This is a prediction/guesstimate on what the 2011 recruiting class could potentially look like. Please don't read too much into any of this, and don't freak out either. (I know you will anyway, but it makes me feel better to tell you not to). I'm only going to put recruits that I think Michigan will get as of right now. This doesn't factor in kids with grade issues, or anything else.
- Commit - Kevin Sousa, 6'2", 213 lbs, 3 star, Orlando, Florida
- Marquise Williams 6'3", 218 lbs, 3 star, Charlotte, North Carolina: Committed to UNC right now, but assuming that North Carolina is about to implode due to NCAA sanctions Michigan has a good shot with Marquise. It will be either Sousa or Williams, most likely not both.
- Commit - Demetrius Hart 5'8", 190 lbs, 4 star, Orlando, Florida
- Devondrick Nealy 5'10", 175 lbs, 3 star, Monticello, Florida: Recently named Michigan as his favorite after his visit. He also struck a friendship with Demetrius Hart, and has said he would like to team up with Hart in college.
- Prince Holloway 5'9", 155 lbs, 3 star, Cape Coral, Florida: Nealy is more of a priority than Holloway, but I have heard that Michigan leads for Prince right now. We'll see how this plays itself out if both want to choose Michigan. I would expect Nealy to be in the class before Holloway.
- Commit - Shawn Conway 6'4", 180 lbs, 3 star, Birmingham, Michigan
- Sammy Watkins 6'1", 180 lbs, 4 star, Fort Myers, Florida: The more I hear about Sammy, the more I think he will be in this class. I have heard it's between Michigan and Miami right now. Miami is having some problems with transfers, and as I've said before losing some commitments. If they lose QB commit Teddy Bridgewater (which could happen) I think it may turn Michigan's way.
- Chris Gallon 6'4", 185 lbs, 3 star, Orlando, Florida: If he gets offered, Michigan will be the leader. Teammates with Demetrius Hart, he will be visiting for the Illinois game.
- Still in it with: Hakeem Flowers (6'2", 173 lbs, 3 star)
- Drew Owens 6'5", 227 lbs, 3 star, Charlotte, North Carolina: Owens or Jack Tabb seem like the few options left still listing Michigan very high on their list. It's a toss up between the two, as of right now.
- Jack Tabb 6'4", 230 lbs, 3 star, Red Bank, New Jersey: Same goes for Tabb. They're working on getting him in for an official. it's most likely one or the other of these two.
- Commit - Kellen Jones 6'1", 210 lbs, 3 star, Houston, Texas
- Commit - Brennen Beyer 6'4", 222 lbs, 4 star, Canton, Michigan
- Antonio Kinard 6'4", 215 lbs, 3 star, Youngstown, Ohio: 2010 commit, may still be included in this class.
- Kris Frost 6'3", 210 lbs, 4 star, Matthews, North Carolina: For argument sake I'm just going to put Frost under this category. He'll get a chance to play wide receiver.
- Sean Duggan 6'4", 215 lbs, 3 star, Cincinnati, Ohio: I think Michigan is moving up Duggan's list the more he is around the program. He recently came up for a visit, and will be in for his official in early December. He's down to Michigan, Duke, Boston College, and Virginia.
- Darryl Monroe 6'1", 215 lbs, 3 star, Orlando, Florida: He will be visiting with his Dr. Phillips teammates for the Illinois game. If Michigan offers I would expect us to lead.
- Still in it with: Austin Traylor (6'4", 210 lbs, 4 star, Columbus, Ohio)
- Commit - Greg Brown 5'11", 180 lbs, 3 star, Fremont, Ohio: Recently took a visit to Syracuse. We'll see what happens.
- Commit - Delonte Hollowell 5'9", 165 lbs, 4 star, Detroit, Michigan
- Dallas Crawford 5'10", 185 lbs, 3 star, Fort Myers, Florida: I've heard nothing but positive things towards Dallas and Michigan. He might even be working on his teammate Sammy Watkins for Michigan.
