Yeah, he already did one a few months back, but it's always good to get the word out about the great work he and other Wolverines have been doing.
(I realize there's a topic about the Yahoo article but I wanted to highlight the Reddit AMA that's hopefully still going on - mods, apologies in advance if I'm piggybacking with an uncessary separate forum topic)
A Temperance Bedford football player has passed away after being in a car accident yesterday. Being from Temperance and having gone to Bedford, it is all anybody can talk about. It is truely heartbreaking as a girl from the freshman class was killed only a month ago. I'd just like to ask the board for their prayers to the family. Also thank you to some Michigan football players such as Shane, Devon, and Khalid Hill for their retweets about it. Many schools in the Southeast Michigan area such as Saline, Monroe, and Toledo Whitmer have planned a red out in his honor and I'm sure more will follow.
Brady Hoke's self-avowed goal is to win Big Ten championships. Since we're facing the make-or-break section of Michigan's season after this bye week, it seems worth looking at what needs to happen for Michigan to win the Legends division and make it to the Big Ten championship game.
I decided to do this after reading on Football Study Hall that Michigan's chances of getting to Indianapolis by winning the division outright were 0.1% in a computer simulation. Why so low, I wondered? The author of that piece opined that
What truly surprised me is the almost zero chance that Michigan has to win the Legends Division outright. In 999 of 1000 cases model runs it needed help from someone else, or relied on tiebreakers to secure their place in the conference championship game. It looks like this is a direct result of the vagaries of their schedule...of the Legends Division contenders, they alone must face Ohio State. Also, if Michigan is to win the division outright it has to defeat both Nebraska and MSU. But in doing that it greatly aids the case of each to tie. It's a bit of a Catch-22 that Michigan finds itself in this year. Together, the odds of beating Nebraska, MSU, and Ohio State while Nebraska and MSU implode is pretty remote, hence the improbability of an outright Michigan division title.
To review, then: a team is selected to play in the Big Ten championship game by its overall conference record. Then there are a series of tiebreakers. If the records are the same, the head-to-head result is the tiebreaker. If three teams are tied for the same record, their records are compared to each other.
Scenario One: Michigan wins out
If Michigan wins out, then it ends the regular season at 11-1 overall, 7-1 in the conference. With wins over Nebraska and Michigan State, Michigan wins the tiebreakers even if Nebraska and Michigan State win the rest of their games (both Nebraska and Michigan State are undefeated in B1G play thus far).
Result: Big Ten championship game, almost certainly against Ohio State or Wisconsin.
Scenario Two: Michigan loses only one game, to a team not in the running for the Legends division
In this scenario Michigan ends the regular season at 10-2 overall, 7-2 in the conference, with wins over Nebraska and Michigan State. Michigan in this scenario drops one game against a team that is not a factor: Ohio State (not a factor because they're in the other division) or Northwestern (not a factor because they already have 3 B1G losses). We could probably put Iowa in this category: they have 2 B1G losses and are unlikely to run the table against Northwestern, Wisconsin, @Purdue and @Nebraska.
With wins over Nebraska and Michigan State, Michigan wins the tiebreakers. However, in this scenario Michigan needs Michigan State and Nebraska to lose one additional game in B1G play.
- Nebraska still has to play @ Minny, Northwestern, Michigan State, @Penn State, Iowa.
- Michigan State still has to play @Illinois, @Nebraska, @Northwestern, Minny.
So as long as Nebraska or State each lose a game, which seems very possible, then there would be three teams with two B1G losses, but Michigan would have wins against both of them, so Michigan goes to Indianapolis.
Scenario Three: Michigan loses to Michigan State or Nebraska
Note: this section has been edited thanks to a note by Key Play (see comments below).
Here is where it gets hairy. If Michigan loses to one of these teams, then it needs the following to advance to Indianapolis:
- Win the rest of its games, to end the regular season with two losses.
- The team that has defeated Michigan must lose three games in conference play (since it will have the tie-breaker over Michigan) OR it must defeat the other team and lose one other game in conference play.
- The other of the two teams, assuming that Michigan defeats it, must lose one additional game in conference play (since Michigan will have the tie-breaker).
