I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Thanks for your coverage on the everlasting standoff between the BTN and Comcast. It seems like the whole thing hinges on placement on basic cable inside the BT footprint. Good to know, but mostly irrelevant to someone like me outside the footprint who already subscribes to the Comcast sports tier. I say mostly, because although it seems that both sides are in agreement that it should be on the sports tier outside the footprint, I have heard no confirmation and fear it may be held up until the overall agreement is signed. Have you heard anything solid from either side regarding the availability of the network outside the footprint? I live in DC and vividly recall a season's worth of Washington Nationals games being lost because of a dispute between Comcast and the Mid Atlantic Sports Network. (Not that you or I care about the Nationals, but it shows a willingness on Comcast's part to play hardball (HA! I kill me.) when it comes to televising local
One other issue -- I saw that the BTN will be regionalizing multiple games played at the same time. It would be the ultimate insult to me if I actually got the BTN and then it showed the PSU game instead of Beloved Michigan. The BTN website tries to assuage fears of this by stating: "Whenever the Big Ten Network is producing more than one game at a time, cable and satellite providers that have agreed to carry the Big Ten Network will be offered the chance to carry the additional games via "overflow" channels." What the hell is an "overflow channel"? And how likely is it that a DC Comcast provider is going to pay to put UM - App State on an "overflow channel"? I'm guessing slim to none.
Conclusion: This blows as much as those This is Big Ten Country ads I saw on the BTN website.
Again, thanks for fighting the good fight.
I'm not an expert on the arcane jargon of the TV business, but I'm pretty sure that an overflow channel is one of those channels in the distant reaches of your 1,000 channel selection that is either dormant or full of obscure PPV shows. If we make the (potentially large) assumption that the cable companies and Big Ten Network come to a satisfactory resolution, the good news is that the BTN is offering everything it provides at one price. So the $1.10 (or whatever) the cable company pays covers the BTN, the HD version of the BTN, the video on demand, and the overflow channels. The only reason a company wouldn't provide overflow broadcasts is if they simply couldn't push the bits, something that seems extremely improbable. FWIW, DirectTV has already agreed to carry the overflow.
More BTN, this from a second source that confirms the Comcast-BTN breakdown:
I'm a frequent commenter at mgoblog. I have a little insight into the BTN situation that I've actually been meaning to email to you but forgot until I saw your most recent post on the Fanhouse. The conversation I'm referencing took place 2 weeks ago, so all quotes are paraphrased.
I was home (in Novi) a couple of weekends ago when I happened to run into an old neighbor who has either been involved with or is knowledgeable on (or both) the negotiations between Comcast and BTN. We were catching up and the conversation eventually turned to the BTN, and whether or not I was going to be able to see the games placed on the network where I live (I recently graduated and moved to suburban Philadelphia in New Jersey).
He made several points in the conversation that assured me the BTN people have their heads on straight. Among them were that Comcast is forcing people to have Lifetime, WE, Oxygen, Home Shopping Network, Versus, the Golf Channel, and other Comcast owned sports networks on their basic tier and refusing to carry BTN. He said that he presumes the reason that Comcast isn't willing to carry BTN on basic is because it's going to set a precedent for other conferences and sports leagues to follow in the Big Ten's footsteps. What that will do is eat away at games Comcast shoves on its smaller regionally owned networks. Basically, it's not about the customer, it's about Comcast protecting the rights to carry games (and other content) on networks it owns.
I'm sure you were able to figure out (or were told) most of the information I just described above. He did tell me some things I hadn't heard before. He said, "between you and me, if Comcast was willing to negotiate the $1.10 figure, this thing would be over tomorrow. They have no intent to put our network on basic cable." He reiterated that the $1.10 figure wasn't out of line based on the content they were going to provide, but that the BTN is willing to negotiate. I told him that I hoped the BTN didn't cave because I hate Comcast and everything unholy that it stands for. His response to that was to tell me that the BTN has every intention to take this stalemate into the season. He said most of the larger regional cable providers were waiting to see what kind of deal Comcast was going to get before negotiating their own deals with the BTN. He said that once the standoff goes into the season that Congressmen from every state that is home to a Big Ten university were going to get involved (or possibly going to get involved, I forget) and at that point they figure a deal will get done.
