rundown of Michigan's riser
So I have been thinking on this topic for awhile. And I'm sure it's been done here many a times, but I thought I'd just throw out my all M team.
Not all of these players are great NFL players and not all of them would fit on-the-field in the positions as such, but I just thought I would throw out a list of my favorite M players that I have seen play in my lifetime. I'm sure many people will flame some of my picks, but they are mine. Feel free to post your own.
QB: Chad Henne, Drew Henson
RB: Tim Biakabatuka, Tyrone Wheatley
WR: Braylon Edwards, The New Math Mario Manningham, Mercury Hayes (if only for the name alone)
TE: Jerame Tuman
OL: Jake Long, Steve Hutchinson, John Jansen, David Bass, Couldn't name a single M center not on the roster.
DL: Lamaar Woodley, Brandon Graham, Alan Branch, Terrance Taylor
LB: Larry Foote, David Harris, Jarrett Irons (haha), Sam Sword (Super nice guy)
CB: Ty Law, Charles Woodson, Marlin Jackson, Leon Hall
S: Ernest Shazor, couldn't name a decent Safety besides ES, but I could be over looking.
P: The one and only Space Emperor of Space Zoltan Mesko
K: Hayden Epstein (I just have fond memories for whatever reason)
KR/PR: Black Jesus Steve Breaston/Charles Woodson could play here too.
Here’s the final update before the rankings come out:
First, hockey. Michigan was off. So, only three games were played this weekend that mattered.
On Saturday, teams I wanted to win went 2 for 2. Which was sweet. St. Lawrence edged #11 Vermont by a goal. Also, #2 Minnesota beat #10 Colorado College 4-1 pretty bad, which, in the end, is good for us. (Minnesota wins also help our strength of schedule, as we beat them earlier in the season.)
On Sunday, CC edged Minnesota 1-0. I’m really hoping the fact that the weekend’s total score was 4-2 is what sticks in the minds of voters.
It’s not unreasonable that we jump from #12 to #10 without even playing.
Basketball. Lets start with the games I labeled priority games:
Michigan totally kicked Eastern’s ass. 91-60. This is sufficient to impress people I imagine. Michigan was down by as much as 7 early, and Bielein was absent, but, well, we rocked. Being a Michigan Wolverine is a satisfactory experience!
#21/#21 Ohio State beat Butler. It was a good game, I watched the end, Butler almost won. But, in the end, Ohio State’s probably slightly too ahead of us for a loss by them to actually have affected our rank, so, their win probably helps us in the long run, because it makes the Big T1e1n stronger.
BYU beats up on Portland. Which is too bad. It means that, while I thought BYU might go 1-1 this week, they go 2-0.
The big upset:
UMASS BEATS KANSAS! Awesome, just awesome. Kansas was #23/#25, should fall out of both polls, ideally we’re ahead of them next week, even if we’re not ranked. This is the only game on my “games that there probably won’t be an upset” in which there was one.
Everything else went the way it was supposed to:
NR/#22 Baylor over Prairie View
Clemson over SC State
#24/#24 Marquette over IPFW
#22/#23 Davidson over Chattanooga
Wisconsin over Wisconsin-Green Bay
Dayton over Coppin State
Sunday’s only game:
#25/NR Miami (FL) over Robert Morris
So, being that only one team lost that could actually affect our rank, I figure we shouldn’t move much. We certainly won’t be ranked. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the 30 point win will mean we get enough votes so that we’re something like a theoretical 26th or 27th, but, I don’t forsee it. See you tomorrow once the rankings have come out. Good night, don’t let the inner-ear infections bite.
If you are interested in this but haven't read the first installment, go back and do so, otherwise this won't make much sense.
OK. In Part 1, I proposed my playoff-within-the-season plan. It takes some getting used to. The major hurdle, I think, is the lack of a set-in-stone regular season schedule. The lack of certainty is tough on the conference schedulers. Otherwise, commenters brought up some points, most of which I think I had a pretty fair answer for. But the main sticking point is that it would seem nigh-impossible for teams to know when they'll have a home or road game any later than a week in advance.
What if I told you that home and road dates could in fact be set nearly in stone before the season began?
I set out to find if this could happen. My methodology:
- All 120 teams are seeded using the CBS Sports 1-120 power rankings, and 8 sacrificial lambs that don't matter were added from the ranks of DI-AA.
- The playoffs played out with no upsets, returning visiting teams to the ranks of the regular season participants, though for these purposes I only care what happens to the Big Ten teams.
