Yes, the dual title is a shout-out to “Rocky and Bowinkle”.
Although this post should be totally unnecessary, idiocy abounds and the madness must be stopped. Short of writing personal checks to players (or some equivalently massive set of rule violations), Rich Rodriguez WILL NOT BE FIRED by season’s end. He will live to fight another day and to coach another year in Ann Arbor no matter what happens on the field this season.
I was listening to WTKA recently and they had some airhead running his mouth about how RR is on the “hot seat” this year, that he needs to have a winning record, etc. I got ticked by his obvious ignorance of what exactly constitutes the “hot seat” and his general lack of analysis, betraying a lack of understanding of the state of M Football. But I dismissed it for what it was: talk radio. They’ve gotta talk about something to justify their existence. And the more simplistic, inane, and agitating, the better.
Then Brian linked a Phil Steele article from the Orlando Sentinel in which Phil lists RR as the #7 coach in I-A (FBS) on the “hot seat” and I couldn’t take it anymore.
FIRST of all, let’s start with the definition of the euphemism “hot seat”. In sports, “on the hot seat” means “you’re about to get fired unless you produce like now.” The last word in that sentence is where Phil (and others) must be getting confused. It’s not “yesterday” or “last year”, because that’s “you WERE fired.” It’s not “in the next 3-5 years”, because that’s a seat that’s just not hot. Hot Seat = NOW … or else.
SECOND, let’s look at what Phil said about RR.
· Phil expects M to be an underdog in 7 games. By implication, that means Michigan would be a favorite in 5 games. No one in Wolverine Nation would be thrilled by a 5-7 finish. But RR won’t get fired over it either. Why? Because Michigan AD, Bill Martin, is a patient man. Bill knows that his football coach is only in his second year of getting his players and his system in place. Bill waited through 5 years of Tommy Amaker, he’ll certainly wait through 3-5 years of RR.
· Phil thinks RR will get us to a decent bowl and make major strides just like he did in his 2nd year at West Virginia. We would need to go 6-6 to go to any kind of bowl, 8-4 to go to a “decent bowl”, as Phil says. Why would that get RR fired? That sounds like the kind of progress everyone is hoping for.
· Phil thinks that a lot Michigan alumni mistakenly assume that RR’s spread offense is a pass-first, run-second scheme (like, who exactly, Phil?). Even if that were true, it would have exactly ZERO effect on RR being fired this season.
I'm sorry, Phil. Why exactly is RR in your "hot seat"?
THIRD, even a major catastrophe on the field this season would not result in RR being fired. Hypothetically, let’s envision Michigan going 0-12 this year. That means we lose to Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, and Delaware State all at home. Let’s just focus on those four games. Imagine the plausible scenarios by which we would accomplish this level of devastation. Here’s what comes to mind:
· Injuries to every starter AND Nick Sheridan and David Cone and … (Zoltan can play QB and we still beat Delaware State)
· Everyone who returns kicks/punts fumbling the ball (cf. the 2008 Wisconsin game)
· Coaches using a Ouija board to decide what plays to call
· Opponents discovering kryptonite to neutralize Zoltan’s super powers
· Pre-game F-16’s piloted by Bucknuts crashing into the Michigan bench kamikaze-style
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Last year, we beat Miami Ohio, the moral equivalent of Delaware State. Last year, we beat Wisconsin after turning the ball over 5 times in the first half. Last year, Nick Sheridan (bless his heart) led us to victory ON THE ROAD against Minnesota. Last year, we had the worst football team I’ve ever seen, and we still won 3 games.
There’s no way we do any worse than last year. Everyone on the roster has as much (true freshmen) or more (everyone else) experience as last year’s team. Which means we make some (or “significant” according to Phil Steele) improvement this year (somewhere between 4-8 and 8-4). Which means RR will not be fired this year. Which means RR is in no way on “the hot seat” this year.
So give it a rest, folks.
