spoiler alert: i linked this
Three sports are in action this weekend as the volleyball and field hockey teams join the women's soccer in the official season.
Women's soccer will be starting things off with a Friday night visit to Wisconsin-Milwaukee. UW-M is hosting a "Milwaukee Cup" series where Michigan will face off with the home team tonight (Friday, 8p ET) and Marquette on Sunday (2p ET). Rain is in the forecast, but the teams will play through.
UW-M is currently 0-0-2 with two 0-0 ties with Northwestern and Wisconsin. Both of those BigTen teams are picked to finish better than Michigan in the coaches' preseason poll. The historic series between Michigan and UW-M has Michigan ahead with one outright win and a loss by penalty kicks in the 2006 NCAA tournament. UW-M will be tough to beat at home where they haven't lost since 2007, but if Michigan can play solid defense, they could pull the upset.
Marquette should be a more manageable game for the Wolverines as they are not a very high scoring team themselves. Marquette likes to spread the ball around, but none of last years starters managed more than 3 goals over the course of the season.
The ACC/BigTen Challenge starts Saturday at Iowa City, IA as the Wolverines take on #4 North Carolina at 3p ET. The team will also play on Sunday against #2 Wake Forest. Michigan's going to have a heck of a time trying to upset either team. Unlike the basketball version of the challenge, teams aren't necessarily matched up by rank. In this case, Michigan will be lucky to squeak out a win.
For more on the field hockey team, check out the season preview.
Juliana Paz says bring on Nebraska
Volleyball has the national spot light, or at least as national as CBS College Sports. The Wolverines take on Nebraska tonight at 9:30pm ET and Kansas State tomorrow at 7pm ET. This is a big moment for the women's volleyball team as they want to prove themselves out of the gate. MGoBlue's SID will have a CiL liveblog going for both games, and I encourage MGoBloggers with or without access to the game stop in and discuss.
See our Volleyball Season Preview here.
Also, anyone who may be able to get (a) torrent(s) of the game(s), I'd +1 you forever.
Update (Friday 7:50p): While watching the Minnesota/K-State match, I can already see that our game is going to be a VERY pro-Nebraska announcing. I've seen 5 clips of CornHuskers in the stands in the last 20 minutes. But one interesting nugget has also come out during those breaks, Nebraska has 8 players in their lineup that have no college experience. If Michigan can take advantage of that inexperience, it would be huge.
K-State is playing pretty sloppy. Their ball handling is very sporadic. I can't get a good read on Minnesota yet. Their MB is nailing the 0-sets really well, but she hasn't been blocking well at all. Half way through set two, I don't think Minnesota has registered a block. K-State is having trouble with the slide to the right. I don't know if Bower will be able to place as well as this Minnesota RS.
Minnesota just went up 2-0 on them 25-19, 25-16. I'm liking our chances for tomorrow already.
Update II (Friday 9:30p): KSU made me eat my words as the 3rd and 4th they played awesome and even forced a 5th. Their outside hitter really got into a groove at the net and at the serve. Perhaps the first two sets were just nervous energy.
Due to the 5 set game, Michigan's starting time is now looking like 10p ET
Update III (Saturday 3:55p): Soccer was blown out in the 2nd half for a final 0-6 loss. Ouch. Field Hockey just started the 2nd half. It's 0-0 in the 45th minute (out of 70), but Michigan is being outshot 7-1.
Update IV (Saturday 5:25p): Field Hockey jumped ahead 1-0 but gave up 2 goals in the last 15 minutes to drop their first game of the season. Michigan took only 2 shots, both on goal, both by Meridith Way. By contrast, UNC took 21 shots, 12 were on goal, by 9 different TarHeels.