- Still in it with: Daren Kitchen (6'1", 172 lbs, 3 star, Houma, Louisiana)
- Roderick Ryles 6'1", 185 lbs, 3 star, Orlando, Florida: Visiting with Dr. Phillips teammates for the Illinois game. If the visit goes well I would expect Michigan to take the lead.
- Avery Walls 5'11", 185 lbs, 4 star, McDonough, Georgia: I'm still optimistic with Avery, but his visit to Oregon makes me a little nervous. I still think he ends up with Michigan as of right now.
- Still in it with: Byron Moore (6'1", 205 lbs, JUCO, Wilmington, California), Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6'2", 190 lbs, 5 star, Orlando, Florida), Karlos Williams (6'2", 210 lbs, 5 star, Davenport, Florida), Wayne Lyons (6'0", 190 lbs, 4 star, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
- Commit - Tony Posada 6'6", 315 lbs. 3 star. Tampa, Florida
- Commit - Jake Fisher 6'7", 260 lbs, 3 star, Traverse City, Michigan
- Commit - Jack Miller 6'4", 268 lbs, 3 star, Perrysburg, Ohio
- Chris Bryant 6'5", 330 lbs, 4 star, Chicago, Illinois: Just set up his official visit for the Big Chill game.
- James Elliott 6'4", 305 lbs, 3 star, Pensacola, Florida: He'll be back up to Michigan for his official in December. He's waiting for his official offer from Michigan. If he gets it, he will commit.
- Commit - Chris Rock 6'5", 250 lbs, 3 star, Columbus, Ohio: May move to defensive tackle.
- Anthony Zettel 6'4", 247 lbs, 4 star, West Branch, Michigan: If Michigan can continue to show improvement, and Rich Rod isn't fired then I would expect Anthony to pick Michigan
- Still in it with: Ray Drew (6'5", 243 lbs, 4 star, Thomasville, Georgia), Deion Barnes (6'5", 220 lbs, 4 star, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Damon Knox (6'5", 265 lbs, 3 star, Muskegon, Michigan)
- Darian Cooper 6'3", 275 lbs, 3 star, Hyattsville, Maryland: Will be visiting in December. Michigan needs to continue to improve and win a few more to make Darian feel comfortable.
- Still in it with: Kevin McReynolds (6'2", 281 lbs, 4 star, Washington DC), Tim Jernigan (6'2", 275 lbs, 4 star, Lake City, Florida), Mickey Johnson (6'1", 310 lbs, 4 star, Covington, Louisiana)
Note: I've split the statistics to provide subtotals by OOC and Big Ten games. Also, I added a couple of line charts to show these summaries. This is also the week FEI adds rankings for Offense Efficiency, Defense Efficiency, Field Position Advantage, and Field Goal Efficiency.
Synopsis: After 7 games, Michigan is currently ranked #17 in scoring offense and #82 in scoring defense. Based on these rankings, M maintains a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season. The offense was plagued for the second week in a row by TOs (and by penalties), which turned 522 yards of total offense into just 28 points (yuck!). The defense actually played relatively well and allowed just 383 yards (the lowest yardage total since UConn – excluding the baby seal BGSU). But, the offensive (pun intended) TOs eliminated scoring chances for M, created a short field for the defense, and put the D back on the field earlier and more often. Iowa's second and third TDs both started at about mid-field after an interception and a blocked FG.
I use scoring stats because yardage stats are inherently flawed. (If you don't believe that, I guess M won the game with Iowa – 522 yards to 383 yards.) Being #82 in scoring defense is not good but U-Ms defense is not as bad as the #105 (an improvement of 7 places from last week) in total defense indicates. According to the FEI rankings at Football Outsiders, Michigan is ranked #83 in total defense.
Based on the FEI (Fremeau Efficiency Index), Michigan is predicted to win between 7.8 and 7.9 games (excluding bowl game but adjusted with +1 for U-M's one FCS opponent). Based on the FEI, M would have been expected to win 3.9 FBS games to date (we have won 4.0 FBS games to date).
