Unverified Voracity Needs Mulch Answers

Unverified Voracity Needs Mulch Answers

Submitted by Brian on May 21st, 2018 at 12:58 PM

mulch-Charlottesville-VA

MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULCH

I HAVE QUESTIONS. When did Beilein think up "Mulch Madness" and how excited was he to send that tweet? Why does John Beilein need 15 cubic yards of mulch? I need 15 cubic yards of mulch because my entire yard is mulched. Does John Beilein also have a no-grass yard? Did he clear this with compliance? (A: Yes, obviously.) Did that mean the players couldn't have snacks?

Where did he get his mulch? How much did it cost? Is it cheaper than the mulch I buy? What's with the pitchforks, doesn't the mulch fall through? Is it stupid to use a snow-shovel instead of these pitchfork things? That's what I do. Will I force Ace to ask all these questions at a press conference? (A: Yes, obviously.)

No. Uh, Sir. It's 2010 all over again:

He said Saturday he feels the game hasn’t been emphasized enough by Michigan.

“To be quite honest I really feel like over the years, in recent years, there hasn’t been the emphasis that I’m used to being put on that game,” Woodson said.

“Every game has been out on the same level of that game and that’s not the way we were brought up, that’s not the way we were raised around here. And we had no shame in saying it.”

Michigan lost by a literal inch in 2016 and last year had a brilliant gameplan undone by a third string quarterback playing like an eighth string one. Also they went and grabbed a defensive coordinator who runs a 4-2-5 as a base and has a 3-3-5 changeup in an attempt to tackle OSU's spread offense. There have been cracks in the Harbaugh façade—cough cough Drevno—but "doesn't prepare enough for Ohio State" is not one of them.

Purdue could be real interesting real soon. Former five star and now former Clemson Tiger Hunter Johnson is transferring after one year. He's from Indianapolis—a couple years back he played Brandon Peters in a game Ace broke down—and has a couple of Big Ten locations high on his list:

Sources told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that Northwestern and Purdue are two possible destinations for Johnson. His brother Cole played in few games as a reserve for Northwestern a few years ago.

This is against the natural way of things where failed Purdue quarterbacks inexplicably go start for major programs in the south, but I suspect Boiler fans will accept this violation of tradition if in fact they do land Johnson. If the Boilers can hold onto Jeff Brohm, who was a candidate during Tennessee's crazy search, they could be in for some Tiller-era seasons. Large ifs, but with Nebraska finally hiring someone who is a good idea the West could be substantially less sad in the near future.

Or Johnson could be so definitively behind Trevor Lawrence he transfers after one spring session because he's not actually that good. Peters's team blew his out, after all.

Camp Sanderson now has data behind it. Moe Wagner came back to Michigan in part because he wasn't an NBA-ready athlete. The bits of this that can be fixed seem to have been fixed, emphatically:

Wagner still doesn't have pterodactyl arms, but hopefully his increased physical prowess and the big leap in his rebounding that made possible allow him to slip into the tail end of the first round.

Hoops croot quotes. The Detroit News runs down Michigan's incoming basketball class, with quotes from both Rivals and 24/7 scouts. Some of them are silly, like this assertion from Brian Snow…

What (Brazdeikis) does is he just scores the ball. He's more of a mid-range shooter right now, which I don't love because it's the most inefficient shot in basketball, but he does it at a high level.

…that is flatly incorrect per UMHoops:

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But other assertions are more interesting and less directly contradicted by data. Both guys think Colin Castleton has a chance to be elite:

Bossi’s take: “Castleton is a guy that we gave a pretty big bump to after his senior year because he has always been able to move really well for a kid his size … but what really stood out to me is how quickly his skills emerged. He's become reliable as a 10- to 12-foot jump shooter. He's got a little jump hook, and the production on offense that wasn't really there last spring and summer has started to come on during the high school year. I think he's got confidence now.”

Snow’s take: “Colin is a kid who can really run the court, has good hands and good shooting touch. He's physically not strong yet but he does compete. I think he has a chance to really improve as the years go along. He's going to have to get stronger and spend a lot of time in the weight room, but he's a good athlete, he can block shots, he can score inside, from the mid-range and even step out to 3. He might not be ready for big minutes right away, but I think this is a kid who down the line has a chance to be a special player.”

Brandon Johns is also proposed as a potential 4/5 combo, which would be another way for Michigan to get some stretch 5 minutes even after Wagner's departure.

But at least he made logical hires! So this guy still had a job?

The guy who hired Charlie Weis after Notre Dame survived longer than Weis.

Etc.: NHL GMs are just in charge of things. ChadTough Cancer Center is now a thing. Ethan Sears on Trey Burke's NBA revival. DJ Carton moves to five-star status at 24/7. Jalen Wilson is just outside at #29. Stephen Spanellis is a thinker. Jim Harbaugh doesn't understand roasts and that's probably for the best.

