Got a bunch of events and site business to go over today:
See you in this: We FINALLY got the J-Mo one done and approved and for sale:
— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) July 31, 2015
You have no idea how many conversations can be had about a bracketed 's'. Take the biggest number you could think of, then think of more. In two years we should finally have approval on the Harbaugh Pyramid of Greatness, by which time all of humanity will have weighed in on whether parentheticals are necessary.
See you Friday: We're going to be at Literati at 7 this Friday, doing whatever they do at book readings except this one we talk about Michigan football. But you can totally omit that last bit and sound cultured to your Ann Arbor friends when you say you want to be at this book reading downtown. If they press, it's the story of a lonely and misunderstood middle aged man who returns to his hometown from years of rule by a company that didn't know how to use guards correctly.
Brian will see you in D.C.: Brian will be there next week, speaking at the alumni association's get-together on Tuesday, August 11. While we're on the capital's alumni association club, if you're going to the Maryland game, that will be the association's big annual away tailgate.
See you for homecoming. We've been invited to the big homecoming tailgate with the alumni association, noon to 3:30 before the Northwestern game (10/10). We talked it over and decided not to ever get company polos for it, but we do have plans to wear snarky t-shirts. And to put Brian on stage. You'll find David and me over by the TVs since there are at least three noon Big Ten games.
Football on the decline? Is this a stupid question?
I didn't open any of the threads where this popped up this week (I think somebody had a poll), but BlueBlood2991 was recovering from surgery so he tried to answer it by comparing population shifts and economic changes to high school football participation.
There is of course some correlation, but he explains population shift as the primary factor behind huge leaps in football participation in Georgia and North Carolina. This could be a fallacy: Ad hoc, ergo propter hoc. It could be an effect of money moving into new-build suburban communities, and parents using sports to put their kids in social situations, or the kids using sports to prove their worth to their new schoolmates. Football interest is hard to show in participation except over longer than a decade periods. But who's participating is interesting:
Again, correlation does not imply causation. Less educated families may be poorer, thus less able to afford sports, especially football which does get quite expensive even if your school provides most of the equipment (very few do).
Etc. Alum96 is on to M00N with his previews. MaizeJacket had a counterproposal to my "let's everyone join one conference then dictate terms" plan—I like his "Challenge" idea but like a lot of good ideas it won't happen because teams want to schedule as many games as possible way ahead of time.
Best of the Board:
They don't mention puking on the recruiting trips:
From a story by Bennie Joppru about practicing with Carr. This part comes after four puking sessions:
I went back to the dorms in south quad and started to pack my clothes. "I'm heading back home to Minnesota and I'll walk on and be a Gopher". I knew I couldn't walk out the front on the dorm with my clothes so I threw my bag out the 12 floor window and walk down the stairwell, avoiding the elevator. I got the first taxi I saw and said "take me to the bus station".
I got to the bus station only to find out I was 25 dollars short of a ticket. This was 1998 so CD's were as good as money then and I had plenty. I told the ticket guy if he gave me the 25 dollars I needed for a ticket he could have any 10 CD's he wanted.
Of course he picked all of my favorite CD's, but I had my ticket, no more puking I thought to myself.
Then a man tapped him on his shoulder. For those who don't know already, Joppru is basically what would happen if a blogger had football talent.
Back when they could still get away with selling me the opportunity to play as Denard without paying Denard, EA would make some minor tweak to its NCAA game, maybe add some stupid feature like emails from your mom or mascot teams, and basically sell you the updated roster pack as a new game every year.
Since they're still working out how to make this game while paying the people who make it so valuable, the internet has taken over and done a better job for free. The roster pack is basically going to be this year's game. I'll have a full post on it. All hail those of you who worked on it.
Preposterous Stolen Victories Over Northwestern Now Worth Half
|Not all 50/50s are created equal: @Maryland is looking like 60/40, BYU/Utah the opposite.|
Saturdayedge's annual Big Ten betting prospectus (it's free but only with an email signup – NOW with non-depressing cover!) came out last week. The writing is very cliché, and they seem to be too fixated on recruiting stars, but I always value the betters' perspectives because accuracy really is their prime motivation. That Michigan averaged 5.25 points under the spread (by far the worst in the conference) should come as no surprise, nor that the two rivals, even at home, are the two near-guaranteed losses.
