further adventures in Jed York being unsuited for his position
|12 weeks 2 days ago||Why a 3-year SOS?||
The playoff committee rates what you've done this year. Who the Buckeyes played two years ago or last year is irrelevant.
|12 weeks 2 days ago||None||
The one invariable rule of conference expansion, is that no one expands to lose money. The available options for the Big XII are pedestrian, small-market teams that don't bring in much new money, but would give the league two more mouths to feed. The best candidate is BYU, but the Cougars have declined the Big XII's overtures in the past.
There's another big problem. The Texas schools want to play each other every year, and the remaining teams want two road games in Texas every year. If they expand, then some teams will have to accept a considerably worse schedule than they have now.
Coming up with balanced divisions is a problem for the Big XII. Oklahoma and Texas do not want to give up their annual game (the Red River Rivalry), but the league is horribly unbalanced if Oklahoma and Texas are in the same division, assuming the Longhorns return to respectability (which, with their resources, they are exceedingly likely to do). The old Big XII was at least able to balance it somewhat, by having Nebraska in the opposite division to Oklahoma and Texas, but Nebraska is gone.
So, to make a long story short, I think the Big XII is highly unlikely to expand based on getting screwed once in the CFB playoff. A four-team playoff with five power conferences is always going to screw somebody. There's no evidence yet that it'll always be the Big XII.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||This is one of the reasons||
This is one of the reasons why they were hesitant to replace Jack Miller. When they finally did, I knew this was going to be the case. You're trading off a handful of bad snaps per game vs. a whole game's worth of poor blocking in the middle of the line. Choose your poison.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||Just a couple of points||
Akron ended up missing a 45 yard field goal and we went to half up 7-3.
Bowden really gave Michigan a gift there. He was going to go for it on 4th & 1 (which he should have done, IMO). He changed his mind, but sent out the FG unit too late, and got a delay of game. The FG clanked off the left upright, so it probably would have been good from five yards closer.
Norfleet caught two passes for 20 yards. He only had one kick return for 15 yards and no punt returns. It's almost like Akron scouted us, or something. Imagine that.
I can't call that scouting, as Michigan hasn't had a good punt return unit since Braylon Edwards graduated. Norfleet seems hesitant to catch the ball, which is understandable given his performance in the first two games, but I am not sure what he's contributing in that spot. (They did send Dileo out there at least once.)
|1 year 24 weeks ago||When Lloyd laid an egg||
Lloyd Carr was pretty darned good against ranked teams, but not as hot as he should’ve been otherwise; blame the 85-scholarship parity era for that.
I don't blame the 85-scholarship era for that. For some reason, Lloyd occasionally let the players get complacent against teams they had no business losing to.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||A good problem to have||
Just three Michigan players have won the Heisman, so the odds are pretty low. In the rare case where a guy wins the Heisman while wearing a Legends jersey, that's a good problem to have. I'll take it any day.
Meanwhile, 99 percent of the guys wearing legends jerseys won't win the Heisman, simply because it's such a rare achievement. Probably half of them will be on defense, and no purely defensive player has ever won the Heisman.
So I'd rather solve for the 99 percent, rather than 'worry' about what to do if a guy happens to win the Heisman.
|1 year 27 weeks ago||He's Playing||
Brady Hoke has consistently put in the back-ups when the game gets out of hand. Morris has won the #2 spot fair and square, so he's going to play, unless Michigan for some reason can't put away Akron and Central Michigan.
In some ways, the worst possible case is that Morris sees only spot duty as a freshman, and then can't come back for his fifth year. That was what nearly happened to Devin Gardner, before he earned a hardship waiver for his true freshman season.
But I don't see a realistic scenario where Gardner plays every down. If the game gets to garbage time, you want your backups to get some experience. Beyond that, you don't want to risk an injury to Gardner once the game is no longer competitive.
|1 year 34 weeks ago||On "camp vs film"||
The other issue with film is that a lot of what you see are highlights. You've got to watch a whole game to see the player's mistakes, and to see if he gives a full effort on every play. On top of that, many players aren't filmed on every down: for instance, on a running play, you might not see what the receivers and defensive backs did. On a pass, you might only see the part of the field that was thrown to.
|1 year 36 weeks ago||But is there evidence for that?||
When you "optionally" burn the redshirt, do you really accelerate the learning curve? I know that's the argument that people make, but is it true?
As I recall, Devin Gardner as a freshman played something like 1 play vs. UConn, 2 plays vs. Notre Dame, and about 2 series vs. Bowling Green. Is he really THAT much better today, because of that action? I'll bet he isn't. (It wound up not mattering, because Gardner got that year back, but at the time they put him in, there was no assurance that would happen.)
So that's why I asked if the Mathlete has data. Is there enough evidence to suggest that limited action in the true freshman season really accelerates the learning curve to any great extent — enough that it's worth losing the potential fifth year?
Bear in mind that in the scenario we're talking about — where Michigan is not forced to burn Morris's redshirt — he probably would not see "substantial playing time." We're probably talking about garbage time in blowouts, in which most of his plays would probably be handoffs.
|1 year 36 weeks ago||Paging the Mathlete||
Do your stats suggest an answer to the following question: If burning Morris's redshirt is "optional", should they? By "optional," I mean something like garbage time in a 34-3 blowout, where he hasn't yet played in a game.
Burning Devin Gardner's redshirt in his true freshman season was obviously optional: nothing happened where he had to play. Fortunately, the team got that year back. I doubt there is anyone here who is NOT happy to have the possibility of Gardner's fifth year in 2014, which was very nearly lost.
But Gardner is only one data point. When you look at more data, is there any evidence that burning the redshirt for limited back-up duty is ever worthwhile, when you have the option not to?
My own sense is that when you've got a potential multi-year starter at QB (which Morris clearly is), burning the redshirt is almost never a wise idea, if you have the option. Your data seem to show that the true freshman season is seldom very good: you're sacrificing a fifth year that could be magical, in return for limited action that accomplishes very little.
But I'm curious if there's data that backs that up.
Of course, I'm talking only about cases where it's optional. It doesn't count cases where there's no one else available, or where the true freshman is the best guy.
|1 year 40 weeks ago||It's gonna be tough||
Most teams want at least 7 home games a year. The Big XII and the Pac-12 both play 9 league games, The SEC will probably go to that format sooner or later. That leaves room for at most one home-and-home with a non-conference foe.
Bear in mind that Florida and FSU already have an annual non-conference game with each other; Stanford has an annual game with Notre Dame that neither side plans to give up.
Another issue is that many of those teams probably prefer variety to the same opponent over and over again. Everyone wants to get on Texas's schedule, so they don't need the certainty of a common opponent every year. Their future non-conference home-and-home opponents include USC, Maryland, Notre Dame, Ohio State, BYU, Cal, and Arkansas.
Oregon has scheduled similarly: their future home-and-homes include Wyoming, Texas A&M, Virginia, Michigan State, and Ohio State. If this happens at all, it's going to be in the 2020s, not right away.
Lastly, it's worth noting that most of these teams play in warm-weather climates, where a September game is going to put Michigan at a disadvantage. That, at the very least, is one issue they didn't have to deal with when playing Notre Dame.
|1 year 40 weeks ago||Sorry...right conclusion, flawed premise||
I'm afraid a lot of this just isn't true:
A rule I have seen with expansion so far is that schools central to the existence of a conference do not leave for other conferences.
The Southwest Conference blew up because the schools central to its existence left. So did the Big East (not the newly-formed all-Catholic version, but the other one). There are plenty of other examples among lesser lights, such as the WAC, and if you go way back, the Southern Conference.
What IS true, is that schools like North Carolina and Texas are willing to make a bit less money, in exchange for being in a league where they're top dog. But if the money differential is big enough, eventually they jump ship. This has happened often enough in history, to convince you that it'll probably happen again. The only question is exactly when.
The only real question is how big the income disparity will be, the next time these leagues' grants-of-rights are up for renewal. If it's just a few million a year, North Carolina will choose to make less money, so that it can be in a league it largely controls. But if it's tens of millions per year, North Carolina will jump ship.
However, you are correct that major expansion is over for now, simply because all of the desirable schools are locked up in grants of rights, except in the SEC, and no one is going to leave the SEC.
Ultimately, expansion is about money, and the only schools available (i.e., not locked up) are financially dilutive to the major conferences.
|2 years 1 week ago||Re: Syracuse, Nebraska, and Florida State||
"I list Nebraska and Syracuse as they are schools that only recently lost AAU membership, and may very well regain it. I also list Florida State since it is a school that has potential to obtain it, and is located in a congressionally rich state."
Nebraska was booted out of the AAU because they were WAY below the average, in various metrics the Association uses to determine fitness for membership. They were pretty close to the bottom, and in fact, were below quite a few schools that are not members.
Syracuse realized that they were likely to be booted. Rather than put themselves through an embarrassing vote, they elected to resign. Florida State's metrics are somewhat comparable to those of Nebraska and Syracuse, or perhaps a bit below.
Unless the AAU changes its standards, those schools would have a looooong way to go, before they'd be candidates for membership. Bear in mind that the existing members aren't standing still, and plenty of others trying to get in. To become an AAU members, it's not enough for a school like FSU to improve. They have to improve at a faster rate than their competitors, and that's hard to do.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||It's minor, because....||
...because of the very rare circumstances in which it would occur. How many games a year have an extra play, because someone managed to spike the ball with 2 seconds left? The only Michigan game in memory where the outcome would have changed was the famous Michigan State game, and that was only possible because of a very friendly clock operator in East Lansing. They've sinced replaced homer clock operators in the Big Ten, so even without this new rule, that probably wouldn't happen again.
In the 1997 Rose Bowl, Washington State's Ryan Leaf tried to spike the ball with 2 seconds left, and couldn't get it done. That is the normal outcome. All this rule is doing, is to codify what should happen anyway, given a competent clock operator.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||I'll tell you why they didn't do Inner/Outer||
1) They want the eastern teams to see a heavy diet of Michigan and Ohio State, because of the comparatively large number of alumni those schools have in that region.
2) Travel: fewer games that fans of the eastern and western teams can drive to
3) They were burned by the generally negative reaction to Leaders/Legends, and they want something with simple, non-gimmicky names: East/West, not Inner/Outer or "Eye of Sauron"
|2 years 4 weeks ago||A few reasons||
Most Michigan fans get a kick out of beating State. Or, to put it the opposite way, aside from Ohio, there is no more annoying loss—which, by the way, has happened four years of the last five. Empirically, the game does well on TV, and fans in the stadium consider it a premium game the years it's played in Ann Arbor.
Moreover, the Big Ten is an "all for one, one for all" league. Whatever you may think of them, Michigan is the #1 rivalry on State's schedule. The Big Ten is not going to roll out a system that screws any team out of the #1 game they want to play. They might not get their second or third choice, but every team will at least get their first.
A similar example is the Illibuck trophy (Illinois/Ohio State). Illinois fans would like to preserve that game annually, but they're not going to get their wish. But there's no way they'd do away with the Illinois-Northwestern game. No. Way.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Stalking Horse||
I think the 10-game idea is just a scheme to make 9 games more palatable to the ADs who now oppose it. The drawbacks are just too apparent. I can't see them adopting it.
For what it's worth, I don't favor 9 games either. I'd rather have more games under the schools' control. Those who want to schedule tough, can schedule tough. Those who want cupcakes can have them.
But 10 games would really put a crimp in the OOC schedule. If you ever want to play a real OOC opponent (the kind that demands a return game), you'd only have six home games half the time. The schools with a locked OOC rival (Purdue, Iowa) would have no flexibility at all.
|2 years 8 weeks ago||I also prefer Inner/Outer, but....||
I also prefer Inner/Outer, but unfortunately I don't think it'll happen, for three reasons:
1) As a number of people have noted, I think the league will want to maximize the exposure of Michigan and Ohio State on the East Coast, and Inner/Outer fails to do that.
2) I think they'll worry about creating the perception that the Outer division is the "ghetto" for Big Ten arrivistes (i.e., all the teams that weren't in Bo & Woody's Big Ten).
3) I think they'll be skittish about names other than "East/West," given that "Leaders/Legends" didn't exactly take the world by storm.
|2 years 8 weeks ago||You've asked the wrong question||
The real question is travel time, not miles. Beyond a certain distance, teams and their fans are (mainly) going to be flying, not driving.
Now, airplane trips are much shorter in the air, but you've got to get to and from an airport, get through security, board/disembark, check and claim luggage, and so forth. For most Big Ten trips that require flying, travel time is dominated by these other factors, and it almost doesn't matter where you're going.
So the real issue for the Big Ten is not the average distance, but maximizing the drivable games. Once you're beyond driving distance, it doesn't matter who's in your division, and other factors will take over (rivalries, competitive balance, marketing).
|2 years 10 weeks ago||Could you measure "good" attrition and "bad" attrition?||
Some attrition is better than others. When a mediocre or non-contributor leaves, it might actually be a good thing. That player is no longer taking up a scholarship, and it can be offered to someone else.
Jerald Robinson was good attrition. There was ample evidence that he wasn't going to make a big contribution. It's better to have the scholarship available for someone else.
Darryl Stonum was really, really bad attrition. He was a star player at a position of need, and because of a stupid mistake off the football field, he was unavailable when Michigan could have used him.
I haven't worked out how to "score" these cases, but a crude measurement of how much value was lost seems to me more important than just counting people who left.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Eye of Sauron FTW||
The "Eye of Sauron" (which I call burger 'n' buns) configuration really is the best:
1) It gets Michigan and Ohio State back in the same division.
2) It puts the PSU/Maryland/Rutgers trio in the same division, which makes sense because PSU used to have annual rivalries with those schools.
3) It puts the four western schools in the same division, which those schools are known to prefer.
4) It is competitively balanced.
5) Travel is reasonable. (Rutgers & Maryland will have to fly west twice a year, but they would have flown to any game, besides each other and Penn State. Minnesota pretty much has to fly to almost everybody. Etc.)
6) All of the "must-have" rivalries are in the same division. This eliminates the need for protected cross-division rivalries, and means that teams in opposite divisions can play each other more often.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Not so sure about Boise and SDSU||
Most FBS squads play seven home and five road games a year. The Big East will put Boise and SDSU in the same division, so those two schools will have only 4-5 long road trips a year. In contrast, basketball would require 10 or more such trips, often for weeknight games. It would be even worse for their non-revenue sports.
So that's why Boise and SDSU joined in football only. The travel isn't tenable for any other sport.
|2 years 12 weeks ago||Eliminate the protected rivalries||
First, you don't want to introduce competitive imbalance. That's one of the problems with the current alignment: Michigan has Ohio State every year (in addition to its divsion schedule); Michigan State has Indiana.
Second, most of the potential cross-division rivalries lack serious pedigree, except for Michigan-Minnesota. All the others would be just arbitrary annual games, which would diminish the frequency of playing everyone else in the opposite division.
Third, I think the Big Ten will want to maximize its blue-chip games, which are the ones in which Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Penn State play each other. Without protected rivalries, those teams can meet in the regular season more often.
Furthermore, everyone in the conference wants to face Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Penn State, as often as they can. Those are the games that get on basic cable and sell out stadiums. With nine conference games and no protected rivalries, every team will face almost every other team over a four-year period.
|2 years 13 weeks ago||No, Michigan would not've made it to the BCS||
The BCS bowls would have chosen Oklahoma (10-2) and/or Oregon (11-1) over Michigan. Of course, if Northern Illinois winds up with an auto-bid, then it would have been even less likely.
|2 years 13 weeks ago||The Big East already lost its BCS status||
They have one more season in the BCS. In the new deal, which begins in 2014, they have the same status as the MAC, C-USA, Sun Belt, and Mountain West.
|2 years 13 weeks ago||Great post, but a few misconceptions||
There isn't some inexorable gravitational command to reach 16 teams. Every add needs to be revenue positive, as well as meeting the Big Ten's geographical and academic standards.
As you note, UConn and Cincinnati fail on academic grounds. Pitt fails on revenue grounds: it doesn't add much, given that the Big Ten already has Pennsylvania's major football school. (Even with crippling sanctions, Penn State had a better football season this year than Pitt, as it practically always does.)
