During the ND game on Saturday, ESPN used a graphic that showed ND had slipped to #3 in all-time wins, behind U-M and Texas. I had not realized this happened at the end of last season.
Here are the current (up-to-date following 2009 Week 2) rankings for wins and winning percentage. Comments/observations below.
1. MICHIGAN - 874
2. Texas - 834
3. Notre Dame - 832
4. Nebraska - 819
5. Ohio State - 809
6. Penn State - 802
7. Alabama - 801
8. Oklahoma - 792
9. Tennessee - 777
10. Southern Cal - 768
ALL-TIME WINNING PERCENTAGE:
1. MICHIGAN - .740 (874-295-36, 1205 GP)
2. Notre Dame - .736 (832-285-42, 1159 GP)
3. Texas - .718 (834-317-33, 1184 GP)
4. Oklahoma - .716 (792-298-53, 1143 GP)
5. Ohio State - .715 (809-307-53, 1169 GP)
6. Alabama - .709 (801-316-43, 1160 GP)
7. Southern Cal - .707 (768-303-54, 1125 GP)
8. Nebraska - .702 (819-337-40, 1196 GP)
9. Tennessee - .694 (777-328-53, 1158 GP)
10. Penn State - .690 (802-349-42, 1193 GP)
1. In terms of wins, MICHIGAN's got a huge lead over Texas and Notre Dame, followed by another drop-off to schools that have pretty recently cracked 800 wins.
2. In terms of percentage, MICHIGAN and Notre Dame have a tremendous lead.
3. Around the 1200 GP point, a win raises MICHIGAN's percentage by about .0002 (1/5 of a point). A loss drops MICHIGAN's percentage by about .0006 (just over 1/2 of a point); so 2008 was pretty tough on the all-time stats.
4. MICHIGAN's substantial leads in each category I think can be attributed to MICHIGAN's two highly dominant eras as far as number of wins: Yost and Bo. The other schools on those lists have had dominant stretches here and there, but generally only one truly dominant era each.
5. Also, since 1970, MICHIGAN has generally avoided (thus far, fingers crossed) a multi-season dead era of a bad coach or a few bad coaching searches in a row, such as has occurred with every other team on those lists, save for Penn State (though one could argue the late 1990s and early 2000s had the same effect there). 4-5 lousy seasons in a row, or a full decade of mediocrity, really takes a toll on winning percentage.
6. The top ten on each list are the same teams, in slightly different order. So number of wins is generally analogous to winning percentage. Duh. BUT:
7. Just outside of the top ten in percentage, a few precocious upstarts pop up. Florida State sits at #11 with .670 and only 460 wins. Miami (Fla.) is #14 with .634 and only 546 wins. Other than those two notables, the list roughly holds true: more all-time wins roughly equals greater winning percentage. Since the top ten traditional power schools racked up most of their wins and drove their percentages higher in an era with nowhere near the parity we have today or in the past 30 years, I think what Florida State and Miami did in the 1980s and 1990s was pretty darned impressive.
8. Until the late 1990s, MICHIGAN and Notre Dame had each hung around the .745 mark for quite a while, then Notre Dame slipped off, and Michigan followed in 2005-2008.
QUESTIONS AND INVITATION FOR PREDICTIONS:
When will MICHIGAN get to 900 wins?
When will MICHIGAN get back to .745?
Now, part-in-parcel with the "was the penalty justified?" argument must be the statement "the decision in question significantly effected the outcome of the game". For example, if Brandon Minor picks up 15 yards on first-and-ten but the refs only spot him for 14.5 yards, and Michigan later has to punt, nobody's going to argue about the spot because it didn't much matter in the big picture of things. Thus, in arguing that Allen should not have been flagged, ND fans are also arguing that if he hadn't been flagged, the game would have turned out differently. However, this is clearly not the case.
To make this argument we must enter a PARALLEL UNIVERSE! The rules of the PARALLEL UNIVERSE are as follows: Inside the parallel universe, everything happens exactly as it happened in our universe EXCEPT for the one thing that was changed. If we don't make this assumption then the parallel universe is useless for comparative purposes. With that in mind, let's begin.
Our universes diverge at the exact moment Armando Allen crosses the goal line for a successful two point conversion. In our universe, he "shushes" the crowd (and drops some F-bombs?). In the Parallel universe, he hands the ball to the ref, quietly thanks Vishnu (He practices Hinduism in the parallel universe. What?) for giving him the strength to reach the end zone, and returns to the sidelines. Jimmah Clausen's dance is ESPN's top play of the day, and he and his linemen compete in America's Top Dance Crew during the offseason, finishing third.
In our universe, Odoms returns the ensuing kickoff (which was kicked from 15 yards back due to the penalty) 15 yards to the Michigan 41.
In the parallel universe, Odoms returns the ensuing kickoff (which was kicked from the standard spot) 15 yards to the Michigan 26.
After that, in our universe Michigan drives before stalling with a 4th-and-15 at the Michigan 49.