Using a rough calculation based on the FEI, Michigan will be favored by 16 points over Penn State (I'll add the real FEI prediction when it comes out after our bye week– usually Thursday after the bye). Using the Sagarin Predictor, M will be favored by 2.8 points. (Vegas Odds Opened with M favored by ??). All these will be updated after the bye week but will probably not change very much.
Just as I was confused the game with Iowa was predicted so close last week, I am confused this week why Sagarin has the PSU game relatively close. Unless M implodes with TOs, this should be a win.
This line chart differentiates between OOC and Big Ten points per possession. It shows what has happened since the start of conference play. In the Big Ten, U-M is averaging only 2.5 points per possession (PPP) and 42 YPP. The defense is giving up 3.1 PPP and 42 YPP. With an average of 12 possessions per game for each team, this translates into a 7.2 point disadvantage for Michigan. (In OOC games, this was a 20 point advantage.)
For those who want yardage stats, here they are – split by OOC and Big10 games. Offensively, total yards per game are moderately lower in conference play (13% less), rushing yards are significantly lower in conference play (35%), while passing yards are moderately higher (18%). Defensively, total yards allowed in conference play have increased significantly (24%), rushing yards allowed are up just moderately (16%), while passing yards allowed are up significantly (28%).
DETAILS: Here are the FEI numbers ( FEI Forecasts and Football Outsiders FEI ). FEI is a weighted and opponent-adjusted season efficiency, and is expressed as a percentage as compared with an average FBS team. The average team will have an index of approximately 0.00. Teams below average have negative index values.
Note that FEI completely excludes all non-FBS data (the W-L record is only for FBS games, etc.). Therefore, you need to add 1 to FBS-MW to get the final predicted wins for M this year. Or, if you use FBS-RMW, you need to add 1 to the current W-L record to get the final predicted wins for M this year. BTW, the difference between FBS-MW and FBS-RMW is the number of FBS games each team would have been expected to win to date.
The FEI is a drive based analysis considering each of the nearly 20,000 drives each year in college football. The data is filtered to eliminate garbage time (at the half or end of game) and is adjusted for opponent. A team is rewarded for playing well against good teams (win or lose) and is punished more severely for playing poorly against bad teams than it is rewarded for playing well against bad teams. I've included the GE basic data so you can see the impact of adjusting for opponent. (See: Football Outsiders Our Basic College Stats )
Here are the Sagarin Ratings.
Sagarin uses two basic ratings: PREDICTOR (in which the score MARGIN is the only thing that matters) and ELO-CHESS (in which winning and losing only matters, the score margin is of no consequence). The overall rating is a synthesis of the two diametrical opposites, ELO-CHESS and PREDICTOR.
Per Sagarin: ELO-CHESS is “very politically correct. However, it is less accurate in its predictions for upcoming games than is PREDICTOR”.
Here is the U-M vs. Penn State National Statistical Rankings with the advantage for each category indicated (all categories within 10% are considered a "push").
Here are the week by week National Statistical Rankings for Michigan (cumulative thru the week indicated):
I have included the major rankings for offense and defense but scoring rankings show the best correlation to winning and losing. Scoring rankings are based on PPG. Rushing, Passing, and Total rankings are based on YPG.
Here is the basic data for Michigan (each individual week followed by totals and then average per game). I've included Total Possessions for Offense & Defense along with the calculated data per possession. Number of possessions do not include running out the clock at the half or end of game. Offense Plays and Defense Plays are better indicators than Time of Possession.
Using Scoring Offense and Scoring Defense National Rankings for the past 5 years (FBS AQ teams only), this table shows the percentage of teams that finish the season with a +WLM and a +5 WLM. For example, teams that finished in the Top 40 in both offense and defense had a 100% chance to be +WLM and an 82% chance to be +5 WLM (9-4 or better).
Each year, of the 66 FBS AQ teams, 65% (43 teams) end up with a + WLM and 36% (24 teams) end up with a +5 WLM.
