The season is starting to wind down, so rather than trying to pick some bad games out of the dwindling pool of options, I will instead take a look at the Big East playoff picture, which is Ugly unto itself. When there is a four-way possibility that the winner will have four losses, that deserves a look. But first:
Akron wins a game! Akron wins a game! Oh my God, Akron wins a game! The Zips beat Buffalo 22-17 to get their first win for the season. Akron's QB, P. Nicely, was 13/24 for 193 and 3 TDs. I really only mention it to say that his name is P. Nicely. Buffalo was making a game of it, until a late fumble gave the ball back to Akron to run out the clock.
North Carolina almost blew a 24-10 lead to Duke in the 4th quarter, but Duke ran out of time on their last drive. Not sure why Duke threw a 6 yard pass to the 41 as the last play, but they are Duke. Laettner must not have been open at the free-throw line. They did manage to score 19 points with 275 total yards and a 0.8 YPC rushing average. I'm sure they're happy it's basketball season.
Last, Vanderbilt dutifully lost to a 3-9 Wake Forest team 34-13. Vanderbilt's AD issued a statement saying he and Caldwell reached a "mutual agreement that the university and the football program needed to go in a new direction." Well, from where they are, there's only one way to go: up. Vandy actually had more offense than Wake, but missed two field goals (I know how that feels) and turned over on down five times to give Wake short fields.
We do have the Washington/Washington State mess, but nothing holds a candle to the impending Big East Trainwreck, so without further ado I present:
aka the "Big" East preview. There is no scenario in which the Big East winner will have fewer than three losses. First off, UConn controls their own destiny. Win and they are in the BCS. At 8-4. And probably unranked. They are 4-2 in conference, with key wins over the other contenders West Virginia, Syracuse and Pitt. They play one of the other possible title contenders, South Florida this weekend. I'm assuming here that the first tie-breaker is head-to-head, then overall record, which gets them in a head of 8-3 West Virginia, because West Virginia is also 4-2 in conference.
That's the easy part: if UConn wins, they get it. But if they lose, here come the scenarios. If UConn loses, they are 4-3 in conference. West Virginia is the next most likely winner, as they are also 4-2. They play Rutgers this weekend, who is 1-5. West Virginia has beaten USF and Pitt, so that gives them the edge in the head-to-head. So if West Virginia wins and UConn loses, they're in. Notice: after this point it starts to get meteor-hitting-a-lottery-winner level of likelihood, but I'm going to do it anyway.
If WVU loses, unlikely, though it may be, next in line is Pitt. Pitt plays on the road at Cincinnati, and is coming off a stretch versus UConn (loss), USF (win), and WVU (loss). A win would put Pitt at 7-5 overall and 5-2 in conference. And in a BCS bowl. A Pitt loss really throw a wrench in the works by making 5 teams 4-3 in conference: West Virginia, UConn, Pitt, Syracuse and USF.
I think maybe Syracuse gets the title since they beat USF, who will have beaten UConn, so by transitivity they win? Does UConn win by virtue of beating WVU, Pitt and Syracuse? I hope the Big East has enough tie-breakers to handle this, and I really hope one of them involves a 100 yard dash between the mascots to decide it. I don't know what else to do in this scenario, other than declare TCU the winner a year in advance.
Though we're not one of them, being one of the few teams that had to play all three Big Ten 2010 Champions, and since we generally hate all three, I figured Michigan bloggers might be in a good position to adjudicate the mess atop our conference this year.
Base comparisons are as follows. I would appreciate any comments, and would like to change it up based on your opinions.
