My Big Ten Realignment Proposal

My Big Ten Realignment Proposal Comment Count

Seth July 27th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

college football realignment

One conference. Sixty-one teams. All the football.

Is realignment done? The Big XII is bouncing around the idea of making their conference even more mid-major than it stands now. Meanwhile the Big Ten's TV deals are all up very soon, so there's a chance to lock in oodles and oodles of money that won't come again. Why not go on one last expansion binge now to really set the market and ensure our conference's survival and fan interest in an uncertain future?

Here's my suggestion:

1. Rename. We're not 10 schools anymore, and this is confusing. I suggest the Big Ten rebrand as THE BIG SIX. The six shall refer to the six divisions, many of which have "Big" in their titles. Also since anything more than 11 teams is really a league not a conference, we'll call this the BIG SIX LEAGUE and the divisions can be called "conferences."

2. Expand. Here are the teams I'd add to the conference league, and how I'd break them up into divisions conferences of 10 or 11 teams based on shared geography, program culture, and history:

  • Midwest Conference ("The Big Ten"): Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota
  • Northeast Conference ("The Big East"): Penn State, Syracuse, Boston College, Pitt, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Maryland
  • Atlantic Coast Conference ("The ACC"): Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina, Miami (YTM), Louisville
  • Southeast Conference ("The SEC")*: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Kentucky
  • The Plains Conference ("The Big XII"): Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas, Nebraska, Mizzou, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Colorado
  • Pacific Conference ("The Pac Ten"): Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State
    *The SEC is the only 11-team conference to start

These divisions can have nicknames like "Big Ten" or "Big East." To ensure no more crazy realignment, every team must affirm a six-year commitment at the beginning of every season (i.e. there's a six-year waiting period if you want to leave). No conference can expand past 11; any joining school must get a 2/3rds majority of votes from the league, and unanimous support from its conference.

3. The Schedule. Every school plays all of its division opponents plus three from the other five conferences (scheduled as two-year home and homes), for 12 games total (since the SEC has 11 teams they play just two non-conference opponents). Six must be at home and six away, and no more than five conference games can be home. Cross-conference schools may contract with each other to schedule these in advance, with any holes filled in by the league two years prior.

Every team is allowed to schedule one pre-season exhibition (the Rich Rod plan), but it will not count toward that team's record for determining final postseason ranking. Every league game (not just division record) however will count toward winning your division. League play begins the week after Labor Day, and must conclude by the last Saturday of November.

4. Conference Championship Playoff. I would replace the conference championship game with a six-team conference playoff between the division winners.

The first round is played at the home of the higher-ranked (determined by committee) school in early December, with the two top teams getting a bye.

The second round is played Christmas Day at the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl, with the two winners of the first round versus two teams that earned byes (highest overall seed selects its venue).

The championship is played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on January 1. The third place game is played at the Fiesta Bowl. Any school eliminated from the Final Four is free to play in any bowl game against any opponent (in or out of the league), regardless of final record.

5. Make Appropriate Hand Gestures Toward NCAA. The league shall declare its own rules superior to any made by the NCAA, and choose to ignore any NCAA rule. The league will make its own rules, specifically regarding appropriate compensation for its athletes (for example lifetime medical benefits, performance bonuses, league-approved player agents, and pay), and recruiting rules. Member schools will no longer be directly responsible to NCAA enforcement. The commissioner of this league shall be selected by the athletes, and will hold veto power.

6. What I did there. You see it. Good.


This Week's Obsession: How Big Ten is Your Schedule?

This Week's Obsession: How Big Ten is Your Schedule? Comment Count

Seth June 26th, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Michigan Conf History

Michigan's history in the Big Ten is full of win

If you've been away for a month, meet our new regular feature, a roundtable of sorts where we have the MGoStaff answer questions about stuff on the fan mind. With the future Big Ten schedules getting announced I thought I'd use this week to pull the one we had to cut (for space) from the HTTV Roundtable, wsg Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan. The schedule (home games in bold):

  • 9/24: @Craig Ross School of Obscure Historical Facts About Michigan/3:30p/BTN
  • 10/8: ---bye week---
  • 10/15: @ Seth Fisher School of Arts & Letters*/3:30p/BTN
  • 10/22: @ College of Blue in South Bend*/TBA/BTN
  • 10/29: MATHLETE UNIVERSITY*†/3:30p/BTN
  • 11/5: @ Heiko Yang College of Medicine and Constraint Plays*/12:00p/BTN

* Big Ten Game
† Homecoming
‡ Night Game

And the question:

How many conference games do you think are ideal?

Seth: Let me throw out some stats. Since coming back to the conference in 1918 Michigan has won 69.5% of its conference games, and 72.2% of its nonconference games. If you narrow it down to games since Bo and take out the bowl games those numbers are 76.8% of Big Ten games and 76.5% of non-conference games. Michigan tends to beat Indiana just as regularly as it does its MACrifices, so for us at least it's not a big deal to add conference games. For the record…

Period Big Ten Non-conf Bowl
1879-'95 - 100.0% -
1896-'06 31.8% 67.3% 0.9%
1907-'17 - 100.0% -
1918-'45 62.7% 37.3% -
1946-'68 71.5% 27.1% 1.4%
1969-'99 67.8% 24.9% 7.3%
2000-present 63.7% 29.5% 6.8%

Nine conference games in a 13-game season is 69.2% of all games. Ten of 14 (including the B1G championship) is 71.4% of the season. So nine is technically the same proportion we're used to.

Ace: I’d like to see the Big Ten eventually move to ten conference games so there’s home/road balance, fewer crummy non-conference games, and enough cross-divisional games for us to remember that, yes, Wisconsin is in fact in the same conference as Michigan. Nine is fine for now, though, and moving to ten wasn’t much of an option with programs locked into future non-conference games.

