December 1 - Thursday
A guest post from Jon Chait about the state of the defense. TL;DR The Carr/Herrmann plan to play a defense that just limits big plays has failed and will continue to fail.
Unverified Voracity Yay University College with speculation on bowl games and lamentations about hockey players recruiting others, but never playing with them (Cammalleri to Tambellini to Cogliano). Also, I never realized that Brian was a big Pistons fan.
December 2 – Friday
A look at what the football team would lose on offense because of graduation. The biggest concern is from losing Avant and Stenavich, but overall, there shouldn’t be a lot of damage going into 2006.
December 4 – Sunday
The bowl game has been announced. ‘M’ will face perennial Big XII power Nebraska (that already looks weird) in the Alamo Bowl.
December 5 – Monday
Michigan basketball beats Notre Dame. Graham Brown is very important to this team.
Unverified Voracity Red Raider on the Black Sea with a spectacularly terrible rendering of Lloyd Carr in wood. Also, Mike Leach likes pirates.
Football Recruiting Board update. Demarco Murray drops ‘M’. Ricky Stanzi added to the board. Perry Dorrestein commits.
December 6 – Tuesday
A look at how graduation will damage the defense. Conclusion? Not much. Cornerback depth was a concern. Maybe Johnny Sears and Chris Richards will be the answer! (Also, Brian went to Sunday School for 10 years. Who knew?)
Unverified Voracity Sarcastic Hurray discusses hockey players being pulled away during the GLI, and Nick Mangold and A.J. Hawk having normal, everyday college student stuff stolen from their apartment.
UFR: Offense vs. Ohio St. Yikes, up 21-12 with 8 minutes left in the 4th. Poor interior play and a desire to punt doomed this game.
December 7 – Wednesday
December 8 – Thursday
Unverified Voracity No Rebounds for You (!) recounting bad plays on Courtney Sims name. I guess that’s something that happens when you have a good game against Delaware St. Also, Louie Caporusso commits.
UFR: Defense vs. Ohio St. This is an interesting take going into a very good 2006:
What does it mean for next year?
I don't know. Watson is the only player who we'll miss, but if Michigan doesn't take advantage of an experienced secondary with two fast corners by playing a more aggressive brand of defense it won't matter. Other than the outside linebackers, everyone on the team executed what they were supposed to do.
The caveat: their tasks were designed to minimize their shortcomings instead of take advantage of their talents. It's obvious that the Michigan coaches did not trust their team to play both aggressively and responsibly, so they went with the responsible, cut off the big plays, and superficially improved the defense by slowing the game down. The truth is somewhat murkier (and something I hope to explore in the offseason).
The good news is that Michigan does seem to swing towards more aggressive play when they have veterans at their disposal, something which will be true of both the offense and defense next year.
December 10 – Saturday
MGoBlog turns 1. What have we learned?
The colon and its bastard cousin the semicolon are useful for breaking up the monotony of "clause, yay more sentence, but what if not sentence?"
When you're down on your luck, kitten idolatry is a pick-me-up and how. Especially when one of 'em's got a rifle.
Brian accurately predicts where the next 10 years would lead…
In short, hurray football! Hurray blog! I hope you thought this enterprise was worthwhile and useful... at least parts of it, anyway. The future holds many things, probably tables and ALL CAPS EXCLAMATIONS!!! and zone-bemoaning. I hope you'll, you know, read it and stuff.
December 12 – Monday
Unverified Voracity: I Feel Much Better. The basketball team beat South Florida, and it’s possible they might have a good year. Can they muster the defense they need?
December 13 – Tuesday
Brian rants about the problems with analyzing NCAA football data.
An update on how the hockey team has progressed thus far.
And for whatever reason, a picture of Tim Tebow, slightly shirtless.
December 14 – Wednesday
Recruiting update. ‘M’ might have a great shot with Ryan Mallet in the ’07 class. Also of interest is that Brandon Minor was listed as the #1 Fullback in the country.
December 15 – Thursday
Unverified Voracity: Stop Being Nice To Us. National optimism continues to grow about the basketball team’s 7-0 start.
December 16 – Friday
A Pistons post about how much they changed since Larry Brown left. Not sure what it has to do with Clinton Portis in the title; I think there is a picture that has been lost that would help explain it.
