Sponsor note. I can say whatever I want in this one since Hoeg is probably knee-deep in spathi right now. This will make for a marked departure from earlier Hoeglaw-related sponsor notes, which were dictated verbatim from the sponsor. Soooo... let's get crazy.
Injury updates. Harbaugh just told the weekly teleconference that Benjamin St-Juste is out for the year and Luiji Vilain had surgery a couple days ago. Both guys are in that early Mike McCray zone where folks are getting a little nervous. Both guys have spent most of their first two years in AA on the shelf.
Recruit 'em all and let God sort 'em out. This tweet started out interesting and then got real depressing:
Didn’t feel like digging too far into this, but a quick look at how recruiting rankings translate to longterm OL success… pic.twitter.com/jooFpZrZpp
This shouldn't be interpreted as a shot at recruiting services. When your All-Pros include a walk-on, an Iowa State alum, and two guys so obscure they didn't have recruiting profiles it should be clear that the problem isn't with rankings relative to actual CFB scouting but rather the danged OL themselves.
And then you get into the top recruits, which are an "oh nooooo" if there ever was one: David Dawson. Ethan Pocic, the guy Michigan passed on only to go get a sixth OL later in the class, was a second-round pick. Patrick Kugler. Logan Tuley-Tillman. Chris Fox. All on one chart. Woof.
Braden but no Kalis or Magnuson is odd, and I thought Dymonte Thomas would be the kind of guy who could improve his stock significantly with impressive testing numbers.
That's a hell of a lot either way. Michigan's total is just four fewer than the entire Big 12. On the one hand, Michigan did not capitalize on that talent (by an inch, or a negative inch). On the other, Michigan's recruiting edits are going to be straight fire emoji in the immediate aftermath of the draft.
Speaking of the Big 12, Chris Vannini has an interesting article about the long term talent decline in the league. The state of Texas is getting raided hardcore:
The last factor is recruiting, and it doesn’t look better for the future. Only one Big 12 team signed a top-25 class in 247Sports’ rankings earlier this month: Oklahoma at No. 8. The next-closest Power 5 league was the ACC with four top-25 classes.
The league relies on the state of Texas, but Ohio State signed three of the top six players in the state. It was the first time since 2005 that an in-state school didn’t sign a majority share of the top 10 players in the state, as noted by the Dallas Morning News — and the third time since 2000 (the other two were Oklahoma). Only two of the top-10 players stayed in-state, and one of those left the Big 12 by going to Texas A&M.
Tom Herman should start turning that around—recruiting concerns about his finish at Texas should be mitigated by the fact that he landed Ed Oliver and a smattering of other four stars at Houston. It probably won't be enough to get back to parity.
"LSU's welcome in my school anytime," Feaster said. "The only school that can't come to Parkway is Alabama. And there's a long story behind that, but it had to do with not being ethical in their recruiting.
"They can't come. Everyone else is 100 percent welcome."
There is a difference between an offer and a committable offer, something he found out the hard way in the recruitment of former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris.
Alabama "offers" Harris, his coach gets persnickety about it, and then Alabama says he has an OFFER, only for that offer to be back to scare-quotes status by june:
"Napier calls me the next day and says, 'Coach, I have some good news for you. Tell Brandon to call me on this phone during this period and I'll put Nick Saban on the phone,"' Feaster said. "We do that and Saban says, 'You have a scholarship at the University of Alabama.' So, they gave him a scholarship offer. It was a committable offer.
"By the time he gets to campus in June -- and I'm not saying Brandon was going to commit to Alabama -- it wasn't an option. Basically what they told him is that we got other guys that are going to come through here, and I promised them a shot. So we have to wait and see then."
As far as malfeasance on the recruiting trail goes, this is small potatoes. Whether or not a kid is a "take" changes constantly for every school, including Michigan. Getting upset because Alabama changed their mind about a kid before he even committed is some special snowflake stuff. (Also that guy lost his job to a Purdue transfer, sooooo...)
The allegation — the third made specifically against Klages — was first made in a court document filed Jan. 27 seeking to add the athlete to the federal lawsuit against Michigan State University, Nassar, USA Gymnastics and Twistars gymnastics club in Dimondale.
Those documents, filed by attorney Jamie White, didn't identify Klages, but said it was "a member of MSU’s coaching staff."
White, the attorney for the gymnast who says Nassar sexually assaulted her during medical appointments, confirmed on Tuesday that it was Klages who spoke to his client's mother.
He also confirmed that it was Klages who told his client's mother that "Nassar’s digital penetrations of (the athlete's) vagina was a proven medical treatment."
If you believe the reports sufficiently to "retire" her you should be firing her for cause.
