I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
As a long time reader of this site who has never really posted his ideas, I felt oddly compelled to share something as I reflect on the game today. As I was watching our offense operate, it felt exactly like the first year in my NCAA '09 dynasty. Granted that may sound ridiculous, but please bear with me. I spent a few hours setting up formation substitutions, audibles, and the whole works before I got started. What resulted was an offense that tried to get the ball into too many different players' hands—Minor would get a carry, Brown would get two, McGuffie would mix in, along with Shaw here and there. I would screen to Odoms, or run slants to Hemingway and Clemons. If I was in trouble, I'd try to audible a go route to Matthews. I had created a monster—an offense that had no consistent play-maker. I tried to get too many different people involved. I know it's a spread offense, but that doesn't mean you need to spread the ball to 10 different guys just because they have potential. There is something to be said about setting up some consistency.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, we didn't do that today. We tried a couple of times, but when we went back to a RB or a WR who made a nice play, we got terrible blocking or a lineman completely missed an assignment. I have seen several posts here and at umgoblue.com where people have stated they were happy that our line played better than they expected. I have to ask, are you kidding me? Our run-blocking was atrocious at best, and our pass-blocking was riddled with missed opportunities. Do you want to know why Threet missed a wide open Darryl Stonum on the 4th and 5 play? His mechanics showed that he was certain he would not get quality protection and he released in such a way that it assured a high pass.
The 25-23 score is very misleading. If we were not blessed with Utah's asinine amount of mental mistakes and penalties, we could not have made it that close. They will likely attribute that to first game jitters. As an optimist, I'd also like to attribute our struggles to first game jitters. Most of us, I hope, realized this would be a tough season. Just like my NCAA dynasty, I expect a mighty struggle during year one. But in year two, when I recruited a quarterback who could handle the offense, when I trained my linemen, and when I settled on 2 backs and two top wide-outs... it was a whole different story. I get an eerie feeling that life is going to imitate art, or at least video games, in our situation.
My impressions of the game. Proviso: I am not an ultra details guy. I am a big picture, vision guy. I don’t do audits. Don’t copy edit. I don’t break down tape. I am a big picture, “feel,” guy. This is why I do not play bridge as partner to my accountant father who can remember every card played and deduce which cards are in everyone’s hand. With that in mind, these are my thoughts about this afternoon’s game against Utah.
The offence looked terrible. It was bad. There were only flashes something resembling the spread offence. We did not have a single sustained drive the entire game. Thankfully our offence was handed the ball inside the 35 enough times to make it look almost respectable on the scoreboard. They looked lost and confused like they really did not know what they were doing. One or two nice runs. A couple of good passes. But too many runs that did not happen. Too many balls thrown behind or over the receiver [think two point conversion!!!!]. Threet looked better than Sheridan. If the offence does not drastically improve it will be a long season.
Did we have a defense for the first 30 minutes? There were guys in uniforms out there, but they were not playing defense. Someone must have read them the riot act during half time. If they play the way they did in the last 30 minutes, and improve on that, we might have a chance to win a couple of games. Ezeh seemed to have steped up. Even though we brought pressure and shut down the run in the second half, we still have trouble tackling in space. The first half was awful, the second half was just bad. Can you teach guys to tackle? There were way too many plays where guys had too much space to run and made too many yards after contact.
Special teams were the only bright light, except the punting game which was underwhelming. Blocked kicks, a forced turnover…they looked great.
Another plus was that we did not take stupid penalties.
Coach Rodriguez looked pissed most of the game. I would not have wanted to be in the locker room at the half.
I am optimistic [blind faith] that we will be better. Threet took a step to earning the starting job.
Another plus...my two year old looked seriously cute in her cheer leader uniform we picked up at the MDen this summer, my wife made block M cookies, and sorted out a whole bowl of Maize and Blue M&M's for the game.
Note – I am blatantly ripping off The Sports Guy. I don’t feel bad about this for a couple of reasons, the first and most important is that I’m unpaid. Secondly, he doesn’t cover college sports. Lastly, his teams are winning everything lately, and mine just lost. So screw him and I hope this takes some of the edge off.
Post is rated PG-13 for some offensive language.
3:25 – We’re here LIVE! at the Wolvrine32 basement entertainment industrial complex. Diet coke is in place, remote is set up to flip and pause/rewind appropriately, hopefully lucky jersey is on and lucky.
- 3:27 – The cat is looking at me with disapproval. I’m strongly considering a little cat ritual sacrifice to the football gods. Couldn’t hurt.
