maybe i should have had greg howard write the brandon obit.
After reading Hannibal's excellent review of Michigan's bad scheduling luck in the Big 10, I was curious to see what the results for our non-conference games would look like through the same lens. Thanks to James Howell and Chris Stassen, all the data required is readily available. In keeping with Hannibal's treatment, I have considered all non-conference games since the Big11Ten entered its current format in 1993. Michigan's game against each team has NOT been subtracted from that team's record, because (1) our game against each team was part of that team's overall level of success that year, and (2) I'm lazy. The only team whose overall win-loss record was likely to be impacted significantly over the course of 16 years just from playing us was Notre Dame; their 6-6 record against us over this span is slightly lower than their net 0.616 success percentage over the same span (success percentage defined as (wins+0.5*ties)/(wins+ties+losses). If I get ambitious, maybe I'll run the numbers again with games against us subtracted out, but I suspect it won't change the conclusions much.So without further ado, here are the numbers:
Team Game score Record 1993-2008 Cumulative
Utah L 23-25 13-0 (1.000) 130-61 (0.681)
Miami (OH) W 16-6 2-10 (0.167) 106-83-1 (0.561)
Notre Dame L 17-35 7-6 (0.538) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Toledo L 10-13 3-9 (0.250) 118-70-2 (0.626)
The Horror L 32-34 13-2 (0.867) 148-56 (0.726)
Oregon L 7-39 9-4 (0.692) 130-65 (0.667)
Notre Dame W 38-0 3-9 (0.250) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Eastern Mich W 33-22 4-8 (0.333) 56-125 (0.309)
Vanderbilt W 27-7 4-8 (0.333) 50-127 (0.283)
Central Mich W 41-17 10-4 (0.714) 83-103 (0.446)
Notre Dame W 47-21 10-3 (0.769) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Ball State W 34-26 5-7 (0.417) 84-100-2 (0.457)
Northern Ill. W 33-17 7-5 (0.583) 81-104 (0.438)
Notre Dame L 10-17 9-3 (0.750) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Eastern Mich W 55-0 4-7 (0.364) 56-125 (0.309)
Miami (OH) W 43-10 8-5 (0.615) 106-79 (0.573)
Notre Dame L 20-28 6-6 (0.500) 119-74-1 (0.616)
San Diego St. W 24-21 4-7 (0.364) 77-110 (0.412)
Central Mich W 45-7 3-9 (0.250) 83-103 (0.446)
Houston W 50-3 7-6 (0.539) 74-113-1 (0.396)
Notre Dame W 38-0 5-7 (0.417) 119-74-1 (0.616)Oregon L 27-31 8-5 (0.615) 130-65 (0.667)
Washington W 31-29 7-6 (0.539) 95-94-1 (0.503)
Western Mich W 35-12 4-8 (0.333) 98-86-1 (0.532)
Notre Dame L 23-25 10-3 (0.769) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Utah W 10-7 5-6 (0.455) 130-61 (0.681)
Miami (OH) W 31-13 7-5 (0.583) 106-79 (0.573)
Washington L 18-23 8-4 (0.667) 95-94-1 (0.503)
Western Mich W 38-21 5-6 (0.455) 98-86-1 (0.532)
Bowling Green W 42-7 2-9 (0.182) 100-83-2 (0.546)
Rice W 38-7 3-8 (0.273) 76-95-1 (0.445)
UCLA L 20-23 6-6 (0.500) 109-83 (0.568)
Notre Dame W 26-22 5-7 (0.417) 119-43-1 (0.616)
Rice W 37-3 5-6 (0.455) 76-96-1 (0.445)
Syracuse W 18-13 7-5 (0.583) 97-92-1 (0.513)
Notre Dame L 20-36 9-3 (0.750) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Syracuse L 28-38 8-4 (0.667) 97-92-1 (0.513)
Eastern Mich W 59-20 3-8 (0.273) 56-125 (0.309)
Hawaii W 48-17 0-12 (0.000) 100-101-1 (0.498)
Colorado W 27-3 5-6 (0.455) 114-81-1 (0.584)
Baylor W 38-3 2-9 (0.182) 58-123 (0.320)
Notre Dame W 21-14 7-6 (0.539) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Colorado W 20-13 10-2 (0.833) 114-81-1 (0.584)
Boston College W 20-14 5-7 (0.417) 120-75-1 (0.615)
UCLA W 38-9 5-6 (0.455) 109-83 (0.568)
Virginia W 18-17 9-4 (0.692) 117-79 (0.597)
Memphis W 24-7 3-8 (0.273) 81-105 (0.436)
Boston College W 23-13 4-8 (0.333) 120-75-1 (0.615)
Boston College W 34-26 7-4-1 (0.625) 120-75-1 (0.615)
Notre Dame W 26-24 6-5-1 (0.542) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Colorado L 26-27 11-1 (0.917) 114-81-1 (0.584)
