Gentleman's Agreement

Gentleman's Agreement

Submitted by Brian on January 10th, 2018 at 12:33 PM

1/9/2018 – Michigan 69, Purdue 70 – 14-4, 3-2 Big Ten

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

This is all Illinois's fault. Or Miami's. Or whichever jabroni awarded this ball to the Hurricanes late in a 2013 NCAA tournament game:

Oh no I read the comments

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Oh no, college basketball listened to Youtube commenters. In the aftermath of that game the outrage was sufficient for the NCAA to institute video review on late-game out-of-bounds plays. Thus last night, when a Michigan win-or-OT situation turned into a loss thanks to a replay that literally took seven minutes as two referees pored over every frame of a Dakota Mathias rake on Charles Matthews and eventually awarded the ball to Purdue.

This was insane for many reasons.

One: I spent 39:54 watching a great basketball game between two good teams exchanging haymakers, and then I spent the rest of my life watching the back of a ref.

Two: any replay that takes that long surely falls in the realm of the disputed and should not be flipped.

Three: that call would never be made at any point during the first 39:54 because it does not matter if an offensive player who has been stripped of the ball going to the basket has his finger on the ball a nanosecond after the defender. The basketball rule book functionally reads "if a player is stripped going to the basket it's his team's ball unless it hits his leg or foot. "

Applying a different standard to a late game possession isn't correcting a call, it's getting it wrong in the name of pedantry. This happens a half dozen times in any basketball game...

...and 100% of the time the ball is awarded to the offense. That's the rule even if it's not the rule.

Four: Matt Painter essentially used a coach's challenge, which does not exist in basketball.

Surely the response there could have been "no" or "hard pass" or "Matt you seem nice and you've constructed a fascinating basketball team but please go to hell." It was not. So it goes.

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I'm obviously pretty cheesed off that Michigan lost one of their vanishingly few opportunities for a win that could move them up a seed line, but I'm even more vexed that the basketball game I was watching went from wonderful tense fun to a conference call. This is bad. It is bad for the game, and not just people walking bow-legged to work this morning.

If we're going to have replay—and, yes, we probably should, Illinois fans—we must protect the game from idiot pedants. And refs are all idiot pedants. That's the job: memorize this rule book and show up in front of thousands of people who hate you to enforce the rules of a meaningless game. Occasionally Kentucky fans dox you, and you kind of deserve it. This only appeals to the kind of person who loves correcting other people's mistakes more than he enjoys not having his life threatened. Only an idiot pedant signs up. TV Teddy is their king for a reason.

So. You get 30 seconds and then the screen turns off. Because if it's not obvious with three replays it's not worth correcting. Especially in a game like basketball where a gentleman's agreement not to foul someone out on some bullshit (unless their name is Mo Wagner) exists. Especially in a game like basketball that is lovely when it's flowing up and down the court and grimly dismal during its fouls-and-timeouts-and-more-timeouts-and-now-replays closing act.

Because if you didn't care about this game to start, and then got into it because it was terrific, you finished the game watching NCIS. Either figuratively, because it turned into a forensic exercise, or literally, because you changed the channel to one of the 17 different stations constantly playing NCIS.

Basketball should not have timeouts*, and it should take steps to assure replays are barely long enough to get one glue commercial in. Let's march to the grave properly distracted, people.

*[As previously discussed I am willing to accept a system where coaches can call timeout if they snip off one of their digits with garden shears and hand it to the ref.]

BULLETS

I will be very Brad Stevens. Stevens famously started walking towards the handshake line in some Butler game that came down to a buzzer-beater before that buzzer-beater went in or not, because one basket wasn't going to sway his opinion of his basketball team much. That's some cold-blooded Vulcan behavior and we'd do well to implement that in the aftermath here.

Michigan went toe to toe with a very very good team that was playing superbly, and the fact they lost is less important than they way they played. If you believe that opponent 3PT% is largely out of your control this game looks pretty dang good. And about that...

39607334181_36c871a57a_zA legion of Rip Hamiltons. Dan Dakich made an excellent point when he noted the sheer speed at which Purdue's gunners were running through their cuts and getting to their spots. Maybe half of Purdue's threes weren't drive-and-kick or extra-pass-to-exploit-rotation. They were lightning cuts off screens that Michigan didn't have much shot at defending. As I mentioned on twitter:

The difference is that Hamilton wasn't canning threes. Purdue is, at a Peak Beilein Team rate of 41%.

