Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway

Unverified Voracity Has Always Been At War With Piscataway Comment Count

Brian May 9th, 2016 at 1:46 PM

Gambling in this establishment. There has never been a more slam-dunk bolded header than the one you just read:

"I was shocked like everyone else living it out in real time," Freeze said of Tunsil's draft night comments. "But I'm confident our administration is going to find the facts and then give us a good report on it."

Good luck with that.

War. War never changes. Because one side is Grenada. You may remember NJ.com columnist Steve Politi from such hits as "Kyle Flood is real, man" and "Paramus asking Harbaugh to commencement is disgusting." He is an old-school pugnacious columnist who covers Rutgers. He's trying to build skyscrapers out of mud here.

But these were just warmups before his magnum opus:

Harbaugh's N.J. satellite camps are an act of war on Rutgers

You're probably thinking that authors don't write headlines and this is a junior intern clickbaiting you into a more reasonable article. Nope!

Harbaugh, long ago, stopped caring about any conference ethics about pitching his tent just miles from a Big Ten rival. You wonder: What does a New Jersey high school have to gain from offering its territory to an out-of-state recruiter? A number of state colleges and high schools have said no, in deference to Rutgers, but Harbaugh has found his landing spots.

A lot to unpack there:

  • The last time we made up fictional "conference ethics" I think we were talking about Roy Roundtree decommitting from Purdue. That's a blast from the past right there.
  • Again with the insane idea that coaches should be more loyal to state borders than their players.
  • Rutgers is the 13th Big Ten school to declare itself a rival of Michigan, and the most incorrect about that.
  • "In deference to Rutgers" has never, ever happened. Ever.

In response, baseball and softball leveled Piscataway, ending the brief but memorable War On Rutgers.

Speaking of softball. The tournament beckons. Michigan is coming off a ninth straight Big Ten title, and everything is more or less as it's been for a decade:

For those just getting caught up, here's how things look: Hutchins' team is ranked No. 2 in the country and on a 17-game winning streak. It closed the regular season on Sunday with an 8-0 win, improving to 44-4 overall and 21-2 in the Big Ten, and will now head to the Big Ten tournament next weekend at Penn State.

After that, a trip to the NCAA Tournament will feature NCAA Regional and Super Regional games likely hosted in Ann Arbor, as long as U-M keeps winning.

The overriding storyline will, once again, be Michigan's hunt for a second national championship under Hutchins.

If this sounds familiar it's because it is. The Wolverines ended last season with 17 straight wins to cap a 48-6 regular-season record. They sent that above storyline into a frenzy by charging to a national championship showdown against Florida, but lost in a best-of-three matchup.

#1 Florida, which actually run-ruled Michigan in the third game of the season, again looms at the end of the road.

On Paterno stuff. Buried in a legal document created as PSU and its insurer fight over which entity will have to pay for PSU enabling Jerry Sandusky is a bombshell:

Judge Glazer referenced several victims’ depositions, which are sworn testimonies, made out of court, that are recorded and/or transcribed. According to Judge Glazer, those depositions reveal that in 1976, “a child allegedly reported to PSU’s Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky” and that in 1987 and 1988 an assistant coach witnessed Sandusky committing sexual acts or having inappropriate contact with a child. Judge Glazer reasoned that while Paterno and the unnamed assistant coaches might have known about Sandusky’s acts, available evidence did not indicate that any Penn State officers, trustees or shareholders had such knowledge. As a consequence, Judge Glazer determined that Penn State is eligible to seek certain types of coverage payments from PMA (Judge Glazer also found that Penn State is not eligible for other types of coverage payments).

This is not a thing a court decided. It is a document produced by the insurer arguing its case. Twitter lawyer @Ugarles had a brief and useful explainer of what the court claim in fact was. For those allergic to links, the upshot:

A judge has not declared that Joe Paterno knew. Several people have told the court, under penalty of perjury, that Paterno was repeatedly told Sandusky was molesting boys going back some 40 years. This is in addition to the Mike McQueary incident, for which the best defense mounted was that Paterno was a confused old man. That defense won't fly for incidents from the 70s and 80s, leaving us choosing between two possibilities: several people are lying in depositions or Joe Paterno enabled Sandusky for decades. What's the Vegas line here? I know the latter is a serious underdog.

This isn't actually relevant to sports anymore since Penn State is not going to have their sanctions re-examined, but just wow man. People who run around spouting off about "success with honor" and the like are far more likely to be secret monsters than dudes like John Calipari. Calipari isn't trying to pass himself off as a Leader of Men. He's just a guy who coaches basketball and doesn't care much for NCAA rules. There's a nobility in not pretending to be noble, and a darkness in people who have to signal their virtue. (Anyone on Twitter's run across the latter all day every day.)


Photograph conveniently located. The NYT profiles Jamie Horowitz, the FS1 executive who's importing all the worst people in sports punditry, and this is a serendipitous virtual signaling example right here:


You may know me as a lizard person who offered Stephen A Smith a platform to excuse any and all woman-beating he may come across, but I also have children. It is a mere coincidence that I have framed this picture so that I am literally surrounded by them.

Etc.: "The incident is not the first between the clubs at a wheelchair basketball match." Mitch Leidner projected as first round pick by Todd McShay. McShay roundly mocked by Minnesota fans. Minnesota blog defends Leidner by linking video in which half the throws are wounded ducks and one is the "back-shoulder corner" throw against Jeremy Clark. Urban Meyer doesn't know some of his recruits' names.


Dear Diary Vacates the Battle of Hastings

Dear Diary Vacates the Battle of Hastings Comment Count

Seth May 6th, 2016 at 4:09 PM


so happy we found each other [Joe Dressler for MGoBlog]

SPIKE & CARIS & MAAR & DAWKINS & CALVES (and Colton). Since Beilein’s in the market for a last minute addition or two, Lanknows wrote us a quick look-back at the guys he’s found in a pinch before. I mean, I’m kind of nervous right now—we expected attrition but not that much attrition. But this list would be a ludicrous level of bargain bin success if he had found them all two years before they committed. Even after a disappointing season you have to wonder why nobody else thought Johnny Dawkins’s superbly athletic son was worth a scholarship except Dayton.

IT’S STILL PROBABLY HIS ACCURACY BUT WHOA DADDY. This site is about to be a safe haven for a nation swimming  in politics, so I am going to be extra careful about keeping the politics where they belong. But you know who doesn’t think politics are off limits? Connor Cook’s dad.


Connor Cook probably slipped in the draft either because his accuracy, while effective enough for college, suggests he’ll be even less effective in the NFL than Dak Prescott (link: Football Outsiders’ QBase draft projections). Or maybe because his shoulder was pretty messed up and early draft contracts are a lot to gamble on an arm that might fall out. But Daddy being a clearly awful at humanity in 80% of his 1800 tweets probably didn’t help.

If you like me can only handle so much Jeff Moss, go use that up now.

HASHTAG NINETY-FOUR. I think retroactively erasing the outcomes of games makes as much sense as vacating the Norman conquest of England because Harold never swore any such thing, and anyway the Godwins were in truth fine patrons of the Church so the Cross of St. George never should have been allowed to play.

But if they did decide to re-vacate every JoePa victory since he discovered Jerry Sandusky’s a sexual predator, according to a court document that now goes back to 1976:

The line in question states that one of Penn State's insurers has claimed "in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky."

Stuff’s still coming out as the legal ramifications of a long-held campus secret become relevant in criminal proceeding or, in this case, a civil case brought by Penn State’s insurer, who claims they shouldn’t be on the hook for the damages if administrators knew and didn’t tell them. Hard not to agree.

I’ve had my fill of Ha Ha Penn State. It’s more a sobering reminder that betraying morality for what you love is betraying the thing you love. Also a sobering reminder that PSU twitter—aka #409—is awful. So I guess what I’m saying is if they did knock his win total back to every game after he knew and didn’t stop it, Joe has 94 wins. #094.

MITCH LEIDNER CAN THROW SPIRALS YOU GUYS I’M SRLSY. Okay nobody posted (Ace linked it in Slack today) this but it should be a thread since the Daily Gopher is having to explain why Todd McShay put Leidner in his 2017 mock draft.

