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|1 week 6 days ago||speaking of bad AD ideas||
Yeah, we posted about that when it came out: http://boiledsports.com/2014/heres-a-helmet-idea-that-wasnt-stolen.html. BTN had a follow-up post, and the final product apparently didn't look awful. I could go on at length ...
Michigan has a significant advantage in that the helmet design does not lend itself to Brandonesque clown games. OTOH, maybe a stunt like that would have gotten him fired sooner. (At least other big-money donors are stepping up to oppose Ross now - at least that's how I interpreted Denise Ilitch's public comments. Regent + Ilitch name/money = influence.)
|2 weeks 7 min ago||Re: uniforms||
I'm far from the target market for such things (I'm 47) but I'm not a fan of altering uniforms randomly at all. I definitely agree that it is a thing that works for Oregon, but I look at changing uniforms to draw recruits and/or fans kind of like Rodriguez and the 3-3-5: the thing that really works for Oregon is that the kids wearing the horribly ugly uniforms are also in a system that is churning out top-10 teams with offenses that are extremely fun to watch. Put MSU and South Florida in uniformz and that game is still one of the worst "football" experiences that have ever occurred. (Were they wearing uniformz? I can't even remember.)
I will also note that Purdue's dalliance with uniformz is not causing five-star talent to commit to West Lafayette. (It's also an odd thing for Purdue to do, because Morgan Burke usually won't spend a dollar unless he has a 50% off coupon and can haggle you down to 20 cents. Uniformz may be mostly free for the school - although I think there'd be a marginal cost in terms of storage and such for keeping an entire extra set of uniforms around - but it isn't as though the Boilers are good enough to get people to rush out and buy new jerseys just because they're different.)
|2 weeks 1 day ago||FWIW||
Etling has been benched in favor of Austin Appleby, who is managing to make a John Shoop offense not look like a train wreck. Pretty impressive, even with such a low bar.
Appleby's raw QBR in his starts are 98.2 and 45.7, but the former was against Illinois' "defense", so take the usual small-sample-size disclaimer and embiggen it.
On a related note, one thing I will grudgingly admit is that through the first three quarters of every game, the best QB is probably Cook. Fortunately for us all, the fourth-quarter hex Dantonio has brought upon himself is clouding Cook's stats ... even against the weak Boiler defense, he was pretty ineffective in the 4th.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||I hope it does hurt Brandon's ability||
to hire a new coach, by being another step in a process that results in Brandon being fired.
Questions about "stunts" should be directed at the guy who spends more time planning them in the stadium than understanding how to run a football program, much less actually running one.
|12 weeks 15 hours ago||Same here, maybe||
It was either '72, because I think I was in kindergarten, or '74, because I thought the final was 49-0 only we left early when it was 42-0. So maybe we didn't leave early and it was only ever 42-0. I dunno. It's hard to tell when you're 5. Or 7.
Anyway, it was at once too much to comprehend and also quite a bit understated. The Big House is so big when you're little and it's full of people and you're coming in at kind of the middle, so it goes up a long ways and down a long ways ... but Minnesota back then was hardly a challenge, so it wasn't much more than a scrimmage, I think, especially not to the untrained eyes of a kid just learning about sports.
And then we left for the Land that Football Forgot, and I have not been back for a game. I had a chance in 2000, but, um ... it didn't seem like the right reason to ask permission to leave the state.
Anyway, I did see the 2008 48-42 loss to Purdue in West Lafayette. I had a friend at the time who liked to organize outings to games with people from both sides - at the time, it seemed cute, but looking back (and taking other things into account), it was maybe a bit sadistic. So I sat with a couple of Michigan-only fans in the crappy end zone section that was recently demolished, surrounded by Purdue fans, and watched a game that was exciting for about half the fans in the stands (obvs by then Purdue was selling a lot of tickets to away fans). I couldn't get my friend to understand why I wasn't excited by the win: a bad Purdue team (thankfully, Tiller's last) losing to a bad Michigan team. (I kind of root for the team that is better to win so that at least one of them has a chance at a good season ... so in football it's pretty much always Michigan.)
|18 weeks 2 days ago||Yeah, if you go back and watch,||
CR7 found himself offside on a number of occasions, and on at least one, he basically just stood there, knowing he was so far offside he'd never get back. On another, he had 3-4 of his teammates with him. Nothing like timing the offside trap so that the entire attacking section of your opponent is offside.
