I did not make this headline up
In the post-game press conference, Brady Hoke was asked, "If you were in our shoes, wouldn't you have started writing the story before the game ended?" He answered, "No." To which, he was asked, "Why not?" Let me attempt to answer for Brady. Quite simply, because we're Michigan, FERGODSAKES! That doesn't convince you? OK, how about a few examples:
On November 6, 2010, Michigan played a football game against Illinois that went to triple overtime. Had I been writing this diary back then, I'm sure I would have ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome; a lengthy boxscore that was. Michigan's defense had trouble stopping the Illini all game long. We were down to our backup QB, who managed to keep us in the game even with the defensive problems. The game ended when the Michigan defense stepped up and made a stop.
On September 10, 2011, Michigan played a football game against Notre Dame. Michigan got the ball with 28 seconds left on our own 20 yard line, trailing by three. A ridiculous pass play to Jeremy Gallon brought us into scoring range. Hoke went for the win. Roy Roundtree caught a TD pass which sealed what I thought to be Michigan's most improbable victory.
On November 10, 2012, Michigan played a football game against Northwestern. Michigan's defense had trouble stopping the Wildcats all game long. But again, Michigan's backup QB kept making plays to keep us in it. Michigan got the ball with 18 seconds left on our own 38, trailing by three. A ridiculous pass play to Roy Roundtree brought us into scoring range. Hoke went for the tie (more on that later) and Gibbons made the kick, sending us to overtime. The game ended when the Michigan defense stepped up and made a stop.
Yes, on occasion we do lose those types of games, but every now and then, and more often than you would think, Michigan wins. Impossibly, improbably, with a little bit of luck or good fortune, Michigan finds a way. That's why I would never leave a game early or give up on the team, or start writing a story before the story has completed on the field.
Burst of Impetus
* NW scored with 5:30 left in the third to go up by 10. Things weren't looking so good for our Maize and Blue Men. Our next drive started off slow: an incomplete pass followed by an 11 yard chop block penalty. A little screen pass left us with 3rd and 17 from our own 15 yard line. It was then that Borges went into ND '11 mode (jump balls for all). A deep pass attempt resulted in a PI penalty against NW. First down Michigan. Gardner then went to Gallon for 42 more yards. A short pass to Touss was turned into a 28 yard TD scamper by some nifty Fitz footwork. Even though we were still behind, Impetus had clearly returned to the M sideline.
* It's hard to be positive when you give up 27 first downs to these guys, but I'll try.
* NW ended up with 431 total offense yards. That's the same amount that Alabama,
the greatest team ever assembled, a pretty good offense, had against us. I never would have guessed that Alabama and NW would be equivalent at anything. After the Alabama game, I wrote, "If we can hold everyone else under 431, I’ll be happy." NW didn't get more than 431, so I'm not unhappy, I'm just confused.
* Thomas Gordon led us in tackles with 11, not a good sign. Demens and Morgan were next with 9 apiece. Considering Mattison substituted freely with the LBs, that's a lot of tackles.
* TFLs returned with a vengeance, as we recorded 8.
* Wistert Kovacs was all over the field. You might have thought there were three number 11s out there (there really should have been.) Kovacs had 5 tackles, a TFL and 2 pass breakups.
* I noticed Bolden playing in NW's first series. I was a little confused by that since the recent trend has been to go with Morgan and Demens almost exclusively. It seems like Mattison's gameplan was to rest his guys, knowing that they were going to be doing an awful lot of east-west running, and that it was likely going to be a 4 quarters game. The plan obviously worked, as Demens was fresh enough at the end to make the two biggest tackles of the day on successive plays.
* Continuing on this theme, 24 players recorded tackles, likely a record for the 2 seasons I've been doing this.
