted the crowd to get loud on key defensive plays. Supposedly, some of the hype videos played before key plays/downs were created by players on the team. To me, that shows that the players and students totally bought into the team and its direction. It also shows that the athletic program affords its players the freedom to be creative and have real ownership of the direction of the team. (Note: Again, the song is bad, but I like the idea of involving the players to help engage the crowd on the big screen.)
Another cool thing to see was in between the third and fourth quarter, the GT band plays the Budweiser song. The video doesn't really do it justice. It's a fun thing to see in between the 3rd and 4th quarters.
The game was an exciting game that unfortunately slipped through GaTechs hands, literally. The crowd was in it the entire game. I stood the entire game, shouting and yelling, and not once was I told to sit down. That felt nice. The loss however, sucked as much as if I had gone to Tech.
Once Demariyus Thomas dropped a pass on fourth down, the entire stadium fell to silence, save the scattered sections of barking Georgia fans. The interesting thing though, was that Georgia Tech fans were more upset that both Clemson and GaTech lost to "bottom" SEC schools than anything else. They really have conference pride. Perhaps it's a geographical thing for ACC fans?
At any rate, I strongly recommend a game at Georgia Tech, or any other school in the country for that matter. If you go to a game somewhere else, I'd love to read your observations on the game day feel. I'm planning on attending the Rutgers-West Virginia game; I may tone down the Michigan attire so as to avoid confrontation.
The NCAA volleyball selection show happened on ESPN News today, and Michigan managed to snag an opportunity to host the first and second round of games within their pod. As of right now, Cliff Keen Arena will host the Wolverines and 3 other teams from December 4th and 5th, with Michigan being the top seed. The opening matchups (NCAA Bracket):
#13 Michigan (24-9) vs Niagara (23-8, MAAC Champions)
Ohio (26-6) vs Notre Dame (21-6)
As I said, the games will most likely be played at Cliff Keen instead of Crisler where the volleyball team has hosted regional games in the past. With the basketball game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, it sounds like they aren't going to try and get both sports in the same arena, as much as it might help with attendance.
Speaking of attendance, with the games in Cliff Keen, tickets are going to sell out quickly. Get your tickets now for this weekend, as they probably won't be available by the weekend, if they even last until tomorrow.
Game times aren't finalized, but I'll have that updated as I find out.
The Purple Eagles haven't played much in the way of solid competition this year, and so don't let their 23-8 record be too much of an intimidator. Niagara's RPI was only 162, and I don't see anyone even comparable to Michigan on their schedule.
The good news about the Purple Eagles is that they are one of the worst teams on the block Michigan will face this year. They rank 287 out of 317 total ranked teams in Division one at just 1.42 blocks per set.
The rest of their stats, including aces/set, digs/set, and kills/set all hover around the top 50-60 in the country. Their hitting percentage on the season is .225, which is fairly low, but earns them #85.
I think Michigan should handle Niagara fairly easily. If we're going to have a weak showing, this is the one game I think Michigan may be able to get away with it. Michigan will need to control Niagara's two outside hitters in Hanna Hedrick and Kari Honomichl. The middle blocker Bibler is their third scorer, but at a much lower pace than the two outsides. Bibler is only 6', so she won't cause any height problems for Michigan.
The biggest obstacle in getting past the Ann Arbor regional will be the Irish. ND comes in at #14 in the end of season RPI, and one very impressive resume. ND won all 14 BigEast Conference games before falling in their conference tournament to Louisville on the Cardinals' home court. The Irish are 8-1 on the road this season, with the lone loss coming at Florida State.
Michigan did face ND on a neutral court during the Xavier tournament in early September. In that game, Michigan swept by scores of 25-19, 31-29, and 25-20. Via mgoblue:
After U-M cruised to the game-one victory, 25-19, behind a .424 attack percentage, set two was a battle throughout with neither team holding more than a four-point advantage. Notre Dame held its largest lead at 16-12 only to see the Wolverines roar back as Hunt and Zimmerman registered four of the next five points to put U-M within one, 17-16. The Fighting Irish pushed the lead up to three again before another Zimmerman kill capped a second Michigan comeback, forcing a 23-23 tie. Paz had the hot hand down the stretch, contributing timely kills, while Donhoff capped the match with a service ace to give Michigan the marathon 31-29 victory.
The Wolverines dominated the third set, jumping out to a 9-5 lead and then using four straight points -- three off the right hand of Paz -- to go up 17-12 and cruise to a 25-20 win. Michigan outhit Notre Dame .447 to .179 in the final frame and .390 to .239 for the match.