Unverified Voracity Punches A Police Horse, Probably

Unverified Voracity Punches A Police Horse, Probably

Submitted by Brian on February 5th, 2018 at 1:11 PM

Sponsor note. Hey, if you happen to be in Philadelphia and punched a police horse last night, you need a lawyer. Please don't call Richard Hoeg, who does not handle that kind of law at all.

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But if you had the idea for a company that sells football helmets for police horses, then you would call Richard Hoeg, who does do that kind of law: contracts, LLCs, S corps, and the like, for entrepreneurial sorts who can survey the urban chaos our Super Bowl inflicts on local communities and finds a way to make it slightly better. For horses. Or people, I guess. If you have a company that helps people, Hoeg Law will also help you. I've never heard Richard say "we only handle horse companies." And that's the sort of thing that I think you'd bring up. Right?

Brandon Graham Michigan

The Gang Wins The Super Bowl,  thanks to Brandon Graham. Obligatory Philly chaos:

Congratulations to Brandon Graham, who was one of the few bright spots on the whole dang team when he was an upperclassman. I remember doing the UFRs for his senior year and pleading with anyone to listen to me that dude was an All-American. Nobody did except maybe Matt Hinton(?). Graham worked his ass off despite the very Rich Rod carnage all around him and was deservedly drafted in the first round; took him a minute to find his footing but that'll do. Everyone who's met him also thinks he's the best dude ever.

In other Super Bowl takes, this article from SBN was extremely prescient after watching that Big 12-ass game:

Last September, Sonny Dykes sat to watch the NFL’s season-opening game between the Chiefs and Patriots. Dykes, recently the head coach at Cal and then an offensive analyst at TCU, has coached college football since he was a graduate assistant at Kentucky in 1997. He noticed something about the pro game he was watching.

“Watching that game, I remember thinking, ‘This looks like a college football game,’” Dykes tells SB Nation. “They were both playing kind of college offenses, were really diverse in what they were doing, were using a lot of misdirection, were using some quarterback run, both teams. I thought, ‘Wow, this is kind of fun to watch.’”

The Chiefs used a series of misdirection and option plays that have long been common in the college game. They conned New England’s defense all night and scored 42 points in a surprising win. The Chiefs were near the tip of a spear that now includes pretty much the whole league, including the team they beat that night and the Eagles team the Patriots will play in Super Bowl 52.

“Ten years ago or maybe eight years ago, even, everybody in the NFL ran the same offense,” Dykes, now SMU’s head coach, says. “It was all kind of an I-formation, under center, you know; everybody ran the same stuff. All of a sudden, you started seeing a little bit of the college game proliferate a little bit in the NFL.”

New England didn't punt, gained 600 yards, and lost. Oh and there were multiple missed extra points. Big 12? Big 12.

The other thing that jumped out at me as I watched the second of two NFL games I consume annually: holy hell that catch rule. Philly's winning touchdown saw the WR catch the ball, get two feet down, and then take a full step to the endzone before he hit the ground. Both Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were absolutely convinced it was not a catch.

Which is nuts, because... uh, that's nuts. I will repeat my previous assertion: once you get foot #3 down by taking a step you're a runner and have caught the ball. That's a catch, and the Pittsburgh play earlier isn't.

Also, in the fourth quarter of a tight, all offense Super Bowl, Cris Collinsworth marveled that the football game he was watching could possibly live up to the halftime show. This was after several hundred plain old play action passes were dubbed "RPOs," like—just hypothetically—a two year old who had just discovered the word "wine" at Thanksgiving and may have repeated it at maximum volume for the sheer delight several hundred times.

I just dunno man.

Sample size! I have maybe been googling David DeJulius's free throw stats, for no reason, really. This is what I have found.

image

Hooray! Also, here's this from that Orr game when he blew up:

DeJulius continued his strong play in the second half and was extremely efficient, finishing with 49 points on 13-of-19, including 9-of-11 from deep range in the 92-82 victory. He also converted 14-of-15 free throws and had seven assists and three turnovers.

I get nervous when they show him shooting just one free throw in the highlight videos but apparently that's just because free throws are boring. May they again be boring.

Also in high school stat news, Colin Castleton might be able to continue Michigan's stretch five offense...

Miller said he runs a motion offense and moves Castleton around the court to try and make it harder for teams to focus on him. "We let him back screen, we get him on the perimeter and let him flare and curl to the basket," Miller said. "We're perfectly fine with him shooting 3s." In fact, Castleton is his team's best 3-point shooter at 38 percent.

...after a year of eating nothing but meatballs.

Also also:

No word on his free throws though.

