this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Senor Bowl just finished the prospect measurements. Denard Robinson came in at 5104/196. Way shorter than his listed height which isn't surprising considering that he's not really a true 6'. His future is definitely at RB/WR, but more at RB because of his ability to run the ball and find holes/cutback lanes.
EDIT: When height shows up in a 4 digit numbers, it means feet, inches then an 8th of inch so Denard is 5'10" 4/8. That is a common abbreviation for NFL scouts. They speak prospect's height by 4 digit numbers.
......because for Michigan fans, the good with these guys far outweighs the bad.
Only rules: no buts, ifs, or equivocations. Everybody knows about the unfortunate comment or two, the peacocking behavior, and the career path choices. This is for admiration and stories we might not have heard only. Michigan days, pro days, college coaching days, or pro coaching days.
Jim was probably one of my 3 favorite Michigan players in over 30 years as a fan. He was so different because he could win games with his arm and Bo was evolving in his approach and letting him do it. Cocky but tough/skilled enough to back it up. A pure winner.
On top of that, the 07 win at USC as a 40 point underdog was the greatest one game coaching job I have ever seen on any level. That USC team planted more defensive players in the NFL draft then there are starting positions.
The real story for the upcoming "SuperBro" (or "Harbowl") is actually not Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh, but rather Flacco vs. Harbaugh. This is Flacco in college:
This is Jim Harbaugh during his early glory days:
SEE THE HELMETS????!!!!
I will pick the birds.
Bumped at author's request. JGB.
So a while back I tried to take a look at the correlation (or lack thereof) of team performance with movement in the polls, specifically the Coach's Poll because it matters for the BCS (http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/how-coachs-poll-reacts-b1g-results). Based on positive feedback (thank you!) and some spare time, I am updating the analysis through the end of the year. The previous analysis was through Week 11 (Michigan v. Northwestern week); now, it goes through bowls.
Michigan (Started #8)
- 19 (0-1) - Lost on neutral field to then #2 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 (?)
- 20 (8-3) - Beat Iowa 42-17 (Note that two teams, LA Tech and USC, took a plunge out of the rankings)
- 24 (8-4) - Ughhhhh lost @ Ohio* 26-21 (Not much of a penalty for losing to Ohio*)
- 22 (8-5) - No B1G Championship (Cue MSU/Georgia crying about getting a bump for not playing in the championship game. Note that Nebraska is still ahead and Wisky is still behind)
- NR (8-5) - Lost to South Carolina 33-28 in Outback Bowl (top vote-getter)
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)
- 14 (9-2) - Beat Minny 38-14 (No change)
- 13 (10-2) - Won @ Iowa 13-7
- 21 (10-3) - Finished in fetal position to Wisconsin 70-31 in B1G Championship (A butt-whipping will do that, I guess)
- 23 (10-4) - Finished in fetal position to Georgia in Capital One Bowl, 45-31
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?)
- NR (7-4) - Lost to Ohio* 21-14 (11th among vote-getters--ironically note that Utah State is tops among vote-getters)
- NR (7-5) - Lost @ Penn St. 24-21 (No votes)
- 23 (8-5) - Destroyed Nebraska 70-31 at B1G Championship (Big boost, but not enough to surpass Nebraska or Michigan)
- NR (8-6) - Lost to Wicked Smaht Stanford 21-14 in Rose Bowl (5th-leading vote getter; clearly losing to Stanford twice is better for your ranking because UCLA was the second-leading vote-getter)
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)
- NR (5-6) - Lost to Northwestern 23-20 (All the votes hidden in the weeds)
- NR (6-6) - Won @ Minny 26-10 (Surprise! No new votes for beating Minny)
- NR (6-6) - "Bye" (Dantonio thought sitting home from the B1G Championship would better prepare his team for its bowl...)
- NR (7-6) Beat TCU 17-16 in toilet...er, BW3s Bowl (apparently nobody watched, because nobody voted)
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)
- NR (8-3) - Won @ MSU 23-20 (2nd among vote getters...not much of a jump for a conference road win)
- 20 (9-3) - Beat Illinois 50-14 (Huuuuuge jump for clubbing a baby seal who was asleep in a flaming dumpster)
- 17 (9-3) - No B1G Championship Game (Now highest ranked B1G team. MSU/Georgia melt down)
- 16 (10-3) - Beat MSU (NTMSU) in Gator Bowl 34-20 (highest-ranked B1G team)
UPDATED Conclusions based on limited information (holdovers in italics):
- 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. This seemed to get a bit better by the end of the season, but that may be a small sample size issue.
- Northwestern was underrated early on. It was probably ranked about right at the end.
- Wisconsin was punished for disappointing. It got a nice boost when it performed the way it was supposed to in the off season in the B1G game, but sunk like a rock when it played like it had earlier in the season.
- 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. Still true at the end.
- 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. I probably did not need to analyze anything to convince myself and some of you of this...
- New conclusion: The shifts seem to be more subtle and less random at the end of the year, but it is not clear whether this happens because: (1) there is more data, (2) rankings are more on results and less on potential and expectations, (3) voters actually watch late-season big games, conference championships, and non-participation certificate bowls.
- New conclusion: despite the shifts being more subtle at the end of the year, it appears that you cannot anticipate the magnitude of a slide/rise at any time of year with any accuracy without knowing what else happened that week. In other words: individual team results do not (anecdotally) appear to predict movement in rankings.
UPDATE: Corrected Alabama's preseason ranking.