this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Let's face it, Rich Rod doesn't come to Ann Arbor with the intellectual and character credentials normally associated with Michigan football coaches. He still has a ton to prove at the big time college level and successful results on the field will make up for his hick-ish, base behavior.
I can forgive our players for the occasional DUI or fight, they're young men after all. The coaches, however, get a much shorter leash. Unless I'm missing something, you never hear stories about Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel or Urban Meyer dropping F-bombs left and right in front of alumni and in-state coaches.
I'm not pining for the good ole days of Lloyd. He had a nice run but the momentum was fading after that Appy State debacle. But since Rich Rod was our third choice, we should afford him that level of respect and devotion until he proves himself.
UPDATE: Voting for this bracket is closed. Stay tuned for the Round 2 bracket.
So yesterday I posted the men's bracket of this Best Uniform Worn by a Michigan Team Tournament, and there was much rejoicing.
I also promised that soon would come the second half of the first round, with all the women's teams. And there was much rejoicing.
Herein follows that promised second half of aforementioned first round of said, much-rejoiced tournament of uniforms worn by Michigan athletic teams of MGoBlog topicality, i.e., here come the chicks.
This second half was MUCH harder to do than the fellas. For one, the girls' teams are not as well covered by the Internets, which has at least 15 links to a maize alternate Nike jersey never worn by the football team, but is kind of short on syncro swimming. As with previous M-image-centric posts of good memory, mgoblue.com became my home for a day.
The other problem, probably the bigger problem, was an overabundance of outfits.*
For example, in 2008-09 it seems the hoops team, like the rest of M Athletics, got new Addidas unis: a maize set, a white set, and a blue alternates set. According to mgoblue.com's Game Notes section, through the season they mostly stuck to the maize unis, but for a few in blue, and one weekend an alternate alternate pinkified version of the white, used to generate awareness for breast cancer. Personally, I think this is awesome (and the pinks made the list). It's just a pain in the ass for someone trying to make a bracket, is all. And since I'm the only one I know of who's done this, it shouldn't be held against them.
* If you read this and thought about how you expected 16 teams of women to generate much more than 32 outfits, just go in the comments and reply "First!"**
This is all a long way of making the readers -- especially those miffed about some of the great uniforms left out of the last bracket -- aware that there will be even more removed from consideration this time.
This includes, but is certainly not limited to, this jersey from the basketball team:
also this cool throwback uniform from field hockey:
Also also this one from the cheerleaders (by request):
Also also also this alt from the cheerleaders:
Also, also, also, also, mostly cause I didn't know what to even call it, I had to leave out this one from the cheerleaders:
And also x 5, much as it pains me, I had to skip the Braylon Edwards Fan Club alts (and an alto sax) for the cheerleaders:
Also (x6, etc.) missing: a cool volleyball throwback from the Nike days, Syncro Swimming warmups, blue longsleeves for the cheerleaders, about 300 cheerleader uniforms for babies, a pic of a rather uninspiring Notre Dame cheerleader for comparison, and a whole bunch of cheerleader uniforms I found on thesportsculture.com, which has since gone offline, meaning we had to forgo the white unis with the block Ms, cheerleaders in ponchos, and one image, which if it was loading properly, would depict seven geometrically pleasing females in Michigan bikinis.
Yes, the cheer team has a big wardrobe. They're also the only varsity team at Michigan that is truly co-ed, so that's understandable.
I think that's it for the caveats. Get ready, Wolverine fans, because here comes 32 amazing uniforms from 16 teams of women (and some men), all remaining true to the maize, white and blue.
Women's Bracket, True to Blue Region:
According to fashion blogger Suite 101.com, "Navy blue is an excellent alternative for those who don’t want to wear black. It is slimming and chic (especially with black or this fall's charcoal gray) and is a seasonless classic."
