so much for that
big ten expansion
IMPORTANT. McGary sings Beiber, endorses Teen Wolf:
IMPORTANT AS WELL. You kind of felt this was on the table when the Big Ten Network put up a survey that asked you whether you knew which division your team was in and you instinctively knew that even if you could figure it out by remembering that Michigan is not in the one mentioned by their fight song, you should put down "no." And then you thought about it and knew everyone else would do the same thing too. So yeah this happened at some conference that is apparently going on today:
Delany says names of Legends and Leaders TBD.
I mean who could question a decision to expand coming from the people who gave us Legends and Leaders? Speaking of:
So I went to a Maryland basketball game last night. They played a MEAC team Kenpom ranked 345th, and played like it. I have seen more people at a basketball game.
I am pretty sure I have seen more people at a softball game.
The arena itself is cool, and amongst the few people around me were some old guys who had clearly been getting seats adjacent to each other since the dawn of time. At one point the cheerleaders held up big cardboard cutout credit cards and asked people to wave theirs around for some sort of prize that was probably FREEEE PIZZAAAA, and I marveled at… that.
I came away with an excellent picture of why Maryland's in such dire financial straights and with an unformed joke about how Northwestern should start calling themselves WASHINGTON'S BIG TEN TEAM™ because the position is most certainly open.
Meanwhile, Maryland forms a commission to consider re-adding some of the seven sports they recently dropped.
Mercenaries for… wait what? Yesterday's Bielema-related bombshell was the revelation that Arkansas offered him a whopping 600k extra to move to a school that has never won an SEC title and is probably never going to. Bielema was forced to say the usual things, added in some nonsense about how his first year he lost to Michigan 27-13 because of a bad call, and said this:
"When I began to have more and more success at Wisconsin, I stayed but a lot of my coaches left," he said. "I just wasn't able to compensate them in the way other coaches were. I know I'm hiring the right guys, because everybody keeps taking them from me."
Bielema lost six assistants last year, and he noted that three of them went from salaries around $225,000 per year to over $400,000 annually. He said that hours after the Badgers won the Big Ten title game last Saturday, three of his assistants told him they'd been contacted by other schools and were offered significant raises. He said he wouldn't have been able to match those offers.
"Wisconsin isn't wired to do that at this point," he said. "With what I wanted to accomplish, I needed to have that ability to do that. I've found that here at Arkansas."
If that's true—and I'm skeptical that people fleeing Wisconsin are not actually fleeing Bielema himself—that's another way in which the money is just not a factor. Wisconsin has that, and they are just choosing not to spend it because…? Because they need to build world-class facilities for non-revenue sports? Is that the answer?
That can't actually be the answer. But Wisconsin was the 8 team in revenue as of 2008 and I find it hard to believe they've dipped much what with the BTN. That year they brought in 30 million more than Arkansas. And yet…
Don't give me recruiting budget stuff either. Wisconsin spent 466k less than Arkansas in 2011, which is a big gap but it is also chump change. I don't know what the problem is, but adding more money to the huge and ever-growing money spigot isn't going to fix it. If it would, it already would have.
The problem is cultural: as Bielema said, we don't want to be like the SEC at all. Probably the best thing Brandon has done is pay the assistants the relative chump change that makes them happy.
The least the Big Ten can do for us as they set every tradition they can find on fire is actually spend the money on the stuff fans care about like "keeping that guy who has gone to three straight Rose Bowls."
BIG TENNNNN. Darrell Hazell is introduced as Purdue's next head coach and the world gets a terrifying glimpse into the reality of being a beat reporter in West Lafayette:
if I could summon the energy to do anything it would be obtain the sweet release of death
Darrell Hazell, by the way, is a wild-ass swing at another MAC coach of exceedingly short tenure (two years) who has shown little other than the ability to inherit a team that floats to the top of the MAC talent hierarchy for reasons unknown. And he'll just fly the coop if he works out anyway. Expanding the league does not fix this. Purdue is still Purdue.
But maybe they can be Purdue in another division! Here we go again:
"There are some advantages to 16 (teams) compared to 14," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN on Wednesday. "Fourteen is clumsy. We're not out looking for two teams, but basically we will continue to survey the landscape."
