a vitally important recap of all the dumb tweets sent during the Harbaugh coaching search
Alright, so, some updates.
First of all, yes, I realize that the rankings don't really matter yet. And I know we're pretty high in the RPI. But this will not stop me from watching the rankings, because, no matter what you say about early season rankings, it is easier to go into the Big T1e1n season ranked than to fight for a ranking during what should be a competitive Big T1e1n season for us.
Second of all, yes, I realize that, even if it isn't necessarily the best for our ranking, we want Big T1e1n teams to win, because it'll help our RPI in the long run. But, you know what? I'll deal with that later. Once the B10 season starts, I'll start talking about not only what would best help our ranking, but, what would help our Big Ten tourney seed. For now, we're looking at things on a strictly "what would best help our ranking" basis.
Because its my diary.
Oh, also, I'm abadoning the system where I put T's in front of teams that got votes and do have a rank but just aren't in the top 25. If a team doesn't have a number in front of it, go ahead and assume it is not in the polls but got more votes than us. For ranked teams, ranking convention is coaches/media.
So, what actually happened:
Wisconsin (only ahead of us in coaches poll), actually almost lost to Idaho State. This is... strange. Should hurt them. I'm just glad they stayed alive, because, well, we open the season against them, and I want the game to really mean something.
#22/#23 Davidson barely beat out West Virginia, which actually really sucks, because, well, otherwise, they may have fallen out of the polls, which would have been good for us.
BYU (again, only ahead of us in coaches), crushed Boise St.
Dayton beats Creighton in the battle o' rhyme by 18, so, although it won't help us get ranked, as long as we beat Eastern Saturday, it'll help us pass them in the polls.
No games of interest. None. Weird.
Miami beat up on FL Intl, which is of no surprise.
Tomorrow's the big day, here are the games to watch and where to watch them:
PRIORITY GAMES TO WATCH:
Obviously, Michigan vs. Eastern on the Big Ten Network. 4:00. Uh, I say we win. That's about all I have to say about that.
#21/#21 Ohio State v. Butler at noon on BTN. Battle of the Undefeateds. Could be good for Michigan's rank if OSU loses, but, well, its a Big 10 team. It could be better in the long run if they win.
BYU v. Portland. This one's late for us, 10:00pm, and most of us won't get it, as its on The Mtn, which is the Mountain West's sports network. A city in Oregon just elected America's first openly Transgender mayor (congratulations Mayor Rasmussen!), so something tells me the Mormons don't like the entire state. (Why yes. I am bitter about the Prop 8 loss.) Of course, this means I'll be rooting for Portland to beat their asses so bad that they don't have tax-exempt status. It's not unreasonable. They're a two-loss team.
Other games I care much, much less about, because the team that should win probably will:
Wisconsin v. Wisconsin-Green Bay 8pm BTN
Dayton v. Coppin State 8pm, Online
NR/#22 Baylor v. Prairie View A&M 3pm, ESPN360
Clemson v. SC State 2pm, Online
#23/#25 Kansas v. UMass 2pm, ESPN, ESPN360
#24/#24 Marquette v. IPFW 2pm, Sports 32 (Local Milwaukee Network)
#22/#23 Davidson v. Chattanooga 7pm, Online (PPV)
#25/NR Miami (FL) v. Robert Morris 1pm, No TV
The online games, I'm not sure if they're free, unless I've marked that they're not. You can find them on those teams' official websites. If you're really, really obsessive.
There's some hockey this weekend, but, just look at the last blog to find it.
Good night, don't let the Sam McGuffies bite.
THE KNOWLEDGE is back to reveal some important information regarding the coaching situation for the football team
after an exceptionally disappointing season, the defense coordinator SS will be fired
this is ABSOLUTE SOLID inside information that THE KNOWLEDGE is privy to
those os you that know THE KNOWLEDGE know that I may have predicted the wrong coach (who has now taken on the job at UW) instead of RR, but I predicted a EXACT DATE of the hire weeks in advance
the reason that Shafer hasn't been given the marching orders already is that RR wants to make sure he settles on the new DC before firing Shafer
there are also rumblings about the 2 choices that the new DC search has been narrowed down to; however THE KNOWLEDGE shall not provide the information at this point because it is very sensitive in nature. you can rest assured that whichever the choice is, the fans will be HIGHLY pleased. suffice to say at this point that both of these candidates are excellent coaches with a proven track record of dominating defenses
if you don't believe me, then wait until January end when Shafer shall be fired, and the new DC hired
then THE KNOWLEDGE will bask in glory
and leave everyone in a trail of dust
OK, if you even made it this far, congrats. This time of year, everyone's got their own perfect little playoff ideas that they want to share with the world, and it gets a little tiresome. That notwithstanding, it's my turn.