Contrast that with Dempsey's goal, where IIRC the Portuguese defender is sliding to prevent a cross, but by his presence also preventing anyone from being offside.
|18 weeks 5 days ago||Let me be the first||
to express my concern about the value of Ronaldo's playing career; if it's truly in the balance, I think we can all agree that the important thing is the health of the player, and naturally that would mean resting his knee, starting immediately, rather than putting further strain on it.
|20 weeks 2 days ago||In literal terms, I don't think there is one||
At least one site has the US as 250-1 to win the World Cup ... in 2013, one oddsmaker had the longest shot to win the conference, Illinois, as 100-1. (I haven't seen 2014 odds yet?) So from that perspective, it's probably Purdue: not gonna happen, next question.
Even if you were looking at, say, the World Cup vs. the Hot New Play-Off Thing, the US is more like Northwestern, I think: once upon a time, they gave it a good run, but things were a lot different back then, and except for one crazy run where they came up well short, since then, they've never really had a chance at all. The quality simply isn't there.
With respect to getting out of the group stage, they probably have a better shot to do that than Michigan does to win the Big Tenteen, although the concerns could be similar: a lot of questions about offense, with a defense that's doing what it can but sometimes has unfortunate lapses. One really talented guy can't carry the offense himself; even with two or three really good players, you've still got other guys on the field that have to do their thing, too.
|21 weeks 4 days ago||Wigan players unable to convert chances?||
(tries to find shocked face)
Figueroa contributed well to the Latics, as Espinoza does now, but IIRC it's been years since they had a consistent goal-scorer that wasn't on loan from United. Injury troubles on the back line eventually dropped them to the Championship, and Coyle's mismanagement gave them a deficit that may have affected their playoff odds, but scoring pretty much overcomes everything if you can get it, and they haven't done that consistently ... so I'm not too surprised to see a couple of their name players continue that in international play.
|30 weeks 6 days ago||Purdue grad chiming in||
One of the hotly-debated issues on Purdue blogs this year was exactly how much leadership they had in the first place: whether this was even more of a blow or whether it was addition by subtraction (see: Guptill and Di Guiseppe). Given Painter's consistent comments throughout the season, I lean toward the latter.
Purdue does return three of their four most efficient players, in Smotherman, Davis, and Stephens, but as with Carroll (9.9% of possessions), none of them were even in the Significant Contributor range. The two who were Major Contributors are Hammons and Scott, and neither of them posted numbers to be thrilled about. (Scott's ORtg was 91.4, using 25.8 of possessions, the highest figure on the team. MIGHT BE A PROBLEM)
With the offense at its worst since Painter's first year (cleaning up the mess that Keady left) and the defense rapidly approaching that, another hot topic has been whether Painter is a good coach/recruiter who's struggling to find the right combination, or if he just got lucky with Moore, Johnson, and Hummel, and basically rode that group to an extension he did not deserve.
People in the former camp ask for patience and want to give Painter a couple of years to straighten this out. Without knowing the details of the buyout clause in Painter's contract, I can't be sure if that will happen, but I would not be surprised if he had exactly one more season to fix things.
Purdue has finished alone in last place in the conference five times in league history. Painter was the coach for two of them: 2005-06 (the first year after Keady) and this year. If it happens again next season, I can't see Burke retaining him. Gutting the football and basketball programs at the same time kind of affects your ability to generate revenue, and Burke is sensitive to that.
If Painter stays, I agree that it will take a while to turn things around. I don't think there are signs in his recent recruiting classes that he can draw another group of Baby Boilers and rebuild the team quickly. If he goes, a quick rebuild is possible, depending on who's available and interested. The Purdue job can be a decent one, given the relative importance of men's basketball on campus (i.e. above football), but it might also be perceived as a position where the rebuilding task is greater than most coaches might want to try in a power conference.
|45 weeks 1 day ago||Did someone say "fan of Michigan and Detroit teams"?||
But wait, there's more! As an added bonus, I also root for my alma mater, you know, the Big Ten school that backed into a CBI invite and had the worst power-conference football team in the country. (Also the one that lost a regular-season volleyball match in five sets at home to Northwestern (??) and got whacked in the regional final by Wisconsin after crushing overrated Missouri at Missouri and sweeping Illinois at Illinois.)
And as awesome as the FA Cup final was, that was followed shortly thereafter by Wigan being relegated to the Championship, sleepwalking through much of the first half of that campaign, and then collapsing in Europa League play after being in position to qualify for the knockout stage with two matches left and their destiny in their hands.
|1 year 2 weeks ago||Another thing about Linehan||
is that he does not insist on running the ball when the team is not good at it. In 2011 (let's forget 2012 - no, really), the Lions were 31st in rushing attempts, just 10 carries ahead of a 4-12 Tampa Bay team that was probably worse than their record. He didn't go away from the run because the Lions sucked, he did it because the running game sucked.
