As 2016 comes to a close on MGoBlog, we find ourselves deep into bowl season, watching unlikely matchups produce unlikely outcomes before tens of people in most cases. Indeed, as I post this, we are mere hours from our own bowl, and come what may, the Orange Bowl is a rather nice achievement in only the second season of “The Harbaugh Era” here in Ann Arbor.
We began the year with a bowl win against Florida, so it would only be fitting for this team, which came so close to being in the playoff and was well within the range of being in for most of the regular season, to beat another major P5 school in the state of Florida. When that game kicks off at 8 PM tomorrow evening (those of you reading this after the game can just skip this part), we will all be united in our wish that Michigan makes the Seminoles leave Sun Life Stadium sad.
After a year in 2015 which went far better than expected perhaps, we went into this season with some elevated expectations, maybe far beyond what we thought they might have been. That is to say, many of us – myself included – altered our theory on the trajectory of this team based on that first year. Still, as I have had time to process what happened in Columbus and what happened in Iowa City, I find myself mostly at peace with where we sit as 2016 comes to a close. I know several people were saying “this was the year”, much of that because of all the talent that is either graduating, leaving for the NFL, or potentially (as of this moment) leaving for the NFL. That being said, I have a suspicion that we will have multiple opportunities for it to be “the year” under Jim Harbaugh – I find myself not terribly worried about that, even in the face of disappointment in November.
On a personal note, in a year that began with a health scare for me, watching Michigan football – and really Michigan athletics in general – continue to provide us with great moments is something that was essential to me getting over what I had been experiencing, at least on a psychological level. We can argue about the status of Michigan basketball, but in those weeks back in January when I was basically confined to my house and not allowed to even lift a fucking garbage bag, Michigan basketball was something that helped me get through. The point here is that as a proud alum and fan of my alma mater, it means more to me than most people appreciate and in some eerie moments in my life, I came to appreciate how much it meant. “It” being Michigan, of course, and Michigan athletics being, in a way, a practical expression of all that.
Even through an OT season which was a little more trying than usual, culminating in a couple stints in June and July where there was not a new thread for almost a day, we managed to stay together as a community, despite things like “The Walking Dead” and “Game Of Thrones” obviously not being everyone’s cup of tea. It is during those moments in OT Season, however, when I think we learn the most about each other – that is to say, that this site is populated with a significantly large group of hopeless nerds, and quite honestly, I think we’re all the better for that. If nothing else, even if you’re starved for sports content in those early summer months, you can find some personal enrichment. Not many blogs which cover one university’s athletics for the most part can do that for you. It is one of the things that makes this place unique.
I would like to close this out by saying a couple things. First, hopefully everyone had the best 2016 possible and hopefully everyone has an even better 2017. Second, as much as some of you have seen me bitch on Twitter, I am actually weirdly proud that I find myself a moderator on this site and – while I know some of you disagree with the means and methods and deletions quite strenuously – I still do my best to help the staff make it a nice experience and will work to do better in 2017.
Have an excellent New Year,
Let me first start by saying that just a couple days ago, I “celebrated” the first anniversary of what has been fortunately my only health scare which required hospitalization. Since that time, I’ve been to six followup echocardiograms and a few more followup appointments, and each time, I’ve made steady progress up to just last month, when we discovered that my heart had returned to normal function again. I am still on the medication for now, but I am basically where I was last year now when it comes to overall fitness and stamina.
Even in those rather frightening days just before Christmas last year, there was the presence of MGoBlog to take the edge off some very emotionally moments, but also now, in a relatively quiet period as we await the Orange Bowl and ramp up for our conference schedule in hoops, there is still the gift of community that MGoBlog provides.
It isn’t just a gift at the holidays, of course – no one ever liked that gift that was so awesome on Christmas morning and by the middle of January was taking up space in a closet. Much like those gifts we eschewed as youngsters perhaps, MGoBlog is a gift that remains useful and relevant throughout the year. When we are in the thick of football and basketball season, this is the place to be for pregame, in-game and post-game items as well as all the news that surrounds South Campus and even some that doesn’t. When we are looking for things to say in the middle of June, we tend to find something that at least most of us can discuss. Bound by a common love of all things Michigan, we also manage great discussions on movies and books as well as how to express anal glands, for those into more esoteric but still possibly useful discussions.
