Dear Diary Predicts the Past, Part II

Dear Diary Predicts the Past, Part II

Submitted by Seth on June 19th, 2011 at 12:07 AM

DBackfield

Michigan's defensive backfield, 1879-2006 RIP – Upper left: Box Safety; Upper right: Free Safety; Upper middle: Dime; Lower left: Shortside CB; Lower Center: Nickel/Spur; Lower Right: Wideside CB.

"Every setback is a setup for bad cornerbacks."

---Anonymous, as amended after watching Michigan for a few years.

Dear Diary,

Since you all failed so miserably at convincing me not to do a follow-up for the defense, here is Part II of my Predicting the Past series, where we measure optimistic expectations during the summer against cold hard reality, which hates us. With defense it's going to be less useful – if Hoke and Mattison are as blitheringly incompetent defensively as their predecessors then there's no point to anything anymore – so I'll spare some of the detail.

Either way, we are foraying into the defense of 2007-2010, so this is going to get very ugly very quickly. Some of you in the comments thought that last week's tale of offensive destruction and redemption was depressing. Well if that's depressing, this is going to be more like the kind of torture that requires a large white room and lots of sharp-looking instruments. You will be stabbed, axed, shot, cut into a million tiny pieces, and those will be stomped on. Then we'll do the linebackers.

Let's just get the agonizing part over with.

Defensive Backs:

DBackfield2

Inevitable, no. But as of June 2007, we were well on our way.

Depth Charts:

  • Cornerback: Morgan Trent (Jr/Sr), Johnny Sears (So/Jr), Donovan Warren (Fr/Fr), Doug Dutch (Jr/Sr), Troy Woolfolk (Fr/Fr), James Rogers (Fr/Fr), Anton Campbell (Sr/5th)
  • Nickel: Brandon Harrison (Jr/Jr)
  • Safety: Jamar Adams (Sr/Sr), Stevie Brown (So/So), Brandent Englemon (Sr/5th), Charles Stewart (Jr/Sr), Artis Chambers (Fr/Fr), Michael Williams (Fr/Fr)

Incoming: Boubacar Cissoko, Brandon Smith

Expected: I skipped NCAA 2007 and '08, mostly because I loved the cover of '06, so I don't know how they (over-) rated our DBs. I do very much remember trying to keep the rosters of my dynasty kind of accurate as the years progressed, but by '07 feeling really stupid when re-naming and re-sizing a 5-star recruit to Stevie Brown. Yes, Virginia, in June 2007 we knew we were in trouble. Not so much trouble that we freaked about losing Chris Richards to the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, but such that the need for talent and bodies at these positions was the main theme of MGoBlog recruiting boards in 2006 and 2007.

More after the jump

Dear Diary Predicts the Past

Dear Diary Predicts the Past

Submitted by Seth on June 14th, 2011 at 9:00 AM

quarterbacksi

Mallett/Wienke/Beaver/Newsome/Threet/Sheridan/Forcier/Denard/Gardner. Not pictured justcuz: Notorious C.O.N.E., Feagin, Conelius, Bellomy, President Kennedy & various other walk-ons, and Nachoshorts, brother to Tacopants, who is 4 inches tall and made of puppy dreams and snowflakes and was the guy Moosman was always snapping to in 2009.

Dear Diary,

It's about expectations. Among the very few diaries this week was Gordon's highly debatable retcon of recent Michigan history if the sweatervest had remained folded in a Youngstown drawer. That's about what might have happened. My diary's about what we thought would happen.

You've probably done this same exercise a million times after commitments (and 16 times since March): look at the current depth chart for that guy's position, toss in the current commits, and predict a monster future for Michigan, or wonder how in the world we will find playing time for all of these guys. Well things don't always work out how you expect, in fact they never do.

Over the next few weeks I will attempt to review our past expectations for Michigan's position groups at this time in Year X. Hopefully the knife of attrition will be much more lenient in the coming years than it was over the last few. Maybe there's something to be learned here about adjusting expectations. Maybe this is just a colossal thought loop. Either way it's not about OSU's scandal, and will hopefully make for an entertaining walk down memory lane. If it sucks, feel free to eat me alive in the comments. I'm told I taste like chicken.

This week: 2007 Offense.

What was going on:

It was a lazy offseason in pre-Apocalyptic Ann Arbor. I mean really lazy: we had like 3-6 commits at this point (Cissoko, Wermers, Moore, Witherspoon and Mike Martin) but led with plenty more, and thought '08 recruiting was just dandy. Baseball made its run on the national stage (the peak was a 2-game sweep in the regionals over No. 1 Vandy) to get us all excited-like. Mostly we sat around watching Sam McGuffie YouTube highlights and hoping Comcast wouldn't kill our ability to watch Michigan play football. Will Campbell committed for 2009, and early speculation had Larry Capers coming eventually. Cobrani Mixon became our first Facebook transfer. Comcast and the Big Ten were having their great phallis-off. On a way smaller scale John Pollack and Jim Carty were having theirs with the university over plans to install (gasp) luxury boxes at Michigan Stadium. Brian got really excited over the possibility of games on Torrents (MGoVideo debuted June 18), and spent much of the summer trying to figure out why Jonas Gray (and to a lesser extent his teammate and "package deal" Kenny Demens) didn't have a Michigan offer. Autumn Thunder made epic comparisons of people to Lord of the Rings villains, with Jim Tressel cast as Saruman. Crystal ball? Try internet connection.

We were not Harbaugh fans.

Quarterbacks

QBs in 2007

Depth Chart: Chad Henne (Sr/Sr), Ryan Mallett (Fr/Fr), David Cone (So/Jr)

Incoming: Steven Threet (4-star, 2007 Transfer/Fr from Georgia Tech), John Wienke (3-star)

Expected: Going into what everyone knew was Lloyd's last year, Michigan was the NFL's quarterback factory, having produced an unbroken line of pro passers dating back to the stone age. That such a legacy would continue was a certainty with 4-year starter and robot Chad Henne mentoring 2007 uber-recruit Ryan Mallett (who survived transfer rumors to Arkansas in late April). In the event of near disaster, Navarre-like object Cone was on the roster. Homecoming transfer Threet and the statuesque southpaw Wienke – who received his camp offer a year ago today – would be on hand if (God forbid) anything happened to Mallett from 2008-'10, or else to mop up the blood from the star's latest aerial assaults.

How'd that turn out? Ha. Henne was iffy and frustrated in the HORROR then had his shoulder blown up in the Oregonian Disaster—the rest of his heroics would be gutting it out with that shoulder to Little Brother little brother, and the legendary dismantling of Florida in the Cap One Bowl. The bubble burst on this dream with the hiring of Spread 'n Shredder Rich Rodriguez. The writing was on the wall for a 3-star pocket passer, and Wienke wisely bolted (for Iowa). Mallett transferred to Arkansas and went on to a productive career with lots of character questions. Cone stuck around to give us a fantastic YouTube video and a few garbage time cheap thrills. Threet emerged from his transfer purgatory to find himself fighting a duck-tossing walk-on for the right to get beaten up in the worst Michigan offense in ever ever. He spent the season in and out of the lineup with assorted injuries, and later transferred to Arizona State so the Richrodigan freshmen could play.

5 Point Scale of Expectation vs. Outcome: Does this scale have a zero? Way Zero.

More after the jump.

Dear Diary's for Truth, Justice, & the American Way

Dear Diary's for Truth, Justice, & the American Way

Submitted by Seth on June 6th, 2011 at 11:39 PM

Desmondcomics2

Dear Diary,

Faster than a speeding bullet,

Denarderman

More powerful than a locomotive,

A-Train

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…

braylon

Look, up in the sky!

Rose981

It's a bird!

acarter2

It's a plane!

Tom Harmon Michigan pkg

It's the reason we'd rather watch college football than do almost anything else in the world.

It's been a week of ebullient celebration in Ann Arbor while Columbus burns but even those outside of The Sacred Brotherhood have started to muse on the actual justice of it all. WatersDemos took the premise of a New Yorker article – "Is college worth it?" and ran with it for college sports. Most prescient, I thought, was goodness of creating a class of "fake" (not his words) students to serve the interests of what's essentially brand marketing.

I'd like to take that further: what's so good about college sports?

(after the jump, it's a job [lowers voice] for Superman.)

