this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
A request for assistance from the Hoover Street Rag:
Normally I would have just posted this on HSR and hoped for the best, but it just came into me and is mildly time critical.
A small favor to ask, and while I don't think it's in the cards, I would be remiss if I didn't ask.
My pal at work is getting married next weekend. She and her father want, for the father/daughter dance at the wedding, this jazz vocal version of "The Victors" by a woman named Pat Suzuki. Apparently it was played about once a year back in the day by JP McCarthy. Anyway, I know it's a long shot, but if you or the readers could help me out, even just letting me know where to look, it would be huge. Thanks in advance.
Anyone have any ideas? Email or leave it in the comments.
Remember that national-champion, undefeated (club) lacrosse team? Well, check this out:
FYI - a first in Major League Lacrosse:
In the fifth (and final round of the MLL draft) round, a Michigan player was drafted - no player from a non-NCAA program had been drafted before. Also, he was picked ahead of Notre Dame's highly regarded face-off specialist, who was still on the board.
Brekan Kohlitz, M, Michigan
Whoa. This is a first. An MCLA guy taken. Never heard of this guy, but I know Michigan won the MCLA title this year and John Paul is one of that division's best coaches. This kid's got good size and can face off. So maybe the Bayhawks had this guy tucked away all draft and that's why they passed on Brennan and Eck.
I've always kinda liked lacrosse; hopefully Michigan will bump it to varsity status once the capital projects are done.
Some questions I have on the 'Boren situation':
1. Will he be good enough to start at OSU? Granted he would have been one of the better M lineman this year, but that isn't saying much really. Any productivity he had last year was somewhat a function of the fact that nearly all the pressure and focus was put on Long and Boren really only needed to be adequate, which he was only sporadically.
2. Given player comments with regard to Boren's attitude and lack of drive in term of workouts and preparation, is he in for a big surprise at OSU and will he run into the same problems? He grew fat and lazy, it would seem, on the Gittleson laissez-faire approach to conditioning and obviously had problems with the new regimes focus on conditioning and the intensity of their practices. While I do expect there to be massive improvements from the Barwis effect, it really is only returning us to a level that is competitive with other programs. Won't Boren be entering a system at OSU that has high expectations for conditioning and likely an intensity level that might make him a little 'uncomfortable', especially when his status is at zero?
Before he committed to OSU I wished him the best and wasn't too bitter, but afterward I think it is OK to hate. Now I just want to see him whine himself onto a bench seat this year as not only he abandoned his team and left an even bigger gap in a position of need for the season. Probably more the latter, if pressed to choose.
What thinks ye?
Boren was really really good against Notre Dame's Trevor Laws, blowing a soon-to-be second round draft pick all over the field in FBDII, and I thought he was destined to be awesome. That did not so much happen. He wasn't outright awful or anything, but he did nothing to distinguish himself. I don't know what OSU's depth chart looks like, but I believe they lose both guards after this year and Boren's got a year of starting under his belt... it's likely he plays. I know all that stuff about him being a wussy coddled quitter and so forth and so on, but the guy was an Army All-American, passed on a redshirt, and started as a true sophomore without being notably terrible.
I think Boren's issue wasn't an inherent laziness but a sense of entitlement stemming from his last name. Rodriguez came in, declared every starting position open, and demanded his linemen run everywhere whilst being called uncomplimentary names. It's a culture shock from "I'm Mike Boren's son." Rodriguez's response to that was undoubtedly "who the hell is Mike Boren?" I've heard that Carr let Boren miss certain workouts to go help with his dad's landscaping company. If true... uh... yeah. Things are mighty different these days.
Boren's a talented guy who will no doubt find plenty of motivation at Ohio State. He'll probably start, and probably be pretty good. Should Michigan fans care? Well, yes. His asshat father orchestrated his transfer to Michigan's top rival and needlessly blasted a program willing to let him go quietly, and with a completely unrestricted transfer. No one gives unrestricted transfers. Some thanks Michigan got. The next time that guy tries to show up at a football alumni function someone should punch him in the face.
But also no. Rodriguez has proven he can instill a winning culture in a program and he has set about doing that. Michigan will be better off without people who, for whatever reason, whine and complain. Both parties are better off.
On to fellows still with us:
I was just curious about how the current roster will adjust to the spread, and also how RichRod will recruit for the new offense.
Who is going to take the role of Owen Schmitt and be the rumbling beertruck? I have watched West Virginia the past few years and I think he was just as valuable as Slaton or White because of his blocking and the power he brought to the run game. Right now it seems that we are not recruiting any of these guys, and I am not convinced that we have a guy sufficient for this role on the current roster (Helmuth? Moundros?)
Also, it seems to me that the new staff must have seen a sale somewhere on jitterbug slot guys because Michigan seems to be recruiting every one of these guys in the country. Do we really need all these guys? Personally, I don't want a USC situation where we have 10 guys stacked at one position and we just waste talent. (Even though that is a good problem to have)
This unidentified emailer makes an excellent point. Yesterday Mark Richt was quoted saying you needed a "big, thick joker" in the middle of your defense who could take on blocks and pound tailbacks, and that the spread has started a shift away from the Sam Swords of the world. If they felt like it, teams facing West Virginia could just dump the middle linebacker entirely and line up with eleven gazelles.
Except they would then get 260 pounds of rage in their face in the form of Owen Schmitt. As the thunderous counterpart to Slaton and White, Schmitt kept defenses honest. Actually, that might sell him and his 5.7 YPC short.* Schmitt kept defenses scared.
No one on Michigan's team is going to be Schmitt, who was that once-a-decade fullback who becomes a crunching fan favorite despite his infrequent deployment. But I'd watch out for Helmuth, the top-ranked fullback in his recruiting class and a big, pounding runner for Saline when he was in high school. Michigan's other option is to go with two running backs, one a speed merchant like Brown or Horn and the other a Grady-Minor north-south type.