In the first round. As a quarterback. Of the NFL. The football one!

Then the Daily Gopher goes on to explain that yes Leidner can throw a spiral using a video in which Leidner comically doesn’t throw spirals and wracks up highlights by QB sneaking a half a yard. No idea why Gopher fans think moving the ball half a yard is an accomplishment. I mean it should be automatic.

And yes, chucking it where the only way it’s not intercepted by Jeremy Clark is if Clark can’t believe he’d chuck it there is on the reel. Amazingly his pinpoint slant that beat Jourdan Lewis on 4th down isn’t.

ALL ABOARD BOATY MGOBOATFACE. Rivals shared the list of satellite camps that are back on. Map? Map.


There’s also rumors of camps to be held in the Pacific Islands, at which point the MGoStaff mutinied and demanded Brian add an option to the Kickstarter to send us all to cover it—all hands on deck. And by that we mean rent a yacht to get us all there. And by that we mean we could use your help naming the boat. Leaders so far are Boaty MGoBoatFace and Happy Ever After, No Brandon’s [sic].

So what I’m getting at here is that for a $30,000 contribution to HTTV’s kickstarter you can have two books (one of them signed), the shirt, a sentence on the thank you page, and three co-workers and I will personally travel to Hawaii to deliver a copy to Harbaugh.

Speaking of Michigan’s Hawaiian presence, I just finished prepping Craig Ross’s article researching the first games of football and it is fascinating. Like I am going to bug Craig to make this his next book.

ETC. Professor Needs a Raise got his raise, is now part of the football program. A thread about Cool World apparently. Magnus (and MGoFish and Brandon the new guy at MnB) gets crystal ball. Space Coyote on defending the pull.

Your Moment of Zen:



Unverified Voracity Coins A Nickname

Unverified Voracity Coins A Nickname Comment Count

Brian July 13th, 2012 at 1:39 PM


in his Rat Pack phase

In other Paterno chiseling. I've read more than my fair share of outraged reactions to the Freeh Report and recommend those of Dan Wetzel, Scipio Tex, and Paul Campos. Wetzel has a passage at the end about the Grand Experiment that captures how ridiculous the very idea was from the start:

Paterno did help his football players. Those men, however, were heavily recruited, talented and often highly motivated people. If they hadn't gone to Penn State they would've gone to Michigan or Virginia or Notre Dame.

For decades he found a way to take top-line kids and maximize what they could do, usually by motivating them to excel at a sport they already loved. They were subject to mass adulation and had the potential to become millionaires at the professional level.

He wasn't taking illiterate Third World children and getting them to Harvard. Almost every person Paterno positively impacted through football would have fared similarly had Penn State not even fielded a team. They just would have played elsewhere. Bo Schembechler or Lou Holtz or Bobby Bowden would've coached them up in football and life, just like Paterno did.

That's always bugged me about the sanctimony of a certain section of the ND fanbase. Congratulations: you took kids from Catholic schools with solid families and didn't turn them into the Joker. Well done.

Campos touches on the refrigerator thing without having to cross the Atlantic for a metaphor:

A man who breaks some rules in order to win a few more football games is likely to understand himself to be nothing more exalted than a hustler on the make. By contrast, a man who talks himself into believing that he is running a uniquely virtuous Grand Experiment, rather than just another successful college football program that mostly avoids the most egregious forms of cheating, is far more likely to develop the delusion that he’s some sort of role model for his peers, or even a quasi-spiritual leader of our youth.

And Scipio Tex bombs the one moment of regret Paterno expressed:

Before his death, Joe Paterno remarked that "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

The measured banality of that phraseology, the suggestion that hindsight is the necessary ingredient when confronted with the most simple matters of immediate moral action, reveals his own disconnection and concern for reputation right up until his last moments.

Let's be clear: Those boys wish you'd done anything at all, Joe.

That closes the door on Brian's opinion of Joe Paterno story time. Wait, one more: Grantland's Michael Weinreb, a State College native with Penn State ties that run as deep as they can, declares the experiment "failed." 

NCAA matters. The Paterno debate closes as another one re-opens: should the NCAA step in and hammer Penn State for the above? I'm on the "no" side. The NCAA has an enforcement mechanism to maintain its own set of rules for things that the legal system has nothing to say about. Here, the perpetrators are going to jail. That is an appropriate punishment and effective deterrent. The NCAA stepping in is redundant, and the hammer would fall on a completely unrelated set of people. The legal system has a laser-aimed bazooka; the NCAA would be deploying a wonky BB gun with a misaligned sight. Meanwhile, the Department of Education could look into Penn State essentially ignoring the Clery act and PSU is about to be flooded with civil lawsuits that insurance probably won't cover. Deterrence: check.

That said, if the NCAA were to vacate Paterno's victories after the 2001 incident* and instate Bobby Bowden as the all-time victories leader I would clap like a seal. (Or Les Miles.) Paterno's maniacal pursuit of that goal long after he'd ceased to be capable of anything other than muttering in the press box seems like a symptom of the broader disease.

*[Ideally they'd deploy some sort of double standard so the Big Ten wouldn't have to go back and pretend that a decade of games didn't happen. Just nix them from Paterno's record, not the program's.]


rejected nicknames included "the super seven," "excellent thirty-six," and "adjective-free e to the x"

A rain of thunder from the FABULOUS FIVE. I just came up with that nickname for Michigan's incoming basketball recruiting class. You see, there are five of them, and they seem very good at basketball collectively. Thus I have decided to call them the FABULOUS FIVE. I may decide have a few of those letters lower-cased in the future. It's a work in progress.

No? You're saying something about how that's ridiculous, fraught with historical significance, and derivative. Well, you are a hater.

Anyway, the FABULOu5 FIvE are on campus and taking it to the veterans!

"They got us two out of three games. I don't think they got the better of us, but they looked really good. They came in and they're willing to learn and that's a good sign for freshmen. We should be really good with their help this year," sophomore Trey Burke said. "I remember there were a couple times they beat us … that doesn't surprise me because that's the type of players they are.

"They're really good, they have size and they know their roles — they can play."

Said Tim Hardaway Jr.: "The first two or three games, they destroyed us. I think they were very excited. (In) games to 11, they're beating us 11-6, 11-7."


"(Jordan Morgan) and I looked at each other and said we have to show them what Big Ten basketball is about and we beat them 11-1, 11-2, so they got their time, but it won't happen again."

Also, Burke and Hardaway are revealed to be on separate teams when this is going on, meaning 1) walk-ons are filling out the veteran five-man rosters, and 2) Burke and Hardaway are not playing together. You may have not needed the second bullet point there.

Anyway, I predict Mitch Albom thinks none of these guys are taking 600k from a Detroit numbers runner. This time, he will be correct. Also the basketball team will be good at basketball.

BONUS: Caris Levert is "built like small Kevin Durant," which means he can be used as a kite should the situation call for it.

Nevermind the good nonconference scheduling business. The Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling pact that was like conference expansion except brillianter, that was a historic way to something something with synergy, the thing that promised Wisconsin would finally have to play an opponent with zero confused Albanians in the secondary… it's dead.

The two leagues announced Friday that their pact, which initially called for 12 football games per year, has been called off. The reason: at least four Pac-12 schools were unwilling to agree to mandatory scheduling, ESPN.com has learned. A key sticking point is that Pac-12 teams play nine conference games, while Big Ten teams play only eight. Adding in traditional non-league series like USC-Notre Dame, Stanford-Notre Dame and Utah-BYU, and it makes the scheduling situation tougher for those in the Pac-12.

So much for that. The silver lining is that the Big Ten will look at going to a nine-game conference schedule in 2017, like they had announced they were going to do before the stars aligned with the Pac-12. I preferred a nine-game conference schedule anyway. From Michigan's perspective anything that helps balance the crossover-rival playing field is beneficial, and I hate going four years without playing Wisconsin, etc.

