A quick preliminary note: If the Big Ten becomes a twelve team conference, it should no longer be called the Big Ten. The Big North would be more appropriate, as would the better, yet redundant, Awesome Northern Conference of Awesomeness and Death (the ANCAD).
And now on to the important stuff:
I do not think that Notre Dame is likely to join the Big Ten. It is what the Big Ten wants the most, but because of Notre Dame's current financial situation, it is unlikely that they will be willing to make the move in the near future.
Instead, I think the most likely candidate is Pitt. They have geographic proximity, acceptable academics, competitive athletics, and a natural rival in Penn State. Now if Pitt were to join the
|From Big Ten + Pitt|
Geographically, there are two ways to separate the schools into divisions. The first is an East-West division and the second is a North-South division. Let's look at a straight East-West division first:
This system would be terrible. Like the Big 12, there is no competitive balance, with Michigan, OSU, and PSU in the same division. So instead, let's look at a North-South division:
This system is much better, with very good competitive balance in football and basketball, and rivalries are preserved. Allowing for one permanent inter-division game* per team, every major rivalry (and most minor rivalries) would be preserved. Michigan and Minnesota fans can rejoice at the Brown Jug becoming a yearly rivalry, while OSU and Illinois (well, OSU) can enjoy fighting over the Illibuck. In fact, out of the 14 rivalry games in the Big Ten, 12 would be played every year (with MSU-Indiana and Minnesota-Penn State being played only 4 years out of every 10, but honestly, who cares). Currently, only 10 are annual games. Additionally, Penn State benefits by getting Pitt every year.
The only real detriment here is that the Michigan-OSU game would have to be moved from the final week of the season, in order to avoid a potential (and often likely) rematch in the conference championship. A possible solution here would be to have Michigan and OSU open up conference play every year one week earlier than other teams. To elaborate, I would have all teams play three non-conference games to start off the year, then have Michigan play OSU while the rest of the teams either take a bye or play another non-conference game (obviously, there's room to maneuver here). Michigan would then close out with MSU (which would make MSU happy) and OSU would close out with Penn State (Pitt would still close with WVU in a non-conference game, so there's no real issue here). I think that opening conference play with OSU could easily keep the game in the national spotlight.
I know that this model isn't exactly ideal, but I think it's a pretty good one considering the realities of the situation. Any thoughts?
*Permanent Inter-Division Games
Michigan State-Penn State
Note: I matched the last three games on the competitiveness of the teams more than anything else.
Quick refresher on how this works-everything here is listed in terms of points versus average performance. For more info you can go here.
Wanted to do an overview of the leading Heisman candidates, look at a few of the interesting fringe candidates, and throw in a few controversial candidates (one especially around these parts).
The defensive candidatesI have struggled with how best to evaluate defensive players. My numbers give every play a value based on the success of the play relative to competition, down and distance and field position. For offensive players its pretty easy to assign value to RB's on running plays and QBs and WRs on passing plays. Sure there is a substantial effort put in by the blockers and fakes and the like, but overall, this works pretty well for offense. For defense, it's a little trickier. The 11 players on defense have a much fuzzier role in the outcome of any given play. A tackle is a tackle in normal stats, whether its after a 20 yard gain or for no gain. What I ultimately decided on was that players should be rewarded for making a play that has a negative value change for the offense. Sure a touchdown saving tackle could be a huge play even if its after a 20 yard gain, but for the most part a play that puts the offense in a worst position should be credited to the defensive player or players who made the tackle/forced the fumble/made the pick. All of this is limited by the quality of the play by play information available to me.
Players are awarded points in two categories, quantity and quality. A big fumble or interception can be worth up 10 points depending on the length of the return and the field position of the offense. That play has huge value, but is somewhat of a fluky hard to repeat type of play. By looking at both the quantity and quality, you are evaluating defensive players based on their ability to consistently make plays (quantity) and their ability to make really big plays (quality).
Obviously the scorching hot candidate this year, currently leading 1st place vote getter.
The rankings tend to favor linebackers, but that didn't stop Mr. Suh from tearing up the numbers. For the season, he was good for 72 negative plays (2nd nationally) and nearly 43 points of lost value on those plays (6th). Overall his total of 115 points (not sure if this is the right way to combine them, welcome to any thoughts) puts him 2nd overall. An absolutely outstanding year for a member of the #2 rated overall defense, worth 12 points a game as a total unit.
