If so inclined, see A Big10 Bowl Analysis for added context.
Pac Ten #1 vs Big Ten #1
USC crooshes PSU
Pac-10 No. 2 OREGON vs. Big 12 No. 4 OKSt
Oregon crooshes Okie St.
Pac-10 No. 3 OreSt vs. Big East Pitt
OreSt beats Pitt 3-0 in 9 innings.
Pac-10 No. 4 CAL vs. ACC No. 7 Miami (YTM)
Cal beats Miami (YTM)
Pac-10 No. 5 ZONA vs. Mountain West No. 2 (but finished 3rd?) BYU
Zona beats BYU
*Sun Bowl Selected the #2 team in the Big East, Pitt:
If the Gator Bowl selects a Big 12 Conference school, the Brut Sun Bowl has the second pick from the Big East Conference.
** MWC Champ Utah received a BCS bid and it appears as if the Sun Bowl selected the 3rd place team in lieu of TCU:
Unless an MWC team qualifies for a BCS bowl game, the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl has the first selection of MWC teams, followed by the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettita Bowl with the second selection. The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl and New Mexico Bowls have the third and fourth selections, respectively, but in no particular order.
^ 2008 Big 12 bowls, in order: BCS, BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Gator, Alamo, Insight, etc.
Again this season, the Big 12 has eight bowl slots guaranteed. The Conference is partnered with nine bowls. However the arrangement with the Gator Bowl is for it to select a Big 12 team twice over a four-year period. In the two years in which the Gator does not select a Big 12 team, the Sun Bowl will.
Following is the selection order:
BCS [ x2, -ed.]
• USC is better than PSU. Not shocking, but obviously a great win for the Pac10.
• The 2nd best team in the Pac10 is better than the 4th place team in the B12. Not shocking.
• In a good win for the Pac10, their 3rd place team beats the Big East runner up. Of course, this is the Big East and, as such, should be considered a mid-major football conference.
• The 4th place Pac10 representative beats the 7th place ACC team. Again, not shocking.
• Finally, the 3rd best team in a mid-major conference is beaten by the 5th best Pac10 team. At this point, I'd like to ask the Pac10 if they want a medal for this amazing accomplishment.
The Pac10 bowl affiliations are a joke. They always have been for as long as I can remember. In years where the Pac10 only has one BCS representative (USC), the effects of this become magnified because 2-3 of their match-ups turn out to be against the n+1th best team (see the Holiday Bowl where the Big12 sent their 4th best team due to OU and Tex going to the BCS, and the Vegas Bowl where their champ, Utah, unexpectedly received a BCS berth (andand the unexplained selection of 3rd place BYU over 2nd place TCU)). The simple fact is, the Pac10 plays down in their bowl match-ups. Go back to look for the Pac10 record in bowl games. They are almost always 5-1 or 4-2 or 5-0. But look at who they placed in those games.
In contrast, the Big10 has always 'played up' in their bowl affiliations. Of course, when the B10 sends 2 teams to the BCS (as happens most years) they send the n+1th best team. This effect has been mitigated since the addition of a 5th BCS game, because more conferences get the 'sent the n+1th best team' -effect. Thus the relatively even bowl match-ups for the Big10 in the earlier diary entry.
This doesn't say that the Big10 is the best conference, of course. What is does say is that, based on bowl game performance, the Pac10 is not too great and the Big10 is not too far off from the SEC r the Pac10. Not to mention the unquantifiable effects traveling has on B10 teams with which the SEC and Pac10 generally do not have to deal. And that the Pac10 only had 5 bowl eligible teams. The reputation of the Pac10 is always over inflated for 2 reasons: USC and their bowl record.
Look, USC is great. They are the only team that recruits as well as I used to in NCAA0X for Xbox. They probably have more talent than any 2 other teams in the nation, combined. But the Pac10's strength should not be a reason for USC to get 1st place votes. The Pac10 certainly isn't a stronger conference than the Big12 or the SEC. Or perhaps even the ACC who sent an NCAA record 10 teams to bowls.
