"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
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]
By farside286. Please tell me that's a processor speed reference and not your Mo-Jo room number c. 1998-'99 because if it's the latter I'm so so sorry!
When I came to Michigan they had recently started doing these really interesting seminar classes that only freshmen could take. There was one on the Simpsons, one all about spring break destinations, and one on King Arthur that filled up right away since it got around you get to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail.* I ended up taking the Psychology of Business, basically an insight directly into the hive mind of management that would have been invaluable to a corporate career if it hadn't also completely turned me off from it.
Club_med, a statistician, mentioned a few of that class's signature readings on "flow" while showing that the team with momentum going into overtime does not have any advantage. He plans to see if other things like 4th downs or turnovers create swings. Hypothesis: if there's a difference at all it is probably a) buried in too small a data sample, and b) an effect of freeing coaches from their lizard brains to take appropriate risks. The ND-Pitt Hypothesis: success in overtime situations is directly correlated to which team is better at playing football.
*I appreciate a discussion on holy hand grenades as much as the next guy, but some of us honestly want to talk Alano-Sarmation Theory, and translate Nennius's list of battles into Welsh to see if it rhymes.
More Statistics Bias in This Week's Read These:
Run charts like running QBs. Please let's all welcome the nerdy and likeable LSAClassof2000 back to the diaries with a quick comparison of Michigan's rush/pass offense/defense over the last 10 years versus that of Iowa. Conclusion: having Denard Robinson or Brad Banks under center makes you good at running:
Whence the Tebowing? The guy who I think graduated from LSA in 2000 also decided to chart up the Denardian career. I don't like that the charts are all on a different Y scale so you can't really compare to each other until…
…arrrgghhhh 2012 Y R U no touchdowns!
Get yer head out of September. The Devin Gardening of the past few weeks has people thinking of 2013 things despite the 2012 things still being very much in play. Gordon put together a great list and discussion on the Big Ten's out-of-conference schedule for next year. Hurrah for the yellow and blue not starting against the Sabanic empire in Jerryworld and thus diminishing the excitement of the season right out of the gate. Somebody remind me to back-link this thing next August.
Hoops in Pittsburgh. I bumped ClearEyesFullHart's preview/obsessing over next week's basketball game at Pitt. And not just because I'm a sucker for Firefly references, even if I'm a hopeless sucker for Firefly references.
[JUMP for some epic weeklies and best of the board]
By Ace. From.
Sports doesn't exist for charity. It's about competition, tribal mechanisms, and betterment for the sake of itself. Fans follow teams for the identification, the camaraderie, and the thrill of what is essentially fake war by proxy, not to heal the sick, shelter the homeless, or feed the hungry. But on occasion, such things can be an ancillary benefit. From Martavious Odoms:
I want to thank the mgoblog community for allowing me to become part of something so special and helping us reach our goal for the garden project. The rewards took a little longer than we expected but we got them all ordered and as soon as we get the order back you will get your reward. (Side Note) I will be attending my first game in the BIG HOUSE 11-10-2012 I'm tired of watching the games from home and i'm ready to tailgate never got that chance to do it because i was always playing so i'm ready to experience that.
After graduating, Tae took the #EATING meme and made it real. Hope for Pahokee, his organization, had a kickstarter campaign to launch an urban gardening program. Every other day the board was hit up by another unsolicited reader reminding folks to contribute. They hit their mark, and now the Floridian swamp burg that a run-out-of-town coach raided for type players for his run-out-of-town systems will have a little Michigan garden right in the center of town. Sports isn't supposed to be about bringing together such disparate places as Ann Arbor, MI, and Pahokee, FL. But then we can all get behind #EATING.
Don't Miss These:
The 10-Year War by Proxy. I'm pretty sure k.o.k. Law is an older guy. For one he pasted his diary from Word in 16-point font Arial (now fixed). Two, most of the article is written in short, one-sentence paragraphs. And three, he has memories from The Game in 1967:
That was back in the days when you could rake up the leaves, pile them on the driveway, and burn them. Even in the suburbs.
And only one or two UM games were televised each year, so, tend the burning leaves and listen on the radio.
Thus began kokLaw's love affair with Michigan. I put the quote about the radio above because even 20 years later, when my generation were first becoming fans, a lot of those games weren't broadcast. So for most of Michigan history, a lot of people got the details of the game by hearing it recollected in a stream of consciousness just like this diary.
Early Al's Southpaw Slinger. Turned up by markusr2007 is a short diary on the career of an early Borges quarterback at Portland State. There's a highlight video in there from when PSU (NTPSU) played Boise State on the blue turf you should watch. You'll recognize the pre-snap motion right away, but the speed with which the Flutie-armed John Charles got the pass out is utterly jarring for those of us used to the typical two or three seconds Denard typically takes. I'm sure Borges has picked up a lot in the years since—or it could be a preview of what this thing is supposed to look like now…eventually…?
Inside the Box Score had one of his best this week, helped by some weirdness in the box score and a final score that didn't at all seem to match the feel of the thing we witnessed. Like losing 10 yards per kickoff and 10 yards per punt. And the names of some of the guys on Minnesota's team. Last year they had a guy named Shady Salamon. Just sayin'.
