Mike Lantry, 1972
It's been a while, so let's hop right in to the Diaries.
Shockingly, MCalibur had never been the Diarist of the Week [-type period -ed]... until now. I'll start with his chart-heavy "Judging Play Success" diary:
That chart breaks down the likelihood of achieving first down on a given series, given the down-and distance breakdowns. MCalibur is a lot better at explaining it than I am, so check out the diary for the full details. El Jeffe did some similar work focusing on 1st-down yardage.
MCalibur's other diaries in this time period are concerned with quarterback performance, how to measure it, how to predict improvement from one year to the next (and looking at a couple quarterbacks of note for next year). This all culminated with the outstanding "Dilithium Bloom," which discussed what we might be able to expect out of one Denard Xavier Robinson in the 2010 season:
The average player in this cohort went from being off-the-charts bad to exactly average; not only did the group get out of the hole,they caught up to the pack. In the prism categories [click through to the diary to understand this], about half of the players met or exceeded the 2nd Yr threshold for completion percentage, yard per attempt, and interception rate; the touchdown rate threshold was met or exceeded less often. IF HE STICKS, there is a good chance that Denard improves to a point where he’s as good this year as Tate Forcier was last year; if he sticks. That plus Dilithium. Anyone else have goose bumps?
For killin' it on a regular basis, MCalibur, you are this edition's Featured Diarist.
Six Zero continued MGoProfiling members of the community, starting with Magnus in Volume 7:
I've been on and coached some teams with all kinds of talent but poor leadership, and the results have been less than satisfactory. I learn way more about a kid by how he practices, how he treats his teammates, how he responds to coaching, and how he reacts to pressure than seeing him in class every day.
I think Wangler to Carter from Homecoming 1979 is probably the most iconic video clip of Michigan football. I was born 4 months after that game was played so I obviously have no personal memories of it. But the video speaks for itself. One last play, Carter dancing into the end zone, the crowd going insane, Bo jumping up and down, Bob Ufer screaming, “Oh my GOD!!! Carter scored!!!” and Lee Corso having a stroke on the Indiana sideline. There is nothing that is not perfect about that clip.
Volume 9 was an interview with newshound extraordinaire MGoShoe:
I consume all things Michigan so I’m always on the lookout for a good story in the MSM or one of the many fine Michigan sports blogs. There are a ton of guys doing a heck of a job giving us insights into Michigan sports that just weren’t available even a few years ago. I pick the most interesting and relevant things and mine them for repackaging on mgoblog.com.
Blue in South Bend broke down what it's like to reside in enemy territory:
I lived in East Lansing a little over 3 years after I graduated from Michigan in '05, and the Irish are far more hospitable than the Spartans. To a certain extent, I think it reflects the different complexes of the two fan bases. Where the Sparties evince an inferiority complex that would make Canada blush, the locals are more worried about how to defend their next National Championship.
BlazeFire was featured in Volume 11:
Biakabutuka was Michigan right about the time I truly started developing an interest in following Michigan in earnest, and not just on Saturdays during the season. That, and to this day, my mom still laughs saying his name.’
...and Volume 12 was an interview with yours truly:
My favorite press conference answer came from Denard Robinson, when a reporter asked him following the Eastern Michigan game if he really liked running into the South endzone (he scored going that way in the Western game too, as you may recall). His response?: "I think I scored one going this way, too [points North]." If he can live up to his tremendous physical potential, there's a good chance that he goes down in Michigan fan lore as well.
Yes, I included that portion of the interview just because I love that quote so freakin' much.
The Mathlete's frontpaged diary takes a look at good offenses, and how close Michigan is to being there. The moneyshot:
It looks like framework of what Rodriguez wants to do is in place after two rough years, but the execution is still behind his days at West Virginia. The offensive line now has two years in the system and for the first time there is a quarterback (in fact two!) who have both experience and talent. As I noted in a previous diary, a jump from average in 2009 to good in 2010 is certainly a good possibility and with a break or two and improved quarterback play, it could go from average to great.
There are charts and much more analysis, so be sure to check it out.
Expansion and the alignment of a 12-team Big Ten were huge topics over the month of June (and into July). Texas was still an option early in the month, as oakapple pointed out, and MGauxBleu said that Notre Dame's hand could be forced by Pac-10 and Big Ten threats. Hail-Storm looked at a few options for a 12-16 team conference, and stubob examined the differences in travel distance for several options.