Washington St. W 41-14 5-6 (0.455) 93-95 (0.495)
Notre Dame L 23-27 11-1 (0.917) 119-74-1 (0.616)
Houston W 42-21 1-9-1 (0.136) 74-113-1 (0.396)
Cumulative opponent records in years we play them: 329-318-3 (0.509)
Cumulative opponent records for 1993 - 2008: 5117-4522-36 (0.531)
The difference in success percentage of only 0.022 here is about a quarter of a game per opponent per year. Whether or not this difference registers as "statistically significant" (I didn't check), common sense tells us that a quarter of a game per opponent is probably meaningless.
So the conclusion is, over the course of 16 years, our non-conference opponents have done, on average, no better or worse in years we've played them than they have over the course of the last 16 years as a whole. Sure, we've played a few teams who were unexpectedly playing lights-out (Utah undefeated last year; 10-2 and 11-1 Colorado teams in the mid-'90s), but we've also hit our share of otherwise decent teams having dismal years (0-12 Hawaii, 3-9 Toledo (granted they beat us, but that's not the point), and a couple of underperforming Notre Dame teams). In the end, it seems to work out about even.
EDIT: Added two games I previously missed.
Justin Boren suffered a knee injury in practice and may miss 3+ weeks while rehabilitating it. The 105 roster for tOhio State appears to have been filled with the return of two players (WR Ray Small and DE Rob Rose) who appeared to be dealing with academic issues that still, reportedly for Small, are not fully handled.
Wisconsin has suspended two likely starters at safety from camp, making their future unclear and a start September 5th against Northern Illinois highly unlikely. Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant both have a solid amount of starts and their departure, however short, is a thorn in the side of a team that has faced a lot of criticism for not playing to its potential.
ESPN's pre-season All American list has been released and it features three from the Big Ten (and two from this planet):
- Minnesota wide receiver Eric Decker
- Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman
- Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko
ESPN Big 10 blogger Adam Rittenberg's all Big-Ten team features:
DE: Brandon Graham, Michigan
P: Zoltan Mesko, Michigan
Detroit News fluff piece on Michigan o-line
Hockey player AJ Sturges speaks out about Glenn Winston's reinstatement following a suspension from the team and jail time for an assault last year, upset about the unclear MSU policy regarding the allowance of players with prison records and suspensions back onto teams. Conflicting perspectives ensue.
Penn State cornerback AJ Wallace will likely be suspended for 1-2 games for academic issues.
Iowa cornerback Jordan Bernstine likely out for the season with ankle injury.
If you are placing a bet on who you will think will win the Big Ten, you might want to avoid betting on Northwestern or Minnesota. If someone offers you the under-over on wins, take the under. Is it because of who they lose off of the 2-deep? Is it because of coaching or talent? No.
Why then? It is because they don't play Michigan this year. Now, you might think that not playing Michigan is usually good for your record, but for some reason, history demonstrates the opposite. Michigan has an uncanny knack for playing Big Ten teams when they are good, and avoiding them when they are really really bad. It's almost as if the schedule is made up by somebody who has magical foresight and then purposely rotates the bad teams off of Michigan's schedule. Michigan already has a tough draw by facing Ohio State every year. In addition, our game with Penn State is like a de facto protected rivalry. Because of all of these factors, we have one of the toughest intra-conference schedules on a yearly basis.
