Absolutely agree on the point of wanting to travel the country to watch football. My group is taking our bye week and traveling to Ole Miss and watching them take on Arkansas. Time to see the legendary grove. We're also considering heading to Kentucky to catch a game this year. We'd much rather see Michigan play one of these teams. Seeing other campuses is too good to pass up.
Mailbag: TEs, Scheduling Surcharges, OL Weight, Brandon's Master Plan
A potential future TE and one of many, many places it would be cool to go
Let's have a TE rummage sale.
Just listened to the podcast of your WTKA Thursday gig and you echoed my own concerns about TE depth. Yesterday I started a thread on the board about converting Heitzman to TE but it was partially highjacked by the Snarkosphere.
Keith was a TE in high school and played a bit of fullback in the Big 33 game (scored the last TD). At 6'3" 250 he is already big enough to contribute and would be ready to step into the looming void of 2012. WolvinLA had one of the few constructive comments to my post saying that he thought Heitzman had the frame to become a 285 lb. SDE..... but I would rather have a 260 lb. TE next year, and taking a third TE in this class does not really address the immediate depth problem.
I think you're onto something. Michigan is going to bring in a couple SDEs next year that are probably going to pass Heitzman on the depth chart as soon as they hit campus. On the other hand, they have zero(!) scholarship SDEs on the current depth chart. Unless Brink is a diamond in the rough, they'll need the competition there.
There's another guy on the roster who seems even riper for a move: Jordan Paskorz. Paskorz played TE in high school—he actually made the local newspaper's All-Region team at the spot. He's listed as a 6'3" 246 linebacker but didn't make the depth chart; I actually thought he was competing at WDE. Either way, SLB and WDE are both three-deep for the next couple years.
He's got a much clearer path to playing time at TE. By next year he could be 260 or 270 pounds. I'm a little surprised they haven't moved him already.
WHY OL NO ENORBOUS
One of the consistent comments since Brady Hoke was hired has been the weight of our offensive linemen. I feel like this is something you bring up quite regularly, either talking about how the starters haven't put on as much weight as you expected or about how some of the incoming recruits fit more in line with the "man ball" theme based on their size. Here's my question - what weight do you think Hoke wants for the OL?
I did a little research on this and what I found was that Michigan isn't as light as I would expect as compared to everyone else. Most teams, both NCAA and NFL, seem to average about 305-315 across their line while Michigan is just under 300. More interesting is that our current OL out-weighs the National Champion 1997 line that produced a bunch of quality NFL players. (Caveat about old school rosters matching reality goes here.)
The only team I found that has any significant size difference with respect to Michigan is Wisconsin. So do you really think Hoke wants that type of OL or is a modest increase into the 310 area that most NFL Teams seem to favor?
Yeah, in 1997 Michigan was still in the mode where any lineman over 300 pounds was listed at "299." Whether this was an homage to the old Schembechler story about the scales in the football building only going that high (and having to weigh some kid on a freight elevator as a result) or a hint to anyone over that number to get under it is unknown. Those guys were probably just as big as these guys.
I have no idea what to make of Hoke's intentions since he seems to say one thing and then let Borges do what he wants. I wouldn't read much into the lack of weight added to Michigan's current line in that regard since it's possible they're just not guys who can be much bigger than they already are. Molk and Huyge are probably topped out and putting more weight on Omameh would be easy if you just wanted it to be fat. Maybe not so much the muscle. Barnum and Lewan are exceptions; not sure what to make of that.
Down the road we will see bigger linemen. No one in this class is ever going to be described as "undersized," as Molk and possibly Omameh are. I'm guessing they won't be as huge as Wisconsin, but who knows?
Reasons not to schedule anyone that kind of assume I am not aware of the structure of college fooball.
I hear what you're saying on the scheduling but it's never going to change with the current incentive structure. As long as a school from a BCS conference can destroy three cupcakes, run the table in their conference and go to the national title game (or lose 1 conference game and still get a huge BCS payout) what is the incentive for Michigan to ever schedule anyone but 2 directional schools and Baby Seal U of its choice?
At the end of the day, the fans care about wins and in January there will be much less bitching if Michigan is 10-2 with losses to Wisco and Iowa (and having clubbed 3 terrible teams) and playing on New Years Day than if they went 9-3 with an additional loss to Oklahoma.
Since up to five Big Ten teams now play on New Year's Day, your hypothetical 9-3 team would easily cross that threshold. Hurray for grade inflation. That's beside the point.
