no, YOU'RE off topic
In an effort to stay out of the "RichRod sucks/Harbaugh is God" or "Harbaugh is a hack traitor/RichRod will win 20 MNCs" camps, I decided to refocus my attention on a possibly relevant topic: given the completed 2010 season, what should our expectations for 2011 be? More specifically, is there hope in recent Michigan history?
I began by comparing Michigan's results from 2010 with those from another recent 7-5 year, the 2005 Year of Infinite Pain (little did we know), a season that was widely heralded as Michigan's "once per score years down-year."
|Win #1||NIU, 33-17||UConn, 30-10|
|Win #2||EMU, 55-0||ND, 28-24|
|Win #3||MSU, 34-31||UMass, 42-37|
|Win #4||PSU, 27-25||BG, 65-21|
|Win #5||Iowa, 23-20||Indiana, 42-35|
|Win #6||Northwestern, 33-17||Illinois, 67-65|
|Win #7||Indiana, 41-14||Purdue, 27-16|
|Loss #1||ND, 10-17||MSU, 17-34|
|Loss #2||Wisconsin, 20-23||Iowa, 28-38|
|Loss #3||Minnesota, 20-23||PSU, 31-41|
|Loss #4||OSU, 21-25||Wisconsin, 28-48|
|Loss #5||Nebraska, 21-25||OSU, 7-37|
While at first glance I want to be able to look at this and say "we followed that 2005 season with a 2006 season led by a beast of a defense and a powerful offense, and came within a late-hit penalty of playing for the national championship," I can't see a similar turn-around for 2011. Outside of the records, these teams were night-and-day.
It's true that the 2011 team will be bringing back more guys than we did in 2006, but that's where the comparison ends. The 2005 team didn't lose a game by more than seven points, and lost their five games by a combined 21 points while outscoring their opponents in their wins by 122. The 2010 team suffered each loss by at least ten points and lost the five by a combined 87 points, while only outscoring their opponents by 83 in the wins. For those of you keeping track at home, that's a +101 scoring differential versus a -4.
So if we can't learn from 2005, what does progress really look like year-on-year from 2009?
|Win #1||WMU, 31-7||UConn, 30-10|
|Win #2||ND, 38-34||ND, 28-24|
|Win #3||EMU, 45-17||UMass, 42-37|
|Win #4||Delaware St., 63-6||BG, 65-21|
|Win #5||Indiana, 36-33||Indiana, 42-35|
|Loss/Win||Illinois, 13-38||Illinois, 67-65|
|Loss/Win||Purdue, 36-38||Purdue, 27-16|
|Loss #3/1||MSU, 20-26||MSU, 17-34|
|Loss #4/2||Iowa, 28-30||Iowa, 28-38|
|Loss #5/3||PSU, 10-35||PSU, 31-41|
|Loss #6/4||Wisconsin, 24-45||Wisconsin, 28-48|
|Loss #7/5||Ohio State, 10-21||OSU, 7-37|
Other than UConn being a marginally tougher opponent than WMU, we ran the table against ND and some cupcakes in the non-conference schedule. In both years we beat Indiana close and lost to Wisconsin by about 20.
In the positive column, we turned a 25 point Illinois loss into a 2 point win, and turned a 2 point Purdue loss into an 11 point win. We closed the gap with PSU from 25 points to 10 points.
On the negative, however, our three conference losses against the better Big Ten teams got much worse. Instead of losing in OT to MSU, we lost by 17. Instead of losing by 2 to Iowa, we lost by 10. Instead of an 11 point loss to OSU with five Tate Forcier turnovers, we lost by 30 in a game wherein OSU ran the ball on the final 16 plays and didn't attempt a pass in the 4th quarter (mimicking Wisconsin's performance the week before).
A sad stat for those arguing that 2010 was a strong step forward - the 2009 team was actually a +24 in scoring differential, which is four touchdowns favorable to the 2010 team that supposedly took a big step forward. If David Brandon keeps Rich Rodriguez on for a fourth year I'm rooting hard for him to succeed and for us to compete for a championship, but it appears he'll be doing it without the benefit of recent trends or history.