At this point I endorse all Big Ten expansions in an effort to get to the Bargaining Phase post. With 16 we we can chuck the Indiana teams into the other football division and pretend none of this ever happened.
But it's about academics you guys! No, no it is not. It is not about academics in any way whatsoever.
Professors at the meeting alleged that the Athletic Department did not consult the ABIA on the addition of the Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten Conference.
“I happen to think that the implications of expanding the conference ... are significant academic matters, and I was personally very disappointed when I heard it on the radio,” Political Science Prof. Edie Goldenberg, an ABIA member, said.
If it was about academics, the academics would know about it.
Explaining to do, attempted. Michigan nixed a charity run at the Big House in two steps.
Champions for Charity is a for-profit limited liability company, though Highfield says all of the money a team raises prior to the race goes directly to a charity of the participant’s choice.
"It's just a little mom-and-pop organization," Highfield told AnnArbor.com.
Champions for Charity rented the stadium each previous year for roughly $7,000. Highfield was astonished when the school more than doubled the old rate, charging just under $16,000 for the next annual run.
The next step was just cancelling the thing entirely, because:
Really the decision in the end came down to our external focus," said Ablauf. The department announced last monththat it would begin partnering with the Special Olympics of Michigan for community service efforts. The first event of that partnership is the "Polar Plunge" at Michigan Stadium on Feb. 23, 2013.
That partnership, Ablauf said, has become the department's priority. Ablauf said the run had become "a very challenging event ... to fit into our stadium."
"We have our own private rental program, we're doing stuff with the Special Olympics and we have a lot of things we do now in the stadium," Ablauf offered.
I was waiting to sputter about this until the athletic department had its say, and… that's it? You can't spare the stadium for one day in April and one of the reasons you state for this is because you rent the thing out for profit (and annoy everyone at every football game by constantly repeating that fact)? I'm feeling a sputter comin' on you guys!
Actually, I don't have anything to say on this that I haven't already said a lot. I mean, this is a great thing to have people do from the ol' branding standpoint:
someone had a super idea once and people liked it
The thing had a lot of traction and if there was some problem with the organizational nature of the thing that was not organized as a non-profit it doesn't seem to be that hard to work through the issues. But I'm neither surprised or even disappointed that this happened. It's just how things work these days.
Strong: I was 9-10, and (Jurich) hands me an extension...How do you walk away from someone who trusts and believes in you. …
Strong said his ego had him thinking abt what he coud do in the SEC. "It's not abt that. It's about people and how you affect their lives."
Yes Virginia, there are Bo-like people still around. One of them is Michigan's coach, and that's nice.
Anti-antidote. Mario Cristobal is fired by FIU after one bad year when he turned down opportunities to move up in the world after he took the fledgling program from an 0-12 national joke to a couple bowl games.
STAUSKAS. As always, Canada bails us out of feeling bad. John Gasaway ranks his top 25 freshmen in college basketball and Stauskas comes in third($):
3. Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan Wolverines
Stauskas is merely Michigan's third option on offense, and you may think being rated the No. 3 freshman in the nation is self-evidently disproportionate for a role player. In the abstract I agree wholeheartedly, but exactly how much tribute do we give to a player who has helped his team's offense to the very limit allowed by the sport itself? Stauskas has an offensive rating (152.8) that's in another zip code entirely from what even the amazing likes of Bennett (127.5) and Adams (122.8) have posted. He is a normal carbon-based player in only one facet of the game: Stauskas inside the arc with the clock running is a mere mortal. But if he's at the line (89 percent) or, heaven help the opponent, outside the arc (64 percent), he's Stauskasesque.
His numbers will correct downward from this point forward, but the larger point is that for a second consecutive season John Beliein has a freshman who arrived in Ann Arbor as a lightly regarded recruit and then promptly began stomping on opponents like Mothra.
Stauskas was a little less lightly-regarded than Burke but yeah I mean seriously the hobbit at NC State was a burger guy. Oh right and that GRIII guy comes in ninth, which probably gives Michigan the best recruiting class in the country as of December what with adding in McGary and LeVert and Albrecht.
