Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
It's over. Hooray?
And lo, it ended. It ended for us before the new year, and now it's all over, all of it: the season, the BCS, the goofy bowl scheduling. Next year, there are three large games on New Year's Eve and three large games on New Year's Day, two of which are national semifinals leading to a final the next week.
The BCS itself was sent off with a grander finale than it deserved, a taut back-and-forth affair between Florida State and pretty-much-arbitrarily-chosen Auburn that worked out, unlike near-arbitrary matchups that ended up in one sided blowouts with another team with a near-identical resume looked on in disgust. With the playoff these outrages have been reduced in intensity and spread over a greater number of teams, which seems like progress.
How long this holds before expansion and realignment kicks in, I don't know. I tend to think we'll end up with an eight-team playoff sooner rather than later, and from there who knows what happens. Someone will say "but we can get more money," probably, and then things spiral on and on.
At the very least, a bunch of bad ideas have ceased to impact college football, like
- Coaches voting on teams they haven't seen and have a huge conflict of interest about
- Retired coaches voting based on what Oklahoma was like in 1975
- Computer polls that can't take margin of victory or anything else into account
- Richard Billingsley
Whether the new ideas are better is yet to be seen; they almost can't be worse.
OH GOOD. Penn State may have been an incestuous mockery of an athletic department for years, but by God did they turn that around quickly. Bill O'Brien goes so well that an NFL team scoops him up after two years and their sanction-riddled mess of a program heading for a crater is about hire away…
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 7, 2014
...the guy who turned Vanderbilt from a 2-10 type outfit into a consistent bowl participant and all-around thorn in the side of the SEC. Ace and I are trying to come up with the last Big Ten coach to have 1) a job at the time of his hire and 2) a resume better than Franklin's, and, well…
[12:22 PM] Ace: is it bad that kevin wilson was the first name that came to mind?
[12:22 PM] Brian Cook: #ImitateAdam_Jacobi
…we're having some difficulty. Ace throws out Dantonio, but Dantonio's record in three years at Cincinnati was 18-17. Best we've got is Gary Andersen at Wisconsin, who implemented a hugely impressive build at Utah State. But I dunno man, Vandy is coming off back to back 9-4 years. Vandy. Which is in the SEC.
Not sure how good of a cultural fit the fiery, weird Franklin (remember that thing about how he only hires guys with hot wives?) will be at Penn State, but for a team in their situation to poach the hot up and coming SEC guy is impressive.
Unless this is all agents getting their dude a raise, but there's a lot of smoke here indicating he's the guy. Which will mean Michigan is in a division with Urban, Dantonio, and Franklin. Plus Randy Edsall. It's not all bad, I guess.
That was awesome, do it more. Twitter was agog about the ESPN News section of ESPN's BCS overkill broadcast, as it featured coaches (and Chris Spielman and Matt Millen) with instant off the cuff reactions to what was going on. I was with Twitter. Spielman's fervor for assignments came through clearly as he steamed about Auburn's screen touchdown, and then Kevin Sumlin jumped in to say that is what Auburn does, they put the eye candy in front of you for just those reasons, and everything was just terrific.
A few suggestions:
- Everyone do this all the time. Seriously, I would watch Glen Mason in a room just dying in disgust as he tries to watch Michigan run the ball. This may qualify as torture under the Geneva Convention; if it doesn't, do it.
- The game is the most important bit, so make it the whole screen, with the coaches popping in with small PIP boxes. The All-22 camera angle combined with the smaller box for the actual game was problematic, and I have a huge TV. Maximize the game size; no need to cut to visuals of Spielman, et al., when I can hear them talking.
- Cut two guys. One guy to run things, one D guy, one O guy, and Spielman.
- Send small electric shocks to anyone who talks in platitudes, like Paul Chryst did much of the night.