A new commit for the Wolverines means this hits the front page. Action since last rankings:
11-21-10 Notre Dame loses commitment from Justice Hayes.
11-22-10 Michigan gains commitment from Justice Hayes.
11-23-10 Northwestern loses commitment from Sean Cotton.
11-24-10 Iowa loses commitment from Melvin Gordon.
11-25-10 Purdue gains commitment from Doug Gentry.
11-27-10 Penn State gains commitment from Matt Zanellato.
Rivals and Scout have updated their rankings over the past couple weeks, so there are some shakeups in there.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45). Full data after the jump.
We all view the past in Rose Bowl colored glasses. Why don't we honestly reflect on the past, while we debate our current coaching situation.
My first memory of Michigan football: watching Raghib Ismail run up and down the field at will. My first memory of Bo was the following joke: "Why can't Bo eat Cheerios? Because he always chokes at the bowl."
Bo's national championships: 0
Bo's bowl record: 5-12
Bo's Rose bowl record: 2-8
Lloyd Carr national championships: 1 (4th & 5th-yr players were Moeller recruits)
Lloyd Carr's Bowl record: 6-7
Lloyd's Rose Bowl record: 1-3
Lloyd Carr record vs FCS (I-AA) opponents: 0-1
In 2005, we went 7-5 with a team full of seniors in a program that was virtually unchanged for 35 years.
This is not to disparage anything in the past, it's just to point out that all those who think that anything less than national championship contention is a failure, apparently have never been happy being Michigan fans. We have been pretty good for a long time, but rarely great.
For those who are up in arms because we have lost 3 straight to Jim Tressel, how about the following facts:
Jim Tressel Big Ten losses since RR took over: 3
Jim Tressel Big Ten losses in last 6 years: 5
Big Teams to beat Tressel in consecutive seasons: 1
Michigan record versus OSU in 4 years prior to RR: 0-4
How can people be upset that RR has lost three in a row to OSU, when the great Lloyd Carr lost four straight, with the likes of LaMarr Woodley, Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Jake Long, just to name a few? It is preposterous.
JT has had an amazing tenure at OSU. This level of success is unmatched by anyone north of the Mason-Dixon line. Even when we beat OSU on an annual basis, in the modern era, they have been a more important figure in the national picture. They have consistently out recruited us. This year's OSU team had 24 seniors and three more potential seniors left early to play in the NFL as juniors. We only had three drafted last year, and one was a punter. They have more seniors than they can even start.
Our program was going to be in a major rebuilding process before RR took the job, combine that with a massive exodus of players who didn't want to work, couldn't make the grade, didn't really attend high school, or were criminals, and you have what we've seen for the past three seasons. How much better would our secondary have been with Donovan Warren, Boubacar Cissoko, and Troy Woolfolk?
What has RR done that's so terrible aside from 1. practice too much (and trivially so), 2. lose games against good opponents with an inexperienced skeleton crew, 3. had the number 2 kicking prospect unable to make a 30-yd chip shot, and 4. invite the media into the program only to be stabbed in the back by that self-hating POS Rosenberg.
RR has done a lot to turn this program around. Our D has stuck together and made improvement each game this season. Our offense is awesome, with a kicker and a slightly better defense, yesterday would have been a low scoring slug fest like those we all remember. The team had a winning record. The team is in excellent physical shape and can maintain their speed right down to the last snap.
This season Michigan has beaten the teams they were expected to beat and lost to the teams they were expected to lose to. We all would have loved an upset or two but it simply wasn't in the cards. Michigan caught no breaks from the football gods. Did anyone honestly think we'd beat OSU back in August? Did anyone think we'd beat anyone when we found out about T-woolf's ankle?
A coach can only do so much. He can prepare the people to be in the position to make a play, but he can't do it for them. He can't take back a fumble, ha can't make a catch, can't even make a tackle anymore. RR can take this program to places it has rarely been. He himself is a walk-on type who has forged his success with his own blood, sweat and tears. He didn't come from a pedigree. Daddy didn't get him a spot on the roster. He has excelled because he understands the game and because he has busted his nuts. The man turns 3 star recruits into 1st round picks. He needs time. Most of all he needs your support.