[Ed-M: Cleaned it up and bumped to Diary for excellence, and because I'm as anxious as the rest of you for what could be the first UFR of middle linebacker competence since David Harris. In lieu of the real UFR, which I imagine Brian will have up in the next few days, here's a whet. Note, probably best to read it while re-watching game on DVR or torrent -- there's no context written in]
1.) I will not make any conclusions from this. It is only one game. However, feel free to look at my other post: http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/demens-vs-ezeh#comment-716323 which, together with this, describes all his playing time.
2.) I tend to be more negative towards Demens. This is out of fear that if I get my hopes up I will somehow jinx him. Therefore, what you see will be more negative than positive. HOWEVA: He's still better than Ezeh.
3.) Thank you Mods for cleaning this up. I am working on making all my future posts beautiful, but appreciate the help for a novice.
4.) BTW: this wasn't meant to be a diary but hell I'll take it.]
This is not a UFR but a UFR on Demens. I hope that this helps everyone and should be an addition to my earlier post about Demens' vs. Ezeh. Here is my analysis of Demens against Iowa.
- First play: Good read and was one of three tacklers
- 3rd down: Bad angle, but the play was dead before he had to make a play. Lead to a PUNT!
- Bit on the fake, but was there in time to make a nice hit
- Almost intercepted pass, but not in his zone. Again bit up run, even though it wasn't even a play fake! Still was in the relative area of his zone. I’d give him a -1. On that though, Mouton was also in the zone. Someone help. MAGNUS/BRIAN/OTHER?
- One other play we gave him a blitz, but it was a false start. He was blocked.
- Pass play right to the guy that #22 was covering. Demens at least siddled back, but was out of the picture. I’m assuming he was the OLB on the top of the screen. If he wasn’t apologies.
This is when Obi comes in and gets pancaked. Ignoring this crap/drive.
- Demens back in at 2:02 and he either misses his guy or there are two in his zone. Still can’t tell because he’s covering the deep middle, but isn’t that the safeties’ responsibility? Anyways, he gets the tackle after a bad (not poor, which I grade as “worse than bad” angle)
- Next play: I blame this on Mouton. Demens gets off his block, but that was Mouton’s assignment.
- Next two plays: I couldn’t tell if Demens was in (edit, it was Demens. Look at the time 2:57. That‘s him on the bottom of the pile), but the first one was a penalty on JT for “holding” or “PI” and the one after that the MLB stuffed the play. I don’t think it was Ezeh tho, so I’ll have to believe it was Demens.
- On the TD that started at 3:06: Demens slams the TE to the turf then goes back to his assignment (the middle protect). This one wasn’t his fault since I believe we’re in a zone. Who had flats? #5. Damn his slip.
- Demens slips outside with the TE then runs up on the QB. Not sure if this was him knowing or DERPing up. Either way, an incomplete pass.
- Next: screen play. He’s the ONLY ONE who reads it. He gets blocked by one of 4 linemen in front of him. Still, he at least read it.
- Failed on the counter. The gain was only 2 yards, but he bit.
- On the weird “barely caught” TD: He was guarding the RB. Nothing special here.
- Got blocked on the 4 yard gain. At least he attacked. At most he attacked.
- Pass to McNut but Demens left his man open too on a man-to-man assignment. The dude (that Demens was covering) was only a TE also.
- Demens wasn’t on the screen in the next play, as Stanzi ran for like….1 yard?
- Covered the RB out of the backfield so well he still pushed him after the incompletion.
- Wasn’t in on the first down @ 4:38. That play was also a 3rd and 14, and Roh was the MLB.
- Failed play on the 1st&10 that gave them 5 yards. The whole LB corps bit on that counter.
- Blocked on the next play as well. Mouton makes the tackle.
- Covered the RB but the play was away from him.
- Last play of the 2nd quarter: misses the hole. Might have been assigned to the wrong gap, but he hit the non-RB hole.
- HIts the hole and stops the OL from doing anything. Hits it with authority. The play goes for nothing.
- Pass play. Again he covers the RB. Again, not a pass towards him.
- RVB makes the play, but Demens was blocked while trying to read the play. This was the only time I’ve seen him play like Obi so far this game. Seriously. Play starts at 5:45 for those lost.
