The NCAA Tournament Is Close Enough

The NCAA Tournament Is Close Enough Comment Count

Brian March 28th, 2018 at 5:42 PM

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[Patrick Barron]

From time to time you'll see an assertion that the NCAA basketball tournament is a bad way to determine a champion, because it's single elimination, not particularly fair, and doesn't really prove who the best team is. The Ken Pomeroy:

He's in the middle of arguing for a re-seed after the first weekend, FWIW.

I bring it up because I think the tournament actually does a good job. The point of playoffs is to spit out a worthy champion, and college basketball almost always does. My favorite method to judge championship-worthy teams is a score-blind strength of record ranking. SOR is an attempt to calculate which team accomplished the most over the course of the season, and that seems like the best way to pick a champion. ESPN's version of that stat goes back to 2008. Final Fours since:

YEAR #1 #2 semi semi
2017 #1 UNC #3 Gonzaga #24 South Carolina #9 Oregon
2016 #3 Nova #2 UNC #5 Oklahoma #30 Syracuse
2015 #3 Duke #2 Wisconsin #1 Kentucky #13 MSU
2014 #8 UConn #10 Kentucky #1 Florida #3 Wisconsin
2013 #1 Louisville #2 Michigan #9 Syracuse #17 Wichita State
2012 #1 Kentucky #3 Kansas #9 Louisville #4 OSU
2011 #3 UConn #30 Butler #7 Kentucky #46 VCU
2010 #1 Duke #7 Butler #4 WVU #12 MSU
2009 #1 UNC #4 MSU #2 UConn #7 Nova
2008 #2 Kansas #3 Memphis #1 UNC #4 UCLA

Only one champion in ten years finished the season ranked worse than #3, and surely there's enough wobble in any stat to declare that good enough. Only four times has a team ranked outside the top 4 even reached the title game, and the lone winner from the depths still finished 8th.

Unless Loyola pulls an upset on Saturday, this will continue: Villanova, Kansas, and Michigan are 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Loyola is 21st.

This situation does not hold for college hockey, by the way. Despite having far fewer competitive programs—about 40—KRACH ranked 2015 champion Providence 16th, 2013 champion Yale 13th, 2011 champ Minnesota-Duluth 7th, 2008 champ BC 10th, and 2007 champ MSU 12th. It's little better than a coin flip between a team that can claim to legitimately have had the best season and some rando that just squeezed in. That's why this space rails against that single-elimination tourney while being sanguine about basketball's.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Eats At IHOP

Unverified Voracity Eats At IHOP Comment Count

Brian December 6th, 2017 at 1:03 PM

Shea Patterson and friends watch. It's happening? I mean. Can't throw a rock without hitting someone who says SOURCES are telling him that Shea Patterson is a lock for Michigan and possibly as soon as this weekend. Sam Webb's put in a crystal ball, which he hastens to say is not a Gut Feeling, and here's the Blade's Michigan beat writer:

It's happening.

Probably also happening: Van Jefferson and Deontay Anderson. Both guys are coming up this weekend. Highlights of Patterson throwing to Jefferson in 2016, when Jefferson was a redshirt freshman:

He had 49 catches for 543 yards and was on pace to best that as a sophomore when he dislocated his elbow before the Texas A&M game.

That is likely it despite some overheated reports that up to seven Ole Miss players are interested in Michigan. Taking the three guys above already stretches Michigan's scholarships pretty thin. Anyone who doesn't play tackle is in tough for playing time, and per Rashan Gary's mom Greg Little isn't interested. Gary and Little became friends over the course of their recruitment so that's as good a source as any.

The other guys mentioned haven't set visits and it's unclear that Michigan would be interested in them.

Why wasn't it Cracker Barrel though? For some reason, Harbaugh flying down to see guys he might have on his football team caused the internet to blow up. Harbaugh claps back at Mark Dantonio? Go crazy, guys. Harbaugh does a thing literally all football coaches do dozens of times a year with high school players? Maybe let that one slide.