After expansion shook out with just Nebraska joining the Big Ten, a number of people took a look at the Huskers while others tried their hands at picking division alignments in the conference. Wolverbean studied Nebraska's record against Big Ten teams, backusduo examined why they defected to the Big Ten, and M-dog told them who to hate in their new conference. stubob previewed the Huskers for Michigan fans unfamiliar with their new conference foe.
In Alignment Central, kb9704 looked at a 4-division setup, and a North-South split, before finally settling on an East-West split that he likes. oakapple (who also argued against a 9th conference game) and MaizeAndBlueWahoo looked at the importance of various conference rivalries in order to come up with some divisional suggestions. formerlyanonymous proposed pod-based divisions, Misopogon looked at divisions AND scheduling, and UMFootballCrazy insisted that geography would reign supreme in forming divisions.
lfj75 looks at how UConn performed against spread offenses last year. The verdict... not so good:
From this I conclude: yeah, UConn kind of stinks against the pass no matter what offensive scheme they're up against. But they really struggle to stop the run against teams that run from spread formations. Spread teams averaged 65 more yards per game on six fewer carries against UConn than did their old timey non-spread counterparts. That turns out to be over 2 and ½ more yards per carry on average.
That's an encouraging sign for September 4th, but the Huskies have all summer to prepare for the Spread 'n' Shred.
MGoShoe is trying to make a run at Featured Diarist for the next edition of this series, posting a number of newsbits in the diaries, including breakdowns of the Leaders and Best in 50 States series going on over at MGoBlue, the Alumni Association's upcoming behind the scenes tours of the Big House, the upcoming coverage of Big Ten Media Days (on top of what I'll be providing here, of course), the Summer Hockey Showcase, and a pair of Michigan Rowers taking home a gold medal. He also brought our attention to the fantastic 2010 schedule images available over at Spawn of MZone (Darryl Stonum pictured below).
PhillipFulmersPants looks at how Michigan's decommitments and transfers from the Classes of 2005-09 performed at their new homes this year (allow me to shamelessly plug my series on Varsity Blue last summer about some of these gentlemen). Justin Boren, Marquis Maze, Ryan Mallett, and DeQuinta Jones seem to be the biggest losses for the Wolverines.
Misopogon gave his argument for Detroit as The Ultimate Sporting City. Blazefire compares Rich Rodriguez to... John D. Rockefeller? THE_KNOWLEDGE returned to say exactly nothing. Irish filled us in on Notre Dame's personnel. JLo looks at whether student-athletes should be paid. Brhino looks at Big Ten home field advantage. HartFan explains why this is an important year for RichRod (besides "duh"). PhillipFulmersPants looks at the personnel for Big Ten passing attacks. Lordfoul gave a Father's Day ode to his dad for instilling Michigan fandom in him. Geaux_Blue shares a few photos of the stadium tours a couple weeks back.
airvipermb looked at USC's scholarship numbers, while Fearless Leader looked at all the Trojans who could transfer without penalty. It looks like those guys probably won't end up being relevant to Michigan.
Some of this stuff has been linked by Brian on the frontpage (or in a select few instances, frontpaged in whole), so it may look familiar. If you're interested in being featured in this space, start by coming up with a good idea and writing a diary.
We'll start off on a lighter note, with TATEisGREATyo's image "The Adventures of Denard" (seen at right). I'm not sure what it is about the Michigasn fanbase that makes us so MSPaint-centric.
Resident graphic designer Six Zero shows he's not a one-trick pony, and flexes his interviewing muscles for the MGoProfile feature. First up was TomVH:
What is the one thing you'd like us to know about your work with the recruits?
I'm not sure if there's anything that is important to know. A lot of people ask me how/why I got into this. This all really started because I took a well paying job out of college that I eventually hated, and realized that money wasn't going to keep me interested, or happy.
Growing up, I always thought that sports could be a job, and somewhere along the way, got away from that. I took a step back, and put together a plan that could get me towards a specific goal that I wanted. I thought about what niche I would be able to fit in that would play into my strengths, and this seemed to be a good place to start. I'm sure everyone can tell that I'm not as gifted with the pen (or keyboard) as Brian, Tim, and a lot of the MGoCommunity.
Next came resident baseball (and volleyball?) expert formerly anonymous:
You probably post more content second to only Brian himself. How did you get involved with MGoBlog?
...I actually started the blogging thing with Maizenbrew. I covered the Big Ten Tournament two years ago in pretty solid depth, and had a volleyball post or two as well, just nothing consistent. In the spring of last year, I started my previews at Maizenbrew, but was then picked up by Varsity Blue. Paul and I go back a few years, and they thought it would help give them content during the long, dreary off season. That's when my content started gettting a bit more in depth.