|Loss||6-37 @ Iowa (-2)||18-31 @ Wis.||24-34 @ MSU|
|Ohio State's loss to Wisconsin was by more, but Wisconsin won the turnover battle by 3 and still lost to Michigan State by 10. They're pretty much even. Michigan State got beat much worse (-1) by a worse team (-1)|
|BCS OOC||34-31 ND||36-24 Miami (+1)||20-19 ASU (-1)|
|Notre Dame and Miami are both erratic, 7-5 teams against tough schedules but Ohio State didn't make it close, while MSU needed a fake punt conversion (that was covered!) to beat ND. I count both of those as better than ASU, who will finish 5-7 most likely a tough (-1) to Wisconsin, though they get the benefit of the doubt next close one.|
|Big Ten 1||34-24 Wis (+1)||20-17 @ Iowa (-1)||31-18 OSU (+1)|
|The Iowa game is Ohio State's biggest win, and it wasn't that great of a win -- as close as the 3-point spread looks (-1). MSU/Wis and OSU/Wis were dominating wins over Top 10 teams. (+1)|
|MICHIGAN||34-17 @ Mich||37-7 Mich||48-28 @ Mich (+1)|
|Easiest comparison to make. Ohio State and Michigan State both dominated thanks to Michigan mistakes, while Wisconsin made its trip to Ann Arbor a bloody affair (+1) from kickoff.|
|Purdue||35-31 Purdue (-1)||49-0 Purdue (+1)||34-13 @ Purdue|
|Ohio State murdered (+1), Wisconsin held serve, Michigan State (-1) needed a 4th quarter comeback to beat a worse Purdue team than either other one played|
|PSU/Iowa||28-22 @ Penn St||38-14 Penn St||31-30 @ Iowa|
|Iowa's a better 7-5 team than Penn State, but the close road win didn't tell us much. Ohio State got the Lions at home when they were worse, but they did better. 0s all around.|
|Minn||31-8 Minn||52-10 @ Minn (+1)||41-23 Minn|
|Pasting, bigger pasting on the road (+1), pasting.|
|Illini/NW||26-6 Illini||24-13 @ Illini||70-23 NW (+1)|
|Illinois is better than Northwestern. MSU came on late but came on. Ohio State made it a lot closer. But Wisconsin's 70-point finale against a worse Northwestern team (+1) is more impressive.|
|Ind/NW||35-27 @ NW (+1)||38-10 Ind.||83-20 Ind. (+1)|
|MSU looked to lose to Northwestern right up until the end, but they're a much better team than Indiana so (+1). Ohio State did what it was supposed to, but Wisconsin put up 83 (+1)|
|OOC||38-14 WMU||45-7 Marshall||41-21 @ UNLV|
|Pasting, pasting, slightly worse pasting but on the road.|
|OOC||30-17 Fl.Atl (-1)||43-7 Ohio||27-14 SJSt. (-1)|
|FL-Int. kind of made it close (-1) and so did SJ State (-1) while OSU rolled over Ohio|
|TomatoCan||45-7 N.Colo||73-20 EMU||70-3 Austin Peay|
|Doesn't count -- any FBS team but EMU might give Ohio State a|
It's not a perfect line-up, but it gets the job done, giving us some close and semi-close apples and oranges to compare. The +'s and -'s are simply numeric comparisons for how the teams did against each other on that line, i.e. they say how much each team disguished itself from its two conference competitors in that comparable.
You can argue a lot of my conclusions.
So Michigan State's resume, lined up as best as I can, is substantially behind that of Ohio State and Wisconsin. I wouldn't feel bad about ranking them several slots behind the other two if there are some other 1-loss teams. Remember above where I said Wisconsin gets the benefit of the doubt? There you are. I'd put them slightly over Ohio State, whom they defeated. The late-season murderous rampage worked.
Okay, bloggers. Fisk away.
These next few weeks will be crucial for the finish of Michigan's recruiting class. This weekend and next weekend will see Michigan hosting lots of talent. Here's a few updates on some of those recruits, a new visitor scheduled, and a current commitment.
6'0", 190 lbs.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Michigan was outside of Wayne's top list for a while, and they weren't sure if they would get an official visit from him. He decided that the Wolverines would be included in his top five, which will result in the official. He'll be in Ann Arbor this weekend with his mother to take in the campus.
I'm really just looking for comfort, and I want the coaches to make it clear to me how I'm going to fit into the system. I'm hoping to see a good environment and campus, and how the coaching staff works. I'll also be looking at depth charts, and I know Michigan needs defensive backs.
An important factor in this process will be Wayne's mother, who will be accompanying him on this visit.
My mom is really looking for a lot of the same things that I am. She wants to feel comfortable with the school, and feel comfortable enough to let me go there.
His mother has been on all his trips with him so far and will also be at his final visit to Nebraska. Lyons will be making his announcement at the Army All American game, and Michigan has been making some strides with him. Also visiting this weekend are four star Maryland DB Blake Countess, who Michigan is in good shape for, and current commit DB Delonte Hollowell. I'll update as I hear any more recruits that will be in town.
6'2", 230 lbs.
Dawson had told me a few weeks back that he wasn't as interested in Michigan as some of the other schools in his top seven. He has always maintained that Michigan is in that top seven, but they needed some work to do. They will now get a chance to do that work, as he's decided to schedule a visit to Ann Arbor.