Thus, if we lose to Michigan State and defeat Nebraska, we need Nebraska to lose one additional game (say, at Penn State) and we would need Michigan State to lose three of its four remaining games not against Michigan (say, at Illinois, at Nebraska, and at Northwestern) OR we would need Nebraska to defeat Michigan State and for Michigan State to lose one additional game. In the latter case, we would have a three-way tie, with no head-to-head tie-breaker because each of the three teams would have beaten one and lost to the other. Then the next tie-breaker is overall record, and both State and Nebraska have out-of-conference losses (to Notre Dame and UCLA respectively).
Discussion and conclusions
I won't go into further permutations, because it gets too complicated and would require running simulations, something that I'm not prepared to do at the moment. But this basic analysis points out several things:
- Michigan still has the ability to control its own destiny and win the Big Ten, by defeating every remaining team on its schedule and then winning the Big Ten Championship Game.
- BUT: The loss to Penn State is a really serious problem, because Nebraska and Michigan State have not lost yet in B1G play. That loss means that if we lose to Ohio State, beating both Nebraska and Michigan State may not be enough.
- It is more important at this point that Michigan beat Michigan State and Nebraska than it is to beat Ohio State. A loss to Ohio State means that we need Nebraska and Michigan State each to drop a game, something that is certainly possible. But a loss to Michigan State or to Nebraska is much more problematic.
- Our rooting interest is for Nebraska and Michigan State to lose games. It would be great if Wisconsin beat Iowa, just to put them out of the running.
ALL UR RYAN FIELDS ARE BELONG TO US.
One of the best road trips of the Michigan season is just around the corner. A game at Northwestern means a trip to Chicago and once again taking over Ryan Field from the pedantic purple people who normally inhabit it. You read the title so you know what this means already: Sports Power Weekend!
Jared is offering a Nov. 15-17 package that includes two nights at the hotel, your game tickets, an invite to a Michigan fan tailgate with food, beer, and wine [confirming it's the one I think it is], transportation within Chicago, and some other throw-ins like a gift card and an MGoShirt and stuff.
Reserve a spot here! I think they start around $350/person (scale up the fewer in your group) and there's fewer than 10 left.
MGODISCOUNT: If you reserve by end of day Friday, you can enter the discount code MGoBlog in the promo code box for 5% off your purchase upon checkout.
MGoEvent? Jared invited us, and we are trying to clear our schedules, to add a live MGoBlog event on Friday for the SPW trip plus our Chicago readers—Q&A session with Brian, drinking at a bar, that sort of thing. I'll let you know by tomorrow if that's gonna come off.
I'm sure that most of us read Smart Football, but in case anyone missed it, Chris Brown (=Smart Football) has a great article on the Baylor offense and its architect, Art Briles:
There's some really interesting stuff here. For me, this was the big eye-opener:
Superficially, Baylor is yet another shotgun spread that pushes the tempo and rarely huddles. But when you watch the Bears, it's evident that this is an offense unlike the others. While more and more college and NFL teams are adopting the same up-tempo spread philosophy Briles used at Stephenville, Baylor has stayed one step ahead by taking these ideas — from formations to play-calling aggressiveness to pace — to their extremes.
The first thing to notice when watching Baylor is the splits of the wide receivers. While most teams put their wide receivers on the numbers, the Bears line theirs up well outside, sometimes directly on the sideline. By doing this, they force defenses to account for the entire width of the field.
The fascinating advantage of Baylor's splits is the effect they have on pass coverage. Defenses now use lots of complex, hybrid pass coverages, but most still reduce to a basic distinction: Is it man-to-man or zone? By taking such wide splits, Baylor puts every pass defender on an island, transforming most zone defenses into a type of de facto one-on-one man coverage.
And this play (play-action inverted veer, with the inside receiver running a slant-and-go) is just plain nasty:
Yahoo! has an article about Vincent Smith's (and friends) Hope for Pahokee project. The writing is lacking a lot of information on the actual project and mostly focuses on "the Hit that changed the world."
The name of his project isn't even mentioned in this article!
I guess Yahoo! at least tried to spread the word, right?