* In case it hasn't been said before, Greg Mattison is a genius. Have you ever seen a defense run a trick play? I'm not talking about zone blitzes or OKIE packages or whatever. That last defensive play was a legitimate trick play, akin to the Statue of Liberty or Halfback pass. From going with a 4-3 alignment all season long, to switch to a 3-4 with the DEs split way outside and then blitzing your two best defensive players right up the gut. That was madness and genius all rolled up in one.
* In his first start at Michigan, Gardner was 16 for 29 for 286 yards and 2 TDs.
* I went to the Rose Bowl where Vince Young destroyed our defense. I get the comparisons. It's early, but I think Gardner is the better passer and Young is the better runner.
* For not wanting to run Gardner, he still ended up with 9 carries for 47 yards and 2 TDs. Most were scrambles, not designed runs.
Bunches of Funchess
* Funchess only catch was an 8 yard TD. I thought he was partly to blame for Gardner's INT. It appeared he was waiting for the ball to fall gently into his hands, instead of high pointing the ball. This gave the NW DB time to get over and make the pick.
* Another inconsistent day (if you don't get the sarcasm, see last week's diary) for Jeremy Gallon. Seven catches for 94 yards with a long of 42. I'm betting he gets at least honorable mention Hoke double finger points in tomorrow's recap.
* Roundtree was in the right place at the right time, twice. The first time, Fitz' fumble went through his hands. The second time, the NW DB deflected the ball to him. This time, he caught the ball and set us up for the game-tying FG. That may have been the quietest 139 yard receiving day in M history, other than the miraculous deflection, of course.
And Justice for Rawls
* After last week, I thought Rawls had won the job, but this week it was back to the Fitz 2 YPC show (with the possibility of one long run that may or may not end in a TD or fumble.) Rawls gained 1 yard on 3 carries.
* Touss led us with 92 yards rushing, and caught one TD pass that was due all to his footwork.
Norf and Souf
* Norfleet had 4 kickoff returns for 107 yards, with a long of 37, but the real story of the return game was the 23 yard punt return from Jeremy Gallon that gave us hope near the end of the game.
* We were a +6 in net yards per punt, but a -4 in net yards per kickoff, and it could have been a lot worse.
* NW was penalized 8 times for 75 yards, while Michigan was penalized only twice for 26 yards. Some penalties are obvious, and some can be considered judgment calls. For example, when Gardner gets NW to jump offsides, that's an obvious call. When a NW lineman grabs a Michigan player's jersey, while it may be obvious to us, it's still somewhat of a judgment call. The reason NW was penalized so much more than us is that they made several obvious penalties.
* What frustrated me were the judgment calls that were not called on NW. On their first drive, the first time we've given up a TD this year on a first drive, an NW player grabbed Jake Ryan's jersey and pulled so hard, the "7" on Ryan's back ended up on top of his shoulder pads. I think that was on Trumpy's 21 yard run, also the first time in awhile we've given up anything to a running back. So for the rest of the game, I kept waiting for the Zonkeys to call a holding penalty on NW. If you think about, NW's style is to run a lot of east-west directional plays, which requires linemen (and receivers) to hold (there's that word again) their blocks longer than a straight north-south type running attack. That should make them more susceptible to holding calls.
* If you think I'm spending too much time on this, go look at the last play GIF where Demens makes the tackle. I watched that play a dozen times. Jibreel Black busts through the gap between the center and the guard. The center reaches behind Black, grabs his shirt, and pulls it down below his butt. No flag. Didn't matter as we made the stop, but that crap went on all game long and NW was called for at most, one holding penalty (the kick return that wiped out a TD, FWIW.)
Outside the Boxscore
* Last year, Brady went for the win against ND. This year, he went for OT. I think both decisions were correct, maybe just based on hindsight, but Denard had just broken ND's spirit, and we weren't sure about our FG kickers yet. Plus, we had an extra second to spare. Against NW, I just had the feeling that with a short field in OT, Mattison could play more aggressively and sell out against the run. Make Kain Colter beat you with his arm. NW's last four plays: run, run, run, run. Kain Colter was never going to beat us with his arm. Game, set, match, Greg Mattison.