MGoMerger would happen over last summer, and that brought me to MGoBlog as a contributor.
Volume 3 featured Misopogon, scribe of the impeccable "Decimated Defense" opus (about which more later):
How long does it take you to put one of these posts together, especially with all the recent updated graphs and even Photoshop and/or Godfather work?
It totally depends on the content. With something that takes statisticating, like DDII and DDIII, it usually starts with me goofing around making spreadsheets. There's plenty of spreadsheets I've made while screwing around that never make it to a Diary. Eventually, one hits a critical mass of information usefulness, and I go to Misopogal to hash out a rhetorical theme to attach to it...
The actual writing of the diary usually comes much later. With this most recent one, the spreadsheet was something I had been playing around with since the week before signing day. The last changes were made over a week ago. Once I get going, it's hard for me to stop...
The amount of time that goes into making them has been growing because I feel like I've established a ridiculous level of quality with the previous diaries, and want to maintain that level.
How does a typical Shredder piece evolve from an idea to a front page bump?
Most of my ideas just come from pop culture. I just try and think how I can blend some sort of pop culture with what’s going on at Michigan. I always just make a quick scribble of it on paper or if I have my laptop I’ll do a quick “sketch” in MS paint... However, there are many things I have MS painted that don’t make it to the board, and they usually just stay on my laptop or get uploaded to Midnight Maize only. I felt the jerseys were a Midnight Maize only post and then I figured what the hell. So you just never know what people will respond to. Some people might love something I find not that great and vice versa.
Previous Featured Diarist The Mathlete came up next:
I’ve always been impressed not only by your talent for gathering and analyzing large amounts of information, but also your ability to present it in a way that the common reader can understand. Is that a challenge? Or, should I say, how much do you hold back to keep it accessible for the masses?
My goal is to provide something that is as accessible as traditional stats but more valuable. Sometimes it’s difficult to bring it around, but I am still approaching it all
as a football fan first.
So you admit to being a gambling man... So then, what’s your secret? Any leads you want to share with us going into next season?
Of course, I'll admit to being a gambling man. I just admitted to running numbers, smoking pot and hanging out with hookers. So, yeah, I am also a gambling man...
Excellent work, and very interesting who are interested in the MGoBlog community, and not just the posts that make it to the front page. For that, Six Zero, you are the diarist of the... month.
The Women’s Water Polo team earned a sixth place finish at the NCAA tournament. The team opened with a 12-8 loss to California, then defeated Pomona-Pitzer 11-3 before falling to UCLA 9-6 in the fifth place game.
The Men’s Tennis team fell to Ohio State 4-1 in the second round of the NCAA Championships.
Going all meta- in his two-post series, Coach Schiano looks at the sheer volume of content posted over the existence of MGoBlog. Here it is, visualized in articles per week:
In part 2, he looks at which words have been used the most often.
And we conclude with some word counts that we noticed "coincidentally" ended up at the same frequency. Or did they?????
64 lansing 64 oops
123 hopson 123 mistakes
128 harbaugh 128 mom 128 penetration
These results probably mean nothing. But if true about Harbaugh, it may be a more difficult road for him to climb if he wants to coach here someday. Just sayin'.
Excellent work, from a "blog-as-subject-matter" perspective.
If you're looking to dispel the notion that scrambling QBs get injured more often than pocket passers, look no further than MCalibur's diary. The money graph:
For an explanation of it, and the conclusion (cliff notes version: there isn't enough data to support a correlation in any direction), head to the diary.
The Mathlete continues his streak of killin' it in the diaries, including an analysis of whether teams are more efficient passing or running, and the implications it has for their play calling. Quoting a portion wouldn't do it justice, so just go read the whole thing. He also looked at the overall effect of sacks and interceptions on offensive and defensive performance, frontpaged earlier today.
Tom From AA hopped around town with his camera earlier this week, and brings back some pictures of construction around campus, including Michigan Stadium, the Player Development Center for basketball, and even North Quad:
There are a ton of pictures in his post (in easily-consumable lightbox form), so be sure to check it out.
BlazeFire laments the decline of local media coverage (and homerism) as the climate shifts to a more ESPN-centric layout. UMdad encourages positive fandom, because please, think of the children. Kman23 talks about the NFL implications of running a shotgun-based offense. wildbackdunesman says that not only are the stereotypes of the Big Ten being behind the times untrue, but the opposite is the case. wolfman81 talks reasons for optimism next year. Drill says "Hello" to that other Chris Rock. jonny_GoBlue pleads for M fans to not use the term "Big Blue" (a cause I can certainly agree with).
