This is an idea I started kicking around last year and actually built a crude prototype. I think most of us would agree that the UFR (Upon Further Review) is MGoBlog’s crown jewel of features during the heat of the Michigan football season. I had some thoughts on making it even better by enhancing the presentation and adding filtering options. Before I elaborate, I suppose I ought to jump right out in front and issue the following disclaimer:
This proposal is in no way intended to make Brian’s life more difficult. My crude prototype simply took a current UFR, parsed it and reorganized the information to make the viewing process more powerful and flexible. I would propose that any additional work associated with such a project be undertaken by volunteers such as myself (I probably would need at least some help: I am a software engineer, but not primarily a web guy). The possibility even exists to make Brian’s life easier by including a powerful UFR creator-editor that streamlines the creation process.
Let me also make it clear that I have received no form of pre-approval for this idea, so it could get shot down before lift-off and, of course, would not move forward without the full endorsement of the MGoBlog staff. With all those qualifiers out of the way, here is a quick overview of my Ultra – UFR vision:
1) It could be a standalone application, but would probably work best as a web app hosted directly on MGoBlog. Imagine being able to go to a special UFR section, picking a game, and digging in to the juicy details.
2) Each play description would be linked to video. This depends on the availability of a streamable version of the game and being able to start playback at an indexed location. Karpodiem’s efforts with regard to MGoVideo would seem to be the ideal solution to this part of the project, although I have not yet contacted him regarding feasibility or his potential interest.
3) Standard navigation would let you step through one play at a time, with a scoreboard type game status display similar to the kind of real-time gametracker you would find on MGoBlue.com, ESPN, etc. Each play would have all the information in a standard UFR table (including Brian’s commentary) plus a video link to watch the play within a window of the Ultra UFR (or full screen if preferred).
4) There would also be summary drive charts to quickly zero in on plays of interest at any point in the game.
5) Playlists could be filtered based on UFR data. For example, “show me all the plays where Taylor Lewan received a + rating”, “show me defensive plays with negative yardage”, etc.
I’ll stop there with any detailed descriptions, since the exact specs could be worked out later by the project team with feedback from MGoBlog staff and users.
The proposed timetable would not be overly ambitious and this season could serve as a trial/beta period for developing the concept. Perhaps by the Ohio State game, there might be a serviceable version of a near-complete application. The grand experiment would not interfere with standard UFR publication.
So that’s the broad view of my idea. If there is a general “meh” reaction, then it would clearly not be worth anyone’s time to further pursue it. If, however, there is some genuine enthusiasm, some official endorsement by MGoBlog, and some willingness on the part of qualified individuals to help out, I will follow up and see if we can get the ball rolling.