- 3:28 – Someone tell John Saunders that Michigan has played many, many other games than Appalachian State. Also, Craig James picks USC/OSU in the title game, and also takes Obama in November and Germany over Poland in WWII.
- 3:32 – If the first play of the Rodriguez era is zone left, I’m sending him a photocopy of my butt.
- 3:37 – A quick pan of the cheerleaders reveals the one hot cheerleader is gone, and apparently not replaced. We’re changing so much, can’t we change *that* tradition?
- 3:42 – We do not run zone left, and Rodriguez is spared the photocopy. However, we do not gain squat and punt.
- 3:43 – We recover the fumble on the punt! Brigham Young just rolled his eyes in the grave. Hee hee.
- 3:47 – Touchdown Michigan! Shaw from Sheridan, first TD of the RichRod era. The cat didn’t like my celebration lap around the basement. I point out there are a lot of Chinese restaurants around here, and she should keep quiet.
- 3:48 – I’m sorry, I drifted off there into daydreaming about Nick Sheridan’s Heisman trophy acceptance speech. Let’s listen in:
“Thank you Heisman voters for recognizing my contributions to the Michigan football team. Thank you Coach Rod for giving me the chance to start. And a very special thank you to Wolvrine32 for wearing the lucky home jersey, instead of the unlucky road jersey. That was key for me during the Utah game, where this crazy journey began. Oh, and eat it Tim Tebow.”
I’m choked up right now. Cat32 is licking herself.
- 3:56 – Huge Utah pass play. I dare you to use “Stevie Brown” in a sentence without the word “clusterfuck.” (See? I couldn’t.) He was flat-footed on coverage. The cat is looking at Mr. Brown’s clusterfuck with disapproval.
- 3:57 – TD Utah, but Mike Barwis scores a point as a 30 lbs. lighter Terrance Taylor blocks the extra point. Thanks Mike.
- 4:02 – Sheridan throws a pass like a girl. With her left hand.
- 4:06 – KC Lopata connects on a 50-yard FG! John McCain just asked him to be his running mate.
- 4:15 – The GM Scholarship thing is null and void if they are bankrupt prior to the end of the 3rd quarter.
- 4:24 – Utah kicks a field goal. The backup TE for Utah just waved in the crowd to his three wives. He does look like Bill Paxton a little.
- 4:36 – Scott Shafer abandons aggressive, attacking defense in favor of passiveness and timidity. It doesn’t work and Utah picks up 38 yards. I think, all things considered, I prefer aggression in my defense.
- 4:43 – The Ryan Mallett Memorial Fumble on the center exchange.
- 4:45 – The color guy, David Norrie, is just slobbering over Nick Sheridan right now. I am wondering if we are watching the same game, and then he almost throws a pick. I also think Farrara Ferere Farre, screw it, the DE-guy is on our O-line right now. Hold me. (Tighter.)
- 4:51 – Utah, tiring of passing all over us, decides to run all over us. Here kitty, kitty….
- 4:53 – From Wikipedia I learn that Utah’s two most famous draft picks, Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut, were both drafted #1 in the same season, the only school that can claim two #1 picks in the same year. Funny, it did not mention that they were colossal busts who suck so hard they shift the universe out of alignment and basically stole millions from dumb owners who don’t pay their scouts enough.
- 4:56 – Trickeration! We hike the ball and no one moves. I am officially trying to decide between describing it as “that shit is fucked up” or “that is some fucked up shit.”
- 4:57 – Rich Rodriguez has kept alive another Michigan tradition, the Carson Butler false start.
- 4:58 – Nooooo! Minor drops a TD pass. Cat32 looks at him with disapproval. I look at him with disapproval.
- 5:00 – ABC shows a graphic with changes RichRod is implementing, and the last one is “no showboating.” Did I miss the moonwalks, spikes, and gang-signs for the last 20 years? Was Chad Johnson a Wolverine?
- 5:04 – Sheridan throws a bad, bad, bad interception. Seppuku anyone? One sec while I clean off the dried blood from the cat.
- 5:05 – In a bizarre commercial, Joe Paterno sounds like he is imploring his reluctant bowel movement to “COME TO PENN STATE!”
- 5:10 – TD Utah, then a 15 yard penalty to start the 2nd half (thanks McAvoy.). Welcome to Wolvrine32’s totally free football consulting service: I don’t need Powerpoint for this à Coach Rod, that whole end of half play sequence sucked donkey balls. Halftime.
- 5:11 – I know I said not to overeact to the first game in an earlier diary, so I’m going to go not overreact with my head in the oven. Back in a jif.
