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|1 week 2 days ago||And this is why people worry about the OL||
Our entire season will likely come down to beating OSU on the road. We're betting that a year of growth more than offsets the loss of our best blocker, and that OSU loses more than it gains in that year of growth as well.
The other question I have is whether or not OSU can adjust if we do manage to block. Last year they simply played press coverage with guys behind and let Bosa wreck us. This year they have Schiano as a DC and as much cr*p as he gets he does know defense better than the departed DC; they're likely better equipped for a chess match.
Still and all, the real issue comes back to talent - even Harbaugh can't make up for a deficit this wide. The flips side is that if we can at least draw at the line of scrimmage, Harbaugh and Finch can win it from there. Can we make it a chess match?
|1 week 5 days ago||There is a large dichotomy between our outcomes||
If we "only" win ten games, the team will be a disappointment to many. And we almost certainly can't make the B1G championship and hence the playoffs without beating OSU in Columbus, which makes the OSU quote above particularly relevant. Yeah, they lost a ton of guys, but the last time we beat OSU in Columbus was so long ago our incoming recruiting class would be hard pressed to remember anything from that time, much less the game.
Whether or not we're a playoff team comes down to holding serve and then beating OSU on the road.
|1 week 6 days ago||529 plan, other savings and debt||
Just like everyone else, we have been saving as much as we can towards college plans and will see what my son's options are when he gets closer. He's eight, so we have time, but are doing what we can now.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||The Tiger hero is either Verlander or Cabrera||
Depending on whether you value exceeding expectations or total production. Romine is a utility guy, and it's great that he can play everywhere, but he's not good enough to play everyday, and that means he just can't be that useful.
The best versatile players are more in the mold of Tony Phillips, Ben Zobrist, or (maybe) Brock Holt - guys who are good enough to play everyday, good hitters, and good enough at a variety of positions to allow the manager lots of options.
|2 weeks 6 days ago||Life is too short to apologize for what you like or dislike||
Never hide your passions for another's good opinion. You'll only lose it anyway when the truth comes out (or maybe you won't!) and in the meantime you'll be unhappy and on edge trying to be someone you're not.
I appreciate that might be easy for me to say, but I assure you I have experience here and finally being upfront about what I liked and disliked was a huge relief.
A distant relative was visiting his grandmother and when she offered to make him lunch and asked what he wanted, he, being a polite and well-bahaved child, said whatever she made would be fine. So he got tuna fish and being polite and well-behaved, choked it down even though he disliked it.
Then it turned out that he ended up visiting Grandma every week for a year or so. Grandma, being a loving person, remembered that he had had tuna fish last time, and proceeded to make it each time. And each time he ate it.
Finally, Grandma, Mom and child all visited at the same time, and when Mom offered to help with lunch:
So the moral here is be polite but honest, or you'll get tuna fish (or have to ignore the game) every time.
|3 weeks 1 day ago||We good||
Whether we are great or not comes down to beating OSU in their house, at nearly the height of their powers.
I predict 11-1, and if that loss isn't to OSU we will be in the playoff.
|4 weeks 5 days ago||Without knowing either one personally||
I would guess that the list of things Harbaugh wouldn't do to win more football games is shorter than the equivalent list for Brady Hoke. Not that either of their lists is long - they chose this life - but Michigan always demands more wins, and if you can't get them one way ...
|5 weeks 1 day ago||The B12 has Texas and Oklahoma||
who will not join the P12 or B1G (they've turned down overtures before). Any division of the B12 has to pass muster with Texas and probably Oklahoma; the ACC doesn't have any schools as desirable as either one of those (especially since ND is an independent).
In fact, without expansion, the B1G TV deal, and our hiring Harbaugh, there's a case to be made that the B1G would be OSU and an upstart MSU holding together a conference weaker overall than the B12.