Since the Big Ten expanded in 1993, there have been 16 seasons, and 2 teams rotate off of the schedule each season. Do the math, and that means that there have been 32 Big 10 teams that have rotated off of our schedule. Want to take a guess as to how many of those teams have ever won or shared a conference title? The answer -- none. 16 years, and not once has a team won or shared a title in a year where they did not play Michigan. Even though we frequently rotate off the doormats of the league like Indiana, wouldn't you think that just once out of all those times, somebody would have stepped up and won or shared a championship? Nobody has ever won 7 conference games, and only four times has somebody won 6 conference games (1996 Iowa, 1997&1998 Purdue, and 2004 Wisconsin). Since 1993, we are sporting an impressive .727 Big 10 winning percentage, but nobody has ever take advantage of not playing us to go to a BCS Bowl. Nobody has ever even made it to the Citrus Bowl! Only two teams have made it as high as the Outback Bowl (Wisconsin '04, Iowa '08).
Let's compare winning percentages for various programs when they play Michigan against their winning percentages when they don't play Michigan. For this analysis, I am only using Big 10 winning percentage, since non-conference scheduling has so much variation that it can distort the results. For the "did play Michigan" years, the head-to-head game against Michigan is removed from the analysis so that these years can be validly compared to the "did not play Michigan" years.
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .500
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .643
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .354
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .214
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .094
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .440
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .188
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .745
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .458
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .586
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .563
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .316
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .625
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .429
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .156
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .536
Winning percentages in the "did not play Michigan" years: .371
Winning percentages in the "did play Michigan" years: .494
There are a few teams that slightly buck the trend, but that trend is overwhelming. Now I'm not an expert statistician, but a difference in winning percentages of .123 with a huge sample of 8 teams over 16 seasons has to be very significant. Remember in 2003 when we thought we were finally getting a break by having Penn State rotate off of our schedule for 2 years? They went 3-13 in those two years. Ouch. Joe Paterno has never had a losing conference record except for when he has avoided playing Michigan. The differences for Illinois and Northwestern are drastic too. Illinois' conference record when they avoid us is a futile 3-29. Northwestern's is 5-27. We have played all of Kirk Frerentz's great teams from 2002-2004, and other than 2004, we played all of Barry Alvarez's best teams too.
What's the point of all this? None, I guess, except that for some reason, Michigan usually misses teams when they are down and plays them when they are up. Since we don't play Northwestern and Minnesota this year, look for those teams to inexplicably suck.
Their schedule looks like this:
WMU and CMU
FCS Team - Montana State (7-5)
Ohio State (1)
Their OOC schedule is nearly identical to ours. Change CMU to EMU and sub in a slightly worse FCS team and you have our OOC schedule. Their Big Ten schedule is ridiculously in favor of them this year. They don't play OSU and they have PSU, Iowa, and Northwestern at home. Those 4 and MSU were the top 5 teams in the Big Ten last year.
QB: 2 sophs competing for starts
RB: 2 sophs and a senior competing for starts
FB: 2 seniors competing
WR: 3 returning, including Mark Dell and Blair White
OL: Return the Left side and center, A junior and sophomore take over on the right
TE: Return their junior starter
DE: 1 returning starter, 1 junior
DT: soph takes over
NT: returning starter
LB: returning Sam and Mike, 2 seniors competing for Will
CB: 2 returning starters
FS: returning starter
SS: junior taking over
Basically, look at it this way. Their offense is like ours in 2004. Young QB with a ton of good WR to throw to. New running back to fill a workhorse's shoes (ours was Chris Perry).
Their defense is returning 7 starters and filling the other spots with a sophomore, 2 juniors, and a senior. Mark Dantonio was the DC for OSU when they won their NC (only after McGahee blew out his knee). He is going to ride his defense this year for his record.
So, how does this affect Michigan? I think what will happen is Michigan will beat ND. MSU travels to ND the next week and I think they lose a close game. After that, MSU goes to Wisconsin, demolishes them, and then we travel to East Lansing.
