I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
|1 day 21 hours ago||Better in-game response||
Most of the other posts have covered the key concerns:
Play design / play calling
The area I would like to see major strides in is adaptation and adjustment by the offense for in-game situations. It seems that the offensive coaches (Borges and others) draw up a good plan and on paper it should work - but once the game starts, if that initial plan falters we are in for a long afternoon. The games where the Wolverines start out well (score on the majority of their first few drives) in general the offense remains effective. When they are stymied early on there doesn't seem to be a contigency plan or a rapid analysis of what is going wrong."
|3 days 19 hours ago||possible common thread||
I think the only common thread is that in the games where he has been successfull, like the three games cited above, the offense was sharp and effective from the start. Against OSU 2013, the first three drives yielded 21 points. What is frustrating are the games when things are not going great but only OK or so-so - there is a also a common thread of not adjusting or making some significant change.
|4 days 6 hours ago||Both sides of the breaks||
Good analysis. Too often as a fan we just look at how the breaks go against our team and not how fortunate sometimes we are when the breaks go our way.
It also points out (1) how hard it is to have a great season, and (2) that we still need to improve - the really bad losses were Iowa and Nebraska - could have won those games without a break - and MSU was just badly outplayed on both sides.
|6 days 1 hour ago||Iowa and Nebraska insights||
Iowa: Kirk Ferentz and his assistants did a good job - few expectations - yet end up 8-4 and beat some "name" teams. Take home point - coaching can make a up for some of the disparity in talent (but not all)
Nebraska: Bo Pelini and his team had a lot of breaks this year - could've/shoud've lost to Northwestern and arguably the Wolverines, so they could have ended up 6-6. Take home point - tradition, legacy and history can't make up for talent and coaching issues.
BUT having noted that - Nebraska seemed to have a backup QB and even a third guy ready to play. So their coaching and recruiting issues aren't horrible. Iowa also has played credibly against most of the top teams this year while staying true to their style.
|1 week 7 hours ago||Whole turkey?||
I guess I wonder why a whole deep fried turkey isn't available for purchase.
It would be a seasonal thing but for a commercial place (who already have the electric fryers, thermometers, and most of all, gallons of oil, large refridgerator), this would seem to be a slam dunk.
|1 week 18 hours ago||Why isn't this available commercially?||
I heard originally the notion of deep frying a turkey was a deep south invention, but I've had it in Buffalo and elsewhere. All that hot oil requires some basic sound judgement as others have noted. But the question I wonder is why this delicious food isn't available commercially. Deep frying a turkey in a commercial fryer could be done easily - ? If there can be honeybaked ham franchises why isn't there a deep fried turkey place ? Or why doesn't one of the family restaurant places who have several commercial size deep fryers offer it as a seasonal treat? Seems obvious - is there some reason why?
|1 week 1 day ago||Yes, these are fascinating, educational and addictive||
When I first stumbled upon this site, it was the UFRs and the very careful way the plays were analyzed and broken down that caught my attention.
I hope that Brian feels better soon. Being depressed when you have a reason is only logical.
It is also a warning to those of us who might consider making an avocation into a vocation. Once it is a paying job having it to do it through thick and thin makes it only more painful.
Get well Brian and have a Happy Thanksgiving.
|1 week 1 day ago||Agreed - loss of Denard Robinson keenly felt - in many ways||
Denard Robinsin is the most exciting player I have ever seen in person at Michigan Stadium - previously Desmond Howard or Anthony Carter held that title.
As you point out his ability to take a broken play or a broken field situation and take it for huge chunks of yardage covered up a lot of missed assingments and forced opposing defenses to spend a good deal of their time and energy checking that they were in the proper lanes and position. One breakdown and number 16 could take it to the endzone.
BUT what is often overlooked is the effect he must have had on the morale and psyche of the Michigan offense and team as a whole. He was Achilles, Samson, and the Mighty Casey. So long as he could play and was healthy, a TD was always possible almost any time and any where. He seemed like an upbeat guy as well so he probably made the team feel confident that they were still in many games which they were losing statistically. They may miss that as a factor - the belief that the team can win against almost any situation.
I know that it is a different game but the Monday night NFL game was interesting. The Pats fell behind 24-0 and at halftime their HC (as revealed by him and the team members in post game interviews) didn't scream at them but told them to focus on better execution. It is probably no accident that they had Tom Brady back there - as long as he is healthy and their QB the whole team believes that they can win and comeback even when down 3.5 scores. They just had to cut down on mistakes.
I won't pretend to grasp the nuances of the X's and O's part of being an OC. But I worry that as a coach, the offensive assistants are on the verge of losing the confidence and faith of the team. Mattison and defensive assistanst seem to have the full faith and confidence and the team continues to fight despite often being in tough situations (taking the field after only a short break due to a 3 and out by the offense). Another change in concept and scheme will be chaotic, but if the team loses faith in what they are being told by the staff, then we might have to risk it.
Sorry about the long post
|1 week 1 day ago||attempt at humorous reference||
Bluto's speech in Animal House is the reference.
|1 week 2 days ago||It is the current nature of fandom||
The current nature of fandom means:
1. Less patience - everyone wants to win now. Consider in the pros where it was once a given that no rookie QB was ready to play, teams expect a rapid turn around - go from an also-ran to a playoff team in 1-2 years. A three or four year program - forget it. There is no nobility seen in being loyal and faithful. The long suffering fans of some teams of bygone generations are all fading away.
2. Less reasonable expectations - even in a mythic national championship there are usually only 2 champions at most (one in one poll and one in another) which leaves the other 150 some teams out of luck. For many teams in the past which typically had only 6 or 8 which might even get considered for a draft and maybe (a long maybe) one who actually plays in the NFL, playing in a bowl game was a great reward. Today, teams openly dismiss the Rose Bowl! (see Oregon coming out flat against Arizona - still in funk after losing to Stanford and a shot at the BCS game).
3. Less restraint - the 24 hour internet board (I know I'm not helping by contributing to it here), talk radio and cable coverage allow the most fanatical, most obsessed and most extreme fans to stoke their fervor all week long - there is no buildup - there is no off season. Every statement by every player and coach and commentator is subject to intense scrutiny and analysis. It is safe to say that for these fans - fandom is a huge part of their lives.
4. Add Big Money to these three and you get the current situation - fans stoked up to want perfect seasons each year with annihilating shut out scores with amazing offenses and defenses who are bipolar: either in ecstasy ready to canonized the players and coaches or in deep depression damning players and coaches to eternal inferno.
Like many I have my doubts about the play calling and hope the analysis of the relative youth of the team is correct. If so, the next few years should be pretty good for the OL and the team in general - we'll have jr and senior laden squads.
|1 week 3 days ago||Lou Saban?||
There is some precedent for this type of move. Usually one would assume anyone who has been a HC in the NFL would not take on a rebuilding job at a bad situation in a non-alma mater school - yet this has happened before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Saban
He helped set UCF on its D1 course. So it is certainly possible - probably just talke but not impossible.
|1 week 4 days ago||understandable - then do something worthwhile||
OK - I get you are really disappointed and frustrated, so do something positive with your OSU tickets.
Do you have some friends who have never gone to a Michigan game? Do you have a neighbor or younger family members? Gift them or sell to them at a discount - let them enjoy a lot of the other things that happen besides the game - let them see the hoopla. A lot of people even those who live in Ann Arbor for decades have never actually seen a game on site.
|1 week 4 days ago||Does the score even in a loss have relevance?||
Right now the consensus on the board seems split - many would like to see a shake up in the offensive coaching side. Others (which had been about 50/50 but seems to be definite minority now) felt there were a lot of mitigating circumstances and felt things would stay the same and be decided after next year. Ultimately the key decider is probably Dave Brandon - he needs football to be huge to accomplish his ambitious plans for the athletic campus and department. Will he let Hoke decide or give him an ultimatum about a staff shakeup?
Does the score, the look and feel of the OSU game affect that decision even in a loss?
There are three possibilities:
1.UM wins in a miraculous game - topping even the 1969 game. This will be a wonderful early Christmas present and everybody even the shakeup crowd will be happy - can't see a shake up then but it does leave the fundamental issues unaddressed.
2. UM loses badly - e.g. 63-0 or worse, (basically no TDs and gets hammered, with the defense playing 40 minutes). ? Will that leave a bad enough taste that something happens? If so will it be acomplete shake up or some other changes - like as some have suggested, hiring a specific QB coach.
3. UM loses but stays competitive - e.g. 42-28. Offense scores but OSU is just better. ? Any changes then? Any shakeup?
|1 week 5 days ago||Important thing to remember||
Right now especially in the immediate "now" right after the game, it is easy to allow emotions overwhelm the more rational parts of the mind. There is an old piece of advice from work. When something really ticks you off, write a letter and put it in a drawer. Then tomorrow take a look and re-read it - often you'll see a calmer more rational tone.
Everyone is disappointed - PSU, Neb and Iowa were far worse than MSU because the first three games were winnable. It was very clear that after the first 7 minutes, MSU was better in all phases of the game (off, def, sp team, coaching).
So rant and rave as you want but please don't question whether the kids had guts or wanted it bad enough or some other non-sense. The kids on this team, especially the ones who have a larger public presence showed in general a lot of guts and class in holding together, not being defeatist or back biting in public. They won't finish with a great record but I'll always remember them for their courage of going out there (when it is clear that they weren't being give helpful prep or training) and still took their lumps.
Earlier in the week Brian posted a bit from the old British show Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson at his best) and poked fun at the predictable repetitive Michigan offense. He didn't show the ending - it is available on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH3-Gt7mgyM
Like Captain Blackadder, Gardner and the rest of the Wolverines went over the top armed with a stick against a heavy machine gun - they did their duty and followed their leaders. So post, rant and say what you will but don't ever question their guts or committment or some other non-sense.
|3 weeks 1 day ago||The Boards won't change either||
After the loss to Malovent Sith University, the Jedis are in a funk. Some accuse Master Yoda for staying too long and leaving the Jedi academy cupboard bare of strong metachlorian laden recruits. Others point out that new Coach Luke Skywalker needs time to develop his own group of padwans. Ousted Coach Hans Solo had an impressive offense with amazing last moment victories but a weak defense relying too much on tricks like hiding inside a giant space worm or clinging to Malovent Sith University's Star Destroyer. He also upset a lot of people in central campus on Corsucant with his shoot first policy. With only victories over the Jawas of Tatooine State and Notre Dame as signature wins, Coach Skywalker at this week's presser noted that they had heart and would trust in the Force. "Try we will not, win we will or not, but no try. There is no try." This brought groans from the reporters declaring it typical "Jedi Coach Speak" and asking would he finally consider a coaching shuffle. Long time RB coach Fred Jackson, now into his 10,000th year as coach felt that there was some good prospects including one kid that would make us all remember Mike Hart of Old Earth.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Too early to speculate||
Agree - too early to over think things. Lots of things can happen during the post bowl break.
Oh one thing, I know a lot of people are down right now and may not go to the OSU game because that has the portends of a real nightmare. So if you are a regular ticket holder and aren't going to the game, please sell or better yet, gift them to a UM fan. Someone who may not be able to go to the game or has never been to the stadium. Let them go and enjoy the fun aspects of visiting the stadium. If you are hosting Thanksgiving maybe some of the out-of-town crowd might want to check things out. PLEASE do not sell them to a OSU fan.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Let's be rational||
IF MSU beats OSU - then they deserve the accolades. If the win in a major bowel - good for them.
The first step to fixing anything is to admit that there is something that needs fixing.
Oh, and let's stop using ND as a measuring stick - they aren't a major annual power anymore.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||He'll go out there and take his lumps||
Everyone knows that game didn't go well and in a way it was worse than the MSU game because there was legitimate hope that they could win the game. The MSU game was clearly a disaster after the first 7 minutes.
Coach Hoke will go there and take his lumps. That is part of being the HC.
I'd suggest someone ask him how the coaches keep up the motivation and spirit of the team. If he can't answer that in a reasonable way, that is more worrisome than any questions about x's and o's. Every coach goes through a down spell.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||two different eras of fandom||
I agree that booing doesn't help. I admit I do like booing the opposing team when they come out but that has been part of the tradition of razzing the opposition. But booing the home team isn't what college football originally was about. For many fans however that point has long changed.
College football is for many people just one more spectator sport - entertainment and like vaudeville when something occurs the crowd doens't enjoy, they boo. They don't worry about what it means or the symbolism - it is the "I'm not happy and I'm going to show it era". The whole notion of "sure I'm mad and I'm unhappy but yelling and booing at the kids isn't constructive" line of thought requires a lot of self-discipline, empathy and awareness. For people who just want to get a beer buzz and be amused for a half a day, and yell "we're number one" and "whooo" their response is that they paid their ticket so they can do as they please. I'm just glad there is no alcohol officially allowed in the stadium and that night games are rare.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||There were a lot of reasons why the game was lost||
But I would not blame the players. The defense played well enough to win - holding a team to 17 points in today's era is good enough to win most games. A fumble recovery and a muff were good enough. The offense took a beating but this isn't the 1940-50's where the QB calls his own plays - he is just one more part of a system. Were there breakdowns and missed assignments, yes, but most of all there were a lot of brave young men who went out there and tried to do there best despite not getting the type of prepartion of help we have come to think of when we think of Michigan football. It was collective failure by the coaching staff - a fair criticism which doesn't go against what you noted - we do have to hang in there and continue to struggle but we also have to acknowledge that there is something off about thing. I just don't want to see something like the Thomas Nast cartoon about the blame game. Let's see how the year plays out - do the coaching staff show the same fortitude as the players and up their game.
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Reupped||
Just re-upped the PSD for next year.
I couldn't make the game because of an illness in the family but made sure a UM fan went. If someone who has season tickets can't stomach the game find someone who never has gone to Michigan stadium and let them enjoy the other aspects - like the parachutist, the band and the whole fair/circus atmosphere around the stadium. A lot of younger fans can't afford to go at all so you'll be giving them a great experience (win or loss) - please don't sell to a OSU fan!
For others who only go for a few games it is hard to argue against a nice large flat screen TV in a warm den with comfort food nearby and no waiting for a bathroom. There are instant replays and during the commercial breaks you can do something else besides waiting. One can flip between several competitive games with ease.
And yet there is something about the live experience - when you witness something incredible (UTL1) it is hard to capture that feeling over a TV. It is like a very long term relationship - there are ups and down - bad patches and great times. Funny even though I saw the '97 team and some other great teams (Dennis Franklin teams, Elvis Grbac teams, of course Henne/Hart) the Denard Robinson teams (flaws and all) rate among the most exciting.
Hope you still come to the games
|3 weeks 4 days ago||Strangely, have come to respect Spielman post OSU||
Maybe it was his time with the Lions. Maybe it was his conduct when his wife was sick with cancer. He brings insights and most of all he seems to be able to put the OSU UM rivalry in perspective.
|4 weeks 2 hours ago||actually not that surprising||
While human dissection has been going on for centuries, the practical application of those observations have only been recently possible - and it is that practical knowledge which then helps confirm or disprove notions observed in dissections.
Consider that for very long time, the nerves which are linked to potency were theorized to be in a certain location but in the 1970's Pat Walsh, a urologist revisited this topic as part of his effort to develop a potency sparing (nerve sparing) prostatectomy for men with prostate cancer. Sometimes the way dissections are done can also affect the interpretation. There is a congenital condition in some baby boys where they are born with an partially obstructed urethra (posterior urethral valves) - the original dissections and report from 1913 were done on specimens cut longitudinally through the urethra; later anatomists realized that this approach may have distored the impression of the valve leaflets because what was described seemed to vary from what was visible on endoscopy - scopes small enough didn't exist until half a century later.
So, could there be a "new" ligament - yes, but it is probably a better understanding of an existing structure.
|4 weeks 4 days ago||Power up the retrospectoscope||
Yesterday was a terrible if not the worst defeat in the UM/MSU history in living memory (that is selfishly in my living memory of 50 some years). It was worse than the infamous clock game. After the first quarter, it was clear which team was better in ALL phases of the game and it was the team in green and white.
An aside: Right now there is an ongoing debate about the value of the humanities. The College of LSA and other programs around the country are facing a hard question about the value of studying art history (outside of being an art historian) and other humanties subjects when kids end up with tens if not hundred thousand dollars in debt. Here is where the LSA college may help us with this analysis. In history, there are broadly two viewpoints. One takes the position that the course of history was shaped by the action of individual people and emphasizes the importance of specific so-called key decisions or decisive battles. The other takes the postion that while amazing and unusual individuals (e.g. Napoleon) do have a strong influence, they are a product of larger social forces (e.g. growing desire of people in France to have individual freedom, growing wealth of the middle class). If a Napoleon didn't occur the environment of post-revolutionary France would have still lead them into conflict with the surrounding royal governments.
So what does that have to do with UM football?
If you believe in the first concept, then Rich Rod had some point or points in his timeline when he might have been able to alter his fate by making a substantially different decision or he was in a situation that so bad from the outset that he was doomed from the start. Then his only way to avoid his fate was not to have taken the Michigan job at all. If you subscribe to this line of thought, the game where he might have changed his course was the MSU game in his second year when Tate Forcier led a beleagured UM team back to tie the game. The weather was bad, and the team was barely hanging on and yet they clawed their way back - it was then that Rich Rod had to make a decision. Go for the PAT and send the game into OT or go for two - there was literally just seconds to play. The ball is on the 2 - your offense is the best part of the team and Forcier was suddenly hot. All or nothing on one play. I was surprised that an offensive coach like him didn't put it all on the line. Had he won that game, one can speculate it would have won over some of the alumni and die hard supporters - as it was, he never did beat any of the major Big Ten rivals. He is a risk taker (don't worry about points being score on you, but get more points) so it was fatal decision out of his football character.
What about the current situation? It is easy and often convenient to blame one person for the collective failure of many. Yes, I was disappointed by how some players didn't play up to their talk, but most of all I felt bad for them. They went out there and did as they were told - ran plans which asked them to hold blocks way too long than they were capable of. They went out there and faced the fury of the Spartans and took their lumps. They faced a far better prepared team and kept the game close for a long time. The defense (not arguing the strategy of bend versus attack) hung in there and only that last run when it was clear the game was hopeless did they finally got run over.
Yes, the buck does stop at the top, but there are a lot of reasons why things go bad. As many of the posts here note it goes round and round. I don't believe changing one person will lead to the type of turnaround we hope for. The troubling thing isn't the loss which hurts deeply but the failure to adjust and compensate as the season progressed. Flat against Akron. Flat against UConn, Showed a lot of vulnerability to Minn and Indiana. Didn't put away a scrappy but inferior PSU team. The nature of modern college ball means one can't simply overhaul a team during the season. The base concepts installed in training camp are the ones the team has to live with. Errors and mistakes make people worried about making more which makes some hesitant and ironically more mistake prone. Great players who make plays can make schemes look magically. Some schemes can hide deficiencies and so compensate for lesser talent. Some coaches can really get their players up for that one game (see Akron, UConn). Sometimes simple is better than complex. So I don't think dumping one coach or one coordinator will lead to a lasting change. The real issue is that while the UM is a magical place, to get better, even the great HS players which come here have to work and prepare and the coaches have to accept the notion that no one 'fears' the Wolverines and the days of just running out and squashing opponents (classic Big 2 Little 8 days) are long gone.
Since I'm rambling, tired, frustrated and sad (for the players), I'll end.
|7 weeks 4 days ago||Lost the feel of the game||
Missing makeable field goals, getting a block FG and having both occur in the same game are very improbable events so it is hard to point blame at this - plus, it isn't as if there were any glaring oversights - it isn't as if someone forgot to ask Brandon Gibbons to please make the kick, and he and whole team feel bad enough without useless fingerpointing at individual players.
Like so many of the people on the site, it seemed that the coaching staff lost their feel of the game. Near the end of regulation the game seemed well in hand but it spiral out of control. Once the Penn State miracle started to happen, I'm sure it had the feeling that the ND staff had during the last minute of UTL1.
This is the one common and worrisome concern from all of the near-miss games and this loss. Things start to go bad and or not according to plan and the adjustments seem to come late or it seems (again stress seems - maybe there is a lot going on behind the scenes) that the philosophy is "let's stand pat and hope it gets better." The passivity is worrisome because nearly all of the good teams hereafter are very active teams - they try to dictate play by attacking on both offense and defense.
Finally have to give credit to the PSU and their HC O'Brien. His decision to go for it all on 4th and 1 in OT rather than extend it with a FG suggests he knew he had the Wolverines on the ropes and that his team was going to be able to power it in. Had the play gone the other way, he would be roundly criticized but seeing how well his team had played at that point in the game, it was the right call.
Get some rest - it is still a long season! Go Blue!
|8 weeks 1 day ago||Omnicron Persei 8 State||
Must politely disagree - the biggest baddest fan base must be the followers of Omnicron Persei 8 State, Go OP8STATE!.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Makes sense, is logical, is doable, so don't hold your breath!||
Just recall that in the World Cup in 2010 in a game watched by over 1 billion people the referees completely missed a goal! And that is a simple game. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2385936/With-goal-line...
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Has Green just beaten out the other RBs?||
Forgive me if I missed this in some earlier thread but is Derrick Green basically the number 2 back after Ftiz? Just curious because Rawls seems to run hard everytime he plays but he seems hardly ever on the field. ? Other assignment reasons?
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Understandable given the past history||
I understand why it seems reasonable at the first decision point, to try to keep it close and hope for a break since historically this team has not been able to avoid a turnover, especially a painful turnover. Watching from the stands it just seemed that they had reasonable success moving the ball, and they were inside UM territory. I guess I'm basing this on a mixture of stats (all of the historical data about going for it on 4th down and close when inside the opponent's half the field) and the emotional tenor of the game. The final score doesn't really show how iffy the game was at times. When the UM got up 21-7 there was palpable relief but Minn came back down the field but ended up settling for the FG. I know it is a big if but had they gone for it a 21-14 game may not have ended so well.
Anyway, happy for the win and hoping things go well next week in Happy Valley - PSU is probably going to up for that game.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Par for the course||
The NCAA BB selection committee has a long history of having various people who strictly speaking have serious conflict of interest issues - either being former or current conference officials/coaches.