A consistent week-to-week topic on this board is how pollsters treat teams given the previous week's results. Because the Coach's Poll matters for BCS standings, I thought I would look at how B1G teams were treated each week.
I note that there is a significant flaw in this analysis, in that I do not look systematically at the results from schools in other conferences, which can often exert significant influence on how much room there is to move up/down and also how much attention voters pay to other games. Also unexplored a comprehensive look at conference perception. Still, I hope this is somewhat informative:
Michigan (Started #8)
- 19 (0-1) - Lost on neutral field to then #1 Alabama 14-41 (fairly large drop, probably because Michigan looked like it was not competitive)
- 18 (1-1) - Beat Air Force 31-25 (thank you Arkansas and Wiscy falling)
- 17 (2-1) - Beat UMass 63-13 (likely more of a result of MSU losing than destroying a creampuff)
- NR (2-2) - Lost @ ND 6-13 (Ugh...argh...still ranked third among vote-getters and two slots behind Northwestern)
- NR (2-2) - Wife Day (actually dropped among vote-getters to 9th)
- NR (3-2) - Won @ Purdue 44-13 (third among vote-getters, just ahead of Northwestern and MSU, in that order)
- 23 (4-2) - Beat Illinois 45-0 (Biiiiiiig boost from killing baby seal Illinios)
- 20 (5-2) - Beat MSU 12-10 (fairly solid jump for eeking by an unranked MSU team at home)
- NR (5-3) - Lost @ Nebraska 9-23 (12th among vote-getters...ouch)
- NR (6-3) - Won @ Minny 35-13 (3rd among vote-getters--bullish on Devin?)
- 23 (7-3) - Beat Northwestern in OT 38-31 (?)
Nebraska (Started #16)
- 14 (1-0) - Beat Southern Miss 49-20
- 24 (1-1) - Lost @ UCLA 30-36 (UCLA did not come into the season with much hype, so they were probably underrated at the time relative to now)
- 22 (2-1) - Beat Arkansas State 42-13
- 20 (3-1) - Baby sealed Idaho St. 73-7
- 20 (4-1) - Beat Wisconsin 30-27 (Not much of a bump for beating Wisky, even if the perception was that Wisky was bad and it was a close game at home)
- NR (4-2) - Lost @ OSU 38-63 (Bo Pelini stands there with his large mouth bass face after getting killed on the road by undefeated OSU, still unable to comprehend why his team has less votes than Michigan, Northwestern, MSU, and OHIO (!))
- NR (4-2) - Bye (Nebraska remained behind NW among vote-getters, 9th to 6th for Northwestern)
- NR (5-2) - Won @ Northwestern 29-28 (Still only 5th among vote-getters, perhaps punishment for Northwestern snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Cubs-like fashion)
- 21 (6-2) - Beat Michigan 23-9 (apparently lots of credit for beating Bellomy)
- 18 (7-2) - Won @ MSU 28-24 (not sure I can explain this one)
- 14 (8-2) - Beat Penn St. 32-23 (I guess the "lucky" call did not enter voters' minds)
Wisconsin (Started #12)
- 13 (1-0) - Beat Northern Iowa 26-21 (penalized slightly for close loss)
- 22 (1-1) - Lost @ Oregon State (NTOSU) 7-10 (even after its victory, NTOUS was 9th among non-top 25 vote getters)
- 24 (2-1) - Beat Utah State 16-14 (Not penalized too much for almost losing to non-BCS school)
- 23 (3-1) - Beat UTEP 37-26
- NR (3-2) - Lost @ Nebraska 27-30 (No votes for you!)
- NR (4-2) - Beat Illinois 31-14 (a couple of votes, behind Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Duke (!!))
- NR (5-2) - Won @ Purdue 38-14 (one ahead of Nebraska)
- NR (6-2) - Beat Minny 38-13 (third-highest vote-getter)
- NR (6-3) - Lost to MSU 13-16 (Votes? #HALOL)
- NR (6-3) - Bye (taking the weekend off brings no votes)
- NR (7-3) - Won @ Indiana 62-14 (2nd among vote-getters--boost for controlling destiny in Leaders?)