Michigan basically had one hell of a game with Paz notching 20 kills and Hunt 14. With the more balanced attack Michigan has been trying to use by adding Rood to the mix, I think Michigan has a chance to win again, but it'll be tough to match that sweep. ND has really played hot this season while Michigan has been up and down the last few weeks.
The Irish are a pretty solid blocking team with an average of 2.47 per set, good for #42 in the country. Their hitting percentage has been phenomenal at .264, #20 in the nation, with 14.0 kills per set. Setter Jamel Nicholas is one of the top setters in the nation, and Serinity Phillips is very good outside hitter.
ND's has four major scorers in Phillips, Kristen Dealy, Christina Kaelin, and middle Kellie Sciacca. The Irish media doesn't list any as the right side hitter, but I want to say that was Kaelin. Phillips and Sciacca are their major blocking threats with 7 solo/91 assists and 22 solos/68 assist on the season. That's about 2 per set by themselves, which is pretty crazy.
There is no way Michigan wins if they play like they did this last weekend on the road at Ohio State and Penn State, being swept by both. If we make it to this game, they will need all the support they can get from the home crowd. ND travels really well, even in volleyball. They'll buy up every ticket they can get their hands on, so those around campus, don't let another The Game-style crowd hurt our team's chances.
Bobcats RAWRCATZ come in winners of the MAC with an impressive 26-5 record and a #24 RPI. Ohio went 15-1 in the MAC regular season, and fell to Dayton in the conference championship game of their conference tournament.
Against BigTen teams, Ohio went 1-2, with wins at Wisconsin (something Michigan hasn't done since 1992) and losses to Illinois and Purdue (both at Purdue). That's a mixed bag as they should lose to both Illinois and Wisconsin, but they probably should have competed or beat Purdue.
Bobcats RAWRCATZ are lead by Ellen Herman who leads the team with 512 kills and 4.69 kills/set, good for #9 individually in Division 1. On the defensive side, Meghan Simons is the top blocker with 1.3 per game, #28 in the nation. She's 6'3" and will have a height advantage to nearly every Wolverine that takes the court.
Ohio is an exceptional blocking and hitting team overall. The team averages 2.79 blocks/set (#11 nationally) and hits .282 (#9 nationally). One of their key weaknesses is on the dig. They rank 279 with 12.69 digs/set (probably drops quite a bit because of the high number of blocks).
Apologies for the tardiness of this post - I meant to post this when the blogpoll came out, but I missed that, then it was the weekend. And there's not much change at the top.
I'll post this week's results after the blogpoll comes out.
Here's the top 20 from last week (through games of 2009.11.22):
|Team||Pvs||+/-||Rank||KRACH||RRWP||Record Rank||W||L||T||Win %||SOS Rank||SOS|
Who said Thanksgiving is a football weekend? Not anymore. It's all about the hoops, babby.
Screw the Lions. Screw the Cowboys. Screw the NFL and them shoving crappy games down our throat on a weekly basis. This is no longer their weekend. Maybe there are folks out there who dont know better, but the true sporting wonks know that for the last several years, this weekend has morphed from a football one into a college hoops weekend. Frankly, there is way more intriguing action on the hardwood today than on the gridiron.
And your Michigan Wolverines will be in the thick of it. In fact, I wont even turn the LOLions game on. Especially since John Beilein's boys will be in action at same time playing their first legit foe of the season.
We all know the deal. Old Spice Classic. Orlando. Florida. State of. We all have high hopes that the Wolverine cagers will take the next step and be a Sweet 16 caliber team. Personally, I feel the, uh, ceiling can be much higher. However, hoops is a tricky game come March, and we've seen plenty of legit Final Four teams bow out before the first weekend of the tournament is even over. I am looking right at you, Wake Forest.
Translation: Let's not get too far ahead ourselves. March is a long way away. Let's buckle in and enjoy the ride. The team is good. They will be there at the end of the season. But, March Madness is not much different than the hockey tournament that MGoBrian complains is as finicky as a random number generator. The Michigan basketball program still needs to put consistent and achieving regular seasons together. Remember, this a program that has not won a Big 10 Title in 24 years and has not been in position to win one in 15 years. Beilein's task is not as much to turn Michigan into a Final Four team, but turn it into a Big 10 contender. If the latter gets accomplished, the former becomes easier just from a seeding standpoint alone.
If its not obvious from the ramblings of these opening graphs, I've been chugging rum in south Florida since Monday afternoon. So, before I get too wordy, let's just simply relish the start of the season and I'll briefly break down this field the only way I know how to: looking at odds, checking out preseason brackets and going by my world famous gut that has been tried and tested to work 51.9457 percent of the time.