Craig: There is no ideal under the current no-conference-at-all hoo-haw. Like Curly, I prefer to be burnt at the stake (as opposed to having my head chopped off) because a “burnt steak is better than a cold chop.” So, I guess I vote for 10 with two meatball pre-season games. Nine is a joke. 5/4 then 4/5? That sucks. And we get to play Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin three of every seven years? Some years a team in the East may not see any of the three? And another team might see all of them?

Mathlete: Ideal for what is the question? If Michigan is continuing to schedule mediocre Pac-12 teams there probably isn't a ton of difference between 8 and 9 games, unless Wisconsin or Nebraska is the extra game and they are having an up year. The ninth game probably helps Michigan and OSU the most in the conference since in any given season they are most likely to have the best team and the more games the less likely a team makes a lucky run at a title. In terms of national championship it all depends on how the other conferences react. I have my doubts that anyone will give real weight to a Big Ten team that plays a nine game slate versus another conference that plays eight. So if the Big Ten is one of few it's probably a slight negative. If a bunch of other conferences are doing it then its probably a benefit to the Big Ten because the middle and bottom of the conference is typically not as good as others. Especially compared to Bob Stoops' Big Twelve, their bottom half is national championship caliber. 

The final question is how do teams schedule non-conference. If this is an excuse to schedule three cupcakes then its probably all a wash. If teams are still pushing for at least one quality game then it's at least a bonus for season ticket holders.

Seth: Ten. Unlike Dave Brandon I can live in a world where Michigan has just seven home games per year, especially if I'm trading an $85 UMass ticket for a road trip to Evanston or Madison. I admit that under such circumstances Indiana might never see another bowl game, but I don't care. Scheduling real opponents is only going to become a tougher challenge as other leagues expand their conference games and crack down on any Vanderbilts who might be undermining their marketing. This probably messes with Notre Dame's need to maintain two of their "odds be great" rivalries, but sending their echoes back to bed is not our concern. Right now it's a major coup just to get a date with Oregon State or Cincy; if it's all the same why can't we just ask out Iowa?

Brian: At this point? 12. If Michigan's going to actually play a big name, then I guess ten. To me that means getting the ND series back or actually scheduling home and homes with power programs again. None of this neutral site/Arkansas business.


Dear Diary Wins the May Recruiting Title

Dear Diary Wins the May Recruiting Title Comment Count

Seth May 24th, 2013 at 7:20 AM


Yay recruits! I have no idea who these people are! /Upchurch

It's ours again, the title they don't give you for having the best recruiting class three months before the previous season begins. Yes, other classes are going to finish strong once a lot of five-stars make their decisions, you know, eight months from now. But like Notre Dame's September Heismans and OSU's November national champs, being in the top spot is better than not being there.

You know those Big Ten recruiting roundups Ace does? EGD did the same for our non-conference opponents in the years to come. Hello again Notre Dame…

247 Rk Team Guys 5* 4* 3* Scout Avg. Rivals Avg. ESPN Avg. 247 Avg. Overall Avg.
5 Michigan 9 0 7 2 3.56 3.44 3.78 3.78 3.64
7 Notre Dame 9 0 9 0 4.00 3.78 3.78 3.78 3.83
36 Utah 5 0 1 4 2.80 3.20 2.40 3.00 2.85
37 Arkansas 4 0 2 2 2.75 3.50 3.50 3.50 3.31
50 BYU 5 0 1 2 2.60 2.40 2.60 2.80 2.60
60 Cincinnati 3 0 0 3 2.33 2.00 2.00 3.33 2.42
68 Hawaii 4 0 0 1 2.50 2.00 2.00 2.25 2.19
77 Ball State 2 0 0 0 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.5 2.13
90 Oregon State 1 0 0 0 3.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.25
-- UNLV 1 0 0 0 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00 2.00
-- HORROR II 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
-- Colorado 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
-- Miami (NTM) 0 0 0 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0

He's keeping it updated. Make it a weekly, guy with the Hail to the Thief logo. No Virginia Tech because even if the 2014 guys redshirt they won't be around for 2020. Good to see Bielema is still recruiting the Wisconsin way despite the move to the SEC.

Blueheron took a look at recruiting over the back end, in how many NFL draft picks Michigan contributed over X period. This was always going to be the case once we went to a spread offense but yeah 2009-'13 wasn't our best period. Relatedly Chris Brown of Smart Football asked for crowd-sourced data on conference contribution to NFL rosters and whether there's a difference for guys in the league less than 5 years. I responded with a chart (click it for full size)…

NFL Players Database 2013-1

…and put the Excel doc in the public realm for anyone whose idea of a relaxing Memorial Day weekend is pivot tables. Meantime I saved the Big Ten comparison just for you:

NFL Players Database 2013

So we've got more old dudes (even with Hutchinson and Backus retiring) left from the middle Carr years, but since Rich Rod we've had a Sparty-like contribution. I expect this will change with the NFL types now working their way up the roster, and in five years you'll look at this chart and see Michigan next to OSU (with maybe a residually small yellow portion). Really, Michigan is the difference between the B1G being just as much an NFL factory as the SEC, and being something between that and the Pac12.

In other people who probably love Pivot Tables, The Mathlete looked into the recruiting of Maryland and Rutgers to see where they get their players and if getting into those markets might help Michigan and co., kinda like how we went into Pennsylvania in the '90s and snatched up Rob Swett, Damon Denson, Will Peterson, Dave Armstrong, Marlin Jackson*, Scott McClintock, Tim Massaqoui, Steve Breaston, Ryan Mundy, Chad Henne, Marques Slocum, and Marques Slocum's pet Fuck Lion.