Dear Diary: For the Good of the Nation

Dear Diary: For the Good of the Nation

Submitted by Seth on May 30th, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Tresselleaves Tresselgate

(clicks get larger) Unlike other Tricky Tressel images today, MINE SHOWS JIM IN A SWEATER VEST!

Dear Diary,

They will still celebrate him in Columbus. The name Tressel will mean 9-1, will mean 2002, will mean an era when in-state talent and Big Ten Championships were Ohio State entitlements. But as of today, the argument over the last decade will be simply academic. Jim Tressel has resigned as head coach of Ohio State and a new legacy, a stained legacy, will now be written (#WhileWaitingForDohrmann) (UPDATE: It's here)

To you, hyper informed Michigan fan, there will be few surprises. We knew about the cars ever since Maurice Clarett told police in 2003 that $10,000 worth of stuff had been stolen from his "borrowed" ride. We guessed about the improper benefits too when Clarett corroborated his teaching assistant's claim of academic impropriety, and it came out that Troy Smith's mystery suspension had been because he (as a backup RB) was taking a booster's money. We figured it went higher when the university shot back at Clarett's allegations by discrediting him, then welcomed him back with open arms the minute he backed off his claims (which killed the case). We figured the institution was on board when every "investigation" into a reported incident came back finding there was nothing more than was originally reported.

This weekend former Buckeyes took to the Twitters to evoke "The Sacred Brotherhood" when Ray Small broke code.* Raise of hands: who didn't already figure out that Tress puts put particular value on discretion?

Of course we saw it because we're Michigan, naturally ready to believe the worst about the Buckeyes. Why didn't anyone else though? SI's Andy Staples took some of the credit (emphasis mine):

If the three highest profile players of a big-time coach's career all got dinged by the NCAA, you would think that coach might be dirty. So why, after Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor all faced NCAA sanctions, did people still think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was squeaky clean? Why, after Tressel admitted in March that he played ineligible players and lied to the NCAA about it, did people still rush to his defense, claiming him an otherwise perfect coach who made one little mistake?

Because Tressel, Ohio State and a compliant media -- yes, I'm just as guilty as the other two parties -- sold that narrative so well.

Like other organizations built on loyalty over honesty, the loyal will remain so. Ohio State's best possible outcome now is for the NCAA to believe Tressel was solely at fault, take the resignation as evidence it's not an institutional problem, and in five years or so revive the sweatervest as a Buckeye legend who won big then graciously took the fall when the gotchyas got him.

Through my blue-colored glasses, that this incident exposed an institutional – not just a coach - problem is wholly believable, particularly in light of the period of time, and how the president and AD have handled themselves since last winter. That the NCAA will see it that way is not so clear. They'll certainly wonder how Ohio State had the gall to think it could get away with feigning ignorance, handing out a few suspensions, then asking for dispensation to play in the Sugar Bowl. But to admit that the tats and the cars were systemic is to admit the NCAA has been blind to the improper benefits at Ohio State manifest for 7 years.

Tonight we expect an SI article by George Dohrmann that may make NCAA's decision for them. In August, unless that's moved back to add more violations, will be the big hearing. Prediction: a lot more popcorn will be consumed before it's all over.

Caveat: There are a lot worse things a person can do than to give a free car to a guy you're still ultimately "paying" a tenth of what he brings you (Ballparking here: Pryor room/board/education/car: ~$12,000-$15,000? Pryor jersey sales: $1 million - 13,334 sold at $75/pop?) They cheated and lied and it was unfair but let's keep this in perspective.

---------------------------------------------------------

* He's recanting today but The Lantern posted some of the audio. Undisputed: Ray Small likes to say "you know."

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Diaries

EPIC GIF by the monarch:

And it gets better from there.

Your Diarist of the Week is BlueNote, who had the most informative article to date on this blog about the outlook for Ohio State and its efforts to keep information within the Brotherhood:

Takeaway #3:  OSU is playing hardball

The general crappiness and irrelevance of the documents retrieved by the AP signals to me that OSU is handing over very little.  The school is challenging the AP to keep fighting.

Takeaway #4:  The fight will continue

The fact that the AP actually published a story about Doug Archie’s 2009 performance evaluation means that this topic is gold to the media. If this non-story gets major national press, imagine what the AP could expect from a story about Sarniak emails?

In other words Ohio State plans to give up every inch in gallons of blood, and the AP can get so much play off any Ohio State scandal related article they're happy to oblige. Also: BlueNote thinks the highly anticipated SI article tonight might be a (state version of the) Freedom of Information Act tidbit that revealed more than it was meant to.

As for Michigan (oh yeah, us), two great diaries this week on Hoke's recruiting. The first is a fancy schmancy "my guess at the final Class of 2012" thing by JC3. The other: I was pleasantly surprised by the thought put into oakapple's discussion on early commitments and whether they will be a benefit or a great risk. He's talking mostly about the consensus 3-star types. Count me among those in favor of classes large and early, with a "moar study needed" caveat. Recent memory has plenty of last minute offers (Feagin, Butler, Criswell) who didn't pan out (recent last-minute guys who did were in the immediate aftermath of a coaching change). I'd rather hit January wondering if we can squeeze in somebody than have the staff trying to pry guys away, and have a year to focus on 4- and 5-stars with a safety net.

Geaux_Blue put together an APR Comparison Chart for football:

The purple line at the top is who you think it is, the light blue one just under it is going to fuel at least one Penn State fan justifiably acting arrogant toward you at some point in the future, and the worrisome navy line which started among the leaders and which has been going down down down while everyone else is going up up up…c'est nous.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo introduces us to the latest Varsity Men's Sport: Lacrosse.

After the jump, 10,000 words on what I plan to do on my summer vacation.

Dear Diary Picks Its Poison

Dear Diary Picks Its Poison

Submitted by Seth on May 22nd, 2011 at 7:53 PM

theerieottersbus existentialism

I don't know and don't want to know why it turned up pounds of shirtless man meat on page 1, but add "OHL" to things you should never search for on Google Images. "Existentialism" on the other hand, is quite entertaining.

Dear Diary,

Say you're a top Ontario hockey prospect. Your dream is to play for Michigan, but Michigan is not even allowed to contact you:

Stacked somewhere in between the Oshawa Generals and Bowling Green was a letter with a block M in the corner. It contained a brochure for the University, a questionnaire, and the contact information for the coaches. Turns out, I had not been emailing coach Berenson at all, but now I had his real address. I emailed him and got a response from an assistant coach. He told me to call him.

WHAT?! I can call these people?! How was this not explained to me before? I had never bothered to email any other school and since the player must initiate contact, they couldn't reach out to me.

Silk-Wolves-Sign-475You  don't know if Michigan will even offer you because it's too early on NCAA's schedule for anything like certainty. You are surrounded by people who want to see you in the OHL. You are drafted, and given a contract:

I sat down with the GM, who knew that I was considering college. He basically explained to me the benefits of the CHL, the education packages, and the unique experience of being a young local celebrity. He was very polite about it, but told me that if I was signing, he wanted it done within 2 weeks.

The diaries were blessed again with the concluding Parts II and III of JimLahey's epic personal tale that illustrates just how difficult it really is for hockey talent to cross the border, even for those who desperately want to play NCAA. Well written and poignant, with everything from twists to cliffhangers to a surprise ending, its plot is worthy of an episode of Law & Order. Except it happened to this guy. This guy: Diarist of the Week (again).