Of course he also had/has Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson and a bunch of receivers not named Calvin Johnson who can still get open from time to time, and Borges does not (although Borges has a TE who can catch, at least until he officially becomes a WR), and Detroit is running the ball more this season because they have a back who can run in that offense ... but that just means Linehan is tailoring his play calls to the ability of his players. He is not calling power run after power run and hoping that his opponents magically do not detect the huge POWER RUN indicator in six-foot-tall letters above the formation he's just sent in.
|1 year 3 weeks ago||1972 as well||
although I was just 5, so other than "we played Minnesota" and "we beat them handily", I couldn't really remember anything else for sure. Oh ... also "the stadium is the most biggest thing ever." (Which is probably the case even if you are not five years old.)
For years I was convinced that we had left early and that it was actually a 49-0 game. (I lucked into a ticket when a friend's family had an extra one for some reason, and we moved three years later, so by the time I was old enough to wonder, it was too late to ask.)
So it was pretty much what you'd expect at the time: not Ohio? Then it'll be an easy win.
That turned out to be the only home game I've seen (see: moved three years later), so Michigan's averaging 42 points per home game I see in person. I should make plans for the Ohio game.
|1 year 5 weeks ago||What's interesting to me||
is that the punting and field-goal decisions basically come from the same idea: never mind trying to win, just don't make the loss look too bad. (So you punt to make the other team drive farther for the next TD, or kick a FG to lose by 32 instead of 35.)
And it may be just perception - although I trust you more than my general ideas, because you have data at your fingertips - but it does seem like the current changes are only about punts. Coaches still love them some FGs, even if they are relatively long attempts (a 40+ kick in the NFL is no sure thing; in college, it's even less certain).
|1 year 6 weeks ago||Sure, in a normal game||
but that's the problem that USF has. They're so bad that there are some situations where no decision is any good.
I mean, 6 for 26. They were 19 of 40 against McNeese State. If there were ever a modern team for which the quick kick was designed, it's USF.
|1 year 6 weeks ago||South Florida's decision was definitely correct||
They ended up averaging 2.5 yards per play, both passing (!!) and running, were 1-13 overall on third down (with the conversion by penalty, of course), and were facing a team with an offense nearly as bad as theirs. Their previous possession ended on a failed 4th-and-4 from the Spartans' 32, the only USF fourth-down attempt of the game. Their only hope to cut into that deficit was to give the ball back to MSU and force them to run some plays ... sadly, it didn't work out, but in this particular case, I think it was the right call.
On the other hand, on the second play of the fourth quarter, South Florida punted from their own 8 ... for 15 yards. (Sparty did get a touchdown on that drive, but not before ending up with a 3rd and 21.) So ... maybe the problem was not punting on third down.
We were watching that game in preparation for the big one. It was one of the worst offensive showings I've ever seen, and my family had season tickets to IU games in the late '70s.
|1 year 8 weeks ago||Carlson's long was 48||
and he was no stranger to kicks from 40-49. (H/T Bentley. No Rose Bowl box? Anyway, it says 1938-78, but 1989-1991 are there too.)
Kicks by game, with misses in parens:
Notre Dame: none
1-1 under 20
That was some solid kicking.
|1 year 9 weeks ago||The thing about big schools||
is that people who haven't gone to one seem to have this idea that every day, everyone on campus runs around in random directions all the time, so you can't possibly see anyone more than once, because OMG TENZ OF THOUSANDZ OF PEEPUL OMG. (The best is when they now live in NYC or San Francisco or Chicago and can tell you about how they always run into this one couple on the way home from work. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.)
But when you consider only the people that have classes at the same time on a particular day, and then only the people that actually get up and go to those classes, and then only the people who are heading to class in the same direction, from the same direction, suddenly it's not such a big group after all.