As to Michigan offering every 5'6" electron-fast WR/RB/QB they can find: this could be something of a mirage. The recruiting board has given up on listing every kid with a Michigan offer because Rodriguez and Co are sending letters to way more kids t
han Carr ever did. Naturally this includes a large helping of electrons, who are always more notable than another safety offer because they have zippy highlight films and weigh 110 pounds.
Keep in mind that Michigan had zero of these guys on the roster when Rodriguez arrived, and only has two now. Most teams like to have four guys with a pulse at every position, so it's reasonable to recruit somewhere between two and four more this year. Four? Well, some of them might end up in the backfield and some might end up at outside receiver or in the secondary. This is not recruiting 6'5" water buffalo quarterbacks. Guys who get beat out at slot receiver have options.
Michigan will probably take two, which is reasonable.
A little more on playoffs:
I wholeheartedly support a playoff system that also preserves the regular season. But I thinks it very important to note how the current system seriously waters down the 'all-important' regular season. The current ranking system is so dominated by number of losses that the contenders and everyone else schedule patsies to avoid losses at all costs. At the top of the heap, the contenders try to make a BCS bowl, and the middle to lower tier try to get to bowl eligability. Number of losses must be around 80% of the rankings basis - see Hawaii and other unworthy WAC teams with 0 losses, and their drop from top 5 or 10 to oblivion with a single loss, or their unjustified inclusion in the top 10 to begin with, based solely on 0 losses (except of course for Boise State). Its well-known that the football factories play about 4 serious games a year. I think Michigan v osu needs to stay meaningful, but I view the Utah, Toledo, MAC crap as extortion of the lesser team and of me paying for a full-priced ticket to see an exhibition scrimmage that just happens to count. The "regular season drama/every game counts" crap that seems to be 1 of 2 or 3 serious negatives to a playoff is itself as much a myth as the MNC. A playoff would so magnify a team's credentials by making someone beat 2 or 3 top 10/top 5 teams consecutively.
In a word: word. The problem with BCS blowouts is not so much the uncompetitive nature of the games themselves. The problem is that the system picks two and only two teams when college football usually offers up somewhere between 4 and 6 candidates only slightly distinguishable from each other, then pairs up the excluded teams with other excluded teams nearly as good (or randomly selected 9-3 teams with quarterbacks who can't hit the broad side of Charlie Weis). The frequent result is an arbitrarily awarded crystal football.
A small playoff includes all reasonable "best" teams and naturally results in the winner having the best resume of any team in college football. Team #7 might have a grumble they should have gotten in over team #6, but by the playoff's conclusion they have no claim whatsoever to having the best record.
*(Distorted by the "runaway beer truck" event in the Fiesta Bowl? Undoubtedly, but remove that entirely and his average is still 4.7 YPC, which is pretty decent for a feature back, let alone a fullback.)
Tom Harmon would be proud. In 1943, Tom Harmon's plane went down in a tropical storm over South America. Four days and fifty miles later, a half-dead Harmon stumbled into a clearing in French Guina, swearing eternal revenge against tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical depressions, cyclones, tsunamis, and those little swirling eddies you get on fall days. Anything that was wind moving in a vaguely circular direction was in for it.
Though Harmon pwned the Amazon, sired models, and singlehandedly defeated Tojo, he never defeated his nemesis. But you, the anonymous mass of Michigan internet people, did, raising over seven thousand dollars in three days, completely defeating severe weather events forever.
These are your just rewards:
I commend you. Some guy forwarded along his $500 confirmation letter to me and asked if that was worth an MGoWish: yes, it is. Anyone else with a similarly large heart can forward along their confirmation email and gently influence this blog's direction over the summer.
Michigan's total was
- over a third of the total amount,
- nearly three times that of runner-up Ohio State, and
- more than the next six teams combined.
Jesus. Orson's moral is "never get in a fundraising war with Michigan"; mine is "I really should be asking for more donations."
Excuse fatwa! Boiled Sports took the recent Weis yammering and dug up some more of Charlie's greatest hits. Of the listed, my favorite:
"What happened came as a surprise," Weis said. "But I'm not going to use it as an excuse and say our team was distracted."
No, clearly you're not going to say that. We've pointed this out before, but this is like saying, "Your sister's low-cut top and huge tits came as a surprise to me, but I'm not going to insult you and call her a whore."
Weis is inordinately fond of saying that he's not going to use this obviously valid thing he just said as an excuse. He just letting you know that despite the fact he's got an emu at quarterback and five narcoleptics on the offensive line, he's not using that as an excuse.
Ugh. Fanhouse post up on the percentage of BCS opponents each conference takes on, and guess what? The Big Ten is dead last at 29%. Seven of the thirteen games against BCS competition are versus Notre Dame (3), Syracuse (2), Iowa State, and Duke, teams that were a combined 9-39 last year. The entire slate of decent nonconference opposition:
- Missouri vs Illinois (neutral site game in St. Louis)
- Iowa @ Pitt
- MSU @ Cal
- OSU @ USC
- Oregon State @ PSU
- Oregon @ Purdue
It's probably not fair to completely dismiss the Notre Dame games since those are all long-standing rivalries scheduled with the idea Notre Dame won't be coming off the second-worst offensive performance of the millennium, but even if you count them that's nine games across eleven teams.
Minnesota, Northwestern, and Indiana didn't sign up anyone even slightly worthwhile, but Minnesota lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern to Duke so they had the choice between competitive games against Wofford or getting housed, I guess. Indiana is Indiana. Wisconsin, however, has no excuses for yet another nonconference schedule with zero BCS teams.
