Welcome once again to the Ugly Game of the Week.
We're getting down to the end, I'm afraid, as there are only about seven winless teams out there in Division I, and none of them are in the same conference. So, the word of the week this week is "cupcake."
Penn State v Minnesota did not disappoint. Penn State was 2-10 on 3rd down, Minnesota outgained them by almost 100 yards, and yet Penn State won 33-21. I have no idea how. If you looked at the box score, you'd probably say Minnesota won, but they didn't. C'est la vie. This is not the week to pick on Minnesota; they're playing Ohio State (who just disemboweled Purdue), so go get 'em Gophers!
Speaking of that state, Ohio (NTO) clubbed Miami (NTM) 34-13; Miami did not help their cause with 6 turnovers. Key matchup: STOP THROWING TO THE WRONG TEAM! This game probably didn't ever make the ESPN ticker, so momentary confusion for Miami fans saying "Wait, didn't we already play them, and we're losing?" was averted.
Last, the ESPN headline says it best: "Sparse crowd watches Virginia drop E. Michigan." The EMUs were only down a field goal at half time, but their second-half drives were "punt, TD, punt, INT, punt, punt," whereas UVA scored on every drive of the second half. FTR Ron Enlish is now 1-19 in two years at that other Washtenaw County school.
Mmmm, cupcake mascots...
Speaking of mascots, there's some funny matchups this week, where top-ranked unbeatens go up against a variety of delectible baked goods. Numbers 1, 3, and 4 all play virtual nobodies. Sure, they're in-conference nobodies, but still nobodies.
s vs. s
Starting at the top we have Auburn playing Ole Miss. The Mississippi Rebels finally seem to have caught on to the fact that they lost the Civil War, meaning they're not so much rebels as loser traitors (fun fact: the University Grays, a regiment made up almost entirely of Ole Miss students, were the biggest losers of the entire war, sustaining 100-percent casualties in a single charge):
(Other schools named for warrior groups best known for getting absolutely trounced: Spartans, Trojans).
Since calling themselves Loser-Traitors was going out of vogue, Ole Miss students this year held an Internet contest for a new mascot, which the Internet being the Internet promptly elected Admiral Ackbar. So they chose to be a bear. Had they made Ackbar their mascot (or their head coach), maybe we could yell "It's a Trap!" here, but alas, Ye Ole Miss is #101 in points allowed, and they do have that glaring loss to Vanderbilt, um, glaring out from their schedule. Just hope that Auburn, who are the Tigers (yawn) doesn't get to play Nebraska in a bowl game, or the game may look like a tennis match on TV [Ed-M: except Nebraska apparently overcame their scoring aversion last week]. Auburn falling into the Number One Spot of Doom gets the "It's a TRAP!" award of the week.
s vs. s
Oregon, represented by Donald Duck and dressed by Huey, Dewey, and Louie after a Seattle coke bender, has an actual opponent-type-substance in USC, so they could/should move up to number 1 after pummeling the USC condoms (please please please).
s vs. s
Meanwhile, #3 Boise State plays Louisiana Tech in a game that features two blue and red teams playing on a blue field (I'm waiting for Kansas to get on the blue field bandwagon and paint a huge bird on it). The Broncos are one of seven teams with that name (10 if you include "Broncs" and "Bronchos"). That's pretty lame, but not nearly as lame as being one of 41 teams named "Bulldogs." LT's wins are against Grambling, Utah State and Idaho. They've lost to Hawaii and Southern Miss. Boise State just keeps rolling along with the #4 offense and #2 defense. Seriously, 12 points allowed per game? Bonus: the game is tonight.