Michigan enters this tournament as the betting favorite. Their odds to win are 3/1. Technically, they're the co-favorites. Possible second round foe Xavier shares the chalk role with 3/1 odds. I think both are solid bets. I have a hard time picturing a final without one of these teams coming out of this half of the bracket. And, you cant win a future bet without a team in the finals.
After those squads, you have Florida State and Alabama at 4/1 odds. Both are on the other side of the bracket than Michigan. The Crimson Tide is a sucker bet. I dont know how strong they are. I dont think they beat Baylor in the opener. Yes, that is an official lean as to who I like in that game (Bama is favored by a single point). I would have thought FSU would be a solid play, but man, they looked awful the other night against the Gators. They had nothing going on offense. So far, uber-recruit Marcus Snear does not look ready to pick up any of the scoring slack left in the wake of Toney Douglass' departure. Snear had just five points against Florida and right now good defensive teams--which includes all four teams FSU might see should they even get to the finals--ought to be able to render the Noles impotent.
So, if you want to play a future bet, lay a little out there on either Michigan or Xavier. One of them will be in the finals. And, at 3/1 odds, there is some wiggle room to hedge that bet once Sunday rolls around.
But, the betting odds are for fun. The serious business is what kind of ramifcations will three days in late November have come mid-March and Selection Sunday? Looking back one year ago, you can say a lot.
In this very tournament last year, Oklahoma State and Siena battled for last place. And, yet, thanks to the RPI boost from playing three games against tough foes, neither were ever too far off the at-large bid radar. You can make a case that the Cowboys didnt really do anything from a quality win standpoint all season, yet they never fell out of too many mock brackets during the winter. Their 7th place finish, 1-2 record and win over Siena in this tourney last year kept inflating their resume. They parlayed that into a first round win over Tennessee in a 8/9 game in the NCAAs. The Saints, meanwhile, went 0-3 in last season's OSC. While we'll never know if they would have merited an at large--they made the point moot by winning the MAAC finals--they still got a generous seed compared to previous MAAC standards and in a 8/9 game beat Ohio State. Siena beat Ohio State. There is something poetic about those four words, n'est pas? But, I digress.
Conventional wisdon says this year's field is not as strong as last year's. I would not feel too good about a 7th place finish. But, its still pretty strong at the top. A team like Creighton, who plays Michigan in today's opener, would all but write their own at large ticket with a couple of wins today and tomorrow. Barring a MVC collapse, they will be on the board come March if they can get to Sunday's final. It may be too early to make these considerations, but tomorrow's nooner between the Jays and the Wolverines could end up being on the more important out of conference games of the season.
Did I really say it was too early to consider the possible bracket? Because that is hogwash. Before signing off, lets take a quick tour of the smattering of mock brackets that have already been put out there as part of people's preseason coverage and how it relates to this field.
According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, only two teams in this field are early projections into the NCAA field. Michigan,a #4, and Xavier, a #8. Marquette is one of his final four teams out and Florida State is among the second final four left out of the field. Creighton is nowhere to be found and the only MVC team in his field in Northern Iowa, a #12, but the Jays are widely tabbed as one of the MVC favorites.
CollegeHoops.net actually places three teams fron this field: Michigan, #4; Xavier, #7 and Creighton, #11. Are you suddenly sweating today's game, MIchigan fans? Florida State makes the grade as one of their final four teams cut from the field.
The Sporting News published a bracket look-ahead in their preseason rag on newstands. Michigan, #6, Florida State, #7 and Xavier, #8 make thier field. They did not list the teams who just missed the cut. They did pick Creighton to finish in second place in the MVC. So, they Jays come highly regarded by their writers. Interesting stat from their preview article on CU, btw: Only Creighton, Florida, Duke, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Kansas have at least 11 consecutive winning seasons. The Jays are going for their 13th straight season of 20 or more wins. Yo.
Bracketology 101 lists Michigan as a #4, Xavier as a #10, FSU a final four out and Creighton as one of their next four teams out of the field.
The Bracket Matrix is already in gear with plenty of other way too early mocks to absorb. While some may find bracket crunching in November silly, I feel these mocks are way more tellin and engaging to look through than the polls. Those are, by and large, irrelevant in the college hoops world.
Obvioulsy, these snapshots are so early, they're not worth anything. But, you can see just how important tomorrow's game might be for Creighton. A win over Michigan and a good overall showing this week would put them on a lot of people's bracket lines and it would take a lot to budge them off. This game, in some ways, is a lot like that Boise/Oregon football game to start the season. It's much more important to the mid major. And, that makes tomorrow's noon tip way more exciting than anything the NFL is giving us during the day.