Hello, since the internets are burning with flame wars and talks of firings, I don’t want to waste your time. This post is a recap of my Michigan Football experiences in my life and my opinion about being a student the past four years. It contains ideas on what the future holds for our team. It is also long. If you don’t want to read about this, stop now. Therefore no one will waste their time, have to tell everyone they don’t care what I think, or tell everyone that Coach Rodriguez is not the answer. I am fine with the fact that most won’t care what I think and have to say or agree with me.
It started a really long time ago, before I can remember. Fall days in Saturday either meant waking up and driving to Ann Arbor to watch football or watching the Maize and Blue on TV because we were on the road or I couldn’t go that week. Mom and Dad both went to Michigan and had season tickets so it was natural for me to cheer for them. I grew to love the Wolverines and there were some great memories over the years. Some of these included a lifetime hatred for Kordell Stewart, attending the parade after we won the National Championship, getting my picture taken with Woodson, Griese, the Heisman, and the national championship trophy, knowing that Jeff Smoker did not spike the ball in time, burning plastic gators on our January trip to Florida,triple overtime, and the 100th game.
All of that happened and the next year was different. It was senior year of high school and I wasn’t sure if I’d get into Michigan. I had applications to a bunch of schools, but I was specifically hoping for one response. Well on November 20th, 2004 I got a call at about 11 AM that I needed to get home as soon as possible to open a large envelope. Sure enough, I got into Michigan just in time to watch our 7th rankedteam fall to the Buckeyes. I wore that Michigan shirt to school Monday with pride, I got ridiculed of course, but man it felt good, I was going to attend the University of Michigan.
That’s where the article above comes in. It describes the next four years as the most torturous for a fan base of any school in college football. It made me think, have my four years here been the worst four years for a University of Michigan football fan to be a student?
So I had to think back to my memories over the past four years.
- First game against MSU is at MSU, I go to the game, overtime win. Awesome.
- #8 Penn State touchdown with 53 seconds left. Silence. 0 seconds left. Bedlam.
- 5losses. Wisconsin, scores TD with 24 ticks on the clock. Last second tie breaking field goal to Minnesota. 24 seconds left again, this time Ohio State.Nebraska debacle.
- 11 Straight wins, which included a visit to Notre Dame in my favorite away game. Hot Damn!
- Seniors last home game, Balls out for Ball State (3-7), in which was the closest win of the year, unless you look solely at points (Penn State).
- The loss of Bo. Honestly the eeriest feeling I’ve ever experienced was felt on campus that day. Candlelight vigil on the Diag.
- 1 vs. 2
- A plundering in Pasadena
- Watching the remake of the Longest Yard’s most infamous scene for Michigan Fans and Hot! Hot! Hot! several times. The horror. The statue of liberty.
- 8 wins, 2 more losses
- Overcoming all the adversity, beating the speedy gators of the SEC, and watching Lloyd go out the way he deserved to go out.
- The coaching fiasco, and excitement in a good coach, a good offense, a new sponsor, a new stadium, a new quarterback, and the departure of pretty much everything I ever knew about Michigan Football, just in time for senior year.
- We don’t need a breakdown, as we all know what happened so far this year.
Wisconsin was the best game I’ve ever experienced in the Big House, although the win will probably mean nothing by the end of the season. And now with two home games left in my college career, I wonder if this will be the only savior of the season. In my opinion we will win two more games. But the last three years have taught me that anything can happen. We could lose all six or we could win all six. If we don’t make a bowl and all of our streaks and records are broken, it will be a true restart for our team. 2008 will be the ultimate restart of a year. Our team that consists of mostly freshman; they will have a new coach, new offense, new defense, new sponsor, new stadium on the way, new recruiting style, new records to set, and a new outlook on Michigan Football. It is weird to be a senior right now. We could be the first class in 40 years to see a losing season and 33 years to not make it to a bowl. Plus we are the first class of only three that will have experienced the old and the new. A full system reboot will take longer than 6 games, but it will happen so everyone will have to be patient. I believe Coach Rodriguez can take us there, with the raw talent he has this year and with the upcoming recruits Coach Rod is building the kind of foundation that we will grow from. With patience in our coach and our players, Michigan will return. As you may have heard, those who stay will be champions.