What do you say, internet?

Ah, still internet I see.

A fairly good defense. Michigan lands four guys in the PFF All Big Ten defense, and three of them return:

Two more guys couldn't have been far off that list given this stat:

Personally, I'd take the CBs who whooped up on Simmie Cobbs over the one who got whooped until he got a safety bracket, but Michigan's guys were probably hurt by a lack of volume.

Add in Rashan Gary to the five returning guys in the above tweets and you've got quite a platform to build on.

Missed tackles: nah. Josh Liskiewitz, one of PFF's Big Ten evaluators, was grilled by Iowa fans because Josey Jewell was omitted from the team above. This spawned an interesting twitter thread in which Liskiewitz defended himself with various stats he'd compiled. The most interesting from a Michigan fan's perspective:

[he == Jewell, FWIW]

Jewell had an 86 grade—which would have made him first team All-SEC or All-Pac12, but finished 9th(!) in the Big Ten. We assume that Tegray Scales, Jason Cabinda, and Ryan Connelly are three of the five guys in front of Jewell, FWIW.

Peters cleared; Black a maybe. Brandon Peters is good to go for bowl practices and the game, per Harbaugh. I assert that he will start. Yes, I assert that. Here's a randomly depressing stat!

Prior to the injury, Peters was 37 of 64 for 486 yards passing in five games, including three starts. He's thrown a team-high four touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Sweet fancy Moses.

In other bowl injury news, Tarik Black is back in practice and could play in the bowl game. Harbaugh says he's "leaning towards not doing it," and, I mean... don't. Michigan's in a good spot in the bowl game without him and a potential fifth year is far more valuable than whatever marginal bonus chance at a bowl win he provides.

Good luck, whoever you are. South Carolina has axed their offensive coordinator. Er, their co-offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. The other guy, Bryan McClendon, is at least temporarily the only cook in the Gamecock kitchen. He is 33 years old and facing down Don Brown with one of the worst offenses in the country. Good luck with that, sir.

FALSE. I love Harbaugh but this is a bad take he should feel bad about:

"My reaction is that there should be more than four teams in the playoffs," Harbaugh told reporters. "Again, I want to reiterate: 8 teams, 12 teams, 16 teams. Sixteen would be ideal in the playoffs."

For one, a team that reached the finals is playing 17 games. For two, the urgency of the regular season is obliterated if last year's Michigan team finishes their season they way they did and still gets in.

Add one fan. ESPN's Sarah Spain has been on a journey across college football to find a team to root for, and she stopped by the MGoTailgate before the OSU game last week:

Saturday morning I headed out to meet one of my hosts for the day, Gordie Fall (named in honor of Gordie Howe), at the famous MGoBus. The tailgate featured craft beer from Wolverine State Brewing Company, loads of breakfast food and, of course, the maize and blue MGoBus owned by Matt and Sara Demorest. While I was there, I learned more about life on campus and the UM scene with Brian Cook and Seth Fisher, of popular Michigan sports site MGoBlog.com. I also met former Wolverines running back Vincent Smith (you may remember him from this), who's now running community gardens in Flint, Michigan, and his hometown of Pahokee, Florida, to increase access to healthy foods, reduce juvenile crime and use gardening-based intervention to curtail violence. Very cool.

Adam was also there! Adam doesn't talk much. Thanks to everyone else's contributions but certainly not ours, Michigan was the pick. Welcome, Sarah. Prepare to be called a Walmart Wolverine despite going to Cornell.

Etc.: More on Dave Brandon The Program's first press conference with chief gobbledygook purveyor Herm Edwards. A timeline of Jimbo Fisher's unprecedented move. John Beilein gets shots up. Chris Collins tells a bald-faced lie in a postgame press conference. It remains impressive how many NU internet people openly loathe the guy who got them their first NCAA tourney bid.