Probably the key presence of these people may be in swaying the choices outside of number 1 and 2. That is why the big conference can usually count on getting their 5 and 6th teams into the NCAA - historically some of the mid major conferences 2nd or 3rd teams might be as good or better.
|8 weeks 4 days ago||Minnesota decision not to go for on 4th down||
In the second half, the Minnesota coaches (since HC Kill is back home in Minnesota) made two bad decisions - going for FGs when they had the ball in Michigan territory rather than trying to convert a 4th down. Their offense was actually moving the ball and they needed TDs not FGs.
We were definitely helped by these decisions - the second FG basically was conceding the game to us.
|8 weeks 6 days ago||Thanks for unearthing this video||
Thanks for the video clip. Is this from a coaching film series by Bo? Any idea if the rest of the series is available somewhere?
It is very interesting to see these old videos.
1. The formations were a lot more compact then - the backs seem very close to the line of scrimmage and the splits between the OL don' t seem as wide as they are today.
2. Very specific instructions!
3. It sounds like a base defense instruction set.
|9 weeks 2 days ago||Nice to see Bo and the Big Ten's contribution recognized||
It is good to see that Bo and the Big Ten's contributions are recognized. That before air raid, spread, veer, wishbone, etc, the midwest was the hotbed of football innovation.
|9 weeks 4 days ago||several questions pop up||
1. Of course, the first one is who will take the job
2. Why now, is it really a fear of losing recruits? Possibly to a resurgent UCLA?
3. Will he get another job - Bobby Petrino continues to get gigs so it isn't impossible given Kifflin's youth. If he gets another major coaching job soon however it is prima facie evidence of the power of the networking process and/or a Faustian bargain.
|9 weeks 5 days ago||Interesting idea||
Hi, glad to see someone else has reached the same conclusions - see some of earlier posts of mine.
Rather than a major in football - make it broader and use the term Performance Atheltics much as there are Performance Music majors. Colleges, Universities and other centers of higher education all offer degrees and concentrations in fields which only a tiny fraction achieve success: music, art, and acting. No one will ever claim musicians, artists and actors have easy lives - most do not ever get to use their degrees and only a tiny fraction end up being successful - yet each year thousands of these degree holders are graduated.
Make a core curriculum around performance athletics in general with specialized training in the specific sports. I know that many people who would otherwise defend a music or art degree find it hard to believe how any sport could be deep enough to create a full 4 year course of study - but anyone who has been a regular reader of this blog would attest, sports culture in the USA has effects which can be a deep field of study - the law, economics, culture impact, psychology, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, pharmacology, math-statistics, etc.
Finally, look at the marching band, are all of the members music majors? No ( I don't know all of the recent stats on this, so if I'm wrong, please let me know) but usually it is a only a fraction of the total - so the major teams (FB, BB) will still mostly be of kids who do are not performance athletics majors.
We won't see this idea soon but I hope to see it accepted one day. Any school with a art school, music school or drama school is already part of the way there.
|10 weeks 4 hours ago||Still missing the point||
Paying something to the college athletes is sort of a solution but continues to miss a key point about ALL collegiate sports.
1. There are really two types of sports and I don't mean the division between intramural, club and NCAA sports, men and women but between those where there is a realistic professional future and those which do not. For those in the former group (for men - football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lesser degree soccer, swimming/track and all other olympic sports, for women - basketball, olympic sports, softball) there is surprising little actual formal training. On campus their development is actually hindered by the NCAA rules on practice time. There is also an artificial separation which prevents the whole of subject of professional sports performance development from being a serious academic topic.
2. The universities and colleges can actually make the whole college athletics experience more transparent by allowing athletes in the sports with a professional future to have a degree major called Performance Athletics. Just like one can get a degree in Performance Dance, Performance Cello or a degree in drama (Yale has a drama school so it is hardly just a public school thing) or a Bachelor/Master in Fine Arts, why not Performance Athletics (PA or a Bachelor in PA or BPA)?
3. Look how much cultural influence spectator sports has in the USA and worldwide. It seems to be just snobbery ("football can't be a cultural art like oil painting or ballet or violin") that prevents people from acknowledging it. Right now we have a 200 million dollar plus athletic facility with crowds of over 100,00 for a NON-DEGREE GRANTING NON-CONCENTRATION extra-curricular activity. For critics who say you can't earn a living with a Performance Sports degree, I would point out that most people who have an art, drama and music degree do not become star artists, actors, and musicians yet we continue to pump out graduates in these fields. No one seems to mind producing starving artists. The chancellors, presidents and regents have to accept the fact that this is legitimate field into which young men and women devote their lives and which has culture relevancy and deserving of official recognition.
4. Make Performance Athletics serious - have it vetted like all other degree programs - no one stops the History major from LSA from going to the libray or reading and writing full time. No one who is a BPA major should be enjoined from training year round as much as they want. Once committed to that major, they have a 5 year time frame to complete their training. The curriculum would consist with sports specific training and classes and because it would be an actual academic discipline. Here is a sample core curriculum
120 credit hour with cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better, at least half of the course credits must be in the BPA core curriculum.
First Year Writing and Speaking Course
Upper Level Writing and Speaking Course
Introduction to Psychology
Language Requirement - 4th term proficiency in some language beyond English
Quantitative Reasoning Requirement - statistics in sports
Sports and American Culture 1
Sports and American Culture 2
Sports and World Culture 1
Sports and World Culture 2
Economics of Spectator Sport
Introduction to Sports Law and Contracts
Introduction to Musculoskeletal Physiology and Kinesiology
Human Anatomy and Physiology for non-science majors
Position specific master classes: Charles Woodson comes back to hold two week seminar on modern defensive back play, Tom Brady to spend two weeks on how modern offenses analyze and create a game plan.
Sports specific conditioning
5. The bargain that the athletes currently are making is very one sided for most of them. They can get hurt, driven off the team (either directly or via a phony medical retirement) or simply not get renewed and they end up with little or nothing. A few with marginal or average skills do take advantage of the situation and end up getting a funded degree but many (too many) end up with nothing - no formal sports training and no other option. This approach will allow that 10-15% of the elite level college athletes to really be well prepared for their sports - it isn't for everybody - some will find they aren't good enough, others won't want to do the work, but for others it will be exactly what they are seeking.
6. The bargain will then be more fair - these top athletes will then be getting something back that is worth more than a stipend or salary - top notch preparation, top notch training and top notch teaching about the ins/outs of contracts and the legal aspects of big money sports.
7. I know it is a dream right now but consider this - how many theaters, musuems or art shows draw 100,000+ 8 times a year for over 20 years? How many people brag about being in the audience when Olivier played Hamlet for the first time versus how many will claim they were there for UTL1?
|11 weeks 19 hours ago||Key issues facing the next president||
Whomever is selected as the next president will face a lot of issues:
1. First and foremost is the 800 elephant gorilla in the ante room of every undergraduate campus: can the traditional liberal arts education have a role in the current world that justifies the high tuition and board fees? Many of the programs have an easier time "justifying" their existence. The engine school produces engineers. The natural sciences part of LSA produce scientists. I have a LSA degree so please don't think I'm one of those people who believe everything on campus has to be directly linkable to a final job or salary. Just wanted to point out that this is the question that every college president is facing from alumni and prospective student parents. Can't pretend everything is fine and hope no one asks these questions.
2. Medical campus: Again whether one likes it or not, running the university now has taken on partially running the medical campus which has a multi-billion dollar budget bigger than the combined budgets of central campus, Dearborn and Flint combined. The new president will need to determine who is the next Executive VP for Medical Affairs. A bad choice or mediocre choice is not only demoralizing for medical campus but costs big bucks. Research funding is plateauing and probably will decline so clinical revenue will become ever more important to bridge and keep many departments solvent.
3. Future development: As others have pointed out, dollars may be better spent on scholarships rather than buildings but buildings will go up or be renovated. The acquisition of the Pfizer property now gives an uninterrupted chunk of land from Central Campus to US 23. What will go there? A new replacement adult hospital? More power generation?
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Longer term view||
I appreciate your point and as a conference the Big Ten isn't steam rolling over other teams and no one is chanting "Big 10" like a wind up doll but is that really a goal we want to shoot for?
Thanks to the internet, cable TV and sports talk radio, every rumor, possible signing, actual signing, and every second of every play of every game is now subject to the most intense scrutiny surpassing even the Zapruder film of JFK's assasination (for the younger people who don't know of this reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapruder_film).
Some good comes of this:
1. Very obscure and unrecognized players and teams become known. The unknown phenom or the greatest team "no one has ever heard of probably won't ever exist again." You don't have to get a New York or Chicago based newspaper sport columnist to write about your team or player to become known nationally.
2. Rising level of play and coaching. Are there more quality CFB players in the past? Is the pool bigger despite competition from other sports due to the popularity of football in general and the intense early identification and training of players? Probably yes, but even MORE IMPORTANT is the quality of coaching, scouting and preparation is at an all time high. Coaches have their professional groups that have annual meetings and training sessions. Video allows careful and close scrutiny of every team. It used to be only some rough grainy 35 mm film was available - now literally almost every Division 1 team has someone whose only job is to break down hours (sometimes whole seasons) of video to help coaches analyse tendencies and trends. Gameplans may not get executed correctly but I would venture to guess the the quality of those plans has improved over the past several decades.Just as training is now a 24x7x365 activies for top college players coaching is/will be like that. Right now every team that will face the UM this season AND next season is getting copies of the Akron game and breaking down what worked and didn't work seeing if there was something there they can use. As a fan of CFB we should expect closer contests in the future and we'll all enjoy better games.
3. Which means that we might be seeing the slow end but ultimate end of the cupcake era. Yes, there will be mismatches where one team is clearly mismatched but we shoudln't be as shocked at "upsets" - it is still a team game and getting a whole team up and ready allows for just enough variation that upsets will happen. Teams will still get jobbed by bad calls but that is whole other issue. (sorry Wisconsin, but you were robbed)
Some not so good things;
1. Winning or being perceived as being winners in CFB takes on a life of its own. We hear a lot of Walmart Wolverines but in some places support of a college team has morphed into somehow a statement of culture and regional pride, as if having a great CFB team is a lasting social contribution to USA and human civilization (which in the case of halting official segregation may be true of some places but that show you how far they had to come)
2. Overshadowing of real values - the UM has been fortunate. In large part even the most successful players who have had long and lucrative professional careers after Ann Arbor have acknowledged some OTHER benefits from having spent time at the UM.
|13 weeks 20 hours ago||A wonderful book||
A few other notable points of that era.
1. The LEFT tackle was a major offensive player in Yost's systems.
2. It was single platoon - none of this modern unlimited substitution. Next the forward pass, the ability to rotate players in-and-out at will probably affected football the most profoundly.
3. The book not only discusses Yost's coaching methods, his offensive and defensive thoughts it was also a rule book!
|13 weeks 1 day ago||Suggests stadium ownership may be at best breakeven?||
I can understand the two points - both sides (Ross and the city) want to limit their contribution and have someone else risk more capital. But is owning the stadium really a great investment even for a team owner? There are 8 weeks that do pretty well, and the rest of the time - monster trucks rally, motocross, a few concerts (maybe) but not that much use for a football specific place.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||He took the easy way out||
Somewhere sometime long ago, Coach Holtz had to decide how he was going to play his TV persona "Lou Holtz". He decided to take the easy way and never pick against ND and always gloss over things. Why? Who know? Maybe he does very well speaking before ND alumni groups and such. Maybe he just can't let it go and maybe it is the simpler easier way to go. Being more objective is actually hard - no knee jerk response, no need to work through the many difficult grey issues - just simple for our team or against or team thinking; just turn off those higher cerebral centers and let that reptillian primitive part of the brain take over.
While they do show their affection to their old schools you have to credit both Desmond Howard and Kirk Herbstreit with making the more difficult choice of actually attempting to see other sides of issues and positions. Fortunately the fandom for the Wolverines is rational enough to accept that as a good thing. It would be hard to imagine Desmond Howard not being able to live in Ann Arbor if you were to actually criticize the Wolverines on ESPN unlike the situation in Columbus and Herbstreit.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||Have to give credit||
I know that for a lot people in the stadium, halftime is about running to the bathroom, rehydrating or fueling up, but consistently the band has done a great job in providing a nice diversion especially to kick off the season.
Working in the whole James Bond theme, getting the jet pack guy and filming the cut scenes all took time and money. Playing more popular and recognizable tunes (not all public domain) is also a charge which is often overlooked.
|13 weeks 4 days ago||I think they got out of football all together||
Hi, I think they've shut that part down which is too bad. I am willing to admit I too had one of the FanVision units. I got mine as part of a seat deal. For those who don't know what it is, the Fanvision unit is basically a small videocomputer unit that accepts a short range narrow cast at the stadium and other locations. It was started by someone who is a UM alum (I believe ) and originally it was hoped that people would buy or rent units. It is basically like a big video game controller but with a pretty sharp little LCD screen. During the game you can access ESPN and see other games live or on replay and get live stats and also access the different camera positions - either the one going out live or other cameras in the stadium. It was offered at the NFL stadiums and the UM was the only college stadium to have it.
Did it work? Yes, and it was cool to be able to track other games especially during conference play and see replays of big plays.
Was it cumbersome? Yes, it is big and heavy to hang around one's neck and way too big to tuck anywhere.
Why it didn't do better? Well, it was sort of like taking a TV set to the game. Great sometimes but a pain at other times.
Is it an idea ahead of the time? It might be an idea which came on too late. Before super-smart phones, and ultra light video devices, this might have been terrific but today, a lot of people (if they can get service) could see video, get updates and stats on their smart phones. It might work better as a app based service rather than a hardware based model but probably it wouldn't be as profitable. WIth 7 inch iPad/Galaxies available - one could easily see a 5 inch miniscreen/video/phone that would be lighter, more versatile and largely do the same thing.
They've moved on to tennis, golf and auto racing. There might be so much coverage of college and pro football on the general web that it might be too late there.
|14 weeks 1 day ago||Different level of fans, different nature of fandom||
Agree with the fundamental notion that in any crowd of 100,000 people that it is unlikely everyone is there for the same reasons.
Like college football in general, college football fandom is more than just football. For a lot of people, the social aspects are paramount. Getting together with friends and family (sometimes the most contact they have is during the season at the game), socializing (with or without drink) and bascially contacting on a social level. For lot of students, they go because their friends are going, or there are parties, or there will be beer. Does everyyone who goes to rock concerns really truly "love" the band? Can they all recite all of the lyrics to the major hits and the B sides and tracks from all of the albums? Do they know all of the ins and outs of who was in and out of the band and the story beyond each song or tour? No, but they are still fans and they still go for the same reason people go to the games.
Many super serious football fans would actually prefer to watch on TV so they can catch all of the replays and track the other games in the progress because they enjoy that aspect - they could care less about the band, pre-games, flybys and stuff. They like all of those stats, video snippets and being to cut away to other games and watch 3-4 games at a time. If football fandom was all about being serious about the actual game, it would be video replays, x's and o's and play breakdowns.
For most of the people on this board I would guess they want to see the game from kick off to final whistle but we have to acknowledge that there are a lot of kids who are at the game because it is something to do. They just aren't that into the game.
|16 weeks 1 day ago||Have fun but also be practical||
Congratulations on the little ones!
1. Due to heightened security, there is almost zero chance you'll get the stroller inside the grounds. The suggestion of the previous posters make the most sense - either drop the gear at a nearby tail gate site and be prepared to carry the little ones over or if you have another adult with you, do the drop and pickup. Drop you and the little ones at the stadium and the other adult goes park. When you are ready to go, have one of you get the vehicle and circle back as close as you can - remember that Main Street will be closed! We had some elderly guests (85+ years) and arranged this - but at that time Main Street was open so that was possible.
2. If cost is really not an option, suggest getting one of the open air Jack Roth club or upper level sections like Section 3 to 5 - that puts you up opposite the band section. With sequestration, there won't be (I believe) a fly over so you don't have to worry about that. The club option really may be the ideal choice - when the kids get bored, they can retreat inside and run around a bit and there are fewer crowds and you can get out of the sun.
3. Angelo's is great but remember - everyone thinks they are great so come early! So be prepared for a crowd. Since you have little ones - you might be conditioned to get up early - so earlier the better and beat the crowd. Zingerman's has been re-done and they have nice open air area - pricier but nice. The Cracked Egg on North Main is also a good breakfast place.
4. Hands On Museum (Fifth Avenue area), Botanical Garden and the Natural Science Museum are all good choices.
Have fun, but as many have noted be realistic about how much of the game you'll see and how much they'll remember. Get some nice pictures - often the ushers are nice and will take a picture for you with the field as a backdrop if you ask nicely and the little ones usually closes the deal.
Soon, you'll be able to go New Jersey and see the Wolverines play Rutgers every other year.
|16 weeks 3 days ago||Ticket arrive staggered||
Hi, for what it is worth the tickets are sent out in a staggered fashion.
1. Premium box/club seats went out early, so these reached many people by August 5.
2. Alumni Association tickets went out about August 8.
3. Other seats including chair backed seats went out around August 9.
I'm basing this on the actual post cancellation dates of the envelopes on my tickets and those of friends. Due to the vast number of tickets, some might go out the day before or after the dates above. So if you haven't gotten your season tickets yet, it might come by Monday or Tuesday.
I don't know if this is due to a change in the Ticket Office. In years gone by the seaon tickets would arrive first then the Alumni tickets. After the revamping of the tickets the box/club tickets seem to go out separately. A few years ago I think the department went with a new printer and that delayed the mailing a bit but things seem to be in a new routine.
Hope this helps
|23 weeks 22 hours ago||Not a EE or ME or any type of engineer||
Hi, I'm not a EE or ME or Aero E grad, so I'll defer to those here who seem to know the technical side.
I do believe (and I'm sure someone here who has stronger evidence will correct me) that take offs and landings are the times where unfortunate events can happen that do require everybody's attention. A power failure during take off or a run way over shoot or sliding off of the tarmac, etc. So having everyone just disconnect from the virtual world and focus for a few minutes on the real world during the time when they need to have their ears and eyes open seems reasonable.
|44 weeks 4 days ago||Great insightful point||
A lot of interesting comments - some of which are influenced by a variety of other agendas.
Your point is exactly right. Bo and Woody were from a time when winning the kid's parents over was the most important thing and playing later on in the NFL was just an after thought. Charming mom and dad and assuring that their kid would get a good education and that someone would keep an eye on their lad were the big selling point. The coach as the ultimate loco parentis father figure was a major selling point back then.
Both of them (it could be confidently stated) would have pulled an offer from any kid who did a hat press conference thing. Neither really liked recruiting and would usually close the deal after a lot of leg work by their assistants. High school coaches I believe had longer tenures back then - so Bo and Woody could actually know the coaches of the top 25 big high school in Michigan and Ohio.
Today, some of the parents are the ones egging the kids on to think about which schools could help them get ready for the NFL. The role of non-traditional advisors also is huge now. There is now Twitter, Facebook, the Big Ten Network and the UM has its own video presence via the web and there are places like MGoBlog.com.
Different times, different styles and different methods!
|44 weeks 4 days ago||great diary - great data||
Thanks for doing this - helps put a rational perspective on things. Unlike some sports like basketball where getting one player can elevate a team from an also-ran to a Elite Eight or even Final Four contender, one highly rated high school RB can only do so much - too many other variables.
This diary (which I hope you'll keep up and possible expand to other positions like OL, DL, DB, QB) demonstrates a few points:
1. One player can only do so much - note that many of the RBs who went on to success in the NFL didn't rack up 3-4 1000 yd/seasons in college. This can be due to many reasons (playing behind a good starter, bad OL, etc) but it also suggests most were probably not starting as freshmen and running for 4 years (unlike Mike Hart).
2. Michigan did try to recruit and did land some highly rated RBs - but for whatever reason, it just didn't pan out. So welcome Derrick Green, but I hope Brady Hoke and Fred Jackson also picked up a few 3 and 4 star backs.
3. ? Any way to detect synergy between OL and RB recruitment? That is, does landing 4 and 5 star RBs help land 4 and 5 star OL and vice versa? Or are they independent variables - neither OL and RB really seem affected by signings in the other group? I realize that this may be tricky to assess?
|46 weeks 20 hours ago||"rogue chemists"? No, but think for a moment about implications||
Yes, I think if the so called governing bodies really want to be serious about PEDs they need to investigate how they were synthesized, tested and distributed. Catching Victor Conte and Marion Jones is like catching the corner pusher and drug crack addict - they aren't the masterminds or the cartel lab people.
I don't mean there is some secret group of "rogue chemists" on campus - but I do mean that you need to be somewhere there are recent grads who work in the biochemical and pharmaceutical industry nearby. Just like if you need to workup a gizmo which which is digital and can be computer driven, then the Silicon Valley is the place to be or if you want to do a civil aviation startup perhaps Wichita, Kansas would be a better place than downtown Ann Arbor due to the number of aeronautical engineers, project managers and other people who have civil aviation experience.
Reverse engineer the question:
If one were to try to develop a PED which could evade detection how would you do it?
1. You'd need someone familiar with the field - who knew the existing literature or what there may be. They can help guide the research and avoid deadends. Steroid synthesis and an understanding of the new field where peptide hormones which can stimulate steroid receptors or have steroid like effects is a requirement (this is why some plastic by products have steroid effects even though they don't have the classic steroid structure)
2. You'd need someone who knew how PED screening is done - what assays are used, what type of tests - mass spect? chromatography?
3. You'd need to have someone who has done drug clinical trials - after you have the prototype test drugs, you have to run some test trials to figure out the optimal dosing schedule - to know how close you could administer it to a potential test and how fast it clears the system.
4. You'd need a group of biochemists - some to fabricate the drug, some to work on how to optimize the drug for delivery (oral would be best, nasal absorption, topical ointment and finally injection), others to help figure out to best mask it - adding or subtracting a non-critical sidegroup or perhaps the form - could it be crystallized or aerosolized? Practical experience is important.
5. Finally, you'd need someone to act as a general project manager - to find a building to act as a lab, create a dummy front to buy supplies and materials from the science supply shops, pay the electricity bills, and keep accounts to buy the major equipment to outfit the lab, some testing could be farmed out innocously to commercial testing labs without tipping your hand, but other things have to be done "in house" - this person doesn't have to be a scientist but has to have some practical experience in running major research science projects. This person reports to whomever is backing the effort financially.
6. This project will take years to perfect with no immediate payoff - unlike a met-amphetamine lab. The backers have to have deep pockets.
