Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
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- 5 years 25 weeks
|15 weeks 5 hours ago||Nebraska in the '90s, Oklahoma in the '50s...||
Oklahoma won 47 straight games between 1953 and 1957.
Nebraska won three MNCs in four years 1994-1997.
Florda State finished in the top 5 something like 15 years in a row in the '80s-'90s.
Southern Cal had a multiple-MNC run just recently, and had a dominant period in the '70s as well.
I think all of those are arguably in the vicinity of Alabama's recent run. Maybe if Alabama wins three more MNCs in the next five years, they'll put some distance between themselves and others.
While I don't think Alabama's run is all that unique, I do agree that one can't use Alabama's recent success as a measuring stick. That's a recipe for disappointment. I'd set the goal as competing for the B1G title (being in the division race up to the final week) most years, making the B1G title game one year in three, winning the B1G one year in five, and making the new 4-team MNC playoff at least once a decade.
That seems like a modest goal that should be achievable even if fans of Nebraska, Penn State, and Ohio State all believe they're entitled to the same thing.
|15 weeks 1 day ago||Ill's 35 is a bit misleading...||
OSU's LB corps is like UM's OL. They have one good player, a couple average-minus ones, and then it's dregs after that. Their 2nd-3rd LBs were out for the Illinois game (details at the linked article, by OSU's equivalent to Space Coyote).
I don't think one can lean on Illinois' scoring vs OSU as being predictive of future results (if it were, wouldn't Indiana have scored more?)
|15 weeks 2 days ago||Double-digit pointspreads for The Game...||
... per Phil Steele's preseason magazine, and his web site:
2010 UM +17
2009 UM +11.5
2008 UM +20
1999 UM -11
1998 UM +10
1996 UM +17
Steele's data ends in 1993, but there were probably several double-digit spreads in UM's favor in the late '80s and early '90s. In the games above, the favorite is 5-1.
|18 weeks 2 days ago||Really good article.||
My one quibble is that it seems a bit spin-heavy in places. For example, in the "Rosters" section, you compare two quantities:
1.42 years of experience vs 1.65 (~16% higher) in Michigan's favor and call it "slightly" (italicized for emphasis in your original) more experienced.
3.38 stars vs 3.69 (~9% higher) in Ohio's favor and call it "solidly" more talended.
I think the real issues are likely found in individual positions (others have noted OL recruiting) -- rather than in trying to read things into negligible differences in across-the-roster averages. (Meyer walked into some depth issues as well. Ohio started the season with only one servicable LB, but they play only two LB a lot of the time. But that was more a matter of attrition than failure to recruit numbers.)
|1 year 15 weeks ago||I'd bet the timeout wasn't to "think it over"...||
... I'm guessing that a punt fake was called, but OSU left their defense on the field for the play.
If you've decided you're not going to punt, why go with a less favorable setup (your punt team versus the opponent's defense)? Might as well run your starting offense out there to improve your chances.
|1 year 15 weeks ago||OSU's defense improved greatly....||
... towards the end of the year. Compare their performance against Wisconsin last week, to Penn State's (who also has a pretty good defense) against Wisconsin this week. Maybe because they stopped facing teams that could expose their weakness (pass defense in the middle), maybe because of a couple personnel upgrades at LB.
At the same time as we note OSU's struggles with Purdue and UAB, we should be fair and also note that they beat both Big Ten title game participants. They're overrated as a top-five team, but it's not unreasonable to consider them the best team in the conference. The rest of the B1G consists of a one-B1G-loss team that OSU beat by 25 points (Nebraska), two two-B1G-loss teams that they beat (Michgian, Penn State), and everyone else is 5-3 or worse.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||There was some fan angst over Tressel, IIRC...||
... but Ohio State's position when Cooper was let go was closer to Michgian's position when Carr left (bound to a decent bowl, only a couple years removed from a top-five ranking, etc.). They hadn't lived through the equivalent of the last three years, which made them doubt their program.
As for the Tressel hire, a lot of the fans thought he was too small-time, and too risky to wager that his I-AA success would translate to the next level. But those were the fans fixated on pipe-dreams like Stoops and Urban Meyer and Gruden, who were never realistic candidates. Tressel got rave reviews from the people who actually knew him, and from Ohio HS coaches.
|3 years 9 weeks ago||Urban?||
Not sure I'd be all fired up about someone who has health issues and already retired twice.
He's a genius coach, but you wouldn't know whether you'd have him for a decade or just for one or two years.
|3 years 13 weeks ago||Sagarin's schedule strength is pretty straightforward...||
... it's just the average rating of all teams played, adjusted for the home field advantage. So it's not really amenable to being fabricated. He'd have to change the rankings of the teams that go into the schedule calculation instead.
