It's BigTen season opener weekend across the Michigan sports world this weekend. Not only is football opening conference play, but volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer, and field hockey do as well. Men's and Women's golf are also in action, with the men hosting and the Women on the road at Wisconsin.
Chronologically by first game:
Record: 2-6 (33rd in Coaches Poll as other receiving votes, 18 out of 79 in RPI)
- Friday 3pm – vs. Iowa (tape delay on BTN*)
- Sunday 1pm – vs. Penn State
After suffering two heartbreaking losses in overtime last weekend, Michigan faces an 24th ranked (others receiving vote section, 23rd in RPI) Iowa team that is performing well under their expected level. At 2-5, the BigTen Champions of the last three years in a row are struggling this season. The Hawkeyes are coming off an impressive 12-0 victory over Saint Louis, but they have been less than impressive during the rest of the year, going just 2-1 against unranked teams.
As for Michigan against Iowa, if they want to compare common opponents to the Hawkeyes, this weekend could end up going well. Michigan lost 1-2 to UNC and Wake Forest in the ACC/Big10 challenge while Iowa lost 2-3 and 0-5 respectively.
Penn State enters the weekend at 2-7. The Nittany Lions are winless away from State College, but they come in at 28th in the RPI and 29th in the Coaches poll. Penn State isn't a big goal scoring team, with just 10 goals in 9 games, five of which came in a rout of West Chester.
*The game will be broadcast on Sunday 9/27 at 6pm ET. I'm not sure if I can catch it, so if anyone wants to MGoVideo it for me, many praises to you
Record: 12-1 (#8 in Coaches Poll)
- Friday 7pm @ Indiana
- Saturday 7pm @ Purdue (#30 in Coaches Poll in other receiving votes)
After suffering the first loss of the season last weekend, Michigan looks to get back on another winning streak as they open BigTen play with Indiana and Purdue. Indiana is pretty weak again this year. Michigan has taken 5 straight matches from the Hoosiers and looks to make it 6.
Purdue is right on the edge of making the top 25. Michigan hasn't had too much recent success with the Boilermakers over the last few years, including a split last year, each team winning the home game. Michigan lost at West Lafayette last year despite a 2-0 set lead. Dare I say vintage Michigan over the last few years; so close to winning, but couldn't put it away.
This weekend is the last trip through Indiana for senior captain Megan Bower. The Indianapolis native hopes this trip will be a special one. She was on mgoblue.com this week for a player live chat, and while there she confirmed that the team has rebounded from the loss:
I think we were really looking forward to getting back into the gym and improving... we are really excited to get back out there this weekend. […]
You learn from every match ... obviously we would love to learn from wins rather than losses, but we definitely are fired up to start Big Ten play this weekend. We have been waiting for the start of conference play and we are focused on Indiana and Purdue
She also touched on quite a few other topics of interest, such as her thoughts on the Zone, the coaches, and her future as a coach. All interesting and worth the read through.
- 2009 Wolverine at Radick Farms, Ann Arbor, MI (Sat-Sun)
Along with Michigan, thirteen other teams (alphabetically: Arkansas, Baylor, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, Louisville, Marshall, Miami (NTM), Minnesota, Purdue, St. John's, Toledo, Wisconsin and Xavier) descend on Ann Arbor this weekend. The course at Radick Farms is a par 72 at 6,979 yards.
This will be Michigan's only hosted tournament of the year, and sadly, it won't be at their true home course. With the football game against Indiana this year, the game was moved to Radick Farms. Michigan will be in group one with Arkansas and Baylor for the first 36 holes.
I'm hoping to see another great round by Matt Thompson who posted three sub-70 rounds in a row last tournament. His eight under 205 on the weekend was Michigan's second best round of 54 holes ever.
Women Lady's Golf
Rank: T-46 (others receiving votes)
- 2009 Lady Northern Invitational at University Ridge,Madison, WI (Sun-Mon)
The Lady Northern Invitational a par 72, 6,246 yard tournament featuring all 11 BigTen teams and four non-conference opponents (College of Charleston, Iowa State, Georgia and SMU).
Senior Ashley Bauer is the leader for the Wolverines. In her 37 consecutive tournaments played, she's finished in the top 20 a total of 21 times, including 14 in the top 10.