In this game Purdue hit 57% on a relatively high rate of threes (their 3PA/FGA of 37% is about the NCAA median), and I think that was more Purdue than Michigan. M has more or less maintained their ability to prevent launches from deep—currently 14th in the country—despite Billy Donlon's departure. They just ran into a buzzsaw.

[@ right: Campredon]

Hello, sir. Lovely of Isaiah Livers to provide sustenance to Ace in his time of need, what with his 249 ORTG. Ten points on four shots will do that. Especially when two of them are on this:

Remember last year when DJ Wilson would turn into the best basketball player in history for three minutes a game? Yeah. If Livers can add that kind of take to his suddenly-surging three point shooting... you know what? Never mind. I'm not trying to get him drafted.

Isaiah Livers is terrible. This is the end of the post, NBA scouts. Promise.

Anyway: since Big Ten play resumed Livers is 7/9 on twos and 7/8 on threes. He's also a clear upgrade from Duncan Robinson in all non-scoring ways. I think MGoBlog says this every 30 seconds, but it's past time to start him and let Robinson return to the microwave role he's excellent in.

This seems to be happening functionally: Livers as played 27 minutes against Purdue and Iowa. Now if Robinson could get his minutes when the opposition has 7th and 8th guys on the floor that would be *kisses fingers*.

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7'3" guy on 2 guard [Campredon]

Panic on the streets of Lafayette. I don't know if Matt Painter's constant absurd switching was brilliant or idiotic. It was both? At the same time? Probably? Yes. It oscillated wildly between those two states on possession to possession basis.

On some possessions Michigan would stare blankly into the middle distance for 25 seconds before Charles Matthews thundered at a 7'2" or 7'3" guy with little success. On others Zavier Simpson would check to make sure he had the laces right on the basketball—another good Dakich catch—before lifting up in front of a helpless Isaac Haas. Michigan seemed to figure it out in the second half when they made their push to tie, and then it evaporated late on two or three horrendous offensive possessions, any one of which could have produced a game-winning basket.

I don't know. It's weird and desperate and I feel like if Michigan saw that kind of thing on a regular basis they'd destroy it. Since they don't you get a lot of isolation plays from a team that doesn't have a lot of good iso players, and the offense can turn into a confused slog. The rematch should be fascinating.

Teske is a dude. Michigan got a fast break bucket in the second half largely because Jon Teske was the tallest tree around; he emerged to get a DREB that looked more like an OREB because he was swarmed with dudes. That was a four-point swing. His extended PT in the second half saw Michigan get a point closer to Purdue, and while he didn't score his two OREBs and generally excellent defense were critical.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say Michigan loses by ten if you replace Teske with Mark Donnal.

DREBs closer to real. In a similar vein: Michigan won the rebounding battle against Purdue with a 34% OREB rate vs Purdue's 24%. This isn't quite as much of an upset as it might seem like. Despite having the two biggest guys in the conference, Purdue's pretty meh on the boards.

They're not bad enough that Michigan will turn up its nose at a W in that category. You might want to sit down for this: Michigan is currently the best DREB team in Big Ten play. Please tell me you're not reading this while driving oh no you hit a tree.

A brief scheduling note. Michigan played Jacksonville during their annual Very Bad Team Invitational in December. This is going to be a boat anchor all year as the Dolphins trundle towards an 11-20 record, per Kenpom.

Purdue, on the other hand, scheduled Lipscomb. Lipscomb is also an Atlantic Sun team, but they're projected to win the conference. They've played four major-conference teams and lost by 22, 23, 10, and 22, but if and when they're 22-7 at the end of the year against a schedule virtually identical to Jacksonville they're going to be much less of an RPI disaster.

Michigan should be scheduling the Lipscombs of the world.

Unverified Voracity Insults Philadelphia's Mayor

Unverified Voracity Insults Philadelphia's Mayor

Submitted by Brian on October 17th, 2017 at 12:35 PM

Sponsor note. Are you sick of working for a website that makes everyone think your name is Chad? Have aspirations larger than reposting dank memes while people assert that you're just another talentless Chad? Want to break away from a media conglomerate that subsists on 80% bro-yellin'?