The final couple posts I won't quote because they both made it onto the front page, but Misopogon's Godfather-themed conclusion to the "Decimated Defense" is easily the single-best diary I've seen on MGoBlog (it features a UFR and a THE KNOWLEDGE. reference... at the same time!). Following up with his excellent production, The Mathlete's special teams exploration and look at fourth down also reached page one, along with his post exploring whether we should expect more offensive improvement from the Wolverines in 2010. He doesn't get to win the "Best Diarist" Award, because it would be unfair for him to stockpile all of them.
It's been a while since this feature has made an appearance, but with a recent boom in good diaries, it's time to dust off the cobwebs and bring you the best in user-generated content. Write a good diary and you, too, can have your time in the spotlight!
A lot of diaries of late have been Lacrosse (me), Baseball (formerlyanonymous), or Recruiting (Tom/me) -related, but there's been some good user-generated content, as well. Though we haven't seen this feature since December, I'll restrict entries to the end of basketball season. I'm leaving 16-team Big Ten proposals alone for now, as Brian will probably bring them up later.
The Mathlete brought it strong over the past few weeks, including a look at which NCAA football teams have been the most and least lucky over the past two years. How did he define luck?
To try and answer these questions, I took my team PPG values for the full 2009 season and then “re-played” the regular season schedule to see how the season would play out if the teams played at that consistent level and the fluky plays were eliminated. All first half plays and any in the second half with the game within 2 touchdowns were included. Interceptions are included, fumbles are not. Standard special teams plays are included, punt blocks, on-sides kicks etc. are not.
Unsurprisingly, Michigan hasn't been so lucky either of the past two years:
Northwestern has been the luckiest team in the nation two years running, so they may be in for a rude awakening sometime soon. MCalibur's lengthy diary presumably covers something similar (win expectations), but is more notable for how pretty its charts are.
Here offensive YPG is charted against defensive YPG. The horrible dot at the bottom is '08; the horrible dot to the right is '09. You can see how far from respectable Michigan was in '08 and the sizeable improvement last year, albeit not enough of one to expect a bowl game.
The Mathlete then delved into the importance of personnel, starting with the cumbersomely-titled post exploring the value of returning starters to a football team's success. Surprisingly, as long as your team wasn't among the bottom 20% in the country of returning starts at some key positions, returning experience isn't that big of a deal:
Returning starts don't matter as much as people think. The way they are most likely to affect a team is if you have very few. A whole host of returners isn't necessarily more valuable than a solid group. Just don't be stuck at the bottom, even a low ranking in a single position group can be worth a game or two.
So Michigan is losing its best three defenders, which bodes ill for the 2010 season, right? Not So Fast My Friend, as The Mathlete continued to outdo himself, crunching the numbers to reveal who were Michigan's top defensive players last year. Ryan Van Bergen comes in at a surprising #3, with Brandon Graham, in a shocker, the runaway leader with an adjusted score of 27.4. Donovan Warren's 8.7 was second.
The only positive performers who are returning are Van Bergen, Jonas Mouton, Mike Martin, and Obi Ezeh. Jordan Kovacs, Craig Roh, and Mike Leach were only slightly in the negative, all right around average nationally for their positions. The conclusion:
The most glaring point for me is that Michigan’s top linebacker, Mouton, barely makes the top 150 linebackers nationally in production. If Michigan’s defense is going to turn things around there is going to have be some new playmakers step up and there has to be more production from the linebackers.
The Mathlete, for your research-laden diaries (and the charts, OH, the charts!), you are The Diarist of the... er... Spring!
Inspired by the recent changes to NFL overtime rules, ecormany proposes a few tweaks to the NCAA's overtime system. Among his ideas: reincorporate the punting game and give teams only two minutes to complete each possession in an overtime period.
In Can The Heat Be Beat?, Elno Lewis looks at the ever-growing dominance of so-called "warm weather teams" in winning football national titles. The results are striking:
Warm Weather Teams Winning Championships
1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 40.6% 47.5% 53.1% 53.8% 62.1% 68.4% 70.0%
It looks like the trend is still upward for warm-weather teams. Can northern squads like Michigan try to buck the trend? Follow-up question: can an infusion of Florida talent negate the trend? I'd be interested to see someone expand on Elno's research.
wildbackdunesman compares the respective CCHA coaching careers of Ron Mason and Red Berenson, and proposes a name-change of the CCHA Tournament trophy to the Mason-Berenson Cup. Red is comparable to Mason in every category of measuring success, and there's certainly a compelling argument to be made. It seems the only serious advantage Mason has is being the coach of more CCHA teams (Lake State, Bowling Green, and Michigan State, as compared to only Michigan for Red) and coaching longer than Berenson has so far.
