On IPCs and Football Scholarships

On IPCs and Football Scholarships

Submitted by EGD on January 29th, 2013 at 3:32 AM


As any chess master will tell you, allowing one’s pieces to languish on the back rank is a certain invitation to humiliating defeat.   Or, as anyone who has ever played Axis & Allies well knows, a general who hordes his Industrial Production Certificates will quickly fall to the opponent who transforms hers into military units and strategically deploys them as rapidly as possible.  So I was quite surprised the other day when several posters suggested that Michigan ought to “bank” its last remaining scholarship for the 2013 class, rather than sign a player who might not arrive in Ann Arbor with the highest of expectations.  Like chessmen or IPCs, I have always felt that a football coach must aggressively leverage production from his full complement of 85 scholarships—or as many of that number as possible—if he hopes to outcompete the other 120 programs in the country. 

Scholarships are not chessmen, of course, nor are they IPCs—and the calculus that goes into offering and signing a collegiate student-athlete is quite a bit different than the evaluation of choices in a board game.  So, although the idea of purposefully letting a scholarship go unfilled struck me as intuitively unwise, the suggestion did not seem entirely without merit.  After all—if by passing on a probable depth player in 2013, Michigan could sign a likely frontline contributor in 2014, then the payoff might be worth the investment.  The overarching strategic principles remain sound and generally applicable, I felt, but is this case the exception?  I decided to take a closer look. 

Most estimates place the expected size of Michigan’s 2014 class at around 17 scholarships.  This projection appears based on fifteen players exhausting their eligibility in 2013, and two redshirt juniors not being offered fifth years.  With usual attrition, UM would more realistically expect to have about 20 scholarships available.  But for purposes of this analysis, I will presume the 17 figure holds true.

Banking a 2013 scholarship would enable UM to sign an 18th player in the 2014 class.  Therefore one part of the “to-bank-or-not-to-bank” equation seems to be the reasonably anticipated quality of the eighteenth recruit in UM’s 2014 class.

In 2012, Michigan had twelve recruits who received four or five stars on Rivals; the 18th-highest recruit would have been a 3-star with a 5.7 grade (Ben Braden, Jeremy Clark, Devin Funchess, Matt Godin, Mario Ojemudia, Kaleb Ringer, AJ Williams, and Chris Wormley fit that description, according to Rivals).  In 2013, Michigan has seventeen recruits with at least four stars and a 5.8 grade, though the 18th-best recruit again checks in with 3 stars and a 5.7 grade.  Therefore, Michigan’s performance in the last two recruiting cycles would seem to suggest that banking a 2013 scholarship would most likely produce a high (5.7) 3-star recruit to Rivals. 

A slightly improved performance in 2014 could realistically land a low (5.8) 4-star recruit.  However, between 2005 and 2012 only twelve recruiting classes have featured at least 18 players rated four stars or higher on Rivals.  And, of those twelve classes, all but two (2006 FSU and 2008 ND) belonged to teams that had won (mythical) national titles within the preceding decade.  Michigan, which hasn’t won the MNC since 1997 and hasn’t seriously contended for one since 2006, and which doesn’t happen to be in a talent-abundant state like Florida or have a Catholic pipeline like ND, would not seem especially well-positioned to defy this pattern.  On the other hand, Scout.com (which is a bit more generous with their star rankings) lists fifteen classes with eighteen or more 4+stars from 2005-12, and is already projecting two more for 2013: one of which belongs to Michigan.

We can thus assume that a hypothetical 18th recruit for 2014 would likely be a player on the 3-4 star borderline, with a Rivals grade of 5.7 or 5.8.  Maybe not a heavy bomber, but still a pretty high-quality recruit either way.  The drawback, of course, is that player would not join the team until the 2014 season. 

While landing eighteen or more 4-stars is uncommon—and almost unheard-of for non-MNC contenders—landing twenty-seven or more 3-stars ain’t no thang.  Between 2005 and 2012, there were 32 recruiting classes of 27 or more players that finished with a top-15 ranking on Rivals.  Of those classes, 18 (or 56.25%) had at least 27 players rated 3-stars or higher.  Now, if we were at the beginning of the 2013 recruiting cycle and were trying to predict Michigan’s chances of signing at least 27 three-stars, this percentage would already suggest Michigan has pretty good odds of pulling it off.  But with UM having already obtained verbals from 27 players, of whom 26 are rated 3+ stars (the 27th recruit is LS Scott Sypniewski)—and needing only to fill the one remaining spot, the chances of Michigan being able to find one more 3-star recruit for that final spot would appear to approach 100%. 