I'm vehemently against the notion of a playoff as it's usually thought of. To me it ruins the regular season and the bowls, both of which I think are too important. But I've conceived this idea (I may or may not be the first, I dunno) and it's one that satisfies my own concerns about traditions, while adding a radical new wrinkle to the season that ought to satisfy the playoff proponents in a BIG way. I invite all to poke holes in the idea as they see fit....
- First, grab 8 more teams from DI-AA for a 128 team league. You can have a tournament with any number of teams, of course, but 128 is twice 64 so it breaks down nicely.
- Schedule 6 games at the beginning of the season. Some of them would be conference games and others would be non-conference, scheduled by the AD as they are now.
- Have a competition committee seed a 128-team bracket during a nationwide bye week, based on last year's results and this year's first few games, taking into account strength of schedule, quality of wins, blah blah blah. You could set up an RPI same as in basketball. Committee would attempt to avoid rematches.
- Play out the tournament. It would take six weeks to boil down to two teams. Losing teams return to their regular schedule as determined by the conferences and continue to play out the season. Winning teams continue through the bracket.
- Losing teams then continue to play the regular season just as they do now, but ineligible for the national title, and their conference title too if another team from their conference is still alive.
- The national title game then becomes the result of the bracket. All the bowls are played just exactly as they are now. Conference champions can be determined however the conference wants to determine them.
Advantages would be: We get a playoff - a big honkin' one - and we don't ever have to hear the media whine and bitch about it ever again. The bowl system remains almost perfectly intact, and even retains its prestige. Being the Rose Bowl champs would still mean something. The BCS can continue, only without the national championship aspect - now it's just a series of championship bowls for conference champions and some of the better at-larges. The regular season still means something, because the playoff is the regular season, and eliminated teams still get to play for a bowl game berth. Everybody gets a shot at being the national champion, and playing a seven-game tournament would probably shut everyone up about who does and doesn't deserve it. And finally, those early season games become pretty important all of a sudden. You want to impress the committee, maybe you stop scheduling Northwest Southcentraleastern North Dakota Poly Tech.
Disadvantages: It'd required wicked amounts of schedule flexibility. The teams' logistics people would really have to earn their paycheck. (But the TV schedulers generally ensure that games don't have a set time until as soon as a week prior anyway.) And a team would be conference champs despite playing maybe as few as three conference games. (Although if you're national champs, you probably would have beat all the fools in your conference anyway.) Also, potential loss of rivalry games. If Michigan or OSU is one of the teams still left in the bracket, the game wouldn't happen that year. However, by the last couple weeks only a few teams would still be alive for the title, and the vast majority of rivalry games would still get played. Probably the only lost ones would involve the final four.
The national schedule would break down like so:
- First six weeks: Games as usual.
- Week 7: Bye, for committee confab.
- Week 8: Round 1. All 128 teams involved.
- Week 9: Round 2. 64 teams remain. Other 64 continue the season as before.
- Weeks 10-12: Rounds 3, 4, 5. At the end, four teams remain.
- Week 13, 14: Final Four. Conference championship games are played, wherever needed. Final Four games get mad crazy hype as national title participants determined. Afterwards, BCS selection for Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta. Bowl invites extended. Final Four losers get auto-bids to a BCS bowl. Winners rejoice, commence smack talk, as both are on a six-game win streak.
- Bowl season: Same as always. Bowls are played, payouts are given, people celebrate. National title game is played. Dan Wetzel orgasms repeatedly. Terry Bowden no longer has column material. Congress decides to bully the NFL a bit.
I'm going to present a what-if scenario, for the sake of establishing a control in the argument of BCS v Playoff. It has been maintained by some on this board that the best possible post-season for all stakeholders (bowls, fans, NCAA, players, programs, etc.) is a tie-in bowl system, similar to that in place before the Bowl Championship Coalition years.
The Big Four bowl games if there were no BCS, no playoffs, just conference champ tie-ins.
Big Ten #1 v. Pac Ten #1
#6 Penn State v. #5 USC
ACC #1 v. Big East #1
#21 Virginia Tech v. #12 Cincinnati
SEC #1 v. At-Large
#1 Florida v. #3 Texas
Big 12 #1 v. At-Large
#2 Oklahoma v. #4 Alabama
Basically, Oklahoma, by winning the Big XII Championship, gets an autobid to the Fiesta and therefore plays itself out of the Sugar Bowl. From here, there are four things that could happen:
1. Fla. and Okla. win. Both are 1-loss conference champions. The pollsters go the mattresses. The championship is debated ad nauseum.
