no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
As the football season approaches, I find myself checking into this wonderful site on an increasing basis. Replace "increasing basis" with "every 5 minutes", and that last sentence will be true. Yes, the fall fanaticism is upon us.
Here they come
As well all know, MGoBlog* is an incredible and irreplaceable resource for Michigan football** fans. It has a unique space in the blogosphere, and we all, as fans of U of M football, are lucky and privileged to have it.
So why am I writing this diary? To get some more mgopoints? To state a bunch of obvious truths? No, rather, to first state a concern, and then suggest a possible solution.
These are truths you can handle, actually
The Concern: Brian Leaves MGoBlog
The concern is simple: that one day, perhaps sooner rather than later, one Brian Cook may pack up and decide to do something else with his life. I'm not saying this is going to happen, and I certainly have no particular indication that Brian is anything but happy and content as leader of the mgoblogosphere, but each time I read one of his brilliant articles, I find myself thinking: this guy is going to get swept up by some bigger media outlet. His writing is terrific, heartfelt, funny, thoughtful, and even occasionally poetic (I could link to dozens of examples here, but what is the point? You all know what I mean).
This is a train leaving a station. Imagine if Brian were on it?
Envision, if you will, the tragedy that would result. Certainly, my own personal Michigan football experience would be greatly lessened***. Worse than any freep scandal or crazy coaching search, the thought of Brian Cook leaving this fine site for some greener pastures is too painful to consider.
The Solution: MGoBlog Day
So let's not consider it. Or rather, let's take steps to make it less likely. What I suggest today is an alternative: a celebration of the best. Specifically: let us create an unofficial MGoBlog Day. On this one day a year, each of us would tune into the site, perhaps write a little bit about why the site is so great for us, but, more importantly, DONATE. If each serious reader donated as little as $5 or $10 or $20 (or much more, if desired) each year, I suspect Brian and company would become notably better compensated for what he does, and presumably this would (perhaps greatly) lower any future possibility of Brian thinking of moving onto some bigger or different stage. Let's make Brian rich!
Pledge Drive: Everyone hates these, but...
This NPR-ish pledge drive would just take place once a year, which begs the question: which day should such a celebration of all that is MGoBlog take place? The day that came to my mind is this: the last Thursday before the first game each year. This year, it would be 09/02 before the UConn game. Why this day? Well, as that first game approaches, I think we all sense with great anticipation the beginning of the season. Thus, some time right before that first game is when I appreciate MGoBlog the most, and look forward to the season full of UFRs, Unverified Voracities, and all the other standards that this blog has created for us. And why not take advantage of the fever pitch that is undoubtedly building anyhow?
Fever Pitch: actually not a bad movie
The most important thing about having such a day is that it serves as a reminder to donate. I have donated a few times myself, but personally can never remember when or how much. By having a single day where we all donate, it simplifies things quite a bit. Kind of a "subscription" of sorts, but still in the pure voluntary spirit that has driven the site thus far.
Anyhow, it is just a thought. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on this idea. Some questions to ponder:
- Should we have such a day?
- If so, does the day proposed (the last Thursday before opening day) make sense? If not, which day?
- If agreed to, how can we track progress of donations? Would Brian be willing to state how much was raised on that day? (at least a ballpark figure?)
Your input is truly appreciated****.
* What is the proper capitalization, anyhow?
** Yes, there are other sports, but come on
*** "greatly lessened" = "would suck a lot more"
**** well, not truly. but kind of. isn't that good enough?
Coach Schiano here. You might remember me from such fine diaries as MGoStatistics, Visualizing the Hennechart (aka the Hennegraph), and some other forgotten gems (the last being a drug-induced haloscan rant of epic proportion). Or you might not. But at least those stats got some front page love from blogmaster-in-chief Brian, despite the purported "diss". PYTHON RULES!
In last week's post, we summarized some word counts over the years to definitively show that Brian is awesome, which he is. What left a bad taste, however, was the weak attempt at the end of that diary to summarize word usage via a single Wordle. Yes, Wordle is awesome, but no one Wordle can this blog describe, as someone famous once said; probably not somebody associated with Wordle, though.