This is something I haven't seen in a Michigan preview in a long time:
Strength – The Running Game: Running backs De’Veon Smith, Derrick Green, Drake Johnson and Ty Isaac can all produce if they get the chance.
He mentions the O-line should be decent and Harbaugh teams always run well, but unless this means "knows how to run into a gaping hole (sometimes)" that seems overoptimistic. He also joins Shane Morris on an extremely short list of people who think Shane Morris might start. Anyway for those who can't corner Jamie Mac on the regular, a free and at least fly-by informed gamblers' perspective on the conference is worth your time.
Unless you're drafting against me in Draftageddon in which case you should read only preseason award watch lists and ESPN's Top 25 list. Tommy Armstrong's still on the board, Adam!
Not a new pos-bang record:
WD is an internet obsessive, which as an internet obsessive who is friends with many internet obsessives I have great appreciation for. But then, that was a bit much:
The post that currently holds the pos record is 465/0 to the turn-based RPG gif by chunkums. Chunkums is LEGEND. Upvotes go away after a time but I made sure to catch that one when it did so a few years ago.
Etc. Liz, our podcast sponsor, made a Top 5 hottest college coaches, because Liz.
Your Moment of Zen:
This guy does hype videos well.
You May Remember These Running Backs from Such Players As…
Milksteak did the quarterbacks earlier, and now he's on to comparing running backs, taking their extant stats and seeing who projects into the same realm. I'm interested in what he comes up with for the receivers since I'm doing a similar study right now using Bill Connelly's receiver stats.
|Rudock vs Cook common opponents. Click takes you to the article.|
But that's getting ahead of ourselves. This one's on Green et al.:
Green's 5.7 Yds/Carry looks very similar to freshman Chris Perry's 5.4 average. Freshman Tyrone Wheatley's 6.4 Yds/Carry represents the top of the comparisons, and he was much more of a TD vulture than Green has been. Carlos Brown's sophomore campaign looks somewhat similar as well. Let's see how these running backs fared in their next year.
Chris Perry had the same surprising size/acceleration combo and couldn't find a hole unless he was escorted to it, but he also had some ridiculous balance. His magnificent senior season now overshadows the period when B.J. Askew was clearly a better option. Up until this point in Green's career, however, Perry was behind A-Train. The stat comparisons only tell you so much, for example De'Veon Smith is not Jamie Morris. Ed Davis maybe.
Going back to the QBs, Dawkins posted a board thing comparing Rudock to Connor Cook thus far. When Ace inevitably drafts Jake Rudock he'll appreciate this the thing at right. What it doesn't show is that MSU was extremely conservative with Cook until progressively taking him off apron strings at the end 2013. Then again, Rudock worked for Greg Davis so…
Also how do two quarterbacks in the same conference only have three common opponents? Oh right.
Alum96 has been previewing Michigan's opponents, and the rodentia are up. Other than that one team that got one of the most successful NFL coaches to come back to college, Oregon State pulled off the coup of the offseason when they stole Wisconsin's head coach. It would turn out to be de gras, as the beloved AD who engineered that, Bob De Carolis, retired into the Michigan Athletic Department he was long a part of (he was the softball coach who hired Hutchins).
All of that is only of small relevance to 2015 OSU (NTOSU), which returns only two defensive starters from a unit that wasn't very good. In case you're wondering, no, Wisconsin's excellent DC is still at Wisconsin.
Alum96's previews continue with Minnesota, which is still Minnesota except minus an excellent center, an excellent running back, some excellent members of the front seven, and an excellent Maxxx. Don't miss the SB Nation Study Hall article he links.
BOOKS I DEMAND YOU READ THIS SUMMER
1. Hail to the Victors 2015 by MGoBlog
1. Brandon's Lasting Lessons (alternate title: Endzone: The Something Something Dave Brandon Gets Trashed By Everyone He Ever Met Novel) (alternate-alternate title: Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football), by John U. Bacon.