Texas and Oklahoma aren't bolting anywhere, especially not somewhere where they'd be second fiddle. They're more likely to accrete a conference around them than to join someone else.
|5 weeks 1 day ago||The other motive to expand||
Is to become less likely to be the conference left out during the oft-predicted future TV bubble bursting/realignment. It seems much more likely that the ACC will be the one to fall, but a bigger Big XII is another step away from that. The B1G, SEC and P12 are all in good positions so it's not hard to see a scenario where the AC gets divvied up and Virginia gets added to the B12 because of West Virginia and other eastern schools they have. This is also a hidden benefit of Rutgers and Maryland for us - we have "dibs" on UConn @ Tenagra, when the walls fell.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||I used to play pickup with a guy in his late fifties||
He couldn't keep up with the fastest of us, but he could outshoot anyone on the court and outlast most of us. Phenomenal shape and while his shot was unorthodox, he'd had forty-plus years to work out all the kinks.
I played moderately competitive ultimate frisbee into my forties, but that's not unusual for that league.
|5 weeks 5 days ago||My eight-year-old loves Ticket To Ride||
Aside from many of the upstream mentions (Settlers, Power Grid, Martian Rails, Puerto Rico, etc.), I will add
Titan: The Fantasy Monster Slugathon
It is the best game Avalon Hill ever made (yes, I mean that) and is currently made by Valley Games, with a play-online iOS app. (Prophetdotmac on Game Center if you're up for a game.)
|5 weeks 6 days ago||Discouraging fouls is tricky||
For example, if dunks are worth three, anyone who might dunk will get fouled. Even if they get three free throws, a 90% FT shooter will miss at least one more than a quarter of the time. Most of the league doesn't shoot nearly that well, so fouling becomes a better strategy. Plus they might not call it!
As for three seconds, one of the reasons the league shoots threes is because they can't just hold the ball until their behemoth has bench-pressed the other behemoth and gotten position for a dunk/layin. Restrictions breed creativity in small doses; in this case between three seconds and the three pointer, it's worth shooting from outside even if you only hit a third of your shots. Change the rules, and the efficiency of inside shots goes up (and the number of fouls again, as fouling people becomes a more effective strategy), so people start packing it in again.
The trick to reducing fouls is to make the penalty higher. Make breakaway fouls a goaltend plus possession, so it's not worth it unless you really can play defense. Similarly, make off the ball fouls in the last five minutes also add a technical foul - so one free throw by the fouled side's best shooter, and the ball, to be taken after the penalty for the foul, if any. Now you can only foul the guy with the ball.
The flip side of that is that free throw shooting becomes less and less important for anyone not handling the ball a lot - now it's important for everyone.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||No bad accidents||
But one shining moment of stupidity.
I was really bummed out one year around the holidays and decided to go look out at Boston from the roof of the Little Dome. It's a shallow dome on the roof of a four story building at MIT, and at the time it was a common rite of passage to find the right sequence of non-locked doors that would get you out on the roof and climb the dome. Normally this would not have been a big deal ... But it was winter in Boston, and the roof and dome were covered with snow and ice. Making it to the top was quite the challenge but the view was spectacular. I felt better and went back to my room and went to sleep.
Next morning and I wake up with the WTF-were-you-thinking!? reaction. Took a few minutes to get that thought out of my head and move on. Whoever looks after fools and drunkards was working overtime that night ...
|6 weeks 2 days ago||Maybe Richard II||
To see who really killed the Princes in the Tower.
Amelia Earhart and Jimmy Hoffa if I can survive the experience.
If I get to change things ... whoof. Maybe with the President, trying to convince him not to commit to fighting a jungle war halfway around the world, with crippling military restrictions, with no defined objective and no end in sight?(1) It's never been clear to me that WWII could be prevented by killing Hitler - there never seems to be a shortage of insane charismatic men who will use the angry and downtrodden and pervert their just grievances into violence and oppression. (WWI for similar reasons - the interlocking web of alliances and grievances was going to explode sooner or later.)
It's possible that my visit might be best spent influencing Chairman Mao(!) - that would be quite the trick.
What historical inflection points turn on a single person I could influence for the better?
|6 weeks 2 days ago||Gianni by Robert Silverberg||
Explores this idea but with Gianni Pergolesi (prolific composer of the Stabat Mater and others until he died at 25). Neat story: http://www.majipoor.com/work.php?id=374
|7 weeks 12 hours ago||A one loss M team has a hard time making the playoffs||
Because with one loss, it most likely means we beat one of MSU/OSU and lost to the other. That in turn makes it likely that whoever we lost to wins our division, and without a conference championship we're not getting in.
