At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
In football the QB position is the lynchpin for the whole offense. They touch the ball on every play, read the defense, and choose the best course of action based on what they see in the moment. So, naturally, the outlook of an offense depends in large part on the outlook of the QB who will be flying the plane. The goal of this diary is to see if there are any reliable trends in how a generic QB progresses from one year to the next and to investigate if there are factors that can be identified and quantified that will aid or hinder his on field success. I'm actually very surprised about how clear the data is.
To do this I have accumulated information for 226 quarterbacks that have played in BCS conferences since 2003. The pool was restricted to BCS schools so that some level of control was applied to the level of talent surrounding and opposing the quarterback; the presumption being that players in BCS conferences will be playing with and against talent that is on par with their own.
If a player did not average at least 10 passing attempts per game he played in a given year, the data point was not considered because the number is highly unreliable (small sample size). This shuts out some interesting pieces of data (Tim Tebow 2006) but improves the overall conclusions significantly. In Tebow’s case, his second year as a regular player was his first year as a regular passer so his sophomore season was placed in the Year 1 group. There are a few other, more obscure anomalies that were given the same treatment. The large number of data points make the impact of those anomalies negligible.
The metric I used for this study is NCAA Passer Rating. Unfortunately, Passer Rating isn’t perfect when it comes to evaluating QBs; there are many disses available on that topic (Advanced NFL Stats, Football Outsiders, Fifth Down). I leave the detailed explanation to the articles I’ve linked. However, though it’s imperfect, passer rating is still a familiar number for most football fans and it does provide significant and reasonable insight into the relative performance of QBs. On with the show.
The following chart shows the average NCAA QB Rating by year of experience for all QBs included in this study.The chart includes the standard error of the averages for those that know what that means (or are good guessers). The chart shows a couple of interesting things: more experience is better, which…duh, and the average QB rating seems to improve by approximately equal amounts going into year 2 and into year 3 but then tails off a little going into year 4.
Now, the second point goes against conventional wisdom somewhat; QBs are supposed to improve a lot more after their first year than after subsequent years. The fly in the ointment is that, in order to track improvement, the data should be evaluated as matched pairs. This means that we should take each specific QB’s improvement over the preceding year and then average the deltas to understand the average improvement from one year to the next. Doing that yields this chart.
This chart shows what we expect to see, the change after the year 1 is much bigger than the change after years 2 and 3. But, now there’s the apparent negative improvement between years 3 and 4. What’s up with that?
Need … more … charts …
What I did here is plot average improvement versus the previous year’s rating. To clear out the inherent noise in the data, I lumped QB Ratings near each other together (i.e: ratings from 115.0 to 124.9 treated as 120 and so on). The trends are clear and strong, and they demonstrate that mean reversion is in full effect—the higher a QB’s rating is in a given year, the more likely he is to have a lower score in the next year and vice versa. It’s very difficult to have 2 really good or really bad years in a row (unless the QB is awesome or terrible).
We know from the first chart in the series that ratings go up as your years of experience goes up, hence, by the fourth year as starter, the net expected change is negative. The guys above 130 are likely to fall back and the guys below 130 are likely to move up. This effect allows us to infer that there is an expected upper bound for a seasoned QB, probably in the 130 to 140 range. One possible explanation for this phenomenon, is that a QB is unlikely to have the same group of players around him for all four years. The team around him might be out of phase with his development and that will have an effect on the numbers he puts up.
The familiar example around here is Chad Henne. Chad had Braylon Edwards and a veteran offensive line in his first year. So any improvement he may have developed in between 2004 and 2005 was partially offset by the loss of Edwards and other changes around him. However, as the team around him developed and he continued to develop, he saw a big jump in performance in his third year. Then, going into 2007, there were many losses on the offensive line in addition to Steve Breaston, and Henne’s numbers fell back to the 130-ish level. Overall it looks like Henne never really improved, but the reality is that his development made up for and was masked by the changes in the team around him in all likelihood. I think this is a more plausible explanation than “he was always sweet and he never got better.”