There was only one other diary this week, but it's a good 'un: ebv returned to do another analysis of correlation between defensive talent and performance, and also defensive experience and performance. Ganking charts:

Experience / Talent:

He used the Rivals depth charts so that's guys on the two-deep, not the starters. The comments had a lot of suggestions, and this overlaps with them, but I think there are a couple of factors that really need analysis more than average age and star-rating of two-deep:

  • Size of classes over 5-year period. A 3-star who made the two-deep out of 108 potential defensive players recruited is probably going to be more qualified than a 3-star who made the two-deep out of 40 defensive players recruited.
  • Run it again with just starters. The two-deep still includes a lot of guys who might not be ready to play, because the scholly limit and dress limit and whatnot. If the great teams have a 5-star junior or senior starting and two hyped freshmen backing them up, it won't show with an average age.
  • Gimme a "worst starter" breakdown too. Xcalibur once tried to test that when Michigan was rolling out Kovacs at free safety and every team we faced began running most of its plays directly at Kovacs. If there's a "weak link" effect for defenses, that will throw off your performance metrics for the team defense.
  • Related to above: Distribution?
      5th yr Sr Sr / RS Jr Jr / RS So So / RS Fr True Fr Avg.
    Team A 3 5 5 5 4 2.91
    Team B 9 1 1 1 10 2.91

    You are looking at teams with very big differences. Team B can field a much more experienced starting 11, but any injury or bust or low-rated older guy means a true freshman is likely starting. Team A's distribution is far more likely to be seeing players in their middle years handling significant time. You can do the same thing with star ratings:

      5-star 4-star 3-star 2-star Walk-On Avg.
    Team A 3 5 5 5 4 2.91
    Team B 9 1 1 1 10 2.91

    Any busts from B and you are starting a 2-star or a Walk-On. Distribution among the starters would tell us if there's a weak link effect too.

After the break (in honor of jg2112's poor scrolling wheel) I realign the NHL and suggest a playoff system.

Dear Diary Re-Names Divisions

Dear Diary Re-Names Divisions

Submitted by Seth on May 15th, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Mappituppic

Dear Diary,

Before we start, do me this favor: Make a fist, then straighten your arm at about a 45 degree angle from your body. All set? Now say this with me:

hailtosoftball

"HAIL!"

It came out earlier this week that HC Carol Hutchins, along with Jenny Brundage and Bonnie Tholl, helped save a recruit's father's life in late April. Then on Friday and Saturday softball twice made Little Sister cry uncle (ie 8-0 mercy rule). Friday it took 6 innings in Ann Arbor; on Saturday it was a 5-inning no-hitter in East Lansing to take the Big Ten title outright. They're on to the NCAA Regionals starting Friday with a 51-4 record, 16-0 on the road, and feel like a team headed for the Golden Palace.

Aside: Unfortunately for Mark Dantonio, there's no mercy rule for in-state recruiting. Onward and upward!

I've been kicking this entry around ever since the stupid logo with the stupid names came out. As Six Zero noted at the time, there's a lot more that goes into a branding job than drawing something on Photoshop. However it's not the 20-page booklet explaining proper branding uses and sizes and colors that caused a region-wide facepalm.

Ever since the moment about 20 minutes after the unveiling when we realized this wasn't Delany et al. pulling a DeAnthony Arnett commitment hat dance, the Internet has taken it upon ourselves to propose something better. Brian suggested East-West as a throw-up-hands consensus just so we don't have to use the official ones – and since this is his blog you are instructed to do the same – but personally I hate the cardinal direction convention almost as much. Herein are a handful of those collected, plus a few of my own:

Leaders / Legends:

1213522917738.jpg_595

Reason to Like: None if you have a soul.

Reason to Hate: That such an idea ever got past an ESPN message board.

Awkwardness ensues when: National reaction to unveiling of names was "Ha ha; no really…"

What's the catch: Keyword is "surprising."

"I think we have enough experience with names, and expansion and development of divisions, to know that you never, rarely, get 90 percent approval rating," Delany said during the interview. "But to get a 90 percent non-approval rating was, you know, really surprising."

Now remember the people who were surprised by this reaction later said they're not going to make any changes this year in the hopes that the divisional names grow on us. Where have I heard this reasoning before? Oh yeah, that's exactly how I ended up playing clarinet for 5 years instead of 5 minutes.

West / East:

compass3

Reason to Like: It's simple and neutral, I guess. "Champions of the West" in the song means something again. Deep thought: While we're fixing fight songs, wouldn't MSU's be more accurate if "vim" meant "D.U.I.?"

Reason to Hate: Trite, boring, and inaccurate.

Awkwardness ensues when: I am Funnybot. Where can you get from Michigan to Wisconsin by going East? In the Big Ten! Awkwaaaaard.

What's the catch: Thankfully this is off the table.

Griffith / Palmer:

JohnLSullivan-22 palmer
Did you know: That guy's not Griffith

Reason to Like: History of the Big Ten 101: Griffith was the first commissioner, Palmer House was the venue in Chicago where the conference was founded.

Reason to Hate: History of the Big Ten 101 is a prerequisite

Awkwardness ensues when: Could have honored James H. Smart (the "brains" behind the formation of the original Western Conference) but whoever's not in the "Smart" division would raise hell.

What's the catch: The Gary Bettman-itude of the shirts who decide this means there's close to zero chance of division names that your typical Ohio State fan won't recognize. Meijer & Wal-Mart Divisions are more likely.

Great Lakes / Heartland (or Great Plains):

GreatLakes1

Reason to Like: Neutral and highlights regional nicks.

Reason to Hate: Completely interchangeable. Favored by Lynn Henning.

Awkwardness ensues when: Generations of young Big~Ten fans grow up sucking just as much at Geography as counting.

What's the catch: Either Nebraska and Iowa are not "Heartland," or Michigan and Michigan State are not "Great Lakes."

Black / Blue:

blackandblue

Reason to Like: Because the region is mostly in the footprint of the NFL's black & blue division. Or because we tend to have entire positional depth charts wiped out by injury by the time the conference season starts.

Reason to Hate: Think how tired this will get after the umpteenth headline featuring the conference getting bruised.

Awkwardness ensues when: In the conf. championship game, (Black Division Champ) Michigan fans take up the "Let's Go Blue" chant.

What's the catch: This isn't a trait the conference really wants to focus on.

 

Lakes / River:

Mississippi-Valley-River-001
Early French explorers brought back tales of the wonders of Michigan, plus some stuff.

Reason to Like: Best shot at a geographic split. Mich&MSU are surrounded by the Great Lakes, Minn, Neb, & Iowa have 1,000s of Lakes, and Northwestern's on the Lake; the other division's schools are in states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania) either along the Ohio or Mississippi Rivers. Okay, it's a stretch.

Reason to Hate: Like we're the only place in the world that has lakes and rivers.

Awkwardness ensues when: The rule of silly recruit names means we'll eventually have a kid named Lakes representing a Rivers school playing a kid named Rivers representing the Lakes Division.

What's the catch: Like "Lake Michigan" somebody will get offended when something's named after the Ohio river.

Bo / Woody:*

woodybo
Unless you went to one of these schools, this apparently wasn't important.

Reason to Like: Is perfect.

Reason to Hate: If you're Michigan or Ohio State: none. If you are not Michigan or Ohio State: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!

Awkwardness ensues when: Michigan State wins the Bo Division, burns the trophy, and replaces it with another piece of schlock from Forwards in West Branch.

What's the catch: The newer members won't care as much – Penn State and Nebraska are two proud programs with history and tradition that rival M/OSU - but the years and years of being one of the "Little Eight" are not fond memories for the rest.

Where's Wisconsin? / Why Do We Have Wisconsin?:

Whereswisconsin

Reason to Like: ha ha, yer funny.

Reason to Hate: Hey, these division names recognize a school that isn't mine! WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!! (just kidding, guys. Could you imagine if we were like that?)

Awkwardness ensues when: Wisconsin thinks we're playing peek-a-boo and keeps yelling "I'm right heeeeeeere!"

What's the catch: Levity is underappreciated in formal settings.

Like one more than the other? Take the poll.

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Asterisk_black Hello, elephant in the room. If I may address you for a moment.

The minute the Big Ten announced it would have divisions, fans of 9 other schools* immediately screamed "Don't call them Bo and Woody!" This is because the most obvious binary convention in the conference are two iconic coaches who for a tenth of the conference's history were the Big Ten. When people talk about the Big Ten it's not how Randy Walker and Joe Tiller revolutionized passing from the Spread, but how Hayes, Schembechler and their acolytes did things that are manly. The two schools account for over 45% of the conference's football championships, and that number's over 50% when you stop counting the Purdue and Iowa's with 2 losses in the early 1900s who claimed one anyway in those Wild Western Conference days.