Record: 5-5-0 (unranked)
- Sunday 1pm @ #21 Ohio State
This game should be interesting to say the least. Last year, Michigan gave the Buckeyes their only conference defeat on the season in a 2-0 shut out. That was one of only 4 Michigan victories on the year. The Buckeyes will be looking to get revenge at home this year.
Speaking of that win total from last year, the team has already surpassed that total this year, huzzah!
Other things to keep your eye on include
- Haley Kopemeyer is riding a 188 minute, 15 second shut out streak.
- Holly Hein, who's three goals this season are all game winners
- Jackie Carron, who has more assists already this season than any one has had since 2006. Let me repeat that for clarity: Carron has 6 assists in 10 games this season. No one's had that many in a whole season (19-22 games) since 2006. Wow. One more will tie her for 8th on the Michigan single season assist lead.
Record: 7-1-0 (#21 in Coaches Poll)
- Sunday 2pm @ Penn State
After a break out second half to down
Oakland Bowling Green, including the final two goals in a natural hat trick by Justin Meram, by a score 5-1, Michigan will look to open BigTen play with a win on the road.
Penn State is having a tough season at just 4-3-1, and their goalie played despite having a minor injury last week. The way Michigan has been playing on this 7 game win streak, a win looks very possible.
Michigan split the
season series last year last two meetings with the Nittany Lions, each team winning their home match. PSU is 3-0-1 at home this season.
As per usual, I'll be updating the action in this space throughout the weekend.
Update I (Friday 9:55pm):
Field hockey lost 2-3 in their opener. Meredith Way and Bryn Bain each netted a goal in the first half to stay tied with 5 goals a piece on the season. Michigan took those two goals and a first half shut out all the way to the half. Early in the second half, Iowa struck back with a pair of goals on the power play (Michigan was down 2 players due to yellow cards). Iowa took the lead with just 5 minutes remaining, and junior Alicia Mayer had a chance to tie in the final two minutes on a one-on-one break away that sailed wide right.
When asked about dropping the third straight one goal game, Meredith Way told MGoBlue.com:
We've got to take something away from every game and this one is no different. We were down [a player] most of the game, but we played hard. We can't get down about it. We've got to come out fired up when Penn State comes to town Sunday.
The game will be on BTN on Sunday at 6pm ET. Give it a watch.
In Bloomington, the volleyball team got their biggest road test yet this season. Michigan prevailed pretty easily, winning 26-17, 25-16, and 25-23. First place in the BigTen, baby! 1-0.
While listening to the game you could definitely tell Michigan had a philosophy of spreading the attacks. After last week where the team wasn't balanced against Oregon State, today was exactly opposite. Courtney Fletcher set a new high of 11 kills out of the middle. Her play opened up the sides for Juliana and Alex, who both ended with double digits as well. Fletcher also posted a team high 2 aces on the night.
Michigan was blocked a total of 7 times, which is a bit concerning, but that's going to happen with our lack of size. I'm hoping if our middles can keep up the great play, that number will go down.
What was encouraging though is that Michigan was being pressured in that third set, coming from behind to take it and then following through. Last year, this was the type of set Michigan would have dropped, ultimately leading to a 5 set loss (see @Purdue and @Wisconsin last year). Tonight, they finished the game. That's a big step forward as we hit the toughest part of the season. On to Purdue on Sunday.
Rush Offense vs Indiana
Michigan is currently rated +6 on run offense, good for 5th nationally and tops of any team having played 3 games vs FBS competition.
Indiana, despite their impressive yards allowed and traditional rankings, have only established an opponent adjusted rush defense of -1, 87th overall.
Factoring in projected carries for Michigan, the running game should be worth 10 points above average for Michigan this weekend.
Currently, Michigan's RB have been sharing the value:
Carlos Brown, +3/game
Brandon Minor, +2/game
Michael Shaw, +0/game
Pass Offense vs Indiana
Michigan's as necessary pass game is rated 38th nationally overall. It factors out to be a solid but not spectacular +2.
The Hoosier's pass D ranks out about as average as average can be with a flat 0 rating and a 60/120 national rank.
That puts the expected value for the game when the ball is in the air for Michigan at +2.
Individually, Tate has posted a +5/game (individual stats don't count sacks and include rushing) while Denard is still in the positives at +2/game.