s vs. s
Last, #4 TCU plays UNLV. UNLV has losses to both Idaho and Colorado State, and ranks in the 100s in offense and defense. Remember what I just said about Boise State's defense? Well, TCU is allowing 9 ppg. So, three FGs. Got it. As Wolverines, of course, we're all about rooting for the school with the better nickname, and here we have quite the contrast. A Horned Frog is something that might poison you if you step on it (up next: the Fightin' Sea Anemones?), though the last team to "step on" TCU was Boise State and they seem to be fine. The thing looks like a small, tailless Ankylosaurus. Fun fact: Phrynosoma, also known as a "horned toad," a "horny toad," or "horned frog," is actually neither a frog nor toad, but a type of lizard. Cue '80s rainbow thingy again:
As for UNLV, they're called the ... waitaminute ... Rebels? Were there even people living in Las Vegas during the Civil War? No, not really. Actually they took the name in the '50s because they thought of themselves as rebelling from Nevada. It's like Little Brother Syndrome, except a post-loss sin-fest is a hell of a lot more fun than burning sofas and tipping cows. Their mascot is "Hey, Reb." Their colors are "Scarlet and Gray," for the Confederacy. This is what happens when your naming committee just wants to get back to the craps table. Prediction: the Rebels get stabbed, poisoned, and turned into a gooey substance by the purple-wearing, horny-ass not-a-Frogs.
After the last two losses, there have been many opinions by many people on the question of whether the 2010 season is the same as the 2009 season
Those that say 2010 season = 2009 season point to the same record at this point, and that the wins and losses have come against the same teams as last year, and M will now play the same remaining teams as last year – in that same order
Those that say 2010 < 2009, argue that the losses this year have been worse, coming at home with wider margins
Those that maintain 2010 > 2009 say: “But look at all those yards the offense gained. We only lost because of turnovers”
This appears almost as tough as the P=NP (or P≠NP) question, except of course, everyone knows that P≠NP, but just can’t prove it (THE KNOWLEDGE, of course, has a simple proof for P≠NP that can be provided upon request)
All these things are not surprising
The most shocking thing to come out of the Iowa loss is that THE KNOWLEDGE’s overall season review is now not valid
it is an extermeley rare occasion when THE KNOWLEDGE does not soar
A highly irregular and undesirable change in the spatiotemporal continuum has caused the future to be slightly modified
The new future is a bit different, and THE KNOWLEDGE now knows about it
THE KNOWLEDGE has delivered on half of his review (BS Broncos in the NCG) by knocking off Alabama, OSU, LSU, OU, and Nebraska in the last few weeks. Other potential hurdles will be cleared in the coming weeks as well
However, since THE KNOWLEDGE’s words have not completely come to fruition, THE KNOWLEDGE announces his retirement from this season
THE KNOWLEDGE will re-appear in the offseason to describe the many coaching changes that are to occur in the Big Ten this year
THE KNOWLEDGE CHALLENGE may, however, continue if the masses still wish so
On that note, THE KNOWLEDGE would like to congratulate the following two and a half men for winning the 5th edition of the CHALLENGE and becoming Protégés of the week:
- Misopogon(half winner for predicting the score, but at a different site)
All of them predicted the score accurately!
As mentioned previously, association with THE KNOWLEDGE has improved the predictive capabilities of the masses
Adios, for a few months
During the summer it was suggested that I contribute some diaries about the golf teams. The fall has just finished up for the men’s team so I thought it would be a good time to give everyone an update.
To start, I wanted to offer an explanation of how college golf actually works for those who might not know - for the ones that do, I apologize for being redundant. The typical college golf tournament features 10 to 15 teams competing over the course of 54 holes with each team starting only 5 golfers. In each of the 3 rounds the team counts the best 4 scores of the 5 players. Here is a leaderboard from the last event that the men’s team played in: http://www.golfstatresults.com//public/leaderboards/team/static/team2068.html
As you can see, Michigan finished 4th with rounds of 279, 275 and 289 for a total of 843. If you click on “Michigan” it links to the 3rd round scorecards of each of the players. In this particular event, Miguel’s scores were dropped in each of the 3 rounds – shown by the chart at the top of the page.
Big Ten championships and NCAA Regionals/Finals are played in the spring for college golf. Similar to basketball, the winner of the Big Ten Championship is awarded a spot in NCAA Regionals. Besides the automatic qualifiers, to be selected for NCAA regionals a team must finish with a ranking around 60th or better in the nation and have a record of better than .500. Golf team’s do not play matches against individual teams throughout the year, instead all competition is conducted in the form of the tournaments described above. Going back to the tournament page I linked above, Michigan’s “record” is obtained by beating the teams in each tournament. Michigan was +7 in that tournament after beating 10 teams and losing to 3. The team ranking is currently 30th in the nation which is affected by their overall record as well as their record against teams in the Top 25/50.