Without intervention, this would be the organic standard. Obviously Michigan and Ohio State fans (of which we are many) are leading this charge, but Nebraska fans and non-Big Ten followers seem to also be coming around to a split of "The one with Michigan & its rivals" and "The one with Ohio State & its rivals" since that's the most natural way to remember it. As for placating the other schools, I recommend we rename all the trophies:

  • Champion: Paterno Trophy
  • MVP: Red (Grange) Award (can certainly have some fun pouring red paint on the MVP each year, right?)
  • Coach of the Year: Osborne Award
  • Kinnick Award: To the Big Ten player who shows the greatest combination of outstanding athletic performance, sportsmanship, academic achievement, and service to his community, as embodied by Nile Kinnick
  • Amos Alonzo Stagg Award: To the player or coach who makes the greatest contribution to Big Ten football (through outstanding innovation, service, or play).
  • Offensive POY: Randle El Trophy
  • Defensive POY: The Bucking Bronco (Unfortunately Nagurski's taken by the NFL for the same thing)
  • Special Teams POY: Biggie Munn Award (so we can tell both Minnesota & Michigan State they got two)
  • Best Passer: Griese Trophy (highlights them as Cradle of QBs)
  • Best Back (QB/RB/FB/WR/TE): Paddy Driscoll Trophy
  • Best Lineman (Offense or Defense): Big Joe's Slab of Bacon (Since they play for an Axe now, we could repatriate the old Slab for the best lineman. Big Joe is Joe Thomas)
  • Best Defensive Back or Linebacker: Webster Trophy (I totally had to Wikipedia this one -- you try to find a Spartan football player other than Kirk Gibson or Plaxico whom anyone outside of Michigan can name!)
  • Bo Div Champ: Schembechler Trophy
  • Woody Div Champ: Hayes Trophy

* Nebraska was still too giddily checking out the house like Little Orphan Annie to care. Plus their online community is, for the internet, pretty level.

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Diaries

UMSsolar

Sparty

Above, that's Michigan's Solar Car Team's 2010 build, which won the U.S. solar car race thing. Below: that's Michigan State's entry in the same race. These are from Bronco648's (short) must-read diary UMsolar and the FSGP, which includes pics of M's even sleeker 2011 car apparently en route to Australia for the international competition. Before you rip on Sparty just remember which one you'd rather find in your basement years later when you're desperate for a beer pong table.

NOLA Blue did a comparison of Michigan's 2011 opponents and returning starters. The concept's there but then he kind of inexplicably ignores backfields and how good the players are, just listing number of returners at OL, TE, DL and LB as his basis for predicting games. This is the classic Charlie Weis-era Notre Dame mistake: Returning Sam Young again doesn't make you better.

As for the Diary of the Week, it's Part I of one man's journey from Pee Wee Hockey in Ontario to (hopefully) Yost Ice Arena.

"This is the biggest game of your career so far, their captain, like you, is also one of the best players in Ontario. If we win, people will say you're better than him. We always support you, but if we lose, people are going to blame you and say that he's better than you. Do you want that? Get to sleep early tonight, make sure you eat lots of carbs, protein tomorrow, and drink water all day. When I talk to your teacher, I want to hear from her  that you were asking to go to the bathroom all day."

I was 8 years old.

Part I tracks JimLahey's journey from top Ontario prospect to waiting for a scholarship to Michigan or heading to the OHL. FTR he's not Caporusso so stop guessing he's Caporusso. Caporusso Mention Rule still applies:

Dear Diary Takes Core Requirements

Dear Diary Takes Core Requirements

Submitted by Seth on May 9th, 2011 at 8:33 PM

thinghokeispointingat  Head coach Brady Hoke talks to the team before the Michigan Spring Football Game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. on April 16, 2011. Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com

Hoke's Glorious Kingdom, Which is His / Angela Cesere|AnnArbor.com

Dear Diary,

April in the D is overrated, but I can't complain about May in Michigan. As I write this I'm sunburned from the year's first sail, half-comatose from the first grilled burger, and spamming F5 on the MGoBlog home page so I don't miss another victorious recruiting battle. This being Michigan of course the week came with one rain storm, one frost, and two fuuuuuuuuuuu's, but today the sun is shining, the uber alleles are replicating, the warring has ended, and general sentiment feels our winter of discontent can be made glorious by this son of Hoke.

Last week's Diary of the Week made the state of Michigan football analogous to morning; maybe spring's more like it.

The week has also seen a few hands take their turns at analyzing recruiting rankings. Before they came out I was goofing with my own attempt at such but…yeah, lots of work, that. What I do have however is a comprehensive Big Ten recruiting database started. First comparable,

Percentage of recruits from in-state from 2002-2011:

School In-State Total
Ohio State 60.29% 204
Illinois 37.96% 245
Penn State 34.85% 198
Michigan State 34.03% 238
Wisconsin 31.25% 224
Michigan 26.51% 215
Indiana 26.34% 224
Minnesota 24.28% 243
Iowa 22.62% 221
Northwestern 22.04% 186
Purdue 16.81% 232
Total 30.49% 2430

Some of these are thrown off by the few schools that sign a substantial amount of JUCOs (Minnesota, Purdue, MSU) but if you pull them it doesn't change much of anything above.

Percent of players from source:

School H.S. JUCO PREP Players
Minnesota 86.01% 12.76% 1.23% 243
Purdue 87.93% 11.64% 0.43% 232
Michigan State 86.97% 10.08% 2.94% 238
Illinois 93.06% 4.49% 2.45% 245
Indiana 95.54% 4.02% 0.45% 224
Iowa 95.93% 3.17% 0.90% 221
Penn State 95.45% 2.02% 2.53% 198
Michigan 98.14% 1.40% 0.47% 215
Wisconsin 98.21% 1.34% 0.45% 224
Northwestern 98.92% 0.54% 0.54% 186
Ohio State 99.02% 0.49% 0.49% 204
Total 93.83% 4.98% 1.19% 2430

Are you surprised? The Ohio State homegrown number really stands out. What struck me was that the numbers are so low across the conference. This makes sense if you think about the relative populations of these states, kind of. Less populous Iowa had to leave the corn fields, while Ohio State can run a McKinley-style front porch recruiting campaign. What it doesn't gel with are the general perceptions of teams that "win with homegrown talent." Ohio State can say that but Wisconsin – even after dominating on the home front – still must travel abroad for most of its players.

Like this but with free cars

As for Michigan State, their hypothesis is that John L. Smith went out of state while Dantonio "got it." Let's test that:

  • JLS (2003-'06): 23.36% recruits from Michigan (M: 27.16% in that time)
  • Dantonio (2007-'11): 44.55% recruits from Michigan (M 21.24% in that time)

Seems to be right. The classes:

  MSU MICHIGAN
Year: Coach In-State Players Coach In-State Players
2002 Williams* 33.33% 21 Carr 52.38% 21
2003 Williams*/JLS 19.05% 21 Carr 35.29% 17
2004 Smith 25.81% 31 Carr 27.27% 22
2005 Smith 22.22% 27 Carr 26.09% 23
2006 Smith 25.00% 28 Carr 21.05% 19
2007 Dantonio 34.78% 23 Carr 25.00% 20
2008 Dantonio 61.90% 21 Carr/RR** 20.83% 24
2009 Dantonio 52.17% 23 RR 18.18% 22
2010 Dantonio 50.00% 22 RR 14.81% 27
2011 Dantonio 23.81% 21 RR/Hoke 30.00% 20

* Morris Watts was interim H.C. for the last three games of '02 after Bobby Williams was fired. JLS arrived right after the bowls. The '03 class was mostly Bobby's.