Basically, unless there is a dramatic break through, come week 1 of the football season, nobody is going to get this channel. The BTN is banking on public outrage, getting Congress involved, and then the plan is to take it from there. I don't believe that the network is going to end up anywhere other than basic within the Big Ten footprint. It's pretty clear to me, at least, that the problem here lies with Comcast, and that's not surprising to me in the slightest.
frequent commenter Matt who says his roomates Jeremy and Phil can f themselves
I don't have much to offer here: this is not good. I emailed the BTN Media Relations guy who I've shot the occasional question to about the BTN after the Silverman interview and he confirmed the grimness as well. I brought up the possibility this was posturing in earlier posts about the breakdown, but why only posture at Comcast and not Time-Warner, etc.? The chances this gets resolved before the season hover near zero.
So, it's contingency plan time. I'll put up a post on alternatives soon. Our bandwidth may be able to salvage this for the afflicted.
With regards to the Diallo Johnson punt return thing, he may be getting a bad rap. I remember he was good for 13-14 yards per return, every return. Just freakishly consistant. Very nice after Woodson's "most exciting two yards in football" returns. I seem to remember some problems with returners catching the ball that season as well, though I don't have any facts on that and whether it was Whitley, Bellamy or one of the Currys. Anyway, my point is that anyone who handles all the punts cleanly and you can count on for 13-14 yards per return is okay. Sort of a Mike Hart of punt returns. We were spoiled by Breaston who was that plus the ability to break one. Johnson probably wasn't going to bust one, but he was always going forward. I'm sure Lloyd liked that about him.
Andrew might be right here: Diallo Johnson, surprisingly, averaged 10.6 yards a return over the course of his career. This doesn't live up to the numbers put up by Breaston but is about what Julius Curry (10.9) and Marquise Walker (10.8) did. And just about everyone beat the pants of one Charles Woodson and his 8.7. But none of them ever did this:
(Note: looking this up caused me to stumbl
e across a feature on MGoBlue I did not know existed: a prodigious database of player stats that goes back to the 50s. Need to know Roosevelt Smith's career rushing average? No problem! It's 4.5 YPC.)
Dear Unverified Voracity,
"Long time listener (reader), first time caller (emailer)."
I have a quick question/comment on the injury of Alex Mitchell. Do you not think it's possible they move Boren back to RG and let Moose get some snaps in? Or... with all the talk about trying O-lineman at different spots, move Moosman to RG? What's the deal with this guy? He was the most highly recruited C/G of the bunch (Molk,Ciulla,etc.) with equal or more experience than all. Also, I've seen him around and he looks like a beast. Can you share some knowledge?
It appears that the first option at RG without Alex Mitchell is Jeremy Cuilla and, should Cuilla go down, I would bet on Mark Ortmann drawing into the lineup with Schilling (the projected starter at RT) moving inside. One of the things a center has to do is get all the line calls right, so it's not as interchangeable as you might think. Moosman has gotten some meaningful praise -- it wouldn't surprise me to see him draw into the lineup when Kraus graduates -- but Cuilla has a couple years experience on him and has seen substantial playing time when the starters have gotten dinged. He'd probably be all right if pressed into a full-time starting job.
Living in DC, I've been a loyal DirecTV subscriber to the ESPN Gameplan package for 5 years, since it is the only way to reliably ensure that I'll be seeing Michigan's Big 10 games on the east coast instead of the typical Clemson-Wake Forest ACC dreck that ABC generally substitutes as the "regional game of interest" each week.
I was surprised to get my glossy DirecTV ESPN Gameplan mailer this week telling me that for my $109, I'd be fortunate to get football games from major conferences like the Big 12, SEC, Pac-10 and ACC, along with the Big East, WAC, Sun Belt and MAC (these are major?). Glaring omission: Big 10 is out of the Gameplan.
