I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
So the good news is that ESPN.com has a front-page article about Denard Robinson deciding to stay at Michigan. What I find interesting is the 'teaser' link. It currently reads:
"Robinson Said He Considered Leaving Michgan"
Earlier this morning the exact same article was titled:
""Robinson Decides to Stay At Michigan"
Apparently someone decided that the original title was just a bit too positive?
Requisite article link (which I am sure has already been posted):
Pretty interesting article by Alex Koenig of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective outlining the results of a study on the factors that drive college football attendance. They are:
- Sustained winning (obviously)
- Being a BCS school (positive)
- Undergraduate population (more is better)
- Large City population and the presence of pro teams (negative)
- Being a public school (positive even though private schools have a slightly higher winning percentage (+1%))
These factors aren't especially surprising, but as we know, in spite of a very rough stretch over the past three years, Michigan Stadium attendance has held strong. In fact, Michigan is one of only three BCS schools who have maintained near capacity (or in Michigan's case, above capacity) football attendance while achieving a sub-.500 winning percentage (over the last three seasons). Specifically:
The driving force behind big ticket sales is generally a compelling and successful team. Between 2008 and 2010 the average NCAA stadium was filled to 79.95% capacity – about 44,000 fans. However, teams that had winning seasons in that same time period drew crowds of around 53,000 (88.19%) – an 8% jump in attendance.
Not surprisingly, losing has a similar effect on fan support. Teams that dropped below .500 played in front of crowds that weren’t even ¾ full, with an average stadium being filled to 70.5% capacity. The negative publicity that comes with losing continued to hurt teams the next year. Despite averaging win% hikes of 8%, teams coming off a losing season saw their attendance numbers drop to 69.7%. The lesson here is twofold: 1. winning helps as much as losing hurts; and 2. it usually takes a year for positive results on the field to be reflected with positive results in the stands.
Teams that have performed below .500 and maintained good attendance (2008-10)
0 weeks in top-25
0 weeks in top-25
0 top-5 conf. finishes
The study aslo provided a pretty interesting set of data on the success (attendance and winning) of BCS and non-BCS schools when hosting BCS, non-BCS and FCS schools:
Cost-Benefit relationship for non-conference games
94.5% capacity (+3.01%)
89.6% capacity (-2.03%)
86.7% capacity (-4.9%)
Non-BCS Conference Schools
85.3% capacity (+19.4%)
71.8% capacity (+5.9%)
66.9% capacity (+1.0%)
Difference from season averages are in parentheses
First of all, yes I am over "it", and fully supporting the program. Maybe the right way of expressing my feelings are that I am too exhausted by following the process, and am disconnecting from it as a coping mechanism. It's not ambivalence, but an act of will. Nonetheless, I think it's fair to have a discussion about Brandon, the recruiting impact that is unfolding from his timeline and ultimate choice etc. Yes, it's not the first time this has been put out there - it's probably the hundredth. This is not about RR. If you don't want to read any more about Brandon, please move on now.
D.Brandon, the legal pimp that shined during the NCAA investigation has shown a limited ability to think outside the family. He limited the talent pool available in his search through this artificial "Michigan man" filter, and it cost the program. I think he made this choice because he was unwilling to do a critical part of his job; working the political angles behind the scenes to "true up" the support of the program from various internal and external factions. Said pimp hand is now looking shriveled like Voldemort's. I think that, regardless of one's like or dislike of the the Hoke hire, we all agree on that. At a minimum, his timeline has led to issues that will surface about 2-3 years from now in the team's available ready-to-contribute talent pool.
Not to belabor it, but why can't Brandon execute a HC and staff change as competently as Florida? Are the fans of the Michigan program asking too much?
Turning to recruiting, I think that the TVH updates clearly show that recruits are not very excited about the new coaching staff (or lack thereof on the D side). This aligns with Brian's vocal concern about bringing in someone less proven to take the reins: this year's recruits seem to agree: the initial impression is that the program didn't exactly advance with the change. At a minimum, to bring some credibility, they had better bring in a star DC who is a recruiting beast to save this important facade. I don't know if Brandon and Hoke's egos can stand for anything out of the ordinary, but I know that the board contributors have floated many great names for DC, all with the "not going to happen" tag. The limbo and general lack of excitement is unhealthy for a program like Michigan. Florida did the HC change properly, and they didn't even go the hypothetical (I know it's done, yes I am over it, move on) path that I suggest below.