** The Michigan recruiting was mostly done by Carr; Rodriguez added five players, all from out-of-state.

There's nothing substantially different about Michigan from late-Carr to RR, except the huge in-state recruiting year in '02. If there was a "he cares" meme going up it was based on disparity. Dantonio's 2011 class looks like it went "national" but really he moved even more heavily into Ohio. So let's see that:

Percent of Recruits from Any Big Ten State:

School 2002-'05 2006-'08 2009-'11 Total
Ohio State 78.05% 69.09% 76.12% 75.00%
Indiana 58.76% 70.49% 80.30% 68.30%
Wisconsin 63.04% 62.69% 72.31% 65.63%
Michigan State 54.00% 65.28% 80.30% 64.71%
Illinois 65.96% 62.82% 52.05% 60.82%
Michigan 65.06% 49.21% 60.87% 59.07%
Iowa 54.02% 58.82% 62.12% 57.92%
Northwestern 48.72% 58.93% 51.92% 52.69%
Minnesota 62.24% 46.67% 44.29% 52.26%
Penn State 51.95% 45.76% 43.55% 47.47%
Purdue 51.96% 36.62% 33.90% 42.67%
Total 59.39% 56.69% 60.14% 58.81%

And Michigan's regional recruiting by year (with how M finished the previous season):

Year In-Region Previous Year's Result
2002 85.71% 8-4 / 6-2, lost 45-17 to Tennessee in Citrus Bowl
2003 58.82% 10-3 / 6-2, def. Florida 38-30 in Outback Bowl
2004 59.09% 10-3 / 7-1. lost 28-14 to USC in Rose Bowl
2005 56.52% 9-3 / 7-1, lost 38-37 to Texas in Rose Bowl
2006 52.63% 7-5 / 5-3, lost 32-28 to Nebraska in Alamo Bowl
2007 40.00% 11-2 / 7-1, lost 32-18 to USC in Rose Bowl
2008 54.17% 9-4 / 6-2, def. Florida 41-35 in Citrus Bowl, New Coach
2009 40.91% 3-9 / 2-6, no bowl.
2010 70.37% 5-7 / 1-7, no bowl.
2011 70.00% 7-6 / 3-5, lost 52-14 to Miss. St in Gator Bowl, New Coach

Recruiting is a perception game, not just numbers, but you can clearly see how perception has affected Michigan's out-of-state recruiting. However the top chart seems to equate winning periods with success and vice versa. Look at Purdue in the Orton/Kirsch era as opposed to after. See Minnesota under Mason as opposed to KILL FIGHT WIN! See the Dantonio Effect at MSU. But I don't think you can take this and declare "Big Ten recruiting wins championships." Take Indiana: they got over 40% from elsewhere when they sucked in the early 2000s, and just 20% from elsewhere today.

dinardo160

Year In-Region Coach
2002 47.62% DiNardo
2003 48.00% DiNardo
2004 73.08% DiNardo
2005 64.00% Hoeppner
2006 71.43% Hoeppner
2007 70.00% Lynch
2008 70.00% Lynch
2009 94.74% Lynch
2010 76.00% Lynch
2011 72.73% Lynch

What you see is two years of DiNardo riding post-Randel El fame until his teams were so bad the XFL wouldn't take him back had they still existed. Indiana recruits locally because few people outside of the footprint would consider going to Indiana when they can sign with a Mid-Major and win some football games once in awhile. Ohio's in-region numbers are driven by their ridiculous in-state rate. Penn State's is low because they exist outside the Midwest and use Maryland, Jersey, and the D.C. area like we use Ohio. All this chart really shows, without knowing the context for each team, is possible evidence of strategy:

  • Looks like they took it outside: Zook, Brewster, JLS, Rodriguez?
  • Looks like they focused inside: Dantonio, Tressel

The evidence isn't strong enough to claim either as fact. So one last chart:

Percent of Big Ten-Bound In-State Recruits Who Chose School X: (numbers are for that school's own state):

School 2002-'05 2006-'08 2009-'11 Total
Iowa 92.00% 90.91% 89.47% 90.91%
Wisconsin 78.38% 73.08% 75.00% 72.16%
Minnesota 71.79% 54.84% 77.78% 67.05%
Indiana 32.81% 43.75% 59.38% 44.36%
Penn State 45.90% 43.48% 40.38% 43.40%
Michigan State 27.17% 44.44% 40.58% 36.16%
Illinois 38.39% 32.14% 34.33% 35.36%
Ohio State 36.08% 25.66% 26.62% 30.00%
Purdue 40.63% 31.25% 15.63% 29.32%
Michigan 31.52% 22.22% 20.29% 25.45%
Northwestern 14.29% 16.67% 16.42% 15.59%

Here strategies become slightly apparent. Ferentz may fill his roster with non-Iowans but only after he makes sure virtually every Iowan who can play for a Big Ten team will play for his. Wisconsin and Minnesota also stand out for kspartanseeping talent home. Most of the Minnesotans who weren't Gophers were Badgers. Of the 28% of Big Ten cheeseheads who don't end up at Wisconsin, 9% went to rival and neighbor Minnesota, 6% went to Indiana, which probably means they didn't have an offer, and 5% went to Northwestern, which is close to Wis. population centers and a better school and also probably a place for kids Wisconsin didn't want.

Indiana takes what it can. Penn State accesses the Atlantic States but can't protect its West from hemorrhaging talent all around the conference. Michigan State since '06 is heavy into the 3-stars Michigan didn't want (and the 4- and 5-stars Michigan did want). Ohio State and Illinois are homebodies because they are state schools for very populous states. Purdue and Northwestern draw from all over, though the Boilermakers have seemingly shifted away from bothering with their home state in favor of being players in Chicagoland and all around the conference.

Then there's Michigan. Big school in a shared state, we get only a quarter of the in-state talent. It's apparent from this why it's so important to compete in Ohio and around the country: the presence of a sibling makes the Iowa/Wisconsin home-first strategy impractical. I leave the rest of the conclusions to you; on to the diaries.

Geography

geo1 geo2 geo3

Whatever your boss wants you to be doing right now, it can wait while you check out this Diary of the Week-winning set of recruiting maps, updated by Rescue_Dawn. This time he broke up the maps into commits, (red), Offense offers (maize) and Defense offers (blue). The bigger the circle, the higher profile the recruit according to the services. It went up before Standifer got his offer but otherwise it's up to date.

But wait, there's more: Thanks to Deep Under Cover you can now contribute to a Google version of this, a sort of Google Wiki Mappy Thing (Internet, it's time for new words; we used up your words):

mpppagomappa

It is an empty slate, so get cracking.

Statistics

Bumped from the boards to the diaries, and then from there to the front page this week was Gopherine's piece on Recruiting Bias and Accuracy, who got the Black Heart Gold Pants guy to pony up the data from the recruiting to NFL study* to check out whether under-scouted players outperformed their recruiting rankings.

Of course, the chart doesn't disprove my mildly paranoid belief that Midwesterners are consistently being slighted by the jerks on the coasts, so let's call this a win.

Note that the Midwestern 5 star recruits underperform the mean. This has no impact on the claim (5 star recruits can't be underrated), but it's interesting nonetheless. Really small samples for 5 stars is all the explanation I need.

 

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* UpUpDownDown said something about Iowa Running Back Hating God visiting him in the night with a Walkman and Van Halen?

----------------------------------------------------

Economics

sec: cash (1) cash (1)cash (1)

big-ten-logo-pentagram: cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)

pac-12-logo: cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)cash (1)

emu: Dammit. by Zone Left.

Classical Philosophy

Plato_Republic_1713I'm more an old comedy man myself, but even Philosopher Kings are down for puffin' up the pillows, breaking out the good Grechetto, and getting into a good ol' fashioned seminar on Why do we watch football? Plato, according to WatersDemos:

Football is our way of observing our own ideal cities in speech.  It engages all three elements of the soul, and teaches us that only proper ordering of the soul can lead to success.  In this case, the reason element is represented by the head coach, who (hopefully) is akin to a football philosopher king.  Second, you have the courageous/spirited element, i.e., the players, who hopefully are akin to football warriors.  Finally, you have the desire element, represented by the fans, whose generally unrealistic and limitless demands really belong on the bottom of this pyramid (with some exceptions of course).

Read, and become a better man for it.

Divination

Eye of the Tiger read some tea leaves and described four plausible scenarios for the 2011 season, revealing the fears and hopes of this great unknown.

  • 10-2: A weakened Big Ten sees Michigan return to the Rose Bowl, though he admits this is unlikely.
  • 9-3/8-4: Progressive improvement over the season, maybe with a win over reeling Buckeyes?
  • 7-5/6-6: A different kind of mediocrity, which is one or two injuries to the O-line away.
  • 5-7 or worse: It takes years to build up from one of the worst defenses in the country, but ruining one of the best offenses can happen much faster.

Hi Mom!

My Mom is the only other family member to go to Michigan. On State week she puts on maize and blue and ribs my MSU siblings about had they only studied harder. Without her I never would have pursued my career, gone to my school, met my friends or my wife. She has read (and unsolicitedly copy edited) almost anything I've ever written. In the words of Mr. Slocum: i love her i think she da realest bitch alive.