Finally, it’s worth taking a look at the dependency of first year performance vs. Seniority. The question being: is it better to have a redshirt junior making his first start instead of a true freshman?
Once again I’ve plotted the averages and their corresponding standard error and included sample size along the axis for reference. The responsible conclusion is that seniority is not a significant factor in first year success for Redshirt Sophomores or younger. Players older than that seem to perform better. However, you could just as easily conclude that since the averages overlap so much, especially in non-adjacent points, the trend is pretty weak and that no trend exists. It seems that other factors, such as supporting cast and the overall talent of the player, matter more than the age of the QB when he makes his first collegiate start. The team thing is difficult to assess but talent is easy; Rivals.com, be my guide.
Same thing as before, lumped averages with standard error and sample sizes shown. This time, I think the trend is real because: A) it makes sense and B) there is no overlap between 2-stars and 5-stars. Also, a 5-star QB is more likely to have a good team around him than a 2-star player is. All of these things support the trend despite the uncertainty in the data. There’s another reason, let’s zoom in on 5-stars; this time with a table.
|Reggie McNeal||Texas A&M||2003||124.5|
|Trent Edwards||Stanford||2003||79.5||4 new OL; 2 new WR; new RB|
|Kyle Wright||Miami (FL)||2005||137.2|
|Marcus Vick||Virginia Tech||2005||143.3|
|Anthony Morelli||Penn State||2006||111.9||4 new OL|
|Matthew Stafford||Georgia||2006||109||3 new OL; 2 new WR;|
|Xavier Lee||Florida State||2006||123.5|
|Jimmy Clausen||Notre Dame||2007||103.9||3 new OL; 1 new WR|
|Tyrod Taylor||Virginia Tech||2007||119.7|
|Terrelle Pryor||Ohio State||2008||146.5|
When you strip out the four guys that had extenuating circumstances (Mallett stays in), the average is about 131. That’s approaching the theoretical upper limit right away, on average.
I’m currently working an a project that tries to use this information to see what we can expect out of the QBs on our upcoming schedule. I’ll also try to use the dataset to try and tease out what we can expect out of our guys based on QBs similar to themselves.
If we thought the Big Ten speculation was crazy, all we had to do was wait until the Big12 conference meetings. Suddenly the whole world is the Chicago Sun Times with the Pac-10/Big12 sniping or merging conversation. While I am sure everyone at Baylor and Iowa State and Kansas is freaking out, I think the most internal pressure today has to be on Jack Swarbrick and John Jenkins, the AD and President of Notre Dame, respectively. I think Swarbrick's public comments about the Big Ten-fueled expansion landscape were really a test of constituent reaction, just like the 96-team March Madness leak. Deep down, I think both men know that they will have to make a move if the entire landscape of college football changes. However, they also now know that all of ND Nation would excommunicate them if they pulled the trigger. As Delaney quashed fire after fire from media speculators, the ND brain trusts seats got cooler and cooler. We all thought that the Big Ten's deliberate approach would allow things to play out more slowly. This would allow the landscape to change in front of the nation and if ND joined a conference in the aftermath, their fan base would have already seen the writing on the wall. Suddenly all hell is breaking loose at break neck speed and the landscape may be completely different before Touchdown Jesus can turn the independent water into conference wine.
If I were Delaney, I would call Swarbrick today, just to see how he is doing.
Then again, this could be another case of MSM running with unnamed sources and everything could be back to normal by Wednesday. Weren't we supposed to see USC's sanctions today? Oh that's right. ESPN's "sources familiar with the situation" were wrong.
[Editor's note: frontpaged for obvious reasons. A scheduling mix-up with Brian caused this to get buried earlier, so I'm bringing it back near the top. [How much] Will Michigan rue the loss of Brandon Graham? - Tim]
[Note: I have 2006 fully loaded into the database now and will be included in all future multi-year studies along with 2007-2009.]
We can all agree that sacks and interceptions are good things for the defense and bad things for the offense. But how does a viable pass rush or a ball-hawking secondary affect the performance of the opposing offense on plays where there isn’t a sack or a pick. Likewise, what is the correlation between an offensive line that gives up sacks regularly or a mistake prone quarterback?
