landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
I don't recall either playing much at all on defense versus Western.
Which leads me to at least consider that both were held out of the Western Michigan game to catch ND unprepared. (More so Big Will.)
Am I wearing a tin foil hat or does the board think that " Big WIll's not happening" was a clever feint?
It seems odd to me that all of a sudden they practiced well enough to warrant the sudden PT they got in the ND game. And for those that will join me wearing the tin foil hat, do you think the ambush was worth the loss of experience that either would have gained from more PT in the Western game?
Last week, college football fans saw thrillers in Ann Arbor, Auburn, and Columbus (among others) saw games come down to the last play of the game, with the home team prevailing in each. As typical with the Watch, we’ll review the picks from last week, noting the bad picks, and point out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it is only in Vegas.
As an added twist, we’ll look at a sure-fire favorite and attempt to preview the Michigan game.
1. The Good
Florida International +4.0 @ Louisville. Result: Florida International 24 Louisville 17.
Utah +9.0 @ USC.Result: USC 23 Utah 14. [Push, so technically no props here.]
2. The Bad
Connecticut +2.5 @ Vanderbilt. Result: Vanderbilt 24 Connecticut 21.
@ Georgia +2.5 South Carolina.Result: South Carolina 45 Georgia 42. [Props to: dennisblundon, Lets Get Denarded, and hajiblue72 for calling for South Carolina to cover as the favorite.]
3. The Ugly
Boston College +7.0 @ UCF. Result: UCF 30 Boston College 3.
4. Poster Picks
A number of posters mentioned the Michigan (+3.5)/Notre Dame game. A few mentioned Toledo (+19) against Ohio (elaydin, Gulo Gulo Luscus, Picktown GoBlue, and M-Glow-Blue). Filthy Dilithium correctly chose BYU (+7) against Texas. Jamiemac took Missouri (+7.5) against Arizona State.
There are some really intriguing matchups this week, especially in the Big Ten - Penn State @ Temple, Pittsburgh @ Iowa, Michigan State @ Notre Dame, Arizona State @ Illinois, and Ohio State @ Miami (YTM). Outside of the Big Ten, LSU travels to Starkville on Thursday night, Boise State travels to the Glass Bowl on Friday, capping off the weekend with Oklahoma visiting Chief Osceola on Saturday night.
Can you think of a better Saturday night game to follow up what might be the most thrilling Saturday night game of the year?
@ Toledo (1-1) +19.5 Boise State (1-0). Toledo Coach Tim Beckman is 6-6 against the spread as a dog. Boise Coach Chris Peterson is 35-22 against the spread as a favorite. The Broncos blasted the Rockets last year on the Smurfturf, winning 57-14, covering the 38.5-point spread. Since then, Boise State has lost Titus Young and Austin Pettis to the NFL draft, but returned Heisman candidate Kellen Moore and, Pre-Season All Mountain West First Team, Doug Martin at running back. The Rockets have a history of pulling upsets in the Glass Bowl, having beaten the No. 9 Pitt Panthers in 2003, Kansas in 2006, and Minnesota in 2001. If history is a guide, the game should be close. Toledo may not pull the upset, but they should beat the spread.
Washington State (2-0) +5.5 @ San Diego State (2-0). Last meeting was in 2007, with Wazzou dismantling the Aztecs in Pullman, 45-17, covering the 14 point spread. First year Coach Rocky Long is 1-1 as a favorite against the spread this year. More telling stats: The last time the Aztecs opened 3-0 was in 1981 and they have lost eight straight when hosting a BCS conference opponent. Try to contain your laughter, but Washington State is a program on the rise. Yes, Coach Paul Wulff is only 7-32 at Washington State, but the defense should improve from having given up an average of almost 36 points per game in 2010 (38 points per game in 2009 and 44(!) points per game in 2008). Cougs QB Marshall Lobbestael is 38-51 for 591 yards and 7 passing TDs through the first two games. Jeff Tuel was 32-58 for 416 yards and 3 passing TDs through the same number of games last year.
Colorado State (2-0) +7.5 Colorado (0-2). The Rocky Mountain Showdown will be played in Denver. Last two games have been upsets, with Colorado winning 3 of the last 4. The Rams have won 8 of the last 14 against the spread. Colorado State is 9-3 straight up coming off a win, under Coach Steve Fairchild.
@ Vanderbilt (2-0) +1.5 Mississippi (1-1). The Rebels have not won an SEC opener since 2003 (lost in 2010, 2008, and 2007 to Vanderbilt) and have lost 4 of the last 6 to the Commodores. Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt is 12-13 as a favorite against the spread at Mississippi, but is just 3-5 on the road as a favorite against the spread. Vanderbilt has already matched their win totals from 2008 and 2009. If Vanderbilt can get better QB play from Larry Smith (50% completion against Connecticut), the Commodores can start 3-0 for the first time since 2008.