- The first three conference games of each Big Ten team happened before the playoffs, were spread out from Weeks 2-6, and were precisely reflective of the games that were actually played this season, though not always in correct order. This is because I had to adjust for dates, bye weeks, etc. The conference can, of course, make this smoother when they schedule ahead of time. I was kind of back-scheduling, if you follow.
- Starting October 18, which is Week 8 of the real season and Week 9 of mine, and covering six weeks, each Big Ten team had either a home game, away game, or a bye (nonconference game = bye for these purposes, I'm focusing on just the conference right now.) I slotted all the home games and away games and byes in the right slots ahead of time. This is important: It simulates doing so in real life. Now each team has set home dates it can sell tickets for, though no opponent yet. It forces me to try and put a home date in the right spot wherever I can.
- Week 9, teams began to return to conference play, having lost the week before. Each week, I took the teams that had returned and gave them a game based on where they were supposed to play that week. For example, the first week saw Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Purdue eliminated, and thus returned to conference play. Illinois was scheduled for a home game that week, IU was scheduled for a road game, and M and Purdue were scheduled for byes. So Indiana traveled to Illinois, and the other two teams kept their byes. The next week, Minnesota and Wisconsin joined the party, and the process continued.
- I did this each week, even paying attention to rivalries and avoiding rematches from the playoffs. Michigan plays MSU and OSU. Minny, Wiscy, and Iowa all play one another. OSU even plays Illinois.
- Then I added up the standings, using actual results and taking guesses where those don't exist (e.g. Wisconsin over Purdue.)
Here are the results, including playoff games:
(I present these for posterity as proof of my work - if you only want to see the summary, just skip to the bottom.)
Guide to the symbols:
PP - playoff game
## - Changed from home game to something else
@@ - Changed from road game to something else
%% - Changed from bye to something else
Standings (conference games only)
Penn State 7-0
Michigan State 6-0
Ohio State 6-1
@Penn State (L)
@Vanderbilt (L) PP
Ohio State (L)
Michigan State (L)
@Western Michigan (L) PP
@Michigan (L) ##
@Penn State (L)
@Michigan State (L)
UAB (W) PP
South Carolina (W) PP
@Penn State (L) PP
Ohio State (L)
@Penn State (L)
@Clemson (L) PP
@Michigan State (L)
@Northwestern (L) ##
@Ohio State (L)
Kent State (W) PP
Connecticut (W) PP
@Georgia Tech (L) PP
@Ohio State (L)
Tennessee (W) PP
@Ohio State (L) PP
Michigan State (L)
Michigan State (L)
Washington State (W) PP
Buffalo (W) PP
@TCU (L) PP
@Minnesota (W) ##
@Penn State (W) %%
North Texas (W) PP
Minnesota (W) PP
Mississippi (W) PP
@Penn State (L) PP
James Madison (W) PP
Fresno State (W) PP
Iowa (W) PP
Ohio State (W) PP
@Oklahoma (L) PP
Penn State (L)
@Ohio State (L)
@Central Michigan (L) PP
Penn State (L)
@Ohio State (L)
Temple (W) PP
@Boston College (L) PP
@Michigan State (L)
OK. Problems and their possible answers:
- Clearly, this makes a mess of the conference standings. Only 5 of 11 teams play a full conference schedule. I did include intra-conference playoff matchups (PSU-OSU, for example) in the standings, except for rematch games (OSU-Minn.) Answer: Intra-conference matchups in the playoffs will happen more than you might think - consider the birthday problem - and so it's not hard to count on being able to add them to the standings to help mitigate this. This also provides an excuse for the Big Ten to play a championship game. I don't worry about a team that went 1-6, but MSU/PSU might turn into an issue without a pretty well-defined tiebreaker of some kind, be it a championship game or whatever else.
- Inequitable spread of home and road games. This happens because some teams lose a home conference game by advancing, some lose a road one, and some lose a bye. This and the above problem can be greatly reduced with slop-time games at the end; if Week 8, the first round of the playoffs, is October 18, then Week 14 is November 29 and there's still one more week of football left (at least in the real season.) However, Penn State has already played 13 games, a slop-time game would give them 15 all season.
- A very few instances of lost home games. Lost road games are not a huge issue, except for the revenue. Lost byes are probably a bonus - if the other divisions can play a home game in the playoffs on a week's notice, so can this one. Lost home games, as mentioned by commenters, are the big thing. But I really think this can be eliminated entirely with some rejiggering. I'm a dude with a spreadsheet, playing nerd games. If I can figure this out in an hour and a half with only three lost home games (which were changed to road games - and mind you, the home team for those three games already had a home game scheduled so there isn't a reciprocal switch. If there were, then there would be no issue) then I have little doubt that a crack group of people who do it for a paycheck can figure it out so this doesn't happen.