Comments

This Week’s Obsession: Playoffs

This Week’s Obsession: Playoffs Comment Count

Seth December 5th, 2017 at 2:32 PM

HIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: If you’re trying to not make important life decisions the same way the NCAA makes theirs, talk to Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management.

Our deal is Nick is the guy I go to for financial strategies, and he gets to ask us Michigan questions on your behalf. Anytime it’s a Nick question, we’ll let you know. Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And when you’re ready to figure out how you’re going to plan your retirement and pay for your kids’ college when you just got done paying for your own, don’t wait to do something about that.

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

Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.

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

Nick’s Question:

What do you guys think of Bama getting in ahead of OSU? Do you still trust they’ll get it right in the future? I know Brian has a six-team playoff, but do you guys all agree on that or have other ideas?

…that we broke into three parts.

Q1: Did the committee get it right this year?

David: I think they got it fine. Clemson, Oklahoma, and Georgia are the Top 3 and probably should be. Maybe bump the Sooners to 1? This is fine, though.

As far as Bama/OSU goes...whatever, I think its pretty 50/50. Bama's schedule wasn't great, and OSU had an extra loss. It was a coin-toss.

image
Nobody’s arguing Ohio State looked like a playoff team; the problem is Alabama didn’t either. [photo: Patrick Barron]

Brian: I don't think there was a way to get it right, really. You're choosing between a team that has its most notable win over Mississippi State and one that lost to Oklahoma and Iowa uncompetitively. (Remember that OU-OSU game should have been worse than 15-point loss; OU spent the first half driving the field and then shooting itself in the foot.) And USC, which also got blown out embarrassingly by Notre Dame. This isn't a year when there's a clear choice, or even a vaguely clear choice. It's a coin flip.

But it's one the committee got wrong, for the same reason they got it wrong last year. It's a coin flip as far as resume and team quality goes. So make the season count, dammit. If a conference championship isn't going to be a tiebreaker why even bother? Penn State last year and Ohio State this year both went through an extra game against a tough opponent to win a supposedly important thing only to get passed over for a team that sat at home and watched. That's garbage.

[Hit THE JUMP for ripping on the SEC, and how teal were the 90s? So teal]

Comments

Dear Diary Puts the Cereal in First

Dear Diary Puts the Cereal in First Comment Count

Seth November 13th, 2015 at 4:37 PM

We'll get to the important thing but first wow this UFR Visualization tool by grozzy is useful. For example here's how much of an outlier Desmond Morgan's game vs Minnesota was:

Morgan_bounceback

Small request: the numbers always get thrown off by how many plays are in a game. I wonder if the visualizer could adjust for that by making it points per charted play.

Okay the important thing:

image

Yes, MGoReaders, a plurality of you have correct taste in cereal. For the record, the entire MGoStaff voted for Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Not only did they perfectly pull off the miniaturization of Angelo's specialty, but they knew to add just the right amount of cinnamon to make the post-cereal milk-slurp experience the BEST.

Also apparently a minority of you are colorblind and can't tell who won from the above chart because everything looks like blue or green. And a minority of that minority blamed me instead of the OP for that. Hey it ain't my fault you (probably) lack red cones a thing our primate ancestors developed pretty late in the story to be able to spot berries. My grandpa had that; they put him in the lead plane in WWII because tank camouflage didn't work on him.

[Hit THE JUMP to learn what happens if Michigan wins out and you call Keith Jackson]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Gets Heavier Over Time

Unverified Voracity Gets Heavier Over Time Comment Count

Brian November 6th, 2015 at 11:49 AM

The last walkoff goal line stand. Via Wolverine Historian, Illinois 1982:

Health bits. Rudock should play Saturday. Smith's having issues, he will continue to have issues, he has an injury you can play through but always hurts and won't stop hurting until the offseason.