So are the past four years the most torturous for any college fan base? Depends on how you look at it. For me, 3 wins over MSU so far, Mario in the Penn State game, winning 11 straight games, being on campus to say goodbye to Bo, the Florida win and what it meant for Lloyd, and watching the beginning of the new era with the Wisconsin win have been plenty of ups to the many number of downs that I have experienced. Am I setting my standards too low, you may think so, I don’t, although beating Ohio State would be nice. Being a part of the University of Michigan and optimistically supporting every aspect of their football team is enough for me. Do the same if you can, support Rich Rodriguez, support Nick Sheridan, support Morgan Trent.
PS. The last four years were not a picnic, so here are few favors (last wishes as a student) I ask,
- Try the best you can to not sell your tickets to MSU fans. Be as loud as possible during this game. Wear maize.
- Don’t be a Negative Nancy. Don’t leave the game early. Don’t ever think like the guy that posted the above article. Asking if it is time to switch to soccer is not a joke, as that is not funny. Never give up on Michigan Football.
- Cut the student section a little slack. We got flamed for the wave last time because somehow a group of kids in the 30th row got it started. I hope we get to do it all the way through one last time for the seniors regardless of the score of the Northwestern game, plus the freshman still need to learn the correct thing all the way through. We will at least do it in the third quarter.
- I’d love to see someone organize something for the seniors. Whether it be the one time return of hot dog man, marshmallows, the 1,2,3 HIT HIM IN THE FACE on the kickoff cheer, etc. or something else. Ideas are appreciated.
From my observations and what
has been written on this blog and in the MSM, I believe that we have changed our
recruiting focus from one that was more heavily focused on retaining all of the
talent within the State of Michigan and capturing what we can get in the
surrounding states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois) as well as a few athletes
from certain talent hotbeds (Florida, Texas and California) to a greater
emphasis being placed on recruiting from the talent hot beds. What are the ramifications of this philosophical
shift? And how have coaching changes
resulted in shifts in intra-region power?
- It is likely that MSU is going to recruit
better within Michigan
than they have in the past. My reasoning
is that as RR draws greater numbers of recruits from outside of Michigan and the Midwest
than the prior regime, more quality players will be available to the Spartans. In addition, Brian had a post some time back
describing how the change in the type of players we recruit will lead to
certain players that would have been a lock for Michigan, now being a better fit at State. I am not implying that we will not get the
guys we are interested in recruiting. That
will be dependent upon our continued success on the field and fostering relationships
between the program and the high schools within the state.
- MSU will likely become more competitive in
the Big Ten and nationally. The
increased talent level will have the potential to move them up into the second
tier of the Big Ten currently being fought over by Wisconsin,
Penn State, Illinois
- Assuming that RR is able to land better talent
from outside of Michigan than is available
inside of Michigan,
our overall talent level will rise, making us more competitive nationally. Hopefully, the relative talent level between
us and MSU will remain constant. This
should raise the absolute level of talent in the Big Ten at the expense of the
SEC and ACC (assuming our recruiting focus has moved towards Florida and the south east).
The risk is that we chase
windmills and fail to land equal or better talent in the southeast and cede talent
within the State of Michigan
talent to MSU. The Spartans then gain an
ability to win the recruits we want and there is a possible shift in power. As I stated before, the mitigant to this is our
continued success on the field and fostering relationships between the program and
the high schools within the state.
Observations and Parallels:
Is RR’s focus on talent
outside of the home state due to his time at WVU where there was far less
instate talent than in Michigan? I’m not implying that Michigan is OH, PA, FL, TX or CA, but it is
clearly better than WV. One thing that
seems clear, is that the tenures of Bobby Williams and John L. Smith (and the
Spartans refer to us as slappies??) decimated the in-state recruiting at
MSU. While there were not great numbers
of Plaxico’s and Duckett’s at MSU there were some clear examples of players we
wanted but State got. BW and JLS seemed
to have killed this very nicely.
There have been some
interesting changes in balance of power within different regions during the
last 10-15 years that may provide interesting insight.
