Hokepoints: B1G Bowls and the Michigan Difference

Hokepoints: B1G Bowls and the Michigan Difference

Submitted by Seth on June 25th, 2013 at 11:20 AM

1974uniformFranklin

The Game 1974 via Bentley

With the new bowl lineup I thought I'd delve into the conference's history with the things this week. Chart of sane bowl names is here.

The beginning

We whomped Stanford in 1901 so bad they canceled bowl games for a decade.

Rose or Bust.

For a time there was only the Rose Bowl. Then others began to pop up and the Big Ten wouldn't let teams go (Ohio State snuck over to Pasadena after the 1920 season but that was it). Then they said only one team may take a bid from the Rose Bowl.

It's been nearly 40 years and yet any Michigan fan over 50 still shakes with anger at it: In 1973 Michigan and Ohio State met in one of the more epic battles in that epic ten-year war. After Michigan missed three field goals in the 4th quarter the game—and thus the Big Ten title race—ended in a tie. In the process the Wolverines' starting quarterback Denny Franklin was busted up. Woody Hayes, never a particularly classy individual, made an uninformed remark to the media that he's sorry Franklin wouldn't be able to play in the bowl game. In part because they believed Michigan would be without Denny, the conference's athletic directors voted to send Ohio State to the Rose Bowl.

The following year Michigan did make their game-winning field goal, but the officials missed it and there was no replay, and Ohio State again went to Pasadena. Since the Big Ten wouldn't let its teams attend any other bowl, both times a more deserving Michigan had to stay home. Overall Franklin and the Wolverines managed to go three years (1972-'74) without a bowl game despite going 30-2-1 over that span.

The whole concept was as mind-blowingly ridiculous as it seems, and the following year the conference finally got rid of the rule that had become outdated due to...

Bowl Expansion

The conference deigned to allow its teams to go to bowls again only after WWII, and then it was "you can only go to the Rose Bowl if they invite you." Once the Big Ten released its members it sparked a new round of bowl expansion (click to inbigmatate):

bowls-all

Note the Y axis is "Bowl Teams" not games—divide by two to get # of games. Some oddities: Michigan wasn't in the Big Ten from 1907 to 1916, not that it made any difference. Having one yellow dot in the bowl picture looks ridiculous. Michigan State went to an Orange Bowl before joining the conference. Penn State and Nebraska obviously went to plenty of bowls before they joined. Ohio State turned down its Rose Bowl bids in 1960 and '61 because of academics(!); Minnesota went in their stead.

Michigan's Placement

Since the bowl field expanded, the Big Ten's tie-ins have gone through a series of confusing shifts, order only recently having been brought into the process. Owing to its TV draw and instant draw the bowls have typically taken Michigan almost as soon as they're allowed to. As a result when you look at the conference's bowl history you can see Michigan tends to go early even in its rough years.

b10schoolsinbowls-mich

This is ordered by selection (starting from the left). Historically Michigan has been selected higher than its standing in the conference, the more so the lower down we get. For example in 1984 Michigan received an at-large Holiday Bowl bid—effectively the conference's third selector after the Rose and then the Cotton Peach took Purdue as an at-large—despite finishing behind Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and tied with Michigan State, whom we lost to that year. Since then there have been progressively more stringent so-Michigan-State-won't-cry rules placed by the conference on the bowls for which teams they can select. Before it was they have to be within 1 or 2 losses of each other. Under the new system there's a tier:

The New Lineup and the Golden Vagina:

1. Teams selected by the playoff committee go to the Golden Vagina Playoff.

College_Football_Playoff_Logo2. If the champion is still around they go to the Rose Bowl (vs Pac-12 or at-large), or the Orange Bowl (vs SEC or at-large) in years the Rose are the playoff hosts (2014 and every three years after).

3. BCS bowls can extend an at-large bid.

4. Citrus Bowl (SEC), Outback Bowl (SEC) and Holiday Bowl (Pac-12). Those bowls will unofficially switch off who gets first pick but really the conference will be sitting there negotiating who gets which school with the goal of rewarding better teams and changing things up a bit. Said Delany:

"Someone will obviously select first, but they may or may not get the team they want because that team may have been in that region two years in a row. We're trying to make sure there’s freshness. It's hard when a team goes to say Florida five times in six years to get them really excited."

5. Gator or Music City (SEC), San Francisco (Pac-12), and Pinstripe (ACC). The first two switch off with that bid.

6. Heart of Dallas or Ft. Worth Armed Forces Bowl (Big 12), Motor City Bowl (TBA)

The only way the Big Ten champ will play the Pac 12 champ is if both are seeded as such in the playoff, or both miss the playoff. I am guessing it will not happen very often. The tier system is a rather eloquent method of handling the problem of Michigan State's blubbering over bowls falling over themselves to avoid them. See? You're on the same tier. Everyone on the same tier is the same.

Still Broken

The new system does have its problems:

  • Not all of the payouts on each tier are equivalent right now—that seems like it can be negotiated.
  • In a scenario where Michigan State beats Michigan in the regular season, thus winning the tiebreaker to get into the Big Ten Championship Game, and MSU subsequently loses that game and is no longer BCS eligible because they're ranked too low now, and Michigan is still ranked high enough for a BCS bid and gets one, Michigan State will still cry.
  • In any given scenario, Michigan State will find a reason to cry.

Unverified Voracity Lives On As A Hat

Unverified Voracity Lives On As A Hat

Submitted by Brian on May 2nd, 2013 at 4:56 PM

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Tim Hardaway's hat lives!

Erm, okay. ESPN's Paul Biancardi was tasked with finding sleepers outside of ESPN's top 25 players who would outperform the rankings, and struck upon Derrick Walton:

1. Derrick Walton, PG, Michigan
Final ESPN 100 rank: No. 30

… Walton, who will replace Burke and take the mantle as Michigan's point guard, has some similar traits to Burke as he is small, tough and competitive. Although we have Walton ranked No. 30, which is relatively high, he still has to fight for everything he earns -- which is what makes him special. Walton will lead the Wolverines and will have a wealth of talent around him with a mixture of scorers, size and a strong incoming freshman class coming in with him. Look for him to push the pace with a high-speed dribble and find teammates off penetration with his peripheral vision. Walton is battle tested and has played on the travel team circuit against some of the nation's best point guards and had his way. Don't be surprised to see him get more assists than points in any given game, yet he can also make big shots when his team needs them most. He is a clutch performer with the perfect mindset for his position. The opportunity is there for Walton; look for him to capitalize on it.

Then Reggie Rankin was tasked with doing so with recruiting classes outside the top ten and picked three of the next four, one of which happens to be M:

2. Michigan (No. 12 class)
The Wolverines have added three ESPN 100 prospects who are not only talented and will excel in John Beilein's system, but also who address some of the team's needs after losing Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA. Derrick Walton is an excellent point guard who pushes the pace and can deliver the rock at high speeds or execute when the defense is set. Zak Irvin is a quick fix on the wing because of his size, athleticism and ability to flat-out get buckets with his aggressive approach on the offensive end of the floor. Power forward Mark Donnal is skilled and can finish in the paint or stretch the defense with his range to about 18 feet. This class will excel in Beilein's system because all three have the IQ and skills to make high-level plays. Expect this Michigan class to be an NCAA tournament mainstay as long as it is together.

These are not bold forays onto the limb, but they do say nice things about Michigan, and from two different people. I might have gone with Donnal as more of a sleeper than the #30 player in the class, since Donnal's headed for a perfect fit for Beilein's offense and could blow up into a huge matchup issue down the road.