Sacks and interceptions have very similar direct impacts on games. From 2006-2009 in games between two D1 teams in competitive game situations (the “universe” for this and most of my analysis) the average defensive unit produced 2.3 ppg worth of sacks and 2.0 ppg worth of interceptions. Sacks have a slightly higher direct value than interceptions (interceptions returns and fumble returns on sacks are not included) but does either of these correlate to a better defensive performance overall.
Chart time? Let’s make it a double.
Not entirely surprisingly, the better a defense is at producing sacks and interceptions, the better it is on downs where neither occur.
For every point per game that a defense generates due to sacks, the overall pass rush generates 1.2 ppg of additional value. Interceptions are also powerful, but not as much so. Each ppg of value a defense generates through interceptions is worth 0.9 ppg of additional value.
This analysis serves to confirm what most football fans already know. Teams that can create interceptions and sacks are good going to be better defensive teams. Whether a strong pass rush/secondary creates pressure on other downs or if strong pass rushes and secondaries are a common occurrence on great defenses is irrelevant. As most of you probably know, defenses that are good at these two things are also good on other downs. So why is this interesting…
The story becomes very different when you look at offenses. The conventional wisdom that was supported for defenses is largely blown up on the offensive side of the ball. Sacks and interceptions may be indicators of great defenses, but they are not symptoms of bad offenses.
The slope of these two charts are about 20% of the gradient of the corresponding defensive charts and virtually flat. On offense, the amount of sacks and interceptions are largely independent of performance. There is obviously the immediate negative effect of the play, but giving up sacks or throwing interceptions show virtually no correlation to success or failure on other downs.
What it means?
For one of side of the ball it merely quantifies conventional wisdom. Good pass defenses get interceptions and sack the quarterback and teams that get interceptions and sack the quarterback are often good pass defenses, even on other plays. The value they create is roughly equal to value created by the big plays.
On offense, it’s a very different story. Interceptions and sacks will always be bad plays for an offense, but their rate of incidence is not strongly correlated to performance on other downs. In fact, if given the choice between a quarterback who threw a lot of picks the prior year but was generally successful otherwise and a quarterback who was very safe but not all that productive, my guess is you will be better of going for the quarterback with the picks.
Special thanks goes to Ty and The Lions in Winter who has been working on a similar line of reasoning for the Lions revamped defensive line.
Potential Future Diaries
Just some ideas I am kicking around or have half started. Let me know what you think about these or any other things you would like to see.
- A follow-up piece on fourth downs digging deeper into how the decision making changes based on the relative strengths of the offense and the opponents defense
- A broader look at “luck”, looking back over the last four years.
- When are extra yards not worth it. The secret dead zones of football.
- Probably not for several months, but a big season preview is in the works.
- Something Carr vs. Rodriguez, now that I have 2006-2007 seasons of data I have two years to compare the two more directly.
- How the best players of the last four years (TEBOW!!!) progressed over the years. Maybe a companion piece on Michigan defenders.
- Any other suggestions? An article a week means I need all the ideas I can get, I’m not afraid to beg!
Since I never got into season-wrapup stuff, I'll go into some of that, as well as some peripheral stuff that relates to Michigan lacrosse.
All-Americans, Departing Seniors
Here are Michigan's MCLA All-Americans for the 2010 season.
- Faceoff Specialist David Reinhard (1st Team last year).
- Defense Harry Freid (1st Team last year).
- Attack Trevor Yealy (1st Team last year).
- Attack Kevin Zorovich (3rd Team last year).
- Midfield Anthony Hrusovsky
- Goalie Mark Stone.
Each of Michigan's 1st-Team All-Americans were also named to the MCLA All-Tournament Team.
After yet another successful year, the Wolverines' roster will experience some turnover, as is typical in college athletics. Here are Michigan's seniors who exhausted their eligibility in 2010, along with a notable stat or two for each of them (stats updated through conference tournament unless otherwise noted):
- #2 Jordan Kirshner - M - 13G, 11A.