So where would you look to find people who might have these skills and be underemployed?
|46 weeks 2 days ago||A sad moment but necessary.||
Historically cycling has always been suspect. BEFORE there were synthetic steroids available (pre-World War II) it was openly known that the top cyclists would fortify themselves with alcohol, cocaine, pep pills and strychnine - which was believed to help "loosen" up the muscles. So is it really that shocking ("Gambling at Rick's?!, I"m shocked - Inspector Renault, Casablanca) that once steroids, blood doping, etc. became available that it wouldn't be used?
In strength and endurance sports, the advantages are obvious - but even in so-called "skill" sports, these agents allow quicker recovery and more intense training.
Most people don't benefit - so most of the high school kids shooting up or loading up, are just wasting their money, time and threatening their future health for nothing.
But for a few top percent, the small but significant improvement can be the difference between 10th place and 1st place, gold and never-was, scholarship and high-school flame out.
Because of the secrecy we don't even know how PEDs could be used medically. When the whole BALCO affair developed the real push should have been aimed not just at Barry Bonds and Victor Conte, but at their biochemists - that is why BALCO was based there - it wasn't because Bonds was in SF. It is because UCSF, Berkley (U of California) and Stanford are around the corner. It takes more than a passing knowledge of biochemistry to design drugs and know the testing protocols to create structures to evade these tests. Notice that no one was charged in that regard? Where were the labs? Who was doing their synthesis? Who was running the initial trials to figure out the dosing programs and how to evade the testing? Designer PEDs are not off the shelf products - it isn't a met-amphetamine cooking receipe that someone cooks up on a cooktop in a trailer. If the sports governing bodies are serious about PEDs, they have to start here and understand how they are being created and how they are circumventing the testing process.
|46 weeks 3 days ago||Why he is great||
I watched the Pats Texans game with some people who aren't die hard FB fans and they actually had an insight. One of noted that Brady made the whole process look very easy. Just throw to the guy who is uncovered, or just arc the ball over the defender and into the waiting hands of the running receiver. It seemed at the time like one of those observations that non-fans make but later I realized that actually shows how great Brady really is as a QB and passer - he makes the game look that simple. Don't know if he is the greatest so far but clearly he is among the greatest.
|46 weeks 4 days ago||I hope this is one of those turning point games||
The NFL is often described as a copy-cat league. Once one team does something successfully the other teams emulate. The 1940 NFL championship game won by the Chicago Bears 73-0 over the Washington Redskins is usually cited as the game which established the T-formation as the dominant offensive formation for decades - replacing the single wing, A formation and other variants.
Could the success of Kapernick, RG3 and Wilson make teams reassess spread attack/pistol attack QBs? Granted these guys could really throw the ball but Kapernick really did major damage scrambling and on the called runs. The pistol dive option which went 50+ yards for the TD put to rest the notion that the spread can't work in the NFL.
|47 weeks 5 days ago||Agreed - not just position but also the team.||
He would be a great RB on a team with a mature offense. New England is an intriguing possibility - Danny Woodhead who set all sorts of D2 records is an example - only DR is a much better runner. He is strong enough and powerful enough to run 10-12 x per game if needed, but really his real strength is popping him free on quick passes which can become lots of yards after catch. The other teams you mentioned may not be as good a fit. Denver needs to win now or tomorrow - can't plan on Peyton Manning beyond a few years, so if they need a runner, they'll need a RB more like Alfred Morris - who can really pound it between the tackles.
We just have to hope he gets drafted by a team that has an interest in getting him on the field. The NFL is such a copy cat and conservative league, it is hard to be the first one to break ranks.
He'll get drafted, but he'll have to be the trailblazer - his breakaway speed and elusiveness are clear, but how to best use his talents has so far not been clear - look at Pat White and how he ended up. If he becomes a star, it will make it easier for future players of the same style.
An earlier poster also asked if anyone has ever swapped from offense to defense and been any good. The only name I could recall was Nolan Cromwell who was a running QB out of Kansas who later had a good career as a DB for the old LA Rams.
|48 weeks 18 hours ago||Another implication||
The large victory margin in the early Bo era must also take into account that the conference schedule was a true round robin and they were fewer non-conference cupcakes. That shows the tremendous superiority of the Wolverines over most of the Big Ten (except OSU) during that time.
|48 weeks 18 hours ago||Exactly!||
The South Carolina game had so many what ifs - one wrap up tackle, one less fumble, one etc...Yes, the SEC teams have won many games this year, but the notion that any conference is dominating another is pretty untenable.
Even if Louisville completely gags this game away, any notion of "dominance" should be put aside.
"This is why they play the game...:
|48 weeks 1 day ago||Technology is here but is the business infrastructure||
From the postings, it seems that the technology is here or wil be very soon but there is doubt about whether the business infrastructure is there to take advantage of it. Especially given the basic conservatism of the major content providers (pro and college football) - what incentive is there to move away from a model which is in their eyes predictable and so far incredibly lucrative? For the NCAA and college football conferences, there is also the impending true football playoffs for Div. 1 in a few years - another reason why the forces of standing pat might advocate doing nothing new and seeing how that works first - if that is a huge financial bonanaza it brings back the same point - why tinker with something that is working great?
Like a lot of new tech, the first users will have to be a bit more daring and a risk taker. The comedian Lous CK took such a chance with direct funding and promotion/distribution. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/louis-ck-video_n_1370516.html
So, it might take a second or third tier sport or one which has a strong internet niche following - e.g. the people who follow EPL in the USA, or world class rugby or cricket (I know these barely register on the sports radar here but that is the point) the USA market is such that even a small fan base could be profitable.
The flip side hasn't been mentioned that such a system would allow easier and wider dissemination of US based sports around the world - something the NBA and NFL have long had an interest. The college game probably won't appeal to most except the most diehard world wide diehard football fans - but they do exist.
For now, suspect the deals based on the old cable model will be OK for a few more years, but once someone takes a chance, the direct stream of revenue and the flexibility will be irresistible to the leagues.
|48 weeks 1 day ago||Split decision||
Agreed - the helmets worked and the jerseys largely due to the inability to recognize the numbers were a failure.
Came to the game a bit late and at first I thought the Michigan receiver was wearing some sort of temp vest or even a no number jersey.
I get it that modern jersey trends have been about creating new looks to buzz up sales. The UTL throwbacks worked well. But the jersey and helmets have to do their original purpose - allowing spectators to ID the team and players. No one did a TV test with the jerseys out on a field otherwise it would have been obvious that the numbers would blend and bleed with the jerseys.
|50 weeks 6 days ago||Thanks for the link and for the clarification.||
Like many I quickly clicked on the topic because I was confused and intrigued why Hoke was at a NBA-Olympic team reunion ... wondered if he talked with Magic, Bird, Jordan, etc.
|51 weeks 4 days ago||interesting idea suggest a tweak||
An interesting idea. Might suggest this tweak.
Why not just track the number of minutes a team is ahead, behind or tied?
Teams that dominate a game (e.g. 2012 Michigan versus Illinois 45-0) would have a brief period when the game was tied - in the case above, Michigan scored at 6 minutes into the 1st quarter and led the whole way.
So the result would be BEHIND: 0 minutes, TIED: 6 minutes, AHEAD: 54 minutes.
For a closer game (e.g.. 2012 MSU versus Michigan, 12-10)
No score in 1st quarter - TIED: 15
2nd quarter - Michigan scores FG at 10 mark, so that means the 5 min leading up the score were TIED: 5 min, AHEAD at 10 mark, added second FG at 1 min mark, so led for the remaining 10 min.
At halftime for the UM, BEHIND: 0, TIED: 20, AHEAD 10
3rd quarter, UM leads until MSU scores a TD at 7 min into the quarter, so that means AHEAD: add 8 minutes, BEHIND: 7 minutes. 3RD quarter ends MSU leading 7-6
After 3rd quarter for the UM, BEHIND: 7, TIED: 20, AHEAD: 18
In the 4th quarter UM trails until in the 13th minute FG makes it 9-7, BEHIND: 7+2=9, TIED: 20, AHEAD 18 at this point, we stay ahead until MSU scores a FG at the 5 minute mark, making it 10-9, so we add 8 minutes to the AHEAD =18+8=26. We don't score until under the final minute FG, so rounding the full minute, we are behind 5 more minutes and ahead only 1. Final line:
BEHIND 14, TIED 20, AHEAD 27 (doesn't add up perfectly to 60 minutes due to rounding to next minute, didn't feel like adding up the seconds but it could be done). This is a classic close game: nearly evenly split between TIED, BEHIND, and AHEAD.
What about a game we snuck back to win? (Northwestern vs UM 2012 38-31 OT)
1st quarter - no score until 8th minute, NW scores and leads until UM ties at the 2nd minute. TIED: 10, BEHIND: 5 - score at quarter end: 7-7
2nd quarter - UM takes lead at 6 min mark, NW ties it just before the half. TIED: 7 (6+1), AHEAD 6, BEHIND: 5, game is tied at half time, 14-14.
3rd quarter - tied until NW scores at 11th min, adds FG at 3rd minute. Michigan adds TD but still trails for the whole quarter, 24-21. TIED: 7, AHEAD 6, BEHIND: 20
4th quarter - UM behind until 8th min when TD lifts them ahead 28-24. NW goes back in front at the 3rd min, 31-28. Michigan ties with FG with 2 seconds. TIED: 7, AHEAD: 11 (6+5), BEHIND: 30, score tied 31-31.
In OT, time really doesn't matter since it is a single possession game, but tracking the number of minutes ahead, behind or tied confirms the notion that the UM were fortunate to win the game.
Applying the idea to Stanford Oregon 2012
1st quarter - no score: TIED: 15
2nd quarter - Standford scores at 12th minute and leads until 3rd minute when Oregon ties. Halftime score: 7-7. For Stanford, TIED: 21, AHEAD 9, BEHIND: 0
3rd quarter - Oregon scores at 6 min mark making it 14-7. They hold the lead through the end of the quater. For Standford: TIED: 35, AHEAD 9, BEHIND: 6
4th quarter - Stanford equalizes at the 1 minute mark. For Stanford: TIED: 36, AHEAD: 9, BEHIND: 20 (14+6) Score is 14-14 going to OT. Again I'm rounding up - ideally one could just use the actual number of seconds but I doing this on the fly and didn't dig out the spreadsheet.
Don't know what to call this stat - Time of Advantage, Time Ahead, Time of Dominance but it may be of value in assessing the nature of the wins and losses in an more objective way.
Easy to find data. Easy to understand and calculate. Offers insight into a game.
A 28-0 victory might have been for the winning team TIED:50, BEHIND: 0, AHEAD 10 when the other team finally wore out. In contrast a 35-0 blowout might have been a laugher from the start with a line of TIED: 1, BEHIND:0, AHEAD: 59. Yet in the paper, the two results might seem the same.
|51 weeks 6 days ago||single platoon? another approach||
It is easy to forget that once a huge monster player was someone who was 6'4" and weighed 245 lbs. If you look at the big NFL players of the late 1960's and early 1970's that was pretty big. Now, it is about average for some LB's let alone DT and DEs. The NFL and NCAA may want to bury their heads in the sand but there is some other factor (e.g. PED) at work creating the large numbers of supersized players. There was also a few very big players in the past - Roger Brown of the Lions from their Paper Lion era was one of only two 300 lbers in the NFL. Now, high school lines have been fielded where everyone is 300 lb+. Making the field wider and bigger (like in the CFL) may not help. As others have noted, it is not just the size but the speed - these new big players aren't just chunky but really fast. So it isn't just their Mass but their Velocity squared which is dangerous.
Making the players more conscious of their vulnerability may help - ironically lessening the amount of equipment might decrease the false sense of invulnerability. Do top flight rugby players have the same concussion percentage? (not a regular fan of rugby but perhaps there are MgoBlog fans here who are).
Single platoon with only limited substitution (think of it like a baseball game - once a player is subbed, he's out for the game) would make multi-talented players very important, but still allow running and passing of all sorts. It would place a natural brake on speed - the players would have to save their strength and energy. It would also allow small schools to compete more readily with big schools. Often small schools have a few talented players but can't fight the depth of a big school. We'd see more NCAA MBB tourney style upsets. BUT of course, this won't happen - too much money, and the increased specialization and speed is too entertaining on TV. Few QBs would develop to the degree they have today, if they also had to play DB. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady probably couldn't run well enough to stay on defense. Devin Gardner, Denard Robinson and for those remember, Nolan Cromwell would have been OK as DB/QB. All of the discussion about where to kickoff, the ease of field goals and such would become moot - no one would field a specialist kicker. So we'd probably not see many 40-50 yard FG attempts and more squib kickoffs.
Perhaps once upon a time, eliminating the unlimited substitution rule and forcing teams to play single platoon style might have worked (this was largely how the game was played in Yost's time I think) As recently as the 1960's this issue was actually still be debated. Just too much money today to take a step in that direction.
|1 year 1 week ago||He did not throw or take reps||
At the Iowa game, he didn't take any of the usual offensive warm up throws.
He probably sustained a neuropraxic injury to the ulnar nerve - often these take 6-8 weeks to recover fully. He could probably do simple light like hold a pencil after a week or so, but clutching a ball firm to avoid fumbling or throwing with velocity is probably unlikely. The good news is that if he was cleared to play, he probably doesn't have an injury which could be aggravated by contact.
I'm sure he did what he could. That run was terrific and it will be one of the highlights of his career to score in the shoe against the bucks.
|1 year 1 week ago||Hit the pillow but please don't yell at the cat||
I hope DR gets the record AND he has a great post-UM career in what ever he does. Today it is hard to know unless you are on the inside, but it seems like he is a good guy and it would be great if he could end his college career as the record holder. He hasn't done anything publically to embarass the school or team. Go Denard and Go Wolverines!
|1 year 1 week ago||Thank you - needed to be posted||
Thank you for posting this.
Victory has many fathers and defeat is an orphan - to paraphrase JFK (could be wrong and if so I'm sure someone here will identify the proper source).
When Brady Hoke took over the HC duties he faced many challenges. Beating the traditional rival OSU, restoring the dominance of UM in the Big House, and squashing the up and coming teams (like MSU, Illinois, NW). He's largely done that and he led the UM to a bowl game.
I'm not overlooking the dismay many have had over issues with the offense this year which are real but we should look ahead with confidence - a realistic confidence and not the usual "wait till next year." Greg Mattison has re-established Michigan as a defensive power in the Big Ten and nationally. OSU only scored 6 second half points - six on two field goals.
The defense will only get better. Why? Look at some of the better academic institutions which also play good college football - namely, Stanford, Northwestern and even Notre Dame. They show that there is a pool of players who can qualify here and really play. Michigan is and will be in the near future a top school so we can hope to draw on that same pool.
We may not have a once in a generation player like Denard Robinson (the best running QB ever at the UM, eclipsing Steve Smith) next year but the team will be strong and a contender.
|1 year 1 week ago||Close Game UM||
A close game will go to the UM but a rout ... ugh.
If Brady Hoke, Al Borges and Greg Mattison win this, this would rank as one of the greatest UM victories - dare I say it, it can be mentioned in the same breadth as the 1969 game.
When you dislike someone or disagree with them, it is easy to overlook their attributes and only focus on their shortcomings. This is a good Buckeye team. Beating them would be an accomplishment.
|1 year 1 week ago||Says a lot of the nature of ownership in the NFL||
The NFL from its inception wanted individual owners or families and not some faceless conglomerate to own the team. I'm not clear as to why - perhaps they felt it made it easier to determine who is ultimately responsible. But as we've seen with some franchises, there is a price to be paid for this arrangment.
1. Individual owners sometimes put a bit too much of themselves into the process - they ultimately become a big part of why the team on the field is not more successful.
2. They meddle in the drafts - like Jerry Jones in Dallas or Al Davis in Oakland.
3. They can hire cronies or friends or just "nice people" who unfortunately are terrible football minds - like William Clay Ford in Detroit and Matt Millen - by most accounts, a great college and pro player and a fun analyst on TV but an unmitigated disaster as a personnel man and general manager - yet he got 10 years! This was in the modern era and not in the Detroit Heralds of 1917.
4. They can interfere with personnel decisions in trades or when to trade and move on - Bud Adams in Tennessee and staying with Vince Young long after everyone else realized he wasn't going to make it, or Woody Johnson of the NY Jets who by rumor admittedly okayed the trade of Tebow to the Jets despite his GM Mike Tannebaum and HC Rex Ryan giving just two weeks earlier a 3 year $40.5 million contract extension to QB Mark Sanchez.
|1 year 1 week ago||Cable package options||
Hi, just trying to understand some background on this deal.
1. We know already there are a multitude of UM, OSU and PSU fans in the NYC to Wash DC corridor.
2. It is already possible to view the BTN in that area on local cable providers.
I was curious how easy option 2 is for fans? I have Comcast and most of the most basic packages have BTN in their sports lineup. Is that the case for people in Virginia, Maryland, NJ, and NY State?
If it is, then the move isn't so much about getting the network onto cable packages as much as it is leveraging it into a more favorable position and promoting greater interest.
|1 year 2 weeks ago||College Football Image||
Since everyone is chiming in:
With the Buckeyes, there is an obvious logic - in the Bo Era, they were the best opposing team in the league. The other little eight were all trampled underfoot. The Bo Era really defined college football for many of the older Michigan fans.
In more recent years when th Spartans could put together good teams for consecutive years, bragging rights in-state with family, co-workers and neighbors played a role.
For Notre Dame it probably goes back to a very visceral level nearly subconscious rivalry since both schools had periods of being really good (nationally good) at the very dawn of big time college football (1910-1930) - the first wave of the huge crowds (80,000) and when the big stadiums started up. For a while the Wolverines were the face of college football in the US; then under Knute Rockne it was briefly the Fighting Irish. Today, many schools can claim the mantle for a season or two of being "what college football is about" but ultimately the whole fall experience, on a college campus, tailgating admist the fall colors, and sitting in a classic dug into the ground bowl - you have to go to one of these schools from that era.
|1 year 3 weeks ago||Yes, that is a good insight, maybe good timing....||
The obsession over this whole comment cuts to the heart of the current Spartan UM issue.
The UM being the older institution (since 1817 and nearing it bicentennial) and the one which has long been more influential (politically, economically, socially) can be looked upon as the "old firm" establishment and MSU as the upstart. It began as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan - becoming later the State Agricultural College. The school predates East Lansing as a municipality. By the early 1900, it had evolved into Michigan Agricultural College. By the 1920's it was Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. It was not until 1964 that it actually became Michigan State University (MSU).
Historically with the many name changes and an ever evolving mission one can see that a fixed identity has only been recent development. Interestingly the Spartans had a long period of football prowess which dominated the 1950's and early 1960's. The only joined the Big Ten in 1949 but the Duffy Daugherty era (1954-1972) saw them finish first in the Coaches Poll twice in 1965 and 1966.
So why aren't the Sparty Fans more magnamimous given a pretty decent football history? The end of Daugherty era saw the rise of Bo and with that, years of 0.500 or so teams and the 1970's ushered in the Big 2 and the Little 8. It was also a period when college football on TV became really big with color TV penetration overtaking black-white broadcasts and those "in color" notices on TV programs started to fade out. The reach of TV, the vast size of the UM alumni, and the expansion of the student body coincided nicely with Bo's great period. Vast pools of people now followed the Wolverines who had no actual ties with the school.
Most of the current Sparty fans are too young to remember when they were good for a long time. In contrast most of the Michigan fans who are younger lived through the Bo/Mo/Lloyd era when Michigan was usually very good to great. The much older fans who remember the fallow period between 1949 and 1969 are only a smaller slice of the fanbase and they have lived to see the Wolverines become dominant again.
|1 year 3 weeks ago||just another reason why it was a good choice||
Jordan Kovacs is an excellent choice to be a recepient of the Wistert Legends honor. I get the sense from a story like this that he'll always keep the UM in mind and try to live up to the honor.
|1 year 4 weeks ago||Martinez - Robinson, not a speed issue||
As a DC, Coach Narduzzi maybe (intentionally or not) missing the real point about the difference between Taylor Martinez and Denard Robinson as running QBs.
We all have seen that both are fast - really fast, but the one area which Taylor Martinez does excel is in his mesh ball fake. It was a huge part of why he was successful against MSU. His ball fake really pulled the DL, LBs and Safeties one or more gaps over which gave him the room to get to full speed. In a match race on a track, I think DR is faster, and because he is smaller and lighter, he would probably take Martinez in a 100 yards or 100 meters. But as a deceptive ball handler, Martinez is demonstrably better than most running QBs today.
|1 year 4 weeks ago||Worth tracking||
I'm sure many people would like to put this whole Penn State episode away but it maybe still worth following even on this board because the outcome may affect how college athletics are overseen on all campuses.
Once what happened with college athletics was first the head coach's problem, then the athletic director's but it is clear now that everyone upto and including the president can be considered. The NCAA recently announced that they were extending the reach of penalties so that assistant coaches could no longer be the easy scapegoats for violations and be tossed in as a sacrificial lamb to halt an investigation - their head coaches and other oversight personnel would all share in the penalties.
No place has a monopoly on bad events or good events. But the places with few bad events usually acknowledge that they can occur and don't pretend they are impossible. That willingness to acknowledge and think about that possibility is the first important step in ensuring that it won't happen.
|1 year 5 weeks ago||probably neuropraxia||
It may be a form of neuropraxia - which would be the best case. BUT often these take weeks for a full recovery. We'll see if Denard is able to practice and play this week. If not it may be several weeks and in some cases, 6-8 weeks which essentially is the whole season.
I hope he comes back next week or later in the season but if that was the last game we see him play in a UM uniform, Denard Robinson still had an amazing career and will one day be honored as a Michigan legend.
|1 year 5 weeks ago||Just another sign of civilization||
Consider this observation:
Nearly everything in human civilization starts out with the fundamental purpose. Food supplied calories, nutrients, and needed hydration. Clothing protected, kept in warmth and shelter from the elements. Now we pay MORE for food that has fewer calories on purpose and often lacking in key nutrients but are stylish. The best restaurants for example on a calorie and nutrient to price basis often are far worse than the typical fast food place or mom-and-pop corner diner, but people go the restaurant for the style, ambience and to be seen. Likewise with clothing. The whole women's fashion industry is nearly all style and well, by defninition fashion. So it is not surprising that even football uniforms are heading that way. Variant football uniforms are now like variant comic book covers and about as meaningful. The final proof of this is how little in contrast has been spent improving the protective properties of the uniform (helmets, pads, etc).