With the NFL Draft coming up, Mat takes a look at whether Donovan Warren made the right choice in leaving Michigan a year early for the Big Leagues. The criteria to consider:
The potential gains for returning for one more year are:
- Another year of college life / experience
- Potential improved draft stock
...and the verdict:
Warren didn't make a mistake. Most guys who are drafted are not making a mistake when they turn pro. The decision is the correct one when all the costs and benefits are factored in for most. The decision is only a mistake is if you’re immediately cut and never earn a penny as a pro football player or are really enjoying life as a collegiate athlete and will miss it more than you’ll appreciate the money you’ll earn as a pro.
The reasoning behind this conclusion seems pretty sound, yet it inspired tons of debate in the comments. Both supporters and detractors of the premise raised a bunch of interesting points about Warren's draft stock, and how it affects their view of his decision.
mfan_in_ohio declares the Michigan fanbase's independence from Angry Michigan BLANK Hating God. The preamble proceeds thusly:
When in the course of sporting events it becomes necessary for fans to dissolve the bands which have connected them with another, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
...but the money quotes come in the airing of grievances.
Misopogon determines whether the three new NCAA football rules have an effect on Michigan. The verdicts? Wedge blocking ban: Help. Taunting rule: Hurt. Eyeblack message ban: Neutral. Click through to find out his reasoning.
Bust out the cigarettes and Fedoras, as BlueSeoul gives us a glimpse into the noir-style meeting between Jim Delaney and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick's about the Irish joining the Big Ten. Plus he has to apologize at the end for getting to Star Wars-y.
An actual historical diary from Alaska Hokie shares the story of former Michigan quarterback James Miller.
WALLA WALLA, March 19.—James Miller, the famous quarterback of the Michigan team last year, who has been missing from his home for several months, was located in this city yesterday working as a laborer. His mind is a total blank and he is quite unable to recognize his friends. He was elected to the captaincy of the Wolverine team for next season.
Sounds like something out of the twilight zone (or at least the front page of MVictors). There's debate over whether his amnesia was a medical issue or a clever ruse to cover up for some personal issues.
Defense + - Graham 6 0 RVB 1 0 Herron 0 1 Heniger 0 1 Kovacs 2 2 Roh 1 2 Brown 1 2 Warren 3 0 Martin 1 0 Mouton 4 2 Leach 2 1 total 21 11
Denard Robinson was 1/1 with the pass being deemed "catchable," but Tate Forcier had a slightly rougher day.
On the basketball side of things, Champswest tries to figure out where Michigan's scoring will come from next year. Uh, Stu Douglass and Evan Smotrycz, apparently. I guess more balanced scoring is a good thing?
Etc.: Nantucket Blue, seemingly apropos of nothing, rips on Michigan State in Our Colors Don't Mix. In other Michigan State-related diaries, MGoData looks at the Google habits of East Lansing residents (seriously). Kman23 brainstorms ways to get Michigan's best receivers on the field at the same time. Jeff gives props to the streaking Women's Tennis team. Laveraneus looks at combined win/loss records for football and basketball across various schools and conference. MGlobules tries to round up some UConn spring game recaps. backusduo pre-previews EA's NCAA Football 2011.
Why hello, this feature, it's been a while since we've seen you! Let's round up some of the best in recent user-created content!
If Donovan Warren is leaning towards the NFL Draft, umhero breaks down the possibilities in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that would be most likely to convince him to come back.
As Michigan fans, we should hope that a new long-term agreement is reached before the draft. We should also hope that it includes salary slotting so that Donovan will be motivated to return to improve his draft stock.
So, you have your rooting interest all set up, if you're into rooting about bureaucratic policy changes in the NFL.
If you pay attention to the recruiting coverage 'round these parts, you know that there's some confusion as to whether Michigan can backdate 3 January enrollees to the 2009 class, in order to get the recruiting class up to 28 members come Signing Day. umhero tried to provide some clarity by analyzing the NCAA rulebook:
Does a player who enrolls in January count as part of the prior year's recruiting class or the current recruiting class?
22.214.171.124.2 Recruited Student-Athlete Entering after Fall Term, Aided in First Year. [FBS/FCS] A student-athlete recruited by the awarding institution who enters after the first term of the academic year and immediately receives institutional financial aid (based in any degree on athletics ability) shall be an initial counter for either the current academic year (if the institution’s annual limit has not been reached) or the next academic year. The student-athlete shall be included in the institution’s total counter limit during the academic year in which the aid was first received.