- #3 Jamison Goldberg - M - 11G, 15A.
- #7 Anthony Hrusovsky - M - 12G, 12A.
- #9 Kevin Zorovich - A - 14G, 26A, 88GB.
- #20 David Reinhard - FO - .721 Faceoff win %, 110GB.
- #23 Michael Bartomioli - M - 3G, 5A
- #35 Bob Diehl - D - 14GB, 0TO.
- #41 David Rogers - M - 9G, 8A.
- #44 Svet Tintchev - M - 13G, 5A (he impressed in the MCLA tournament, not included here).
- #45 Josh Ein - A - 22G, 9A.
There are also a few guys who are 4th-year students, but still have eligibility remaining. I'm not sure on any of their statuses for next year:
- D Zach Meuller
- A Clark McIntyre
- M Stephen Levitt
Meuller and McIntyre are major contributors, and having all three of these guys back would be a big help to next year's team. I'll go into more depth on next year's squad at a later date.
AnnArbor.com ran a three-part series over the weekend about lacrosse in the area, mainly focusing on the growth in youth and high school participation in the sport. Had the site's editors been aiming for things like "good content" instead of "more pageviews," the pieces could have been combined into a cohesive essay with a central thesis throughout, and been very interesting. Of course, I would have liked that central theme to be Michigan and a otential Varsity Bump in the future, but anything cohesive would have been a huge improvement over the way the stuff was presented.
As it is, that article is still interesting from the standpoint of the overall growth of the sport in the state and area. Regardless of whether the author makes that connection (or any connections at all), the series is relevant to M lacrosse.
NCAA Final Four
As you may be aware, Notre Dame reach the NCAA Championship Game, after making the 16-team tournament as an unseeded squad from the #11 slot. The Duke Blue Devils managed to end the miracle run with a 6-5 overtime win, but the Irish even reaching the game could mean some things for midwestern lacrosse, and a Hypothetical Michigan Varsity Team.
We've talked over the course of the spring about whether MIchigan could be competitive on the varsity lacrosse scene, since the East Coast contains the hotbeds for the game, and the midwest is a bit barren (though improving, as noted above by AnnArbor.com). Notre Dame's run to the Championship Game shows that it's possible for midwestern teams to reach some of the highest levels of the game. Of course, this requires hard work on the recruiting trail, and Hypothetical Michigan Varsity Team wouldn't be successful right away.
HOWEVA, as positive as Notre Dame's run could be for Michigan, it also ramps up the intensity of the "now-or-never" sense of urgency for earning that varsity status. Now that midwestern teams have shown its possible to reach the pinnacle of the game, unless Michigan has an established program soon, other midwestern teams (including the Irish and Ohio State) will have a much easier time building up their programs to a level that Michigan should have trouble reaching.
I'll look at season-wrap stuff sometime in the near future (though Michigan's team wasn't nearly as dominant as last year's), and looking into the future of Michigan lacrosse never ends.
Cardale Jones is a quarterback at Glenville, in Ohio, so he hates Michigan right? Well, I just had an interesting conversation with him. I actually ended up telling him halfway through, that I still wasn't sure if I believed what he's saying to me, because of his school affiliation.
I started out by asking him how Braxton Miller's recent commitment to Ohio State would affect him. He said it wouldn't. I took that as meaning that maybe he wasn't thinking about Ohio State seriously, but he told me that Miller wouldn't scare him away. I should note that Jones doesn't have an offer from OSU, and with Miller's commitment, likely won't get one. However, from my past experience, when a kid continues to talk about a school, it usually means that there's still mutual interest. None of that makes sense to me; I don't know why Ohio State would continue to pursue him.
The second part was that he told me he actually grew up a MIchigan fan, and he really likes the Wolverines. His words were, "I was a huge fan of them growing up, and now I have a chance to play for them, so what's not to like?"
I wanted to say, "Coach Ginn hates Michigan, stop lying to me!" but that came out as, "Wait, what?" Jones says he hasn't narrowed his list down, but he does really like Michigan.