You are right that UVA and UNC will have a lot of trouble splitting up from their in-state sister schools, even assuming they'd want the Big Ten (and that the Big Ten would want them) if that issue evaporated. But I don't think Missouri had any choice. No one passes up the chance to join the SEC. Sure, they coveted a Big Ten invite, but when Kate Upton has the hots for you, you don't hold out for Jennifer Aniston.
|2 years 13 weeks ago||The Time-Out before 4th & 3 bothered me||
It wound up not mattering, but . . . .
The go/punt decision ought to be like the 2-point conversion decision. The coach should have a chart, and 95 percent of the time it ought to be automatic, rather than burning a time-out to think it over.
It did NOT bother me that they failed to convert. These "smart football" decisions are a matter of playing the odds. Hoke's decisions have paid off most of the time. You're not going to get them all.
But the play-call, especially coming out of a time-out, was awfully pedestrian. If ever there was a time to try and fake-out the defense, wasn't this it?
|2 years 14 weeks ago||Because everyone wants 7 home games||
Every Big Ten team wants at least 7 home games every year. In addition, two Big Ten teams have standing home-and-home rivalries outside the conference that are probably not going away: Purdue with Notre Dame, Iowa with Iowa State.
If you have nine conference games, then Iowa will play five on the road the years they have Iowa State at home, and vice versa. The remaining two games need to be one-and-done body bag opponents, to get Iowa up to seven games at home every year.
Teams like Michigan and Ohio State that lack a standing non-conference rivalry would have the flexibility to schedule a high-profile non-conference opponent every year (i.e., the kind of opponent that would demand a return game).
If you go to ten conference games, then nobody could ever schedule a high-profile non-conference opponent again.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||It could happen, but it's really hard to do||
There is no real logic to which schools are football powerhouses, and which are not. Decades ago, Minnesota had a long run of sustained success. Now they're terrible. There is no logical reason for Kentucky to excel at basketball and suck at football, rather than the other way around. It just IS.
But once you have a powerhouse program, there are enormous structural advantages that allow it to stay that way. That's why schools like Michigan, Alabama, and USC are never down for long, and why Penn State will be a premier program again, eventually.
Building that sort of program is rarely accomplished. Paterno did it at Penn State. Bowden did it at Florida State. Somewhat uniquely, Miami did it not with one great coach, but rather a sequence of them. Still, it takes many years to build up the kind of success where it becomes self-sustaining.
South Carolina is still at around .500 all-time, with a 5-12 record all-time in bowl games. They've never been to a BCS bowl and have finished in the top 10 just once in their history. They've never won an SEC title, and their only division championship, in 2010, came in an unusually weak year, when their conference record was just 5-3. South Carolina still has a LONG way to go.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||Even your way, I'm not sure you're correct||
Pre-realignment, the Big Ten had a total of 25 BCS appearances; 19 for the Big 12. The Big Ten had six teams who'd been to the BCS at least twice; the Big 12 had only three (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska). The Big Ten has placed an at-large team in the BCS eleven times, and every year since 2004. The Big 12 has done so once (Kansas in 2008).
It is true that the Big 12 was killed mostly by its revenue-sharing deal, but that deal came directly out of the fact that so many of its members were weak. In the years the Big 12 had a conference championship game, the "Big Three" (TX, OK, Neb) won 12 out of 15. The Big Ten didn't have a championship game in those years, but during the comparable period, nine of its eleven members won or shared the title at least once.
There are obviously many stats you can use, but at the time Nebraska made the switch, you'd have had trouble finding very many people who thought they were moving to a weaker league by any definition. This year it's definitely true, but these moves are made with a 20+ year horizon.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||Not sure what we are actually disagreeing about||
I'm curious about your comment regarding the conference championship game. The B1G already has one of those, so how could it make "multiples of what we make today" by adding two additional teams?
The only financial benefit from expanding that anyone has touted, is getting the Big Ten Network into more households. That has nothing to do with the conference championship game, which is on Fox. Teams like Rutgers and Maryland, who'll hardly ever play in that game, do not make it more valuable.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||There's definitely an adequate sample size||
If all conference moves over the last 20 years are considered, there are a lot of them: certainly enough to draw conclusions. If you run through them one by one, but you'll see the four axioms are practically always true.
There is no plausible argument that the Big 12 was a stronger conference than the B1G at the time Nebraska switched. Texas A&M and Missouri were publicly and conspicuously looking at other options. Four schools at least listened to an offer from the Pac-12. After that fell through, it took Colorado about 15 minutes to make a switch. Did you see any Big Ten school even sniffing elsewhere? Of course not.
In my statement of the axioms, you'll note the word voluntarily. I didn't explicate what that meant...but yeah, when your back is against the wall (usually because you've lost members), the necessary actions to survive are not voluntary. When the axioms are violated, it's usually because someone's back is against the wall.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||You haven't considered the money angle||
Sixteen-team conferences aren't an inexorable law. Every move has to make money. A lot of your scenarios are just "moves for their own sake."
According to the latest estimates, the Big Ten media payout will likely reach $45 million per school by 2019, compared with $25 million today. Simply put, the next pair of schools need to bring in $90 million just to break even. And Jim Delany doesn't do deals just to break even.
It gets harder and harder to find schools that are accretive, while also fitting the Big Ten's academic and geographic profile. As it is, some people feel that Maryland and Rutgers are a cut below the rest of the conference. How much deeper in the bargain barrel do you dig, and somehow come up with around $45 or $50 million a school?
|2 years 15 weeks ago||Query: are timeouts in the database||
This may be just a nit, but I'd think the lack of time-outs depresses the win percentage even further, since a sack ends the game, and you need to have at least 3 extra seconds after a completed first-down pass inbounds to spike the ball.
|2 years 15 weeks ago||9% doesn't sound right||
First of all, in the write-up you said the nadir was 5%, not 9%.
Beyond that, Michigan had 1st & Goal from its own 38 with 18 seconds left and no time-outs. They needed around 30 yards to get into field goal range, and basically only one play to do it. (Clearly, if the long past to Roundtree had been incomplete, there wasn't enough time to throw another pass of that length and spike the ball.)
And even if you complete the pass, the FG isn't a sure thing, and OT is basically a toss-up, with perhaps a narrow edge for the home team.
You're saying that almost 1 out of 10 teams in that situation go on to win? I can't imagine it's that high.
|2 years 16 weeks ago||Sure, with practice, but....||
Denard has four games left in his career. Vincent has been blocking for four years.
Blocking is not something that small guys do naturally. Maybe Denard would have developed that skill if he'd worked on it his whole career. But that's not where we are.
|2 years 16 weeks ago||Bizarre all around||
First of all, look up Denard's career catches. I believe it's approximately zero. So you can forget about him playing slot receiver.
Next, look up how often Denard has blocked anybody. There's no stat for that, but he hasn't done it often. Even Gardner, who's bigger and stronger than Denard, admits that he has had trouble learning to block. And he has practiced at receiver for months.
So on any play Denard doesn't take the handoff, he'd be basically useless out there. When he does get the handoff, he'd be getting the ball later than if he just took the snap himself.
On top of that, he has never practiced as a running back, and with 4 games left in his career it's awfully late to start.
Frankly, I don't think much of your plan.
|2 years 17 weeks ago||Regarding fifth years||
Most college football players, even very good ones with NFL potential, do stick around for the fifth year. Andrew Luck is a recent example. Obviously, there are no sure things in sports, but it's not like basketball, where the great ones hardly ever last four years, much less five.
Of the following scenarios, which is the more common in football:
(A) Player burns his redshirt and is not very effective as a freshman; he's a star by his senior year, and would have stayed a fifth year, if he could.
(B) Player redshirts; he's a star by his redshirt junior year, and foregoes his fifth year for the NFL.
I think (A) is more common, and therefore it's better to hold onto the redshirt -- unless, of course, the player actually beats out the older guys ahead of him.
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Some Thoughts on Legends Jerseys||
It appears that Hoke's de facto strategy is to assign them either to: A) Young players with a high ceiling (Ryan, Morgan); or B) "Good-guy" seniors with a low ceiling (Roundtree, Miller).
What he has not done, is take a star player's number away, late in his career (Kovacs, Denard). This solves the problem Brian was worried about, where after 3 1/2 years of seeing Kovacs roaming the secondary as #32, suddenly he's #11 for a handful of games.
Of course, after they've put Denard on the cover of their media guide and sold thousands of #16 jerseys, there was no way his number was going to change.
I suspect that Hoke will be leery of giving out legends jerseys to true freshmen. Hoke seems to believe that there's a "good citizenship" requirement, more than just being good at sports, and it would be tough for a true freshman to demonstrate that.
So a likely pattern is that they'll usually be given to younger players of starter caliber (but not true frosh), who'll then have the chance to wear the jersey for several years. In cases where there is no obvious candidate in the younger ranks, he'll give it to a "good guy" senior for a year, and then re-evaluate it the following season.
Michigan hasn't retired a lot of jerseys. There are pretty low odds that a second guy would have a "retire-the-jersey" type of career with the same number. In the event that happens, it strikes me as a good problem to have.
If you look at the accomplishments that get your jersey retired, they're pretty rare. I love Jake Ryan, but being a 3-time All-American and wining a Butkus award would probably not suffice.
|2 years 21 weeks ago||As one of those 12 zillion East Coast alums....||
I would personally be happy with it. But these decisions are made years in advance. The fact that Rutgers is on the fringe of the top 25 at the moment is irrelevant. Based on Rutgers' history, you can make a pretty good guess as to the probability they'd be ranked in a game played 3 or 4 years from now.
Although East Coast alumni would enjoy the road game, is Rutgers the kind of opponent that would set pulses racing in Ann Arbor? In terms of the quality of football that they usually play, Rutgers is practically the equivalent of a MAC school. Brandon can get a MAC school any day of the week, without having to give back a return game.
I think Brandon's main priority is to improve the quality of the home slate, and I'm not sure Rutgers does that. A pretty good SEC team, like Arkansas, is quite a bit different than Rutgers.
|2 years 21 weeks ago||Sounds like 8 ACC conference games...||
...was an accommodation for Florida State, Clemson, and Georgia Tech. In years they play Notre Dame in South Bend, they would be looking at 6 road games, which (in general) no BCS team ever does. I know that Michigan played at Jerryworld this year, but that was a one-off, not a game built into the schedule on a recurring basis.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Look at it historically||
Among FBS schools, Texas A&M is a top-20 program in all-time wins, ahead of all but five SEC schools (Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, and Auburn).
In all-time wins, Colorado is ahead of every Pac-12 team except USC. I realize they're terrible this year, but these types of moves are 20, 30-year decisions.
Mizzou on its own doesn't quite meet the league average in SEC football, although they're ahead (historically) of a number of SEC teams. However, Texas A&M and Mizzou were pretty clearly a package deal. Considered together, they certainly did not dilute the league.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Boise State & Notre Dame||
Boise State has had a nice run in football, but they're academically weaker than most of the Big Five schools, they come from a small market that wouldn't add many TV viewers, and they're not a good geographic fit for most of the major conferences. A lot would need to change for Boise to be considered compelling. I could see them as a potential 12th team in the Big 12, if that conference decided to expand. In the post, I gave the reasons why I don't think the Big 12 will expand anytime soon.
The ACC is actually a far better fit for Notre Dame. They want to be a national team, not a regional one. Notre Dame will never have trouble recruiting the midwest. The ACC gives them a presence along the Eastern seaboard, where ND has always recruited well. The ACC is also a better cultural fit: it has several other private schools (unlike the Big Ten, which has only Northwestern), including the only other Catholic school that plays FBS football, Boston College. The ACC is also a better home for Notre Dame's non-revenue sports, e.g., the ACC sponsors lacrosse and the Big Ten does not.
Of course, the elephant in the room is that the ACC allows Notre Dame to remain independent in football, and the Big Ten would not. But even if the Big Ten admitted Notre Dame on the identical terms, I suspect the Irish would prefer the ACC, for the reasons I've given above.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Purdue is solid; M & MSU will probably alternate||
Notre Dame isn't ducking Michigan. In the last 15 years, the Spartans have actually beaten them more often than Michigan has.
Purdue will be a lock. It's their most frequent Big Ten rival, it's an intra-state game, and it's close to an auto-win on the Irish schedule. And quite frankly, Purdue would be screwed if Notre Dame backed out. They would never be able to find home & home opponents of comparable quality.
Michigan State has a four-on, two-off schedule with Notre Dame. This is a more favorable arrangement for ND than they had with Michigan, who they were obligated to play every year until 2031 (except for a 2018-19 hiatus). On top of that, Notre Dame already had a 2014-15 hiatus scheduled with Michigan State.
So they dropped Michigan, for the time being, because Purdue is their highest-priority Big Ten rivalry, and a Michigan State break was already built into their existing plans. I think they'll keep playing Purdue annually and alternate Michigan and Michigan State.
Swarbrick (the ND athletic director) sounded very open to re-starting the Michigan rivalry. I don't see why he'd say that, if he didn't mean it. They have home & homes scheduled with Oklahoma and Texas in the coming years, neither of which is an easy win. This idea that the Irish are cowards is not backed up by the facts.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||I'd still call them independent||
They've ceded 5 of 12 games to the ACC commissioner's office; but that's still far fewer than any other team in any other league. What's most important (to them) is that they keep their NBC deal, can continue to play a national schedule, and can make the playoff or a top-tier bowl without having to play a conference championship game. Those are pretty important differences.
Many of the ACC teams are regulars on the Irish schedule anyway (BC, Pitt, Miami), or have played them periodically in the past (Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest, Maryland). It isn't any great leap for them to play five ACC teams a year. Notre Dame also recruits heavily in ACC territory, and they have a lot of fans in the ACC footprint.
Also, they typically scheduled 2-3 Big East teams per year, so this isn't such a huge leap from what they did under their old arrangement.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||ND isn't lying...here's why||
It's obvious that the Irish can't play five ACC teams per year, maintain all of their current rivalries, and still have seven home games a year (the standard for most FBS teams).
There was no way Notre Dame would drop Purdue. It's an in-state rivalry, and it's the Big Ten team they've played the most often. And more than any other school on their schedule, Purdue really needs the game. Purdue would be really screwed if the Irish dropped them. Of course, you're right that it's close to an automatic win on the Irish schedule, so Notre Dame doesn't mind playing it, just as much as Purdue (economically) doesn't mind that they almost always lose.
Michigan State is already off the Irish schedule in 2014-2015, so dropping them wouldn't have solved their problem, insofar as clearing away the space to play five ACC teams per year. The Michigan State deal is also more flexible, because going forward it's structured as 4-on, 2-off, as opposed to the Michigan deal, which is every year aside from a 2018-19 hiatus.
As you've noted, the pesky Spartans have given the Irish fits. In the last 15 years, the Spartans have actually beaten Notre Dame more often than Michigan has. So it's kind of silly to suggest that Notre Dame is scared of Michigan.
Several people have noted that the Michigan-Notre Dame game was the highest-rated game of the weekend. Notre Dame needs games like that to make their NBC TV contract more valuable. For that reason (among others), I suspect that Notre Dame will be back on the Michigan schedule sooner than most people think. Brandon clearly likes the game, and Swarbrick's letter sounded like he is very open to rescheduling it.
|2 years 23 weeks ago||Hinton makes another great point people are overlooking||
Denard’s accomplishments vs. Notre Dame are out-sized. The only other major opponent against whom he has a winning record is Nebraska (1-0). Otherwise, he’s 0-2 vs. MSU, 0-2 vs. Iowa, 0-2 vs. the SEC, 0-1 vs. Wisconsin, 1-1 vs. Ohio State. Although Michigan did win its bowl game last year, Denard’s performance itself was not so memorable.
That’s why Hinton notes that Denard’s “window for turning "exciting" into "great" is closing by the week.” That’s why Denard is no longer on most of the Heisman watch lists. He has produced a feature film’s worth of highlight-reel moments and rewritten the Michigan record book, but without a few more signature performances against opponents not named Notre Dame, you couldn’t say that he was a great quarterback, only that he was an extraordinarily exciting one.
