"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
Chris Brown has a column on Grantland today about how dynamic safeties like Reed and Polamalu have changed the way NFL defenses match-up to the latest offensive schemes. He also outlines some of the evolution of defensive schemes from the 4-3, to the 46, to the Tampa 2, and now the Cover 4. There's also an interesting footnote about the Desert Swarm defense implemented in the 1990's by Arizona.
Michigan's defense still has a long way to go, but we finally have a coordinator on the front lines of this evolution. We also probably have our best pair of safeties since......since....hmm......Welbourne-Murray? I don't think Kovacs-Gordon are THAT good and still make their share of mistakes, but the bar isn't set very high for a pair of Michgian safeties.
Is there such a thing as trash talking going too far? I know that Rose and Webber were really into trash talking, and Michael Jordan was also a master at it.
In the ESPN article on the Gholston suspension, there is a comment about the context for the punch to Lewan:
Gholston, a sophomore and a starter, said in a statement that he was provoked to react.
I get that Glolston was provoked. I also get that on the field, some players would do anything to gain an advantage. Does that mean anything can be said? I'm thinking about next year. Can Lewan say to Gholston, when they're on the ground after a play, just the two of them, [EDIT: My original hypothetical example was over the line for several bloggers, so I am striking / editing it. My original question, BTW, is not about what Lewan said or didn't say. I'm not speculating on that. I'm interested in whether or not trash talking can go too far.] "You're a ******* ****** ******, and your mother is a cranked out ****** ***** who'll do anything for her next fix. She'd even **** *** if someone paid her enough." Can Lewan do opposition research and throw out insulting but true statements about Gholston's relatives or friends or history to provoke Gholston to punch again?
Obviously, we're not talking about any public statements . . . the players know that you can't do politically incorrect things. But tactically, would players do something like that? I can easily imagine that there are some guys out there that have no personal boundaries.
Myself, I think things like that go over the line and are just wrong. But I can easily imagine some guys being big enough tools to do that kind of trash talking. More than once, I've seen Lewan described here as a "nasty" player who likes to ride donkeys, and he's not an idiot. He knows that the refs will be watching for Gholston, and all he has to do is pull Gholston's chain enough to get him ejected from the game.
I guess I'm wondering if players nowadays have an internal code tacitly agreed upon about what is ok and what is over the line, and not ok.
"It's not a marketing and merchandise strategy," Brandon said. "It was to fire up the team as far as our own competitive edge. I'm glad we did it. It worked out well, but like everything else, some people love it, some don't love it."
As expected the Top 25 ate their cupcakes without any problems. The six teams that lost moved down and everybody else moved up around them. Michigan, Georgia Tech, Illinois and Arizona State all stayed in the poll while Baylor and Texas dropped out of the rankings. The teams that won or were on a bye moved up to replace them without much excitement. The only big jumps in the poll were Kansas State getting up to 12th and Michigan State jumping from 23rd to 15th.
The AP voters did decide that Georgia is good enough to be ranked again. After starting out the season 0-2, they’ve won 5 in a row and look like the leader in the SEC East now that Marcus Lattimore is done at South Carolina. There are now 2 teams from Group D ranked, the most since week 2.
Washington became the 12th team to enter the polls after starting the season unranked. That should lift the spirits of the 9 people who forgot Jake Locker graduated and picked Washington in their ballot. I hope they don’t get too excited though because the Huskies are about to get beat by Stanford.
Individual Ballot Analysis
Willhouse is in first place for the third week in a row and the second week in sole possession of the lead. In 2nd place 30rackchamp rode Michigan State and Washington up from 53rd place last week. (Is 30rack a play on 30 Rock and Rackham? Just 30 Rock? Something totally different? Enquiring minds want to know.)
After 6 weeks of first place being within 6 points of the perfect ballot, that mythical prize is pulling away. The perfect ballot is the same this week as last: LSU, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, West Virginia and Clemson. That’s worth 111 points while Willhouse has only 97 points since he didn’t pick Michigan State. 97 points is the highest point total of the season.
Judging Your Pick
MGoBlog seemed to have done a good job of making their picks. For the first 6 weeks of the season the MGoBlog median and mean were higher than what a randomly picked ballot would expect to earn. People who read about Michigan football for hours every day had a good knowledge of the wider world of college football.
Week 7 politely steps in and says that we actually have no more idea of what we’re talking about than a bunch of monkeys.
A picture of the author at his desk.
Games to Watch
Not as many terrible cupcakes as last week but there still aren’t a lot of elite matchups. The daytime is full of semi-interesting to terrible games with the most relevant games on at night.
#20 Auburn at #1 LSU - 3:30 on CBS
USC at Notre Dame - 7:30 pm on NBC
#6 Wisconsin at #16 Michigan State – 8:00 pm on ESPN
#25 Washington at #8 Stanford – 8:00 pm on ABC
The winner of USC and Notre Dame is almost guaranteed to be ranked next week. This week’s “also receiving votes” is #26 Penn State, #27 Notre Dame, #28 USC. With a good win over a decent opponent either Notre Dame or USC is going to take the spot of whichever team at the bottom of the poll loses.
