The Wolverines hadn't lost four fumbles since 1995.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this game was the infamous William Carr Purdue debacle.
9/13/2008 – Michigan 17, Notre Dame 35 – 1-2
You either accept this or you don’t as it relates to football and, more generally, life: random events occur without reason. Around these parts, the following things are chalked up the general bloody-mindedness of the universe:
Michigan, of course, actively participated in a number of these events—in fact, they were the only participants in most of the fumbles—but suggesting that these represent a disturbing trend (or, if you’re Pat Haden, some sort of mystical ND juju) is a stretch.
The Wolverines hadn't lost four fumbles since 1995. They hadn't had six turnovers since 1992.
You can’t really say this because the “BUT” is enormous, but: Michigan significantly outplayed Notre Dame on a down by down basis but shot itself in the foot every two seconds. Yes, this is sort of like saying “these cookies are delicious except for the arsenic.” Yes, Notre Dame was relieved of the need to outplay Michigan on a down-by-down basis because they were spotted a 21-0 lead and a second-half rainstorm and could be content to run some clock and punt. But I’ll take a team that looks competent except for a few huge glaring errors over one that can’t complete a pass, and if the teams played again next week the line would be further in Michigan’s favor. [Rakes points out this is a confusing sentence. The team that can't complete a pass is Michigan in their first two games. I rejiggered this paragraph and it didn't come out quite right. -ed] Massive negative events have a distorting effect on game results out of proportion to their usefulness as predictors.
Some of these major negative events are not purely random and are going away. Kevin Grady is a fumbler. The execution errors that led to the Minor fumble will remain rife. Stevie Brown has moved from possible liability to definite liability. Carson Butler.
Others—many others—were random events highly unlikely to recur: Yakety Sax fumbles caused by a wet ball, the distribution of close calls in ND’s favor*, Brandon Harrison kicking a fumble otherwise surrounded by M players back to the wide receiver.
Since I am not an emotionless robot I screamed my half-dozen profanities and fantasized about breaking stuff during the game, but when the red mist passed I was strangely pleased with an 18-point loss to what looks to be a meh-at-best team. This year was never going to end in glory anyway. What’s more important is the development of the offense, the emergence of Sam McGuffie, and the amazing one-week turnaround of Steven Threet.
The most damaging part of the whole Terrelle Pryor/BJ Daniels/Justin Feagin fiasco was not necessarily the loss of player X or player Y but the crimp it put in Rodriguez’s development schedule. Until about 3:45 Saturday it appeared Michigan would have to suffer through this year with the Threet/Sheridan duo, then start all over in 2009 with freshmen at the most critical position on the field.
It was at that point Threet threw a third-and-long slant, moved the chains, and embarked on a 16-23 day in extremely unfavorable conditions. Though he fumbled twice and was partially culpable for the Minor fumble, he also looked like an actual Division I quarterback, and in ways that even a potentially horrible Notre Dame defense couldn’t distort: he threw balls to receivers. He made good decisions. He was a freshman in his first road game, played in Hurricane Katrina, and averaged 7.6 YPA.
Yeah, he’ll probably regress, probably play well only in fits and starts, etc., etc. He’ll also go into next year a threat to keep his starting job, giving Michigan a third shot at quarterback competence. That’s more relevant for the rest of this year and the next three than a slippery ball and Notre Dame waking up the Willingham echoes.
*(this is not to say that any of the calls were wrong, but virtually everything that could have gone either way went to ND; over time that’s unsustainable.)
BULLETS THAT ARE APPARENTLY SLATHERED IN BUTTER OR SOMETHING
Another junior running back, Carlos Brown, said he was prepared for a bigger role in the game.
"It is what it is," said Brown. … Asked whether he'll be used more as a running back in the future, Brown said, "Hey, I'm clueless. You have to talk to coach Rod about all that."
This sounds like a guy who is not happy with his playing time.
No, I don’t think Michigan was taking any particular risk by putting a couple freshmen back to return kicks. They returned kicks in high school and it’s not like there’s anything different about it in college. Usually a KO fumble means some crappy field position; Michigan just got extraordinarily unlucky to have a muff like that.
The Wolverines hadn't lost four fumbles since 1995.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this game was the infamous William Carr Purdue debacle.
It was the Memphis game, one I had completely forgotten about until they mentioned that stat.
I do not recall that.
