Mark Dantonio has now coached in five Michigan-Michigan State games. If you're wondering whether UM's players have justification to start feeling a bit like a roughed-up MSU dorm-hall coed and her friends, you're right.
Inglorious stats from the past five Michigan-Michigan State games, if I gleaned the play-by-play logs accurately:
|YEAR||MSU PFs||MSU RPs||MSU UCs||MSU all 3 combined||UM all 3 combined|
PF = personal foul RP = roughing the passer UC = unsportsmanlike conduct
Basically, Dantonio's Spartans are going to play like a bunch of hooligans when Michigan plays at Michigan State -- 11 personal fouls and 3 roughing-the-passer penalties in three games played at Spartan Stadium. And in the past three Michigan games alone, the Spartans have committed 9 personal fouls, 3 roughing-the-passer penalties and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. (By comparison, Michigan has committed 2 such penalties in the past thee games, and 5 in the past 5 Michigan State games.)
All this excludes the chop-block penalty incurred late last year on Michigan State, which crushed Mike Martin's leg -- a vicous attempt to injure -- and excludes the likely suspension coming to Gholston on Monday.
Maybe we've all got it wrong, however.
Maybe Dantonio isn't modelling his football program after Jim Tressel's at Ohio State's; rather, maybe he's patterning it on Dennis Erickson's notorious Miami-Florida teams of the early 1990s. True, Saturday's total of four personal fouls and two roughing-the-passer penalties isn't nudging up next to Miami's bellwether game when it comes to notoriety -- the 1991 Cotton Bowl, when Erickson's Hurricanes were flagged 10 times either for personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct in a 16-penalty victory over Texas. But six ugly penalties is in the ballpark, let's not sell Gholston and co. short.
More encouragingly, Dantonio's players have only a short ways to go to match those Hurricanes' worst off-field crime incident. The Hurricanes weren't wearing ski masks or roughing up co-eds, but back in their bad-ass heyday some 40 Miami players were involved in an on-campus disturbance that could be put down only by 14 squad cars worth of cops and a police dog.
But here's where you can be proud, Sparty. When Sports Illustrated wrote an open letter to Miami's president in 1995 compelling him to shut down his renegade football program, the author cited a Miami Herald story in which it claimed -- in shocking italics! -- that "No fewer than one of every seven scholarship players on last season's team has been arrested while enrolled at your university." Hell, everyone knows the 2009 Sparties had that beat by a mile after ski-maskgate.
As for Miami's other records of notoriety, maybe next year, Hurricanes. Er, Sparties.
One thing I noticed while watching the game at home is how frequently the commentators (who truth be told were confused and less than stellar all game) talked about us being in a Wing-T offense as opposed to the Borges/magic spread we've used to good effect in most games this year. To my uneducated eye, the setup did not look that much different, but I did notice (as many have rehashed already) that the playcalling was far more deep pass and play action oriented than we are used to.
So were we actually in the Wing-T, or were the announcers wrong? What is the Wing-T anyway, and how does it compare to the spread? Could this have contributed to the issues with the offensive line all game, being in a supposedly new system?
Discuss, and forget the pain of yesterday.
For the uninitiated, Sagarin's rankings are one of the computer rankings used by the BCS. As explained on his site, the BCS uses his rankings that ignore final score (called ELO Chess), but he also publishes rankings that only take scoring margin into account (called Pure Points). Sagarin writes that the Pure Points metric is the single best predictor of future games.
This is the first week in which preaseason predictions don't bias the rankings and Michigan is ranked 10th in pure points. Last week they were ranked 9th in the same metric.
Despite the fact that I didn't even post rankings last week (sorry about that—life stuff came up), barely anything happened in recruiting outside of Purdue adding a few commits and jumping Minnesota in the standings. Action since last rankings:
10-2-11: Purdue picks up Dion Witty.
10-3-11: Purdue picks up Cameron Cermin.
10-10-11: Purdue picks up Cameron Posey.
10-12-11: Northwestern picks up Traveon Henry.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota), Darius Stroud and Jacarri Alexander (Indiana), and Steffon Martin and Devin Smith (Purdue) are excluded from their respective team averages.
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
No change for the Wolverines.
|#2 Notre Dame - 16 Commits|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Nittany Lions.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
No change for the Spartans.
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
No change for the Badgers.
|#7 Indiana - 19 Commits|
No change for the Hoosiers. Broken record is broken.
|#8 Northwestern - 17 Commits|
The Wildcats land FL running back Traveon Henry.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes.
|#10 Purdue - 20 Commits|
The Boilermakers pick up commits from CB Dion Witty, OL Cameron Cermin, and WR Cameron Posey. They leapfrog Minnesota in a battle of teams with a ton of commits but no highly-rated recruits.
|#11 Minnesota - 21 Commits|
No change for the Gophers.
|#12 Nebraska - 7 Commits|
The Huskers stay stuck on seven recruits. I keep waiting for the week when they add a bunch of four-star recruits, and it keeps not happening.
|#13 Illinois - 9 Commits|
No change for the Illini.
It's a giant concrete mess for one. The gas station on the east side sure is a nice touch. You only have to walk up like 10 different ramps to finally get up to the upper deck(which is in outer space).
Video boards(excuse me, board) was awful, they had to stop the play and fix the clock and playclock more than once (I guess they brought spartan bob back for a game).
Atmosphere: good lord I thought I was at a minor league baseball game for a while. Nice choice of music. Not. That crappy Gwen Stafani song especially did it for me. Plus they play that trumpet tune that is played at the Red Wings and Tigers games. Entrance video was a cheesy animation, and to top it off, they even did the "three helmets which one is the ball under" animation. I will admit it got pretty loud at times.
The campus is very nice, I will admit that, but Sparty, your stadium could use some tlc. Anybody else feel free to share their Spartan Stadium experience.
Once upon a team there was a football team. This team had just finished a disappointing season, when it didn't do as well as its fans and coaches expected. But it started the year fresh with a series of fairly easy games at home, which it win. Then it managed to win a couple big ones against serious teams.
Along the way, though, this team had to play a tough team on the road, one with a veteran quarterback and impressive defense. They lost, 37-6.
Around that time there was another foootball team, which had high hopes for the season. This one bulled through the first four teams on its shedule and looked pretty darn good, until it played the first team in our story, that is. On the road. They lost 34-24.
The thing is, though, that despite these disappointing--and emphatic--losses, both of these teams went on to finish 11-1 and share the conference title. Both went to BCS bowl games.
The moral of this story isn't to say we'll finish 11-1 or are a perfect analogue to 2010 MSU or Wisconsin, but rather to show how one loss--however crushing it seems at the time--isn't the end of the world. A win over Purdue at home and another at Iowa and we're back on track to a expectations-beating season.
For the record, neither of those teams is as good as MSU. Let's keep all this in perspective before assuming we're melting down a la 2009/2010, okay? It's still way too early for that.