So, let’s assume for purposes of the remaining discussion that the final spot would to go a (mid) three-star player with a Rivals grade of 5.6.  This player would be a tad less talented than the hypothetical 2014 signee, but would have one more year of experience in the program.  Assuming one year of collegiate coaching and strength & conditioning is equal to or greater than the value of a .15 upgrade on the Rivals grading scale, recruiting a slightly less-talented player in 2013 is at worst equivalent to signing a more talented player in 2014 (as the 2013 player’s redshirt season cancels out the banked-scholarship season for a recruit who plays as a true freshman).  But, assuming both players would redshirt their first years in the program, UM would sacrifice an entire season of production from one scholarship position.  It is doubtful that the slightly greater overall production one might expect from a 2014 player over the course of his career would sufficiently off-set this high immediate cost.


Player #28 of 2013 Class

Player #18 of 2014 Class


Redshirt (no production)  or 5.6

X – No Production


5.6 + 1 year

Redshirt (no production) or 5.7


5.6 + 2 years

5.75 + 1 year


5.6 + 3 years

5.75 + 2 years


5.6 + 4 years or new recruit

5.75 + 3 years


New recruit

5.75 + 4 years or new recruit


In the end, while there appears to be a stronger case for banking the last scholarship than I expected, I still think UM ought to take another player if they can find a Willie Henry or Dennis Norfleet type of player to come on board.  The potential benefits of saving the scholarship for 2014 are tenuous and distant, while the costs are immediate and certain.  Moreover, any attrition that occurs between now and 2014 will further diminish the expected returns from the hypothetical 2014 player, as a 19th recruit taken in 2014 is presumably less likely to be of four-star quality than the 18th, a 20th player even less, and so on.  Then, of course, some of the most likely targets for that final spot are defensive tackles, who would become subject to the Heininger Certainty Principle (which, frankly, is better than super submarines, long-range aircraft, or even V-2 rockets!).  

[Edit: Nerd that I am, I suppose I subconsciously view Axis & Allies as essentially a gen-X Monopoly or Clue—that is, a board game title with which anyone within, say, ten years of my (37 year-old) vintage ought to be reasonably familiar.  Thus, as I was trying to finish this diary in the wee hours last night, I evidently didn’t think it necessary to include a brief primer on what A&A actually is, or the basic strategy underlying the game-play.  Having thought better of the matter this morning, I offer the following supplement.

A&A is a famously-imbalanced, turn-based World War II strategy game that involves five players on two de facto teams: the Axis (with one player controlling Germany and the other Japan) and the Allies (comprised of players for the USA, UK, and Russia).  Each turn follows a pre-set sequence: Russia plays first, followed by Germany, then UK, then Japan, then USA.  Within each turn, a player first “purchases” military units using the currency of the game, Industrial Production Certificates (or “IPCs”).  A player receives IPCs by controlling territories on the game board (generally speaking, the more heavily industrialized the territory is, the more IPCs it is worth).  Once the units are purchased, however, they may not be deployed until the end of the player’s turn.  In the meantime, the player may maneuver his units and attack opponents—but only using his or her pre-existing units. 

Industrial Production Certificates are collected at the very end of a player’s turn, after all movement and combat has taken place.  And the amount of IPCs a player has to spend at the beginning of his or her next turn may be reduced through bombing raids or rocket attacks that other players launch in the meantime.  Furthermore, new units may only be deployed in spaces where a player has an “industrial complex”—often the only such space is a player’s home country—so it may take one or more future turns for a newly-deployed unit to travel to a forward area of the board where it can make a meaningful contribution to the game.  Therefore, it behooves any player to spend his or her entire allotment of IPCs at every opportunity—thus converting them into actual units that can occupy, defend, or invade territories (thus preserving or increasing a player’s future IPC stream).]

Safety (or lack thereof) in Football

Safety (or lack thereof) in Football

Submitted by MGoBender on January 28th, 2013 at 10:06 PM

(I actually thought a recent topic had something worth discussing, however, the OP included something banned on these boards... Let's try this again).

