Mike Lantry, 1972
[Ed-Ace: BUMP. GIFs coming either late this afternoon or tomorrow, depending on whether this three-point supercut breaks Photoshop.]
Rooting against this guy shouldn't be too hard.
Last night was a great night of basketball, not only because of Michigan's win, but because a number of well-established teams lost. Tuesday night was just a microcosm of what has been seen in the past 7-10 days as about a dozen ranked teams lost (and some more than once). For example, Creighton, Syracuse, Iowa State, Ciny and St. Louis have all lost two straight games. MSU fell to Illinois while Kansas and Louisville lost games as well.
The rash of losses by top teams has placed Michigan firmly on the 3-seed line, with an outside shot at a 2-seed. According to the Bracket Matrix, Michigan is the second 3-seed behind Virginia. With Duke, Wisconsin, Villanova and Syracuse as twos and Kansas, Florida, Arizona and Wichita State as the one seeds.
Of course, there's still a lot of basketball to be played and if this frantic, unpredictable nature of college basketball continues its course over then next week and a half, anything can happen. Let's recap the top seeds and how they have performed overall and in recent games to see who/what we should hope for down the stretch.
One Seeds (these teams aren't going anywhere)
Wichita State - 31-0. Not going anywhere.
Florida - 28-2 and 17-0 in SEC. Not going anywhere.
Arizona -27-2 and conference champs. Could slip to a 2-seed if they lose final two games and tournament opener. Highly unlikely. Not going anywhere.
Kansas - Dropped a game against Oklahoma State this past week. And while they have a favorable schedule against Texas Tech and West Virginia. Anything can happen. At 22-7, Kansas is ranked No. 8 in the nation. They are however, 2nd in RPI compared to Michigan at 13. I'm no Ken Pomeroy, but I think Michigan would need a bit of help or luck to pass Kansas in the brackets.
What to root for: Kansas to lose any and all remaining games. Unless they play Iowa State, which we will visit later in the article.
Two Seeds (longshots to drop, but it could happen)
Syracuse - Lost two more games in their last two outings including last night's game versus lowly Georgia Tech. Syracuse only has four losses on the season but have quickly played themselves out of the 1-seed. Currently without Jerami Grant, Syracuse is at risk of losing against Florida State this weekend. Additionally, two of Syracuse's losses are against bottom ACC teams Boston College and Georgia Tech which are as bad or worse as Michigan's losses to Charlotte and Indiana. Syracuse is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation, but will likely drop when the polls are re-released on Monday.
What to root for: Syracuse to lose out, or lose against FSU and perform poorly in conference tournament.
Duke - The Blue Devils have been on auto pilot most of the season with no back to back losses or particularly troublesome stretches. RPI is 7, SOS is 9. They would need to lose to Wake Forest and North Carolina to lose their standing as a solid two seed. Of course, one of those teams, North Carolina, is on the 4-line.
What to Root For: Duke to either beat North Carolina to get them off of Michigan's heals, or for Duke to lose out. It is never a bad idea to root against Duke.
Villanova - No recent upsets or losses. All three losses are against top 25 teams. Two regular season games left (against Georgetown and Xavier). And like Duke, probably not a legitimate candidate to move too far south.
What to Root For: Villanova to lose out. Like Duke, Kansas and Syracuse, that's the only way they will drop far.
Wisconsin - Top non-conference RPI. Fifth overall when factoring in conference games. Two conference games remaining versus Purdue and Nebraska.
What to Root For - Wisconsin losing games is always fun so lets root for them to lose out. In reality, the Badgers need to lose one regular season game and their first tournament game.
Three Seeds (Michigan needs to pass Virginia and a 2-seed to move up)
Virginia - Haven't lost in nearly two months and only one regular season game left (against Maryland). They are close to Michigan and Michigan needs to pass them and one more team to reach that two line.
What to Root for: Maryland to beat Virginia on Sunday and for Virginia to lose early in conference tournament. Since they are closest to Michigan seed-wise, maybe even one loss and perfection by the Wolverines could spring Michigan to the top 3-seed. Still, Michigan needs to pass two teams to earn that 2-seed.
Iowa State - Top 10 in RPI, but now below Michigan in polls after back to back losses to Kansas State and Baylor. Still on the 3-seed line according to Bracket Matrix but behind Michigan.
What to root for: Iowa State to lose to Oklahoma State to give Michigan some wiggle room. Also, root for the Cyclones to not run the table in the B12 tournament. They could pass Michigan if they outplay the Wolverines between now and selection Sunday.
Creighton - 11th in RPI but fading hard in the polls after back to back losses to Xavier and Georgetown. Bracket Matrix has them as a three seed but below Michigan.
What to root for: A loss to Providence in regular season finale or an unconvincing tournament run in the Big East Tournament.
Four Seeds (Don't Get Jumped)
North Carolina - They play Duke in their conference finale and with a win, could finish second in the ACC. A strong performance in the conference tournament could push them to the 3-line.
What to root for: North Carolina not getting to that 3-line.