1995 was strange because there was the Pigskin Classic against Virginia (Mercury Hayes!) and then Michigan opened the real season with Illinois at Champaign, a 38-14 victory. It was the next week that Michigan played Memphis, a 24-7 victory, before going to Chestnut Hill to play BC and then came home to face Miami of Ohio.
The reason you may not remember the game is that it happened the week after Northwestern took down Notre Dame in South Bend (and remember that Michigan and Notre Dame did not play that year.)
So yeah, it's one of those things.
i was 10
Butler should be off the team. That was meatheaded stupidity by a guy who should be on a short leash.
Positive, though- at least they have a bye week to work on stuff.
Let's not be so quick to judgment. Maybe Butler finally found the correct guy that asked to use his iron. In that case, the slap was completely warranted.
edit: now i remember. funny
ha. comment of the week.
Just a brilliant comment. COTW honors = comment of the week
Let's not forget Zoltan's rushing 1st down! He even kinda stiff-armed the guy that forced him out of bounds!
Definitely a frustrating game, but I came away encouraged. The offense looked like an actual offense with actual good players and stuff.
I must have missed the Carson Butler thing, though. He took a swing at a guy? Was it in the last four minutes? I'd had enough of watching the actual game by then.
i missed it too. when was this? either way, he is a complete idiot. richrod should kick him off the team. it would send the message that he doesn't allow morons like butler on the team and also, we really don't need butler anymore. massey could easily fill in as richrod has sparingly played him. and also, richrod barely uses the TE anyways so it wouldn't make much of a difference. kick him off. even if it is purely a PR thing to show guys like carty that you care about character.
I agree with everything said in this post except for:
we were at home, or against Miami, this would be fine. But haven't we
watched enough Michigan-ND games to know that bad things happen in front
of TD Jesus? I think it's absolutely ridiculous to put true freshman
back there to catch the first kickoff of this rainy game. It killed us.
It wasn't raining when they muffed the kickoffs. At least it didn't appear to be on TV.
Nope. I didn't even bring anything to wear in case it rain (left it on the bus#@*$^). The weather was nice at kickoff. Start of the 2nd half though, was like Ike minus the 110+ mph winds.
My clothes are still wet.
I expect ND to get more breaks just bc that is historically what has happened. Them getting as many as they did was extremely frustrating. But, the fact that the final score was 35-17 made it much easier to take than if it were 28-24. The most painful loss to ND in my memory was in 05 simply bc they lost by 7 w/ ND getting a number of breaks (TD pass off Graham's(?) hand, the non-TD Henne sneak followed by a fumble the next play, 2 other non scoring red zone trips, ect). This loss is much less painful simply bc they lost by 3 scores.
Stevie Brown stopped dead in his tracks as the receiver zipped past him on the bomb.
I could be wrong and we'll have to wait for the UFR, but I think Brown was in a short zone that play. After watching it on replay I initially thought it was more Harrison's fault not getting over the top in time.
I'm pretty sure Stevie was in a short (robber?) zone there, with Harrison and Trent over the top. Trent slipped a bit (perhaps in response to the ball fake), misdiagnosed the route and let Tate run right by him. Harrison never recognized and there was no way we were getting to the QB there. Brian said it was a two man route and at the time I thought it was literally just Tate running downfield. The secondary blew that (though Tate clearly has some wheels and should be credited).
Stevie was the inside bracket, Trent was the outside. Trent never really established depth. That combined with some cleats slipping doomed the play.
I've said it forever, high school success and "star-rating"means jack shit and a bag of gummy bears when you get to the college level. I witnessed it first hand. They are bigger, faster and stronger and some kids just can't handle the transition. You never know what's in a kid's heart until you put him in front of 11 guys who are every bit as talented as he is, only they want to kick his ass.
Kevin Grady should play on special teams (as a blocker), collect his M ring and get back to GR. It's been a disaster.
Coach Rodriquez took the words out of my mouth when he said he was disappointed but not discouraged. I think we're on the edge. Hopefully 2 weeks to prepare will do us some good. I wonder if you can sprout mobile, dominant linemen in 2 weeks.
Let's GO Blue!
using the exception to hack away at the rule. Sweet, sweet logical consistency.
I could be wrong, but I'm relatively certain that the star ratings do not include "heart" in their criteria. And since 99.9% of football skill is predicated on the things actually encapsulated in the star ratings, I'll take those anyday as a predictor of success than arbitrary heart ratings (expressed in Ecksteins).
but to each his own.