BTW, ESPN moved Zak Irvin up to #22, their last five-star spot, and Walton rose 10-20 spots as well, IIRC. I told Seth this and he was bored, because this is always what Beilein recruits do.

Now do it with your arms behind your back. Devin Gardner hits Jeremy Gallon with his eyes closed:

No, Jeremy Gallon did not change his hair and severely reduce his resemblance to Snoop from the Wire. No he did not. Shush.

In other news, this bodes well for throws made when Gardner is sneezing next fall. You'll have to think up something other than a field made of cat hair, Mr. Dantonio, if you're going to boringly cackle your way to victory this fall.

He may be biased, but the numbers are going his way. Netflix's CEO talks up the future of TV and includes some numbers:

The number of consumers turning to Netflix and other online entertainment providers has taken even Wall Street by surprise. Netflix has 30 million U.S. subscribers, a bit more than HBO and about 9 million more than the nation’s biggest cable company, Comcast. Hastings audaciously projected Netflix’s audience to grow to as many as 90 million as it expands globally. Its revenue, which exceeded $1 billion for the first three months of 2013, was a record. Minutes after the figures were announced Monday, Netflix stock soared more than 23 percent.

Eventually this will turn into various streaming buckets of content you can take or leave as you please, thus undermining the Big Ten's desire to expand into areas that have a lot of people who don't really care to watch Rutgers and Maryland play.

You might have to turn in your card. Brandon on the ticket hike:

"We raised the ticket prices, but we wanted to make sure the ticket price increase was not at all perceived to be an opportunity for us to make more money off of the students," Brandon said. "The incremental revenue that comes from the student ticket price increase, we're going to contribute (that) to the rec sports program up on campus -- which has nothing to do with Michigan athletics, but it's a way that we can take those revenues and support something that will benefit all the students."

So… instead of letting the students who play rec sports pay for rec sports, everyone who wants a football ticket pays for rec sports? That doesn't seem particularly Repub—[POLITICAL CONTENT REDACTED].

He does make an assertion that maybe if the tickets are more expensive students will be more inclined to use them that seems plausible. As previously mentioned, I don't think that'll move the needle with many out-of-state students with money to burn. Meanwhile, any student will be able to buy tickets no matter how disinclined he or she is to use them:

Michigan has no plans to cut the size of its student section inside Michigan Stadium -- which is roughly 22,000 seats.

"Every student who wants to buy a ticket will have the opportunity to buy a ticket," Brandon said. "That hasn't changed, and that's the way it's always been."

That's the way it's always been? Dave Brandon used this as an argument in favor of something? I am going to go lie down and panic at the possibility I have fallen into the mirror universe.

On the other hand, the angle of the sun will be right. Thumbs up to this:

OSU's Gene Smith says he has also spoken to Michigan's David Brandon and there is a consensus that "The Game" should be played at noon.

That's the way it's always been? I guess?

Sometimes the burden of proof should be on you. Remember that Duke player who put down 30k in cash and got a 70k loan for some jewelry in 2009? This is how the investigation went:

NCAA: Jeweler guy. Do you want to talk to us?

Jeweler: No.

NCAA: What about you, Lance Thomas?

Thomas: No.

NCAA: Okay we're done here.

As a result, no violations, but much eyerolling. Just dump the amateurism business so no one has to care about Lance Thomas buying some jewelry. Not only is it immoral; it's also unenforceable. This is not a winner.

Speaking of, Patrick Hruby won't stop bombing the NCAA, and it's beautiful.

Between 1985 and 2010, they report, the average salary of head football coaches at 44 Division I schools increased by 750 percent, from $273,300 to $2,054,700. During the same period, the average salary of university presidents rose by 90 percent, while the average salary of full professors rose just 30 percent.

Which group is more essential to the collegiate educational mission?

The OBC is on board with paying guys. Go OBC.

Etc.: Talking with Derrick Walton. Penn State @ 5PM is good news for people making the trip. Brady Hoke : Charlie Weis : Lincoln : Kennedy. False. True.

The Hot Take: Divisions

The Hot Take: Divisions

Submitted by Brian on April 29th, 2013 at 4:12 PM

AAAAAHHHHHH OOOHHHHHHHHH

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HONORING EASTS AND BUILDING WESTS

/soulful electric guitar

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IT'S BEEN A BIG TEN TRADITION FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS

WE HONOR THE EASTS WHO'VE GIVEN US MOMENTS WE'LL NEVER FORGET EVEN IF WE WEREN'T WATCHING THEM BECAUSE NO ONE WATCHES RUTGERS OR MARYLAND

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AAAAAAHHHHH OOOOOOOWWWW

AND BUILDING WESTS? WELL, THAT'S ABOUT DOING SOMETHING SO CONDESCENDINGLY DUMB YOU'D HAVE TO BE A SEA ANEMONE FOR YOUR POISONOUS TENDRILS TO THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA WITH YOUR PREHISTORIC NON-BRAIN, AND LIVING A LIFE OF MAXIMUM RESOURCE EXTRACTION EVERY SINGLE DAY

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AHHHHHHH OOOOOOOH

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AHHHH OH WAIT

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much better here's a picture of a guy graduating oohhhhhhhh

NOW GIVE ME MY HUNDRED MILLION AWWWW OHHHH

Our New Less Miserable Experience

It's not news. But it is official. Per everyone in reports going on the last six months, the Big Ten is this:

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Michigan cannot be champions of the West, because obviously.
Also yes I made a Gin Blossoms reference. Up next: flat-out Blossom references.

Love the quote that comes with the non news:

"The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll."

Sometimes I wonder if the goal of adding Rutgers and Maryland was to give the B10 leadership a way to save face as they exited Legends and Leaders. Then I think that's crazy. Then I remember that the Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland and think it's not crazy enough. THEORY: The Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland because Jim Delany is secretly a plant in need of more soil. THEORY: The Big Ten expanded because now they have those bastards from Delaware surrounded, and can finally give them what-for for signing the Constitution first. THEORY: Bo Ryan controls everything and is unhappy only ruining basketball. &c

Anyway: over the long term Michigan will be meeting teams in the other division about half the time. Purdue will be on under a third of future schedules since they have a protected crossover with Indiana; the other teams will be just under 1/2, except the league is going to kick off their new divisions with as many sexy matchups as possible:

Big Ten also will use "parity-based scheduling" for initial crossover rotations. Top teams in divisions will play more, Delany said

More detail:

"In the first 18 years, you’re going to see a lot of competition between teams at the top of either division," Delany said. "We call that a bit of parity-based scheduling, so you’ll see Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa playing a lot of competition against Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. But it will rotate. Early on, we feel this gives the fans what they want."

Ace and I talked about whether this was terrible or fine; I initially thought terrible but after some time I think I just want to see interesting games, and putting top teams against each other does that. It also helps smooth any schedule imbalances.

CON:

  • I will miss playing Iowa annually.
  • I enjoyed making Michigan Ryan Field's Big Ten Team every other year.
  • I don't even feel like Wisconsin's in the same conference any more.
  • In general it will be hard to start hot feuds against anyone Over There. See the rapidly dying MSU-UW quasi-rivalry.
  • I'm actually okay with the Jug game not happening annually, but it is a symptom of how you're not really a conference at 14 teams.

PRO:

  • Hey remember that thing where they might move the game to midseason and—horror—put Michigan State at the end of M's schedule? That is ding-dong dead.
  • Now I can root against Ohio State with all my heart when they play Nebraska and the like, and the Game is what it always should be: critical.
  • Sparty did not escape to the other division, saddling M with a protected crossover, guaranteeing them an annual game against Purdue, and giving the Spartans some vague hope of ever reaching the Rose Bowl again.
  • I welcome the return of Penn State to the schedule annually and look forward to re-establishing the Zombie Nation WE OWN PENN STATE meme.
  • My loathing for the incompetent and debt-crippled athletic departments of Rutgers and Maryland will give those games some spice. HOW DARE YOU BE IN OUR CONFERENCE is good foundation for hate, I guess?
  • They did fix it so the divisions switch off 5/4 home games as a unit.

