mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
A heads up: Don't ask what depths of my mind made this connection, because I don't know. But something did. Also, if you've never seen the movie Cube, SPOILERS!
September, 2008 -
Michigan fan nation awakens in an unfamiliar place. The last they remember, Lloyd Carr was being carried off the field by Jake Long, Chad Henne, Mike Hart and co as victors of the 2008 Capital One Bowl vs. Florida. Suddenly, nothing is the same.
Michigan fan nation stumbles around, looking in every room for some sign of famliarity. All the coaches are different. All the players are different. Wait... what's this? A red room? That's Utah! The start of the 2008 season! I think I know what's going on!
MIchigan fan nation was totally unprepared for what was presented. Fortunately, a few in the group soon get their bearings, and realize that if you're careful and simply look at what's in front of you, you might just survive this ... place. This Coaching change.
"Listen, we can't just go wandering around here. I looked in on the Miami-OH game down there and nearly got my head cut off."
But it turns out, even the experienced among the fanbase can't predict all the traps that will befall them.
"I wasn't expecting that face melting experience at the Toledo game."
Then, when all seems lost, a breakthrough! Perhaps we've discovered the way out of here! Perhaps we can be safe! Prime numbers, I can't believe I didn't see it before!
But... no. Hopes are dashed utterly.
Nothing makes any sense at all! The numbers on the field don't add up to any sensible answers! Somebody must be sabotaging the team. The coaches! Fire them! Get them! Kill them!
"That's right. We know this coach's type. No respect for the kids. No wins to boost you. Not a Michigan man. So we'll put a hit piece on you, stick our nose in your business."
But all is not lost! Michigan fans are still Michigan fans!
"How dare you say that about him? You don't know anything about him! Fielding Yost couldn't have led us out of here with these numbers!"
And so, we rested through a horrible, infitnite, terrifying offseason as we awaited what 2010 was to bring.
And when the season drew near, still... we had no answers. We could see what the solution was, but our players simply weren't up to it.
"It's not primes, it's factors of primes. Maybe if I had 2006's defense. I can't do it. Nobody can do it! It's astronomical!"
Yes, our savior had arrived just in time for the 2010 season. The afterthought. The one that was nothing. The third wheel in the quarterback race... he could do the impossible. He could do the astronomical. And he can lead us from the deadly maze.
Unfortunately, that means that, as Wisconsin proved, we still have to get stabbed through the chest with a bar by Quentin, but... he has led us to the light at the end of the tunnel.
The greatest rivalry in college football? It certainly hasn't felt like it for the last decade as Ohio State has dominated Michigan, winning 8 of 10 games since 2000.
This week's wallpaper is an artistic expression of the questions I'm asking as a Michigan fan. Will the darkness cast by the dominance of our bitter rival continue to spread, lending credibility to the sentiment that the program is eroding, or is the growth we've seen this year a genuine indicator of a future return to glory? I'm a defensive optimist at heart, so this season I've maintained realistic expectations while believing that better days are ahead.
I wanted the artwork for 'The Game' to capture the epic feel of the rivalry. My initial concept called for colliding planets, but I like the simplicity of one planet where the battle is fought over the same land. I also wanted the artwork to have an otherworldly feel, like how the rivalry would look if it was interpreted as a photo-real animated film where the good guys are represented by light and life and growth, and the bad guys are all shadow and concrete and harsh technology. I'm not sure if the message is any stronger here than it is with some of my simpler artwork (i.e. Maize is Blue) but I enjoyed the challenge of creating something with a high level of depth and detail.
The image below is a preview only. You can get this week's widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
How it was made
I've captured the creation of this week's wallpaper artwork and sped up the footage to condense a whole bunch of hours (more than I care to admit) into a little under 5 minutes of video. If you like edge-of-your-seat action and nonstop excitement, then you probably shouldn't bother to watch this video.
All of the 2010 Schedule Wallpapers
Not sure what I'm going to do with myself next Monday.
As we wind down this season, it is obvious that we are a fanbase divided. Some want to retain RR. Some want him thrown out of town effective yesterday. Some want GERG to stay and be given a chance to work with players who have entered puberty. Other want him gone.
We are not happy with the present state of our program. And who would be? We all remember competing for B10 Championships and Rose Bowl births, and we long for the days where "15 extra practices" didn't even factor in to our consciousness.