I see what the emailer is saying, and sort of agree, and think that's another aspect of modern college football that sucks out loud. HOWEVA, I don't think that the only thing CFB fans care about is wins at The End Of The Day. This whole topic of conversation arose because I went to the UM Club of Detroit's kickoff luncheon and some guy launched into a rant about Michigan's scheduling that got applause from the entire room. At the end of the day I think fans want to see Michigan win more than its fair share against quality competition and feel like they're getting value for money.
I believe that even if the fans sigh and pay for Michigan scheduling real opponents by yourself, value for money is on the side of real opponents. And $2.59 per ticket means you don't have to schedule Georgia or Oklahoma to make the home and home worthwhile. YMMV, but here's a list of teams Michigan could play. You can yes or no the hypothetical surcharge in your brain for each:
- Georgia Tech
- Oregon State
- Oklahoma State
- North Carolina
- Ole Miss
Those are all "yes" to me and none are signing up to play Oklahoma. It's true that signing up for a second real game reduces your chances of running the table and getting into the worst playoff ever. That's another crappy effect of the current system that would be far less powerful if we had a properly-sized playoff (six teams, IME). That's a downside… but I don't really care. I just want to play some real teams.
This guy's mileage varies from the previous guy
I know and understand your post is all about the financial ramifications and feasibility of a home and home with a real opponent, but you failed to mention one common sense tidbit that Dave Brandon doesn't seem to get: PEOPLE LIKE TRAVELING TO NEW PLACES, which is why Michigan is almost always a lock to bring a big crowd to a bowl game.
People want to explore the country. I've always wanted to visit the south and all I need is a game scheduled between Michigan and any SEC team below the Mason Dixon line to get me to finally take that trip. Road games are FUN, especially when they are in a city/region you don't get to visit much.
Amen. I'm still undecided about whether I'll shell out to go see Michigan play Alabama in Jerryworld. It's just a bowl game in a meh city. I can do that every year. (Right, Brady?) If the game was in Tuscaloosa I'd be hitting refresh on Kayak every twelve seconds until I'd gotten solid plans. That is a once in a lifetime opportunity to check out a college football mecca. Hell, I went to a game at Auburn Michigan wasn't even involved in and came back raving about how awesome college football was.
Jerryworld is not college football, but it pays the bills. If paying those is what it takes for Michigan to schedule nonconference games not against Notre Dame, I'm willing to do that. Give us the option. Put a millage on the season ticket applications that will add a surcharge for two years for a specific matchup and only do it if you get 60% of the vote. The worst thing that happens is nothing.
A Third and long Denard followup from the Mathlete.
I have Denard at 1140th out of 1235 players in my database on 3rd and 8+
Tate Forcier from 2009 was literally one spot ahead at 1139
Pat White in his three years under RR:
West Virginia wasn't great under RR but they were always in the top quarter and nowhere near as low as Michigan was the last two year.
Yeesh. That will be a stat to track this year, more to see how Denard develops than any particular differences between RR and Borges. That assertion about Michigan 2011 being an offense that had to stay ahead of the chains as much as generic triple options teams turns out to be no exaggeration.
Yet another reason to shoot yourself (DON'T SHOOT YOURSELF)
I have an alternative theory on Michigan football, we are all in a dream.
Hear me out.
You know how most dreams will contain basic familiar elements (Denard, uniforms, etc), but often will have people in places you don't expect but might hope for (Tressel resigning in disgrace, getting great recruits), some simply weird stuff (Brady Hoke as coach, huge scoreboard out of nowhere), and then all of a sudden the narrative gets really weird with some natural phenomenon (like onrushing water) that signals the dream state and the fact we might be ready to get up?
Is Dave Brandon trying to perform Inception on us?
accurate representation of how Michigan fans feel after last four years
Hmmm… If I shoot myself in the head, the possibilities:
- wake up on December 1st, 2007 thinking "Dave Brandon should coach Michigan football"
I think I'll pass.
But don't you kind of want to see those screens in person? Really the whole stadium looks amazing.
Thanks, jbibiza, glad I could be constructive. But jeez, if I'm the only one behaving, that must have been quite a thread.
Anyhow, I like Paskorz moving better than Heitzman not because I think he'll be a better TE, but as Brian said, we have Brink and frosh at SDE next year if Heitzman moves. Now, Hietzman will redshirt this year, and if he doesn't bulk up enough over the next 12 months, Brink looks like a solid starter by the end of the year or one of the freshmen slotted for SDE comes on campus ready to tear apart the Big Ten (Wormley, possibly Strobel?) then moving Heitzman to TE makes a lot of sense. That's the problem with that position right now - in the spring, Heitzman will be the de facto #2 at SDE, and come fall it's possible he never sees the 2-deep at that spot again.