In a word: weak.
Landing places. There was a thread on Rivals asking where everyone from Carr's staff landed which was interesting enough to appropriate for use here:
- Ron English went from Michigan DC to Louisville DC.
- Vance Bedford went from secondary coach at Michigan to CBs coach at Florida.
- Steve Szabo went from Michigan LBs coach to DC at I-AA Colgate.
- Scot Loeffler went from Michigan QB coach to the Lions QB coach. (This would normally count as a step up, but it's the Lions.)
- Erik Campbell went from Michigan WR coach to Iowa WR coach.
- Fred Jackson is still at Michigan as the RBs coach.
All these folk landed on their feet. Even if Louisville and Iowa are steps down from Michigan, finding a comparable assistant position at a good BCS school a few months after you lose your job in a coaching changeover is tough. English and Campbell were amongst the top targets on the market. Bedford may have been, though his connection with Florida co-DC Greg Mattison helps. Lions jokes aside, Loeffler got a promotion and will probably be a college OC somewhere within five years. Szabo's an interesting case: is being DC at a I-AA program equal to being a position coach at Michigan? Probably not, but it's not far off and Colgate's pretty decent from appearances.
Uh, not so much.
- Andy Moeller went from OL coach at Michigan to assistant (to the) Ravens' OL coach.
- Mike Debord went from OC at Michigan to assistant (to the) Seahawks' OL coach.
- Steve Stripling appears to be unemployed.
Michigan guaranteed its coaches their 2008 salaries before the changeover, so it's possible Stripling is just waiting for the right opportunity or spending the year bathed in pudding or something.
Moeller and Debord, well... even Terry Malone got to be the Saints' tight ends coach, not assistant (to the) tight ends coach. Jim Herrmann is the Jets' linebackers coach. The only Michigan coach to meet a grislier fate was grad assistant Jim Boccher, who guided Michigan's special teams to devastating implosions against Oregon and Iowa in 2003 and immediately went into real estate or something.
All told, the landing spots roughly match up with fan opinion of the coaches, don't they? Debord and Moeller are poison, Loeffler is the best, the rest of the staff is solid but unspectacular with the possible exception of Ron English's untapped upside.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Brandon at Garnet and Black Attack must not read this blog, but I don't care, he can be Leibnitz:
PROPOSED: That college football fans support a six-team playoff format.
Why six teams? Because it maintains a good deal of the drama of the regular season. There would still be a lot on the line: Lose one game, and you might not get a first-week bye (see the bracket below). Lose two games, and you might not even make the tournament.
His BCS conference-champs only version will never fly -- not that my version would -- since the little guys and Notre Dame will block it, and I don't like it because sometimes it's clear two of the top six teams are in the same conference.
There were some protests lodged against the proposed system that I'll get to in whenever I do a mailbag, but I wanted to address this MOTSAG post:
Brian's MGoPlayoff system (which, btw, was
written right after OSU knocked UM out of contention for the 2006 title) is very typical of most playoff ideas, in that it doesn't require nor ask for any changes to the poll system to be made. They're largely just variations of the same flawed idea.
E. By committee. A dedicated team of people who do this year-round and are geographically distributed.
Polls are sucky, conflict-of-interest-laden things to determine a playoff field. The only way to do it is to get a half-dozen very serious people to pore over the records and statistics and opponent records and opponent's opponent's records and etc etc etc. I do appreciate MOTSAG's suggestion to actually use the Blogpoll to determine end-of-season things, except... wait. No I don't. People would kill me.
I'm about to take some recent anti-playoff arguments made by college football blogs and debunk them as best I can, but before we start: you can take it for granted that I agree with any arguments like "the commissioners would screw it up" and acknowledge that the MGoPlayoff is a fanciful dream. But I would like to argue that, conceptually, the right playoff is a net positive for college football in all ways. Arguments like "but it will soon be 16 teams" won't be addressed; I am advocating my system, not other, stupid systems for which anti-playoff arguments are totally valid.
Many arguments take the results of the recently-played season and say "but this wouldn't work," so we should establish the MGoPlayoff's output this year. Seedings are an off-the-cuff guess with a bias towards schedule strength based on pre-bowl results.
#1 LSU hosts lower seed remaining after first round
#2 Ohio State hosts higher seed after first round.
#3 Oklahoma hosts #5 Georgia
#4 Virginia Tech hosts #6 Missouri
Rose: Illinois-USC (uh... oops!)
Fiesta: Kansas-West Virginia
Sugar: Florida-Arizona State
Orange: Hawaii-Boston College
Missouri gets the last slot over Kansas (H2H win, better schedule) and USC (better schedule, though to be fair to USC they got hosed by unusually horrible Nebraska and Notre Dame teams). They get switched into the VT game to remove an intraconference first round matchup but keep their seeding.
Teams under consideration left out: Kansas, USC, West Virginia.
Anyway, arguments: regular-season games would be less meaningful. Garnet and Black Attack:
yes, Texas-Texas A&M would have meaning under a playoff system. But the bottom-line question -- whether a team that would probably have been a lower-seed contender gets into the playoffs or not -- is not nearly as weighty as the Big XII Championship Game between Missouri and Oklahoma, which decided whether the national front-runner (Missouri) had a rare chance to play for it all. There would be more games with some degree of meaning, but it's a lower degree of meaning than the important games we have now.
This argument is better phrased than most, and is impossible to deny. With a full-fledged eight team system some late season games lose much of their drama, especially if such a system comes with autobids for conference champions. West Virgina's loss to Pitt would have been entirely moot.
But doesn't national champion LSU feature two losses? Where was the all-or-nothing nature of the season then? I guess the argument is that if you lose you place your fate in the hands of the uneducated rabble that votes and may be unfairly and arbitrarily passed over for some other near-identical team, but... uh... that's not a positive for college football. There's a certain drama in the stupidity, I guess.