The next thing and you saw it here first is that the uniform will form some collage image when they stand together, like when the whole offense lines up there will be larger composite image visible.
|1 year 7 weeks ago||OK - I'll take the bait||
Clearly too many players are getting their priorities wrong and have been devoting their time and energies to skool and not football. They forget they "ain't there to play skool, but football." No doubt this will be a teaching point this week.
|1 year 7 weeks ago||Insight into the football bubble in Columbus||
The only real nugget of information is an appreciation of the college football bubble that encases Columbus. It might explain why Kirk Herbstreit whose perceived lack of loyalty to tOSU program led him to leave town; he's far more high profile than the Luke Fickell. In most places this would have been all put down to one uberfan mouthing off and it would have died out. The OSU team is unbeaten and has looked OK, certainly good enough to challenge for the title (although ineligible).
|1 year 8 weeks ago||An amazing quote||
An amazing quote - simple yet profound, innocently assertive and completely honest without any regard to the long term significance. He should win 2012's most honest thing said by an athlete.
That is from the OSU just makes it even better.
|1 year 9 weeks ago||player subjective testing and "how he looks"||
A player's responses to subjective testing and "how he looks" is a terrible way of judging fitness to return. As an earlier posters have noted: if he was unconscious - by definition he was concussed, the most objective way is a CT or MRI scan. He probably would have lit up the side of his concussion (essentially a bruised brain) and sometimes the other side (the contre-coup side is the technical term) where the brain rebounds and smashes into the other side. Testing using a battery psychometric questions is so-far the best proven question-and-answer syle of surveying someone, but those aren't administered on the sideline. Medical personnel attached to a team unconsciously are swayed and influenced. Most have the best interests of the players in mind but many are not specifically trained (coming from an orthopedic background or for some not even from a sports medicine/ortho/neuro background, just a fan/love of the game) and because they are "part of the team" become caught up in the same fervor - it will affect people's judgment.
Putthing a player back in when he may have a concussion may actually be the worst thing to do. A second hit when not fully recovered from the first one may be far more devestating than two hits with a period of recovery. I hope that Gholston is actually OK and maybe he was just down taking a breather, but the consequences of that hit and going back in may not be evident until he has long left MSU.
|1 year 9 weeks ago||a time of change or just more of the same?||
Every few years, it seem like it is a time of change in FB.
1. Forward pass.
3. Split-T, split end
4. Defense with three layers of defenders (DL, LB, DBs)
5. Zone defense and mixed coverages
6. Shot-gun first time around (1950's with the 49er's)
7. Wishbone, triple option
8. 2, 3 deep zone, zone blitz
9. Shot-gun again - aka the Spread
10. Never punting, always kicking onside
11. Wagging plays in (Browns used messenger guards in the 1950's), now someone other than the QB calls the cadence.
12. Wildcat - or the return of single wing and so on
But maybe the game is always evolving. We're just focused on the moment, this game, this season and this coaching regieme that we may not notice that it has always been evolving game.
|1 year 9 weeks ago||OK - let's take the||
OK - let's take the suggestion without malice and consider the proposal: on 3rd down, put a WR, Gallon, in the backfield.
1. Is there any historical basis for this type of move? Yes, actually, the Arizona Cardinals during the Super Bowl run a few years ago would run a set like this. It caused a mis-match with a speedy agile WR against a slower LB or force a switch of CB freeing up a lead WR like Larry Fitzgerald.
2. Is there any problems with this notion with the current Michigan team? Well, the teams who take advantage of such personnel switches and packages usually have a very accurate passer and a veteran line - often the ball has to gotten out quick and everyone has to be on the same page and break off routes depending on the coverage and if there is a blitz.
Conclusion: Probably not a good fit with this current team. DR#16 is not the ideal pocket passer, the line isn't as good as it has been in the past, and the current 3rd down back, Vincent Smith is actually a pretty good player - one could turn the proposal around and assert more efforts should be made to get Smith on the field if passing is going to be a big part of the game plan.
|1 year 10 weeks ago||I hope change comes but ...||
I know that seems so clearly an interception... but don't count on change coming soon.
If you recall during the last World Cup in South Africa, the ball went across the line and was seen by about 1 billion people but wasn't called a goal, which is simpler than even this decision and yet years later, there is still no procedure in place.
The referees who are working this game - are they regular college referees? Are the usual Big Ten referees already committed? I heard on talk radio that these were from a lower tier but wondered if anyone knew.
|1 year 10 weeks ago||Iconic picture||
DR#16 may have been taken down a yards after that picture was taken, but that picture capture his speed and style. It is sort of like the Mount Suribachi photo; the image captured the feeling of the moment in a broader way regardless of the actual circumstances. That there are three tacklers closing in and he is trying to angle away really gives palpable shape to the concept of elusiveness. Long after DR#16 has become part of Michigan footbal lore we'll be seeing that picture in our minds when we think of great Michigan ball carriers.
|1 year 15 weeks ago||It goes to show you that even bad ideas have some merits||
Let's look at the options to decide the MNC:
1. Pure "beauty contest" voting - totally subjective by coaches, reporters, members of the academy. Pros: easy to do, allows everyone to maintain their arguments of being jobbed and/or wronge, Cons: totally subjective, sometimes people voting haven't seen the teams play a whole game. We've had this for decades and basically no one was really happy with it.
2. All-play-all: This was the system used by MLB way in the past and still used by many soccer (futbol) leagues like the EPL. Everyone plays everyone else home and away and the team atop the list at the end of the year is the champion. Pros: hard to argue, makes the final weeks really interesting for the contending teams, Cons: by mid-season it is pretty clear which teams are contending and which are just spoilers, timing of the games (or fixtures) is important. Ideally one wants to play the biggest rivals when they are still figuring themselves out or down due to injuries. Opens the door to the argument that the best team at the end of the season isn't the team atop the list. We had this for many years back when the Big10 only had ten teams - you don't hear many arguments that such-and-such team was actually the better team, because they decided on the field. Unfortunately, given the size of Div 1 (~110 teams) no all-play-all scheme could work for any collision/contact sport.
3. Play-Offs: A certain number of the "top" teams either by record or subjective selection play a knock-off system to decide the title. Teams are seeded either by record or subjective selection. Pros: Better than option 1, doable compared to option 2, already used by MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL in one form or another, allows for teams to improve over the season, recover from early injuries and losses, keeps more teams and their fans interested, Cons: extends the season, allows teams which get "hot" at the end to win the title even if their "total body of work" was just average, seeding and who plays who becomes another subjective minefield (is this 2 or 1 loss team better than this other 2 or 1 loss team?), playoff pathways may not end up with the two best teams facing each other at the end. This is where we are heading. Div 2 and Div 3 are already doing this. The layers of playoffs and the more complex the scheme, the less likely it is for any team, short of a team that is 100% guaranteed of victory, will win the title. Why? Quick back of the envelope calculation. Assume the best team in the field wins 9 out of 10 games played. To win 3 consecutive games in the playoff would crudely mean 0.9 x0.9 x0.9 or 0.73 Since in most years teams would not be fielding a once-in-a-generation squads, a more elaborate play-off scheme is actually favorable; it allows them to advance farther potentially and have a slim but real chance at the MNC. On this basis, a play-off system actually is not detrimental to the chances of the UM. Historically, the teams have usually been above-average and in or around that top 10-15 range with an occasional top 5 team, so a play-off should help, not hurt our chances. The only wild card is if the subjective factor packs the playoff seeding. I don't know how the Div 2 and Div 3 handle this but do the "power conferences" in Div 2 or Div 3 end up with half the seeds?
|1 year 17 weeks ago||Not digging further probably was a factor in accepting sanctions||
If this were the usual "booster provided a car" or "paper work that didn't get all of the t's crossed and i's dotted" problem, it would probably play out the way you describe - standard operating procedure: by the book NCAA investigation and report. But the unusual circumstances and particularly the heavy intense scrutiny of the whole nation on PSU and the NCAA definitely played a role. Freeing up the players to transfer without penalty is undoubtedly a fair thing to do and about the only time I can think of where the NCAA did actually help people who were innocent bystanders largely to what went on. Usually the people who pay the penalties are just those who are around and the guilty parties have moved on to the pros and other coaching jobs.
Continuing to fight this publically is a pretty risky move. It may not open other sex scandals but may reveal other more conventional football coverups. The take home explicit message from the Freeh report is that when faced with something truly evil, the people in charge wouldn't act because it was feared it might hurt reputation of the team, but the implicit message is that they had been thinking that way (and acting that way, e.g. covering up for past football problems) for a long time, so long that they couldn't or wouldn't see that this was way more serious. If this action causes the sanction agreement to become void and the NCAA is forced to descend on campus and really turn over every stone and dig into every nook and cranny, it will make the present sanctions seem lenient. The family doesn't get it - if they try to back the NCAA and Penn State with it into a corner, it won't end well.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Evidence of where the priorities are ...||
Offering a young child (who isn't even through puberty yet) a "ride" or "slot" isn't anything new in the world of professional sports training. Kids are scouted this young or younger in futbol (soccer) all over the world and given opportunities to go to futbol academies run in conjunction with a major club (like Real Madrid).
For a university to do so shows they all about building a winning football team - don't know and don't care if the kid is interested in college, or can even read and write.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||The last hurrah?||
It will be interesting to see how this team fares and the next one. This may be the last of the "dream teams" because USA Basketball seems to be following the FIFA approach to the Olympics which de-emphasizes the Olympics (using mostly under age 23 players with a few old timers) and emphasizing the world championships (i.e. the equivalent of the World Cup), which I guess will be the FIBA world championships. The USA still has to most talent in the world but the rest of the world has really gotten better in terms of coaching, strategy and has produced individual players of great skill. Team USA is still on the level of a NBA all-star team but there are a lot of international squads who would be in the upper half of the NBA.
The concern about size is only part of the issue - it is how that size is used. There are a lot of squads who have 6-10 to 7-2 stiffs who stand there in the middle of a 2-3 zone and are about as mobile as a hat rack. It is the mobile guys who can hit 3's and the quick penetrating guards and a running style (ball in-bounded from the side lines) which worry me. This team also lacks (until proven otherwise by Lebron) that sort of hyper-competitiveness which exemplified the original dream team. It is debatable who is the best player ever, but Jordan, Magic, and Bird have got to be among the most winning obsessed trio who ever suited up on the same BB team.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Freeh Report and what's missing in the Paterno letter||
It is interesting now that the Freeh Report has been released is that one of the salient points is badly missed by the Paterno letter.
When wading through the mass of documents and interviews, one of the conclusions reached by Freeh's team was a surprising disregard about the fate and condition of the kids involved. This detachment is also present in the Paterno letter which doesn't address at all the notion that the kids involved were horribly mistreated.
The key quote is "total disregard for the safety and welfare" of the children who were sexually abused. I only quickly read the Paterno letter which was put out yesterday, but I don't recall any mention about the involved kids. The letter is so focused about reputation that it completely missed the point - that there was a great evil there and that great harm occured. Maybe this absence was due to legal advice to deny any knowledge - note how it ends with the notion that the charges are all "alleged", so the claim of "know nothing" can be preserved but it seems very striking and in light of the Freeh document actually reinforces the point of wanton disregard of the fate of the kids because of fear of how it would hurt their individual and group reputations.
As much as we all adore UM sports and Wolverine football, I'd like to believe no one who is a real fan of the UNIVERSITY will let anyone who is perceived as a big person on campus skate by on anything like this just so we can win a game, a grant, a Nobel prize, an election, etc.or out of fear that it would somehow tarnish the reputation of the school.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||team versus individual sports||
Being underappreciated on a championship team is part of the nature of team sports. The players in the star positions (ex: QB, lead off or top of the order batter), who rack up the visible stats (ex: points scored in BB, goals in hockey) will always get more attention than the other players who do important necessary things: play defense, get loose balls, occupy space, kill penalties, make that extra pass, etc. Nearly every team that has won a championship in major league football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, volleyball, water polo, etc. will have these players who did important things but didn't get that much publicity or fame.
Individual sports, especially the lesser known ones are often more overlooked. Since this is a summer olympic year, consider Al Oerter who was four time olympic champion in discus (1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968) as a good example. One can bring out the usual arguments about track and field as being a niche sport but to be the best in the world for such a long time and be able to peak at the biggest moment is incredibly difficult. Being the best at anything in the world takes a unique combination of singlemindedness and self-confidence that is pretty rare and to keep that up over a long period of time is even rarer.
The best teams usually have good camaraderie (can't think of a good example of a championship team in the modern era that hated each other). Team mates could count on each other to help keep focus but for an individual, it is often just him or her and a coach or spouse/significant other.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Sprinters are neurotic||
I think there was a scence in the movie Chariots of Fire where one of the english sprinters sought out a professional coach, something rare and hush-hush in the 1920 era of "amateur" sports. The coach said something which I think applies - he said something to the effect that sprinters as neurotic because they are essentially bundles of pent up energy.
Not surprised that this is how it turned out - short of them both going, couldn't see anyone accepting it without a scene.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Interesting comment about speed||
This sort of passed uncommented, but he was quick enough to play tailback on offense but in the article Chappuis noted that he couldn't play on defense because of his lack of speed or quickness. It seems that Crisler wanted a really fast swarming defense and was willing to put his fastest players on that side of the ball.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||realistic approach||
He seems to have a very rational realistic approach.
The factors in his favor:
1. No lack of work ethic or self-motivation.
2. By all public accounts, a good team mate and leader.
3. The modern game seems to have de-emphasized having a big center who attacks from the low post (e.g. Chamberlain, Jabbar, Moses Malone, etc.)
4. Reasonable expectations - he doesn't go into the pro world thinking his time as a Wolverine will roll out a red carpet for him.
5. Style of play abroad - he'll see more zones, the teams try to break and run and have a lot of ball movement; a style which I think favors his type of game and experience as a collegian.
1. Size - probably not as big as he is listed and he never "played bigger" so he might be vulnerable if caught low against a big guard.
2. Speed - a lot of smaller guards make up by being very quick and having a great handle; again something he is OK but not noted for in his time here.
3. Finding the right team and league - it is very dependent on the team and league. Some teams/leagues abroad bring in Americans to supply that attacking spark. They want someone who can elevate and play above the rim or really slash to the hoop - aspects of the game which they can't find or develop locally. Remember that some of these leagues are there to help cultivate and develop talent for their national team. They don't really want to invest time and energy developing role players who are foreigners - they figure they can do that themselves.
While the NBA may have plateaued here in popularity, around the world, it is still very popular. It is starting to resemble soccer (futbol) - the NBA is the top league in the world like La Liga or The Premier League is in futbol. Teams are willing to bring in foreign players but if you look they usually develop their own defenders and defensive mid-fielders; role players. They'll play a premium for attacking mid-fielders and forwards, but outside of the richest teams, rarely spend big bucks and resources on foreign players who don't immediately help the offense, so I hope he finds a team that appreciates what he brings to them.
Good luck and go blue! He'll always be remembered as a great Wolverine even if he never had great stats!
|1 year 22 weeks ago||good point about perception||
Your observation is probably correct about how many Division 1 schools are perceived. Many if not most (like Alabama) are the dominant institution of higher education and learning in the whole state, so it casts a huge shadow. Most of these kids and their families are not aware of the differences between the academic caliber of these places; it is like some family friends who lump all college football together in one category - "He must be a really good player, he played at XYZ state in the middle of somewhere conference" - the typical blog reader here is thinking ("No, probably he was a good high school player, but it is doubtful that he were really that great otherwise he'd be playing at a school in the Big Ten, SEC, or some other real FB conference")
This notion that blurs different schools and education together isn't just limited to these sports centric kids. Consider the current controversy over the vast size of loans many undergraduates have upon leaving a four year school. There are scores of articles so I'll leave the googling to the reader, but what struck me is that many of these students took on huge debt (~$80-100,000) for some schools which didn't seem that good (forgive my UM and Big Ten chauvinsim) and in degree concentrations which weren't that practical. It is almost as if they and their families were stuck in a 1940's-1950's view of university - if you were able to attend and graduate, you were a "college man" (or woman) and had your pick of jobs - a situation like that where a person with a BA in Classics could get a job on Wall Street hasn't existed in decades.
Your final example of wine is also a good one - for kids who don't aspire to an academic career or a professional one, maybe there isn't that much of a difference and if he can connect with that school's network, it will achieve what he was looking for in a school. I'm sure Alabama alumni cast a huge network around the state and nearby states.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Maybe in the future ...||
Someday if the regulars here are lucky enough to reach that age, they can explain to future readers of MGoBlog the late 20th and early 21st centuries:
1. Once there was no national championship game and a bunch of people would get together and vote on what team they believed was the best and amazingly this was acceptable.
2. There was once over 100 Division 1 schools playing college football.
3. You saw the first night game at Michigan Stadium. About 1,000,000 people and their descendents now claim to have been at that game.
4. That going to a bowl game actually cost most teams money and the lucky few break even.
5. That the game back then had four downs to go 10 yards.
6. The onside kick was a rarely used play.
7. The stadium was actually originally built using a machine called a steam shovel and that somewhere in the bottom there are the rusty remains of that machine.
8. There was usually only one QB playing at a time and that person threw most of the passes.
9. You saw the throwback uniforms when they were the regular home jerseys.
10. The stadium was all benches all the way to the top before the chair backed seats, the luxury boxes, the second layer of enclosed boxes and the dome with the 70 yard long replay screen or the field on massive pallets so it could be rotated in and out of the stadium.
11. You remember when the band would play classic football music like "Gangster's paradise" and "Don't stop believing" instead of this modern syntho-neo binary rip music.
12. The Heisman trophy was once nearly always given to a player on offense.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||sorry double post - removed||
sorry double post - removed
|1 year 24 weeks ago||peaking too early? not understanding what the UM link could do||
Like any complex tale (and one arguably that hasn't really ended yet), the whole story of Tate Forcier and the Wolverines reveals something with each retelling. It can be a story of the flaws of putting athletics over academics. It can be a tale of hubris. It can be a tale of well-intentioned (or well-ambitioned) parenting gone bad. It can be the tale of someone who peaked too early.
Unfortunately he really never understood the value of his UM ties. Years from now, it will be hard to explain to future fans while his freshman year was so memorable; how he captured the imagination of so many and how during September and October of that magical year, it seemed like the Wolverines were the team of destiny.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||Michigan version||
UM at MSU, battered the whole game, the Wolverines just scored staging a miraculous 4th quarter come back making the score 20-21. Coach Rich Rodriguez realizing that his defense wasn't playing that well and that his offense is his only chance. He believes in his offense and so he decides to gamble everything on a 2 point conversion with just seconds to play. Sensational freshman Tate Forcier nursing nagging injuries and badly beaten up in the game comes to the line and on a quick count sprints for the wide side. He pumps once faking the MSU outside containment man to leave his feet and just squeezes into the endzone before he is piled under. Michigan wins 22-21 as time expires. Spartan stadium is silent except for the wind blowing the trash and whoops of joy as the Wolverines run to the locker room.
|1 year 27 weeks ago||great post||
Please keep up this series.
We now take it for granted the 100,000+ attendance and being part of the 'largest crowd to watch a college football game in the USA." But here was a team that beat OSU and finished the regular season as 11-0 and could NOT sell out every home game.
|1 year 34 weeks ago||Rewatching the game - it is amazing||
Despite being at that game after watching the first half, it was an amazing effort from the Wolverines to keep it only at 17-7.
|1 year 45 weeks ago||The Marble Man syndrome||
The writer was trying to point out something that historians have long recognized. When someone is lionized and has statues erected in their honor when they are still living their image risks taking on a life of its own. Thomas Connelly in book "The Marble Man: Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society", looked at the aura which surrounded Robert E. Lee after the Civil War. The Southern Lost Cause movement and their mythos about Lee left a dead statue and the real person, flaws and idiosyncrasies became lost in the footnotes.
Joe Paterno became a marble man - he was suppose to be flawless, perfect and a paragon. It suited many people to have this happen. The administration benefited from having a national spokesman who helped to raise millions of dollars and attract thousands of students. The athletic department liked his appeal to some long lost era of amateur sports. For a democracy and republic, we've strangely always had an attraction for someone who could be a benevolent ruler - a philosopher king - all knowing, all wise, fair and just. Today, that person must also be telegenic and witty.
It may not have been something he wanted in the beginning but as time went on, being told that one is wonderful and wise is quite seductive - so much so that it is easy to start believing it yourself. When coupled with a fear of what would occur once he stopped coaching it is understandable how easy it is to begin acting as if all of the hype and myth were real. The Sandusky scandal actually revealed two tragedies. First and foremost is that despite the homespun bucolic rustic setting of Happy Valley, there can be horrible evil. The second is that no person should become a marble man, no matter how good the original intention.
As a UM fan we have a little of that here with Bo, but luckily he had the good sense to retire when his powers were waning, being frank about his own shortcomings, and showing a sense of humility. He never thought the football coach was more important than the school president.
There are a few who are fortunate enough to achieve lasting greatness in some aspect of their life - winning a major championship, discovering something or inventing something which alters how all people live or creating something of great beauty which moves people across generations. Even then, it was just one part, one aspect, and shouldn't be mistaken for the whole person - who may have many prickly flaws and shortcomings.
|1 year 45 weeks ago||The whole draftnik and signing obsession is due for a check||
Has anyone actually ever doubled checked all of these so-called draft niks and signing board experts? I suspect they'll turn out pretty much like the so-called football gambling experts who offer their "lock of the century this week" and end up fifty/fifty about their predictions. Just look at the rosters of the NFL teams which played last week: Tim Tebow was a hugely rated and recruited high school football player and he fulfilled that promise in college and made it to start as a pro - a statistically improbable event for most high school players, even all stars. Tom Brady was almost a transfer. Joe Placco ended up at Delaware and not one of the other bigger name places which he had an interest in. Alex Smith for all of his hype coming out of college was a regular on the biggest NFL busts until he finally met a coaching staff which could work with what he had.
I hope all of the UM players who want a pro career find a place and do well - whether as a superstar QB or as special teams regular. For those whose pro dreams don't work out, I hope that their UM days and degree will help them become productive members of society.
|1 year 46 weeks ago||Workable simple system versus complex vested interests||
The issue of having a real national football div. 1 championship isn't that hard - the lower divisions do it easily without hardly a peep of complaint. So the mechanistic issues really are all about the entrenched vested monied interests.