- After the punt: great sealing block by the lineman on Demens. Demens wasn’t out of position, just the OL was in great position.
- Demens hits his hole with authority, preventing a cutback. The play is to Mouton’s hole, and Mouton makes the play.
- 3rd down. He’s out of the screen because the play is a deep pass (Cam is the only one on the screen).
- PUNT! (one of many, I just wanted to say it)
- Lots-of-yards pass to McNutt: Demens didn’t screw anything up here. He had a zone, and he was in it. Maybe minus for him not seeing that no one was coming to his zone, but I doubt it. We’re not in the NFL. (We’re at 6:36 if you’re wondering)
- Again, zone pass protect. He lost the #38 player (Rogers) here. Pass protect fail.
- Good job reading the run on the next play and hitting his hole.
- HIts the TE on the next play as the TE goes out on a route. However, he’s too slow to guard the TE. The play ends up going to another man, but Demens misses the play.
- On the last play of the 3rd quarter TD: Demens does a great job and if Mouton/RPS (from Brian) doesn’t F-up then it’s a good play for Demens and the whole D.
- Not Demens’ fault. Mouton misses the guy. (as an aside, listen to the splice of 7:27-7:32) really funny how that worked out.
- MY FAVORITE PLAY YET! Demens plays his hole, reads the OL, and then hits the RB backwards. Imagine the opposite. You’d have Ezeh. (starts at 7:47)
- Gets blocked by the C but still makes the tackle even though the play runs towards Mouton’s side (away from him).
- Bring the house blitz. Couldn’t do anything there. Maybe could have been offsides and sacked to stop the pass? (It went for a TD)
- Reads, and the play goes to his hole. Tackles. 1 yard gain. Check that: he hits, but the RB goes forward after contact to make it a 4 yard gain. Fuuu…
- Again, hits the hole. Doesn’t get off the block (nor does anyone for that matter) and the DBs have to make the stop. Also, the play was away from him. He again got mixed in the counter.
- You might remember this play: ball is fumbled and we come down on it….anyways….false start.
- RB runs a stretch and then tries to cut back. Demens says “no” and tackles him. PUNT!
- Fake to the RB. Demens bites. So does everyone else. Play goes for a 1st BUT….illegal formation. HAHA
- Then…(Is this a mistake?) the same play? Same exact results? WHAT?
- Then Kovaks says “give me a 4 year scholarship” and gets a TFL. Demens sidesteps a defender on this play.
- Demens has the RB again on a pass play, but McNutt gets the 1st.
- Good flow to the ball and then gets the stop for ½ yards.
- Couldn’t watch the last two plays.
This is supposed to be a summary of Demens' play. I do not want to give him my UFR because me:Brian::suck:awesome.
In which I start to lose the will to live. There's only so many 2-5 v 3-3 games I can look at; can we just have a playoff between the MAC, MWC, Sun Belt, and WAC to decide this once and for all? Thanks to whoever created the "pillow fight" tag for me, by the way.
Last Week's Recap
I succeeded in overlooking Purdue v Minnesota, which, my bad. I'm not sure how, I remember looking at that game in week six.
I'm really happy I don't have a blogpoll ballot, because I would have a hard time putting LSU anywhere, especially after slogging out a win against McNeese State. Going 3-13 on third down and fumbling twice in a win is ugly, no doubt about it.
Boise State duly drubbed SJSU 41-0 in the first half, then must have started sending in random people from the crowd. Time of possession? 31:36 Boise St, 28:24 SJSU. TOP metric = useless.
Last, Georgia clobbered Vanderbilt 43-0. That must mean Georgia's issues are behind them Vandy was held to 140 total yards of offense, but at least their punter had a 300 yard day.
This Week's "Action"
Since I missed Purdue v Minnesota last week, and now that Brewster is gone, Penn State v Minnesota gets the nod for the Electronic Football Game bowl. For those unclear what this entails, Wikipedia:
When the players are set up, a switch is activated that turns on a small electric motor which causes the field to vibrate, and moves the players around the field. The imagination then takes flight as players run around the board in an unpredictable manner.
