"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
- Member for
- 6 years 42 weeks
- View recent blog entries
|51 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.
|51 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.
|2 years 6 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.
|2 years 11 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.)
|2 years 11 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.
|2 years 11 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.
|2 years 14 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.
|2 years 21 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.
|2 years 23 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.
|2 years 23 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.
|2 years 27 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.
|2 years 27 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 40 weeks 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 41 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 43 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 43 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 43 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 47 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 47 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 49 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 50 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 50 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 51 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 52 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.
|3 years 3 days 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.
|3 years 3 days 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.
|3 years 5 days 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?
|3 years 1 week 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.
|3 years 1 week 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.
|3 years 1 week 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.