Exactly how this works probably differs a bit depending on how campus is laid out - at Purdue, campus was/is basically one area, so even if you live off-campus, you're going to head in basically the same direction, so the group of Potentially Identifiable People is larger. If your destinations are spread out more, you're looking at even smaller groups, probably to the point where you can look out your window and see Hat Guy going by and think "crap, he's the last guy on time to class, I'm late".
|1 year 15 weeks ago||makes sense||
given that Indiana-Purdue is protected, it's probably easier to keep seven matchups the same across those two years and then do the same moving forward.
|1 year 16 weeks ago||except for all the others||
Stevens wouldn't leave for another NCAA job, but Lickliter and Matta had no trouble leaving the Horizon for the Big Ten. I would imagine the next coach will be more like the latter two than Stevens.
|1 year 18 weeks ago||Minor correction||
In 1984, Purdue went to - and lost in - the Peach, not the Cotton. (It would be their last bowl appearance until the 1997 season.) The only team ever to appear in the Cotton Bowl as a member of the Big Ten was Ohio in the 1986 season. (Maryland, Nebraska, and Penn State went in their previous lives.)
The Peach Bowl was actually a cruel joke. I was a freshman at Purdue the following season; I can still remember seeing the occasional band member wearing their Peach Bowl jacket. With my Michigan background, I was accustomed to annual bowl games, and with Purdue returning senior QB Jim Everett and coming off a bowl appearance, I thought I'd be able to watch some quality football. (I was partly right - some pretty good teams came to visit Ross-Ade in those days.)
|1 year 25 weeks ago||The ninth-worst offense, actually||
the worst and best rankings use the same order (rather than putting worst at the top and 10th-worst at the bottom).
The second-worst offense is a Gary Nord offense, which comes as no surprise to anyone, period.
|1 year 37 weeks ago||71-60 UM||
go away, MSU.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Purdue's monster-in-the-middle||
is Mr. Hammons, btw.
This is good stuff. I think it reinforces the idea that context is really important for defensive statistics ... for example, Purdue's strong defensive efficiency (moreso in non-conference play after last night's beating) is really "Purdue's DE with A.J. Hammons at center". It isn't a coincidence that they're 10th in DE in Big Ten play and that Hammons has been in foul trouble in every conference game against non-terrible competition (fouled out against Iowa, 4 fouls against Illinois, MSU, and Ohio, 3 fouls including 2 early against IU).
|1 year 38 weeks ago||well, that's the thing||
A block simply means making contact with and appreciably altering a shot that is subsequently missed; it may or may not result in a change of possession. (And that's one reason to not get too caught up in analysis: a block can be deflected to a defensive teammate for a fast break, knocked into an offensive player's hands for a kind-of Kobe assist, swatted out of bounds, or who knows what, and all of them count as 1 block.)
It's like how blocking a kick doesn't count as a turnover in football. (Even stopping a fourth-down attempt isn't a turnover.) The name of the category is a simplification, so it covers some things it probably shouldn't and doesn't cover some things it probably should.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||19-20, 95% from the line||
I think some of Indiana's stats got compressed when you were writing that intro.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||87-85 Michigan||
The cabinet theory isn't particularly interesting. I like the bar fight theory better - corruption of "Whose ear?" - if only because it's dumber and thus more likely to be true.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||Michigan 84-55||
Purdue can't shoot. This isn't a problem in a game where scoring happens when you shoot, right?
|2 years 3 weeks ago||one note about special teams||
Kawann Short is very good at blocking kicks. This is probably not a surprise, given his strength and position, but is worth noting.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Morgan Burke's been doing that for 20 years||
a little drinking isn't going to change it much. Well, other than the fact that the stadium is uphill from the bars (and some of the tailgating areas). Bad planning.
Burke's approach, and that of George King before him, was that by God this is Big Ten football and you are going to show up. Actually improving the quality of the product on the field wasn't really a consideration (Exhibit A: every single coach under those guys; Tiller had partial success by running an offense people hadn't seen before and getting lucky with Brees, as much as it pains me to say).
Hiring a guy with no I-A experience on nothing more than Tiller's say-so did a lot to kill attendance. True, bar drinking does have a way of keeping people from getting to the game itself, but who wants to sober up watching Purdue fart away a lead against a MAC school or get crushed in Big Ten competition? (Not every game can be as exciting as you-know-which-one ...) And really, there can't be more than a thousand or so in the bars. That wouldn't even make a dent in IU's Memorial Stadium.
Burke seems to assume that he can focus on building competitive programs in other sports (which, TBH, he's done a pretty good job at) and that football will simply take care of itself. Younger fans might prefer to watch BTN; older fans have been through this many times already, thank you, no need to spend money on another 6-6 team. (It was one thing to have optimism in the mid-'80s with Jim Everett, or in the '00s with NFL-caliber QBs and Curtis Painter. Now, though ...) Burke's fortunate that a number of Big Ten schools travel well, or there'd be a much more noticeable drop in attendance.