In the 5 events in the fall, the men’s team compiled a record of 48-18-1, leaving them 30 wins above 500. After a slow start in the first event (9th), the team finished with 1 tournament victory and a total of 4 top-5 finishes.
One of the most representative stats for a college golf team is the number of Top-20 individual finishes for a team. To win tournaments you do not have to have the individual champion, but rather 3 or 4 solid performances. As a team Michigan had 11 Top-20 finishes this fall and 4 of those came during the team victory in the Windon Memorial Classic.
The fall season was solid, not spectacular, but solid. The foundation of this team is based on 3 guys: Lion Kim (Sr), Matt Thompson (Jr) and Jack Schultz (So). Lion came off a solid summer which included a win at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links and earned his first individual tournament win of his college career ( http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/um-golf-lion-kim-wins-us-amateur-pub-links ). Matt has maintained his solid play since he was part of the 3rd place '08/09 team as a freshman. And Jack, after earning himself Big Ten Freshman of the year in 2009, has been playing well this fall too.
At the beginning of the year I would have said Joey Garber (Fr) and Alexander Sitompul (Sr) were going to be the wild cards this year. That has proven pretty accurate as Sitompul went from leading the team in the first event to not starting the last two events of the fall. I had the opportunity to play with him for two years and I can honestly say I have never seen anyone with more potential. He is a physical freak and mentally equipped for pressure but he hasn’t been able to consistently contribute. Joey, on the other hand, has lived up to his recruiting hype (http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/um-golf-commit-joey-garber-wins-michigan-amateur ) and has been impressive since his first event including a 2nd place finish in the Bank of Tennesse Intercollegiate.
The issue that could really hurt this team going forward is depth. Lion, Matt, Jack and Joey have pretty much solidified their spots in the first 4 positions but there is a hole in the 5 spot. The most likely person to fill that hole by the end of the year is Alexander Sitompul. He is experienced and when he is playing well he is the best player on the team. Rahul Bakshi (So) and Miguel Echavarria (So) will also be in the mix throughout the spring but the team is thus vulnerable if one of the top 4 fall to injury, sickness, ineligibility, or just a slump. None of which are extremely likely, but it is not out of the realm of possibility and has happened before.
The golf team is now in the offseason until returning February 11th for the Big Ten Match Play tournament in Florida.
This week's edition of the Almanack is abbreviated, since none of Denard's stats have changed. You can view the post-Iowa edition here.
This edition includes an updated version of the 1000/1000 Club table, since both Cam Newton and Taylor Martinez played last week. Also, I've included a table of the NCAA FBS leaders in rushing yardage.
Week in Review: Cameron Crazies
Well, the Cam Newton hype machine is in full gear after he threw for 86 yards (10-16, 0 TD, 0 INT, 107.7 rating) and ran for 217 (7.8 YPC) against No. 6 LSU. Now that Auburn is #1 in the BCS rankings, many will consider him the best player on the nation's best team (this week): a lazy but easy way to pick a Heisman leader. Cam's a good player, but I maintain that if Auburn's defense played for Michigan, and vice versa, we wouldn't even be debating whether Cam or Denard should win the Heisman.
Taylor Martinez dropped off of everyone's radar after the loss to Texas, but he rebounded last week in a 51-41 win over Oklahoma State, in which he threw for 323 yards (23-35, 5 TD, 0 INT, 190.4 rating) and ran for 112 (5.9 YPC).
Colin Kaepernick had the week off.