Possible plus: I can save $109 by cancelling Gameplan, and I get BTN for free as part of the DirecTV package I already pay for.
But...a possible (and very disturbing) minus: Michigan game is on ABC, East Coast idiots determine that Clemson-Wake Forest is the more interesting regional game, and I am unable to see the Wolverines on either BTN or ESPN Gameplan. The latter was always insurance for these purposes, but with Big 10 out of the plan, that option seems to have been wiped out.
Frustrating call to a rather clueless DirecTV rep named Conchita failed to answer any of these questions adequately.
In your exhaustive review of the BTN and its global impact, have you run up against this issue? It would seem that the Big 10 would still want to participate in ESPN Gameplan so that loyal out-of-state alumni will have some option to see those ABC regional games that don't make it out of the midwest.
Thanks, and of course, Go Blue!
I've knocked the Big Ten office for a lot of stuff in recent weeks, but they did handle this Gameplan exit deftly. In short: if you have ESPN and ESPN2, there is no such thing as a regional ABC game anymore. All Big Ten games on ABC will be shown in markets that aren't receiving the game on either ESPN or ESPN2. No more frantically hoping that the daft programming director avoids UConn-BC. Every game that Michigan plays is either on the BTN or nationally televised.
As a result: Michigan fans should not get Gameplan unless they want it for ACC/SEC/Big 12/etc purposes.
(Sidenote: hopefully this means I can now regularly watch things like the Red River Shootout, which is almost always an ABC regional game that gets blown off the air by something like Minnesota-Penn State. That ESPN channel showing the regionalized Big Ten game has to show something in the areas where said game is on ABC, and it'll probably be another ABC regional game, yesno?)
Brian, I was considering the benefits of scheduling a difficult non-conference opponent, and they are many. Michigan can maintain seven home games if they schedule two cupcakes at home, then alternate travelling to difficult sites when the Irish come to Ann Arbor and hosting difficult opponents when they travel to South Bend. When ND is off for two years, schedule home-and homes with two tough opponents. When ND comes back on, organize a home-and-home with one difficult opponent.
Tougher scheduling would mean increased exposure and possible primetime Saturday games. Michigan must do a better job appealing to recruits nationally if they want to become a powerhouse like USC (and who would not like that?). Schedule games against opponents in talent-rich markets with plenty of potential viewers. Bring our team to the recruits. Here are my top ten candidates MIchigan should consider.
Miami, USC, Texas, UCLA, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech. Cal would also be a good opponent because the Bay Area has a lot of talent.
Michigan needs to back up their claim to being "The Leaders and Best". If we schedule tougher opponents we wouldn't be so scared of mid-level Big Ten teams or tough opponents in the Rose Bowl.
Thoughts? Maybe bloggers and concerned fans should write the AD. From, Andrew.
I don't think there's a college football fan alive that wouldn't like his team to step up their scheduling unless our hypothetical everyfan likes USC. I'm with you: while I'm glad the Notre Dame series is continuing, the brief moment in which a Texas or Georgia or Tennessee series seemed feasible was fun. Now it's unlikely any Michigan fan will see a truly elite nonconference opponent in the Big House until we have the technology to send Arnold Schwarzenegger back in time to prevent Jim Tressel from ever being born. Even if we accidentally schedule some mid-level BCS team that manages to flail itself into the top ten just in time for us to play them, that team won't have the history or sex appeal of the aforementioned trio or one of the Florida schools. If only we could rely on Notre Dame to maintain their 90s-level performance; alas and alack, it is not so. We're not going to get a big time team in any time soon.
But I do think that the above proposal for a seven game home schedule with two MAC pancakes and two actual opponents should be the model going forward. This year is an anomalous schedule with both eight home games and two respectable nonconference opponents borne of our desire to delay Oregon's return trip originally scheduled for 2003; future eight-game home schedules will be like Penn State's 2007 nonconference schedule: Notre Dame and the three dwarves (Temple, Buffalo, and FIU). Michigan shouldn't stand for that. Repeats of last year, where the interesting nonconference home game was Vanderbilt, should not be allowed to happen.