All in all, Delaware is screwed.

Elsewhere

BHGP finds a man distressed at the callous disposal of the Big Ten's most sacred traditions: "Legends" and "Leaders". Dave Brandon has put down the prospect of moving The Game, backed away slowly, and whistled idly if anyone passing by pointed at it and said "what the…?"

Unverified Voracity Chases Stanford Futilely

Unverified Voracity Chases Stanford Futilely

Submitted by Brian on April 24th, 2013 at 12:30 PM

YOU'RE A TALLER. User Bombadil reports that Ian Bunting is still getting mail from Mississippi State, too.

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This may be fake but probably not.

WE'RE ALL FLIPPER. Congrats to the men's gymnastics team, national champs. Sam Mikulak is your champion on parallel bars and high bar plus the overall individual national champ.

With men's swimming bringing home a title of their own plus the basketball team's run to the final, Michigan is actually threatening Stanford's Director's Cup hegemony. When the Director's Cup releases their updated standings tomorrow Michigan should be on top of the rankings with only a few sports left: golf, base/softball, track and field, women's water polo, women's lacrosse, and men's volleyball.

Michigan's pretty good at some of those… but, uh, unfortunately Stanford is better.

Top 25 Rankings for Stanford in spring sports, most rankings updated last weekend:

Softball - 16

Men's Golf - 8

Women's Golf - 12

Baseball - receiving votes

Women's T&F - 9

Women's Water Polo - 1

Men's Volleyball - 6

Women's Rowing - 9

Women's Tennis – 12

This is how you dominate the Director's Cup since a year after its inception. If you want even more details, the board has you covered.

Goodbye, 11 to 15 minutes. Draft Express's Trey Burke draft video is all kinds of fun. Even the five minutes dedicated to Burke drawbacks features a number of Kobe assists or shoulda-been Kobe assists:

What an awesome player.

YER A BALLERZ. The NCAA 14 cover:

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Will I buy this crap-pile of a game from the worst company in America because it has Denard Robinson on the cover? Maybe. Have they fixed the kangaroo linebackers yet? Made any positive changes to gameplay since 2004?

ORGAN TRAWLERZ. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau has released their final rankings, with a slew of future Wolverines included:

  • #34 JT Compher
  • #49 Michael Downing
  • #84 Tyler Motte
  • #111 Nolan De Jong
  • #136 Alex Kile
  • #142 Andrew Copp
  • #157 Evan Allen

2014 recruit Dexter Dancs fell out of the rankings after being 154th in the midterm. Everyone went up save Compher, who dropped from #20. Default reminder: the CSB has separate lists for goalies and Europeans, so add 30% to each guy's ranking to get a projected draft spot. FWIW, Compher and Downing have appeared in a lot of first round mock drafts I've seen.

So. Michigan's class may lack a Trouba-level dominant star, but it is extremely deep. Everyone who's coming in next year* save recent goalie pickup Zach Nagelvoort and Bryson Cianfrone is likely to get picked in the upcoming draft. Kile in particular is a bonus after being passed over a year ago. He nearly doubled his points in the USHL this year and gives Michigan another option for a scoring-line forward.

That helps make up for the fade from Cianfrone, who was headed for the first round of the OHL draft before his Michigan commitment. He's off NHL draft radars and has a 6-15-21 line in the USHL this year. He is a 5'8" kid who's coming in as an 18 year old, so you can construct a picture in which he still develops into what he was supposed to be a couple years ago.

Anyway: strong incoming class that hopefully sticks around long enough to be impact upperclassmen. And how about Andrew Copp?

*[Spencer Hyman and Max Shuart may also arrive, but neither signed a LOI so I assume they are walking on.]

And we're done. Show us what we've won. Oh, it's a wheezing dog and a dead iguana. Jim Delany on further Big Ten expansion:

"Given everything that has gone on, yes," Delany said when asked about the ACC’s deal cementing the current five major conferences to their respective lineups.

Although Delany said the 16-team superconference format was also "an arbitrary number" that he wasn’t part of, the Big Ten was open to further expansion. ... There still is the possibility that a team from the SEC (Missouri) could leave for the Big Ten -- the SEC has no grant of rights or exit fee -- but that’s a pipe dream, at best.

So here we are. Playing Rutgers and Maryland every year, and not Iowa and Wisconsin and Nebraska. It's hard not to see Delany as a giant middle finger to fans, just walkin' around. Mighty big hand you escaped from there. Tell us more about media markets. Please, yes, just like that. Yes. Like that. About media markets.

What is a name, anyway? The powers that be paid someone millions of dollars to tell them to call the college football playoff "College Football Playoff." Nice work if you can get it. Not quite as good as Bill Hancock's job, which is to say whatever the hell he wants at any time without bothering to pretend he believes it.

That is not actually a name. If you call your dog "dog" you have not named him but described him. It is bad when your "name" for a thing is in fact a description of a superset of what you are—there are already other, separate college football playoffs. Delany:

"I'll be happy with whatever. Obviously I'm not great with names."

Yes, but that's no reason to eschew the concept entirely. You can try again, Mr. Delany, as long as you float some trial balloons to see if the entire internet mocks you before you make a decision. You can love again.

Anyway. These folks trademarked their name-type substance. Can you even do that? I want to make shirts that say "COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF" to test this out. If Xerox is too generic to be a trademark, how can "college football playoff" be unique enough? Someone who likes being in lawsuits, please find this out.

Further confirmation. In not-quite-announced news that's pretty much announced, yeah, Desmond Morgan is permanently moving to MLB so James Ross can start at WLB:

“Playing in space is something I definitely had to adjust to my first two years here because I wasn’t used to that in high school. I was more of an in the box kind of guy,” Morgan said. “Going back over to MIKE, I kind of feel a little bit more comfortable in a sense because of that.

“During the spring, it’s been an adjustment but it was something I kind of grew up playing.”

Joe Bolden and Royce Jenkins-Stone will back up the MLB and WLB spots, respectively.

BONUS: James Ross named "most improved player" this spring. Hype rocket is entering stage two.

Ann Arbor is pretty all right. Click for big.

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WE AGREE OH MY PANTS. Dave Brandon and I both think a ten game conference schedule is a good idea.

"I'm in favor of looking at it for the same reasons we went from eight to nine," Brandon told MLive.com. Those reasons include more competitive schedules, as well as greater ability for players to see each of the league's 13 other teams in their careers.

The money thing is an issue, but raise your hand if you'd willingly eat the extra costs from a hypothetical exhibition game in exchange for a tenth conference game. That's everybody, right?

Etc.: "In a sign of the times, Michigan has competition at fullback." : /

25 memories of "college sports' dumbest goldrush." Blake McLimans taking his talents to Oxford. RIP, Toomer's oaks. Senior highlights from Mark Donnal. Stretch four, yo. Athletic directors are sad. David Thorpe really likes Trey Burke($).

Unverified Voracity Needs Word Like Epic, Only Moreso

Unverified Voracity Needs Word Like Epic, Only Moreso

Submitted by Brian on March 20th, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Or maybe "fail." Minnesota lost money selling beer.

The University of Minnesota lost almost $16,000 last year on alcohol sales at football games, despite selling more than $900,000 worth of beer and wine.

Proving that there's nothing too goddamn ridiculous to assert in public in a laughable attempt to save face, Minnesota responds!