A year ago, Michigan was in the dumps with one of the longest tournament droughts within the BCS conference ranks. They were coming off an awful season. There was not much on the roster screaming big improvement.
Now, the Wolverines are ranked in the preseason polls, the betting favorite to win a Feast Week Tournament and considered a #4 seed via the consensus of preseason bracketologists. I am thankful for John Beilein.
Here's hoping the Wolverines can live up to the hype and not fall under the weight of the program's first bigtime expectations in over a decade.
(Diarist Note: I dont know how many of these hoop diaries I will do this season. This site was lacking last winter on hoops coverage, mostly because of Brian's sojourn abroad, but I never got the impression he was all that into it. Tim has set a pretty high bar so far for MGo hoops coverage. I dont want to be repititive. If anyone has ideas or hoop news they would like to see to supplement their coverage, feel free to drop me an idea.)
"The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man, and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity", James Madison, Federalist #10.
When Madison wrote about the dangers of faction, he was concerned that competing interests would destroy the nascent American government. If we turn to Michigan football and its current coach, one might think that there are only two factions: the pro-Rodriguez and the anti-Rodriguez. But these are not monolithic factions. Members of the anti-Rodriguez group have all sorts of motivations: some overlapping, some singular. Some are personal, directed at Rodriguez. Some have nothing to do with Rodriguez himself and everything to do with his job.
It’s important to know who you’re dealing with. So when you encounter a card-carrying anti-Rodriguez person in the wild, please refer to the guide below. Your combatant may have one, some, or many of these motivations. Disarming them is nearly impossible; it’s best to walk away.
The Just Win, Baby
This is the most legitimate type of Rodriguez basher. They point to his 8-16 record, his 3-13 Big 10 record, the end of the bowl streak, the end of the winning season streak, etc. They just want the team to keep winning like it always has and can’t understand why it’s losing now. For this group, any losing record is unforgiveable, and two in a row is a death sentence. Almost every Michigan fan is a member of this group to some degree; the difference is between those who see progress out of a deep hole vs. those who think a good thing was driven into the ditch.
The Devout Nostalgic
Somewhat similar to The Just Win, Baby but less pragmatic and more unrealistic in expectations. Believes Michigan has a divine right to have a winning program, and anyone to divert Michigan from that divine right must be Satan himself.
Maybe more realistic than the Devout Nostalgic, yet still upset about any change to the football program. This includes the spread offense, piped in music, the handling of the #1 jersey, the lack of season-starting permanent team captains, etc. For this type, Rodriguez is not a ‘Michigan Man’ and never will be.
This group has problems with Rodriguez because he can seem like a glib gladhander. They are put off by the way he left his alma mater, the lawsuit (whether it was encouraged by U-M or not), the golly-gee press conferences, the failed real estate deal, the GPA claim, the Lion King quotes, etc. They don’t fully trust Rodriguez and likely never will. They also know that this feeling is somewhat irrational. [Full disclosure: I'm an occasional member of this group]
The Football Hater
This person hates football. They hate big-time sports. They may have tolerated Lloyd Carr because of his emphasis on character and academics and charitable work, but now that Carr’s gone this group is out in full force.
Rodriguez swears. Therefore, he’s a bad coach. Anything that any member of the program does is wrong and further proof of Rodriguez’s evil core - regardless of similar things happening under previous Michigan football coaches or at other programs. For this person, a minor NCAA violation would be the equivalent of a double homicide.
The Media Elite
Perhaps after years of getting dressed down by Lloyd Carr, the media elite is exacting his revenge on the Michigan program. While Carr intimidated the press, Rodriguez does not. And rather than repay his humanity, they take advantage of it.
'I Wanted a Different Coach'
These are legion. For whatever reason, they wanted another coach (Miles, Ferentz, Kelly, Harbaugh, English, Hoke), and since Rodriguez is not that coach, they want him out.
The Vengeful West Virginia Hillbilly
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE! West Virginia is a beautiful state and West Virginians can be beautiful people. BUT THEY DO NOT GIVE A SHIT. They have elected a crotchety former KKK member to the Senate for 50 years. West Virginia is also the state that gave us the Hatfields and McCoys; long-running feuds are nothing new to these folks. They feel betrayed by native son Rodriguez, and they want nothing less than the nuclear annihilation of Rodriguez and anything associated with him – including the Michigan football program. They would think nothing of sowing discontent wherever possible. So, every word you read, every voice you hear, everything you see, you must ask yourself - is a pissed off West Virginian behind it all? Maybe yes, maybe no.
I hope this helps. Remember, Madison said that the causes of faction cannot be controlled, only the effects. So do your best, and please feel free to add to the taxonomy in the comments.