Anyway, in this system West Virginia and USC get the boot entirely; Missouri goes from anticipating a bye and a home game against one of two foes it had an eternity to scout to a roadie in Blacksburg. No game is irrelevant and losing late either boots you from the playoff entirely or -- if you're super lucky -- forces you to play a first-round game, likely on the road, and more than halves your chances at national title, and suddenly ten or more teams go into the late stages of the season feverishly looking and hoping and praying and viciously rooting against any team that looks remotely threatening.
I know this is a matter of personal opinion greatly influenced by your opinion of playoffs and not vice versa, but that sounds freakin' awesome.
Playoffs don't necessarily crown the best teams or include all deserving contenders. Around The Oval:
I don't think playoffs will solve all the problems with crowning a national champ. I mean, how often can you say you're sure the team that wins the NCAA tournament in men's basketball was the best in the country that year? If they get hot at the right time and catch a few lucky breaks, a pretty mediocre team can make a run through the playoffs and win it all, while a team that crushed the competition throughout the year can fall victim to a bad call and be out in the first round.
The perfect is the enemy of the good. Just because a playoff is not perfect is no reason to eschew it when our current system is vastly further from perfect. Some team with a claim to be the #6 seed will be omitted and there will be caterwauling. But Auburn fans are going to take 2004 to their grave. Same with Oregon fans and USC fans -- well, not USC fans since the BCS was screwed up so bad that year they left out the #1 team -- and so forth and so on forever and ever amen. Getting booted because your two-loss team was deemed not as good as some other two-loss team is orders of magnitude less offensive.
As far as a team getting "hot at the right time" and darting to a St. Louis Cardinals sort of championship, that's impossible in the system outlined here. Take the last team selected for the playoff, Missouri, and create the least impressive path they can take to the title: wins @ Virginia Tech and @ Ohio State followed by a neutral-field victory over a Georgia team that just beat Oklahoma and LSU. In that scenario, Missouri would have by far the most impressive resume of any team in the country and would be an obvious #1 even if the playoff was a meaningless exhibition and the national championship was decided by pollsters.
Let's take the year the BCS seemed perfect: 2005. Undefeated juggernaut USC met undefeated juggernaut Texas in the Rose Bowl. MGoPlayoff that year:
#1 USC hosts lower seed.
#2 Texas hosts higher seed.
#3 Penn State hosts #6 Georgia
#4 Oregon hosts #5 Ohio State
There are about a thousand possibilities for #6: Notre Dame, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia Tech. Georgia's victory in the SEC championship game gives them the edge, IMO.
Repeat the experiment: give Georgia wins @ Penn State and @ USC and a neutral-site victory against either undefeated Texas or one-loss Oregon or Ohio State and it would be extremely difficult to argue that they did not have the most impressive resume by the end of the year and would end up #1 on a hypothetical national-title-determining poll.
Compared to every other sport on the planet, college football hardly exists. The nearest equivalent, the NFL, has double the number of meaningful games if you consider everyone's 2-4 tomato can games against a I-AA team or a Sunbelt team or Notre Dame to be the exhibitions they are. This makes it the perfect environment for a playoff. By restricting teams severely and providing a considerably more difficult path to lower-seeded teams, we can make the playoff champion the opinion champion always. Two or three wins against elite competition will always catapult the winning team's resume to the top of the heap.
A playoff would diminish my college football fandom. This is always the argument that makes me think "WTF? Are you addicted to crack?" so it's appropriate that this one comes from Addicted to Quack:
I started having these thoughts early on last football season. I'm sitting there watching the Cal-Tennessee game in week one. And I started thinking to myself: why the hell am I watching Cal-Tennessee. If it's a basketball game, there is no way I'm watching Cal-Tennessee. Yet I watched every minute of that game. And I watched Oregon State-Cincinnati. And USC-Nebraska. Oh, and not just Pac-10 games. I watched West Virginia-Rutgers. And Oklahoma-Mis
souri. And basically football every minute of every Saturday all fall.
If the only reason you watch college football is because of the incredibly minute chance Oregon State-Cincinnati has any impact whatsoever on the national title race, I don't know what to tell you. I watch college football because in the stands 80 to 100 thousand people live and die on every play, because I hate Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, and most of the SEC, because it is a brief three-month burst of bands and silly songs and real, honest-to-God traditions and stadiums named after states or dead men and punch-you-in-the-eye rivalries in a sea of sports chintz. You can add a playoff and Ohio State-Michigan happens once a year and so too Texas-Oklahoma and Oregon-Oregon State and Georgia-Florida and Army-Navy.
The reason so many of us watch so much college football is that, as mentioned, there is hardly any of it and it is all great. Adding a few games at the end of the season won't change that.
We should go back to the old days. ATO, again:
And who says crowning a national champion is something worth trying to do anyway? Can we really take one team from 119 and say, "Okay, we are absolutely certain this is the best team in the country"? It seems like an exercise in futility, designed to drive us all crazy. So why even try? Let's go back to the old system. Every year, the Big Ten champ plays the Pac-10 champ in the Rose Bowl, the 2nd place Big Ten team plays in the Citrus Bowl, and so on. It won't give us the best team in the country, but I have a sneaking suspicion that there's no way we can conclusively determine that. So instead, we get the tradition back, and a system that at least makes college football less of a blatant cash-grab.
I'm not going to argue with this. I agree: the old system and its entirely mythical national championships are better than the current bullcrap. I'd also be in favor of the Fake Plus One, which is basically the old system with a national title game tacked on, as long as the national title game was rotated around the country.