*[Marlin could count for Ohio, since Sharon is just the Pennsylvania suburb of Youngstown, but then PSU still felt that one sharply. Speaking of PSU fans, if you know any tell them to get the Penn State version of HTTV (3 days left on the kickstarter).]

Getting Nebraska didn't come with the same windfall, rather the Huskers and their Ohioan of a coach are probably damaging Michigan State and Iowa and Illinois rather than opening up new territory. On the other hand D.C. and environs have a lot of talent which, unlike Nebraska, concentrates in a certain geographic area. Nudging Virginia Tech out of there would be nice. As a follow-up maizeonblueaction looked at how the SEC has fared in the Midlands since adding Texas and Missouri. Answer: very small uptick, but I disagree that you can tell from 2012 numbers since those kids were mostly at the "down to five schools" phase when A&M was announced. If there's an effect, it's probably the opportunity to play close to home sometimes, and to be on TV at home, which means kids in the Dallas region aren't going to go to Mississippi now because they'll get to travel to A&M, but Houston kids might.

And finally LSAClassof2000 downloaded the Rivals database and WENT. TO. TOWN. on charts of average star rating for B1G teams and comparisons to Michigan. I take two:


Arrested development. Speaking of recruits who didn't necessary pan out as well as we thought, hey did you see this year's hockey team? MGoBlueline did a comparison of the stats between the beloved 2011-'12 squad and the begrudged 2012-'13 guys. There's a mass exodus of defensemen from here and, guh, the streak. By the way his inspiration was Ron Utah's thing back in January that I know you didn't click on in January because I track those links – his does the same thing with the last two football teams.

Etc. There's a tier-based schedule for basketball the Big Ten will never adopt. Expansion probably stops here for the time being. Wallpaper by jonvalk.

And since the board's been pretty calm in these OT days, a quick…

Best of the Board



yUP. mGrowOld had that dinner with Tressel he won for his company winning an award and him being a good employee who never posts pictures of his hot wife on the internet or spends time during the work day on message boards. But they pulled the bait 'n switch at the last minute and stuck the big sponsors instead of the promised winners at the keynote's table. GrowOld also chickened out about asking Tressel whether he was embarrassed, like at all, AND chickened out about the tie. Still a good read.


MGoParents saw an opening when we didn't moderate an "OT: I Just had TWINS!" post and made an MGobaby thread, which became an all your kids thread. All the Aunt points in the world to julesh for crocheting a winged helmet for her brother's kid—you can tell your brother his laziness in not instantly getting a photo of the kid in the hat when duty called has cost his son a chance to be seen by thousands of strangers on the internet. Victor of the thread would still have gone to ems78, who produced* this:


Three weeks old and already has the song down.

* [Double entendre!]

ETC. Urban's secret: telling recruits he likes big butts, and he cannot lie—okay the other brothers are calling on the lying thing and say they deny—completely and utterly deny. And in the thread about the Penn State thing that SI was trying to make a thing but really wasn't a thing at all, this appeared and I wow'ed:


Origin? Previous thread? Did I miss a photoshop thread somewhere of Branch going on a destructive rampage of all sorts of famous photography? SIAP, but can we have one?

Your Moment of Zen:

Don't. Step. On. Our. Banner.


Dear Diary's Youtube Links Will Soon Be Dead

Dear Diary's Youtube Links Will Soon Be Dead Comment Count

Seth February 22nd, 2013 at 10:37 AM


Wallpaper by jonvalk

Saban did it! Mister Ron Utah, you have stolen my thunder. I had this excellent long "when will we be Bama?" article/thesis I'd been building for HTTV 2013 (coming soon to a Kickstarter near you) and you go ahead and make it a two-part diary. The second half will presumably come later, but I'm going to skip ahead to it anyway so as to make another graph that people on this site who know graphs can yell at me about:

When We Be Bama

That's all according to Rivals because it's a quickchart and demonstrates that as well as Hoke has been doing on the recruiting trail, he has yet to (and most likely won't) approach the scale or quality of the Saban hauls. The similarity of this trajectory is obvious, and ends there. Bama was built by taking on a lot of academic/personality risks—way more than he had scholarship space for—and then picking through all that talent for the few worthwhile pieces. If you were a Shula recruit and couldn't compete with the new faces you were medicaled if you were lucky, and ground up into Soylent Green if not.

But then of course you don't really need to be Bama to dominate a division or two of the Big Ten Going on Sixteen. If Michigan can settle into a pattern of always getting classes like the last two, and developing them well, and if the no-risky-kids strategy does in fact pay off with high retention, and if much of the rest of our conference stays low, then there's a lot of Rose Bowl potential in this program. Except Saban's old Floridian nemesis now runs the cheat factory in Columbus, so the upside is less total dominance and more like being the disadvantaged good guy in a second 10-year war. Gear up.

Also stop being mean to people who are mean to me about my charts in the comments, leastways not the people who know what they're talking about.

Maybe conference expansion is actually all about academics? This is the suggestion put forth by MosherJordan, based on the realpolitik of how AAU research dollars are allocated, which he says has a lot to do with who powerful your boosters are and how many Congressmen you influence. Which is to say maybe the Big Ten's motivation for adding Rutgers and Maryland (and possibly UNC?) is to give the CIC a bigger bloc. I never did think to look at the recent round of expansion as a grab for electoral votes but if you do things that way…


Lighter parts are the recent additions

The real realpolitik of college football is that adding Syracuse gets you way fewer than 29 electoral votes, just as taking Pitt doesn't give you half of Pennsylvania's delegation and I wish Michigan produced more talent than Alabama and Mississippi combined.