Boiled up. Purdue AD Mitch Daniels writes an op-ed for the Washington Post about the one-and-done rule being bad and dumb, and while he's necessarily compromised by being the head of an organization that doesn't actually pay its most important labor, he still brings more heat at the NCAA than I've seen from someone inside the sausage factory:

When the FBI revealed its findings about the corrupt connections among shoe companies, agents, a few big-time college programs and coaches, and the Amateur Athletic Union or AAU (the first “A” increasingly looks like a misnomer), no one near the sport was shocked. The existence of this part of the cesspool has been in plain view for years. Those in a position to stop the scandals spawned by the “one-and-done” era — in which many top-tier players were required to enroll in college for one year before bolting for the NBA — have been either powerless to do so or actively interested in perpetuating the status quo.

When it was discovered that, at what we’ve always considered an academically admirable school, championships had been won by teams loaded with players who took completely phony classes, most of us were sincerely shocked. We were stunned again when, after years of cogitation, the NCAA delivered a penalty of . . . nothing. It was a final confession of futility, confirming the necessity of this special commission, if any meaningful change is going to happen from the collegiate end.

Unfortunately none of his policy solutions—removing freshman eligibility, leaving early entry scholarships filled for four years, or adopting the college baseball zero-or-three model—are, like, good. Or even implementable, in the baseball case. I still fail to see how one-and-done stands up legally since the collective bargaining of the NBAPA is taking away rights from people who aren't members; IANAL but I'm surprised one-and-done hasn't been sued into oblivion by some Lavar Ball sort.

Etc.: ESPN's Paula Lavigne on the OTL investigation of MSU. PSDs no longer tax deductible. Cooper Marody executes some jock jams.

Gentleman's Agreement

Gentleman's Agreement

Submitted by Brian on January 10th, 2018 at 12:33 PM

1/9/2018 – Michigan 69, Purdue 70 – 14-4, 3-2 Big Ten

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[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

This is all Illinois's fault. Or Miami's. Or whichever jabroni awarded this ball to the Hurricanes late in a 2013 NCAA tournament game:

Oh no I read the comments

image

Oh no, college basketball listened to Youtube commenters. In the aftermath of that game the outrage was sufficient for the NCAA to institute video review on late-game out-of-bounds plays. Thus last night, when a Michigan win-or-OT situation turned into a loss thanks to a replay that literally took seven minutes as two referees pored over every frame of a Dakota Mathias rake on Charles Matthews and eventually awarded the ball to Purdue.

This was insane for many reasons.

One: I spent 39:54 watching a great basketball game between two good teams exchanging haymakers, and then I spent the rest of my life watching the back of a ref.

Two: any replay that takes that long surely falls in the realm of the disputed and should not be flipped.

Three: that call would never be made at any point during the first 39:54 because it does not matter if an offensive player who has been stripped of the ball going to the basket has his finger on the ball a nanosecond after the defender. The basketball rule book functionally reads "if a player is stripped going to the basket it's his team's ball unless it hits his leg or foot. "

Applying a different standard to a late game possession isn't correcting a call, it's getting it wrong in the name of pedantry. This happens a half dozen times in any basketball game...

...and 100% of the time the ball is awarded to the offense. That's the rule even if it's not the rule.

Four: Matt Painter essentially used a coach's challenge, which does not exist in basketball.

Surely the response there could have been "no" or "hard pass" or "Matt you seem nice and you've constructed a fascinating basketball team but please go to hell." It was not. So it goes.

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

I'm obviously pretty cheesed off that Michigan lost one of their vanishingly few opportunities for a win that could move them up a seed line, but I'm even more vexed that the basketball game I was watching went from wonderful tense fun to a conference call. This is bad. It is bad for the game, and not just people walking bow-legged to work this morning.

If we're going to have replay—and, yes, we probably should, Illinois fans—we must protect the game from idiot pedants. And refs are all idiot pedants. That's the job: memorize this rule book and show up in front of thousands of people who hate you to enforce the rules of a meaningless game. Occasionally Kentucky fans dox you, and you kind of deserve it. This only appeals to the kind of person who loves correcting other people's mistakes more than he enjoys not having his life threatened. Only an idiot pedant signs up. TV Teddy is their king for a reason.

So. You get 30 seconds and then the screen turns off. Because if it's not obvious with three replays it's not worth correcting. Especially in a game like basketball where a gentleman's agreement not to foul someone out on some bullshit (unless their name is Mo Wagner) exists. Especially in a game like basketball that is lovely when it's flowing up and down the court and grimly dismal during its fouls-and-timeouts-and-more-timeouts-and-now-replays closing act.

Because if you didn't care about this game to start, and then got into it because it was terrific, you finished the game watching NCIS. Either figuratively, because it turned into a forensic exercise, or literally, because you changed the channel to one of the 17 different stations constantly playing NCIS.