I agree that star rankings aren't guarantees of a player's college production, but let's not forget that Brian and others have shown on multiple occasions that over time, recruiting ranks are actually very good predictors of production in college. Sure, Grady hasn't worked out, but when you look at the whole, the stars matter.
5 stars don't mean anything? OK, i agree with you that it doesn't mean anything with 100% of those guys. but i believe in 2005 grady was the #22 rated player in the country, and the guy behind him? Some dude named Darren McFadden. he did well for himself.
Grady certainly showed a lot of heart when he carried 1 or 2 ND defenders on his back into the endzone. Sometimes these young guys don't turn into the superstars we created in our minds, and by an occasionally wrong metric, for them to become. If you have some quantifable way you can detect Kevin Grady's "heart" while he plays the game of football, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, honestly, screw off.
i don't know about that. he's going to be a four-time letterwinner at the university of michigan, and he's going to walk away with a degree from one of the finest colleges in the world.
i could find you ten thousand people who would take that "disaster" in their lives, right now. no matter what you think about him.
"Both sides are fraught with either uncertainty or known incompetence at
many different positions. That's the sort of thing that will lend
itself toward a longer, flatter distribution of y/p. The average
becomes less descriptive. The balance of the extremes decides it."
If you compare distributions of yards gained between plays ending in -4 yards to +10 yards (which is something pretty close to the standard deviation for most games), it's pretty clear who was better at doing the things that entail repeatable skill. Likewise, the numbers from the primary QB and RB from each team, which normally have very clear consequences for the game's outcome, were very favorable. The controllable, repeatable, skill-based aspects of the game went in favor of Michigan.
So, like you say: Massive negative events have a distorting effect on game results out of proportion to their usefulness as predictors.
Or, like I said: The balance of the extremes decides it.
JHS -- I think that the Will Carr Purdue game was in 1996. (I was at that one.) There was an Illinois game in AA that had an insane number of fumbles. I thought that it was in 1992, though.
Assuming that this weekend was not an aberation, Threet has a legitimate chance to be the starting QB for at least two more years. Look at the long line of highly successful college QBs that relied entirely on making good decisions. Two dynasty leaders come to mind: Leinert (spl?) and Dorsey (Miami), in addition to everyone who was successful at Florida, Krenzel the NC winner at OSU. Not to imply that for 2009 through 2011 we are only going to lose 2 games, but it doesn't appear that the weak link right now (fumbles excluded) is the QB play.
Yes, these are college athletes and they do not get paid to make us happy, but wow. Wow. Stevie Brown appears to have the tools, plays decently-if-not-underwhelmingly most of the time, but can seriously be counted on to make at least one horrible mistake per game. I was at the game, and the second Claussen threw that TD pass, Morgan Trent turned around and started yelling at... guess who... Number 3. Now, Number 3 wasn't in the end zone, mind you - he was jogging into the end zone from the 10 yard line because, even as free safety, he was eons behind the play. I don't like players yelling at eachother on the field because it shows up teammates, but if we're looking to place blame, I think that's a good indicator. Morgan Trent may get beaten to hell on occasion, but his mistakes are physical, not mental.
In addition, on the 60 yard run that broke our backs, I have never seen a more hesitant, scared, deer-in-the-headlights attempt at a tackle than what Number 3 showed us. He didn't get stiff-armed, he got smacked. He got smacked like a moth, or a little kid who was too close to the cookie jar.
Maybe it's confidence (which this post is obviously not helping) or maybe he just doesn't have the instincts. But with crucial mistakes and tentative play in each game he's started, why do we keep subjecting ourselves to this? Maybe he's like Randy Johnson when he got shipped to the Yankees - it was the wrong place for him. Maybe he could be successful if he Mundy-ed his way somewhere else. All I know is that right before the "slap-arm" play started, I turned to the Michigan fan sitting next to me and said, "Oh no, Stevie Brown's our only safety back there, this is not going to go well."
I just hope this secures Charlie Weis as the future HC of Notre Dame for years to come. God help us if they buy out that contract, I would hate for them to get a decent coach down there.
It must be tough for Rich to be 0-1 to such a horrible coach.
But Rich should be able to start dominating Weis in '09 (when ND's combination of depth and talent will be at levels unseen since the early 90s). Can't wait!
was rated than higher than McFadden and Mendenhall - Jonathon Stewart IIRC was rated higher than Grady. And guess what all of this guys turned out to be studs and first round draft picks.