Personally, while I can't prove it, I suspect that a head coach hire of an NFL profile like a Gruden, Dungy or even a McDaniels (I know, any of these may or may not have been feasible) would have saved the recruiting year. I think that existing recruits would have "stuck", and new recruits would have been excited. With the current timeline allowed to Hoke until signing day, and the initial stature of the staff itself, this recruiting year is going to create a void similar to what the program experienced in Carr's last season. We all painfully know that there are still many holes that needed filling that will go unaddressed (LB, secondary, big outside receiver come to mind). A NFL head coach generally has a wider "network" to pull their staff from due to the progressive experience that led to their pinnacle. Add the NFL background as an obvious attractant for the HS kids, in particular for those with Super Bowl experience.
Sorry to babble on.
With a new defensive mindset coming from the coaching staff and looking at the roster for next season's team, I'm seeing no reason why this defense can't be at the level of previous Michigan D's before Rich Rod came in.
Possible lineup with a 4-3 defense could look like this..
- DE- Craig Roh JR 6-5 251
- Backup: Ken Wilkins rFR 6-3 270
- DT- Mike Martin SR 6-2 299
- Backup: Richard Ash rFR 6-3 320
- DT- Ryan Van Bergen SR 6-6 287
- Backup: Quinton Washington SO 6-4 315
- DE- Jibreel Black SO 6-2 265
- Backup: Terry Talbott rFR 6-3 260
- OLB- JB Fitzgerald SR 6-3 244
- Backup: Mike Jones SO 6-2 208
- MLB- Kenny Demens JR 6-1 246
- Backup: Isaiah Bell SO 6-1 245
- OLB- Cameron Gordon SO 6-3 207
- Backup: Brandon Herron SR 6-2 220
- CB- Troy Woolfolk SR 6-0 195
- Backup: Cullen Christian SO 6-0 188
- SS- Jordan Kovacs JR 6-0 195
- Backup: Thomas Gordon SO 5-11 205
- FS- Marvin Robinson SO 6-2 203
- Backup: Ray Vinopal SO 5-10 197
- CB- JT Floyd JR 6-0 183
- Backup: Courtney Avery SO 5-11 174
This team has some up and coming talent and the potential to be a very solid defense next year. The appropriate changes need to be made scheme-wise in order to compete with the big offensive lines in the Big Ten, but that can be done. The weight of these players will inevitably continue to grow from this point to the beginning of the season and these guys will be ready to play some hard nosed defense that we are accustomed to seeing at Michigan.
Do you love tabasco on YOUR pizza?
That is all.
Illinois OL Chris Bryant (4 Star, 6'5", 320 lbs) is on his way home from a recent trip out to Pitt and Michigan. His visit to Michigan lasted longer than expected, and his family ended up staying the night in Ann Arbor. Here's some film on Chris (it says he's 2012, but he's not), and what he told me about his visit to Pitt and his first meeting with Brady Hoke.
TOM: How did the Pitt visit come about, what made you decide to go out there?
CHRIS: The offensive coordinator from Michigan (Calvin Magee) got the job at Pitt, and we had a good relationship before. He wanted me to check it out and come see what they have to offer. The coaching staff was great there, and it was a nice place.
TOM: And after that you and your parents swung by Michigan to meet with Brady Hoke and (Offensive line coach) Darrell Funk. How did that go?
CHRIS: It was good. We sat down with both coaches individually and were just building a new relationship. They told me they knew me as a player, but not as a person so we were just having regular conversation trying to get to know each other. I talked with them and coach Singletary, too.
TOM: What were each of them saying as far as their offense and how you'd fit in?
CHRIS: Coach Hoke was telling me about the new pro style offense, a lot of schools run that and Michigan used to run it. Coach Funk was telling me how I would fit in their with it. I don't mind either the spread or the pro style. I don't prefer one over the other. We mixed it up in high school so that's not a problem. They were basically just telling me Michigan is still Michigan. I knew how the school is run and how academics go, so it was just building a relationship with them.
TOM: Did you and your parents come away comfortable with the coaches after the meeting?
CHRIS: My parents are both comfortable, and so am I. They asked their questions and said it was a great conversation overall. I feel comfortable with him too. He was a funny guy, he's a player's coach. He's someone that you would want to coach you.
TOM: Feeling comfortable with the coaching staff now, do you still feel the same way about Michigan overall?
CHRIS: I had a good relationship with the coaches there before, but coaching is a business. It's just an adjustment and you need to go on with it. Michigan is Michigan, and they're not going to just bring anyone in. I still really like Michigan.
TOM: When you make your announcement on the 28th what hats will you have on the table?
CHRIS: I'm not sure yet, but I might do three hats, I might do four and go with Michigan, Arizona, Pitt, and Illinois. I'm not sure yet.