- The fall of Washington
and the rise of Oregon. How much of the rise of Oregon as a national
power have to do with the influx of Phil Knight / Nike money versus the
missteps and poor coaching hires at UW? Has there been a re-routing of talent from Seattle to Eugene? Did the re-emergence of USC shut down UW’s
access to southern California
- The fall of Notre Dame, Illinois
and Michigan State
and the rise of Iowa and Wisconsin (and Northwestern and Purdue to a
lesser extent?). Did the inconsistency
of ND and Illinois cede some degree of control
over greater Chicago
recruiting to other Big Ten School? A
close analysis of the recruiting records (in particular recruit hometowns) for
each school over the last 15 years would yield some interesting insight. Did the Spartans losing Nick Saban to LSU and
the ensuing coaching chaos provide an opening to NU and Purdue?
- The fall of Nebraska
and the rise of Oklahoma.
- The fall of Alabama
and Tennessee (to a lesser extent) and the rise
of LSU and Auburn.
This post is to generate
discussion, as many of the ideas I have included have not been researched,
rather are observations of mine that seem to fit together with some degree of
So while reading ESPN at work today, the theme of the day seems to be hate. Some really good and interesting stuff. One team that seems to be Number 1 on everyone's hit list is Ohio State. At first, I thought this was kind of funny, but then I got to thinking if that's really fair. Sure, there are some good reasons and all, but as a die hard Michigan fan, I wouldn't put Ohio State at the top of that list. (Just for reference, in the ESPN article, Notre Dame is third, while Michigan is sixth).
One of the funnier quotes was "Michigan fans think Ohio State fans are classless. Ohio State fans think Michigan fans are arrogant," (Technically, this quote is from an article that talks about the biggest rivalries in the Big 10, but I still feel it fits well)
Anyways, I am going to compile a list of teams that I think I hate personally, as a Michigan fan and obviously, this is meant to spark some debate and probably everyone won't agree with me - that's fine. That's what's great about having freedom of speech.
** This is not meant as me spewing hatred and I'm trying to be objective as possible. The key word here, of course, is trying. **
1. Notre Dame: discounting the Ivy League schools, if anyone is more arrogant about their school, it's Notre Dame. The history of this school cannot be undermined, although Charlie Weis is doing a fine job of trying. I still think they are the number one most hated school, period, because of how many people jumped on the "Ha Ha - Look at ND" band wagon last year when they fell so far from grace. It's amazing that Weis can still draw in the talent that he is drawing and still not perform up to expectations. Yes, they are all young, but if there isn't vast improvement this year (let's say .500), Weiss is going to find that seat starting to heat up. Side note: Weis got booed out of Wrigley Field this weekend in Chicago. That's pretty telling, I think.
Side note: why is Jimmy Clausen on the O' Brien Watch List?
2. Michigan State: ah yes, the other school in Michigan. I hate all their "just wait 'til next year talk" and the fact that they try to rile us with "Appalachian" chants. We beat you. At your place. After you had a 10 point lead. Please don't bring up how "classless" Michigan is. Using an example from Brian, Jehuu talks about us being classless and yet it's him planting the Spartan flag at ND. At least, I'm pretty sure that's him.
3. Tennessee: I don't know why, I just dislike Philip Fulmer and Rocky Top. Probably because he "allegedly" voted us fourth in the rankings and caused us to have a split NC with Nebraska instead of having it outright (pardon me if I'm incorrect here, as 1997 was the first year I really started following college football and even then, I was still a kid, so this is all running on memory). Oh well, at least Woodson won the Heisman. Sorry, Peyton. At least you still have your Sprint commercials.
4. USC: I HATE USC's fight song. It's like the only thing they can play - no variations. I know people hate Michigan's fight song, but at least our marching band can play other songs as well. I also hate USC from taking two potential game changing recruits from Michigan - Ronald Johnson and Nick Perry, although from what I heard, Perry hasn't qualified. Ronald Johnson, however, would have been a game changer on either side of the ball. Can you imagine if we had him and Donovan Warren as a cornerback tandem? Absolute studs.
5. Ohio State: should they be this low? Shouldn't they automatically be the first on this list for any "true" Michigan fan? Probably, and in all likelihood, yes. I just don't know why - my gut tells me otherwise. It's weird - I want them to go 11-0 every year and then lose to us - 2006 was THE dream match up with us as the top two teams in the nation. I would take that every year in a heart beat. I can't remember who said it, but someone (a player) said that the Michigan - OSU game is the best game of the year because it's the cleanest game (really?) of the year. Both teams have such a respect and healthy hatred of one another, that they don't want to do anything to tarnish the reputation of this rivalry. Fans, on the other hand, will say differently. Yes, there are some chidings that go both ways and yes, both schools have those fans that cross that boundary, but for the most part, most fans, when you talk to them one on one, you see the love of the game. I'm not trying to paint a pretty picture here - there is mad animosity between the fan bases, but overall, I just don't hate them as much as the four above them.