Now that we have him in our grasps I feel more comfortable asking the question. Does McGuffie have any chance of moving up to 5-stars on Rivals when they re-evaluate (whenever that is). This guy is talked about everywhere. I can't believe how much hype it seems he gets. What do you think? Also, is he going to step right in and play with Grady, Minor, and presumably Carlos Brown ahead of him?
McGuffie will have plenty of chances to convert doubters this fall with a senior year at Cy-Fair and the Army Bowl to come. If he can replicate last year's success behind what I believe is an entirely (or almost entirely) new offensive line, he'll probably crack the Rivals 100. A five star? Probably not, but it's worth nothing that both ESPN (#97 overall) and Scout (#59) are higher on McGuffie than Rivals, which omits him from its top 100, and maybe one or two services could be impressed enough to move him up into such rarefied air. Tom Lemming is probably going to rank him way ridiculously high, too, but around these parts we don't take him seriously. So there's a chance. Personally, I am doubtful Rivals will change course on him. They've pigeonholed him not as a white guy but as an "all-purpose back" and even when he went to the Boulder Nike camp and impressed, Rivals guys said he was really good catching the ball out of the backfield and it just confirmed their opinions. They've adopted a bunker mentality here and significant movement in his rankings is unlikely.
As far as playing time goes: the opportunity is certainly there. The coaches cling to Mike Hart like he's their Binky Bear, but in his absence it's doubtful one running back emerges from the pile two games in and establishes a death lock on the job like he did. For the first time in what seems like forever, a rotation is likely deep into the season. McGuffie will be a part of that rotation.
I've been looking all over the web for the incoming freshman jersey numbers. Do you know when they arrive on campus and get there jersey numbers? I heard that Woolfolk is already on campus.---Jim Boyle
My super-secret sources declare thusly:
- #6 Donovan Warren
- #15 Ryan Mallett
- #17 Toney Clemons
- #21 Junior Hemingway
- #26 Zion Babb
- #29 Troy Woolfolk
- #30 Ja
mes Rogers II
- #32 Vince Helmuth
- #33 Marell Evans
- #34 Avery Horn
- #38 Artis Chambers
- #40 Mike Williams Jr.
- #50 Dave Molk
- #53 Ryan Van Bergen
- #58 Brandon Herron
- #72 Mark Huyge
- #80 Martell Webb
- #81 Steve Watson
- #95 Renaldo Sagesse
JUCO Austin Panter is #54.
I am a student at the university and I am concerned about the tight end position this year. I was reading on the Mlive forum that Carson Butler's father talked to Lloyd Carr about a possible reinstatement. Do you think this will happen, and is it a good idea or not? On the field he is a better pass catcher than Massey, and if he is able to overcome his past woes, he may end up in the NFL.
This has been batted around as a possibility and there is enough internets smoke to declare that, yes, Butler would very much like to rejoin the team after being acquitted in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, and that someone affiliated with his camp has been attempting to talk Carr into it. We won't know anything more until someone works up the temerity to ask Carr about it at a press conference of some sort -- I have put in a request to FanHouse machine Michael David Smith, who will be at Big Ten media day today -- and even then things promise to remain murky into the fall. Even if Butler does end up back on the team, which is not close to a given, I doubt he sees the light of day this year, as Carr will probably put him on Pierre Woods triple-secret-you-don't-play- even-if-the-alternative-is-Pat-Massey* probation for 2007 with the potential for full reinstatement only coming in the Mallett era.
I'd like to emphasize that the above is speculation and consists of no insider info at all.
*(Operative theory here is that Woods would have been a fine weakside DE and allowed Branch to move back inside, leaving the 2005 DL to read like so: Woods-Branch-Watson-Woodley.)
Another in the very occasional series.
I once heard that U of M is the only public school in the Big Ten that does not treat its out of state scholarship athletes as in state for tuition purposes. A friend explained that all others do, which would provide for a huge savings in the amount of scholarship tuition that the University pays, especially considering that most athletes come from out of state. If this is indeed the case, changing the rule would amount to a savings of millions of dollars, which would go a long way toward catching Michigan up in terms of facilities and coaches contracts. What is your take on this?