Basketball should not have timeouts*, and it should take steps to assure replays are barely long enough to get one glue commercial in. Let's march to the grave properly distracted, people.

*[As previously discussed I am willing to accept a system where coaches can call timeout if they snip off one of their digits with garden shears and hand it to the ref.]

BULLETS

I will be very Brad Stevens. Stevens famously started walking towards the handshake line in some Butler game that came down to a buzzer-beater before that buzzer-beater went in or not, because one basket wasn't going to sway his opinion of his basketball team much. That's some cold-blooded Vulcan behavior and we'd do well to implement that in the aftermath here.

Michigan went toe to toe with a very very good team that was playing superbly, and the fact they lost is less important than they way they played. If you believe that opponent 3PT% is largely out of your control this game looks pretty dang good. And about that...

39607334181_36c871a57a_zA legion of Rip Hamiltons. Dan Dakich made an excellent point when he noted the sheer speed at which Purdue's gunners were running through their cuts and getting to their spots. Maybe half of Purdue's threes weren't drive-and-kick or extra-pass-to-exploit-rotation. They were lightning cuts off screens that Michigan didn't have much shot at defending. As I mentioned on twitter:

The difference is that Hamilton wasn't canning threes. Purdue is, at a Peak Beilein Team rate of 41%.

In this game Purdue hit 57% on a relatively high rate of threes (their 3PA/FGA of 37% is about the NCAA median), and I think that was more Purdue than Michigan. M has more or less maintained their ability to prevent launches from deep—currently 14th in the country—despite Billy Donlon's departure. They just ran into a buzzsaw.

[@ right: Campredon]

Hello, sir. Lovely of Isaiah Livers to provide sustenance to Ace in his time of need, what with his 249 ORTG. Ten points on four shots will do that. Especially when two of them are on this:

Remember last year when DJ Wilson would turn into the best basketball player in history for three minutes a game? Yeah. If Livers can add that kind of take to his suddenly-surging three point shooting... you know what? Never mind. I'm not trying to get him drafted.

Isaiah Livers is terrible. This is the end of the post, NBA scouts. Promise.

Anyway: since Big Ten play resumed Livers is 7/9 on twos and 7/8 on threes. He's also a clear upgrade from Duncan Robinson in all non-scoring ways. I think MGoBlog says this every 30 seconds, but it's past time to start him and let Robinson return to the microwave role he's excellent in.

This seems to be happening functionally: Livers as played 27 minutes against Purdue and Iowa. Now if Robinson could get his minutes when the opposition has 7th and 8th guys on the floor that would be *kisses fingers*.

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7'3" guy on 2 guard [Campredon]

Panic on the streets of Lafayette. I don't know if Matt Painter's constant absurd switching was brilliant or idiotic. It was both? At the same time? Probably? Yes. It oscillated wildly between those two states on possession to possession basis.

On some possessions Michigan would stare blankly into the middle distance for 25 seconds before Charles Matthews thundered at a 7'2" or 7'3" guy with little success. On others Zavier Simpson would check to make sure he had the laces right on the basketball—another good Dakich catch—before lifting up in front of a helpless Isaac Haas. Michigan seemed to figure it out in the second half when they made their push to tie, and then it evaporated late on two or three horrendous offensive possessions, any one of which could have produced a game-winning basket.

I don't know. It's weird and desperate and I feel like if Michigan saw that kind of thing on a regular basis they'd destroy it. Since they don't you get a lot of isolation plays from a team that doesn't have a lot of good iso players, and the offense can turn into a confused slog. The rematch should be fascinating.

Teske is a dude. Michigan got a fast break bucket in the second half largely because Jon Teske was the tallest tree around; he emerged to get a DREB that looked more like an OREB because he was swarmed with dudes. That was a four-point swing. His extended PT in the second half saw Michigan get a point closer to Purdue, and while he didn't score his two OREBs and generally excellent defense were critical.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say Michigan loses by ten if you replace Teske with Mark Donnal.

DREBs closer to real. In a similar vein: Michigan won the rebounding battle against Purdue with a 34% OREB rate vs Purdue's 24%. This isn't quite as much of an upset as it might seem like. Despite having the two biggest guys in the conference, Purdue's pretty meh on the boards.

They're not bad enough that Michigan will turn up its nose at a W in that category. You might want to sit down for this: Michigan is currently the best DREB team in Big Ten play. Please tell me you're not reading this while driving oh no you hit a tree.

A brief scheduling note. Michigan played Jacksonville during their annual Very Bad Team Invitational in December. This is going to be a boat anchor all year as the Dolphins trundle towards an 11-20 record, per Kenpom.

Purdue, on the other hand, scheduled Lipscomb. Lipscomb is also an Atlantic Sun team, but they're projected to win the conference. They've played four major-conference teams and lost by 22, 23, 10, and 22, but if and when they're 22-7 at the end of the year against a schedule virtually identical to Jacksonville they're going to be much less of an RPI disaster.