I eventually, in a polite, subtle way, asked what coach Ginn's perspective on Michigan and head coach Rich Rodriguez was. Cardale told me that his coaches opinion doesn't matter, or change where he wants to end up. Coach Ginn told him to pick the place that he feels the most comfortable for the next 4-5 years. Read into that how you will.
I'm not usually a tin foil kinda guy, but there's some obvious links to Glenville's lack of friendship with Michigan. Take all of this FWIW, and I don't even really know what any of it means. I still think he'll end up at Cincinnati, or West Virginia. Just thought I would share.
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with another installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH JAMIEMAC
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
Football. America’s true pastime. What’s the only way to make it more fun??
Well, wager money on the outcome, of course. On MGoBlog, we seem to have a resident expert for everything, and when it comes to the odds, naturally we think of Jamiemac. I was very prepared to announce that we’d be canceling this week’s profile in light of Monday’s holiday, but instead Jamiemac came through at the end with a super quick turnaround on his end to get it all in on schedule. I’m very pleased to introduce the one and only Jamiemac in this exclusive MGoProfile interview:
1. Jamiemac. The closest thing we have to a Vegas oddsmaking authority. So how did you discover MGoBlog?
Wait, there was a world without MGoBlog? I barely remember those days. I discovered the blog sometime in the offseason between the 2005 and 2006 seasons. I was google searching for Michigan stats and came across an entry with the famous phrase: Year Of Infinite Pain. Before I knew it I was reading through these uber intensive replays of the game called UFRs from the 2005 season and a regular reader was born. I didn’t become a commentator until the debacles to begin to the 2007 campaign. I was as frustrated as everyone else, but I felt the board needed a voice of reason, so I stepped in and have been pushing back against needless, bitter, ignorant and partisan fan angst ever since. Obviously, I have taken advantage of the diary section and have even started my own blog, www.justcoverblog.com. By accident, I have become a college sports writer thanks in large part to encouragement from Brian, my comrades at the Wolverine Liberation Army and the response from the MGoCommunity to my early diaries on this site. I really owe this blog a lot. Not only has it brought me closer to the program and school, but its rekindled my long lost desire to write about sports, allowed me to take part in the podcasts and HTTV and, most importantly, I've met a lot of new friends. No question, some tremendous people who I look forward to seeing on more than a few Saturdays this fall. Between my participation at MGo and WLA, my life has been changed for the better. Who knew blogs could do that?
2. When I think of your posts, two things immediately come to mind—an almost instant update on the lines for any given game, and intelligent, well-explained picks throughout the season. Discuss your background in the odds (and ends) of football.
Thank you for the kind words. With everything I write, I always start with the aim to not just inform readers, but tell them a few things they wont get anywhere else. As for my experience with the odds, the only professional experience I have within the sports gambling community was the one year I spent working for a street bookie in Chicago. I was in between fulltime jobs. The bookie is a friend of mine, knew I had time on my hands and could use some work, so he asked if I wanted to help him out. He had just opened up his own bar and worried he could not run his other business by himself anymore. I was a grunt in the operation, basically taking bets over the phone, clearing voice mails on our machines as the day went on and basically keeping tabs on everyone's accounts.
I had been gambling on sports for several years prior already, so it was fascinating to get this perspective. I learned a ton about the moods and shifting opinions of the betting public and just how often said public was wrong. I guess thats why there arent many cash poor bookies in the world. I was stunned at how many people put two grand--our house limit--on games. That's intense. I got a kick out of walking into the bar, looking around and secretly knowing what was on everyone's card. I was surprised by how many people lied about their picks. You know, guys bragging during the day that they went 4-0 in the day games when I knew full well they went 1-3. It took most of the season before my friends who went through this guy for bets realized what I was up to.