That’s why Hinton writes: “Denard Robinson against Notre Dame is the ur-Denard from which all other versions of Denard follow and against whom they are all compared. With the possible exception of the Denard who played a nearly perfect game in the process of snapping a seven-year losing streak against Ohio State last November, the others almost always come up short. Denard against Notre Dame is the original formula. The idol to which thousands of No. 16 jerseys pay homage every weekend, hoping for a mere glimpse of what they got in South Bend in 2010, and under the newly installed lights in Michigan Stadium in 2011. . . . Since his second start at Notre Dame in 2010, that's the Denard fans have paid to see, and opposing coaches have desperately hoped they don't.”
|2 years 23 weeks ago||The NFL is irrelevant||
Gardner has already said, multiple times, that his dream is to play QB for Michigan. If the coaches think he is the best QB, they aren't going to play him at some other position so that he can improve his NFL draft stock. The coaches would love to be able to say they placed a guy in the NFL, but not at the expense of winning their own games.
By the way, some fans used the same argument to suggest that Denard ought to switch to another position, to make himself more attractive to the draft. Denard's dream was to play QB, and he was the best guy available, so he played QB.
Gardner will almost certainly be a QB in spring practice and voluntary summer workouts, since otherwise Bellomy would be the only QB on the team. Even if you think Bellomy will ultimately be better, you wouldn't want a situation where the job is handed to him without competition. Besides that, what if he suffers an injury, and then you've got nobody?
I also think Gardner will be a QB in fall camp, because no sane coach would want their only options to be Bellomy or a true freshman, even when that true freshman is a five-star stud. So by the time of the opening game next year, Gardner will have had plenty of time to show he is the best QB on the roster.
My own view is that Gardner will probably prevail over Bellomy, because he's a year older and has a higher athletic ceiling. But if he doesn't prevail, it won't be for a lack of trying.
|2 years 23 weeks ago||No way||
Denard is so well known as #16, there is no way they'd change it at this point. Although it would be highly unconventional, a QB does not have to wear a number below 20. That is merely a tradition. But Denard's number won't change.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||The open question around strength of schedule||
Yes, they say that strength of schedule will figure in who makes the playoff. Surely that means you get more credit for beating Alabama than for beating UMass.
But how much will losing to Alabama count against you?
Teams practically always fall in the rankings after any loss, no matter how close; and teams seldom fall after a win. So the system seldom penalizes you for playing a weak opponent, or for playing a strong one and narrowly losing.
Perhaps strength of schedule would help the committee decide which one-loss teams make the playoff. But would they choose a three-loss team that played a tough schedule over a one-loss team that played an easy one?
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Sorry...typo||
It was '95-'96 that the second hiatus was taken.
Yes, obviously there was a long period the two schools did not play. But once it was renewed, a long string of ADs on both sides clearly considered it advantageous to continue. I thought it might be worthwhile to examine the reasons why.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Big 12...a whole bunch of reasons||
Except for Texas and Oklahoma, there aren't a lot of Big 12 schools the Irish are particularly eager to play. This contrasts with the ACC, where Boston College, Syracuse, Pitt, Miami, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Florida State have all been on ND's schedule from time to time (and several of them a lot more often than that).
It need hardly be added that for basketball, Notre Dame would far rather be playing the ACC schools than the Big 12 schools.
Academically, the ACC is much more of a fit, and remember that the people making these decisions are school presidents, who care about academics a lot. Obviously, the ACC is much more stable. South Carolina, in 1971, is the only school ever to leave the ACC. The Big 12 has lost four schools in the last two years alone.
Whatever may be the Irish and/or Catholic concentration in the ACC footprint, I think it's pretty clear that there are more Irish fans in the East than in the corn and oil belt. Notre Dame recruits far more successfully in the East than in Big 12 territory.
Lastly, I'd say that even if the attraction to Notre Dame in the East is "puzzling," what matters is that it exists, not whether it makes any sense. Lots of fan preferences do not necessarily have any rational basis.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Reported on The Wolverine||
It's a pay site, so I can't link it. Their source was anonymous, but they usually have pretty good access to inside information, so I would consider it pretty credible.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Oh really? And replace them with...who?||
Without 12 teams, the B1G would not be eligible to stage the lucrative conference championship game. Their TV deals would also be negotiated downard, since they'd have a smaller inventory of games to offer. And despite the sanctions, Penn State games still get better TV ratings than most other B1G schools.
Now who would you replace them with? There is no available school that is as valuable as Penn State, that meets the B1G's academic standards, and that would accept an offer to join. Notre Dame is obviously off the table. The entire ACC is off the table. Texas is off the table.
If you think any of the remaining Big East scraps (Rutgers, Louisville, UConn) is as valuable to the B1G as Penn State, you're kidding yourself. Anyhow, it's pretty clear that if the B1G were going to expel Penn State, they'd have done it already.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Who's disagreeing with you?||
I don't think any responsible analyst believes that turnovers are totally random, but unlike most other measurables, they do have a significant random component. For instance, Air Force benefited from an interception in the game but did nothing to cause it. No Falcon defender was anywhere near Vincent Smith. The defender did need to catch the ball after Smith tipped it, but it wasn't any remarkable catch.
Players can be coached to cause fumbles (or for that matter to avoid them), but once the ball is on the ground, it's totally random which team is lucky enough to fall on it. I don't think there's any evidence that recovering fumbles (as opposed to causing them) is coachable. Interceptions are a bit different, because many of them are caused by coverage or pressure, both of which require some ability. But as this game showed, sometimes even interceptions are lucky.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Minimal, except in extreme cases||
Winning a national championship 2 years ago helped Auburn. Going 3-9 in 2008 hurt Michigan. But a few wins here or there, above or below the program's historical norm, don't really make a difference. I mean, look at Notre Dame: they've been mediocre for decades, but continue to land great recruiting classes. That wouldn't be possible if recruits only cared about the results on the field.
|2 years 25 weeks ago||Only VERY slightly||
Over the course of the season, there aren't going to be many games where one defender means the difference between a win and a loss. Alabama, for instance, was going to be a loss even if you put Charles Woodson back there. It would be surprising if there were more than one game that: A) Michigan loses; and B) It's so close that you could honestly say that Countess would have made it a win.
Bear in mind that we don't really know how good Countess would have been. It's safe to assume that since he was a starter, he's better than the guy replacing him. But how much better? Naturally, every time Courtney Avery gets beat, we'll assume Countess would have made the play. But Countess got torched against Ohio State last year, and we have no evidence (yet) of him shutting down elite talent.
|2 years 26 weeks ago||Answer re: LOInjury||
Tate Forcier's Michigan offer letter is still online. It says that the offer is "contingent upon the satisfactory completion of your junior and senior years, both athletically and academically."
The word "athletically" in the above quote strongly suggests that the kid still needs to be able to play the sport, or the offer would no longer be valid. I am sure that Michigan and other schools are still using that same wording. I've never heard of a case at any school where a letter of intent was signed, and the athlete had already retired from the sport.
I can't imagine allocating a scholarship to someone who can't play.
|2 years 26 weeks ago||Re: OK State and Army||
Oklahoma State has no known conflicts for 2018-19, but based on their known future opponents, it does not appear that they schedule tough games. For instance, this year's OOC slate is Savannah State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and at Arizona. Next year is @Texas-San Antonio and Lamar, with an open date. In 2015, they face the gauntlet of Central Arkansas, Texas-San Antonio, and @Central Michigan.
Army would not be a suitable replacement for Notre Dame. David Brandon can schedule a service academy whenever he wants. Michigan is playing Air Force this year despite having Notre Dame and Alabama on the schedule. It would be good to see Army (whom Michigan hasn't played in years), but it doesn't answer the question of who would be available to replace Notre Dame.
|2 years 28 weeks ago||Could be almost any||
There is a slightly higher risk for receivers and DBs, since they tend to be more involved in high-speed collisions, but it could happen just about anywhere. RBs and linebackers are also at risk, because the nature of the position is that they're leading with the head. A QB would be unlikely, since they usually play with a red shirt in practice.
|2 years 28 weeks ago||What is a pre-season ranking supposed to mean?||
Pre-season rankings are at best useless, and at worst counter-productive. Since very little data is available, what tends to happen is that the well known teams get a bump: everyone assumes that Michigan ought to be good, because they're an elite program and were good last year. That is why Michigan historically under-performs its pre-season ranking. (Last year was an exception to that rule.)
Pre-season rankings by fans of a particular team are even worse. We have much better knowledge of Michigan than of almost any other team. And because we're fans, we tend to be a bit more bullish than we ought to be about the team's open questions. We tend to think/hope that those questions will be answered in the team's favor.
Michigan has more open questions than you'd expect of a top-10 team. They replace 3/4ths of the defensive line, 2/5ths of the offensive line (including the Rimington Award winner), a pretty good starting tight end, their most productive wide receiver, and possibly their best running back (depending on how the Fitz drama pans out). The offensive and defensive lines ought to scare any reasonable observer, since football is won in the trenches.
Even before the schedule is taken into account, it would be rather strange to rate a team in the top 10 that had so many questions at key positions.
I think it's idiotic to pretend the schedule doesn't matter. Teams are measured on the football field against real opponents, not on paper nor in some imaginary bubble where you ignore whom they have to play against, or where. No one disputes that the rankings during the season are based on the games you played, not the games you woulda/coulda/shoulda played. So if you're going to project the season, you need to consider those very same games.
|2 years 31 weeks ago||He should redshirt||
Assuming both Fitz and Rawls are back in 2013, which I have no reason to doubt, it would be a waste to play him has a freshman. Michigan does need a Vincent Smith type (good at blitz pickups and short yardage receptions), but Green is unlikely to be it.
|2 years 31 weeks ago||No way that'll happen||
The Big Ten schools need 7 home games a year, to cover their costs. (Michigan is getting paid a ton of money to go play Alabama in Dallas; that is the only reason they play 6 this year.)
If you're locked into 5 conference road games every year, then most of the conference will never schedule a serious OOC opponent again, because they'll need two body-bag games at the front end of the schedule to get up to 7 home games.
Schools that have standing OOC rivalries, like Michigan, Purdue, and Iowa, would have six home games every other year. I don't know how Purdue and Iowa fans would feel about that, but as a Michigan fan I want more games in the Big House, not less.
|2 years 31 weeks ago||That "competitive advantage" is not so clear||
Let's say Joe Paterno had reported Sandusky the instant he became aware of the issue. There would have been ZERO damage to Penn State football. Indeed, Paterno's image — as a no-nonsense guy who ran his program the “right way” — would have been enhanced.
Of course, everyone would have found Sandusky revolting, as they do now. But no one blames you for having a monster in your midst, as long as you forcefully eject him as soon as you become aware of his true nature.
Now, it could be that Paterno perceived that the unmasking of Sandusky would hurt his program. But the actual competitive advantage was zero. Everyone would have realized that Sandusky was an aberration, and would have praised Paterno for acting quickly and decisively as soon as he realized what was going on.
The real problem may be that by 2002, Sandusky’s problems were no longer new. The Freeh report found credible evidence that Sandusky was showering with young boys as early as 1995. And I would not be surprised if it went back farther than that. Paterno’s problem in 2002 was probably that, if the story came out, people were going to ask why it took him this long to realize it.
But if Paterno had actually done what he should have — to report Sandusky as soon as his fondness for little boys became apparent — Penn State football would not have suffered one bit.
|2 years 31 weeks ago||The Big Ten will take a cautious approach||
Remember, this is the conference whose presidents had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a playoff. They're cautious and conservative by nature. For this season, as a practical matter, there is nothing they can do. Teams have made travel plans; tickets have been sold. I'm sure the question of realignment will come up in the offseason.
The geographic approach would have made no sense when Penn State was a perennial power. In the worst case, where they're another Indiana or Minnesota for the next decade, it makes perfect sense. And of course, most people would prefer East/West to Legends/Leaders.
Historically, though, the major powers usually recover from sanctions more quickly than anyone expects. USC's sanctions (for Regie Bush) seemed quite severe at the time, and yet they have the #1 2013 recruiting class (per Rivals). They weren't hit with Penn State's sanctions, but everyone thought that USC would be crippled far longer than is turning out to be the case.
At the same time, there's no assurance that Wisconsin will continue to be a national power. They could revert to their historical mean, and then suddenly the west division would seem awfully weak.
|2 years 32 weeks ago||Talk about Rosy (and I don't mean the Rose Bowl)||
Obviously, that COULD happen. But you're basically assuming the same record as last year with a tougher schedule and unproven replacements at a number of key positions, including center, WR, TE, and almost the whole defensive line.
You're also assuming no stumbles in the games where M should be favored. Historically, most teams have an unexpected whiff somewhere along the way.
|2 years 32 weeks ago||This idea is fatally flawed||
The football surplus funds most of the other sports at Penn State, as it does at most big universities. If you route the surplus into a victims' rights charity, you kill the whole athletic department, including swimmers, gymnasts, wrestlers, hurdlers, etc. Now, maybe that's the writer's real agenda, but he sure didn't say so.
A charitable football entity would raise many questions. If Penn State upgrades the weight room, people will say it's a travesty, because it's supposed to be a charity. That complaint will be made about any investment made in the football program. There is no precedent for a charitable football team. No one knows how that is supposed to work.
Of course, it wouldn't be a bad idea to tear down the statue and make a very substantial donation to charity, but it can't be open-ended. If the real aim is to kill Penn State football or the entire athletics department, then one ought to come out and say so.
|2 years 33 weeks ago||You probably won't see that flexibility||
I am pretty sure that they'll replace this deal with a similar deal involving another conference, or they'll go back to their original idea, which was a 9th conference game.
|2 years 33 weeks ago||It isn't gonna work that way||
The original idea was that the B1G would expand the conference schedule to 9 games. This scheduling arrangement with the Pac-12 was in lieu of that.
I assume the push for a 9-game conference schedule will return, so in the end you'll have the same result: 3 non-conference games that the school controls, 9 that it doesn't.
But I prefer 8 conference games, because the schedule is balanced (i.e., same number of home and road games).
|2 years 33 weeks ago||I'll believe it when....||
I'll believe it when one of the major players (a Big Five commissioner or the Notre Dame A.D.) says that he sees it going to eight teams. Obviously the MWC commissioner wants eight: he needs a system with more access; the other players don't.
I would certainly be very surprised if it happened before the end of the 12-year deal they have just agreed to. College football is a very slowly evolving sport: the BCS lasted 15 years, even though its flaws were long ago apparent. I remember having this conversation in a Michigan dorm room in about 1980, and look how long it took us to get to even the most minimal sort of playoff.
I do believe that an 8-team playoff is the correct permanent number, but there will be stiff resistance to it. The addition of the 12th regular-season game and conference championship games has narrowed rather severely the time frame in which an extra game could be played. The players do have finals, after all, and I'm not sure they'd all want to sacrifice Christmas on the altar of an extra game.
|2 years 35 weeks ago||About that Selection Committee||
I am not sure why Brian has an issue with it. Swarbrick's comment makes sense. You don't want to go through the whole season having no idea where you stand, in the minds of those making the decision.
Obviously, the only way it can work legitimately, is if the weekly poll is the answer to the question, "If the season ended today, which teams would qualify for the playoff, and which teams would qualify for "top six" bowls?"
The weighing of conference champions obviously can't happen until, you know, the conferences have actually been won. So there is clearly going to be some suspense, just as there is today with the NCAA basketball tournament.
The more interesting question is how recusal will work. On the basketball committee, no member can vote on or discuss his own school, or a school from his own conference. But the NCAA tournament is WAY over-inclusive. No one who has a realistic chance of winning is excluded. (The 8th seed is the highest that has ever won it all, and they take 16+ seeds in four regions.)
But in this system, the difference between being #4 or #5 is HUGE. That decision could be very substantially altered, depending on who is defined as "recused". And even the difference between #3 and #4 (which affects who you play in the semi) is pretty important.
If you recuse anyone who has (or could be claimed to have) a rooting interest in any of the top twenty teams, I'm not sure who will be left to vote!
|2 years 37 weeks ago||Plenty of superstars return for fifth years||
Andrew Luck did, for example.
|2 years 37 weeks ago||Why they're un-retiring the jerseys||
Dave Brandon gave two reasons, and both make sense.
