"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
AUGUSTA, Ga. –The Augusta Sports Council announced today that University of Michigan fifth-year senior punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg HS) is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2009 Ray Guy Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate punter. This is the second straight season that Mesko has been selected as a semifinalist for the award.
Mesko and Iowa’s Ryan Donahue are the only representatives from the Big Ten Conference. Following are the other semifinalists: Drew Butler (Georgia), Peter Caldwell (Utah State), Desi Cullen (Connecticut), Johnny Hekker (Oregon State), Chas Henry (Florida), Jeff Locke (UCLA), Rob Long (Syracuse) and Matt Reagan (Memphis). Mesko, Donahue and Henry are the only returning semifinalists from last season.
Mesko leads the Big Ten and is sixth nationally in punting with a U-M season record 45-yard average. He has helped the Wolverines lead the conference and list second nationally in net punting (42.4 avg.). Mesko has been extremely proficient in all phases, with 15 punts over 50 yards, 15 fair caught and 13 downed inside the opposition’s 20-yard line. He has punted 43 times for 1,934 yards, including a 66-yard season long punt against Western Michigan.
Mesko has already been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and the Danny Wuerffel Trophy. He was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation, and is a candidate for Academic All-America honors after being selected CoSIDA Academic All-District IV first team last week.
A national voting panel will trim the list to three finalists, who will be named on Nov. 23. The 10th annual award will be presented live on ESPN during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 10. The winner will be honored at a banquet by the Augusta Sports Council and The Augusta Chronicle in late January 2010.
In last week's games, Maryland lost to NC State 38-31. But not so fast my friend. Maryland scored one TD on an INT and another on a kick return, and added a field goal late. Still, a decent showing by the Terps, for the Terps.
Utah State and Hawaii had an arena football-like game. Hawaii won 49-36 and put up almost 700 yards of offense. So neither game was particularly awful. In the User Contribution Bowl, CSU lost to UNLV 35-17. CSU had 424 yards to go with those 17 points, so they win the "Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing" award of the week.
This week is a veritable Super Bowl of bad games. So, rather than just drawing names out of a hat, there will be actual analysis (before drawing names out of a hat). As Brian pointed out, we're treated to Syracuse v Louisville in the "Hey Look, Basketball Has Started" bowl. Both teams are 3-6, neither team has a win in conference. Syracuse has played 3 Big 10 teams, including beating Northwestern. Louisville's wins consist of Southern Miss, Indiana State, and Arkansas State. Louisville's offense/defense is ranked 74/62, but much of that must come from weak competition. Syracuse is ranked #93, and Louisville is #88, for a total of #181. The game is at Louisville, FWIW.
The winner for lowest total ranking of the week is VMI v Army. VMI is #224, Army is #143, total of #367. Army has crazy offense/defense rankings at 116/12. I don't know what to make of that. Land mines in the end zone? VMI is in a whole other galaxy. Losses to Costal Carolina, Stony Brook, and Liberty? Don't forget that Sagarin only ranks down to #245.
In major conference action, UCLA plays Washington State. Washington State's offense is ranked one slot ahead of EMU, and defense is one behind Florida International. UCLA has beaten K-State and Tennessee, while WSt. has been creamed by everyone but Southern Methodist. But, UCLA's offense is only ranked #98, so who knows. UCLA has been rotating QBs, which is never a good sign.
Speaking of Eastern, they play for the "Michigan Directional School" award against Western. Both teams have defenses ranked in the +100s, so look for lots of points. Eastern is winless, and don't look for that to change. (For those of you keeping score, Central has beaten Western and Eastern). Total ranking of this game is #291, mostly from Eastern's #179 ranking, but Western's #112 helps.
Like I said, it's a trainwreck of a week, and I can't even get to Kentucky v Vanderbilt or Tulane v Rice or San Jose St. v Utah St, et cetera et cetera.
Expected Points - Offense
|Offense||G||Exp Pts||Act Pts||Diff||Drives|
Wisconsin is playing at a slower pace and therefor not generating all of the opportunities are, but in terms of out-gaining expectations, they are #1 in the Big 10 at +4.3 on the season. Michigan is still leading in expected points per game, due in large part to their Big 10 leading 12.1 possessions per game.
Expected Points - Defense
|Defense||G||Exp Pts||Act Pts||Diff||Drives|
This is the ugly flip side to the offense's high pace, high drive count strategy. Lots of points faced by the defense. Michigan's defense is forcing more points and more drives than any other Big 10 team. The high expected points number is not solely due to the drive quantity either. Michigan's defense is killed on field position. Michigan, on average, faces a drive worth 2.05 points, 4% higher than the Big 10 average and second highest overall. The difference between Michigan and Ohio State (the lowest per drive average start at 1.83) is worth nearly a field goal a game and almost 35 points over the course of the season. If Michigan and Ohio State had identical defenses and faced the same number of drives against the same teams, Michigan would give up nearly 35 points more over the course of the season because of the field position difference.