11457304[1]

Excellent, responsive, transparent. The athletic department surveyed 4,500 season ticket holders and is releasing that information over the next couple weeks. I love that. It shows the department is listening to fans and allowing us to talk about the data they gathered in public. That is something I've wanted them to do for a long time. So:

Question 4: Did you enjoy the balance of piped-in music and band during the game (not including pregame or halftime)?

• It was a perfect balance (43%)
• Would prefer a lot more band, a lot less piped-in music (20%)
• Would prefer a little more band, a little less piped-in music (28%)
• Would prefer a little more piped-in music, a little less band (6%)
• Would prefer a lot more piped-in music, a lot less band (1%)
• Didn't care (3%)

That's about a 50/50 split between people who think the music is fine and those who want it toned down. (I am obviously in the 20% group.)

I'm disappointed with this answer:

Question 3: How would you rate the overall video board presentation (highlight videos, replays, prompts, information, etc.)?

• Excellent (49%)
• Good (44%)
• Fair (6%)
• Poor (1%)

Alas! Have I not yelled about pore-o-vision sufficiently to move the mass of public opinion?

I'll say this much for Dave Brandon. He didn't land Michigan in a congressional report about how many of the military patriotism events at sport events are bought and paid for. The NFL, of course, is the biggest offender here, but Wisconsin, Indiana, and Purdue are the college programs that managed to show up. In those teams' case they seem to be selling a bunch of game tickets to their local National Guard units, which 1) is not a good use of taxpayer dollars and 2) in the case of Indiana-Purdue football is just not nice to our military reservists.

But mostly it's just NFL teams taking millions of dollars to pretend like they care about anything other than millions of dollars. Which is the best! It is infinite NFL.

Speaking of things we aren't getting paid for. Flyover this weekend:

The answer is "most deserving." Chris Brown asks what the goal of playoff rankings should be:

What criteria should we use to determine who gets the title?

One answer is that the champion should be the season’s “best team,” possibly defined as the best overall team or the team we think would be favored to beat every other team on a neutral field. Another answer is the “most deserving team,” loosely defined as the team that produced the best overall season. These two things are not always the same. It’s perfectly possible for the best team — i.e., the most formidable — to lose a close game or even two on a bad kick or a fluke play, while another team runs the table by winning close games.

Alabama lost a game to Ole Miss in which they had an avalanche of fluky turnovers and this happen to them:

That doesn't really impact my opinion about how good Alabama is. I think they're better than Ole Miss, probably a lot better. But that is just, like, my opinion, man. Once you start talking about "best" because team X has fancy S&P stats or a bunch of NFL first rounders you lose the reason we even play the damn fluky thing that is football. You play to win the game. Bama didn't win.

Now, in a sport like college football you can't just add up wins and losses and call it a day. Schedules are imbalanced and short. Style points have to come into play because a lot of teams will have similar records. A 58-0 blowout of a team should matter more than a 21-20 win. But once you start looking at the why you start eroding the fundamental reason I should care about, say, a one in a million punt drop disaster.

Moving the game to a Vegas-style "eh, don't care about results" model is not good for the sport and is fundamentally a guess that football keeps proving us wrong about, and thus we should dump why and how from playoff rankings in favor of a deeply researched take on what.

I demand a Drake Johnson television show. He killed it at his press availability oh and also

Skyrim bartering is bad but I'll allow it.

On that one site with all the liars. Hey. So Chatsports just lies about things, all the time, in search of traffic. Don't pay attention to them. This was Georgia QB commit Jacob Eason's dad in the aftermath of another Chatsports fiction piece:

The “story” that came out yesterday about him contacting multiple schools really struck a nerve.

Tony Eason called me on Wednesday morning and he was not happy about it.

“Who the h$#** is Marc F&%*% and where did he get that Bull Sh$%$# story at?”

Marc Furballson is the updated nom de plume of Ace Williams. If you post a chatsports link to the message board we will delete all your points. AND THEN WHAT WILL YOU DO

They won't listen. Mike Freeman on Harbaugh availability:

I asked one general manager about Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL. His response: "He's going to have at least six teams come after him. He'd be able to have any open job he wants." The GM didn't name the teams, but it's not hard to figure out who some of them will be.