2. Fla. and Bama win. Florida declared undisputed champ -- maybe winner of PSU/USC game gets some votes. Cue 8 months of insufferable SEC self-aggrandizement.
3. Texas and Okla win. It will be debated...a lot. But I think Texas gets the slight nod for the head-to-head and better bowl opponent.
4. Texas and Bama win. Again, a debate, since neither are conference champs. I think Texas would get the nod, for strength of schedule, but it would be close.
Now, with all possible outcomes, here's how each stakeholder made out:
NCAA, Bowls and TV Contracts: GREAT. The Rose Bowl brought in close to its usual fantastic haul, and two top-tier bowl games received national attention. Down-ticket bowl games were able to fill their seats and promote with an average of 5 to 6 weeks to name opponents before the games.
Fans: OKAY. We end up with a likely disputed national champion, and the potentially strange situation of Oklahoma playing itself out of a matchup with Florida for all the marbles, which, depending on the outcome, could be a moderate inconvenience or a huge scandal. However, three of the four national bowl games were excellent matchups, especially since the teams all had three to six weeks to prepare for each other and get healthy. Those attending the games were able to make plans well in advance.
Teams: GOOD. Those participating were able to use the extra time to practice for their opponents and put their best game forward. Student athletes were able to take their end-of-semester finals and return from their trips in time for the start of the next semester. However, 12-0 Utah and Bosie have a legitimate beef, especially if they win their down-ticket bowls, for not being invited to the party.
Now, let's try this against the BCS:
BCS National Championship
#1 BCS v. #2 BCS
#1 Florida v. #2 Oklahoma
Big Ten #1 v. Pac Ten #1
#6 Penn State v. #5 USC
ACC #1 v. Big East #1
#21 Virginia Tech v. #12 Cincinnati
At-Large #1 v. At-Large #4
#3 Alabama v. #7 Utah
At-Large #2 v. At-Large #3
#3 Texas v. #10 Ohio State
Again, there is plenty of room here for debate, since there were 7 teams with 1 loss and one with none going into the bowls. The BCS's pitting of No. 1 and 2 narrows down the split-championship scenario decidedly.
1. Utah defeats Alabama and/or Boise State defeats TCU. The presence of an undefeated team at the end of the season, even with a weak schedule, puts the question to any 1-loss champion. This is doubly true if Utah fares better against Alabama than did Florida.
2. Cry of the 1-lossers. The winner of the Rose Bowl, Texas if it beats Ohio State, Alabama if it beats Utah, and Texas Tech if it wins its bowl game, all have some claims on the national championship, more or less depending on the winner of the Oklahoma/Florida game. Texas beat Oklahoma and fell to 1-loss Texas Tech. The Longhorns especially have a strong case if all three Big XII teams win -- wouldn't we rank higher a pair of comparable teams the one with the win over the other?
Here's how the stakeholders made out:
NCAA, Bowls and TV Contracts: GREAT. The four BCS bowls had moderate viewership since none really had national championship implications, but that cash was made up for by high national viewership for the National Championship. Down-ticket bowl games struggled to fill their seats and promote with an average of 3 to 4 weeks to name opponents before the games, but most did okay and only a few low-hanging fruit had noticeable lack of attendance.
Fans: OKAY. The Texas thing pissed us off, and a lot of 1-loss teams did a lot of arguing. Plus, the non-BCS conferences had a whopper of a complaint with two undefeated teams left out in the cold...again. We got one awesome, stupendous, all-the-marbles football game a week into the New Year, but the other BCS bowls were not as easy to enjoy without national title implications. We had several weeks beforehand to buy tickets and make travel plans, so that was cool. The down-ticket bowls took a hit, too, with most of the teams with national appeal hosting blowouts in the BCS games. Really, the one thing that bothered us most is the BCS system itself -- with very little credibility built up for itself, the system leaves itself open to questioning. Frankly, we're more questioning of the BCS than we were at the polls.
Teams: GOOD. Those participating were able to use the extra time to practice for their opponents and put their best game forward. Student athletes were able to take their end-of-semester finals and most were able to return from their trips in time for the start of the next semester (the national championship game teams had a little trouble there). However, 12-0 Utah and Bosie go home with a legitimate beef, especially if they win their down-ticket bowls, for not being invited to the party.