University officials say it was never the intent that the school turn a profit on alcohol sales.

Jim Delany has taught you well, Minnesota.

Do you like pictures of oily men not wearing very much? Have I got some instagram for you, ladies and men hopeful Frank Clark is going to be superbad this year. Before and after winter conditioning, here's Devin Gardner and Frank Clark:

imageBFrajY8CUAAI2Uf[1]

ANN ARBOR (AP) – FEMALE BLOG READERSHIP DROPS 96.5% AS COLD SHOWERS SKYROCKET. MEN GENERALLY HOPE FOR MORE PASS RUSH, WITH SCATTERED EXCEPTIONS.

I now believe Clark is at 277, sure.

Is oiling an extra benefit? Get Rosenberg on the case, yo.

I certainly hope this prediction is worthless since you seem to have something more pressing to do. Man with no more knowledge of basketball than random Rome caller picks Michigan to Elite Eight. Happens to be president, so people note it. Watch for upcoming Graham Couch column on how Obama is racist!

Obama chose Indiana, Ohio State and Louisville as his other Final Four teams [to go with Florida].

"I think (Aaron) Craft's defense is unbelievable," Obama said. "That makes a big difference."

OBAMA IS A RACIST

By Grahm Graghm Graham Couch

Has anyone notice how racist Obama is?

Welcome to the jungle!

I kid, kid.

It's just that for a black man his skin tone isn't very dark and he seems to think Aaron Craft is good at basketball.

I think Aaron Craft isn't, because he's white.

That makes Obama racist.

Just sayin'.

I like pudding.

Alot.

Graham Couch can be reached at [email protected].

Old lady is a nut. Old Lady, please leave man-mountain alone.

"I had an old lady who saw me at Kroger with my dad, (she asked) 'Are you Taylor, that No. 77 fella?'" said Lewan, mimicking her voice. "I was like, 'Uh, yeah, I'm Taylor.'

'She goes, 'You're an idiot! Why would you do that? You're dumb.'

"I was like, 'I appreciate it. Thank you. Go blue.' I didn't know what to say."

That's what you get for going to Kroger, man. Mandatory scan-your-card grocery stores FTL, amirite?

Aw man but we're just a four seed. Jeff Goodman runs down the list of teams with the most NBA talent and starts in Ann Arbor:

Trey Burke (G, 6-0, 190): The sophomore is a National Player of the Year candidate and also could be the first point guard taken in the June draft. He can shoot it, distribute, and will be ideal at the next level in pick-and-roll situations. Most NBA executives have him going somewhere among the lottery selections.

Glenn Robinson III (F, 6-6, 210): The Big Dog's son still needs another year in college, but he's intriguing. He's long and athletic and has shown spurts in which he's looked phenomenal. He still needs to shoot it more consistently from the perimeter and also play hard all the time, but he'd likely be a first-rounder if he left after this season.

Tim Hardaway Jr. (G, 6-6, 205): Another ex-NBA player's kid, Hardaway Jr. has improved his decision-making. He has nice length for a wing player, but still needs to improve his ability to put the ball on the floor. Likely pegged somewhere in the second round.

Stauskas and McGary also mentioned. But hey, at least we're a four-seed instead of an eight like #2 NC State. Mark Gottfried may be a terrible coach, but I remember thinking that about Thad Matta a few years ago and… uh… no. I will reserve judgment this time around.

This may be why. Even when talking about dangerous mid-majors in the tourney, Luke Winn manages to rope you in with interesting Michigan-related stats. Like this one:

130320.11[1]

Michigan isn't just the least experienced team in the tourney, they're the least by a mile.

SDSU is included at #8. Winn says watch out for this business:

The Wolters Special is a left-hand hesitation dribble, followed by a drive left and a righty floater/runner.

That's alarmingly Burke-like.

Aw man but they're an eight seed. A tip of the hat to Robert Morris despite their fans' failure to chant "N-E-C" last night after they knocked off the NIT's top seed Kentucky in a first round game at the Colonial's 3500-seat arena. (Rupp has NCAA games this weekend so Kentucky did not bid to host.) Even with the missed opportunity, Robert Morris set the irritating meme about "perception" harming the NCAA fates of SEC bubble teams on fire.

What meme? This meme. Cuonzo Martin two days ago:

“I wish I knew,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. I would say a lack of respect more than anything. When you have a second-place team at this level (Kentucky and Alabama finished second in the SEC and will join UT in the NIT), it’s almost like a mid-major mentality in this league. When your second-place team doesn’t get in the NCAA tournament — this is a BCS league, it’s one of the best league’s [sic] in the country — that just shouldn’t happen.” …

“When you look at Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky,” he added, “those are NCAA tournament teams; they’re just not playing in the NCAA tournament.”

If the SEC had actually beaten anybody in the nonconference maybe we could talk here. Florida got a three-seed thanks in part to wins over Wisconsin, Marquette, and I guess Middle Tennessee. Missouri got in comfortably with wins over VCU and Illinois. The entire rest of the league had three (three) wins over teams that got an at-large bid to the tourney, those Arkansas over Oklahoma in the midst of a 1-4 slide against BCS teams (and at home, obviously), Alabama over Villanova on a neutral floor, and Tennessee beating Wichita State at home.

USA Today rounds up the internet aftermath, with obligatory wikipedia vandalism:

w5eW8KW[1]

oh god someone get rid of that apostrophe

The ACC is also bitching about a lack of respect, Rodney Dangerfield-style. If that's the case, the ACC is suffering a lack of respect from every-damn-body on the internet. Of 120(!) brackets tracked by the Bracket Matrix, all of seven had Virginia in them.

It is not that hard to predict this stuff, as Andy Glockner points out in excellent article. It's no secret how to game the RPI: don't lose at home, play some road games, and if you have to play a really bad team make sure they're not D-I. Glockner points out an imbalance in the RPI's home-road adjustment I hadn't thought about:

Almost a decade ago, the NCAA made an adjustment to the RPI formula to try to incentivize teams to play more road games. Of course, they screwed up the math such that the new formula rewards “not losing at home” more than it does “winning on the road,” at least for what its primary purpose is: sorting teams that may make the NCAAs.

The formula adjustment for Factor I (your winning percentage) now credits you with 0.6 wins for a home win and 1.4 wins for a road victory. Likewise, you get 1.4 home losses for an actual home defeat and 0.6 losses for an away loss. That sounds like a reasonable plan until you realize that the target demographic — NCAA tournament-caliber teams — are all way above .500. As such, when you split two games (.500 overall), you want that impact to be as small as possible on your overall adjusted record, as determined by the RPI formula.

If you win at home and lose the away game, you would get an extra 0.6-0.6 added into your overall adjusted record. If you do it the other way, you get 1.4-1.4 added to your totals. If you are well above .500 overall, like all these NCAA caliber teams are, adding the 1.4-1.4 into the record drags you down more than the 0.6-0.6 does. In simple terms, losing home games (for 1.4 losses in your adjusted Factor I) is the worst thing you can do, and it’s way more harmful than adding 1.4 wins to the ledger is helpful.

He also mentions that the committee did to some extent see through the Mountain West's conference-wide Game of RPIs*, dropping New Mexico and their on-paper case for a one seed down to a three and giving the rest of the league seeds that portend a second-round exit.

Yeah, it is perception that the ACC is down and the SEC is worse than the Mountain West. An accurate one.

*[CRAPPY MATH IS COMING]

This week in Expansion Was A Bad Idea. Verizon FIOS wants to move to a you-watch-it-you-pay-for-it model. Who could have predicted this?

