“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
So, I'm elaborating on my initial post in MGoShoe's original thread about the Detroit News Mascot Contest. I've got an idea and it appears that this thing has some legs, and so I quickly knocked out a five-minute visual to help sell the idea to Brandon. Call me DB.
(The following rehashes and/or elaborates on much of what I said earlier)
I had multiple people ask if I was going to submit something for their contest, but things have been pretty busy on my end. More on that next month. BUT I did think about it, and I was torn between the 'ferocious wolverine' concept, as we saw in the News' winning entry (and I think looks pretty good, all things considered), and something else, which I'll affectionately name:
THE OVERLY ENTITLED
Our mascot should be successful and he should know it. Perhaps he's got on a smoking jacket, or better yet, an overpriced fitted polo oxford with $150 jeans and a sweet pair of doc martens. He should sport a well-groomed unshaven look and a pair of rimless glasses that he will only take off to properly look down upon the Purdue Pete's and Bucky the Badgers of the world. He will always have it all put together and will be effortlessly in shape, never flaunting the ridiculous six pack that Herky the Hawkeye knows is just one layer of business casual away.
He should smell like a swanky Fortune 500 corner office and an exotic fruit you've never heard of all at once. He's not so much Facebook as he is LinkedIn, and even then he's a premium member at that who always seems to be too busy to add any contacts. Girls will always know when he enters the room, and their boyfriends will hate him for it. He'll be that guy who's already seen the movie you bring up in conversation, and will recommend an independent film that's far better. He'll tell jokes that make you laugh harder than you knew you could, and yet he'll be more interested in talking about world events.
He'll be that guy that buys really good coffee. The kind that tastes even better than it smells.
And even as he's leading the team onto the field, he should be cutting consultant deals on his smartphone AND playing plants vs. zombies at the same time. And throughout the game he'll be far too busy discussing microbrews with the hottest adjacent cheerleader to even care that he's been named "Biff."
In short, the new mascot should be a d**k that all of the other mascots hate, and yet also desperately wish they were.
He will give the Nittany Lion the perfect compliment on his striped scarf, and the Lion's insecurities will turn it into the most humiliating insult the Lion has ever heard. The Golden Gopher will constantly ask our mascot to have his picture taken with him, and when he finally does it will become his Facebook avatar in less than three minutes. Oddly enough, the Northwestern wildcat will be one of his buds. And for Brutus the Buckeye, he will be fear personified. Brutus will have a manic and hateful obsession with him, and he'll spend far too many Friday nights in Columbus trying to perfect the perfect Biff google search.
He is Biff, and he is THE MAN.
He will give the Nittany Lion the perfect compliment on his striped scarf, and the Lion's insecurities will turn it into the most humiliating insult the Lion has ever heard. The Golden Gopher will constantly ask our mascot to have his picture taken with him, and when he finally does it will become his Facebook avatar in less than three minutes. Oddly enough, the Northwestern wildcat will be one of his buds. And for Brutus the Buckeye, he will be fear personified. Brutus will not sleep well when he thinks of the Wolverine, and he will have a manic and hateful obsession with him.
I had been keeping in touch with Moeller WR Monty Madaris (6'2", 190 lbs) for some time now because I figured that Michigan would eventually come calling. He told me tonight that Michigan did in fact offer him.
He now holds offers from Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida State, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, MSU, and Nebraska among others.
Here's what he had to say about the offer, visiting soon, and when he wants to make a decision:
Coach Smith said they liked my film and they are looking forward to getting me up there for a visit soon. I'll be up for the BBQ on the 31st. Michigan is near the top of my list [now] for sure. They are one of the schools that I'm evaluating more than others. I have no idea when I want to make my decision but I would like to make it soon.
Here's a look at his film. We'll know more about his interest level once he gets on campus. He does like Ohio State and Michigan State, too.