It is also not one of those gifts that you turn on and off at will – the blog is here for your Michigan needs around the clock, it is a community that never seems to really go to bed and it is a community where, when it is at its best, you can see discussions evolve around some facet of a sport in ways that you can’t get in other places. Whether that is a thread that deploys statistics or a thread which delves into the cultural memory of Michigan fans or a thread which will soon be removed, you can test the knowledge and the snark of the MGoCommunity and almost never be disappointed. Among sports blogs, such a place is indeed a gift.
If you’re like me, it is a gift that continually finds different expression, whether that be in the form of something you hadn’t thought about before that changes your perspective, or a new person who provides fresh insight and adds to the collective experience. Almost every day, if you look hard enough, there is something that sparks a thought that changes how you see some facet of Michigan athletics, however minor. Like a Rubik’s Cube, each day the configuration is slightly different and each day you can find a route or a combination that you have previously left unexplored, or indeed never even considered.
As much as we complain sometimes about how we can’t have nice things, I contend that we as a community have at least one – our own eccentric, imperfect but well-meaning corner of the sports world called MGoBlog. As much as some of your threads make me want to throw things and put my head through the laptop screen, even in the moderator role and for as long as I have been a regular here (nearly six years), each day I find new reasons to like this place we have and new motivation to at least help keep it the nice place that it is.
Have a most excellent holiday season,
That's how I feel this morning, which is not too different from how I felt last night.
All the same, we do have some data to go over for the aftermath of the Ohio State game.
Let's start with something that won't shock anyone at all - we reached a season high for "fuck" and indeed, an all-time high for the four seasons that we've been going through this analysis now. No Ohio State game before yesterday, or indeed any game, can say that it resulted in 785 fucks in a game thread. That blows out the previous record, which was the Iowa game a couple week ago. It was also a season-high for shits given at 228, and that is also a high for shits given in the entire time that this analysis has been done. That won't shock anyone, or course - that was the most consequential game we have played in a long time, and I can only imagine the fucks and shits said aloud and off the record. I may have even contributed to the off the record total myself.....a lot.
We fell short of the season high for "damn" at 123, but truth be told, with the blog tendency to go straight to "fuck", it's remarkable that on three separate occasions we managed to get more than 100 damns, but that's more times in one season than in any of the previous three, a tribute to just how invested we were and will likely continue to be in the Harbaugh era.
We tied a season-high for "suck" as well, and it has become clear now more than ever that "suck" is truly one of those words we say in the moment, although much of the suck yesterday was on the officiating, and I wholeheartedly agree - the officiating did suck. That we kept the total as low as 32 was nothing short of a miracle, but then we threw "fuck" at the refs quite a bit too.
Some advanced metrics:
FART Rate, which is Fucks Adjusted for Real Time, is a bit skewed because of the two overtimes, so it was down at 3.140 fucks per minute of airtime, which well short of Iowa's 3.956.
SHART Rate, or Shits Adjusted for Real Time, fell to the same problem - 0.912 shits per minute of airtime, which again is short of the 1.167 for the Iowa game. Actually, Iowa is the only time we went above 1 shit per minute, but that game totally deserved it.
FAP Rate, or Fucks Per Play, was 4.876 - that honestly feels a bit low when I take my own feelings and statements into consideration, but then I was out of words by overtime and just staring in frightened, stunned silence....then in anguish.
The SQUIRT number, or the combined FART / SHART, was 3.443 - was just a little over half the ratio of the Wisconsin game, which was 6.492. It speaks to a lot of shit, or rather, a lot more shit in yesterday's game. Shit that we still have feelings about.