“This is the beginning,” said Gene Kimmelman, a former senior antitrust official at the Justice Department. “If the conflict between cable distributors and content owners persists and prices keep rising, there will be enormous market pressure to begin unbundling offerings, give consumers more choices and, from my perspective, ultimately let consumers control what they buy and how much they pay.”

Nobody! Except a lot of people. [HT: Get The Picture.]

Etc.: But the kids love it! In other news, kids enjoy Laffy Taffy. Wetzel on O'Bannon and Delany. How did it take this long for someone to beat up Tim Doyle? No offense, Tim, it's just that you shouldn't have called Kendall Gill "that wasp that lays eggs in spiders and then the baby wasps eat the spider from the inside out" for ten years.

Of course Michigan State fans are buying up SDSU apparel. This is why you are Sparty. Delany-inspired "feelings collage." "An Open Letter From Jefferson Davis To Jim Delany." Don't recruit short fat guys.

Unverified Voracity Gets It Or Does Not Get It

Unverified Voracity Gets It Or Does Not Get It

Submitted by Brian on February 14th, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Les and Bo standing around, 1989. I'm just posting this for the shorts, really. Seriously, it's almost entirely guys just standing around. In shorts. From 1989.

This thing I am the foremost practitioner of is banned! Of all people, it fell to Barry Alvarez—he of the cancelled Virginia Tech game nigh on the eve of the season—to reveal that the Big Ten is going to dump I-AA opponents posthaste:

“The nonconference schedule in our league is ridiculous,” Alvarez said on WIBA-AM. “It’s not very appealing…

“So we’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools.”

I… actually, I don't care. It does restrict the availability of cupcake games, thereby driving up the costs to schedule MAC folks and the like, but not significantly. If you want to have a walkover, Eastern Michigan's just as piteous as Northern Iowa—significantly moreso, in fact.

This man either gets it or does not get it depending on whether you get it or do not get it. Indiana's athletic director:

“What they like to do is make opportunities available to wear different kinds of uniforms,” Glass told Inside the Hall, “and we’ve had multiple opportunities to wear alternative uniforms, and we’ve respectfully passed on that. … I would never say never, but I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be doing that.”

A number of college and pro teams are trying the new jerseys out. We’ve seen schools such as Michigan State and Ohio State wear alternate uniforms in recent weeks.

So why not Indiana?

“The IU men’s basketball uniform is iconic,” Glass said. “I have a poster on my wall that is kind of like a fake group photo of all the All Americans that we’ve had in basketball, and the jerseys, whether its from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or 2000s, pretty much look the same.”

Indiana fans say "thank God" in the comments, because they either get it or do not get it. Kids hate it and Indiana's program will crater on Wednesday as the Hoosiers mass defect to Bill Walton's new Hypercolor State team.

Even more rules changes, these of the on-field variety. It's February, which means something something flowers and the NCAA's annual set of rules changes. These are just proposals at the moment, so don't write your congressman yet.

The flashiest is jacking up the targeting flag. Now it comes with a free ejection, and if it's after halftime a suspension for next week. Also a free review:

To balance out the incidents where a player is unfairly penalized, officiating crews would be allowed to review the hit through video replay. Said the committee, the replay official "must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field."

Sounds a lot like the interminable and pointless elbowing reviews from basketball, except people do get hit with targeting flags at the moment. This will either lead to those calls disappearing again, or a parade of defensive backs making a split-second decision wrong heading to the locker room.

Others are minor cleanups aimed at giving referees an easier time:

  • all blocks below the waist are legal if they're in front of a defender, illegal otherwise
  • you can't spike the ball with one or two seconds left (presumably an attempt to prevent games where one coach disposes of his headset instantly and the other stages a hunger strike for his last second on the sideline)
  • an extra official for Big 12 conference games
  • Lane Kiffin and Boise State can't jerk people around by switching numbers or wearing blue on a blue field.

Nothing in those is going to have an impact on your viewing. I thought we'd hear something about repealing the helmet rule, too—seems like forcing a player without a helmet to stop playing is punishment enough. No dice on that one.

Good lord. Northwestern makes the case that their basketball outfit is cursed with low-effort sketchy photoshops and lots and lots of evidence:

swopsimpsons_medium[1]

Look, I'd do more unfortunate things for Northwestern basketball, butmore freakish unfortunate things happened to Northwestern basketball than happened to the players in that episode of the Simpsons where all the players get into freakish unfortunate accidents.

The Wildcats are now down JerShonn Cobb, Drew Crawford, Sanjay Lumpkin, Chier Ajou, Aaron Liberman, Alex Olah, and Jared Swopshire. A few of those guys are on redshirts and may be in the lineup if Carmody was inclined to waste their final year of eligibility on a team nowhere near the NCAA tourney; even so, that's Angry Blank Hating God territory and some.

This is Darren Rovell's fault, of course.

Bring on the bee people or whatever. Gerry DiNardo might know something about something. Not football, but moving because of football:

I don't think we'll ever play with a 14 team team conference, I think it'll be 16 (by 2014, when Maryland and Rutgers join). And I don't think they're going to go through all this conversation and all this realignment and do it again for just two more schools. Where are they going to come from? Hard to say, but I would guess the footprint would continue to grow southeast, so that would leave me to believe that would be the ACC. When you look at schools institutionally, they'll be schools similar to Maryland and Rutgers. They'll be an academic fit, which I think is important, and appear to be in areas where there's population, and I think those are the similar things that has driven expansion

The Big Ten Too is totally happening you guys. This is why the league is already talking about a ten-game conference schedule.

Nebraska hockey: not happening. Their athletic director just said "nope":

On his monthly appearance on the Husker Sports Network, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst threw cold water on the idea of the athletic department starting up a division 1 ice hockey program. The only sport Nebraska has any intention of starting is the new sand volleyball program. That's cold water, not the ice that a hockey program would need. A lot of people had hopes that with Eichorst's background at Wisconsin and the Big Ten's expansion into hockey that the Huskers might join the ranks of the division 1 schools with hockey programs. But that doesn't appear to be in the cards at this time.

The vast deserts of Nebraska have long teemed with moppets who have done nothing but play volleyball, so they should be an instant national power in that. If Nebraska isn't inclined to add hockey, I'm not sure who would. I bet it would be a success at Iowa—triangle of hate, good USHL base—but it's tough to find the money, somehow.

Zone read: not dead yet. Michigan will keep it around next year:

"Are we just getting rid of all the zone-reading? No, we're not," Borges said. "We're going to keep some of that stuff in our offense because we have a mobile quarterback, and as long as we have a quarterback that can threaten the defense as a runner, we're going to have bits and pieces of that that we're going to keep.

"Are we going to run him 25 times? That's over. We're not doing that anymore. That was logical, with what we had (in Denard Robinson). but now we want the quarterback to be more of a passer-runner, than a runner-passer."

I hope the end point is somewhere between 25 times and Gardner's ground efforts last year, where on-purpose runs were limited to some goal line rollouts and the occasional draw. I'd like to see Gardner get 6-8 called runs a game to go with whatever he gets on scrambles.

Etc.: Jeff Bridges has a go-to shirt. I'm fine with Michigan not having a member of Andy Staples's all two-star team this time around. It might be a problem that the Big Ten has eight kids on the team. Brief preview of Michigan's 2013 by me at The Saturday Edge. Goodbye, Matt Painter. Kenpom profiled.

Unverified Voracity Identifies Weak Spot

Unverified Voracity Identifies Weak Spot

Submitted by Brian on February 1st, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Crimson and Crodcast. I appear on CrimsonCast talking about the game. I'm not very audible early, unfortunately.