I'm told the sticker on the brim is to prevent stains from constant adjustment. Also to increase the douche factor.
If you've been following the FEI ranking along with Enjoy Life by now you're used to the swings. This time the offense improved to 47th from 56th while everything else held steady. It needs to score on somebody who doesn't give up much scoring if it wants to break that. Defense is 20th. DIABEETUS sums up my sentiments:
You know, I'm not sure I understand why FEI is useful when you predict against it (correctly) almost every week.
EJ said he'll ask Fremeau about this…very much looking forward to the answer here.
And yes he did the turnovers too, which are now at –4 for the season. I liked it when he went over each one from the game and what it did to win probability. Or was that someone else who used to do that?
Best of the Board?
JMFR GIFFING (NSFW)
Linebacker who shoots inside a blocker when he's got contain: Crazy. Linebacker who maintains outside leverage and forces the play back to help: Awesome. Linebacker who treats blocker as minor irritant while cutting off two gaps of 8 yards to either side of him: Crazy Awesome. Courtesy of Ace. Don't open at work because it says fuck.
That was it at the top. Just lots of etc. here: Metrodome Memories, Lloyd Brady revealed on ESPN, a guy who's following the team Cato June's now coaching in the D.C. metro area, and a discussion on whether legalization of pot in some western states will be a recruiting advantage (it won't be and I'm not linking it). Scooter Vaughn is starting a headphones company.
Your Moment of Zen:
Can you guess what was wrong with Herb? Also the copyright to this at the end says "U.M.&M."
Of all the things to despise about the new divisions—like the MSU game being technically more important every year than Ohio State—at least let's admit there's one wonderful benefit: Michigan-Minnesota is back to every year.
The historians like this one because there were some major powers with some major players who went on or ended some major streaks back in the day. But with more than enough annual powers on the schedule these days, I kind of like having this one historically poignant yet presently non-stressful mid-year contest with the people who invented cooking the cheese inside the actual hamburger.
After yet another Hallow's Eve scare, a nice jug of hot cider and Minnesota's safeties are just the thing. Alas, it is not Jug Saturday yet, and there's some things from last week that we need to over again. Like what happens when you lose your 5-star quarterback?
DON'T MISS THESE:
You Get This One Chance. Why is it every time we've got like THE MAN under center, the minute he goes out it's terror central? Not just Denard against Nebraska but the crater when Mallett departed, or the black hole that formed when Henne's arm was removed from its socket against Oregon in 2007, or the feeling in the pit of your stomach when that Buckeye Steinbrenner bought off Drew Henson (right). Enter oakapple, who goes back through recent history to show how the uber recruit tends to both work out and scare off competition. Whyfore wast thou oppos'd to class, bygone son of Forcier?
He hits on some good questions—like the handling of Gardner. But if he looked back further, to the deep recruiting of the time after Bo, he might have seen a different magic.
Gameboy went back over Michigan's 2012 opponents past to pull up percentages for how much better our defense fared against them than their average opponents. Michigan got blown out by Alabama about exactly the same way everyone else did, and we beat UMass the same way everyone else beat on UMass. As for the rest, the defensive performances have one other outlier in Air Force (we did marginally better than Mountain West teams) and otherwise stand as "omigod that was a tough defense" in the memories of everyone else. I fixed his charts to make them more legible so the descriptions may be a bit off.
[After the jump, more spooky things]
Given the weak home schedule this year, I planned on creating a new feature on the site to detail my exploits in obtaining seats for every home game (by methods available to the hoi polloi) without ever paying a forced donation. Rule was I had to get two people into each game and sitting next to each other. Then I didn't bother for awhile because it would've been a lot of dividing by zero. To wit:
Air Force: I couldn't attend so I sent a correspondent, who then accepted a free ticket from somebody.
UMass: Offered one guy near the northeast entrance $10 each for his tickets and another guy interjected with two free ones.
Illinois: Family friend offered me a pair of his earlier in the week, then the day of the game both my designated game buddy (Misopogal) and the couple who owned the tickets decided it wasn't worth sitting in a rainstorm for this edition of Illinois, so I rolled solo with 4 tickets. I traded one to a student for his student ticket and 5 bucks 'cause the kid needed to get his buddy in, and sold the other two extras for $10 each outside the Stadium-Main entrance. I think I gave the student ticket away. Total: –$25.00
MSU: Bought two Row 11s from our new affiliate on Friday for $129 each plus $14 to have them FedEx'ed overnight (cheapest seat on Stubhub was $20 higher at the time even before their fees). Corner, but our endzone got most of the action.
Remaining home games are Iowa and Northwestern, and I'm at net $111. Guys, I think this is working.
DON'T MISS THESE:
The Thing About Purdue. In other useful though tardy things, the blogger formerly known as Blue Seoul (now ttifiblog) brought back the formerly weekly Game Wrap With Pics post for Purdue. Don't remember what that looks like? Like this:
…but bigger and legible and there's lots of them. Brian front-paged but those who went to see discovered some bad html. Now fixed; dig in. And welcome back, Diarist of the Week.