The Beast of Mgoblog has obviously not gotten any national attention, but let's look at how his numbers compare nationally.
Graham made 53 negative plays on the season, a respectable 23rd nationally and those plays took away 41 points in value from opposing offenses. 94 points overall ranks him 9th overall.
What becomes debatable is whether this 9th overall rating is more impressive considering Michigan's total defense was ranked 70th in the country or less impressive.
No matter what your take on the team defense issue, it is clear that whether you are looking UFR or By The Numbers, Graham was truly a beast and its a shame that the team's lack of success has limited his exposure.
Wide ReceiversNo Receivers are getting much attention this year, but the ones that are getting a bit of pub seem to be getting it deservedly so.
Danario Alexander, Freddie Barnes and Golden Tate hold the top three spots in my rankings and are 3 of the 4 receivers noted to be receiving votes. The fourth is the scorned Mardy Gilyard who comes in at 28th overall, but is also the key return man on the nation's #2 kick return unit.
Running BacksMy numbers value quarterbacks much higher than they do running backs. The top QBs are directly worth 10-12 points per game above average while the top RBs are "only" worth 4-5 points per game.
With that said, there is a clearcut leader in my tightly backed running back rankings, and it's not the guy who is going to win tomorrow. Toby Gerhart of Stanford is the only running back that has rated out +5 or better on the season.
Mark Ingram comes in at a respectable 7th and is 5th of players from the Big 6 conferences. However, the 2 point per game gap between Ingram and Gerhart is the same as the difference between Ingram and the 75th rated running back in the country. And this is after you account for competition. If you look at the unadjusted numbers, Gerhart comes in second to Donald Buckram of UTEP at nearly +7 while Ingram stays around +3. The gap between them is now as big as the gap between Ingram and the 150th rated RB in the country. If you are going to pick a running back this year, Ingram is a good choice, but Gerhart is clearly the best choice.
For those interested, CJ Spiller only checks in at #25 and stays just outside of the top 5 if you add in his prowess as a kick returner.
QuarterbacksSo I tell you the QBs are where all the action is at but then I put up what feels like a Simmons-esque length before even talking about a single one.
Both finalists are obviously big name quarterbacks for name schools. They had good years, but neither had individual seasons that I would deem Heisman worthy.
Colt McCoy finished the regular season at +9 which is good for 9th nationally. Tim Tebow was good for +7 (19) on the season and that is factoring in his top 10 quarterback rushing rank.
So who does that leave left?
I think if Tony Pike from Cincinnati didn't get hurt midseason, this award would be all his. The combined QB play from the Bearcats was worth 10 points a game and would have ranked 5th overall if it would have come from a single player. Case Keenum from Houston (+12, 1st) and Max Hall from BYU (+10, 4th) had outstanding years for quality mid-major programs but they couldn't get the defensive help they needed to get the wins required to garner the national interest. Kellen Moore of Boise (+7, 16th) had a highly efficient season but his competition was too weak to keep his numbers high enough. Jimmy Clausen (+9, 5th) did all he could to give us more Weis but quarterbacks don't win the Heisman going 6-6. But there was one name that really surprised me that was at the top of the rankings all year long. Ryan Mallett. Before adjusting for competition, he had a very respectable +8 and 12th overall rating. But when you factor in the SEC defenses he did it against, his rating leaps to +12, a sliver below Case Keenum. The Michigan transfer put up one of the least talked about great seasons in recent memory. In SEC play, he played 7 of the top 35 pass defenses in the country and still he managed one of the top seasons by either traditional or modern statistics. Ryan Mallet posted a nearly 150 quarterback rating facing the number defensive strength of schedule in the country.
My Ballot(s)If I had a ballot here is how I would rank the 5 finalists.
If I had a ballot (and balls) this is what it would look like:
Ann Arbor, Mich. – The University of Michigan Men’s Lacrosse team will take the field next Thursday, December 10, when they participate in their annual East-West intra-squad scrimmage at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse in Ann Arbor. Action will kick off at 7:00pm EST as the split squads will battle for bragging rights for their respective regions. Assistant Coaches Ken Broschart and AT Bulus will guide the East team, while fellow assistants Mark Greaney and Ryan Demorest will lead the West squad. The game will mirror a regular-season contest with a complete officiating crew as the Wolverines take the field in their last organized on-field activity before the start of the New Year.