Thus we bring you a deeper analysis of the blog via the simple tool of Word Frequency Analysis (WFA). By simply counting how many times a word is used, great insight into this blog and its content can be achieved. Or, at least, mild amusement can your way be brought. Minimally, sentences can in Yoda style be written.
The results below come from (somewhat arbitrary) comparisons of the frequencies of different words. The conclusions come from my brain. Thus, the former can be trusted, and the latter should likely be dismissed. But hopefully each analysis is clear: a table, with a list of (frequency, word) pairs, where frequency is the number of times that particular word appeared in mgoblog over its entire lifetime, 2004 until present.
And now, for the results! Brace yourselves, this gets ugly.
First, we analyze how often particular sports are mentioned:
Now, an analysis of how often various places are mentioned:
Now we study the popularity of various coaches:
You might find yourself wondering about the dominant mgoblog receiver. If so, we give you the receiver analysis:
Who is mgoblog's favorite running back? Well, this was an easy one to guess:
Onto the quarterback competition:
And now we study two particular schools of football philosophy: Lloydball and Tresselball.
Speaking of football philosophy, we also study the dominance of the spread:
Now we move onto more important matters, like the study mascot names:
Finally, if you'll indulge, we'll get into some slightly more off-topic terms. Let's start with food. What about the food preferences of mgoblog? Sadly, not much data here, making us wonder if Brian eats very much or is rather some kind of blog-creating Cyborg sent from our future UofM overlords to get us through these rough times (possible, no? hmm? HMMM?). But from what we could find:
Being a blog of international repute, mgoblog also mentions some people of differing nationalities:
Brian also uses his fair share of saltier language. For example:
"I suppose it is possible that Germany is a plant biology major and spends his time before the snap screaming "I gonna sprout all up in your ass, mothafucka*" at the quarterback, but it seems unlikely."Classic.
Sorry, one last set of bad words:
Just keep moving folks, keep moving. And let them never be mentioned again. Speaking of which:
Just keep moving folks, keep moving. And let them never be mentioned again. Speaking of which:
We end with some fairly random studies. First, a gender study yielded the following information about the different types of "boys" mentioned on the blog:
And we conclude with some word counts that we noticed "coincidentally" ended up at the same frequency. Or did they?????
Summer is upon is, and with it, a bit of a lull in our mgoblogging fervor - there are simply not as many sports to talk about. The great wait for the football season begins.
With this in mind, what better time to celebrate this very blog in some bizarre and uniquely mgobloggish way? Hence I present: MGoStats, a statistical look at this blog over the years since its inception.
It began on December 4th, 2004, with the following post at 6:30am by some guy named Brian:
An inauspicious beginning, to say the least, but thus mgoblog was born. In the years since, we have all come here for a multitude of reasons: to celebrate the highs, commiserate during the lows, but mostly for one single reason, which is to hear what one Brian Cook has to say about all matters Michigan Football (and occasionally other sports).
So I found myself wondering: how much has Brian said over the years? A couple of python scripts later, I had some answers. I wrote a trivial script to download the entire blog (old pages are available through links of the form
http://www.mgoblog.com/?page=X, where higher
X values link to older pages), and then a less trivial script to parse the downloaded content into a more manageable form. The python SGML parser is amazing, for those of you who care about such things.
What I found follows below. Note: there may be some errors, but I believe the results to be in the right ballpark.
Perhaps the single most amazing fact is that Brian himself has written something on the order of 3 million words (or typed about 17 million characters) over about 3600 articles. Wow! That's a lot of content, from his hands to our eyeballs.
|Who||Articles||Words (Millions)||Characters (Millions)|
The table shows these sums, as well as the sums across all contributed articles (including ones from Tim, TomVH, formerlyanonymous, and anyone else who has made the front page). It might be interesting to see how these counts (number of articles, number of words, number of comments made by users) play out on a week-by-week basis. So interesting one could even make a ... chart? Chart. Or actually, Charts.
The first chart I present is the number of articles published per week over the entire existence of mgoblog.
