2016 Preseason In-conference Wins
As you will recall, the previous diary, Big Ten 2016 Preseason Total Win Probabilities, presented win probability distributions for all Big Ten teams for the entire season - including non-conference games - based on relative expected points ratings from Bill Connelly (Football Outsiders' S&P+) and ESPN (FPI). However, in several instances when comparing two B1G teams, a disparity in relative difficulty of the non-conference segments complicates drawing any conclusions about in-conference schedules, since all the games are statistically muddled together. For all intents and purposes, the B1GCG is a de facto extension of the College Football Playoff, so it behooves us all methinks to delve a bit further into this analysis. Obviously, what's of greatest importance in determining participation in the B1G championship game is a team's conference record. So, this diary picks up where the last one left off, and takes a look at the in-conference win probability distributions for both B1G divisions. Beyond that, this diary also conducts a closer examination of the in-conference battle between Michigan and Ohio State through the synthesis of a win-differential distribution. The intent is to characterize the various likelihoods of Michigan finishing the B1G season ahead of, behind, or tied with Ohio State. Lastly, just for kicks, I’ve added into the mix comparable analyses based on ratings from Ed Feng at The Power Rank.
Schedules, Spreads & Win Probabilities
The previous diary made mention of several teams’ schedules as contributing factors particularly favorable or unfavorable Paths of Glory. Unfortunately, that diary did not actually include any of the actual schedules, so now is a good opportunity to lay out all the schedules side-by-side before the season gets underway. In an approach similar to some of the schedule-forecast diaries from last year, the applied Red-Green color-map accentuates the forecast point spreads and win probability of each game (instead of Red-Blue as were last year’s), wherein a color-shift toward the red corresponds to a more likely loss, and a green shift indicates a more likely win. By the way, the spread column colors are mapped to the win probability colors just to be consistent.
As described in more detail in the previous diary, the sequence of individual win probabilities over the course of a team’s schedule are used to compute the distribution of total expected wins for the entire season. However, this diary now focuses on the in-conference games only.
Also, once the non-conference season has concluded, my hope is to refresh these tables using updated ratings based on the more objective advanced metrics that will be available at that time.
B1G East Schedule Rundown
The table of tables below shows the in-conference schedules for all seven teams in the B1G East based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ pre-season ratings. The last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of conference standings based on projected wins, losses, and tie-breakers. Indeed, since the expected win numbers are calculated to two decimal places, a tie in this context would be … unlikely. Anyway, the projected divisional standings (with the exception of The Power Rank) were actually given in the previous diary so they are not repeated here. Getting back to the chart, the colormap is useful to quickly give a qualitative indication of where each team faces its greatest challenges, how those challenges stack up, and by comparison, which teams have a more or less difficult row to hoe.
What is also apparent is this: not one team is favored in all of its games. Four teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State & Penn State) are underdogs in two or fewer games. They are also the only teams to expect winning records in conference play. Put another way, these are your contenders for the B1GCG. The other three (Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers) are mere cannon fodder, and at best may be bowl-eligible at the end of the season.
Michigan looks to be the team to beat, edging Ohio State for the top spot by just over 0.7 wins. About the same margin separates Ohio State from the next 2 teams. Michigan is the only team in the B1G East with one of its 3 most difficult games being a crossover game (Iowa). Also, Michigan’s most difficult matchups - OSU, MSU and Iowa - are on the road. Fortunately, these games are interspersed among relatively less difficult home games (Maryland and Indiana). That said, Maryland and Indiana might be the definition of “trap” games. Conversely, MSU closes its season with two of its three most difficult games, and OSU closes with its two most difficult games (me likey!). Penn State has its three most difficult games in the first, fourth and last spots on its schedule. Good for them.
As promised above, here are links to similar tables of schedule probabilities based on FPI Ratings and Power Rank-ings. These analyses are more or less the same, the exception being that the spreads of expected win totals are not as wide, which suggests more closely contested races, and instead of the “contenders” being underdogs in two or games, it increases to three or fewer. FPI is the only rating scheme that shows a team favored in all of its games, and that would be Ohio State.