Well, Hoeg Law can help you with that.

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Richard Hoeg left his big-law job to hang out his own shingle as a small-business lawyer, so he brings personal attention and experience to your new business venture. He's got the combination of in-depth knowledge and small-business savvy that only guys named Richard have. Be a Richard, Chad.

Oh. Barstool. Barstool is trash and it's no surprise that it's Barstool that has again found the trashiest sign on Penn State's campus and been like "oh sick burn, bro," because Barstool just hires whatever local Chad they can find and Chad does Chad things. The latest:

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Set aside the potential odiousness of the joke. It's not even a good joke. The University of Michigan did not decide to change the source of Flint's water, or attempt to cover up the humanitarian disaster that was unfolding. This is equivalent to burning PSU for the actions of Philadelphia's mayor. Nobody does this, because nobody has to when trying to burn Penn State.

Anyway, Barstool's second-biggest problem is that they think "edgy" is funny by itself. Andrew-Dice-Clay-ass website. 

The decline of home court advantage. Home court means less these days:

NCAA_home_court_advantage_margin

This validates Craig Ross's frequently-expressed opinion that in the dingy arenas of the 1970s refs would bone you without repercussion. A couple other items from that piece:

  • home court is a stronger effect the farther you travel
  • it's a stronger effect in bigger conferences, probably because of crowd size
  • all your conspiracy theories about referees are correct

All of 'em. Pick one. Yes, you're correct.

Half the defense. It was a good day for Michigan's defense:

Kinnel kind of surprises me, if only because I'm having a hard time thinking much of anything either way about the safeties. They are off screen for the large majority of this game, and Indiana's offense prohibits replays.

Mike Onwenu and Karan Higdon both made the offensive team. Also in "what were you doing with your offensive line recruiting two years ago": Maryland sophomore OG Terrance Davis makes the team. IIRC Michigan straight up passed on that guy.

20 games. Big Ten basketball head coaches have voted in favor of a 20-game conference schedule. Jon Rothstein reports that the change will happen next year. That'll take the schedule to 7 teams you play twice and 6 you play once, and a that point you might as well implement the Scottish Premiere League approach, which only takes 19 games and is awesome.

Harbaugh interacts with son. Via Outsports:

It’s only been in the last year that he came out to his dad. Dismayed by election results last November, he told his father that he was scared for himself and other people like him. When dad wrote back a vague message of support, James went all in.

“I just it blurted out –– and told him for the first time verbatim –– 'Dad, I'm gay. Do you know that? And because of that, this is why X,Y, Z. I'm scared because of this, that and the other.'

“And he just said something else back, it was an encouraging and uplifting response about how you just need to keep your head up. 'As long as you do what you feel is right in your mind, you live your truth. Everything will end up being OK.'"

James does not like his dad's sartorial choices, which makes him like every son in the history of the universe.

Even more hockey recruiting. Michigan continues to pick guys up at a rapid pace. They recently flipped USHL defenseman Jack Summers from Brown. Chris Dilks's take from a couple years ago:

Jack Summers-Victory Honda U16-Summers is a bit undersized and not a huge offensive threat yet, but he has incredible footwork and skating that makes him an effective defender and gives him the upside to potentially be a very dynamic player.

Summers played under Bill Muckalt last year, so he's a guy the coaching staff knows very well. Heisenberg has him listed as a 2019 kid. Michigan's also added 2019 F Cassidy Bowes, who's a bit of an odd duck. He spent last year playing in a western Canadian prep school league, putting up 49 points in 30 games. He's joined the BCHL and has 6 points in nine games in the early going.

Both Summers and Bowes will arrive in 2019 as 20-year-olds, so they're fleshing out the class. They're the 12th and 13th kids across four different recruiting classes Pearson has recruited since he was hired four months ago. He's added four guys to an already five-strong 2017 class, six 2019 kids to Mike Vukojevic, two 2020 kids to a Little Caesar's trio, and 2021 Dylan Duke.

I'm not sure all these guys are getting to campus or guaranteed full rides, particularly the older gents. This is a more aggressive style of recruiting than Michigan is used to; Pearson seems dead set on not having big roster holes from the inevitable departures.