So between the BCS and the Bowl Tie-In System, there really isn't a whole lot of difference. The BCS provides a more concrete national champion, but hardly devoid of controversy. The old bowl System perhaps would make a bit more money for NCAA, the Bowls, and the TV Networks/Sponsors this year, but this wouldn't be guaranteed to happen every year.
Let's do this one for an 8-team playoff. Suffice to say, a 4-team would include some of the problems from the BCS 2-team playoff system, and a 12- or 16-team playoff would exacerbate the problems of a playoff below.
For our purposes, I used a simple NCAA arbitration (i.e. NCAA says you're here, deal with it) system, no re-seeding.
Quarterfinals: (Dec. 25)
1. Florida v. 8. Texas Tech
2. Oklahoma v. 7. Utah
3. Texas v. 6. Penn State
4. Alabama v. 5. USC
Semifinals: (Jan. 1)
1. Florida v. 5. USC
2. Oklahoma v. 3. Texas
Championship: (Jan. 10)
5. USC v. 3. Oklahoma
Well, this ends the debate. At the end of the day, USC is 15-1 and everybody else has lost (except Boise State, but who would pick 13-0 Boise after USC ran THAT kind of gauntlet?). So the national champion is, beyond any doubt, USC.
Here's how the stakeholders made out:
NCAA, Bowls and TV Contracts: GOOD. Television-wise, the playoffs were HUGE success. Every game received a national audience. That's SEVEN games over 3 weeks with National Championship implications = $$$. The problem, however, came in the lower bowls. Even the traditionally great 2nd-tier bowls, like the Cotton, Holiday, and Gator Bowls, fared poorly, mostly due to having just 3 weeks to recruit high-level teams. The Citrus, which featured Georgia versus Ohio State, was the lone exception, thanks to those teams' traditional fanbases. Where the losses came, however, was in the lower bowls, which tanked with the limited promotional and leave time. And though the TV interest was high, the 2nd round playoff games were not always filled, since fans only had a week's notice to get tickets and fill the massive stadiums. For 2009, it was decided, about half of the lower bowls would not return.
Fans: OKAY. Don't get me wrong, the TV was awesome, and we finally got a good champion. But then there's the poor Boomer the Oklahoma die-hard, who ended up spending $8,000 flying last-minute around the country, only to see his Sooners lose to the Trojans. Many marriages died in these playoffs. Also, the last-minute fielding of down-ticket games while they waited for the playoffs to make their picks killed any chance for MSU fans et al. to get to their games, which they ended up watching on TV. In year two, they'd be lucky if their team even went to a bowl game -- most wouldn't.
Teams: MEH (changed from BAAAAD thanks to LJ's analysis). First of all, the late travel plans made it tough to impossible to use the bowls as recruiting tools. For teams going deep in the playoffs, injuries mounted up. Fortunately, little class time was missed -- students weren't home for Christmas but didn't mind THAT much. Only two teams went into the following semester. A few extra injuries hurt the teams. But the last-minute travel, the poor fan showing at the games, the loss of recruiting time, and a few spotty injuries were rough on the bowl participant teams. Boise State still complained it was left out, and bitterly too, since they ended the season undefeated but STILL weren't invited.
Admittedly, I did not put as much thought or research into my idea as did "heckdchi", but this popped into my head around 2 years ago and this is the first time I've published it or told it to anyone outside my friends and family. Having said that...
A playoff is very possible and my suggestion satisfies everyone involved even the oldtimers, which I consider myself, and the money motivated bowl commishes.
Right now we have a 12 game season with admittedly 3 - 4 cream puff games in almost every major conference. If you take the season and chop it down to 8 games that are all played in conference / regional (for non-conference teams), and then take a week to rank everyone (to me it doesnt matter what formula you use) and then begin a 7 week playoff, then every team in D1 gets a shot at the title.
Now let me digress...if we took two weeks in preseason training and had controlled scrimmages with teams out of conference (like the NFL) then technically we have a 10 game season albeit modified.
Back on track...at the end of the eight game regular season, the computers rank teams according to their regions (split them up however you like but there is a framework already devised in basketball). Then begin playing playoff games according to your bracket it should only take 17 total weeks to hold a season. Now some teams will only be playing a 9 game season as it appears (half of the D1 schools) and 3/4ths will only be playing a 10 game season, etc etc but once we are down to 2 teams that have made it all the way through the process, then we take a week off and the bowl commishes sit down and select teams to come play in their bowl. If you want to keep it traditional (Rose bowl - Big Ten v Pac 10, etc) ok, fine by me. The point is that if we started the 1st weekend in September or end of August, the regular season is over November 1st. Take a week off and begin playoff games the second weekend in November. You play the next 6 weeks straight according to your bracket as mentioned before then take another week off to deliberate the bowl situation and for the final 2 teams to properly prepare for a national championship opponent, you are still done around Christmas.