Libel lawsuit business. Prediction: Kitchener's lawsuit will have no effect on the Daily. As Tyler Dellow points out, the US passed an act that prohibits libel tourism and what they're accused of—paying an employee—is only debatably defamatory. Meanwhile, OHL restrictions on compensation may not be legal since the players have not collectively bargained for their contracts. Given the state of the law the play for the Daily may be to ignore the lawsuit:

In any event, it seems to me that one consequence of the SPEECH Act is that, if your assets are in America and you’ve received advice that a foreign defamation action against you could not succeed in America, you’d never bother to defend it. Let the plaintiff have his default judgment and then who cares. This is, of course, more true of corporations then it is of individuals – a judgment against him personally would kind of limit the career opportunities of Matt Slovin, the reporter in question, because the judgment could be enforced against him if he ever moved to Canada and acquired some assets.

The fact of the individual journalist apparently being named in the litigation is the one thing that might make it sensible to fight the thing here. Here’s hoping the case goes all the way to trial – a trip through the sausage factory of junior hockey could be a considerable amount of fun.

The Daily is standing by its story. Kitchener's playing a game of chicken here—it seems like their business model is based on not having anyone look too closely at why their players aren't employees.

Pressed for time. Michael of Braves and Birds also writes for the Atlanta SBN site and has a post on ESPN's suddenly great coverage of international soccer and how they could improve their coverage of college football:

Whereas ESPN starts off Euro matches in the studio with a discussion of the lineup choices made by the managers, they start off college football games with Mark May and Lou Holtz getting into contrived fights or Jesse Palmer looking pretty. Whereas ESPN includes the pre-match pomp and circumstance when covering Euro matches, they ignore it almost entirely in college football. Instead, the approach is for the play-by-play and color guys to drum through the story lines for the game - story lines that they will stick to regardless of how the game actually plays out - and then maybe the viewer gets a five-second shot of Michigan players touching the banner or Clemson players rubbing Howard's Rock. Whereas ESPN shows the starting lineups for both teams in formation at the outset of each Euro match, they cannot be bothered to even list the starting lineups for college football teams anymore, instead showing only the "Impact Players," as if every word coming out of Matt Millen's mouth is so critical that he does not have time to list 44 starters.

In short, ESPN feeds both the mind and the heart in the first 15 minutes of covering a Euro match, while it does neither in the first 15 minutes of covering a college football game. If ESPN started Georgia-South Carolina by covering the entire rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra* and then discussed the teams' starting lineups and how they would match up against one another, both in terms of styles and in terms of individual matchups, then I would be a very happy camper and I suspect that most college football fans would be, as well.

The asterisk notes that yes, that's ESPN coverage, but if you watch that youtube clip it is remarkable because Mike Patrick just gets out of the way and lets you have your moment with the fans. I'd love it if every word spoken by Mark May was replaced by the PBP announcer pointedly not saying anything as the pageantry of the pregame played out.

Newspapers still struggling. An extensive Nieman Lab article on the situation of the Detroit papers is full of doom, gloom, and happy faces put on crappy situations by Paul Anger:

“Very soon, sooner than most people expect, we’ll only publish on Sunday,” Elrick, the Pulitzer winner, told me. “We’re still losing money. I think they were smart to do a lot of research. I think they were smart to communicate to people what they were doing and why. But there’s no question that they did this because there was no better alternative. To my mind, this was cutting off your arm so you can get out from under the boulder. This was not, ‘I’ll be so much faster and lighter with one arm.’ Anybody who’s telling you that is full of baloney.”

Anger insists that the delivery change has been “extremely successful,” but that doesn’t mean things are bright. Weekday circulation continues to drop — nearly 6 percent between March 2011 and March 2012.

Even the director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship is dismissing papers out of hand:

Charles Eisendrath, director of the Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, puts it bluntly: “They do not matter,” he told me. “They’ve been fading for a long time. The decision to get rid of half of your [delivery] schedule accelerated the rate by two. What advertisers think is, ‘This isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t carry any influence.’ What readers think is, ‘There’s nothing in this.’”

The Free Press just announced they would "sizably reduce" its newsroom again. Section 1 opens up a bottle of champagne.

Etc.: Lloyd Carr thinks the playoff will expand. He seems to like it all the same. Behind the Call Me Maybe holdouts. Denard gets you a plaque. The Detroit metro has the third highest effective income in the country. We can probably stop bemoaning the implosion of the state. Rothstein on Michigan's influx of SYF Players.

Off Tackle Empire's quest to determine the worst Big Ten team of "all-time" goes back to 1996. GopherQuest scorns you.


Paterno And The Mini-Fridge

Paterno And The Mini-Fridge Comment Count

Brian July 12th, 2012 at 3:06 PM


Paterno, fridge, Paterno

This might be off-topic, I don't know, but the release of the Freeh Report on what happened at Penn State does seem like something that I would like to address, especially a day after a letter purportedly from Joe Paterno was released by his family. The passage that jumped out at me was this one:

For over 40 years young men have come to Penn State with the idea that they were going to do something different — they were coming to a place where they would be expected to compete at the highest levels of college football and challenged to get a degree. And they succeeded — during the last 45 years NO ONE has won more games while graduating more players. The men who made that commitment and who gave of themselves to help build the national reputation of what was once a regional school deserve better than to have their hard work and sacrifice dismissed as part of a “football factory,” all in the interests of expediency.

This is what Paterno himself called the "Grand Experiment" over and over, and it reminds me of a guy lugging a refrigerator around Ireland.

His name is Tony Hawks, and he's an English dude who got drunk one night, accepted a bar bet, and proceeded to hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland with a mini-fridge. He wrote a popular book detailing his experiences afterwards, which I read.

His story gets latched onto by a Dublin radio station, which plans a triumphal march to the city center upon Hawks's arrival. This ends up being a sad anti-climax consisting of three people and a confused bagpiper; Hawks goes to a hotel and watches an Irish political debate afterwards. The next day he gets lunch with the radio folk, and what happens when he exits the restaurant has been an oddly persistent thing in my memory:

As I walked out of that restaurant pulling my fridge behind me for the final time, everyone on Gerry's table began applauding politely. Astonishingly, some people on a few of the other tables started to join in. Others looked up to see what was going on, and when they saw me and a fridge, they too joined in, possibly thinking it was somehow expected of them. Soon everyone in the restaurant was applauding, with cheers, whistles, and laughter thrown in for good measure.

I felt great. The anti-climax of yesterday didn't matter anymore. I understood now. Yesterday had been phoney, this was real. Yesterday I had been saying 'Look at me." It hadn't been right and it hadn't really worked, and I should have known that …. Now it was working, and it was working because I was walking humbly out of a restaurant with no airs and graces, affectations or histrionics. The restaurant's diners picked up on this and were offering their spontaneous and unaffected appreciation of someone for whom they had a peculiar nagging respect.

Just lug the damn refrigerator. Stop telling everyone how great of a job you're doing of pulling the refrigerator. Maybe someone will notice, maybe not, but once you start talking about it yourself your self-regard starts chipping away at the core.

If Penn State had not been posited as a Grand Experiment, it's possible that one of the four adult-type substances who could have put Sandusky's second career to a stop a decade before it did would have had more regard for the possibility children would be raped* than for what people would think about them. It's too late for all of them, perpetrator and victims alike, now. But to me the lesson is to shut up about yourself and get on with it. It will help you not make terrible mistakes because you are trying to preserve what people think about you in the face of what you really are.



BONUS AMAZING IRONY SECTION: I've been reading various Penn State boards, which are now riven with debate over how much proofy proof there actually is at this juncture. Quite a lot of people have given up the ghost—a BWI poll about taking down the Paterno statue is running 80-20 in favor—but a few continue to soldier on. Here's an exchange from BSD that is, well…

Just finished the report top to bottom minus all the parts about the Clery act and university and state codes.

I think the 98 investigation heavily, heavily influenced future actions. I think that investigation established to everyone involved that Jerry was not a child molester but rather a man who had boundary issues, the police reports even backed that when they describe his behavior as not that of a predator. Every action they took after that appears to have been normal actions taken with a prestigious former employee, whether it was 2nd Mile support, access to facilities, emeritus status etc, they seemed to feel there was no reason Sandusky should be a liability.