Etc.: M settles FOIA lawsuit and must reform their terrible, terrible FOIA department. Hooray. Scooter Vaughn is a 28-year-old AHL veteran now, and he's also a cool skateboarder. Hurst still drives for Uber. How Bryce Love is... doing all that. Holding The Rope on IU. Urban Meyer's wife: thinks whatever has a hypen, can't spell, kinda racist. Harmon intercepts Kinnick.

At Least It's Something To Get Upset About

At Least It's Something To Get Upset About

Submitted by Brian on February 20th, 2017 at 12:23 PM

2/19/2017 – Michigan 78, Minnesota 83 (OT) – 17-10, 7-7 Big Ten

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[Patrick Barron]

I was pretty mad last night for obvious reasons, and it occurred to me that I hadn't been actually mad at a Michigan sporting thing since football ceased. Hockey's fallen into the abyss to the point where the poor damn SID for that sport is issuing game recaps like this:

Michigan's Comeback Bid Falls Short at Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Michigan ice hockey team fell, 5-2, to Wisconsin on Friday night (Feb. 17) in a Big Ten Conference matchup at the Kohl Center.

Juuuust a little short. Now that their record has caught up with their play (they're 1-7-2 in their last ten games, including an 0-2-2 record against Michigan State, the worst power conference team in RPI) it's been hard to even pay attention. Even when I am at a game I come away from it with few opinions other than "they are bad but Lockwood is good." It happens in front of you and then it is gone. Hockey isn't even interestingly bad.

Michigan's big three sports have endured seasons like this before, of course, but football's so short and their 3-9 was such an anomaly that it still held some interest, as a historical artifact if nothing else. I did get used to ignoring various basketball teams because they started walk-ons at point guard and their game strategy was to hold the ball for 30 seconds and then get the one half-decent player on the team to heave up a heavily contested jumper.

Ignoring hockey (hockey!) is weird to me, but here we are. We sold our tickets to the most recent Michigan State game because 75 bucks sounded better than a punch in the gut, and when I tried to turn the game on only to find it was not televised, I was relieved. So that's where we are in 2016 with hockey: I can legitimately be surprised when a game is not televised, and I can be fine with missing the saddest has-been rivalry in sports.

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In that light, getting mad on twitter about TV Ted Valentine is actually kind of nice. Don't get me wrong: I'd rather watch a college basketball game not run by people so deranged they might end up on CNN attacking the independent judiciary. I'd rather watch a college basketball game in which Michigan does not set a Beilein-era record for free throws allowed (41!). I'd rather have guys who don't give Michigan a tech from halfway across the court for no apparent reason. I nonetheless choose fist-clenching impotent fury over the listless apathy hockey's induced.

And that is a little something after Michigan's early conference swoon looked fatal. This chart is the change in teams' efficiency margins since conference play started; Michigan is the line that flirts with becoming Indiana 2.0—remember when they beat Kansas and UNC?—before reversing:

Now I have a reason to silently hope people I've never met get a mildly debilitating disease that renders them unable to referee basketball games without having much impact on the rest of their lives and suddenly realize that this has already happened. Possibly twice.

So I've got that going for me. A silver lining.

Bullets

Eh, I'm kind of fine with Wagner fouling out like that. Michigan's down one with about a minute left and Wagner tries his Mitch McGary poke. It works, but in the process of it working Wagner hits the guy in the face and fouls out. Shon Morris immediately starts bemoaning how dumb that was.

I don't know about that. Michigan only got to overtime because Wagner was successful at prying the ball loose at half court and getting a quick two points. Repeating that in overtime down one swings your victory percentage way up—at least 30-40 percent, I'd guess. It's a risk but it might be a good one.

This style matchup. Watching Michigan play Minnesota is always an interesting contrast in styles. Beilein recruits a ton of skilled shooters and has them run an intricate offense; Pitino recruits guys chiseled out of marble who have never seen a basketball and has them run wildly at the basket in case that works out.

I greatly prefer Beilein's approach for a number of reasons, with one exception: gol dang it would be nice to have a Reggie Lynch at center. Lynch was not highly recruited and in fact played his first two years at Illinois State; he was #1 in block rate both of his two years there and is #1 this year. My kingdom for a guy who can affect shots. Maybe Jon Teske will figure out which bits are his knees and which are his elbows next year.