2. Armada by Ernest Cline (author of Ready Player One)
3. Hail to the Victors 2015 by MGoBlog
4. Stagg vs. Yost: The Birth of Cutthroat Football, by John Kryk
5. Forty Years in the Big House, by Jon Falk. eeeeeeee!
6. The Art of Smart Football, by Chris Brown. This is a collection of articles about the recent evolution of football chalk, not pictures from his blog. "Five Stories About the Spread Offense" is brilliant and depressing.
By the way I finally met both Kryk and Dr. Sap in person. They are what I would have been if I was born 20 years earlier. And in Canada. And if I was cool.
MICHIGAN VERSION OF THE FACEBOOK $15 THINGY
Seriously? Brady, Wheatley, AC, Woodson, Harbaugh, and you can keep the extra dollar.
BOOK CRAIG ROSS WOULD PREFER YOU NOT READ
1. The Search for the Unified Field Theory (Football Version), by Craig Ross
ETC. Vincent Smith updates what's going on with #EATING, particularly the Flint project we've been helping him raise the dough for. A reader claiming to know Dennis Norfleet says the thing we heard is official and the destination is Tuskegee; I have no other sources for this so take it FWIW. For some people it's not the difficulty level of saying "Hi, I'm a tight end," but the principle of the matter. Michigan has agreed to match other teams' offers to let David Reese think he's going to play linebacker.
Your Moment of Zen:
Wasn't anyone there to tell them the "Border Battle" is Wisconsin-Minnesota?
"That's ridiculous." –Larry/Gary "Money" Mohoney Gergich
META: HTTV Stuff
You should have books now. Some of you got more books than you paid for. Many of you waiting on signed copies emailed me asking when that and the t-shirt are coming. Many more have asked how to buy it. I've updated the FAQ.
MADE OF HONOR
Erik_in_Dayton wins Diarist of the Week for nailing the state of Michigan basketball recruiting:
“When you look at what they’ve done with guys like Trey Burke, Darius Morris, and Tim Hardaway, you know this is the place you want to very nearly go to school,” said point guard Trevon Duval of Newark, New Jersey. “I mean, in theory, they could take a guy like me and make me a top five pick.”
Never the bride.
IN A TIME BEFORE TIME HARBAUGH RECRUITED…
Taysom Hill, now BYU Heisman candidate. Alum96 previews the Cougars as a bellwether for the 2015 season.
A TIME WHEN MICHIGAN RAN, AND WE THREW.
Okay, I'm now old enough that people old enough to be classified as adults ask questions about history that I was a part of. This one wanted to know why we threw white goods.
These things were separate, non-overlapping traditions. I was too young to throw a toilet paper roll before they banned that, but was old enough to see it happen and want to try it SOOO BAD. The TP was because touchdowns were rare and worthy of an ad-hoc ticker-tape celebration; the ban was probably wise since cleaning it up, especially on wetter days, led to long, boring delays.
The marshmallows were nicked from other stadiums c.1989, and were still a big thing when I was a student in 98-'01. We mostly threw them at each other, but there were mini-games like trying to get one in opponent bands' sousaphones or the TV crews' parabolic microphones, or lobbing one right in front of their cameras.
There's your act of rebellion if you're looking for one. Remember, even into the 1980s a lot of games weren't televised. Michigan was proud to be on TV way more than most, but every concession made to commercials was resented in the stadium.
But really there was no good reason for the mallows except they're soft and throwable and students like to act goofy. When they installed the field turf in 2003 Lloyd personally asked the students to stop and that was their end. Traditions give college football its all-important flavor, but these traditions were probably not worth the pain they caused for the stadium crews.
I told you: I don't take vacations. Now show me where you keep these fullbacks they say can also play a 4-4 defense?
Etc. What would you do with a very large bowl? Art Vuolo: y'all should know, though. GR360. A guy who does strength coaching on Drake Johnson's ACL. David Brandon was (gasp) wrong about what students want at a football game (hint: it's not better cell coverage).