Etc.: Annual bowl swag update. Here is a tiny fraction of the money in gift cards because we can't give you cash. Tom Izzo goes full Holtz after MSU beats up on a SWAC team. Bielema fallout. More fallout. UMHoops podcast. David Merritt stops by to suggest his Merit fundraiser. Hockey coaches can now call CCHA reffing a joke in public. Gordon Gee is either lying now or lied to Urban Meyer.
[NOTE: in transit to DC today for Q&A thing Thursday, so light day from me.]
We need some elephants with adamantium blades coming from their hands. This exists:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and I need some lambchop-possessing awful cartoon unholy wolverine-elephant combinations stat.
On your TV! Black and Blue, the Willis Ward documentary, will be on your television if you're in Detroit. Channel 7, 1 PM, Saturday. Yes, this is unfortunately timed with the Arkansas basketball game overlapping. Set your DVRs.
Where many coaches just show up from the MAC. The Big Ten has pants and pants of money. Leg-sleeves stuffed with cash. And…
Purdue Football Coaching Search: Butch Jones Leaning Towards Colorado
…that about says it all. I know that Purdue is maybe not the best example but the current Big Ten coaches are:
MAC OR MAC-ISH HEAD COACHES: Beckman, Kill, Hoke
NOT EVEN MAC: Hope (fired)
BIG EAST HEAD COACHES: Dantonio
COORDINATORS: Wilson, Bielema, O'Brien, Pelini
POSITION COACH: Fitzgerald (thrust into the job early by tragedy), Ferentz
URBAN MEYER: Urban Meyer
People, stop hiring MAC coaches who get hot for a couple seasons. Anyone can get good in the MAC (except Eastern why do you have football Eastern), and the MACtion nature of the league means that whoever is good is good because of chaos. Hoke at least had a couple years of turnaround at SDSU to his credit.
Also, there is one coach in the league who came in with BCS-level bonafides, Meyer, and he had extenuating circumstances that removed him from his previous job. This year is not a great example because I can't think of anyone who leaps off the page as an excellent coach Purdue should try to poach, but in the past five to ten years no midlevel Big Ten school has even approached a decent hire. I mean, yeah what about Sonny Dykes:
Sonny Dykes- Where art thou?
Sonny Dykes, my number one choice, seems to be staying pretty quiet during this whole process. I haven’t heard his name mentioned for Tennessee or Arksans or even NC State despite early murmurs those were his preferences. His team turned down a bowl game because they were hoping for a better offer. If that’s any indication of how Dykes negotiates someone may get a bargain of a coach. Cal seems to be the front runner for him at this point but with the coaching carousel you never know. I’d still like to see Burke take a shot at him and use the extra money for a hot shot defensive coordinator.
Is Cal going to outspend a Big Ten team for Dykes? Adding Rutgers and Maryland will change that. Sure.
Next up for Purdue: maybe Darrell Hazell because Hazell has one year in which his team came out on top of MACtion and two as a head coach. Conference, I roll my eyes at you.
Burnin' the shirt, burnin' the shirt. Well so much for Caris Levert the redshirting guy. Michigan put him out there against Bradley and will continue playing him. This means bad news for Matt Vogrich, who went from a starting, if minor, role to a few minutes late:
"(The plan is to play him) six to eight or six to 10 (minutes per game)," Beilein said Monday. "I don't know if that's always going to happen, it depends on what's going on late in the game.
"That was our intention, that's why we made the move to put him in the top eight -- we're still going to stay with a top eight or nine (guys in a rotation), and he's in there."
With Albrecht and McGary definitely part of that rotation, Levert's addition just about kicks Vogrich out of meaningful PT.
How do we feel about this? Vogrich was off to a poor start this season, but he has been able to provide sporadic gritty grit off the bench in past years and knows how to work a back-door cut. I'm less incensed about burning redshirts in basketball, where the really good players don't stick around four years, let alone five, and anyone on the floor is contributing in a way Sione Houma wasn't when he covered kickoffs that were going into the endzone anyway.