Nice wrap up Brian......good to see you positive and in good spirits about what we saw Saturday afternoon.
Folks, I still think we have the makings of a team that can have a winning Big 10 record.......seriously, did anyone objectively feel we would be better than 1-2 right now?!?!?!
Those who follow the game knew the buzz saw in waiting with Utah......and maybe ND is 'meh' but better, more seasoned and much higher ranked UM teams have gone into South Bend against average ND teams and imploded in a loss just like we had the other day.
Question: Would you trade our roster for anyone else's right now in the Big 10? Maybe OSU's? The others are a wash at worst, and this is the most green team we've ever had.
If UM can correct those unforceable errors, a 5-3 big 10 record is more than attainable.
Yes, I thought we would be at worst 2-1...and I didn't think us being 3-0 would be that far of a stretch. Obviously we aren't as good as most of us thought we would be. But I don't recall hearing anybody say we would be 1-2 after 3 games.
5-3? I see 4 wins, and that is looking at the schedule with very rosy glasses. We COULD win our final 4 games before OSU, but any win other than that would be a HUGE upset. How could you "expect" us to be 1-2 right now and still see us winning 5 games in the big ten. Please stop posting.
.....this is hardly a vintage year for the conference. If its a weak as the national perception, then only wins at PSU and OSU would be classified as truly huge upsets.
Utah is better than just about anybody else on our slate. I dont feel we will face a better QB than that all season.....thought so before the game, convinced of it after BJ carved us up.......maybe the new QB at PSU who looks to have it rolling right now, but he does not have the experience......also the Mountain West Conference might just be better than the Big 10 this year. Something to think about there.
From what I saw of the offense on Saturday, we will be able to move effectively against the following Big 10 teams: Illinois, MSU, PU, Minny and NW. Wisco's D is tough, but I saw Fresno really take advantage of getting their tailbacks in space to make big plays. Those plays would have won them the game had they had some Kicking Compentency. I saw that game on Saturday night and instantly thought we could exploit them big time if we get performances from Threet and McGuffie similar to what they did on Saturday.
The D has shown flaws, but its still better than last year's D which was one the best in the league and helped put us in position to play for the league title......I dont think our league brethern is going to suddenly light up the scoreboard on us.
I just dont think the league slate is full of world beaters. We have just as much talent on hand, if not more, than most of them. Its obvious how much better the offense is getting from week to week. I like the way this is going and dont think we should write off a winning league season this year.
Someone put a question up on the board for predictions before the season started. I predicted 6-6 and said that would be a "good" result for this team. I said loss to Utah, win Miami, loss to ND. I think though, we can be 5-4 the rest of the way. That is best case scenario. Win vs. Toledo, then we beat Minn, NW, Purdue and split with MSU/Illinois. We get smoked by PSU, Wisconsin and OSU. I could also see us go 3-6 the rest of the way but honestly, I think the offense is starting to come around as I suspected they would. Now the question is, will the big ten be good enough to get us in with a 6-6 record. My friend swears that Michigan will get a bowl if we qualify. We'll see.
That was supposed to reply to Mark682.. idk why it didnt work
gimme a break - it is not like ND won this game because of Weis. With the way UM gifted the Irish a 14-0 lead, Greg Robinson could have held on and won this game.
If Willingham was the coach ND still would have won. This win had nothing to do with the Great Weis Whale.
I definitely did not attribute the win entirely to Weis. I'm just amused by UM fans who want to believe that Weis is some horrible coach. I truly think they're setting themselves up for some disappointment in the future. But hey, that's just me. (And I think you've got to admit that Weis and the staff made some improvements since last year's game and have some nice young talent.)
You're right, a lot of that game was a nice gift by UM to ND. But of course, if Ty was still the coach ND would likely NOT have won this game because we would be terribly coached and playing with a bunch of 2-star recruits snatched away from the Northwesterns and Bowling Greens of the world.
As much as I appreciate your restraint, do you actually watch the games?
I do indeed. Every second, multiple times, because I've got issues.
Weis shot mind bullets to players in positions with -back with them. He made Cissoko, Shaw, Minor, and Grady fumble, froze Morgan Trent and Stevie Brown, had Warren commit PIs, and made Sheridan throw picks. These errors were forced by the walk on special teams guy from ND, who is actually better than Rudy.
Luckily, McGuffie seems to be immune.