Michigan State has suspended Curtis Blackwell, a recruiting staffer. They won't say why, but it's not too hard to draw a line between that and this:
Stop with the video, fergodsakes. Interesting piece on the demise of Scout media, which was accelerated by a push towards making everything a video, even the things that should definitely not be videos:
Advertisers might also have been skittish because of where most of Scout’s traffic came from. Despite a costly thrust into video, part of a massive, costly overhaul of Scout’s CMS, nearly 80 percent of Scout’s traffic comes from visits to its message boards, which are reserved for subscribers. Though the developers team claimed the addition of video in 2015 drove tens of millions of views within six months of its launch, Scout’s traffic was relatively flat or declining year-over-year from 2014 to 2015, according to comScore data.
Almost all of those videos were worthless. They're still doing it. I can't tell you how many Scout tabs I open and then disgustedly close because they're a hundred words trying to induce me to watch a recruit get interviewed for five minutes—a video that would already be autoplaying if I hadn't sought out a Chrome extension to disable said feature. ("Disable HTML 5 Autoplay," FWIW.)
Autoplay video is a scam. Person opens page, video plays, person does not watch video, counts as a hit anyway, publisher tries to leverage those numbers into high CPM video ads that no one will ever watch.
Etc.:Here's a video with athletic directors, including Warde Manuel, discussing a potential student protest. I did not watch it despite having interest in the subject matter, because it is a video.
This is the reason the reaction gif was invented. There is no combination of words that can adequately express the feeling reading this tweet produced in me. The Germans probably have a word for a paralyzing combination of horror and laughter induced by a stunningly wrong decision or statement.
This offseason is going to be awesome as every NFL reporter insists Jim Harbaugh is a candidate for every open job in the league. Harbaugh for the Colts. Harbaugh for the Lions. Harbaugh for league president. Harbaugh for assistant Ravens janitor.
Harbaugh might leave someday, but only after he's done something that allows him to do so saying he's done his job. And after his experience with San Francisco's little Napoleon my bet is he picks the place where he's the most important crazy person around.
Just Dayton and Michigan. Kyle Flood might coach most of college basketball.
A video posted by Aubrey Dawkins (@siraubreydawkins) on
The Harbump. Via Brendan Quinn:
According to the most up-to-date numbers provided to MLive by Dunn, Michigan's overall season ticket sales have risen from 79,014 in 2014 to 89,614 in 2015, a difference of 10,600 seats.
A big chunk of that comes from 7k extra students, which is pretty amazing. That section is 60% larger than it was a year ago. I wonder what it would have looked like without the drastic changes wrought by the Glorious Revolution. Hint: bad.
There was a chunk of complaining about student attendance against UNLV, but to me it looked pretty full after kickoff. Students tend to cram down; you didn't see the empty pockets in other sections solely because other folks spread out when given the room to do so.
A problem that 'Bama wants to address. It's no surprise that Alabama fans are peeved about ineligible men downfield in the aftermath of the Ole Miss game. I share that peevishness. Despite the fact that illegal men downfield is a "point of emphasis" this year, the biggest game of the early season sees a flagrant example of it go uncalled.
Personally, I think this rule change should be revisited. College offenses already have more latitude than their NFL counterparts on passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage - in college, linemen may drift as far as they like on the snap in these situations, while in the NFL they must stay within their one-yard window until the pass is released - so the only real effect of the rule change would be to require the pass to be delivered in the backfield. This makes sense, as the linebackers are given a fighting chance to rally to the football after it is caught and prevent a big gain. Assuming that such a rule change is a non-starter, and that better enforcement is the goal, the best solution would be to somehow incorporate instant replay.
I would like to see what the game looks like with an effectively implemented three-yard rule first. But since that seems impossible it might be better to do away with the rule altogether and just call offensive pass interference on any lineman who hits or impedes anyone other than a defensive lineman on a pass play beyond the line of scrimmage. That might be more enforceable—and the penalty would be much stiffer.
(A side note: do not title your post that is intended to be serious "A Modest Proposal.")
He was tranquilized shortly thereafter. Nik Stauskas wandered onto a local news set.
Rutgers. I hate it when stupid things happen during the season because I can't write one act plays about them. The Kyle Flood thing is magnificently stupid. I'd rather look at football, but barely. If this happened in the offseason… well it probably still would have gotten drowned out by all the Harbaugh stuff, but I would have gotten around to it quicker.
1. Kyle Flood Wants You To Know He's Breaking The Rules On Purpose
When Kyle Flood first reached out to this unnamed professor, he did so from his personal email account. It was entirely possible that he did so on accident, perhaps sending the email from his phone without realizing which account it was coming from. Of course, it was also possible he did so to purposefully avoid New Jersey's Open Public Records Act.
Great news! Now we don't have to wonder which one it was. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever seen committed to a permanent electronic record. It's like leaving a knife in your carry on bag at the airport with a note that says "LOL I KNOW THIS ISN'T COOL BUT WHATEVER."
That is not even the worst one.