Maybe some of the presidents are thinking this but I think you're really just looking at a secondary effect of the B1G's stated goal of adding large TV markets, which like electoral votes are strongly correlated with population. For example you may look at Mosher-Jordan with its position on top of a hill overlooking a wide field, its wide moats, its arrow slits for windows, its possession of a bona fide dungeon, and its practice of housing princesses (i.e. the Women in Science & Engineering program) in its tallest towers, and conclude that our dorm is in fact a medieval castle. But was MoJo really designed to withstand an assault by the local Medieval Club, or was that just an accidental benefit to an edifice intended to protect its inhabitants' virginity?


Our keep hast ne'er fallen, despite the WISE girls' treachery

Etc. LSAClassof2000's weekly chartgrinder has shooting data broken up by games. GOLBOGM updates the remaining schedule. Blockams puts Denard on skates; I'm working on a theory as to what's wrong with hockey that involves new Yost and all the really bright lights shining right in your eyes from virtually every angle.

[Jump for the Board and stuff]


Unverified Voracity Reprises Northwestern

Unverified Voracity Reprises Northwestern Comment Count

Brian December 11th, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Jason Avant, you are Jason Avant. Be Jason Avant for us.


"I liked having him around." –everybody

Biannual obvious thing. PSDs go up 75-100 bucks for everyone, effectively raising ticket prices 10-15 bucks depending on the number of home games in any particular year.

At least as more and more of the ticket money gets shifted to annual donations not dependent on beating up small teams the financial window to bring in real opponents goes up. And Stubhub remains a ruthless final word as to pricing. I'm shining it as fast as I can over here, you guys.

Ominously included in the press release is something about Yost:

With the renovations to Yost Ice Arena, the athletic department has expanded offerings for fans interested in premium seats for ice hockey. In addition to the upper level club, the newest offerings are 14 Champions Boxes on the west side and Ice Level Seating in three of the four corners of the rink. There is no PSD for bleacher seating in Yost.

I have been able to walk in and get seats on the blue line twice in the past five years and Michigan has put their miserable early-season schedule up on deal sites the last two, so I don't think the threat is severe. But you never know.

Meanwhile. Attendance is down somewhat across college football, though the Big Ten remains largely immune. As always, announced numbers are thin fictions anyway. Here is a picture of the Orange Bowl as per contractual agreement.


Draft bits. Denard's stock will depend on how well he catches—surprise—and could be a second-rounder, while Lewan is in the same place he's been most of the year:

"It's Eric Fisher or Lewan to be the second tackle off the board," Kiper said. "In the Ohio State game, (Lewan) was beaten that one time, but overall he's been pretty solid this year, got better as the year went along."

Fisher goes to CMU, BTW. Michigan's other prospects are late-round sorts. I'd guess that Kenny Demens has the best shot.

Do it. Er, not that. The seven Big East basketball-only schools have finally had enough with the ever-shifting crap fountain that has been the Big East since expansion got underway seriously and are considering a splinter league with these folks and probably a few others:

The group of 7 schools includes: Marquette, St. John’s, Providence, Georgetown, Villanova, DePaul and Seton Hall. Those schools are concerned about the defection of the core of the Big East basketball conference–Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Notre Dame as well as the expansion of the conference in football to 12 teams and the inclusion of schools such as Central Florida, Memphis, SMU, Houston and Temple in basketball.

Or, like, all of the others:

The Atlantic 10 has discussed the possibility of a 21-team basketball league in the event that the changing conference landscape makes high-profile Big East schools available, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told Tuesday.

I guess you could play a 20-game round robin and have a real league champion, but that's just weird. Not as weird as 14 team football conferences, but weird. If I was a Catholic School in this window I'd jump at the prospect of being the A-10 part two, adding Xavier and a couple others to form a solid, stable league instead of messing about with Tulane. The attraction of the Big East exited with the latest round of expansion. But money, etc.

Ratings. Here are all of the ratings for college football on networks. Michigan by weekend:

  • Alabama: 4.8, #1 (#2: GT-VT on Monday, 2.8)
  • Air Force: was a split with USC-Syracuse that averaged 3.3, also #1 but that's not quite fair.
  • UMass: N/A
  • Notre Dame: 4.0, #1 (#2: Clemson-FSU drew a 2.9 at the same time on ABC)
  • Purdue: N/A
  • Illinois: Michigan was in a 3-way window that averaged 3.1 on ABC and picked up 0.7 via reverse mirroring. So no idea. LSU-South Carolina did 3.7 and Stanford-ND 3.3.
  • Michigan State: N/A
  • Nebraska: 1.2, an ESPN2 way off ND-Oklahoma on ABC, a 5.2, and also off ESPN games MSU-Alabama (2.1) and OSU-PSU(2.3) despite the latter game being essentially a nonentity.
  • Minnesota: N/A
  • Northwestern: a 1.8 on ESPN in the noon window.
  • Iowa: also a 1.8 on ESPN in the noon window.
  • OSU: 5.8, noon ABC, #5 game of the year. Let's move it to October or make it a meaningless prelude to a rematch. Erosion, baby.

That Nebraska number is shockingly low. The Huskers drew a 2.8 for a game against Oklahoma, a 2.7 for their first game against Wisconsin, and a 3.1 against OSU. I guess ND-Oklahoma sucked everyone away.

Well yeah. GRIII has been playing at the four for Michigan, obviating preseason concerns about a potentially awkward fit between Michigan's personnel and the offense John Beilein has run in the past.

I don't think that preseason meme was a good one. Since arriving at Michigan, Beilein has ditched the 1-3-1 and an entire coaching staff and incorporated a ton of ball screens into an offense previously devoid of them. If it was a good idea, Beilein would probably do it. Playing two posts has not really been a good idea when you've got a 6'6" guy who can get up and shoot threes at the four, so he hasn't done it. Instead it's Izzo trying to shoehorn Nix and Payne into the same lineups before throwing in the towel on it.