So the main thing now, to me, is the inequitability (actual word?) in the conference schedules. I think it's very possible, and very workable, to set home dates in stone so that fans can plan around those dates. I have yet to think of a proper solution to the uneven conference schedules. Other than "just live with it" or "the team that advances farthest in the playoffs is the conference champ, and if two teams tie then they just play each other when they're eliminated" I don't have any solutions to that, just mitigating factors. The main idea might be mvp's proposal from the other comment thread that had six conference games, then the start of the playoffs, which would help big-time with this issue but create a couple others.
Alright, so, some updates.
First of all, yes, I realize that the rankings don't really matter yet. And I know we're pretty high in the RPI. But this will not stop me from watching the rankings, because, no matter what you say about early season rankings, it is easier to go into the Big T1e1n season ranked than to fight for a ranking during what should be a competitive Big T1e1n season for us.
Second of all, yes, I realize that, even if it isn't necessarily the best for our ranking, we want Big T1e1n teams to win, because it'll help our RPI in the long run. But, you know what? I'll deal with that later. Once the B10 season starts, I'll start talking about not only what would best help our ranking, but, what would help our Big Ten tourney seed. For now, we're looking at things on a strictly "what would best help our ranking" basis.
Because its my diary.
Oh, also, I'm abadoning the system where I put T's in front of teams that got votes and do have a rank but just aren't in the top 25. If a team doesn't have a number in front of it, go ahead and assume it is not in the polls but got more votes than us. For ranked teams, ranking convention is coaches/media.
So, what actually happened:
Wisconsin (only ahead of us in coaches poll), actually almost lost to Idaho State. This is... strange. Should hurt them. I'm just glad they stayed alive, because, well, we open the season against them, and I want the game to really mean something.
#22/#23 Davidson barely beat out West Virginia, which actually really sucks, because, well, otherwise, they may have fallen out of the polls, which would have been good for us.
BYU (again, only ahead of us in coaches), crushed Boise St.
Dayton beats Creighton in the battle o' rhyme by 18, so, although it won't help us get ranked, as long as we beat Eastern Saturday, it'll help us pass them in the polls.
No games of interest. None. Weird.
Miami beat up on FL Intl, which is of no surprise.
Tomorrow's the big day, here are the games to watch and where to watch them:
PRIORITY GAMES TO WATCH:
Obviously, Michigan vs. Eastern on the Big Ten Network. 4:00. Uh, I say we win. That's about all I have to say about that.
#21/#21 Ohio State v. Butler at noon on BTN. Battle of the Undefeateds. Could be good for Michigan's rank if OSU loses, but, well, its a Big 10 team. It could be better in the long run if they win.
BYU v. Portland. This one's late for us, 10:00pm, and most of us won't get it, as its on The Mtn, which is the Mountain West's sports network. A city in Oregon just elected America's first openly Transgender mayor (congratulations Mayor Rasmussen!), so something tells me the Mormons don't like the entire state. (Why yes. I am bitter about the Prop 8 loss.) Of course, this means I'll be rooting for Portland to beat their asses so bad that they don't have tax-exempt status. It's not unreasonable. They're a two-loss team.
Other games I care much, much less about, because the team that should win probably will:
Wisconsin v. Wisconsin-Green Bay 8pm BTN
Dayton v. Coppin State 8pm, Online
NR/#22 Baylor v. Prairie View A&M 3pm, ESPN360
Clemson v. SC State 2pm, Online
#23/#25 Kansas v. UMass 2pm, ESPN, ESPN360
#24/#24 Marquette v. IPFW 2pm, Sports 32 (Local Milwaukee Network)
#22/#23 Davidson v. Chattanooga 7pm, Online (PPV)
#25/NR Miami (FL) v. Robert Morris 1pm, No TV
The online games, I'm not sure if they're free, unless I've marked that they're not. You can find them on those teams' official websites. If you're really, really obsessive.
There's some hockey this weekend, but, just look at the last blog to find it.
Good night, don't let the Sam McGuffies bite.