Some 10,000 foot data -
This was the third-largest game thread this season at 2,755 posts - only MSU and Iowa were larger. In that thread, there were 1,730 tracked words which comes out to an efficiency of 1.59, consistent with a loss by both the historic and modified scales. Not surprisingly, on a word-for-word basis, that was the most efficienct thread from a profanity standpoint all year. In fact,the only other game to have a rating below 2.00 - which is the line for a loss typically, when all collected data is taken into consideration, was Iowa. The rating is pretty consistent as a metric now.
Remarkably, just this game accounts for 16.58% of tracking for the year, which is huge when you consider that it is twelve games, and indeed, MSU, Iowa and Ohio State by themselves account for about 45% of all tracking, and that is consistent with the obvious - rivalry games and losses, especially the two in combination, lead to some prolific cussing. It's just part and parcel of being a fan, and making it transparent is what we're about here.
So, in the coming weeks, the season data summary will be ready and we will even do a special bowl edition for whichever bowl we find ourselves in.
Let me just say that even in a year with so many positives and Harbaugh, this is still fun to do because it helps me be a better fan when I pick apart fandom.
As we slide into another holiday season here at MGoBlog and, perhaps more importantly to many of us, the most meaningful iteration of The Game that we’ve witnessed in a decade, I think we should take a moment to look back and reflect about how wonderful this season has been for the most part and how the spirit of community seems to live on around our shared Internet home.
When Jim Harbaugh first landed at Detroit Metro on a cold December day in 2014, I don’t know that any of us really imagined just how sudden – in relative terms – the transformation of a floundering Michigan football program would be. I don’t know that many of us thought that, in his second year, we would walk into Columbus playing for a shot at the Big Ten Championship Game and quite likely a shot in the College Football Playoff, assuming all goes well. For myself, I figured we would get there, but a mere 23 months into his tenure? My estimate was admittedly more conservative. I am rather pleased that I am wrong on that one, of course.
I think that is definitely one thing we should all be thankful for – we’re nationally relevant, we are talked about daily in mostly positive terms and we have a team that we always knew could be good, but that it would take the right guidance and the right staff. That is what we’re seeing, this rapid transformation of talent into the best that it can be, taking the program to heights that many of us took for granted in years past. Hopefully, we never take it for granted again, having seen “the other side” of the football equation now.
As for the blog itself, for as many times as I sit here and threaten to ragequit the whole modding thing for various reasons, I don’t actually pull the trigger, and the reason I haven’t to date has much to do with the community here. This blog really is a unique one in sports, full of informative content generated by the staff and users alike. It attracts the highly engaged, well-educated fans which brings the level of discussion in a lot of threads to places that many other blogs could only dream of going. This blog is fun place to be of service, and I am thankful for that opportunity to be of service.
More importantly, of course, I think we should all be thankful for each other being here, as many of us have gotten one or two other users through some hairy moments in their MGoLife or MGoFandom, and that’s more a tribute to the professional and personal resources made available by simply having the contributors that we do. There’s a certain power in that which I feel cannot be underestimated, and despite personal differences and other things which might divide some of us, we seem to come together as Wolverines at all the right moments, and that’s hard for a lot blogs – let alone organizations – to achieve.
As you sit down with family this Thanksgiving to share a meal, share stories, or in my case, psychologically prepare yourself to be upset with the Lions, take a moment to remember that even in your online life, as an MGoBlogger and Michigan fan, you have so much more to be thankful for, and who knows? Perhaps those thoughts distract you from having to listen to the same stories being rehashed at the dinner table tomorrow. After all, I know which site many of us will be on when we can no longer take the tedium of some uncle our aunt or whatnot.
Have an excellent Thanksgiving and Go Blue,
The tenor of this game in terms of how we felt about it can be summed up in the following factoid - there was all of one "awesome" used in the game thread last night, and it was used in a manner which was clearly sarcastic. We're normally rather sparse with effusive praise, but when one of the words tracked to indicate that is used sarcastically, you get a great feel for the rest of the analysis.
There was a season-high usage of "fire" too, come to think of it, but much of it not so much directed at coaches. It was used mostly in complaints about Michigan's perceived lack of intensity or urgency in a game they should theoretically win handily (and did win, but maybe not handily). There was a tie for the season-high usage of "suck" too - most of that was directed at O'Korn and strangely towards the one bright spot on offense - De'Veon Smith.