A certain prominent public figure recent spoke about the future of football.

The Raven's Bernard Pollard said recently that he does not believe the NFL will exist in 30 years.

I have a few questions for discussion:

1. Would you feel OK about your son (real or theoretical) playing football? To what degree?

2. To what extent do you believe football can survive, as is?

3. What would you do to try to save the sport?


My responses:

1. I would discourage my theoretical son from playing football. While at the end of the day, it would be his choice, I'd encourage soccer or fall-ball baseball for an autumn sport. If he chose to play football, I would be a pretty worried person everyday.


2. Every year something changes and I don't think that will stop any time soon. So, no I think 10-15 years from now the game will be different.


3. I'd make hitting illegal.  If you do not attempt to wrap up with your arms and instead launch your body (whether you make contact with your shoulder or helmet), it would be a personal foul. 2 of them and you're ejected. 

Yeah, big hits are exciting. But how often do we lament the player going for the big hit and failing to bring down the ball carrier? I think we can eliminate hitting without taking too much away from the game.

Quick Poggi Update

Quick Poggi Update

Submitted by robbyt003 on January 28th, 2013 at 7:10 PM

WOLVERINENATION - the den ($$$)  If you don't have an account, you should get one.

From our good friend Tom-

Henrys dad spoke with the coaches on Friday, Henry spoke with them yesterday, and he's getting a visit from Mattison tomorrow.  Tom said it'd be very surprising for Poggi to end up at Alabama.

From the sounds of it, it was just about him going to see his friend at Alabama.  The coaches were well aware he was going, so lets end the his offer is pulled chat.

Sorry for the interruption, please go back to being excited about Derrick Green and being #1 in the polls.


OT: The SEC Perception

OT: The SEC Perception

Submitted by MGoVoldemort on January 28th, 2013 at 6:33 PM

My daughter chose to write a research paper on if, as assumed by most fans, the SEC is committing NCAA rule violations (besides minor ones that get reported) in football recruiting. As a part of the paper, she needs to get the opinions of 10-15 college football fans on the topic. I told her there would be no better place to get better educated responses than MGoBlog. So if you guys could please share your opinions, you'd really be helping her out.

Also, having all girls, I never thought one of my daughters would take an interest in this. So it means a lot to me for her to take an interest in, well, my interests. 


The two questions:

1. Do you think the SEC is committing serious NCAA rule infractions?

2. If you think so, or don't think so, what is your reasoning?


Thanks in advance!

Who are are the 2013 Walk On's for the Football team?

Who are are the 2013 Walk On's for the Football team?

Submitted by razor93 on January 28th, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I am very aware that we currently have 27 verbal commitments with full scholarship offers, but I was wondering if there we have any confirmation on any players that are walking on for 2013.  I know we have the kicker from Luthern High North, but I also heard Jack Wangler from Warren DeLaSalle is a preferred walk on also.  Any confirmation to this?

Dan Skipper to Arkansas

Dan Skipper to Arkansas

Submitted by TexanGOBLUE on January 28th, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Dan Skipper commited to Arkansas per Rivals.com (paywalled).

'I was surprised by the academic support staff, I think that was actually what sold me.'

Congrats to the kid on picking a school, I am sure Beilema sold him on how he put out linemen to the NFL.




#EATING update [Ed: READ THIS!]

#EATING update [Ed: READ THIS!]

Submitted by martaviousodoms on January 28th, 2013 at 4:46 PM


I know I haven't been posting lately.  It's been a little tought trying to get things finished with the Kickstarter and garden situation and rewards.  We are moving forward though and the instalation date is set to be in 3 weeks if all goes according to plan.  It is more dificult then just putting in a garden and printing t-shirts and hoodies.  

We are also working on a video and slide show to show our progress and the steps so that is where all our focus is on right now. So we can share our process.  

And finally, I was wondering if anyone of our supporters could help me draft a cease and desist letter about our brand.  please email me at [email protected]

The hoodies had to be reprinted with some of the shirts so its taking longer and thank you for waiting we wanted them a long time ago too.