Then, the general manager said some NFL teams have already reached out to Harbaugh's camp to see if he'd be available once the season ends. Those teams, the GM explained, weren't told just "no." They were basically told "no freaking way."

Harbaugh isn't going anywhere.

Not that you needed to be told that.

I get it. Bruce Feldman on the Minnesota job:

For one, they don't even have an AD right now. Getting a new coach without a permanent AD is going to be very hard unless you have a Harbaugh; Minnesota doesn't. For two, cheap. For three, this is not a job market Minnesota particularly wants to be in, and you can make a long-term decision on Claeys after a year or two since there should be staff continuity.

Heavier now. MVictors went back and found the average weight of Michigan's starters since the beginning. After a plateau to start weights have crept upwards at a near-constant rate for around 100 years:

AverageWeightbyseason_thumb1[1]

Things have leveled off a little bit since the 1990s.

Etc.: Rainman previewed. Dylan Larkin is good at hockey /weeps about last season. Exit Frank Beamer, real good dude. Bill Daley remembered. Rutgers blog is doing a 68-coach bracket to determine who their next dude should be and John Baxter makes a play-in game. Spike profiled. Blake O'Neill and a small child. More of a medium child, actually.

Nebraska's athletic director is… working on extension? That's one way to approach things. Things are going down at Georgia. Chaos there helps Michigan with Isaac Nauta and Mecole Hardman. OSU/M tickets next year will be expensive, still under demand.

Comments

My Big Ten Realignment Proposal

My Big Ten Realignment Proposal Comment Count

Seth July 27th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

college football realignment

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

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

Here's my suggestion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments

Unverified Voracity Bids Crystal Adieu

Unverified Voracity Bids Crystal Adieu Comment Count

Brian January 7th, 2014 at 1:16 PM

bcstrophy[1]

It's over. Hooray?

And lo, it ended. It ended for us before the new year, and now it's all over, all of it: the season, the BCS, the goofy bowl scheduling. Next year, there are three large games on New Year's Eve and three large games on New Year's Day, two of which are national semifinals leading to a final the next week.

The BCS itself was sent off with a grander finale than it deserved, a taut back-and-forth affair between Florida State and pretty-much-arbitrarily-chosen Auburn that worked out, unlike near-arbitrary matchups that ended up in one sided blowouts with another team with a near-identical resume looked on in disgust. With the playoff these outrages have been reduced in intensity and spread over a greater number of teams, which seems like progress.

How long this holds before expansion and realignment kicks in, I don't know. I tend to think we'll end up with an eight-team playoff sooner rather than later, and from there who knows what happens. Someone will say "but we can get more money," probably, and then things spiral on and on.

At the very least, a bunch of bad ideas have ceased to impact college football, like

  1. Coaches voting on teams they haven't seen and have a huge conflict of interest about
  2. Retired coaches voting based on what Oklahoma was like in 1975
  3. Computer polls that can't take margin of victory or anything else into account
  4. Richard Billingsley

Whether the new ideas are better is yet to be seen; they almost can't be worse.

OH GOOD. Penn State may have been an incestuous mockery of an athletic department for years, but by God did they turn that around quickly. Bill O'Brien goes so well that an NFL team scoops him up after two years and their sanction-riddled mess of a program heading for a crater is about hire away

...the guy who turned Vanderbilt from a 2-10 type outfit into a consistent bowl participant and all-around thorn in the side of the SEC. Ace and I are trying to come up with the last Big Ten coach to have 1) a job at the time of his hire and 2) a resume better than Franklin's, and, well…

[12:22 PM] Ace: is it bad that kevin wilson was the first name that came to mind?
[12:22 PM] Brian Cook: #ImitateAdam_Jacobi

…we're having some difficulty. Ace throws out Dantonio, but Dantonio's record in three years at Cincinnati was 18-17. Best we've got is Gary Andersen at Wisconsin, who implemented a hugely impressive build at Utah State. But I dunno man, Vandy is coming off back to back 9-4 years. Vandy. Which is in the SEC.