Michigan State - They are a hot pile of garbage right now but get to play Iowa and OSU, plus the B10 tourney. What if they go 4-1, or even win damn conference tournament? If that happens, I will punch a desk. Let's not think about that happening. Seriously, if Michigan can't win the conference tourney, they sure as hell don't want MSU or Wisconsin winning it. Standard complaints about OSU apply, but if you are a Michigan fan, you would rather have the Buckeyes or any other team win over Wisconsin and MSU.
What to Root For: More excuses out of East Lansing.
Cincinnati - Lost two in a row to UConn and Memphis, but can still win their conference. Could also get quality win over Louisville in conference tournament.
What To Root For - Cincinnati to lose another game. Or not win their conference title. Louisville is on the 5-line so Michigan fans really don't want them to run the table either. Let's just root for Southern Methodist to win the conference title. *(Craig James Killed A Hooker.)
San Diego State - Hi Steve Fisher! The Aztecs have two games left. One versus 21st ranked New Mexico. Likely not enough to get them jumping up spots.
What to Root For - You root for Steve Fisher, because he's Steve Fisher god dammit. He's a nice man!
Conclusion: Michigan is all but certainly a 3-seed, but crazy things can happen. A bad run by a few others could spell a 2-seed for Michigan. Conversly, losing to Indiana and dropping the first round of the B10 tourney could leave Michigan susceptible to losing the 3-seed. Of course, 2-3 of the following: ISU, Creighton, MSU, NC would have to right the ship.
The BCS is dead, as Brian detailed in his most recent post, but here are some things you may not know, or may have forgotten about the playoff
- The six bowls participating in the rotating semifinal and final were not randomly chosen. They are all historic bowl sites in warm weather cities with no state getting more than one game, excluding hte final. (sorry Citrus Bowl).
The six bowls are in Los Angeles, Tempe, Dallas/Arlington, New Orleans, Atlanta and Miami.
2014 New Year's Day Bowl lineup will be drastically changed. It is shaping up to have the Cotton Bowl as the 1 p.m. game followed by the Rose Bowl semifinal in the late afternoon/evening and the Sugar Bowl as the primetime game.
The Rose Bowl always hosts the evening game on New Year's Day and that doesn't appear to change unless NYD falls on a Sunday as it does in 2017. In that case, the Rose Bowl will move to Monday, Jan. 2.
New Year's Eve always has the Peach Bowl at night and that doesn't appear to be changing. Even when it hosts the National Semifinal, the Peach Bowl will be held on Dec. 31 and not Jan. 1. Also, it is the only game in the College Football Playoff that is referred to by it's corporately-sponsored name.
Because of the intracacies of keeping the Rose Bowl in it's Jan. 1 slot and the Peach Bowl in it's NYE slot, there are some scheduling quirks. For example, in 2015, the College Football Playoff semifinal games are on Jan. 1 and will be the last games played before the title game. However, in 2016, the semifinals are held on NYE, followed by the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. A little weird but not as much as having the games scattered about.
Semifinal contests on NYE means we could in the future have a Michigan game on NYE. That would be one heck of a party. I assume this would also mean Al Borges is coaching at Louisville or the Upstairs Hollywood Beauty College.
The College Football Playoff Championship game will rotate between host cities much like the Super Bowl and Final Four. Texas gets the 2015 game, Arizona will host in 2016 and Tampa Bay in 2017.
While the warm-weather locations are not a great set up for the B1G, it helps remove the New Year's Daybowl logjam out of Florida. (Outback, Citrus, Gator, Orange). I believe they also had Champ's Sports at one time too. Where the F did the Champ's Sports Bowl spawn from?
The layoff between the semifinal and final games will be determined by what day New Year's Day falls on and which game is hosting the semifinal For example, the 2015 semifinals are on New Year's Day, but the championship is 11 days later. In 2016, there is a 10-day layover. In 2017, there is an 8-day layover. Of course, in some years the semifinal is on NYD, such as the case in 2015. But in 2016, the semifinals are hosted on Dec. 31.
ESPN has a 12-year contract to televise and distribute the playoff games and had a previous contract to televise and distribute the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl games through 2026. They also currently air the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. (I would be surprised if things didn't move to an 8-team playoff before 2026).
The Cotton Bowl contract was held by Fox, but expired this year. I cannot find information on what network has the rights to this game if the game is not part of the official playoff. It may not be ESPN. If the Cotton Bowl is part of the playoff, the game will be on the ESPN family of networks. Live from hospice in 2025 is Brent Musburger.
There was also discussion of a "Champions Bowl" to feature top teams from the SEC/Big12, but I don't know if the College Playoff has changed that and cannot find information on that bowl game. It very well could include top teams from the SEC/Big12 that are left out of the top games. Hypothetically, this could be teams that are around 10-16th in the nation, giving us an 8th, top flight post-season game that won't involve crap-ass teams like Hawaii.
The hypothetical playoff teams will play as many as 15 games, one less than an NFL schedule. (So much for arguments about kids missing class).