If Levert is worth a couple points a game, I'd say go for it. We haven't seen much to indicate that he is yet, but the buzz has been consistent. If they can really use him as a "defensive stopper," I'll be surprised but that's what Beilein says and Beilein draws a lot of water in this town.
Everyone was injured and now it can be told. Taylor Lewan's shoulder you didn't know was hurt is fine now, which hurrah because Clowney. Gardner's ankle you didn't know was hurt will be fine by the time bowl practice starts. Denard's elbow you knew was injured is still coming along:
Robinson was asked Monday if he's been throwing at all.
"I'm not throwing how I want to throw," he said. "I'll get there eventually."
He didn't indicate what has kept him from throwing the way he'd like.
"I don't know right now," he said. "Got to keep going, keep trying and keep getting treatment."
Nate Brink is not returning and this is apparently still news despite the fact that he walked on senior day. Stood, really, but you know what I mean.
The discussion: Which team is the nation's most talented?
Ford: …the team that may have the most talent in the country, in my book, is Michigan. The Wolverines currently have five players ranked in our Top 100. Kentucky is the only other team to have as many Top 100 players.
Right now, point guard Trey Burke is the only Michigan player ranked in our top 30, but Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. both have the ability to crack the first round of the NBA draft. Freshmen Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas are further down the list, but both have a real shot at getting drafted down the road.
That's in part why I believe Michigan is a Final Four team and may give Indiana a run for the No. 1 spot by the end of the season.
/spins in chair whistling strangely
Adopt-a-Bundesliga. I mentioned this on the podcast a few weeks ago and I am still kicking the idea around: I kind of want to adopt a Bundesliga team, because the Bundesliga is a place where people think like this:
Among Germany's well-organised supporter groups is Kein Zwanni (Not Twenty), a campaign to keep tickets cheap. Its spokesman, Dortmund fan Marc Quambusch, said: "You have to keep tickets affordable so poorer and young people can have the experience of being football supporters. German football has a special relationship with supporters because we are the owners of the clubs; people do feel that very emotional sense of belonging and the clubs do listen to the fans. I feel we need to really value what we have."
Watzke is a confirmed adherent to the Bundesliga rule that its clubs, with the historic exceptions of Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and more recently Hoffenheim, must be controlled "50% plus one" by their members. The other 33 of the 36 clubs, including Bayern Munich, which is 82% owned by its member-supporters, cannot be bought by a single person from outside, like the Premier League clubs, but instead are democratically answerable to their members.
An indication of an "emotional sense of belonging" is what the Big Ten's leadership got from fans once they announced they'd be adding Maryland and Rutgers, and is what they are busy throwing away right now in pursuit of ever-greater dollars without bothering to ask first. Ask anyone. They just did it.
That article is on Dortmund*. Dortmund fell in to debt and is coming off consecutive league championships by digging out and buying young players and building something. The entire league is organized like the Packers with exceptions grandfathered in; meanwhile the Packers setup is banned by the NFL with Green Bay grandfathered in. One gives you Dan Snyder. The other does not.
*[Dortmund pros: successful, opportunity to root against Jermaine Jones. Yellow overlaps with Michigan somewhat. Cons: somewhat of a carpetbagging thing to root for defending league champion, their yellow seems a little off. ]
The average household already spends about $90 a month for cable or satellite TV, and nearly half of that amount pays for the sports channels packaged into most services. [Emphasis added.] Massive deals for marquee sports franchises like the Dodgers and Lakers are driving those costs even higher. Over the next three years, monthly cable and satellite bills are expected to rise an average of nearly 40%, to $125, according to the market research company NPD Group.
So far, people seem willing to pay. But the escalating costs are triggering worries that, at some point, consumers will begin ditching their cable and satellite subscriptions.
“We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports,” said John Malone, the cable industry pioneer and chairman of Liberty Media. “The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the cable operator.”
That is an unsustainable model that will erode. The Big Ten has hitched its entire wagon to that instead of things without an immediate return like, oh I don't know, an emotional sense of belonging. They are following the lead of newspapers, most of whom have abandoned any long-term strategy for slowly milking what profits can be made—except newspapers did not have a choice.