Unverified Voracity: Disappointment is Tennessee. The title comes from a Pierre Woods quote referring to Tennessee missing the playoffs for the first time in many, many years. If only everyone knew what was to come in three short years… Also, Lloyd Carr advocates for a 16 team playoff.
December 19 – Monday
Ha, Brian didn’t check the tip time of the Michigan-UCLA basketball game and missed it. He didn’t miss much though.
Brian continues his work on an analysis of every play from the college football season. Unfortunately, the pictures are not available, so there’s not much relevant info left.
Unverified Voracity: THEY ARE FIRE NOW!!!! talks about how ‘M’ wouldn’t be playing Minnesota or Northwestern in 2009 and 2010, and how because of that, those two would probably be the worst teams in the conference. Again, little did anyone know what was to come.
To the surprise of everyone, “uber-recruit” Carlos Brown commits.
Recruiting board update. What will Jonas Mouton do? Will Aaron Gant commit? (spoiler, he goes to OSU) If he does, it will likely mean Dionte Allen is coming in ’07.
December 21 – Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Madness, Baby. What do to without college football? Also, bowl game gift allotments are bumped up to $500.
College football as characters from South Park. I can’t say I’ve ever watched the show, so I leave it here without comment.
December 22 – Thursday
Game preview, Alamo Bowl vs. Nebraska. NU came in ranked 110th in rushing yards, but…
Michigan is not exactly Ohio State in the rush defense department, however, finishing the year a thoroughly meh 43rd nationally. Undoubtedly you've heard this before: Massey, weak tackling secondary, outside linebackers who think outside the box but run inside of it, etc, etc.
December 25 – Sunday
December 30 – Friday
The Alamo Bowl did not go well. The refs were a big reason why:
I'm at a loss as to why the Alamo Bowl couldn't have found some illegal immigrants from Botswana who thought they were watching a bizarre form of rugby to officiate. Or a pack of ravenous hyenas prone to consuming wounded participants. Or people who enjoy "Everybody Loves Raymond." I don't want to go too far: none of these three groups of totally incompetent, unqualified people would have been an improvement. But they wouldn't have been any worse, and they would have come cheaper.
The bigger deal here though is just how awful 2005 was, but in comparison to what 2008 would bring, it seems pretty ok. Now it just looks like an off-year, a reset. We have come through so much since then that when I read the following, I partly feel like scoffing at it, but I also want to go back and plead with 2005 ‘M’ fans to not take it for granted. Mostly I want to curl up in a ball and not think about what was soon to follow.
Here's your UFR: screw 2005
So: here lies 2005, killed by its own incompetence and that of others. Its gift to future generations is the phrase "well, at least it wasn't 2005." Try it: "well, we may have lost to MSU, but at least it wasn't 2005." "Well, I may have inoperable pancreatic cancer, but at least it isn't 2005." "Well, that rapture thing happened, my bet on Hinduism came up craps, and now I'm faced with hell on earth during Armageddon, but at least it isn't 2005."
December 31 – Saturday
After that, it seems the appropriate way to end the year is a post about possible nicknames for a Tulsa player named Germany.
I thought it might be fun to go back and take a look at the blog's history. This probably should have been started a year ago because it looks like the blog began at the beginning of December, 2004. I would like to keep this up once a month, but this took awhile to put together, so we'll see.
November 1 - Tuesday
The first post from this month was week 10 BlogPoll Ballot Box. I had forgotten about this feature of the blog. It seems to have disappeared; I’m not sure when.
Unverified Voracity with the boring title of “11/1”. I didn’t bother to look back to find out when UV started, but I noticed that earlier in the year Brian posted a lot, like several times a day with a link or an update to a story. Sometime in 2005 he must have had enough with that and decided to collect everything in one post. UV here complete with Uniformz concerns. Also, an addendum.
November 2 – Wednesday
Brian goes after Jason Witlock for comments on a 10-year extension for Charlie Weis. I think at this point we can agree that the contract was a terrible idea, racial issues aside.
Follow up to the Witlock stuff. I’m confused about the connections between Witlock and Elvis Grbac in 1992. Anyone know that story?
A brief Unverified Voracity.
November 3 – Thursday
More about the Witlock issue with an entire Unverified Voracity dedicated to it.