B1G East Expected In-conference Wins
The bar plots below show the expected in-conference win distributions for all seven teams in the B1G East, in alphabetical order. Noted above each bar is the actual value (you may need to click & embiggen to read it). The bar with the highest value is the most likely outcome (the mode). Also marked on each plot is the expected in-conference win total (the mean). The last line plot is just an overlay of the same data from the other seven bar plots.
What is noticeable by comparison is how much higher the peak of Michigan’s distribution is than any other team. The spread is also narrower, but that is less obvious. What this means is that not only does Michigan have the highest expected win total, but it is also the most likely to hit that mark. This is an important aspect when considering head-to-head win-differentials, which are discussed later. The only other team with a distribution profile approaching U-M is Rutgers, except in terms of losing. Also, Michigan has the highest mode of any team at 7 wins. OSU, MSU and PSU follow with 6. Michigan also stands the best chance of going undefeated in B1G play at 8.1%, followed by OSU and MSU at 2.9% and 1.7% respectively.
B1G West Schedule Rundown
The next table of tables shows the in-conference schedules for all seven teams in the B1G West based on the Bill Connelly’s S&P+ pre-season ratings. Again, the last table simply shows a rank-ordering of the B1GE teams based on their expected in-conference win totals - it’s not a projection of conference standings based on projected wins and losses.
In the case of the B1G West, only three teams are expected to have winning records: Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa. As in the East, no team is favored in all of its games. Indeed, Nebraska is an underdog in the fewest number of games: one. Minnesota is an underdog in three; and Iowa, four. Nebraska also has the highest total expected wins, ahead of Minnesota by almost 0.8 wins. Thus, it’s Nebraska that looks to be the team to beat in the East, and Minnesota is followed closely by Iowa.
A second tier of two teams - Wisconsin and Northwestern - are within 0.4 wins of each other, and still within 1 win of the upper three, which is close enough to wreak some havoc in the race to the B1GCG. Purdue and Illinois round out the cannon fodder of the West.
FPI also forecasts only three teams expected to have winning records: Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa. As in the East, no team is favored in all of its games. Nebraska is an underdog in the fewest number of games: two. Iowa is an underdog in three; and Wisconsin, four. Nebraska also has the highest total expected wins, ahead of Wisconsin by more than 0.8 wins. Thus, it’s Nebraska that looks to be the team to beat in the East, and Wisconsin is followed closely by Iowa.
PR is similar to FPI, showing Nebraska, Wisconsin and Iowa as the contenders. However, it’s Wisconsin that is an underdog in the fewest number of games: two. Nebraska and Iowa are underdogs in three apiece. Also, Minnesota is lurking about as favorite in six games, yet still expected to win only 4.3. As mentioned in the previous diary, Minnesota is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
B1G West Expected Conference Wins
The bar plots below show the expected in-conference win distributions for all seven teams in the B1G West, in alphabetical order.
What is noticeable by comparison is how much Nebraska separates out from the others, and how closely the distributions Minnesota and Iowa really are (within 0.1 expected wins of each other, and the same mode of 5 wins). They are almost completely identical in the overlay plot. Northwestern and Wisconsin are also closely matched (within 0.4 expected wins of each other, and the same mode of 4 wins). It appears highly unlikely that any team will go undefeated in the B1G West in conference play.
Total Wins Differential
The intent of this part of the analysis is to gauge the range of possible outcomes, and to make some actual quantitative comparisons between two distributions, say, Michigan and Ohio State. Of course, when it comes to Michigan vs. Ohio State, every cotton-pickin’ percentage point counts in the hearts and minds of the MGoBlogosphere. Hence, this next bit of analysis delves further into the statistics by deriving a win-differential distribution from the the distributions of both teams. So just as a quick primer without getting into any equations: when examining the difference between two random distributions, the standard deviation (or spread) of the difference is simply the sum of the two individual standard deviations. In a similar sense, the mean of the win-differential is simply the difference between the expected wins of the two teams. From there, the devil is in the details of the resulting distribution.