In all other ways, Minnesota basketball looks painful.

Free throws. In addition to the ref rogering, Michigan went through a stretch last night where Derrick Walton and Duncan Robinson went 1-5 from the free throw line. Robinson is 81% and Walton 88%. There's a divide here between the kind of person who goes all MAKE YOUR FREE THROWS as if this was a moral failing deserving of a loss and persons like myself who look at an event like that as an improbable statistical event that is worth no more than a shrug and a shake of the fist at Gamblor.

Minnesota's troubles evaporated in the second half; by the end of the game they were right on their 68% season average. Michigan was at 50%, which I don't have to tell you is not what they average. That is one of the reasons they lost.

Unverified Voracity Judges 70s Mustaches

Unverified Voracity Judges 70s Mustaches

Submitted by Brian on November 14th, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Here's something to read as you wait for Hand to make you self high-five or send you further into your depressive tailspin.

STEP AWAY FROM THE GROBAN. Okay yeah don't ever talk to a Michigan player about anything but this is a flashback I do not need right now.

Brady Hoke: Fans who want to bash players via social media 'need to get a life'

At least this time there won't be a moronic media backlash against an obviously correct and appropriate sentiment about douchers on the internet who take their frustration out on players. So at least we've got that going for us. Someone make sure that Mike Rosenberg has still been run out of town on a rail. (He what? He got a job where? As a janitor? Oh. Well, the world is a terrible place.)

The Daily has compiled Ace Williams and other 16 year olds having hissy fits at Gardner on Twitter. While it's getting tiresome every time someone points out that racists, idiots, and the 16-year-old-pretending-to-be-Oxford-attending-face-gel-model Ace Williams have access to the internet, yes, all of these people should be shot into the sun. But I think a lot of people should be shot into the sun. I don't think we should put me in charge of the Which People Go On The Rocket Into The Sun committee.

TOP FIVE PEOPLE GOING IN THE ROCKET INTO THE SUN

  1. Sepp Blatter
  2. Fred Durst
  3. Jonathan Franzen
  4. Whoever popularized quinoa
  5. Bill Hancock

Q: Where is Al Borges in that line?

Aw man he doesn't deserve to be burned into a crisp. Don't ask me about this in the immediate aftermath of a muffed punt.

Last. Michigan is now dead last in tackles for loss allowed.

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This is amazing. For once, your perception that thing X about your team being the greatest or the worst is accurate. Savor this moment. (Forget about all of this immediately using whatever techniques or substances required to do so.)

Stop thinking about that think about this.

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if they called it "Bovember" I would be required to do it by law

Steve Sapardanis rates Michigan mustaches of the 1970s. Why didn't I do this instead of the UFR? Because I am dumb. I am beyond dumb.  Anyway, here's Sap's greatest mustache of all time:

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That's Jon Giesler (1975-78), who is obviously an offensive lineman.

Booing. Michigan Stadium booed during the Nebraska game. I disapprove of this at all times, but at least this time it was blazingly obvious that the fans were booing two runs into the line for nothing that everyone in the stadium knew were coming and would not work. That is coach-directed, and of a different tenor than the stadium-wide hissy fit early in the Rodriguez era. But hey give the media a chance to write a story about it and they will, asking everybody about it about six times. Even, uh…

Obviously, everyone is entitled to their opinion,” [Desmond] Morgan said. “It’s a little bit disappointing, I would say. The guys in this building are the guys in this building. We’re together. We’re not too concerned about the outside influences, whether the fans are up or down.”

…the defense! File under trying too hard.

Resume thinking about misery. So… yeah. "Line Yardage" is a metric that chops out everything over ten yards and relatively discounts yards from 5-10 in an effort to see which offensive lines are doing the best at getting yards under the assumption that most of the stuff after about five yards is not on them.

You're probably thinking that Michigan isn't doing too well in this stat. You are correct.

Worst single-game Line Yardage average in 2013:
1. Michigan (vs. Michigan State): -0.53
2. Oregon State (vs. SDSU): 0.11
3. Michigan (vs. Nebraska): 0.47
4. Miami (vs. Va. Tech): 0.57
5. North Texas (vs. Georgia): 0.58

Georgia State got a better push against Alabama than Michigan got against Nebraska.