P.S.  Shout out to the Men's Basketball team on their accomplishments this year. Keep up the good work.  GO BLUE

Frank Clark's new ink

Frank Clark's new ink

Submitted by Blazefire on January 28th, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I just saw this tweet from Frank Clark. I thought you'd all like to see his new ink. Michigan players know how to do ink right (unlike Sparties), and legal (unlike TSUO).


“@umclark57: With Struggle comes Progress. From the "G" to the "M". Good afternoon Twitter.lockerz.com/s/278260729#focusedtattoos

— Focused Tattoos (@FocusedTattoos) January 27, 2013


History of Michigan Players in Rivals100

History of Michigan Players in Rivals100

Submitted by 1464 on January 28th, 2013 at 12:52 PM

I went through data from Rivals to comprise a list of recruits that have committed to Michigan from their top 100 players.  Below is the full list of 44 players.  At bottom are some tables that lend context to the data.


Ryan Mallett QB ***** 4 2 2007 TX
Prescott Burgess DB ***** 6 1 2003 OH
Derrick Green (*) RB ***** 8 1 2013 VA
Chad Henne QB ***** 13 3 2004 PA
LaMarr Woodley LB ***** 14 3 2003 MI
Ondre Pipkins DT ***** 14 3 2012 MO
Brandon Graham LB ***** 15 2 2006 MI
Kevin Grady RB ***** 22 4 2005 MI
Kyle Kalis  OL ***** 22 4 2012 OH
Donovan Warren DB ***** 25 3 2007 CA
Stephen Schilling OL ***** 26 2 2006 WA
Will Campbell DT ***** 26 5 2009 MI
Gabe Watson DT ***** 33 3 2002 MI
Justin Turner DB **** 35 3 2009 OH
Marques Slocum OL **** 37 1 2005 PA
Shawn Crable DE **** 39 2 2003 OH
Carlos Brown RB **** 39 5 2006 GA
Tim Jamison DE **** 40 5 2004 IL
Darryl Stonum WR **** 41 7 2008 TX
Boubacar Cissoko DB **** 44 4 2008 MI
Jonas Mouton DB **** 45 3 2006 CA
Mario Manningham WR **** 45 5 2005 OH
Antonio Bass ATH **** 49 5 2005 MI
Dann O'Neill OL **** 49 10 2008 MI
Justin Boren OL **** 64 1 2006 OH
Henry Poggi (*) DT **** 70 5 2013 MD
Clayton Richard QB **** 71 4 2003 IN
Erik Magnuson OL **** 78 10 2012 CA
Alex Mitchell OL **** 80 3 2004 MI
Shane Morris (*) QB **** 81 4 2013 MI
Patrick Kugler OL **** 82 6 2013 PA
Cory Zirbel OL **** 83 10 2005 KY
Justice Hayes RB **** 85 3 2011 MI
Jim Presley LB **** 89 2 2003 MI
Adam Patterson DT **** 91 7 2006 SC
Toney Clemons WR **** 91 12 2007 PA
Greg Mathews WR **** 93 8 2006 FL
Matt Gutierrez QB **** 96 5 2002 CA
Ryan Mundy DB **** 96 6 2003 PA
Terrance Taylor DT **** 96 8 2005 MI
Brett Gallimore OL **** 96 10 2004 MO
James McKinney DT **** 98 9 2005 KY
Doug Dutch WR **** 98 10 2004 DC
Cullen Christian DB **** 99 8 2010 PA

* LOI yet to be signed



OL 10
DB 7
DT 7
QB 5
WR 5
RB 4
LB 3
DE 2
QB 4
DB 6
RB 8
LB 14
DT 14
OL 22
DE 39
WR 41
ATH 49
MI 13
OH 6
PA 6
CA 4
KY 2
MO 2
TX 2
DC 1
FL 1
GA 1
IL 1
IN 1
MD 1
SC 1
VA 1
WA 1
2002 2
2003 6
2004 5
2005 7
2006 7
2007 3
2008 3
2009 2
2010 1
2011 1
2012 3
2013 (*) 4


10 Game Conference Schedule Being Considered?

10 Game Conference Schedule Being Considered?

Submitted by RakeFight on January 28th, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Not sure what to make of the idea of a 10 game conference football schedule.  That would only leave 2 non-conference slots on the schedule.  I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on the probability and ramifications of such a proposal.