MSU (Started #13)
- 11 (1-0) - Beat then #23 Boise St. 17-13 (quality win at home, but looks like MSU was penalized somewhat from a perception of Boise State looking overrated at #23)
- 10 (2-0) - Won @ Central Michigan 41-7
- 20 (2-1) - Lost to ND 3-20
- 18 (3-1) - Beat Eastern Michigan 23-7
- NR (3-2) - Lost to OSU 16-17 (fifth among vote-getters despite losing to undefeated OSU by a point)
- NR (4-2) - Won @ Indiana 31-27 (see above)
- NR (4-3) - Lost to Iowa 16-19 (No votes for you! The Fall comes before the Threat!)
- NR (4-4) - Lost @ Michigan 10-12 (Pride comes before the lack of votes)
- NR (5-4) - Won @ Wisconsin 16-13 (Still no votes)
- NR (5-5) - Lost to Nebraska 24-28 (All your votes are belong to somebody else)
- NR (5-5) - Bye (Hide yo couches)
Northwestern (Started NR)
- NR (1-0) - Won @ Syracuse 42-41
- NR (2-0) - Beat Vandy 23-13 (ranked well below Oregon State)
- NR (3-0) - Beat BC 22-13 (still 5th-ranked among those receiving votes but not in top 25)
- NR (4-0) - Beat South Dakota 38-7 (I know all three BCS team wins were bad, but 4-0 with only one seal clubbing!)
- 22 (5-0) - Beat Indiana 44-29 (Finally...some respect!)
- NR (5-1) - Lost @ Penn St. 28-39 (just behind Michigan, good enough for 4th among vote-getters)
- NR (6-1) - Won @ Minnesota 21-13 (6th among vote-getters, which is a backslide from the previous week)
- NR (6-2) - Lost to Nebraska 28-29 (No votez iz sad)
- NR (7-2) - Beat Iowa 28-17 (9th among vote-getters)
- NR (7-2) - Bye (5th among vote-getters; better study up for the next game rather than celebrating those votes...)
- NR (7-3) - Lost @ Michigan 31-38 (8th among vote-getters)
Conclusions based on limited information:
- Ranking among those receiving votes is a crap-shoot. There seemed to be some strange sequencing among B1G teams if looking at record-to-date, as far as I could tell.
- Northwestern was underrated early on.
- Wisconsin was punished for disappointing.
- B1G is not very good, but the voters are not doing it very many favors. Aside from a few nicer-than-expected bounces, a lack of ranked teams has probably lead to depressing the rankings of the teams that have been winning.
- The early season dumpster fire at Penn State and sanctions at OSU hurt the B1G profile in the polls.
- And, most important of all: The B1G would probably benefit from beating a few good eams OOC early and then riding on voter assumptions into league play.
Thoughts? Criticism? Vehement disagreement?
(P.S. Apologies in advance for errors; I will try to correct them as they are identified)
Notre Dame edges closer to Michigan for the top spot despite the pickup of Da'Mario Jones, Nebraska moves up the board, and Minnesota gets a flurry of commits to... stay in last by a wide margin, actually. Baby steps. Changes since the last rankings:
10-28-12: Penn State picks up Richy Anderson. Minnesota picks up Eric Carter.
10-31-12: Michigan picks up Da'Mario Jones. Demetrius Hill decommits from Indiana. Minnesota picks up Nate Godwin.
11-1-12: Notre Dame picks up Cole Luke. Nebraska picks up Randy Gregory.
11-2-12: Wisconsin picks up Corey Clement.
11-3-12: Minnesota picks up Demaris Peppers.
11-10-12: Northwestern picks up Raymond Davison.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^||POINTS*|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
*The product of number of Commits and Average Average
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
(fact checkers, knock yourselves out, am still going mostly off memory)
Have yet to lose a home game during my tenure as a student.