And don’t start talking about those Michigan fans who blindly defend RR at all costs. I’m not saying he’s the second-coming. Heck, we’re probably looking at a 6-6 season. I’m just saying there’s no plausible on-the-field scenario by which he gets fired by season’s end. Get used to the idea that RR will be our coach for 2009, 2010, and probably at least 2011 before he’s at risk of being fired. Like I said, Bill Martin is a patient man, even if you’re not. Use your heads and cool your jets.
And GO BLUE!
Well, I've heard talk of early season momentum and early season letdowns so often over the years, I wanted to see if there was anything at all to this thing. As such, I visited the NCAA football website and got some stats. I had originally planned to map this over many years, but as I got looking, I saw that this was one statistic that was really quite consistent year in and year out, so I've only got the data points for last season. Should equate fairly well to any year.
The first thing I needed to establish was how many games made up the "start" of the season. I hung that one up at 4 games, because by that point, the kinks should be worked out and pretty much every team should have played at least one conference game, or one or more highly challenging OOC games. I then divided the teams by total games won (Regardless of bowl games/longer seasons), and figured the respective group's records in the first four games of the season. Results below:
Group A: 10 - 13 Wins Group B: 8-9 Wins
20 Teams 31 Teams
4-0: 13 Teams, 65% 4-0: 5 Teams, 16%
3-1: 6 Teams, 30% 3-1: 16 Teams, 52%
2-2: 1 Team, 5% 2-2: 8 Teams, 26%
1-3: 2 Teams, 6%
Group C: 7 Wins Group D: 6 Wins
14 Teams 7 Teams
4-0: 3 Teams, 21% 4-0: 0 Teams
3-1: 4 Teams, 29% 3-1: 1 Team, 14%
2-2: 5 teams, 35% 2-2: 4 Teams, 57%
1-3: 2 Teams, 14% 1-3: 2 Teams, 29%
Group E: 5 Wins Group F: 4-3 Wins
16 Teams 20 Teams
4-0: 0 Teams 4-0: 0 Teams
3-1: 4 Teams, 25% 3-1: 1 Team, 5%
2-2: 6 Teams, 38% 2-2: 7 Teams, 35%
1-3: 6 Teams, 38% 1-3: 11 Teams, 55%
0-4: 1 Team, 5%
Group G: 0-2 Wins
4-0: 0 Teams
3-1: 0 Teams
2-2: 2 Teams, 22%
1-3: 5 Teams, 56%
0-4: 2 Teams, 22%
Now, taking this data, we can make some projections. If Michigan were to have a "Fast Start", as the experts are saying is necessary, and we assume "Fast Start" to be 3-1 or better, then we can see where the chips are most likely to fall.
Excluding a 10-13 Win season, startin 3-1 or better makes 8-9 wins the most likely. That seems obvious. You have to win a lot of games to get 8-9 wins. However, it seems interesting that a team winning their first four is more likely to win only 7 than 8-9 total. Similarly, it's odd tht those going 3-1 in their first 4 are more likely to fall to 5 wins overall than reach 6, by a substantial percentage margin. And as can be seen from the 2-2 mark, this is not because those teams are winning more.
I also wondered if the Big 10, with a penchant for scheduling weak non-conference games in the early season, might be less than reflective of the sport as a whole. As such, I checked that out.
2 Big 10 Teams, 4-0&3-1
3 Big 10 Teams, 4-0, 3-1, 3-1
2 Big 10 Teams, 4-0, 3-1
1 Big 10 Team, 2-2
3 Big 10 Teams, 2-2, 2-2, 2-2
Big 10 Teams fell into the 4-0 Win total 27% of the time. Average over all groups containing 4-0 Teams was 34%.
Big 10 Teams fell into the 3-1 Win total 36% of the time. Average over all groups is 26%.
Big 10 Teams fell into the 2-2 Win total 36% of the time. Average over all groups is 31%
The Big 10 lands a little below average in one win category, a little above in another, and just about dead on in the third. The total falls slightly over the national average in wins for the first four games, but not substantiantially. As such, Michigan's expected final win total shouldn't be grossly inflated or deflated because of OOC strength. Big ten teams don't perform noticably better than other conference teams during the OOC portion of the schedule, and so Michigan shouldn't get noticably worse (in wins and losses) during the conference season.