I think that that investigation clouded their judgement of 2001. It seems that there was some telephone affect in place as well but the lack of reconciliation between Paterno/Mike and Schultz/Curley’s statements makes that cloudy. At this point Jerry had been established as a man with boundary issues, not molestation issues and I think in their minds when they heard of another shower incident, they just related it to the same level of importance they thought of the 1998 incident, not a serious one.

by Rogue Nine on Jul 12, 2012 12:22 PM EDT reply   2 recs

Yep, I agree wholeheartedly

It’s called priming. Once we have a preconceived idea about something or someone in our head, it’s nearly impossible to get it out.

A good book that get into this and all sorts of other cool issues is Jonah Lehrer’s book, How We Decide. Most of our decisions are not based on rationality or reasoning, but rather imbedded emotional responses. That can be both good and bad. In this situation, it was obviously bad.

by Echoplexed on Jul 12, 2012 12:28 PM EDT up reply

…it's demanding some self-reflexiveness. Yes. Since I cannot shake 20% of the Penn State fanbase individually, screaming "SNAP OUT OF IT, MAN," I think I will go with "demanding some self-reflexiveness."

SIDE NOTE TO IRONY: One of the more useful ways to cleave the world into halves is to split people into a group A that is suspicious of their own brain and a group B that is not. I'm in the former group, thus all the numbers and systematization and so on. You could add a third group of people who are suspicious of other people's brains but not their own, but they seem like a subset of group B with particularly frustrating arguments. Apparently this is a post in which I dispense personal philosophy unrelated to its relevance.


ALSO: Boiled Sports takes this topic on as well, albeit with less references to underrated cheese.


Unverified Voracity Talks Uncertainty

Unverified Voracity Talks Uncertainty Comment Count

Brian July 3rd, 2012 at 4:16 PM


Sponsors with benefits. Hotels: there are none on gameday unless you want to stay in Canada or Ohio. These places are inconvenient. Few people even speak English. Houses: Ann Arbor has many, lots of them right across the street from Michigan Stadium. Money: can be used to convince people in these houses to let you borrow the houses. Thus your crew of 8+ people can stay in the same, convenient place.

You are probably entering URLs that seem likely candidates to host such a service as we speak. Your fingers ache, your keyboard smokes. Well, enter nonexistent website URLs no longer. You can use Money to avoid Hotels at Gameday Housing, which not only benefits you but also the site. A bonus: mention MGoBlog when you sign up (in the "you heard about us from" box) and they'll take 50 bucks off your first rental*. You can lock down accommodations for Michigan State for about what a hotel would run you, except instead of a hotel room you get a house. Doing so also supports the site.

*[Fine print: only valid until the end of 2012, can't combine with another promotion, one per user.]

2011 photo spectacular. Max starts an excellent thread of favorite pictures from last year:


No sources are listed, unfortunately. Everyone should be shoving the metadata in their files so people can credit back if so inclined.

Troubaaaargh. The Daily's Matt Slovin reports that Jacob Trouba has a 200k offer from the OHL sitting on the table and that this is a source of OHL-related optimism in re: guy breaking his commitment to leave. Again. Kitchener denies this because kids in the OHL get 45 bucks a week only. It's not a professional league, man. You have to believe us.

We'll see how that goes. It's a chunk of cash, but for a guy who's likely to sign a max rookie contract in a year or two it's not a life changing amount. Insert usual bits about how Something Must Be Done, but what? It's clear the OHL doesn't care about its own rules, and the NHL is never going to step in, so what can be done?

UPDATE: Trouba has again reiterated he will play at Michigan.

Werner something. You're probably aware that Joe Paterno's legacy is even further tattered after the release of emails that imply the university administration was about to go to some sort of police-type organization that would have put Jerry Sandusky's crimes to an end until Joe intervened on Sandusky's behalf. But are you aware of the contortions many on the Penn State rivals board are willing to undertake to maintain their worship?

I Would Like to Pose a Question to the Board

Let's see who can answer this question.  Bear with me -- I have a point to make.  Here it is:

The human body consists of 99.9% of something.  What is it?

[several posts in which people respond.]

Congratulations! Three of You Got It.

The answer is empty space.  Now, on the face of it, the answer is absurd.  How can the body be empty space?  Well, because atoms are empty space.  Vibrating energy (I think) is what gives things solidity (this is a quantum physics deal, so I can't elaborate).  But, here's the point.  It is absolutely PREPOSTEROUS to claim that the human body is empty space, just as it is preposterous to claim that Joe Paterno was not involved in covering up Jerry Sandusky's child abuse.  Yet, the human body really is empty space; so why can't Joe Paterno not be involved in a cover-up, particularly since no one yet has forwarded any evidence of such?  It is a supposition that Paterno was involved, just as it is a common supposition that the human body is not empty space.

This guy has a future as a noir defense attorney.

Meanwhile, Vijay comes out of retirement to re-evaluate the "Grand Experiment." 

If this really happens… If Wisconsin's nonconference scheduling goes from sad to decent, yes, Virginia, strength of schedule will be a big deal in the new playoff world. Alvarez is talking about it, at least:

“If you want to be a player (in the national championship equation) and strength of schedule is going to be a part of it, then you really have to consider (a different approach),” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said.

That might explain why UW football coach Bret Bielema disclosed on his Twitter account this week that he’s reached out to his Notre Dame counterpart Brian Kelly about a possible series with the high-profile independent. Bielema is targeting openings for 2018 and ’19 when Michigan drops off the Irish’s schedule.

It might also explain why Alvarez disclosed this week that there were recent discussions, orchestrated by ESPN, about matching the Badgers against defending national champion and Southeastern Conference power Alabama at a neutral site.

Alvarez, who handled scheduling when he coached the Badgers from 1990 to ’05, said Bielema countered with an offer to play a home-and-home series with the Crimson Tide — no specific years were discussed — but that Alabama coach Nick Saban declined.

That's all talk now. I have a hard time seeing SOS becoming important enough to overrule our current how-many-losses ranking system except in intraconference instances like last year's Oregon-Stanford hypothetical controversy, and if that's the case Wisconsin will continue its steady diet of cupcakes. Something to keep an eye on, at least.

Mario. He got suspended that one game and was kind of frustrating at other times, but Mario Manningham could play, yo:

In other Wolverine Historian bits, he captures the 1994 Minnesota game.

Big Ten Network programming breakdown. A poster on BSD totaled up a month's worth of BTN programming this summer and came out with these numbers:

A quick breakdown of school and how many hours of programming they have, in order from least to greatest:

  • Nebraska 27.5 hours
  • Minnesota 32 hours
  • Northwestern 40.5 hours
  • Penn State 47.5 hours
  • Purdue 49 hours
  • Illinois 73.5 hours
  • Iowa 82.5 hours
  • Indiana 85 hours
  • Michigan 106 hours
  • Michigan St 108 hours
  • Wisconsin 127.5 hours
  • Ohio State 153 hours
  • Wisconsin and MSU benefited from frequent replays of the inaugural champinship game. OSU's edge on the rest of the field is a combination of football and basketball prowess that no one else is matching at the moment. The jump from Purdue to Illinois is… odd.

    Left tackles can't stand normal bikes. Via a TTB interview with Erik Magnuson:


    That is a 6'6", 300 pound man on a unicycle. Maybe we'll see him performing during halftime at Crisler next year.

    Etc.: Hardaway, Burke, McGary all second-round-ish NBA prospects at the moment, with Burke in that gray area between the first and second round. The 2013 class rankings are rejiggered: Walton, Donnal up, Irvin down a little.

    Sam Mikulak makes the Olympic team. Jeff Porter makes it in the 110M hurdles. Michigan alum Richard Kaplan is mayor of a small Florida town that is way into cricket. Brady Hoke returns to his old stomping grounds to out MANBALL Ball State's new coach.


    Unverified Voracity Sinks WR Ships

    Unverified Voracity Sinks WR Ships Comment Count

    Brian May 3rd, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    WR ALERT. Devin Gardner's facebook:



    Stop everything you're doing for the next three months and talk about this. Certain packages are likely to include the redzone and third down stuff when Michigan has four WRs on the field. 20-30 catches maybe? Unless an enraged Al Borges refuses to field a leaker?