Dear Diary Sends 'Em On Their Way

Dear Diary Sends 'Em On Their Way

Submitted by Seth on May 1st, 2011 at 3:56 PM

DearDiaryFlashmob2

Dear Diary,

Here's people dressed in grad gowns dancing in the Diag to Rusted Root:

The cards at the end made me think it's an elaborate advertisement for the sponsor. But I have questions: did they use real grads? Did we go to blue gowns this year, or did they just figure we use Duke's tailor? All I can find out on the inter-webs is that musical theater major Erik Heitz was involved with it.

Anyway it's a nice segue into saying so long to last week's graduates. I thought I had it bad, showing up the year immediately following football and hockey national championships to have Brian Cook's class be all like "Ha Ha, You Missed It!"* Well these cats started classes the week of The Horror, and leave with the taste of the "okay now we have to fire him" blowout to Mississippi State. In the process they survived three losses to Michigan State, four losses to Ohio State, an Ultimate Test of Fandom Endurance, and the punch to the dong that turned Corey Liuget's life around.** However they did witness two comebacks versus Notre Dame, Illinois in OT, postseason runs from eminently likeable hockey and basketball squads, and apparently more flash mobs than any class in history.

So here's to the Class of 2011. You got pretty hosed seeing just the carcass of Bo's Empire, and then having to suffer three years of rebuilding just so we could knock down and declaim the whole damn edifice. Yet there you were, every week, boozed up in the student section with all the optimism of a Denard smile, and all the un-canned coordination of a flash mob. You should all get avatar badges or something.

------------------------------------------------------------

* This was literally the front page headline of our Daily freshman orientation issue.

** Bonus: Article written by "Tim Sullivan" (NTTS).

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Those Who Will Never See This Day

OnNoticewarrenandfredo

About a month ago I promised a Part II to revisiting the Decimated Defense series. I got all the research done, down to making images of the charts, and planned to get it out the following week. But then I got early winds of the Cullen transfer (and learned I was seriously depressing my only follower on Twitter), so I put it off, and put it off, and put it off. With some fallout coming down the line from Tat-gate, Michigan State's Third Annual Assault and Potluck, and whatever Saban has to do to get down to 85 again (they're at +11 according to oversigning.com), maybe it's best we wait 'till at least fall practice for the whole reveal.

Still, with sincere apologies to DosLeches, Cullen's transfer to Pitt leaves the pool of defensive backs in the same perilous state it's been in for Class of '11's entire collegiate career. Observe (UPDATE: sorted by position, and where you'd expect them to be on the depth chart given projection as recruit and time in program):

Cornerbacks:

Year Name Ht Wt RR Notes
2007 Donovan Warren 6'0" 175 6.1 Starred, left after Junior season for NFL, not drafted
2009 Justin Turner 6'2" 186 6 Fell down depth chart, resisted move to FS, transferred before 2010 season
2008 Boubacar Cissoko 5'9" 171 6 Played as fr and so, but got kicked off team during 2009 season
2007 Troy Woolfolk 5'11" 176 5.5 Injured for 2010 season, Medical redshirt, expected starter at CB in 2011
2010 Cullen Christian 6'0" 180 5.9 Played as freshman, transferred after 2011 Spring Game
2008 J.T. Floyd 6'0" 179 5.5 Injured during 2010 season, if recovered possible starter at CB in 2011
2009 Adrian Witty 5'9" 175 5.3 Not admitted to university
2007 James Rogers 6'1" 195 5.5 No redshirt, graduated after 2010 season
2010 Courtney Avery 5'10" 165 5.5 Played and started as Fr, projected starting CB in 2011
2010 Terrence Talbott 5'10" 172 5.5 Played and started as Fr, backup at CB
2011 Greg Brown 5'10" 180 5.5 Freshman EE
2011 Blake Countess 5'10" 171 5.8 Incoming Freshman
2011 Delonte Hollowell 5'8" 162 5.7 Incoming Freshman

Safeties:

Year Name Ht Wt RR Notes
2007 Michael Williams 5'11" 181 5.8 Bust, head injury in 2010 effectively ended career
2008 Brandon Smith 6'3" 210 5.9 Moved to Spinner/LB, played sparingly as So., transferred late in 2009 season.
2010 Demar Dorsey 6'1" 175 5.8 Not admitted to university
2009 Vladimir Emilien 6'1" 186 5.8 Held back by injuries in early career, transferred before 2010 season.
2007 Artis Chambers 6'2" 185 5.6 Transferred citing playing time (?!?!!!) before 2009 season
2010 Marvin Robinson 6'1" 190 5.8 Backup in 2010, projected backup at SS in 2011
2009 Mike Jones 6'3" 200 5.7 Moved to LB, injured in 2010, possible starter at WLB in 2011
2009 Isaiah Bell 6'1" 209 5.7 Moved to LB, fell down depth chart, bust.
2009 Cameron Gordon 6'2 211 5.8 Started at FS in 2010, moved to LB, projected starter at SLB in 2011
2010 Josh Furman 6'3" 194 5.7 Redshirted in 2010, 3rd on depth chart at SS
2010 Carvin Johnson 6'0" 185 5.7 Played SLB/Spinner as Fr, projected starting FS in 2011
2009 Thomas Gordon 5'11" 199 5.5 Played as freshman, projected backup at either S position in 2011
2010 Ray Vinopal 5'10" 178 5.4 Was starting FS by end of fr year, transferred after coaching change in 2011
2011 Raymon Taylor 5'10" 167 5.8 Incoming Freshman
2011 Tamani Carter 6'0" 175 5.5 Incoming Freshman
2008 Jordan Kovacs 6'0 195 4.9 Student body walk-on, 3rd year starter at SS as RS Jr in 2011

Here's the talent distribution versus the field, with incoming freshmen not counted because they're freshmen:

DDDBs

Take where you were right before Woolfolk went down last year, remove James Rogers, and add a year of experience to everybody, and that's Michigan's 2011 defensive backfield. As you can see the closest thing after Troy to an upperclassman with any kind of recruiting hype is Marvin Robinson, a true sophomore who doesn't seem likely to displace Kovacs and may move to linebacker in the future. Unless the new staff works miracles and/or some of these guys were very underrated, please keep expectations low. Best case scenario is nobody gets hurt, Carvin as a sophomore is the second competent free safety at Michigan since 1997, and the unit performs like a poor man's Notre Dame.

Sorry DosLeches. It depresses me too, but a Ngata/Mattison face-mash can always cheer me up.

Flash Diaries

Michigan Jersey 2 oimg

There were two this week not counting TomVH and Tim (YTTS).

First, stubob put up Part II of his Gauging Team Effectiveness blog, this time with San Diego State broken down. It's not a very tight comparison since there's a huge difference in schedule strength but the results show some competency. Inspired by the exercise, the_white_tiger posted a long and detailed response on his blog Maize-Colored Glasses. Takeaway from the latter is that Hoke inherited a thing that was worse than we thought it was, and left it a thing better than we thought it was. There may be something to those uber alleles after all.

As for your Diarist of the Week, that goes to Captain, who ran with a theme from the alma mater to give us a fitting metaphor for the state of the program:

Although his success may still lurk in the realm of our collective optimism, Brady Hoke is already bringing something palpable to this team.  It's light materialized into rote sound bytes about "toughness" and "fundamentals."  It's identity.  It's the dawn that ends the night.

It's morning in Michigan.

Dear Diary Puts an Orange on the Seder Plate

Dear Diary Puts an Orange on the Seder Plate

Submitted by Seth on April 25th, 2011 at 2:52 AM

seder plate nonseq

Dear Diary,

Happy Easter, and Chag Sameach. While the bulk of you are eating chocolate and painting/finding eggs, my tribe has Passover. Aside from eating matzah and the related constipation the holiday has a traditional dinner, or "seder." The dinner has a script: symbolism of the various traditional dishes, four questions of the "gee, I wonder why we're eating matzah…" variety recited by a kid, followed by the story of how Pharaoh was smart for being long wheat in the ancient futures market but was unsuccessful in labor issues.

In recent years our family has been adding fiancés, wives, etc., who grew up with slightly different traditions and very different views on what makes an appropriate Seder. The big argument's over the orange. This is a thing we started doing like 10 years ago which I love and some people completely despise. The parable for this goes that one day an orthodox rabbi said there would be a woman rabbi (actually "woman on the bimah") when there's on orange on the Seder plate. So: plop.