Yes, I'm probably a hyprocrite. Oh well.
Oregon: First of, I will say this - I LOVE Oregon's jerseys and I'm probably the only person outside of Eugene that will openly admit that. However, we are 0-2 against them and while this past year's thrashing hurt (especially with that Oregon dude who took a sledgehammer to the Michigan logo), the one that pains me more is the one at Autzen after we had demolished ND at home 38-0 the first time. I thought after we returned that blocked FG for a touchdown after Oregon had drove the ball on us that we were good and boy was I wrong. That game was a harbinger of our doom as a not-as-unmobile as you might think Kellen Clemens danced all over our defense and would soon show how much trouble we would have with a mobile quarterback. I think it's awesome that Phil Knight loves Oregon and they get all this crazy cool gear, but I'd really wish we schedule another home and home against them or meet them in the Rose Bowl sometime for some payback.
That's it for now - please comment away. I'd love to hear what people think.
Note: This is a piece I wrote and posted elsewhere a couple years ago before the NFL Draft. I'm posting it here to have a record of it and also because a couple friends have expressed interest in reading it because it is no longer accesible where I originally posted.
Lately there has been much debate over Brady Quinn's prospects as an NFL quarterback. Many comments have been liberally applying the dreaded "Harrington" tag on Quinn as a prediciton of his NFL prospects.
Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink. However, I'm really bored, so let's break both of them down statistically:
Height/Weight are nearly identical if ESPN has accurately reported Quinn's stats from the combine.
So let's then compare their junior and senior seasons. It should be noted that Quinn played one more game than Harrington in each of these seasons:
Harrington 2000: 195/355, 52%, 2694 YDs, 20 TDs, 13 INTs 2001: 186/322, 58%, 2415 YDs, 23 TDs, 5 INTs
Quinn 2005: 292/450, 64.9%, 3919 YDs, 32 TDs, 7 INTs 2006: 289/467, 61.9%, 3426 YDs, 37 TDs, 7 INTs
It's easy to see that Quinn's numbers far surpass Harrington outside of Harrington's 2001 INT total, though it should be noted that Quinn had 145 more attempts.
Harrington and Quinn played in radically different offenses. Oregon had a stellar two back running game for Harrington's last two years while ND's running game looked apathetic and ineffective at times throughout this season. The burden of the offensive production was constantly on Quinn and he produced the overwhelming majority of the time. I could not locate sack statistics for Harrington's collegiate career (the NCAA had not yet formally begun recording them) but I think we all could make a pretty good guess as to whose numbers would be larger in looking at both the team's records in the two comparable years (2001 & 2006) and the quality of competition played in terms of opposing defenses that can be used to evaluate the relative strength of Oregon and ND's offensive line. Let's take a look, shall we?
In 2001, Oregon had the 49th toughest schedule in the nation with opponents having a combined 52.3% winning percentage and finished 11-1 with their only loss coming in the Stanford game mentioned later. Oregon finished the year with the 22nd ranked offense and 81st ranked defense in the country.
In 2006, ND had the 34th toughest schedule in the nation with opponents having a combined 55% winning percentage and finished 10-3 with every loss coming to a team that finished in the top 10 at the season's end. ND finished the year with the 23rd ranked offense and 65th ranked defense and allowed 85 sacks.
Find it funny that ND had the tougher schedule considering all the crap they took for scheduling "soft."
