Note: this post from 2008 evaporated, so I'm reposting it since i just pointed people to it.
SB Nation's excellent Missouri blog Rock M Nation will be joining the BlogPoll this fall, and they've thrown out a question to their readers: how the hell should we put together our ballots? This shows seriousness, which is an admirable quality in a voter, but a lack of deference to the poll's President For Life, which is neither admirable nor uncommon.
I've learned over time that I can't tell people what philosophy they should follow when compiling a top 25 poll. Or, rather, I've learned I can tell people what philosophy to follow and they'll just do what they want to anyway. There's only so much control you can pretend to have when the most respected college football blogger around thumbs his nose at some of the poll's published guidelines and the funniest one slaps up haphazard ballots 30 minutes after the deadline, usually after IMing me something like "oh crap give me a few minutes."
So vote how you like, with one exception. This is the exception: ballots designed to call attention to themselves are verboten. The lone spiked ballot in poll history came from Notre Dame uber-blog Blue Gray Sky after the first week of the season. Because I am stupid I deleted it, but by BGS's own admission it was designed to highlight how silly releasing a college football poll after one week of play is. This is a perfectly fine argument to make, and one I might even agree with, but your ballot is not the place to make it. Some voters tend to call attention to their ballots by their voting patterns, whether it's Straight Bangin's sadly prescient Michigan pessimism or SMQ's resume-only first week ballot or Double Extra Point's uncanny ability to have the most boring ballot; these are okay because their notability is a side effect of the voter's habits, not the entire point.
Other than that, feel free to be stupid -- because you will be stupid, iron law of polling, that -- in whatever way you want to. But I do think a unified philosophy benefits polling. SMQ highlights how goofy this polling enterprise can be:
But no one involved with any of the mainstream polls, despite their all-too-frequent use of the term, has ever defined exactly what they mean by the concept of the best team, or how they reach that judgment in comparison with that team's peers. Most of the time, the terms are described in an abstract way, as a mental sum of perceived parts, as if there existed a secret rating system, EA Sports-style, that could settle the issue once and for all.
The BlogPoll's concept of the best team in a sentence: the BlogPoll attempts to rank teams in order of season quality. This is impossible to do before the season and silly to do in the first few weeks, and at these times the poll should be regarded as an approximate guess of which teams will end the year with the highest season quality.
Suggestions to effect this ideal follow.
Once you have enough information, vote by resume only. What qualifies as "enough information" will vary from voter to voter, but I'm sure most will agree once teams are eight or so games into their schedules there's plenty of evidence to go on. Personally, by week five I try to excise everything except results. At that point there's no reason to look at future schedules, no reason to look at preaseason expectations or shiny offensive baubles. Just the facts, m'am.
When you don't have enough information, vote by your guess at team strength, not schedule. In an ideal world everyone would play an identically difficult schedule and this wouldn't be an issue. This is far from an ideal world, and some team just have nummy soft schedules. This is often cited as a reason to rank them high -- SMQ explicitly calls it out as a factor in his preseason ballot -- and drives me crazy.
Place great importance on schedule strength. The poll's greatest development in three years of existence was its continued, extreme skepticism of a Hawaii team that barely eked out victories against poor WAC teams and found itself in the top ten of most major polls and in the BCS against Georgia. That ended with Warrior limbs flung across most of New Orleans and everyone hurredly pretending like that never happened. You should take schedules into account more than it seems the other polls do, IMO.
Style counts. This is really tricky. If a team has three fluke plays go against them and loses a game it statistically dominated, what do you do? Dan Steinberg's pet Vegas Top 25 virtually ignores fluky results and thus can claim to be a better predictive device for upcoming games. The BlogPoll aims to be descriptive, not predictive.
The sad reality of college football these days is that schedules are so watered down and multiple teams will have the same records or nearly identical records at the end of the year but they'll have taken different routes to get there. So, yeah, team A had a better season if it crushed all comers and were under serious threat only a few times while team B squeezed by by the skin of its teeth, assuming schedules are approximately constant.
Back to SMQ for a pithy summary:
That is, assumptions about "the best" are frequently proven wrong by actual events. The best system, then, is not a rigid assessment of perceived strength, but an extremely fluid, strictly achievement-based approach that systematically rejects assumptions and accounts for chaos -- the inevitable black swan -- as the natural order. If South Florida's resumé is the second-best in the country in late October, then yes, it's the second-best team at that point. But probably not for long.
