"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
UPDATE 11/24: Brian suggested on Monday's Unverified Voracity that we get a Paypal account so you can donate directly. We do accept $$$, but for legalese reasons we much prefer in-kind donations, i.e., buy a gift.
An easy way to do this:
Buy it from Amazon.com
(if you use the link above you will give Brian credit for it),
and have it shipped to:
Mitch Albom Christmas Party
c/o Salvation Army/Booth Services
Detroit, MI 48208
E-mail us the tracking info if you can.
Make sure it is unwrapped.
If you or your organization just want to give an online donation and be done with it, donate to S.A.Y. Detroit: https://drmm.org/donate1.htm
This qualify as a 501(c)3 organization for tax receipts.
It's Mitch's organization, which we can access directly for this event.
Also: Your best e-mail contact for any questions is to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get Nancy Welber Barr, who was V.I.'s president, and is organizing the Booth Shelter Party (the one Mitch will be at). You can e-mail me, too, if you like.
Hi, I'm Misopogon.
This is not one such diary. Rather it is attempt to trade in my good will and MGoPoints, such as they are, for some srsly help with a community service project now and up to the morning of Saturday, Dec. 5.
What U Talkin Bout?
The event is called "Adopt-a-Shelter."
This is a community service thing that I do every year to bring some holiday cheer to homeless kids. It used to be a signature event of Volunteer Impact.
Mitch Albom's Time to Help organization runs one of the shelters. He will be there, operating as a kind of Master of Ceremonies. Misopogal will be there, operating as a kind of Master of the Arts&Crafts and Cookie Decoration operation. I will be there, operating as "oooohhhh are you [Misopogal]'s BOY-FRIEND?"
We basically go to several homeless shelters in Detroit and give the kids there a Christmas party, complete with Santa, face-painting, pizza and cake, activities, and -- here's the operative part -- gifts.
Ah, a Point Emerges...
The gifts are all donations from Not-Living-In-a-Homeless-Shelter Metro-Detroiters and businesses. They're small gifts -- like $15 things.
They are new and unwrapped
The way it works is the parents go "shopping" for their kids' gifts while we keep the tykes distracted with face painting, and pizza, and dancing, and a short, jolly, obese, bearded elf in a red suit.
You also can just donate like $15 bucks, and that'll go directly into the big Toys R Us run. If you wanna do that, get it in to Julie Kroflich (248) 478-5168 before Nov. 30.
What Kind of Gifts?
Well, first of all, things that are NOT guns, swords, violent comic books, etc. No perfume, cologne, body sprays or mouthwash, or anything else containing alcohol of any sort. No nail files or any other sharp items. Nothing with stickers.
Second, they have to be new, still in the packaging.
If you have any used strollers in good condition, they would be most welcome for the new moms who often don't have the resources to buy a stroller and must constantly hold their babies. Strollers are in addition to needing gifts to stock the "store."
Michigan apparel is totally cool. You will probably make some kid blue for life.
If you've got a gift, contact Julie Kroflich -- (248) 478-5168.
As for suggestions, this being MGoBlog and all, I think that might best be shown in a ..
|Infant/Toddler||Child (4-12 Years)||Teen||Parent|
|Sleepers||Sweat suits||Sweat suits||Sweat suits|
|$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes||$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes||Coats|
|Board games||Board games||$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes|
|Stuffed animals||Radio walkman||Resume paper and envelopes|
|Activity books||Jewelry kits||Radio walkman|
Update 11/25: Age Spread of Current Residents:
I got numbers on the ages of the kids who will be at the shelter, so you can decide for yourself what target to hit:
So lots and lots of toddlers and infants. Very short on boys +10 (which sucks because we just got a lot of cool t-shirts). Teenage girl gifts are in short supply.
Okay, What Do I Do With It?
Contact Julie Kroflich -- (248) 478-5168.