At this point I just don't care about the Big Ten expanding. I had my rage, and now I don't care what happens. That's where I am, and that's dangerous for the pointy-haired bosses. I'll watch, I'm committed to that, but there's a continuum here.
Here is a libertarian-flavored argument from Mother Jones's Kevin Drum about this whole business that GTP linked and I agree with, no polo.
No link just a thing I am thinking. The best example of the milking behavior is the Big Ten ruining things by making more of them. The two examples I'm thinking of:
- Splitting Michigan and Ohio State in the hopes of getting a rematch the next week.
- Cramming four Big Ten bowls onto New Year's Day, cheapening the accomplishment.
Instead of NYD being a litmus test for a good season it is now highly likely 8 and 7 win teams get there annually, and then who cares.
Yes, I am thinking about living under a highway overpass. Let's think about something happier.
Also other key plays. I love how on the last one you can hear the entire arena moan disgustedly before Stauskas even gets the ball. They know it's going in.
Etc.: Nebrasketball beats USC to give the Big Ten a little bit of a schedule bump. I watched the first 15 minutes or so and came away amazed at how bad the Trojans were. They have a guy with above-average usage (Jio Fontan) shooting 24% from 2!
Hagerup profiled. Baumgardner on the Bradley game, which I was fine with them playing. I'd rather have Michigan go to MVC schools for RPI and competitive purposes than beat up on the SWAC. Beard on the freshmen. MGoUser club_med looks at overtime games and eventually concludes that how you get to overtime—by blowing a lead or coming back—does not affect your chance of winning.
Late fades after being up big are the best problem to have but I would prefer it if they were fixed.
Members of the younger generation find this appealing.
Over the weekend BTN released an online survey (still alive) that let the fans opine on the divisions and their stupid names and how they ought to be reorganized and stuff. Online poll is online poll but I was ready to leap the second DIABEETUS posted it on the board because a.) Who Michigan plays and what is at stake for those games is important to me, and b.) There's been a growing sense since "Leaders and Legends," that sense emphatically underlined with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, that general fan-think matters diddly to Delany and co.; opportunities to put an opinion where they might see it don't come along every day.
One of the questions in the survey asked us to rate the importance of three divisional considerations: geography, parity, and keeping traditional rivals together. They're all kinda important, and if there's any silver lining to adding two broke schools from the east coast it's that 7-team divisions are a better fit than 6-teams for an alignment that doesn't sacrifice any of those ideals.
The reason is because our conference is clustered in groups of three or four. Minnesota-Iowa-Wisconsin always had their circle of hate that has just enough room to add Nebraska. Illinois-Northwestern and Purdue-Indiana are an intermingled Chicagoland group that shouldn't be separated. Our block is the Michigan schools and Ohio State. Penn State could attach to that except it throws parity off, their awful thing be damned. Maryland and Rutgers turn the eastern part of the conference into two groups of three to match the west's groups of four:
The thick dark blue lines are the rivalries that ought to be protected within divisions and played every year. The light blue are old trophies and close non-trophy rivalries you keep if you can. The little green ones are those with the recent derived trophies or a proximity thing that isn't yet a full thing. Divisions then ought to pair one of the threesomes with one of the foursomes. Since one of the foursomes has Nebraska and Wisconsin in it and the other doesn't, the divisions ought to be obvious:
|In the Weight Room Division||In the Community Division|
|Ohio State||Penn State|
Don't care about the division names just yet. Let's check this against the three considerations.
Geography: Well Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana make a nice little Great Lakes grouping. Here's a table of distances written in driving hours (HT Google). The upper left quadrant is our division; lower-right is the other one:
You'll note the other division has some very long drives. Minnesota to anywhere starts at four hours and goes to 18 (to Rutgers). Lincoln and New Brunswick are literally half the country away. How can Rutgers be in a division with Nebraska that's a 20-hour drive away? Well…
The Big Ten doesn't actually care what you think about the destruction of longstanding rivalries so they can have more NYC/DC viewers in the duration of tiered cable's death throes. However BTN has put up a survey for the purpose of discussion points on their Monday show that represents the first crack I've yet seen in the conference's apparent immunity to public opinion on its expansion plans. This, like the survey when they announced the division names, will of course be duly ignored; I say let's tell them anyway.