Record of the Week: Quarterbacks as NCAA Rushing Champions
The quarterback position has evolved significantly over the course of football history. The forward pass was only formally legalized in 1906. From the 1910s until the 1950s, the most common college football formation was Pop Warner's single-wing, in which the quarterback's role was primarily as a blocker, and most passes were thrown by a tailback or halfback. The idea of a quarterback as the primary passer began to take hold after World War II, when coaches such as Clark Shaughnessy at Chicago and Stanford and Paul Brown at Ohio State took advantage of a recently redesigned football that was easier to throw, and married the ancient T formation to the threat of longer passes downfield.
Having said that, a quarterback has never led the NCAA FBS in rushing yards over a single season. In 1937, the first year in which the NCAA kept official football statistics, Colorado halfback Byron "Whizzer" White led the nation in rushing with 1,121 yards, along with 475 passing yards. (If that wasn't enough, White also went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, played in the NFL for Pittsburgh and Detroit, served in World War II during which he was awarded two Bronze Stars, came back and graduated from Yale Law School, and was appointed by John F. Kennedy to the Supreme Court of the United States.)
This year, Denard is poised to become the first quarterback in history to finish the season as the NCAA rushing champion. He currently has gained 1,096 yards on the ground. Cam Newton, having played one extra game, is in second place with 1,077 yards. On a yards-per-game basis, LaMichael James of Oregon is in first place with 161.8 (Denard has 156.6 and Newton 134.6). Personally, I find the YPG statistic to be arbitrary: should Denard be punished because the Bowling Green game was a rout, and LaMichael James benefit because he was suspended for one game for pleading guilty to harrassing his ex-girlfriend?
The November 26 Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn will have significant implications for the rushing standings. If Auburn wins that game and ends up atop the SEC West, Cam Newton will play in the SEC championship game, and thereby have an extra game to pad his stats. Here are the top 15 rushers in the country, sorted by yards gained:
|Kendall Hunter||Oklahoma St.||161||1,031||6.40||7||147.3||12|
|Daniel Thomas||Kansas St.||167||895||5.36||7||127.9||9|
|Chad Spann||No. Illinois||160||854||5.34||8||108.8||12|
|Ronnie Hillman||San Diego St.||136||849||6.24||7||121.3||11|
|Bobby Rainey||W. Kentucky||175||838||4.79||7||119.7||7|
|Edwin Baker||Michigan St.||115||779||6.77||8||97.4||7|
* - LaMichael James was suspended for Oregon's first game against New Mexico for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.
The 1000/1000 Club
There are 31 quarterbacks (and one halfback, Johnny Bright of Drake) in FBS who have run and thrown for 1000 yards in the same season. Of these, none have both run and passed for 1500 yards (the rushing record for QBs is 1,223).
Seven quarterbacks have achieved this milestone multiple times: Brad Smith (thrice), Colin Kaepernick (twice and counting), Vince Young (twice), Pat White (twice), Beau Morgan (twice), Joe Webb (twice), and Joshua Cribbs (twice). Only two people have joined the 1000/1000 club as freshmen: Brad Smith of Missouri, and Joshua Cribbs of Kent State. Air Force leads the overall list with five different QBs, in six different seasons, in the 1000/1000 club. (It is interesting that an instrument of American capitalist imperialism, the U.S. Air Force Academy, is the premier exponent of Communist Football.)
Denard joined the 1000/1000 club on his first drive against Iowa. If he stays healthy, he should easily become the first member of the 1500/1500 club. Cam Newton is also on track to join the 1500/1500 club (he projects to 1,616 rushing yards and 2,046 passing over 12 games).
The list below of 1000/1000 members is sorted by rushing yards.