FRAN! I ALREADY TOLD YOU THE MORTGAGE RATE WILL ADJUST IN FIVE YEARS HOW HARD IS THIS TO UNDERSTAND

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GET OUT OF MY BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK

(Iowa beat Penn State too narrowly for McCaffery's taste.)

Glory grasped. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl champs, man.

2013-January-31-20-12-4[1]

It doesn't get any better than this you guys.

Statistical indications. Dylan's hookup with Synergy Sports makes me all jealous and stuff, because he can tell you that Indiana's not real good at defending the pick and roll:

The Hoosiers rank in just the16th percentile nationally while defending pick and roll ball handlers. Michigan happens to have one of the best ball screen offenses in the country including the two best ball screen scorers in the league. …

For comparison, Ohio State – who stifled Michigan’s ball screen offense – surrenders just .56 PPP to screen and roll ball handlers (89th percentile) and .82 PPP to roll men (77th percentile).

There's still something that seems strange with those number since it seems impossible that allowing 0.84 points a possession on anything is, like, bad, but the percentiles are the percentiles. When it comes to the pick and roll, Indiana finds themselves squarely between Northwestern and Penn State:

image_thumb3[1]

Not where you want to be. Also note that Michigan's the best team in the league at defending the pick and roll what with their hard hedging.

Anyway, Burke and Stauskas's proficiency with the P&R will hopefully force Indiana to do things they don't want to—like play zone—or lead to lots of that scoring stuff.

Dylan also brings up a salient point from last year: Crean put Christian Watford on Burke, like, a lot. Given the relative success Illinois had at holding Burke's numbers down by switching Nnanna Egwu onto him in the pick and roll we might see something similar, at least until Mitch McGary rebounding against Yogi Ferrell becomes a bit of an issue.

More indications of how this is probably going to go. Barry Alvarez is on record that he would like to see Wisconsin play Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska yearly in the Rhombus of Hate. Add that to the pile of evidence suggesting the Big Ten will tear up the Where Is Wisconsin and Why Is Wisconsin Here divisions for the conference's brief stop at 14 teams.

Speaking of The Big Ten, Too model:

“Based on the last three years I’ve been in this business, you’d be crazy not to think about it," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "But it’s hard to model anything because you don’t know what to model. The minute you get yourself convinced that you’re going to go from 14 to 16, for all you know you’re going to 18, and a lot of people think the ultimate landing place is 20. Who knows?"

I guess it's a better ideal than this bit.

Gene Smith's still pushing for ten conference games, BTW.

Frieder: still mad. Bill Frieder's been making the rounds this week and seems to have a little bit of bitterness left over from his matchups at Assembly Hall back in the day:

"The hostility of that crowd and everything else you have to go against at Indiana (is tough)," he said. "You usually won't get good officiating at Indiana, you usually get a bad call or something bad with the administration along the sideline. There's something to do with the shot clock or the clock not starting on time.

"You'll have everything going against you, so you'll have to play extremely well to win the game. ... When you play Indiana at Indiana and they're a top five team, you're going to be the underdog, no matter where you're ranked."

If the second half goes anything like Illinois's against MSU last night I won't stop twitching for weeks.

Etc.: MSU guard Travis Trice apparently fine after nasty hit to head last night. More on the "catfishing" story, which I stopped caring about a lot faster than everyone else. Everyone's in a tizzy about whether in fact the term was used. Indiana-Michigan previews from Inside the Hall and the Crimson Quarry. Also UMHoops.

Mailbag: Shooting Metrics, Overused Announcer Memes, Spartan Guy Says Things To Comfort Self

Mailbag: Shooting Metrics, Overused Announcer Memes, Spartan Guy Says Things To Comfort Self

Submitted by Brian on February 1st, 2013 at 1:20 PM

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GRIII: "I see what you did there." Sobocop: "I THOUGHT THIS GUY WAS JUST A SHOOTER"
(Bryan Fuller)

One shooting metric to rule them all.

Hi Brian,

I was reading through your post from today about the game last night (solid effort, can't wait for Saturday!) and I came across the part where you summarized Trey's statline, part of which was that he had 18 points on 11 shots.  Is there a place that tracks "points-per-shot" (Kenpom maybe?), and do you think this is a worthwhile metric when tracking offensive efficiency of an individual player? I know the tempo-free stats usually look at eFG% as a major indicator of offensive prowess, but was wondering if points/shot would something akin to this for an individual player.

Thanks for your thoughts!

I just use points per shot as a quick-and-dirty evaluation method when I'm putting together a post because it gets the job done when we're running sanity checks on opinions from our eyeballs. As an out-and-out metric it falls short since it doesn't put free throws in the divisor properly—going 0-2 at the line doesn't hurt you. If you're reaching for an actual stat you can do better.

For a catch-all stat that encapsulates how many points a player acquires per shot attempt, I like True Shooting Percentage, which rolls FTAs into eFG% and spits out a number that's easy to interpret. Trey Burke is at 59%, which means that he is scoring at a rate equal to a hypothetical player who takes nothing but two-pointers and hits 59% of them. Easy.

For Michigan, there's little difference between eFG% and TS%—Burke is 175th in one, 189th in the other, etc—because they so rarely get to the line. Teams at the other end of that scale can see players with much larger differences. Iowa demonstrates this amply. Roy Devyn Marble's eFG% is 46% and his TS% is 53%—a major difference. FTA-generating machine Aaron White is around 200th in eFG% and around 100th in TS%. From an individual perspective, the latter is a more accurate picture of what happens when Aaron White tries to score.

The four factors everyone uses separate free throws from eFG%, so when you look at those as a unit you do see the impact of FTs. If you wanted to you could cram those factors down into a TS% factor and the other two factors into a Possession Advantage factor, but looking at four bar graphs seems to be okay for people.

Announcer meme overuse.

The announcers constantly having to tell us that Stauskas is more than just a shooter reminds me of last year's over used statement (story?), that Trey Burke played with Sullinger in HS.  Seriously, they told us that every freaking game.  So my question is, which one is worse?

I'm going to have to go with Burke.  First, that was mentioned every game, whereas the Stauskas thing only gets mentioned in games where he has a take to the hole, which only happens MOST games.  Second, at least the Stauskas thing is mentioned in context, as in, he just proved he was more than just a shooter which prompted the comment.  The Burke/Sullinger mention was almost exclusively brought up out of the blue, and had nothing to do with anything happening in the game.  It was as if the announcing team made note to make sure they mentioned it at a certain minute marker in the game because nothing plausibly could have brought it to mind otherwise.

Thoughts?

P.S. If it had kept going, Dan Dakich's mention of that thing about Spike's dad would easily have been the worst.  Luckily, he only told us that Spike's dad was the former best biddy basketball player in the world during Michigan's first four games.

These are different classes of announcing crutch. The Burke thing—which is still happening—is the equivalent of Tom Zbikowski Is A Boxer, a biographical detail that will be crammed in every game to hook casual viewers. The Stauskas thing is a generally applicable sentiment that can be applied to anyone who takes a lot of threes but has decided to venture within the line.

Neither really bothers me. "Not just a shooter" means Stauskas has just thrown something down or looped in for a layup, and I am probably typing something about blouses or pancakes into twitter. I have good feelings associated with its utterance. The Burke thing is just background noise.

Divide!

Hey Brian,

So, no one is more sick of conference expansion talk as I am. I'm 100% with you that it's bent our tradition over a dumpster and I agree it's foolish to base major long-term decisions on a dying profit model.