Michigan should be scheduling the Lipscombs of the world.

Unverified Voracity Enters A World Of Pain

Unverified Voracity Enters A World Of Pain

Submitted by Brian on December 28th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

mark it zero 2

this is a completely normal bowling event

I honestly don't know how anyone goes bowling and doesn't get in a massive brawl. You've just spent several hours of your time flinging a ball at various inanimate objects and the objects generally win. You are losing to some smug-ass ovoid shapes. In such circumstances, it is only natural to become so irrationally angry that you start a yell-fight over the circumstances you find yourself in.

And lo, it has happened to football teams.

This makes total sense. I do enjoy how bored the cops look. Because this happens every time they're in a bowling alley.

These are unrelated, but I wish they weren't. Mo Hurst will play in the bowl game. Probably less than he has in most games, for a ton of reasons. Here's hoping he gets through it okay.

God bless Mike Leach. And God bless the reporter who absolutely nailed the zoom-out reveal midway through:

This is art on par with the raptor gif. And they said bowl season didn't mean anything.

You cannot understand the Brohm of it all. Purdue beat Arizona in an extremely entertaining game that featured one of those college-only back-to-back-to-back touchdowns in the last few minutes to swing the game to and fro. In the end Purdue's margin depended heavily on this play at the end of the first half:

That is a perfectly legal play that I've seen Auburn and Arkansas execute over the past few years. People are describing it as a "fake kneel," though, and they do have a point: Purdue had a guy lined up as the traditional we're-gonna-kneel "safety" on the play. Shame on Arizona for biting on that after Purdue got the ball back with almost a minute left...

...oh.

[/mentions fill up with "intent to deceive" outrage]

Well... you're not wrong. If a team is going to line up in a formation that causes the refs to demand the opposition stop playing they should stop playing too. One dollar says that there's a new rule covering running actual plays from a kneel-down formation next year. Which is a shame:

Most importantly, when Gus Malzahn runs this play, the call on the field is “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” because the name of the fake kneel is “Woody,” it almost always involves the smallest running back on the team getting the ball, and because anytime one can take an excuse to yell “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” on a football field, one should.

RIP.

Interesting Michigan-related item:

M apparently had this scouted.

Random bits from Zach Shaw. Shaw has been poking around the 24/7 database for article on various Michigan units, and has come across a number of things that look promising for next year's defense:

  • On the DL, Aubrey Solomon had a "stop rate"—tackles at or near the LOS—of just over 10%, which was on par with Hurst and Winovich. Nearly identical to both, in fact. Those guys were 10th and 11th nationally in that stat. If Solomon maintains that productivity he should be at least good and, with some extra pass rush, potentially great next year.
  • At linebacker, Khaleke Hudson and Devin Bush Jr. missed just three tackles each all year. Both guys had a ton of QB pressures but not many stops—probably because the DL was crushing so many plays before they could even get to the LBs.
  • The cornerbacks did this: "Michigan’s three cornerbacks — all first-year starters — allowed 32 of 81 passes for 478 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and 16 pass breakups." That is, of course, bonkers. Like having Jourdan Lewis clones coming out of your ears.
  • The safeties were good-ish. In the aftermath of a tough game for Metellus against Ohio State there have been a lot of criticisms of the safeties, and by implication departed safeties coach Brian Smith. But collectively there were middle of the pack when targeted and had an acceptable missed tackle rate—Metellus's was more acceptable than Kinnel's. The individual stats don't take into account the general lack of huge plays against M. Michigan gave up quite a few 20+ yard plays (59th) but relatively few 30+ (22nd); a lot of those longer plays were the inevitable result of Michigan's very aggressive defense cracking. The safeties mostly held down those opportunities.

If Solomon improves as much as most rising sophomores he could be only a reasonable step back from Mo Hurst, and then Michigan just has to find a linebacker from 5-6 options and a develop some DL depth to have the kind of defense that could be #1 nationally. Again.

One downer: per Football Outsiders Michigan's punting efficiency was 121st nationally, and the early shanks from Will hart didn't have much of an impact. Brad Robbins's net yardage was 121st. Shoulda got an Aussie.

Etc.: Graham Couch is at it again! If you've seen various Lars Von Trier movies the reference to him in this article will go 1% of the way towards restoring your lost time and/or sanity. Marcus Ray departs WTKA. The Blind Pig will carry on. Patterson officially in; the other two guys are officially not. Ted Janes of the Daily talks to John O'Korn. Jourdan Lewis: still good.