The Wolverines will then have the remainder of the semester to focus on their studies before returning to practice in early January in preparation for the defense of their back-to-back MCLA National Championships. The Maize and Blue will open their season with a pair of scrimmages before heading west for a tough, three-game road swing vs. Arizona State, Arizona, and Brigham Young.
For all your Michigan Men’s Lacrosse info before the start of the ‘10 campaign, please visit mgobluelacrosse.com.
The release isn't clear whether the ticket prices will be the same as regular season games, but the worst-case scenario is $6 for general admission, $3 for students with an ID. This is a great chance to catch a game for one of the most successful programs on campus, even though they're a club varsity team. Should be an interesting opportunity for the West squad to show that good lacrosse players don't just come from the East Coast.
First we have to remember that this is a good year to be in the Big Ten as it is an extremely deep and talented conference, and would be considered a power conference this year. This makes it possible to make the NCAA Tourney with 19 wins and a Big Ten tourny win, but 20 or 21 and add a BTT win would lock up a birth for them.
Secondly, their out of conference schedule this year is on par with last years. Last year they played UCLA, Duke (2), UCONN, and Maryland. This year they have played Creighton, Marquette, Alabama, Boston College, and Utah (4 of them away from home), and still play UCONN and Kansas. That is 7 quality opponents, now granted they are currently 1-4 in those games, but win 1 against either UCONN or Kansas and all of a sudden you have a 2nd quality OOC win. This would be the same as (corrected! sorry apparently counting to 2 was tougher today that I thought) last year. The tough schedule will help them with their RPI, and as dumb as the RPI is, it matters to the selection committee.
Last year after the Big Ten Tournament Michigan was 20-13 and drew a 9 seed.
So what would they have to do to make the tournament. Here is a scenario for you. # of wins in ( )
- First you must win the two cupcake games left: Detroit (5), Coppin St. (6)
- Beat UCONN (7) at home: They could have won on the road last year
- Take care of business against the Big Ten basement dwellers: Indiana (8&9), Iowa (10&11), Northwestern (12&13)
- Go 5-5 against Penn State (14) Michigan State (15), Wisconsin (16), Ohio State (17), and Minnesota (18)
- Beat either Purdue or Illinois (19)
- Win 1 BTT game (20)
Is 11 Big Ten wins tough? Sure. They could have accomplished it last year though had they beat Penn State and Iowa on the road. The toughest, and probably most important, thing to do is to sweep Indiana, Iowa and Northwestern. Every game you lose to those teams is another you have to win against the powers of the conference.
So when will we know if they have realistic tournament hopes? The 6 games between January 14th and January 30th. Home games against Indiana and Iowa bookend games vs. UCONN, at Wisky, at Purdue, and vs. MSU. They go 4-2 or 5-1 they could be on their way. Less than that and they could have a lot of work left to do come Big Ten Tournament time.
For those just joining us, it's a community service event (Mitch Albom's organization is involved) in which we go to two (used to be five) family homeless shelters in Detroit and throw the kids there a Christmas Party.
Before I posted that on the board (and Brian stapled it to an Unverified Voracity), this year's event was looking a bit grim. No one knows quite the reason. It could be that our head wasn't screwed on quite right. I could be, perhaps, that our cash was too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that the economy was two sizes too small.
But, whatever the reason, our head or our wallets, or too much yule lagers, it wouldn't have come off but for MGoBloggers.
Every kid in the shelters, the tall and the small,
might still have been singing, without any presents at all.
But we needn't have worried, YOU CAME THROUGH!
We went from little to plenty, and it was all thanks to you!
MGoBloggers responded, from Detroit to L.A.
Heck, even a Buckeye sent donations our way.
165 clients at Booth Evangeline
Ate pizza and cake and talked Wolverine spleen
The ladies had their nails done, the boys played some ball
And then Santa arrived with presents for all
Though I don't think MGoBlog was really noticed by Mitch
We know why AAS '09 went off without a hitch
(You'll have to take thank-you's from organizer Marci Fitch)
So thank you to everyone who helped in some way.
This blog seriously made those kids' day.