(4-0) Michigan @ (3-1) MSU
Michigan on Offense
Our offense should be clicking at this point. However, this will be Tate's first away game and he will probably struggle against a staunch defense especially with 3 of 4 returning DBs. We will need to utilize a lot of quick slants and bubble screens in order to keep Tate from making mistakes. Brandon Minor is going to have to carry this team through this game.With half the DL being replaced, he should be able to get a pretty good YPC going, but I wouldn't expect too many long runs with the extremely experienced LBs.
MSU on Offense
By this point we will know if their offense will go the way of Michigan 2004 or Sparty <Insert Year here>. I think they will be competent enough to put 20 points up each game, but not really blow anyone out of the water. The other unknown here is obviously our defense. Our line is almost completely rebuilt, we still don't know if our LBs will improve from last year, we have two safeties with no starting experience, and we have our third defensive coordinator and scheme in three years. Luckily, we start two 5 star recruits starting as our CBs and a former SS playing as our Sam. That should help us match up against their receivers and force them to take their chances running.
MSU 20 - Michigan 14
Originally, I thought we would win here. I think we still have a chance here (obviously, but i mean a decent one), but I think their defense will overpower us. Tate will have his worst game of the season going 1 TD - 2 INT, and Brandon Minor will have 100 yards with a TD.
MSU Season Prediction
Well, I have already stated I think they lose to ND and then go on a rampage, taking down most of the Big Ten. After us, they travel to Illinois, where I think they come down from their high from beating 2 years in a row for the first time in over 40 years, and Illinois destroys them. MSU the rest of their games except PSU. PSU wins a close game in East Lansing. If MSU doesn't win 3 games in every one of those categories above, I will be shocked at first, but then remember it is Sparty we are talking about.
Summary of Predictions for MSU
6-2 Big Ten
Losses @ND, @Illinois, vs. PSU
MSU 20 - Michigan 14
UPDATE: Voting has closed for this round. Stay tuned for the Championships.
We're getting close to the end. Just four uniforms are left, each a survivor of four rounds. But only one can be a champion. And only one gets to be the team that loses to what I think we've pretty much already decided is the champion.
We're done now with brackets. From the Final Four, you get to pick two. Or three. Or one. Or all four. The two with the most votes at the end will move on to the Finals. Fair enough?
Of course, no Final Four of any tournament would be complete without an over-the-top, hype-generating recap of the entire tournament, with highlights...and explosions.
[Stuff blows up like whoah after the jump.]
Over-the-Top, Hype-Generating Recap of the Entire Tournament, With Highlights...and Explosions
In Round 1 (men's, women's), we discovered that Misopogon doesn't know the difference between cheerleaders and dancers. And that embedding polls is tough. And that 64 uniforms is a lot to research. And that people like the 'Yay!' girl. And that the volleyball uniforms are awesome. We also had one decision between two white hockey sweaters come down to a last-minute vote by Misopogal.
In Round 2 (men's, women's), the contenders separated themselves from the pretenders. The dance team exited as quick as they entered. And tempers kind of got lukewarmish over a battle in the Men's Standing Out from the Crowd Region between the awesomerest basketball unis and the awesomecoolsuperrad lacrosse duds, with the cagers' jerseys narrowly winning out. Also, OP favorite, the throwback icers' jerseys, those that the ice hockey team like had a ridiculously winning record in, those that barely survived last round to one Block M uni, fell to another. Apparently, MGoBlog readers like a "big honkin' obnoxious emblem on the front" (reader myrtlebeachmaizenblue).
In the Sweet 16 (men's, women's), we decided the regional champions. We learned what "cagers" means (thank you reader afscott4). We lost the last of the football away unis, and the last representative of Adidas' awesome soccer unis. And we lost every last surviving hoops uni. We learned how the gymnastics team chooses their uniforms, and how the MGoBlogosphere chooses which gymnastics uniform they want to vote for.