Unverified Voracity Gets It Right The Second Time

Unverified Voracity Gets It Right The Second Time

Submitted by Brian on November 29th, 2017 at 1:01 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

Malzone exit. Alex Malzone's long-rumored transfer is now official. This was foretold last year, when Michigan had a three-way QB competition in which Malzone was guy #4. He's graduating and will have two years to play somewhere else, so that's not the worst deal: a degree and a shot to see the field.

Why aren't various MSU honchos in jail? Larry Nassar was shielded from consequences for twenty years because of the upper management at Michigan State:

Nassar also worked at Michigan State. For two decades, the public university paid him, provided him with facilities, referred student-athletes from across the athletic department to his practice, showered him with awards, and even used his work with the Olympic team as a recruiting tool. This is despite the fact that, between 1997 and 2015, at least seven girls and women raised concerns about Nassar’s actions to authority figures at the school — including trainers, police, and MSU university officials.

Despite what Michigan State would like you to believe, a pedophile who allegedly perpetrated abuse on such an enormous scale cannot exist in a vacuum. So how will this prominent university and athletic department be held accountable for their involvement in the abuse of more than 140 people?

PSU people went to jail in shame. The institutional behavior here is just as bad. And yet. MSU is also facing a Title IX lawsuit that alleges MSU let Keith Mumphrey back on campus after supposedly banning him. And nobody cares about this! Graham Couch is too busy thinking up MLK day zingers to notice.

So much for San Diego. Per Brett McMurphy, Michigan is a "lock" to play in the Outback Bowl. There they'd get South Carolina, another 8-4 team with a thin resume. S&P+ thinks this is an awesome matchup for Michigan, as it thinks South Carolina is really a 6-6 team masquerading as an 8-4 team; they rank 67th, with an offense that's a bit worse than Michigan's and a mediocre defense. S&P+ would favor Michigan by 9 or 10, which is a huge statistical gap for a nominally even matchup against an SEC team.

Exit one thorn, one potential thorn. PSU offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is the new coach at Mississippi State. This is a good idea, and not just because it gets him out of the Big Ten. Moorhead managed to put together a very functional Penn State offense without an offensive line. Other names in the Mississippi State search included Brent Venables and Jeremy Pruitt, which is refreshingly sane in a world where Tennessee is doing Tennessee things and Arizona State is interviewing Herm Edwards.

Speaking of:

Poor damn Purdue. Don't even get to have the 9-3 season before SEC teams start horning in on your best idea since Joe Tiller. If Tennessee does pull this off, an internet flash mob that hated the Schiano hire will get an excellent result because they revolted against a person just in charge of things.

ASU, on the other hand, should immediately fire their athletic director. He used to be an agent, which is insane to begin with, and one of his clients used to be Herm Edwards. The Herm Edwards who hasn't coached, at all, since 2008. The Herm Edwards who is 63. The Herm Edwards who says he'd keep Todd Graham's coordinators, virtually announcing he'd be a figurehead before the job even starts. Gob-smacking!

Here's a nice pat on the head though. Even Spike Albrecht thinks this is audacious, Moorhead:

Sources told FootballScoop that Moorhead targeted Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown to join him at Mississippi State, but Brown will remain in Ann Arbor.

That's from Football Scoop and thus may be total balderdash—remember when the guy behind it started trolling the message board?—but it's funny to imagine that conversation.

J: "Hey, Don."
D: "Yeah?"
J: "Feel like leaving Rashan Gary and eight other returning starters from a top ten defense to come to Starkville?"
*dialtone*

That's fine, because Mississippi State fans didn't want him anyway.

Hall transfer watch might still be on. Seth posted the news item about JaRaymond Hall staying but the statement itself is pretty noncommittal, noting he's "made no decision" on his future; Sam Webb still asserts that he did receive a release, which is almost always the prelude to a departure.

This reminds me of the time that I told everyone Sam McGuffie was going to transfer and then twisted in the wind for a week as he waffled on whether to stay or go. That suuuuuuucked, and I stopped reporting about transfers as a result. Dang people can change their dang minds, I tellya.

Might be a thing where he goes through bowl practices and makes a final decision afterwards.

Vicious Vic: the revengening! There was a great catastrophic despair in the MGoSlack when this happened:

Vic Viramontes, a dual-threat junior college quarterback from Riverside (Calif.) City College, announced on Twitter on Monday that he has verbally committed to the Gophers.

“I would like to announce that I am officially committed to the University of Minnesota! #RowTheBoat’’ Viramontes tweeted.

“I can’t wait to play for the Golden Gophers!’’ Viramontes also tweeted. ...

Viramontes, a freshman at Riverside and a transfer from Cal, passed for 1,868 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 TDs this season for Riverside, which lost in the SoCal championship game on Saturday. The Norco, Calif., native spent the 2016 season as a redshirt at Cal. He would have three seasons of eligibility remaining with Minnesota.