The Big Ten is now going to allow two teams to go to bowl games.
The tie-breaker rules have been revised to eliminate AD votes. If records are even, and head to head is a tie, non-conference record will be the tie breaker.
Denny Franklin is gone, and we start a rookie QB from Flint, a 3 sport high school star who turns into one of the all time great UM athletes, Rick Leach.
To recap, Ohio, unbeaten-untied national champs 1968, upset by UM in last game of 1969 to cost them that title, lost Rose Bowl in upset to Jim Plunkett led Stanford to cost them 1970 national title, the super sophs graduated, well, left, so 1971 a rebuilding year.
1972 and 1974, lost at MSC in upsets both years, but beat us to go to Rose Bowl and choke.
1973, tie us, beat USC 42-21 in the Rose Bowl. The tie most likely cost them another title.
In those days of the Big Two and the Little Eight, other than MSC, which was away in years we hosted the Buckeyes, the other games were for drinking and passing up co-eds in the stands. Another ritual was throwing the Annie Greenspring – Boones Farm – Mad Dog bottles over the top of the stadium at the end of the 3rd quarter. Just pass them up in the stands to the folks in the top row, who threw them over the edge.
The streak of 100,000 plus started at the end of the 1974 season. The legal drinking age was 18. You could bring a keg into the game, if you had a ticket for it.
The field had not been dug down yet, so the cheerleaders did back flips off the wall after every score, counting up the Wolverine points. Whisky the dog still pushed a ball the length of the field at half time.
Almost, maybe every, game started at 1:30 p.m.
We had our own internal countdown clocks.
We start the year with 3 non-conference games, still an 11 game season and no Notre Dame contract yet.
Not sure which was first, but, I think the 19-19 tie with Stanford was. Not a vintage Stanford team. They missed an extra point and Bob Wood made a then record 4 field goals for us.
Despair. Unbelievable. How could this happen?
Then, next week, even worse. 14 – 14 with Baylor.
I could not get drunk enough.
Then the boys rounded into shape, knocking off one of the Little Eight after another.
My first trip for a game was to MSC in 1973. Very memorable. Played in a raging downpour. They crossed midfield once, on a completed pass, but the receiver fumbled and we recovered.
The ever-daring Denny Stoltz punted on third down on consecutive possessions. I think it was 42-0.
In 1975, they were supposed to be good. (OK, I am fact checking this one. I was right!)
I go to MSC to root against Woody once again.
The 11th game added to the former ten game season, is a conference game, before the three non-conference opponents.
Woody's team is loaded once again, led by returning Heisman winner Archie Griffin.
21-0 Ohio crushes Sparty. The long drought up north is over, as they have won all the rest of their regular season games this decade, and the last couple years of the 60s, except for games in our state. (with the exception of the 1971 rebuilding year)
Sparty then rips off 3 in a row, even beating Notre Dame at South Bend. A couple of my MSC buddies were in town for our game, at a kegger at a sorority house. The sorority had to get special permission from their national office to serve beer.
My fraternity then determined which sororities played at half-time of the Mud Bowl, so they were nice to us. Until after Homecoming.
There was still beer in the keg when we had to leave, so we took it with us.
Having run Duff Daugherty out of town for losing to Bo, MSC now thinks they can take us with their new coach, are hosting in East Lansing.
We get a 4th quarter TD and win 16-6.
MSC is now 0-2 in league play, with no real chance to pass us or Ohio and get to a bowl game.
Being Sparty, they blow a couple of games to finish 7-4.
We go through conference play undefeated, 8-0-2, to face the 10-0 Buckeyes. The Orange Bowl announces it will be ecstatic to take the LOSER of the game to face the Big Eight champ.
I decided it would be appropriate to greet Archie Griffin, finishing what would be his second Heisman winning campaign, with a couple of oranges.