Most Michigan fans can’t even tell you which jerseys are retired. Maybe they could name Tom Harmon and Gerald Ford, but certainly not all of them. How many fans even know what the Wistert brothers did?
This is a good way to honor those legendary players, rather than just hanging a jersey in a glass case in Schembechler Hall that almost no one goes to see. When #11 becomes a Legends jersey, they’ll make a big deal of it, and each time it is assigned more people will find out about the Wisterts.
Overall, it is a much better way of honoring these players.
Beyond that, there aren’t enough numbers to go around. As it is, numbers often get used twice on the roster. Michigan was even penalized in a game a few years ago, because they accidentally sent out two guys with the same number for a special teams play.
So if you ever want to honor another number, you’ve got to come up with a better answer than retiring them.
|2 years 41 weeks ago||I think they're being dragged, kicking and screaming||
Remember, not that long ago, Jim Delany (and most of the B1G ADs and Presidents) were adamantly opposed to any kind of playoff whatsoever.
So I doubt there's some back-room consensus that 8 is best, but we have to slow-walk our way there. Quite a few of the decision-makers adamantly oppose it.
|2 years 41 weeks ago||I prefer 8 teams, as well||
However, I was limiting the analysis to things that actually have a chance of happening. It's overwhelmingly clear that we aren't getting an 8-team playoff this time. I do believe we'll have one eventually.
And once you're at 8 teams, I think you've solved the problem, as long as you don't corrupt it with too many autobids. I can't remember a #9 team that had a credible argument that they were the best in the country. So with an 8 team event, you'll surely be getting everyone that belongs.
But if you do that, you have to accept the possibility that a #8 team will get hot at the end of the season, and win it all.
|2 years 41 weeks ago||There's a crucial point that Wetzel omits||
Most of the other major conferences object to campus playoff games. Even if the Big Ten favored it, they would be outvoted.
I also think there is considerable truth to the statement that campus playoff games would undermine the viability of the Rose Bowl, because it would become a contest between playoff losers.
In other words, if the Big Ten or Pac-12 champ were in the top four, it could only go to the Rose Bowl by losing its playoff game. Now, if you're anti-bowl, as Wetzel is, maybe you don't see that as detrimental. If the Rose Bowl withers on the vine, so to speak, who cares?
But if you think the Rose Bowl has value, I can understand the reluctance to turn it into a consolation game.
|2 years 41 weeks ago||There's a crucial point that Wetzel omits||
Most of the other major conferences object to campus playoff games. Even if the Big Ten favored it, they would be outvoted.
I also think there is considerable truth to the statement that campus playoff games would undermine the viability of the Rose Bowl, because it would become a contest between playoff losers.
In other words, if the Big Ten or Pac-12 champ were in the top four, it could only go to the Rose Bowl by losing its playoff game. Now, if you're anti-bowl, as Wetzel is, maybe you don't see that as detrimental. If the Rose Bowl withers on the vine, so to speak, who cares?
But if you think the Rose Bowl has value, I can understand the reluctance to turn it into a consolation game.
|2 years 43 weeks ago||You're not asking the right questions||
Of course every game counts!
But if (in last year's example) you choose #10 Wisconsin over #2 Alabama, then you're giving much more significance to Alabama's only loss, than you're giving to Wisconsin's two losses to lesser opponents.
And ironically, you would accept Oregon in the playoff, merely because they won a weaker league, when they also lost to LSU, and by a much wider margin than 'Bama did.
I would agree with you that among comparable teams, a squad that won its conference ought to have priority. I can understand the outrage when #2 Alabama, who already had their shot against LSU, gets the bid over #3 Oklahoma State, who hadn't yet played the tide, and won their league to boot.
But would you really argue that (say) a 20th-ranked conference champ ought to have priority over a 2nd-ranked non-champ?
|2 years 43 weeks ago||That case is pretty simple||
The top four get in. All they're saying is that a conference champ in the top six can leapfrog a non-champ rated higher. But if the top six are all champs (which is exceedingly unlikely), then the top four get in.
It's a compromise between those who just want the top four, and those who want conference champs regardless of ranking. No one disputs that if the top four happen to have all won their leagues, then they all get in. It's the wild cards that people argue about.
Obviously, this leaves open the question of how the top four are determined. The existing system will probably be scrapped. Almost everyone agrees that the Coaches' poll shouldn't be part of it: it's an obvious conflict of interest.
However you do it, someone is going to be #5.
I don't have a serious issue with this. I can't remember many years when a #5 team (by any reckoning) had a serious claim that they ought to be #1. In most years, four is enough to ensure that no one with a legitimate claim is left out. I'd personally prefer an 8-team playoff, but it's clear we're not getting that this time, and practically any form of playoff is better than what we have.
|2 years 43 weeks ago||That's an unnecessary compromise||
I am reasonably certain they won't select the participants by committee. They'll have a ranking system, as they do today. It won't be the same ranking system, as just about everyone agrees that the coaches' poll needs to be scrapped. But it'll be some kind of numerical ranking system, probably with a mix of computers and human voters, as today.
Once you have that, then you just take the top four teams. The whole point of a playoff is to let the four best teams settle it on the field. If you've got auto-bids for conference champions, then one day you're going to have an 8-4 team playing for the title, because they managed to pull off the upset in their conference championship game, despite a mediocre regular season.
Last year, UCLA could have won the Pac-12 with a 7-6 record.
If conference champions get auto-bids, then there needs to be a ratings floor, to ensure a conference with a very weak champion doesn't get to play for the championship, when clearly better teams are sent to consolation games. So, for instance, we might say that a conference champ has to be rated at least 6th, to ensure that any team in the playoff has at least a plausible claim that they belong there.
|2 years 43 weeks ago||The real issue with campus semi-finals||
The real problem, I think, is that they turn the major bowls into consolation games. It may be popular in the blogosphere to say "Screw the bowls," but the conference commisssioners and presidents are clearly not going to do that.
It also makes it difficult for the bowls to sell tickets, because there would be an extra week or two in the schedule during which the bowls wouldn't know who would be playing, as they waited for the outcome of the semi-finals.
|2 years 45 weeks ago||The most important fact about the QB competition||
The most important fact about the QB competition, is that Al Borges thinks Devin Gardner is #2.
I agree that if the spring game were the only data point available, you might think Gardner was #3.
But Borges has much more data to work with: 15 practices, rather than just one. If he says Gardner is the clear #2, then you have to believe he knows what he is talking about.
|2 years 49 weeks ago||No way it's a permanent move||
Most teams want to work at least 3 guys at every position. You clearly need a starter and a backup, and at any time one of the three could be lost due to an injury or off-the-field issue.
QB is such a complex position that there is no way a guy can be ready it if he spends significant time at another position. That is why Denard Robinson never saw very many snaps at RB or WR, despite a constant drumbeat from fans wanting it to happen.
Even if Bellomy had pushed Gardner down to 3rd string (which is doubtful in itself), they couldn’t possibly be so sure of it that they would stop repping Gardner at QB. And if Gardner gets sufficient work at QB, he isn’t going to have much time to practice as an every-down WR.
Of course, if (as is likely) Gardner is still the No. 2 QB, then they definitely can’t afford to stop repping him at QB.
My guess is that they are using the spring to try things out. They still like the idea of putting Robinson and Gardner on the field at the same time (which they toyed with last year), and they are using the spring as a laboratory to put in a few wrinkles. Those plays will never be the bread & butter of the offense, and as the season gets closer Gardner will spend most of his time practicing at QB.
|3 years 3 days ago||What is surprising, given these stats||
What is surprising is that the changes they’re contemplating are extremely modest: adding just two new semi-final games, and upping the bowl-eligibility floor to 7 wins, which will eliminate a number of minor, meaningless bowls involving 6-6 teams.
It will not change the fact that the bowls are just exhibition games with nothing at stake, and that the vast majority of them are not especially interesting, except to fans of the two schools that are playing.
We already know that money determines most of the big decisions in collegiate athletics. But when you look at the amount of money to be made, the plans that are coming out are surprisingly timid.
|3 years 5 days ago||It's a no-brainer: of course he should let him visit||
Here is a caveat: we don’t know exactly what Hoke told the current five commits. Did he tell them he is taking five, full stop, no two ways about it? Or was it more hedged, as in, “We’re probably taking five”?
I suspect it is the latter. For one thing, it is never wise to box yourself into a corner, and I don’t think Hoke would make that mistake.
For another thing, Michigan is still under-manned on the offensive line. Hoke has said that the ideal number is about 15. As of now, Michigan would be at 13 in the fall of 2013. And they clearly were willing to take one or two more in the 2012 class, if either Josh Garnett or Jordan Diamond had committed. In fact, I think they would have accepted both.
With five comitted for 2013, they can afford to be very choosy, but if the right guy is interested, they ought to take him. Now, if Hoke in fact did make the iron-clad statement that Michigan is taking five, then I don’t think he should allow any more visits. I am just skeptical that Hoke actually said precisely that.
|3 years 4 weeks ago||The whole concept of a "commitment" is something of a dodge||
For one thing, under NCAA rules the school is not allowed to say anything publicly before a LOI is signed. If a coach were allowed to say that he has accepted so-and-so’s commitment, it would be a lot harder for him later to rescind it without a very good reason.
The whole concept of signing day is rather arbitrary. Just let coaches offer scholarships, and players accept them, whenever they want. Remember that a letter of intent is merely a one-way bargain. Under current rules, coaches can dump players at any time, for any reason, but the player does not have the same option with respect to the school. It so happens that Hoke and Michigan are honorable, but the rules do not require this.
The only 2 things I can think of is if a coach leaves or gets fired the kid should be able to get back on the market. On the other side, if a kid didn't make the grades and can't qualify then the coach/unviversity should be able to get that schollie back to recruit a new player.
The first of your two suggestions opens a real can of worms. If we allow kids to "undo" their LOI when the coach leaves, then why can't other players do that? Under current rules, they can't.
Your second suggestion requires no change to the rules. Schools already have the ability to re-use the schollie if the player fails to qualify.
|3 years 4 weeks ago||That's not what the article says||
It says: “... it's important to remember that, most of the time, analysts are right.” In other words, the stars mean an awful lot.
The article goes on to point out that, “...they also miss on guys. Every year.” Of course they do. But it has been demonstrated again and again, that high recruiting rankings are correlated with every measure of success you can measure. Correlation doesn’t mean “can’t miss,” but the stars are exceedingly reliable.
The article mentions that Michigan’s 2011 defense “featured four starters who either were ranked in the bottom quarter of their recruiting class, or not at all.” Bear in mind, that ALSO means it featured seven starters, i.e., a substantial majority, who were NOT sleepers.
Sleepers are the exception, though it is great when you find one.
|3 years 6 weeks ago||One flaw in this analysis||
You seem to assume that if there is a 4-team playoff, the four teams need to have won their respective conferences.
That practically guarantees you won’t be picking the four best teams. I know there are people who didn’t like the idea of Alabama getting a second chance to beat LSU. But by any intelligent reckoning, Alabama had a conspicuously better resume than any other Big Six conference champion except Oklahoma State.
I don’t think that’s unusual, either. Some years, one conference will have two teams with better resumes than most of the other champions. That is just how it turns out sometimes.
The objective should be to find the n best teams, full stop, where n is the size of the playoff field. Granting auto-qualifying status to conference champions is simply an invitation to letting teams in that aren’t really the best.
|3 years 6 weeks ago||Quarterbacks||
One point not extensively discussed, is that quarterbacks have the highest correlation between recruiting ranking and collegiate success.
A few factors may contribute to this:
1) The QB will be filmed on every snap he plays, so it is a lot easier for scouts to evaluate QBs based on their total body of work.
2) QBs have a lot of measurables, because they generate more stats than any other position.
3) There are a lot of camps that focus on QB play specifically, so there are a lot of opportunities for them to be evaluated.
At the other end, you would expect offensive linemen to be tough to evaluate, because their position generates the fewest stats (as in: none).
But the rather weak correlation with wide receivers and running backs surprises me, and it's hard for me to put my finger on the reasons for it.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||You'll find that 4 is almost always adequate||
Eight would be ideal. I mean, there are never nine teams that could claim to be #1, so if you include eight, you will never leave out anyone who has a credible complaint. But the university presidents are going to do four or nothing, and provided there are no auto-bids, four ought to be satisfactory in most years.
The real problem is that it’s seldom exactly four. This year, for instance, the three top teams were clearly LSU, Alabama, and Oklahoma State. No sane person would disagree with that. Every other team had a conspicuously poorer resumé than those three.
But someone would be the 4th team, and there are usually multiple credible candidates for #4. Going by this year’s BCS standings, it would have been Stanford. Yet, Stanford lost to Oregon and didn’t even win its conference. Oregon won the conference, but had two losses (to LSU and USC). And then there’s Arkansas (their only loss was to LSU, just like Oregon and Alabama).
In a plus-one scenario, sooner or later a #4 seed will win the national championship, when their resume was no better than a #5 or a #6 that wasn’t given the opportunity. But with four, at least you will never leave out an obviously deserving team, as happened to both USC and Auburn in years they went undefeated.
So, let’s be happy with four. It’ll probably take them another 20 years to go to a full playoff.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||A sensible conclusion for silly reasons||
Your proposal is pretty close to something I could imagine them implementing. It’s a fairly modest tweak to the existing system, rather than a radical re-imagining of it.
But claims about “preserving the sanctity of the regular season” are all hooey. The fact is, a playoff increases the importance of the regular season, because it increases the number of teams that have something to play for.
I mean, look at NCAA basketball. Has anyone suggested that its regular season is meaningless? Going into the final couple of weeks of the season, there are probably 100 teams with a realistic chance of qualifying for the tourney. If basketball worked the way football does, probably 90–95 percent of those teams would know that, no matter what they did, their remaining games would just be meaningless exhibitions, for nothing more than pride.
The commissioners won’t install a full-blown playoff for FBS football. But in the most likely scenario, a “plus one,” the regular season will become more important for more teams, simply because more of them will be in games whose outcome could qualify them for championship contention.
Nor does a playoff (even a four-team “plus-one” playoff) render the out-of-conference games meaningless. It does that only if conference champions are auto-seeded into the games. I doubt that they would go that route. If you have a selection committee or other selection mechanism that considers strength of schedule, teams that schedule OOC patsies would suffer the consequences.
You are totally incorrect that the current system “usually (but controversially)” determines a fair and correct champion. The whole controversy (which occurrs more often than not) is that the system is so frequently arbitrary and unfair.
Finally, you can’t really count on a fair outcome unless the bowl games are seeded. In your proposed slate, if LSU, Oklahoma State, and Alabama had all won their games, you’d still be stuck with the same problem: three credible candidates for a championship game in which only two can play. No, you need Oklahoma State and Alabama to play each other in a bowl, with LSU playing the #4 team.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||Yeah, except: wins and losses really do matter||
Ultimately, wins and losses drive the perception of how good you are. Michigan fans can look at the Iowa game, and see how close they came to winning, but in the record books it goes down as a loss. Wisconsin was 2 plays away from an undefeated regular season, but in the rankings they looked like any other 2-loss team.
So in that respect, Danielson is entirely correct. It will be harder for Michigan to go 11-2 again, and to most people, anything less than that will seem like a step backward.
|3 years 7 weeks ago||If you were unhappy with the LSU/Bama rematch....||
There is one thing people seem to forget.
In any rational playoff, that game might very well have happened anyway. The top 4 teams in the BCS standings were LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, and Stanford. I suspect the Tigers and the Crimson Tide would have been favorites in their semi-final games, so a plus-one would not prevent a regular-season re-match from happening.
Let’s suppose you say that a team can’t play for the national championship without winning its conference. The top four conference champions were #1 LSU, #3 Oklahoma State, #5 Oregon, and #10 Wisconsin. But LSU had already beaten Oregon in the regular season, and Wisconsin had 2 losses in a weak year for the Big Ten.
And if the goal is to eliminate controversy, there would be plenty of it if Wisconsin made it into the final four, while six teams ranked ahead of them did not.