In my last diary I suggested that there might be some room for extra defensive improvement due to the upgrade at DC from Greg Robinson to Greg Mattison. Although I am in general agreement with Brian that massive improvements in the defense should not be expected, I began to wonder what was possible--that is, in the past 5-6 years, has a team improved its defense by leaps and bounds? To that end, I looked at scoring defense ranks of all 120 FBS teams from 2003-2010 to see how teams improved from year to year. Based on the numbers at Rivals, here is how the data shake out:
Note: the x-axis represents changes in rank (negative is good), the y-axis number of examples (out of 840 [120 teams * 7 years]). So the distribution is more or less normal, with a change of 80 rank positions (in either direction) being the maximum, more or less. The largest improvement in our dataset is 94 positions, so if that is the maximum possible then Michigan in 2011 could move up from the 102nd scoring defense (in 2010) to 8th (in 2011). HOORAY!
I had originally suggested that this level of improvement was unlikely, but turd ferguson pointed out that my percentages were misleading, because middling- to highly-ranked defenses simply cannot improve by a large margin. Looking at teams ranked 91st or worse in scoring defense, then, we get the following chart:
You can see that teams with bad defenses improve 20 ranks on average, in part because they have more room to improve than they do to regress. 31% of the time teams ranked 91st or worse improve 30 ranks or more; and 17% of the time they improve 50 ranks or more. To get into the top quartile of defenses, a team ranked 102nd (like Michigan) needs a 70 rank (or more) improvement, which has happened 5% of the time. Looking at the teams with huge improvements, it is difficult to generalize about how they did it. Here are the most improved teams in each year for which we have data (bolded numbers represent the year in which the big improvement was made):
In some cases they seem based on the emergence of a superstar player on defense. For instance, Suh for Nebraska in 2009, which jumped from the 84th scoring defense to 2nd, or Von Miller for Texas A&M, which jumped from the 104th scoring defense in 2009 to the 27th in 2010.
In other cases you have teams that are consistently fairly good who for some reason have a collapse but then recover to their old form. UConn, for instance, usually has a pretty good scoring defense. In 2005, they were 21st, and in 2007 they were 11th in the country, but in 2006 they were 94th. Likewise, TCU has a pretty amazing scoring defense but in 2004 they were 106th in the country. The year before they were 27th, the year after they were 12th. They had some NFL talent, but all 2nd day draft picks or free agents.
Michigan is obviously not in the second type of team. Our defense hasn't been top 20 since 2006. It seems likely that for Michigan to have a good-to-great defense next year, something unexpected will have to happen. The most probable in my opinion is that one or two of our defensive players becomes dominant. Note: my excel spreadsheet is available for download here.
Tom - I'm not sure there is any way to thank you enough for all your hard work keeping us riveted to MGoBlog on the recruiting process during this most exciting "off-season" that I have ever experienced. Had I known what was going to happen with tsio and Hoke's recruiting I would have bought stock in Orville Reddenbacher's!
As we look to the upcoming season and then the signing process in early 2012 ... do you have any insight into which of our 2012 recruits may be planning on enrolling early? With the talent level of the 2012 class, I am beginning to wonder which of these recruits may want to enroll early to get a "head start" on their freshman season ... especially those incoming 2012 freshman that may have a realistic chance of playing aginst Alabama.
Thanks & Go Blue
So glad MGoBlog is back. It wasn't fun having to do actual work today.
Along with their Ohio rankings coming out, Rivals also continued their countdown of their top preseason 120 teams, with Michigan coming in at No. 36. They give their season preview, along with the first of many two deeps we will see in the next couple months.
The biggest discrepancy for me, at least, came with the omission of Courtney Avery.
Glad that mgoblog is back and running. I actually got some work done today. Anyways Rivals released their rankings for the state of Ohio.
Obviously #1 is Kyle Kalis
#11 Joe Bolden
#14 Tom Strobel
#16 Jarrod Wilson
#17 Pharaoh Brown
#22 Caleb Stacey
#25 Kaleb Ringer
#28 AJ Williams
#29 Allen Gant
#5 Adolphus Washington
#7 Dwayne Stanford
#8 Brionte Dunn
#21 Chris Wormley
#39 Alden Hill