Viramontes is the quintessential Minnesota quarterback and is almost certainly going to start since Connor Rhoda's eligibility expired and Demry Croft is transferring after being suspended in week two for some sort of door incident he says he wasn't responsible for. The rest of Minnesota's quarterbacks were worse than Croft. Therefore: the Viramontes era.

Will be fascinating to see how he does.

Etc.: College football is popular amongst gamblers, and the Times is on it. Mississippi State even has Hugh-Freeze-exposing recruiting reporters. They're living right. Detroit one of four finalists for two near-term MLS expansion slots. If they don't get it this time around they'll try again for the next two.

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Unverified Voracity Is Cajun Brady Hoke

Submitted by Brian on October 3rd, 2017 at 12:48 PM

EdOrgeronCoachingTree-645x356

no idea

A challenger appears. LSU's Joe Alleva offered this contract to an interim coach nobody else would hire who was 10-25 at Ole Miss in his first tenure as a head coach:

If Orgeron is fired “without cause” (namely for losing too much rather than NCAA violations or legal issues) prior to Nov. 28 of each year, then he is owed $12 million this year, $8.5 million next, $6 million in 2019, $4.5 million in 2020 and $1 million in 2021. Those numbers are “minus compensation paid during the terminating year.” So subtract $3.5 million pro-rated at however many months he’s worked that year.

This is worse than Brady Hoke's contract, which started off with an 8 million dollar buyout despite the fact that he, too, had zero other suitors. And despite his many, many flaws it should be apparent that Brady Hoke is a better coach than Ed Orgeron.

Also I don't know how you don't walk away from the deal as soon as you see the name of this LLC:

LSU’s contract is actually with “O” The Rosy Finch Boyz, LLC, which was incorporated last January when he got the job.

You gave a five year, eight figure deal to a guy who put an unironic Z in his LLC, which sounds a gang comprised of private-school sixth-graders. Coulda had Jeff Brohm, but no, had to go with the carnival barker. People are just in charge of things for no reason, man.

Reasons that Cajun Brady Hoke is losing games. Yahoo has an article with some Tiller-level anonymous quotes on LSU:

“It wasn’t what you expect,” said one assistant coach. “You expect guys ready to kick your ass. There wasn’t any fire. Genetically they weren’t as good. On film, they weren’t as good. But these guys, I don’t know. These guys, I don’t even know what to say. I can’t believe they play the way they do. They’re soft. Soft. It doesn’t make sense.”

Added another personnel executive: “When everything got super tough against Mississippi State, they tapped out. State was giving it to them and they didn’t want any piece of it. They were tapping out the entire game.”

We've seen what happens when you believe your coach is incompetent first hand. I'm sure people called Devin Funchess soft after his indifferent final year in Ann Arbor; he doesn't seem soft in the NFL. When your leadership sucks you don't give it your best, because what does it matter?

Speaking of Tiller level. RIP to former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, who still defines Purdue football to this day. Tiller brought basketball on grass to the Big Ten, won a bunch of games, and was probably the source of a bunch of harsh-but-true things in those anonymous coach quote articles. Their spiciness level dropped off a cliff after Tiller retired.

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Tiller's mustache game was fierce and he made the Big Ten a more interesting place. RIP. SBNation has assembled a collection of remembrances for those so inclined.

FBI fallout of the week. Many articles saying "pay the players" have come out, because obviously. If the NCAA can't touch 90% of the malfeasance going on without the involvement of the FBI—which can hardly be counted on going forward—you have a choice between the current system, where shady characters run riot and you've got a choice between your eligibility and reporting your income, and something that makes any sense.

We'll see if any of that sticks. This guy in the WaPo doesn't think so and he's got history on his side:

In 1915, the University of Chicago Daily Maroon upended the college football community by pushing the matter further. Given that the editor of the college newspaper and the tuba player in the marching band received compensation from the university, the Maroon argued, why not the college athletes? “They work hard for the university organization known as the football team, which is a money making enterprise, the receipts from football being something like $20,000 [roughly $478,000 today] more than expenditures for the sport. Why not give the players a share of the profits accruing from their hard and faithful labors?”

The University of Chicago was only one year removed from a national championship in football; its voice on the subject mattered.

102 years later we're still all like "man... these dudes have accrued with hard and faithful labors."

Hockey recruiting item. SBN's Jeff Cox had one main takeaway from the USHL Fall Classic camp:

Green Bay Gamblers left defenseman Michael Vukojevic was the best pro prospect on the ice Wednesday, but the ‘01 isn’t eligible until the 2019 NHL Draft. The Oakville, Ontario native was selected by Green Bay in the first round, eighth overall, of the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft.

A Michigan commit, Vukojevic has the size and skating ability to be an elite defenseman. He plays older, communicates well and makes plays in both ends. He’s still adjusting to junior hockey and rushed a couple of breakout passes, but he’s a big time prospect. Kitchener holds his OHL rights.