Even if you have an 8- or 16-team playoff, sometimes the final matchup just isn’t that appealing. I’m sure the NFL would love to have a Packers-Steelers Super Bowl every year, but sometimes they get stuck with the Saints and the Colts.
I do favor a "plus one," but we shouldn't kid ourselves that it will completely eliminate these kinds of controversies.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||Yes, he is missing the start of the semester||
However, assuming today is his first day in jail, he will miss only one week of classes. Now, plenty of people recover from one missed week of classes. I am not saying it’s easy, but it can be done.
Because there are 8 months until football season, Hoke has the luxury of waiting a while to decide his status. I doubt that Hoke will kick him off the team immediately, because there is no pressing need to make that decision. If this had happened in August, Stonum would be done.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||Because past offenses always matter||
That is how the law has always worked. Even though this offense was not precisely the same as the other ones, you are always punished more harshly when you have past offenses on your record.
The thing is: when your license is suspended due to alcohol violations, and you continue driving anyway, you are not respecting the original punishment. And when you lie to your probation officer, knowing the serious consequences of doing so, does that suggest to you that he is ready to live a thoughtful, law-abiding life?
By the way, I do not favor kicking him off the team. I was simply responding the guy who suggested that 10 days in the slammer was too harsh. To the contrary, I think it is very reasonable and fair.
|3 years 8 weeks ago||Haven't you forgotten something??||
This is a guy with multiple DUIs and probation violations on his record. He is not being punished for a first offense.
I mean, the guy has a suspended license, and he drives to a meeting with his probation officer? If you are the judge, you have to be seriously troubled by that. You cannot give him a slap on the wrist, when prior wrist-slaps have not worked.
|3 years 10 weeks ago||By the way, regarding Mike Pereira||
He also thinks that the Junior Hemingway non-TD call vs. Iowa was correct. (To be precise: he thought the call on the field could have gone either way, and once it was ruled incomplete, the booth official did not have the evidence to overturn him.) I think Pereira is a pretty good guy, but people seem to forget that after the Iowa game he thought the officials got it right.
Regarding the Fitz TD, we now know (thanks to the above diary) that he, in fact, didn’t score. And I think fair-minded fans should not want a TD that didn’t, in fact, happen.
The question whether evidence is irrefutable is itself a judgment call upon which reasonable minds can differ. I am not going to get too upset at an official making a call that turns out, upon detailed analysis, to have been factually correct, even if there is no way he could actually have had that analysis available to him at the time.
|3 years 10 weeks ago||Can you do Junior Hemingway's catch next?||
I agree that the evidence for Fitz’s TD was not irrefutable, given the information available to the replay official at the time. On the other hand, the replay official seems to have considered your Exhibit A sufficient proof. Fair-minded fans should want the calls to be correct, and in the end this call was exactly that: correct.
|3 years 11 weeks ago||Stop re-living the Iowa game||
That loss was practically meaningless. It is hard to imagine a loss that mattered less.
With a win, Michigan still would have lost the division to Sparty, based on the head-to-head game. And without winning the division, a BCS bowl is the best you could hope for, and that is exactly what Michigan got.
As others have noted, Michigan still needed to score the two-point conversion and then win in overtime. The probability of both happening was probably well below 50 percent. It is not as if that call single-handedly decided the game.
By the way, Mike Pereira (the former NFL official who reviews officiating calls for ESPN) said that the call on Junior’s non-catch, and the subsequent lack of a reversal on replay, were both valid. He is not anti-Michigan, because he criticized the replay official for overturning Fitz’s TD in the Ohio State game.
|3 years 11 weeks ago||This was routine and uneventful||
Preliminary hearings are often waived. Their only legal purpose is to establish probable cause. No one doubts that the prosecution can establish that in this case, and the practical effect would be to stir up more adverse publicity and further poison the jury pool, in the event that Sandusky goes to trial.
Although defendants sometimes waive a preliminary hearing when they expect to plead guilty, they may also waive it for tactical reasons. That is probably what is going on here. The fact that Sandusky has said he is not considering a plea is not meaningful. Plenty of people say that, only to agree to a plea later on.
The problem for Sandusky is that any plea acceptable to the state would probably carry the functional equivalent of a life sentence. There is therefore not much incentive for him to plead guilty, other than genuine remorse, and so far there is no evidence he feels any of that.
|3 years 14 weeks ago||Right, but -3 means he actually hurt the team, right?||
A stat ought to say something that can be expressed in words. A minus three means he hurt the team. How?
|3 years 14 weeks ago||You're confusing a few unrelated issues||
The problems you refer to are caused by several problems, none of which is the lack of a playoff.
First, there should be no limit on the number of teams in one conference that can get a bid. I am no SEC fan, but if they have three top-10 teams, they should all get bids.
Second, the Big East shouldn’t get an auto-bid. Their auto-bid is taking up a spot that should go to a more worthy team that has proven itself on the football field.
Third, conference championship games create anomalies. As you noted, Georgia is probably the 4th-best team in the SEC, but they will get to play for a title, for no other reason than being in the comparatively weak East division.
You could have a playoff without solving any of these issues. And you could solve those issues without having a playoff.
|3 years 18 weeks ago||Those Who Refused To Talk||
I am still somewhat perplexed as to why Carr, Martin, MSC, and Brandon, all refused to talk.
They knew two things:
I mean, it’s not like giving an interview to the Free Press or the Columbus Dispatch. This is the guy who co-authored Bo’s autobiography, for heaven’s sake. He was going to give them a fair hearing.
By not talking, they ensured that Rich Rodriguez’s viewpoint would go uncontradicted, unrefuted. Now, I can somewhat understand Carr’s silence, because he never liked talking to the media even when he had to.
But it still somewhat surprises me that MSC and Brandon did not attempt to get their own spin into the book. And as someone noted earlier, it’s strangely ironic that Mike Rosenberg and Mark Snyder still have full access, while John Bacon is treated like persona non grata.
|3 years 18 weeks ago||Notre Dame is Purdue's only significant rivalry||
There is no question that Purdue would be worse off without Notre Dame. It is THE major game on their schedule, It’s the only game they play, that is guaranteed to be telecast either on NBC or a major cable network. There is no other comparable school that would agree to schedule them home-and-home annually. For recruits who consider Purdue, knowing they’ll play ND every year is a significant draw.
Michigan, of course, could easily replace Notre Dame with an equally attractive home-and-home opponent. It’s worth noting, though, that the programs with as much cachet as the Irish, are the ones Michigan would have more trouble beating. I mean, if Oklahoma or Alabama had replaced Notre Dame on the schedule the last two years, do you think Michigan would have won two in a row?
One advantage of playing Notre Dame is that the media and the pollsters give you as much credit as if you had beaten a top-10 team, even though the Irish seldom play top-10 football any more.
|3 years 18 weeks ago||The Big XII's strategy makes perfect sense||
Conference moves are all about improving what you have.
The Big Ten and the ACC, which are both comparatively strong, won’t accept Notre Dame, unless it’s for all sports, and with all schools having the same revenue-sharing agreement. If the Big XII adopts the same position, then there is no way they are getting the Irish, since the Big Ten and the ACC are better geographic, academic, and cultural fits.
To get Notre Dame, the Big XII has to offer something the others do not. Although the Big XII is in a position of comparative weakness, any league that has Texas, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame, is nothing to sneeze at, even if the Irish don’t join fully in football. And it’s not as if the Irish would be dictating all the terms: agreeing to pay six Big XII teams a year would be a concession on Notre Dame’s part. (Trust me: the Irish aren’t dying to play road games in Ames, Iowa, and Manhattan, Kansas.)
By the way, the Big XII has made it pretty clear that they are not splitting back up into divisions anytime soon. Texas and Oklahoma prefer a pure round-robin and a champion determined by record. They never liked the championship game, which reduced the league title to a one-game season in which a weak interloper could stage an upset, and back its way into the BCS. Without a championship game, those two schools would probably win the league around 70 or 80 percent of the time
But if they ever did split into divisions again, clearly Texas and Oklahoma could no longer be in the same division.
|3 years 18 weeks ago||Good Summary of ND’s Options||
The New York Post has a good article this morning, summarizing ND’s options, including the Big Ten, the ACC, the Big 12, and remaining in the Big East.
Unless the Big East engineers a miracle save, the conference going forward is going to be a mid-major at best, and that is not the image ND wants for its Olympic sports. (To be fair, it’s not the image anyone wants, but the Irish have options the others do not.)
The Big 12 would allow the Irish to remain independent in football, but it is not a particularly good cultural fit.
Both the ACC and the Big Ten would require ND to join in all sports and share revenue equally. The ACC might be a bit more flexible about scheduling and third-tier TV rights. The ACC makes sense for them, because of the large catholic population on the east coast. The Irish have a long history of scheduling those teams in football, and it’s a league they could win from time to time. For the rest of their sports, the ACC is a better fit than the Big Ten.
The Big Ten is obviously the best geographical fit, but it would present the toughest path to a BCS bid (because the league is so tough), and if the Big Ten insists on playing a nine-game conference schedule, it would make it difficult or impossible for the Irish to continue to play a national schedule.
|3 years 21 weeks ago||Why did Michigan's win pct go below 50?||
On the chart, Michigan’s unadjusted win percentage twice dipped below 50, early in the first quarter. It’s hard for me to imagine how this could be possible, given that Minnesota never even had a credible threat to score until fairly late in the game. What did Michigan do, however briefly, that made Minnesota favored to win the game?
|3 years 21 weeks ago||Tressel surely counts as a "yes"||
Brandon’s point was that you’re more likely to be successful in the Big Ten if you’ve recruited extensively in the Big Ten catchment area. With three years as an Ohio State assistant and fifteen years as head coach at Youngstown State, he surely qualifies. In fact, he is probably the perfect case.
Now, I will agree that Youngstown State doesn’t recruit head-to-head very often against the Big Ten, but he was going into the same towns and high schools. Indeed, Brandon specifically cited Tressel as an example of the principle he was espousing. (This was before Tressel got fired, of course.)
|3 years 22 weeks ago||I wouldn't write off A&M's SEC chances||
Everyone seems to be convinced that A&M will never be competitive in the SEC. I understand that argument, but there is a wild card here.
In the Big 12, A&M will never be better than the second-best Texas school. They have very little to offer, that UT can’t also offer. The announcers mentioned yesterday that when they compete with UT for in-state recruits, A&M wins only about 20 percent of the time. Within the Big 12, there is very little they can do to change that. What’s more, the Longhorn Network exacerbates the structural advantage that UT already has.
After this change, A&M has something UT does not. It can tell kids, “we play an SEC schedule.” Without a doubt, this will help them win some of the recruiting battles they now routinely lose. Of course, they’re also going into a tougher league, but many of the 4- and 5-star recruits want to play against the best competition.
I am not suggesting A&M will win the SEC right away. But long-term, I have no doubt that A&M will be better as a result of this. From just about every perspective (and not just financially), it is preferable to be the SEC’s only Texas school than the Big 12’s second-best Texas school.
|3 years 23 weeks ago||I agree, but for slightly different reasons||
All conference expansion is about four things: money, football, academics, and geography, in approximately that order.
The Big Ten is sitting pretty in all four categories: it makes a ton of money for its members, it plays great football, it is academically excellent, and it’s geographically compact. It is difficult to come up with new members who would improve the conference in at least one or two of these areas, without making it worse in any others.
Because the Big Ten has such a high payout per school, there is a high financial bar for any new member. Kansas, for instance, is almost surely a net negative. The Big Ten won’t get a new network deal for Kansas, and it won’t attract enough new BTN subscribers to exceed a 1/13th share of revenues.
In other words, the Big Ten would lose money if it added Kansas. No conference expands to lose money. And since the Big Ten would probably prefer not to have an odd number of members, Jim Delany needs to find two revenue-positive additions that play good or great football, have good or great academics, and are either in or adjacent to the existing Big Ten footprint. That’s a tall order.
The Big Ten looked at Rutgers and Missouri a year ago. Given that they weren’t invited to join, one must assume that the numbers didn’t work. Either one would be a plausible 14th member if Notre Dame were the 13th.
In the meantime, the Big Ten already has an excellent product. It is in no rush expand. Both of the last two additions, Penn State and Nebraska, were home runs. Until Delany is in a position to hit another home run, he is better off standing pat.
|3 years 23 weeks ago||Just to clarify . . .||
I wasn’t suggesting that Bacon knew from Day One what he was going to write. No one could have been quite that prophetic. But at some point, long before the end of Year Three, he must have realized where it was going..
|3 years 23 weeks ago||The bizarre goes beyond Rodriguez||
I have to assume that the whole U-M administration was on board with allowing Bacon unfettered access to the program. What were they thinking? How did Bacon manage to keep a poker face for three years, knowing (as he must have known) what he was going to write?
|3 years 23 weeks ago||It may be their best option||
I am not sure what is ridiculous about it. If OU/OSU go to the Pac 12, the Big 12 as we have known it is dead. The Big East, with just 7 football schools (including the incoming TCU), is teetering on collapse. Merging the two is probably their best option.
|3 years 23 weeks ago||The B1G is Sitting Pretty||
A lot of the expansion talk is along the lines of, “If the Big Ten has to add 2 (or 4) teams, who would they be?”
But they don’t have to add anybody. When conferences expand, it is usually about the following:
No conference expands unless it will make more money than the payout it will owe to its new members, and no conference expands unless it will get stronger (or at least preserve its strength) in football.
Conferences sometimes make minor academic sacrifices (e.g., the Big Ten accepted Nebraska), but not major ones (no way they would’ve taken Louisville).
No conference has the combination of academic prestige, football prestige, and financial payout of the Big Ten. Because of this, it’s hard to come up with schools that would make the Big Ten better. In fact, Texas and Notre Dame just might be the only ones.
If Texas and/or Notre Dame are interested, the Big Ten would listen. But no one is going to tell the Big Ten that they have to add teams.
|3 years 23 weeks ago||The Big Ten can't punish Notre Dame||
This is a huge misconception that pops up on Michigan message boards — that B1G schools should stop scheduling Notre Dame, to “punish them” for their arrogance, their refusal to join a conference, their BCS deal, or whatever the fans are annoyed about.
This is simply wrong. Purdue and Michigan State get far more out of playing Notre Dame than the Irish get out of playing them. Purdue is fairly obvious. Notre Dame is their only rivalry that anyone outside the state of Indiana cares about. If they dropped Notre Dame, they might not have a nationally televised game ever again. The Irish can schedule anyone and get it televised; Purdue can’t.
The Spartans are in only slightly better shape. They’re a more popular and better known team than Purdue; still, there is no opponent they could schedule regularly that is as high-profile as Notre Dame. Whereas the Irish could easily replace Michigan State with a comparable opponent, the Spartans could not so easily replace the Irish.
That leaves Michigan, which could replace Notre Dame with comparable opponents, if it wanted to. But the notion that this would “penalize” the Irish, or “teach them a lesson,” is just daft. There was a 35-year hiatus in the Michigan/ND rivalry between 1943 and 1978, and Notre Dame did just fine. If Dave Brandon thinks Michigan would be better off without ND, he can go ahead and drop them, although I think Brandon is smarter than that. If he does so, it should be because it makes Michigan better, not in the delusion that it makes Notre Dame worse.
For the record, the ACC makes quite a bit of sense for Notre Dame. They will never have trouble recruiting their own back yard (the midwest), while an East Coast schedule would help them recruit that part of their country. Plus, there are a lot of Catholic fans in the Northeast. I am not saying the Irish will go to the ACC (I think they will remain independent), but it is not such a bad idea if they do.
|3 years 23 weeks ago||No, not yet||
Special teams and defense seem to be improved over last year; on the other hand, they had nowhere to go but up. To call them positives is an exaggeration.
Kickoff coverage and kickoff returns are still mediocre. Gallon has shown some signs on punt returns, but he isn’t yet a consistent threat. Matt Wile’s punting hasn’t hurt the team, but he hasn’t been strong, either. It is too soon to tell about FGs, as the team has attempted only one short kick, offset by a missed extra point in the first game.
On defense, Michigan gave up over 500 yards and over 30 points to the only non-MAC opponent it faced. After a slow start, Michigan dominated Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan, but bear in mind the Wolverines did the same two years ago.