What conclusions can we draw from this? It looks like Michigan does indeed need to win as many early season games as possible, but only in that it bolsters their win total overall. About half of all 7 win teams did not have a "fast start" (3-1 or 4-0) record, and likewise, a quarter of all 5 win teams had a fast start (and 2/3rds had at least an even record after 4), and failed to put forth a winning season.
So if Michigan loses 2 or 3 of their first 4 (I hope not) and somebody tells you their toast, tell them the stats only say, "Eh... maybe". Likewise, if they go 4-0 and somebody tells you the've got it made, tell them that 21% of 4-0 teams last year barely made a bowl game.
Just take the season one game at a time, and take a "W" for what it is. A "W".
However, I'm wondering whether a more compelling split would be if the conference divided along North/South lines, a la the Big 12. In this scenario, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, MSU, Wisconsin, and Iowa would comprise the Big Ten North, and (possibly) the new team along with tOSU, Indiana, Purdue, Penn State, and Illinois would make up the south. This would probably require the Big Ten expansion to involve a team that was more definitively south (like remember when we thought Texas might be interested? or Notre Dame if they ever come to their senses...). Rutgers would in this instance become a more desirable scenario as well, and Syracuse less so.
In the Big Ten's current state this split seems to carry the more intriguing power structure: Michigan, if and when it returns to its expected strength, would be the flagship program of the Big Ten North. Battling with UM for Big Ten North titles would be any one of Iowa/Wisconsin/MSU/Northwestern/Minnesota (all of whom appear to be, if not competitive, then on the verge of being competitive post-2008). In the south, Penn State and Ohio State would be like the Texas/Oklahoma tandem in the Big 12 South, routinely sparring for supremacy (possibly with the new school), occasionally with Illinois as a legitimate challenger and Purdue and Indiana bringing up the rear.
It seems to me that it is in Michigan's interest to have the Big Ten divide North/South. What do all of you think?
Thanks to http://statsheet.com/cfb/conferences/big-ten/map for providing a good visual of where the Big Ten teams are situated geographically.
Western Michigan- 24
This game will be tougher than expected, but there's no way I'll predict a loss to a MAC team.
Notre Dame- 14
I know I know, I'm going out on a limb on this one, but we should have had this one last year and I think we'll put on a show here.
Eastern Michigan- 7
I'll be at this game, let's hope I'm right.
We won't lose to Indiana! well..... hopefully not. 4-0? I like the sound of that.
Michigan State- 20
Those glasses seem to be coming back on....
Iowa will be tough, We'll be coming off a big win, I see us dropping this one.
Delaware State- 6
It could happen, or it could be Appy State.
Penn State- 21
A defensive battle, that we lose. It'll take another year until WE OWN PENN STATE again.
We come a lot closer, still just short.
Little payback for last year, HE PITCHED IT IDIOT!!!!! arrrrgggghhhhh
Now they get a little payback.
The big one:
Ohio State- 13
Do I believe it? Maybe not, but really how could I predict a loss here? I won't do it.
So 8-4, Bowl Game undecided. We win it and it's secondyearwvuesque. can I coin that phrase?
Go Blue!!! let's hear some thoughts.
Welcome to my new way of doing things.
I have begun a new blog, covering the recruiting history of all of the schools in the Big Ten. The rules for how I am doing things can be found there, as well as the schedule of events. Every Michigan post will be cross-posted here, for your viewing pleasure. If there is an especially impressive class at another school, I will also post it here, with plenty of added references and M comparisons and what-not.
Set the Stage:Coach: Bo Schembechler
1980 Performance: 10-2, Rose Bowl Victory, Final Ranking: 4th National, 1st Big Ten
1981 New Blood Count: 24
Mini Recruiting Board Lives Here:
The 1981 class was recruited coming off of the wings of a great 1980 season, which culminated in a Rose Bowl win. The class included 12 offensive and 12 defensive players, a very balanced 24-man class. The lack of a quarterback is explained by the presence of Steve Smith, who was the starting QB for most of the games for the first 3 seasons of this class. There was obvious weakness in both the linebacker and offensive line cores, which Bo hoped to fill with this class.