@ Temple (2-0) +7.5 Penn State (1-1). Temple has not beaten Penn State since 1941, with the Nittany Lions winning 28 straight! Despite the streak, Temple has been the pick against the spread the past two years (29.5 point dogs in 2009, losing 31-6 and 14 point dogs in 2010, losing 22-13). Penn State is STILL sorting out its quarterback situation. Temple has outscored opponents 83-10 this year (vs. Villanova and @ Akron). First year Coach Steve Addazio is 2-0 against the spread and now finds himself as an underdog against Penn State. Temple should keep this one close, but Penn State likely extends the streak to 29 straight.
@ Cincinnati -34.5 Akron. I’m not sure how to be nice about this, but Akron is bad, really bad. The Zips returned six starters on offense and eight on defense, from a team that was 1-11 last year. Give second year Coach Ianello credit, he at least is competitive against the spread, a record of 4-8 against the spread as an underdog and 5-9 overall (0-2 this year). In two games (@ Ohio and vs. Temple), the Zips have scored THREE points and gave up 83. Akron walks into a hornet’s nest on Saturday, with Cincinnati having lost at Neyland Stadium 45-23. Second year Coach Butch Jones is 4-4 against the spread as a favorite. Cincinnati hung 72 on Austin Peay week 1. Akron isn’t much better than Austin Peay; take the Bearcats.
Ron English is 4-22 straight up at Eastern Michigan, including a 2-0 start this year. Coach English is 8-14-2 against the spread as an underdog and 9-16-2 against the spread overall.
Brady Hoke is 49-50 straight up (13-12 at San Diego State, 34-38 at Ball State). Coach Hoke is 25-14-2 against the spread as a favorite and 40-22-2 overall since 2006.
Coach Hoke is 2-1 against Eastern Michigan, against the spread (3-0 overall).
Since 1998, Eastern Michigan and Michigan have met four times, with Michigan winning all four meetings (3-1 against the spread). Average margin of victory for Michigan against Eastern Michigan is 33.25 (average score of 48-14.75).
@ Michigan -29.5 Eastern Michigan.
Michigan 48 Eastern Michigan 17
(I'm not sorry, either)
I just had the priveledge of going to a relatively exclusive talk by Lloyd Carr sponsored by the Jewish Federation. There were probably 30 of us total, and it was held in the house of a guy who had the idea to host a series of talks/get togethers featuring important people in the jewish/local community. The reason he knows Lloyd is that his house was previously Yost's house, the Little Big House as Yost called it, and Lloyd went to visit once. It was an amazing experience, and truly once in a lifetime. Coach Carr was just as classy and smart as expected, and was very kind. We had a short chat about my school, and he (along with everyone these days) asked me where I was thinking about going to college. This question is asked so much that it usually annoys me, but it was Coach Carr so I was to happy to be talking to him to care. Anyways, on to the good stuff.
He started his talk by giving us a quick activity simulating the fundamental football play - the center-quarterback exchange. He walked us through a QB's cadence, and how complex everything is by saying what a QB would say, and having us all clap at the snap. We had some fun with that, and our group had quite a few false starts.
He then got into some stories he had, starting with some advice Bo gave him-the only people who should affect how he coaches are his assistants. The media and fans shouldn't affect it at all (in other words, haters gonna hate, go with your gut). He talked about his first game, and starting a Scott Dreisbach at QB ("Keep in mind that this kid haden't taken a single snap from under center, he had never played a single game.... In other words, we didn't have experience at the position." that last bit got some laughs), and how this advice helped his decision to keep Dreisbach in the game and eventually win it.
My favorite story was about his experience recruiting under Bo. He talked about one kid, a QB from Chicago, who the assistants were very exited about ("This was a kid who could really have stepped in and made an impact on the team"). Him and Bo went to his house on a visit, and the kid kept ordering his mom around like a maid. After only 5 minutes, Bo said "Well, Lloyd, its time for us to go." Lloyd was absolutely shocked that Bo would want to end the visit that early, but Bo had already gotten up so he went with him. Once they left, Bo asked him how they could expect the kid to respect them as coaches if he didn't even respect his own mother. Similarly, there would be many times when Bo liked a kid, but the assistants really didn't want to use an offer on him. Bo had his way though, and Lloyd said that by the end of that kid's 4 years he was a real player. He may not have been the most athletic, but he became a real contributer to the team because of his toughness and heart.