Yes, there is improvement. The defense is showing good mid-game adjustments, isn’t giving up as many big plays, and has been strong on short-yardage running downs. But you can’t call the defense an asset until it shuts down a good opponent.
|3 years 25 weeks ago||You need to bear in mind...||
This is all premised on the Big 12 falling apart. If that happens, their existing deal goes down the tubes. Both the Pac-12 and the Big Ten share revenue equitably. Neither will accept Texas on the terms the Big 12 did. Either they swallow hard and share the wealth, or they go independent.
Independence presents a number of problems. For one thing, it means they lose their auto-bid to the BCS if they win their conference, because they aren’t in a conference.
More importantly, they would need a home for their olympic sports. No major conference will accept Texas as a member without football, and it would be a pretty significant come-down to put the rest of their sports in a second-tier league.
|3 years 25 weeks ago||The New York Times says it’s not true||
For what it’s worth, Pete Thamel of The New York Times tweeted a short while ago: “There’s a Texas-ND-Big Ten email/blog/conspiracy theory floating around. It’s not true. Not even close.”
|3 years 25 weeks ago||Bear in mind that . . .||
The lights are not just used for night games, but also for any 3:30 start, so they get plenty of use throughout the season. However, I certainly agree that unless there are huge problems this Saturday, Brandon wants to have one night game a year. The MSU and OSU games are out, but he will want it to be a “significant opponent.”
|3 years 25 weeks ago||A dilemma for David Brandon||
He doesn’t want to make an already brutal schedule even harder.
But he is giving season ticket holders the worst home slate in recent memory, with just six games, only one of which (Michigan State) is much of a draw. I am guessing he tries to bring in someone more interesting than Akron for the sixth game.
|3 years 25 weeks ago||I wouldn't worry about scouts||
That was a great post, but seriously dude, I cannot imagine that the opponent is coming to mgoblog to figure out how to prepare for Michigan.
|3 years 26 weeks ago||I wouldn't exclude overtimes||
There have been many rule changes that make it difficult to compare across different eras. Why re-do the statistics to account for one item, and exclude all the others? Another huge example is the number of regular-season games per season, which varied widely in the early years. It was 8 through most of Crisler's tenure, gradually rising to 11 through all of Bo's tenure, and then 12 early in Carr's tenure. Of course, there were many years when the Big Ten permitted only one conference team to go to the post-season. All of these factors muddy the waters when season and career records are compared, since earlier players didn't have as many opportunities to play.
I would just go with the official statistics, rather than trying to re-do them yourself.
|3 years 26 weeks ago||8-4, but the trajectory counts too||
I agree, more or less, that anything from 9-3 to 5-7 is possible without predicting miracles on one end or total collapse on the other.
Regardless of the number of wins, it is difficult to imagine anyone being satisfied unless MSU or Ohio is one of the victims. A 7-5 season in which Michigan defeats at least one of those two could nevertheless be considered progress. That same record with losses to both major rivals, or with another season-ending swoon, could not be.
Despite the old cliché is that “a win is a win,” it really does matter how you get there. As the post notes, Michigan was a weak 7-5 last year, because all of its losses were by double digits, but four of the wins were by one score or less, and three of the four close wins were against unimpressive opponents.
Although wins and losses are the most important statistic, for those who care about progress, it is just as important whether Michigan seems at least to be competitive against the conference’s better teams. The last four years, the Wolverines haven’t just lost to Ohio State; they were never really in the game at all.
|3 years 26 weeks ago||SEC announcement not official yet, but obviously coming||
The announcement was that A&M is leaving the Big Twelvish, contingent upon acceptance into a new conference. Obviously no fool would make that announcement without being sure they had a safe landing place, but the actual announcement (or perhaps even vote) by the SEC hasn’t happened yet.
|3 years 28 weeks ago||Big Ten expansion is about academics and football||
Expansion is driven by academics and football. Replacing Directors Cup standings with the average AP poll finish over the last twenty years would probably give you a better benchmark.
It would also help to include Notre Dame somehow.
|3 years 29 weeks ago||They bring the average down||
All of the recent conference re-alignments have been about football, so Missouri’s basketball program does not materially aid their case. In football, they have never won a Big 12 championship, and they won its predecessor, the Big 8, only once, in 1969. They have never gone to a BCS bowl.
In other words, they don’t do anything to raise the Big Ten’s profile. Now, you could see a scenario where, if the Big Ten gets Notre Dame, they would need a 14th team, and Missouri would get a look (along with others, like Pitt, Rutgers, etc.). But something else has to happen first, for Missouri to be considered. Otherwise, Delany might as well just leave things the way they are.
|3 years 29 weeks ago||Notre Dame can't be coerced like that||
There are tons of schools that would happily play Notre Dame. If you think you could “punish” the Irish by blackballing them, you are mistaken.
Meanwhile, Michigan State and Purdue gain tremendously by playing Notre Dame, and frankly, so does Michigan. Would Denard Robinson’s performance last year, or Tate Forcier’s two years ago, have made the same kind of headlines against any other opponent?
|3 years 30 weeks ago||Not defending the bowls, but...||
Assuming the bowls exist, most teams would prefer to attend one. You don’t see many schools turning down bowl invites. Although you and I might not watch those bowls, it is a perk for the players and their fans, and it helps with recruiting to be able to say you played in the post-season.
Most athletic departments lose money (not just on bowls, but overall), but they feel the intangible benefits are worth it. I have no idea how to measure that, but there is probably some truth in it, or else why would they be doing it?
|3 years 30 weeks ago||World's worst idea||
I am amazed the Big Ten did it. It means fewer Big Ten teams will go to bowl games and unbalances the schedule.
What’s more, it means that you can never have 8 home games again (as Michigan does this year, and did two years ago). It also means that Michigan’s two remaining non-conference games (aside from ND) will probably always be terrible.
Obviously Delany and some of the ADs were concerned about body-bag games like Wisconsin vs. Austin Peay, but no one forces them to schedule like that.
|3 years 30 weeks ago||Some Methodology Objections||
First, please stop using the word “senile.” In Carr’s second-to-last year, he was one score away from an undefeated regular season. That doesn’t sound like a senile coach to me.
To establish the validity of your measurements, a longer evaluation period is necessary, going back at least to the Schembechler years. Moeller and Rodriguez were head coaches for only 5 and 3 seasons respectively, making it difficult to perceive significant trends in their tenures.
Another problem is that Michigan fans have outsized expectations. For upwards of 40 years, Michigan fans expected to win almost every game. Although you can never predict which games Michigan will lose, there has been only one undefeated season in the last 40, so the life of a Michigan fan is practically guaranteed to include a lot of disappointing years. How often has Michigan done better than its fans expected? Probably not more than 5 years in the last 40.
You didn’t publish your detailed formulas, but I would want to know whether you’re baking in unrealistic expectations, as fans tend (overwhelmingly) to do.
|3 years 33 weeks ago||The sample size is too small, and should include Denver||
Statistics can be a useful corrective to anecdote and impression, but this sample size is really too small. Moreover, it ignores his successful tenure as a D.C. for the Denver Broncos.
As you note, he wasn’t allowed to run his defense at Michigan, a fact that seriously compromises one of the three data points. So what you’re left with is one good data point (Texas), one bad data point (Syracuse), and one that is difficult to assess (Michigan).
I’m certainly not making the case that Michigan’s defensive performance would have been great if GERG had been allowed to run it as he saw fit. But even if you put the failure on GERG’s shoulders entirely, three trials does not make for a valid sample.
|3 years 33 weeks ago||Great post . . . a few observations||
What this shows is that new coaches, in their first year, are (on average) no better than their predecessors. This suggests an 8–4 regular season would be pretty good for Michigan, and 9–3 would be outstanding.
I am not suggesting that the fans would be happy with 8–4, only pointing out what is realistic. At 9–3, Hoke would be in the 75th percentile for a first-year coach. At 8–4, he would be above average.
It would be interesting to see the data for Years 2 and 3. Most new head coaches replace someone who failed, so you expect to see improvement. However, the data suggests that it’s hard to make great progress immediately, because you still have mostly the same players, and it takes a while to install a new system.
|3 years 34 weeks ago||His logic is absolutely correct, with one HUGE caveat||
The so-called “conventional wisdom” about going for it on 4th down is far too conservative. If you just look at the stats, one analyst after another has shown that teams kick the ball far too often, in relation to the likely outcome if they went for it every time.
In 2010, Rich Rodriguez was forced to go for it in situations where he probably wouldn’t have, because he didn’t have a FG kicker he could trust. Nonnair’s analysis, sure enough, shows what it should: that Michigan scored more points that way than if they had attempted FGs and made them every time. Needless to say, Michigan almost certainly wouldn’t have made them every time, which made the Rodriguez’s 4th down strategy even more sound.
But now, here is the HUGE caveat: Michigan never had a game in 2010 where it needed a field goal in the 4th quarter to tie or win. That’s because all of its losses were by double digits, and in the close wins Michigan got late touchdowns, rather than FGs.
The odds of going another full season in which a FG kicker isn’t actually needed, are slim. So of course, Michigan does need a kicker. If it’s 4th and 1 at the 20 yard line with a minute to play, and you’re down by 1 point, you want to have a viable option to kick the ball.
|3 years 36 weeks ago||No effect||
Pryor’s suspension was a personal sanction, not an institutional one. Once a player leaves the program, he is no longer under NCAA jurisdiction. The issue is the lie Tressel told, in order to get Pryor and his buddies eligible in the first place.
|3 years 36 weeks ago||NCAA investigations don't have a timetable||
There is no particular schedule when a Notice of Allegations is released. It happens when the investigators are ready. This case is more complex than the original Tresselgate cover-up, because there are many more facts that need to be chased down. It is, of course, possible that they will find no further violations that meet their standard of proof, but I find that highly unlikely.
Some Michigan fans are worried that the Buckeyes will escape without further damage, given the recent finding by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles that no violations occurred. But remember, the BMV was not investigating whether NCAA rules were followed, only whether Ohio state law was followed. One is unrelated to the other.
There remains, for instance, the issue of Terrelle Pryor’s liberal access to loaner cars. Pryor could very well have violated NCAA rules without violating any state law. There is also the finding of OSU’s own internal audit that their compliance department did not have adequate systems in place to monitor athletes’ vehicles and equipment inventories.
With all of that, I would be surprised if there is no further NoA. I also agree that, without one, OSU is probably not looking at USC-level sanctions, though I think the sanctions would still be significant.
|3 years 36 weeks ago||The NCAA is in a tight spot||
The NCAA knows that lots of violations are going on, but they need more than just “looks suspicious” before they can dock scholarships, ban post-season appearances, and so forth.
Unfortunately, that means Ohio State will probably not be punished as severely as many Michigan fans expect. As Michigan fans, we tend to assume every rumored violation at Ohio State is both true and provable. Some of them invariably won’t be.
On the other hand, the NCAA does tend to over-punish. Since they can only find a tiny percentage of the wrong-doers, they need to make an example out of those they do catch. So I think the penalties will be significant, even if the NCAA can prove no more than what they have already alleged.
But the people imagining 5-year bowl bans, 45+ scholarships, etc., are probably aiming too high.
|3 years 38 weeks ago||Fickell could survive||
The NCAA has more lax rules of proof and weaker rules of discovery than the criminal law. Nevertheless, to penalize the assistant coaches, they need more proof than just the mere suspicion that they “must have known.”
I could very well see a scenario where Fickell has a season that’s “good enough,” while the big names outside the program (Meyer, Gruden, etc.) might be reluctant to take the job before it is clear how severe the sanctions will be.
Now, if the whole thing is wrapped up by January, and if OSU is socked with nothing worse than a 2-year bowl ban, then I think they could still attract any big name they want. If the sanctions are more severe, or if they are still unknown, it could be tough.
|3 years 38 weeks ago||Sorry, I just don't get it||
If you exclude “alternate recruiting histories,” then Ohio State would have had the identical players. And none of their rule violations made them better at football. Terrelle Pryor didn’t become a better passer by selling his autograph.
Now, you could say that if Jim Tressel had reported the Tat 5 as soon as he knew of their violations, those players would have been suspended for some number of games during 2010. But their suspensions would likely have come at the beginning of the season, not the end of it, and in most of those games they would have been heavily favored anyway.
But beyond that, the only reason the Tat 5 scandal could happen was that Ohio State had a lax compliance department and a coach who looked the other way. If you assume a law-abiding Ohio State all along, that scandal probably never happens in the first place.
|3 years 38 weeks ago||That's the dumbest thing OSU could do||
And yes, I know they’re not as smart down there, but they aren’t that stupid either.
They need Pryor to keep his mouth shut. Sabotoging his pro career is a very good way to encourage him to speak up about every single rule he broke — most likely including some that not even they know about. That, and every rule any other player violated, that he may have seen.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||However, the point is . . . .||
The NCAA sanctions will be based on what can actually be proved, not what we all feel (or even some honest OSU alums feel) must have been going on.
For that reason, it’s practically guaranteed that many of us will find the sanctions disappointing, even if they are quite severe (i.e., USC-level, or even a bit more than that). We want OSU to be punished for what we are certain they did, but what the NCAA can prove—although very damning—will be much, much less.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||It depends how recent results are weighted||
To some extent, I do think Michigan is tarnished due to its lack of great results lately. But I think he over-rates that factor. I mean, he has Notre Dame 13th, lower than Oregon. Ask 100 coaches which job they’d rather have, and I’ll bet the Irish come out on top.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Carr & Comparisons to Fab 5 Investigation||
Sans cheating, Carr probably has two or three more wins that swing public opinion of him from solid B+ to Bo 2.0.
Even with OSU cheating, several of Carr’s most ignominious losses came down to a bad bounce or an ill-timed penalty. I mean, even with the deck stacked in Jim Tressel’s favor, Carr lost to Ohio State in 2006 by only 3 points in a road game. Many Michigan fans will go to their graves believing that the Wolverines were one dumb penalty away from getting the ball back, and driving for the winning score.
If you replay the final field goal attempt in The Horror 10 times, Michigan probably makes it more often than not. There was clearly no excuse for the game to be that close, but most of the hand-wringing is washed away when you win the game. Nobody will be fretting years later about 2010 UMass, even though that one very nearly went the other way.
How does Tresselgate (and rumors of systemic NCAA violations) compare to the Fab Five fiasco in terms of sheer magnitude, and in terms of discredit they bring to the university in question?
There is one huge difference. The Fab Five fiasco literally wiped off the record books the best period in Michigan basketball history, including consecutive NCAA championship game appearances. Even if the NCAA wipes out Terrelle Pryor’s entire career at Ohio State, Tressel will still have his national championship and two additional NCG appearances.
They’d have to wipe out Tressel’s entire career, and although he was probably cheating the whole time, I doubt they’ll be able to prove that.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||Some good points there||
Ohio State is helpful not just to Michigan, but also to the entire conference. Ohio State is one of the marquee television teams, and the Big Ten shares TV revenue. Ohio State travels well to bowls, and the Big Ten shares bowl revenue. The Big Ten also shares gate revenue, and Ohio State has one of the larger stadiums, which (like Michigan) they practically always sell out.
The right penalties will leave Ohio State hobbled for a number of years, but still able to bring in the revenue in which the other Big Ten teams share. Obviously, a bowl ban is in play, but the other sources, like TV money and gate receipts, should be preserved. The extreme case — the death penalty (which is highly unlikely) — would leave the Big Ten unable to stage its lucrative championship game.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||I give Tressel's game skills more credit than that||
As disgusting as Tressel’s off-the-field behavior was, the man could coach. Even if it was just luck that put Craig Krenzel, Troy Smith, Todd Boeckman, and Terrelle Pryor into Tressel’s path (and it was probably MORE than just luck), Tressel still molded them into elite players, and surrounded them with talent at the other positions, and called the plays that won the games.
To take the most recent history, look at Terrelle Pryor’s improvement from his freshman season to last season. Of course there is raw talent there, along with buckets full of immaturity. Coaching had something to do with it.