    UPDATE: Michigan says that's not actually Devin Gardner's facebook page. Woo!

    Wow. Of all the quotes to put on Joe Paterno's grave, this is the best one:


    No idea if that was planned previously and now takes on a vastly sadder meaning in the aftermath or someone in the family calling a ballsy audible. But, yeah.

    When Irish legs are drunkenly crane-kicking you. Tommy Rees was at a party in South Bend that was broken up because it's South Bend. City motto: Where Fun Goes to Die. He got some tickets and stuff, but then the crushing weight of life in rural Indiana finally got to him and he went "wwrrroaaaaaAAHHHH" at a cop:

    Officers saw five people jumping a fence to run away and they chased them down, catching Rees and Calabrese.

    In an attempt to get away, Trent says Rees kneed an officer in the stomach.

    Rees got pepper-sprayed—internet, where is the Tommy Rees getting it from Pepper Spray Cop image?—and arrested on various charges including a felony that has a zero point zero percent chance of sticking.

    This is par for the Tommy Rees decision-making course. Confronted by police, the options he considered included:

    1. calmly taking the ticket and going home
    2. wwwwrrrroooaaaAAAAAAHHHH!
    3. licking Manti Te'o's face just to see what would happen
    4. detaching his arm, insisting that it was actually Tommy Rees and he was Steve Miller of Steve Miller band
    5. transferring to any school coached by a non-mauve person

    ANSWER KEY: #5: 10 points. #1: 5 points. #2: one point. #4: zero points. #5: you have been eaten by a grue'o.

    So he could have done worse. Irish fans are hoping this disqualifies him from starting this fall. Opponents are hoping for his safe, addled return.

    BONUS: Carlo Calabrese is as connected as you would expect a guy named "Carlo Calabrese" to be:

    At 1 point, (Carlo) Calabrese allegedly told officers, "my people will get you," per police reports.

    DOUBLE DRAGON BONUS: Jacobi uses the Furman suspension to troll Notre Dame about their lack of character. Well done. (BR link!)

    Give us back our New Year's Day, and do so by taking it away. Remember when New Year's Day was reserved for teams that had won, like, eight games? Yeah, man, back then you really had to eke out a mediocre season to play on January first. No longer:

    At the 2010 Outback Bowl, Auburn became the first team in 62 years to play on New Year’s Day with a losing conference record. Five more teams have done that since then: Northwestern, Texas Tech, Michigan, Florida and Ohio State.

    In the past five years, 10 of the 27 New Year’s Day bowls featured a team without a winning conference record. That occurred in just six of the 221 New Year’s Day bowls from 1968 to 2007.

    Fans have been treated like suckers. The powers-that-be figured by putting something on New Year’s Day — even if it was undeserving teams — you’d keep filling seats, watching on TV and building up ratings for BCS bowls in the coming days.

    You can't even blame TV since the Big Ten's desire to cram every game they're in onto New Year's Day means four games I'd watch if given the option are on at the same time. As long as we're banning 6-6 teams from the postseason, let's ban teams with more than three losses from New Year's Day.

    The erosion of NYD is a fine example of the stuff that drives me nuts the increasingly short-term thinking plaguing of college athletics: you have an institution that is loved, so you milk it for dollars until you've destroyed the meaning of that institution. Get The Picture:

    The thing is, it’s not like that happened in a vacuum.  It wasn’t an accident.  It’s what TV wanted.  And the conference commissioners were more than happy to comply with the request, as long as the checks rolled in.  Now the panic has set in as the numbers decline.  But who’s to say that the guys who drove the bus into the ditch in the first place are qualified to pilot the tow truck to pull the bowl season out of the ditch?  Does anybody really believe they’d place the sanctity of New Year’s Day above a few more dollars?

    On the national level this results in Gator Bowls between 7-5 teams on NYD; on the local level it results in the reseating of Crisler with absolutely no consideration given to the guys who have had tickets for the last crappy decade.

    Alienating your most loyal fans is rarely a winner unless you're winding down an industry. (See: profitable but debt-laden newspapers slashing content willy-nilly.)

    How to do it. I may expand this into a larger post later, but amongst an avalanche of head-nods and "you go girl" exclamations while I read Dan Wetzel's latest article on how to construct playoffs I found myself having a serious disagreement. It's here:

    There is no good way to choose the field. None. There has to be a subjective decision made, and no one likes subjective decisions.

    The best of a bad situation is to have that subjectivity hashed out in a cool, calm and studied environment and then make the selection process as transparent as possible.

    As such, the sport would be best served if it created a single computer formula. People could decide how important strength of schedule (preferably giving extra credence to tough nonconference scheduling) or margin of victory or home-field/road-game criteria should be. They could program the formula accordingly and then test and tweak the next two seasons.

    Most importantly, they could offer it up to everyone so that teams can plan ahead, know what they are up against and track the progress as the season goes along.

    I'm a math guy, but that's not going to work. There is just not enough data in a 12-game season with very little meaningful overlap between conferences. Adding MOV helps, but not enough. Even computer models that try to take every drive or play into account spit out weird results like Virginia Tech #3 overall in 2009. While any selection mechanism would fall on the descriptive side of the descriptive/predictive rankings divide*, I just don't see a computer ranking ever getting fine enough that it will be right as much as a dedicated selection committee.

    You need the committee to override groupthink like "Oregon has more losses than Stanford because it played LSU, so Stanford makes it."

    In other playoff ideas, I do like the idea that a conference champ ranked 5 or 6 gets in over someone who didn't win the conference. Without that limitation you get some squirrelly fields. That one seems good to me since it solves that Oregon issue.

    *[IE: rankings either describe what you've done—evaluate who's had the best season—or attempt to predict the future by ignoring noisy wins and losses for a more robust underlying model.]

    Stop, collaborate, and listen. Joe Stapleton talked with Zak Irvin's AAU coach and came back with some tantalizing tidbits. He's his loaded AAU team's go-to scorer and we also get some additional indication he could be BRJ 3000:

    “Defensively, he’s our stopper,” Green said. “We put him on the other team’s best player. So sometimes you’ve got the best offensive guy, he’s going to work, but then he’s got to turn around and play defense against the other team’s best player. He’s capable of doing both.”

    When the All-Stars were in zone, Irvin played at the top and was disruptive.  His 6-foot-6 frame and long arms made it nearly impossible for smaller guards to get a lob pass over him, and his quickness allowed him to hound the ball without getting taken advantage of.

    When the All-Stars were in man-to-man, Irvin guarded the opposing team’s best player and gave them plenty of trouble.  Irvin’s combination of size and quickness allowed him to guard post players and wing players equally effectively.

    “His best attribute right now is being a lockdown defender,” Green said. “Defensively, he’s always been a lockdown defender and that’s never going to change.”

    I love players who can add value without using possessions, whether they're Aaron Craft or Ben Wallace. Irvin is going to use possessions, possibly at a Hardaway rate—in AAU the dude is an aggressive shooter. Add in a lot more value than Hardaway has at the other end of the floor, where he's an indifferent defender, and an inch or two of height and Irvin sounds like a top 50 player easy.

    Etc.: Various coaches on playoffs. Considerable speculation that Alabama's projected starting tailback may not be ready for the Jerryworld game. They would plug in a five-star freshman in his stead. You are annihilating the EDSBS fundraiser. Good luck, St. Louis group trying to get a Big 10-SEC bowl game there. Seriously, good luck.

    Andy Staples knows who Terrence Talbott is. More Tommy Rees jokes at EDSBS.


    Never Be The First To Report Someone's Dead

    Never Be The First To Report Someone's Dead Comment Count

    Brian January 25th, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Mark-Twain[1][ED: Meta. I was just going to put a bullet in a UV about this but things got a little crazy and I ended up with a full post.]

    Joe Paterno's death was a hugely misreported fiasco of the sort that is inevitable given the speed of information in the internet age. This post is an attempt to provide a framework for existing in a world of uncertain information.