Nittany Lions Offense v. Gopher defense...get it? At least it's not the Pam & Ray show to boot. Penn State is scoring 18 ppg, and allowing 18 ppg, so I expect this game to be an 18-18 tie, with neither team wanting to play overtime.
The "Deja Vu" game is Ohio (Not that Ohio) v Miami (Not that Miami). This shouldn't be a bad game, per se, but just expect to do a double take when you see it on the ticker. They are actually fighting for the MAC lead, so any crazy BCS playoff scenario in which all conference champs are included may include one of them. To play Oregon. Riiiight.
Last, the "Zombie Braiiins! Join Us " game is Virginia v Eastern Michigan. UVA is coming off three straight losses, including a 44-10 clobbering by a depleted UNC team. Eastern is coming off a win against Ball State in overtime -- it was the Eagles' first win since the Bush Administration. Eastern has risen to #119 in scoring defense, passing erstwhile member of the UGOTW New Mexico. I don't expect this to be close, but maybe the Eagles can get a streak going. Win out and they're bowl-eligible! Also, if UVA wears their orange uniforms again, this game wins the "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" award a week early.
This weekly update is brought to you late by CMU's homecoming. Here's a look at a few recruits that I caught up with after the Iowa visit weekend. I'll pass along more info as I start to catch up.
5'10", 185 lbs.
Fort Myers, Florida
Dallas has dreadlocks, so he's ok by me. He's also very interested in Michigan, so much so that this past visit vaulted the Wolverines into the top spot. I was under the assumption that Michigan had been leading anyway, but this visit may have pushed it over the top for him. Every time he comes up to Ann Arbor he seems to be more and more comfortable with the surroundings and coaches.
Crawford was on the trip with highly touted teammate WR Sammy Watkins. Watkins has always listed Miami as one of his top schools, and often throws in Michigan and Clemson. There seems to be some problems up at Miami now, rumors that freshman safety Latwan Anderson is going to transfer along with what maybe two or three more young players. Miami also recently lost 2011 commit WR Eli Rogers, and while this isn't confirmed I've heard that they have some work to do to keep 2011 QB commit Teddy Bridgewater.
Just something to keep an eye on. If Miami continues to play poorly and starts to lose players and commitments, it may help Michigan's case. It also helps that his teammate is in his ear about joining him. They will both be back up for official visits around December. I'm more and more optimistic about Watkins as the time passes. Two unofficial visits to Michigan signal major interest.
6'4", 255 lbs.
Wormley is an important piece to the 2012 class on the defensive side of the ball. Michigan fans have been anxious about defensive recruiting, but the 2012 class could restock Michigan's depth chart in a big way. Early on I had reported that Ohio State was in the lead because of the attention he was getting from them, but that may have changed.
The game was good, besides the loss. Michigan has been moving up, they're up there right now. They just offered me too.
He likes to keep things close to the vest, but the word on the street now is that Michigan is the team to beat, and it may be pretty hard to beat them. [Ed.: The generally plugged Buckeye Planet mods are saying it's likely M, FWIW.]
Michigan has offered Wormley, as he said, which is a step in the right direction. He said that it feels good to have the offer, but he's probably not going to be making any decisions any time soon. Wormley will be one of the best players out of Ohio, and should be in the 4-5 star range when the rankings come out for 2012.
6'2", 213 lbs.
Lake Nona, Florida
Michigan's quarterback commit was in Ann Arbor for his first game, and really enjoyed seeing the atmosphere. Sousa has only been playing football for a few years, so hasn't been too sure how he stacks up, or how well he's prepared for the next level. His coach told me that meeting Michigan's quarterbacks gave him a better glimpse of his potential:
The game experience was great, and Kevin enjoyed the excitement and everything. Sousa finally realized how gifted he is physically after meeting each quarterback and seeing their performance in the weight room. I just hope they show him the interest they should because he's a steal.
I've mentioned the last bit before, but it seems like there may be a lack of communication going on. I'm not going to speculate on the reasoning behind that, for obvious reasons. We'll see how it plays out.