Call your friends and family and that girl you studied abroad with what's her name, and make them take it too. Whatever you answer in the rest, say "VERY IMPORTANT" for Question 9, and use 17 to ask they put Michigan and Ohio State in the same divisions.
The questions, and opinions:
1. What is your favorite B1G school?
This one is thrown in there to weed out the hardcore fans when they break their mouse by clicking on this SO HARD.
2. My favorite school is in which division?
???? I think it says "Leaders" in the song; I'm guessing that one. Also I'm guessing if everybody says "I have no idea" that can become a talking point against the division names.
3. As the conference expands beyond 12 teams, should the new teams be added to an existing division or should new divisions be drawn from scratch?
Start from scratch please.
4. What do you think of the "Legends" and "Leaders" names? (Strongly Like to Strongly Dislike.)
Again, this is put here to make you break your clicking device. Gently. Gently.
5. Should the B1G change or keep the current division names?
6. If you think the division names should be changed, what should they be changed to?
This is an input box; write what you want. Like most old timey NHL fans I prefer divisions named for historical guys, so Yost-Stagg or Bo-Woody. Brian likes East-West. North-South. Plains-Lakes. Big Ten-Little Four. Persistence-Perseverance. Wait no not that last one, they might actually go for that.
7. If divisions were to be changed, what criteria should be used to determine them? (Rank by importance Competitive balance, geography, protect traditional rivalries.)
I suggest putting "Protect traditional rivalries" first because they're all important but at least that might put M-OSU in the same division.
8. How important is it for IN-STATE rivals to be in the same division? (Very important to not important.)
Irrelevant. Every in-state school is already traditional rivals with the other one.
9. How important is it for TRADITIONAL rivals to be in the same division? (Very important to not important.)
VERY important. Rivalries need something at stake, and beating your divisional rivals counts as virtually two wins if you're against them for the championship invite. If we're not with Ohio State the game becomes a "protected" rivalry, which means we'll see them every year while our division rivals face them maybe twice a decade.
10. Currently, the number of conference games the B1G plays is 8. Should this increase?
The answers they give here include "Yes, increase to 10 games (2 non-conference games; 5 home conf games and 5 road conf games)" which, hell yeah (now that ND is gone I think 2 games is plenty to have a warm-up and an interesting matchup) except it will never happen because they make their money off of home games and more conference games means more losses at the end of the season and fewer bowl-eligible teams.
11. What is your preference on a B1G Basketball Tourney? (Every team qualifies, or 12 of 14 teams qualify.)
They don't let you go less than 12. So 12, obviously.
12. Currently, the B1G has no divisions for basketball. Should this be changed?
I'd go for a tiered system before divisions. Don't care either way; if I knew they wouldn't screw it up I might be more inclined.
13. If yes, why should there be divisions for basketball?
Text entry. Share your opinion; mine is above.
14. If no, why shouldn't there be divisions for basketball?
15. When people reference "B1G", do you recognize that to be the Big Ten Conference?
Obviously you do, but think about what this could mean in context: if everyone is saying "no" then the talking point becomes "Nobody even knows what B1G means." I'm all for talking points that hurry along the demise of that embarrassment of a logo.
16. With 14 teams currently, should the B1G remain the "Big Ten", or should its name be changed?
I don't have a better name for it; we should have sued the Big XII and the Big East when we had the chance because "Big" is the nickname that grew up organically and should be the qualifying piece of information in the name, not the number.
17. Do you have any further thoughts on B1G expansion?
PUT MICHIGAN AND OHIO STATE IN THE SAME DIVISION! Also don't add Maryland and Rutgers, name the divisions from whatever's on the motivational poster in your boss's office, make another stupid looking logo, etc.