On the bright side, Flood is much better at hiding his inner Tim Beckman than Tim Beckman. You would never know Flood is barely capable of dressing himself based on his press conferences.
"Did you know," Larry Krystkowiak asked in his Montana drawl, leaning over his lectern, "that there's a lot of cheating in college basketball?"
His earnest delivery prompted some chuckles among the audience of roughly 40 people. But Utah's men's basketball coach wasn't going to leave it hanging without telling a story. He asked two compliance officials if he could venture on.
The tale: He was once recruiting a top-level player, and the player (or his representatives) called Krystkowiak in the middle of the night. They told Krystkowiak the recruit's transcript would cost the Utes $50,000, and "it'll probably cost you $50,000 more to sign him."
Follow the recruits and you'll find the money. Again, all Michigan fans should be in favor of the NCAA paying players outright. Michigan has piles of money. They do not use it in this way.
BYU's walking wounded. BYU NT Travis Tuiloma is a big deal for the Cougars, and he went down in the same game Taysom Hill did. At the time he was expected to be out 4-6 weeks, but Bronco Mendenhall is making noises like he may be available this weekend:
Nose tackle Travis Tuiloma (knee) is also questionable for the Michigan game, a development that didn't seem likely when doctors said he'd be out 4-6 weeks after the Nebraska game.
"This will be a great week [for Tuiloma to come back] because we will see power [runs] about 5,000 times," Mendenhall said, having previously noted that the Wolverines under new coach Jim Harbaugh look like Stanford when Harbaugh was there.
That would be literally and metaphorically huge for BYU. Tuiloma is going to be in the NFL next year and they run a 3-4; he's the centerpiece of their D.
For opponents of the satellite camp, and I am firmly among them, Johnson's commitment to Michigan also reinforces what a sham we're presently operating under. Attaching one's self to a high school 1300 miles away like a dad-jeaned toadstool is by no stretch a "teaching opportunity," as the camps were so designed. We've said all along these are nothing but recruiting junkets. That even Michigan's own film study and recruiting efforts previously overlooked the lightly-regarded Johnson only underscores this fact.
Rather than bolstering the satellite camp, in fact, a measured view of the camps in light of Johnson's commitment, only shows that the loophole is a chance to lazily poach talent in contravention of a rule designed to avoid turning recruiting into a 12-month long circus.
This is of course Alabama, the fanbase that annually responds to Nick Saban cutting 6-10 guys with "tough shit, it's a business." It is specifically the blog—albeit not the person—who responded to a post here about a kid getting cut by titling a post "Brian Cook is, Amongst Other Things, a Coward and a Liar." They live in the conference of bag men and are no doubt amongst the most committed participants*. Nick Saban himself caused a kerfuffle several years ago when he skirted the boundaries of the NCAA's quiet period by maybe possibly having conversations with recruits he was permitted only to "bump" into. The number of Alabama fans who cared about this is zero. Alabama fans do not care about NCAA rules, whether it's letter or intent, one iota.
While that is an increasingly defensible position, the word soup above is not. If it even has a position. Its author, Erik Evans, is clutching every pearl in a five-county radius that Michigan might be using these camps to find football players. Several dozen Crimson Tide matrons collapsed to the floor after Dytarious Johnson's recent commitment. The state has never endured such calumny.
The post's argument was difficult to parse out in the first place; it is more confusing now that Evans edited it after the fact. He discovered that Johnson had talked to the Michigan coaching staff before the camp and asked him to attend it to earn his offer; this invalidates large sections of the post but provides an opportunity to sick the specter of a Level 4 violation on Michigan if in fact the compliance officer they're bringing to every damn camp doesn't have his Ps and Qs straight.
It takes a special kind of person to argue that Michigan's satellite camps are an opportunity to "lazily poach talent" and create a "12-month long circus" without even allowing so much as a period to separate those two diametrically opposed thoughts. Attempting to rebut any particular point is futile since most have already been rebutted in the same damn sentence they were made, so we'll have to take another tack. Let's evaluate the stakeholders here to see who is harmed.
JIM HARBAUGH. Evaluates lots of players from across the country in person. Develops relationships with otherwise remote players. Finds some recruits. Improves his football team down the road. Gets to write letters that end with "sincerely yours in football."
CAMP ATTENDEES. Get exposure in front of not only the Michigan coaches but various local staffs. May get scholarship offer they would not as a result. May get to play Peruball against shirtless Harbaugh. Don't have to go at all if they don't want to. Attendance veritably implies approval, and many attend.
ALABAMA. May have to work slightly harder in the future to convince certain players they should play at Alabama.
I don't mind the Alabama fanbase's purely mercenary mindset so much anymore, but at least own it. You would put your grandma through a wood chipper for a tiny increase in the chance at a national championship. There is literally no moral or ethical issue that would even vaguely factor into your decision making. And that's fine. We need lizard people too. Just don't pretend your objection to satellite camps is anything other than pure self-interest.