    This is what happened: Onward State, a blog/online newspaper run by PSU students, reported Paterno's death based on an email sent to Penn State players that turned out to be a hoax. This was good enough for a local radio station and StateCollege.com. It hit twitter and was then picked up without attribution by CBS Sports. It took off from there once the imprimatur of a major news agency was on it. Black Shoe Diaries has a detailed chronology of the mass screwup if you're interested in details. Shirtless Mark Twain isn't sure if he approves of this whole business or not, but would like you to know that rumors of his rippling pecs have been sorely undersold.

    It's a story about the internet screwing up in very understandable ways. Onward State had what seemed like reliable information, and it passed their threshold for reporting. It is not a good threshold, but not everyone has one these days. CBS's Adam Jacobi did something unwise and sloppy. Pagewhoring Huffington Post saw an opportunity for views and cares about nothing else.

    We've seen this happen before when a newspaper intern replicates an internet rumor on one of the dingy blogs shuffled off into the corner of large metro papers: as soon as a rumor gets paired with header graphics associated with a real newspaper, everyone else is confirming it via "sources." In this instance, CBS's screwup was compounded because they didn't even provide a link to the primary source; Huffington Post did the same thing, but that's just their MO. Jacobi is a BHGP founder and should have known better.

    I've screwed these things up myself. Earlier this year I erroneously reported that Kaleb Ringer had been booted from his high school team based on information that seemed solid but obvious was not. By contrast, a couple years ago I had the sense not to run anything about the serious car accident that Jon Bills and Mark Moundros were in despite having a ton of solid sources telling me about it. That seemed like a place to let journalists be journalists.

    As I go along here that realm has steadily expanded. I probably won't report something like the Ringer thing again for a lot of reasons. Michigan playing Alabama is one thing to be wrong about; a high school kid's problems or lack thereof is another. This leaves windows open for crass opportunists like Ace Williams, but it's the internet. There's always going to be a bottom of the barrel.


    Anyway, these things evolve naturally. As this site expands it has more at risk and becomes more cautious. People just starting out have little to lose and have not experienced the backlash from being wrong—or the frightening period between your post and official confirmation of it. Also some of them are total idiots.

    From the user's perspective, the thing to do is maintain a Bayesian approach. Phil Birnbaum explains what that is:

    Generally, Bayesian is a process by which you refine your probability estimate. You start out with whatever evidence you have which leads you to a "prior" estimate for how things are. Then, you get more evidence. You add that to the pile, and refine your estimate by combining the evidence. That gives you a new, "posterior" estimate for how things are.

    You're a juror at a trial. At the beginning of the trial, you have no idea whether the guy is guilty or not. You might think it's 50/50 -- not necessarily explicitly, but just intuitively. Then, a witness comes up that says he saw the crime happen, and he's "pretty sure" this is the guy. Combining that with the 50/50, you might now think it's 80/20.

    Then, the defense calls the guy's boss, who said he was at work when the crime happened. Hmmm, you say, that sounds like he couldn't have done it. But there's still the eyewitness. Maybe, then, it's now 40/60.
    And so on, as the other evidence unfolds.

    That's how Bayesian works. You start out with your "prior" estimate, based on all the evidence to date: 50/50. Then, you see some new evidence: there's an eyewitness, but the boss provides an alibi. You combine that new evidence with the prior, and you adjust your estimate accordingly. So your new best estimate, your "posterior," is now 40/60.

    So if some guy with 50 followers claims Armani Reeves is headed to Michigan because Urban was late for his in-home visit, you might increment your 50% to 51%. If Mike Farrell says its 52-48 you might bump it to 52%, but if Farrell said he thought Reeves was definitely headed to Michigan you could push it up further. You base your confidence in the opinion on previous accuracy, with a list like this…

    1. TomVH/Sam Webb
    2. Established message board posters
    3. National analysts
    4. Random message board posters
    5. Raving lunatics
    6. People who don't know what football is
    7. Fictional races from another galaxy
    8. Hyperintelligent tacos
    9. Regular tacos
    10. Tacos that aren't too bright even for tacos
    11. Ace Williams

    …and change your baseline confidence based on the information and your confidence level in it. This is something people do naturally, but too often the weight they put on the information is either 0 or 1 when it should be somewhere in between.

    For purveyors of information, it's time to put an explicit confidence level on what you're relaying. My mistake with the Ringer thing, other than mentioning it at all, was saying something was the case when I should have said something less certain. When I got tips about the Michigan-Alabama game I erred by saying with certainty a contract would be signed on a certain date when the people involved with the thing probably didn't know that.

    I try to follow a policy of revealing as much as I can about the nature any information I pass along without exposing a source, and that added transparency is necessary in an age when information—valid information—can come from anywhere or anyone. I still make mistakes. That's inevitable. I'm trying, though.

    However, not even linking to the original report is a mortal sin. If you are going to run something based on someone else's reporting it is vital that you explicitly tell readers that. Otherwise one report from a little-known online news source turns into multiple reports, some of them from organizations with people paid to do reporting, and the echo chamber starts going exponential. If you do not link, you are telling people that you are reporting it, and when it turns out to be wrong you can't point the finger at anyone but yourself.


    The Most Important Thing Was Sandusky

    The Most Important Thing Was Sandusky Comment Count

    Brian January 23rd, 2012 at 5:18 PM


    You can't throw a rock today without hitting a piece on Joe Paterno, and I'll add my bit. I've read a half-dozen of them and feel myself drawn to the portions that focus on his ignoble demise at the hands of a long-overdue grand jury investigation into Jerry Sandusky. The ones that skip it entirely, as many PSU-based POVs do, or attempt to put it "in perspective" seem to be succumbing to the same disease that felled everyone when Nixon died and people scrambled for good things to say about him other than "he's dead."

    Paterno is not Nixon, obviously. Nixon is the most obvious public funeral held in which ill things were not spoken of the dead due to social taboo, rather than reason. I dislike that natural impulse to whitewash. When Christopher Hitchens died I spent a lot of time reading his withering obituaries just to watch him stick the knife in and twist. If that makes me ruthless, okay.

    I just can't get over how it all came crashing down. Not only did Paterno and the culture he created shelter Sandusky, Paterno did not seem to feel remorse for half a second. Maybe this is just an addled old man speaking but it is appalling that this came out of his mouth at the impromptu pep rally at his home in the immediate aftermath of the grand jury's testimony:

    The kids that were victims or whatever they want to say, I think we all ought to say a prayer for them. Tough life, when people do certain things to you. Anyway, you’ve been great. Everything’s great, all right.

    Virtually the entire media edited Paterno's statement into a less awful version because their sense of propriety could not grasp the words that had actually come out of his mouth. This was Joe Paterno. He couldn't have said that. He shouldn't have said anything. He should have been in his house crying to his wife, finally realizing the monstrous consequences of his inaction.

    Instead he seemed to think of himself as a victim. A lot of people find ways to blame themselves for massive tragedies they are not responsible for. Paterno was oblivious to his role to the end. Maybe that's forgivable to some people who look at the donations and the football coaching and the Great Experiment. Not me. I have great respect for Chris Grovich of Black Shoe Diaries but I can't read this

    Behind Joe Paterno's Beaver Stadium statue are the words, "Educator, Coach, Humanitarian." They really could have been arranged in any order.

    …without inserting "child rape enabler" in any order. That phrase overwhelms the rest. If he did lead a program that strove to prove it was capable of operating at a higher plane that just makes it worse. He was held up—he held himself up—as a man who could achieve success on and off the field in a way that others could not.

    Maybe any one of us would have done the same thing if confronted by the terrible truth about a long-time friend. Maybe 90% of people would not have had the courage to blow up a reputation so carefully crafted over such a long period. Maybe Joe Paterno was just being human.

    That's not enough when you have a statue. Paterno wasn't supposed to be human, he was supposed to be Joe Paterno. He wasn't and now he never was. He had over a decade to do something about Sandusky and did not. That is no mistake, or misjudgment, or error. It is immensely sad, but in the end Paterno failed his charge more spectacularly than a man who dared less would have. You can call him Icarus if you want; I'm not inclined to give him that benefit of the doubt. The costs were not worth the attempt.

    The statue is Joe Paterno now. The man is dead. Hopefully the idea behind the statue can help people be better than the man turned out to be.