You've done a great job comparing Beilein's UM recruits with his WVU recruits. [Have I? -ed] Do you have any opinion on Rodriguez's UM recruits as
compared to his WVU recruits, or is it too early to tell? It seems from much of your coverage that Rodriguez is, in large part, targeting not only the same type of recruits but also the same recruits at UM that he was targeting at WVU. Has there been any appreciable difference in the quality of his recruits (e.g., more 4-stars, more top 100 guys) at UM as compared to his recruits at WVU? One would hope so, since that is one of the advantages UM should have over WVU, but, again, maybe it's too early to tell.
Before I answer, note that this email was sent before the recent Beaver commitment.
And on to answering: there has been a notable uptick in Rodriguez's recruiting. A third of the way into Michigan's 2009 class he's picked up three top-100 players and four players given four or five stars, and it seems highly likely Bryce McNeal will join them. His record at West Virginia (all rankings are Rivals' because their site is more navigable):
- 2008: (this is a lot of Stewart but I think it's illuminating) instate OL Josh Jenkins is a soft commit for most of the year and does end up signing with the 'Eers. There are three other four-stars, one a JUCO and one a prep school kid who signed with WVU in 2007 but did not qualify; we should not double-count him. This class hasn't gotten to campus yet so we don't know their fates.
- 2007: Noel Devine headlines. Other four stars include a JUCO and troubled LB Pat Lazear; Bradley Starks and Terrence Kerns (who would prep and re-sign in 2008) are four-star high school recruits. Starks is a real fringe four-star type with other offers from Iowa State, Temple, and Marshall. Not exactly Kevin Newsome.
- 2006: No four star players.
- 2005: A five star, but it's Jason Gwaltney, who for a lot of reasons is horrifically overrated. He fails out his first semester.
- 2004: Two four stars. Brandon Barrett is an instate wide receiver who ends up #45 in the Rivals 100; Raymond Williams is a fringe four-star back from Cleveland. Barrett was a non-qualifier who got in trouble as a sophomore and failed out before his junior year. Two months after he signs his letter of intent, Williams robs a drug dealer with a fake gun, getting one of his teammates killed when the dealer unsurprisingly has a real gun. WVU withdraws his offer.
- 2003: No four star players.
- 2002: WR Broderic Jones never gets to campus, sits out 2002, and eventually ends up at Tulsa.
Rivals doesn't go any farther back than that, but I think the point is made. During the whole of Rich Rodriguez's tenure at West Virginia, he got use out of one player given four or more stars: Noel Devine. (Lazear will start this year after special teams duty his first season; Rodriguez's teams were not particularly aided by his talents.) Every single other highly-rated player bombed out.
That doesn't surprise me. West Virginia has no instate recruiting base and had zero national cachet until the White-Slaton era. Chances are any player who was highly rated and didn't have a better option than West Virginia had grade or character issues. Or, if you're Jason Gwaltney, both.
Here's the scorecard. Seven years at West Virginia: seven four or five star recruits that made it to campus. Five months at Michigan: ten.*
Is Rodriguez recruiting the same guys he was at West Virginia? Probably. The difference is he's getting his first or second choice instead of #10.
*(Tentative numbers since WVU and Michigan obviously haven't gotten the 2008 and 2009 classes in the boat yet; Michigan's number only counts players that committed to the new staff.)
Hi Brian,I want to know what you think of the new changes for the football program now that everything is more settled. Even though as a great a coach as RR is, I wonder if that's enough. UM for the past two decades have been putting a lot of people in the NFL, which I think is a big plus when it comes to recruiting. Under Carr, his philosophy was that as long as he could get a good passing QB, then he'd be able to attract top-flight receivers. That way of thinking has worked considering the number of QB's we have in the NFL and Rivals.com has labelled us "Quarterback U." We also have a good number of receivers in the NFL, although Braylon is the only one that's actually doing well. But the point remains -- UM, under Carr, put kids into the NFL.Now that everything is different and RR has taken over, I'm not so sure that that is going to be the case. With his run-option spread offense, there is too little emphasis on passing. I'm afraid that not too long from now, we'll start seeing a major drop-off in the ratings of the QB's and WR's that we can recruit. In this year's NFL draft, only 3 players were picked from W. Virginia (Schmitt, Slaton, and Mundy(?!?)) vs. the 6 from Michigan. Granted Pat White is still at W. Virginia, but even if he was in the draft, I doubt he'd get picked up by anyone. He's not a good passer and even though he's a good play-maker, it won't be that easy in the NFL.Maybe I'm just having a hard time of letting go of the memories of 4th quarter comebacks (vs. MSU '04 and '07) and LAST second TDs (vs. PSU '05). And then there are all those other spectacular pass plays against ND in 2006. All of those would not have been possible without a great QB and WR combo. I'm starting to wish we could've gotten Les Miles because then maybe things wouldn't be changing so much.So what do you think? Are my concerns unfounded? Or am I just being a wuss about letting go?Thanks for reading.DavidUM Class of 2005
How convenient that this question comes directly after a discussion of West Virginia's recruiting, which was obviously not conducive to being an NFL factory. Let's focus this discussion on the offense, since the defense isn't changing in any way that might damage the NFL prospects of anyone on it.
Rodriguez's lack of NFL draftees is a chicken-and-egg argument. There's a reason Pat White was not recruited as a quarterback by anyone other than Rodriguez, and that's the same reason he's going to be an NFL wide receiver: he's not much of a thrower. That's why he was the #55 "athlete" in his recruiting class, and why he was a three-star prospect. If Rodriguez could have gotten, say, a guy who anchors a winning 100-meter relay team and is listed by Rivals as a pro-style quarterback because he's that comfortable in the pocket, he would have, and West Virginia's offense wouldn't have been so run-heavy. Same goes for players like Stonum and Mathews and so forth and so on.