Being a sports fan means having very little control over a meaningless thing that can profoundly affect your life. I'm not even sure which year this started, but for 365-ish days after beating Ohio State life is a little better to live, while the same after losing to them makes life a little worse. Until recently I thought I was maybe mistaking the general depressing of age, the Cooper run having coincided with the years between the onset of puberty and the onset of responsibility. Then Courtney Avery picked off Braxton Miller and I felt 20 again.
There are few active metaphors left in entertainment for some old fashioned we're the good guys/they're the bad guys. As your focus shifts from defeating Skeletor to survival, you begin to gain perspective, which is anathema to such absolutes. In this new adult relativity, goodness is a thing you strive for, not something bestowed as a natural and obvious state. You learn too that two things opposed are rarely easy to identify as more good or less evil. We strive for a thing, they strive for a thing, this is all relative. We're for tradition, and culpability, and a really fast guy from Florida who says "WHAAAAATT?!" and will smile for anybody in the world. From all we can see, the thing they seem to be most for is them.
The last time Michigan won in Columbus it was 2000. I was about mid-way through my collegiate career, and John Cooper was nearing the end of his. I sat in the student section and fielded death threats and projectiles while Drew Henson and Marquise Walker and David Terrell played the kind of offense we always imagined they could. The fans around us started looking ready to make good on those threats, and we bolted before the end, a fresh fallen snow covering our escape.
For the first time since, I'll be returning to Ohio Stadium tomorrow. I've been advised to not make my allegiance too obvious, to not respond to the taunting, and to maybe pick up a red hat with a gray O to leave in my Michigan plated car so that I won't return to find the tires slashed and garbage in the gas tank.
There are awful awful Michigan fans out there, and wonderful people who root for Ohio State. But this is sports. It's a big, blatant, color-coded metaphor for the subtle battles we fight, including—especially—good vs. evil. Caveat relativity and caveat scale, but one program defines itself by the good it strives to achieve, and the other program defines good as itself achieving. Tomorrow during the last game of their bowl-banned season, Ohio State will be officially honoring Jim Tressel and the 2002 National Championship Team whose accomplishments might too have been erased but for the statute of limitations. It couldn't be more clear if we were eight.
Beat Ohio Stats
Not counting, you know, real life, only two things happened in the world in the last seven days: the Big Ten added two more Indianas, and Michigan prepared to play Ohio State. The former was dealt with in the diaries with grief counseling, the latter with statistics, and both were handled in this diary by Gordon that reimagines The Game since Bo if divisions (rather than… sense? tradition? goodness?) had existed all that time. The useful chart at right (click big) is by Coach Schiano and neatly sums up the results. Most of those years Michigan and Ohio State would have re-matched. Sparty would have played in 3 of the last 4.
I want to also recognize ehatch, a tempo-free fan who's been trying to apply some of those Kenpommish ideas to football. Some of the relevant among the results:
By the conventional measures Michigan has the best defense in the Big Ten. However, once we adjust for our slow tempo, we find that the defense drops to 5th. We love our defense how is that possible? I think there are a couple potential explanations: 1) Throw-God Trevor Simien and the elusive Colter -- Northwestern was Michigan’s worst performance of the year. 2) Michigan always seems to have one or 2 bad drives per game regardless of how bad the offense is (Illinois need not apply). MSU, Iowa, Minnesota all had 2 long scoring drives where it was completely out of character for both them and us. And since they are so bad offensively that bad drive is enough to put them above their average. In other words, Michigan has yet to put together a full game defensively.
Emphasis on "has yet to." Like I have yet to see the new Abraham Lincoln movie. Hey defense, what're guys doing tomorrow like noon-ish?
CoachW did a common opponent comparison. He didn't give a winner for each but I will. Give Ohio a slight edge for MSU since that was on the road, give Michigan that back for shutting out Illinois, and it comes down to Nebraska and Purdue. Michigan lost big but that may not be relevant unless Bellomy becomes so again; Ohio State gave up a lot of points but blew the doors on offense and won by lots. Michigan handled Purdue, who took OSU to overtime but that's not relevant since Miller was hurt. I guess edge OSU since they picked the better game to go without the centerpiece of their offense. But the margins are awful close.