In January MVictors and Hoover Street wrote their epic "The Clans. The Factions. Defined," which brilliantly defined the various sub-groups of Michigan fandom. The party lines haven't gone away in three months. There's always that one topic that

Boclan: Oh G-d, not again.

Um, can I help you…?

Boclan: I am MisoBOgon. The only true Michigan fan. And I'm only stopping by to tell you how sick I am of hearing you people whine about "The Process." And I can tell from your intro that's exactly what you're about to do.

Actually, no, I was…

Decatur: Let it go. It's over. Move on.

Who…?

Decatur: Misopocatur, the one true Michigan fan. We have our coach. We have Mattison. We have Denard's smile. Let it go.

In Rod We Trusted: Plussed for mentioning Denard's smile.

Look, I don't know where you people are coming from…

corduroy jacket patch clan: 'From where you people are coming,' you mean, assuredly. Real Michigan fans, e.g. myself, Misopuroy Jacket Patch, do not end sentences with prepositions.

…from whence you people have come but really I was just going to write a Dear Diary about how ridiculous all of this Internet bickering is becoming.

Boclan: So quit bitching and it'll stop.

Rebellion : RRRRrrrraaaaaaa

Oh come on.

Rebellion : RRRRrrrrooddd. Ninja Slot UFR +12. Decimated DefenseRRRRRRRRRR

Lloyd Lyoyalists: You obviously don't know what you're talking about. I, for one, am glad to be back to normal.

               Rebellion: Negged!

               In Rod We Trusted: Negged! Ban this man!

Guys, guys, what the hell…?

Fierce Prags: Isn't it obvious? I've been tracking user data pretty closely and it seems the various fan factions who were scattered by the last three years' events are coming back together for some Michigan football talk and encountering…each other.

Rebellion: Negged!

Cotton Pickin Blues: Agree. I don't have enough points to make a new thread but I just wanted to say my daughter's starting U-M in the fall! Go Blue!

Ah. Well that explains all the bickering this week. Anyway what I was gonna…

corduroy jacket patch clan: 'going to'

… say is welcome back to anyone who left us over the last few years. As Decaturogon or whatever above mentioned, it's probably high time for the Michigan fan base to come back together. You know what we need for that?

Boclan: Easy: stop bitching.

In Rod We Trusted: You should talk! Let me tell you what they just wrote in the Freep about RR…

Lloyd Lyoyalists: They'll never admit they were wrong.

                     Rebellion: Negged! Mods, clean this up!

The 2nd Estate: He just didn't get the wins. It's that simple. Let's move on.

Rebellion:

                              nonseq

Lloyd Lyoyalists: If they can't admit that they can't see anything.

PEOPLE: http://www.mlive.com!

BoclanRebellionThe 2nd EstateCotton Pickin Blues
Lloyd Lyoyalistscorduroy jacket patch clanDecaturIn Rod We Trusted
Fierce Prags(smug)…

If all of these be-hatted folks can co-exist in my head* we can all exist together in a room that seats 115,000.

At the risk of making this post sound any more Maize & Brewish, in honor of Passover, here's a list of what I consider sufficient to be classified a Michigan fan:

  1. Rooting for another team as well. (Dayenu)
  2. Rooting for M now, but used to not be (Dayenu)
  3. Rooting for M, but not having gone to the University of Michigan (only State fans care about this, and that's because few people will root for State if they didn't go there or have another close connection to the program.) (Dayenu)
  4. Rooting for M, but not supporting the current staff or individual members of the program. (Dayenu)
  5. Rooting for M, but not supporting former staff or members of the program. (Dayenu)
  6. Rooting for M, but not reading/watching the right material. (Dayenu)
  7. Rooting for M, but representing the university or the program badly. (Dayenu)
  8. Rooting only for Michigan in one sport. (Dayenu)
  9. Being able to experience long periods of ambivalence when Michigan's not winning. (Dayenu)

As for ranking who's a good fan and who's a worse fan – the topic of a removed board post this week – I think peoples' definitions of that are so wildly different as to make the trite-ass "it's different for every person" cop-out true in this case. But let's be sure, eh? Fandom poll!

For each factor, just indicate how important each is in how you might rate fandom. My purpose is just to see if there's any consistency at all, even among a group as insular as a blog's readership.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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* In my life I've been all but the 2nd Estate. But there's time yet.

Seriously, all of these narratives are in my head at once.

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More Surveys!

lbpoll Moderationfeeling

Left: Two guys we're pretty sure have pictured themselves as Ray Lewis.
Right: what the board thinks of our moderating job at present.

It's survey week at MGoBlog. The first by umhero is probably the most inadvertently useful bit of recruiting news I've ever read. It asks the board to vote on who they think will end up in the class, and reactions are so lopsided I feel like I know the kids' decisions better than they do. I'll let him do the honors of results but the poll is here. By the way hero, pollcode? That's so 2009!

Survey Two is results-oriented. That is wingedsig published the results of his 500-person study on MGoBlog's board moderation, which proves two things: the pos/neg system isn't near perfect, and there are at least 20 females on the Internet!

Orange!

Finally in surveys I give you justingoblue, who responded to Brian responding to a Mailbag by surveying Title IX and demonstrating quite succinctly that it has doesn't regulate coaches' salaries:

I took a look at the law itself, and have concluded that coaches salaries do not have to be equivalent, both through reading the law and through anecdotal evidence as told by UM's salaries.

Justin took the salaries of the revenue sports (coaches, then coaches and assistants) and the numbers changed. He ends with 30 coaches for women's sports and 18 for non-revenue men's sports. The mean salary is pretty close (both over $80K) and explainable by the ladies' coaches being incredibly good at their jobs.

For example softball is No. 1 in the country right now, and Tennis just won the Big Ten Championship again!

Tennis

Orange!

 

When We Were Slaves in Egypt…

The Spring Game's technically not a game, but it's enough to bring monuMental back (to the future)!

Back to the Future - Spring Football 2011 Wallpaper Preview

Look closely and you'll see the 1901 team's secret to scoring a point a minute: Time Traveling Denard Robinson! Also time-traveling Hoke.

In another past blast, JimLahey wrote up his encounter with Lloyd Carr at the WESPY Awards (Windsor Essex Sports Person of the Year). It's so vintage Carr:

The conversation was about 8-10 minutes long and we mostly discussed literature and philosophy. There was a great point in the conversation when we talked about writers who make their work inaccessible to most people by unnecessarily writing in complex schemes just for complexity's sake. I said I preferred the simple, classic, and understated genius of writers like Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, whose complexities come from the depth of their characters. He agreed.

That little part right there is the Diary of the Week, because remember how the part about Carr that we all loved was absolutely unique and genuine and wonderful? Read the short diary and you will too.

The other candidate for DotW was stubob's statistical attempt to create a new metric (which he calls "effectiveness") for offensive and defensive play. Right now it's mostly raw data that says what we already knew about last year:

Defense, on the other hand, was great in the rain against Purdue, better-than-average against ND and Illinois (per drive, remember), and shelled by MSU, the other MSU and Wisconsin. This should not be news.

But he's getting some help from the comments and promises to pick apart SD State games next so keep your eyes open because I've got a feeling Part II's gonna get good! Bonus: one of those enlightening, wordy exchanges that the comments section used to be back in the before time* broke out at Comment 3.

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* My recollection of the before time was a lot of sarcasm from WLA and Brian a lot less worried about pissing people off, but then I came late.

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Orange!

Dear Diary Intends to Blow

Dear Diary Intends to Blow

Submitted by Seth on April 10th, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Michiganfirstgoal

MGoBlue /Ghostwhistle. Not in picture: Hockey East referee being incompetent.

Site note: If you're here for the official MGo-Take on last night's championship game, only Brian can deliver that. These are my opinions, not the blog's. And my opinion is that "Intent to Blow" is the worst rule in sports:

As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the referee may intend for the play to be stopped slightly before the whistle actually being blown. For example, the fact that the puck may come loose or cross the goal line before the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the referee determined that the play had stopped.

I have been saying that for years, mostly because the Red Wings are famous for getting screwed by it like all the time. So when Michigan had their first goal waived off last night, I already knew what I'd be writing about this morning, because "Intent to Blow" is one of those topics that I – like pretty much anyone else with who spends an unhealthy amount of time at Kukla's Korner - get screaming mad about whenever it's brought up. The internet hockey world thinks it's such a joke that it's the nom de plume of its best satire guy.