Not sure how good of a cultural fit the fiery, weird Franklin (remember that thing about how he only hires guys with hot wives?) will be at Penn State, but for a team in their situation to poach the hot up and coming SEC guy is impressive.

Unless this is all agents getting their dude a raise, but there's a lot of smoke here indicating he's the guy. Which will mean Michigan is in a division with Urban, Dantonio, and Franklin. Plus Randy Edsall. It's not all bad, I guess.

That was awesome, do it more. Twitter was agog about the ESPN News section of ESPN's BCS overkill broadcast, as it featured coaches (and Chris Spielman and Matt Millen) with instant off the cuff reactions to what was going on. I was with Twitter. Spielman's fervor for assignments came through clearly as he steamed about Auburn's screen touchdown, and then Kevin Sumlin jumped in to say that is what Auburn does, they put the eye candy in front of you for just those reasons, and everything was just terrific.

A few suggestions:

  1. Everyone do this all the time. Seriously, I would watch Glen Mason in a room just dying in disgust as he tries to watch Michigan run the ball. This may qualify as torture under the Geneva Convention; if it doesn't, do it.
  2. The game is the most important bit, so make it the whole screen, with the coaches popping in with small PIP boxes. The All-22 camera angle combined with the smaller box for the actual game was problematic, and I have a huge TV. Maximize the game size; no need to cut to visuals of Spielman, et al., when I can hear them talking.
  3. Cut two guys. One guy to run things, one D guy, one O guy, and Spielman.
  4. Send small electric shocks to anyone who talks in platitudes, like Paul Chryst did much of the night.

Thumbs up.

What I have been trying to express all year. Smart Football profiles Gus Malzahn for Grantland. This is the core of the offensive philosophy that brought Auburn from 0-8 in the SEC to the precipice of the national title in one year with a converted cornerback at QB:

Malzahn had never been in charge of an offense before. Searching for help, he turned to a book famous in coaching circles, The Delaware Wing-T: An Order of Football, by Harold "Tubby" Raymond, and followed it "word-for-word."

The genius of Raymond's book is that it's not merely a collection of football plays, though there's still plenty of that. Instead, it's primarily a treatise on how to think about offensive football. "The Wing-T is more than a formation," Raymond wrote. "It is sequence football." The animating idea behind Raymond's "Delaware" wing-T was his belief that the best offenses were built around a tightly wound collection of plays that fit together so that defenses effectively dictated the next play; each time a team tries to stop one thing, it opens itself up to something else. Beginning in the 1950s and lasting into the early 2000s — first as an assistant under wing-T innovator David Nelson, then as head coach from the mid-1960s on — Raymond fielded teams that devastated defenses. If the opposition tried to stop his base plays, Raymond had counters to his counters, counters to his counters to his counters, and so on. He amplified this "sequential" approach by "utilizing the misdirection theme to its fullest." With a dizzying array of motions, backfield actions, and fakes, Raymond correctly determined that defenses wouldn't be able to stop his offense if they couldn't find the ball.

Auburn's offense is a modernized version of that. It's like Fritz Crisler, basically, except not as wacky. Michigan does not have a tightly wound collection of plays, partially because they can't execute basic runs and partially because that's just not how Al Borges rolls. Borges does have sets of plays that are interrelated, but instead of piling wrinkle on wrinkle like Malzahn does—his thing this year was double arc blocks…

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…Borges goes to a different package once his previous stuff has been figured out. And they dispense with the frippery. To me that's a philosophical thing on par with huddling.

How do you run the ball in college football? The top 25 teams in yards per carry this year, with offense type appended (note: distinction between spread to run teams and passing spread teams largely based on how many yards the QB had. Generally spread to run teams had 500+ QB rushing yards, and usually 700+).

