There have been several threads already created, attempting to assign blame for yesterday’s debacle of a football game: the coaches, the offense, the defense, etc. While the coaches, players, playcalling, etc. do have a role in the outcome of the game, everyone seems to be shying away from the obvious primary culprit, and that is fan mojo.
Now when I was younger, I was somewhat arrogant and quite a bit arrogant, and I thought I could control the outcome of games by wearing a lucky shirt or chanting “Go Blue!” over and over again. I now know how absurd that is now. I mean it’s scientific. There is no way one fan could control the whole outcome of an entire game. Nobody’s mojo is that good and that would also ignore the influence that thousands of other fans have.
Through my years of wisdom, I’ve come to realize that mojo is a cumulative effect of many, many fans, though sometimes one person’s mojo can be responsible for an individual play or player now and again. For example, my mojo affects Gibbons’ kicking. You may scoff, but I was there helping him all along through most of his record string of successful field goals. I didn’t know I had this affect until the 2011 season. Through 2010 I almost always was leaning on a pillow watching the games. I realized I have no influence on length whatsoever, or on blocks, but I can control the side to side movement of the ball once it’s been kicked. If I sit up straight, the ball goes right down the middle; if I lean to one side, the ball moves close to that upright; if I lean too far or lean the wrong way, there is a miss.
Yesterday, during the overtime where the FG sailed outside the upright, I tried to lean to help the ball go through, but I accidently leaned the wrong way. Had I been in the bathroom or not paying attention, Gibbons probably would have made it on his own. But stupid me, I thought he needed help, and instead of helping, once I saw the kick going slightly off course, in my haste, I accidently leaned the wrong way and pushed the ball wide. I apologize to the coaches, players, fans, and especially to Brendan Gibbons.
Now that’s just one small (yes, and important) part of the game. But there was some bad mojo at work overall too. Nobody can look at that game and not think otherwise. Michigan had good chance after good chance to win, but kept coming up short. So it’s time to fess up. Who else contributed to the loss. Did you wash all the luck out of your stinky lucky socks? Deviate from your usual pregame ritual? Let’s stop this witch hunt for scapegoats among the players and coaches and admit our role in this loss. Who else is willing to step up and take responsibility? Believe me, it's better to get it all out in the open. It's cathartic.
Edited to correct erroneous Nebraska spread included previously.
There is already a snowflake thread going about B1G football performances here:
I was in the process of creating the table below, showing the difference between point spreads and actual scores, when that thread was posted. The table does add a numerical value to the discussion, but not really any huge surprises. Yes, Purdue really crapped the bed against Cincy. Even though Purdue wasn't expected to win (they were the only B1G underdog) the way they lost and by how many points does not bode well for them this season. But, even though they won their games, MSU and OSU also underperformed by quite a bit. Obviously points and point spreads don't tell the whole story, like how monumentally inept MSU's offense looked, and how strong their defense looked.
At the top of the table was Michigan followed by Minnesota, Indiana, and Northwestern. On paper at least, Northwestern's point total against a PAC 12 school was impressive.
Here's the table. Spread 1 is the pre-game spread, Spread 2 is the actual spread based on the score, and the final column is spread 1 minus spread 2.
|Team||Opp||Spread 1||Score||Spread 2||Sp1 - Sp2|
|7. Iowa||N Ill||-3||27-30 (L)||3||-6|
|8. Ill||S Ill||-17||42-34||-8||-9|
|11. Pur||Cincy||10||7-42 (L)||35||-25|
Edit: My intial amazement at Nebraska's four point spread turns out to have been a misreading of the line on my part (I was looking at the line for the game listed below the Nebraska game). I didn't double check until Farnn showed amazement as well. Fortunately, most posters seem to have ignored this diary so far. I've corrected the table and deleted my ignorant comment about Nebraska. Nebraska sucked in that game, especially for a night game at home against an opponent they should have blown out.
I thought it would be interesting to see how the B1G teams fared against each other with number of players drafted and what rounds they went in. Overall, it was not a good year for the B1G with only 22 players selected and just one making into the first round. I created a table that shows the number of players drafted from each team, then assigned points based on the round drafted to come up with a point total for each B1G team. I used the following numbers: first rounders were given 7 points, second rounders 6 points, and so on. Obviously the point totals are open to debate. Is a first rounder really worth the same as as 7 seventh rounders? Who's to know? Anyway, with this metric I devised, Michigan ended up with a total of 5 points based on Denard's fifth round selection (3 points) and Will's sixth round selection (2 points). Obviously, had Taylor Lewan entered the draft, Michigan's score would have been much higher. As Lewan would have almost surely gone in the first round, that would have made Michigan's point total 12, good enough for fourth place, just ahead of Ohio.
I went ahead and threw in Rutgers and Maryland at the end of the chart just out of curiosity. If Rutgers were in the B1G this year, they would have topped the conference both with number of players drafted as well as point total.
2013 NFL Draft: B1G Edition
Edit: Corrected based on FlintB16's post
Is there no Penn State fan who truly gets it?
I’ve been browsing fan websites for weeks, looking for a sign that Penn State fans understand why there is such enduring controversy surrounding their football program and school. I can’t say that I’ve seen evidence that even a single fan really gets it. The current president of the university seems to understand, but the most vocal PSU fans and alumni want to ride him out of town on a rail. The PSU fans seem to respond to the lunatic fringe of the blogosphere with answers to questions that no sane person is asking.
For example, PSU fans acknowledge that pedophilia is horrible and should never occur, but then act as though that somehow shows that they “get it.”