Not every women's team needs 15 different outfits, especially when one has already found the perfect look, which is, of course, navy and maize. Oh, some girls may have a maize alternate to spice things up, or a pleasant white for after Memorial Day (again, this is a myth), but for at least half of the ladies' teams, whether it's evening wear or beating the ever-living crap out of Ohio State, when the going gets tough, they reach for the tried-and-true navy blues.
Big note here: All the watersports make it hard to get the whole effect from a photo. For example, the Swimming&Diving team is shown for their swimsuit, but I also highly recommend perusing the mgoblue.com photo galleries to see the variety of swim caps and other accouterments employed by M's swimmers.
Game 1: Rowing (1) v. Water Polo (8)
Game 2: Swimming&Diving (2) v. Track&Field (7)
Game 3: Cross Country (3) v. Syncro Swimming (6)
Game 4: Gymnastics (4) v. Syncro Skating (5)
Women's Bracket, Something Fresh Region:
Sometimes a girl can't get by these days with just one outfit, especially when Adidas is willing to provide a second (or third, or thirtieth) for free. You don't have to be classic to be classy, and the following alternates have it all, from throwbacks, to global consciousness.
Herein are found a bunch of blues that compliment other items in the wardrobe, as well as basketball's pink take on the classic whites, and a cheerleading alternate inspired by those kooky cheer alums at the Homecoming game who are always more entertaining (if less nimble) than the current squad.
Game 1: Cheerleading - maize throwback (1) v. Cheerleading - blue alt (8)
Game 2: Basketball - pink (2) v. Tennis - blue (7)
Game 3: Soccer - blue (3) v. Lacrosse - blue (6)
Game 4: Softball - maize-piped blues (4) v. Softball - blue alts w/ white pants (5)
Women's Bracket, Daisy Looks Crazy in Maize-y Region:
Why wait for summer to let the sun shine? For an afternoon of making everyone around you smile (except your Big Ten opponents that is), maize is all the rage. Try a tasteful two-piece jersey and shorts combo like that favored by the Hoops team, or maybe mix it up with whites and blues to refine or bring out your shine. Comes in t-shirt, tank-top, jersey, or vest, sometimes all for the same squad.
The women's basketball team plays perhaps 80 percent of their games in the maize gear. The cheer team found their tank-top version of the maize alts even brought the football team a few wins (Wisconsin anybody?) before being retired by fall's chill. Field hockey has a short-sleeve and sleeveless version of their yellows, which might be indistinguishable except for the white slashes on the sleeveless (and the lack of sleeves). Anyway, this year in maize follows:
Game 1: Basketball - maize (1) v. Golf - maize (8)
Game 2: Cheerleading - maize tank (2) v. Tennis - maize (7)
Game 3: Rowing - maize (3) v. Basketball - maize Nike era (6)
Game 4: Field hockey - maize vest (4) v. Field hockey maize shirt (5)
Women's Bracket: I'm Wearing White Because Me and that Big Ten Trophy are About to be Wed Region
White has a lot of symbolism behind it. There's the purity thing, although many cultures have different ideas of that, and it's by far the least interesting. In literature, white is associated with horror, kind of like the face opposing batters make when a white blur is tossing a neon yellow blur at 100 mph. In Asian cultures, it is associated with death, kind of like how once you saw Diane Deitz step on the court in her whites, it was death to your season's hopes.
A lot of M's ladies use white as their primary uniform color, some doing a better job than others. Many of us still have a thing for the '80's hoops unis, which, if there was ever room for another hoops uni, should definitely be brought back. Some teams, of course, take the white further than others. Some whites are busy and exciting, while others are simple and elegant. So here goes, MGoBlogger, which white does it for ya?
Game 1: Volleyball - white (1) v. Golf - white (8)
Game 2: Basketball - '80s throwback (2) v. Soccer - white (7)
Game 3: Softball - white (3) v. Lacrosse - white (6)
Game 4: Cheerleading - white (4) v. Field Hockey - white vest (5)
Voting for the first round (both brackets) will end whenever I wake up next Saturday (July 18) and pause the voting.
