Programming note. The blog takes its annual week off for Christmas starting Tuesday. Depending on the travel schedule—ie, the weather—Monday will either see full posting or a somewhat abbreviated day when I throw up a recruiting thing and maybe a UV sort of thing at 8AM before getting on the road. Tune in to find out.
After that, the blog will be off until the 30th, at which point I'll preview Michigan's New Year's Day Bowl— wait. What? Seriously!??!?
Hello destructor. Why yes, that's one Lamarr Woodley on the cover of Sports Illustrated:
Also there is Elvis.
It's a scam. Dan Wetzel and Yahoo have a killer article on the giant flaming scam that bowl games are for college football teams:
The Sugar Bowl’s total revenue was $12.9 million in 2006 according to tax documents. Its chief expense is paying $6 million into a payout pool for BCS teams. The rest of the money for teams comes from a cut of television and sponsorship revenue.
Wetzel later cites numbers that the ACC and SEC championship games cost from 1-2 million dollars, so the gap between 8 million and 12.9 million—about five million dollars, in case Andy Katzenmoyer is reading this—is being thrown away by college football because they let third parties run their postseason.
For the last time. The NCAA instituted some new clock rules in the offseason and they duly chopped twelve minutes and 6% of plays from every game so that we could get more awesome updates on awesome NASCAR which is awesome. In the preseason there was considerable debate about just how many plays would be wiped away by the institution of an NFL-style 40 second clock. Dr. Saturday, then SMQ, said "some"; I said "none," and so forth and so on.
I was wrong to gullibly believe that the clock rules wouldn't actually chop time off the game, but the 40 second clock probably wasn't the main culprit. The main culprit was the change in the out of bounds rule, which was projected to cut about five plays out of every game. The net loss in plays this year…
G Plays/G Time/G Pts/G
2005 717 140.71 3:21 52.61
2006 792 127.53 3:07 47.53
2007 792 143.42 3:23 55.37
2008 770 134.73 3:11 52.78
…is about seven if you take the average of the two "normal" years (2005 and 2007). The difference is almost entirely the fault of the OOB change.
If they don't repeal that, my suggested prescription for keeping your precious commercials but not hacking out plays we pay more and more to see: reduce the playclock from 40 seconds to, say, 36. Or 35. Whatever. Cut out dead time wherein we're lovingly surveying the craters of Dave Wannstache's ancient acne or going WOO LET'S PRETEND WE KNOW ABOUT NASCAR.
"Neutral site" indeed. Here's a terrible decision:
The University of Michigan baseball team will defend its 2008 Big Ten Tournament title in Columbus, Ohio, as the conference office and Greater Columbus Sports Commission announced today (Thursday, Dec.18) that Huntington Park, the home of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers, will serve as the host site for the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Tournament. The event will mark the Big Ten's first neutral-site baseball tournament since 1994.
Jesus H. Christ. "Neutral site" != Columbus, Ohio. The NCAA hockey tournament has been plagued by this sort of thinking too. Guys, get over yourselves. You're college hockey and college baseball, and not even like good draft-pick-laden southern college baseball. No one is going to drive a million hours to see your team play, especially if it's in Columbus freaking Ohio. After the game you can see the beer can statue of Woody Hayes! Look, it's punching Jesus!
The net result of this is to strip the regular season champion of the one small benefit they gathered from, you know, winning the freaking conference and bestow that benefit on Ohio State. And even if you really insisted on making it a "neutral site" there are a thousand minor league ballparks across the Midwest that would actually be, you know, neutral.
Unless you know you can sell out a random "neutral" site, all tournaments/regionals should be on someone's home court/ice/field. It gives players a greater motivation to perform during the regular season and prevents embarrassingly empty stadiums when, say, Ohio State finishes fourth in the Big Ten and bombs out in two games.
Adios, Cronin. Ben Cronin will redshirt, as expected:
But what makes the most sense now is to redshirt him. I believe his window ends just about now, this time. Scheduling the surgery is a part of that. Nothing conclusive, but I do think you’ll hear something as we flip it (past the 1/3 mark of the season), and have to make a decision.
Also, Beilein's vertigo is improving and he may be on the sidelines for the Oakland game.
Etc.: Craig Ross on the Duke Game; Dantonio talks in the third person.