PSU fans list all the positive attributes of Penn State, its football players, its graduates, etc., etc. Yes, we sane “outsiders” all understand that there is more good than bad in Penn State and there is plenty to be proud of. Again, that’s never been in question, except to the lunatic fringe.
It is the next point, though, that begins to get at the crux of the problem. PSU fans point out the half truth that this sort of thing happens everywhere. Yes, child sex abuse is far more prevalent than most people realize, and most of us probably do know someone who has been abused and very well may know an abuser without realizing it. These truths, though, ignore the difference, the reason Penn State is singled out and stands alone among US universities (as far as we know): at no other institution were there repeated allegations of child sex abuse that rose to the very top of the university where the response was to cover up, protect the pedophile, thereby allowing him to continue abusing children for over a decade.
Now, many PSU fans do acknowledge this last point, but almost none without spinning it in such a way to convince themselves it was just an isolated incident with just a few bad apples (I don’t know how many times I’ve heard it was just one monster and two, perhaps three others) and they are now out of the university, so the problem has been resolved. That third individual, which many PSU fans still refuse to acknowledge, played a role in this is a if not the central figure in the cover up. Joe Paterno, for all the teaching and preaching (and leading by example) he did about honor, integrity, doing things “the right way,” failed miserably on the biggest test to ever come his way. There is no getting around this. But these are the points I’m waiting for a Penn State fan to acknowledge, and it is some semblance of refusal to acknowledge these or similar points that leads to many saying Penn State fans still don’t get it:
1) There was a cult of personality surrounding Joe Paterno. This is not unique to PSU, so I’m not quite sure why there is such resistance to acknowledging this point. The only difference might be that Joe Pa’s longevity and success led to a level of reverence perhaps never achieved at another university.
2) Joe Paterno was the most powerful individual at Penn State for decades.
3) While he might not be culpable legally under Pennsylvania law, morally and ethically Paterno failed the child abuse victims and the community by not doing more to stop Jerry Sandusky.
4) When the most powerful person on campus, the athletic director, and the president of the university all cover up and enable a child rapist to continue his abuse for decades, and others in far lower positions in the university are afraid to come forward with complaints there is a question that must be asked and answered: who or what enabled the enablers?
Since Nebraska has moved to the B1G, I thought it would be interesting to look at their recruiting efforts, especially in B1G territory, and how that might affect Michigan and other B1G teams. So, I created two tables: the first table shows which states Nebraska recruits; the other table shows which B1G teams Nebraska successfully recruited against for players in the B1G footprint.
A few caveats before I discuss the tables: I only used Rivals data which provides just general information about recruiting and recruits and likely has some inaccuracies, 2013 recruiting is incomplete, and there are too few years with Nebraska in the B1G and Brady Hoke at Michigan to make truly informed statements about trends in Nebraska recruiting and how that affects Michigan. Also, I did not look at how many players Michigan successfully recruited that Nebraska was also recruiting. I see these tables and discussion as a starting point, not some final, fully supported claim.
|Year||Total #||NE||TX||Other Big 12||OH||Other B1G||Coach|
|2003||19||5||6||2||0||MI 3*, IL 3*||Solich|
|2004||20||5||1||3||0||IL 2*, 2*, MN 4*, 3*||Callahan|
|2010||22||4||5||5||4 *+||IL 4*, MN 3*||Pellini|
|2011||20||4||5||1||3*, 3*||IL 4*||Pellini|
|2012||17||1||2||2||3*, 4*||IL 3*, 4*||Pellini|
|2013||7||1||1||0||3*, 3*+, 4*+||WI 3*||Pellini|
Table 1: Number of NE recruits for B1G and other areas, 2002-2013. Asterisks indicate stars (e.g., 2* is a 2 star player). The plus sign indicates a recruit from Cardinal Mooney HS.
Bo Pelini does seem to be shifting his recruiting focus more towards the upper Midwest, especially Ohio. This shift started before the move from the Big 12 to the B1G, but may be accelerating with the move. Pelini has publicly commented about re-focusing on Texas:
Nebraska is not in a position to ignore Texas recruits, and Nebraska does recruit nationally, including pulling quite a few players from California through the years. But, Pelini also realizes he can’t concede the B1G country to the other B1G teams either, and being a graduate of Cardinal Mooney HS in Youngstown and of OSU has, no doubt, helped him to recruit Ohio. In fact, four of his nine Ohio recruits have come from Cardinal Mooney HS.
Here are a couple of cool maps created by Nebraska newspapers that illustrate the recruiting of Nebraska and other B1G teams, showing where the recruits are coming from:
|2010||Corey Cooper||IL||S||4||*||*||*||*||*||Stanford, FSU|
|Kevin Williams||OH||DT||3||*||*||*||*||*||OR, Stan, WV|
|V. Valentine||IL||DT||3||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||*||Alabama, OK|
|Courtney Love||OH+||LB||3||*||*||*||*||*||OK, USC, WV,|
|A. J. Natter||WI||DE||3||*||*||*||*||*|
Table 2: Nebraska recruits vs.B1G. The asterisks in each column indicate the schools who offered each player. At the bottom, the total offers are listed (e.g., MSU offered 9 of the Nebraska recruits). Plus signs next to OH indicate players from Cardinal Mooney.
As table 2 illustrates (caveats apply), Nebraska is competing well with schools like Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and especially Michigan State for recruits, but not so much against Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. As a matter of fact, Nebraska seems to be quite a problem for MSU, pulling in the kind of players from Ohio and elsewhere in B1G country that State has successfully recruited under Dantonio. It seems like a win-win situation for Michigan: Nebraska, for the most part, is not successfully competing against Michigan for recruits, but it is against MSU, our in-state rival, leaving fewer players for State to pick up.