Speaking of the 1-3-1. It doesn't really exist. Seth Davis is catching on you guys: Is it me, or are you not using the 1-3-1 zone as much as you used to?

JB: We've done it in spots, but we haven't done it at length for a while. We used it in the NCAA tournament and that was all people wanted to talk about. One of my assistants calls it Big Foot. Everybody talks about it, but nobody sees it anymore.

But conversation about it will not die thanks to quotes like this:

It's either you use it as a gimmick a couple times, or you either learn it," Beilein said. "We're not trying to be a gimmick team.

"We're trying to learn it."

Baumgardner highlights another portion of that presser in re: Caris LeVert:

"(When we saw that [a turnover] on film), we smiled," Beilein said. "It seems (LeVert's) his arms go forever. His quickness just adds to that. ... You remember in the past even when it was effective, mostly ineffective, Stu Douglass would be (out front) but he's not really long. Zack Novak would be out there.

"When Manny (Harris) played the one year he was more comfortable on the wing. (The front spot) is the most important position. We feel between Nik (Stauskas, at 6-foot-6) and Caris, those two guys are long enough and have the energy to do that."

They're not really there yet despite the success against Pitt—the 1-3-1 has resulted in a lot of open looks and dunks despite the addition of the proverbial length. It's been worth a spin to see; the answer is "not yet."

Andy Glockner sees warning signs in Michigan's defense to date:

Defensively, there's some room for concern, though. Michigan currently is living off a totally unsustainable combination of defensive rebounding rate (currently No. 4 in Division I at 77 percent) and not putting opponents on the line (No. 3 in free throw rate). Even with that combo, the Wolverines are "only" 25th in the country in overall adjusted defensive efficiency. In laymen's terms, that means they're not stopping people all that well on initial shot attempts.

Those numbers will come down a bit, sure, but Michigan outrebounded (in a tempo-free sense) OREB powerhouses Pitt (21st) and KState (5th) already this year. A decline to last year's poor conference DREB does not seem to be in the cards. I do agree that a defense without much shot blocking or forced turnovers has a ceiling on it that is considerably below Michigan's lights-out offense.

Batten down the hatches. Michigan gets to play the GLI without Trouba or Merrill. How do you feel about that, Red?

Losing Jacob Trouba for the GLI is a good problem to have says Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson

“We’ve taken a firm stance as a program that we support the World Juniors program,” Berenson said. “On the flipside, we miss them during the GLI. That’s a big hole on our team, but I’m not going to hold a kid back.”

Not the way the headline implied.

Etc.: Consensus: Taylor Lewan adds AP All-American status to those of Walter Camp, Athlon, ESPN, and CBS. Cincinnati's unsuccessful scramble to exit the Big East. Practices are intense man. Jay Bilas says Trey Burke is the top point guard in the country, does not mention anything about how Michigan should have kept Tommy Amaker. Volleyball makes the final four.

Gasaway pumps up Pitt as hugely underrated($). Hard to tell with their schedule to date. A Lion Eye is… happy?


Dear Diary Mitheth Them Alweady

Dear Diary Mitheth Them Alweady Comment Count

Seth September 28th, 2012 at 9:38 AM


See if you can spot Upchurch in his bucket hat | my phone

There’s a Kryk article in the 2011 HTTV about how Nebraska and Notre Dame spent much of the first bit of the 20th century beating down the doors to the Big then-Nine (actually nine). In the days when everyone had to travel by train, Lincoln was WEST man. As for Notre Dame, they were well within the conference footprint, but far outside the preppy conference’s idea of a fit. Said Kryk:

“[Expanding beyond nine members] wasn’t the biggest reason for keeping Notre Dame out. Academic snobbery was, followed closely by religious prejudice. The Big Nine was run by academic elitists, and they viewed the education provided by religious institutions of higher learning such as Notre Dame as purely second-rate.”

If you know your University of Michigan history, you’ll remember James Burill Angell’s biggest battles with regents and the rest of the brass were around his hiring Catholic  faculty and saying nice things about papists. It’s a little snapshot of the prevailing prejudices of the day, and the genesis of the Notre Dame psyche.

You’ll also know that from these early days we too were arrogant enough to go it independent for a time. But while Michigan evolved toward benchmarks of greatness that involve our in-conference rivalries, Notre Dame’s established IMG_1670themselves as a fearless lone wolf. It’s why we balk when our chief rival is moved to another division, while they see nothing untoward about canceling the Michigan series to guarantee one West Coast game per year.

Fast forward a century with plenty of independent glory and this is what we hath wrought: a group of exceptionalists who are in many ways truly exceptional. Like how a mountain range of new or recently renovated megaliths spring out of an industrial Northern Indiana town. Like how in this craven era they can play on dirt and grass in an 80,000 seat bowl with no jumbotrons, no bad seats, and overlooked by a great big mural of religious figure who may be praying, may be calling touchdown, or may be exclaiming “Oy vey.” And yet they will also exclaim six times, with Michigan in attendance, that their fight song is the greatest. They will mike their band and have them drown out the visitors’ whenever our guys strike up. They’ll blare pump-up music deep into the opponent’s snap count on 3rd downs. And they’ll scoff at our 100-years-late invitation to finally sign on as half-members of the Virginia and Duke conference, keep the extra home game of this now odd-numbered series, and then tell Yost’s team to go screw.

Calling them arrogant when we’re the school that shows up to other stadiums with a trailer painted all over with the message “mine’s bigger” is pot-kettle-ish. They are the hot chick, and we can’t have them anymore. Cue the diaries of Notre longing. Start with conference realignment at the end game as oakapple, rehashes the four axioms that drive college football relationships. Then DanRareEgg reminisces over the latest series that spanned, with a few two-year hiatuses, from Dan Devine to Denard’s derps. Big Will the Gazelle thinks canning the Michigan rivalry to keep MSU and Purdue is a departure from the “We’ll play anybody, any time” ethos that built the ND brand. And if you’re really not ready to let go, here’s k.o.k.Law with a present tense poetic retelling of his ‘06 experience.