So of course the consensus most mindfuckingly stupid rule ever goes ahead and rips away a National Championship from Michigan.

I can't get into the ludicrous penalty disparity (thanks again Hockey East) that had M playing one fifth of the game with 20% fewer players; I wasn't taking notes, and don't have the torrent yet. Not that it matters: during the course of a hockey game a puck squirted through a sieve and entered the UMD net several seconds before a whistle was blown. As is always the case with game-altering intent to blow calls, the referee was out of position in the corner, lost sight of the puck, and made up his mind that all official hockey activity had ceased. After making some tea and ambling his way behind the net, he finally deigned to blow his whistle to let everyone else know that hockey activities had ceased, and that all things that had transpired in the interim never happened.

In slow-mo thanks to hal2thevic0r:

The point of the rule, as I understand it, is to discourage dangerous scrums in front of the net between when the goalie goes down on the puck and the ref manages to get whistle to lips. But that is rendered moot by the players, who will play until they hear the whistle. Ultimately the refs should blow a play dead when they lose sight of the puck. However in an age when video replay is available and in use, it's all too easy to use standards for goal scoring and stoppage of play that are not at all subjective: pucks cross lines, whistles blow, and we just go to the evidence.

Above I linked the last round of a "worst rule in hockey" tournament by the Minnesota Wild SBNation site. The blog had this to say:

Intent to blow has crushed all opponents thus far in this competition. The reason is clear. Fans are tired of a rule that has so clearly cost teams games. The referees are not supposed to affect the outcome of a game. They are simply supposed to call the penalties and ensure a fair game. With a rule such as this, they have the subjective control to change the outcome of a game. That's just not acceptable.

The rule of "play to the whistle" seems so simple. It is reviewable, it is fair, and it is indisputable. Was the puck across when the whistle blew? Yes or no are the only two answers. Was the puck across the line when the referee intended to blow the whistle? How are we ever supposed to know that?

I'll go further: Video makes the Intent clause nothing more than a cover for referee fallibility. It's the ref's fault, not the players', if he's out of position and loses sight of the puck because of it. Even good refs can have bouts of incompetence, because hockey changes direction faster than jetpack Smurf Denards on swivel rollerskates.* If he blows an early whistle, well, that's an inevitable thing that happens with human refs. The Intent rule was an understandable standard in the absence of instant replay, because how else do you make a call out of a total clusterf—?

Refswarning

MGoBlue /How dare you question my intent! To the box, all of ye!

Video changes this because we now have what is essentially another referee who's usually in the perfect position and can provide incontrovertible evidence of everything he saw. So if the on-ice ref doesn't blow his whistle until later, what the bloody hell does it matter when he lost sight of the puck, just so long as the video didn't? Why codify errors that are easily avoided? Why keep a rule which its only extant function is to disallow good goals?

I swear if Michigan had scored the overtime winner I'd still hate the stupid rule. If UMD had a goal disallowed I'd still hate the stupid rule. But of course the stupid rule had to be the exact difference in a national title for the one team I can't possibly claim a lack of total idiot bias for.

Due to the butterfly effect we have no idea if the game would have transpired differently had that goal been allowed, but it doesn't change the fact that except for a rule that allows referee incompetence to trump video evidence Michigan scored 3 goals before Minnesota-Duluth did. If you're here from UMD looking for some sour grapes, okay, you have a fine hockey team which played some championship-worthy hockey these past few weeks. Congratulations. Also: the Bulldog is a silly name for a hockey team.

slapshot-drhook-mccracken2

Way to go Champ.

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* If you allow that there are competent NCAA hockey refs surely you'll forgive me jetpack Smurf Denards and their associated accoutrements.

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Diaries and Whatnot, but First Lose the Shirt

slapshot

Eddie Shore?

2006 Tigers fans will nod at this: sometimes you have a team that looked kinda good but not like world beaters, and then all of a sudden they're in a miracle season with new traditions and a palpable excitement, and then they topple Goliath and the only thing between it and a championship is the one thing all year they're actually favored a little bit to beat. Then it goes to hell, and not in the "well we came as far as we could" kind of way of freshmen losing to Duke by two but in the 20 errors by pitchers while the dream is shot and stabbed kind of way.

The way Michigan was playing last night after Intent to Blow you thought they were the better team. Then came all the UMD power plays – a few of them actually deserved – and by overtime you could tell Scooter had lost a step and Rust was run ragged and with all of that shaking something had to finally come loose.

It's been five years since the '06 Tigers got within sight of The Thing then fell out of the tree, but all I remember today is the climb. There was gum and Verlander and Inge fouling off 25 pitches from Barry Zito and the Slam in the Bronx, and all of that. Five years from now, what will we remember? The penalties will sting, but more than that it'll be Caporusso's Valentine, Scooter's shot, Rust's defiance of human capacity, a huge Swedish flag, and a tiny little goalie who made big.

Your Diarist of the Week is Gordon, who's already there:

At this time next year, around the time that new banners go up, and old banners get updated, there will be a Carl Hagelin plaque hanging in the north hallway of Yost. Is that anything to be disappointed about?

That's the conclusion of Gordon's diary, but like the 2010-11 Michigan Men's Ice Hockey season, it's not about the end but the journey.

Old Time Hockey?

Before the championship game became literally just this, Brian – as only that guy can do – aptly summarized the "1-0" victory over NoDak as the "world's longest penalty kill." Shortly before that Blazefire made a much less apropos analogy of Berenson's coaching v. UND to a Lloyd game:

"Make that lead hold up, boys! Drive them crazy!"

Just like a Lloyd coached game, UND had chances, and plenty of them. But what they got very little of was the break away, one on that makes goalies around the world wet themselves. Most of their good chances erupted from a pile of bodies, more of which were Maize and Blue than Green and White.  But it was always in a pile of chaos that’s hard to take advantage of.

“We’re gonna out-execute them. No mistakes. Do it right every time.”

Blazefire is pretty much wrong on the comparison – that's just my e-opinion – except for the part of the quote I bolded. If you ask me, Berenson's more Fielding Yost than Lloyd Carr or Bo. But I could totally see him telling his players on the bench that whole UND game: "keep up the pressure, you're driving them crazy!"

FTR, I like Blazefire. I just think the analogy isn't a fit.

They Teach You How to Underline in College

Board, meet yourself:

demographics

This is but one small sample of wingedsig's survey results, posted mere moments before I was going to post this. I haven't even read through it all yet but it's MGoDemographics and long so giddyup!

User ertai last week laid out his case for paying D-I revenue sport players, comparing Ph.D. students and their stipends on the basis of how much $ and prestige they bring to the university by choosing to do their work here. Some folks negged him out of hand because paying players is going to be a non-starter for the current NCAA folks. But:

As we can see, from a high level perspective, there are many similarities. The difference is that PhD students get a stipend, which varies based on the school and the location. Also schools may offer PhD students different amounts of money for their services based on how good they are. For example, an OSU PhD student choosing between OSU, MIT and Stanford will probably get a larger offer from OSU than one who just got into OSU. Stipends range between 15K to 30K a year, based on the department, school, and your attractiveness as a candidate.

Read and lend your e-pinion – it's obvious he put some time and thought into the proposal. The strongest case I can make against it is that for most schools, even in D-I, the revenue sports can barely bring in enough to pay for the rest of the athletic department, so we'd essentially be going back to a system of a few mega-Haves and the Boise States of the world unable to compete. Michigan would obviously be a Have, but the other 90% would raise so much hell it's a non-starter.

The folks who don't like Johnny RBUAS got a rep in the diaries in zoltan the destroyer, who riffed on Johnny's guest post. Of course, zoltan totally missed the point: the intellectual weakness of a Johnny post isn't in being kindly sentimental to his subjects, just in the bias of choosing Michigan subjects. When I can explain in less than 800 words why Johnny fans like me naturally get bent out of shape when a cynic breaks up our sap, I'll do so. Just a thought from a writer's perspective: the reason the thoughts he puts in M players' heads are those of great good isn't saying they're all heroes; he's doing that because in our own heads we're all heroes. Make sense? Probably not. Have a haterz gif.