Since this is the "hot stove" season for college FB, and we're dreaming, here are some random thoughts on the notion...
1. If you want to have a system that allows for losses early and still have a shot to "play" one's way back use the system called the "Swiss System" - it is the system used to pair teams and players for one on one play when there are lots of players and only a limited number of rounds when a round robin isn't possible. It begins by seeding all of the teams to create the initial draw - so Number 1 plays Number 120, 2 vs 119 and so. In the subsequent rounds similar scores play each other. By round 8, there would be only 1 unbeaten team (after round 1, half the teams are unbeaten, after round 2, only at most 1/4, after round 3 at most 1/8...so after round 7 we've eliminated 128 teams from the unbeaten ranks). That leaves two weeks for the top remaining teams - the unbeaten and a few 1 and 2 loss teams. Pluses: Every week there would be unbeaten teams playing each other until the end. At the end only the very best will be left by record. An early loss isn't critical and allows a team to play one's way back up. And the lower rank teams will have incentive to play because they will be matched up against comparable opposition and playing for seeding next year. Also admittedly it would be a betting bonanza - pairing teams with similar records should help split the betting or make the betting provocative. Negatives: how to divy up the home games fairly and how to manage it with travel would be night mare. But it shows that actually it is possible in theory to play and get a legitimate champion without necessarily playing more games.
2. We'll just have to give it a bit more time - political meddling and money will ultimately sway things. The bowl organizers are clearly motivated by money. There are a lot of politicians who prefer to spend time fiddling around with college football rather than the not so much fun work of running the country (see the various US Senators drawn into the Big 12 - Big East whose in what conference). It won't happen next year but it will happen. Remember when the Fiesta Bowl first started? Then the first BCS? That all took time but it happened so, when the dollars start heading into the 8 and 9 figure range for the total package, we'll see a real playoff.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||A couple of observations||
Despite the author ...
1. It shows how well-intentioned parents can really have severe unintended consequences. Henson's dad is portrayed as looking out for Drew and trying to promote his career - in hindsight he probably sheltered him too much from the reality of competition at the next level. In contrast Brady's dad who is an actual coach took a very hands off approach, even though it sounds like he really wanted to guide Tom in a particular direction. Of course hind-sight is always perfect. There are probably a lot of other kids who bemoan a misguided career because "no one looked out for me."
2. The two sound like they are still cordial - but not close buddy buddy - sort of like how I read Peyton Manning actually keeps up with Ryan Leaf. I suppose only going through what they did they share a unique bond.
3. In the article, Tom Brady isn't directly quoted. He declined through the Patriots front office to participate in the piece. Don't know if this is related to the author or he was too busy "being Tom Brady" to worry about talking about "how Tom Brady became Tom Brady." Either way, just adds to the legend of "Tom Brady."
4. The "Ten Year War" is actually a pretty good book. That ten year period will be hard to match for the struggles on the field and the turmoil on and off campus.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Actually Tebow is just one of the two big NFL stories||
Tebow is in the news a lot but actually he is only one of two big QB stories this year. I don't mean Cam Newton - who lived up to his hype. He really can play and his ability to run and run with devestating effect should make the Carolina Panthers a team to watch next year.
The other story is Alex Smith at San Francisco. Until Jim Harbaugh showed up, he was a regular top ten member of the Biggest NFL Busts lists. And now the 49ers are in the playoffs.
QBs are very important in the NFL but it is still a team game. There is still defense, special teams, and the running game.
Maybe the take home lesson from this season is that a team can be pretty good in one aspect (e.g. QB) but that won't win a championship. Likewise a team could be weak in one aspect (like the QB) but if it can work around that (play great D, solid special teams, run the ball) - a team can still be a winner.
Looking back, we've actually seen this receipe before here at the U. We've had teams which didn't have a great QB but had a great defense, good running game and solid special teams; these have won the B10.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Did you get to see the giant statue of Ghengis Khan||
I recall somewhere that there is a huge statue (5-10 stories tall) of Ghengis Khan and it sits in the middle of a flat open plain - designed to be a tourist attraction. ? Did you get a chance to see it or hear about it?
Cute remark about Ohio.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Great clip||
Chris Tucker is at his most mouthy version short of his so bad its good turn on the "Fifth Element".
Zhang Ziyi looking extra tough - not enough of her in the film and too bad she's chosen to concentrate on more serious drama, because she could actually do all of that martial arts stuff.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Voice of reason||
Great measured response.
The school is terrific. Team strength comes and goes. It is easy to forget that after Tom Harmon there was a long down period - with a lot of 50% teams. The Fifties saw the rise of OSU and MSU and that pattern remained largely that way until Bo came in. So there was a about a 20 year period where Michigan wasn't that good a football team.
But that was the time of incredible developments and expansion on campus from Harlan Hatcher to Harold Shapiro. The school became really a great national school and the notion that it was a "public ivy" and on par of any of the great national schools became not just a self-congratulatory piece of propaganda but reality. That is really what a lot of the fans and alumni of the other Big Ten schools didn't always appreciate. Yes, football and big money sports were never the same after Bo and Don Canham but the school as a whole became bigger and better.
Some of the confusing misguided and mis-aimed emotion after the PSU scandal broke relates to this point. PSU's football rise occurred with a rise in the quality of PSU as a school in general and the whole local community there felt a tangible link. IF UM football went back down or see sawed up and down, sure people would be disappointed and mad, but as a school, it has long moved on to a point that it doesn't need to have a good team to have know what Michigan means or is about. IF the only way someone can have an interest in a school is if it is a regular contender for the MNC, then they just didn't get much out of the classroom time.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Not really, reall error in playing for FG was V Tech's in 4th Q||
Have to politely disagree. Hoke was definitely playing it conservative with three running plays - none of which involved Denard Robinson if I recall and all pretty much designed to keep it in the center of the field. Todd Blackledge in fact predicted the 3rd down play would be a run back to the left after the first two plays headed to the right in order to better center the ball for the FG attempt.
Hoke didn't open up and try to get 10 or 20 yards, just about 5 which he got - a 20 yard line spot + 7 for the placement and 10 for the endzone = 37 yard kick - doable for our kicker. Georgia's head coach error was to not gain any yardage for a kicker whose percentage was very bad from that rang.
The real criticism about game strategy should be aimed at Frank Beamer when V Tech was driving at the end of the 4th Q - he seemed to pull up and played to go into overtime rather than keep pressing and try to score a knockout. When the Wolverines go up 20-17, it looked like there was too much time left - had it been a TD, definitely, but a FG lead looked like V Tech had enough time to come back and score leaving us with a ND UTL situation of only a handful of seconds to come back.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Defense Was Tough||
The Defense played tough and weathered that 1st half storm. Could have been down 21 points.
Go Blue! Michigan is back!
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Not all doom and gloom for B10 - if one is objective||
Let's look at the games:
1. Wisconsin was very competitive with Oregon and a "typical" mistake cost them the game - the error in not knowing what can be challenged or not and cost them a time out, the fumble after a great long pass and arguably having to go for a FG taking them to 31 was largely due to Ball slipping on the 2nd down play when they were in deep.
2. MSU showed great heart and came back to beat Georgia when it would have been easy for them to cave. Yes, Georgia made mistakes but these were not flukes.
3. OSU lost to Florida, but they were also in that game and frankly playing for an outgoing coach with all of the distractions they did OK. Strange play calling - when early on they were running the ball well and essentially kept Florida off the field for most of the 2nd quarter.
4. Nebraska - looked like Nebraska we played. They had their moments, but are a one dimensional team. When forced to do more and do it consistently they couldn't do it.
5. PSU - seriously distracted and messed up due to the worst college sports scandal of all time. Worse than the worst gambling scandal. Worse than the worst alcohol or adult sex scandal. And they played that way.
It seemed to be the talking point of so many of the commentators that the "B10 is weak". Yet after looking at the games, Three of the games were winnable and MSU did win. OSU and Wisconsin were within one or two plays from being the victors. Nebraska and PSU were the only ways which look out of sorts but frankly they looked that way all season against the better B10 teams.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Montana was good but never favored at ND||
Joe Montana was a very good college QB at ND, but he was never the favored QB during his time there. He was hurt some of the time but also he somehow ended up behind such players as Rusty Lisch. He had to play his way into the lineup by saving games and when the favored QB in front of him was ineffective.
Now he is their shining example. The Montana of legend is very much a product of his time with Bill Walsh and less of his time at ND.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Missing the point||
Nocera's background as others have noted is from the business side of things, so he is actually a relative newcomer to the whole general/sports/politics columnist Op/Ed position.
Because of his business background it is not surprising that he'd view things from a business angle. (1) He sees the big schools making money from high profile teams and big money TV contracts. (2) He sees that the teams (CFB and MBB) are not paid. (3) So he concludes that the solution is what he proposes. On the pages of the New York Times, many commentators have pointed out the many limitations of his approach which have also been repeated here.
One aspect he and others have consistent missed is that the problem with the current system isn't just the NCAA and its archaic shamateurism rules but the limitation on what the student athletes can study. They can't actually be students of athletics. They can't actually devote their time and energies into developing their professional potential. The athletic grants and tenders are the only form of major aid given for a non-degree granting concentration or program by universities and colleges. If they schools are allowed to develop the talents of the kids fully we'd cut out a lot of problems and solve many of the issues.
1. By allowing training year round with full professional input and participation, players will have a very realistic understanding of the likelihood of a professional career.
2. By having the best training it would make the relationship more equitable and in line with the type of relationship other students have in the fine arts, drama, and music.
3. The lives of artists, actors and musicians are as short and uncertain as that of any athletes, and YET many schools offer full degrees and even advanced degrees in these fields. Why not performace athletics if there is performance voice, Master of Fine Arts of Master of Dramatic Arts degree?
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Not just this case but other cases||
As much as I love Michigan sports, I don't fault any kid wanting to transfer if the original nature of the understanding has changed. So if Brady Hoke got hired away I'd be all for releasing anyone of his recruits if they request it. I'd hope they listen to what the new coach had to offer, but if they wanted to go, they should.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Exactly - the BOT have a lot on their minds before FB||
1. PSU needs to sort out the whole presidency issue then AD then the head football coach.
2. If the BOT conducts a nationwide thorough and exhaustive search and lands a coach before the presidency mess is sorted out, it will be a public relations disaster.
3. It would confirm the belief that football was way too important on the PSU campus. It will show the priorities of the BOT are misplaced - they are way too concerned about football and the school as a whole - sort of the whole underlying theme of the whole current scandal.
4. Probably they'll have to run with a bunch of interims while the presidency gets sorted out. Once that is done, look for a rapid series of appointments. It will be one of the new president's earliest actions.
5. All of these "dream coach" names being bandied about like Dungy, etc. - we should know now from our own experience and from the insight revealed in Three and Out that these "dream" coaches aren't going to happen. They are just talk show and internet board fodder.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Some day someone will go all Curt Flood on this crap||
Some day, someone (maybe like this case) will take the NCAA and the school involved to court - something the legal experts could offer thoughts on. There are many inequities in the relationship:
1. Schools can dictate where the student ends up. Students have little alternatives.
2. Schools can allow the circumstances to change (coaches leave, sports are de-certified as varsity sports) without recourse by the students.
3. Other students are not prevented from transferring or receiving stipends, so this limitation violates the student-athlete concept. Imagine you are a theoretical physics major who comes to Major U to study under Prof. X who is an expert on string theory. During sophomore year, Prof. X leaves to be chair at another school. There is no one here who is committed to string theory and worse the senior prof. taking over your mentorship is anti-string theory experimentalist. There are no limits preventing you from leaving Major U and going to any other school including accepting stipends and scholarships. So why are athlete students limited?
4. There are some prior arguments where players are denied an opportunity to play and who have fought it - maybe an insight here. Schools have always reserved the right of who plays for them. But does that right extend beyond their boundaries? My house, my rules, but can they say my house, my rules for all of your eligibility? There was a pretty good player who sued Northwestern after the team physician declared him ineligible to play. This player was found to have ventricular fibrillation after experiencing cardiac arrest which led to placement of a implanted defibrillator. Northwestern didn't feel he should play any more. (Knapp versus Northwestern University, No. 96-3450, US Court of Appeals, 7th circuit) It is a complex case involving disability law but one of the key arguments which won the case in favor of Northwestern was that while the limitation did prevent the player from playing D1 ball, it didn't prevent him from fulfilling the other aspect of student-athlete, being a student. It is noted that "Northwestern isn't the only place that the player could obtain an education or even play and it is not a general denial of his ability to learn at the college level." So why should any school like UT be able deny anyone who wants to transfer anywhere? Where are the strict constitutional bill of rights crowd?
5. Let's finally admit that for many D1 CFB and MBB players - developing their athletic abilities IS the reason or one of the major reasons they are in school.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Interesting, not magic; offenses and defense need to be in sync||
There is no single parameter which predicts victory outside of the game score. As others noted, the time of position reflects not just defense but the interaction between defense and offense. Each minute is worth roughly two plays, so a four minute difference is a plus/minus 8 plays - or at least one good drive. What is that worth?
A similar effect is seen in basketball. A number of years ago during the "Bad Boys" era, the Detroit Pistons was one of the top defenses in the NBA but many insightful observers noted a key factor was their deliberate play on offense. Simply using most of the time during each possession limited the opposition's chances. At the risk of stirring up the whole RR good/bad right/wrong issue, it may be that the TOP shows how well the offense and defense are in sync with each philosophically. A defensive minded coach which doesn't mind winning 14-3 or 21-17 wants a defense that is hard to score on. So, ideally the offense should hold on the ball for long drives and rarely turn the ball over. See the New York Giants under Parcells during the Super Bowl run. Their offense was not spectacular but their defense was stifling and in the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills, the Giants held the ball for 40 minutes; keeping the high powered Bills attack under Jim Kelly off the field for much of the game.
Hoke's offense under Borges isn't as spectacular but is a good fit with his defense - They are off the field in general quickly and don't give up that many big plays or scores (not perfect but better).
On the other hand if one wants to play a hyperactive offense like the Oregon Ducks, coaches should look not just at their offense but their defense. They take chances and try to create the equivalent of an offensive big play - sending players on run blitzes or slants in hope of "blowing up" a play and creating a really bad down and distance. A riskier defense which might create turnovers, blow up the other teams plays and keep up that hyperactive intense atmosphere is a good fit with that offense; it might give up a big play but if the offense is scoring it is good gamble.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Incredible ankles||
There was a book by a physicist a few years ago (The Physics of Football) which also noted the tremendous forces at work when runners cut and change directions. Barry Sanders was the example used in the book and he and Denard must have incredibly strong ankle ligaments and be very fit to withstand the sudden stops and shifts. It isn't just a linear 2-3+ G accleration. It is going from +1-2 to 0 and then 2-3 in the opposite direction.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Reminder of how things are different - not the 1920s||
It is reasonable to conclude that the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas is occuring largely if not solely because he will have a better opportunity to be the starting QB on the football team and because he may have a better rapport with the head coach, Charlie Weis.
Clearly playing football and being a starting QB is very important to him and outweighs the other aspects of the schools. Yet, we still have a lot of archaic rules about transferring and eligibility. Let's look at it from another standpoint - what if Dayne Crist wasn't a QB but a theoretical physics major. He goes to ND expecting to study string theory under the famous professor XYZ. After he enrolls he finds that professor XYZ is leaving to be the new chair at another school and the new professor is a string theory critic. No one would find it odd for him to transfer to the new school to continue his studies under professor XYZ.
1. The top players view their sports careers and training just like the students look at their degrees and concentrations.
2. Why should they be penalized for moving to the places they believe (right or wrong) may help them further their sports ambitions.
3. After any leadership change, any school should offer to release its players.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Wanted - something with Brian Kelly and Dantonio||
Both of them seem to have a lot of usable images.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Very nice!||
Great choice of images and smooth fusion. Show it to a non-football fan, and they'll probably think it is an odd Christmas card from some guy who is cat crazy. Awesome!
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Did they correct this in future editions?||
In the first printing version, on page 318, DR's epic (instant high light run for 87 yards and a TD) against Notre Dame is listed as starting from the Notre Dame 13 and not the UM 13.
Small error - but it immediately stood out for those of us who watched the game. ? Will this be flagged and corrected in future editions?
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Tantalizing bits - maybe a question of access and emphasis||
JUB's comments about the defense are interesting; answers some questions but stirs up more. It is notable that he stressed that he was really originally planning to be attached for a few months and most importantly didn't see ahead of time that problems with the defensive side would become a major story line.
It sounds like he pretty much hung around RR and didn't get much rapport with the defensive coaches. Nor was he putting that much effort into that part of the story. As fans and with hindsight, we all have questions in our minds about how the defense was prepared, what were the game plans, how were personnel package decisions made, etc. All of the fine details and minutia of each game would be fascinating to us. But JUB is just one person, and although he had the proverbial "total access" he probably hung around the HC and followed the hot story for general fans - the new HC and his adjustment and the amazing run on offense. Only pretty serious FB fans want to hear about the arguments and debates about when to blitz, and who should be in what package.
Ultimately the book as much as we as UM fans may think otherwise, the book's general appeal isn't about football alone. Were it a pure football book, we'd hear a lot more about game plans, analysis, post-mortem discussions, and personnel decisions - who moved up and down. Rather the theme was what happened to a guy who finally got the dream job in his profession but walked into a situation where there are a lot of legacy traditions and various power bases; he didn't handle that well or wasn't given a fair chance (your choice) and the job ended up being a nightmare.
Maybe this will be covered in the future parts, but how much did the editors help shape the focus on the book - less pure football and more about dream job gone bad and dealing with existing legacies and traditions?
Now that it is an established story line, anyone covering RR out in Arizona probably will have "how well does the defense play" on the top three topics to watch for in the upcoming season.
Enjoy it - until Carr, Moeller, Miles, Martin, Brandon, MSC, or RR write their version, this is what we got. Like other UM notables, there isn't any other work out there that addresses such issues in this depth. It would be great to learn about what happened during all of the Notre Dame coaching changes. Or what happened at Alabama during the Shula-Price-Saban transition or exactly why Saban left LSU or the Nebraska Callaghan-Solich-Pelini transition. Or the story behind the USC-UT Lane Kifflin journey.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Congratulations!||
1. Like the art style - good clean line but still cartoony which is meant as a compliment. Tangential but relevant to cartooning: The earlier post comparing with Bill Watterson is an awesome compliment. If you come close to that level of humor, insight and art, it will be terrific. And yes, he was from that state down south and the best collection of cartoon art is down at that institution. Worth a look if you want to see actual Calvin and Hobbes original panels and also the work of greats such a Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates), Hal Foster(Prince Valiant), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy) among many others.
2. Great topic and perfect for the web. Since the downfall of the traditional papers, many cartoonists are struggling to find a place. A strip like Nancy under Ernie Bushmiller used to be circulated nationally over hundreds of large papers. Today, most papers don't run anything or a really strip down version of a comic page.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Survey: music, score board, food||
As an old fogey (far side of 50) I understand the students and the band want to hear music they like - so I understand they want to play what is popular now. But music is not written or created in a vacuum, nor are music groups. A classic symphony is assembled to ideally perform classical music so the instrument composition reflects this. A marching band was originally created to play marching music - an civilian offshoot of martial music. So it is far from ideal to play music created to be played by electric guitar or synthesizer. If the Marching Band and the music directors insist on playing contemporary hits (esp. rap and such) then they'll have to work on their arrangements and figure out how to get the theme/melody out from a marching band. It wouldn't hurt once a year to play something from Sousa.
The piped in music needs to be controlled carefully - it is actually against the rules to continue to play music when the game resumes. The current operator seems to cut it very close - during the Nebraska and OSU game, the music should cut off once the teams break huddle but there wer a few times, it wasn't and was still on during a quick snap. This could be flagged and is completely preventable.
The scoreboard is huge but the operators still don't stats and other info regularly. With so many TV commercial breaks, just flashing it up for 15-30 seconds shouldn't be that difficult.
Food is never going to be "great" and hot dogs, burgers, fries and such will always dominate. The power that be probably worry more about sanitation and safety (from fires, scalds and burns) than actual taste.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||One perspective, and a different one||
The review cited hits one of the main points that many people hoped would be answered (even partially) by the book - why the defense performed badly and for so long. Bacon gives one possible explanation and it probably plays a role but not the whole story. RR would have liked to have Casteel on board, but because of money and perhaps Casteel thought he had a good chance as the next HC at WVU, it didn't happen. As the reviewer and many others noted, where Bacon's account weakens is what happened next with Shafer and Robinson. He probably was at attendance at some meetings and probably caught a sense (even as a fan) of what the team was trying to do on the defensive side to shore things up. We really don't hear much of it. Which leads to the broader problem with the book - again many others have noted this: the incomplete nature of the information. We don't really hear from Carr, Brandon, Robinson, Shafer, Martin, etc. We don't really know what they thought or what over moves were happening. Maybe Bacon did know more - a lot more but chose not to write it. Maybe this was all he knew. Remember he took on the task from a particular point of view - inside RR's team of coaches.
Sometimes it takes decades for the main details to come out. Sometimes we (the public) never really know.
1. An unique insider view.
2. Humanizes the time under RR. He actually comes across better than his general public relations image - no one is going to forget the record, but it shows that he wasn't insensitive to the losses and definitely hurt him a lot. It is worth remembering that while the typical super fan may be down in the dumps after a bad loss, he hurt just as much if not more because we all had our "real" lives to go back to whereas this was his real life and it turned from a dream to a nightmare.
3. Actually an interesting book for non-FB fans - shows what can happen when one steps into a job with a long historical legacy and a lot of the "old hands" still around. A practical lesson for anyone coming as an outsider. Were there people against RR from the beginning? Probably but there were plenty of missteps as well on his part: bad advice, bad decisions, and trusting too much the wrong people. Maybe it was the way Bacon chose to portrayl him but he comes across as surprisingly naive in many of his dealings. We'll get to see if he learned anything from his time at Arizona.
Less good parts:
1. Inside view - but either heavily self-edited or lacking in crucial details (e.g. a good discussion of the whole defense situation)
2. Missing information and details from other major players - granted this was after all from the POV of someone "embedded" with RR's coaches.