Hemingway remains at a +6/game
Koger is the only other qualifier at +3/game.
Rush Defense vs Indiana
Like the Hoosier pass D, Indiana's rush offense has been pretty middle of the road, to date. Through 2 qualifying games, the rating is -1, 62nd nationally.
Michigan's disappointing run D finds itself smack dab in the middle of the pack, as well. Rating +1, 50th nationally.
Projected overall advantage, +2 points to Michigan.
Trea Burgess: +2/game
Darius WIllis: +1/game
D McCray: -2/game
Pass Defense vs Indiana
To date, Indiana's passing game hasn't been anything to get too excited about. Ranking 88th nationally, their -3 rating must go up against Michigan's 15th ranked pass D, producing an overall 8 point advantage for the Wolverines.
Ben Chappell: -2/game
D Belcher: +2/game
Tandon Doss: +2/game
T Turner: +1/game
Special Teams Ranks
FG/PAT: M 27 vs Ind 108
Kickoff: M 32 vs Ind 62
KR: M 12 vs Ind 3
Punt: M 40 vs Ind 116
PR: M 62 vs Ind 39
M -3 pts/game Ind -1 pts/game
Michigan 39 Indiana 12
By The Numbers Background
All down/distance/yardline situations are assigned a value. A 1st and goal at the 1 is worth about 6.5 points on average. A second and 4 from midfield is worth just under 3 points. Every play changes down and distance and yardline and therefor changes the value. That value is then added up and assigned to the players who either rushed, passed or caught for it. These numbers are then added up for the season and compared against how other teams fared against the same unit. A great example of this is Indiana's run defense. The raw numbers look great but the teams they did it against weren't any good so the value is greatly diminished based on competition.
A couple notes and changes.
- Games against non-FBS (1AA) schools are excluded and have no factor.
- Garbage time plays are either diminished or dropped altogether. Plays count for half if the lead (in possessions) plus the quarter is 7 and they don't count if the difference is any great than 7.
- Sacks don't count against QBs but they do count against a team's passing numbers (not as rushes).
- Fumbles are considered random events and excluded from all calculations, interceptions are included for both players and team ratings.
- Defensive players are rated on two metrics, quantity of negative plays (plays reducing the offenses expected value) and quality of negative plays, total value taken away from the offense.
- All data comes from play by play data found on the NCAA's official website.
- Receivers are only rated on passes they caught, not incompletions targeted at them, therefore their ratings always seem higher than RBs and sometimes even QBs.
- Interceptions factor in returns, so Denard's throws last week weren't terrible because they were like punts, downfield with little or no return. Picks with long returns produce seriously negative values.
UM vs. EMU
- eh, it's just a mac team. can't really tell much.
- of course CMU is just a mac team too, so of course I prefer this result to MSU's
- Booboo seemed to do much better when not covering future NFL stars. still was giving a little too much room on the goal line though.
- Carlos is fast.
- Carlos might have a future in the NFL as a third down back. Decent blocker on the blitz pickup. Catches the ball well out of the backfield. Has that home run speed. But he needs to work on his leg strength. he goes down a little to easily.
- We absolutely MUST get Denard on the field more. I don't care how. He's just too much of a threat to not have on the field against the tougher competition. If not, it's a huge waste. (Korean word for the week, 아깝다 "akapda!")
- It's not that Denard is fast, he's got amazing quickness. He's got major acceleration (and the little known third time derivative of position, "Jerk") that is usually just called a quick first step. But it's more than that. His acceleration is not linear. I'm in awe.
- Sparty, NO! wow, two weeks in a row. talk about rescuing defeat from the jaws of victory.
- Their QB's actually looked pretty good, except for the last two passes.
- ND's outside receivers have great ups, but they need to work on their landing skills. even last week, tate dropped the ball when he landed on his back, floyd skinned his knee. and they had some other drops. this week floyd breaks his collarbone and tate dives into the wrong band (which, LOL!) along with some other drops.
- Rudolph is a serious receiving threat. Pass catching tightends are pretty valuable in the pro's. But he needs to bulk up and learn how to block better
- MSU was slow to adjust to rudolph on the bubble screen. They kept blitzing from the far side but never got there.
- How many TE's do you see running bubble screens?
- ND fans shouldn't get uppity about this win just yet. They had to beat MSU eventually, and got a little lucky that sparty spartied themselves this week.