Based on the information I could find, it seems to me that the rule regarding applying scholarships to the previous season hasn't changed. Therefore, Michigan can exceed the 25 scholarship limit assuming they didn't have a full class of 25 last year and they don't exceed the 85 player cap.
His findings seem to be that Michigan can still oversign by 3 scholarships, unless there has been a change in Big Ten policies. All that remains to be discovered is whether such a conference rule change occurred. [Editor's note: UM compliance, for one, believes it has.] Assuming the limit is down to 25, airvipermb breaks down the possibilities for the last few slots.
With 2 super-useful diaries since last we rounded them up, umhero is the diarist of the
week since last Dear Diary.
Under Lloyd Carr, Michigan seemed to have a 1,000+ yard receiver each season (Be it David Terrell, Braylon Edwards, Mario Manningham, etc.). Rich Rodriguez's Michigan teams haven't accomplished that feat yet in their first two years, and markusr2007 looks at whether Wolverine receivers will have the opportunity to reach that benchmark again.
At WVU RR didn't get a 1,000 yard receiver until year 3, when QB Rasheed Marshall was in his 2nd year at QB:
WR Chris Henry, WVU, 1,006 yrds, 10 TDs (2003)
Rodriguez never had another 1,000+ receiver since 2003, though Chris Henry game close again in 2004 (872 yrds, 12 TDs) and so did Darius Reynaud back in 2007 (735 yds, 12 TDs)....
If there is a candidate for achieving the 1,000 yard mark in 2010 would have to be Roundtree, because in just 5 games he has as many receptions (23) as Greg Mathews, more yardage than any other receiver and more TD catches (3). Roundtree doesn't have blazing speed, but he's been an excellent possession receiver and his YPC are impressive for a RS freshman.
Roundtree and Forcier did seem to find a groove together once Roundtree worked his way into the starting lineup, so Roy is probably the best hope, at least in the near future.
Ohio State week brought us a bunch of good diaries, both analytical and literary. Though we know how The Game turned out, it doesn't lessen the impact of Coach Schiano's call for faith:
One play can kill. These "one plays" have combined to kill this season, turn a fall full of hope and promise of a new and better Michigan into a winter of concern, dismay, and even enmity, filled with worries about who we are and where we are headed.
But one play can birth something too. An extra cut on a kickoff return that transforms a typical 10-yarder into a game-changing touchdown. A block that breaks the running back free to rampage through the secondary. A tackle that saves a touchdown. A kick that sneaks inside the post instead of bouncing off of it. A pass not an inch too high or an inch too low, and thus a first down and not an interception. One play can do all that.
Undefeated Dream Season 1992 breaks down the various groups that, for some reason or another, align themselves against Rich Rodriguez:
The Just Win, Baby
The Devout Nostalgic
The Football Hater
The Media Elite
'I Wanted a Different Coach'
The Vengeful West Virginia Hillbilly
Check out the post itself for the descriptions of each of these groups.
And of course, at season's end, we get a lot of posts breaking down why the team might be better in the coming years, as well as a scary John L. Smith comparison for the 2009 team. Also, at the risk of depressing the MGoCommunity, the statistical breakdown of the OSU game. For those dismayed about the number of Ohio State fans in Michigan Stadium a couple Saturdays ago, there may be an explanation that doesn't implicate Wolverine fans.
This is off-topic, but it's on a subject matter that I'm very interested in, so check out willywill9's trip report to a different college football atmosphere, this time the "Clean, Old-fashioned Hate" game between Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Rounding up the week's best in user-created content.
A little off the wall choice for the diarist of the week. Captain Obvious writes an awesome set of lyrics about the state of Michigan's football team:
It's a punt block when it's already too late
It's a no-punting sign on your Space Emperor's leg
It's like ten thousand Slots when you need is a MIKE
It's meeting the Center of my dreams
And then meeting his shredded up knee
And isn't it ironic... don't you think
A little too ironic... and yeah I really do think...
It's like rain on Homecoming Day
It's a blown punt when you've already faked
It's the three points that you just couldn't take
Who would've thought ... it figures
Congratulations, Captain Obvious, you are the Diarist of the Week.
michelin looks at similarities between the overall trajectories of the Notre Dame and Michigan football programs.