Co-sign. Man the ballot stations.
Hey all. Over at my blog, I have ended my flirtation with soccer, and I am finally getting back into some college football writing. That, combined with point spreads already being released for certain games of the year, mean we are inching closer to the season. We're basically seven weeks away and within the 50-day window of the first football being kicked off in anger. I'm excited. So should you. So get pumped, people!
Anyway, one of the recurring features over at the JCB will be sneak peaks at the various non league games the Big 10 will be playing this year. I take a look at three of those games in a post over there today. Included in that is this very limited sneak peak at our opener against what surely will be a feisty UConn squad. This is hardly a comprehensive preview of the game. More will be said on this game by yours truly on both blogs, not to mention by many other people, in the upcoming weeks. But I do think I've highlighted one of the better positional matchups we're going to see in this contest. I thought folks over here would like to read that portion and maybe get some discussion going on this and other matchups within the UConn game. So, I present that portion of my post as a Diary over here. And, why not? It's a cheap 10 MGoPoints and a way to pimp to my blog.
UCONN at Michigan, 3:30, 9/4. Line, Michigan -3 (Spread courtesy of the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas
Interested in what kind of game the Michigan defensive front has without the menacing presence of Brandon Graham? Well game-freaking-on in the opener against UConn when Michigan faces what will be one of the biggest offensive lines on its schedule. Things sometimes didn't go well when Michigan faced beefier fronts in 2009. And, when we last saw the Wolverines they were being more than generous on defense yielding yards and paths in running lanes like it was their major. In their last five games a year ago--all losses--the Wolverines allowed 230 yards rushing per game and 5 yards per carry. Whether it was a more traditional approach like Penn State or Wisconsin, or something more modern in the zone read genre from Illinois or Ohio State, the Wolverines had so many issues stopping the run down the stretch that Michigan really had no chance defensively in November. Even early in the season, Notre Dame's Armando Allen had one of his best games of the year against the Maize and Blue and against the large Indiana frontline, Darius Willis happened.
The chore will be sizeable against UConn. The Huskies return four starters from last year's line. Across the board, the line checks in at 315 pounds a person. Not only are they experienced and large, but they've proven an effective blocking front two years running. In 2008, they paved the way for 2,000 yard rusher Donald Brown despite an horrific passing game allowing defenses to stack the box all day. Last year, with new featured running backs, two Huskies churned out 1,000 yard seasons behind this line. One of them, Jordan Toddman, returns. In 300 career carries, he's averaged 5.6 yards a carry. He has 17 of the Huskies 57 rushing touchdowns over the last two years. Center Moe Petrus and Guard Zach Hurd are already multi-year starters up front for Randy Edsall's teams. Both earned first-team, All Big East honors a year ago. Hurd will combine with Tackle Mike Ryan, a starter a year ago, to form one of the largest right sides of an offensive line that Michigan will play all year. Folks, this is a legit rushing attack and Michigan's 3-3-5 look will be tested right out of the gate to stand its ground and keep UConn from taking over the football game the way every team did a year ago during Michigan's horrific losing streak to close 2009. The Huskies wont line up in the traditional, pro-style, power-I. They will spread the field with 3-4 wides often and allow their big lineman one on one matches to free up running space. They have no problem throwing rock all day despite coming out in fancier formations.
For the star power crowd, this ought to be a mismatch up front. In the guru approval game, there is no question Michigan has more raw talent on its first line of defense than UConn has on its offensive line. The Huskies starting offensive line is manned by four 2-star and a 3-star recruits, although with 66 combined starts the Huskies experience on the O-line makes those recruiting rankings somewhat outdated and irrelevent. Michigan, meanwhile, will counter with Mike Martin and William Campbell in the tackle spots, a 4-star and 5-star recruit respectively per Rivals, Ryan Van Bergen, a 4-star, at DE and Craig Roh, a 4-star playing OLB, but who will see plenty of time, in a variety of formations as a de facto fourth D linemen.