What I have been trying to express all year. Smart Football profiles Gus Malzahn for Grantland. This is the core of the offensive philosophy that brought Auburn from 0-8 in the SEC to the precipice of the national title in one year with a converted cornerback at QB:
Malzahn had never been in charge of an offense before. Searching for help, he turned to a book famous in coaching circles, The Delaware Wing-T: An Order of Football, by Harold "Tubby" Raymond, and followed it "word-for-word."
The genius of Raymond's book is that it's not merely a collection of football plays, though there's still plenty of that. Instead, it's primarily a treatise on how to think about offensive football. "The Wing-T is more than a formation," Raymond wrote. "It is sequence football." The animating idea behind Raymond's "Delaware" wing-T was his belief that the best offenses were built around a tightly wound collection of plays that fit together so that defenses effectively dictated the next play; each time a team tries to stop one thing, it opens itself up to something else. Beginning in the 1950s and lasting into the early 2000s — first as an assistant under wing-T innovator David Nelson, then as head coach from the mid-1960s on — Raymond fielded teams that devastated defenses. If the opposition tried to stop his base plays, Raymond had counters to his counters, counters to his counters to his counters, and so on. He amplified this "sequential" approach by "utilizing the misdirection theme to its fullest." With a dizzying array of motions, backfield actions, and fakes, Raymond correctly determined that defenses wouldn't be able to stop his offense if they couldn't find the ball.
Auburn's offense is a modernized version of that. It's like Fritz Crisler, basically, except not as wacky. Michigan does not have a tightly wound collection of plays, partially because they can't execute basic runs and partially because that's just not how Al Borges rolls. Borges does have sets of plays that are interrelated, but instead of piling wrinkle on wrinkle like Malzahn does—his thing this year was double arc blocks…
…Borges goes to a different package once his previous stuff has been figured out. And they dispense with the frippery. To me that's a philosophical thing on par with huddling.
How do you run the ball in college football? The top 25 teams in yards per carry this year, with offense type appended (note: distinction between spread to run teams and passing spread teams largely based on how many yards the QB had. Generally spread to run teams had 500+ QB rushing yards, and usually 700+).
|1||Ohio State||6.8||Spread to run|
|3||Northern Illinois||6.35||Spread to run|
|4||Auburn||6.3||Spread to run|
|5||Oregon||6.26||Spread to run|
|6||New Mexico||6.14||Spread to run|
|9||Missouri||5.66||Spread to run|
|10||Florida State||5.63||Passing spread|
|15||Arizona||5.32||Spread to run|
|19||BYU||5.23||Spread to run|
|20||Oklahoma||5.21||Spread to run|
|21||Texas A&M||5.17||Spread to run|
|22||Wyoming||5.1||Spread to run|
Yeah, it's possible to have a good running game by going under center and grinding it out, but is it likely? Four of the top 25 teams are pro-style outfits, one of which is Alabama and their overwhelming talent. Is Michigan going to be Wisconsin? I hope so, because that's the only way we get on this list.
Dolla dolla bill. We have money. Some of it comes from the only incompetent Germans.
According to a study done by the Portland Business Journal, Michigan's contract with Adidas (which is currently set to expire in 2016) is the most lucrative apparel deal in the country. Yes, more than Oregon's flashy contractual arrangement with Nike.
Per the study, Michigan currently receives a total of $8.2 million annually from Adidas stemming from the contract signed in 2007 between the two parties.
Michigan receives $4.4 million in equipment and apparel, and $3.8 million in cash. That's more than twice as much as the next-highest school in the Big Ten, Nebraska, which makes a total of $4 million from Adidas.
Part of that is the fact that Michigan has so many sports, which drives up the equipment and apparel bit. I wonder what will happen in 2016; that Most Favored Nation status Martin acquired has long driven ND crazy and Michigan's national appeal has… uh… suffered in recent years. The brand, if you will. Maybe we'll run an ad campaign about how we know our football is terrible so we changed our football sauce.