Here's the thing though, does the fact that the current profit model is dying really matter. I mean, we're moving (slowly) to a system where you pay only for the channels you want instead of being extorted for a bunch of channels you'd never watch. So, under this new business model, although it may be less overall money than under the old system, wouldn't they still get more subscribers to be B1G network if they add more schools? There's not a single UNC fan who would pay $5 a month or whatever for the B1G network, but if they were added them, you'd get more subscribers than you would normally. I mean there's the chance that you weaken the brand that you lose more subscribers than you gain, but I don't think that's a serious concern.

TL; DR - It's about the money, and won't expansion bring more regardless of whether the old model is dying or not?

Thanks again,

Nick

Expansion brings more money but it also brings more mouths to feed. From the perspective of a school in the league it only makes sense to add a team that is at least on par with you in terms of being able to bring fans and eyeballs. Penn State and Nebraska brought those numbers; Rutgers and Maryland likely do not.

The Big Ten can expand to acquire more subscribers but in a world where cable is a niche product to enjoy live sports, the amount of money you're getting is proportional to the number of fans shelling out. Right now it's proportional to population, which makes Rutgers seem like a good idea. Later maybe not so much.

People think things that make them feel better.

To Brian:

Brian, I have this constant argument with a Spartan at work...He says that Michigan's recruiting rankings are always high because when Michigan lands a recruit, the recruit gets a bump in ranking.  According to him, this is because a large number of Michigan fans pay recruiting sites for memberships so the sites keep Michigan fans happy by giving them a higher ranking than other schools with lower memberships.  He also says that MSU's coaches are just better at recruiting than the sites so that is why they do better than their rankings.  Any thoughts on how to prove / disprove his theory?

Thanks,
Troy

It will not matter since from the sounds of this conversation your co-worker thinks Mike Valenti is a gentleman scholar and will find some other way to wheedle himself positive feelings until such time as his team is crushed under the boot of history.

HOWEVA, you could just point out that literally every four-star member of Michigan's recruiting class fell in the most recent Rivals update except Jourdan Lewis, who hopped up sixteen spots. This is pretty much inevitable: unless you're moving up, you're moving down as more and more players are discovered. This dude will wave his face around in a disturbing fashion and ignore this data.

As for the thing about MSU's coaches, yeah, recruiting ratings are not infallible and there will be teams that deviate above and below when touted guys bust and low-rated ones break out. MSU's gotten massive outperformance from its defense recently, and maybe they can sustain that in the same way Wisconsin can sustain its running game.

They'll be trudging uphill when it comes to Michigan and Ohio State. State fans love to point out Michigan's class rankings versus their performance over the last half-decade and say "see, nothing there." Taken over larger samples, though, recruiting does correlate with success. Michigan's fade was largely a lack of retention and coaching ranging from lackadaisical to awful. If MSU fans are counting on those two items to sustain them going forward they're in for a rude surprise.

Big Ten Expansionfiasco: Silver Linings

Big Ten Expansionfiasco: Silver Linings

Submitted by Brian on January 30th, 2013 at 12:41 PM

chickencloud[1]

via Savage Chickens

In recent days there's been enough new talkin' about the reshaped Big Ten that it seems like this is a deliberate trial balloon being floated. Penn State's AD:

Penn State athletic director David Joyner expects the addition of Rutgers and Maryland will lead the Big Ten toward a "geography-based" realignment.

In an interview posted on Penn State's website, Joyner said that the conference is leaning toward re-grouping its 12 teams based more on geography. As a result, Rutgers and Maryland could join a division with Penn State.

Rittenberg has a story with similar sentiments from Dave Brandon

"We will likely be a little bit more attentive to geographic alignment," Brandon said. "If Michigan and Ohio State being in the same division turns out to be what's in the best interest of the conference, that would be great."

…Iowa AD Gary Barta…

"I do think we have a chance to have a little bit more of a geographic look to it, which I think is great," Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said. "It's great for fans, it's great for student-athletes, it considers travel, rivalries. With us, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska, those just make great sense.

and Northwestern AD Jim Phillips:

"Maybe it was competitive balance last time," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips told ESPN.com. "Maybe geography wins the day this time. … It wasn't the most important [factor in 2010], but we should look at it this time because we are spread farther than we ever have been."

Previously, Gene Smith had asserted he wants a Michigan-OSU division, balance be damned. With this many athletic directors more or less openly saying geography will be a factor and downplaying the competitive balance angle it would be a shock if anything like the current alignment is maintained when Maryland and Rutgers are—oh God I'd forgotten—admitted the year after next. That's not the way PR works.

Presumably this would heal the current Michigan-OSU rift, thus ending the possibility that the Game gets moved to midseason and allowing Michigan fans to watch Ohio State games like God intended: hoping they lose, without reservations.

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I still prefer the Eye Of Sauron alignment since over the long term it should provide more balanced Big Ten Championship games, but since they're just going to add more teams there is no long term.

The long term is unattractive. Things get hairy if you tack on two random ACC schools to get to 16 and still want to execute divisions based on geography. In that case whichever school from Indiana or Illinois that gets lumped in with the east would flip over to the other division and Michigan would play most of their traditional rivals once a decade or so.

Mitigating That Bit

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one of two ways to play ten conference games

Nine conference games is on the table again. Prepare thy palm, reader, as this quote will no doubt cause you to put face to same:

"As the conference expands, it would be unfortunate if a student-athlete came to the University of Michigan, played in the Big Ten Conference for four years and never even got to play or compete against one of the schools in the conference," Brandon said.

I can think of a way the Big Ten could have avoided this problem.

In any case, Brandon says the Big Ten should "at least" move to nine; Smith says he "would like to go to nine or ten," and then everyone says they need seven home games or their department will implode. "Leveraging assets" is spoken. Ten seems unlikely, as it either prohibits you from playing anyone interesting in the nonconference or brings you down to six home games and forces you to fire every nonrevenue coach. Or something. Possibly just pay them somewhat less.

I'm not sure replacing games against good teams with Maryland and Rutgers is a good thing, but when the alternative is almost never playing Iowa or Wisconsin you have to do what you have to do.

The only way ten games seems feasible is if the NCAA institutes the I-AA-game-as-preseason-contest idea that Rich Rodriguez mentioned a couple times. That would act as your seventh home game without putting too much wear and tear on the kids—the guys who actually play during the year would be lifted after a couple drives. Then you can do what you want with your two nonconference games without having to set the soccer stadium on fire for the insurance money.

The Last Word

From mGrowOld:

I fear this speculation is meaningless as whatever path makes the most sense to all parties concerned will  be immediately discarded by B1G leadership in favor of something noboby likes or understands.

Unverified Voracity Plays Navy

Unverified Voracity Plays Navy

Submitted by Brian on January 21st, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Old school item. Michigan-Navy, newsreel 1967:

72,000 was announced, which seems high for the end of the Bump era.

Not bad. A Lion Eye is considering the wreckage in Champaign by adding up football and basketball conference records over the past two years. Results:

Michigan 29-10
Michigan State 28-12
Ohio State 27-12
Wisconsin 26-13
Purdue 20-19
Northwestern 18-21
Nebraska 17-23
Indiana 16-22
Iowa 16-23
Penn State 16-24
Minnesota 13-26
Illinois 9-30

He admits it's a dumb way to put together a statistic. I like it anyway.

In which Gene Smith, who bumbled his way to a bowl ban for a 12-0 team, is more sensible than Michigan's athletic director. Kind of, anyway:

"I kind of lean toward having us in the same division," he said. "But I'm open to keeping it as it is, based on what my colleagues might share."

Meanwhile:

In an email to ESPN.com, Brandon said, "I would certainly not be opposed to being in the same division as OSU if it was in the best interest of our conference. I look forward to the discussion with my colleagues and our conference leadership."