This weeks matchup pits 2 of the top 3 offenses in the Big 10. Both teams are led by the clear cut top two rush offenses in the conference while featuring solid but not spectacular (the Big 10's specialty this year) passing games.
Wisconsin comes into Saturday's a distant fourth in the Big 10 in total defense while Michigan sits in the middle of the pack. Iowa, Ohio St and Penn St continue to dominate the overall defense ranks, all three sit in the top 12 nationally.
Michigan comes in second just behind Ohio State in the overall special teams ratings. Michigan continues its strong showing in a number of categories with top 30 rankings in Punt (9), Kick (16) and Punt Return (32).
|Team||Fum Lost||Int Thrown||Fum Forced||Passes Int||Total|
Fumbles. Fumbles. Fumbles. Michigan is in the middle of the pack on defensive interceptions and one Denard Robinson possession away from leading the Big 10 in fewest interceptions thrown (as measured in value lost). The turnover problem has nothing to do with interceptions and everything to do with fumbles. It appears that we have upset the Angry Michigan Hating Fumble God. There are only two Angry Fumble Gods who hate their teams worse than Michigan this season, Nevada and ironically enough, West Virginia, who never had a fumbling problem when RR was there. Michigan is 114th and 113th nationally in fumbles and fumbles recovered.
The Big 10 has established its home at the bottom of the BCS auto qualifiers this year, and its not even close with 5th. The problems can all be attributed to the offenses, as the Big 10 is almost a full point behind the next lowest Big 6 conference. The defense looks a bit better as the 1.8 average ratings is good for third behind the two dominant conferences, the SEC and Big XII.
This football season has not progressed the way THE KNOWLEDGE envisioned it
There are many people here that are extremely unhappy, angry, heartbroken etc
THE KNOWLEDGE, however, is not easily swayed by emotions. THE KNOWLEDGE is merely shocked that his predictions did not come true for this season
However, THE KNOWLEDGE does not live in the past
THE KNOWLEDGE lives in the future
Onto the main point of this post
Due to yet another poor season, the head football coach will be fired and a new coach will roam the sidelines in 2010
At Notre Dame
more details on the new coach at the end of this post
COaching changes are coming to Michigan as well
A few of the assistant coaches will be let go by the end of the year, and they have started interviewing potential replacements
THE KNOWLEDGE cannot reveal their identities at this point because it will compromise their seasons at their respective programs
However, THE KNOWLEDGE will happily reveal the new HC at ND
because this has already been finalized
Charlie Weis will be officially fired after this week's loss at Pittsburgh
they many only announce it to the public at the end of the season, but all the paperwork has been drawn up to give Weis the pink slip after the upcoming loss this Saturday
Most people this it will be Brian Kelly or Jon Gruden that is the next coach after Weis
but these people are wrong
THE KNOWLEDGE has concrete evidence that the new coach will the one that got away from Michigan in 2007 due to the actions of his former boss Carroll
The current Washington HC Steve Sarkisian
As can be seen in the first post of THE KNOWLEDGE under this new handle, the prediction that Sarkisian will be the new HC at Michigan was what shot THE KNOWLEDGE to fame, although THE KNOWLEDGE had made a previous prediction that English will become HC at EMU (that largely went unnoticed)
Sarkisian didn't become HC at Michigan, but unfortunately for Michigan and the rest of ND's oppoenents, he is the new HC at ND
When this news becomes public in another month
THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar
and leave every doubter in a trail of dust
PS: Michigan will win the Motor City Bowl this year
OK - everyone jump!
Where did you land?
---------- Warning - Motivational Speech Follows - I wrote it to pump myself more than anything. Laugh if you want, but I'm serious. I posted it here in the hopes that some others would enjoy it:
In all seriousness...There is a ton of pressure on these kids and coaches right now. Enormous amounts that I can't even fathom. They need our support this week and next more than ever.
I'm sure everyone reading this has come to a point in their life where there is a crisis moment. Some point in time where you just can deal with anything. you're tired, beaten up mentally and/or physically. It's frustrating beyond belief. You just want to get the hell out or cry or punch something or scream or all of it. But it passes. We get through it. We move on. Time moves on with or without us. It's at these times that friends and teammates get together. Band together and get through. I have faith that this team has winners and character individuals that will get through this rough spot. Fight through it. Don't let it consume you. Keep your head up, Tate, Denard, Obi, Jonas, Mike, Jordan - everyone - Do the best you can. That is all we are asking and we know that is what you are doing.
Remember this from the summer: ALL IN! It seemed silly at first, then awesome and now trite. But, I don't think it has ever been more relevant than for these last two games of the regular season.