As a Michigan fan, there's a lot to be scared about defensively. The secondary worries me because its been a disaster for two years running, and the hope is an influx of new faces will help steady it this year. Outside of some Shawn Crable plays in Lloyd Carr's last season, the Wolverines havent had good linebacker playing since 2006. We're all worried about the Wolverine's guarding the pass, but dont forget this club was 92nd nationally in stopping the run. That's in the bottom quarter of all teams. Football is a simple game. Stop the run and even a defnese limited in talent can be effective. Michigan has the talent, skill and new found size up front to hold off the good Huskie offensive line. Can the rest of the defense fill the gaps? If it can and is able to slow the UConn rushing attack, then Michigan may walk away with an easier than expected victory in the opener. If we're treated to run after run with safety Cam Gordon or even Jordan Kovacs holding on for dear life as the last line of defense, then's its going to do a long, uncomfortable day for the Maize and Blue.
When the University of Michigan football season opens on Sept. 4 against Connecticut, Michigan Stadium will once again reclaim the title of the largest stadium in the United States for college and/or professional football. The seating capacity will be 109,901 for 2010 when the historic home of Wolverine football will have the bulk of the renovations completed.
“The stadium structures on the east and west side will be complete and all new premium seats will be on line,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Brandon. “We are very excited to have the club seats and suites completed for the upcoming season and we continue to get great reaction from fans who tour those seating areas.”
Certain sections will be adjusted for the 2010 season as aisles and seats are widened on the east side of the stadium. Similar modifications inside the seating bowl will be phased in over the next few seasons. Hand rails will also be added in the aisle ways.
“The upper concourses on the east and west sidelines should also make a huge improvement to circulation, and we are happy to add the new restrooms and concessions in those areas,” added Brandon.
Lloyd Carr Retires From the University of Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After 30 years of distinguished service to the University of Michigan, associate athletic director and former U-M head football coach Lloyd Carr will officially retire from the athletic department on Sept. 1.
“I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity to assist two great coaches here in Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller and I will always appreciate Joe Roberson’s decision to name me the head coach in 1995,” said Carr. “I am also appreciative for those I worked with and for all the great friendships I have developed.
“Most of all, I am thankful for the young men I coached and for all the memories I have from my time at Michigan.”
Carr’s accomplishments off the field can be measured by his success as a fundraiser for many charitable causes, including his role as Co-Chair for the campaign to build a new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital which will open in the fall of 2011. He will remain active in fundraising and keep his position as co-chair for the fundraising effort for the hospitals. He has also aided both the athletic department and the university as a highly sought-after speaker, serving on special committees, and providing helpful advice and mentoring to coaches and staff.
“Lloyd Carr's legacy is an impressive and important part of Michigan's rich history and tradition of excellence in football,” said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. “He has served the University as well through his advocacy and passion for a number of philanthropic causes. We are grateful for his long and successful service and wish him well in retirement.”
“I have known Lloyd since he came to Michigan as an assistant coach,” said Dave Brandon, U-M Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “Coach Carr is a man of integrity. I admire and appreciate his love for all of our student-athletes and his many contributions to not only our University, but his work on behalf of numerous charitable causes throughout the State of Michigan.”
Carr is retiring after two-and-one-half years as an associate athletic director, but his accomplishments as U-M’s 17th head football coach will be an enduring memory.
Following the 2008 Capital One Bowl, Carr retired as U-M football coach with an overall record of 122-40 (81-23 Big Ten), a national championship and five Big Ten Conference titles. He is one of only three U-M coaches to win more than 100 games, an achievement only surpassed by Bo Schembechler and Fielding H. Yost. He is the only coach to have taken Michigan teams to a bowl game in each year he served as head coach and he is only the fifth head football coach to lead Michigan to a national title (1997).
Carr became just the second Big Ten coach to post an undefeated regular season record in just his third year of head coaching. He also wrote himself into the NCAA record books, becoming just the seventh coach in NCAA history to have reached 29 wins in just three seasons of coaching.
Carr has also been involved in the university, community and coaching fraternity. He has been active in support of women's athletics, endowing a women's athletics scholarship that is presented annually to a U-M female student-athlete. He initiated the Women's Football Academy and U-M Men's Fantasy Football Experience which donate all proceeds to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center through the establishment of the Coach Carr Cancer Fund in 1998 in memory of his mother, Pauline, who died of breast cancer. The “Carr Wash for Kids” was an annual event benefiting the Mott Children’s Hospital which is a cause he continues to support today. He also serves as spokesperson for Mentor Michigan to help recruit men and women to help children in need. He has been involved with local charities such as the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, Washtenaw Literacy and the United Way.