Your Moment of Zen:
Keep watching and the Glee Club of '84 sings an interesting rendition of Ohio State's alma mater.
Here's where yesterday's maize poll stood around noon:
I initially had labels for the first few hundred voters, which stole maybe 100 votes from Iowa—I think most people didn't realize our official corn shade was darker than theirs. Anyway 80% of the readers who voted wanted Michigan to wear something appreciably darker than what they currently do, and over half preferred the orange-iest options. There's still a large and vocal minority—about 20%—who like the brighter yellows.
One of them, stephenrjking, wrote a diary to demonstrate the lighter shades have been part of Michigan's uniforms a very long time:
Also that stills are notoriously bad—the saturation is way high on the left and way low on the right. Stephen isn't crazy; he too noted the modern hue is too damn loud. Here's the Woodson interception in the '98 Rose Bowl that he submitted as a preferred shade, with a color swatch I grabbed from it:
That is exactly the same color as the "faded from the 1970s" swatch people voted on, with an average hue of 53. Hue (similar to Tint on your old television set) is a circular axis through a 360-degree rainbow spectrum, with 360 and 0 being red, 60 is yellow, 120 is green, 180 cyan, 240 indigo, 300 violet, etc. That "53" matches the official Iowa color, but the saturation is toned down about 30%. By contrast, the Adidas color online is 60 (straight up yellow), and almost everything I got from the last four years of MGoBlog photos was usually around 65, sometimes as high as 70, i.e. 5 or 10 steps toward green. Michigan's official maize, on the other hand is 48; if you get to 45 you're half-way to orange (aka "gold").
So if is traditional, it's much closer to (official) than (what they're using now) on the orange scale. Here's what it would look like with the "maize" parts on Woodson and Peterson changed to the various shades we've been arguing over (matched to Woodson's knee—click from big):
From left: current Adidas yellow, Iowa's yellow, and Michigan's official maize.
Perhaps a good compromise then is to take it back to the low 50s and tone it down so the primary blue can stand out more. That won't placate the "I actually like the bright yellow" crowd, but I'd rather have 20% of the fanbase bitching about it than 80%.
Further reading on apparel. See Maize.Blue Wagner's interesting trip through historical department store catalogues (this was how we did Amazon before the internet, people who don't know what a tint dial is). Here's the 1980 Sears jersey:
And here is a sweatshirt of a bear wearing a sweatshirt:
Picking a Quarterback
Right, the actual football. I highly recommend MilkSteak's quarterback comparison diary, where he showed various previous Michigan QBs at the same age vs this year's starting candidates. I'll give you the upshot but only if you promise you'll hit the link and give the author a plus for his work. Done? Okay:
Beyond the Gardner comparisons, Rudock appears to be a less turnover prone version of 1998 RS Junior Tom Brady, which is nice. Rudock had 22 more attempts than Brady and 5 less INTs with a TD/Int ratio of +11 to Brady's +4. The Y/Att and Adjusted Y/Att are very similar, and the QB Ratings are damn near identical.
I would take "1999 Tom Brady with fewer interceptions." Shane Morris's scant data isn't that different than a slew of other passing era guys we didn't see until they started. His freshman data jives with sophomore Todd Collins, however last year's performance, mostly against Minnesota, looks like freshman Denard Robinson minus the legs. Upshot: 2001 John Navarre, presumably with Darboh doing his best Marquise Walker impression.
Etc. Low Key Recidivist mentioned the Jeff Zuttah story (Michigan wanted to medical him so he transferred to Stanford, and medicaled) as it relates to Pipkins. Erik in Dayton tackled the ethics of it. Also by EiD: recruiting rankings of starters on Harbaugh's last Stanford team. Was a the Deflategate report dur or derp?
Board stuff: The big news is Sara Driesenga got her medshirt!
Pitcher Sara Driesenga, who suffered a rib injury in the early season and only played in a handful of games, has been granted a medical redshirt and will come back for a 5th year!