Northwestern game offensive UFR. Henne could only throw screens and Matt Lentz was not living up the hype of a three-year starter/5th year senior. Also, Mike Hart needed to come back from injury.
November 4 – Friday
An aptly named post, And Now Something Completely Different, wherein Brian talks about what CFB coaches he would like to drink with and…hooking up with Kirk Ferentz’ daughter.
In this UV, Brian talks about how ridiculous it is to say one conference is better than another, mainly because you can’t compare when there are so few non-conference games. He includes a quote about how the SEC is going to win lots of games, but not dominate national powers like Michigan. Ten years later it’s strange to think of anyone saying that. Also a reference to Harbaugh getting a DUI.
Northwestern game defensive UFR. The highlights were a +7 from Tim Jamison and a +6 from Shawn Crable.
Also: welcome to Michigan football, Shawn Crable. I don't know if he'll ever find a role against teams like Wisconsin, but he's been a really effective pass rusher.’
November 5 – Sunday
Early equivalent to a bye week open thread.
November 7 – Monday
Unverified Voracity with a link to a blog post that Brian spawned with a more in depth discussion of coaches’ daughters.
November 8 – Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Totally Bats Edition. Great quote:
Amaker's main problem seems to be that he's a really nice guy who often seems less like a coach and more like an interested observer on the receiving end of questionable advice re: turtlenecks and their relation to sportcoats.
November 9 – Wednesday
I must admit I’m not too up on ‘M’ hockey, either now or 10 years ago, but here’s an early season update.
November 10 – Thursday
Unverified Voracity: Penis==Ratings (!). Nice quote included from Jeremy Van Alstyne in reference to upcoming opponent Indiana:
"You know, they have some really good skill players,'' the redshirt junior said with a serious expression. "They're able to make big plays and stuff like that."
And who, exactly, are those skill players?
"I don't know," Van Alstyne said, admitting he hadn't watched much film yet.
I’m not sure I remember any off-topic front page posts, but here’s one about Sony and computer related issues. Has this had much effect on life as we know it in the last 10 years?
November 11 – Friday
Unverified Voracity: The Nirvana Topic which is primarily about game theory and attacking older ways of thinking about said theories, hence the nirvana topic.
Ah, Indiana, how I love you. Whereas other members of the Big Ten get uppity and attempt to win games, go to bowls, and even claim championships, you continue to send out crippled ferrets at defensive back.
The kittens are enjoying some much needed R&R and installing a new offensive package heavily featuring the black kitten who was an option quarterback in high school.
November 12 – Saturday
November 14 – Monday
The first Ohio State week for the blog, and Brian does a tale of the tape series. First up is a comparison of the states. Too good not to include here.
"The one with all the lakes?"
Reaction of Snobby Coastal People When Informed You Come From Said State
"Are you applying for asylum?"
Embarassing Current or Former Mayor
"If you seek a pleasant penninsula, look around you."
"Probably not Indiana."
Magnificent fall foliage
Notable Local Features
Rock And Roll "Hall of Fame"
Spoils From Battle Of Toledo
Blow by people going 90
Ticket Big Wheels for speeding
Linchpin of Local Economy
Relentless work ethic, afros.
NBA Teams Known For
Losing Lebron James to Free Agency... soon.
NFL Teams Known For
Moving out of the state like any logical person would; sucking.
NHL Teams Known For
Unverified Voracity: Briefly and Moving on serves as the Indiana game column, including calming fears that Johnny Sears redshirt was not burned.
November 15 – Tuesday
Brian relates a story from attending The Game in 2002 at the Horseshoe. Hard to believe this is true, but then again it isn’t.
Oh look, Alex Legion has committed. I’m guessing this isn’t the last we hear of the recruitment.
November 16 – Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Kazakh Solidarity about rivalry week ramping up.
Brian does an interview with Tom Orr, author of Michigan Monday at the Ozone. Here is part 1.
November 17 – Thursday
An updated injury report, with the names of Hart, Manningham, Long, and Woodley appearing on this list, things were looking pretty bleak heading into the OSU game.
Part 2 of the interview with Tom Orr. How good is Troy Smith anyway?
Indiana gave offensive UFR. Brian is worrying about all the trickish plays used against Indiana and how that really does nothing to set them up for success against OSU.