3. After this book, we'll probably never see another one like this for decades unless Moeller, Carr, Brandon or RR write something. After Season on the Brink came out, it altered how these books were perceived. It showed the negative side and not the usual hagiography, but it also made future subjects very wary and cautious.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Suggest you give the ticket dept a call on Monday||
Not sure if the PSD mailing is staggered depending on the seats, so you might take that into account. I live in Washtenaw County so maybe it is mail issue, but I got mine weeks ago. In fact there was an error in how they calculated some stuff and they had to issue a second note - got a phone call from them about this - (this was for some chair back seats). Hope this helps.
It might actually be better to try to pay on-line or if the deadline allows, wait until after the Christmas mail surge.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Yes, very restrained||
Until right at the end, if you didn't already know you wouldn't have realized that this color commentary guy's son was the QB for Michigan.
Lots of other observations:
1. Agreed with the observation that there were a lot of big players on the team.
2. The defense was pretty aggressive. It is easy to forget that how good the defense was then. Yes, the game was very close but they only gave up 16 points.
3. Ran a lot of two TE sets.
4. Forgot how big Ryan Leaf was. He was as tall if not taller than his OL.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Why it should be of interest to all D1 FB fans||
The DII and DIII have a true playoff system. This year's run by Wayne State is of particular interest because they just got into the system and have played all of their playoff games on the road. It shows that the current combination of a beauty contest - reputation based ranking system has a lot of flaws.
It also shows that why the system is so hard to change. All of these schools and games are smaller with lesser budgets so the money involved is not huge. No one is opposing the playoff at these levels because the parties have rough parity and the amounts of money involved are small.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||Someone should check his neck||
Adding to the B5 references, someone should check out the commish's neck - it might explain a lot of weird decisions.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||But that would be the ultimate road trip!||
Probably some students at UConn or Rutgers will try to hit all of the "Big East" stadia during their undergraduate years.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||A B5 reference and a great quote about 24/7 coverage||
Thanks for the B5 reference. Still the only show to come close to real physics in outer space.
The 24/7 coverage of nearly all sports and the complete lack of distinction between reportage and opinion makes this sort of headline hunting gotcha coverage happen. Too many so-called reporters hoping to become a personality and too few really interested in getting the facts - they jump right to "their take."
MGoblog is sort of a hybrid. It clearly has a distinct point of view (pro-Wolverines) but so far Brian and others have managed to keep to the notion that we should to find out what the facts are. We can argue about why the game was won or lost, but let's be sure we got the stats and play-by-play right.
|2 years 1 day ago||Revelations||
Three and Out is an interesting book. Not ideal but probably as close we can expect short of a tell-all by RR or Lloyd Carr (don't hold your breath on either one). Your summary is excellent and hits most of the major points.
Most interesting are what the little details implied:
1. As you note - MSC open rejection of Martin's stipulation to RR about keeping the existing coaching staff showed that she understood better how these coaching changes are done - not great but better than Martin. It is rare for the past group of assistants to be kept on en masse.
2. In the book when asked to list who would be a good future UM coach, Martin's first choice was Tony Dungy. While, Dungy is clearly an admirable figure in football and very successful in the NFL as well as coming from Michigan, there has never been any indication that he wanted to return to coaching let alone college football. This is another example that Martin really had only a faint feel for what was happening in college football over the past 10-15 years. It reminds me of the scene in the Simpsons when Montgomery Burns tries to create a team of ringers to win a softball game. ("Homer at Bat": Burns wants Honus Wagner on third, Cap Anson on first and 'Three Fingers' Brown at his lead pitcher - all long dead)
3. The athletic department is pretty much run as a nearly independent entity so long as there is no trouble. There is a lot of free reign given to it - probably a legacy of Bo's tenure as AD. When the president had to step in, it was a very bad sign of how messed up things were.
4. As a fan and not a rabid one (I wouldn't go out of my way to go to a M-club meeting or to hear the HC speak at lunch) it was still surprising to hear that RR didn't reach out to the super fans until literally the 11th hour. Many other fans probably assumed as I did that he was making the rounds and just didn't click.
5. There is strangely little said about the weaknesses on defense. What did RR really thick was happening? What did he do with Greg Robinson to help improve things? There is very little discussion about this key aspect of his time here. ? Does Bacon's silence on this matter reflect a lack of information, that it was thought too dry and technical, or was it aimed at the players. There is a sense that Bacon feels badly for RR as a person who got what we wanted in life and found that rather than being a dream it was a nightmare. The other sense was that he felt a lot sympathy for the players who were often just as likely to the target of the same vitriol aimed at RR.
An interesting book and worth your time.
|2 years 3 days ago||Nebraska when Bo Pelini took over ?||
This might have been covered in a diary about defense earlier. I'm sorry but I don't recall the exact reference, but the highlights were: Bo Pelini took Nebraska from the very low end of the defensive ranks to the upper end (if I recall, a top 3 team by one of the defensive criteria), but it was also noted that the sudden rise occured with the emergence of Ndamukong Suh as a defensive force.
What makes Mattison's work here so impressive is that we don't have anyone on defense who has developed into a theoretical top 3 NFL draft choice.
|2 years 4 days ago||Interesting metric and some suggestions||
Thanks for a great entry. I really enjoy reading them.
Two thoughts and I apologize if you had addressed them earlier in a previous post.
1. Plays not made are also important but are much harder to quantify. In the OSU game everyone saw that Posey was wide open at the end and had Braxton Miller not overthrown him he probably would have scored leaving the Wolverines with about 1:30 to win the game. Assuming they would start from the 20 they would have to get down at least under the OSU 30 to have a confident field goal attempt. Certainly not impossible and after the ND game UTL we know that miracles do happen. But that single play would have change the possible outcome from a high UM probability to a pretty good OSU probability. Those aren't factored in. Plays not made are always going to be tough. In the 1997-1998 Rose Bowl Charles Woodson was within a hair's breadth of sacking Ryan Leaf several times but it didn't happen. Had that happened the game wouldn't have been as close. Is it possible for you run a simulation of what the odds would be if Posey had scored? If you are familiar with computer chess programs look at Fritz (by Chessbase) it provides a similar analysis of who is "ahead" in the game and one can see graphically in much the same way you depict where the critical turning point occured. It has one huge advantage in that it can analyze the alternative lines of play.
2. Which leads to the second point and suggestion. Others have also noted that time and situation affect the effect of any individual play. Any single play doesn't exist in isolation. Failing to gain yardage on 2nd down leading to 3rd and long is a common example. What I'm curious is about is whether your analysis can shed light on the relative value of points and leads during the game. In the Nebraska and OSU games the visitors scored first but they did so very early on the game. So one could surmise that a +7 score for a team with 50 some minutes of time isn't crucial. Being +1 with 0:30 might be conclusive unless the ball is within easy field goal range for your opponent. The thought occurred that it might be another way of looking at how well a defense plays. A great defensive team could hold a small +lead over a longer period of time than a poor one. In traditional football terms, the great defense needs only to be ahead to win most of the time and not two scores or three scores. Is that calculable? I suspect this season our defense would do well. We took the lead in the 3rd quarter and while OSU did score another 10 points, we never trailed.
Again a great diary and hope that you'll keep it going!
|2 years 5 days ago||Good realistic points||
The new athletic director was brought with several specific goals in mind: getting football back on track, maintaining and ideally expanding support of the UM in general via athletics, and finally making sure the costly stadium improvements will be paid for. Remember that after the new stadium was built we were in the beginning of the economic downturn and about 25% of the pricey suites were not leased out. The big companies in SE Michigan in the auto business and related industries simply weren’t in any position to publically lease out suites.
I like your first paragraph where you address this duplicity issue and would like to expand on it. David Brandon clearly is pretty good at the PR side of the job but he can’t please everyone. He was brought in part because of this expertise and his understanding about how to produce a product and manage a brand which caters to a mass audience. The public has and deserves some expectations of transparency but a lot of dealings cannot be conducted in public. To expect anyone in higher administration to tell anybody and everybody what is happening is simply unrealistic. The people who demand that degree of openness aren’t living in this world or any real practical world. Businesses of all sorts are conducted that way every day. I’m not hiding behind the “everybody does it” excuse. No one is actively tricking or scamming someone. All of the parties involved in the coaching firing and hiring are adults.
It is just the reality that until something is firmly agreed upon, it isn’t anyone’s business. For example, at this moment there are probably a lot of different vendors bidding for contracts with the UM to supply services and goods at the stadium or to license products. None of those firms want to have their discussions aired publically until a contract is signed. As the AD, Brandon’s duty is not to reveal financial or other aspects which could affect Michigan’s position in these negotiations. I know many people still yearn for some messianic Papa Smurf father figure character who reputedly never tells a lie and whose judgment is unerring and full of pithy wisdom, but as we’ve seen in a lot of the sports scandals of 2011, that sort of being exists only in fiction.
It is pretty funny to me to look back on music which was once deemed scandalous and revolutionary. Look up on Youtube the performances of the early rock and roll bands of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Their hair considered horribly long, would today be pretty much mainstream. Many wore suits and ties for gosh sakes and not in an ironic retro hipster way. Like you I’m on the far side of 50 and hope to live long enough to see what comes after rap music. I hope to witness the young people of today grow up to grouse and yell at their kids who are listening to the latest music trend, and tell them about “real music like Tupac and P Diddy.” I will be coughing up a lung with laughter.
Coach Rodriguez seems like a good guy. He is probably a terrific after dinner speaker and probably a good guy to hang out with and shoot the breeze. He just didn’t work out here due to many possible reasons. The most of important of which is that he didn’t win enough games. The other things (NCAA investigation – bogus or not, not chumming up to the alumni groups, rough patches with the central administration) did all contribute but not winning enough finished him. If he were winning 9-10 games per year those other factors would have been largely forgiven and sanded smooth. He has another chance and I hope he does well. It will be interesting to see if both on and off the field he carries the lessons from his Ann Arbor days.
Football is a zero sum game. For every game won, some team had to lose. For every 10-2 coach there are coaches who cumulatively have lost 10 games. Coach Hoke and his staff did very well but remember in the future, if and when they hit a bad patch and end up with a less than stellar season, they are fundamentally the same nice people they are today.
|2 years 6 days ago||"Parasites" is unfair .... to parasites and bowl games.||
To say the bowls is unfair to parasites and bowl games.
Both serve useful functions.
Parasites can take down the mightiest of creatures so long as there are enough of them. The social analogy would be corruption. Enough corruption ultimately collapses any system even a very wealthy one.
Bowl games are a legacy of the early years of college football. It helped to nuture and develop the sport and fan interest. But now it is like a vestigial tail that won't go away. Should there be a playoff? Yes. Are the bowl committees standing the way of a playoff? Yes. An anarchronistic remnant of football's evolutionary past, but not a parasite.
|2 years 6 days ago||Suggest instead of Tall Tales divsion||
Why not stick with the pattern? One division is Myths and the other is Fables.
|2 years 1 week ago||A sign of the times||
Too many coaches believe the hype that "big time" college coaches are now "stars" and want to be treated that way. Sticking around in one place and building up a lot of tradition and greating a legacy may not interest them. On the other hand... maybe they have good reason to jump when they can. As someone on the far side of 50 years of age, I may have a different perspective than someone who is young and just starting out on their career.
It is actually understandable why many would jump for the cash and try to make a huge payday deal when they can. Look at Brady Hoke's own history. He went from being an aspiring Secret Service agent (when Ronald Reagan was shot) to grad assistant and then a coach at a small school, a bigger school and even bigger school before ultimately landing his dream job here.
How many other grad assistants were in this same situation with Michigan ties who didn't have his pathway here? There are only 100 some D1 HC jobs. It is easier to get a neurosurgery job, at least in terms of sheer number of possible openings.
How many fellow coaches has he seen who ended up at the end out of coaching and having dragged their families around the coaching world hoping to hook up with the guy who could get him to his next job and the next rung up? Guys like Rich Rod, Brady and others know what they are getting into and so do their spouses. I do feel a lot of sympathy for the kids (like Rich Rod's kids who were hauled out in front of another press conference last week).
It is not an easy life. Guys like him, Rich Rod, and all of the others deserve some recognition for their sheer determination. Not everyone ends up as well as Coach Borges and Mattison who did this journey and at some point must have had HC ambitions as well. They made peace with their dreams and professional lives and I think accept that they'll be lifelong assistants. But I'm sure when they sit down and talk over the past and look at the old staff photos from all of their stops they'll have a list of many guys who also were hooked on football but who didn't have the breaks, luck and skill they had and so ended up with not much to show for all of their years in football.
So Edsall may have made a bad choice in some ways and it may be the end of his career as a football HC, but for his family and their financial security it may have been a great decision.
|2 years 1 week ago||One more step closer to a true D1 playoff||
We shouldn't be surprised anymore that many coaches will say (and sadly do) nearly anything if they believe it would help their personal careers, their immediate team, and lastly their conference. The days of Bo sincerely stating that his primary goal each year was winning the Big Ten are long gone. One might as well be talking about the days when the earth was still cooling and there was only one continent and one conference, the Pangean Football League.
Sadly what will finally push this over will be politics. This year already saw two US senators interject themselves into whether one school or another (West Virginia and Louisville - two schools which are not even regularly mentioned in any dicussion of the MNC) would included in some conference re-alignment. The scenario will be some school with huge money PAC donors will have a good team and they'll get screwed by the current BCS scenario. Those money interests will squawk to their political interests in Washington which will threaten the NCAA with some interstate commerce restraint of trade and monopoly investigation - then we'll finally see some action for a true D1 playoff like what is done for D2 and D3.
|2 years 1 week ago||Knight's is probably better for steak but not the same ambience||
Your point is well taken about the Chop House which is pricier, but the aim isn't the best value for your steak dinner dollar. It is about ambience and trying to impress the recruits.
Many locals prefer Knight's which is usually crowded and more of a family atmosphere for a post-game steak. You may not be able to get seated until late however due to the crowds. And if Brady Hoke showed up with a gaggle of recruits he'd probably couldn't do much socializing with them because there would be so many people coming up to congratulate him or ask for autographs or photos.
He might be also recruiting other people besides players. Maybe he is looking to add to his staff. Although it would seem unlikely he'd mention it if it weren't just future possible players.
|2 years 1 week ago||? Didn't this happen to Mamie Eisenhower and Augusta Golf?||
Didn't something close to this happen at Augusta National Golf? Mamie Eisennower would play on the course every now and then when Ike was president. Later after he died no one had the nerve to tell her, that women independently couldn't be members.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||A lot of future post material||
Good for Coach RR!
I wish him well. While he didn't bring us what many had hoped, he did bring in some great players - such as Denard Robinson and many of the younger players who look pretty good right now (with the benefit of great coaching). The two ND victories and that crazy game with Illinois sort of summed his time with us for me. Amazing offense, no defense.
A lot of future post material....
1. Possible UM versus ASU matchups (Rose Bowl and elsewhere)
2. ASU versus Big Ten.
3. Following his progress out there and his relationships with the media, alumni and university.
4. The type of staff he assembles. It will be interesting to see who he gets for DC and what type of defense he runs. Will his defense be better than what he took over?
5. Will his ASU teams reflect his experiences here?
6. There are now two more teams to follow - Ron English and Mike Hart at EMU and RR at ASU.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||Different skills and different training||
The two guys share only two aspects in common: both play QB and both were acclaimed as being runners.
The work Denard Robinson obviously put in between Freshman and Sophmore year really paid off. He came in knowing the playbook better and looking more sharp and decisive. The next step of becoming a better passer is trickier but also doable. His mechanics are basically good. He doesn't have a weird low motion or side arm delivery. He just isn't that comfortable making that split second read of "whose going to be open 15-20 yards downfield when the ball gets there" yet.
Martinez is very elusive and has a good acceleration. His burst when he decides to keep it and head up fied is deceptive. His ball fake is excellent - but curiously he kept it too often to be credible. Yes, he can't pass well due to a terrible motion which starts below his waist and then ends up in a three quarters near side arm motion. I wonder if he was a short stop or second baseman once. It may be in the current Nebraska offense, he has never been challenged to improve. He probably spends half of each practice or more reinforcing the timing on the various option plays.
It will be interesting to see the Senior version of Denard Robinson.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||Puts to rest one notion||
After the Nebraska game and again hearing it directly from the players, especially on defense, it should be clear that the new coaching staff have a tremendous positive. What we are seeing on the field was always possible but the new team of Hoke, Borges and Mattison really brought it out.
The team is actually improving as the season progresses.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||Breaking Bad||
To complete the thought, he'll need to find that kid who was kicked off the team but is still hanging around PSU to help him with the lab. He already knows several lawyers with quasi-shady contacts.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||Interesting point of view, but POV too anecdotal||
To be fair to the poster, one would expect as a team gains more experience, gets physically more mature and stronger, parts of the defense should be expected to improve. A sophomore should be better than the freshman. The junior should be better than the sophmore and the senior should be better than the junior. This is seen in many individual sports so long as the player doesn't plateau. Each year the personal best times/performances improves.
Players with an extra RS year should take that one step further. So it is not unreasonable to expect if a team starts a lot of freshmen and sophomores to see it improve the following two years.
But as others have also noted, the degree of improvement is much greater than what can be rationally expected to be attributable to this natural "aging and maturing" effect.
Likewise, it is a fair statement that some of our opposition may have taken a step backwards compared to past years. All of the numbers aren't in, but the improvement overall in terms of scoring, yards yielded and relative rank in the league and the whole of D1 can't be laid to this process. Otherwise we should see a cycling of defenses every few years as teams age and mature to their peaks. We don't see that typically happening - because coaching has an effect.
|2 years 2 weeks ago||Exactly||
It is always good to see smarter and better stats used in sports, but game context has to matter.
Why not analyze going for 4th down in the same "red zone" fashion as the regular offense?
The risk of turning over the ball on 4th down when there is at least 50 yards to your own goal line probably makes sense if your defense is pretty good. Most teams can't reliably drive 50 yards every time. Game context - time remaining, score and situation (OT) clearly all can affect these calculations.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Perspective about Zook||
It is interesting that despite all that has happened the "fire Ron Zook" movement isn't that strong. To his credit he does have victories over every Big Ten team except for Nebraska. But despite having had individual stars on both offense and defense he hasn't been able to lead Illinois to the next tier. But evidently it is good enough for Illinois.
This was a great game for the defense and the most complete.
The past 3 years were tough on the kids, and this year's success even it ends up at 8-4 shows that the effort was there - they just needed better coaching.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Evil flourishes when good men do nothing||
"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing"
This quote is variously attributed to Edmund Burke or Tolstoy but sums up the situation.
1. What is charged in Happy Valley in the Penn State locker room and elsewhere on campus was evil, not bad, not a violation of some NCAA rule, but evil.
2. Joe Paterno began his career aiming to do good and arguably did a lot of good.
3. But when he came up against evil, he didn't act the way we all hoped he would - and fight to protect that one particular kid and ultimately other kids from this monstrosity which lived in his own professional house.
As many noted, Paterno isn't the evil party here. But he isn't the innocent bystander many PSU students and others would like to cling to. People can do good and people can also make mistakes. Unfortunately in this case, Coach Paterno could have and should have done much more and didn't. During a long career filled with many good deeds, he made one very bad horrific mistake.
We won't see the end of this for a long time - questions about McCreary's duty and obligations, questions about what the Board of Trustees knew in the past, questions about how the local police handled things.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||OC and DC at press conferences||
The sky might collapse and the Wolverines might end the season at 7-5 or the same magic could strike them like early in the season and they could close out at 10-2.
Regardless, these two coordinators show a lot of skill in how they handle their press conferences. Their video should be shown as examples to younger coaches on how to relate with the press and fans. Have to address obvious questions and concerns (e.g. rollout at the goal line) and not duck questions. No dumping on the kids. No blaming all on bad referring.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||a combination of economics and knowledge||
Football is such a part of our culture that stopping it won't work. But until recently the medical understanding of concussion and the cumulative effects were not well understood or appreciated.
We now know that the minor hit that the kid "shakes off" may actually be the worst hit - it sets him up for a devestating second hit, but leaves him seemingly ok so he can carry on playing. This is why sometimes, it may seem odd why a player is being held out when he got up and walked off the field and is seen on the sidelines wandering around. His mucsles and joints maybe ready but his brain is inflammed and at its most vulnerable state. So give credit the coaches and staff when they hold a kid out and yet from the stands the kid seems OK; they are actually trying to help save the kid from a horrible second hit injury.
As it was noted on the same page, helmets for non-professionals have to be durable enough to last years of service, so something that completely crumples away probably won't work. Single game use gear probably isn't economically practical.
Even if we have better gear, other issues are player behavior (see the previous cited article on flagrant fouls resutling in eye and testicle loss) and player acceptance. How many players would wear gear that increases their protection if it might limit their flexibility and mobility? Would a TE or WR accept a less mobile neck and uppper body if that gear protected their head and neck better but results in a harder time getting around to catch a ball? One would think safety comes first, but look carefully at the NFL players this Sunday. Look at their gear - look at how stripped down the pads are on many of the so-called skilled position players. They are already making this tradeoff - no thigh pads, no hip pads, minimal size shoulder pads.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Too simple an answer to a complex issue||
Since this issue is of professional interest, here is some background.
Helmets are a legacy piece of equipment. Leather was the one durable, cleanable, and practical material of its day to create some form of protection. This was back in the day when kids were literally splitting their scalps and skulls open during games and dying from their "cracked skulls". The Forward Pass, 7 men on the line of scrimmage, and no player heading towards the line of scrimmage before the snap are all other examples designed to make the game safer and save lives.
There are two organizations which set standards for helmets: ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials ) and NOCSSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment). Their testing standards are pretty basic and resemble the drop test or weight pendulum tests for overall rigidity and resilience. The modern understanding about the risks of concussion, neck flexion protection and such are all pretty much unregulated. Likewise most of the other equipment commonly used like shoulder pads, hip pads and other forms of pads are basically not regulated. There are no published standards. The so-called flak jackets or rib protectors for example are not subject to any standardized testing. Unless they are actually designed to stop bullets or flying metal (e.g. military or security use specifications) they are all unproven. This issue comes up when a kid comes in and has only one working kidney. Is it safe for that kid to play? Does wearing one of these so-called "kidney pads" help? Or does it hinder by giving a false sense of security? Protective cups are also unregulated - so this question comes up also with kids with only one testicle. Statisitically research through trauma databases and other large pooled records show that actually losing a kidney or testicle from actual play (not other goofing around) is very low but not zero. Every decade or so a kid will be hit just right and fracture the kidney. Studies from other sports like Australian Rules football or rugby do show some differences but it isn't all happiness and rainbows. See Lawson JS et al. Medical Journal of Australia, "Catastrophic injuries to the eyes and testicles in footballers." vol. 163: 242-244, 1995. It notes over a 16 year period of time that 15 players lost 90-100% of vision in one eye, and 14 had major testicle injuries with 11 losing a testicle. Direct deliberate actions (flagrant fouls) like eye gouging, kicks and such were a significant cause.