This gives Michigan a 4-pitcher staff. They'll have every class represented with 5th year Driesenga, B1G Pitcher of the Year Megan Betsa who'll be a Junior, Tera Blanco who was recruited as a star pitcher as a Sophomore and incoming freshman Leah Crockett.
The team that nearly won the national championship receives an almost a one-for-one replacement for Haylie Wagner, and everyone else returns except catcher Lauren Sweet. National Championship or bust!
Board questions answered.
I'm gonna skip most of the board because it was a lot of "Omigod Nike!" But I will answer a few questions:
Whats' the best burger in Michigan? The best greasy spoon is a little dive (just a counter and four high tables) attached to the Seville Motel on Woodward in Royal Oak called Monty's Grill (my dad claimed that way back in the day it used to be Biff's and stood where Comerica Park does now). Best pub burger is Sidetracks in Ypsilanti. Please trust me that I have investigated this thoroughly—at least in the lower peninsula—and there is no question.
How would you allocate your hate? If all of my hate could damage Ohio State even a little bit I feel I have to try, so 100% to Ohio State, and Michigan State will have to make do with a sizeable portion of my contempt instead. I guess that answers this too.
What's your favorite Michigan Replay? A: The one after 1997 Ohio State when Lloyd cannot stop smiling despite trying to do so the entire episode.
Your Moment of Zen
Here you go ladies: a glistening and shirtless Jake Butt, and I promise you'll be watching his hands anyway:
— Support Michigan (@SupportUofM) July 9, 2015
Satellites are any object in orbit around a large body. Or in this case, a dad body. The Summer Swarm turned what would have been a week overwhelmed with "omigosh which clothing manufacturer is going to give us money to wear their clothing?" into a week of "omigod Harbaugh is in Alabama and not wearing any clothing!"
Reader CoachW reported back from the Dallas camp with an example of the goings on:
They broke the kids out into position groups and did some warm ups and then had races until they declared a winner in each group. After that, they did rotating agility drills all over the field. From there it was Indy for a good hour. After that, they broke the kids out into freshman and sophomores on one end and the upperclassmen on the other. Here they did basically a one-on-one, make the other guy miss drill with offense vs defense. It was 30 yards long and from the sideline to the hash and all the defender had to do was touch the offensive guy. The young kids really struggled with this as the defense won pretty much every time.
Amir_6 also put together a bunch of resulting recruiting bits that came up on Twitter. As I type this Harbaugh's speaking at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp. Let me say that again: Jim Harbaugh is speaking at the Sound Mind…
— Patrick Barron (@MGoDrone) June 5, 2015
Camp. Ironic coachspeak name aside, SMSB is turning out to be quite the showcase of the suddenly richer Midwest coaching talent: James Franklin, Jerry Kill, and Brian Kelly were also around, and defensive linemen present get to tell tales the rest of their lives of being coached by both Larry Johnson Sr. and Greg Mattison at the same time! The conference still has Hazell and Beckman, but what a difference the names at the top of Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan makes.
/remembers we just added Flood and Edsall
Players come from places. While I fix what used to be a computer speaker, head over to Lanknows's diary on in-state recruiting success, as measured by the percent of top-five Michigan players who went to Michigan. That's not a very good way of doing it since there are years when Michigan looked at that pool and said "we'll take Brandon Graham" and moved on. Also there are recruitments like Chris Norman (whose total Michigan recruitment was a conversation about Barwis he didn't understand), in the same box as Edwin Baker, whom RR overlooked while chasing rabbit chasers out of Pahokee, and RoJo, who seemed like a Michigan lock until a deity told him to go to USC. I'd love to see this expanded to really dive into each recruiting season in the state.
The other "here's how recruiting turned out" diary was Erik_in_Dayton went through all of the 2007 and 2008 Stanford recruits, arming us with information to combat the three-star mafioso. Conclusion: hits and misses, but way more hits than you should expect from that lot; he really did build the basis of that program from 2- and 3-star material. And Andrew Luck.