|Dilithium (on pace for)||MICH||2010||1,879||2,261||4,140|
|Newton (on pace for)||Auburn||2010||1,616||2,046||3,662|
|Beau Morgan||Air Force||1996||1,494||1,210||2,704|
|Patrick White||W. Virginia||2007||1,335||1,724||3,059|
|Dee Dowis||Air Force||1989||1,286||1,285||2,571|
|Beau Morgan||Air Force||1995||1,285||1,165||2,450|
|Antwaan Randle El*||Indiana||2000||1,270||1,783||3,053|
|Johnny Bright (HB)||Drake||1950||1,232||1,168||2,400|
|Chance Herridge||Air Force||2002||1,229||1,062||2,291|
|Patrick White||W. Virginia||2006||1,219||1,655||2,874|
|Keith Boyea||Air Force||2001||1,216||1,253||2,469|
|Dwight Dasher||Middle Tenn.||2009||1,154||2,789||3,943|
|Dan LeFevour||Central Mich.||2007||1,122||3,652||4,774|
|Joshua Cribbs||Kent State||2002||1,057||1,014||2,071|
|Josh Nesbitt||Ga. Tech||2009||1,037||1,701||2,738|
|Bart Weiss||Air Force||1985||1,032||1,449||2,481|
|Ell Roberson||Kansas St.||2002||1,032||1,580||2,612|
|Brad Smith (Fr.)||Missouri||2002||1,029||2,333||3,362|
|Joshua Cribbs (Fr.)||Kent State||2001||1,019||1,516||2,535|
|Reggie Collier||So. Miss.||1981||1,005||1,004||2,009|
* Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback
- Wins are more important than stats. The existence of this diary is not meant to imply that individual achievement is more important than the achievement of the team. It is, instead, to pay tribute to Denard's exceptional individual achievement within the context of a (hopefully) successful team. With a few minor exceptions, Denard's stats don't come at the expense of the team: when he rushes for 250 yards or has a QB rating of 270, the team is usually doing well. If you object to this point of view, you don't have to read further.
- Past performance is not a predictor of future results. To the degree I describe end-of-season projections for Denard, I do so simply, rather than Mathletically: (current total) * (12-game season) / (games played to date). Clearly, we are playing better defenses in the second half of the year than we did in the first, and this should be taken into account when reading these end-year projections.
- Projections are for a 12-game season. Beginning in 2002, the NCAA revised its single-season and career records to include postseason games. If Michigan becomes bowl-eligible, and thereby adds a 13th game to its schedule, this would significantly enhance Denard's impact on the record books. If and when Michigan wins its sixth game this year, I will revise all projections accordingly.
- The record books are murky from 1869 to 1937. Something to keep in mind is that the record books don't actually go back that far in time. At the national level, official statistics have only been recorded since 1937: a mere 52 percent of college football's history. It's not clear how rigorously school, conference, and national collegiate records were kept before then. (College football has been around since 1869.) One has to assume that Fielding Yost's point-a-minute teams would have harbored some record-producing players, though the game was quite different then, as noted above. So, to be as precise as possible, we should describe all of these records as modern-era, postwar records.
- Post-1978 records are for Division I-A only. Let me note that all the records here are for Division I-A (FBS), but do include all Division I records prior to the I-A / I-AA split in 1978. I don't really care about who did what in the other divisions, given the inferior level of competition. Personally, I would prefer to eliminate the non-automatically qualifying BCS conferences, but since the NCAA doesn't do that, I won't.
Thanks to tf (Michigan rushing single-game record) and danieljpaul (Denard's season totals) for corrections. H/T to tubauberalles and enlightenedbum for tracking down the FBS single-game QB rushing record. Raoul and UM in VA persuaded me to post the total offense numbers, and pointed out Denard's ridiculous per-play stats, which I also added to the diary. Trebor pointed out that we should keep an eye on the impressive seasons of Taylor Martinez and Cam Newton.
OK, bye-week boredom, coupled with the disintegration of my long-shot fantsay QB, Jay Cutler, have left me seeking more attention-consuming (and enjoyable) pursuits.
I decided to see what an All-Michigan team would look like in the fantasy world. After scouring for my skill position guys, I felt like I was neglecting too many solid defensive former Wolverines, since "UM Def/Sp Teams" is not a choice in the NFL. I decided to expand my fantasy team out to a full starting lineup. Here's my version (current players only):
Offense: We're rolling sans TE, partly b/c there isn't one currently playing - can you believe it? - and partly in honor us being a "spread team" now. We will go with an Ace package in the backfield, and 4 WR's (OK, OK, more of a passing spread).
Defense: We're running the 3-4. Also, we're going man in the secondary with 3 DB's and only one safety (Woodson doesn't need one over him).