Support your coach.
ok, so poaching anyone won't be easy, we have our own coaching instability situation and so forth, but let's ignore that for a second and take a look at whether any of IU's commits is worth taking a snake oil a shot at. [also, insert comments about how we shouldn't need to poach from IU here. i know. but occassionally they produce good players]. i don't know the answer regarding any of the below, so i'm requesting input. here are a few selections:
All ratings are from Rivals
|Zack Shaw||LB||Coshocton, OH||****||Rivals said we didn't offer him, but he committed in April, so there's a chance we would have had he not committed early. He's Rivals' No. 13 ILB.|
|Ramon Taylor||ATH||Highland Park, MI||****||An athlete in our backyard. He projects as a CB. We didn't offer, so given his location, my guess is we intentionally took a pass. Worth another look?|
|Bernard Taylor||DT||Macomb, MI||***||Another guy in our backyard who we didn't offer. And his offer list isn't terribly impressive - MAC schools and IU. However, if you looked at TomVH's defensive recruits left on the board post, you'd notice that there weren't many DTs, a position of tremendous need. If NLOI day pulls near and we haven't made progress with the higher rated DTs on the board, we may just need to make offers.|
|Cody Latimer||WR||Dayton, OH||***||A 3 star receiver, but on the higher end of the three stars. After striking out on Watkins (please reconsider, Sammy) and still in need of one more outside WR, Latimer's name could surface. He's 6'3", 210. He does not have an impressive offer list, however.|
|Forissee Hardin||S||Louisville, KY||***||A taller safety at 6'1", Hardin had an offer from Kentucky, but has a brother at IU. You may have noticed the need for more bodies in the secondary.|
|Ralston Evans||OG||Indy, IN||***||Evans also doesn't have a great offer sheet, but he's got one from Duke. Not a shining beacon of football, I know, but David Cutcliffe has an eye for talent. We need more OLs in this class and after Christian Bryant, there aren't many OGs on the board. Rivals rates him the No. 31 OG in the country.|
as i stated above, i'm not suggesting that we recruit any of these guys, i'm simply highlighting some of the top rated talent in IU's class that could address some of our positions of need and asking whether any of them would potentially be a good fit in our class. comment away...
 one commenter asked that i examine miami's recruits too. while i think we stand less of a shot convincing any of them to join our class, they're obviously higher rated. so, below, another chart?
|Teddy Bridgewater||QB||Miami Northwester||****||Rivals top-rated dual threat quaterback after Braxton Miller. Obviously we'd take him, but we never offered, probably because we knew we had no shot. He never appeared interested in leaving the Southeast, and if he de-commits, my guess is that it would be to LSU.|
|Anthony Chikillo||DE||Tampa, FL||****||A weakside DE, Chikillo had offers from the entire country, including us. He appears to be more highly rated by coaches than Rivals, who lists him as the No. 6 weakside DE and No. 205 overall. Another guy we'd take, obviously, but also another guy that appears to have no interest in coming north.|
|Marcus Jackson||OG||Vero Beach, FL||***||Rivals No. 13 rated OG, but he has a nice offer list, although we're not on it. He was also offered by UF, FSU, USC (ntUSC) and Michigan State. He's 315, but only 6'2", so he might have a bit of a weight problem. But given our need at the position, he'd be worth taking a look at.|
|Albert Louis-Jean||CB||Brockton, MA||****||I don't even know if any of our coaches cover Mass. as it is so rare to find good prospects there. But Louis-Jean is a pretty highly regarded prospect. He had offers from PSU and Stanford [insert Harbaugh joke here] and is rated by Rivals as the No. 12 CB prospect. He's 6'1" so he passes the 5'11" CB test.|
|Nick Menocal||LB||Miami Jesuit||***||A mid-range 3 star, Menocal had offers from Iowa, N'Western, UVA and Stanford [no more Harbaugh jokes, please]. He's listed as an OLB, though he already weighs 235. Might be a bit of a tweener. But given the fact that he looked around at schools far from his home, maybe he could be snake oiled.|