Let’s do THE JUMP here, and rejoin for the weeklies and the best of the board.


Mailbag: Art Noise Victors, Lefty QBs, Gnomes

Mailbag: Art Noise Victors, Lefty QBs, Gnomes Comment Count

Brian June 7th, 2012 at 12:14 PM

A guy who gets it slightly more than the first commenter on the post.

In re: the sabotage version of Special K for a Day:


This is pretty obscure, so you're totally excused for having missed this, but I think all institutional destroying from the inside pretty much begins and ends with this deep cut: mid-70s Ann Arbor art-noise collective Destroy All Monsters reuniting in 2002 (with the late Mike Kelley on vocals) and disemboweling "The Victors" (begins about 0:47).

Take care,

This is it:

I still like it better than "In The Big House."



Obviously Hoke and Co. are killing it on recruiting now and things couldn't be better. One thing my friends and I were talking about is how come there are so few good lefty quarterbacks historically. I'm only 29 so my football references are limited, but beyond Steve Young, Vick, Mark Brunell, Esiason, and Tebow can you think of any other top lefty quarterbacks that panned out? Should we be worried about Sugar Shane? Any idea why this is the case? Do high school coaches see strong lefty quarterbacks and immediately focus them on pitching?

Go Blue!

I was initially going to dismiss this as paranoia but here's a blog post listing every lefthanded QB in NFL history as of this year. There have been 39 total, and the list of current lefty starters is Vick and Matt Leinart. Since Young retired in '99, the only lefties to have anything resembling a career are Scott Mitchell, Brunell, Vick, and Leinart with Tebow pending and Chris Simms carving out a modern-day-Todd-Collins ramblin' backup sort of career. Lefties are only 10% of the population but that's a period of 22 years with four(!) lefty QBs of any significance, one of them (Vick) a guy whose amazing physical gifts bought him chances he otherwise would not have gotten. Young was a scrambler, too.

The baseball explanation is plausible. The google leads you to the wikipedia and shows you an extensive discussion of the over-representation of lefthanded players in a lot of sports, including baseball, and when you think about the profile of a potential NFL quarterback and a potential MLB pitcher there's not a whole lot of difference. It's nice if they're tall, they don't really have to run much, and they have to be able to throw a ball through a brick wall. The baseball players don't have to be able to take a helmet to the ribs without folding in half. Football players don't seem to have that kind of restriction. A Venn diagram of the two groups has the NFL prospects as a subset of those for MLB.

The main difference between the two groups is their reaction to left-handedness. MLB says "yes please, with a cherry." The NFL says "this is inconvenient, now I have to reconfigure the offensive line. " So the guys in the NFL subset are much more likely to be sucked out of football, and voila: your population of 6'4" lefty riflemen who enjoy getting crushed is even more depressed relative to righties.

That's a long way of saying that I don't think Michigan has much to worry about in re: Shane Morris. The forces that make lefty NFL quarterbacks rare aren't likely to apply to individual quarterbacks who happen to be lefthanded.


addendum to most embarrassing Michigan items

probably should be slotted in just under the flying squirrel sleeping  bag:


the name is incredible.  Where is thematic gnome 1?

I think I may know the answer to this since I stumbled across a thematic gnome in my perusal of the official site:


I didn't put it on the list despite its ridiculousness because it's a mean gnome wearing a Michigan hat, what looks sort of like jean shorts, and fake wolverine-like shoes that I doubt exist in real life. It's almost so ridiculous it's defensible? I don't know.

The comment thread on that post turned into a confessional about which users had which items—no one confessed to the chili powder—so these things are obviously subjective. That is, they're subjective unless you're the other variety of person on that thread: the ones who were incensed that the product they perceived as most ludicrous was not higher.

Super conference-type-substances.

brian, discussing superconferences today got me thinking. if the standards of a conference are 1 crossover game (as in a 16 team superconference) and a post season championship game, then doesn't the big ten and pac 12's future scheduling agreement of 1 game per year and champions playing in the rose bowl create something of a 24 team superconference between the big ten and pac 12?

why should either conference accept any more lower rung schools to dilute their tv money and bowl payouts to get to 16 teams when they already act in the equivalent capacity of a superconference?


I'm like… whoah. The chatter about the Big Ten-Pac-12 pact giving the conferences the advantages of a "superconference" without the drawbacks didn't make much sense to me when it happened, but putting it in that perspective is close to sense.

The way it makes things make sense is by making superconferences seem inexplicable. The ACC went to 14 in a panicked attempt to stave off poaching, or at least preserve a semblance of quality in its aftermath. The SEC went to 14 because Mike Slive screwed up his television negotiations. Absent those motivators why would anyone make a move like that? There is a clear motivation to get to 12—championship game—and none to go to 14 or 16. The superconference meme relies on the idea that the champions of the 16-team Death Stars will meet in a playoff, but how do you get there? You can't have a playoff without the Pac-12 and Big Ten, and neither of those conferences has any motivation to expand.

Hell, if you're Texas or Oklahoma the same logic applies to your ten-team conference. Right now those two teams have the easiest glide path to a playoff. They seem uninterested in getting the conference up to even 12 now that they've stabilized things.

The reasons you usually hear about the motivations to expand are hand-waving about footprints and stuff, unexamined Commisioner's New Clothes assumptions. Opposed to that are very obvious concerns about scheduling and keeping the pie slices the same size when you add teams. 16 team contraptions aren't a stable state. The rumbling in the ACC suggests even 14 is going to be awkward.