The committee to select playoff teams have a strong Big Ten presence including Tom Osborne of Nebraska, Barry Alvarez of Wisconsin and Tyrone Willingham from MSU (before ND).
All other conferences are represented but not necessarily as well as the B1G or the Pac-10 (Condoleeza Rice, Pat Haden, etc.)
- Lastly and most importantly, the College Football Playoff logo looks like a vagina.
Rivalry week is extra uncomfortable for me. As a lifelong Michigan fan and a Michigan State graduate, sometimes I feel like I don't belong on either side of the rivalry.
When I decided to attend Michigan State, remaining a Michigan fan was a no-brainer. The first football games I remember were Michigan contests. The Rose Bowls in the early 90s, the home games against Minnesota and Purdue that my family sat through no matter the score or weather. And of course, the Virginia game - hence the username.
Being a fan of your school's biggest rival has major challenges that most sports fans never consider and that's why I'm writing this diary.
In undergrad, I was open about my fanhood. There were other Michigan fans on campus, in my dorm and on the floor, but I was the only one who would go tailgate with my friends during rivalry week in a Charles Woodson jersey. Only a few people tried to fight me each game day.
It's not like being at Michigan was any better. In college, the first thing anyone asked is what your major was. When I said "journalism" everyone knew I wasn't a Michigan student. The next question of course was, "why aren't you a Michigan student?" The conversation always turned into some diatribe about how much better U-M was than MSU, as if I didn't know the University of Michigan pedigree. These academic conversations bothered me immensely because I didnt have the grades to go to U-M. As a huge Michigan supporter, this was crushing. But what can I say, I didn't have the foresight as a 13-year-old to understand how important my algebra and global studies courses were.
As I began to make something of myself, the conversations stopped bothering me. I'm proud of what I have accomplished and my MSU degree. I love the campus and my friends and family - just not the sports.
Some MSU fans can understand but some can't. Irrational fans, arguers, drunks and people who went to LCC love to lecture me on how I should be a Spartan fan. Meanwhile, my fiance's family - a long line of Spartan fans and athlete's don't mean to mind one bit. I even dated a girl in college whose grandpa coached football for MSU and her family was more understanding about the unique situation than 99 percent of the fans I knew.
Still there are situations where it is certainly not safe to admit to being a Michigan fan. My industry is dominated by Spartan graduates and I don't want to damage any relationships by pissing off the wrong crazy Spartan fan. Similarly, I wonder what other die-hard Michigan fans really think when I tell them I am a Wolverines fan. Do they even believe me?
As a former sports journalist, my work gave me a unique perspective on rivalries and sports in general. I covered MSU athletics without any bias, roomed with Spartan athletes and even had John L. Smith hit me with a rolled up newspaper in a joking fashion. He was truly one of the nicest people I ever had the pleasure interviewing.
Lloyd Carr on the other hand, not so much. I met him while job shadowing a U-M beat writer during OSU week. She told him I was a season ticket holder but an MSU student. He refused to shake my hand. I took this as the most direspectful thing anyone has done. He was kind of joking about the entire incident, but not entirely. He never shook my hand, which is like, 'what the hell dude, I buy tickets and support your team'! Seriously, I drove from East Lansing with another MSU student and U-M fan for every home game for the two years that I had access to a car.
Nine months later I sat in the stands during the Horror. I got so many text messages after the blocked field goal that my Blackberry crashed. I don't know if that is an indication of how poor the Blackberry devices were or how bad it is when all of your friends are Spartans.
Now that I'm older, the trash talk has slowed a bit. People are more mature, but there are still things that frustrate me. The Wal-Mart Wolverine cracks from the MSU fans and the MSU academia jokes from the Wolverines fans make me want to punch Taco Pants in the neck.
And we haven't even talked about the games yet. I can't tailgate at U-M because no one in my social circle does so. I can't tailgate at MSU because I will miss the U-M games. Sometimes schedule quirks allow for both, but generally I miss out. And since my fiance is an MSU fans, it usually turns into some awkward game day happenings. A few years ago I was forced to watch the U-M/UMass game a the East Lansing Bdubs. There are worse things that can happen in life, but most involve lizards eating your legs.
Even simple things like social media aren't fun when you root for your school's rival. Win or lose on gameday, my feeds will be filled with images of Mork Dantonio and whatever QB is playing this week. It is maddening. But I guess I signed up for this when I decided to remain a Wolverine.
Were there times when I considered changing my allegiance? Not really. The closest I came was after the Rodriguez debacle. I was team RichRod, and after his firing briefly considered making life easier and giving up football or casually cheering for MSU with my family and firends. Emphasis on briefly. I put up with the Horror, the basketball sanctions, Brian Ellerbee and Mike DeBord. That and the mere thought of giving up Michigan for MSU turned my stomach.
So here's to Michigan hopefully making my Saturday/Weekend/Week/Month better by getting a win on Saturday. If not I'm going to hear about from every direction.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to return to ignoring my Facebook feed which is full of YouTube videos about how I'm not allowed to root for Michigan and that I'm a Wal-Mart Wolverine. Fuck that. Go Blue.