OR -- you can bring it down yourself to the:
Booth Evangeline Shelter
Detroit, MI 48208
Walk in and say it's for the "Adopt-a-Shelter" party on Dec. 5.
Is That All?
We also could use stuff donations: This is like, say, if you own a pizza joint and can donate pizza for 200 people, or orange juice/donuts/bagels for 200 people. Or cream cheese.
One year we had a Saturn Dealership give us 50 empty popcorn boxes (don't ask), and they were awesome. Another year we had paper crowns from a certain restaurant chain that kids decorated. You know what schlock you got.
We have the forms if you want tax receipts for the donations.
Or if you're a videographer, and could record and edit to create like a 3-5 minute video. Chances are it would be put on Mitch's Albom's website.
Volunteers: The Genesis II House (the not Mitch Albom one) still needs like four more solid volunteers. The Booth Evangeline Shelter could use more still I think. I will update as I get more info.
The gifts are what we need most right now.
Happy Holidays, and Go Blue!
Well now that we got the nagging question of whether we'll play in Detroit, Tempe, San Antonio, or DC out of the way (damn freshman being freshman-y), let's look objectively, without sorrow at the BCS&Big Ten bowl pictures...
First the BCS
Well I think this weekend cleared a lot up. What we know:
1) Fla/Ala winner and Tex are in the nat'l championship game as long as Tex keeps winning. Even a loss by Fla or Ala before the SEC championship game really won't matter as much as the SEC championship game is now essentially a play-in game for the nat'l title slot as either the #1 or #2 seed.
2) Provided TCU keeps winning, 3 of the 4 at-large slots are locked up. Fla/Ala loser, TCU, and a 2nd Big Ten team between Iowa and Penn St. Big East is likely only going to get one team (except for a scenario I'll outline in a second) and that will be the winner of Pitt/Cincy.
3) If Texas slips, it will become a voter free-for-all as to who gets the #2 slot in the title game. Right now, while TCU is ahead of Cincy in the BCS standings and human polls, a big time showing by Cincy against Pitt may be enough to vault Cincy ahead of TCU in human polls and the computer margin narrows to the point where Cincy goes ahead. But I also believe that we are staring right down the barrel of a TCU in the nat'l title game with one Nebraska upset of Texas.
So with that here's the predictions (special citation to Jerry Palm of CollegeBCS.com whose interview on Rivals radio on Friday reinforced some of my ideas) Reminder, only the Top 14 in BCS standings are eligible for selection as an at-large, and only two teams from a conference can be selected:
BCS Nat'l Championship: Fla v. Texas
Rose: tOSU v. Oregon (all but locked in)
Fiesta: Ok St v. TCU
Sugar: Alabama v. Penn St
Orange: Ga Tech v. Cincy
So here's how the selections went for me:
- Fla beats Ala to get the title slot.
- Texas beats Neb to get the title slot.
- Rose gets Big Ten Champ (tOSU) & Pac-10 champ (assumed Oregon, but could be Oregon St if they win next week); Orange gets ACC champ (Ga Tech)
- Sugar gets first at-large selection to replace Florida and they take slam dunk Alabama
- Fiesta gets next selection to replace Texas. While they could take TCU, I think they'll actually take a 2-loss Big 12 Ok St
- Now we go to the actual "at-large order", and this year its Orange, Fiesta, Sugar. Orange gets first pick and they take undefeated Cincinnati out of the Big East
- Fiesta is next, and they get either TCU (who has to be picked) or an attractive 2nd Big Ten team. I'm going to guess this time they'll take TCU who being from nearer Texas and the populous Dallas/FtWorth area will be a better travel option.
- Sugar gets the remainder, and they take Penn St for a salavating Alabama v. JoePa matchup that will be the 2nd best TV game of the BCS series. Sorry Iowa, but PennSt travels better and has better cache in terms of TV ratings.