In the past, he also worked with Special Olympics, served on the NCAA Rules Committee and was a member of the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees. He annually hosts the Hall of Fame football camp in his hometown of Riverview, Mich. He was also given the Philip Hart Public Service Award from the Michigan Women’s Studies Association and the Dodge National Athletic Lifetime Achievement Award.
Carr is married to the former Laurie McCartney. They have six children: Melissa, Brett, Jason, Ryan, Emily and Jarrett. Jason was a quarterback at U-M and Emily lettered in volleyball. He has 11 grandchildren: Tyler John McCartney, Brendan Massey McCartney, Drew Elizabeth Vigo, Austin Patrick McCartney, Colin Lloyd McCartney, Sydney Ann Vigo, Ethan Michael McCartney, Casey Carr Vigo, Noah Thomas McCartney, Curtis Jason (C.J.) Carr and Thomas Lloyd Carr with another grandson expected in October.
CAREER COACHING HIGHLIGHTS
1995-2007: Overall record 122–40 (81-23 Big Ten)
5-Big Ten (1997–1998, 2000, 2003–2004)
AFCA Coach of the Year (1997)
Walter Camp Coach of the Year (1997)
Paul “Bear” Bryant Award (1997)
AFQ/Schutt Coach of the Year (1997)
Northern Michigan University Hall of Fame (1997)
Catholic League Hall of Fame (1997)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year (2007)
Robert R. Neyland Award (2008)
1976–77 Assistant (Eastern Michigan)
1978–79 Assistant (Illinois)
1980–86 Defensive Backs (Michigan)
1987–94 Defensive Coordinator (Michigan)
1995–2007 Head Coach (Michigan)
High School Coaching
1968-69 Assistant Nativity HS (Detroit)
1970-73 Assistant Belleville (Mich.)
1973-75 Head coach Westland (Mich.) John Glenn
Regional Class A Coach of the Year (1975)
This is a big week for visits but other than that it's pretty slow since coaches are on vacation. Here's a look at who's visiting with some updates elsewhere.
Visiting July 13th:
- Jake Fisher - Instate lineman is coming down from Traverse City to visit both MSU, and Michigan. I spoke with him about the visits and his timeline: he's visiting MSU first, then Michigan. Take from that what you will, other than that MSU happens to come first geographically on his trip. He is on commit watch.
Fisher: "I'd like to make my decision shortly after these visits. I might have a leader right now (laughing), but I don't want to say who."
- Cyrus Hobbi - As mentioned in last week's update, Hobbi is coming up to Michigan on his way to a family trip in New York. That is a huge break for Michigan. Without it, it's safe to say that Cyrus wouldn't have been able to get up to Michigan for an unofficial visit before the season. If Cyrus likes what he sees, it should give Michigan a serious shot at landing the big lineman. West coast schools are the main competition.
- Jordan Walsh - As it was noted in my interview with Jordan this past week, he is also making a trip to Ann Arbor on Tuesday. If you didn't read the article, here's how his mom feels about Michigan.
"She loved the junior day visit, too. When Coach Rodriguez offered me, she started crying."
All of these visits could be big for Michigan. I would be very happy with pulling two out of the three from this list.
5'8, 190 lbs.
Everyone's favorite recruit to discuss and one of the most important in this class. Hart was recently at the Nike 7 on 7 tournament in Oregon. ESPN gives you a synopsis of how he did and how he keeps the media guessing.
I spoke to Hart's teammate, Roderick Ryles, the other day. Ryles told me that he and LaQuentin Smith are going up to Arkansas, while Demetrius Hart and (2012 QB) Nick Patti are coming up to Michigan this week. I also spoke with Hart, and he wasn't 100% sure the visit is going to happen:
I'm not sure we're coming up yet. I still have to figure it out. I think we are, but it's not final.
Hart came up earlier this year and planned a second trip for the Spring Game but could not make it. Even if he can't scrape together the cash and time to get up to Michigan for a second unofficial, his interest in making one is genuine and he will visit officially in the fall.