But, this is OSU week - to me, the greatest week of the year. We will be facing off against our arch-rival in what is still considered by many to be the greatest rivalry game in sports. This is a time to send nasty emails to your Buckeye friends, to entertain dreams of Denard streaking by helpless OSU defenders, to hope for what could be and to just enjoy being a college football fan.
Whever happens with RR and GERG will not be decided this week. And after this week, there will be plenty of time for discussion on what DB should do. Hell, if we can find a way to go out there and take down the Buckeyes, I would imagine that the discussion would become moot for all but a few fans (who would never be pleased with RR). Greater upsets have happened. Greater upsets have even happened in this very rivalry.
While most are expecting a loss, with our offense, anything is possible. Plus, when a team has nothing but pride on the line, strange things can happen. Plus, plus, RR and the players have said on more than one occasion that they practice something new for OSU every week. I for one can't wait to see what RR pulls out for this game. (I hear that Mike Martin will be playing QB for a play with Denard lining up atleft guard to exploit his speed - kidding, of course).
So let's table the whole coaching decision thing until next Monday. There is a definite time for that discussion, but that time is not this week. After this week, we will have plenty of time to analyze the situation.
Certainly not trying to tell anyone what to do. Just my $.02.
Zettel's comments post Iowa City visit:
"Michigan has been my leader through the whole [recruiting process]," Zettel said. "I still feel really comfortable there, but I wouldn't say I have a leader right now."
Not cool Zeus.
It looks like we get the last shot at him at The Big Chill, hopefully we can bring him home...
[please tell me if you think that these stats need to be manipulated better. I’m still working on the ideas behind these concepts, and any ideas are welcome. This is meant to be a look to his likely stats next year through stats and deduction. I will continue to try and do this with other players and units as the off-season starts. Any ideas for further analysis helps.]
He’s already set the record for most rushing yards in a season, on a 6.8 yards/attempt average. Let’s admit that he’s most likely not going to do that again, although I’d bet his average will stay around the same. Because he’s a more athletic version of Pat White, I’ll use those stats to try and show what I think Denard will do on the ground.
Pat White had 197 attempts for 1335 yards at 6.8 YPC his junior year. I would imagine that Denard would have about the same stats. So, we’ll get a drop in yardage by about 100 yards, but this will be made up by his throwing stats I’d assume.
Other things to note:
- Denard still does not scramble very often. Vince Young, Pat White, and others did this much more and were able to get a lot of yards of scrambles. As Denard gets another year under his belt, I’d expect much more scrambling and bigger gains. This will, of course, help open the passing lanes.
- Denard runs the iso and zone read a lot. I don’t know how many times White ran it, or V. Young, but I think Denard has many more designed runs than any other QB has had. This will most likely get cut down because of his injuries this year, Dee Hart coming in, and his passing game getting better. With that being said, on to the…
(I wanted to take passing stats from players who are like Denard. I believe these are the closest guys to him.)
THE LONG BALL:
As most of us know, Denard doesn't throw the long ball as well as we'd like him to. He does not use much touch yet, and this is something that we can expect growth on in the off-season. He throws the short passes decently, but without the deep ball threat he's still not 100% effective. There have been great throws, but they are too few. The long ball will be one development, but along with throwing the ball deep, we get a much higher chance of INTs. Based on this, I wanted to try and predict Denard's INT totals for next year from other prolific running QBs. Below are the stats and their significance.
Int thrown/100 passes by year in the league:
Denard is at 4.3 INT/100 attempts
If you look at the stats you’ll see that Denard’s average is about where V. Young was in his sophomore year. Young then made an impressive downswing of one less interception thrown every 100 passes. However, when you look at the total averages there isn’t much of a jump from sophomore to junior year.
Dixon’s stats are the ones which screw this up, so if you throw out that outlier you do get a decent jump in INT/100 passes.
WHAT THIS MEANS:
Assuming Dixon’s stats are a outlier, we can expect Denard to throw about 1 less interception per 100 attempts. He’s going to have about 250 attempts this season so that’s 2.5 less interceptions next year. Assuming he throws 300 passes, that’s 9 interceptions next year. (Vince Young had 10 the season he won his Heisman.)
Denard should have around 1400 rushing yards at about 7 YPC. I believe he will have less designed runs, but more sneaks. He will also throw about 9 INTs next year, when I believe he'll have just shy of 300 attempts.