    [Editor's note: Orson and I both go for the statue conceit. We've seen people crying or overturning news vans in its vicinity it every 30 seconds over the past few months, so maybe not a huge surprise.]


    Unverified Voracity Steals Pelini's Soul

    Unverified Voracity Steals Pelini's Soul Comment Count

    Brian November 15th, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    This is very important. Fitz Tous is a much weirder name than Gerald Saint.

    An image. This was on the internet, but not widely enough. Undoubtedly from this year's Big Ten Media Days, the family portrait:


    I'm just posting this for Pelini.



    Where have you been all my life. I can't believe this guy has been doing this for three years and no one has found him before MGoVideo stumbled across him this weekend:

    A check of his account reveals he's done this exact same thing dozens of times over the past three years for things as insignificant as victories over Hillsdale. There is no corresponding "BOO" for losses, unfortunately.

    NoPa. Whoever wins the league this year won't have to pick up their trophy with tongs:

    Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's name has been removed from the Big Ten's football championship trophy, league commissioner Jim Delany said Monday.

    “We believe that it would be inappropriate to keep Joe Paterno’s name on the trophy at this time,” Delany said. “The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial. We believe that it’s important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game.”

    They're going with just "Stagg." Now all we have to do is tie the division names into a horrible crime and we're set nomenclature-wise. Paterno is kind of a leader and legend all wrapped into one, isn't he?

    Legal argh. Marvin Robinson's concussion turns out to be one that causes bad decisions:

    Robinson, 20, was arraigned last week on a charge of second degree home invasion and released on a promise to appear. He is accused of breaking into a locked dorm room at 10 p.m. Sept. 29 and stealing the game.

    After getting some time early in the year Robinson mysteriously disappeared; now we know why. There's a lot of speculation about this being the end of MRob by mysterious insiders; I find that odd. Unless he's had previous incidents this seems like a first strike type event. Previous Michigan players in the same level of trouble have been able to return after doing penance.

    Defensive linemen hang out and call whatever. Rapturous Mattison praise is justified but apparently some of that should be redirected to one Ryan Van Bergen:

    "(They) gave me some freedom to call some stunts up front that coaches wouldn’t typically do, but they trust that I’m smart enough to make the right calls," Van Bergen said. "We didn’t actually get the green light, we just started doing it. Take a risk. Why not?

    "It worked the first two or three times, and the coaches were just like, ‘Call ‘em when you feel like calling ‘em.’"

    Remember a couple years ago when Indiana ripped off an 85-yard touchdown because RVB missed a check? That doesn't so much happen anymore. Seniors.  I like them. We should try to have more of them. You, Desmond Morgan: be a senior with four years of eligibility starting now.

    A note on Denard fumbly bits. While it's frustrating to endure a game in which Denard fumbles turn two drives in field goal range to dust, the team's overall trend is still highly positive:


    Year: 2011 Thru: 11/12/11
    Rank Name Fumbles Lost
    1 Wisconsin 2
    2 Purdue 3
    3 Michigan 5
    4 Minnesota 6
    4 Ohio St. 6
    4 Northwestern 6
    7 Nebraska 7
    7 Indiana 7
    7 Iowa 7
    7 Michigan St. 7
    11 Penn St. 10
    12 Illinois 13

    The noise you hear is Rich Rodriguez screaming "oh, of course this happens the year after I get fired." Denard coughed it up twice against Illinois and had the elaborate-sack-escape fumble against Iowa; the other two lost fumbles were from Smith and Hopkins against SDSU. Robinson's had 330 events this year; losing three fumbles on them isn't that bad.

    Last year Michigan lost 14(!) as a team. The improvement here has been significant enough to more than combat the increase in interceptions.

    Complicated bits. Smart Football's Grantland work seems specifically targeted at things we've been discussing about Michigan's offensive transition. There a post about how Jim Harbaugh has dumped sight reading from the 49ers offense and thereby aided them in their transformation from chumps to 7-1. At first they were like this:


    And then they would change to this when they got a blitz:


    But now they're like this:


    They always have hot routes built into the play. Michigan has gone the other direction. Unfortunately you're thinking of Vincent Smith not running a slant against Michigan State right now, but I can't do anything about that. Chris Brown's take on this adaptation:

    It's my personal view, but I think NFL teams rely too much on sight adjustments. There are two reasons for this: First, these plays were far more straightforward a decade or two ago than they are now, and second, coaches who spend nearly all their waking hours thinking about football tend to forget that it's not how many X's and O's they know but what they can teach their players. To the first point, sight adjustments are old — at least 50 years old, if not more. But they arose before zone blitzes became popular. Against a blitz with man-to-man coverage in the secondary, sight adjustments made perfect sense. They were extensions of backyard football — throw a quick one to the fast guy and let him run with the ball before the blitz overwhelms the offensive line.

    Now it's not so simple. With the rise of the zone blitz, the fact that three defenders might rush from one side tells the offense almost nothing about where the coverage will be. This is why, when zone blitzes first became prominent, you saw quarterbacks throwing awful passes directly to defenders who weren't even close to receivers. This is not to say that sight adjustments are impossible in today's environment, but they require an almost telepathic relationship between quarterback, receiver, and even the offensive line.

    Borges and Hoke have been grumbling about wide receivers being hidden issues in the passing game for chunks of the year and I think this is what they're talking about. In the spring game Gardner missed Gallon three times when Gallon pulled up short and Gardner threw long or vice versa; the Smith interception happened; Denard has often been under pressure without anywhere to go with the ball because everyone's 30 yards downfield. That seems nuts so my assumption is when that happens it's because the receivers have not read the play correctly.

    While this should get better next year when Gallon, Roundtree, and Stonum all have a year of experience under their belts I'm a little leery of Michigan using sight reads extensively—and they seem like an all-or-nothing proposition like being a triple option or Air Raid team. You're either 100% committed to it or you suck. I'll figure out more about this over the offseason—I've signed up for some clinics featuring Michigan's coordinators that will hopefully shed some light on what Michigan's trying to do.

    BONUS relevance: Brown also breaks down one of Oregon's long runs against Stanford with a focus on the alignment of the line and how Oregon forces you to respect the bubble. I'll probably tackle that in greater detail in a picture pages.

    Yost attendance problem mitigation. If you have tickets, need tickets, need a rideshare, or require any other thing that will get you to Yost there is a Children of Yost facebook page that can help you with these matters. I don't think their services extend to calling you up at 7:15 and screaming "PUT DOWN THE MW3 AND LEAVE THE HOUSE NOW," unfortunately.

    More Trouba. Via NHL.com:

    "He has offense skills and he really does defend well," Gregory said. "You can just tell by how he plays in all areas of the ice that he's a big kid who skates really well. He loves to jump into the play and has confidence because he knows his skating can get him back, so he rarely gets caught out of position. He's going to be someone people are going to talk about; we've known about him for a couple years and he's not disappointing early on this year, either."…

    "He skates exceptionally well and likes to rush up the ice with the puck and with good speed," he said. "He's very confident, has great agility, is strong physically and is always alert. He's done a good job in 1-on-1 situations against opposing forwards and contained his man very well."

    (HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)

    This week in going for it. Advanced NFL Stats has a go-or-not 4th down calculator, but I think it's broken. When I punch in the situation from the weekend, it says 100% of 92 is 93. As a result it says M should have kicked.

    I think it means the decision to go was correct since it says you have a 70% chance of success and your WP goes from 92 to 93 if you get it right. Expected points are massively in favor of going, FWIW: 4.5 to 2.4.

    The mid 90s summed up. Midnight Maize brings us this shirt, which should be the student T this year and for all time:

    crazy shirt[1]

    That is wicked off the hook but inexplicably managed to escape its ebay auction unsold.

    Etc.: Toussaint interviewed by TIM DOYLE OMG. Says "I'm just a big fan of fashion." Toussaint, not Doyle. Dreaded Judgment gets on the "third down == awesome" bandwagon. MGoFootball Illinois bullets arrived too late for yesterday's game post.

    Iowa fans think Michigan State got fainting disease last Saturday, which I point out mostly to marvel at the idea anyone would have to slow the Hawkeyes' tempo down. I guess they were down a billion.