Via @mocomber, can you pick out the cofopoff logo?
You cannot, because you cannot decide if the current state of the NCAA is a Lars Von Trier movie or not. Specifically: Dogville, progenitor of THE MOST MISLEADING MOVIE TRAILER EVER. Kidman represents the athletes, the town the NCAA, but you knew that or have never seen a Lars Von Trier movie.
I would recommend not starting, actually. There's a… well… just trust me. Some things don't want to be seen.
BONUS: via Ace:
YOU'RE A TALLER. User Bombadil reports that Ian Bunting is still getting mail from Mississippi State, too.
This may be fake but probably not.
With men's swimming bringing home a title of their own plus the basketball team's run to the final, Michigan is actually threatening Stanford's Director's Cup hegemony. When the Director's Cup releases their updated standings tomorrow Michigan should be on top of the rankings with only a few sports left: golf, base/softball, track and field, women's water polo, women's lacrosse, and men's volleyball.
Michigan's pretty good at some of those… but, uh, unfortunately Stanford is better.
Top 25 Rankings for Stanford in spring sports, most rankings updated last weekend:
Softball - 16
Men's Golf - 8
Women's Golf - 12
Baseball - receiving votes
Women's T&F - 9
Women's Water Polo - 1
Men's Volleyball - 6
Women's Rowing - 9
Women's Tennis – 12
This is how you dominate the Director's Cup since a year after its inception. If you want even more details, the board has you covered.
Goodbye, 11 to 15 minutes. Draft Express's Trey Burke draft video is all kinds of fun. Even the five minutes dedicated to Burke drawbacks features a number of Kobe assists or shoulda-been Kobe assists:
What an awesome player.
YER A BALLERZ. The NCAA 14 cover:
Will I buy this crap-pile of a game from the worst company in America because it has Denard Robinson on the cover? Maybe. Have they fixed the kangaroo linebackers yet? Made any positive changes to gameplay since 2004?
- #34 JT Compher
- #49 Michael Downing
- #84 Tyler Motte
- #111 Nolan De Jong
- #136 Alex Kile
- #142 Andrew Copp
- #157 Evan Allen
2014 recruit Dexter Dancs fell out of the rankings after being 154th in the midterm. Everyone went up save Compher, who dropped from #20. Default reminder: the CSB has separate lists for goalies and Europeans, so add 30% to each guy's ranking to get a projected draft spot. FWIW, Compher and Downing have appeared in a lot of first round mock drafts I've seen.
So. Michigan's class may lack a Trouba-level dominant star, but it is extremely deep. Everyone who's coming in next year* save recent goalie pickup Zach Nagelvoort and Bryson Cianfrone is likely to get picked in the upcoming draft. Kile in particular is a bonus after being passed over a year ago. He nearly doubled his points in the USHL this year and gives Michigan another option for a scoring-line forward.
That helps make up for the fade from Cianfrone, who was headed for the first round of the OHL draft before his Michigan commitment. He's off NHL draft radars and has a 6-15-21 line in the USHL this year. He is a 5'8" kid who's coming in as an 18 year old, so you can construct a picture in which he still develops into what he was supposed to be a couple years ago.
Anyway: strong incoming class that hopefully sticks around long enough to be impact upperclassmen. And how about Andrew Copp?
*[Spencer Hyman and Max Shuart may also arrive, but neither signed a LOI so I assume they are walking on.]
And we're done. Show us what we've won. Oh, it's a wheezing dog and a dead iguana. Jim Delany on further Big Ten expansion:
"Given everything that has gone on, yes," Delany said when asked about the ACC’s deal cementing the current five major conferences to their respective lineups.
Although Delany said the 16-team superconference format was also "an arbitrary number" that he wasn’t part of, the Big Ten was open to further expansion. ... There still is the possibility that a team from the SEC (Missouri) could leave for the Big Ten -- the SEC has no grant of rights or exit fee -- but that’s a pipe dream, at best.