Michigan vs. Ohio State
The win-differential distribution simply shows the likelihood of a team (Michigan) finishing with a conference record that is however many games better or worse than another team (Ohio State). Keeping in mind that in the event of a tie, the winner of the head-to-head match up determines the tiebreaker, the probability of a tie in conference records (i.e. a win differential of zero) is then pro-rated in proportion to the win probability of the head-to-head game. So then the total likelihood of Michigan finishing ahead of Ohio State is the sum of all the maize-and-blue shaded bars (i.e. U-M wins however many more games that OSU), plus a proportional split of the zero/tied bar. It should be noted that this total likelihood does not indicate the likelihood of making it to the B1G Championship, as it says nothing about how other teams in B1G East do, or even how Michigan or Ohio State do in the absolute sense. For example, both teams are more likely to finish tied in the B1G at 6-3 than at 8-1, which means if UM and OSU are losing 3 games each, other teams are winning them - and another may well be the B1GE representative in Indy. Sort of common sense, but yea.
So, beginning with the results of the S&P+ analysis, the chart below shows that the most likely outcome (22.1% likelihood) is that U-M will finish one game ahead of OSU. No tie-breaker required, so this scenario could include say, U-M losing only to OSU, and OSU losing two other B1G games, as well as U-M going undefeated in B1G play and handing OSU its only defeat (nice!). Looking at the tie-breaker scenario, OSU is slightly favored due to home-field advantage, so it collects 10.3+ points of the 20.6% likelihood of a tie. U-M collects the remaining 10.2+ points. However, as the chart illustrates, the sum-total of all outcomes tilts in U-M’s favor by nearly a 2:1 margin!
Continuing on, here is the same chart based on the FPI pre-season ratings. These results show a much tighter race to the B1GCG between U-M and OSU, with the most likely outcome being that the teams end the season with the same record. Thus, as in days of yore, The Game would decide who plays for the B1G Championship. Beyond the tie-break/heart-break scenario however, the Wolverines still maintain a statistical advantage by a 5:4 margin over the Buckeyes.
Last but not least is the analysis based on Ed Feng’s pre-season Power Rank-ings. These results are the most pessimistic, Michigan-wise, of the bunch. Similar to FPI, it too expects a tight race between U-M and OSU to get to the B1GCG, with the most likely outcome being that the teams end the season with the same record. Nonetheless, the sum-total of all outcomes still tilts in U-M’s favor, but by a much narrower 6:5 margin.
So there you have it. The only thing that’s left to be done is to actually have the teams play the games.
Yours in football, and Go Blue!
Preface: not sure if this is Board or Diary material, and just in case this is a Mom-worthy offense I wanted to get this in today before OT season ends and there are consequences.
We've been jokingly thanking Jed York for a long time on this blog for being himself and firing Harbaugh, which delivered one of the best coaches in the game right into Michigan's lap. Someone on the board made a joke very early on about sending him - York - a gift basket, and I (and others) picked up on that. The last time I joked that Michigan fan should chip in to send Jed York a fruit basket and thank you note every year, there were a few people who responded that they'd be willing to donate their money to it, and that I should set up a Kickstarter (or something similar). That got me thinking about costs, effort, and how little I want to set up a crowd-funding request every year.
So instead, my thought was that we could set up a trust whose sole purpose would be to purchase a fruit basket for Jed York each year for the remainder of his life, and flowers for his grave each year after his death. Seriously. Well, half seriously.
I want to gauge interest, and see if an MGoAttorney could weigh in on whether this is possible, and maybe the yearly administrative costs. At the very least, this is a diary about what it takes to properly thank a man for 100 years for his decision to be a power-hungry jerk.
Long story short, for less than $30k, it's possible to buy a fruit basket and have it delivered to Jed York each year until he dies, after which the trust would buy flowers to be delivered to his grave once per year, until the money runs out 100 years from now.
The pension finance expert in me needs to share my actuarial assumptions, which are on the conservative side. I think we have a couple MGoActuaries here, and this is actually a pretty simple math problem, so any validation of these figures would be appreciated.
|Age at death||100|
|Years after death to deliver flowers||35|
|Cost of fruit basket today||$125|
|Fruit basket inflation||5%|
|Cost of fruit basket delivery toda||$15|
|Fruit basket delivery inflation||5%|
|Cost of flower delivery today||$80|
|Flower delivery inflation||5%|
|Cost of setting up a trust (is this accurate??)||$500|
|Yearly administratiive costs for a trust (is this accurate??)||$500|
|Administrative cost inflation||2%|
|Expected annual investment return net of fees||5%|
|Trust years of operation||100|
|Lump sum funding requirement||$25,195.04|
I wish I could attach my excel spreadsheet, because it gets hilarious in the later years.