And, it provided me with one of the more surreal moments as a fan ever on New Year's Day, 2005. We had a tradition where we gathered in a penthouse suite at the Hotel Allegra to eat, drink and watch the bowl games. We gambled on the games, but also had some blackjack, poker and craps being played. Strippers were involved. Several laws got broken each time. Anyway, that year, as the fourth quarter of the Texas/Michigan Rose Bowl ticked away, I had to duck into one of the bedrooms to clear some voice mails and take some action on the upcoming Fiesta Bowl between Utah and Pitt. I had two strippers in the room with me who werent on the clock anymore, so I rolled us a joint that we smoked while taking calls and watching the end of the game. It was all good. Even when Texas won on a field goal. After all, the whole city of Chicago had the Horns -7, so we came out way ahead thanks to the gutty Wolverines. And, when I mentioned my favorite team lost a heartbreaker, the ladies in room did everything legally and not-so-legally in their power to improve my mood. It's not Babby Schemy falling asleep on Bo's chest to ease his mind after the 1969 loss to MSU, but its pretty gosh darm close. Thank God for Dusty Mangum. That red letter day in my life would not have been possible without him.
3. So you admit to being a gambling man... So then, what’s your secret? Any leads you want to share with us going into next season?
Of course, I'll admit to being a gambling man. I just admitted to running numbers, smoking pot and hanging out with hookers. So, yeah, I am also a gambling man. Why not? I've always been fascinated by pointspreads and the challenge of picking games. While my first season as a regular gambler was 1999, I can trace my first bet all the way back to the 1981 divisional playoff game between Cleveland and Oakland. I had the Raiders in a straight up $1 bet with my uncle, a lifelong Brown fan. Brian Sipe tossed a pick in the end zone in the waning seconds, and I promptly walked down the street where he was watching the game with my grandparents and demanded my dollar. From there, its history.
I dont have any secrets to any success, but all you really need to do is bookmark the justcoverblog and make it a daily read during football and basketball seasons, AMIRITE!?!?! Last year, the JCB was 158-125 ATS in college football games. Had you put $100 for each suggested unit of play, you would have cleared over $2,200 bucks in the 2009-10 CFB season. I havent tallied up the college hoops record, but it was profitable. And, I've done four pick series within the MGoDiary section and all four made money. So, read the JCB. We're trying to help people over there. Even if you're not into gambling, I think there will be plenty of good content at the JCB this summer as we preview the season, so bookmark it anyway. I'll still be very active here at MGo. I have tons of diary ideas to get us through the next three months. I'll have plenty of tips for the upcoming season as well. They will be shared very publically both here and at the JCB.
Nothing beats making and winning with your own picks, however. To that end, my basic advice is that it’s all about knowledge and moderation. Sometimes I have too much of the former and can’t really control the latter. Thats when 3-8 records happen. Don’t overdo it. Limit your plays. There is always next week. You have a better chance at taking money from the book by betting more money on a small amount of games, then throwing cash down on 13-14 games a weekend. It’s hard enough winning on a couple of games, let alone the 7 or 8 games you'll need to cover to win cash when betting more than a dozen games at a time. Also, if you're going to wager on sports, you must do your homework and know these teams inside and out. There are over 120 team in the FBS and the profitable CFB gambler can converse on every team, even the depths of the Sun Belt and the MAC. Buy Phil Steele's magazine, for example, and wear out the pages devoted to those leagues. I'm successful on an annual basis because I do well in midweek games, involving mostly those teams, and I kill the bowl season, especially the ones with mid-majors. I wouldn’t be half as successful in those ventures if I weren’t obsessively following the whole nation. This dynamic is even stronger in college hoops where knowing leagues like the Colonial, Horizon and Missouri Valley from top to bottom actually give the bettor an intellectual advantage over the book. They don’t know those leagues, but you can with a little effort and study and take it to the bank all winter long.
The other thing worth mentioning, especially in college football, is know your history. I understand the academic mantra of past performance isnt indicative of future results. But, how do you explain the fact the Michigan never covers as chalk in its first road game, or that MSU is a great bet to lose after a loss, or that the underdog in series like Michigan/Notre Dame, Clemson/Georgia Tech and South Carolina/Georgia covers almost every year or Boise beating the number 80 percent of the time in home games or why teams coming off a big upset loss are great bets as road underdogs in the next start. I mean, I can go on and on. History matters in college football. Programs have identities. Programs have historic bugaboos. Programs have roles they excell at and roles where they've demonstrated consistent failure. Dont lose sight of history when it comes to capping college football. I dont think it means anything in pro football, but the collegiate game is different. I would advise going with your gut, intsincts and however it is you've handicapped a game, but putting yourself on the wrong end of historic trends will cost you over time.