Unverified Voracity Is Still Tilting

Unverified Voracity Is Still Tilting Comment Count

Brian May 29th, 2012 at 2:46 PM

The blindfolded kick. Wolverine Historian repackages the nutso 2002 Washington game. If you're interested in reliving the #2 moment of the aughts, it's at the end here:

Also featured are Marlin Jackson turning in one of the best single-game cornerback performances I can remember and one of the most controversial calls of the decade.

Realignment bits. I know, I know, you'd rather talk about anything else, but it's late May.

Bit #1: the expanded SEC looks like it's going to a "6-1-1" model. That means you play everyone in your division, one crossover rivalry game, and then one rotating opponent from the other division. You play teams in that division once every six years. You see them at home less than once a decade. You are not in a conference with them.

Bit #2: always more, never enough:

Football and the lucrative TV dollars that come with it is a big reason why the SEC has more than tripled the money it’s distributed among its schools since Adams’ first attended the meetings in 1998, growing from $62.1 million then to more than $220 million last year.

The Big Ten has experienced similar revenue growth, and yet everyone's throwing aside century-old traditions for increments more. Shortsighted. SEC fans agree:

So eg. LSU will host eg. Georgia once every twelve years?

This seems totally sensible and not at all over-bloated.

A lot of red. This is important. It's Matt Hinton's All-America team:


First team is all red save for three LSU players, two Notre Dame players, and Taylor Lewan. And I guess Sammy Watkins and Jackson Jeffcoat are orange, red's slightly mellower cousin. Even the second team defense is almost all red save for the inclusion of PSU's Jerald Hodges and Purdue's Kawann Short. THIS MEANS SOMETHING.

On the other hand, for special teams excellence purple is recommended.

More of the baseball wranglin'. It's been a few months so it's time to check in with the revolutionary wing of the Big Ten: baseball. Kyle Meinke has the latest on the conference's proposal to play some games in the fall. Brandon:

“My understanding is it’s a great consensus around our coaches, a great consensus around our athletic directors, but we haven’t done as great a job as we need to of selling the other conference leaders and coaches to buy into that," Brandon said. "And we’re not totally sure why that is."

I'm pretty sure they are, actually. If they're not they should get some classes in ruthless self-interest from… themselves. Ask Delany to tell the Mark Shapiro fingerbang story again.

I still think the Big Ten should just leave the NCAA structure entirely, up the scholarships available, use wood bats, play a summer-oriented schedule that litters the BTN with content that isn't Northwestern's organic chemistry lecture, and try to establish itself a premiere development league. NCAA baseball is never going to accommodate the northern schools, so flip 'em the bird and spend some of that money to give the Big Ten footprint something to be interested in during May, June, July, and August.

FWIW, MSU got its first NCAA bid since 1979. It was the kind of pity bid baseball throws at Northern teams to keep them placated when they try to complain about all the stuff that makes leaving the NCAA make sense (MSU finished 5th in the Big Ten), but it was a bid.

CREEPER GUY NEVER LEARNS. Stop tilting your head, composite of all Ohio State fans!


I'm pretty sure that's why you're in jail.

Walton, Donnal, AAU, etc. They're still playing well. Walton sounds more and more like Trey Burke every week. UMHoops's Joe Stapleton:

Walton demonstrated some of the best handles in the tournament and always stayed under control. He rarely made bad decisions, and was stellar on both ends of the floor, bothering opponents with suffocating on-ball defense. He was comfortable on the wing in the 1-3-1 zone, displayed good recovery speed and was a vocal leader on defense.

Walton is lightning quick, and very unselfish. A pass-first guard, he easily penetrated and looked to kick the ball out, or found open teammates for easy buckets.

Irvin and Donnal also scouted at the link. Rivals also has a couple notes on Walton and Irvin:

Derrick Walton - 6-foot-1, PG, Detroit (Mich.) Chandler Park Academy, 2013: One of 2013's top pure point men, Walton is a skilled ball handler with a strong build and tremendous quickness on the break. A pass-first guard who always is looking to make his teammates better, Walton affects the game in a variety of ways. When you add in his scoring, which he can do from long-range or around the basket, as well as his on-ball defense, you can see why has him ranked as a four-star prospect. Since last August, the guard from the Michigan Mustangs has been committed to Michigan.

Zakarie Irvin - 6-foot-6, SF, Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern, 2013: A pure scoring wing who just keeps getting better, Irvin is deadly from long range off of the bounce. A long and athletic wing who can use the dribble to score in transition, he can alter the game with his physical tools, but it's his skill-set that stands out. Irvin has a smooth jumper that he's always looking to get off over defenders who sag off of him. Once he hits one shot, the Eric Gordon All-Stars forward can heat up with the best of them. Like Walton, Irvin has been committed to Michigan since last summer.

Fast? Jehu Chesson takes home a couple of state titles on the track:

He was first to the finish in the 100 meter dash in 10.77. He beat his rival Aaron Mallet of McCluer North in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles 37.77 to 37.86 and Mallet returned the favor in the 110 high’s, winning by a fraction, 14.14 to 14.15.

Chesson had precious few minutes to spare between the back-to-back hurdle and 100 meter events.

“We have special training for speed and endurance and we have great coaches and they stay on us all the time. I don’t know if losing to (Aaron) Mallet gave me special motivation. I respect his talents a great deal. When you come from Ladue, and you are the team’s only hurdler, you have to run with a chip on your shoulder. You can’t always be the best. There is always someone out there who wants to come out and beat you.”

Chesson's speed was the main knock against him in recruiting evaluations. If that's not an accurate knock, hello, nurse.