I find it confusing that the changes are meant to improve safety. Having to put up a canopy behind your car takes away 9 feet from both sides of the laneway. If safety was the issue, wouldn't it be wiser to put the canopies besides the car, thus keeping the roadway clear? We have been tailgating on the golf course for almost 20 years. We drive from Toronto to the games and have forged relationships over the years with our neighbours. We know we can't park where pilon lady has laid out her pilons, or where pickup truck guy says "you can't park here, I have parked here for decades", dude your not even thirty? But I digress. That was the way the golf course was and that was how it worked. Let people decide whom they choice to park beside, not some yellow vested guy who wanted to land jets at the airport with his pointer chose for you.
Ann Arbor Golf Course, come clean, the issue isn't about safety. It is about cramming as many cars as possible into the place as you can. I can see them measuring the distance between doors, and telling people you need to be closer. Eventually they will have everyone park so close together that you won't even be able to get out of your car.
Solution? Charge the people who have canopies a little extra ($10) and give them the freedom to put them beside the car. That way you increased revenues, improved safety and made your customer happy. Remember we are your customer.
This is the final voting portion of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert, a design project that will enable MgoBlog readers to vote for an upcoming design in the new MGoBlogStore.
Throughout the course of mankind, there have been days where the choices of men alter the course of destiny forever. Today, gentlemen, is one of those days. After weeks of preparation and voting, success and failure, flotsam and jetsam, we have come to this day. Today we'll vote on the winner of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert.
I will once again go over the scoring that was used to determine the four finalists. As you all know, each of the fifteen entries were open to voting by the MGoCommunity to determine its success, rated on a scale of five stars to one star, with five being the most successful and one being the least. With that being said, each five-star vote was awarded five points, four-stars were given four points, three stars got three points, etc. All points for each shirt were then added up to a grand total, and that total was divided by the number of voters for each particular poll to determine the shirt's final average score. Obviously, a perfect average score would have been 5.00, with the lowest possible score being 0.00. No design received either.
Yesterday I did a final count on all shirts and re-did the math for one last consideration, and then ranked all fifteen designs according to their overall average score. It is, then, with great pride that I reveal the finalists:
Final Score: 4.31.
To my disbelief, yesterday's shirt recieved the highest overall score. There was legimitate concern about possible legality issues, and although we may have to make some minor tweaks to the design should it prove the winner, I am proud to say that I think we're okay on that front. I will admit that I did not expect the reception it received yesterday, but am nonetheless grateful.
2. THE DESMOND
Final Score: 4.03
Ah yes, our good friend Mr. Howard, the first Heisman trophy in Ann Arbor since the legend of Tom Harmon. There were many debates about tweaking this shirt, the text, the typeface, the foot, etc... but all in all this was our first consensus 'winner' of the entire contest. Certainly wearable by the exclusive MGoBlogger or the broad UM fan base, it's got undeniable mass appeal.
3. BRIAN'S AVATAR
Final Score: 4.02
Another late addition to the contest, this was the last design I did, after someone suggested it on an earlier entry. Modeled directly from Brian's own screen icon on the Blog, this shirt also raised suspicions of possible Imperial entanglements, and in fact WAS red-flagged and pulled for use of the Block M. You can't blame us here-- it's a Michigan web site and we're smart enough not to bite that hand. You'll notice the design has been tweaked from its original, now using a sans-serif and less exclusive "M" in the background of the design. We're officially good to go.
4. THE WOODSON
Final Score: 3.50
Charles Woodson, the man who put the swagger back into Michigan. I really enjoyed creating this shirt as well, and tried to let the design speak for itself. There were debates about this one as well, concerning the off-center alignment, the shadow of the Heisman, the silhouette of Woodson, etc. But make no mistake-- people were talking, and the shirt was well-received. (Dude, you really can't see the Heisman here??)