Looking at the numbers, I'm sure you'd jump to point out that, statistically, ND had a better defense and subsequently should have had a little more success in lieu of their tougher schedule than the 2001 Ducks. Also that had Quinn performed better in the "big games" (ridiculous) ND would have had a much more successful season. However, you have to look closer at the numbers to understand what's going on:
In 2001, Oregon had the 33rd best scoring defense in the nation as opposed to the Irish's 2006 ranking of a dismal 67th. There were 119 D-I college football teams last year and ND only ranked in the 56th percentile! While rush-pass defense comparisons would yield to ND's favor, the sizable gap between the two's scoring defenses must be the point of focus. ND's defense simply couldn't keep teams out of the endzone and we see (CONSTANTLY) what happens to teams who are simply trying to score in bunches to win games; they cannot sustain the pace for a season and subsequently fall apart when the offense has an off day and there's no way the defense is able to save their asses.
You may also point out that the teams had similar offensive rankings so the sack numbers would be comparable, but again you'd be wrong. In 2001 the Ducks has the nation's 25th best rushing offense while their passing game ranked 50th. In 2006, ND had the nation's 72nd best rushing defense and 13th passing offense. With the disparity in attempts noted above it would be logical to assume that Quinn took more sacks than Harrington as Oregon had much more success running the ball and was a more balanced offense than ND's.
Quinn's senior year was even though the only quality win the team had this year was an early trouncing of Penn State. The previous year they beat three ranked teams (Michigan, Pittsburgh & Purdue) and nearly beat USC in a game that will probably go down as a somewhat controversial classic. Let's looks at how Quinn did in the three losses this year:
Michigan: 24/48, 50%, 234 Yds, 3 TDs, 3 INTs USC: 22/45, 48.8%, 274 YDs, 3 TDs, 0 INTs LSU: 15/35, 42.8%, 148 YDs, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
The losses to LSU and Michigan accounted for 71.4% of his interceptions for the entire season. These games were played against teams with exceptional defenses particularly quick and strong on the DL. I think it should also be noted that in the loss to LSU, Walker had more carries (22) and yards (128) than in ND's previous two losses (10, 25 YDs vs. Michigan, 14, 56 YDs vs. USC.)
Can't win the big game
People criticize Quinn for an "inability to win a big game," an unfair criticism if there ever was one simply because one player does not win a game of football (believe it or not there are actually 22 players on the field at THE SAME TIME! 22! Wowee!) Harrington went 10-1 in his senior year, soundly beating #3 ranked Colorado 38-16 in a game that was built as "the other national championship game" noting that had Nebraska beat Miami, Oregon could have potentially been awarded the championship. Oregon finished #2 in the country. Harrington went 28/42, 66%, 350 YDs, 4 TDs and 1 INT in that game, probably the most complete one of his college career. The Ducks' only loss came in a 42-49 loss to Stanford. Those of us who actually remember that game remember one hell of a game when Stanford scored 21 straight in the fourth to win. Throughout his college career, Harrington won a number of big, non-conference games (in the previous year Oregon beat #12 ranked Texas in the Holiday Bowl) who finished his collegiate career with his best game in the biggest one he ever played in and under a lame duck offensive coordinator. In the 2000 season, Oregon went 10-1 and was utterly screwed over by the BCS who gave spots to OSU (9-2) and ND (9-2) over an Oregon team whose only loss was to #1 ranked USC at the end of the regular season.
Side note: Anyone else remember the absurdly large "Joey Heisman" billboard Oregon put up in NYC to combat the "east coast bias" of Heisman voters?
Why in God's name wouldn't Quinn be hyped his senior year??? All he did in his junior season was break ND records in attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns. Believe it or not, ND is not exactly the Toledo, they actually have quite a tradition of football there. Check it out if you don't believe me, they've been playing football a really long time! Honest! Since like… forever! ND has more Heisman trophy winning QBs (4)than any other school (though there is no way Hornung should have won it) and Notre Dame has had more QBs play in Super Bowls than any other school (Joe Montana, Joe Theisman and Daryle Lamonica.) When you do those things at a school as rich in history, tradition and a high quality of play, you get deserved hype.
The bottom line is that Harrington had a team around him that was head and shoulders better than this year's ND team. Harrington had the support of two 1,000 yard rushers in Onterrio Smith and Maurice Morris while ND has had one the last two years (Walker) who, frankly, I was never too impressed with. It's never fair to compare two quarterbacks who played at different times and in different systems. And I think it's fair to say that pretty much every QB's success or failure can be somewhat attributed to the quality of the hog mollies up front.
Oh, and Charlie Weis should probably eat less.