On the bright side, Evans has a bright future as a Toys R Us CEO down the road.
*[I gave up on condemning such practices because nobody's ever come up with an actual harm caused by people offering football players petty cash that doesn't involve fan anger stuff.]
SI.com learned over the weekend that ESPN has parted ways with Lou Holtz, who had been a college football studio analyst with the network since 2004 and worked most notably with host Rece Davis and analyst Mark May on ESPN’s Saturday College Football Final pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage. Holtz was also a regular contributor to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. The decision, according to sources, was closer to a mutual agreement between the parties than Holtz getting forced out.
Holtz wasn't exactly good. Once you accepted the fact that he was not there to provide serious analysis but rather to do magic tricks and babble incoherently, though, he was reliably entertaining. That's something you can't say for a lot of television "personalities." He was kind of like Dan LeBatard's dad for college football. I'm not going to actually miss him but since ESPN is 50/50 to replace the Rece Davis/Holtz/Mark May combo with three clones of Craig James I have real trepidation here.
Um, okay? Bizarre sequence of events in basketball recruiting: Shaka Smart takes the Texas job, so top-100 combo guard recruit Kenny Williams asks out of his letter of intent. In the immediate aftermath seven Crystal Ball predictions come in, six of them for Michigan. (The other: Georgetown.) Actual recruiting expert Jerry Meyer is amongst them, and both Rivals and Scout follow up with reporting on it that suggests it is not a fever dream. Georgetown's 247 guy thinks it's M and their Duke guys are somehow insistent on it.
One problem, of course: Michigan has a full roster unless Hatch goes on medical or Caris LeVert decides on the NBA draft, something that doesn't seem to be likely at the moment. And they're already really deep at guard. And they were not involved with the kid before his VCU commitment. And everybody says he committed to the Rams because he wanted to stay close to home in Virginia, which is why he doesn't seem interested in following Smart to Texas. Michigan isn't close to Virginia. And Williams does not currently have a scholarship offer. This is really several problems.
But apparently it might happen? Williams, depending on who you ask and when you asked him, is a 6'2" to 6'4" shooting guard with one of the best strokes in the country. Beilein was just down to watch him play at a tournament, so there's a concrete indicator the interest there is mutual.
A way in which it might make a little more sense. Derryck Thornton's dad has told a few people that Spike Albrecht might end up redshirting after his hip surgeries this offseason. Albrecht has one complete and one to go; the recovery timetable of 4-5 months seemed to give him a month or two to get back in the swing of things before the season.
The "horrible" state of college basketball is hurting the NBA, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.
Cuban said he doesn't enjoy watching the college game, but his bigger concern is that the physical, slow-down style that has become common in the NCAA results in prospects who are poorly prepared to jump to the NBA.
"If they want to keep kids in school and keep them from being pro players, they're doing it the exact right way by having the 35-second shot clock and having the game look and officiated the way it is," Cuban said Wednesday night. "Just because kids don't know how to play a full game of basketball.
"You've got three kids passing on the perimeter. With 10 seconds on the shot clock, they try to make something happen and two other kids stand around. They don't look for anything and then run back on defense, so there's no transition game because two out of five or three out of five or in some cases four out of five kids aren't involved in the play.
"It's uglier than ugly, and it's evidenced by the scoring going down. When the NBA went through that, we changed things."
If college basketball is hurting the NBA so badly, it's the NBA's fault for instituting one-and-done. And that characterization of college offense coming from the land of hero-ball and isolations is even more nuts.
Yes, teams emphasize getting back in transition. I'd like someone try to find a rule change for that.
yelling pointlessly about a fractional dip in pace caused by fewer turnovers and more transition D that has actually seen offensive efficiency increase slightly over the past thirteen years. If you want to chop the shot clock to 30, fine. That will magically fix all of our problems, because there aren't any.
We just had five excellent offensive performances and Michigan State in the Final Four. Kentucky acquired 1.1 points per possession and lost by seven. And the bitching will continue because… Penn State, I guess?
A bit more on Alabama's pursuit and dismissal of Difficulties Guy. Holly Anderson writes about it, and hits the nail on the head:
Did Alabama consider the risks of bringing Jonathan Taylor to Tuscaloosa, and decide they merited his inclusion on the team? Or did Alabama never need to care about the risks at all?
Right now, it’s the only explanation that makes sense. What risk was there, really, to the program? This sport shifts glacially, and won’t change in time to adversely affect the careers of anyone who had a hand in this decision, or others like it. Neither the Crimson Tide’s recruiting nor their 2015 win-loss record will suffer. It seems most likely that they didn’t properly consider the admission decision, because they had no real need to. Because this little media conflagration that has unfolded over the past couple of days is Alabama’s worst-case scenario for a repeat assault allegation against Taylor: to be yelled at for a little bit.