Other diaries: M baseball draftees and potential draftees. The records softball broke this year. LSA found no patterns in what round players are drafted in, though I bet he would find some shifts for OL and against RBs if he did it by actual draft number instead of round. Alum96 poked around offensive stats and found Michigan and Indiana falling off offensive cliffs later in the season maybe overrated opponent defenses.
[Jump for comments on Kelly's call for help]
WCWS Update: The SEC walked into the WCWS in full ESS-EEE-SEE mode. You saw the 6th seed Bama last night; there's an entire bracket of SEC teams (#1 Florida, #5 LSU, #4 Auburn, and #8 Tennessee) opposite us. Last year Bama lost to Florida in the national championship series, and Florida is a favorite to repeat. In a sport dominated by pitching the Gators have the best, Lauren Haeger, who just narrowly defeated Michigan's Sierra Romero for the college softball version of the Heisman.
The rest of Michigan's side of the bracket is UCLA, which owns a third of the national championships ever, not including the 1995 one that the NCAA vacated, demonstrating a dedication to the sport most D-I teams athletic departments can't afford for football.
This is the dispersal (bigger dot = more national championships) of softball titles since 1982:
Some of these things are only somewhat like the others; one is definitively not.
The last member of our bracket is fully owned Nike™ subsidiary the Oregon Nikes, who wear spacey backpacks everywhere they go so Nike™ can convince a demographic of schoolgirls who wear stupid-looking athletic gear to school to get Nike™ backpacks. The Oregon Nikes also have a great pitcher who finished third in the PoY running.
A distant third. Really the competition was between the senior pitcher with 194 K's who held a league that hits .330 to .183, and our own Sierra Romero.
Romero. Yes I am making this whole column about softball this week. ROMERO! Here's what a hitter who challenges for the PoY in a pitching sport looks like: Romero hit .472 with 21 home runs, 80 RBI, 55 walks, and set the NCAA career grand slam record. She also had 20 steals on 24 attempts. She plays shortstop with a Jeter smoothness (or second base because Abby Ramirez is such a good infielder).
The thing about Michigan is Romero isn't the only star. Kelly Christner hit .407 this year and matched Romero for home runs. Sierra Lawrence had a .484 OBP from the leadoff spot, plus 14 dingers. Kelsey Susalla matched Sierra2's power numbers while hitting .379. Lauren Sweet, the catcher, hit .324 with 12 homers. Michigan too has great pitchers—sophomore Megan Betsa and senior Haylie Wagner are Ace 1 and Ace 2, with senior Sara Driesenga (.078 ERA) still around as a luxury, and the future, freshman Tera Blanco, waiting over at 1st base.
Theory: Jim Harbaugh has spent all of his free time since he graduated pretending to be a softball coach. Michigan softball isn't a monster program from the heart of baseball country, isn't a golem assembled from overcharging for shoes made by underpaid slaves, and certainly is not from the conference that believes Pat Forde columns about its greatness should fulfill writing requirements.
The thing it's best known for across the softball world is it has a pinata-smashing softball Harbaugh if Harbaugh was more successful coaching it. Betsa said she gets her mental toughness from competitions like who can balance heavy logs on their hands while doing workouts. Last night Hutch literally fell over while trying to put the breaks on Romero at 3rd base; Romero ran through it but scampered back safely to leave the bases loaded for Sweet to turn a 1-0 game into the 5-0 game.
Present 1999 1986
Harbuagh/Hutch through the years
It had a .461 on base percentage this year, and outscored its opponents by an average of 9 to 1.5. It made making pizza into a theme, complete with complicated hand gestures and fan signage. It won a map-contradicting national championship ten years ago, and dances more often than that one. It led the country with 171 homers this year, and sprinkled every one of them with cheese.
Etc. The South didn't like Michigan camping there—and couldn't do anything about it—in the mid-1860s either. SEC rules changes troll Tom Brady and Brady Hoke, plus Notre Dame's faces and Dantonio's favorite tackling strategy. What a blue shirt is. Terry Frei on the Rob Lytle book. Michigan Stadium Movie Night opted for Disney fantasy flick (Remember the Titans) over a documentary on Scandinavian economics (Frozen).