November 18 – Friday
Unverified Voracity: The Game. Several notes about the next day’s game and thoughts on basketball team members from a recent open practice.
Loss will cause me to... have nightmares where John Cooper and Lloyd Carr turn out to be my parents.
I assume this was a reciprocal interview that Brian did at the Ozone, but alas, the link is now dead.
November 19 – Saturday
November 21 – Monday
The entire year had led up to this futile point when the coaching staff consciously decided to use the same strategy that failed every time it was pressed into service to date, including the most recent Ohio State drive.
I think that’s all that needs to be said about that…
Unverified Voracity: The Sudden Appeal of Basketball where Brian tries to forget The Game by talking about a basketball win over CMU, but football comes back in as he includes quotes from several other blogs about the loss.
Here is an offensive recruiting update. To me, the most interesting part of going back 10 years is to look at the names involved in recruiting back then. For instance, at this point ‘M’ was still pursuing Tim Tebow, though it looked likely that David Cone would be the only QB in the class. Also, Brian said that commit Greg Mathews speed “speed does seem almost caucasian in its paucity”. I think that was borne out.
November 22 – Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Be! Be! Excited (!) eeh, not excited for Eugene Germany getting arrested.
November 23 – Wednesday
Basketball beats Boston U. but it doesn’t look great doing it.
I could see Amaker in a Care Bearsepisode as Friendly Mr. Coachy.
Here is the defensive half of the recruiting update. Lots of little nuggets here, such as will they land Jonas Mouton? When will Obi Ezeh commit?
November 28 – Monday
Back from the break. The basketball team barely beating Butler was an ok thing, even before Butler became Butler.
November 29 – Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Dodging a Bulldog with speculation about ‘M’ playing South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, this is a better possibility than playing Georgia.
This is a follow up to an EDSBS post with 32 more reasons that ESPN/ABC/Disney is the devil.
November 30 – Wednesday
Here is a live blog of the ‘M’ vs. Miami (YTM) basketball game, not a live blog like we’re used to now, but it’s actually Brian’s running commentary throughout. Interesting reference to one of Miami’s players:
Miami's starting center just got his third foul on a Sims runout. His name is Jimmy Graham. Just sayin'. Miami's coach gives them a slap folowed by a "come on." Good advice.
Unverified Voracity: Is Scoop Jackson the Girl I Dated in High School with more thoughts on ESPN.
This isn't exactly an exhaustively researched report, but there has been nothing in the diaries lately, and I thought I'd bring up a foreboding bit of Michigan history for you all. As we prepare to enter the 2012 season, I got just a minor sense of foreboding thinking of a few parallels to another well known season.
The year is 2006. Michigan football rebounds from an extremely disappointing 7-5 2005 campaign that sees losses to OSU and the bowl game to have a breakout year. The juniors on the team finally seem to gel completely and Michigan storms to an 11-2 record, including playing one of the most epic games in one of the most storied rivalries ever.
The following season, the pundits say, if there were ever a Michigan team that was primed to make a big run, it was the 2007 Wolverines. A truly gifted senior QB entering his 4th year of starting, who looks poised to make that leap to true stardom. A lockdown left tackle clearly produced by the NFL's most crack genetic engineers. A tailback that had emerged from a rash of injuries the previous season to prove a star, and a defense that had lost a few pieces but had improved so vastly from the seaon before that an upward trajectory could only be expected to continue.
Of course, we all know how that went.
Consider the 2011 Wolverines. Fresh off an extremely disappointing 7-5 campaign that sees losses to OSU and in the bowl game, the Wolverines put together a breakout year. The team seems to gel and Michigan storms to an 11-2 season including playing in one of the most epic games in one of the most storied rivalries ever.
For the 2012 season, Michigan will feature a truly gifted senior QB entering his 4th year of starting. He seems primed to make the leap from extremely talented to true stardom. Michigan features a lockdown left tackle seemingly produced by the NFL's most crack genetic engineers. We even have a tailback that emerged from a rash of injuries last season to prove a star, and a defense that made a stratospheric leap that bodes extremely well for the future.
Now, I'm not saying that Michigan 2012 is Michigan 2007. These teams are extremely different. But, it is the middle of the off season, and with Hoke heading things up, it's all sunshine and lollipops. What fun is that? Maybe it's good to be a little scared?