From the chart, one can observe some interesting facts. First, from mgoblog we should expect about 14 articles per week on average over the course of a year. Second, that number is notably higher in the fall (no surprise), and lower in the spring. Finally, and perhaps most interestingly, one can see the growth of the mgoblog community in the orange bars, which represent articles written by somebody other than Brian; this content, which now represents a significant portion of mgoblog, picked up halfway through last year and has continued to get stronger. Brian's efforts at making the blog more than just himself are clearly having an impact.
The second chart just shows the number of words on a per week basis:
The graph reflects the same trends seen above, but in word counts. Even early on, Brian was producing above 10,000 words per week during football season, and last year during the same season, we were spoiled with over 30,000 words per week about the sport and team we love.
Finally, I show the number of comments per article:
The big effect in this graph is the lack of comments before the switch to the new blog infrastructure (e.g., the Haloscan era). The other effect is the growth of the community: the difference in the number of comments in Fall '08 and Fall '09 is likely a sign of the increased importance of this site as a place for the broad UM football community. Aside: the one early outlier which has a large number of comments (Fall '06) is just full of a bunch of comment spam: Unverified Voracity 99 Bonus Guest. Who knows why it's there, but Brian should probably remove those comments.
I was also interested in what the longest articles were, but that should have been obvious: UFRs. Here are the ten longest articles (by number of letters in the article):
- 10. Upon Further Review: Defense vs Notre Dame (by Brian on September/16/2009, 48949 letters long)
- 9. Upon Further Review: Defense vs Iowa (by Brian on October/14/2009, 49477 letters long)
- 8. Upon Further Review: Defense vs Indiana (by Brian on September/30/2009, 49913 letters long)
- 7. Upon Further Review: Offense vs Iowa (by Brian on October/15/2009, 50279 letters long)
- 6. Upon Further Review: Offense vs Illinois (by Brian on November/5/2009, 50421 letters long)
- 5. Upon Further Review: Defense vs Purdue (by Brian on November/11/2009, 51002 letters long)
- 4. Upon Further Review: Offense vs Purdue (by Brian on November/12/2009, 51279 letters long)
- 3. Upon Further Review: Offense vs Notre Dame (by Brian on September/17/2009, 51572 letters long)
- 2. Upon Further Review: Offense vs Western Michigan (by Brian on September/10/2009, 51616 letters long)
- 1. Upon Further Review: Offense vs Indiana (by Brian on October/1/2009, 51721 letters long)
If you remove the UFRs from the list, these ten get the longest billing. A number of previews and various other summaries show up:
- 10. Michigan 2007, Part II: Defense (by Brian on August/31/2007, 28513 letters long)
- 9. Michigan State: Sometimes The Bar Eats You (by Brian on August/13/2007, 28636 letters long)
- 8. Purdue 2007: You're Killing Your Father, Larry (by Brian on August/23/2007, 29656 letters long)
- 7. Purdue 2008: Tiller On A Treadmill (by Brian on July/31/2008, 29964 letters long)
- 6. Illinois Preview: Redact This (by Brian on August/9/2007, 30014 letters long)
- 5. Michigan Preview 2005: A Tale Of Two Units, Part I (by Brian on August/30/2005, 30163 letters long)
- 4. Offense Unit By Unit, 2008 (by Brian on August/26/2008, 33989 letters long)
- 3. Michigan Preview Part I: Offense (by Brian on August/29/2006, 34844 letters long)
- 2. Penn State Preview: Stupefying (by Brian on July/20/2007, 35006 letters long)
- 1. Michigan 2007, Part I: Offense (by Brian on August/30/2007, 38809 letters long)
Most-Commented Upon Articles
I was also interested in the most commented-on articles. They were:
Nothing gets people rev'd up like the Offense's Units, or RAWK MUSIC, I guess.
Finally, I was generally curious as to what words show up in the blog. Sounds like a case for a ... chart? Nope. But close, a wordle:
The word cloud here shows a list of the most popular words used in this blog, with some editing done by y.t. to remove words like "the" (actually the most popular word on the site) and so forth.