The thing about recruits is this: they just want to go places, really, and justify the place they want to go in a post hoc fashion. Terrelle Pryor said he wanted to play in a pro-style offense so he would be prepared for the NFL. Kevin Newsome said NFL scouts would find him no matter what sort of offense he played in. PA CB Corey Brown cited Penn State's lack of cornerbacks in the NFL when he dropped them recently, but left both Michigan and West Virginia on his list when the only DB the 'Eers have produced in recent times is legendarily troubled Pacman Jones.
Part of the reason recruits want to go places is the style of offense and NFL prospects but, IMO, it's a much smaller part than you'd think by listening to their quotes, which are often an effect of their commitment and not a cause.
As far as the ratings of
QBs we can recruit... I think the Newsome/Beaver double dip combined with heavy interest from Jason Forcier and Eugene Smith blows that up. It's true Michigan is cutting itself off from the Hennes of the world, but before they cut themselves off from the Newsomes and Pryors. There might be some cause for concern at outside wide receiver -- I assume Michigan is going to have a parade of slot guys eager to be featured at a marquee school -- but at the moment we've got guys from Houston practically begging for an offer and guys from Minnesota decking their myspace pages with more block Ms than you can shake a stick at.
Everyone assumes that West Virginia running 70% of the time (and throwing screens another 10-15% of the time) was a choice. But what would you do with a freshman/sophomore/junior Pat White and Steve Slaton? Michigan has been notoriously run-heavy (57% during Henne's healthy junior year) despite having a multitude of downfield options whenever its quarterback is anything but a senior, and WVU was using an underclassman most programs saw as a wide receiver. And they averaged six yards per carry. And they had little receiving talent outside of the slot. Under the circumstances it would have been crazy to throw more.
At Michigan, Rodriguez will have highly-rated guys who can throw and run and more receiving talent than he's ever seen. We've seen that when he has a superior talent like Chris Henry, he uses him: Henry had 1872 yards in about one and a half years at WVU, and those were his freshman and discipline-ravaged sophomore years. IMO, Rodriguez will always be run-heavy but at Michigan the percentage of runs and short passes will be more like 65% than 85%. Since Michigan has been a magnet for receiving talent despite having a similar percentage of safe stuff you'd figure they would be able to reel in a similar level of badass.
There might be a rough year or two in 2010 or 2011 if (more likely, when) whichever inexperienced quarterback ends up seizing the job struggles and numbers fall, but if I'm right and once the quarterbacks hit upperclass status and Stonum or Clemons or Hemingway or some highly rated recruit from this year blows up, that will blow over.
Honestly, I'm more concerned with the defensive side of the ball, where Jay Hopson has been recruiting the hell out of every safety and linebacker in Mississippi and environs and most of them still favor the in-state hell schools (USM not included, SMQB, since there is the prospect of something other than four years of misery there). Whatever weird gravitational pull the state has only relaxes to the south, it seems.
I am pretty sure you have received this email before, and you have probably answered it, but here it goes again... will all this BCS +1 or BCS playoff talk ever come to fruition? I really hope not. Wouldn't a playoff undermine the "every game counts" concept of college football? Let's say 2007 Michigan, who lost to Appalachian State, ended up beating OSU in the finale and became Big Ten champs. Therefore, we had the automatic bid to the Rose Bowl. If we end up winning that game, do we deserve to play for the championship? HECK NO! On the other hand, should Michigan still deserve to play in the Rose Bowl? Call me a traditionalist, but if the Big Ten and Pac-10 (or Big Nine and PCC or AAWU or Pacific 8 or whatever the heck they were) have been playing in this bowl game since the beginning of time, then why should the honor of playing in the game be taken away from them?
The point of the whole BCS championship is to pit #1 vs #2 to determine the true champion, and the only recent year the BCS championship contenders were wrong was 2004 when USC was sniped from going to the big game in favor of LSU, and even that is debatable, but college football is SUPPOSED TO BE DEBATABLE. Football is a debatable sport, and you will never find a real champion unless you have playoff series like pro basketball, baseball, and hockey. Even with an NFL style playoff, it can be iffy. Who is a better team, the Patriots or the Giants? If New England and New York played 10 games against each other, the Patriots would probably win 7 of them. Also, the Giants got lucky beating the Packers in Green Bay. So I guess you can say that the Giants did not deserve to be Super Bowl champs either. What is that you say? The NFL DOES have a playoff system? And there is STILL debate if the champions were good enough to be champions?
Even with a playoff, the teams left on the outside looking in will feel they were sniped from playing for the championship. So what is this whole playoff thing going to solve?
Thanks for your opinion,
Oh... here we go again. Oh, well. Onward.
I am a very specific playoff advocate. I agree that preserving the tension of the regular season is important, so my proposal is a six-team playoff in which the top two teams get byes and games in the first two rounds are played at home. The final is at the Rose Bowl. The teams are selected by a committee that heavily emphasizes nonconference schedule strength; there are no autobids. The bowl system lives on in parallel, selecting any team that doesn't make the playoff (and maybe the first-round losers, since I envision those games happening in December).
Keeps tension in the regular season. There is a huge difference between finishing 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, and a huge difference between 3 and 4 and 5 and 6. The big issue with a playoff, as I see it, is that it makes something like WVU losing to Pitt late a minor deal. In this system the number of bids is restricted enough (remember WVU already had one loss) that WVU might drop out altogether, and even if they stay in they've gone from a bye and a home game to a first-round roadie.
Helps de-wussify nonconference schedules. Amen.
Actually increases the number of important late-season games. If you are seventh or eighth in the pecking order, everyone above you and nine and ten want you to lose. Now if you're anywhere below fifth late in the season your games have no national title implications.