- 5:27 – Flutie: “Nich Sheridan isn’t Pat White.” Thanks Cap’n Obvious. Also, they show a highlight of Terrell Pryor cashing his paycheck.
- 5:36 – Now Norrie is demanding a Threet replacement of Sheridan. Additionally, he also decides on reflection that his Pontiac Aztec is kinda ugly.
- 5:43 – McGuffie fumbles, Utah ball. Sheridan held the ball on the handoff. The cat looks at the offense with condemnation. If Cat32 were calling the shots, people would be dying. That’s the way she sees it.
- 5:46 – Interception Ezeh! Tip by Brown! Woot!
- 5:47-9 – My exact notes: Threet/suck/suck/delay of game/hurried punt. That is some rompin’ stompin’ football there folks.
- 5:55 – Utah channels Reggie Ho’s kid Sakoda, and he connects on a field goal. Anyone left for another round of Seppuku?
- 5:59 – I swear to God I saw Barwis wearing a headband and carrying a knife in his teeth, stalking Utah’s offensive coordinator.
- 6:03 – Offensive series here an unmitigated disaster. If incompetence were people, our offense would be China. Like the stadium, the offense is clearly under construction. Can you tell yet that this series sapped my will to live?
- 6:12 – Minor fumbles. Thus far, this is not a candidate for Big Ten’s Greatest Games.
- 6:22 – Sakoda hits a 60 yard punt under pressure. Honestly, it was badass. Rejected Utah nicknames: Polygamists, Choirboys, Fightin’ Bigamists, Smiters, Latter-day Utes, Ragin’ Prophets. I’m lashing out.
- 6:30 – Threet looks more discombobulated on a screen than John McCain picking a running mate.
- 6:36 – WE BLOCK A PUNT! Joseph Smith’s ghost is looking at his team with disapproval. Cat32 does not approve of him taking her schtick.
- 6:37 – Threet to Hemingway, touchdown Michigan! That deserved some third person: Wolvrine32 LOVED that play! Wolvrine32 wants MORE of that play! Wolvrine32 is JACKED!
- 6:40 – Donovan Warren is on a guy like white on rice in a glass of milk, on a paper plate, in a snowstorm.
- 6:42 – FUMBLE UTAH! MICHIGAN RECOVERS! AUSTIN PANTER! I CAN’T STOP WITH THE CAPS OR THE !!!!!
- 6:43 – Two neighborhood kids just ran by the window. What is wrong with parents today? Don’t they know their kid should have been properly brainwashed to be sitting inside watching college football instead of running around outside exercising? It’s tantamount to child abuse. Someone call state services.
- 6:46 – We run the “pass interference offense.” I sing The Victors. Cat32 doesn’t know the words. Right after we find out in three words why Threet didn’t start: “Human Traffic Cone.”
- 6:48 – Huge touchdown run by McGuffie! I paw-bump the cat. Cat32 looks happy for the first time in years. We might win this damn thing!
- 7:00 – I stopped taking notes for a bit. It’s official, I hate Mormons, Mormonism, the stupid choir. Grrr. I even, in retrospect, decide I hated the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Take that Utahfan.
- 7:06 – Ballgame. Wife32 appears with some cookies, I annihilate them like our O-line was annihilated all game.
On the bright side, I thought our defense flipped a switch at halftime and could grow into a decent unit. The offense, yikes. Guess that’s pretty much where we all thought we’d be and hoped for more. Nope.
I am sad, but at least it’s football season. Bring on Miami, and Go Blue!
I told jamiemac this evening that I didn't have time for a post to my blog. Given that I have exactly none so far this year, that is stunning news. However, after rereading several Internet previews of Michigan, I got irritated and banged out some insanity. Due to a couple graphics, I reproduce a paragraph here as a tease.
The Bears are obviously fixated on Michigan’s denuded offensive line and walk-on quarterback, areas of concern, certainly. But let’s put Lloyd Carr back at the helm and add back Ryan Mallett and Justin Boren along with one or two other beefalo lineman who threw in the towel after their third Barwis sprint. SI and others would then be typically Bullish on Michigan, citing their seasoned defense and five-star QB before bestowing a top 25 ranking on the Wolverines. Excuse me? Boren, Mallett and Lloyd Carr do not elevate this current squad from 54th to the top 25. Yet, in the Lloyd Carr version of 2008, pundits would place Michigan in a more traditional pre-season slot citing better athletes, a stout defense and the simple fact that the schedule features largely inferior competition. They would grumble and mumble that Michigan is overrated, but they would never drop them down amongst the unwashed.