Anyhow, that's all for now. An amazing amount of content, built up over the years on the backs of UFRs and other regular features we all know and love. Thanks Brian for all the hard work - it is truly staggering to see the sheer verbiage that has powered the site over the years.
The Real Sir Charles
The answer, as Lee Corso might blurt out while having an on-air stroke, is
"Mrgharaaw", by which he would mean "Yes!"
"Not so fast, my fribealllgn.... burp."
Using this very handy pro football reference site (which allows you to download CSV files of all rosters), I downloaded the rosters of the weekends' eight wild-card teams, and then "analyzed" them to find the following breakdown of which schools the players on the active rosters went to. Here "analyze" means "ran a few python scripts which spit out some numbers, most of which are probably wrong".
The big answer: Michigan dominates. Indeed, they come in #1 across those eight rosters, beating out USC and LSU by two players. The top "10" teams, with lots of ties (and the number of players on the rosters, in parentheses) are:
- 1. Michigan (14 players!)
- 2. LSU (12)
- 2. USC (12)
- 4. Ohio State (11)
- 5. Miami (10)
- 6. Notre Dame (9)
- 7. Florida State (7)
- 7. Georgia (7)
- 7. Michigan State (7)
- 10. Alabama (6)
- 10. Arkansas (6)
- 10. Auburn (6)
- 10. Boston College (6)
- 10. Colorado (6)
- 10. Nebraska (6)
- 10. Oregon (6)
- 10. Tennessee (6)
- 10. Texas (6)
- 10. UCLA (6)
The Michigan players on these rosters, by the way, are:
- Arizona: Alan Branch, Steve Breaston, Gabe Watson
- Baltimore: Prescott Burgess
- Cincinnati: Leon Hall, Dhani Jones, Morgan Trent
- Dallas: None
- Green Bay: Charles Woodson
- New England: Tom Brady, Pierre Woods
- New York Jets: Braylon Edwards, Jay Feely, David Harris
- Philly Eagles: Jason Avant
As you can also see from this list, most of the players were guys who saw the field plenty on Saturday and Sunday. You can also see: not much reason to root for Dallas.
If you group by conference, however, some of the more usual suspects pop to the top of the list, alas:
- SEC (57)
- PAC-10 (50)
- ACC (47)
- Big Ten (45)
- Big 12 (39)
- Big East (25)
Why does the Big Ten fair so poorly in this one? Well, as you can see above, Michigan, OSU, and Michigan State (surprisingly?) held up their end of the bargain. It is really one school in particular that failed us: Penn State, with only 2 players on these rosters. Of course, the sample size is small, but it makes one wonder about Penn State's success at placing players in the NFL. Only a more thorough study of all NFL rosters over the years would paint a more accurate picture.
Don't "Go to Penn State"
One play. For all of you who think that the only thing that matters
is the win-loss record, the end result, the final score; for all of
you calling for the end to this new Era before it's even begun;
for all of you mired in the media's negativity: think only on this.
One play. One play, here and there, and everything would be
Overtime against Michigan State. 4-0 record hanging in the balance.
A miraculous comeback bid gets us to overtime. And then, one play:
Tate misses a read and keeps the ball, when he should have handed
it to Minor. The handoff would likely have led to a touchdown. The
touchdown, so disheartening to MSU, and spirit-lifting to our defense,
might have been enough to get them to the win. One play. One missed
opportunity. And we are 4-1 and not 5-0.
Last drive against Iowa. Denard having just led the team downfield
to close the gap to two. The ball in our hands, and enough time to
move it and try for the winning field goal. Denard rolling out and
Odoms breaking free right in front of him 15 yards downfield. If
he gets the ball he's into Iowa territory with plenty of time on the
clock. If he gets it we have a good shot at a field goal. If he gets
it, we are a Jason Olesnavage kick from 6-0 (assuming the MSU win too).
But he doesn't get it. Denard targets further downfield, and drops it
into the hands of an Iowa defender. One play. And now we're 4-2.
At Illinois. A long pass to Roundtree. If Roundtree just zigs at the
end of the run, cuts away from the approaching safety, the tackle
is nearly impossible to make. Touchdown, 20-7, and Illinois imploding
like they have many times this year. One play. One missed cut. And
one more loss.