Has a semblance of tradition. It might be a bit hypocritical to make the Rose Bowl a permanent host and then rail against the Plus One, as I'm about to do, but it's either that or rotating the game between the epicenter of college football tradition and, like, the Superdome. Duh.
Mostly preserves the bowl season. Hey, everyone likes random college football games.
Now, the BCS:
Even if college football is supposed to be debatable, the BCS has killed that debate by instituting a two-team playoff. One team wins and is given an NCAA-approved crystal football, and everyone else can pound sand. Now that the BCS has adopted an overwhelmingly poll-driven ranking system, the events that led to a split national title a few years ago are exceedingly unlikely to happen again, so you get what you get "#1" versus "#2" for "the national title." In the days before the BCS, national championships truly were mythical and were as such acceptable topics for debate. Now our only debate is which team would have put up a better fight than Ohio State. It is truly the worst of both worlds: a playoff that settles nothing.
Virtually anything would be better than it. A return to the ante-bellum bowl system? Check. A true "Plus One" that restores traditional bowl ties and has a national title game a week after? Check? A reasonably sized playoff? Check.
It's depressing that the only thing worse -- a seeded Plus One that almost entirely obliterates traditional bowl ties and imposes ridiculously unfair travel constraints on teams outside of California and the south -- is the thing that actually got proposed at the BCS
meetings. I reject every anti-playoff argument except this one: any group of people that could oversee the majesty that was ten years of the BCS would undoubtedly screw it up.
Note for confused bloggers wishing to vote in the things which aren't the "Suxors." There is a form that you vote at. Here is where the Voting Machine is.
Your full list of early enrollees: Ryan Mallett, Vince Helmuth, Austin Panter, and Artis Chambers. The first three were already known to be enrolling... well... now, but Chambers is a surprise.
It's been a bad week for the kind of person who idly wonders about building a sterilization ray when he encounters most people, even when they aren't using one game, no matter how lopsided, as vindication for whatever crackpot theories they espouse. I've spent much of the week sputtering in helpless rage, so I'll let a decidedly lucid SMQB make the point:
First rule of order, as it were: recognition and celebration that sometimes this game makes no sense. Maybe we're fools for attempting to impose decorum on entertainment fundamentally fueled by its predilection for shock and anarchy.
Certain truths emerge which cannot be reconciled with any other existing facts or theories.
- - -
But we try to make coherent the naturally disordered anyway, even as our efforts at methodically synthesizing disparate facts are repeatedly mocked. In some way, then, method must account for anarchy, or inevitably succumb to it. Because this isn't science; sometimes this game makes no sense.
The bowl season - not only the mythical championship game, but also the Rose and Fiesta bowls, most prominently - vindicated the November conversation and SMQ's resume argument in myriad ways, primarily by broadcasting live to a stunned nation unmitigated dismantlings of the two teams it was repeatedly assured were "the best" and had only a little more than a month earlier engaged in a timeless struggle of wills for unquestioned supremacy rather than put on just another entertaining, emotional shootout on the same level of play as, say, Louisville-West Virginia.
But what SMQ would most like to point out in light of Monday's merciless pantsing of the team officially earmarked as the "best" in America through the three-month regular season is not that Ohio State was "exposed" or that Florida "proved" to humbled skeptics the indomitable essence that dwells eternally in its collective soul of souls. Rather, he'd like to defend the conviction that Ohio State really was, in fact, the "best" team in the nation from September through November, in the sense the Buckeyes' cumulative performance over that span deserved by all available evidence to be considered superior to that of any other team, and offer the untimely demise of that perception Monday as evidence there is nothing dwelling in the blood pumping through a team's metaphorical veins that can tell us anything about any single performance outside of itself; that is, what occurred in the championship game, like any other, was representative only of the championship game, and should inform our opinions about its participants only as an addition to the months-long whole. A prominent addition, of course, but by no means the all-defining one or, very importantly, one that can be extrapolated to prove great inner truths about certain conferences or larger trends within - unless, of course, you're willing to argue the relative merits of Ohio State's "speed," however that is supposed to be measured, and by extension that of Michigan, Iowa, Penn State and Texas, in relation to the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence of Vanderbilt and South Carolina, which each fared exponentially better against the Gators than the Buckeyes. Sometimes this game makes no sense.
Indeed. In my formative years trawling through various Rivals message boards I stumbled across a wonderfully dorky post that burned itself in my mind and fundamentally altered my perception of college football. This was in the aftermath of some Purdue-Michigan game or another that ended 31-3 in favor of Michigan. Attempting to cope, some engineer or another doodled out this ASCII image of Gaussian football genius:
|| __ __ ||
|| / \ / \ ||
\// \ / \\/
/ P \/ M \
/ /\ \
--/ ___--/ \--_____\--___
He then explained: the two uncapped pyramids are normal distributions of overall performance labelled "P" and "M"; the arrows display the actual performances turned in that day by the respective teams. On a good day for Purdue and a bad day for Michigan, Purdue could win. On an average day, they would lose but not by four touchdowns, by God. The assumption that the winner of any particular game is obviously the better team is just that, an assumption. When the score is 31-3 or 41-14 you can be fairly certain that assumption is a good one. But never sure.
One thing you would think, though: the bonafide #1 and #2 teams in the country would have pyramids damn near on top of each other. And unless probability was really screwing with us the games they produce would more often than not be worth watching after, say, halftime. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.
