"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
Because really, having football teams win or lose doesn't change our lives. But having a brother does. Being the parent of brothers does. And sometimes the metaphor teaches us a lot more about the subject than looking at the subject alone.
There used to be a site called "Bitter Rivals dot com" that was about the Mich/MSU rivalry.
I wrote a thing for them, which if it was still online I could show you, which was written a lot better than what follows, and which called Mich/MSU a sibling rivalry back when Hart was deep under recruiting radars at some upstate New York high school.
The analogy didn't come from me -- I heard it first from a fraternity brother, and when I asked where he first heard the analogy, it was an older brother in the house, and so on... It's older than Hart. It might be as old as the rivalry itself.
Every relationship is different. Rivalries are relationships. The sibling analogy helps explain this one, because the two players act the way that rivalric brothers act, each fulfilling stereotypical roles of elder and younger.
I have two little brothers, one of whom is barely a year younger, and went to State (barely didn't get in to M, which was his first choice). He is my best friend. He will be my Best Man when I get married (in A2) next year. When I have an extra Tigers ticket, he's my first call, and I have spent enough time in the front seat of his 2000 Ford Ranger that my ass has left a permanent imprint.
And many, many, many times in my life I have wanted to rip his fucking testicles off.
Brothers fight. Brothers compete. Brothers piss each other off. If you have a brother that is close in age and you never fought each other, then that is really really weird, because this is primal shit.
If you want to delve further into the analogy, then yes, it's a juvenile fraternal relationship we're talking about.
M/MSU isn't about brothers who are late 20s through 40s and make their kids play together while talking about if the wives will ever come around to Mom. It's about brothers who are 10, stuck in the same house, the younger measuring himself by the elder, who measures himself against the big bully kid up the street, when fall Saturdays mean hours spent outside doing things that end up with one boy or several on the ground, which as winter onsets, hurts more and more.
It's one thing when the big kid up the street calls you "scUM" or "Walmart Wolverine" -- he's trying to start a fight, and, lo, the fight will come to him when it is time (and that ground has grown hard enough that he won't be cushioned when you knock his ass on it).
But you can handle the bully -- what's really irritating is when Little Brother starts picking up on something the class bully says and repeats it again and again.
And you hear it, because Little Brother is always there -- going to the YMCA, camp, the bus to school, soccer practice, a friend's house -- you can't get away from Little Bro.
Whether you got your degree at Michigan or Michigan State really matters very little in my current world. The tangible, universal difference between The University of Michigan, and Michigan State University happens at 18: one group of in-state kids got to run around the house with their parents beaming, the other had to choke down the lump of rejection and embarrassment, and then learn to become comfortable with that.
And eventually, both will learn that this measuring stick didn't matter as much as they thought.
This rivalry takes place between those points. It's about one program that has ridiculous, permanent institutional advantages put in stone by Fielding Fucking Yost, and another that needed to take advantage of the middle 20th century South's dumb-ass-ness about skin color to ever be nationally relevant.
It's about one side that is introspective and intellectual, and another that acts like a meat-head when you know damn well that he isn't as dumb as he pretends. It's about one side that values intelligence as if it's the only judge of a person's worth, and how his brother knows damn well that he's not as smart as all of his pretensions.
Getting from childhood rivalry to grownup relationship with your brother is a trial. For those of us in the State of Michigan, we at least have this annual war-by-proxy to serve as a metaphor for it. Really, by whipping each other into a frenzy over this, we're acting like 10-year-olds. The thing is, that's an important thing to do -- by framing your feelings into juvenile arguments, you get to see exactly where you might be wrong, or in this case, pretension, or an inferiority complex.
It's not something that started with a tailback from Michigan, or a tailback from Michigan State. It started with Cain and Able. Or more precisely, when someone had the idea of putting two extraordinarily good universities in one state, and then one also happened to have the premier football team in all the land as soon as football meant something to the prestige of an extraordinarily good university.
If you have nothing but hatred for MSU, then I say go to your room and cool off, because so long as you live under this roof, you are going to live with him whether you like it or not.
Happy MSU week. Now let's put that little shit back in his place, eh?
|Player||Team||G||Value||Yards||TD||INT||Rush Yards||Rush TD|
|Daryll Clark||Penn State||4||5.61||241||2.25||1.50||12||0.00|
|Kirk Cousins||Michigan State||3||3.91||222||1.33||0.67||2||0.00|
|Terrelle Pryor||Ohio State||4||3.28||173||1.25||1.00||62||0.50|
|Keith Nichol||Michigan State||3||2.40||84||1.00||0.67||18||0.00|
QB stats don't include sacks or fumbles. Denard only listed for 3 games because he didn't attempt a pass against ND.
|Player||Team||G||Value||Rush||Yards||TD||Rec Yards||Rec TD|
|Evan Royster||Penn State||4||2.11||15||71||0.75||25||0.33|
|Brandon Saine||Ohio State||4||1.36||8||45||0.00||21||0.00|
|Larry Caper||Michigan State||3||1.14||8||35||0.67|
|Caulton Ray||Michigan State||3||-0.21||7||24||0.33|
|Dan Herron||Ohio State||4||-0.87||15||53||1.25||17||0.00|
Not noted on the stat detail, but any passes from running backs are included in the total value figure.