    Unverified Voracity Addresses Elephant

    Unverified Voracity Addresses Elephant Comment Count

    Brian November 8th, 2011 at 12:56 PM


    the 2009 Penn State Behrend Sports Camps flyer.

    The elephant in the room. Everyone else feels compelled to write something on the events unfolding at Penn State, and I do too. I don't have much to add to the universal revulsion and calls for firing:

    In response, Penn State did not call the police. They did other things, but they did not call the police. Joe Paterno did not call the police, and Tim Curley did not call the police, and Gary Schultz did not call the police. The graduate assistant who witness the act did not call the police. Penn State President Graham Spanier did not call the police. A reported child molester and rapist was living and working in their midst, and working in a program that brought him into contact with boys, and not one person called the police.

    Co-sign. Penn State fans are right there, too, FWIW. There's a small band of holdouts but it is a distinct minority.

    The reason I'm writing this bit is not the actions in question but the reaction of the major players once they became public. While the actions themselves are terrible the ass-covering reaction of the school's president and Paterno are at least 341st on the list of terrible things that have transpired. This is part of Paterno's statement:

    If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to  my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred. …

    As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.

    No. When you heard the sad thing about your former DC, knew goddamn well this was a second offense after a 1998 incident that is likely the reason for his sudden retirement, and decided it wasn't worth talking to the police because your mind rearranged it into something "inappropriate" instead of evil, you gambled. When a kid was raped after you gambled, you're done. You did not "do what you were supposed to." You were supposed to call the police.

    As for Spanier, Black Shoe Diaries already lost its mind for me:

    "Unconditional support"?  "Complete confidence"?  "Highest levels of honesty, integrity, and compassion?"

    Seriously?  It was appropriate that these things were investigate thoroughly a decade ago.  Regardless, this is a completely abominable response to any crisis, most especially this one.

    These are obviously vetted and carefully chosen words, which have the added effect of making Graham Spanier look like an idiot -- and that is casting Spanier in the most favorable light.  I don't think he's an idiot, for the record, but the remaining alternatives are much more sinister.

    Even after it is crystal clear huge chunks of PSU's athletic department were complicit in Sandusky's activities they still go this route:

    Who do you think you're kidding? At least own up to your massive, incomprehensive failure. Or cancel your press conference an hour before it is supposed to happen. Is there an athletic department in the country that can say "we were wrong"?

    Paterno's apparently gone, as was inevitable the moment the grand jury report was released. His name should be off the Big Ten championship trophy. Either that or I want one of the post game interviews to go like this:

    Q: You've won the Big Ten championship! What are you going to do now?
    A: Spend a decade enabling a child rapist!

    If they could stop running that Big Ten ad where Paterno says "we believe in people" (except when they are reporting serious crimes) that would be cool, too. His legacy is now Pedobear wearing JoePa's glasses.

    Is this fair? Should we forget all the good Paterno has done in our "rush to judgment"? Yes, and yes. This is a failure so massive it wipes out every positive thing about JoePa, of which there were many.

    Forget with consumption. Now that we've talked about horrible crimes you're probably in the mood to buy a shirt. I know I am. You are in luck, as three fabulous options have been added to the MGoStore:


    I find it odd that people want to commemorate a concept that means Michigan's quarterback is throwing the ball five feet over his receivers' heads, but commemorate away. Also I'm going to pitch Underground that all MGoShirts should feature someone pointing at something.

    Good news for people who love bad Seinfeld references. I just wanted to type that header. Now I've done it so I guess I have to say something about the unexpected commitment of Pioneer RB/WR Drake Johnson. That thing is: reminds me of James Rogers. Instate sleeper with excellent straight line speed but reputed to be more of a track star than a football player, recruited as a RB, may actually end up at WR (or, you know, in the secondary after a five year sojourn across every position on the depth chart).

    Weird commit to take before figuring out where Bri'onte Dunn is going to end up, but my moles tell me Fred Jackson says he can transform into a helicopter. That will be helpful on short yardage. But seriously folks, it'll be interesting to see how Johnson and Thomas Rawls work out as the first of the Hoke tailbacks. Both are major sleepers, but running back is a spot where sleepers seem to do better than they should at a position that prizes athleticism—Hart, Le'Veon Bell, Wisconsin person du jour.

    All 22… [Homer noise]. Dedicated NFL followers are peeved at the league's implausible reasons for not releasing the endzone camera angles that show every player on the field ("fans would jump to conclusions after watching one or two games"). Smart Football:

    The proffered reason — that it would result in too much criticism — is so silly that it can’t possibly be true. But if it’s not true, then what is the real reason? … two possibilities: first, either we really would fail to comprehend the complex array of movement on the field by twenty-two supremely athletic but human men, and thus we need the gentle paternalism of the cameraman and producer to show us, in a kind of cinematic baby talk, “See, with this close-up the quarterback throws a pretty spiral to the receiver”; or, second, football isn’t even a game so much as it is a product to be branded in a particular way, and by restricting the All-22 the NFL can by Orwellian imagery of extreme close-ups and slow-motion shots emotionally convey to us the narratives solely how they want to in the way they want to. In either case, there it’s control of the message; the only question is why, and all the answers are depressing.

    This is the same attitude that leads to the Paterno reaction (not the action, the PR): belief that enough people will be snowed that you don't have to care about the ones who aren't. It works enough to be the default strategy even when no one in the world is going to believe you, like in the recent OSU and PSU cases*. That's the only play in the playbook.

    On the other hand, it's not like anyone's offering views of the whole field to me. I asked the SID about it a few years ago and got a polite, expected rejection. I think the thing the NFL fears is fans making criticisms that aren't ignorant.

    *[Because I don't want to find @ramzyn leaping out of my mailbox with a machete tomorrow, let me clarify that I'm not comparing the two actions that led to the PR blunders, just the PR blunders themselves. The reaction to both the Gee/Smith circus and the Spanier stuff was "who do they think they're kidding?" The PSU stuff has an order of magnitude of extra rage on top of it, obviously.]

    What is a catch anymore? Additional Hoke comment on the Hemingway 49% touchdown:

    "I thought Junior made a catch," Hoke said Monday during his weekly news conference.

    In bounds?

    "Oh, yeah," he said. "I thought he caught the ball (and finished the play)."

    Hoke downplayed the significance of it after making that statement, FWIW, and that's about what I want from the coach: an honest opinion delivered calmly.

    Anyway, this section is not about that. It's about what constitutes a catch these days. It used to be, sonny, that if the ball hit the ground it was not a catch. Nowadays there's the whole control-to-the-ground, ball-not-moving, is-it-or-isn't-it-thing. And I don't like it. Back in my day, these things were clear. Now anything close gets sent up and then sent back inconclusive.

    I'd prefer it if a ball that hits the ground before the receiver has the opportunity to make a football move with it was just incomplete. That's clear. If that was the rule we wouldn't be talking about the Hemingway non-catch because it would have been obvious.

    Iowa skill position coveting update. Patrick Vint of BHGP relates that McNutt was an athletic quarterback until year two at Iowa, when it was discovered his hands are covered in a mild adhesive and he is pimp. Also he explains the Coker recruitment:

    …he committed to Iowa between his junior and senior seasons at Dematha.  You were right on the offers, but only Minnesota and Iowa were recruiting him as a full-time halfback; everyone else saw him as a fullback/h-back.  Obviously, we know how that works out.  But the other thing is that he wasn't necessarily "missed" as much as completely under the radar.  He was injury-prone as a sophomore and junior, and his numbers weren't that impressive.  Both Rivals and Scout had him as a low-3*.  His senior year was monster, though, getting him the fourth star and some late attention from VT/Miami/Auburn (IIRC on war eagle), but Iowa had an ace in the hole: Dude's an astrophysics major, and Iowa's been all over that s--- since Van Allen in the 50's.

    Yes, our beast of a starting halfback is an astrophysics major.

    Must be nice to watch your meh tailback recruit hulk up during his senior season.

    Etc.: Patriot-News front page is powerful stuff. Mike McQueary is next on the list of people who are coming in for well-deserved abuse. Hockey recruit updates. UMHoops previews Michigan's bench.