To give another example, you mention Michigan’s ineptitude on offense in the 2007 game, but I think the Buckeye defense had something to do with it, too. Jim’s Tresselball strategy, as annoying as it was, worked. You have to give Tressel the credit for that.
Maybe it’s true that two of his star QBs began their careers when another starter faltered, but that happens in sports all the time: Lou Gehrig, famously, started his famous iron-man streak as a pinch hitter.
Tressel will go down in history as a cheater, but I wouldn’t chalk up his whole career to the fact that Bellisari got drunk.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||The deletion of a single word makes the difference||
There are about 15–20 marquee jobs in the country, depending on how you count. To suggest there are only three was obviously a mistake. On the other hand, his obvious purpose was to give examples, not to provide an exhaustive list. Michigan lately has been less prominent, and if he were going to give a few “for-instances,” it was not crazy to leave Michigan out.
What links these three, besides their marquee status, is that the Florida job was recently vacant, the OSU job is vacant now, and the Texas job is likely to open up in the next few years (Mack Brown is 61). None of the other marquee jobs is expected to be vacant in the near future, other than Penn State, where there is an internal heir apparent.
|3 years 39 weeks ago||4-year statute of limitations||
There is a 4-year statute of limitations on NCAA violations. There is a seldom-invoked exception if you can show a continuing pattern of the identical illegal behavior. It is unlikely to be used in this case. There is a difference between having the general sense that Tressel must have been cheating all along, and being able to prove it.
|3 years 40 weeks ago||Re: pure numbers||
Your sentence beginning, “Especially considering the past 3-4 years,” is precisely the point. When Michigan is Michigan (which lately, it has not been), the Wolverines recruit so much better than the Spartans that it isn’t even an issue on anyone’s mind.
I am not focused on recruiting numbers rather than actual talent: I realize the coaches may have different insights than the recruiting services. But we don’t know what those insights are, since the NCAA doesn’t permit coaches to comment publicly on unsigned players.
That there are roughly 13 spots remaining somewhat misses the mark, because they’re allocated by position. For instance, if the coaches have allotted one slot for a quarterback, then they’re “done” at QB as soon as someone commits (unless they deliberately push that kid aside if they realize they can get someone better—a strategy that likewise has some pros and cons).
|3 years 42 weeks ago||It looks pretty realistic to me||
Michigan has too many question marks to be anyone's realistic Big Ten favorite this year. The defense will surely be improved, but by how much? The offense could very well be taking a step backward, but by how much? Will the Wolverines find a kicker? Those questions could have positive outcomes, but an outside observer wouldn't predict that.
As for the other categories, Michigan isn't on anyone's "disappoint" list, because the Wolverines have already had four such seasons in a row. It's hard for a perennially disappointing team to disappoint people any more. But due to Michigan's tradition, it's hard for Michigan to surprise anyone either.
As for "can't miss" games, they did list Michigan-Ohio as one of the choices, but for anyone but a Michigan fan, that is frankly a lazy option. I mean, The Game is always exciting on some level, but there is no reason sitting here today to think it will be more so than usual (much as we all might hope so). It's understandable that three of the five choices involve Nebraska, as they're the most intriguing wild card of the conference season.
|3 years 42 weeks ago||Making him 3rd string was strictly disciplinary||
It’s clear RR did not think Gardner was actually better than Forcier, because Gardner was never used where the game was on the line. He played a grand total of three meaningless snaps vs. UConn and Notre Dame, and then mop-up duty vs. Bowling Green. He was never seen again. When Denard went down vs. Illinois with the outcome in doubt, it was Forcier who got the call.
I therefore have to think the demotion to 3rd string was mainly to get Forcier's head in gear, and not because Rodriguez actually thought that Gardner was the better QB to go in and win a game. If Gardner doesn't get his medical redshirt, the relatively limited action he saw, just for the purpose of disciplining Forcier, starts to look awfully costly.
|3 years 42 weeks ago||Vital question||
If you’re caught selling your student ticket to a local tattoo parlor, do you get a 5-game suspension?
|3 years 42 weeks ago||I am not worried at this point||
Assuming the rest of your list is accurate, I could easily imagine the coaches taking just 5 offensive linement (not 6) or 3 defensive ends (not 4), and that would get them to your presumed 22.
I could also envision different priorities among the remaining positions. Ideally, you'd like to take at least one player in every class at every non-kicker position. But with several good cornerback prospects entering as freshmen this year,the position isn’t an urgent need in 2012.
Obviously, if you look at the number of offers out there, it is very clear that some will be pulled. Any offers at this point are non-binding anyway, and the coaches have put out many more than they could possibly accept. Players are aware that offers are provisional, and are liable to be pulled if someone else takes the slot. Coaches also have other ways of giving the cold shoulder to players they no longer want, without formally rescinding the offer.
|3 years 43 weeks ago||Value and Drawbacks of a Ninth Conference Game||
Reduced bowl revenue needs to be part of the equation, since every year there are Big Ten teams that just barely get to 6 wins by scheduling weak non-conference opponents. With nine conference games, I suspect the Big Ten would qualify for, on average, one to two fewer bowls per year.
Of course, weak non-conference schedules are a matter of choice. No one put a gun to Minnesota’s head, and forced them to schedule North Dakota State.
I am surprised that any of the conference’s power teams would want a ninth conference game, as it means they can never again have eight home games in a season (as Michigan has this year, and had two years ago). Selfishly, you want to be able to have eight home games when you can.
|3 years 44 weeks ago||I agree with Bigelow||
Michigan has four incoming freshman cornerbacks. They aren’t even on campus yet, and Cullen Christian was already third string. It’s likely that at least one of the freshmen (say, Blake Countess) would out-perform him, pushing Christian even farther away from seeing the field this year.
Under this set of circumstances, Christian’s departure can fairly be called “good attrition.” When you lose a third-stringer on the Big Ten’s worst defense (last year), at a position with good depth coming up behind him, there’s a pretty good chance that the scholarship you free up will be more productively be used in the next class.
|3 years 45 weeks ago||The real problem was the 2010 recruiting class||
Michigan welcomed only one new offensive lineman in the fall of 2010, Christian Pace, when they needed at least four. That, more than anything, is the reason for the current depth woes along the offensive line. Hoke did a good job, given the hand he was dealt. The fact that there was only one guy in the previous class is not on him.
Michigan will probably have back 3 out of 5 offensive line starters in 2012, losing Molk and Huyge. That fact isn’t particularly worrisome. What is, is that the roster backing them up will be awfully thin.
|3 years 45 weeks ago||Some misconceptions||
The idea of “punishing” the Irish for being independent is going nowhere. There are plenty of schools around the country that are delighted to play Notre Dame. It’s just not realistic to imagine that, by “de-scheduling them,” they’ll come crawling back to the Big Ten on hands and knees.
It’s arguable that the Big Ten schools get at least as much out of the relationship as the Irish do, if not more. For Purdue and MSU, it’s often their marquee game of the year. The Spartans were delighted to beat the Irish in a nationally televised night game last year. There was probably no higher-profile game in their season. For recruits to those schools, knowing they’ll play Notre Dame every year is a significant attraction.
Michigan gets less out of the relationship than Purdue and MSU. Still, look at the press that Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson got out of beating Notre Dame in consecutive years. There are very few opponents against whom that kind of performance would make national news.
Brandon does have two problems. If the Big Ten goes to a nine-game conference schedule (a terrible idea, in my view, but it’s probably happening), Michigan doesn’t want to play Notre Dame on the road the same years it has five conference road games. Obviously, the impact can’t be ascertained until the schedule comes out. Scheduling will be a nightmare, because every Big Ten team wants seven home games a year, and a number of teams are locked into annual home-and-homes with non-conference opponents (e.g., Missouri with Illinois, Iowa State with Iowa).
Beyond that, if there are only three non-conference games a year, Michigan will probably not want more than one of them to be a big-name opponent. If you’re playing Notre Dame every year, it limits your scheduling options.
|3 years 48 weeks ago||Scholarship athletes already ARE paid||
In addition to their education, they get meals, travel, and a housing allowance. Add it up, and they’re making more than the average middle-class family. The argument is not about paying them, but about paying them more.
The problem is: there is no conceivable amount we could pay them, that would come close to the value of a Reggie Bush or a Cam Newton on the open market. You won’t eliminate the temptation for them to go after under-the-table payoffs, unless you pay them what they are really worth, which is plainly impossible. When a kid is worth millions, giving him a few hundred or a few thousand legitimately isn’t going to keep the scouts, agents, and boosters away.
The other problem is that most Division I programs operate at a loss, which would only widen if they have to pay their players more than they do already.
|3 years 48 weeks ago||Probably a mixture of denial and stonewalling||
He clearly isn't going to do that [resign], and it is to our advantage that he doesn't.
Actually, if we are selfish about it, I think Michigan would be better off if Tressel resigned. For one thing, as much as we hate to admit it, he’s a damned good coach. Odds are, the next guy won’t be as good. And of course, if he resigned today, their options for replacing him would be limited: this isn’t the time of year when a team wants to be searching for a new coach.
Losing Tressel would also hurt the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail. Right now, I’m sure they’re telling high-school kids that this case is just a speedbump, with no long-term adverse effect on the program. Many recruits, undoubtedly, will buy that story. USC, where the violations were much more severe, was still raking in great classes, despite the fact that very serious sanctions were clearly on the way. OSU would have much more trouble making that case if the coach were gone.
As to what Smith and Gee are thinking, I am sure they realize there is the potential for this case to turn out much worse than just a five-game suspension and a $250,000 fine. They read newspapers, just as we do, and it’s hard to find a press outlet, even in Ohio, that thinks Tressel will get off that easy. Their joke of a press conference was the equivalent of a defendant pleading not guilty at the initial appearance before a magistrate. It merely buys time while they assess just how bad things really are.
There could be some denial there: remember, after the NCAA report against USC was handed down, former athletic director Mike Garrett attributed it to jealousy. Now, there’s denial for you. He was promptly replaced by Pat Haden. I don’t think they’re quite that stupid, but I suppose it’s possible.
|4 years 1 week ago||Ask me in 3 years||
I didn’t think the Hoke hire was terrible 2 months ago, and I don’t think it’s brilliant today. If coaching is a course, his grade is incomplete. He’s done a few things that make sense, and none that seem obviously wrong, but his team hasn’t played a game yet. Ultimately, he’ll be judged by the Big Ten championships he wins and his record against Ohio State.
As for your four points:
1) Hoke’s records at Ball State and SDSU are like ink blot tests: you can read them any way you want. At this point, why debate them?
2) Al Borges is taking exactly the right approach with Denard. Although he won’t run for 1,700 yards again, he’ll be a better QB as a result. Denard’s rushing was fun to watch, but he took a ton of hits, and his production tailed off noticeably in the second half of the year. I do believe that he’ll play QB for his two full remaining seasons. In any case, you don’t hire or fire a coaching staff because of one player.
3) You cannot win the recruiting battle if you don’t win your own region. It’s true that the south has the best overall talent, but how many 4* and 5* southern kids has Michigan landed lately that any of the major southern schools really wanted? It’s not a long list. Hoke is still recruiting nationally, but you can’t build a strong team if you get your butt kicked locally.
4) A press conference? Srsly?
|4 years 3 weeks ago||How about Denard at defensive tackle?||
I hear we have a shortage at that position. Imagine the chaos that would cause for opposing offsenses.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||A few points in Michigan's favor||
Yes, it’s true that Michigan is highly unlikely to have a top-20 class this year, and is highly unlikely to continue its streak of finishing among the top 3 in the Big Ten.
There are a few points that make the situation a bit better. It’s not just who you sign, but who you retain. Michigan’s class last year (12th nationally; 2nd B10) included two four-star kids (Demar Dorsey, Austin White) and a three-star (Antonio Kinard) who either weren’t admitted, or who didn’t stay. The two best kids in the 2009 class (14th nationally; 3rd B10) were Justin Turner, who never played a down; and Will Campbell, who hasn’t played anywhere near the five stars he was credited with.
Despite recruiting classes that were always 20th nationally or better, Michigan has finished the season unranked for three consecutive years. That is because Michigan under-performed in relation to its talent. This is particularly true on defense. Michigan had roughly the 110th-ranked defense in 2010, despite having nowhere near 110th-ranked talent. Even allowing for injuries and youth, Michigan's defense and special teams should not have been anywhere near as bad as they were. Coaching was the difference between Michigan's performance, and what would have been expected given the talent on the team.
Given the 85-scholarship limit and attrition, most schools sign close to 25 kids per year. Even had Rodriguez stayed, Michigan was probably going to sign around 19 or 20, because the graduating class was small. If you’re going to have a bad recruiting year, the year when you don’t have as many to give out is probably the right time to have it. I mean, imagine if Michigan had 25 vacancies instead of 20. The problem would even be worse.
Stanford finished 4th in the final AP poll this year, and their classes over the last five years average out to around 32nd, and they never had a class in the top 10. If Stanford can play that well without ever notching a top-10 class, Michigan can survive one bad year.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||They don't publicly announce walk-on scholies||
And technically, scholarships are one year at a time. But you have to figure that a two-year full-time starter, which Kovacs is, will have one.
At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any realistic prospect that Michigan would sign so many incoming recruits that there would be no space left for Kovacs to keep his scholarship.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||I won't miss it so much||
Michigan’s version of the spread had some exciting moments. Unfortunately, most of them came against middle to lower-tier opponents. Against the better opponents, the excitement mostly disappeared. A major reason was that Michigan failed to develop an alternative running threat. As good as Denard is, the better defenses were able to contain him, once they figured out that Michigan didn’t have anyone else who could beat them on the ground.
Not only that, the offense didn’t develop over the course of the season; if anything, it regressed. Even with 15 extra bowl practices, I didn’t see any new wrinkles in the Mississippi State game. Both of the spread offenses in the BCS national championship game, Oregon’s and Auburn’s, seemed light-years ahead of Michigan’s, in terms of both conception and execution.
I’m sure there would have been improvements, had Rodriguez returned in 2011. Any team that returns 10 offensive starters is probably going to be pretty good. But given the lack of evolution or development over the course of the 2010 season, I have to wonder whether Rodriguez had another gear in this offense, or whether progress would have been limited to just better execution of the plays we (and the opponents) had already seen.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||How long have you been using the model prospectively?||
It’s one thing to say, “Before the 1997 season, my model predicted 11 wins.”
It’s quite another thing to say, “My model, had it existed then, would have predicted 11 wins.”
Have you actually been making these predictions, every year, since 1997? Or has the model been developed retrospectively, based on experience?
|4 years 6 weeks ago||That's probably not the best bet||
You have to be honest with yourself: if a kid is below the level that normally succeeds at Michigan, taking him just to “fill out the class” is just self-defeating, as it is one less scholarship that will be available next year, when Hoke will have had the advantage of a full year of recruiting.
We all realize that occasionally these low-level 3* kids turn into NFL draft picks, but the odds are against it. Don’t throw scholarships away just because you have them.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||Talent evaluation is at best a 50/50 prospect||
If you have 85 scholarship players on the roster, at best 25 percent of them will be stars, another 25 percent will be useful starters and role players, and the rest will be just fill-ins, special-teamers, and so forth.
And of course, there is stuff you don’t see. It’s entirely possible that Nick Sheridan actually did have better practices than Steven Threet, leading up to the 2008 season opener. I am not prepared to call that a coaching error, unless someone who actually attended the practices tells me otherwise.
If you are going to fault the coaches for poor talent evaluation, you need to look at a lot more than 2 or 3 instances where you think they got it wrong.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||He'll be an early favorite, but...||
Denard Robinson will be on many of the early Heisman favorite lists, given the extraordinary numbers he put up in 2010. He is realistically unlikely to win it, for a few reasons.
Denard’s rushing numbers will probably be way down in 2011. Even Rich Rodriguez would tell you that his ideal offense would feature less of Denard running, and a lot more of someone else. Rodriguez never found his Steve Slaton, which was one reason why Michigan’s offense floundered in the second half of the season. Better defenses were able to limit Denard, knowing that Michigan didn’t have another home-run hitter in the backfield. Without a more balanced running game, the same thing would happen in 2011.