The promising thing is that, unlike ND, UM has more, not less, starters coming back for the next two years. Clearly, it’s way too early to tell—as Brian has intimated today—but I can't help worrying that we might end up like ND if we keep getting rid of coaches before they can build their program.
I think at this point, there's no (rational) fan calling for Rich Rodriguez to be fired at least until the end of next year, so this overall worry may not be an issue. I still recommend clicking through because lolnd.
On a similar note, Brady2Terrell looks at the 47 coaches who have started their Big Ten coaching careers with 2 consecutive losing seasons:
*5 (10.6%) have won even a single Big Ten title;
*5 (10.6%) have finished their tenure with even a winning record;
*2 (4.3%) have won at least one Big Ten title AND finished with a winning record; and
*0 have won national titles.
The numbers aren't pretty, but there's still hope ahead for Michigan fans. Like he says, it's not that we're screwed, it's that we're in uncharted territory here. A positive comparison would likely require winning one or both of the last two games. Hey, then Rich can be like... Jackie Sherrill?
TAMU was 5-5 going into its final game at Texas, which was playing for the SWC Title. TAMU blew out the Horns in Austin, something like 38-12, sending the Horns to one of those nondefunct bowls. The 6-5 record wasn't good enough for a bowl game in those days (unless you were ND or UM) so TAMU stayed home but the win in Austin took all of the heat off of Sherrill.
TAMU went on to win 3 consecutive SWC titles in 85-86-87 and beat Texas each year. Sherrill had finally "arrived" at a school where Football is king over the other sports.
Let's hear it for positivity!
The week started off with some seriously emo posts following the Purdue loss. Geaux_Blue said:
I guess why I made this diary is simple. For those of us All In, the road is narrow and uphill. The likelihood is 5-7 and the off-season is going to be months of looking at checkbooks and wondering "why did I spend $50 to drink at the bar and watch non-Siller shred us in November." This is difficult and not even close to the experience of overcoming kneeshoulderelbowhead like Forcier or any player is facing. But the fanbase has its own wounds. And they're licked (that's what she said).
A rational take for the fanbase that continues to support Michigan.
Lordfoul sums up what we know coming out of the Purdue game. In condensed form:
- Michigan has the worst defense in the B10.
- The offense continues to improve.
- This confluence of probabilities is not favorable for the current coaching staff. Michigan is known for giving its coaches time and not being hasty in firings. That said this situation may not right itself in time to save Rich Rod and friends even given the extra slack.
- I would put it at at least improbable that we will win either of our last two games this season.
- Danny Hope is an asshole.
I disagree with point #3. Dude, there's no way Rich gets fired after two years, and a (highly likely) bowl game is probably enough progress to save his hide for another year. He may get fired after that, but it wouldn't be because there wasn't enough time, it would be because he was given enough time and failed.
hekdchi looks at what has improved between year 1 and year 2 of the Rodriguez era:
This entry will list the raw numbers of Michigan's 2008 season versus the 2009 season thus far to demonstrate where the team has and has not improved in the Rich Rodriguez era.
Hint: offense good, defense bad. This is probably not terribly surprising to anyone. Of note is that the defense is giving up fewer points than last year, and has improved in a couple other categories (though slightly). Expanding on that idea is clarkiefromcanada, who takes umbrage with the use of the term "regression":
Like all of you I am totally frustrated with how this is working out this year; however, I am sick and tired of the naysayers, trolls and newbie idiots posting the exact same material on "regression".
Amen. Especially since it's totally fair to expect a defense that lost half of its starters will get a little worse. Speaking of losing all those starters, Misopogon gives a handy graphical representation of his stellar "Decimated Defense" series. There are kittens involved. Jokewood also shows that even the sheer numbers, especially of upperclassmen, are a sign that Michigan isn't going to be a great defense:
The rest of the Big Ten averages 50% more upperclassmen on defense. We are dead last in the conference by a wide margin in terms of experienced defensive players. Purdue and Notre Dame - the two teams closest in terms of youth - also have terrible defenses, against which Michigan averaged 35 ppg this year.
It may be a while before the numbers are worked out, too.
Steve Sharik's awesome X-and-O post was frontpaged; you're probably familiar with it.
Familiarize yourselves with the veer, fools.
Etc.: Wolverine in Exile runs down the BCS rankings. 909Dewey talks about expectations for Rich Rodriguez coming in, how they've shifted, and how he's living up to them. stubob previews the ugly games of the week. The Mathlete looks at the Purdue game by the numbers. I recommend you stop reading before you get to pass defense. The man... the myth... THE_KNOWLEDGE predicts coaching changes.