- ND looks like it might go 9-3 or 10-2 and with the loses by byu and utah might end up in a bcs bowl (which makes me want to PUKE!)
- Auburn's offense looks a lot like the old single wing, just out of a shotgun formation.
- WVU was on its way to a blowout until Jarret Brown turned into a turnover machine.
- I chalk that up to bad coaching and a lack of mental discipline.
- There's something about Auburn's uniforms or shoulder pads that make them look slow. They're not, they just look slow. Maybe their guys are wearing extra rib protection or something.
- Mallet looks pretty good
- I keep thinking he's only got 4 plus games of experience, but he's really in his third year out of highschool and looks much more like a polished junior than a guy in his 6th game.
- But he did stink it up in the fourth quarter, probably due to georgia's defensive adjustments. But hey, coffee is for closers.
- I don't know why Arkansas would ever run, other than to just keep the defense honest. their passing attack is so much better than their rushing attack.
- Just like WVU, it looked like Arkansas was going to blow them out, but turnovers helped swing it the other way.
- I think Erin Andrews is dressing more conservatively since her incident.
- Holy crap, Ben Terry has 12 fingers! Someone go tell Inigo Montoya! Mutants are walking amongst us! Shenanigans! Shenanigans!
- Brian Kelly = good coach
- If you were him, would you go to a second tier SEC school just for a ton of money... eh, yea probably.
- Why exactly was BYU favored in this game? Ok, so they have a nice offense, but if you looked just at talent, FSU has bigger and faster players at just about every position. FSU looked really good in coming up just short against miami. That was a BCS powerhouse game. BYU looked pretty meh in defeating a bradfordless oklahoma. yeah, FSU looked lethargic against jacksonville state (or whatever they're called), but it's an emotional letdown game and completely understandable.
- Anyone else think it's unfair that many of BYU's players are like 26?
- So now Boise will finally be ranked ahead of BYU (which, like DUH!) but boise's schedule is pretty awful.
- Why the hell is ole miss ranked so high? What exactly have they done? (this was written before last night's game)
- The more time I have to watch actual football, the less desire I have to read about it. It's completely backwards. Sports columnists don't write much in the offseason when I actually need something to fill the void. And during the season I don't really care what their uninformed opinions are because I can download the games for myself.
- I have almost completely stopped reading columnists I used to read weekly just a couple years ago. Easterbrook, Fiutak, Mandel. Maybe if I was stuck at work all day and needed a diversion. But they seem to be filled with stupid opinions, and I hate stupidity. I want actual analysis.
- Picture pages are awesome.
- In general, anything worth reading regarding Michigan is posted to the board here, so why bother wading through all the unrelated crap at the big websites?
- Or why bother reading some guy's opinion about michigan when he only saw the 5 plays that made the highlight reel?
- not a great week for the big ten, but still virtually tied with the pac ten and SEC for best out of conference records.
- The top of the MAC has definitely pulled even with the middle of the big ten.
- Indiana is 3-0. Who woulda thought this was going to be a matchup of undefeateds just a month ago?
- If iowa beats PSU, should I be excited that PSU is mortal or worried about going into Iowa? I guess both.
- Everyone already knew Molk was out. That's nothing new
- Rodriguez has already said that Moosman will start at center in Molk's place. His sill being included on the injury report probably just means he'll play despite not being quite 100%
- Tim McAvoy is unlikely to figure into the offensive line rotation any time soon, unless there are more injuries. His ability to (almost) play is not a big factor one way or the other.
- Rodriguez had previously thought Williams was fine, and the fact that he probably won't play isn't encouraging. Still, that hopefully won't be a factor against Indiana, and it will also give the younger guys some playing time. Maybe we'll even see Emilien on defense to spell Kovacs!
University of Michigan Football Injury Report
For the Indiana Game (Sept. 26)
David Molk (foot)
Doubtful (25% chance of playing)
Mike Williams (ankle)
Probable (75% chance of playing)
Tim McAvoy (knee)
David Moosman (shoulder)
In addition, Coach Rich Rodriguez announced the captains for the homecoming game against Indiana: linebacker Stevie Brown, quarterback David Cone, wide receiver Greg Mathews and punter Zoltan Mesko.