So here we are. Playing Rutgers and Maryland every year, and not Iowa and Wisconsin and Nebraska. It's hard not to see Delany as a giant middle finger to fans, just walkin' around. Mighty big hand you escaped from there. Tell us more about media markets. Please, yes, just like that. Yes. Like that. About media markets.
What is a name, anyway? The powers that be paid someone millions of dollars to tell them to call the college football playoff "College Football Playoff." Nice work if you can get it. Not quite as good as Bill Hancock's job, which is to say whatever the hell he wants at any time without bothering to pretend he believes it.
That is not actually a name. If you call your dog "dog" you have not named him but described him. It is bad when your "name" for a thing is in fact a description of a superset of what you are—there are already other, separate college football playoffs. Delany:
"I'll be happy with whatever. Obviously I'm not great with names."
Yes, but that's no reason to eschew the concept entirely. You can try again, Mr. Delany, as long as you float some trial balloons to see if the entire internet mocks you before you make a decision. You can love again.
Anyway. These folks trademarked their name-type substance. Can you even do that? I want to make shirts that say "COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF" to test this out. If Xerox is too generic to be a trademark, how can "college football playoff" be unique enough? Someone who likes being in lawsuits, please find this out.
Further confirmation. In not-quite-announced news that's pretty much announced, yeah, Desmond Morgan is permanently moving to MLB so James Ross can start at WLB:
“Playing in space is something I definitely had to adjust to my first two years here because I wasn’t used to that in high school. I was more of an in the box kind of guy,” Morgan said. “Going back over to MIKE, I kind of feel a little bit more comfortable in a sense because of that.
“During the spring, it’s been an adjustment but it was something I kind of grew up playing.”
Joe Bolden and Royce Jenkins-Stone will back up the MLB and WLB spots, respectively.
BONUS: James Ross named "most improved player" this spring. Hype rocket is entering stage two.
Ann Arbor is pretty all right. Click for big.
WE AGREE OH MY PANTS. Dave Brandon and I both think a ten game conference schedule is a good idea.
"I'm in favor of looking at it for the same reasons we went from eight to nine," Brandon told MLive.com. Those reasons include more competitive schedules, as well as greater ability for players to see each of the league's 13 other teams in their careers.
The money thing is an issue, but raise your hand if you'd willingly eat the extra costs from a hypothetical exhibition game in exchange for a tenth conference game. That's everybody, right?
25 memories of "college sports' dumbest goldrush." Blake McLimans taking his talents to Oxford. RIP, Toomer's oaks. Senior highlights from Mark Donnal. Stretch four, yo. Athletic directors are sad. David Thorpe really likes Trey Burke($).
27 tickets to team 156. Naw just joshin'…
Read this. Meinke on Heck's cancer-stricken wife:
Roy Roundtree hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass to cap an improbable fourth-quarter comeback last season against Notre Dame. It came in the first night game in Big House history, gave Brady Hoke his first signature win at the school and set off a wild on-field celebration.
Players and coaches raced around looking for someone -- anyone -- to hug.
Not Jeff Hecklinski.
The Michigan receivers coach paced around trying to find cell service. Moments after the biggest win of his career, he wanted to call his wife. But not to celebrate -- to see if she was OK.
Thursday Thursday Thursday. I'll be Washington DC talking about stuff. Ask questions in that thread, sign up at the UM Club of DC's site, and etc. I will be audible since it's at a law firm! Excited about that bit.
college hockey in St. Louis: what could go wrong?
"Our current setup provides a lot of challenges,” said Tom Nevala, chair of the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee and senior associate athletics director at Notre Dame. “You need to find buildings that are neutral sites, have NHL ice and ideally are within close proximity to the host school’s fan base. Right now for the most part, we really need the host to qualify if we are going to have good attendance and atmosphere at our regionals. In an effort to increase attendance, the NCAA has been working with the hosts to try and make tickets more affordable but the nature of neutral sites and non-traditional game times works against us a bit.”