How They Did:Overall Record: 42-17-1
Varsity Letters: 56
Graduated on Team: 18
Started a Game: 15
Full Eligibility: 11
5th Year Seniors: 8
- Kevin Brooks, All Conference 1983 1984
- Brad Cochran, All-American 1985, All-Conference 1985
- Mike Hammerstein, All-American 1985, All-Conference 1985
- Eric Kattus, All-Conference 1985
- Mike Mallory, All-Conference 1984 1985
- Clay Miller, All-Conference 1985
- Alan Sincich, All-Conference 1983
- Kevin Brooks, 1985, 1st Round, 17th Overall
- Brad Cochran, 1986, 3rd Round, 80th Overall
- Mike Hammerstein, 1986, 3rd Round, 65th Overall
- Eric Kattus, 1986, 4th Round, 91st Overall
- Clay Miller, 1986, 12th Round, 306th Overall
Of the 24 players recruited, 18 made it to graduation as members of the team. 15 made starts, and 11 played for their full four years.
The worst year for this class was in its senior year, 1984, when 12 players from the class made 114 starts and the team went 6-6. 1985 was an excellent year, in which 5 of the 8 remaining redshirt senior players made All-Conference and two made All-American honors (both of whom could have gone on to be cops). The 1985 team made it to the Fiesta Bowl, which they won, bringing their final record to 10-1-1. The caliber of the players in this class was sub-par compared to years surrounding it, shown by the general mediocrity of the team’s record.
Unfortunately for Bo, only 3 of the 7 OL recruits made any starts, one of which made one, one of which was a starting senior, and one of which converted to a DT and became an All-American. 5 of the 7 LB recruits made impacts on the team.
The shining point of this class was the defense. Of the 322 starts the class made, 201 were on defense. The two All-Americans were Brad Cochran, DB, who made 36 straight starts in his last 3 years, and Mike Hammerstein (Magnum, P.I.?), DT, who was MVP of the 1985 defense, which allowed a whopping 8.1 ppg. The three defensive players who were drafted went in the 1st, 3rd, and 3rd rounds.
Overall, the 1981 class built a strong defensive core, which allowed Bo to focus on the offense in the next year's class.
Editor's note: bumped from the diaries for general usefulness and excellent formatting.
EDIT: About an hour into putting this together, Germany Schultz posted a notice in the forums about the same basic thing. Good discussion, with similar info followed before I noticed it. I hope my diary will still be useful, i.e., you didn't already spend a Monday evening culling the new rosters.
So I sat down to put together the Women's Bracket for the Sweet 16 round of the ongoing M Uniform Tournament (which hopefully will continue tomorrow), and as usual with those things, began by opening up the Athletic Department's site.
On there, bright, fresh and new, were the 2009 football rosters, including the numbers assigned to incoming freshmen. NCAA 2010 players rejoice. As for the rest of us, what follows are the new men in maize and blue. As you imagine the Class of '09 winning Big Ten Titles, Heismans, and National Championships, may your imaginations now have proper numeric associations.