- Pitt with an upset of Cincy will get the Big East bid, but a loss probably means they knock themselves out of an at large bid unless both TCU and Boise lose, making a potential Fiesta Bowl of Pitt and Penn St a possibility
- A Texas loss will throw the whole system into chaos. Neb would get the Fiesta Bowl bid leaving Texas as an at-large selection to the Sugar or Orange. My guess would be that the Orange would prefer Tex over Cincy/TCU leftover (whoever doesn't get the title game birth), but the Sugar would love them some Alabama-Texas action. That would mean then that Ok St wuld get knocked out BCS contention (2-team conference rule) leaving Penn St to glide into either Fiesta against Neb or Orange against Ga Tech.
- Clemson is still alive but they have to beat Ga Tech, and in that case, just swap out GT with Clemson in the predictions.
So with that settled, let's go to the Big Ten.
It's pretty much settled that the Big Ten will get a 2nd BCS team this year (either Penn St or Iowa-- my money's on Penn St as a better TV draw and hence more attractive). Big Ten also only has 7 teams bowl eligible, and with 2 BCS teams, will be left out of one bowl game.
Hence, the predictions:
BCS At-LArge: Penn St
Capitol One Bowl (BT2): Iowa
Outback (BT3): Wisconsin
ChampsSports (BT4): Northwestern
Alamo (BT5): Mich St
Insight (BT6): Minnesota
Pizza Pizza (BT7): no qualifiers
About the only shenanigans here would be the Alamo&Insight swapping teams and really it's not going to make much of a difference. Not too much controversy either... NW / Wiscy is a pick 'em from resume standpoints, but Wiscy travels much much better so the Outback is an easy pick for them.
The biggest intrigue for Big Ten bowls, is actually regarding a non-Big 10 team. A 6-6 ND would get shut out of all their bowl tie-ins leaving them to search for a bowl game. The open games in terms of conferences not having enough teams to fill slots are:
- Pizza Pizza Bowl (BT, Detroit)
- Eagle Bank Bowl (ACC, Wash DC)
- Humanitarian Bowl (MWC, Boise)
- GMAC (ACC, Mobile)
Humanitarian Bowl probably is going to want a Western team just for travel reasons (6-6 Kansas if they win this weekend?), and barring that are going to have to fight tooth/nail for another Eastern time zone team to come out that way (hello MAC!). GMAC may be out if Duke beats Wake Forest and qualifies at 6-6 (this may be sketchy-- would a 6 win team with a conference tie-in get in over a 7-win at-large team? I don't know the rules on that). Pizza Pizza and Eagle Bank seem to be the likely choices for a 6-6 ND. The wrinkle is that a 6-win team can't go if there are 7 win teams available, so according to Mandel at si.com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/stewart_mandel/11/23/bowl.projections/index.html) , Mid Tenn St and No Ill have seven, a Bowl Green win would get them to 7 wins, and if a third Sun Belt team qualifies (LA-Lafayette or LA-Monroe) with 7-wins, ND may not go bowling AT ALL.
Wow, what would be worse, us not going bowling after a 4-0 start roster limitations noted, or 5-Star Charlie's OMG AWESOME recruiting classes not going bowling at all in year 5??
During the Purdue meltdown, the announcers made mention of Michigan's fragile psyche and how the team seemed to collapse when a play or two went against it. Right about the time we surrendered the ill-covered on-side kick, followed by a 50+ yd TD bomb to a wide-open WR, I started thinking about what this Michigan team reminded me of.
Not exactly the 2005 UM team, Lloyd's worst team that finished 7-5. I only wished that we could have that team back again, at least their record. That team blew 2nd half leads to Wisconsin, Minnesota, OSU, and Nebraska in losing gut-wrenching games. Without the Henne-to-Manningham TD at the end of the PSU game and a great catch by Jason Avant in OT at Iowa (which set up the winning TD), we would have lost 6 games that we led in the 2nd half. But, that team still did deliver a few beautiful wins, including two on the road. (I was at both the PSU win and at Iowa for the OT win in back-to-back weeks.)