Translated from guy-who-wants-to-keep-his-job to raging bloggerese that is a slavering attack on the current format. I like you, Tom Nevala. You're all right.
“Personally, I would like to see us move to an on-campus best-of-three series format for the first round,” Nevala said. “The top seeds would host regardless of size of its building. Right now we do it at the conference level and it works very well. There are upsets even with the home ice advantage and the atmosphere for everyone involved would be better. We have such great campus facilities that are such a part of the fabric of college hockey, it’s a shame that the national tourney isn’t played in them.”
Massive improvement, though it does leave you with eight teams and no suggestion as to what to do with them. I've seen other people propose a "super regional" featuring just the two games, but that runs into the same issues. May as well just extend the season a week and do best two-of-three again, then have a Frozen Four.
Unfortunately, Nevala then goes on to say "the coaching body" is "set on having the regional games at neutral sites," which means we must fire every single D-I coach and replace them with people who aren't CHL sleeper agents.
Gambling in this establishment. WHL hammers Portland for benefits over and above the ones they're allowed to give.
Schedule strength so far. Michigan fares well in Luke Winn's latest power rankings:
Michigan's about to fade in this department as they take on an array of low-major teams and struggling Arkansas and West Virginia outfits, but right now you can take Michigan's stats as seriously as any compiled six games into a season. Duke, meanwhile, has basically locked down a one-seed at this point with wins over Kentucky, Louisville, OSU, VCU, and Minnesota. I be like dang.
As for Michigan itself, they're third. Winn points out the decreasing reliance and increased effectiveness of the pick and roll:
1. Overall, their percentage of P&R possessions has dropped from 18.0 to 14.5, according to Synergy.
2. P&Rs still make up a big portion of Burke's game, but when he does them, he's passing 55.6 percent of the time, as compared to 44.9 last year. His pass/shoot ratio out of P&Rs is the opposite of what it was in '11-12.
3. His derived offense from all P&R possessions is 1.127 PPP -- way up from 0.978 PPP last season. He has to force fewer shots, and he has better passing options on the perimeter.
I'm surprised the pick and roll was only 18% of Michigan's shot generation last year. I wonder what it was in year two of Darius Morris.
Stealing Ace's thunder a bit. Gareon Conley visits OSU this Thursday and Michigan on the 14th($) for what is shaping up to be a very large recruiting weekend; newly re-offered David Dawson will also be in after an OSU visit.
A note on the Dawson stuff: I'm surprised that opinion is divided on whether re-extending an offer to the kid is a good idea. The guy has had a rough go of it this year with his father dying unexpectedly and if Michigan is back in the picture it's because he manned up, went to Michigan, and laid it out. Weigh the twitter blasts against swallowing your pride and doing that as a 17-year-old. If Hoke thinks he's good, he's good. Michigan has been meticulous about getting quality kids after The Process forced them to take a couple fliers on kids they didn't really know.
Meanwhile, the increasingly-infamous Policy about committed recruits visiting other places is way overblown. Dawson got his offer pulled because he was not upfront; Michigan is still recruiting Conley after he decommited. All the policy means is "don't think you're saving a spot in Michigan's class if you're visiting other schools."
Michigan has two states of recruiting:
- COMMITTED: Keep out of trouble and keep your grades up and you will be in the class. We will stand by you if you have a bad year or get injured. You do not take visits to other schools. If you do, they automatically move you into the other category.
- UNCOMMITTED: If you have an offer they'll continue to recruit you but they can revoke that offer at any time until they move you into the other category by mutual agreement. If your leg explodes tough cookies.