Player - WR - Season
|Mark Dell||Michigan State||2||6.59||3.52||5.50||97||0.50|
|B Cunningham||Michigan State||3||6.42||3.37||6.00||79||1.00|
|Keshawn Martin||Michigan State||2||5.47||3.35||2.50||76||1.00|
|D Sanzenbacher||Ohio State||4||5.31||5.13||3.00||69||1.00|
|Derek Moye||Penn State||4||5.22||3.05||3.75||63||0.50|
|Blair White||Michigan State||3||5.07||3.49||4.67||62||0.67|
|Chaz Powell||Penn State||4||4.27||3.60||3.75||53||0.50|
|Devier Posey||Ohio State||4||3.46||1.85||3.75||40||0.25|
|Graham Zug||Penn State||3||3.22||2.66||4.00||51||0.67|
|Mickey Shuler||Penn State||2||1.08||-0.53||1.00||4||0.50|
Value column is on completions only, Value+ column is all in, catches and targeted incompletions/interceptions. Not noted on the stat detail, but any runs (Tandon Doss) or passes from wide receivers are included in the total value figure.
Wide receivers' value numbers will always skew high because they don't have much for negative plays working against them, they just don't get the ball if they make a bad play, so even with the adjusted numbers, the totals are generally a self-selected group.
The subject of that diary was about how Cissoko looks to be the second coming of Todd Howard. In some ways that will give you nightmares and in others it might leave you feeling mildly content a couple of years from now. But that wasn't what struck me when I read that Diary.
What struck me was that in the past 15 years Michigan has always had a lock-down corner on the field in every year but three. Here's the rundown:
- '92 - '94 = Ty Law
- '95 - '97 = Charles Woodson
- '98 - '00 = ???
- '01 - '04 = Marlin Jackson
- '03 - '06 = Leon Hall
- '07 - ?? = Donovan Warren
The two primary corners during that gap in '98-'00 were James Whitley and Todd Howard. Whitley was supposed to be a stud recruit and I remember a quote from Woodson where he talked about Whitley potentially being better than he was. Well, that obviously didn't happen. Whitley will forever be known as a guy with decent speed and size who could run step for step with recievers but never make a play on the ball.
You'll also remember this era as when Plexico "Rikers" Buress dominated Michigan to the point where Carr desperately put David Terrell in the game at CB in an attempt to slow him down. This did not go well:
So why am I bringing this up? Well, there was an interesting Detroit Lions Notebook today in the Detroit News:
(Sidenote - Who knew that Carson Butler was only now being cut from an NFL practice squad? And who knew that he is still considered a defensive end instead of a tight end? Ahh Carson, what a weird trajectory your life has taken.)
But the shocking thing to me from this notebook is that the Lions starting corner named Will James is the former Will Peterson of the 1997 Michigan National Championship team. He left the program for reasons I can't recall (academics?) and went to Western Kentucky. Since then he's been in the NFL for 8 seasons and has been a starter for part of that time.
If you look at that original chart I put up you'll see that he would have been on the team during that post-Woodson void of a lock-down corner. Maybe he would have been that guy? It made me wonder what would have been different for Michigan had he been able to stay on the team. Whitley would have been a good #2 CB and Howard would have been an excellent nickel back.
So I end this diary with a challenge to the readers: What other former UM players can you think of who ended up having solid careers but didn't last at Michigan? Imagine how things could have been different if these players had stayed a full four years. I'll get you started with some classics:
- Trevor Pryce - He turned into a dominant NFL pass rusher after leaving Michigan. If you look at the lack of elite pass rushers in Michigan history you have to wonder how great he could have been had he stayed.
- Justin Fargas - Probably the most memorable Michigan defectors of all time, he's had a solid NFL career at RB after he could never figure it out at Michigan and actually spent time at safety before transferring to USC. I still can't figure out what happened (besides the injury) with his inability to be an effective RB for us.
- Jon Ritchie - Despite being somewhat of a tool (personal experience from living in West Quad at the same time as him), he became an excellent NFL fullback and would have been a valuable asset for Carr had he finished his career there.
First of all, I want to state the obvious: Yost is awesome. The building is beautiful, the crowd is crazy, the team competes for championships year in and year out, and the only times we have seen a sports atmosphere like it are a select few football games (2003 OSU, 2004 MSU, 2005 PSU, 2009 Notre Dame). I have been going to games for almost fifteen years, first as a kid whenever my neighbors had extra tickets, and now as a student. I love Yost and we absolutely do not want anything about it to change, but I think it can be even better.
Last winter, after traveling to several road games and NCAA Regionals in Bridgeport, my friend and I decided that there should be a hockey student organization equivalent to what Maize Rage is for basketball. Our intention is not to change the Yost experience or impose ideas on the student section in any way. We are not trying to script the cheers because, let’s be honest, nothing beats a clever cheer that starts spontaneously (“Potato famine” against Notre Dame for example). However, there are some easy things we can do.