**Misopogon takes no responsibility for any down-votes accrued by actually taking the above suggestion seriously.
Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Disco Demolition Night at old Comisky Park in Chicago. This event took place between games of a doubleheader between the Tigers and the White Sox. The Tigers won the first game, but the second game never got played because the White Sox were forced to forfeit because the festivities got out of hand and the field was trashed.
I was a 10 year old growing up in Western Michigan. In those days, only a handfull of games were televised. It so happened that only the second game of the doubleheader was scheduled to be televised. Coverage picked up late in the first game and I watched the Tigers close out their 4-1 win. What happened next was something I had never seen before and have never seen again inside a baseball stadium. Disc-jockey exploded a large crate full of vinyl disco albums to the chants of Disco Sucks. As Dahl left the field, the crowd stormed the field and started to riot and rip apart the field. My older brother and I thought the whols scene was pretty cool. My parents thought it was just another example of how the younger generation was ruining America. It is one of those moments I will never forget.
ESPN has a very good recap of the night on Sportscenter. I recommend it to anyone who was too young to have experienced it (or to anyone who did experience it).
UPDATE: Voting for this bracket is closed. Stay tuned for the Round 2 bracket.
This is the first of what will be a multi-part series in which the MGoBlogosphere will get to pick their favorite unis among the pantheon of Michigan athletics. I tried to represent every varsity and club varsity team at least once, although to get it all to fit I had to make a few judgment calls. Among those missing: a number of pre-winged football unis, and the blue version of the new hockey sweaters (since the icers were getting close to having their own bracket).
In the end, I narrowed it down to 64 for your consideration, just enough for a full tourney.
So here we go: the outfits of champions, 64 gorgeous unis in white, maize, and of course, Blue.
Click on the game links for examples of each uniform. Click on the [vote] links to cast your vote.
(ed note: If anyone is better than I am at Web editing, specifically finding ways to do things under the restrictions of the diaries -- e.g. not having to post polls like this -- your advice would be appreciated. Also, don't put too much effort into understanding the seeding; I didn't.)
Men's Bracket, Standing Out from the Crowd Region:
These are the unis that are made to show off our stuff, or at least burn out Ohio's eye sockets trying. When one of your colors matches the sun, you don't have to hide it behind blue sky and gray clouds. Sometimes, though, the sport calls for an alternate that's a little more subdued, a little more classy. There is such a thing as too much sunshine. I'll let the MgoBloggers be the judge of which alternate uniforms will put M over the top, or need to be returned to the costume department of Brüno.
Included in this bracket are the basketball team's flashy yellows (pictured), the glossy maize-on-ice sweaters of the cagers, and a slew of other (baseball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis) alts. It also has baseball's classic blues, and the subdued yet prepster shirts of M's golf team (so entered with collars un-popped).
Men's Bracket, Not Everyone Looks Good in Blue Region:
Navy blue, throughout history, has not been a color reserved for the masses. It's a color you have to earn. Those who put on an azure jersey, or sweater, or leotard, become part of a long tradition of excellence. Only after proving yourself worthy of that tradition may you don this hue. Blue says that you stand above the competition, that you are better than others. There are so many great reasons to wear this color, but if you're gonna go blue, you'd better do it right.
I'm not even going to pretend like this bracket will be competitive, considering a) this is a primarily football-based blog, and b) Michigan's home uniform is consistently rated by the national version of these things as the best in sports. But even so, we play the games, and there's some good things in blue outside of the Big House. On the other hand, some are little more than a slighty altered version of the Steve&Barry's tee (and not even written in Hebrew or with "Dad" underneath), unless you're into that sort of thing (gotta admit, I kinda am).
Game 3: Wrestling (3) v. Tennis (6)
[Author note: The original image used for Tennis was incorrect, and was changed July 13, 2009, at 1:22 a.m. EDT to reflect M Tennis's true blue uniforms. At that time, the vote favored wrestling 84 to 41. After the voting shifted dramatically after the switch, I decided to only count votes after that point, and posted an announcement to that effect in the boards. In the end, Tennis didn't need the help.]