Real consequences don't exist. The fanbase isn't going to deliver them (and I doubt many, if any, would). The SEC isn't. The NCAA isn't. Recruits and their parents aren't—recruits and their parents have been signing their kids up for Alabama's annual oversigning happily. The media will rattle a saber for a bit and rival fans get a bit of ammunition, and that's it. The end.
Let's check in with Iowa City. Hell no they ain't happy after a narrow escape against Ball State and then the missed-it-TO-made-it sequence to lose to Iowa State for the ninth time under Ferentz. The ninth time!
It's kind of like Michigan if Brady Hoke was permanently unfireable. They're probably going to be okay-ish, they are frustrated with their archaic program (and Iowa is way more archaic than Michigan except when Iowa plays Michigan), fans would probably like to move on. But, uh, not happening:
If Iowa were to fire Ferentz for convenience, the school would continue to owe him 75% of his annual guaranteed salary for the remaining years in his contract. …
Ferentz’s base salary has climbed each year since 2010, hitting $2.07 million for the current season. It stays at that level for the next five years. Ferentz also receives supplemental income in the amount of $1.48 million per year, bringing his total salary up to $3.55 million per season. That means if Ferentz were fired at the end of this year, Iowa would owe him $13.3 million, to be paid in monthly installments between now and 2020. That amounts to
roughly $2.7 million per year.
And this is a guy arguing that Iowa can totally afford to dump him. It is possible. Charlie Weis is still getting paid by Notre Dame; the Irish offered him a total of 19 million to go do anything else. (All will be forgiven if one day Weis cites Foul Ole Ron as one of his inspirations.) It's just hard to see Iowa pulling the trigger given that they've put up with all the stuff they've already put up with from Ferentz so far, including the rhabdo event and going 4-8 more than a decade into your tenure.
And then there's the question facing Michigan fans who want a change: is there anyone out there who seems like a good idea? Or is it Terry Bowden sweepstakes time again?
Alabama will just tell you stuff. Because it doesn't matter if you get the kind of stuff that laymen will understand, Alabama's just like "okay here let's talk about it," which makes for interesting articles about the Tide facing a blizzard of screens in their early games against overmatched foes and how you go about dealing with that:
"When they're throwing fast, get your hands up," defensive end Jonathan Allen said. "If they throw a screen, you have to retrace. That's what really defeats the screen is when the linemen retrace and run to the ball. That'll really take away from the screen. So our job's just beginning as soon as he throws the ball."
This is not rocket science. It is part of a respectful-seeming conversation happening about football in front of the media that the media can then go use to write interesting stories, thus increasing the overall happiness around the program slightly.
And this is Alabama, home to the notoriously prickly Nick Saban. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be on the Michigan beat. I can count the multitudes who have fled.
Meanwhile at Michigan. The university's notoriously expensive FOIA department strikes again:
Michigan attempted to charge CBS $410 for a FOIA request looking for data into basic 4-year scholarship #'s. More than anyone else, by far
The only two possibilities here are that Michigan is breaking the law or that they run the most inefficient FOIA office in the country, which implies things about the efficiency of the rest of the unduly-closeted operation. Either way this should change. If you end up talking to Schlissel ask him which possibility is the truth.
And yes more dead horse spread punt stuff but this answer is just …
Hoke asked about why he doesn't use the spread punt: "I've always been a pro style punt (coach). ... I really don't want to talk about it."
Remember now what a blank social boffin the NFL strapped to its face to begin with: a Senator's son from a safety school who quite literally never worked anywhere else but in the sports job he got directly out of college. Roger Goodell's resume is a hollow blandishment of institutional servitude. He fought in the arbitration wars; he coordinated the events. Calendars were heroically arranged.
Do not expect that having a job means anything. Every great organization will one day hire the moron who will destroy them.
That's Texas electing to kick after UCLA deferred, the ref explaining this, and Texas's captains going "sounds good to me!" Shockingly, Charlie Strong did not kick them off the team immediately. I would have.
Apparently this happens about once a year? I could never be a coach. I would assume that things like brushing your teeth were outside of my purview and lose games because of it.
Also in CFB oddities. So this was a trick play:
"What should I do on this play to draw attention to myself, coach?" "Have you seen Showgirls, son?" "No. Unless the answer is supposed to be yes. Then yes." "Son. I'm going to need you to flop around like an electrocuted fish like when Nomi—" "How about I just fall over?" "…" "I am just going to fall over." "FINE"
Arkansas threw at the "tackle", who was eligible, and two different guys on Miami intercepted the same pass. Should have flopped around like an electrocuted fish.
And the oddest oddity. Boston College ran for 452 yards against USC! That is not the grand total of Eagle rushing yards in all Boston College games against USC ever! It is one game from Saturday! What?
you could see the Eagles wear down USC's discipline and will with one play in particular, applied heavily over the course of the game: the zone read with a lead arc block by a tight end.