|16||Denard||Robinson||QB||Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach)||David Cone moved to 17|
|5||Tate||Forcier||QB||San Diego, Calif. (Scripps Ranch)||Spring|
|2||Vincent||Smith||RB||Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee)||Spring|
|28||Fitzgerald||Toussaint||RB||Youngstown, Ohio (Liberty)|
|84||Cameron||Gordon||WR||Detroit, Mich. (Inkster)||Listed as a receiver, has a receiver number. For the moment, Gordon's not a safety|
|6||Je'Ron||Stokes||WR||Philadelphia, Pa. (Northeast)||Update: changed from 4 to 6 (typo or fastest # change ever?)|
|14||Teric||Jones||SR||Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical)|
|29||Jeremy||Gallon||SR||Apopka, Fla. (Apopka)|
|77||Taylor||Lewan||OL||Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral)||Can hopefully fill Jake Long's jersey. His shoes are another matter.|
|75||Michael||Schofield||OL||Orland Park, Ill. (Carl Sandburg)|
|76||Quinton||Washington||OL||St. Stephen, S.C. (Timberland)|
|90||Anthony||LaLota||DE||Princeton, N.J. (The Hun School)|
|88||Craig||Roh||DE||Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral)||Listed as an "OLB" -- ?|
|73||William||Campbell||DT||Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical)||Spring|
|7||Brandin||Hawthorne||LB||Pahokee, Fla. (Pahokee)||Spring. Norman Griffith, the Pahokee player who was killed last year, wore 7.|
|26||Isaiah||Bell||LB||Youngstown, Ohio (Liberty)|
|27||Mike||Jones||LB||Orlando, Fla. (Edgewater)||
|5||Vladimir||Emilien||S||Lauderhill, Fla. (Plantation)||Spring|
|15||Thomas||Gordon||S||Detroit, Mich. (Cass Technical)||Listed as a safety, has same number as RB Mike Cox (sic). For the moment, Gordon's a safety.|
|2||J.T.||Turner||CB||Massillon, Ohio (Washington)|
|13||Adrian||Witty||CB||Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach)|
|34||Brendan||Gibbons||PK||West Plam Beach, Fla. (Cardinal Newman)|
|14||Nadar||Furrha||QB||Ann Arbor, Mich. (Pioneer)||Same # as Teric Jones, in same class, also on offense.|
|32||O'Neil||Swanson||RB||West Bloomfield, Mich. (Detroit Country Day)|
|42||Al||Backey||RB||Ypsilanti, Mich. (Ypsilanti)|
|36||Jonny||Childers||FB||Muskegon, Mich. (Mona Shores)||Requisite Rich-Rod fullback walk-on|
|27||Jordan||Owens||SR||Alpharetta, Ga. (Alpharetta)||Slot receiver from Georgia with an open number? Huh?|
|85||Joe||Reynolds||WR||Rochester, Mich. (Rochester Adams)|
|54||Jareth||Glanda||OL||Rochester Hills, Mich. (Brother Rice)|
|59||Tom||Lindley||OL||Shirley, N.Y. (William Floyd)|
|66||Christian||Brandt||OL||West Bloomfield, Mich. (Saint Mary's Prep)|
|67||Adam||Barker||OL||Adrian, Mich. (Adrian)|
|69||Erik||Gunderson||OL||Milan, Mich. (Milan)|
|94||Curt||Graman||LS||Cincinnati, Ohio (Elder)||Because Turner Booth doesn't last forever|
|67||Nathan||Brink||DE||Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian)|
|39||Eddie||Murray||PK||Royal Oak, Mich. (Royal Oak)|
|46||Seth||Broekhuizen||PK||Holland, Mich. (Holland)|
|93||Kris||Pauloski||PK||Indianapolis, Ind. (Pike)|
Also of Interest:
|19||Kelvin||Grady||SR||Grand Rapids, Mich. (East Grand Rapids)|
Things I'd like to say:
- I love that Hawthorne is gonna wear the number of his teammate (and fellow linebacker), Norman Griffith. He's taking on an awful load. I'm so rooting for this kid!
- Also, note what's happened with No. 7 through the years. Under Bo, it's Option QBs like Rick Leach and the first "Wolf" DE/LB hybrid, Mark Jacoby. Under Moeller it's hard-nosed runner Chris Floyd. Under Carr it's 5-star "stud" QBs Chad Henne and Drew Henson (or Spencer Brinton when you can't get one). And now: a tiny slot receiver (Robinson) and a linebacker from Pahokee, Florida, who wears the digit of his late friend. Could these be any more representative?
- Taylor Lewan: YMRMFSP...we get it.
- Denard Robinson in John Navarre's number: I like my irony served in 16's.
- Why is Craig Roh listed as an outside linebacker? Are they trying to give any fan who reads the DL depth chart a heart attack?
- If wearing No. 2 will make Turner into Woodson, does that mean Vlad Emilien and Thomas Gordon are gonna be Charles Stewart and DeWayne Patmon? NTTAWWT