The Elite 8 (men's, women's) introduced the remaining uniforms (if you missed it, the histories, etc., will be re-posted below), providing each remaining contender a "Use," "How They Got Here," "First Worn," and "Claim to Fame." We also finally forced the readers to pick between two almost identical cheer outfits.
Thus we find ourselves down to four. Your champions, below.
Vote at the bottom.
Use: Worn for home games and occasionally bowl games.
How They Got Here: Trounced 8th seed Gymnastics, Obliterated 5th seed Soccer - blues, Alan-Branch-on-Anthony-Morelli'ed 2nd seed Basketball - blue, and more of the same against the hockey maizes.
First Worn: The blue jerseys originated in the 19th century, and the maize leggins' joined in the 1910s, but this uniform wasn't complete until Coach Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler brought the iconic helmet design in 1938.
Wings Factor: It all started here, from a practice Fritz carried over from Princeton - 3/3.
Claim to Fame: ESPN named it the Best Uniform in All of Sports. New York Daily News agreed. Also: About. Longhorns blog "40 Acres" puts it second to the Longhorns. Etc.
Use: Worn in 2008-'09 season as the team's primary uniform (18 of 40 games last year).
How They Got Here: Handily upset 2nd seed '89 Hoops Throwbacks, upset the OP by taking out the 3rd seed Ice Hockey '60s throwbacks, rolled over the last remaining football away uniform (the '05-'07s), and skated by the baseball whites.
First Worn: Blue sweaters with big maize block M's were not a new invention. But the current affairs appeared after the 1997-'98 National Championship Season. After the team hardly wore their old blue alternates that year, the Icers switched the blue alts to a similar design as their whites.The look was refined in 2000-'01, experiencing some minor changes (like added white stripes) since.
Wings Factor: The icers were the second team among Michigan athletics to adopt the winged helmet, when Red Berenson handed them out before the 1989 CCHA Playoffs - 2/3.
Claim to Fame: When the hockey team went with three different looks last year, the Block M blues (11-7), got more wear than the whites (12-3), and maizes (6-2).
Use: One of four basic kits, the lesser worn white version (the girls have a pullover with no piping that gets more use).
How They Got Here: Outhustled 6th seed Lacrosse, took out 7th seed Soccer, bested 1st seed and Misopofavorite Volleyball by one vote, and had a somewhat easier time upending Gymnastics.
First Worn: The basic whites for much of softball history are the pullovers. It seems, though I would love a doublecheck on this, that these classy whites didn't appear until this year (replacing white alts that were barely different from plainer version still worn with blue pants), although the blue button-down alts were around in the Nike age.
Wings Factor: Like baseball, the softball gals have the wings and stripes worked into their catching helmets, which works better with the hockey-style masks they use nowadays - 1/3.
Claim to Fame: Who cares what you're wearing on Main Street or in Tuscaloose -- it's what you wear from ear to ear, and not from head to toe that matters, as evidenced by the fact that the first major uniform change since 1978 didn't at all change the stormin' success of Michigan's cheery diamond gals.
Use: One of four different looks for the cheer team -- the others are a tank version of this one, a blue uni and a white one, those last two redesigned recently.
How They Got Here: Sleeves out 'Yay'ed 8th seed Cheerleading - blues, out-smiled 4th seed Softball - blue, out-awesomed 3rd seed Soccer - blue, and out-maize-with-blue-skirt-and-blue-block-M-on-the-chest-ed the aforementioned tank-tops.
First Worn: It seems these pre-date Adidas: sorely missed M blogger Autumn Thunder's eyes were opened on Sept. 23, 2007. HT. RIP. TYVM.
Wings Factor: I don't think the stripe counts. 0/3
Claim to Fame: As mentioned earlier, they are no longer this, and the new look is reminiscent of these guys (click for youtubage):
Which makes them awesome.
Unfortunately, the cheer team is in the midst of re-doing its website, so I don't have the same wealth of info to draw on from the athletic site. That being said, I have an e-mail in with the Cheer Coach, so if I get some more info, I'll update.
You've seen the competition. Who belongs in the Finals? I dunno -- you pick.