Since Sagarin thinks the Pac-10 is far stronger than the Big Ten, and since the Pac-10 plays 9 conference games, and since most of the Pac-10 teams schedule at least one decent non-conference opponent... it's not too surprising that he ranks all of the Pac-10 teams' schedules as being pretty strong. (Of the top 11 NCAA schedules according to Sagarin, 9 of them are Pac-10 teams.)
Ignoring the site adjustment, Michigan's schedule per Sagarin:
Three top-20 teams: 11 OSU, 15 Wisc, 20 MSU
Two "second 20" teams: 27 Iowa, 28 ND
Three 50-ish mediocre teams: 44 Illinois, 50 PSU, 54 UConn
Four cupcakes: 91 Purdue, 99 Indiana, 107 UMass, 158 Bowling Green
Oregon's divided similarly:
One top-20 team: 3 Stanford
Five "second 20" teams: 22 USC, 23 Ariz, 24 ASU, 31 OSU(ntOSU), 34 Cal
Three 50-ish mediocre teams: 42 Wash, 51 Tenn, 59 UCLA
Three cupcakes: 82 WSU, 168 New Mex, 184 Portland St.
Oregon's schedule isn't tons tougher than Michigan's (only 2 points on average) per Sagarin. The difference is one less cupcake and an extra 25-ish team, more or less. If you took Indiana off Michigan's schedule and turned it into a team like Texas A&M, that would pretty much make Michigan's schedule the equivalent of Oregon's per Sagarin.
The focus on "winning teams" strikes me as kind of odd. The Pac-10 has a handful of decent teams that ended up 6-6 or 5-7 -- for example, Arizona State who gave Wisconsin all they could handle. You credit Michigan with beating a "winning team" in UConn and another in Notre Dame, but I believe that both of those teams are not as good as ASU, for whom Oregon gets no "winning team" credit.
Going to a second level ("winning teams" by opponents) strikes me as even more contrived, as it suffers for the same reason: the Pac-10 having a lot of 0.500-ish teams, and those teams all playing a lot of games against each other.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||Smith vs OSU||
Here's a longer version with the play that precipitated the meltdown:
|3 years 26 weeks ago||"Exposed"?||
Juice was good for 77 yards passing and 18 yards rushing in a 30-0 shutout at Ohio State last year.
Who knows, due to the Zook effect... but it doesn't seem to me that OSU has any more trouble with mobile QBs than any other random team. It seems odd to point to OSU-Illinois 2008, ignoring OSU-Illinois 2009 and the Rose Bowl, for example.
|3 years 27 weeks ago||People were talking about him in the spring 2009...||
... and big things were expected from him that year... but he ended up out for the year with a fractured skull and brain trauma from an assault.
It's kind of astonishing that he's even back on the field.
|3 years 27 weeks ago||Div standing is by overall conference record...||
Delany didn't say that straight out on the TV show as far as I can recall.
But in interviews afterward, he was asked and replied that division standings would be determined by overall conference record. So the rumors to that effect weren't true -- or maybe it was just a trial balloon that fell so flat that they didn't go that way.
The OSU-Michigan game will not be meaningful for the division title berths often enough as it is; it's good they didn't render it entirely irrelevant to conference standings. This analysis came up with 2 times out of 36 possible, it would have mattered to the division berths to the title game, using the last 18 years of historical data:
But I don't think that analsys uses the officially correct division breakup. "c OR e" means "clinched or eliminated" based on a divisional game that would necessarily have been played (e.g., Michigan-Nebraska in 1997) but historically wasn't.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||Good strategy always...||
That's not just a strategy for this year.
Why sacrifice even a very tiny edge that any player could provide in the current year, in exchange for nebulous results in some future year?
You never know which kids are going to end up out of football, or leave early for the NFL, or get injured, or get passed up by future recruits.
I say (as a general policy): redshirt only those who can not contribute anything noticeable this year.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||It's theoretically possible, but...||
... back-to-back is worse for TV revenue, and (less meaningful) cross-division games really should be played before division games. A lot of the time, the championship teams would be decided before UM-OSU played, which would be kind of anticlimactic.
All FBS conferences use "overall conference record" for determining standings. Years back, the MAC used division record only, but they have since joined everyone else.
It's depressing that they're talking about this as if it's a done deal. Here's the letter I sent to Brandon and Smith (OSU AD):
|3 years 28 weeks ago||You're right...||
... though I'm not sure whether it's arrogant or simply less-than-honest spin.
Yes, everyone agrees that an UM-OSU title game would be a big deal. And there's no doubt that UM-OSU playing for merely a division title makes The Game less meaningful than playing for a conference title as it is now.
But what is being quietly swept under the rug is this: UM-OSU playing a cross-division game in October is much less meaningful than UM-OSU playing at the end of the season for a division title -- and that is the OSU-UM game that will be the only one played in 90% of years.