I have also heard this but don't know if it's true. Fortunately, a helpful reader who's name I've sadly forgotten pointed out a publicly available copy of the '06-07 Michigan athletic department budget. It projected that Michigan would pay 12.1 million in student financial aid last year. Details:
Financial aid to students: The athletic department grants the maximum allowable scholarships to all varsity sports. Total grant-in-aid equivalencies are approximately 335 with an estimated in-state to out-of-state ratio of 30%/70%.
Athletes are compensated for more than just their tuition. They get room and board and books and scads (scads I say!) of Entree Plus, so the calculation isn't quite as easy as dividing 12.1 million by 335 and saying "a-ha!". But the average cost for a year of tuition at Michigan appears to be slightly over 10k for in state students and slightly over 31k(!) for out of state students, though many athletes go to school in the summer. Assuming everyone does and the 10k is actually 15k, if all 335 grant-in-aid equivalencies were charged at instate levels only five million of the 12.1 would actually be going to tuition and each player with a full scholarship would be given $21,000 per year for living expenses. And that's erring on the conservative side. No freakin' way.
It's true: Michigan charges out-of-state student-athletes out-of-state tuition. I can't speak for what other schools do, but at places like Texas this is much less of an issue. Does it really matter? I don't know. Michigan is running a sixteen million dollar surplus but, as everyone constantly points out, is slipping behind in the facilities arms race and will likely be applying much of that surplus to shiny new palaces down the road. If other schools ignore the soft costs of a few extra students, their palaces will be shinier and their Godzillatrons more Gozilla-y.
Yes, this is still the #1 Michigan blog in the Central Asian Steppe, thankyouverymuch. Look, I've totally got proof:
couple of questions about the WV basketball coach beilein. the buzz seems to be that he's good or great at x's and o's and is a good guy, etc., and that he does "more with less" but doesnt recruit that well.this worries me a bit. shouldnt we be looking for a coach that does "more with more ?"ok so we havent been awesome lately but a michigan basketball coach should be able to recruit some pretty good talent. the detroit news is saying he's a "safe" choice. thats neat and all, but shouldnt we be trying to win some games at this point. now, because it was the detroit news that said it, i thought two things:1. theyre probably wrong... and2. isnt that a little unfair (at least) b/c didnt beilien have two pretty good runs with his WV teams? and didnt they look pretty good doing it?so what do you think? is recruiting going to be a problem?jack from kazakhstanbtw. mullets in kazakhstan totally out of control.
I think this point's be addressed here and elsewhere plenty, but to be fair to Jack 1) he wrote this a long time ago and 2) it contains a critical update on the mullet situation in Kazakhstan.
Anyway: as Friday's UV highlighted, there was no discernible difference between the recruiting rankings of a team that got its coach fired and one that won two national championships back to back. And Michigan fans were livid about Amaker's crappy recruiting. Beilein doesn't have to recruit like Thad Matta or Roy Williams to have a shot at a national championship. He came thisclose to a Final Four with no guys who even sniffed the NBA and it's not like he's going to recruit worse than he did at West Virginia. Even the worst case scenario here is fun forays deep into the tourney alternating with rebuilding years.
We'll get a sneak peek at his recruiting ability in the next week or two as he tries to sell his system and his program to Legion and Harris. Will he keep both? I don't know. That News article over the weekend made it sound okay for Legion and bad for Harris, but Harris has always expressed a desire to stay close to home so his parents can watch him play and I doubt he'll find a situation more conducive to lots of playing time anywhere else. His stock has risen greatly since he signed his LOI, however, and there are a lot of schools who would love to shoehorn him into their class. Legion's always been jumpy, but his shooting is a natural fit for the Beilein offense and he seems interested in the possibility of playing in an offense with a point. Chances are he loses one, but if he manages to hold onto both most of the concerns about his recruiting ability will be dispelled within a few weeks of his appointment.