I'm coming up there on January 22nd. Michigan's in my top seven, and I didn't get to go there for a game so I thought I'd come and take a look. I don't really have any leaders right now, but I'm looking for a place that I feel comfortable. I haven't really seen as much of Michigan, so they're still a little behind some others.
As he noted Michigan is behind, but like Lyons a visit is a step in the right direction. Dawson won't be making his decision until signing day, so there's plenty of time to think about it, plenty of time for Michigan to let him know how much they want him. The other schools he lists in his top seven are Tennessee, USC, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, and Oregon.
6'1", 210 lbs.
Kellen's family is as excited as anyone for him to join the Michigan family. His father is an MGoBlog reader, and wanted me to share a few things with his fellow fans. The pictures below are of Kellen with former Michigan linebacker Jarrett Irons at a family get together, and the second with Coach Rodriguez and former Michigan great Desmond Howard. Below that is a highlight tape from one of Kellen's games a few weeks ago against St. Thomas, where his team won 33-28 (ED: I'm having problems with uploading the video to YouTube. I'll post it when it goes up). Enjoy.
- New Jersey TE Jack Tabb is visiting North Carolina this weekend, and most likely Arkansas on the 10th. He's hoping to have his decision made by Christmas. Michigan has put themselves in good position with Tabb after his official visit.
Last night Denard Robinson was named the 2010 BigTen Offensive Player of the Year. Coaches and members of the media agreed that one of the nation's most explosive players was worthy of the conference's top offensive honor.
Earlier this season I created the Denard Robinson Action Figure, Heisman Trophy Candidate Edition (but not really real, lawyers). I made some modifications to the original artwork to give the action figure a "legendary" feel and to commemorate Denard Robinson's stellar season; the modifications include sepia tone on the cardboard packaging, a platinum football and special edition text.
As happy as I was with the Ohio State wallpaper, after another embarrassing loss in The Game I'd much rather see this on my desktop until the bowl game destination and opponent are announced. Once I know to which sunny location Michigan is headed (and who they'll be facing) I'll get started on a series of wallpapers for the lead-up to the game.
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
Tim didn't include the full All Big-10 Team for 2010 as voted on by the coaches. Denard is an honorable mention, presumably because only the coaches vote for the whole team while the media also vote on Player of the Year. Congrats to all, including David Molk (1st Team), Roy Roundtree, Jonas Mouton, and Mike Martin (2nd Team), and Steve Shilling (Honorable Mention).
Also, Ryan Kerrigan took home Defensive POY, Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) was voted Lineman of the Year and his teammate James White is Freshman of the Year.
2010 All-Big Ten Conference Football Team
As selected by CONFERENCE COACHES
|FIRST TEAM||OFFENSE||SECOND TEAM|
|Dan Persa, Northwestern||Quarterback||Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin|
|Mikel Leshoure, Illinois||Running Back||Evan Royster, Penn State|
|Dan Herron, Ohio State||Running Back||John Clay, Wisconsin|
|Tandon Doss, Indiana*||Receiver||Marvin McNutt, Iowa#|
|Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa*||Receiver|
|Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State*||Receiver|
|David Molk, Michigan||Center||Mike Brewster, Ohio State|
|Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State||Guard||Julian Vandervelde, Iowa|
|John Moffitt, Wisconsin||Guard||Justin Boren, Ohio State|
|Mike Adams, Ohio State||Tackle||Riley Reiff, Iowa|
|Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin||Tackle||D.J. Young, Michigan State|
|Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin||Tight End||Allen Reisner, Iowa|
|Dan Conroy, Michigan State||Kicker||Derek Dimke, Illinois|
|FIRST TEAM||DEFENSE||SECOND TEAM|
|Adrian Clayborn, Iowa||Line||Corey Liuget, Illinois|
|Cameron Heyward, Ohio State||Line||Karl Klug, Iowa|
|Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue||Line||Mike Martin, Michigan|
|J.J. Watt, Wisconsin||Line||Ollie Ogbu, Penn State|
|Greg Jones, Michigan State||Linebacker||Martez Wilson, Illinois|
|Ross Homan, Ohio State||Linebacker||Jeremiha Hunter, Iowa|
|Brian Rolle, Ohio State||Linebacker||Eric Gordon, Michigan State|
|Shaun Prater, Iowa||Defensive Back||Brett Greenwood, Iowa*|
|Tyler Sash, Iowa||Defensive Back||Johnny Adams, Michigan State*|
|Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State||Defensive Back||Trenton Robinson, Michigan State*|