What do you all think? I think it would hilarious to annually remind Mr. York, and his kids, and his grandkids, about an awful management decision he made in his early 30s. This trust would outlive Jed York and all of us, so by contributing to this, you'd make sure that part of your Michigan fandom - specifically, the ironic and vindictive side - carries on for a whole century. That's the Michigan difference. Go Blue.
[ED-S: Quick heads up soccer fans in town for the Colorado game. This is happening after:
That is all.]
Michigan Men’s Soccer is coming off an 8-6-4 season which saw them miss the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year.
Defensively, Michigan was very good last year and returns most of the squad. Senior’s Lars Eckenrode, Andre Morris and Rylee Woods provide leadership along the back line while Billy Stevens, Peter Brown and Marcello Borges will also make significant contributions. Borges just returned from the U-20 National Team Camp in New Jersey and is a defender at heart but may play both winger and outside back once again in his second season in Ann Arbor.
In midfield, sophomore Ivo Cerda will look to continue to impress and has been named a pre-season All B1G performer by the Coaches.
Also returning for his Junior season is goalkeeper Evan Louro, who was arguably the team’s MVP last season and was second in the Big Ten in save percentage. Louro is arguably one of the best 5-10 goalkeepers in the NCAA and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was his last season at Michigan.
Amanda Allen / Michigan Daily
2015 B1G Ten Freshman of the year and All B1G Ten selection Francis Atuahene features up top for Michigan after his freshman season saw him score ten goals, which was second in the conference and a First Team All B1G selection. Atuahene is the best pure attacking talent Michigan has had in years and he’ll score plenty of goals this season.
However, Michigan loses Colin McAtee, Will Mellors-Blair and James Murphy, who accounted for 13 goals last season. The only other two guys who scored at all last season are Cerda and RS Junior midfielder Michael Kapitula. Simply put, Michigan must find other attacking options besides Atuahene.
Chaka Daley brought in five freshmen in this year’s class, including forward Jack Hallahan, who has played for West Brom’s U18 and Ireland’s U19 team and figures to see significant playing time in Daley’s 4-3-3 formation. Additionally, Abdou Samake, a 6’3 defender joins Michigan after being with the Montreal Impact U18 team. Goalkeeper Andrew Verdi and midfielders Lucas Rosendall and Joe Hertgen round out the 2016 recruiting class.
Michigan faces another difficult schedule this season, as it has each of Daley’s years in charge. However, missing from 2016’s schedule are Akron and Creighton, two perennial top ten schools.
Michigan starts off the season on a road trip to #19 USF and Florida Gulf Coast. Visiting Central Florida in August should be an interesting fitness test and both matches against Florida Man can be found on ESPN3. A visit from Notre Dame highlights the rest of the non-conference schedule.
Michigan’s Big Ten schedule is favorable, with Indiana, Penn State Ohio State and Maryland at home and while Michigan State, Rutgers and Wisconsin figure to be the difficult road trips. Rutgers is actually good at soccer and Michigan has a bunch of New Jersey natives on the roster so The War on Rutgers lives on (or something).
The Big Ten was solid a year ago with Maryland being within penalties kicks of beating Clemson and going to the College Cup, Indiana made it the Quarterfinals, Ohio State lost to eventual Champions Jordan Morris and Stanford and even Rutgers made it into the second round before losing to powerhouse Akron.
Michigan is ranked fifth in the B1G Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind Maryland, Indiana, Ohio State and Rutgers. This shouldn’t be surprising but I believe there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic.
LAST WEEK: Fresh Look
More wallpaper? More wallpaper.
This week is all about the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach a.k.a. Jim Harbaugh. We love Harbaugh. He's an odd duck, but he's our odd duck, and he happens to be a damn good coach. Offseason Harbaugh has been entertaining, but it's time for Sideline Harbaugh to return. Let's celebrate.
These wallpapers are all about iconic Harbaugh things. First, we have the Skinny M hat. He isn't the first to wear it, but he wears it well. Second, the Harbaugh sweatshirt. He wears this thing everywhere, and this year it has a new logo. Third, the infamous "Enthusiasm" quote. Use it for daily motivation. Lastly, the Harbaugh schedule. HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH.