If we want a playoff berth, we need to beat both MSU and OSU on the road. The last time we beat OSU in Colombus was sixteen years ago, MSU, eleven. Any Harbaugh coached team that does that will almost certainly be undefeated to boot :)
The schedule may be easy overall, but the difficulty is concentrated in the worst way for a playoff berth. We will have to earn it.
|7 weeks 5 days ago||Toy Story 3||
Got a little weepy at the end.
|7 weeks 6 days ago||Not sure we'll have snaps for a freshman wideout||
We return our three wideouts from last year, and add some talented guys like Ways and Harris. Then there's MCDOOM in the same boat.
On top of that, we have a huge assortment of blocky/catchy guys who are going to dominate playing time. I would almost bet that our Butt-Bunting-WheatlyJr-Hill sets are more common than three wide (or that when we do we'll flex a TE, probably Butt instead). Barring injury I don't see enough snaps to make up for the cost of their redshirts.
|8 weeks 1 day ago||His writing helped me realize how important line play is||
His continual focus on parts of the game I thought were unimportant helped me understand how the game works and appreciate how much the success or failure of a play or team is dictated by things that happen off-camera, away from the ball. His strokes robbed him and us of that gift.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Football is still around and worth reading, at least, and his SI columns are in the SI Vault. Hang in there Dr.Z!
|8 weeks 1 day ago||You are quite right||
El Dorado features the quote I linked, while Rio Grande has Maureen O'Hara; both are favorites. I think I was typing both in and accidentally tap-select-deleted the first bit.
|8 weeks 5 days ago||96 hours||
Not recommended. It was for the first real death march project I worked on - we overcommitted drastically and ran into a major issue four days before launch. Steve Jobs was flying out to demo the project in another country so we had no real choice but to get it done. So I worked three days and nights to help get it done and sure enough, had a catastrophic failure at launch. We spent the next 24 hours stabilizing the site and I finally just crashed for three hours on the floor of a coworkers cubicle. Woke up feeling worse than before but staggered through the rest of the day until it was fixed, then went home and slept for 16+ hours. Fortunately I had a vacation scheduled for that weekend and didn't have to go back into work until I'd recovered and was able to rationally assess what had gone wrong.
The post-mortared for that project was interesting - about the only time I've ever seen everyone standup and one after another rationally criticize management for biting off way more than we could chew, and the design lead for shoehorning in his pet model despite not needing it for the features we had to deliver. Management took it standing up at least and copped to their errors, and took care to try to mitigate those mistakes in the future. (Which is a big factor in why I still work there.)
|8 weeks 5 days ago||An army hasn't crossed the Rhine in 70+ years||
This is the longest period for which that's been true since the Roman Empire. Whether the EU/EEC or NATO is most responsible for that is an interesting question, but that they both contributed is undeniable. (Hat tip to Charles Stross, "The Unspeakable Truth" at antipope.org.)
|9 weeks 11 hours ago||Most of mine have been mentioned||
I'm probably forgetting a few (but I don't think of Blazing Saddles, Dances With Wolves or Butch Cassidy as westerns, even though I do like them).
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Crater Lake in Oregon||
It's a dormant volcanic crater with no water source, so it just accumulates rainwater. There are no fish or water plants - in fact the water is almost entirely pure.
This all makes it an incredibly clear blue such that near the edges you can't tell if it's a reflection or there really are rocks and trees going out into the water. It looks like you can see forever, and most days the water is very still - the bowl shields the lake from wind.
Worth a visit if you're up that way.
|13 weeks 1 day ago||Playoff contention is in the picture but very fuzzy||
We aren't a playoff contender until we beat OSU (if for no other reason than the B1G championship goes through them) and beating them in their house is always hard no matter what.
We have beaten them exactly once in the history of MGoBlog. Harbaugh is a great coach but Meyer is no slouch; he and Saban are the only two coaches I'd say might be better. Harbaugh alone won't close that gap; it will take great players coached to the top of their game.