So...just who did 2009 UM resemble?
Well, consider the 2005 MSU team. They started with a few easy wins and then a thriller of a win at ND in OT. You might recall that a few zealous Spartan players promptly planted the S flag on the ND field (a mighty classless act that has NOT been duplicated by any RichRod teams in the past, even going back to WVU).
Sparty then rolled to victory two more times, including a blowout win at Illinois. UM stumbled into East Lansing a humbled 2-2, playing Sparty at 4-0. This was finally the chance to bury UM and possibly send them home without a bowl game at all. The game went back and forth, before UM blew a chance to win at the end, when Garrett Rivas shanked a short FG, similar to the Olnesavage shank yesterday vs. OSU. Sparty missed a FG (barely) in OT, and Rivas drilled the game winner.
Sparty proceeded to lose 4 of the next 5 games and then faced a must-win home game vs. PSU. Sparty played well but lost 31-22. Sparty QB Drew Stanton had a bunch of turnovers, similar to Forcier yesterday. Sparty ended home for the year, even though UM felt down after the season, losing an uninspired Alamo Bowl game to a Bill-Callahan-coached Nebraska team (Callahan = Ron Zook w/o the recruiting ability).
While NO bad season revolves around 1 or 2 bad plays, most seasons that turn sour seem to have a key southward-turning point. MSU's undoubtedly occurred during a classic John L meltdown at the end of the half vs. OSU. MSU had a surprising 17-7 lead and was trying a FG on the last play of the half. MSU had 10 men on the field and the FG was blocked and returned for a TD. MSU fell apart and never recovered. It seemed that the final blow wasn't the OT loss to UM, but the bumbled FG and subsequent meltdown at OSU. One play turned about an entire season. Once things bombed, morale sank to the depths of the ocean floor. Even a great coach would have struggled helping that team turn it around.
Our meltdown moment was that 1st and goal vs. Illinois, up 13-7, ready to go up 20-7. Nothing went right the rest of that game and, except for a quarter here or there of good play, we melted. Just like if Sparty hadn't blown the FG vs. OSU in 2005, I think they would have probably found a way to win enough to make a bowl game. Ditto for 2009 UM.
What needs to happen between now and September 2010 to avoid the "John L" fate?
Well, for one, RichRod should KEEP his staff together (as he stated he would). If improvement is only a matter of guys getting more time in his "system" then keeping the system the same makes sense, even if it isn't popular. I'm tired of change. All I want is improvement.
Second, RichRod needs to be more of a Dr. Phil in the off-season. Bo was always easier and supportive of his players when they were down. We don't really need anyone transferring out right now. Let's face it, Tate's unscripted text messages show how down he feels! Yelling has a place in this world of coaching (laziness, silly personal fouls, etc.), but this team seems (at least on the surface) to be together more than it is not.
Finally, enough of the "hey we're improving even if you don't see it on Saturday" comments! Be specific. If a guy is making great strides in practice, tell everyone who and what. After a game, mention the plays/situations where we made improvement from 2008-09. I'm hoping to here RichRod say sometime next year: "last year, Tate would have thrown it here and not waited for a another second or two, and that's why we got the winning TD today."
UConn will be ready to roll next year when we open up the new Big House. We have 10 months to get ready.