Men's Bracket, In My Day We Wore X Region:
A friend of mine was asked once why his faith has so many traditions. His reply, "when 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmm?" Michigan's not that old, but we have been playing a full slate of varsity sports for longer than most Division 1 schools have existed. In that time, a lot of outfits have come and gone, though considering all those years, though not so many as you might think -- we're "traditional" like that I guess. Some have been brought back. Others never left. And some probably belong back on the shelf.
Many of these are more recent, for a couple of reasons. 1) Most of this board wasn't around or even alive for most of Michigan's uniform history -- not that old uniforms were given all that thought to begin with back then. And 2) some recent changes (e.g. football aways) might still carry with them enough emotion, being still present in our memories, and I'm a whore for response rates.
White is a dangerous color, but for those who can pull it off ... oh, who am I kidding, as Misopogal can tell you, I really don't know anything about fashion. What I do know is that if you don't wash your white hockey sweater after every use, you'll develop some unintended yellow slashes at the drip-points of your pads (I'm still waiting for a hockey uni to be designed with color slashes where the sweat stains usually form).
In this bracket are the whites, some for home use, others only meant for the road. Some are mixed with maize or blue for a classy two-tone look. Some are bright with only spare stripes breaking up the brilliance. Others are a dark white (gray). Some have pinstripes. You tell me which ones you'd wear (so long as it's before Labor Day). [ed note: Misopogal says this is a myth, you can wear white after Labor Day, unless you're going to a friend's wedding, because that would be tacky].
Don't feel left out, girls -- stay tuned for our next installment, Round 1: The Women's Bracket.
This is the first video of Cornelius Jones I have come across so I figured I would put it on here. I have not posted on here before so I hope this works. If it does not work please let me know how to make it work I have a link to a video of Cornelius and he looks like a good prospect. You also have to consider that he has not been playing for a long time. I like his story and I will be rooting for him to make it at UM. I am a long time Michigan fan and I hope that we can turn things around this year. As my name states I am a Michigan fan living in Ohio. Although my entire family is buckeye fans I have never been. I am trying to make this long enough to make this meet the 200 word minimum. Only a few more words to go then hopefully this will work and I can post this link so you all that have not seen a video on this kid can then get your first look at him. He is kind of a mystery to most Michigan fans. I hope you like this video so here it goes. Enjoy. http://www.athletevault.com/Videos/CorneliusJonesAV.html
[Editor's note: I am headed to a wedding in Milwaukee this weekend, and thus won't be able to put together mgo-worthy content for the rest of today. Instead, enjoy this excellent, research-heavy diary.]
First time poster, long time lurker. While procrastinating on various work projects, I’ve been dithering around with a data set on college football win-loss records. I’m the sort of guy who actually thinks HBS case studies are kinda neat, so futzing with this seemed like fun in its own twisted way. Then one of our fellow mgobloggers put up a really nice monte carlo simulation of the 2009 season (using a $500K piece of software no less) and I felt a little guilty about not posting some of my stuff online. So, here goes …
What sent me down this path was the whole topic of what our expectations should be for next year’s win total. Seems like the general consensus is somewhere between a 3-5 win improvement for next year. I am a Bill James devotee, so I began to wonder how realistic that was in a historical context (i.e., how many teams really improve that much in one year). My instinct was such occasions were not all that common. So, I spent a couple of hours pulling some data (30 years worth of W-L records for every D1A team, to be exact). Here are some summary conclusions and some things that I intend to research a little further and post about whenever the procrastination bug strikes again.
Turns out that big improvements in win totals from one year to another are more common than I thought. There were roughly 300 such cases since 1980. Considering that the data set is about 3300 team seasons, I thought this was pretty remarkable. In essence, the average team has at least one 4+ win improvement season every decade. Score one for optimism here.