In an effort to stay out of the "RichRod sucks/Harbaugh is God" or "Harbaugh is a hack traitor/RichRod will win 20 MNCs" camps, I decided to refocus my attention on a possibly relevant topic: given the completed 2010 season, what should our expectations for 2011 be? More specifically, is there hope in recent Michigan history?
I began by comparing Michigan's results from 2010 with those from another recent 7-5 year, the 2005 Year of Infinite Pain (little did we know), a season that was widely heralded as Michigan's "once per score years down-year."
|Win #1||NIU, 33-17||UConn, 30-10|
|Win #2||EMU, 55-0||ND, 28-24|
|Win #3||MSU, 34-31||UMass, 42-37|
|Win #4||PSU, 27-25||BG, 65-21|
|Win #5||Iowa, 23-20||Indiana, 42-35|
|Win #6||Northwestern, 33-17||Illinois, 67-65|
|Win #7||Indiana, 41-14||Purdue, 27-16|
|Loss #1||ND, 10-17||MSU, 17-34|
|Loss #2||Wisconsin, 20-23||Iowa, 28-38|
|Loss #3||Minnesota, 20-23||PSU, 31-41|
|Loss #4||OSU, 21-25||Wisconsin, 28-48|
|Loss #5||Nebraska, 21-25||OSU, 7-37|
While at first glance I want to be able to look at this and say "we followed that 2005 season with a 2006 season led by a beast of a defense and a powerful offense, and came within a late-hit penalty of playing for the national championship," I can't see a similar turn-around for 2011. Outside of the records, these teams were night-and-day.
It's true that the 2011 team will be bringing back more guys than we did in 2006, but that's where the comparison ends. The 2005 team didn't lose a game by more than seven points, and lost their five games by a combined 21 points while outscoring their opponents in their wins by 122. The 2010 team suffered each loss by at least ten points and lost the five by a combined 87 points, while only outscoring their opponents by 83 in the wins. For those of you keeping track at home, that's a +101 scoring differential versus a -4.
So if we can't learn from 2005, what does progress really look like year-on-year from 2009?
|Win #1||WMU, 31-7||UConn, 30-10|
|Win #2||ND, 38-34||ND, 28-24|
|Win #3||EMU, 45-17||UMass, 42-37|
|Win #4||Delaware St., 63-6||BG, 65-21|
|Win #5||Indiana, 36-33||Indiana, 42-35|
|Loss/Win||Illinois, 13-38||Illinois, 67-65|
|Loss/Win||Purdue, 36-38||Purdue, 27-16|
|Loss #3/1||MSU, 20-26||MSU, 17-34|
|Loss #4/2||Iowa, 28-30||Iowa, 28-38|
|Loss #5/3||PSU, 10-35||PSU, 31-41|
|Loss #6/4||Wisconsin, 24-45||Wisconsin, 28-48|
|Loss #7/5||Ohio State, 10-21||OSU, 7-37|
Other than UConn being a marginally tougher opponent than WMU, we ran the table against ND and some cupcakes in the non-conference schedule. In both years we beat Indiana close and lost to Wisconsin by about 20.
In the positive column, we turned a 25 point Illinois loss into a 2 point win, and turned a 2 point Purdue loss into an 11 point win. We closed the gap with PSU from 25 points to 10 points.
On the negative, however, our three conference losses against the better Big Ten teams got much worse. Instead of losing in OT to MSU, we lost by 17. Instead of losing by 2 to Iowa, we lost by 10. Instead of an 11 point loss to OSU with five Tate Forcier turnovers, we lost by 30 in a game wherein OSU ran the ball on the final 16 plays and didn't attempt a pass in the 4th quarter (mimicking Wisconsin's performance the week before).
A sad stat for those arguing that 2010 was a strong step forward - the 2009 team was actually a +24 in scoring differential, which is four touchdowns favorable to the 2010 team that supposedly took a big step forward. If David Brandon keeps Rich Rodriguez on for a fourth year I'm rooting hard for him to succeed and for us to compete for a championship, but it appears he'll be doing it without the benefit of recent trends or history.
As a head's up, M vs Minnesota is on BTN for anyone staying in tonight. It's already in the 4th but hey, I'll watch anything Michigan right now. I'm paying particular attention to the defense in this game.
It's tied at 20 with 12:49 left in the 4th Q.