Ok, so there's been a bit of discussion on how to watch streamed games
over the interweb, and while it's not exactly rocket science it does
take awhile to figure out what you're doing if you haven't done so
before. Luckily for you, I had to learn how to do this when I lived in
the Caribbean and have made all the mistakes so you don't have to.
Btw, I have a feeling "I lived in the Caribbean" is right up there on
the annoyance list with "Hey did you know Tom Zbikowski was a boxer"
for people who know me, but you know what? Screw 'em. I lived 200 feet
from the ocean and rum was $3.99 a fifth. You haven't lived until
you've woken up on the beach wearing nothing but socks and a party
hat. I'm not sayin' I have, I'm not sayin' I haven't, I'm just
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah- I made all the mistakes so you don't have to blah blah yeah Ninja we get it just get on with it.
Two things to keep in mind when watching streamed games:
- You are essentially watching someone's television through
their window (albeit with their permission). This means you have NO
CONTROL over what they decide to stream, and the very real possibility
exists of a change to Judge Judy in the middle of a Sam McGuffie 85
yard run. That's the "fraught with peril" Brian spoke of when referring
- The streamers are doing this AS A SERVICE for
you. They don't have to, so if the reception on a stream is poor or
they decide Judge Judy is more important, don't start whining and
complaining. If you're looking for control buy a Slingbox, but crying
because your game isn't being streamed, etc is like someone handing you
a martini with Stoli and you bitching because it's not made with
Goose. Save it.
The "How To":
I use two different sites, each has it's pros and cons.
- Channelsurfing.net can be found at the absurdly
simple address of www.channelsurfing.net . Seriously, if you can't
figure that out you probably went to State, but I know there a few
Sparties who read this site, so I just wanted to point that out. This
is the easiest of the two, just go to the site, scroll down, and click
on the link. A new browser window will open with your game, and voila-
- My P2P can be found at the address www.myp2p.eu and
while not as easy to use as the aforementioned site, it does offer a
chance to watch the game you're watching and surf the web as well, say
if you wanted to do something like participate in the WLA led Live chat
during the game without having to flip back and forth.
My P2P is exacty what the title implies, meaning Peer-to-Peer sharing of files, so you'll have to download a program or two to make it work, most likely Sopcast and VLC.
There is a forum on the site that lists all of the scheduled streams as well as FAQs for Sopcast, VLC, and how to watch stream in general. Here's this week's schedule: www.myp2pforum.eu/ncaa/26130-ncaa-football-week-1-a.html
From there you should be able to figure it out. I used Sopcast many times last year, and even gave someone (Rush N Attack?) my phone number so they could call and I walked them through it for the Frozen Four. Let me know if you have questions and I'll do my best to answer them, but I recommend trying to set it up and watch something tonight, just in case.
EDIT: The previous offer of a guaranteed stream has been redacted. After the Live Blog yesterday I decided my Saturdays will be better spent worrying about my own enjoyment instead of contributing to that of others, many of whom often do not appreciate it. Any questions regarding streams are probably addressed in the tutorial TS of MGoVideo.com linked to below. If you haven't checked out their site do so, it's awesome- and they have a technical forum over there as well.
Good Luck and Go Blue!
The 3 or 4 still = 4 formula or "You ARE freaking out, MAN."
I can't belive so many people are tired of speculation about the upcoming season. It's the most exciting (and UNKNOWN) start of a season in quite some time. Besides, what do you people do at work? If the answer is "not speculate about sports" then what is it you do for a living that's so fascinating?
Anyway, I will be honest, I have been freaking out (man), but in an attempt not to I thought back to a formula that my family has been using to calculate Michigan wins for a while, and actually under Lloyd Carr (and actually for Bo too, come to that), it was fairly accurate, except for the last couple of years, but those were very up and down and unpredictable, and even had names like the Year of Infinite Pain. You can't predict a year with infinite pain.
The formula is the 3 or 4 still = 4 formula, and requires the steadfast refusal to listen to all the if's and a refusal to listen to a lot of analysis- or the discipline to discount it. The theory is that in college football, tradition is still very important, and except when Charlie LLLLLLLLWLWWeis is ruining it, teams are really surprisingly consistent despite other factors. In this theory tradition wins out, and what usually happens will happen again.