"If it was in the best interest of our conference" should not even come into consideration. The conference doesn't pay the bills. Hopefully this is just PR; I miss the days when someone in charge of something had a greater-than-zero percent chance of saying something that he thought.

We had a shifty season. Probably.

"We had a s****y season, to be honest with you," Hoke said at the MHSFA's Winner’s Circle Clinic. "Bad year, to be honest. Proud of the kids, how they kept moving forward, but it wasn't the year Michigan deserves."

The comparison is left to the reader.

Lol Adidas. I keep comparing the alternate hockey jerseys to replicas you'd get off the rack at Wal-Mart, but apparently the basketball jerseys are literally that:

Four of Michigan’s blue road jerseys ripped in the Wolverines’ 83-75 win over Minnesota Wednesday.

Impossible is nothing, right, Adidas?

Trey Burke’s No. 3 was the first to rip, so he played most of the game wearing No. 12, which was also ripped later in the game. So after Jordan Morgan used Michigan’s second and only other extra jersey — the redshirt junior played the second half wearing No. 30 — Burke and, later, Caris LeVert were forced to play with holes in their uniforms.

I can’t remember the last time the Wolverines beat a top-10 opponent on the road after four of its jerseys were ripped since no official statistics are kept on road games won with ripped jerseys. I can assure you, though, that no Michigan team has won a road game over a top-10 team since the Wolverines beat No. 10 Duke, 62-61, on Dec. 8, 1996 until Wednesday. That was more than 16 years ago.

I did not think it was possible for an apparel company to fail so spectacularly as Adidas has and still exist. The level of incompetence they've shown over the last couple years is incompatible with a still-extant huge company. At some point they should have had a company-wide party during which everyone put on their new GasolineTech line and then lit a bonfire.

I have never taken any economics courses but I'm pretty sure this is ignorant of basic economics. Something called the "Delta Cost Project" at something called "American Institutes for Research" released a study about how much colleges spend on athletes. Surprise: it is a lot relative to students that don't have skills that cause hundreds of thousands of people to want to watch them do things.

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I wasn't going to mention this because it is blatantly dishonest to not even casually mention that the big time schools with all of these expenditures are raking in piles of money, but Deadspin flogged it.

The obvious takeaway: the SEC is insane. SEC schools spend more than 12 times as much on each athlete as they do on their regular, non-revenue-generating students. They spend 40 percent more than Big Ten schools, and 60 percent more than Pac-10 (now PAC-12) schools. The SEC's nearly $164,000 median cost per athlete is almost twice as much as the FBS average, and four-and-a-half times as much as the median FCS program. Becoming the country's undisputed college football elite conference doesn't come free, and it doesn't come cheap.

And remember, these figures are per athlete, not just per football player. Considering the costs of running a girls volleyball program, feel free to slide the football expenditures upward.

The imbalance isn't just an SEC problem, though. The average D-1 football school is spending 6.7 times more money on each athlete than on each regular student. The question then becomes: where is that money going? Those athletes sure as hell aren't getting paid.

I hear you about the getting paid thing; when the biggest individual hunk of the athletic spending is on compensation for coaches and ever-growing numbers of athletic department staffers it grates. But the reason there is spending is that there is revenue. Find me a chemical engineer making revenue for the school on the order of the quarterback, and then get him to file patents for you, and then come to me and say "look at this chemical engineer."

It is in fact the lowest schools on the totem pole who are setting money on fire to do this:

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The top ~60 schools that approximately comprise BCS conferences are in those first two quartiles, and spend relatively little money from students and the institution. Get below that and it's fees and tuition. We could have a discussion about whether this is a good idea. I don't want to bother talking with these people since they are framing the "problem" of college sports spending without noting that colleges don't have shareholders to provide dividends to and that at the top schools money in is therefore destined to equal money out, and there is a lot of money in.

BONUS: The one interesting thing about this is a glimpse into how the Big Ten's supposed money advantage evaporates in the face of the SEC's laser focus on football. That per-athlete number is 50k more than the Big Ten despite revenues being close to equal because SEC schools carry many fewer sports than the Big Ten does. Call it the Six Million Dollar Rower gap.

I find you guilty of the passing blasphemy. Lloyd Carr is now on the Committee on Infractions. In related news, teams that do anything that seems tricky will be ejected into space.

Random dude says implausible thing about Big Ten expansion. Given what happened last time, the dumber and less credible the rumor, the more we have to pay attention to it. First, this comes from a guy whose bio reads like so:

Chris usually writes using the pseudonym "Honus Sneed" is known as the "Dude of WV". He's sometimes controversial and sometimes funny but his love of the Mountaineers is always apparent. He is married to smartest, most bad-ass, derby girl who is as beautiful as she is tough. They share their life with the iirrepressible Fozzie Bear of Chaos who denies he is related in any way to Bo Obama.

So take it for what it's worth. He says the Big Ten is aiming for Virginia and would like to add UNC or Georgia Tech. I put no credence in it, but it's clear the Big Ten isn't done and has adopted a strategy of stealthily making stupid moves because their previous approach—doing intelligent things publicly—was totally square.

As previously stated, at this point I am in favor of the Big Ten adding six more teams and putting all of them in the other division so we can pretend none of this ever happened. So whatever. Add away, deranged fang-beasts with MBAs. You already blew it all up.

Slice. A fairly large deregulation package just passed one level or another of the NCAA's governance structure. I think this is the stage at which the thing gets passed by a small group and then Indiana State tries to override it because it's not fair they're Indiana State, so some of these proposals could meet the same fate as the cost-of-living increase did down the road.

If these things do get through, they're for the better:

Several of the 25 changes adopted Saturday are small and fairly obvious. Schools, for instance, can now provide "reasonable entertainment in conjunction with competition or practice," which means the old joke that athletes could be provided bagels but not cream cheese – yes, that was an actual NCAA rule – no longer applies. And a new rule that will allow athletes to receive "$300 more than actual and necessary expenses" as long as they don't come from an agent or booster will save a ton of paperwork and compliance headaches for things that used to be considered secondary (or minor) violations.

But there are also some significant ways in which recruiting has now been deregulated, ways that could favor the bigger schools with bigger budgets.

Coaches can now make an unlimited number of contacts with recruits via text messages or social media. Printed recruiting materials sent through the mail are now completely deregulated in terms of frequency or expense. And schools will now have the ability to hire a recruiting coordinator who isn't a head coach or full-time assistant coach, which is a particularly big deal for football.

Think of all the paperwork that will no longer be done. You should be in favor of anything that 1) moves the focus away from nothing secondary violations onto big issues *cough*OLEMISS*cough* and 2) allows Michigan to use its money firehose to either distance themselves from schools with less or close the gap on schools operating outside of the framework, cough OLE MISS cough.

This was the easy bit. Emmert's got a bigger reform package on the table that won't be as easy to shove through since it deals with big, big things like transfer rules and agents and, uh… "meals." What exactly they'd like to do isn't something I could google up. Hopefully it includes some accommodation with the realities of agents these days and maybe some movement towards allowing some money to flow to the players.

BONUS: When you want to name-check a 'have', you go to one place.

"There are universities that made investments 100 years ago that, by historical accident in some instances, have set as their role, scope and mission, things that give them competitive advantages in their ability to fund and support ahtletics," NCAA president Mark Emmert said Saturday. "Michigan has been Michigan for a long time.

Etc.: Sportswriters now pondering whether anything was ever real. That's actually a good column by Tim Layden about the inherent uncheckability of a lot of stuff. Will Campbell is reprising his high school camp performances. I guess Will Hagerup really has a chance to come back; must be Stonum-style double-secret probation. Michigan's defense is short of national-title expectations.

Kate Upton. We win.