Never let it be said that didn't give a good amount of fucks, of course - there were 263 fucks given in this game, which is actually the third highest total of the season. We also gave exactl 100 shits, which is the fourth highest total for the season. It seems like any way you slice our reaction to this game, it was not one which would make you think we were waiting enthusiastically for The Game.
The advanced metrics tell the story too:
FART Rate - 1.315, which is the fourth highest rate on the season
SHART Rate - 0.500, which is the fourth highest rate on the season
SQUIRT Number - 2.630, which is actually the sixth highest on the season
FAP Rate - 1.992, which was the sixth highest on the season
So, overall reaction to this game is - in season terms - kind of mild. It definitely was not the visceral reaction to the frustration of the Iowa game, but certainly not the comfortable reaction to Rutgers. This game sat sort of in that middle tier of games which can be best described as, "I think we're just happy that we won".
As for the thread size and efficiency, there were 739 tracked instances across 1,888 posts, which turns into an overall efficiency of 2.55 - that is consistent with a stressful win in the new Harbaugh-era version of the efficiency metric. Far and away, the two highlights when it comes to sheer volume and size this year are MSU and Iowa, but we have The Game coming up. One of the things that has held true in this analysis as in The Game, is that unexpected things happen and we see things which make us think "Where the hell was that all year?".
I fully expect some data to be skewed and some records to be broken, especially because this game matters....like, a lot this time.
NOTE: I will add charts later perhaps - having trouble with my Photobucket account, probably because it is far too unwieldly at this point.
Well, the one thing that we were hoping not to dissect and digest, at least not quite at this moment, did in fact happen and we are waking up and eating breakfast trying to comprehend a Michigan loss.
So, how did we feel about that game?
Over the forty-six games that I've been running this particular analysis, we actually had never broken thr 600-fuck plateau. We came very, very close during the Indiana game last year when we hit 599, but we never got over this particular hump. Well, that was until last night - we gave 712 fucks, shattering the record and pushing the limits of what can fit into game threads. We also missed tying the the record for "shit" - 212 in last year's Minnesota game - by two shits, which in itself is remarkable since it is a far less popular word in comparison. However, a record number of fucks and a near-record number of shits sums up last night rather nicely, I would think. In addition, we hit a "damn" record for the season with 135 damns, which I checked three times because honestly it seemed way low, but then I remember spoken damns weren't included here. I think I used that many in fourth quarter.
Many of the advanced stats told a similar story of stunned despair:
FART (Fucks Adjusted For Real Time) Rate - 3.956, so nearly 4 fucks per minute of airtime, which is a season high and over 1 fuck more per minute of air than MSU
SHART (Shits Adjusted For Real Time) Rate - 1.167, twice the rate of the MSU game and I can assure everyone I was adding to them in the living room
SQUIRT (FART / SHART) Number - 3.390, which is actually a little less than half of Wisconsin's 6.492, but we underutilized shit heavily in that game
FAP (Fucks Per Play) Rate - 5.519, which is the highest for the season so far, far above 3.701 for MSU, and low for my own inner monologue during this game. Not sure how others feel.
The total thread size was 2,777 posts as of about midnight last night, which the second largest total - it was spaced out across two threads, and it was also an away game, both of which tend to inflate the total. There were, however, 1,543 tracked instances, which makes for 19.37% of all the tracked instances in all threads. That's rather remarkable for being 10 games into a season. Overall efficiency came to 1.80, which is a season high and historically consistent with the numbers attained in frustrating losses over the last three years of data.
Let me revisit this for a moment because I want people to see it. To underscore how prolific we were, let's compare a few words to their average level of usage:
"Fuck" - season average of 247 per game, used 712 times last night
"Shit" - season average of 82 per game, used 210 times last night
"Damn" - season average of 55 per game, used 135 times last night
So, a downer all around, but onward and upward. We have two opportunities yet this year to beat those totals, but let's hope we don't.