The common way this play is run is with the QB choosing to handoff or keep the ball. If he keeps, he's attacking the edge based on a read of an unblocked defensive end, with a lead blocker for him on the edge.
BC kept USC off balance with a bunch of other stuff; it was an arc block on the zone read keep that was the killer time and again.
Etc.: Matt Hinton's weekly has landed at Grantland, and is recommended. We don't feature because no one pays attention to 34-10 MAC games. That UGA-SoCar first down is the definition of margin of error.
Guy with name as difficult to spell as Coach K bombs Coach K. I don't really know why Paul George exploding is a big deal in this context; if not playing for USA he would have been doing something else that put his leg in danger.
Aaand it falls off. I've been doing annualAPR posts the past few years because Michigan was in a dodgy spot after the Carr/Rodriguez transfer year saddled Michigan with a horrendous 897. That plus an also-dismal 918 in Carr's last year put Michigan within shouting distance of penalties, which they avoided by putting up a series of nice numbers. Since Hoke's arrival Michigan has largely avoided academic risks, so it was just matter of time before that 897 fell off and Michigan shot up. It just did.
Their 975 places them fourth in the Big Ten, behind Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Nebraska; if they continue on their current mid-980s rate they'd pass Nebraska but still remain third if everyone else is static.
So hooray. The main upshot of this is that OSU assistants can't send out APR lists in novelty fonts claiming "the stats don't lie" or make charts that aren't even sorted correctly because their players managed to get through Pokémon 401. (But not Sort Function In Excel 330.) OSU's APR is now worse than Michigan's.
Oh, and the NCAA will not do bad things. Meanwhile, at Southern University…
Oooooof. RT @JonSolomonCBS: All Southern University teams also have APR postseason bans due to unusable data. Ouch.
Reload and fire at will. EDSBS Bowl reaches day four with Michigan still staggeringly far out ahead of the pack with 5.4k to Auburn's 1.3k. Give us the significance of your donation in the comments.
When in need of vague hand-waving that means nothing, call in the right man. Dave Brandon and Mark Hollis will testify for the NCAA in the Ed O'Bannon case. Hollis will claim that his deposition would better on an aircraft carrier on the moon; Brandon will tell the opposition lawyer that he "knows a little something about branding" 18 times. After each, the lawyer will calmly explain the question had nothing to do with branding.
Well then. Alabama tailback Derryck Henry took a photograph of himself in front of an expensive new car that he said was his, creating little "BAGMAN!" tornadoes across the internet. These are the natural order. This is a bit outside of it:
I'm a little dubious that title was on the table for White, a nondescript three-star recruit, but it could be one of those deals like the Clarett/Pryor thing where the dealership lets you "test drive" the car for months. In any case, yes some guy gave this dude a car or money or whatever and the NCAA will not do anything about it so our choices are to be uselessly smug or repeal all this crap that's not getting enforced anyway.
An odd fit, yes. Will Leitch makes a good point about replay in basketball: because of the nature of the game, sometimes there are things that are going to be both wrong and right at the same time. An event from late in the Clippers/Thunder game 6 blew up twitter, demonstrating the problem.
… it is clear that Barnes fouled Jackson; even more clear, perhaps, than that the ball was off Jackson last. At this point, the referees had a decision to make. Should they follow the rules of replay to the letter and award the ball to the Clippers? Or should they make the right call, which was to give the ball to the Thunder?
They gave the ball to the Thunder, which Leitch describes as "vigilante officiating." That stuff happens all the time on out of bounds situations. Fouls are committed but let go when the ball goes out of bounds and is awarded to the other team. Once you start reviewing those you upset the delicate balance there. Basketball replay is inherently goofy because of that.
At least those reviews sometimes amount to something, unlike college basketball's unceasingly tedious replays for flagrant fouls that never, ever come back with a flagrant.
ACC, Big Ten and SEC could solve all their scheduling problems in one simple step. Ditch non-conference games, stay within your conference, continue to foster the regional rivalries that made this sport so popular to begin with, and then send your champion to the playoff to take on the winners of the other conferences.
This is more of a problem for the ACC and SEC, which have a number of annual rivalries that would be set on fire by this. The Big Ten has none of those now. ND-MSU, you say? Mark Hollis just admitted that their series with the Irish is "gone," save for occasional games in the future.
So, yeah, I'd be happier with Michigan dumping MAC games and playing a near-round-robin against the conference. It will never ever happen in a million billion years, I acknowledge. But it would be better.
Numbers. Bill Connelly's got a charting project going that returns numbers. With the disclaimer that not all games were charted and therefore things might be skewed by sampling bias (12 NW games are in versus two Wisconsin games, but then again there were only 2 A&M games versus ten for Tommy Tuberville's Cincinnati), here are some overall trends:
49% [of plays] took place without a huddle, 51% came with a huddle.