Then he opened it up to questions, and of course the first one was about RR and how he didn't really get those things that Bo had tought Lloyd. Lloyd did a good job of not really saying much about that specifically, but he did say that when he was coach Bo was always part of the program, and was there for him. Lloyd didn't want to be that guy, so he promised himself to stay out of it for 4 years ("Those 4 years are almost up." I'm not sure if Lloyd really meant he would make a lot more statements after the 4 years, but I'm sure he will become more involved in some way). He didn't really say how this affected RR, but the implication is that there were a lot of times when RR was disconnected with the University's history-whether it be past coaches, or whatever. The one thing he did say about RR was that he didn't really think his offense fit in the Big Ten. "If you look at the best teams in the Big Ten - Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Penn State1, they are all big tough teams. When they line up, the goal is to wear down the other guy. Under RR, Michigan got smaller and faster. And during his 3 years, his teams consistently wore down half way through the year." I'll leave it up to you guys to judge that statement's validity, but I think its interesting to hear from Lloyd, especially because he's been so silent on the whole thing.
Last but not least, he talked about his charity work. He and his wife do (as we know) a ton for Mott, and plenty of other organizations. He said he chose what organizations to give his time and money to by trust and what they do, and he said he did all he did for these organizations because "Well, I've got nothing better do to" (jokingly).
I'm sure there are some things I'm leaving out, but those were the highlights. I hope you got something out of it, I know I always like when someone retells an account like this on mgoblog.
1 Notice that he didn't name MSU. :D
Fitz Toussaint, Troy Woolfolk, Cam Gordon and Brandon Herron all practiced today. At this point in the week it appears all will be available for Saturday's game.
[Ed - Prof: Bumped for general diary-worthiness]
This is a follow-up to an earlier forum post with the US News ranking UM the #28 school in the country. (I know, it's a very flawed and simplistic tool, but it's also the most famous by far.) I've always wondered just how much better the Big 10 was than, say, the SEC overall, and the rankings let us measure all of the BCS conferences. I only look at football, so the Big East doesn't get the benefit of very excellent but basketball-only schools (Notre Dame, Georgetown, etc. etc.). (For the record, I already have TAMU in the SEC. Seems to be a foregone conclusion, and if we're arguing who's better, might as well do it looking ahead and not backwards. OU, OSU(NTOSU), and TTU might cause some re-jiggering.)
AVERAGE RANKING, ALL SCHOOLS:
This is just a mathematical average of the USNWR ranking for each school in the conference:
ACC 49 (best)
BIG TEN 56
PAC 12 79
BIG EAST 105
BIG XII 124 (worst)
This isn't really a great measure, because schools can be bunched in the middle versus at the top, but as an overall measure, clearly the ACC and Big Ten are the best two academic conferences. For all of its quality in its top 4 schools, the Pac 12 is dragged down by some really pathetically crappy party schools. The Big XII by far lags behind.
To get a sense of distribution of the schools' qualities, I looked at the average Top 5 and Bottom 5. No surprises here:
Average Ranking, Top 5 Schools:
PAC 12 23
BIG TEN 34
BIG EAST 69
BIG XII 82
This means the Pac 12 and ACC have the best group of top schools, with the Big Ten back quite a bit, but the others dropping precipitously behind. Again Big XII sucks.
Average Ranking, Bottom 5 Schools:
BIG TEN 77
PAC 12 127
BIG XII 127
BIG EAST 150
This just means our worst 5 schools are better than the worst 5 from any other conference. Note that our worst five (avg. 77) are still, on average, better than the Big XII's best 5 (avg. 82)!!! No wonder we don't want Oklahoma. And as bad as the Big XII is overall, its worst five are about the same as the Pac 12's worst five. The Big East has by far the worst group of five schools of anyone. That would drop even more if you took locations of the schools into account (see: West Virginia) (but but see: South Florida).
GRADED RESULT, ALL SCHOOLS:
To get a more fair measure of the conferences based on the distribution of schools' rankings, I "graded" the conferences with a rigid mathematical formula. Each conference received 10 points for each school in the Top 10; 8 points for each school ranked 11-20; then 6 points down to 1 point for each school, respectively, ranked 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-75, 76-100, and 101-125. No points for schools ranked 126 or worse. So conferences with proportionately more "high" (good) rankings will get scored better, with a bonus for top-rated schools. Then I divided each conference's total points by the number of schools, so it's a fair comparison (no extra points just by having more schools). The results:
ACC 4.5 (best)
BIG TEN 3.4
PAC 12 3.2
BIG EAST 1.8
BIG XII 1.4 (worst)
So by this more telling methodology, the ACC is by FAR the best overall academic conference; the Big Ten just nudges out the Pac 12 (because our middle- and low-ranked schools overall make up for the fact that the Pac 12 has the best "top 4" of any conference but among the worst "Bottom 5"). The SEC and Big East are about the same, lagging way behind, and the Big XII brings up the rear. Again.
So my conclusion: While I might have guessed the SEC would be deal last here, in fact, the Big XII clearly is dead last.