Use these wallpapers with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.
Whereupon I make a unique preseason prediction for your amusement: The 2016 offense will be different
Football's almost here, folks.
It's at the point where I wonder if anything more can be said about this team. MGoBlog is in a starved frenzy. Millions of words have been written about a team that has yet to play a down of the 2016 season. Preseason predictions are as lofty as an undefeated regular season and playoff berth. So this is either the best possible time to throw out some content, or the worst. I guess I'll just live with what comes out of this.
FWIW, I hate making W/L predictions, namely because something crazy tends to happen that defies all logic. Key B1G matchups were won last season on freakish factors, from bad officiating to bad weather. Predictions can be perfectly logical and still not matter. But I do get premonitions, and while they're sometimes "X will beat Y", sometimes they're oddly specific in a not-nearly-as-satisfying way. So I might get some "why bother" reactions for this, but we're at the point where little else can be said about this team (you've probably seen over dozen W-L predictions if you haven't been living under a rock), and it occurred to me that I did come across something that hasn't been said yet. So FWIW, I'll put it here just in case I'm on to something. Probably not but we'll see.
Let's start with the premise that's about to be challenged. Everyone here (and elsewhere) is taking for granted that this year's offense is going to be an overall upgraded version of last year's, maybe some positional downgrades, but plenty of MANBALL and 4TE sets and Smith running through a roughin' toughin' line (year 2 Drevno uber alles) with plenty of Harbaugh/Fisch hijinks to keep defenses off balance. Now, just because the Internet goes "what's nuance?" I guess I have to point out that I don't expect a wholesale abandonment of those concepts. Harbaugh's preferences are clear; he likes to ram the ball down your maw if he can do it. So he'll certainly try, but not to the extent of losing games in the name of principle (may 2011 Iowa never happen again). But for what it's worth, here's a prediction that I daresay hasn't been made. . .
The 2016 offense is going to look significantly different from 2015, strategically.
I get that that sounds like it's saying something without saying anything, but unfortunately I can't think of a better way to phrase it. I hate soundbites, anyway, so I'll try to explain. Let's look at the starters from early in the 2015 season, as they stood, but with some hindsight as to where they really were:
WR: Chesson, Darboh, Perry
TE: Butt, Williams
OL: Cole, Kalis, Glasgow, Braden, Magnuson
If you remember, it took Rudock a while to get going. Perry was a true freshman and practically single-handedly lost us the Utah game. Rudock couldn't hit Chesson with the deep ball, Peppers couldn't be unleashed yet (new coordinator for the D as well), and as a result pass defenses keyed on Butt. So Harbaugh had to get the most he could from the run game, even though guard play was iffy. I mean, he likes to run, but this was a need. So what we got for about half a season was a very left-handed run game with Cole and/or Glasgow often pulling, and extensive use of the fullbacks. We saw Chesson's speed utilized in end-arounds and then threatened with fakes once that was on tape. We saw FB dive come back like it was in style, and plenty of screens.
Harbaugh didn't do this just to mitigate damage. He gets the absolute most out of what he has and what he saw was hey, I have a fast blocking WR and two good fullbacks, and I'm gonna use them. Also, Cole is great in space and (we didn't know it at the time but) Williams was a completely different player last season. I bolded all these players above as run game assets and you can see why he went with a FB-heavy MANBALL approach. It never went away even after Rudock heated up, but it wasn't just tendency. Every chance he could, he had the players doing things they were good at, even if that was limited at the time.
So with that in mind, let's look at the projected starters as of today, 8/23 (subject to change!!):
WR: Chesson, Darboh, Perry
TE: Butt, Bunting
OL: Newsome, Kalis, Cole, Braden, Magnuson
I'm not making any crazy predictions here; this should be news to no one. A freshman might surprise (Wheatley is particulary intriguing) but they all have uphill climbs. Now, that thing that bothered me about the way the preseason predictions have been going. I've maintained that Harbaugh is the ultimate SunTzuball coach. Why is everyone assuming he'll try the same thing with no regard to roster change? They are the same guys, for the most part, but many of them are now different players.