Another study by glewe showed OSU's pass defense may be within the established Garder-KILL range. Docwhoblocked got bumped from the board for his study on punts to suggest Michigan ought to have both a deep and short guy. Like Dileo is short to fair catch the bouncers, and Gallon stands deep in case there's a return possibility. Also we're returning too many kickoffs (I figured) but I've been fine trading five yards of field position for that feeling you get when Dennis Norfleet has the ball in space.
LSAClassof2000 took five diaries to put out some charts and tables of the most basic stats. They're pretty straight-up, the kind of numbers you'll see put up on TV (my bias is toward the tempo-free above), but succinct. The QB one is worth a glance if only to see the Gardner effect, and the opening chart of the defense one is useful for quoting stats like "Michigan doesn't get as many sacks but we're averaging 6 TFL a game to OSU's 5.2." You know, if you talk like that. Here's the cliff's notes:*
Table of LSAClassOf2000 Diaries This Week
|Diary||Michigan And Ohio State - 2012||Michigan And Ohio State – Last 10 Yrs||Michigan And Ohio State - Defenses||Michigan's Rushing Game - 2001-Present||Michigan QBs - 2001 To Present|
|What we learned||Both even in rush/pass split, but theirs gets a 100 more yds a game.||Our respective passing offenses have been weirdly joined at the hip from Troy Smith on.||Pretty similar until we get to sacks, where they have John Simon and we don't have John Simon.||
Holy Molk's junior/senior years rushing Batman!
|Good good good good great okay DEATH okay great good good.|
*[This section has been edited from its original. See the comments if you care.]
Buckeye etc. (non-statistical): The k.o.k.Law memories trip continues with '76 and then through the '80s. THE_KNOWLEDGE pontificates. Lanyard program progrifiates. Jonvalk wallpaperates. Blockhams burninates.
Rationalizing Rutgersyland. History was made this week when Delany became the first commissioner to voluntarily add teams that weaken the average strength of his conference (oakapple). Course nobody around here
believes wants to admit that these guys are so utterly out of touch and/or incompetent as to grab a couple of debtors for the Weak-ass Woody Division, flip Illinois to the Bo, and spend the next 14 years trying to convince New Yorkers to care. Gameboy says it's about TV markets, and shows us the numbers he thinks the Big Ten was looking at. Turtleboy talked about the scheduling situations that large conferences create.
This last got me thinking about another reason Maryland and Rutgers might become a net benefit to the conference: they can be trusted to lose. If you figure they pretty much have to go to 9 conference games now, a few extra Indiana's on the road could go a long way toward making the top of the conference look more Top Ten-ish and playoff-viable (see: SEC this year and how the top half has capitalized on beating up the wretched bottom half).
[Jump, then Weeklies, then lots of Ohio and expansion carping on the boards]
Blogs of record from each Big Ten team and a bonus.
Crimson Quarry (Indiana):
For all the talk about footprint and media markets and academic standing, the Big Ten is an athletic conference. The Penn State and Nebraska additions made sense for athletics. These moves, if they happen, will best be understood as a cash grab. I'll certainly welcome these schools if it happens, but at first blush I'm not thrilled.
Bucky's Fifth Quarter (Wisconsin):
I've heard plenty of people say, "Get over it! This is the new age of college athletics." And yes, for better or worse we're moving into a new era.
With that being said, I'll firmly stand on the side saying that, yet again, money and greed are the evils that us into this "new era" of college athletics.
Hammer and Rails (Purdue):
I only see this as an absolutely shameless cash grab for the conference that is already printing money with its own TV network. At least the addition of Nebraska made sense. This really doesn't. We're shaking everything up to add a horrible basketball program and decent football program plus one with an awful football program and a basketball program that had a good run 10 years ago.
Land Grant Holy Land (OSU):
The Big Ten isn't quitting on their arbitrary, silly, and frankly pretentious divisional realignment and divisional names…. but instead we get more constant reminders about what Jim Delany thinks about basically all Big Ten sports fans, writers, and alums.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Penn State is okay with it. Everyone else?]