THE KNOWLEDGE is back to reveal some important information regarding the coaching situation for the football team
after an exceptionally disappointing season, the defense coordinator SS will be fired
this is ABSOLUTE SOLID inside information that THE KNOWLEDGE is privy to
those os you that know THE KNOWLEDGE know that I may have predicted the wrong coach (who has now taken on the job at UW) instead of RR, but I predicted a EXACT DATE of the hire weeks in advance
the reason that Shafer hasn't been given the marching orders already is that RR wants to make sure he settles on the new DC before firing Shafer
there are also rumblings about the 2 choices that the new DC search has been narrowed down to; however THE KNOWLEDGE shall not provide the information at this point because it is very sensitive in nature. you can rest assured that whichever the choice is, the fans will be HIGHLY pleased. suffice to say at this point that both of these candidates are excellent coaches with a proven track record of dominating defenses
if you don't believe me, then wait until January end when Shafer shall be fired, and the new DC hired
then THE KNOWLEDGE will bask in glory
and leave everyone in a trail of dust
OK, if you even made it this far, congrats. This time of year, everyone's got their own perfect little playoff ideas that they want to share with the world, and it gets a little tiresome. That notwithstanding, it's my turn.
I'm vehemently against the notion of a playoff as it's usually thought of. To me it ruins the regular season and the bowls, both of which I think are too important. But I've conceived this idea (I may or may not be the first, I dunno) and it's one that satisfies my own concerns about traditions, while adding a radical new wrinkle to the season that ought to satisfy the playoff proponents in a BIG way. I invite all to poke holes in the idea as they see fit....
- First, grab 8 more teams from DI-AA for a 128 team league. You can have a tournament with any number of teams, of course, but 128 is twice 64 so it breaks down nicely.
- Schedule 6 games at the beginning of the season. Some of them would be conference games and others would be non-conference, scheduled by the AD as they are now.
- Have a competition committee seed a 128-team bracket during a nationwide bye week, based on last year's results and this year's first few games, taking into account strength of schedule, quality of wins, blah blah blah. You could set up an RPI same as in basketball. Committee would attempt to avoid rematches.
- Play out the tournament. It would take six weeks to boil down to two teams. Losing teams return to their regular schedule as determined by the conferences and continue to play out the season. Winning teams continue through the bracket.
- Losing teams then continue to play the regular season just as they do now, but ineligible for the national title, and their conference title too if another team from their conference is still alive.
- The national title game then becomes the result of the bracket. All the bowls are played just exactly as they are now. Conference champions can be determined however the conference wants to determine them.
Advantages would be: We get a playoff - a big honkin' one - and we don't ever have to hear the media whine and bitch about it ever again. The bowl system remains almost perfectly intact, and even retains its prestige. Being the Rose Bowl champs would still mean something. The BCS can continue, only without the national championship aspect - now it's just a series of championship bowls for conference champions and some of the better at-larges. The regular season still means something, because the playoff is the regular season, and eliminated teams still get to play for a bowl game berth. Everybody gets a shot at being the national champion, and playing a seven-game tournament would probably shut everyone up about who does and doesn't deserve it. And finally, those early season games become pretty important all of a sudden. You want to impress the committee, maybe you stop scheduling Northwest Southcentraleastern North Dakota Poly Tech.
Disadvantages: It'd required wicked amounts of schedule flexibility. The teams' logistics people would really have to earn their paycheck. (But the TV schedulers generally ensure that games don't have a set time until as soon as a week prior anyway.) And a team would be conference champs despite playing maybe as few as three conference games. (Although if you're national champs, you probably would have beat all the fools in your conference anyway.) Also, potential loss of rivalry games. If Michigan or OSU is one of the teams still left in the bracket, the game wouldn't happen that year. However, by the last couple weeks only a few teams would still be alive for the title, and the vast majority of rivalry games would still get played. Probably the only lost ones would involve the final four.
The national schedule would break down like so:
- First six weeks: Games as usual.
- Week 7: Bye, for committee confab.
- Week 8: Round 1. All 128 teams involved.
- Week 9: Round 2. 64 teams remain. Other 64 continue the season as before.
- Weeks 10-12: Rounds 3, 4, 5. At the end, four teams remain.
- Week 13, 14: Final Four. Conference championship games are played, wherever needed. Final Four games get mad crazy hype as national title participants determined. Afterwards, BCS selection for Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta. Bowl invites extended. Final Four losers get auto-bids to a BCS bowl. Winners rejoice, commence smack talk, as both are on a six-game win streak.
- Bowl season: Same as always. Bowls are played, payouts are given, people celebrate. National title game is played. Dan Wetzel orgasms repeatedly. Terry Bowden no longer has column material. Congress decides to bully the NFL a bit.