Our primary goal is to make it easier for students to travel to road games, CCHA playoffs, and NCAA playoffs. Last year when we went to Bridgeport, our friends were the only active students in the crowd. We know there are plenty of fans out there who would love to make the trip given a more obvious opportunity. There is no reason why we couldn’t fill up a charter bus or two, get a cheap rate for a block of hotels, and have an unbelievable weekend. Similarly, CCHA playoffs are less than an hour away and almost half of our conference opponents are within two hours of Ann Arbor (MSU, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Western). We have discussed our plan with the athletic department and they are fully on-board. There are logistics to work out, but they want to provide buses to games in Detroit and potentially others far away. They want to work with us if we can make this happen.
In addition to road trips, we want to try to make the student section more cohesive. In my experience, nothing makes a group closer than traveling together, but there are plenty of things we can do in Ann Arbor. The athletic department has told us that they have plenty of money for promotions and events. There could be pre-game tailgates, like the preseason hockey barbecue. One idea they had was a tricycle race tournament before the game in the parking lot, with the semifinals and finals on the ice between periods. They also want to do more t-shirt giveaways and other promotions. Not only does the athletic department want a student group to work with and bounce ideas off of, we can serve as an outlet for student ideas and facilitate a dialogue with the athletic department.
Although we came up with the idea and are working to get it off the ground, this group will not work without popular support. The last thing we want to do is impose our ideas and our will on the rest of the student section. We are open to any ideas and, more importantly, we are looking for other students who want to get involved. Although we have an idea of what our goals are, we want as much input and help from other students as we can get so that this becomes a group for all of Yost and all students, not just the two of us and the athletic department. There are several ways to get in touch with us and become involved. Join our facebook group called Michigan Hockey Student Section, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, talk to us at our table at the student ticket hockey barbecue this Thursday, or, most importantly come to our mass meeting in the Union Tap Room on Tuesday October 6 at 7:00 PM. Go Blue!
Defense - Pass+
|Off||G||Expected Points||Actual Points||Diff|
|Def||G||Expected Points||Actual Points||Diff|
Note: The spectacular rollercoaster start to the season distracted me from our McBean effort. Back to work. Source Material: Original Post, Definitions, 2002 Class, Problems.
There was a flurry of concern about how our definitions, particularly the proliferation of McBean two-stars when we rarely recruit any Rivals two-stars, necessarily results in an overall decline in performance for any given class. This is a big deal when you recall that the purpose of this project is to allow us to judge whether a staff’s recruiting and talent development exceeds or falls short of expectations. We can say right now that they will almost always fall short of expectations; the question is how much. One day, we may adopt a variation of the proposed formula from wolfman81 to solve this problem (I say variation because I don’t think it goes far enough to compensate for the two-star problem – see the 2003 class RMS below, which narrows the gap as it should for a great class, but not enough…I think somehow weighting five-star players may be the answer):
Lastly, you asked me about my formula. It's really just the Root-Mean-Square. So add up for each player (star rating)^2. Then divide by total number of players. (This is the mean of the squares.) Now take a square root so that the numbers are comparable.
Example: Compare these 2 person classes (2 4 stars, vs. 1 5-star and 1 3 star)
2 **** -> Avg = 4.0, RMS = 4.0
1 ***** + 1 *** -> Avg = 4.0, RMS = 4.123
I'll ask the question this way. Would you prefer a class that is half 3-stars and half 4-stars (remember, I'm talking about McBeans here--so 12 All-Conference players and 12 servicable backups) or a class that is half 2-stars and half 5-stars (so we have 12 All-Americans in a single class and 12 guys who never play)? I know what my answer is (especially if we consistently recruit and develop that kind of talent).
I am rolling out this stat below the averages for your consideration.
In the end, we decided to finish out our McBean rating effort and go from there. With three classes in hand, we will be able to gauge the two-star problem and either wallow in that misery, as UMFootballCrazy wants, or create an algorithm to compensate the relative value of players, as wolfman81 wants. The Team Ranking analysis for the 2003 class demonstrates the two-star problem clearly…
…but we’re going to finish and circle back. I will probably even finish the 2005 class, even though we have active players.
Here are the first two final classes, 2002 and 2003:
For the 2003 class, Kraus was bumped to a four star, which was near unanimous except to UMFootballCrazy, who doesn’t like to ignore the NFL draft in this instance. I have felt bad for SanDiegoWolverine in the past because he keeps passionately arguing for certain guys and not getting his way – in this instance, he wins as both Rivas gets moved to a four-star (you can’t use the NFL draft as a tie-breaker for kickers/punters and he is a multi-year starter) and Richard gets reclassified as N/A.
JimHarbaughScramble is clearly still grappling with extreme Mundypobia, but sorry JHS, I can’t make a drafted DB a two-star no matter how many times you see this running through your mind:
Here is the preliminary 2004 class, which is our last class that we can call complete (the 2005 class has six active players). There are plenty of issues, and most of them seem to result from overrating our favorite players, like Henne and Hart.
There's a lot to debate in the 2004 class.