To be clear, I.Am.Not.Worried about the overall direction of the program, or about our eventual ability to match OSU. I am saying that the hype train is premature, and that until we show they aren't, thinking our weaknesses are the LBs and spread-run scheme defense, plus our OL on the other side, is hardly unjustified.
|14 weeks 12 hours ago||In this world, of course he's worth it||
Aside from beating OSU, this first season went as well as anyone could expect, beating expectations in many minds. We just recruited the top player in the country for the next year. We are looking forward to a tough year but the buzz and excitement around the program is incredible.
In a world where people are paid according to their worth to societ as a whole, of course not. Then again, everyone who isn't a teacher might get a pay cut in that world ...
|14 weeks 2 days ago||That means we have had five great teams||
And I disagree that makes us a elite program. To my mind an elite programs will make the tourney 9/10, and 2-3/10 will be a one or two seed - in other words, we will always be a top-50 ish team, and when we get a special player or two we'll be a top-five team for a few years.
We have the peaks (although not like Duke or Kentucky even then) but our valleys are way lower than an elite school's should be.
Oh, and we didn't actually play for the title in the 90s due to The Incident.
|14 weeks 2 days ago||I took it very slow||
But really I woke up one day and realized I wanted nothing else half as much as this relationship that made me happy with almost zero drama. That's when I decided to propose. Been married for 11 years and my only looks back are to wonder why I didn't realize what I had sooner.
|14 weeks 2 days ago||Ultimate, football and basketball||
I've played with and against a few of the players who later won Nationals in ultimate frisbee. When a couple of them end up on the same team in our friendly league we had to enforce a rule that they had to let everyone touch the disc before they scored, otherwise it would be one length of the field huck to their teammate skying two or three defenders after another. I was pretty fast in my heyday and had good hops, but these guys and gals were all taller, faster and could jump just as high ... kind of demoralizing.
I quit playing tackle football for good the day I was digging into the mud to block and it dawned on me that my friend across the line was eight inches taller, about 100 pounds heavier, and was about to be named All-State tackle ... and without pads, it was pretty clear what was about to happen. It felt like it took days to get rid of all the mud :)
For about ten years, I played pickup hoops at a school near a bunch of the tech companies in the area. One of the guys who dropped by regularly was 6'10" and had bad knees, but had played serious DI college ball. He was good enough to go to the elite big man camps and got a ton of good coaching plus he got to play against Elvin Hayes and Calvin Murphy. He ran like it hurt (because it did) and usually took it easy on his knees and on us, but when he got the ball you immediately knew he could play. That collection of disjoint limbs suddenly was all working together, and every move gracefully flowed into the next. He had all the low post moves - hook shots with either hand, drop step, fadeaway jumper, turnarounds - and it was all so smooth, with perfect form. He could have been an instructional video. He got top-level instruction and was dedicated and talented enough to make the most of it, and had been practicing for so long it was all there whenever he wanted it. Really nice guy and one of the most graceful people I've ever played with.
|14 weeks 5 days ago||We peak for 3-4 years and then slough off again||
Orr had the Russell and Hubbard teams, but the bridge between them failed, so he ends up with 3-4 year stretches of elite-ish teams and valleys in between those peaks.
The problem with the 80s teams is that, despite the high rankings, we didn't have much tourny success and were generally considered behind the Indiana/Illinois teams of the time in the B1G alone. (That's not a knock, btw, as we're talking about the Isiah Thomas and Steve Alford Indiana teams under Bob Knight, and the Quinn Richardson/Derek Harper and Kenny Battle/Kendall Gill teams under Lou Henson.)
Beilein has managed a nice 3-year peak, but historically that's par for the course. Sustained greatness has historically been beyond us.
Whether that puts in the second or third tier of hoops bluebloods is a matter of opinion, as you note.
Turning to the present, I would say that Beilein has gotten the talent he's recruited to play better than we'd think overall. Unfortunately, he's not recruiting at an elite level, and a big share of the bad luck/bad judgment was in the 2014 class, which is hurting us now.
Therefore, you replace him if you think you can get an elite recruiter (who can recruit with very little shenanigans) who can coach to the talent he recruits. I'm not sure who fits that bill that we could get (and that we'd want; it's not like Jim Boeheim is welcome here, after all).