|Jermale Hines, Ohio State||Defensive Back||Chris L. Rucker, Michigan State*|
|Defensive Back||Aaron Henry, Wisconsin*|
|Anthony Santella, Illinois||Punter||Aaron Bates, Michigan State|
HONORABLE MENTION: ILLINOIS: Jeff Allen, Nate Bussey, Trulon Henry, Graham Pocic, Tavon Wilson; INDIANA: Damarlo Belcher, James Brewer, Mitch Ewald; IOWA: Christian Ballard, Mike Daniels, Adam Robinson, Ryan Donahue; MICHIGAN: Denard Robinson, Stephen Schilling; MICHIGAN STATE: Edwin Baker, Kirk Cousins, Mark Dell, Joel Foreman, Charlie Gantt, Marcus Hyde, Jerel Worthy; MINNESOTA: D.J. Burris; NORTHWESTERN: Drake Dunsmore, Jeremy Ebert, Brian Peters; OHIO STATE: Devin Barclay, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor, John Simon; PENN STATE: Quinn Barham, Chris Colasanti, D'Anton Lynn, Derek Moye; PURDUE: Ricardo Allen, Dwayne Beckford, Carson Wiggs; WISCONSIN: Montee Ball, Niles Brinkley, Antonio Fenelus, Peter Konz, Bill Nagy, Blake Sorensen, Mike Taylor, Ricky Wagner, Philip Welch, James White, Kevin Zeitler.
|OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:||Denard Robinson, Michigan|
|OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR:||Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin|
|DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:||Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue|
|DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR:||Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue|
|FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR:||James White, Wisconsin|
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees: Tavon Wilson, ILL; Tyler Replogle, IND; Ricky Stanzi, IOWA; Mark Moundros, MICH; Kirk Cousins, MSU; Jon Hoese, MINN; Corbin Bryant, NU; Bryant Browning, OSU; Brett Brackett, PSU; Ryan Kerrigan, PUR; Scott Tolzien, WIS.
This is my first journal entry. Never thought I'd see a reason to do so. Brian's and company, as well as large portion of the casual/everyday posters had been enough for me. I really didn't then, or probaby, now,have anything that would bring anything new or better written. Now, knowing my opinion is just that, my opinion, I feel compelled to hunt and peck this entry.
Why....why would any sane fan of this great team even entertain the idea of a coaching change? I don't need to recount everything you already know. Plain and simple when we hired R.R we hired a new era. I've watched this TEAM for 40 yrs. I know what a Michigan man is. Michigan men don't say big blue and thet don't whine like buckeyes when for the first time since I was a young boy we don't get our nine wins every season -- nine being a give or take sorta thing. I'm not gonna go research the #'s but i believe I was 12 the last time we didn't make a bowl. Now two years and we're back. But i still hear this whine.
If I could justify any of the numerous reasons, maybe just one, this entry would never be made. I see the same #'s, opinions, polls and content that you do; and as hard as I've tried to stay off the boards I cannot. Michigan is MICHIGAN for a reason. We are truly the leaders and the best. Sometimes "leading" can be painful. When these kid have had a chance...a fair shot at showing their talent and heart, we will have, as you've already seen, the most dynamic point scoring machine this league has ever seen. Denard now with Devin in the wings. What else do you want ? Everyone sans S.S is back. But still this whine.
KIDS who shouldn't even see playing time for two years are thrown into the Big 10 and I hear whine. Are you kidding me ! ? The talent is there and the heart is as big as I've seen. Give these kids a chance, a fair shot. Is a year too much ? Practices before the 28th, the bowl game, off season...We'll have a decent D next year. R.R and company have had nooooo luck. None. I read it in here somewhere; no special teams, no defense and we manage 7-5. If you were told preseason of the injury plague that would be our defense this year; would you have bet on 7-5 ? I wouldn't have.
I know in my heart and soul he needs only 2011 to make his case. By 2012 we'll be a BCS contender. We have the chance to witness something special, Something new and ahead of the curve -- the Big 10 has never seen what they'll see once these guys grow up. You don't think he "fits" or isn't a Michigan man; that's on you. I want to see what I've always seen at the Big House: a team other teams are afraid of. A team that dominates and executes and does it with integrity and class. You think Tress would have suspended a key player prior to this game ?
No more whine. The pain is over you just don't know it yet. "Coaching changes yes....Regime change ? Naw baby naw.....D.B is laughing at all R.R haters and those quick to squeeze the trigger. He know's......I know he knows. But I still had to hunt and peck....and I feel better ;-)
GO BLUUUUUUE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!