Finally in other sports, soccer does have standards for shin guards, so while there is plenty of controversial over hacking, faking and diving, for the most part the protective benefits are not in dispute.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Forced to agree with Chris Spielman - conventional wisdom right?||
Coach Hoke and his staff, notably Mattison and Borges have done a terrific job. The defense is palpably better and even in the games we lost, the defense kept the team in the game so that it was theoretically winnable right to the end. On offense the emergence of a glimmer of running game outside of Denard Robinson is a great sign.
Having said that it was puzzling to see the final set of plays. With first down and goal to go from the Iowa 3, we ran four straight pass plays with no roll out action. I understand that with no time outs, a sack or being tackled in bounds could risk running out of time, so for the 2nd and 3rd down plays it made sense to call a straight pass play.
But especially on the 4th down play when the clock is essentially turned off, why not roll out Denard Robinson to the wide side, his right side, with a run and pass option? It seems conventional and obvious, I agree, but it is rational. He is not a great passer, but he is a superb open field runner. Once he takes a strong move to the wide side, it forces the defense into a tough situation - stay with the receiver or move up to support against him. Remember it was only 3 yards and with time not a factor - we either score or game over, it seems a rational call. A throw back screen or throw back against the grain would also be possible. The TV color commentator Chris Spielman mentioned this and it seemed like a reasonable choice. With a conventional QB of average mobility, not having him try to run makes sense, but with a once in a generation broken field genius, it seems that the team wasn't really taking advantage of Robinson's strengths.
Perhaps Brian or Heiko could ask this at the press conference.
Please don't take as an attack on the staff because it has been a great season and the quality of play has been very high and the new staff clearly has been a positive factor. But in this case, it is a curious situation where maybe conventional wisdom may be correct.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||Does this ever work out? Hope it works out. Feel bad for him.||
I really hope it works out for him but he is making a poor choice.
There are many examples of someone who transfers and does well and ends up in the NFL: Cam Newton, Randy Moss, Ryan Mallet, Troy Aikman, Glenn Davis...but they are mostly really good QBs or other skill players with clear cut talent. ? Any DBs ever make this type of jump?
With the way teams play multiple WR sets, there are not just 4 DB slots but actually 6 or 7 spots: nickel, dime and first sub.
Did he think he wasn't in the top 6 DBs? WIth Kovacs going down and uncertain when he'd be back, he should expect to see some playing time.
Finally, this is really where coaching and advisors can only do so much. I hope that most of the team has a realistic understanding of the likelihood of playing pro ball. A Michigan degree with networking with Michigan alumni is worth a lot.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||These guys are terrific||
I know that a lot of this stuff is just coach speak but I love these coordinator press conferences.
"He can run and catch"
Just great stuff.
"Sack the QB"
|2 years 5 weeks ago||Another small factual error otherwise pretty good book||
Just finished "Three and Out" and it is worth reading. It isn't "Season on the Brink", "Education of a Coach" or "Our Boys" nor is it "Friday Night Lights", but is pretty interesting.
There is one small factual error which die hard Michigan falls should catch. On page 318 in the chapter "Eleven as One", the brilliant run of DR against Notre Dame in 2010 is described - but erroneously describes him as starting from the IRISH 13. He was on the MICHIGAN 13 - allowing him to make that 87 yard burst for a TD.
For now this is the closest most of us will come to ever knowing what happened behind the scenes. Unless Martin, Brandon, Coleman or Carr write about this time in the future, we may never know much more.
The book should be read by anyone who is stepping into a large managerial job laden with tradition and legacies. Developing relationships with the many factions and powers is part of that job.
Winning more and winning more against certain teams would have probably saved RR. But if he had a better relationship with the various power groups, he probably would have gotten another year.
Doubt very much that we'd ever see something like this come out of other FB powers. Does anyone for a nanosecond believe we'll ever learn anything close to the truth about Tresslgate?
|2 years 5 weeks ago||jeb pack - what loud really means||
When the public announcer has to flash a warning that the flyover will be really loud and that the audience might want to take precautions it is quite a statement in a football stadium like the Big House. I was 90 rows up and the jet 'whoosh' was distinctly and loudly clear.
The jetpack by the way is very neat but not that practical - it can only do these short hops - not enough fuel capacity for long flights. But it does have a long complex history - including murder.
|2 years 5 weeks ago||Reporting a story and not being part of a story||
This is a tricky line.
It may well be that he heard something that RR was planning to say that caused his own internal warning alarm to go off and scream silently "Don't say that!". But if he had stepped in and influenced RR (1) he might not have prevented things and (2) would have completely changed the dynamic of their relationship. He would have become a media advisor rather than a member of the media. Sometimes crossing the line is necessary - is it more important to cover a story or save a life. Would you keep recording someone who is in the act of falling from a burning building or would you help pull the person to safety? The former action might win the Pulitzer prize but the latter is undoubtedly the right thing to do.
This line is very confusing in sports because the so called sports media actually do both. Look at the typical football show. The on-camera people show highlights, report the scores and give analysis but also interject themselves into the story by calling for personnel changes, asking for coaches or players to apologize or explain themselves or offering opinion on what should be done rather than limiting their actions to reporting on what happened.
The old print media differentiated between reporters and columnists or opinion writers. These are all blurred together.
I've read through most of the new book and it seems clear that Bacon does like RR as a person and actually feels a bit sorry for him. RR is one of the few people who actually had his lifelong dream come true, only to see it blow up in his face. He also makes it very clear how nasty many college coaching jobs can be.
|2 years 7 weeks ago||DG and DR - good rational thoughts.||
Thank you for the considered and rational response. DG is OK given he has only seen spot action but he is not a superb passer, yet. He is tall enough and strong enough that if he develops good mechanics he could be great passer especially on long throws. DG is not now however a great QB yet - and the system of plays with multiple receiver options at different depths and position on the field is still hard for him.
DR is an amazing player and a fantastic open field runner. Obviously he is not a ideal pure passer who calmly check downs the tree of possible receivers like a seasoned NFL QB. His passing success must be set up by effective running (ideally by someone other than DR).
Still, this loss was far better than last year's defeat and if it was a possible to find a positive it was actually a game that with a few breaks could have gone the Wolverine's way.
|2 years 7 weeks ago||A loss but strangely had its positive aspects||
It was a tough loss, but strange to admit, unless other losses in the Big Ten where the Wolverines were clearly overmatched, they were very competitive and arguably played well enough that barring a few plays, they could have been the winners. Don't have that sense of unease about a collapse like last year.
I know someone might bring up that old saying, close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades, but in this case, it matters a lot. The team didn't fold up and stayed active. We'll now see if they bounce back sharp and hard in the Purdue game.
|2 years 8 weeks ago||subjects for UFR||
1. What do you think the coaching staff saw that made them call a lot of inside runs for DR?
2. What is being done in the 2nd half by defense - they seem to really clamp down in the 3rd quarter.
|2 years 8 weeks ago||A show before its time||
MST3k's mixture of adulation, snarking, and clever comebacks was just a bit ahead of its time. At some point, someone could do something similar but not with movies, but with sports related video - like training films, clips from games, press conferences, etc.
Joel, Mike Nelson, the bots (especially Tom Servo and Crow T Robot) are all out there at Rifftrax and Cinema Titanic.
|2 years 8 weeks ago||Saying all the right things||
Maybe it is the fact that both coaches have been around a long time and so have a deep well of coach-speak to draw upon but both really having been saying things which only gives confidence to the general public.
Borges willingness to adapt to the personnel he has and to acknowledge that some of his preferred plays may not work with his existing team is very refreshing. Likewise Mattison seems like an inspiring guy and has really improved the defense and its confidence.
Interestingly, neither of these guys seem likely to bolt if the team really become successful (e.g. 9+ wins, in the title game) unless the offer is really amazing (head coach at a top place).
Of course this is still a long honeymoon afterglow - there will be some tough times but as Captain Renault said in Casablanca, this may be a start of a beautiful friendship.
|2 years 9 weeks ago||Some relevance but the U is such a huge place||
The U is a huge institution and the effect of these changes will not be felt uniformly.
Here are some of the factors listed:
1. A decline in the sheer numbers of people in the typical college age demographic.
2. Rising costs of running places like the U.
3. Rising cost of tuition.
4. Growing feeling that the cost of an education is not always worthwhile in a very basic tangible way (i.e. earning power later in life)
5. Competittion from other so-called "non-traditional" venues - like the University of Phoenix and others which emphasize on-line teaching.
Effect on the U:
1. Though not quite as steep as some other schools where only 5% of the applicants are accepted, the U turns away thousands of kids each year. It has a lot of kids who want to come here and that will probably be that way for another generation and a half (call it 40 years). As others have noted, enrollment in colleges which are linked with professions or prepare for later professions will probably stay strong. The pure classic humanities like English and history will probably take the biggest hit. The era where someone could earn a degree in the Classics or philosophy and then walk into a job on the business world pretty much died out in the 1960's and peaked in the 1940's. It wasn't as big news then because the academic institutions were expanding and the economy was better so more families tolerated their kids earning degrees which had little practical value. Today, the question of "what are you going to do with a degree in X" is the number one thing on a lot of family's minds. We might see a bit of grade inflation by some colleges and courses to try to keep their numbers up. We might see some efforts to show that these courses have relevance in teaching "people how to think critically." These are all common ploys being used today. It is hard to predict the full effects - there will probably be fewer tenure track slots in these classic humanities slots and more post-docs in these areas might try to find a hook into some contemporary issue. Consider during the Vietnam War era, there was a splurge in activity looking at the American Revolution. A few clever American Historians were able to point out how the US and British situations had notable parallels.
2. The U is honestly a great place to work. The benefits are good and the atmosphere is fun so if there are some cut backs (inevitable) we'll still have a lot of people willing to tough it out.
3. Rising cost of tuition is going to be a big issue. Though the U doesn't depend heavily on the State of Michigan for funding, it will always have to be sensitive to this issue if only for public relations reasons. This is where the famous alumni and famous students (everyone from Larry Page, Madonna, Mike Wallace, Sid Meier, Charles Woodson, etc. etc.) who may have only spent some time here and left, and things like the athletics help. It helps build that network of alumni and friends; that brand recognition. We might see more international students because we excel in many of the fields coveted abroad (engineering, the natural and physical sciences, biomedical health topics) and those students are typically cash or fully funded.
4. This issue is probably going to be the wild card. There are a lot of jobs which require training and experience but don't need a college degree. While some have attributed this as an effect of the rising costs some of it comes from the nature of our society which is less rigid and less class oriented than others. Social mobility is easier and there is more respect to people who do something well even if it involves using their hands and a bit of dirt. The book "The Millionaire Next Door" illustrated this point well.
5. The competition from places like the U of Phoenix is real, but not a total threat. For a lot of young people, going off to college is a physical act of transformation. It is that first big step into adulthood and so doing it online at home isn't as appealing. Going out there, making your own decision and suffering the consequences is part of that experience, were it all just about learning a course syllabus and passing a certain number of tests, a LOT of kids wouldn't go!
|2 years 9 weeks ago||helmet numbers - easier to see at the game||
On the topic of helmet numbers, for the fans in the stadium, it really makes it easier to figure out which players are involved in any given play. Some players are quite well known and distinctive (e.g DR) but sometimes it is hard to figure out which lineman or linebacker made the tackle with their names and jersey numbers obscured by the pile of players.
We have to wait a bit and see how the season plays out but it is safe to say that this game was a revelation:
1. Defense is better - not great, but undeniably better. We'll have to see how it fares against stronger teams, but it is a good sign that against weaker teams, it is smothering.
2. Offense is more than it seemed - a huge revelation; it looks like Borgess is adapting his ideas to the excellent personnel he has, yet still keeping consistent. That counter run with the QB power action was a great play. The Minnesota defense seemed to be following the Jordan Rules from the Pistons era. (i.e. wherever Michael Jordan goes, you and friend follow) for DR. DR takes a step to the wide side, everyone takes a step to the wide side.
3.Yes, Hoke has gotten off to a terrifc start and there is a prolonged honeymoon period. I'm sure we will hear some harsher comments after the first loss, but so far, he and his staff have said the right things and a game like today gives confidence that this could be the real turn around.
|2 years 9 weeks ago||Three mini seasons||
This season does feel different than the last 5-0 season. Defense is palpably better, kicking game is better, offense is effective and interesting more diverse.
Break the season down into three miniseasons:
Part 1: WMU, ND, EMU, SDSU - a bit of luck and sheer magic was involved in beating ND, but ND is arguably not that strong; our magic was stronger on that amazing night. WMU and EMU were outclassed. SDSU can play and would be competitive against the other teams in mini-season part 1. The defense still gave up a lot of yards, but with each game, it got tighter and more robust. It was also getting turnovers which were lacking over the last several seasons. The offense looked creaky and seemingly all the good stuff was from the same playbook of last year.
Part 2: incomplete, Minn, NW, MSU, Purdue - Minnesota is obviously not a strong team, but the complete domination suggests that the defense is really better, and the offense showed a lot of new looks, and plays AND the players executed them well. Did you notice that Kovacs wasn't a leading tackler in the Minn game? That is a strong positive sign.Last year, the team could beat other teams with a great offensive show, but DR would be 90% of that. Today, how many carries did he have? He passed well when he was asked to, but really didn't have to do that much - a really good sign. The defense made 3 and out stops regularly and pressured the QB without having to blitz. The next three games will decide the course of the season. Is the great upward trend on defense going to continue?
Part 3: to come, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, OSU - if the defense is in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring and rushing yards yielded, these are all competitive games.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Don't be too tough on the poster||
Don't be too tough on the poster. I don't think he is out trolling or aiming to kick up a hornet's nest for fun. Usually no one with that aim would bother to write something that long or try to be convincing.
Live long enough and ultimately you'll find most things are not quite what they appear to be. This is not cynical fatalism but the NCAA has long been NOT about amateur athletics and the ideals on which it was founded. And the various university presidents are quite aware of this and they are also aware that every other university president, board of regents and governors are also aware of this.
Every now and then someone will decide that they'd rather not play this game - see University of Chicago which once had a very good and powerful team and once was an innovator in the game (Yes, way back at the dawn of college football, but hey they did help popularize the T formation and the forward pass, so give them acknowledgement and they played in Amos Alonzo Stagg stadium, one of the first ur-super coaches...I know back in the tar pit days of the game, but it all happened). But the president of the U of Chicago realized where this was all heading back (when it was just radio, train rides and newspapers) and had the school get out of big time college football. They now have a Division III team.
So don't take it too hard. Right now no college president of any major football power wants to take that first step. Everyone else wants the other person to take that first move and pull back the tattered curtain of hypocrisy.
In my other posts, I've advocated taking the other position - make the student athlete really that - a student of athletics.
Make football, basketball and any other revenue sport a true athletic scholarship like a performance music major or dramatic arts major. Make it a real field of study and training - change the rules to allow year round training and study and invite all of the top professional coaches and trainers onto the campus regularly. Doesn't it strike anybody as strange that the top players drafted are often criticized as having major flaws in fundamentals such as their throwing motion? Could that occur in any other activity involving this much time, energy and money? Are their any engineers graduating who have fundamental problems with statics and dynamics? Are their any Eng. Lit. majors graduating who have serious grammar problems?
The games will still matter - each school wants to showcase their squad to show that their training and preparation is better.
Performance Athletics Major - a degree granting field, you saw it here first.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Defense Yes, Special Teams Incomplete||
After having seen 4-0 and 5-0 starts most Wolverine fans can be a little hesitant if not skeptical to declare any major improvements in the defense until the Big 10 season starts. By the standard of whether we won or lost the game, at this point in the season, the defense is the same. If one uses other statistical parameters like yards yielded, it still has major issues. YET having acknowledged all of these concerns, the verdict is probably YES that the defense is better - the positive turn over ratio, fewer penalties and seemingly fewer blown coverages are all positive trending signs. The best sign is as you noted, the noticeable improvement and adjustment during each game. We all wish the defense would be like a wall from the first series, but it is heartening that it seems to get better with each successful series. Maybe that is something from Mattison NFL background where making adjustments and realizing what is happening during the game may be more important (just speculating).
Special teams are harder to assess. Hagerup hasn't played. Gibbons has not been put into any real pressure situations except making the PATs in the ND game.
Since you also mentioned the Illinois game, it is OT but is Nathan Scheelhasse adapting to throwing better than DR? DR is clearly the more explosive player, but throwing the ball, Scheelhasse seems more comfortable.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||A matter of taste, but realistic||
After three games, some early observations:
1. Both new coordinators seem pretty flexible and are willing to adjust. Mattison on defense seems to be able to take what he's seen or what the team tells him after the first few drives and adjust. Borges likewise tries to run the new system each game for the first few series, but if it isn't working, he'll go back to more spread sets and spread plays. He may not be a spread evangelist like RR but he is pragmatic. The downsides are the slow start for the UM defense, and so much depends on DR - except for bits and pieces here and there he is still pretty much the whole offense.
2. BUT having said that it is heartening to see how many tangible improvements are there. Statistically the defense is better. On offense, we can win without exposing DR to that much wear and tear.
3. Right now it is clear that DR is not having an easy time with the drop back passing game, but if you recall when he came in as a freshman, his passing was very poor when compared to his great progress to his sophomore year. One more year working with Borges, should bring a much smoother and more effective passer as a senior. Wonder if he would benefit from working with a QB coach who has helped shorter and smaller QBs? Not everyone is the 6'4"+ Brady-Henne-Mallet tall QB. Drew Brees and Doug Flutie were effective college QBs so it can be done. He just needs to be a bit more comfortable. Right now, it seems like he is "measuring" his throws and sometimes a short touch throw is more awkward than a longer throw.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Interesting article but perhaps a misleading title||
The Grantland article is interesting. It makes several strong points:
1. A well run system (that is using the football cliched, "well executed") can be successful even if there are only a limited number of possibilities.
2. At lower levels of play - where the physical variation is less (where you don't find that many players who are 300+ lbs or who can fly 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, or 250 pounders who can do a 4.5) coaching and execution can be very important.
3. But just as there is no perfect play, there is no perfect scheme or system. In the old wishbone, it became recognized that tackling the QB and often the pitch man was critical. In the original shot gun (see the 1950's 49ers of the NFL) pressuring and hitting the QB/TB was the key. These ideas work because as one of the coaches noted, the defenses they face don't have the time to work with the defenders so that they are comfortable with dealing with these sorts of offenses - but as we saw with the old original wishbone, I-bone, veer, broken wishbone, etc., defenses given time and experience can compensate. Look at our spread offense under the past regimen, in some games it worked well, in others, it blew up, especially if the opposing defenses dominated the line and had quick LBs and safeties.
4. Back to the chicken and egg dilemma - does the system work because of great execution or great players - or both. Against competition where there isn't a great variance in physical ability then practice may make perfect, but once you have players who could blow up your system having someway to counter them becomes important.
Finally, the title speed chess is a bit of misnomer. Speed chess typically refers to a game of chess where each side has only 5 minutes or less to complete the whole game. It is regarded by many chess fans as a measure of pure chess reaction and raw skill, because one's instinct or instinct honed by experience is critical as most top speed players play within a few seconds. Rather than lesser players dominating due to sheer speed and luck, speed chess however typically has seen very strong players dominate - the greats in classical time limit chess (40 moves in 2.5 hours for each player, so a single game could take 5 hours) like Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov, Tigran Petrosian, Vladimir Kramnik, and the current wunderkind Magnus Carlson are also killers at speed - they see more and deeper at greater speed.
They see in one look more than other grandmasters see in 10 minutes. This would be like a traditional pro-I power house crushing teams while running their same playbook but at a no-huddle pace.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Tough decision||
A tough call:
1. ND wins will mean:
(a) good things for our relative ranking on computer polls - probably not important since we aren't contending for the mythic NC.
(b) makes us look better for bragging rights by the commutative property: A beats B who beat C...good for around the state with your State friends and frenemies.
(c) have to listen to the insufferable Lou Holtz sputter on and on about ND...and how they can go 10-2 and make it to a Jan. 1 game...reaching a point where I have wonder who is worse: Craig James, Jesse Palmer, or Lou Holtz
(d) have to hear how we were "lucky" - but we get to use that old favorite retort "Scoreboard, look at the scoreboard 35-31"
2. MSU wins will mean:
(a) the nation of the deluded may actually finally realize that beating ND is no longer national news, and the Ara Parseghian is no longer the head coach, and that Bob Davie may not have been the devil incarnate and that Tyrone Willingham may not have been the worst hire at South Bend and that many mistakes have been made...something most people have already realized long ago.
(b) we'd have to listen to how the "little brother isn't little any more" - after three years, gotten used to it.
(c) we'd have to worry about MSU actually becoming established. They've always had good teams here and there but could never consolidate their gains. A good year would be followed by a 6-6 year ...a legitimate worry. If Brady Hoke can beat MSU and reverse the trend that would be a bigger win in long term importance than beating ND - not as exciting or fun or entertaining but probably more strategically important.
(d) another indirect sign about worries about our running game. Outside of the almighty and powerful DR, there wasn't much of a running game. If MSU gashes ND on the ground, it suggests we have to wait a while before Hoke's power running game appears...He has at least 3 years to get this going. It is just sad that we can't get a complement to DR. Not a Heisman trophy candidate back, just someone who can go for 500-750 yards would be terrific at this point.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||No, Da Bears and Da Bulls proved how futile that was||
We've seen that before with Da Bears and Da Bulls....
But seriously, Michigan Stadium is an unique venue, so playing football away from there for a home game really isn't a plus. (1) There is no game history like there was in the Chicago game where once in the past, games were regularly held - back in the heyday of Red Grange, didn't Illinois play at Soldier Field? (2) The place isn't superior in its own history...Michigan Stadium trumps Comerica park easily....