5'8, 156 lbs.
Sicklerville, New Jersey
Byrd is a (very) speedy slot guy who already has offers from Florida, West Virginia, Iowa, Pitt, South Carolina, and Nebraska, amongst others. Michigan doesn't have much of a need for tiny slots in this class, but I had an interesting conversation with Byrd the other day. He recently narrowed down his list to 7 top schools. I asked him if Michigan were to offer, would they be able to get back in it.
Yeah, I would consider them again. I really liked it when I went up there, so they would still have a chance.
This doesn't really matter right now because he doesn't have an offer from the Wolverines. If they miss out on a few wide receiver targets down the road they might look to Byrd.
- [Ed.: LA CB Darren Kitchen has gotten an offer from recruiter Fred Jackson. This is not an official written offer and can't be committed to until Rodriguez gets back from vacation and issues it. If and when that does occur, Kitchen has said straight out he will commit.]
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the fifth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. The fourth circle of Dante's hell is home to those committing Avarice. Avarice is the equivalent of greed, which was once described in a certain text as "the root of all evil." In Dante's realm, they were forced to move large stones with their chest for eternity.
As we traveled down into the fourth circle of hell, the weather began to clear and temperatures approached being a bit warm. As we reached the bottom of the steppe, Davy stopped me.
"Formerly, before we go any further, I must warn you, this circle of hell may be a bit tempting. Be always sure you are right - then go ahead," warned Crockett.
Little did I know just how true his warning would be. As we entered the main plain of the fourth circle, I was immediately surrounded by women. And let me tell you, these women were endowed. Tig ol' bitties as far as the eyes could see. And we're not talking just DD, we're talking freakishly large boobs. Does size Z exist? These breasts are as large as a woman's torso.
"Look girls, it's a mortal man!" exclaimed one of the big tittied blondes. I think I'm in heaven. All of these women want me.
"So, like where are you from?" one asked. "Did you go to Michigan? I was, like originally from Jersey, but I went to Michigan. I was in Sigma Lambda Upsilon Tau. My grades were awesome! I was a linguistics major, which, is like so totally hard. What can I do for you?" Followed by a suggestive wink, or at least I think it was, I was staring at something else.
"Well, uh… you-" I started before being interrupted.
"So where are you from? How much do you make? What kind of car do you drive? If it's anything less than an Audi you can just pack it up and get out of here," another said, speaking so quickly that I didn't have time to even get a word in.
"Uh, I'm a college student that drives a chev-"
"Oh god, I carried these huge tits all the way over here for that? I'm so out of here," stated the first girl. The girls all turned away, opening up their cell phones and calling god knows who.
"What, what? What just happened here?" I mutter.
Davy steps up beside me and says, "Formerly, this is the land of those fair weather fans who only go to games because that's what the popular kids do. They don't care about the team. They just want to be seen. These are the ones that show up in the short skirts in September, then never make it to a conference game because the weather goes cold."
"Damn dude. Those are some big titties. Is that just a coincidence?" I asked.
A girl, boobs too big to be able to use her hands on her cell phone overheard me and interrupted our conversation, "No, that's like the punishment for us. We were all too lazy from going out before games and getting trashed to make it out to games. We've been punished by being given breasts that are like, so big they hurt to carry around all day. And the worst part, they don't even give us mixed drinks to subdue the pain. This is like a total hell hole."
I replied with a simple "I see" and eye roll, which didn't seem to go over well with the straggler, "Don't give me that look, bitch."
"Oh, okay. You enjoy Avarice, I'm moving on."
"Like, shaaa… wait, what's Avarice?" she replied.
"Go ask one of your English major friends who might have read the Divine Comedy, if that wasn't 'like so totally hard' that they forgot."
So Davy and I kept moving along, and shortly before getting to the edge of the fourth circle, Crockett turned to me and says, "Yeah, I made the mistake of hanging out here too much when I first entered hell. Those bitches are intellectually disabled. And man, listening to them chatter on and on about themselves is a worse hell than anything you'll see the rest of the trip."
"I hear you there, Davy. They're batshit crazy."
And on we traveled.
(picture complements of chunkums… Disclaimer: any and all stereotypes offered by this picture are the sole contribution of chunkums. FA loves him some KKG, or any UM sorority sisterhood for that matter.)