4. Wow—I was just looking for a ‘take Vandy over Arkansas’ or something to that effect, but thanks for the advice. Okay then, enough about the odds—let’s learn a bit about what else you do. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what sort of field you’re involved in?
My professional background is in journalism. I worked in the field for a decade, covering just about everything from high school sports, county and city government and education. I worked in Northern Michigan covering beats in Emmet and Charlevoix counties for several different weeklies in the area before relocating to Chicago where I was a managing editor for the Wednesday Journal in Oak Park. We had several different papers covering the various communities, and I ran the real estate section for the home paper in Oak Park, but was in charge, front page to back page, of putting together our weekly that covered Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside. I never worked harder in my life. Eventually, I burned out, and we parted ways. I dont have the energy or desire to go back into that field again. After my year with the Book, I moved back to my hometown of Toledo, where I was born and raised. As for current vocation, I now do various sales, purchasing and customer service chores for the family firm. We're a rubber manufacturing business. My father started it in 1979, and we're still going strong. It's really been rewarding being able to contribute. And, frankly, its the perfect job as far as allowing time to blog at the office during down parts of the day. And, unlike my previous jobs, it doesnt involve long hours into the night or anything on the weekend. Being able to get to Ann Arbor in a half hour is also a major plus. If anyone needs Viton rubber or Viton caulk, give me a ring. I'll float you a Maize and Blue discount.
Hey, who doesn’t need more Viton caulk? So when you’re not rocking the family biz, what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
Away from work, I obviously like to write. I've pretty much tried to be a daily blogger ever since I started the Bubble News diaries in the winter of 2009. I've taken the last couple months off just to recharge and, i dont know, maybe read a book or two. I love writing about sports in this venue, and it's become my free time. But, I do play a lot, so dont worry. I spend a lot of time, during all four seasons, in various outposts of northern Michigan, either in the Traverse City area or on Burt Lake, which is just east of Petoskey/Harbor Springs. I took up running several years back, so I try to hit the trails a few times a week, although nagging injuries have held me back until recently. My newest running partner is a puppy Rotweiller my girlffriend got back in the fall. I tried to push for either Shoelace or Martavious, but I couldnt pull it off. Her name is Bella, but Shoelace is her approved nickname. It's worthy as she is fast as hell. Doggie dilithium. I play in a cut throat, no holds barred Whirley Ball tournament in Chicago every February. We've done this now for eight years and this year my team won. I say this because I know there are plenty of MGoLurkers in the Whirley crowd and its various offshoots. Tough break guys, there is always next year. I don’t know what else to say. I like to read, listen to music, enjoy the Monday night CBS lineup, inexplicably don’t want Friday Night Lights to ever end and just try to laugh and have fun as often as possible. We're not here to be drones.
No, my friend, we are not. Speaking of free time, describe the perfect meal.
My perfect meal? Anything that foodt.tumblr.com is cooking. Not to mention the lunch I eventually will be buying Other Chris because OC's alma mater Virginia pantsed mine--Indiana, for those who don’t know yet--in football last year. Sometime soon we'll meet up in Ann Arbor, exchange skin suits and eat some grub on the JCB''s dime. Outside of that, how about dueling main courses of my grandmother's fried chicken and meatballs. Seems like a weird combination, but that’s what she used to make for our tailgates in Ann Arbor. Man, it was fantastic and downright gourmet. I went to my first Michigan games sitting on my grandparents lap. I grew up down the street from them and, frankly, the obsessive sports fan that I've become can be traced right back to their house. For the first dozen years of my football fandom, fried chicken and meatballs was our tailgate menu. And, I can still taste it every gameday in Ann Arbor when the tailgate aroma is just right.