So we've made it to the Downtown Athetlic Club and we have our final contest finalists. Voting will start now and will remain open for the entire weekend, with a final post announcing the winner on Monday. Gentlemen, it's time to vote:
|pollcode.com free polls|
|WHAT DESIGN SHOULD WIN THE 2009 MGOSHIRT ALERT?|
|"MASCOTS" "THE DESMOND" "BRIAN'S AVATAR" "THE WOODSON"|
For the sake of authenticity, I thought you all might enjoy seeing how the rest of the shirts stacked up. Final scoring beneath the four finalists, ranked from highest to lowest, are as follows:
SCORE, followed by DESIGN
3.47 - SHIRT 11 – THE RETRO (Great news, sis!)
3.20 - SHIRT 01 – THE FORCIER
3.08 - SHIRT 05 – OL’ 98
2.84 - SHIRT 10 – THE NEW NEW MATH
2.82 - SHIRT 02 – SLOT NINJA
2.82 - SHIRT 04 – FAT CHARLIE
2.72 - SHIRT 09 – FORCIER/TACOPANTS
2.67 - SHIRT 13 – CHE ROD
2.20 - SHIRT 06 – QUIERO TACOPANTS
2.05 - SHIRT 08 – BARWIS HELL
2.01 - SHIRT 03 – THE PACK/THE WOLF
There you have it, people. I would like to again thank everyone for taking part, for sharing their thoughts and reactions, for the kind words and appreciation, and for just helping build up anticipation day in and day out. And I'll see you Monday when we unveil the final winner of-- THE 2009 MGOSHIRT ALERT!
A prediction on the 2009 season using a solid and proven mathematical model*
I believe that the two things in college football that will most dictate how many games you win are your quarterback and your schedule. There has been much written about the quarterback situation and I can’t add anything to that. I have seen little if anything, however, that focuses on the schedule.
Considering that Michigan plays 8 of 12 games, including the first four, at home, the schedule is as bad as it can be. If you break the games into three categories, likely win, tossup, and likely loss - 3 of the four tossup games are on the road where a team with a freshman quarterback is not as likely to do as well.
I grabbed as many polls as I could find (the ones that rank all 120 teams)**, recorded the rankings for Michigan and their opponents, dropped the high and low ranks, and averaged them.
There are several truisms concerning forecasts. One is that they are always wrong and the other is that when you aggregate forecasts the result is more accurate than the individual ones. Ask 100 people to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar and the average of all the guesses will be better than 90% of the individual guesses. Consolidate a bunch of moronic preseason college football polls and just maybe the result is something approximating intelligence.
Only the Sagarin poll ranked Delaware and he had them at 116 so I just used that as it seemed about right. I figured they wouldn’t be the worst team in division 1 but probably close to it.
I then created a simple model, starting every game as a 55-45 proposition in favor of the home team. I added/subtracted a point based on the difference in ranking, so a home team ranked #20 would be given a 75% chance of beating a team ranked #40 (55 + (40-20)). Given upsets in recent years, I topped it out at a 95% chance of winning or losing.
In the polls i used Michigan was ranked as follows; 35, 38, 41, 46, 47, 53, 55, 63, 77. Dropping the high and low the average is 49. The opponents average rankings are***:
WMU 73, ND 28, EMU 113, IU 91, MSU 29, Iowa 23
Del 116, PSU 11, Illinois 39, Purdue 76, Wisconsin 42, OSU 8
Based on those numbers here is a breakdown of what my simple model produces as an estimate of Michigan’s chances to win each of the games on their schedule.
WMU .79 likely win
ND .34 tossup
EMU .95 likely win
IU .95 likely win
MSU .25 tossup
Iowa .19 likely loss
Del .95 likely win
PSU .17 likely loss
Illiinois .34 tossup
Purduw .82 likely win
Wisc .38 tossup
OSU .14 likely loss
Total expected wins = 6.28 (sum of all percentages)
For this exercise I consider a likely win one of 75% or greater, tossup 25-75%, and likely loss less than 25%.