This scenario appears to me to solve the debate with length of season because the teams that only have a 9 game season if they dont get selected to a bowl have more time to recover, start training earlier and recruit more, oh and then there's always start studying for finals. Also for the guys that go the distance or nearly the distance the pro scouts get a real look at how these star athletes will hold up to a 15 game season.
Money-wise: the regional playoffs can be set up to make more money for the cities that the games are played in (neutral turf), then when the playoff are coming to an end the bowls and their host cities still make their money and the national champ game can filter as is through the big 4 (orange, fiesta, sugar and rose). We get to keep our bowls and we get a real national champion without the computers leaving someone out.
Now I know that there are probably a lot of holes in my theory but I think with a little sit down time, the powers that be can work out the kinks and the fans, the coaches, the schools, the bowls, and the pro scouts are all happy.
Give me some feedback...
I wanted to do a little research to show the level of ineptness in our passing offense. I didn't intend this to be a case study on how "OMG OUR QBs SUK" but rather to show how we will improve next year.
I wanted to take Rich Rod, who we all know as a good football coach, and compare him with two other highly successful football coaches at major schools in their first years, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. I wanted to compare QB play amongst all three schools and use that as an overview of how the team did.
Let's take Saban (7-6 in his first year at Alabama), Meyer (9-3 in his first year at Florida), RR (3-9 in his first year at Michigan) and then compare QBs. In Saban's first year he had QB John Parker Wilson, while Florida had QB Chris Leak, and finally Michigan ran with a combo of Steve Threet and Nick Sheridan.
In Meyer's first year Chris Leak:
Threw for 2600+ yards
20TDs to 6INTs
Completing nearly 63% of his passes
He also rushed for 6TDs
Had 4 games where his completion percentage was above 75%
8 games with over 200 passing yards
7 games with multiple TD passes
He only had 2 games where he threw more INTs than TDs and they won 1 of them
Now John Parker Wilson for Saban in 07:
Threw for 2800+ yards
18TDs to 12INTs
Completed 55% of his passes
Rushed for 5TDs
4 games where he completed over 65% of his passes
7 games with 200+ passing yards including multiple 300+
6 games with multiple TD passes
5 games where he threw more INTs than TDs and they won 2 of them
Steve Threet and Nick Sheridan combined:
Threw for 1718 yards
11TDs to 12INTs
Completed 48.8% of their passes
Rushed for 2 TDs
Had 2 legitimate games where they completed over 60% of their passes (By legitimate i mean threw over 20 passes, games like Threet's 7-11 against Toledo or Sheridan's 4-5 against Utah are too small of sample sizes)
Had 2 games where they threw more than 200+ yards
Combined for 3 games with 2 TD passes
Combined for 5 games in which Michigan threw more INTS than TDs and won only 1 of those games
In the 3 games Sheridan threw more than 20 passes his
completion percentage was 24% (32of83).
In the 5 games Threet threw over 20 passes his completion percentage was 49.6% (68of137)
Imagine if instead of John Parker Wilson, Nick Saban has a combo of Threet+Sheridan. Alabama does not win more than 3 games that year.
Next, imagine the same scenario at Florida and Urban Meyer's team does not win more than 5 games.
Now you begin to understand to hole that Rich Rod was in as a result of his quarterbacks. You give 2008 U of M a player akin to Chris Leak, and the team dramatically improves. Think of how close these games were:
Illinois (up until the implosion)
ND (until Sheridan INTfest)
With improved or decent QB play, we could have potentially won each of those games. It may be viewed as somewhat of a stretch for the Illinios game, but if you insert even an underrated QB like Chris Leak at the QB position things begin to look different for UofM in almost all of those games.
Which is why next year if Tate or Shav have even decent seasons, the win total could improve dramatically (3 or so games).
I'm definitely not expecting more than 7 wins next year and would be happy to be bowl eligible, but I'm cautiously optimistic that a combo of healthy Sophomore Threet + Tate/Beav will provide us with decent QB play.
EDIT: I suppose I should mention that all of these numbers were either taken from the MGoBlue Football Statistics Database or ESPN.