That seems un-good. That's appalling, is what that is. Against Nebraska of all teams Michigan checks in with the third worst line yards number of the season, right on the heels of… ahem…

*losing an average of a half yard on actual run plays against MSU once you cut things off at ten yards*

UNGOOD

SUBOPTIMAL

SMELLS LIKE A PANICKED POSSUM

OH IT IS REALLY JUST FOUL

How it's going. The first data on college basketball's fouling crackdown is in. Drumroll…

So scoring is up, but it doesn’t appear there’s much contribution from a change in the way game is played. It’s almost all due simply to more fouls being called in lieu of turnovers forced. Whatever adjustments teams make to avoid committing fouls have yet to take place.

It's ugly out there right now. Hopefully we'll see adjustments and fewer fouls, except in Wisconsin's case, where I hope every single Badger fouls out in the first seven minutes. If you're a Michigan fan or just a fan of basketball that doesn't look like two pigs fighting over an onion, quotes like these are infinitely delicious:

Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy was quoted as pointing out that if someone pays to see Celine Dion in Vegas, she doesn’t foul out at intermission. In an article about the new defensive rules, USA Today quoted coaches, most notably West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, in various states of dismay regarding the changes that make the use of hand-checks, arm-bars and defensive jabs illegal. In a preseason press conference last week, Xavier coach Chris Mack said, “I think they stink.”

And closer to home:

"You're not going to believe what happened," Izzo said on his radio show Wednesday. "I got home last night, and I walked in the house, and my wife was sleeping, so I gave her a kiss on the forehead. A referee blew his whistle and gave me a technical."

A BWAHAHAHAHAHA was heard emanating from the MGoUndergroundLair.

Come on, baby needs a  new All-American center's back. The latest on McGary's back, which needs to come back if Michigan is going to go back to the promised land. Back.

“For the first time now he’s done some workouts,” Beilein said. “He’s had more repetitions in practice over the last 10 days. He’s had repetitions and he looks very good and we’re going to continue increasing his repetitions.”

McGary’s on-court workouts are still limited to non-contact, individual work, according to Beilein.

Previously, McGary was essentially limited to shooting drills.

That's… that is still rather alarming. It sounds like there's little chance he comes back full strength for a while yet.

Line revamp #2. Hockey! Hockey. Michigan's putting the lines in a blender again with a bye week to work on business. The new configuration, according to the Daily:

  1. Di Guiseppe – Copp – Motte
  2. Guptill – Compher – DeBlois
  3. Nieves -  Lynch - Moffatt
  4. Selman – Hyman – Allen

#3 is a guess; the article doesn't really mention it. It would be odd to see Lynch center those guys but Michigan has too many scoring wings to put them all on lines with scoring centers. Hypothetically, anyway. Hypothetically, they have scoring wingers. To date they've been sort of scoring.

So far it seems like they just are who they are and will remain so no matter how many lines are thrown in the Cuisinart.

In other news: Racine is ready to come back but Berenson won't name a starter until the weekend and Mike Chiasson will continue playing in place of injured Kevin Lohan.

Old Yost, man. Follow up to that mailbag question about why Yost isn't what Yost was: here's a clip from a 1999 playoff series against Bowling Green that Michigan Hockey Net unearthed.

Bob Gassoff couldn't play hockey worth a damn but he was kind of like a living program-wide hype man. Flip ahead to 4:30 and just see how many people there used to be in the student section. This was before the overhang and before the most recent seat-stripping renovation; in the same space there are probably twice as many people. What did you do, Bill Martin? Why did you kill that so you could put in some seats for boring people who barely show up?

Etc.: If you haven't noticed I've given up on Ace Williams radio silence since yobs like Bill Simonson are citing him as a credible source, this blowing up my inbox and making various players on Michigan having to tell everyone they know they're not transferring. New policy: repeated statements about his lack of credibility.

Daily on Jon Falk. Daily on the long history the NTDP freshmen have with each other. Is Darryl Funk a witch? Here is a Grape Nuts commercial featuring Biggie Munn. Borussia Dortmund is the best, man. John Kryk on the 1973 vote to send OSU to the Rose Bowl.

QUINOA IS TERRIBLE.