Denard Watch. As he climbs toward the big career marks, let's look back on some of the milestones already passed along this trail of hobbled safeties, heaving linebackers, flying shoes, sanctified endzones, flappitty laces, askew helmets, smile-curved mouthguards, and soaring dreads. Courtesy of jeepinben.
Kugler and some guys we're looking at. Everyone's looking for the next 2013 recruit with consensus 4 stars to start moving up boards, and Patrick Kugler's one of those dues. A couple of helpful readers got a scouting report on his recent game, plus those of three prospects.
[JUMP: Weeklies, Best of the Board, Waving things in front of Brian]
This is the kind of post Diarist of the Week was invented for: Ladies and gentlerines, I give you MSU's latest Narduzzi defense, as broken down by colin. If you missed it on the front page yesterday and when Ace linked to it, now is your chance.
The defense he describes is a version of the thing we faced from Ohio State and Virginia Tech last year, a run-sound Cover-4 scheme that is built to beat north-south spread offenses and 4 verts, and weakest against great edge rushers and outside receivers who will always win a 1-on-1 matchup. Short version: Michigan can move the ball by running over an overhyped Gholston, optioning off Marcus Rush, getting a hat on the playside linebacker, and Denard getting by Isaiah Lewis. It's a good defense.
It's also a good institution of higher learning, with a fantastic teaching school, one of the nation's best ag schools, and a packaging program that is not the joke you think that is. In this vein of non-sarcastic appreciation for our worthy in-state rival, turd ferguson offers this panegyric to their football program's unparalleled off-the-field accomplishments since Dantonio arrived:
Spartans are known to generously extend a hand to those in need. They’ve developed a prison-to-work program seen by many as a model for how to reduce to an absolute minimum the time between prison and work. Their athletic director moonlights as a volunteer career counselor and their football coach as a public speaking coach, offering their time even to supposed athletic rivals. When one of their neighbors could use help just stretching his neck, scratching his eye, massaging his arm, or bludgeoning his face, a Spartan is always there to assist.
Defensive Analysis. If you read just one comprehensive, detailed analysis of Michigan State's defense this week, read colin's. If you read two comprehensive, detailed analyses of Michigan State's defense this week, tune into the more personnel-oriented one by death by trident. Things you may have missed: Darqueze Dennard doesn't show on the stats but is the field and probably the better corner than Adams, and the man Ace called the "best linebacker in the conference" hasn't registered a sack, though he's done everything else. Weird he said that because Ace has Mauti and both Wisconsin guys.
Tea Leaves. Eye of the Tiger checks back in at the midline to see which Star Wars episode this season is turning out to be. So far Michigan has fought its most pivotal battle using Ewoks and a game in South Bend featuring plenty of LANDO! so we're definitely not in Eps IV or V. I submit we use the special editions to specify which games are lost:
- Empire Strikes Back, Special Edition: 12-2, win Rose Bowl. Do you remember the part at the beginning when the Wampa ice creature that haunted your childhood nightmares turned out to be a guy in a white bear suit? No you don't. Because Han is frozen in carbonite and could be anywhere in the galaxy and Luke has begun to consider the dark side, and Threepio hasn't said more than "Help, I think I'm melting" in 15 minutes.
- Return of the Jedi: Beat MSU and OSU, blow up Death Star, celebrate with teddy bears, then lose to Admiral Chip Kelly in a licensed fan fiction called Star Wars: The Pasadena Affair.
- Return of the Jedi, Special Edition: Lose Big Ten Championship to Wisconsin. Would be like defeating the Empire, and then having the ghost of Hayden Christianson show up claiming to be your dad.
- A New Hope, Special Edition: Still the epic you remember, but the beginning is now a disaster ruined by Stormtroopers riding dewbacks and a Jawa falling off a Paraceratherium, and ILM family members wandering around in Halloween costumes. Then there's Han shooting first. Along the way there's a point where Borges decides to use the "Han steps on Jabba" scene, and the result is depressingly worse than it should have been.
Advancystats: FEI says 45 points on Illinois just isn't trying hard enough. The defense had a moderate climb but Michigan dropped badly in offense and overall because those stats are now opponent-adjusted. Enjoy Life has some words for the numbers:
That said, WTF!!!
After a 45-0 drubbing of an admittedly weak Illinois team, FEI blasted the overall rating to #47 (from #24 last week) and pummeled the offense efficiency to #63 (from #40 last week). Defense efficiency improved to #27 (from #33 last week).
A Box Score's Gooey Insides: The carnage isn't as gruesome when reduced to statistics, but I still wouldn't recommend letting children under the age of 11 see the Illini's final passing totals.
Etc. Chris of Unborked Logic has brought back Moving Picture Pages. Whoever the mystery person is who gave their idea for this week's Blockhams should have had the socks turn out to be kind of sticky, and then show Denard losing his shoes right and left on TV.
[After LE JUMP, MGoHalloween costumes, free indoor club seats to two lucky readers, and tinfoil Sparty hats are for realz!]