What's he going to do this year? To figure that out, and this may hit some nerves, I italicized the possible run liabilities in the starters. (If Speight starts, he's marked as a "liability" in that he can't threaten with his legs.) Not necessarily disasters, but guys who will struggle with consistency. Again, not saying they're bad; this is about getting the most out of this unit. Harbaugh's going to put the players in a position to succeed instead of ordering them to head-butt their way through a brick wall. Anyway, if the FBs can't block consistently. . . they won't. Henderson might be an X-factor here but he's not Kerridge or Houma, and Harbaugh used those guys because of who they are. And even against Florida, UFR showed the run game was largely Smith making something of a checked-out Florida D. Year 2 Anno Drevno duly noted, but I'm not the only one openly wondering if the O-line's close to its ceiling. We'll still run the ball, but I don't see us relying on it like the start of last season, largely because. . .
We won't need to! I bolded the pass game assets above, and that's almost all of them. (That includes most of the OL because as a unit they overall graded very good in pass pro -- Bosa was just something else and he's gone). Both QBs have spent over a year doing wax-on, wax-off in the Harbaugh-fu dojo. Smith is an excellent pass blocker. Perry's got his head fixed, and Chesson's blowed up from a guy Harbaugh had to use creatively to a guy who roasted Vernon Hargreaves crispy. Butt is a velcro-covered black hole for balls thrown his way. Add in guys like O'Korn or Peppers and the picture doesn't really change (maybe more RPOs). Add in Jourdan Lewis, Ty Isaac or Drake Johnson and the picture's even more pass-happy.
So, what will the offense look like, at least to start the season? I think we'll see more West Coast-ish, one-back stuff than expected, with Wheatley next to Newsome to shore up the left side if necessary. Darboh, Chesson, Butt and Perry will wreak havoc on back 7s, which will spook linebackers and open up the run game. You may see some Isaac/Smith or Johnson/Smith backfields for wheel routes, Smith doing his blitz pick-up thing and maybe moonlighting as a fullback. But mostly, I'm predicting that this offense -- until/unless guys like Poggi and Kalis get their targeting issues fixed anyway -- will be a pass-first unit.
Some things I have to disclaim because the Internet goes "what's nuance?":
1) No, we are not going to be one-dimensional. That's the last thing Harbaugh will allow. We all know he's going to do a ton of crazy stuff beyond the scope of this entry.
2) We're not abandoning the run either. We'll still see MANBALL and plenty of FB play, especially with comfortable leads. In close games, though, the pass unit will support the run much in the way the situation was reversed to start last season.
3) This is subject to change based on player improvement. If Poggi and/or Hill vastly improve their blocking in the submarine then I'll look stupid and I'll be fine with that, because that's only good news.
4) This isn't saying Poggi and Hill are bad. Please don't insinuate I'm saying that. This is more, we have excellent receiving options to open up holes in the defense, vs. the excellent fullback options and passing game challenges Harbaugh had last season. Poggi and Hill aren't competing against each other so much as who we have at slot and TE and we have some great options there. They'll play, but if Harbaugh needs points you might see more 3-wide and 4-wide looks. With O'Korn he might run zone read.
5) Probably not against Hawaii or UCF. They're not good so if the pass-first approach gets us to 21-0 in the first quarter and the defense shuts the door, Harbaugh might be content to MANBALL for 3 quarters en route a 35-3 glorified scrimmage. This prediction is more about his "go-to" offensive set.
Harbaugh puts players in positions to succeed, puts the best 11 on the field and understands constraint concepts well. Again, the run game won't be bad. But looking at what he has as of today, the passing game is so compelling that I just don't see Harbaugh -- a former pro QB and SunTzuball extraordinaire -- go all Lloyd Carr on it. If rolling out a pass-happy one-back set gets him more TDs than doing what worked last year he'll do that, and he's certainly got the personnel for it.
So you are aware, the OT Season officially comes to an end at midnight on the 27th of August, or one week before the first game as per tradition. There will be some cleanup of a preliminary nature starting before then, but it will be mainly background items and removing recent threads with, for example, numerous downvotes – basically subtle strategies to attempt to maximize the amount of football content before the actual deadline comes.
What does that mean for you? Veterans will know the answer, but for newer folks or infrequent visitors, here is your yearly reminder.