There are five likely wins (all at home), three likely losses (two at home), and four tossups (one at home). I would feel much better if the Big Ten Schedule was reversed, giving Michigan their road games at home and their home games on the road. Michigan would still likely win at PU and IU. Still likely lose at PSU and OSU, but have a better chance of splitting ILL/Iowa/Wis/MSU and ending with 7 or 8 wins. Michigan has to win one of the tossup games to get to the 6 wins my model predicts, and they will likely be the underdog in all of them.
The first two games should tell us everything we need to know. If M starts out 2-0 then an 8 or 9 win season becomes possible as the Illinois and Wisconsin games would look much more favorable. A 1-1 start points to 5 or 6 wins as it means we have lost our first tossup game and our ranking around 50 is probably correct. 0-2 means a season of 3 or 4 wins is coming as we have dropped one of our 5 likely wins and all the tossups start looking like losses.
The silver lining? Next year our quarterbacks will have a year of experience, and the Big Ten schedule is reversed, giving Michigan 2 winnable road games at Purdue and IU and 7 very winnable home games, leading to hopefully a 9+ win season. If Michigan can go from 3 to 9 wins over RRs first 3 seasons I would be pretty happy. Of course having lived through a two year quarterback battle between Demetrius Brown**** and Michael Taylor my happiness level may differ from your own.
Fast forward to 2012 when our quarterbacks are seniors and every player on the team is a RR recruit and…well…let’s not go there just yet. Last time I did that was in 2004. Looking ahead to 2007 when Henne and Hart would be seniors and Michigan would be in the BCS Championship Game….
*Model used was neither solid nor proven.
**the usual suspects, SI, Athlon, Sagarin, Rivals, Lindy’s, Sporting news, etc.
***If you are interested OSU (ranking range #5-#10) and PSU (range of #7-#15) had the closest consensus across the polls. The widest range of rankings fell to Illinois (ranked as high as #17 and as low as #63) and WMU (#34-#89).
****Demetrius Brown is awesome
Is whoever in charge of the Big Ten Network biased about which “Greatest Games” make the cutting room floor? Whether they know it or not, is there some internal bias towards Ohio State, Michigan State, or, say it isn’t so, Northwestern?
When ESPN Classic once constantly ran classic college football game programming, I had friends who would immediately complain that that the producers were biased and the channel was run by [insert rival school here] alums, because they "always show Michigan losing."
I was not convinced, as obviously one comment on one statistical data point (one game) is hardly convincing proof. However, I was always curious to somehow see if there was some bias in these programming decisions, and the BTN has given us a great opportunity to do so by listing every game which they label “Big Ten’s Greatest Games.”
[Obvious side note for people not paying attention: the Big Ten Network is biased towards the Big Ten, so clearly they only show games where a Big Ten team won OOC. I wanted to see if there was any suggestion of bias towards any specific conference teams].
I was curious, and deciphered the records of every Big Ten team in the classics upcoming in season 3. As Brian notes at the top, Michigan goes 5-4 in this season’s slate of classics, with 3 of those wins coming in out of conference (OOC) games.
After seeing some anomalies, I decided to look at all three seasons the BTN has aired this show. This provided 83 data points. Of these 83 games, 25 contests were Big Ten victories in OOC games or Bowl Games.
I give you the data first to see for yourself:
|Team||Overall Record||OOC W||Big Ten Record|
What jumps out: Penn State
The shocking statistic of the day is Penn State's record. They are 11-2. Compare that to the records hovering at 0.500 for OSU and Michigan. Penn State also has 4 games selected as some of the Big Ten’s Greatest Games when they were not in the conference - '83 Sugar, '84 vs BC, '85 vs Alabama, '89 Holiday Bowl.
Also, which their two losses in great games? Iowa in 2002 and Minnesota in 1999. Apparently they have never lost any close games to the two Big Ten powerhouses...