Digging a little further, I took a look at extreme win total improvements (+6 wins or more). There were quite a few of these as well – 63 (or more than 2 per season). And they weren’t all MAC and Sun Belt teams either. 28 of those seasons were from teams in one of the six BCS conferences. The Big Ten had 6 such seasons:
- Northwestern 95
- Purdue 97
- Ohio St 02
- Penn St 05
- Illinois 07
- Minnesota 08 (EDIT: Missed the MN season in the first draft).
For those dreaming about the possibility of warm weather for New Years, at least there’s some historical precedent. Also, RichRod is responsible for one of those 63, West Virginia '02, which was +6. Which also happened in his second year after a 3-8 first season. I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’ …
For those who are curious, the biggest turnaround in the study (and most likely in college football history) is Hawaii 99 (+9). At +8 were Florida 80, San Jose St 86, Bowling Green 91, South Carolina 00, and Central Florida 05.
I also was wondering if the optimism about a BCS game in two years was rooted in reality. [Editor's note: I would have gone with "vague hope" instead of optimism.] For this, I am assuming the requirement is an 11+ win season. So, if we start with the assumption that this year ends up at 7 wins, we need another 4 win improvement next season to reach that.
Here, the historical precedent is less encouraging*. In the study there are only 5 cases of teams recording 2 consecutive seasons of 4+ win improvements: Colorado St in 89 and 90, Fullerton St in 84 and 85, Georgia Tech in 89 and 90 (culminating with a shared national title), UNLV in 83 and 84, and one other.
This last one should be your reason for optimism, as it is Tulane in 97 and 98. With OC Rich Rodriguez. 2-9 Tulane 96 became 12-0 Tulane 98 under that offense. The historical numbers may be stacked against us, but this staff has defied them once before.
Lastly, I wanted to highlight the three Michigan seasons that were caught by this analysis: 85, 97, and 06 (all +4).
See any themes here? If you named the three best defensive teams of the last 30 years, this is probably the list (with the possible exception of the 80 team). Does this sound like the 09 team to you? Yeah, me neither. Bummer.
I do see some decent parallels to the 85 and 06 teams, though. Both the 84 and 05 teams were plagued by injury hell and were extremely young, as was 08. Both the 85 and 06 teams ushered in a new era of offensive strategy (Bo discovered the forward pass with Harbaugh in 85, the zone stretch changed the running game in 06). For all intents and purposes, 09 is the first real glimpse we’ll have at RichRod’s full playbook so I’m willing to buy that as a philosophical change.
The defense going into both 85 and 06 had only two established stars (Mike Hammerstein/Brad Cochran, Lamarr Woodley/Leon Hall) and a bunch of question marks. Could Graham/Warren count as established stars? The 85 and 06 teams had unheralded defensive players become stars (Mark Messner, Andy Moeller in 85, Alan Branch, David Harris in 06). Could that happen here? Mouton? Martin? Spinner/deathbacker to be named later? Surprise freshman stud (Turner? Campbell? Emelien?) Maybe it’s a stretch, but if you want to be an optimist, I think this is what you look to …
So, that’s all I have for now. I am going to take a closer look at the impact of coaching changes on the big spikes in W/L. Current hypothesis says you get the biggest pop in year 2, but let’s see what the data says. Also going to look at the other side of this coin, seasons of -4 wins or more. Could give some retrospective insight into the whole WTF situation that was 08. If you want me to look at anything else, I am open to suggestions.
* Really this should look at 8+ win improvements over two years, not just consecutive 4+ win years. However, it is late and I’m too tired to do that now. Maybe next time.
[Editor's note: Something struck me as I read this: check out those bounce-back seasons there. Minnesota was 1-11. Illinois was 2-10. Northwestern was 3-7-1, Purdue 3-8, Penn State 4-7. Only OSU -- 7-5 in 2001 -- went from mediocre to very good, and the 2002 OSU team were the luckiest sonsabitches in recent college football history.
Everyone else was bouncing up from horrible to average, which seems much easier to do than to go from average to very good. So, yeah, a crappy bowl beckons.]