So now I am wondering out loud if things will really change this year, or if a different system will yield really similar results? We will see, and to do it I will introduce the formula. To use this, the analysis is REALLY simple. Is the team:
quite good? Give it a 1/2 (still equals 2)
pretty good, a 2/3 (still equals 3)
good, but a little disappointing for Michigan: 3/4 (still equals 4)
That's all the analysis that's required, and these are the ONLY choices. What the numbers say is this: If we win the lower number, we will be overrated and lose our bowl game, giving us the higher number of losses anyway. If we lose the higher number we will be mad, get a worse bowl opponent and beat them, keeping the number of losses the same. Like I said, the last few years were weird, but take 2004, Chad Henne's freshman year. This was probably a "pretty good" team. During the season they only lost twice- maybe playing just a hair above themselves. But they lost (albeit by a hair) to a good Texas team to get 3 losses. If that team had lost 3 regular season games, though, I submit that we probably would have won that bowl game. Hence 2 or 3 still equals three. The reasoning behind only 3 choices is also simple- the vast majority of our seasons have had 2, 3, or 4 losses, and so that's where we start.
This analysis obviously sacrifices something up front: you can't predict years that are weird (and this admittedly could be one, by the way). It is a system that admittedly aims to be only USUALLY right. It wouldn't have predicted the national championship year, it wouldn't have seen last year's injuries. But I would argue that those circumstances are usually unpredicatable anyway: if you HAD known about the circumstances, how would you have predicted least year? Knowing Not full-strength Chad Henne and remembering that we had lost 3 defensive superstars, you might have said this team was only "good", so 3/4 still equals 4, and you'd have been right. Ok, so a LOT of circumstances come out in the wash, but remember we take for granted a lack of Henne. You say 4 losses and we win the bowl game. We shouldn't have beat Florida, true, but we also shouldn't have lost in The Horror, so like I said, it comes out in the wash sooner or later. If that team had only lost 3, and we had had to play "up" a game then we almost certainly lose to Tennessee or USC. It's one of those things- if you try to pick MOST of the games and seasons right you can, but somehow if you try to pick them all you get more wrong, just like the NCAA basketball tournament bracket where you thought about it for a long time and then all of a sudden you have too many 12 seeds winning games. Your five minute bracket was a lot better. This is the same principle. Think about it this way: who is more right, the person who says the Lions will not go to the playoffs ever, or the person who tries to pick the year they get there? It's the former, of course.
This analysis is strong in its simplicity and its ability to either ignore factors that will be inconsequantial or combine with other factors to cancel out. Football analysis is hard, and it's fun, and I love it, but really, I think we tend to overthink it. In almost any given year Michigan will be good, Indiana will suck, and Michigan State will blow it at some point. This analysis is true for like 95% of the college football seasons ever. Like I said, the great thing about this system is it makes up for things coming out in the wash. Let's take 2003. I actually argued at the time that despite all the seniors this team was only "pretty good" because I didn't quite trust the defense or John Navarre. And our competition that year was quite good- I think that people would have said that losing two out of three to Notre Dame, Michigan State, and OSU was totally possible. Well, actually we won all of those games, but then crapped out at Oregon and Iowa. Still though, the 2/3 formula was right as we lost to a better USC team. I think if that's a 3 loss team during the season that they tear up the Capital One Bowl to stay with 3 losses.
If you want to get a little more complex and you want to be able to predict an undefeated (or 5 loss) season then you can add a season modifier: +1 for a good chance something horrible happens, -1 something wonderful happens. But it's hard to quantify that, so I don't usually.
So even though my natural tendency is to freak out and say we have new (or even no) QBs, and a crappy OL, and that we will all be put to the sword, and the stadium will burn with red flame, and we will lose every game, the formula suggests only 4 losses. (And to imagine a day when we said "only 4", but that's just me yearning for Bo again...) Anyway, the 4 losses- this year we have to be a 3/4, not better, and I'd even say there is the potential +1 for something horrible (Notre Dame plays one good game this season). My prediction is we lose 4 during the regular season (Utah, MSU OR ILL, PSU OR WISC, OSU), get forgotten about, and pulverize someone in a crappy bowl, like the Aloha Bowl or something. But I think surely if we somehow lose only 3, which would be very (VERY) good result I think, in a bowl game we have to play some team from the SEC east that is almost certianly overrated, but also almost certainly better than us. So four losses either way.
Now, sometimes you have to listen to the analysis. Sometimes everything is not business as usual- sometimes you can't just have your head in the clouds and wish something away. I hope that's not this year, because when I sit down and do the analysis and think that with no QBs, no OL, and no LBs we suck suck suck. So I sit down and try to trust the formula. Still, we all know what happens with willful ignorance- "Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist..."