In the parrallel universe Michigan drives before stalling with a 4th-and-15 at the Michigan 34.
In our universe, Michigan takes a deliberate delay-of-game penalty to back up 5 yards, but then Notre Dame jumps offsides moving the line back to the 49. Zoltan Mesko (who, incidentally, can SEE parallel universes. Freaky, huh?) then punts 34 yards to the ND 16. No return. Note the length of the punt - 34 yards would be pretty subpar, but Zoltan is trying to get the ball inside the 20 but not in the end zone, which he does successfully.
In the parallel universe, Michigan does not take the deliberate delay-of-game penalty but Notre Dame still jumps offsides, giving Michigan 4th-and-10 at the Michigan 39. From here, Zoltan is doing a straight-up max distance punt, and he gets it 45 yards (two more than his average from last year) which lands at... the Notre Dame 16. No return.
Look! At this point, the parallel universe and ours have re-converged, and we find Notre Dame with the ball in the same spot with the same about of time on the clock in both universes. We are left to conclude that in the big picture, Armando Allen's unsportsmanlike conduct had no more effect on the final outcome of the game than any of the millions of other minute, insignificant events and that make up a football game.
I was recently looking at Bo's career numbers and just had to marvel anew at his dominance of the B10, and his consistently successful teams. A few things I noticed about Bo's 20-year tenure at Michigan:
*Bo never lost more than one game in the B10 until his 11th season at Michigan
*Bo only lost multiple games in the B10 four times in 20 seasons
*He finished outside the Top 20 only once
*He finished outside the Top 10 only 4 times
*He finished in the Top 5 seven times
*He finished lower than 2nd place in the B10 only 4 times
*Of course, there is the well known and very rare winning record against Woody Hayes
Here is a question though: does anyone know Bo's record against Top Ten teams?
I have tried to find this info via Google and have come up empty. However, I seem to remember that Bo's record against Top Tens was not very good, even apart from his well-known failures in bowl games (5-12 overrall record).
Searching for Bo's record vs. Top Tens, I stumbled across this article regarding OSU's chronic and long-standing difficulties against Top Tens, going all the way back to Woody:
This made me wonder...given that Bo is part of Woody's coaching tree, is there a reason that both men struggled against the best competition? Is it possible that both of them were master recruiters who got the best talent, then prepared and drilled relentlessly, then overwhelmed teams with inferior talent by sheer, brute force?
Hey, no complaints about sheer, brute force here. This is football, after all. However, you can't typically go to the Rose Bowl and overwhelm USC with your superior level of talent. When talent and preparation are equal, creativity, game planning, and adjustments come into play.
If this is true, then perhaps Rich Rod is the perfect man to lead Michigan football over the top, making it into more than a very good and storied program that wins significantly more than it loses. Maybe it is under a coach like him that Michigan becomes feared again, for this simple reason: over time, the challenge of facing Michigan won't be simply that their players are more talented and better prepared. It will be that, plus that fact that opposing D coordinators won't have any idea what Michigan is about to do next.
Imagine facing all that frightening talent, channeled through an unpredictable system with virtually limitless options. Will the QB run? Will he throw short? Will he throw long? Will he hand it to a slot receiver? Who do we double cover? How can I prepare my defense to react effectively to all the deception, counters, reverses, etc.?
This team's offense is frightening right now. Imagine what it will be when Tate has more experience, when true game-breakers are recruited at RB and WR, and when the system is fully, 100% installed. Can you imagine it when all the starters on both sides of the ball are juniors and seniors?
This isn't going to be merely a pretty good team with a storied tradition and cool uniforms. This is going to be an aggressive threshing machine that rips off people's arms and legs. People are going to fear Michigan again, not just respect them--all the way down to Columbus, the lair of the Hideous Minions of Evil and their Supreme Commander, The Sweater-Vested One.
As it should be!
The not-quite-GED-qualifying-because-the-world-needs-ditch-diggers-too-Danny fan base is up in arms down there, if a bit in disagreement, over one or more of the following: 1) Jim Tressel is the biggest loser to ever be associated with the Scarlett and Gray, 2) JT had better get himself a "real" Offensive Coordinator, (aren't all coaches employed by Ohio State "offensive", by definition?) because "college football has passed him by" and, perhaps most venomously, 3) Tyrelle Pryor will never - EVER - be a "real, big time, QB."
Here's my take on Tressel, Pryor and Saturday's game plan against USC, (since I have a hole in my ass, and its pointed at the ground, I'm entitled to my opinion, too): if it could have been possible for both teams to lose, that's what I would have rooted for. Admit it: you feel the same way. I could be all magnanimous and believe that, "I root for OSU when they're not playing Michigan because they're in the Big 10, too, and it counts."
Bullshit. I come from "Old School" Wolverine Football loving tradition: "I have two favorite teams: Michigan, and whomever is playing Ohio State."