Brian,You probably like to use your own material on the blog, but maybe you too have noticed an interesting phenomenon with Michigan fans when discussing prospects for the next basketball coach.
Now that you mention it... yeah. Hell, I was vehemently opposed to Sean Miller for no other reason than his product hair.
The proprietor of the Georgia Sports Blog chipped in some personal observations of the 1-3-1, which is deployed on occasion by Georgia:
When Harrick [who you'll note was totally a product hair guy. -ed] was here we ran the 1-3-1 with Damien Wilkins (Super Sonics 6th man) at the top of the key. And we had our PG under the basket. The long ultra athletic and muscular Wilkins (6'5" and 210 lbs or so) drove teams nuts up top. But as all your articles pointed out, we couldn't run it much. Too exhausting for our PG on the bottom.
We used it as a change of pace to just wreck a team's tempo and kill momentum.
Today, we run it under Felton...and it works ok...unless we're playing:
1. the princeton back cut you to death approach
2. long athletic wings and post leapers like GT that brutalizes us on the baseline
3. Florida. They just shoot over it, through it, around it, etc.
We also drop our 7'0" shot blocking project into the middle of that scheme, and he has a blast with it. He's worthless on offense and man defense, but he's a disruptive force in the 2-3 and 1-3-1.
br />That defense with Michigan type players, will drive teams bat shit crazy playing you.
We're actually a pretty good rebounding team defensively in that set. But it's because our guards are our best rebounders. Our big men don't do much rebounding in the 1-3-1....well...they don't do much rebounding period actually. So there's that.
Sadly, I think Paul overestimates the "Michigan type players" we've had in recent years, but more food for thought on the 1-3-1. Beilein played down his use of the system in a post-PC interview The Wolverine posted, claiming that this year's team played almost exclusively man-to-man down the stretch. In the NIT championship game, however, the 1-3-1 was back with a vengeance. Flexibility? Oh, John. You say such sweet things.
And this one's really old, but awesome:
I went to Chicago last weekend for the Big Ten Tournament. It wasn't the best of times, what will all the OSU victories, but one event did stand out. Per NCAA or Big Ten policy, there was no alcohol in the stands at the United Center. (This is in contrast to, say, Joe Louis Arena, where I can drink and watch college hockey at the same time.) The only place to get a drink was at a bar that's built into the east side of the building off the concourse. Needless to say that at 11:00 AM CST on a Friday, while most of the stands were empty, the bar was packed to the gills.
After OSU put us down, my buddy and I headed to the bar to get a drink before Purdue/Iowa. It was really hot in the bar (filled to capacity on a warm day) and I removed my Michigan sweatshirt to reveal my "Charlie Weis should probably eat less" t-shirt. I became an instant celebrity. People stopped me to take my picture, complete strangers grabbed my shirt so they could read the entire caption, everybody loved it. There was even a slightly intoxicated Purdue fan who walked up and talked my ear off for five minutes about how ND steals all of their recruits. I just thought you'd like to know.
Charlie would later reveal that the slightly intoxicated Purdue fan was Scarlett Johansson. BUY SHIRTS!
It's mailbag time, which means a lot of people write things that aren't me and I respond to them, hopefully in slightly less lazy fashion than newspaper guys.