For the other site, well, Ms. Kroflich had these words to say:
fin.Hello Seth,Could you post this on the MGoBloggers site? I'll send thank you letters (and receipts) to the people who donated, but we might get an even better turn-out next year if people know what happens (?). Thank you again for posting this event (it wouldn't have been nearly as successful with MGoBloggers help)!Thank you to the volunteers and donors who made the Christmas Party at Genesis II House* such a marvelous event!!
We got off to a slow start... but things really picked up from there. The students in Mrs. Val Tomich's class at Allen Park Community School provided us with the crafts to create decorations for the Christmas tree. It sparkled with the silver and gold garland and our glittery decorations. It looked so great that Santa Claus (Lonnie) came to visit, passed out candy, and sat for photos with the children. Once Santa was safely on his way back to the North Pole, the party started groovin' with Living Energy (248 926-9550). Rick and his crew gets everyone up and jumpin! They passed out hats, glasses, bead necklaces, and feather boas which made everyone feel extra festive. We got funky for about an hour and then did a conga line to the dining room for lunch. Sandee and Jessica made us a terrific lunch including hamburgers, chicken strips, tater-tots, baked beans, 3 bean casserole, and brownies. After lunch, we setup a Holiday store with all of the fabulous donations... coats, hat/mitten/scarf sets, clothes, toys, games, stuffed animals, books, make-up kits, toiletry sets, purses, and Payless gift certificates (cash donations were used to purchase gifts). There were more warm coats and dress clothes than ever this year. We had enough donations for every lady to receive 2 gifts and each child to receive 8 gifts! Our bravest volunteers, Kevin and Laura, stayed in the dining room and sang Christmas carols with the children while the rest of us made sure that everyone got the perfect gifts for Christmas!* For those who may not know, Genesis II House is one of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries transitional housing shelters. They provide the ladies and children with a safe and stable environment, focusing on education, job-training, and parenting. The goal is to help the ladies obtain and keep a home of their own... One of the ladies told us that she would not be at Genesis II for our next party because she got a home of her own. Now that's a Merry Christmas!
Thank you all so much for making the Holidays happier!
After countless hours of work (ok, roughly 2-3) and hundreds of votes (or maybe closer to 15-20), it’s now time to present the first annual MGoAwards!
These awards are voted on by you the MGoUser. Votes are the total of the online poll votes, plus the original e-mailed in votes. I realize that some votes may have counted twice (poll and e-mail), but that’s the benefit you get from following directions the first time.
For a refresher on the nominees, go here.
Before we begin, I’d like to ask that the recipients limit their acceptance speeches to 2 minutes, and no Kanye-type interruptions please(unless it's funny).
The "Thank you for making us smarter" award for the Best Diary (Analysis) goes to:
Misopogon – Decimated Defense (Part I, Part II, and Post Perdue Update)
The "Laughter is the best medicine" award for Best Diary (Humorous) goes to:
Treehugger -Forcier/Barkley Chat Room
The "Future moderator" award for Best Diary/Post (recurring) goes to:
The Mathlete – By the Numbers
The "Laughter is the best medicine, jr." award for Best Post (Humorous and/or OT)
We have a tie between:
chitownblue2 – Members Only
GoMBlue – Very OT: Showering
The "Misopogon" award for Best Poster (so named because he damn near swept the voting) goes to:
The "Misopogon of commenting" award for Best Commenter goes to:
The "Redemption" award for Comeback Poster of the Year goes to:
The "Irish" award for Best Troll (see "Misopogon" award for genesis of name) goes to:
The "Visual Distraction" award for Best Avatar goes to:
Estours77 – Zoomed in Tom Hammond
Misopogon – Desmond to Helmet morph
The "Way too much time on your hands" award for Best Graphic Art goes to:
The Shredder (or The Shredded if you make a typo)– MS Paint
The "How did we get on this subject?" award for Best divergent conversation goes to:
Yet another tie.
Adrian Witty is Qualified – Math Discussion
Good Idea, Bad Idea – 12 Weeks of Michigan
The "Father of k06em01" award for Biggest Meltdown/Negbang goes to:
Congratulations to all the winners! I hereby present you…nothing really, except our respect (in most cases). May your username live on for eternity.
As of now, the plan is to do this again near the beginning of next season (the offseason awards). Hopefully I'll be better at this and it'll go more smoothly.