Notable games missing:
¨ 1999 - Michigan 31, PSU 27 - Tom Brady’s 10 point comeback road victory
¨ 2002 - Michigan 27, PSU 24 - First OT game in Michigan Stadium history
¨ 2005 - Michigan 27, PSU 25 - No description necessary
¨ 2003 - Ohio State 21, PSU 20
¨ 2002 - Ohio State 13, PSU 7
Do I believe that every one of these games should have been on the list? No. But none of them? Maybe the producers are saving the top flight great games for the headline games for the upcoming BTN seasons? Quite possibly.
Other interesting stats:
¨ Most selected - Michigan, with 25 games deemed “Greatest”
¨ Participation Ribbon - Indiana, with only 6 games
¨ Best winning percentage - Penn State, 0.846
¨ Best in-conference winning percentage – Indiana, 0.833
¨ Michigan is 2-3 vs Ohio State
¨ Michigan is 3-3 vs Michigan State, however that includes losses in 1990 and 2001, which, well, are obviously very controversial losses for Michigan
¨ Indiana, though selected the fewest, was 5-1 in their 6 games in conference
The other interesting numbers were Indiana and Northwestern, going 5-1 and 7-2, respectively. Their numbers were also not bolstered by any OOC victories. However, these sparkling records without OOC help for IU and NW could simply be the facts that:
a) They do not schedule marquee OOC teams to have an opportunity for good wins, and
b) They do not go to marquee bowl games and usually do not have the talent to win when they do make it to the interesting ones
c) Many of their wins against the traditional Big Ten powers are fascinating because they are simply expected, whether appropriate or not, to be the underdog
Conclusion? At the end of the day, I do not actually think this means anything, but it was certainly interesting. The Penn State anomaly is fascinating. Is the producer of the show a Penn State alum subconsciously, or just conveniently, forgetting about a 12 year stretch of failure against Michigan? Or are the producers just trying to push the bounds of the Big Ten Network further onto the east coast market, into New York and Washington DC, by pushing Penn State?
I do not know. It does show there is not an overwhelming bias against Michigan, if anything a slight lean for Michigan. If there is a BTN bias, I am glad it is not yet leaning towards Ohio State or Michigan State. Maybe it’s a testament to Michigan's prestige to have the most games coined “Greatest” so far, as it’s always a great game for someone else when they beat the Maize and Blue, or maybe the producers know that putting games which Michigan loses on the BTN will attract viewers from the other 10 schools in the conference (to root against Michigan). The same could be said for OSU’s similar record hovering around 0.500 - when they have a "great game" on BTN, fans will watch to see them lose.
[I should note: Michigan vs Florida in the Capital One Bowl from 2008 has been on BTN several times, however this game is not listed, so there still may be some games out there which are not included in these numbers.]
At the end of the day, this is simply another interesting distraction for me, and hopefully you too... The classics are great, but I could really use some live college football. Go Blue.
They had the golden gun award for accuracy as many of you know. Given to Tyler Bray pretty much every time. It was basically a Heaps, Bray, Montana, and Sims love fest about how they stood out a little more than anyone else. Clips were shown about them for the first twenty minutes.
Another thing that they showed was the players off the field. They went to the beach (Whoo!), Made fun of Phillip Sims not being able to swim, and showed Nick Montana win a NCAA 10 competition. Yay him...
Now for what everyone cares about- Devin Gardner
Oh one thing to point out he is not the only one who liked the safari hat.A few other of the guys were wearing them.
As for him in the camp, I couldn't tell you anything other than he threw the ball at least two times while he was there, because they were suckin' on Montana, Bray, Heaps, and Sims ball sacks. They had a nice little 2 minute interview with him where he was talking about trash talk with Boisture. He mentioned how Inkster was a small school in Detroit, how their track and football field was not great, and how they did not have all the nice equiptment other schools have. He said he kind of liked it because it keeps his teammates and he grounded. Other than that the only other time he was mentioned in the show was for third place on the last day in the accuracy competition.
Overall the show was ok. I guess I was expecting more Gardner. In fact, Joe Montana was shown more than at least six of the fucking QB's there...