Without a huddle does not necessarily mean hurrying, of course. Lots of outfits don't huddle but will use chunks of the playclock for check-with-me. I'm actually surprised the no-huddle percentage isn't higher.
56% came from a shotgun formation, 26% with the quarterback under center, and 18% from the pistol.
Would be fascinated to see how this developed over the last ten years.
On pass plays, the defense rushed four defenders at the passer 61% of the time, five 19% of the time, three 11% of the time, six or more 8% of the time, and one or two just 0.3% of the time.
Michigan was not far away from this, FWIW.
On standard downs, 26% of pass attempts were marked as a play-action attempt of some kind. On passing downs, 11% were play-action.
Every single one of the passing down play action plays was Al Borges running a waggle from a big formation on second and eleven. Holy crap. I can't believe he did that with the running game he had. This joke isn't funny anymore.
Etc.: 2015 hockey commit Kyle Connor might be a big deal: THN ranks him 9th for next year's NHL draft. Stay away from killer robots (and the OHL), Kyle.
Last week I started playing with Lemming's recruiting information to see how national recruiting had changed over the last few decades. Too late for that article I realized I could actually take this study back more than a century using lists of historical lettermen published by various teams in their annual media guides. Using the same regional breakdown I tried to get data for the same six I used in the old decimated defense series—Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Alabama—but only three had accessible info.
These are based on letterwinners, not entire rosters, so scholarship freshmen on the scout team aren't counted. It still gives us a picture:
Vestibulum ut maior
First the goofy things. The breaks in Alabama's lines are 1919 and 1943, when the Tide didn't field teams because too many players were fighting World Wars I and II, respectively. That big spike for Bama right before WWII is because they were used as an officers training base just prior to the war. Michigan got this same temporary—by 1943 those officers had shipped overseas—bump, but not as many registered since most came from the Midwest (e.g. Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch from Wisconsin).
Second the obvious things. Notre Dame's claim to be a "national" program is defended by the data. From the 1920s through the '70s their teams were fielded from between 30% and 60% by players from outside of the Great Lakes States (plus Iowa). Since the '80s about 65% is the new normal. Michigan and Alabama tracked pretty similarly as major state schools who kept to their home regions up until Bo arrived. Beginning in 1969 Michigan began a trend upward that finally settled over 30% of players from outside their region. Alabama remained a predominantly regional program until Nick Saban arrived.
I zoomed in on the years since 1964 so we can better appreciate how coaching changes affected the programs:
Tangere facere magnum
Ewww don't touch me. I trust you know who Michigan's and Alabama's coaches were in 1964. The late '60s were the last time Michigan was as regional as Alabama. That now seems in danger of happening again. Last year Michigan dipped to 25.67% and Bama peaked at 25.33%.
Michigan graduated five players from outside the Midwest (Dileo, Gallon, Gibbons, Lewan, and Qwash), and two more (Ash and Furman) aren't returning for fifth years, but they brought in nine this year (Peppers, JBB, Winovich, Pallante, Watson, Speight, Mone, Cole and Canteen) so I expect their total to climb a little for 2014. It's too hard to say what Bama's number will be since they still need to cut 10 or 11 players before fall.
Championships win defense. Carr's 1997 championship, Parseghian's 1966 one, and Saban's 2009 title were all followed by steep increases in national recruiting; of the 14 titles in that chart two (Holtz's in 1988 and Stallings's in 1992) were accompanied by drops in the % of roster made up of extra-regional players. Michigan's historical peak is 2000, three years after their only TV-era national championship and one year after their Orange Bowl victory. The great Hoke classes of the last two years were very local.
Brackets. Surveying the panoply of brackets at the Bracket Matrix gives the impression that to most Michigan is currently a three seed. Michigan's currently the last one overall, but the Matrix generally lags as brackets are up to a week old. They're on the cusp of a 2, especially with Oklahoma State losing last night.
That's where Jerry Palm has them, in a rather unpleasant region with potential rematches against Stanford (the 11), Iowa State(the 2) and Arizona(the 1) plus winged-helmet-on-winged-helmet crime in the opener against Delaware. There is exactly no reason to get exercised about team placement in a random January bracket, I know. I just am not feeling positive about that business.
More on Aneurysm Two. Beilein has not and apparently will not disclose what set him off, but when MLive is getting screenshots from youtube of the LeVert layup attempt that was (officially) blocked by Appling, it seems that everyone agrees. Beilein, for his part, on Stauskas getting him away from the spittle exchange:
“Yeah, that was a good assist by him,” Beilein said of Stauskas in the postgame press conference. “He was a little rough with me, too. I was in control, though, believe it or not.”
I do not entirely believe it, and if it was anyone other than John Beilein I would be snorting in derision. Also:
"(Stauskas) made a great move there because I was an innocent bystander at the time," Beilein said. "At any rate, we got through that. That would have been a shame if I would have gotten a technical at that time."