The other games might be good games but more likely they are going to be beatdowns.
Well that blew. So did the game. As the hopes and dreams of a rose covered field similar to the bed in American Beauty got ugly, so did the rules and reactions of Michiganders everywhere. Riding high on a drug better than K2 or bath salts, our HOKE supply dried up. Like junkies hooked on a drug, Michigan fans in withdrawal began lashing out with a bowie knife everywhere and on everyone. Some of the slashing was justified, but some was just pent up rage left over from three disappointing seasons previous.
Pass the Asparagus:
As the first quarter reared its ugly head on my boob tube, I instantly recognized this game was going to be peculiar. It seemed that the Oregon Ducks broke out their 379th uniform combo and some clown college broke out of a birthday party training and took the field in Michigan’s place. I would find out that the real clowns were the other team and the other dudes wearing stripes. When the graceful intelligence of the sportscasters acknowledged that this was actually Little Brother University and Michigan I felt a queasy feeling I hadn’t experienced since my friend's pet mongoose swallowed a family of ducklings and its mother whole at a local pond in front a group of Catholic school kids. The poor kids got a real life lesson on life’s abrupt and messy ends at any age. I’m sure the nuns got a kick out of it and turned it into a behavioral incentive program.
After gaining my orientation back from the kick to the senses the uniforms of both teams provided, I was shocked and disappointed. I was shocked that the Fingerpaint Department at LBU did not whisper into Dantonio’s ear that their colors and fight song include the colors green AND white. Maybe they did, but his school’s Napoleonic Complex was in the way. I was disappointed that even though it was most likely planned, the boys in blue went in to the locker room a half an hour before kickoff to change into their uniforms. It gave off the feeling of a combination of Project Runway and keeping up with the Joneses.
The uniforms were not the only disgusting factor in a game that blew more than two ways from Tuesday. The play calling as you all have noticed or heard by now was less than stellar. Why have a QB that has just an average pass game pass into tropical depression strength winds? Maybe Gorgeous Borges didn’t notice his own hair blowing in the wind. The wind was devastating and underrated in the game in my opinion. Combined with the wind and Gorgeous Borges’ play calling, Gardner’s sporadic appearances in the game wasted plays. At one point a wide open tailback was left hanging out playing jacks in the middle of the field with nothing but end zone and ugly sorority girls in front of him. If Denard was also supposed to find any rhythm in the howling winds of autumn, then he surely wouldn’t get it knowing he could be pulled at any second with the thought in the back of his mind that Gardner was getting in because Gorgeous Borges got frustrated with his pass game and put in Gardner to spark the offense. That kind of thing in a hostile territory like East Lansing would eat at your brain like a super dose of E.
These thoughts came to the front of Denard’s mind as Gholston spun the front of his head 180 degrees. Gholston decided to celebrate Halloween early by becoming his all time role model of football, Steve Lattimer. Like Lattimer, Gholston couldn’t control his inner thugness by doing most of his hitting after the whistles. Why Lewan didn’t gouge his fucking eyes out and pitchfork his dome into a crowd of three legged mules, I will not know until the day I die. The referees acted like 80 year old substitute teachers in Watts by tossing their hankies when they should have brought a hammer down and thrown their asses out for showing up to a NCAA football game with an XFL mentality. Then they should have thrown their crowd, stadium, waste management, and coaches out for unnecessary ugliness.
With the distractions of nauseating uniforms and cage match free for all rules the offensive line must have been confused with the concept of snap counts and picking up blitzes. This compounded the problems listed above that already made for a miserable day that even Poe wouldn’t touch with a 34 and a ½ inch pole.
As the results reverberated through MGoBlogdom and beyond, the crazies made an appearance and rationality of the season at large checked out. Even though I would be the first to panic on a ship with water on it in the middle of the Sahara, I did not feel a sense of panic as the previous two years…yet. The defense for all of the problems had on offense this sad day still looked eleventy billion times better than last year. The offense with a pinch of logic and constant practice can still improve. No we are not a national contender nor do I think even a B1G championship contender right now, but I didn’t think we were going to be August 31st either. So far I am pleased with the progress, not necessarily losing to LBU, but given the growing pains of a tumultuous three years of coaching changes, roster exoduses, and a Pimp Hand looking to sponsor the ring on his hand with Evil Pop while bringing back consistent winning ways doesn’t seem that bad. This could all change but I am willing to stay to be a champion and because I have donated way too much emotional and physical time with a team since I graduate from pull ups and mushy dinners.
No time to write a diary; it's past my bedtime.
Video companion to http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-linebacker-hesitancy-fml. Analysis, as always, courtesy Brian.
Full YouTube link is http://youtu.be/vHoyD1dnj4w