RK Name Avg. Offense
1 Ohio State 6.8 Spread to run
2 Wisconsin 6.62 Pro-style
3 Northern Illinois 6.35 Spread to run
4 Auburn 6.3 Spread to run
5 Oregon 6.26 Spread to run
6 New Mexico 6.14 Spread to run
7 Toledo 5.99 Passing spread
8 Alabama 5.8 Pro-style
9 Missouri 5.66 Spread to run
10 Florida State 5.63 Passing spread
11 Navy 5.46 Flexbone
11 Georgia Tech 5.46 Flexbone
13 Baylor 5.37 Passing spread
14 Army 5.36 Flexbone
15 Arizona 5.32 Spread to run
16 Indiana 5.29 Passing spread
17 Boston College 5.28 Pro-style
17 Arkansas 5.28 Pro-style
19 BYU 5.23 Spread to run
20 Oklahoma 5.21 Spread to run
21 Texas A&M 5.17 Spread to run
22 Wyoming 5.1 Spread to run
23 Washington 5.09 Passing spread
24 Marshall 5.05 Passing spread
24 Western Kentucky 5.05 ???

Yeah, it's possible to have a good running game by going under center and grinding it out, but is it likely? Four of the top 25 teams are pro-style outfits, one of which is Alabama and their overwhelming talent. Is Michigan going to be Wisconsin? I hope so, because that's the only way we get on this list.

Dolla dolla bill. We have money. Some of it comes from the only incompetent Germans.

According to a study done by the Portland Business Journal, Michigan's contract with Adidas (which is currently set to expire in 2016) is the most lucrative apparel deal in the country. Yes, more than Oregon's flashy contractual arrangement with Nike.

Per the study, Michigan currently receives a total of $8.2 million annually from Adidas stemming from the contract signed in 2007 between the two parties.

Michigan receives $4.4 million in equipment and apparel, and $3.8 million in cash. That's more than twice as much as the next-highest school in the Big Ten, Nebraska, which makes a total of $4 million from Adidas.

Part of that is the fact that Michigan has so many sports, which drives up the equipment and apparel bit. I wonder what will happen in 2016; that Most Favored Nation status Martin acquired has long driven ND crazy and Michigan's national appeal has… uh… suffered in recent years. The brand, if you will. Maybe we'll run an ad campaign about how we know our football is terrible so we changed our football sauce.

#footballsauce

Etc.: Noah Spence got suspended for… ecstasy? See you at DEMF, bro. Bring your glowsticks. Here are the twitter jokes about this you need to read. Jake Butt makes Leno. Congrats? HAIL SPIELMAN.

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College Football Playoff Is Brought To You By Lars Von Trier, Of Course

College Football Playoff Is Brought To You By Lars Von Trier, Of Course Comment Count

Brian May 2nd, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Via @mocomber, can you pick out the cofopoff logo?

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You cannot, because you cannot decide if the current state of the NCAA is a Lars Von Trier movie or not. Specifically: Dogville, progenitor of THE MOST MISLEADING MOVIE TRAILER EVER. Kidman represents the athletes, the town the NCAA, but you knew that or have never seen a Lars Von Trier movie.

I would recommend not starting, actually. There's a… well… just trust me. Some things don't want to be seen.

BONUS: via Ace:

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Unverified Voracity Chases Stanford Futilely

Unverified Voracity Chases Stanford Futilely Comment Count

Brian April 24th, 2013 at 12:30 PM

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

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This may be fake but probably not.

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

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

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

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

Softball - 16

Men's Golf - 8

Women's Golf - 12

Baseball - receiving votes

Women's T&F - 9

Women's Water Polo - 1

Men's Volleyball - 6

Women's Rowing - 9

Women's Tennis – 12

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

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

What an awesome player.

YER A BALLERZ. The NCAA 14 cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ann Arbor is pretty all right. Click for big.

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

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

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

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

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

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