Rounding up the week's best in user-created content. There's so much good stuff around here that this should become a weekly feature.
[Editor's note: that is the plan for the rest of the season; if/when diaries start to fall off we might make it biweekly.]
Any discussion of excellent diaries from the past week has to begin with Misopogon's 2-parter, "The Decimated Defense" (part 2).
Part one discusses the number of recruits and the amount of attrition from Michigan defensive recruiting classes over the last five years:
- Small defensive class size seems to more culpable than attrition for the defense's depth issues.
- Very, very little of the overall attrition on defense seems to be related to the coaching change.
- The disastrous Class of 2005 is still leaving ripples through Michigan's program. If you discount the erstwhile 5th year seniors and true freshmen, our attrition rate is still like 1 out of 3, which is bad, but not as ludicrously bad-looking at you see here.
- RR's focus on offense in his limited time in 2008 may have resulted in a class just as disastrous.
- The English-to-Shafer-to-GERG shift is probably somewhat at fault for many of these players' seemingly retarded development (particularly the linebackers)
Part Two compares the findings of part one to a number of teams in Michigan's cohort, and it has a lot of awesome graphs like this one:
Michigan Alabama Notre Dame Ohio State Penn State 2005 4 3 0 6 3 2006 6 5 2 6 8 2007 4 8 4 8 6 2008 7 15 10 6 4 2009 5 10 4 9 4 4-Star+ 26 41 20 35 25
It even includes a call to action for you, prospective diarist!:
I posted a copy of the Excel spreadsheet above. I would love it if someone would add more teams to the study, or qualify the recruits by creating a new category for later-career ranking. In that, I mean find some way to reassess each player based on his performance thus far against what we should expect from a player of any given Rivals Rating. I'd like to see how Michigan stacked up in picking up guys who would come above versus below expectations.
Misopogon, you are The Diarist of the Week.
CollegeFootball13 does some additional analysis of Michigan's recruiting and attrition over the past few years. You may recognize MCalibur's diary from being bumped to the front page earlier in the week. Don't be scared by the Picasso at the beginning, there's a statistical analysis of offensive improvement in there, as well.
Elsewhere in graph-heavy diaries, Enjoy Life looks at whether Michigan's ongoing turnover woes are a result of the spread option system that Rich Rodriguez runs. He concludes that Michigan's turnover problems aren't because of the system based on RichRod's past at WVU. He is supported with a little less analysis by bouje:
He didn't forget how to coach, turnovers were never an incredible problem under RR at WV, so what is the problem here? I don't really know but I have the confidence in RR to know that he will sort it out.
HOWEVA, PeterKilma thinks that maybe Rich's style of coaching may not be the most effective for all types of kids, and that could be the problem.
The Mathlete gave his stats-based preview of the Illinois game, then followed up with a recap. These things are not at all alike, of course, because WTF Illinois? I think the whole thing can be summed up by one line:
WOW. This was really bad, worse than I expected even.
The emotional counterpart to that is provided Seth9, who is really, really sad for the sake of sports in the state of Michigan:
Now, as I write this at 1:30 in the morning after watching one of the most atrocious games I've ever seen out of a Michigan football team, I wonder why it is that we surrender our emotional well-being to these teams that so often disappoint us. I am still simultaneously depressed and angry about losing such an awful game to such an awful team and I know that this will persist for at least the rest of the week. And it's not as if this situation, this streak of disappointing performances, is unusual. Our teams will generally disappoint us, because we will always hope that our teams will do better than what we can reasonably expect from them. So why is it that we let ourselves care so much? Why do we look to something as inconsequential as the result of a football game as a source of elation or despair?
jamiemac, ever the reasonable one (except when he bets on Michigan to cover against Illinois), strikes out against the more vocally stupid members of the fanbase:
Those critics must be RIGHT becasue their OUTRAGE is LOUD and ANGRY and this is UNACCEPTABLE and they WONT TAKE THIS ANYMORE because this is not MICHIGAN FOOTBALL.
Well, I have two words for those hyperbolic reactionaries today.
Oh, and another sentence.
Go cheer for another team for awhile.
joeyb breaks down some Picture Pages, and determines that the quarterback who is best with his ballfakes will eventually be Michigan's starter. Using Juice Williams's ninja-osity, and BJ Daniels/Jeremiah Masoli's similar abilities, selling the fake is deemed most important to running the read-option.
Etc.: oakapple reminds up that Rodriguez won't be fired until at least 2011 without major NCAA violations. stubob runs down the worst games this weekend. dmccoy reminds us to keep our expectations in line with where they were in the summer.