One play can kill. These "one plays" have combined to kill this season,
turn a fall full of hope and promise of a new and better Michigan into a
winter of concern, dismay, and even enmity, filled with worries about
who we are and where we are headed.
But one play can birth something too. An extra cut on a kickoff
return that transforms a typical 10-yarder into a game-changing touchdown.
A block that breaks the running back free to rampage through the
secondary. A tackle that saves a touchdown. A kick that sneaks
inside the post instead of bouncing off of it. A pass not an inch too
high or an inch too low, and thus a first down and not an interception.
One play can do all that.
We don't need a miracle on Saturday. We don't need OSU to play their
worst. We don't need a perfect game from our Boys in Blue. We don't
the smartest game plan we've ever had. We don't need the weather to be
What we need is much simpler: One play.
One play to save a season.
One play to define a new program.
Will we get that One Play?
The Mind says no, but the Gut says yes. And today,
and tomorrow, and frankly, forever, I choose to listen
to the Gut.
Prediction for the game: Michigan 23, OSU 21.
Get that One Play for us, and GO BLUE!
In any case, I thought some humor might help alleviate the dong punch that was Saturday's game. So I went and did a little research of my own, and found some interesting historical tidbits that might shed some light on why what happened actually happened. Are any of these true? Only time will tell, my friends. Are any actually humorous? Probably not.
Roy: I used to be happy
First up: Roy Roundtree. Turns out this is not the first time he's been caught from behind. Research reveals the following telling incidents from his past:
- Age 3. Roy spills milk on the kitchen table. Mama Roundtree chases as Roy heads for the front door and freedom. Mama catches him just as he was about to get out. Result: spanking. Also, the children lose all momentum in the constant struggle between parents and children.
- Age 10. During a spelling bee, Roy gets nervous as his word is "does not have elite speed" (ok, actually it is a phrase). He bolts for the exit, only to be caught by the lunch lady, who runs a 5.5 forty (FAKE!). He is forced to spell the phrase, which is unfortunately quite easy for him.
- Age 17. Girlfriend wants to "have some experiences together". Roy is nervous, as he has never done stuff like that before. Roy bolts for his car, but the girlfriend catches him just as he puts the keys in. Result: Roy loses virginity.
- Age 18: And then there was the polar bear incident...
Roy getting chased by a polar bear. It also ends poorly.
So, as you can see, getting caught from behind isn't always a bad thing. It's too bad Roy's girlfriend doesn't play for Michigan too. She has top-end speed. Same for the polar bear.
Also unearthed: a famous series of chess matches between Coach Rod and the Zooker. Little known fact: both are chess grandmasters. More known fact: neither seems much like a chess grandmaster. Here is a recap of their games:
- Game 1: Zook throws rook at Rich, catches him in the eye. Result: Rich forfeits (can't see the board).
- Game 2: Rich attempts to move pawn one square ahead for four straight moves. Unfortunately, Zook has entire defensive line there, including an extra pawn.
- Game 3: Rich moves queen into winning position. Unfortunately, Queen fumbles the ball. Zook's bishop scoops it up, only to be punched in the nuts by an angry pawn.
They even made a movie about them: Zooker (left) and RichRod
So in all cases, had we known of these chess games, we might have guessed that the Zooker had the strategic edge on Coach Rich. Who would have thunk it?
Finally, we have the dong punch. Brian already mined this for all it is worth, but who can leave a nut crack like that alone? As it turns out, the U of M players have been nut punching each other all year in what Barwis calls "our new way of saying 'well done, mate!'" For example:
- After the winning TD pass in the Notre Dame game, Shoelace went up to Tate and "congratulated" him right in the scrotum.
So that's it. With all the calls for Rich's head and the decay of Michigan football, let's keep in mind: "it's only football". Which means of course "it's only really important to a bunch of us who are not really affiliated with the team in any meaningful way, but it sure can ruin our saturday." So, a saturday was ruined. Now for the good news: only three more saturdays left.