The implication there is that Beilein started barking at this Wymer guy and it was Wymer who got in his face. Imagine that happening to, say, Tom Izzo. It does not compute. No wonder he blew up.
Nevermind! Biggs was a unique combination of high volume and absolutely miserable efficiency: his usage rate was 35th nationally and his ORTG 92nd. I'm only thinking this is a major loss because Biggs had 14 points against Michigan. Now I am worried abut Michigan's defense. More worried.
Just another Alabama offseason. Alabama fans believe they will take 27 kids in this recruiting class, which means they'll have to eject eight guys from the program. Unless it's actually eleven, ie, the different between Michigan signing the 16 or 17 they expect to this year and a near-NCAA maximum class. At least Bama fans are no longer able to deny what's happening with sleight of hand, and have to admit they don't care:
Scholarship limits are designed to limit student-athlete opportunities in the name of competitive balance. Those who laud scholarship limits while suggesting that oversigning is harmful to student-athletes are hypocrites.
I knew I shouldn't have worn my I LAUD SCHOLARSHIP LIMITS t-shirt today. The only thing more endangered by Alabama than backup offensive linemen are strawmen.
Injuries issues for Wisconsin hockey. Badger defenseman Tyler Barnes will be out for this weekend's series at Yost. Nick Kerdiles, a first round pick, is questionable after missing the Michigan series in Madison. Even if they get a weakened version of the Badgers, Michigan is going to have to significantly step up their game to compete with the #5 scoring offense in the country.
Wow, Yost. Remember that? It's January 28th and this is the first game at Yost since December 11th. Scheduling. I am not impressed with it. If they're going to have all these bye weeks because the conference tournament is one weekend instead of three, they should endeavor to fill breaks like last week with nonconference series. I very much want to go to hockey in January, because it's a star attraction. In the heart of football season it's not.
Well now. There's been a kind-of-bonkers rumor floating around the past few years that when Red retires, one of the primary candidates to replace him will be Mike Babcock. Here is the first circumstantial evidence this is not something a twelve year old posted on a message board:
“He always mentions that -- (coaching college hockey) at some point -- when we talk,” Berenson said. “When he's done (in the NHL), he could see himself doing that. He's a student of the game and understands academics and sports and life after hockey."
IIRC, Red's tentative plan is to serve out the next two years of his contract and then hang it up. If Babcock wants the job I think we might let him have it.
Years ago, Brian posted a UFR of a West Virginia game in order to provide his readers with a feel for how the Rodriguez spread offense worked. Nussmeier's offense at Alabama isn't so different from Michigan's under Borges in 2013, and indications are he plans to be a little more dynamic than he was under Saban. But I wanted to get a feel for the subtle differences, for the kinds of plays he ran with the kind of talent Michigan has been recruiting. And I've been meaning to actually try my had at UFR-ing because I know a guy who learned an awful lot about football that way. So I put Nussmeier's last game under further review, in hopes of maybe separating what's Nuss from what was just the Tide.
I went with this year's Sugar Bowl since they faced a defense whose talent level was relatively close to their own. Unfortunately Oklahoma's 30-front defense is closer to Michigan's than any M opponents save Notre Dame, and things you do with a fake plastic tree at quarterback are not the same you do with Devin Gardner, Most Alive Man on the Planet. I've since been downloading some games from his time at Washington and might do one of those next week if this attempt doesn't put me off forever.
Meta note: UFR is really Brian's thing. I am an interloper here.
FORMATION NOTES: Nothing very fancy. Not a lot of fullbacks; when they went to a Pistol H-back formation usually it was just a U-back they motioned into that spot. They do have a hybrid Shotgun-Pistol formation that's Pistol (QB is 5 yards behind L.O.S.) with the RB offset like in the gun. This isn't uncommon:
Oklahoma spent a lot of time in the 3-3-5 nickel above that was sometimes more like a 4-2-4-1, by which I mean the Quick (Deathbacker, stand-up WDE, Thing-Roh-Was-And-Shouldn't-Have-Been) came up to the line, and they nearly always kept one safety deep. When Bama subbed in an extra TE they went to a 3-4 with a safety playing the backside OLB; I called this "3-3-5 Eagle."
…and later started cheating this (not like how Bama does) like hell to the field:
Later on they did this then audibled out of it, moving Striker to the other side of the line; Bama hit them with a 43-yard run down the middle.
Oklahoma also used lots of Okie and things like Okie, which led to this:
From top to bottom on the line of scrimmage that is a WDE/OLB rusher type, a 3-tech, the MLB, a 5-tech, and the box (not Spur) safety, and two more safeties in the LB area. I asked for help and decided to call it 3-3-5 Dime to differentiate it from the nickel look; usually the MLB backed off into coverage anyway.