I sat in row 26 and he was in 39 which I didn't realize until I reached my seat that the section was four or five sections away from the OSU supporters. Great I thought I have to put up with these clowns for the game. I was shocked to my stance on how many Buckeye fans attended that day. The enitre top section that was about eight sections away was all scarlet and grey. I shook my head in digust and looked to the person next me and said "what can you do right?" He nodded and the pregame started and ended then it was kickoff time. Osu of course chose to recieve (typical). I sung when "The Victors" played and cheered "Let's Go Blue" when the band started playing it. I loved my view of the field though and I got a perfect view of Pryor's interception and Smith's touchdown. The rest of game play wise was tough to watch. Hearing the mimics when Tate threw those pics lit my fire and soon I started to kind of mimic back. When OSU fans started chanting O-H-I-O I interupted by chanting O-R-E-G-O-N. I can tell you that a lot of people got a kick out of it and yelling "How are those Browns doing?" also caught some glares. I couldn't help it because I like to even the playing field when it comes to insults. At the end of the game I walked up to my friend's section and stayed for "The Victors" then left. I will admit that I really didn't see any of the causes of the fan ejections. I saw someone in my section leave escorted by and usher and officer. He looked drunk by the way he was walking and he was of course a Buckeye. Despite the loss I had a great time. It's always great going to Michigan Stadium and talking with new people about the game and team. It's a treat to go to the Big House anytime you have a chance to go and even if it ends in a loss you can still appreciate the fact your there. I hope to go to more games next year and I'm hoping that I also will have the grades to transfer to the campus and go to the game every Saturday next fall! Untill next year fellow Wolverines I look forward to yet another year of Michigan football! Here's to 2010!
I posted this information on an MGoBlog thread, that seems to have been buried, and was apparently little-noticed. I'll repeat it here, in a Diary entry.
There is, I think, something of a technical explanation for some of the effect seen at the OSU game.
For about four or five years now, beginning with their drawn-up master plans for the stadium renovations, the Athletic Department has planned to perform in-bowl renovations to match the outer-bowl new construction in the form of the two major structures on the east and west sides of the bowl.
The design and the progress of the outside-of-the-bowl is obvious for all to see. The plans for the inside-the-bowl renovations were mostly invisible, until last Saturday.
AFTER the completion of the two giant outside structures, with a large amount of new seating available, the Athletic Department plans to proceed with inside-the-bowl renovations, including widened aisles, and, to the best of my knowledge, widened seat spacing. As a result, some seating within the bowl will be lost, to be made up in terms of total numbers by club seating and other premium seating. In other words, in case you didn't know it, the new premium seating will add several thousand new seats, but the old-bowl renovations will eliminate several thousand seats, with only a small net gain in total seating.
With those long-range plans for the in-bowl renovations, the Athletic Department has been "banking" all of the non-renewed season tickets. With those "banked" seats, the Athletic Department plans to be able to do the aforementioned aisleway widening, handrail addtions and (hooray) widened seat-numbering, with a minimum of inconvenience and movement to existing season ticket seat holders. Some season ticket holders might be moved, but with all of the "banked" seats at its disposal, the Ticket Office thinks it can minimize any inconvenience to season ticket holders who, for instance, currently have seats on an aisle that will be lost to aisleway widening. They had to utilize that same process, on a slightly smaller scale, in order to be able to construct the handicapped seating mezzanine.
In the meantime, it means that the Athletic Department has larger numbers of individul and/or package tickets to sell.
All of which were converted from abandoned season ticket subscriptions. And those package/game tickets can be picked up by anybody.
If you had wanted to conduct an experiment at the time of the OSU game, all you had to do was ask to see the tickets of any of those OSU fans; I have every presumption that in most cases, thetickets held by Buckeye fans would surely have been small and white, not the larger color photo-background tickets that go to season ticket holders.
This problem will be less and less of an issue in the future, as season-ticket assignments within the bowl get settled after renovations are completed.
Now, if anybody doesn't believe me, or doesn't want to believe me, or simply wants to maintain a kind of mythologized class-war about Michigan Stadium patrons, I sincerely suggest that an interview with Marty Bodnar of Joe Parker on this subject will be the best way to test my theory and reporting. If Brian wants to deputize me for the purpose, I'll be happy to make a call to the ticket office.