5. We can all see where this will go, but can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I was born a Michigan fan. I dont know any other way. I attended my first game as a seven-year-old in 1979. Wangler to Carter was the second game I ever attended. How can you not be hooked after that? I heard my first cries of UNACCEPTABLE during the 1980 Purdue game when the drunk behind me kept screaming we need to play better than this to beat the Bucks. Crap, man, they shutout Mark Hermann, perhaps the best QB in the nation that year, and the 16th ranked Boilers, stop bitching already, will ya!?!?! Saw some drunk OSU chick strip on top of an camper in 1983 because she lost a bet when her Buckeyes lost 24-21 to the Wolverines that day. As a young kid, I used to wear this heavy, roomy Army coat to games so my grandfather, father and uncle could stuff as many beer cans as possible within its confines because, well, nobody searches an 11-year-old. I have been blessed with season tickets my whole life. We broke some new ground this past season when my brother bought and fixed up an RV, which made its maiden voyage for us at the Ohio State game. We had a blast and it was one of my favorite days of 2009, the loss to the Bucks notwithstanding. And therein lies a message I'd like to get out. It didnt matter if Michigan was 11-0 or 5-6 heading into that game. It never matters what their record is. It just matters that they're playing. I've seen just about everything possible, good and bad, happen to our club while perched up in Section 14. I was sitting in the exact same seat for Forcier to Matthews as I was for Wangler to Carter. That's a pretty powerful connection. While I have other allegiances on the side, my heart and soul will always be Maize and Blue. The whole school and community of Ann Arbor hold a special place in my heart.
6. Finally, the staple last question-- who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
My favorite Wolverines ever are the current crop. The ones busting their asses of 24/7, countable and not countable hours, in order to entertain and make us happy next season. They deserve our respect and our cheers even if we dont like the final result just yet. It breaks my heart knowing the time they're devoting to the cause without getting winning results .I literally want to break out the collection tools on people who demean this team efforts and heart merely for not winning up to their standards. I have faith their hard work will pay off. Beyond that, it has to be Anthony Carter. The #1 jersey tradition begins and ends with him. It's hard to put AC's impact on the program in perspective in this space.The modern era of Michigan football begins with him. He was my first ever football hero as a young child. He's still my favorite single player ever to play for Michigan. And, he's also my favorite all time Michigan Panther.
Obligatory +1 for the USFL reference, of course. One last question—given your unique outlook on the sport, give it to us straight. How do you see next season shaking out?
Michigan will begin to look good again this year. They began 4-1 last year, they will do that this year. They had a winning record heading into November a year ago, they will do that this year. Unlike last year, they'll win games in November and even score a couple road wins throughout the year. One of Phil Steele's power ratings call for Michigan to be 11-0 headed into the OSU game. Can you roll those ratings up into a joint? If so, I'd like some of that buzz. Realistically, I am thinking we go 8-4 overall, 5-3 in league play. We werent that bad last year, but youth and lack of depth killed us during the second half of the year. Both those issues have been fixed enough to expect more success down the back strech. I'll go with wins over UConn, UMass, BGSU, at IU, MSU, Illinois, at Purdue and Wisconsin and losses at Notre Dame, Iowa, at PSU and at OSU. Those are non binding. I reserve the right to up this to 12-0 at any time a summer buzz on Rum and Cokes warrants. But, seriously, we're going to have a fun season. And, we're going to start winning Big 10 games again in bulk. The program is moving in the right direction. We'll be live blogging a Michigan game on New Year's Day. Book it!
Jamiemac clearly knows his business, and quite frankly I was amazed at how
up front and open he was about his craft—I was expecting more deflection and far
less information, like asking David Copperfield how he made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Instead he shared his knowledge, as well as some really colorful stories about his grandmother and strippers (not in that order, of course). All in all, Jamie delivered the goods and illustrated why he does what he does so well. With that being said, I’m wondering what the over/under is on who I’ll be interviewing next week!! And yes, I’m sure we’ll get a response later today from the Jamiemac himself.
Until then, I’ll see you guys next week for another edition of MGoProfile!