Notably absent is "COMMITTED, BUT…" Committed-but is an extremely annoying recruiting state that recently-offered AZ OL Kenny Lacy provides an excellent example of:
Lacy is a UCLA commitment that was also offered by Michigan this week. His consideration of other schools, however, is not a new development. From the moment he committed to the Bruins back in September he mentioned his plan to still take trips to other campuses. …
"I am committed (to UCLA) and I originally did it because I felt strongly that is where I want to go. But I was upfront with (UCLA assistant) Coach (Adrian) Klemm from the beginning that I would still take trips, and he was OK with that. I just want to make sure I am doing the right thing and making the right decision."
This is an offense against the English language, and that's probably why Hoke doesn't go for it. Also it's a fiction: Lacy is one-way committed to UCLA. He expects UCLA to be committed to him—he would be pissed if the Bruins took some other OL and were like "sorry full up." He reserves the right to flit off to somewhere else late.
Michigan isn't playing that game, and that is the extent of The Policy. You get two categories. Pick one. None of this half-in half-out stuff.
Prognosticator hat. One man's impression of how things will work out:
- Conley: MICHIGAN by a nose. Last visit, Oregon doesn't appear to be going for him hard or at all at this point, parents pushing for M. OSU visit just a one-off Thursday instead of a full official.
- Dawson: MICHIGAN. Really seemed to regret how things worked out now; doubt Michigan would re-offer without a good idea of how the story ends.
- Derrick Green: MICHIGAN. Options: fired coach, fired coach, Ole Miss, place that will be nuked by NCAA in near future. Early enrollment make it very hard for fired coach places to catch up. With the dead period, a guy who gets hired today would have about two weeks to build a relationship. Ole Miss or Michigan? Since the kid isn't from Mississippi that has to be no contest. If it is Ole Miss, I swear to never set foot in that state because I won't be able to leave.
- Leon McQuay: Vanderbilt, but if James Franklin gets snapped up by someone else that would probably tip the scales to Michigan.
- LaQuon Treadwell: Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. Seems like if he was going to drop to Michigan he already would have. Maybe he's just indecisive.
- Michigan adds wildcard or two. That would put them at 25 give or take the status of the longsnapper, who I know I know they said would be getting a full ride but we heard the same thing with Morales; dollars to donuts the deal is he is at the top of the walk-on board permanently. They're at 25 now pending Mike Jones not getting a fifth year and Lewan entering the draft, so even if the LS is on full scholarship it would only take one extra piece of attrition for Michigan to have extra room. That's almost inevitable. You can see that they've offered a half-dozen players lately, mostly OL and LBs. I'd guess they add one or the other, with Cal OL commit Cameron Hunt the random guess I'm making. More likely they will pull someone out of nowhere a la Willie Henry.
It would be weird to have two decommitted guys recommit—in my recollection only one decommit has ever re-upped with Michigan: Will Campbell. But that's the way my wind is blowing to day you guys.
FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL
It's almost as if athletic directors cannot consider the consequences of their actions. UNLV's AD after participating in a mock playoff assemblage:
"Wow, is this committee going to have pressure," Livengood said. "The thing that jumps out at me is that there are just four teams, it's not enough of a sample. I was not a proponent of going larger than four, and this changed my mind totally."
Sure you weren't, UNLV dude.
Meanwhile, this committee assembled to prevent mistakes like Stanford getting picked over Oregon last year because Oregon played and lost to LSU while Stanford did not made the exact same mistake in reverse by selecting Oregon over Stanford because Stanford played ND and lost (in overtime on a terrible call) while Oregon played Arkansas State, Fresno State, and Tennessee Tech in their nonconference schedule and Stanford has to beat a good UCLA team again to win the Pac-12. Way to reward scheduling, guys.
As always, people in charge of stuff are just in charge of stuff and may or may not deserve to be.
Etc.: Zak Irvin off to a hot start as the man on his HS team post Gary Harris. Nebraska and OU agree to a series in 2021 and 2022. Yost Built previews this weekend's hockey series against Ferris. Hockey has a lot of talent coming in next year. Orson interviews the populace at The Game.