To start the ramp-down, however, at midnight on Friday, you may no longer post threads about your favorite shows, movies, books, music and so forth. Friday can be a transitional day for OT, giving people an opportunity to get their final OT threads in.
One further point, when we say “end of OT season”, it is more a “significant narrowing of scope” – in other words, not every single OT thread will be removed outright. What you must do, if you plan on posting such a thread, is provide a pretty damn good explanation of why it should stay (or the reason may be self-evident) – and yes, frivolous ones will be removed as always. As usual, there are usually narrow exceptions made for major breaking news of regional or national importance and a few other things and that’s what we mean here. Those are just a few examples of “allowable OT”. I realize some people would prefer a hard stop, but this is a community and we’ll consider things that might be of note to the community, even during the “non-OT” months. Such threads should be an EXCEPTION, and the onus is on the blogger to justify it.
A few things of note (non-comprehensive, of course – we reserve the right to throw other stuff out there too):
1) The Snowflake Rule will apply after games, but we will weigh threads individually and those which provide, for example, detailed analysis of a single series or play or video analysis will probably stay. Those threads which are mere hot takes that could easily fit into a snowflake thread will likely go. I understand why the Snowflake threads are not popular in many segments of the MGoPopulation, but there has to be a way to mitigate hot takes and make sure they don’t bury more worthwhile content. The whole point is to make sure the better user-generated content remains – we have some excellent football minds on the board and I really don’t want their contributions to be buried by your two paragraphs which amount to “that was awesome” or “that sucked” or what-have-you.
2) Having seen #1, please take care in general to consider carefully what you want to say if you’re going to create a thread. Search the first three pages of threads or so for similar threads – that’s typically what I use as a measuring stick for “redundant”. Most weekends in the season, three pages covers about 2 days of threads, or after a loss, about 30 minutes of threads. As for breaking news, make sure that you check the publish dates on articles – you can almost be assured that anything over an hour old has made it to the board barring a huge oversight (and sometimes, something does get overlooked). Normal rules on sourcing apply as well, so for example, be judicious with Bleacher Report, no Chatsports, and don’t post a whole Freep article out of spite – post a quote, link it, and give people the opportunity to avoid reading it.
3) DO NOT attack players or fellow MGoBloggers personally. Ad hominems are essentially your ticket to Bolivia or worse depending on the severity of the statement. I know people get emotional after games, but do try to run your initial reaction by your frontal cortex first for proper review. Criticizing play and strategy is fine, but basically bringing someone’s mom into it, if you will, is your way of telling the mods you no longer wish to be here. As you may have seen in the Mod Sticky as well, there will be a doubling down on efforts to promote a more welcoming environment around here too, so PLEASE check your choice of words and photos against those rules set forth in the sticky before posting.
4) Report potential infractions or questionable posts in the Mod Sticky with a link to the comment or thread. We will review them as soon as possible and dole out point deductions and so forth accordingly. If it is raining in La Paz, we will provide appropriate gear assuming we did not spend the money on beer first. If there is a delay in getting to an issue, remember that the mods have lives too, but if it is something that really should go, say, right now, tweet me at @LorneEC3 and I’ll address it right then or make a note to do it ASAP. Yes, I can’t stand the threads with “IBD” or “Moms please delete” in 40 different forms and posts either, so let’s try to mitigate that, eh?
5) Sunday (also Thursday and Monday) NFL threads will be allowed as usual. Pro sports events which are significant are fine as well (World Series, NBA or NHL coverage, etc…) – just not every bit of news like we get during the draft and free agency periods sometimes. I know people gripe about the amount of Lions coverage during the NFL season, but try to remember that a sizeable number of the active users on this site also live in Michigan. Do feel free to throw in some coverage of your own teams, if you so choose, but be selective due to OT restrictions.
6) Threads covering other college games should typically be OK, but do try to keep the tradition of “Saturday Noon Games Thread”, for example, on the weekends (and on Thursdays and Fridays when sometimes there is a significant slate too). The tradition of MACtion is absolutely OK even though ESPN has apparently all but killed it. If something noteworthy is happening in a particular game, a separate thread should be fine but detail the reason for breaking out of the open thread coverage.
I will let JustinGoBlue add whatever he feels is appropriate in the comments, but I thought I would get this out there in a prominent location to everyone now.