A bunch of baseball players lived in the house and they/I invited me to join them and other male varsity athletes (uh, I was never in that category) to guard the banner from another Buckeye attack.
I just jumped on the field and milled around with them, following along.
It is awesome to stand at midfield and look up at a full house before the Ohio game.
Back in the day, I was big for my size. I was hoping Ohio would storm us at mid-field; then I would be sure to nail Archie with the oranges secreted in my pocket.
Sure enough, the Suckeyes stormed out of the tunnel and came right for us.
Man, they were big! Being in cleats didn't hurt as far as obtaining a height advantage over 6 foot even me. I let the legitimate guardians hold up the banner, and left my hands in my pockets holding the oranges.
The line held, and Woody led them off to the Ohio side.
I planned (again) to go the Rose Bowl after we won. The home team had not lost a Bo-Woody game yet.
Cornelius Greene led them down the field for a score on their first possession.
Our defense then held them to: ten
three and outs.
Greg Mattison, eat your heart out. Ten in a row, with the Heisman winning running back.
We are up 14-7 in the 4th quarter.
One of our Tds, I believe the first, was a halfback pass from Gordon Bell.
Buckeye ball. Third and long. Greene is backed into his own end zone. A Wolverine dives and grabs one ankle. Greene barely gets off the pass.
It is complete.
For first down.
They get all the way down to tie the score.
Now, a tie sends Woody to the Rose Bowl, because we would have the exact same conference record, and a head to head tie, but, we had those damn ties to Stanford and Baylor and would lose the non-conference tie break.
So, we had to pass.
Run back inside the ten.
Buckeyes get a touchdown.
Massive letdown. One home loss in four years.
So, Orange Bowl trip instead.
I was five rows from the top of the upper deck, and cringed at the hits the Selmon brothers were dealing out. Oklahoma had the two Selmons, and, another D lineman who also made all pro.
For the only time in his career, Ricky was knocked out of the game, by an blatant late hit about 3 strides out of bounds. In front of a referee.
Which was not called.
The Buckeyes had blown yet another Rose Bowl, this time to UCLA, opening up the national title.
And Oklahoma took it, by beating us 14-6.
Trivia note: NBC-TV forsook its longtime logo, the peacock, for a stylish “N”, unveiled, of course, on January 1, 1976, first day of the bi-centennial.
Turns out it was the same logo as Nebraska public TV, so they had to change it.
I sneaked into the NBC party before the game with a fraternity brother who did have an invite. When someone tried to bust me, asking if he could help me, I said sure, I'd like a scotch on the rocks. He said show me your ticket. My bro slipped his to me while the exchange took place.
Ahh, the brashness of youth.
P.S. to Ace: yes, I am older than dirt.
what is going on on this board?
I just had another M Go Board post taken down, though they are not duplicates, off topic, or containing obscenity/threats.
post a comment that is critical of Hoke, and it seems to get taken down.
but here goes any way:
Can you imagine the fireworks this board would have provided if RichRod had no backup ready for his injury prone QB in a big game?
Now that we have seen Gardner play QB, can you believe they didnt have him ready when needed? Apparently, he had gone weeks without any QB reps in practice.
And with UMass and Illiinois blowouts, Hoke/ Boprges could have gotten someone (Even Bellomy) some real work, not just handing off for RB auditions, so that suddelny against Nebraska they would not have had had to play for the first time (Ok, Bellomy had about 8 snaps propr)
With Denard's track record, this was almost certain to happen at some point,
Is there any doubt this sloppy coaching cost us a spot in the Big Ten Championship game. If we had beaten Nebraska (as we would have had Gardner been ready to step in) we could lose to OSU and still go to the Championship Game. Now, we can beat OSU and not go to the Championship Game.
Where is the outrage at such sloppy coaching? It cost us a shot at the title and Rose Bowl.
[ED:BiSB - Peace out. I've enjoyed most of you]
From Mike DeSimone. He does great work.
A few of my favorites:
And Lloyd Brady...