DT Branch or Watson (my only toss-up)
DE Hall (James - only name I thought might not be remembered)
LB D Jones
CB Hall (Leon)
Special Teams: Of coarse we rule earth (and space) in this category...
After putting this together, I started to think that this would actually be a pretty damn good team (so long as depth weren't an issue - man, is that sounding familiar). We just may be a favorite to win an All-Alumni Bowl. Admittedly, I haven't put together the same deal for any other teams (yet), but I challenge someone to throw one together. If you're interested, ESPN can sort by college.
This weekly update is for everyone wondering about defensive recruiting after last week's update was all offense. As we get closer to the end of the season we will start to hear more about potential decisions and timeframes for those decisions as well. Right now it's visits and interest for the most part.
5'11", 185 lbs.
Walls' grandma recently fell ill, so he is putting his future visits on hold. He told me earlier that he still plans on visiting MSU, South Carolina, Virginia, and UConn. His decision is a ways off:
I'm not going to make my decision until I've taken all my visits. I don't have a leader yet, I'm not ready to announce that because your mind changes with leaders all the time.
While he has postponed his visits, that didn't mean that Michigan couldn't come out and see him this past weekend.
Michigan sent a coach out to see me on Friday. Greg Robinson, the defensive coordinator, actually spent a good amount of time at my school talking with my coaches.
It was interesting to hear that Greg Robinson was the one that went out to see him since he doesn't make very many trips.
6'2", 281 lbs.
Kevin is a four star defensive tackle that has been hearing more from Michigan and a few other schools lately.
It's been on and off with Michigan, but I'm not upset about it or anything. I understand things change with schools, so it's not too late for them. I really like Michigan and Coach Dews, so we'll see. Florida has also been in contact with me lately, and I want to check them out too.
Tony Dews was out to see Kevin this weekend even though Kevin wasn't playing (injury). Dews also got a chance to see 2011 DB Blake Countess and 2012 WR Stefon Diggs since their team was playing Kevin's. Tony is always mentioned highly among recruits and it seems he's made a good impression with Kevin as well.
Coach Dews is supposed to call me this week, so we'll get to talk more. He's from this area so he understands how certain things are here. He's a good coach, and that program has been through a lot lately. He's a real personable guy. Michigan definitely has a shot because of him, and because they have great academics. I'm still trying to work out my schedule for official visits, so I'm not sure if I'll make it up there. My top list right now is probably UCLA, Oregon, Michigan, Arkansas, and Florida.
That list can definitely change, but Michigan is picking up some ground with Kevin. He's a recruit at a position of need, and has a lot of qualities the coaches really like. He would be a great pickup. Getting that visit set is key.
6'0", 190 lbs.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
As I said in a recent Weekly Update, Wayne Lyons has Michigan moving up his list. He wasn't sure then if he would make it up to Michigan for a visit, and while he's still not 100%, it's moving in a positive direction for the Wolverines:
I think I will end up taking a visit up there. I'm not sure yet, but I think I am going to visit.
While that's not written in stone, it's a step in the right direction. Without getting him on campus, Michigan probably has little shot to land him. His top school are Stanford, UCLA, Florida, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Michigan. Lyons is another Tony Dews recruit.
- OL Chris Bryant has scheduled his official visit to Michigan for the weekend of The Big Chill hockey game (December 11th). "I want to experience being around the players and interacting with them." He's not sure if his decision will come shortly after the visit, but there is a good possibility that it will. Michigan is still in great position.
- LB Antonio Kinard should find out this week if he will be included in the 2011 class. Originally committed to the 2010 class, Kinard ended up at Hargrave Military Academy. He's waiting to find out if his SAT score is high enough, and if it is he will be enrolling in January.
- WR DeAnthony Arnett received a visit this weekend from Fred Jackson. DeAnthony remains that Michigan is out of his top group, but I have a weird feeling that something's going on. I'm not saying to hold your breath, but Michigan is trying to let him know how much he's wanted.
- S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix still maintains that he will visit Michigan for the Illinois game and that the Wolverines still have a shot at landing him.