Recent history suggests that UM and OSU are each about 1-in-3 shots to win their division. They'll each probably have a perennial power (Nebraska/PSU) and a recent power (Iowa/Wisconsin), and a couple good-on-occasion teams in their division. Add in the fact that the October game between the two will hang a loss on one of them, and you're looking at maybe a one-in-10 to one-in-15 shot for an OSU-UM title game. The Big XII saw one Oklahoma-Nebraska game in 14 years, which is in the same ballpark.
Soon we will be recruiting kids who were in kindergarten the last time UM-OSU played in the Big Ten championship game. To them, The Game's only significance will be as a mid-season cross-division game against a perennial power, that's really not all that relevant to getting to the conference title game. It will be an interesting game like UM-ND, but it will not be the game.
I don't see the wisdom for killing the meaning of The Game for a twice-per-generation UM-OSU Big Ten title game. The infrequency of the latter makes it a pretty bad trade in my opinion.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||Nice post||
(1) In-division games are naturally more meaningful than cross-division games, because of the head-to-head tiebreaker for getting to the title game. If you lose to the other good team in your division, they'd have to lose two other games for you to get to the title game. A cross-division loss is not that big a deal, because one can still guarantee getting to the title game by beating everyone in the division.
The Big 8 took their equivalent of Michigan-OSU (season-ending game between traditional powers that was regularly for the conference title), and turned it into Michigan-ND (an interesting early-season matchup between traditional powers, but not really all that meaningful for the division race). And they ended up with one Oklahoma-Nebraska title game in 14 years -- despite adding only one perennial power (Texas) to the conference, while the Big Ten will have added two (PSU, Nebraska).
(2) Late games are natually more meaningful than early games, because there is a clearer idea of what is on the line. If Michigan beats Iowa in mid-October, do we know whether that knocked Iowa out of the Big Ten title? Not really. Last year, despite the awful season, we knew that Michigan's game with Ohio State was for bowl eligibility. Had it been in October, it would have been "a rebuilding Michigan versus a rolling OSU team, big deal."
For these reasons, splitting OSU into the other division AND playing The Game earlier in the season is a double-whammy of reduced importance. It is astonishing to me that anyone would even consider it -- especially if the main reason for doing so is the possibility of a rematch that would probably be a twice-per-generation outcome.
None of the chocies is all that good, given expansion to 12 teams. No matter what is done, the importance of OSU-Michigan will take a hit:
(1) Split across divisions, play earlier in the year. Reduces the importance of The Game and probably will not yield a rematch all that often. (And if guaranteed to play every year, Michigan and OSU end up with slightly tougher schedules than their division-mates who will rotate on and off OSU/Michigan's schedules.)
(2) Split across divisions still played at end of season. Might have to play OSU back-to-back, the more important in-division games aren't played last, and rematches still won't be common. (Plus the more difficult schedule thing.)
(3) Same division, still play at end of season. The teams are playing for a division title instead of the BIg Ten title.
But even though all the choices are bad, they're not all equally bad. (1) is clearly the worst -- the end result is turning Michigan-OSU into Michigan-ND. But it seems to be the direction we are headed, judging by the comments from various ADs and Delany. I'm partial to (3) because I don't think rematches are likely enough to care about and because it allows more fairness in scheduling, but I could see that some would favor (2).
|3 years 29 weeks ago||2007 corrected...||
2007 - Definite rematch. OSU 7-1, Illinois and UM 6-2. UM holds head-to-head over Illinois, so it's a rematch no matter which division Illinois is in.
|3 years 29 weeks ago||On rematches||
Looking back 20 years, I come up with eight potential rematches, in some cases depending on how the other teams were split between divisions:
2007 - Definite rematch. UM and OSU are the only one-loss teams, rematch guaranteed.
2006 - Definite rematch. OSU undefeated and UM holds tiebreak (head-to-head) over Wisconsin. Rematch no matter which division Wisconsin is in.
2003 - Definite rematch. UM 7-1, OSU and Purdue 6-2, and OSU holds tiebreak (head-to-head) over Purdue.
2002 - Maybe. OSU 8-0, Iowa 8-0, Michigan 6-2. If Iowa were in OSU's division, the two would have played and there's maybe a 50-50 shot at a rematch. I'd count this as 25% (50% of 50%) of a rematch.
1998 - Most likely. UM, OSU and Wisconsin 7-1. If Wisconsin is in OSU's division, they would have played and there's a 50-50 shot; if Wisconsin is in UM's division rematch is guaranteed on Michigan's head-to-head win over UW. I'd count this as 75% (50% plus 50% of 50%) of a rematch.
1997 - Maybe, slight chance. UM 8-0, OSU/PSU/Purdue all 6-2. OSU lost to PSU and didn't play Purdue. If PSU were in UM's division AND OSU held a tiebreaker over Purdue. I'd count this as a slim (~10%) chance.