The beatings will continue until you arrive. The university has posted a job description for yet another athletic department MBA type*, this one tasked with cracking the whip, but all nice-like:

A recent U-M job posting for an assistant director of marketing position notes that athletics is establishing "a best in class student loyalty program" and that the employee would be responsible for overseeing the launch, "develop[ing] student profiles, rewards and redemption" and "develop[ing] strategies to increase student loyalty acquisition and engagement."

Ablauf declined to comment further on the loyalty program, saying "we haven't finalized a program and the details yet."

This is not cutting edge—and neither was my suggestion Michigan should do this. The article notes that MSU has been using this to give Izzone members priority for a long time. Penn State has a similar program.

This is long overdue. It was a problem when I was a student (and in the post-student "I'm still a student!" pretend phase), with drunk people arriving in the second quarter, forcing you to relocate, and then woozily departing in the third quarter. If you want student ticket deals, show up on time.

*[I wonder how many administrators the department has added since Martin left, and how much money we're spending on people whose great task is to paint #goblue on the field.]

I think this is the same thing as before. CBS has an update on the playoff stuff that suggests bowls will be used as hosts. They'll "float," which apparently means it'll depend on what the matchup is:

They do not want the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds having to “go on the road” in the semifinals. In other words, if the Sugar Bowl were anchored in advance to be a semifinal site, it would be possible that a No. 4 seed – say, LSU – would have the home-field advantage playing the No. 1-seeded opponent in the Superdome.

The discussion seems to center around the SEC and the Sugar Bowl. The conference has the most rabid fan following and its teams are in the closest proximity to New Orleans than the other conferences are to other major bowls. The Sugar Bowl has had a formal agreement to take the SEC champion since 1976. However, its relationship with the league goes back decades.

[Via] I have this crazy good idea for how to fix this: play the games on campus.

Slive hates the plus one, BTW. So… maybe don't expect that.

Etc.: Tremendous interviews incoming D Jacob Trouba. Tom Strobel will come in as an SDE. At 260 he's likely headed for a redshirt. Corwin Brown's mental state analyzed. Michigan is smack in the middle of Steele's chart of returning lettermen. Craig James is a walking margin of error.


Michigan Museday: Expansion Universalis

Michigan Museday: Expansion Universalis Comment Count

Seth September 21st, 2011 at 12:26 PM


According to like everybody, college presidents and conference executives are at it again, carving up the BCS landscape before they themselves get carved like a particularly bloody game of Europa Universalis. [ed: this has to be the only sports blog in the universe with not one but two references to EU.] So long as the Big Ten doesn't end up in the NHL's slot among four pro leagues, I don't care that much.

isuwrestlingPlaying Devil's advocate, I think I understand why people do care. The going meme is we're headed for 16-team conferences because they get bigger TV deals, and if you don't get your Mizzous now while the gettin' is good, the Big Ten will eventually find itself holding a press conference to extoll the virtues of Iowa State wrestling. I don't see Iowa State's value as an umpteenth member being worth an umpteenth share of BTN. That's hardly stopping ADs and conferences from playing war games.

Even if the ACC, PacX and SEC expand to 16 teams, they only match the star power at the top of the Big Ten. Michigan-Ohio State-Nebraska-Penn State and friends (in football) is still a bigger deal than FSU-Miami-Notre Dame and friends, still a bigger deal than Texas-USC-Oklahoma and friends, and holds up against Bama and the Holy Southern Empire except for that one century when Bama's friends are all like AUSTRRIIAAAAAAA!!!!!

Most recently it's the ACC invading Syracuse and Pitt to shore up defenses in case of an SEC attack, while SEC armies jump around out east trying to balance Texas A&M. West Virginia's doing the thing where the girl tells her friend to tell UConn to tell Dooley that the SEC kinda sorta maybe already asked her out. Missouri's all like hey, I invented that gambit!

That's not 16-team leagues, the mega-conference endpoint doomsday scenario. It's closer to it than we were when the ACC broke the pax conferenca to grab VT, Miami, and BC.

What was way more more nerve-wracking was the Pac 12 looking for a casus belli to annex Texas and Oklahoma (plus respective vassals Okie State and Texas Tech). LonghornNetworkCartoonBut late last night the Pac 12 looked at a world where they've annexed Texas, and decided to remain 12—crisis averted.

Today there are zero 16-team conferences. The SEC and ACC may get to 14 soon, unless the latter is grabbing territories to make up for one it expects to lose. Remnants of the Big East and Big XII may meet to form something out of their remaining members that's not quite a BCS conference, but that will only happen if Texas and Oklahoma leave, and would end up around 10 or 11.

I disagree with those who say it's going to ruin college football; college football is awesome and will continue being such until they don't put wings on helmets anymore. But it can make college football suck significantly more by redefining conferences as massive corporations with stock options. Eight to 10 teams is a group of similar schools that expand their students' networks, share research, and organize sporting events. By Twelve it's more of a leauge than a conference. At fourteen it becomes stupid -- you are now in a "conference" with teams you don't play most years.

I don't even know how to balance a schedule with 6 division opponents, 7 cross-divisional opponents, and 9 conference games. Teams will undoubtedly have six-year intervals without playing each other at all. If they started in 2012, Pitt could see FSU at home six times between now and 2043. This is about how often Michigan plays UCLA.

Now would be a great time for the NCAA to grow a pair and replace its current president with a Caesar-like lifetime commissioner, for other reasons too (get compliance in order), but because that's the only way the not-quite-finished realignment cycle will be finished with other goals than a pressing TV deal in mind.

If you choose to click through past the jump, I've put together a pair of concepts for a workable NCAA league just in case this stuff all blows up like they're saying. Only go if you're into that sort of thing.

META Note: This space was meant to be a study on Mattison's rush tendencies versus GERG last year and their effectiveness. However the EMU game offered next to no data on the pass rush and present info from 3/4 of a Western game and a balls-out ND game are nowhere near enough to talk yet.