- It looks like the Illinois game will now be the date for the big Dr. Phillips visit. So far commit Demetrius Hart, S Roderick Ryles, WR Chris Gallon, and QB Nick Patti are scheduled to be there. If Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix shows up, then his recruitment might get interesting.
- DT Kevin McReynolds (6'2", 280 lbs, 4 Star) is now interested in Michigan. He spoke with the coaches last week, and said he would like to make it up for a visit. Here's his junior film, and a video of how he currently trains. Michigan coaches will be at his school on Friday, so it sounds like they're turning up the heat on Kevin.
- [Ed.: A newspaper article indicates CB Greg Brown was scheduled to be at Syracuse this weekend. That might be an indication the two parties are looking to go separate ways.]
An unknown young man walks into a nondescript one story building. He introduces himself to the secretary.
Young Man: I'm here for my appointment.
Secretary: Yes. Wait right over there please.
The young man strides over to a line of plastic chairs against the wall. The beige cinderblocks are cold against his back as he sits. Searching for something to keep his fidgeting hands busy he picks up a magazine and begins to page through. Realizing it is a Sports Illustrated he pauses and places it back on the end table.
Secretary: You can head on in, sir. He is waiting for you in his office.
Without saying a word, the young man heads through the waiting room door and into what is becoming a familiar place. "There is no reason I need to be here; this is ridiculous," he thinks as he greets a older gentleman.
Young Man: This is supposed to be my last appointment. You had better not go back on that promise. What's that?
The young man points at a manila envelope in the elder's hand.
Older Man: Oh, this? It's your file. Any interest in reading it?
Young Man: Nah. You got any experience with that kind of thing?
Older Man: Twenty years of counseling... yeah, I've seen some pretty awful shit.
Young Man: No, I mean do you have any experience with that?
Older Man: Personally... yeah, I have.
Young Man: Sure ain't good.
Older Man: I grew up in the late fifties, early sixties. I saw beatings like you wouldn't believe. Entire years of my life thrown down the drain. Those teams would almost make me choose how I wanted to lose. I could pick between turnovers or injuries, botched special teams or bad angles in the secondary. I'd usually prefer injuries. Easier to justify.
Young Man: I usually go with the bad secondary.
Older Man: Why's that.
Young Man: Because f*#k them, that's why.
Older Man: Your team?
Young Man: Yeah. So what is it, I've got an attachment disorder? Fear of 5-7 again? Something like that? Is that why I disowned my team?
Older Man: I didn't know you had.
Young Man: Yeah, I have.
Older Man: You wanna talk about it?
Young Man: No.
Older Man: Hey kid, I don't know a lot... but you see this? All this shit. It's not your fault.
The older man steps toward the young man and opens the manila envelope. It's full of freep articles and newspaper clippings. The one on top declares the 3-9 season to be the worst of all time. Another can be seen proclaiming the exact number of hours since Michigan beat Ohio State.
Young Man: Yeah, I know that. It's all those stupid injuries.
Older Man: Look at me son. It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know, the recruiting has been bad.
Older Man: It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know that. Seniors aren't playing up to their potential, and the young kids aren't learning as fast as we need them to.
Older Man: It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know.
Older Man: No, no. You don't. It's NOT your fault.
The young man is getting uncomfortable now. His strong demeanor is fading and he begins to show fear in his eyes.
Young Man: Don't mess with me.
Older Man: It's NOT YOUR FAULT.
The young man starts to turn red and tears appear and cling to his eyelashes as he fights them back.
Young Man: B-b-b-ut, it's just so bad, and I should have been more supportive!
Older Man: IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.
The young man is now sobbing uncontrollably and grasps for the older man and embraces him. The older man continues to offer consolation as the young man begins to believe him.
*** Two weeks later ***
As the older man gets ready for work he hears his mailbox clang shut. Confused, he hurries to the window to try to catch a glimpse of what might be happening. He sees no one and only finds a small trail of dust leading down the road when he opens the door to go outside. He opens his mailbox to find a hand-written note:
"Gone to Ann Arbor, I need to go see about a team."