If the Big 10 were to add a East Coast team, and the game were held at Yankee Stadium, yes, I could see that - that stadium has also quite a long history, not exactly the house that Ruth built, but still a storied place.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||Yes, it definitely got to them - couldn't hide it in their voice||
You can really hear the effect in the tone and emphasis. There was that prepared spiel about Denard but when Gallon caught the ball, it was a like a gut punch and it was all flat affect, 1000 yard stare voice from there. The last dying ember of hoping and wishing for a penalty and no - touchdown call was the finishing touch.
Unfortunately they were doing the game live. Back when there was the Notre Dame network seen locally on the old TV20 WXON with Lindsey Nelson and his amazing loud sports coats which could blur the old black and white sets, they could show an edited version of the ND Game of the Week and avoid these sorts of slips.
|2 years 11 weeks ago||pretty honest||
They couldn't really say that much but seemed pretty honest for these sort of public discussions.
|2 years 12 weeks ago||exactly||
Betting lines are all about perception - the perception of the potential bettor. Clearly those who set the line are counting on:
1. ND supporters feeling that except for very bady turnovers, their team has played pretty well and put up good numbers. So the thinking is as others have noted - unlikely to continue to average 5 turnovers per game.
2. Putting ND as a favorite by 6-7 points could attract some betting on the MSU side - besides die hard Sparty fans who always back their team, it could cause enough interest from those who think the game will be close (3-4 points like with the UM game)
|2 years 12 weeks ago||Oldtimer's point of view||
I was born in 1961 so I'm up there in age, so take my perspective with that in mind.
1. It is a LOT louder - so much so that I was tempted to yell "Turn down that music". The amplifiers are all up in the columns so if you are sitting higher up you'll definitely hear it.
2. Down low, the crowd noise really funnels down, so when the team was driving towards the north endzone and the student section side, it was a solid wall of noise.
3. The new displays are really amazingly clear and sharp. The criticisms are valid to some degree - need to display down and distance, time outs left and some basic stats better - and more often. I know it is cute to have pictures of people enjoying the game, but I'd rather see some stats at that point.
4. The displays just need work and the powers that be need to figure out what to show and how to best display it. Think of it like a webpage - there is a lot of space on a typical monitor screen - and often a few basic layout changes can make a huge difference.
5. Rather than just complain, here are some solutions. If I were athletic czar:
a. More stats, more often. First downs, rushes/rushing yards, pass completion/attempts/yards, time outs left, total yards, would be the basic set. Be sure to put this up during change of possession, end of each quarter.
b. Clearly show down and distance - give up a strip along the top or bottom for this purpose.
c. Turn down the rock music at pre-game to a decibel level under commercial jet engine level. One of the signs of being old is not knowing what the popular music is and not caring that you don't know. So I know the kids like to hear pop music played by the band and probably the band likes to play those pieces, but that music was not written for a marching band. It was written for a combo with guitars, and synthesizers. Either play more marching band music (there are a lot of possibilities here) or get better arrangments.
d. Continue to show public service announcements and weather reports. Add traffic maps or traffic flow diagrams - especially when some streets are coverted completely to one-way - it helps new visitors understand what is happening.
e. Move the paid announcements to appear on the big screen or at least half of the big screen. They charge $250 for those - right now that little telex strip at the bottom just isn't worth the price.
f. Show the lyrics for the Victors, The Yellow and Blue and the Star Spangled Banner when they are played, so that more people can sing along.
|2 years 12 weeks ago||two theories: chicken and egg or you got what you got||
Theory 1: Chicken or egg - which comes first. Do we need someone to establish themselves as a credible running threat or should they become credible as an option off of DR?
Theory 2: The defense is better - not great, but better, so why should the RBs be different. They are actually getting turnovers and coming up with huge stops. Still giving up a lot of yardage (vacated or not, and ND did get 500+ yards) but unlike the last few years, somehow they scrapped it out. Face it, the odds looked pretty dim heading into the 4th quarter. If we faced a less fancy ram it down our throat team, it might have been 35-0 or 35-7 at halftime.
So like the defense maybe we should be realistic about the RBs, they are afterall pretty much the same bunch we had last year - we have some good backs, but no one great. Smith and Shaw had their moments, but no one is able to complement DR as a threat. Borges and Hoke get a lot of credit in not calling his number more.
Prediction: against the weaker teams, the RBs will suddenly look great. Against the division and conference contenders, we'll see more of this.
For now I'm going to enjoy the magic of the night and forget all of the lucky moments which broke in our favor...thank you Brian Kelly for channelling Charlie Weiss and trying to win it by throwing the ball...thanks for great jump balls which mostly ended up in our favor...thanks for miraculously timed turn overs which helped kill drives for ND while yielding no points...Most of all I'm just going to appreciate these years with DR - he'll be enshired like Desmond Howard as a legend one day, and the two games against ND (2010 and 2011) will be on that highlight video. The raw emotion of those final few minutes was amazingly.
|2 years 13 weeks ago||A bad hand played badly - a perception issue partly||
Coach Robinson may have put himself into a untenable position. Even if we acknowledge all of these mitigating factors which others have listed (number of players, player quality, loss due to injuries, graduation, transfer, failure of some players to develop) the two years were disappointing because of the response. Yes, he was dealt a bad hand, a terrible hand, no aces and sometimes only a lousy pair. But even given all of these reasonable points, what really hurt for many fans was the appearance of taking the same approach as one would if the defense were competitive and just needed a tweak here and an adjustment there. The defense was clearly not as good as it had been in years past and the level of personnel and performance was low enough that most coordinators would have to take the position that just showing up, rolling the ball out there and letting them play would not remotely have a chance of working.
Would blitzing have saved RR's job? Would it have won more games? Probably not, the breakdowns were pretty significant, but it really hurt the perception by not trying these options. To borrow from other sports - in tennis, if you are an average pro and you are facing Nadal or Federer, you won't have a chance just going out and keeping the ball in play, you have to take chances with junk balls, moon balls, drop shots, serving and coming in behind a second serve, or chipping and charging the return. In chess, if you are an average grandmaster versus Kasparov, Anand or Carlson, you'll have to take a risk in a double edged position where a single slip could turn the game in your favor. In poker, if you are playing against a top pro, playing slow and tight all night will get you worn away. You have to take a shot here and there and be deliberately erratic - you won't be able to out calculate the odds and card distributions and have to play up the uncertainty - it is the one factor which you have as good chance as the top pro.
|2 years 13 weeks ago||unique photo?||
Could this be a unique photo?
How often does the departing coach help introduce the new coach with the athletic director and all are (1) convivial, (2) sitting on a sofa and (3) wearing suits and ties?
|2 years 14 weeks ago||Another reason why jersey numbers should NOT be retired||
Denard Robinson is certainly deserving of wearing No. 1. He has both excelled as a player and set up a good example as a Michigan team member.
Numbers should be kept active so each year, it can be discussed if anyone is deserving of the honor. It will also give us all the opportunity to remember the great players who wore that number in the past.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||Another reason why jersey numbers should NOT be retired||
Denard Robinson is certainly deserving of wearing No. 1. He has both excelled as a player and set up a good example as a Michigan team member.
Numbers should be kept active so each year, it can be discussed if anyone is deserving of the honor. It will also give us all the opportunity to remember the great players who wore that number in the past.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||Head Football Coach is more than just coaching||
To be a head football coach at a famous program is about more than the coaching the team.
For the assistants it can be just about the x's and o's, schemes, scouting and recuriting.
For the head coach, the job comes with a lot of other stuff. First and foremost he has to win. Second, he has to stay legal. Third he has to be sure he is solid on all the other aspects: alumni, administration, community. Coach Rodriguez didn't win enough, stayed legal, but really tripped up with the alumni, administration and community.
When people play the retrospective game and wondered what if, the real decision was when he decided to look at the UM job. Had Coach Rodriguez stayed at WVU and finished out his career there he might be thought of as their Bo. He was the guy who put them back into national prominence. He'll definitely get another HC job but he'll know he'll have to pay attention to other things.
An underlying theme was to remember that everyone involved are people and should deserve some compassion. I applaud Brian for this noble sentiment, but realistically this is only going to get harder. The amounts of money involved and the passions stoked up by 24 hour cable/internet makes that unlikely. We'll probably not see any long serving HC because everyone goes through a bad patch (even Bo was 6-6) and today and the foreseeable future, there will be someone stoking up a "dump name xx" campaign whenever that happens.
Great post and looking forward to the season.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||The whole transition from HS to D1 FB in a nutshell||
Guys who are bigger and faster than their competition can get away with sloppy technique in high school. In college, at the D1 level, everyone they meet is their size and often quicker and faster. The dedicated smart players adapt and learn to play up to the new level. Those who have plateaued find a way to hang on. And those who can't or won't adapt end up being benched or just plain quit.
Look at the recent issues of The Wolverine where the past several classes are evaluated. It is a common story of a lot of players - not just defensive linemen.
It is also true for a lot of students. They may have been the smartest kid in their high school or the whole county, and so they could slide by with cramming the night before exams. Here in Ann Arbor, they suddenly meet students who are as smart, if not smarter and who really work night and day. It is a reality check.
The article also points out the whole bubble the teams are under today. He isn't the first guy to experience this, but his words are quoted by two(2) columnists. If he were just some LSA or Engineering student who realized "whoa, I have to get serious about my studies" it would hardly rate mentionning except as a lesson to incoming freshmen. I hope that things work out for him. Insight is often the first step to any real change.
|2 years 15 weeks ago||Welcome and congratulations||
Congratulations on the new post.
By the way, when do you have time to do all of this? A MD/PhD program stuff is pretty stiff - do you do your PhD prelim stuff first, then the basic science years of the MD with a thesis followed by the clinical years? Or do you defer your final thesis project until you are done with your MD. I'm curious because you have to fit in the USMLE exams in there somewhere.
|2 years 15 weeks ago||Hidden reason?!||
Funny piece and a great reminder of the many fine recruits we've had.
Unlike some baseball people who seemed to like to talk up a kid just to have interesting copy during spring training, I believe Coach Jackson does this because:
1. He is fundamentally an optimistic upbeat guy.
2. He knows how cut throat it can be at that position - hero one moment, goat the next, so having one person who the backs know will always be seeing their upside is helpful. Sort of like how every mom sees the good side of their kids.
3. Finally, the Coach knows a lot of what it takes to be a great RB is not just physical, but having the confidence and ego to come through under great pressure and scrutiny. Mike Hart wasn't anybody's first choice (slower, smaller, shorter) but he came through.
The question is now: Is Coach Jackson more upbeat than Chuck Norris is tough?
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Different times||
Thank you for writing this.
I know that this really dates me to an era when there were vinyl records, black and white TVs and only 3 TV stations nationally, but it is matter of style. The greatest players of the past, regardless of their sport were as determined and egoistically as anyone who is playing the game today. They all sought to be successful and drove themselves and often their team mates mercilessly. But it was also the style at the time to be self-effacing and humble in public, to never to be seen crying out for attention - that was to be seen as a publicity hound or showboater. Some of the change is due to the nature of pro sports - the real money is paradoxically not on the field, it is in off-field endorsement, so fame and popularity does count. So it is fine balance being a good team mate and cultivating a "good guy" image so when success comes on the field, it can yield huge bookings in off-field endorsements. If one is successful on the field but don't come across as a endorsement hound, you'll often do better because the few endorsements will be big ones.
Calling for your own statue and your own number to be retired just makes me sad. It makes me sad to think the greats turn out to be like us, yearning desparately to be loved and wanting attention and public displays of affection. It is actually sort of passe since with modern video and film, one can actually see the greats play. Does Bill Russell, certainly as great a player in his time and certainly a great influence on the modern NBA game, need to call for a statue? Why just a statue? Isn't it considered enough to be mentioned in the very short list of the greatest players of all time? Does it have to be a big shiny geegaw thing? Those people who saw Michael Jordan play at his best don't need a statue to remind them that they saw an amazing player, just as anyone who ever saw Barry Sanders break a long run knows they witnessed something miraculous. We'll probably be watching replays of DR's run against ND decades from now. So long as we have video replay, these greats have really achieved a form of immortality.
It is a better move not to remove a number from circulation, but to honor those who wore that number by only having the very best players wear it - those who can rise to the challenge of wearing that number. That is the best way to keep the memory alive of the great Wolverines players of all time.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Retire or keep a number?||
It is nice to be honored - we'd all like to remembered for our accomplishments, whether it was winning the Heisman trophy, scoring the winning touchdown or running and passing for 7 touchdowns in high school against Polk High.
As much it is an honor to retire numbers, I'd suggest we "honor" numbers by continuing to use them - only issue them to players of some merit and ability - the players have to be deemed worthy of wearing No.2 or No. 21 for th UM, just like wearing No. 1 means something. We'd then remember all of the great No. 2's and No. 1's and No. 21's - and keep alive the memory of those players.
When a number disappears from use, over time, people forget. Even if one just thinks only of vanity and ego - wouldn't you rather see the number in play? It is a no lose proposition. If the new player wearing that number does well - it will bring up comments about how "that play reminds of the original great No. 21, Desmond Howard, etc." and if the new player doesn't do that well, again, "well, he's not playing as well as the earlier No. 21 who made that number famous, Desmond Howard..."
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Like the whole nature versus nuture argument||
Too much is made of this physical rating. Having talented and skillful players is very important. But like rough diamonds, there is a lot of polishing which needs to be done before you have a real star. Talent and skill often means physical tools AND a lot of hard work. At each level (high school - college - pro) there are players who won't do the other stuff after the "AND" and so plateau or drop out.
Remember that we didn't actively recruit Tom Brady until he and his dad pushed around a tape of him. He is a great example - talent and ability, but his greatest "skill" was the willingness to work at being better. Another example, Charles Woodson - a great prospect, but even he was made better with great coaching. Finally, look at Mike Hart - on paper he wouldn't have a chance of beating out any of the other backs signed during his year or later, yet he's the ALL time rushing leader. He was smaller and slower than the other backs who looked like the ideal prototype RB - yet they couldn't displace him. He rarely fumbled and deep down he wanted it more. If more players had his heart and determination they'd be all-americans and no. 1 draft choices.
We need physical talent AND good coaching & development AND hope that the kid has character and heart to appreciate that he can get better and reach his full potential here.
The annual pre-football season Wolverine magazine came out and if you read the review of the 2006 class you'll see a lot of highly touted players who didn't make it here (and not due to injuries) and if they transfered, many didn't even stay in football.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||slippery slope||
We can look from afar and be aghast at the European football hooliganism but it could happen here and start here.
It starts out with good natured support and cheers but it is a steep slippery slope to full blown thuggery that takes on a life of its own.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Two observations||
Football in many ways doesn't really use the full statistical power available despite having a lot of data. We still use a lot of basic descriptive statistics and even then don't put in important parameters. We note the average yards gain rushing but not the standard deviation which might be more helpful about a runner. A RB with a high average but a distribution which is skewed heavily to the positive side implies: dependably gains yards, rarely gets caught for a loss and if he has long positive skew the ability to break away.
1. Any attempt to find a single statistic to predict victory or defeat is unlikely to ever succeed. Games are won or lost for more than one reason. Sometimes it is due to a single turnover or a single error on a crucial 3rd down play. An otherwise well played and well coached game can come down to one missed field goal or one mistake.
2. Any statistic when used must be discussed with respect to what are the norms in the conference or country. The Red Zone scoring percentage mentioned is a good one. A scoring percentage of 79% sounds good until you learn that the WORST of the D1 teams last year was around 66% (go the official NCAA stats, http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2010&rpt=IA_teamredzone&site=...) The 104th ranked red zone offense in 2010 (six way tie with Miami of Ohio, West Virginia, Miami of FL, Tennessee, Rutgers and UCLA) was 75%. The UM was in a seven way tie for 82nd with 79%.
Were your statistics about the UM being 109th based on several years data?
|2 years 23 weeks ago||Numbers game||
There are clearly issues about formation, strategy, training, player selection, etc. Bad luck or bad driving also is a factor. It set back Charlie Davies (forward with pace and finishing skills) who is still trying to recover after a devestating auto accident. He looked like the type of world caliber forward (speed and finishing) that we long needed.
But the big issue and one which may not go away is that for boys and young men, soccer is always going to be number 3 or 4 as a pro sport.
1 Pro/college football
2 and 2a. Pro/college basketball and Pro/college baseball
3. Pro/college hockey...Soccer is lucky to be 3 or 4.
A lot of the available talent disappears into those games. If you are looking for forwards, think about all of the small quick guards, short stops or slot receivers - they'd be perfect to be that sort of darting Lionel Messi forward. If you want people to go up in the air for headers, think of BB forwards, or TEs who can leap. For defenders, strong safeties, center fielders, linebackers. For goalie - think of that power forward or center - he'd smother most shots and can actually reach the cross bar along with a 6'10" wing span. It is not hopeless - the US population is big, big enough that realistically it should be able to field a team drawn from the niche places where soccer is the number one game just like ice hockey is huge in some northern states but basically unheard elsewhere. The women's game demonstrates this clearly. For women soccer players the national team is the pinnacle of their game and arguably more popular and better recognized than any other women's professional league in the country (not counting golf and tennis - individual games but counting the WNBA).
One other aspect not mentioned is that the technical part of the game (that is the actual skills part - like dribbling and passing) aren't emphasized enough at youth tourneys and leagues - a bit too much "winning" is pushed. But that is an ill seen in too many young leagues of all sorts - BB players with ugly shots, tennis players who don't have an around game, just a serve and a forehand, and look at where college football is heading. Just contemplate the fact that so many QBs for so called top teams have mechanics which need work on in the pros.
|2 years 23 weeks ago||The NFL has more data and less variance||
Agree with your hestiation to completely jump on this bandwagon. Passing is very important and stopping the pass is as you note maybe even MORE important. In large part this is due to (1) relative ease most teams have a stopping the run (2) team consistency from year to year and (3) huge pool of data against relatively closely matched teams. The last point can't be underestimated. It is hard to judge the value of strategies or plans if one side is overwhelmingly superior in sheer size, strength and speed. Mismatches are far more common in college ball.
|2 years 23 weeks ago||Thanks for the post - impact extends beyond this blog||
Thanks for the blog entry and putting in one place all of these scandals, their details and the punishment meted out.
The NCAA due to perfect storm of scandals (Reggie Bush USC, Cam New Auburn, Tressel-Sugar Bowl, too many to list BB stuff from coast to coast) is now under greater scrutiny than ever. Putting these past scandals and their charges together makes it easier to compare punishments and sanctions and forces them to be consistent.
Were this some paper published fanzine or weekly newsletter sent by snail mail, the impact of such a piece would be limited and dismissed as a biased screed.
But today due to the Net a lot of people are made aware of the situation. One of realities of the change in the media world is that fewer MSM reporters do in-depth research - sometimes they rely on helpers, others just wing it and focus on "reaction" pieces. Actually looking up details, dates and such takes time, energy and basically isn't as much fun as dialing up a phone and trying to get a sound bite from a coach, AD or other source or just typing away about how the writer feels about something. The former is actual work.
Thanks again and good job.
|2 years 24 weeks ago||Not state employees||
It is a common misunderstanding. The University of Michigan is a public school in that it has some degree of public support (i.e. money from the State of Michigan) and its governance is public. The regents are elected. In contrast a private school like say, one of the Ivy League schools don't receive dollars to run the place and their governing board (call it what you will, board of regents, governors, visitors or whatever archaic term is used) are not necessarily voted in as much as appointed.
The employees of the school including the athletic department are NOT state employees. They don't receive a "state" check and don't have to follow the same civil service guidelines.
But I have to agree that if a person is in the position of having to check up and vet the players for possible compliance issues - they should NEVER put themselves in positions where their judgement can ever be called into question - simple common sense.
|2 years 25 weeks ago||Yes, the true tradition of Michigan Athletics.||
I'm glad someone has reminded everyone that the tradition of Michigan Athletics has always had a strong eye on the bottom line and commercialization. The reason the stadium is the size it is, located where it is, and designed the way it is is because of commercial reasons. Fielding Yost wanted a big place which could draw a huge crowd and spent lot of his time selling bonds to help fund the construction.
There isn't anything wrong with trying to limit commercialization - I'd hate to see naming rights be sold for the stadium for example, but historically even before Canham, the people who ran athletics kept an eye out financially.
|2 years 25 weeks ago||It is the whole legal precedence issue||
The scenarios are presented in a way which makes each opportunity seem quite innocent and above board - but because we are now a nation of rules lawyers, every act can be seen to be a precedent setting decision.
|2 years 25 weeks ago||Sad but probably true||
Riddle: how do you know you are getting old? Answer: you don't know what the popular music is and you DON'T care.
Matt and Trey have been moving away slowly from their TV show - and maybe this will be it.
Hope to live long enough to see what comes after rap music - love to see the kids of today grouse about the "awful" music of their kids.
|2 years 25 weeks ago||But that may be his only chance at QB||
Both Tom Clements and Warren Moon had pretty good runs up north. The huge field, only 3 downs and mandatory 1 yard neutral zone helps legitimate dual threat QBs. TP might not actually throw well enough. The wide field and 12th player makes having a quick release with some zip on it a plus.
|2 years 25 weeks ago||On paper you are right, but he might be on the edge.||
Old Joke - what are the three most important things a university president has to be sure to take care of?
1. Sex and parties for the undergraduates
2. Parking for the faculty
3. Football for the alumni.
So, despite having once been an Eagle Scout and clerking for a US Supreme Court Justice, President Gee does understand what he needs to do. But if he continues to make "brilliant" statements at the press conferences, it may reach a point that even gold status parking for everyone can't save him. To paraphrase the Godfather, "a man in his position cannot afford to be made to look ridiculous."
|2 years 25 weeks ago||perception and understanding of the odds||
These points of data are helpful. It shows how incredibly unlikely it is for the millions of high school ball players to ever suit up for a major pro team. As you note it shows also how valuable having a college athletic scholarship actually is. It is sort of having a safety net. The realistic smart kids know this - they come to Ann Arbor hoping and wishing that maybe fate and fortune will strike and they might blossom into a NFL or NBA caliber player - if not well, coming here to school is pretty nice.
But the problem is that many athletes don't think this way. This is the way a 50 year old thinks - someone with experience with life and its many disappointments. Until it is all over, most kids don't ever believe that they couldn't make it; especially if one was all-state or a top player in high school.
|2 years 26 weeks ago||interesting notion||
Interesting notion, but as others point out the career of a typical player is very short unlike a baseball or basketball player who can knock about for a decade. Few football players play a decade.
Does anybody know how the international rugby leagues handle this issue? They are also a full contact sport and have a similar career arc length.