1992 - Definite rematch. UM (6-0-2) and OSU (5-2-1) were alone in 1st and 2nd place.
1991 - Maybe. UM 8-0, Iowa 7-1, OSU and Indiana 5-3. If Iowa is in UM's division, then OSU holds tiebreak over Indiana. I'd count this as 50% since it only depends on Iowa's location.
Adding up the percentages, that's 5.6 rematches in 20 years, just over one per four years.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Vacated wins||
Vacated wins are removed entirely from the winning team's record, but left alone on the opposing team's record, I'm pretty sure.
For example, Alabama: due to the recent textbook scandal, their record in 2006 became 0-7 (instead of 6-7) because the six wins were vacated. But the records of the six teams that Alabama beat did not change in the official NCAA tally.
So instead of "1 W and 1 L" or "0 W and 2 L", there are "0 W and 1 L" for each vacated win.
(In the case of forfeits, the W/L are flipped: the loss on the opponent's record is changed to a win.)
|4 years 10 weeks ago||I don't think that's what he said...||
What I thought he said was that it's kind of goofy to take average stats (against top-ten teams) -- and then try to insert it into an NCAA ranking of teams (that aren't playing almost exclusively top ten teams).
I don't think it's fair to spin that criticism of your work into saying the "stats are not meaningful" -- it's not that they have no meaning, it's that you're really kind of abusing them for your comparison.
Doesn't seem like it worked out that way.
Actually, I recall several folks here (in comments on blog posts) saying that Ohio State's performance against Oregon was going to be a preview of how Ohio State would be embarrassed by Michigan's offense once RR go the program into gear. Hopefully that's not the case.
And even granting narrowing the scope to Ohio State's performances against only non-Big-Ten BCS opponents, I am not sure it's all that damning to the Ohio State defense specifically. They held Texas (last year) and Southern Cal (this year) to well below their average point output. I think Ohio State's weakness in those games has been more offense than defense.
|4 years 14 weeks ago||Agree...||
I think it's a combination of "winning" and "exceeding expectations."
Note that Ohio State had fewer first-team all-conference players on the coaches' list (one, Coleman) than Michigan (two, Graham and Mesko). Iowa had five.
|4 years 14 weeks ago||Um...||
He did? The two were never on the staff of the same team (Kelly's career prior to Oregon was Columbia, New Hampshire, Johns Hopkins).
|4 years 16 weeks ago||Current long-range forecast: partly cloudy, 51||
... and no rain on the day before or after (so it seems unlikely that something could arrive slightly early or late to make it a bad day).
|4 years 17 weeks ago||Definitely...||
... The Scout and Rivals and ESPN forums, for any major FBS team, are cesspools.
Even the one-off forums for other major teams are almost all worse than this one. NDNation, for example, is insane by comparison. And ND is having a better season so far, despite the head-to-head result.
Not that there isn't room for improvement. Rather, my point is that recruits are going to be a lot more turned off by just about any other forum for just about any other major team.
|4 years 17 weeks ago||If we grade on a curve relative to conference opponents...||
Then I'd say for ranking among Big Ten teams: 1st/2nd = A, 3rd/4th = B, 5th-7th = C, 8th/9th = D, 10th/11th = F.
Last year was #8 scoring offense, #10 total offense, #10 scoring defense, #10 total defense. D for offense, F for defense.
This year so far is #6 scoring offense, #9 total offense, #11 scoring defense, #11 total defense. C- for offense, F for defense.
With two of the better defenses (#4, #1) in the conference yet to be played, and only one good offense (#1, #8) between Wisc/OSU, the defense rank might move up a bit and the offense rank might move down, by the end of the season.
|4 years 17 weeks ago||I would order them the same||
I would order them the same way Brian does, though mostly on style points.
Loss to good team: USC was beaten handily by Oregon, Ohio State led almost all the way against USC. (The "loss to bad team" is in USC's favor, but slightly less so.)
Best win: Ohio State beat Penn State fairly badly, USC needed a late comeback to edge Ohio State.
Second-best win: Ohio State beat Wisconsin handily, USC beat Oregon State by 6. (Though maybe California is USC's second-best win.)
Games listed above aside, Ohio State has only one close call (Navy), while USC has a couple (Notre Dame, Arizona State).
|4 years 18 weeks ago||My guess was (E)...||
... under the assumption that all the analogies were of the form:
(X) : (thing most responsible for screwing up X / worst thing about X)
|4 years 18 weeks ago||It can be done in subtle ways...||
... encouraging non-producers to transfer, for example.
But you can't be blatant about discarding players right and left, or recruiting will suffer.
|4 years 21 weeks ago||They've already beaten one||
They've already beaten one team they "weren't supposed to beat": Notre Dame.
One could spin the team as "two drives from 6-0," but also as "two drives from 2-4."