Hoke, of course, won’t be running the spread offense, so Denard will be running less often by design. Sure, he’ll get his touches—how could he not?—but he’s not going to get 1,500 on the ground. If he does, it’ll probably mean that Michigan is one-dimensional, which is a good if you want to go 7-5 again.
Without Denard putting up such gaudy rushing numbers, he won’t be in the Heisman conversation unless he wins it with his arm. Denard in 2010 was clearly a much better passer than in 2009, but he is not yet an elite passer. He throws some great balls, but he also misses a lot of guys, and he throws a lot of catchable balls that don’t quite hit the receiver in stride. He will probably continue to improve, but the sophomore-to-junior jump probably won’t be as dramatic as the freshman-to-sophomore jump was.
Denard got into the Heisman race because of several early games in which he practically beat the opponent all by himself. The Notre Dame game sticks out, because anytime you do that to the Irish, it’s national news by definition. Great as that game was for a fan, we quickly discovered that it was not sustainable. In an offense where he won’t be called upon to carry the whole team, it becomes less likely that he’ll have the kind of “highlight reel games” against marquee opponents that get a guy noticed by Heisman voters.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||He is being truthful in a Clintonian way||
There are many ways to discuss the parameters of a hypothetical offer, without ever actually offering the job.
So Brandon can say truthfully that he never formally offered Miles, even if he made it clear that he would offer if Miles wanted it. The same, of course, is true of Harbaugh, even if the exact words “I offer you the job of head coach at Michigan” were never uttered.
|4 years 6 weeks ago||That's not the problem||
Ohio State has played in BCS bowls in eight of the last nine years. In seven of those years, OSU won or shared the Big Ten championship, including the last six straight. They’ve played in the BCS title game three times, winning it once. There are only a handful of schools in any conference (including the SEC) that can even sniff at that record. If Michigan could do that over the next decade—if Michigan could do even half that—it would take an awfully greedy fan to consider it mediocre.
We all realize that the midwest does not produce as much raw football talent as the Southern states. But the Buckeyes offer pretty good evidence of what can be done despite that “handicap.”
|4 years 7 weeks ago||We probably won't know for a while||
They couldn’t submit the paperwork to the NCAA until after the Gator Bowl. If Denard had gone down in that game, Gardner would have gone in, and that would have been the end of it.
You’ll probably find out when they publish the roster for spring practice. I don’t have any serious doubts that it’ll be approved. The previous coaching staff seemed pretty sure about it, and medical fifth-years are granted pretty routinely.
|4 years 7 weeks ago||He still lives in Michigan||
He is apparently not going to be coaching in 2011, and there’s no point in moving until he knows where he’ll ultimately be.
Sure, it’s awkward to hang around in the town where you got fired, most people seem to like Rodriguez and his family personally, whatever they may have thought of his coaching. I don’t think he’ll get hassled, and it’s probably better to let the kids finish the school year.
Besides, where else is he going to go? He caught a lot of grief when he left West Virginia. I can’t imagine that moving back there temporarily would be any better than just staying where he is until he gets a new position.
|4 years 7 weeks ago||Unlike the Cuban Missile Crisis||
There is no guarantee that, at some point, the information will be de-classified, and all of our questions will be answered. We may never know.
Incidentally, Hoke’s failure to sign a contract extension does not tell me that he knew he was coming to Michigan. All it means is that he knew there was a pretty good chance of the job being open (he was hardly the only one to have figured that out).
|4 years 7 weeks ago||They are handling it the right way||
Let’s face it: the Hoke hire isn’t sexy, and it does not “sell itself.” It needs to be sold, not only to persuade a skeptical fan base, but also to make the most of the waning weeks of the recruiting year. With no games or practices to make real football news, the news needs to be manufactured. If you were in charge of marketing Michigan football, this is exactly what you ought to be doing.
The “sell” means nothing to me personally. I am not a recruit, and I don’t need to be persuaded to support Michigan football. I can afford wait to decide how I feel about Brady Hoke until he coaches some actual football games. But I do realize that there are people out there, especially recruits, who have never heard of this guy, and need to be educated in a hurry.
|4 years 7 weeks ago||The spread isn't the only way to use Denard||
The spread isn't the only kind of offense that could use Denard's talents. Even Denard himself didn't run the spread in high school. You can incorporate a running QB in just about any base offense.
|4 years 7 weeks ago||Ditto not realistic||
I’ve never heard of a playbook built by committee, and as another poster noted, the players are limited (by rule) in the amount of time they can spend with the coaches.
By the way, Borges has had running quarterbacks.
|4 years 7 weeks ago||Wanting to Be Here = Misunderstood||
I think Brandon was trying to distinguish coaches who had a passion for Michigan in particular, as opposed to guys who would gladly come here if you put the right number of zeroes on their contract.
Obviously, once RR got to Michigan he gave the program every ounce of passion that he was capable of. Nobody has questioned his effort or commitment. But at the time he came to Michigan, he was frustrated with the lack of investment in the program at West Virginia. He was looking to move up to the next level, and the Michigan job happened to be the one that opened up at the right time. Had Michigan signed Greg Schiano, he would have given the identical passion somewhere else.
On a subtle level (and I am not saying I agree with this), Brandon is saying that RR’s passion was not necessarily for Michigan, but merely for “something better than West Virginia.”
|4 years 7 weeks ago||You've set up a false dichotomy||
Denard Robinson is a running QB. He is not necessarily a spread option QB: he did not run that system in high school. There are many other ways to exploit a running QB.
I see zero chance that Michigan will run the spread as its base system, if Hoke brings in an OC who has never run that system. But that doesn’t mean they’ll waste Denard’s ability to run the football.
I also see a near-zero chance that Denard will be moved to RB or WR. His obvious strength is where defenses need to respect his ability to pass or run. If you make him one-dimensional, you just make him a worse player. I think we saw pretty clearly this year that he cannot take the punishment of running the ball too often.
On top of that, with Forcier gone and no commits in the current class, Michigan is left with only two scholarship QBs. It cannot afford to move one of the two to another position, leaving the team with Devin Gardner and no backup. Any QB that Hoke attracts at this late date is likely to be a mid-level three-star guy who will need lots of seasoning before he is ready to play Big Ten football.
|4 years 7 weeks ago||Like it or not, Tressel is the benchmark||
I don't think it’s an accident that Brandon mentioned Tressel during his press conference. As long as he finds a new head coach by January 17, he can say that Michigan is no worse off than when Ohio State hired the Vest.
What has changed? Only that we’re in an attention-deficit era, and people seem to ignore that Michigan has been coach-less for less than five days. Brandon is running a nearly leak-proof shop, and lack of visible progress is getting equated with lack of any progress at all. The search could be 80 percent done or 20 percent done; we just don’t know.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||One problem with the "thorough search" you mentioned||
Signing day is a month from now. At this late date, the "search" can't take any appreciable amount of time. If that was what Dave Brandon wanted to do, he needed to fire Rich Rodriguez the day after the Ohio State game. Then, he could have taken his time. He can't now.
I do agree with you that Jim Harbaugh isn't the only man in the world that can coach Michigan football. He is merely the most obvious qualified candidate.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||Great, yet overrated||
Barwis seems to be a great S&C coach. But you expect to find great coaching at top programs. He is, in other words, giving Michigan what it never had, but always should have had, in the Carr era.
I don’t see any evidence that he gives Michigan an advantage its opponents don’t have. Michigan’s longest game this year was the triple overtime thriller, and Illinois basically stood toe-to-toe with the Wolverines the whole time. Unless you give Barwis credit for the blitz that ended the game, you’d have to say Michigan and Illinois were about equally well conditioned.
Michigan did have second-half comebacks in a few games, but lost them anyway. “Without Barwis, they would have kicked our butts even worse” isn’t much of an endorsement.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||The swing is $5 million||
If he resigns, he owes Michigan $2.5M. If he gets fired, he gets $2.5M. Since he will know within roughly 48 hours or less whether he’s fired or not, he has no reason to make the first move.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||That's a base hit when you're swinging for the outfield fences||
Michigan won’t hire a guy who has never been a head coach, and whom 99 percent of the fan base has never heard of.
He might do a terrific job, but we will never know. He is not an option Brandon would even remotely consider.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||AQ status is based on all games||
Not just bowl games.
When all games are considered, the Big East is by the weakest of the AQ conferences. If they hadn’t added TCU, they were the conference most in danger of losing AQ status.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||I know you don't trust the freep, but . . .||
Rivals is saying the identical thing, and is not citing the freep as their source.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||What about Stanford's QB recruits?||
Harbaugh has two QB commits in his current incoming class, Evan Crower and Kevin Hogan. They’re both three-star guys, but presumably Harbaugh thinks they can play his system. Might either of them follow him to Michigan?
With both Forcier and Robinson as known transfer risks, the QB need in this class is suddenly more acute.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||The Day We Lost Brian Cook||
Brian, in previous posts, laid out the best case imaginable for retaining Rich Rodriguez. Some bought it, others didn’t, but it was at least cogently argued. It is therefore significant when Brian (quite rightfully) acknowledges that this regime cannot be saved.
I think Brian over-states the possibility that RR would somehow be brought back, if Brandon’s Plan A, B, and C don’t pan out. I just don’t see how Brandon does that, without it being painfully clear that he was left at the altar.
I agree even more strongly that Michigan’s 7-6 was the worst 7-6 you could imagine. Brian already noted that all the losses were blow-outs, and three of the wins came on the final possession—all against middling or worse competition. UMass came awfully close to being in the loss column as well. Nobody would call the Purdue game a dominating performance, and Bowling Green was a tomato can, which leaves UConn as literally the only great performance against credible opposition.
I have to agree, therefore, that any improvement was infinitesimal—basically, a pretty good offense (which frequently disappeared against better opposition) was offset by defense and special teams that have gotten worse every year.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||Dug a hole = poor analogy||
What I’d say is that his strategy is past the point of no return. Many potentially successful strategies are like that — the decision to “go for it” on 4th down, for instance. But that doesn’t mean you’ve dug yourself a hole, only that you’re committed to a particular direction.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||What is Michigan's long-term history ATS?||
Going 0-8 vs. the spread in conference play is a rare occurrence indeed.
But I recall reading somewhere that, historically, Michigan generally under-performs the spread. Not quite to that degree, but if you bet against Michigan every week, you would win more often than you’d lose.
The reason is that Michigan, with its large alumni base and nationwide following, tends to attract bettors who pick the Wolverines for entirely sentimental reasons. For that reason, bookmakers need to make Michigan a bigger favorite (or less of an underdog) than they’d ordinarily be, to attract equal action on the other side. This would be true of any team with a large, motivated fan base, like Notre Dame or the Dallas Cowboys.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||The Cultural Fit||
I entirely agree with you that Rich Rodriguez wasn’t a good “cultural fit” at Michigan, and to some extent he was undone by circumstances beyond his control.
But the alumni and the broader Michigan community don’t coach the players, and they don’t call the plays. The Michigan team was not well coached on defense and special teams, and Rodriguez has to take some of the blame for that. Even allowing for the obvious talent deficit, with freshmen and sophomores starting at positions where there were no juniors or seniors, the team was not well coached.
The offense, which was supposed to be Michigan’s strength, was held scoreless for eight of its last twelve quarters, including the whole second halves of both the Ohio State and Mississippi State games. With a whole month to prepare for the Gator Bowl, Michigan ran its vanilla offense, without even trying to surprise the Bulldogs with a wrinkle or two.
So yeah, the boosters and backstabbers let Rich Rodriguez down. But most of them would have turned around pretty quickly if he had won, or at not lost quite as ugly. Rich owns this debacle too.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||It's quite a lot better than that||
Maryland isn’t a national power, but it has a much longer and more prestigious football tradition than UConn. Heck, even Bear Bryant coached there, albeit only for one season. A move from the 6th-best to the 5th-best AQ conference is also an upgrade, even if only a small one.
However, he’ll face much steeper road to the conference championship than he did at UConn.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||It's an upgrade, but enough of one?||
Maryland is an upgrade over UConn. Neither one is a football powerhouse, but there is a much longer tradition at Maryland than at UConn, and the ACC is a better conference than the Big East (though that ain’t sayin’ much).
But his path to a conference title in the Big East is much easier. Maryland has won the ACC title just once in the last twenty years. Florida State, Miami, and Virginia Tech all have much more recent traditions of fielding elite teams (even if Miami is down right now).
Ignoring the money (since we have no idea how much is involved), he could probably make a bigger splashy by remaining in the Big East, and then parlaying it into a much larger job than just a mid-level ACC team.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||I don't see it||
Somehow, I doubt that JH’s staff would be the Michigan equivalent of a Beatles reunion.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||I must admit, I don't get that either||
There clearly was an anti-Rodriguez faction from the beginning.
How they led to running 3-man fronts vs. run-first teams, missed FGs, and Vincent Smith on 3rd & short is a lot less clear to me.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||Hey guys, I honestly do apologize||
Please, take that sincerely. I’ve been on the Internet for about 25 years and haven’t seen a more brutal group. I’ve followed Michigan football obsessively since Ricky Leach was a freshman. Does that count for anything?
|4 years 8 weeks ago||Quality of players and quality of play are hard to separate||
It is not “blaming the players” to note that Mississippi State had the better team on the field. Game outcomes are the result of talent and coaching, and it is often difficult to tease the two apart. You can certainly point out moments in the game where the players were let down by their coaching. But there were certainly moments where Mississippi State’s guys were simply better.
|4 years 8 weeks ago||That Lloyd Carr shirt at least had some yellow in it.||
And didn’t I make it clear this wasn’t about the coach?
|4 years 8 weeks ago||I can't find . . .||
. . . a single media article making the argument for retaining RR another year. Yes, yes, I realize Brandon doesn’t take media polls before making his decisions. But usually you can find somebody that takes the contrary view, if the argument can rationally be made.
There just is no sane defense of the Rodriguez program after ending the season with three straight games in which the team not only lost, but really never had a chance.
|4 years 11 weeks ago||Might Barwis be a tad over-rated?||
I haven’t seen the evidence that Michigan is noticeably faster or better-conditioned than most of its opponents. Clearly, Barwis is a very good S&C coach, but does he bring something that the other elite programs lack? I do not see it.
Arguably, the S&C program lagged under Carr, and Barwis has now brought it up to where it should have been all along. But should Rodriguez leave, I am not worried that the next coach would have trouble finding another very good S&C guy.
|4 years 12 weeks ago||Regarding the cost of NCAA compliance:||
Why don’t universities “just say no”? The NCAA is a voluntary membership organization. Their authority comes from their members’ willingness to comply. They’re not the Justice Department. If a few high-profile institutions simply said, “We’re not doing this any more,” that would be the end of it.
There is a precedent for this, for those old enough to remember. The NCAA used to limit TV appearances to five games every two years. When I attended Michigan (1978–83), there were years when even the Notre Dame game wasn’t televised. You always got Ohio State on TV, and then one or two others.
Eventually, a couple of schools (Oklahoma being one of them), simply told the NCAA to f___ off. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the NCAA lost.
|4 years 12 weeks ago||Calling it "dink and dunk" is a misnomer||
It's a phrase usually employed by those who don't like that kind of offense. Properly executed, it can work beautifully.
|4 years 13 weeks ago||The Pac 10 is not horrible||
What is is your adjective for the Big East and the ACC, both of which are worse?
Several factors you need top consider about the Pac 10:
1) They play 9 conference games, rather than 8 in the Big Ten, so half the conference gets an extra loss.
2) On average, they play harder non-conference schedules. Look it up. Fewer of them have a I-AA opponent on their schedule; more of them have multiple AQ opponents on their schedule. And that doesn’t even count Oregon State, which played an AQ school (Louisville) plus both Boise State and TCU.
In spite of all that, if you add up the total winning percentage of the Big Ten and the Pac 10, they aren’t very far apart.
The Big Ten has three teams in the top 10 (to two for the Pac 10), but the Pac 10 has two in the top 5 (to one for the Big Ten).
In the three head-to-head games between the Pac 10 and the Big Ten, the Pac 10 went 2-1, and their only loss was by a single point (Arizona State at Wisconsin). That is not bad, considering that Wisconsin shredded almost everyone else on their schedule.