As the Not Fiesta got more and more lopsided it seemed much less a vindication of the BCS for having chosen the two "right" teams and more a vicious rebuke of it for having the presumption to pick two teams at all. I've made this point before, but here it goes again: college football has the sparsest data of any sport anywhere in the world. Teams play a mere 12 games per year and far fewer than that are actual "games" rather than glorified exhibitions with a 90% or better chance of victory for a powerhouse. At the end of the year we have but the barest suggestion that one or two teams are better than the remainder, a suggestion so bare that the presumed Greatest Team Ever This Year got stomped 41-14, raising questions not about Florida's place in the Not Fiesta but rather that of the GTETY. Submitted that last year everything worked fine, but as King Kaufman points out...
It also means that three times in the past six years the BCS has offered up a Championship Game that was a blowout.
It's one thing if a title game at the end of a tournament is a rout. At least both teams plausibly played their way in. But when a system pulls two teams from the multitudes and places them in the final by fiat, that final had better be a damn good game more often than not. A lot more often. It had better be a fluke, rather than routine, for one of the teams to look like it doesn't belong.
The frequency of pretenders getting to the title game is one more reason to dislike the BCS, which brings us to about 1,800.
Eventually, the BCS is going to collapse under the weight of its own stupidity. That stupidity was in full flower this year, with the Boise State upset over Oklahoma and the Florida pole-axing of Ohio State combining to illustrate beautifully that judging teams on paper and declaring that two and only two will play for the title just doesn't work.
On the balance, there have been far fewer satisfying matchups between undisputed titans than vicious melees between indistinguishable teams vying for their place in the stupidest playoff in the world.
Which is why I felt... zo unsatysfyed after the fireworks and confetti and crystal whatever.
Ga-tors, Ga-tors, We Stick It In You.
Ugh! The official winner of the inagural MaxwellPundit?
Andre Ware. Er... Hawaii QB Colt Brennan, AKA "Timmy Chang++." I'm appalled at my fellow voters for going with the default player you didn't see fail instead of the much better, though flawed, candidates that actually played in the season's most important games. Tenuous justifications of schedule strength universal in his selections prop up Alabama (a 25-17 loss), Purdue (awful defense), Oregon State (loss), and Arizona State (awful defense) as indicators that Brennan was battle-tested or something. But shiny stats rule all, I guess.
Etc.: Entertaining story on the '87 Fiesta from ESPN the Magazine. (Via FO); problems with referees in the WCHA... hey, at least you didn't get called for like 80 penalties against the worst team in the league by a guy who has to be "Bull" from "Night Court"
You might not want to think about hockey, but there are a couple articles out there for your persual. One on Rohlfs, the other on Cogliano. Bob Miller, who wrote the Rohlfs article, also offered this on a couple of recruits:
In a word - wow! Just in from watching Little Caesar's play Chicago Mission in the MWEHL MIdget Showcase being hosted by Compuware this weekend.
Treais had a hat trick made up of highlight reel type goals, reminiscent of his skill-set clone, T.J. Hensick. Very, very impressive performance by the Michigan commitment.
Jon Merrill was also a rock on defense for Little Caesar's. Bodes very well for Wolverine fans.
Boh Treais and Merrill are a few years from campus.
Kampfer's shoulder injury suffered on Sunday is supposed to be a separated shoulder that will keep him out a month. Michigan will go into the GLI down Johnson, Dest, Kampfer, and Cogliano, and my hate for the holiday PWR-murdering it represents will increase. Why do we play in this again?
(Rohlfs HT: Gorilla Crouch.)
More renovations. According the Sports Business Journal, Michigan will embark on a $75 million renovation of Crisler($). Weird thing: a reduction in public capacity from around 14,000 to 10,000. This seems backwards. The program is floundering so the logical thing is to expect it to flounder forever and reel in expectations and seating. Maybe the basketball team should go back to Yost.
More honors for Panter. He's been named to another All-American team: bad hair. It should be noted that Panter's grungy die job has disappeared.
More playoffs! Corn Nation has a discussion with Josh Centor of the Double A Zone on what, exactly, the NCAA does and does not control in this situation. Upshot:
CN: Could the NCAA have any influence on whether or not Division IA would move to a playoff system?
Only through the collective will of the membership. If an appropriate majority of the membership thought the postseason bowl system should be more akin to an NCAA championship, it is conceivable we could see a change that would bring the Football Bowl Subdivision in line with the rest of NCAA championship events.
Rakes of Mallow takes issue with the idea that the importance of the regular season would be seriously diminished if a playoff was instituted. I do find the argument that a playoff would have made the Michigan-Ohio State game "meaningless" odd. For one, that game was unprecedented in the history of the series. Every other time Michigan and Ohio State have played, they would have been battling for either a spot or seeding or whatever. A once-in-a-lifetime #1 versus #2 game is just that: once-in-a-lifetime. Citing the most extreme outlier you can find is the sure sign of a losing argument. And since it was ONCE IN A LIFETIME, the prospect of consolation in a playoff would have provided little solace on High Street November 18th, trust me. College football games won't morph into something with all the passion of a February Atlanta Hawks-Golden State Warriors game just because the playoff will permit the occasional two-loss team to compete.
TMQ cites history... anyone know what he's talking about? I'm too young to get this reference:
As to Miami tactics, Jason Taylor has switched this season to a hybrid defensive end-linebacker position, similar to the old "elephant" role played by Charles Haley in his heyday. Taylor has been terrific, and if Miami were playoff-bound, would be a contender for defensive MVP. On Sunday, Dolphins' coaches reached still further back into the past and let Taylor be a 1960s University of Michigan style "monster man," lining up wherever he pleased. New England blockers clearly could not figure out the rhyme or reason to where Taylor was, and he gave them fits all day. The reason New England blockers couldn't figure out the rhyme or reason to Taylor's movements was that there wasn't any -- Taylor was using his instinct to decide for himself where to line up on each down. Essentially, Taylor was calling his own plays. In the hyper-organized NFL, it's interesting to see that giving a top player the green light to use his instincts worked out really well.
Who were these people?