Let me start this by saying that I HATE the three man rush. Every time it happens there are only two possible sounds coming out of my mouth: “Nooooooo” or “God Dammit!” But aside from my emotional response, I truly do not understand how the three man rush makes any sense in any football situation. My reasoning is based on the following:
1) In just about every football game (college and pro) you hear: “If you give any quarterback that much time, he will pick you apart.” By definition, the three man rush gives the QB more time and violates this axiom. How is the extra time given to the QB offset by having just one additional defender? It just doesn’t make sense.
2) Basic math tells us the three man rush is a bad idea. You reduce pressure on the QB by 25% (1 less rusher out of 4) but increase the defenders by only 14% (1 added defender out of 7).
3) The three man rush is the completely wrong approach to defend the Hail Mary. There is only one way to guarantee the Hail Mary will not work (and, no, it is not “knock it down”) – prevent the QB from having enough time to set up and heave the ball 50 yards! The three man rush almost always results in giving the QB enough time to set up and throw the ball. After the ball is thrown anything can happen as evidenced by the three man rush in the Michigan/Colorado game in 1994. (I was there and have never heard the stadium so quiet and in such disbelief.)
Here is a table showing every three man rush in the Michigan/Notre Dame game.
Floyd open in end zone, no pressure but pass is overthrown – INC.
Screen, 19 yard gain. Penalty ND negates the play.
Short pass for 8 yard gain. Tackle by ROH who dropped out of rush.
13 Yard Pass, First down
2nd & 15
10 Yard Pass
1st & 10
21 Yard Pass, TD
Anyone have some good reasons why the 3 man rush (and in the NFL, even the 2 man rush) is used?
Personally, I've always envisioned the Diaries as mini-blogs - places for insightful users to provide in-depth, long-format supporting content. A place for original articles and commentary - the best user contributions highlighted and emphasized, one step above the forum and one step below the actual blog posts. To really enforce that distinction, some kind of moderation is needed.
There are four basic options when it comes to moderation:
- Post count. It doesn't require active moderation, and it effectively blocks invading trolls and stupid newbies. On the other hand, quantity doesn't imply quality.
- Moderator post approval. As long as the right mods are chosen, only quality content gets through - but on a large site, it's dificult to keep up with the traffic.
- Manually assigning privileges. This requires a lot less work from the moderators, but is highly arbitrary on its own, and depends on the users actually being noticed by the mods - which, again, becomes a traffic issue.
- Mob rule, i.e. basic majority vote. This definitely has a certain populist appeal. Unfortunately, it can get out of hand quickly (negbangs, anyone?) and requires a lot of participation to actually be effective. It's also very vulnerable to hacking.
To qualify for an audition, a user will be required to have a certain number of MGoPoints - maybe 20, maybe 50, who knows. MGoPoints are a combination of post count and voting, so they're a good first filter - anyone auditioning will have had at least some time on the forum, with some positive responses to his posts. This keeps mods from having to reject stupid newbie auditions all day.
Once a user hits that minimum point total, their link for posting diaries becomes active. But instead of anything they post being directly published, it instead goes to moderators for approval. This is the "audition" part of the process - where the moderators look for proof that the user is good enough to be published. If the submitted diary is worth posting, the moderator approves it, and it shows up on the main page. The audition setup keeps good writers from being missed or ignored, because they're actively submitting articles for approval, and are doing so out of a much smaller set of users. It also helps create a stronger distinction between quality and quantity, and it ensures that the user is capable of writing something more meaningful than fat jokes about Charlie Weis.
After a certain number of approved diaries - say, five or so - the user is said to have "passed" the audition. The system automatically marks his account as privileged, and his diaries are automatically approved and published. Moderators can still move the posts to the forum or revoke the privilege if it's abused, but they don't have to read through every single post anymore. This again takes burden off the moderators, and rewards good users with more leeway.
Obviously this system is a little more complex than your average moderation setup, but I think it'd work much better than what most sites use. The forum users and the moderators both have a say in who gets elevated, the burden on the moderators is significantly reduced, and only people that have proven themselves worthy get to post in diary format.
And yes, I am aware of the irony of a relative newbie posting this as a diary, but it seemed like the most appropriate place.
So what do my fellow MGoBlog readers think? Would this be a good system? Are there flaws I'm not considering? Improvements that could be made?