Let's hope the team (the team the team) is ON this weekend and next weekend and that the metaphorical second-season roller coaster was just cranking up that final hill for a really fun home-stretch... I think it is mandatory that we all re-watch this at some point this week (if you watch it now it helps): As we all know, Brian is a genius. The prescient nature of that video is ridiculous. The song, the juxtaposition of Purdue and Wisconsin highlights, not to mention the transition point of the TD to Hemingway against Wisconsin - it's uncanny. Let's all take a step back, put our pacifiers and binky's down (read whiskey and whiny internet message boards), suck it up and cheer our asses off for these kids the rest of the way. Are we going to be returning to glory for 20 years? Are we going to be at the bottom of the big ten standings next year? NO We are fucking Michigan and we are getting better every play, every practice, every weight-lighting session, every training table meal, every study session, every day, every week, every year. There is championship mentality and leadership in this program, in this locker room, in Schembechler Hall, in the fieldhouse, out on that practice field and in the stadium.
We have the best facilities in the country. We have the biggest stadium. We have the biggest alumni base. We have the best uniforms. We have the best rivalry. We have the highest winning percentage. We have the most wins.
Our coaches know how to win championships at all levels and beat the snot out of high-profile programs in BCS games. Barwis is still eating nails for breakfast and forming these freshman and sophomores into men that are going to wreck people - every day. Everyone is working their ass off. Everyone is learning. Everyone is doing their best. The recruits are coming. We have a TON of awesome kids coming in next year that will add another layer to an amazing foundation. We are going to win championships. IN ROD WE TRUST - LETS DO THIS!
National performance of the week: Nick Florence, Baylor vs Missouri +26 (427 yds, 4 total TDs)
Big 10 Performance of the week: Kirk Cousins, Michigan State vs Western Michigan +17 (353 yards, 2 TDs) - 10th best overall performance
|Kirk Cousins||Michigan State||8||6.7||7.3||144.3||17.6|
|Daryll Clark||Penn State||9||6.2||5.6||136.5||26.1|
|Terrelle Pryor||Ohio State||10||3.5||4.0||131.9||70.6|
|Keith Nichol||Michigan State||7||-0.1||0.3||129.6||15.0|
Kirk Cousins and Daryll Clark sit at the top of the conference at nearly a touchdown a game. Kafka, Forcier and Pryor are all in the second tier at about +4 points/game. After those 5 its a mess of 1-2 pointers. The values roughly correlate to the passer rating, although the value+ numbers reflect rushing yards, strength of competition and reward or punish volume of passes depending on success. Nationally, Cousins and Clark are in the top 25 range, the Tate and company are in the top 50 or so and everyone past Pryor are in the bottom half or so of D1 quarterbacks.
National Performance of the Week (BCS competition): Jordan Todman, Uconn vs Cincinnati +14 (195 combined yards, 4 TDs)
Big 10 Performance of the Week: Brandon Minor, Michigan vs Purdue +7 (154 yards, 3 TDs)
|Evan Royster||Penn State||9||1.2||1.7||87||0.6||5.26||19|
|Larry Caper||Michigan State||8||0.6||0.8||43||0.8||3.97||24|
|Brandon Saine||Ohio State||10||0.3||0.8||50||0.0||4.74||21|
|Jordan Hall||Ohio State||6||0.2||0.6||41||0.2||5.17||5|
|Dan Herron||Ohio State||7||-1.5||-0.9||50||0.9||3.99||17|
|Glenn Winston||Michigan State||5||-2.7||-2.1||36||0.4||3.33||6|
The spread between the top and bottom on running backs is much closer. Minor would have a clear advantage if not for several games of limited action. Saturday's game will feature the 3 highest rated running backs in the conference with John Clay of Wisconsin and Michigan duo of Minor and Brown (if they're healthy, of course).
National Performance of the Week: Dana Alexander, Missouri vs Baylor +15 (214 yards, 1 TD)
Big 10 Performance of the Week: Roy Roundtree, Michigan vs Purdue +10 (126 yards, 1 TD)
|Devier Posey||Ohio State||6.0||2.6||4.5||67||14.9||0.7|
|Derek Moye||Penn State||5.4||2.4||4.5||73||16.2||0.5|
|Blair White||Michigan State||5.3||3.2||5.4||72||13.2||0.6|
|Graham Zug||Penn State||4.5||3.3||4.5||53||11.7||0.6|
|Keshawn Martin||Michigan State||4.0||2.4||2.0||42||20.9||0.5|
|D Sanzenbacher||Ohio State||4.0||3.0||2.7||54||20.1||0.7|
|B Cunningham||Michigan State||3.5||1.6||4.2||50||11.8||0.2|
Michigan held Keith Smith slightly below his average (+6) for the week, but it was still enough for Smith to hold a half point lead over the shelved Eric Decker. Still no Michigan receivers with the catches to qualify for the standings.