As for big blocks of OSU fans in Michigan Stadium: Michigan has long prided itself on being the most hospitable stadium in the Big Ten to visiting fans; nobody makes available more visiting-team tickets then we do. The block-seating areas include (and have always, always done this for OSU, MSU and other nearby rivals) the lower-row seats in Section 44, which go to opposing coaches' and players' guests. Also the top rows of the South endzone sections (generally opponent-students), as well as a block in the lower-center area of the South endzone (generally opponent alumni and boosters).
Lastly; as many have observed, on chilly days, Michigan fans are liable to be wearing navy sweaters and jackets. The OSU scarlet really stands out. (cf; Notre Dame.) And, for people in Columbus, the Michigan game is the biggest day of the year. They smelled blood in the water this year, and many of them made the effort, got the tickets, and came north. Do not for a moment think that ticket brokers missed an opportunity to purchase a package of tickets that included Eastern and Delaware State, simply to get ahold of OSU tickets, and sell them in Columbus. Those tickets, the package tickets, are quite likely part of the "bank" of tickets that the Athletic Department is holding only until 2010 or 2011, for the completion of the stadium renovations.
Pop quiz hotshot, who has the best offense in the Big Ten? If you don't know the answer or want to follow along with some simple stat manipulation, read and find out.
As usual, 12 data points is not enough to draw solid conclusions but if you didn't enjoy making statistical interpretations about college football you probably wouldn't be reading mgoblog.
As everyone knew, going into the OSU game Michigan had the best scoring offense in the Big Ten. Unfortunately that 10 spot we put up drops us all the way to 4th. How do we drop so quickly from 1st to 4th? What it really means is that we are in the 1st tier of offenses and a virtual tie for 2nd. If we had made that field goal (or gotten a safety) we would have been 2nd place in the Big Ten.
So how does the Big Ten stack up? Well, Wisconsin is the best scoring offense in the conference. Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State make up the rest of tier 1. Purdue*, Northwestern, Indiana and Iowa are the tier 2 offenses. Finally, Minnesota and Illinois bring up the rear.
|Points per game||Standard Deviation|
The main point to take away is that our offense was comparable to the Big Ten's offenses this year. Would you have said that last year? The other important thing to note is the standard deviation. Michigan was the most inconsistent of all Big Ten teams. Shocking statistical analysis there. Isn't it a good thing we can look at the numbers to see things we could never have known by watching the games?
Cupcakes aren't a high fiber diet
Again as everyone knew, part of that number 1 ranking was built out of baby seal carcasses. Michigan wasn't the only team that played a cupcake though. How can we adjust for these blowout games?
Well, one possibility is to look at performance against average points allowed. However, this takes some work and is already covered in great detail by The Mathlete. I prefer a quick and dirty approach. We take out the high and low score for each team to get more of a sense of what the consistent performance of the offense is.
|Adjusted PPG||Std Dev|
The only change in the adjusted points per game is that Michigan drops from 4th to 6th. It still remains in tier 1 though, along with Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State and this time Purdue. Northwestern falls more in line with the tier 2 offenses along with Indiana and Iowa. Minnesota and Illinois are still tier 3, although Illinois should probably be it's own tier 4. By the way, who wants to guess how many of the high scores that got eliminated were scored against Michigan?**
What does this all mean?
Everybody will have their own interpretation of these stats. When combined with the eyeball test, I think that it means our offense has made a lot of improvement over last year. It's not quite the offensive juggernaut we hope to see soon, but a lot of that could be explained by a true freshman QB and Molk's absence. We'll see how much more they improve next year, but I think there is a real reason for a lot of hope on the offensive side of the ball.
* Purdue is hard to judge because it is basically in between tier 1 and tier 2. There is a gap between the tier 1 teams and Purdue so I made them tier 2. I probably should have included the Boilermakers in tier 1 though, as we'll see in the next section.
** Trick question. Surprisingly, only Wisconsin scored their season-high against us. Although, Illinois and Indiana came within a touchdown of their season highs when they played us.