FREE PIZZA. Students with a vague interest in the basketball team (at last count this was around 411 of you) should be informed there is an open practice scheduled for 5:30. The magic words:
At 5:30 PM and pizza will be served to students at the Junge Family Champions Center connected to Crisler Arena. The open practice will begin at 6 PM and students will be allowed to watch from the bleachers. Michigan coach John Beilein will be mic’d during the hour long practice and afterward the team will remain on court for a meet and greet.
Might as well go, right? Get in on the ground floor.
Mighty Motor City. Yeah, even the Motor City Bowl looks pretty good at this point, especially since it would mean Michigan won four of its last five. But this is the sign of a bowl game with self-image issues:
Michigan, which has been in 33 straight bowl games, would be contractually obligated to play in the Motor City Bowl if the Wolverines earn the required six victories and assuming co-bowl founders Perles and Ken Hoffman select them.
"They would have to go," Perles said. "They have no choice."
Michigan wouldn't turn down the extra three weeks of practice, or the opportunity to revengify(!) the MAC.
Maybe not so scary? Minnesota is 6-1 so far but they've been pretty fortunate:
Minnesota's 4 wins outside the league were over Northern Illinois (a solid 4-3 MAC school), Bowling Green (a not-so solid 3-4 MAC school), Montana State (IAA), and Florida Atlantic (a 2-5 Sun Belt school). In Big 10 play, the Gophers knocked off Indiana (only one win versus a IA foe) and Illinois (4-3) and lost to Ohio State (7-1). However, in those 3 Big 10 games, the Gophers are only averaging 304 yards per game, while allowing an average of 419 yards per game. The biggest difference between this season and last is that the Gophers have forced 20 turnovers in just 7 games after forcing only 14 all of last season. Turnovers are a significant determinant of wins and losses in football games, but they are also very random events. If Minnesota's turnover capabilities dip, their record should follow suit.
Then again, they beat Illinois, and we know what Illinois did to us.
I agree, but then… I disagree! Change the clock rules one iota and you know one thing: the Wiz will be on your ass. The results to date in Clock Fiasco 2008:
Marty's weekly look at the average number of plays and time of a game for the past four seasons, plus the Week 7 numbers:
G Plays/G Time/G
2005 717 140.71 3:21
2006 792 127.53 3:07
2007 792 143.43 3:23
2008 460 134.62 3:11
Wk 8 52 136.67 3:12
Assuming the real number of plays is somewhere around 142, the 2008 version of More Commercials Plz is about half as damaging as Hated Rule 3-2-5e was. This is getting towards indisputable.
However, the Wiz characterizes this as a result of the "40/25 rule". I don't think the play clock is actually the source of most of the decline. IMO, the source is mainly the restart of the clock on out of bounds plays. Preseason projections had that change sucking 4-5 plays out of the game; this is the bulk of the decline.
So what's the solution? One man's suggestion: shorten the playclock by a few seconds, probably four. That'll reduce the time spent sitting around staring at opponents, and increase the number of plays without lengthening game time.
Etc.: Big Ten Wonk interviewed by Big Ten Geeks; here's part two.