First, frequent commenter Other_Andrew puts in the time to break down the Pernicious Michigan Bye effect in convincing fashion:
You once mentioned "beware the Michigan bye" or something to that effect. Two months ago, I did a little research on that issue (because I've long noticed it as well), and here's what I found:
There is quite a skew â€“ especially when you consider the fact that Michigan has the best record in the conference over this time period â€“ these teams should all have a leg up just based on the fact that they don't play Michigan. Below is place followed by conference record. There are only three instances of a finish third place or higher. Three out of 28. There are nine finishes in the bottom two (counting ties), eleven in the bottom three. Granted, Ohio State and Michigan finish near the top very often which takes up potentially high slots, but this list seems more than coincidentally lousy:
Indiana --> 4t (5-3)
Northwestern --> 10t (0-8)
Indiana --> 8 (3-5)
Northwestern --> 10 (2-6)
Iowa --> 6 (4-4)
Wisconsin --> 7t (3-4-1)
Iowa --> 3t (6-2)
Wisconsin --> 7 (3-5)
Illinois --> 11 (0-8)
Purdue --> 2t (6-2)
Illinois --> 7t (2-6)
Purdue --> 4 (6-2)
Minnesota --> 4t (5-3)
Iowa --> 11 (0-8)
Minnesota --> 5t (4-4)
Iowa --> 8 (3-5)
Indiana --> 4t (4-4)
Northwestern --> 10t (2-6)
'02: (the year OSU and Iowa missed one another, both
Indiana --> 10t (1-7)
Northwestern --> 10t (1-7)
Penn State --> 9t (1-7)
Wisconsin --> 7t (4-4)
Penn State --> 9 (2-6)
Wisconsin --> 3 (6-2)
Purdue --> 8 (3-5)
Illinois --> 11 (0-8)
Add in '06:
Purdue --> 4t (5-3)
Illinois --> 10t (1-7)
Combined record: 74-128 (36.6%)
Average place: 7.5 (note, I counted a 4t as 4.5 in all cases - three way ties get the benefit of the doubt and still only gain a half point, not a full point)
I didn't have time to pull in all the data for the other schools, so I don't know how many standard deviations away from the mean we are, but I'm guessing it's several. So firstly, it doesn't bode well for the fortunes of Indiana or Iowa next year.
However, I'm more interested in exactly why this keeps happening. Part of the reason is that the OSU game is protected and they usually finish near the top of the league. MSU is also protected and, aside from this year, they always finish in the middle. So that is probably PART of it, but that should go double for OSU considering they are protected against UM (best record over the time period) and PSU (third best record? Maybe fourth?). Yet, they missed Wisc this year and undefeated Iowa in '02. I suppose I would have to check out their entire schedule to be fair, but I don't have time right now.
My theory (might be a not-terrible one): Teams need to get fired up for the coming season early on in order to have a good year. We can look at Michigan this season for an example. As soon as Ecker was tackled by 38 Cornhuskers, every player on the team began preparation for a stellar 2006. And they delivered. [This email was sent before the Rose Bowl, if anyone takes issue with Andrew's characterization here. - ed.] So, perhaps when a team knows that Michigan is not on their schedule, they don't prepare as hard in the offseason, thinking that the schedule looks favorable. So they relax a bit and it costs them during the season. I dunno. Iowa over the next two years, missing UM and OSU will be interesting to watch. I just think that the data is too compelling to say it's just a random anomaly. But maybe that's all it is...
First, excellent work there. I tried to add up OSU and MSU's record over that timespan of 14 years and came up with impossible numbers. OSU came out as 86-26-1, which is one game extra, and despite reviewing the numbers like six times I got 50-66-1 for State, which is five games too many. Engineering, ladies and gentlemen!
In any case, our protected opponents are around 59.5% in the league, give or take a percentage point or two. Since OSU and MSU make up about 1/4th of our bye team's schedules (it's actually slightly less since occasionally a team will miss both MSU and UM or UM and OSU), the protected-games effect would explain our below-average bye opponents... if their average record was around a 46 or 47% winning clip. Thirty-six percent? Well, the football gods are angry at more than Michigan safeties, evidently.
As for your projected explanation... I don't buy it. I don't think the presence or absence of Michigan on the schedule is enough to explain things like going 0-8 in conference or whatever. Any reduced motivation because these crappy teams aren't going to get their heads kicked in by Michigan is offset by the prospect of getting away with one less hiding, IMO. Our consistently dreadful bye opponents is just the universe being bloody-minded.
Just thought I'd pass this along to you in case you haven't seen it. Gotta check out Zoltan Mesko's Facebook picture. Your Zoltan t-shirts and nicknames are hilarious, but honestly, it doesn't get much better then the man himself using the Facebook to promote his new, technologically advanced athletic prowess.