But that's going off of mostly recruiting data, and we all know how many exceptions there are to those rules, especially on the lines.
I'll be curious to see how many of those teams would excite the posters enough to pay more money, and give up a home game every other year. I do see it as more reasonable than playing ND AND power du jour (which probably means at least one loss OOC every other year...and some years two), which is kinda suicide for a coach. But upping it to the old standards would be more likely to work...especially if they would still do the old two for ones (which seems unlikely in a world where MSU is agreeing to visit MAC programs now). Because it does come down to wins or losses in a world where there's no post-season reward for playing a tough schedule. And the negative is getting fired for losing too many games.
And at the same time, from the glory days of yesteryear, we've added Penn State, and Nebraska to the Conference, which means a few more teams in the rotation for the championship (and with a title game, no more shared titles). Are people going to be happy with more bad results, AND less titles, just because the games are better? I don't know. All I know is a coach has never been fired for his scheduled not being tough enough. Otherwise Wisconsin would never have a coach. And if Rich wins 3 of his first OOC games (though I don't know who you could schedule worse than Toledo), he goes to a bowl, and maybe has momentum next year to make a bowl, and is still the coach.
with worse results and fewer titles if the games are better, but the threads here on this issue make me think I'm a pretty extreme outlier.
Which makes your post on the "Oregon State" class of games below all the more interesting. Because you've been a lock solid proponent of it. And I wondered how many of those games, other than maybe Tennessee, would actually excite people. Then on the list there's a group of "interesting" games, and then a group of "meh" teams. I'd love playing all of them. But the list of those teams I think we should make a return trip to is pretty small. Heck, back in the day I think we got UCLA on a 2 for 1 basis. And they didn't completely suck then. Just curious if the money, or more likely the loss of a home game - and the chance that the road game could be a loss..making it a bit more of a risk, would be worth the reward (or is that enough of a reward for most). So, at least in your case, you want them to go big, or not at all.
I'm essentially looking for "event" games: the LSU/Oregon class of games that get every colelge football writer/fan talking about the game and make for a really fun gameday/week leading up to the game. I'm also looking for games that make me think "man, I need to go to that game," especially if they're on the road.
There are a couple teams on Brian's list that I'd be okay with (going to Neyland Stadium would be fairly sweet), but playing Oregon State is just...nothing. It's the excitement of playing Vanderbilt while playing a team that's usually better than Vanderbilt. I don't see how that one makes sense.
Two-for-one deals might be the only way to get Dave Brandon to consider it.
I wonder if any of those schools (especially ones with budget troubles like Cal and UCLA) would be willing to make a 2-for-1 deal with something on the side. It seems unlikely that any of them would accept a straight-up 2-for-1 but maybe something could work out.
Would a 2-for-1 and $500,000 be acceptable to them? Using Brian's previous calculations that would be a ticket surcharge of only 80 cents per game over the three year span. If you raised the price a full dollar, that would be a surplus of $435,000 which would probably make up for concession sales lost to that one away game.
Another option (either instead of, or in addition to the cash payment) is something like we worked out with Utah. Have a 2-for-1 football agreement and a 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 deal in basketball. I'm not even going to attempt to make calculations involving basketball but I don't think it should affect anything. The basketball team regularly travels for opponents, now we are just pairing that up with a football opponent.
scheduling Oregon State is the worst of all possible worlds. The idea of playing Oregon State doesn't excite me in any way, and probably does at least marginally increase the chances of a loss.
If Michigan is going to improve its schedule -- and it should -- then it should go all out, and schedule honest-to-goodness national powers on a regular basis.
This post above is outstanding and accurate -- and no one else has made that kind of observation. Not just a view "from 40,000 feet", but from the moon -- and spot-on. What a wild wacky road it's been -- the only constants are oxygen, change and human stupidity
Like a work placement?
Since when does Dustin Johnson play for Michigan???
I agree sans "nor ever will." The jury is still out on what he will be able to do in a different offense. In the triple option, the long passing plays didn't work as well on "3rd and arbitrary high number" because the threat of the using the run option was decreased (albeit still there). Linebackers and DBs were less likely to cheat and the offensive passing plays were less than creative/diverse. This year, we would hope with this offense that the passing plays and routes will be more creative/diverse and we can see how Denard handles 3rd and long in the pocket, and if the play breaks down he can always hit the nitrous button.