I have to admit, though, I do have respect for Tressel. The man has had UM's number for the better part of a decade. He's not the most imaginative play-caller, mind you, but he's not about "three yards and a cloud of dust", either. He's won a BCSNC, and had won consecutive NC's at Youngstown State prior to his move to Columbus.
So, the limited imagination shown in Saturday's Xs and Os, and the week earlier against Navy, really had me scratching my head. The Buckeyes "D" made USC's offense look ordinary (and even less) for 95% of the game -- and that was with a bevy of new starters. But the OSU offense was beyond offensive.
Then, it hit me: it's Pryor. Lots of folks have commented about how he has got problems with his nerves. I think there's more to it. If it were all about nerves, Tressel would be designing plays that take advantage of his freakish physical abilities and what he does most naturally. Except for a couple of designed runs and roll-outs, though, the offense is plain jane.
I think the limitation is in his gray matter. He's been the starter for nearly a year already, over two seasons. Yet, he's still making simple mistakes, (a delay of game penalty ... IN THE TWO MINUTE DRILL?!? WTF???) Plays are taking to long to develop, he's getting rattled, he's not progressing through his keys and missing the coverages and open man. He may yet progress, a la Vince Young. But right now, he's singing that Zeppelin tune, "Dazed and Confused".
Which brings me back to the Word of the Day, (I'm glad you hung in there with me). In the play "Avenue Q", a character named Gary sings the song, "Schadenfreude". The opening lines are:
Right now you are down and out
And feelin' really crappy.
And when I see how said you are,
It sorta makes me happy.
Ahhhh, better already.
I wanted to find a picture perfect example of that play from our last game, but I didn't have the time, unfortunately (I'm not that quick at this video/picture stuff!). Instead, I'll post some pictures of Koger's TD catch, which shows the basic principles that SmartFootball discussed today, but also accentuates some great play by Tate and Koger.
So, here we are in our new shotgun ace base set with Koger lined up at H-Back, rather than as a TE:
As you can see, ND is either in a 4-3, or a nickle 4-2. I can't tell if the third LB over Koger is indeed a LB, or a Saftey. Doesn't really matter, anyways.
You also see a Safety walking into the box, for a total of 8 defenders in the box. (For clarification, I'm referring to the player on the "I" in "MICHIGAN" in the end zone)
Next, we see Tate receive the snap and read the backside. ND is running a variation of the scrape - so far, we usually have heard about the DE crashing the RB and the LB coming for the QB. Here, ND actually crashes the backside LB, and the DE is coming straight down the line looking for Tate.
Tate makes the read and decides to keep it. [EDIT - GSimmons suggests below that this is merely a play action, and not a read, which basically answers my own question that I possed at the end of this post] Also, notice that Koger is coming back against the grain - all the OL are blocking to their right, and Koger comes out to his left.
The unfortunate thing for this particular play is that the Safety walked into the box, as shown earlier. ND could afford to do that, since they're already back up against the end zone and Tate can't exactly go deep.
As a result, that Safety can (theoretically) easily pick up Koger, as seen below.
However, the Safety freezes and Koger blows past him. Tate has to wait an instance for the throwing lane to open, but he delivers a strike to Koger.
End result = Touchdown.
A remark about the play: This was a great play on both sides. First, ND had the safety in the perfect position. Normally I'd expect that Safety to be deep and Koger to be wide open. Second, the ND LB/DE did a great job of getting after Tate. One of them was responsible for crashing C. Brown (IMO that'd be the LB) but they both hauled ass and would have sacked 80% of all QBs. Third, Tate made a HECK of a throw. I have no idea how he managed to see between those two defenders. Finally, great route by Koger to get away from the Safety.
I have a question about the initial play call, however. Somehow running the zone read into the short side, with 8 in the box seems like an odd call. I wonder if Tate had any intention of handing it off to Carlos. Instead, I suspect this play was a roll-out from the get go, with the hand off used to keep the back side pursuit at bay.
This might have been a good situation to call for a fade instead, if RichRod thinks he has a good match up on the ouside.
Many of us have attended games at the Big House for so long and so often, we probably now take it for granted. Since I live out of state I feel tickets for a few games on this years schedule (EMU, Delaware State) will be difficult to sell since our opponent is not of major interest and there will be a lot of tickets available.
Remember when you first went to the Big House as a kid? It was like no other athletic event you ever attended. Pregame meals as a kid for myself were spent at the Pretzel Bell with my dad and brother and then we would get over to the stadium to hear the band and watch the team run under the banner.
I am sure there are a lot of kids in the Ann Arbor area who have never attended a Michigan game at the Big House and this year I wanted to amend that for at least one young man. As a result I have donated my tickets to the Delaware State game to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Washtenaw County (734-975-0933). I am sure there are many other organizations where a ticket donation can be made to provide someone a little less fortunate with a memorable afternoon at the Big House.
If you have tickets this year that you cannot use or sell, consider donating them to someone in need. If you do, you will be the conquering hero.
Thanks and Go Blue!