Oh, and if you check out the Facebook groups he belongs to, one of the first few that's listed is the "Official Facebook mgoblog Fan Club." Zoltan reads your site! OMG! Plus, the fact that you have a Facebook group dedicated to you with 22 members means, correct me if I'm wrong, that you have hit the big time.
And, yeah, I'm a 20 year-old college kid that doesn't even go to UM who sent an e-mail to an adult regarding an 18 or 19 year-old male's HILLLLARIOUS Facebook page. And there is NOTHING wrong with that.
I couldn't get to the Zoltan facebook page -- probably some bullcrap "laws" about "restraining orders" -- but Greg helpfully forwarded along "the Puntinator":
For those with poor eyesight, the left side reads "The Puntinator"; the right "My Mission Is To Pin You Deep." I have no insight to add here, except that's awesome.
This one is depressing.
After today's dispiriting loss, I went and looked -- I was actually at the last Michigan win in the Rose Bowl, 1/1/98. That was the last time I saw the Rose Bowl in person; obviously, it's my fault that Michigan hasn't won there since.
Then I kept looking. and found further proof that Lloyd Carr simply can't handle jet-lag. Here's the list of every game they've played since 1/1/98 west of Minneapolis:
W 11/28/98 @ Hawaii 48-17
L 09/16/00 @ UCLA 20-23 (damn Rose Bowl!)
L 09/08/01 @ U-Wash 18-23
L 09/20/03 @ Oregon 27-31
L 01/01/04 vs. USC -- Rose Bowl
L 01/01/05 vs. Texas -- Rose Bowl
L 12/28/05 vs. Nebraska -- Alamo Bowl
L 01/01/07 vs. USC -- Rose Bowl
So, yeah, 1-7 since the last Rose Bowl victory in games west of the furthest-west conference possibility. And the one victory was against powerhouse Hawaii, who finished without a single victory that year.
I'm not going to call for Carr's head. I like the guy. He's a Michigan man. But maybe he can miss the connection in Denver next time, eh?\
Yeah. The worst part is that many of those losses were flukefests: the UCLA game featured Hayden Epstein missing 27 yard field goals and an E3W headline -- "Epstein Picked Last At Kickball" -- commemor
ating the event that a football player snatched from one of my compatriot's hands and promised to show Epstein, mischievous gleam in his eye. We were about to go up two scores on Washington when they blocked a field goal and ran it back for a touchdown. The next play was a short out (IIRC) that the receiver batted into a DB's hands for another cheap touchdown. We dominated that game. *We* blocked a field goal for a touchdown against Oregon and still managed to lose the special teams battle by two touchdowns. The Texas game was a classic decided on the last play; it appeared that Shazor actually brushed Mangum's FGA with his elbow and, adding terrible unconsolable pain to injury, that the slightly deflected ball then went through Burgess' hands. Had Shazor's arm moved a centimeter either way, that field goal is blocked and everyone around these parts is a lot happier. (Let's not talk about [BOWL REDACTED].)
Right, this goes back to the Angry God thing.
What's up with people randomly posting comments on sports blogs in ALL
CAPS WITH LOTS OF !!!!!!!!! EXCLAMATION POINTS?
I meant to ask you this at the basketball game. It's like '94 when
AOL users were suddenly dropped into the depths of USENET.
It's just odd to me, because I read a lot of different types of blogs
and it's only the sports blogs where you see this type of thing (not
the sports forums, message boards, etc).
I hope you aren't referring to the commenters here, whose bad behavior usually consists of calling each other losers in the most high-faluting language available. If you're referring to The Fanhouse... well... AOL. I have to read every comment left to make sure that naughty words or tasteless jokes about Mario Danelo's death get deleted, and it makes me want to cry. I am often tempted to delete everything. But what can you do? Even the comments here took a sharp downward turn late in the season. I'm considering various schemes to combat drive-by OMG LOL flamers. It shouldn't be a problem in the offseason, but I need a button to push to cut down on the guys who spell lose "loose".
Isn't Firefox 2's integrated red-underline spellchecker the best thing ever?
Hells yes! Did I write that last one? Not tellin'.