That is all.
football laying on the ground and......BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!! BEEP!!!!!
Blame the system and blame the expansion into super conferences brought by the system for the loss of one "interesting" trip a year. At the same time, Nebraska has been added and there will probably be 4 teams added to make 16 in the next few years. Get your trip on going to those new places.
The idea of finding ways to make it work by playing with ticket prices misses the point entirely. You can make the same or more money and protect your team from unnecessary physical pounding, and L's the way things are now. Until we have a real playoff system that rewards strength of schedule there is no point beyond satisfying a small group of fans who have the time and means to travel all over the place on a weekend.
Unless you can show me some evidence that college football fans want more of these unique home and homes and are feeling deprived as a whole, I say this isn't a big deal. I'd figure we'd see a large number of people on this board loaded with serious fans crying out for road games out of conference. Yet there really isn't. I know why Brian wants them and it's the same reason I want them, but the amount of fans that are going to actually travel where this matters is statistically unimportant.
Here's a solution: Once we lose Notre Dame at some point for a break or longer, do a home and home with a different larger program then.
The bowl games are also perfect for everyone to satisfy their unique travel fixes anyway.
In fact, what we've done is not trade Oregon or Washington or whoever for Western and Air Force....what's really happened as conferences have expanded and gotten tougher (all around the Country) is trade them for Nebraska and Penn State. Because back in the day when we were taking on any and all, we were either just playing one tough game against OSU, or maybe 2-3 with OSU, and an Iowa, or MSU or flavor of the week (and later, +ND). Now you've added two traditional powers to the conference...thus filling up your contingent that used to be filled by FSU or Miami. So you're not seeing less big games; with the advent of teams like Wisconsin, who used to be god-awful, you're seeing more. It's just the same guys again and again. Which goes back to the argument not being "we need more big games" but "I'd rather see x, y, and z than ND again and again".
Once we go to a nine-game Big Ten conference schedule, I'd like to see the following OOC schedule:
2) Home and Home 1 (Hockey Rival?)
3) Notre Dame
2) Home and Home 1 (Hockey Rival?)
3) Notre Dame
2) Home and Home 2 (Basketball Rival?)
3) Notre Dame
1) Service Academy
2) Home and Home 2 (Basketball Rival?)
3) Notre Dame
I don't care who the second game is, but I would prefer that the talent level lie somewhere in between the week 1 opponent and Notre Dame. The OOC schedule could supply meaningful games to the University, preserve a rivalry (assuming ND isn't added during the formation of a mega conference), and prepare us for B1G season without entering with a losing record. As long as we're ready for conference ball, we'll hopefully encounter another tough opponent in our 13th or 14th game and be satisfied thusly.
But I've always wanted to see us play Duke. There's a cupcake with some added interest. Rival institution who we always play in their sport. They should do us the favor and play us in ours.
Strongly tied to my point. Duke is the basketball rival I had in mind (I was thinking of Miami of Ohio for hockey, which would excuse us playing a MAC team). We'd have some flexibility in that we could schedule them as an Ivy league opponent or as a basketball opponent.
I think David Brandon could get fairly creative by scheduling home and homes in two separate sports in one go. We could face off against a basketball power like Kentucky or UNC in a game that we should win on the gridiron, while also having a nice excuse to remind 100k+ that the hockey/basketball program are strong and to support them by attending or viewing games, particularly when we face XYZ opponent later this year again on the ice/court.
i don't start the season thinking that UM WILL win the national championship every year, i would like to think that we have the ability to do so (or as is the case currently, are buildng toward it). other than that, i want to have some victories over rivals and/or other programs of similar stature, which come through conference play. after that, i want to have something interesting to look forward to each week and something interesting to say when talking to people about my team. i am not sure that scheduling a major conference mid range team gets me to travel, but it sure gets me more excited about the game.
i am reasonably interested in the Air Force game next year.
I will continue to promote a B1G-ACC Challenge-style series in football. Now that we have 12 teams in the league, why not do home-and-aways with the Pac-12, or SEC? (The B1G would likely get murdered by the SEC, but I do think the Pac-12 would be doable).
I too have argued for this idea. Settle right at the start of the season who the best conference is. Of course it would also help the rankings be more accurate for later in the season when the top 8 get seeded for the playoff.
*file under - posts in which I say HOWEVA