Kitchener is one of the OHL teams with the resources to woo committed prospects but at the moment Vukojevic seems committed to the college route. For one, he's at USHL camps. If Michigan does manage to get all their committed defensemen to campus they are going to be more loaded on D than they have been since I've been paying attention. Vukojevic, Quinn Hughes, Bode Wilde, and Mattias Sameulsson aren't just potential first round picks but potential top ten picks.

Chances are at least one gets picked off or leaves in a flash, but even so Michigan's blue line is going to be stacked.

On Hughes. Adam Herman breaks down what makes Quinn Hughes an elite prospect:

He has immaculate skating ability, both in terms of straight-line speed as well as agility. Furthermore, he reads plays from the back-end similarly to how an elite football quarterback might survey the field.

In the age of analytics, the ability to make clean entries into the offensive zone with possession has been highlighted as an effective first step towards creating threatening shifts. Hughes’ previously highlighted abilities plus his fearlessness when dealing with the opposition’s forecheck make him elite in creating these types of shifts. ...

He is adept at walking the blue line and creating time and space for himself to set up a play. He takes on defenders, makes crisp passes to open players in dangerous spots, and can get the puck off his stick quickly to surprise goaltenders with a hard shot.

Hughes's PPG pace in 26 USHL games with the U18s is unprecedented for a player two years away from the draft, although in Hughes's case he only missed this year's edition by three weeks—he's several months older than Werenski was when he accelerated and joined Michigan a year early.

Those who exited. Michigan's transfers are surveyed at MLive. Still sucks that Keith Washington bolted; he's got 2 INTs and 4 PBUs already for his JUCO. Also of note: Ross Douglas, RB/CB at Michigan, is starting for Rutgers. At linebacker. Spacebacker, to be sure, but yikes. Rutgers might not be good.

THE FOUG CONSPIRACY. Bruce Feldman collects some data on James "Doug" Foug:

Jim Harbaugh has quite a weapon in kickoff man James Foug. Purdue special teams coordinator Tony Levine told me that in 15 years as a coach he’s never seen a kickoff guy get the kind of hang time Foug gets. Most of his kickoffs end up as touchbacks. The ones that are returned end up with the opponent’s average starting field position at their 17.

Levine says anything over four seconds of hang time on a kickoff is exceptional; Foug’s kicks consistently come in around 4.5. Usually when the returner catches the kick, you want the coverage guys to be inside the 35-yard line; Levine says that by the time Michigan’s opponents receive the ball, the Wolverines’ coverage team is typically inside the 25.

Michigan is definitely trying to keep the ball just short of the endzone so they can pick up that 5-10 yards of field position. Weird that Harbaugh told the media that Seychel would kick off when they've got this dude hammering them.

Also, Troy Calhoun on what he faced down:

Two weeks ago, the Wolverines held Air Force to 232 yards of total offense, its lowest output since 2012. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun told me this was one of the best defenses he’s ever faced. The guy who really caught his eye was linebacker Devin Bush Jr. “He doesn’t look like much, he’s maybe 5'10", but he’s so quick and tough. He just unloads and knocks the heck out of people.”

Whenever people talk about Bush I'm reminded of this Ringer article about the evolution of the NFL linebacker. He's a modern linebacker all the way.

Etc.: Some good news, at least. Contains this quote: "“We can get them dead, but they’ve got to go someplace." Hidden gems of Washtenaw County foods. Talkin' Ben Mason. Harbaugh on kneeling. Gasaway on FBI. Drum major Kevin Zhang profiled.

2017 Power Five Preview: 57-64

2017 Power Five Preview: 57-64

Submitted by Alex Cook on August 1st, 2017 at 11:48 AM

For 2017, instead of previewing conferences division-by-division, I decided to rank the 64 Power Five teams and count down from the bottom.

I created a ranking system based heavily off of Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings: half of the ranking comes from the S&P rankings from the past five seasons among Power Five teams (1/3 of that number is 2016’s ranking; 1/3 is the average from 2014-2016, 1/3 is the average from 2012-2016); half comes from two component parts of his 2017 S&P+ projections, weighed evenly – recruiting impact and returning production – and ranked 1 through 64. The ranking itself skews towards emphasizing where the teams were according the 2016 S&P+. I think it serves as a decent way to sequence these previews.

Here we go:

64. PURDUEpur17

#7B1G West, #14 B1G

3-9 (1-8) in 2016

After Joe Tiller retired following the 2008 season, Purdue gave Danny Hope and Darrell Hazell four years each as the head coach before firing them: Hope’s mediocre 22-28 record looks pretty decent in comparison to Hazell’s 9-33 mark in West Lafayette (he was let go following a loss to Iowa last October). The Boilermakers have finished last in all three seasons of the Big Ten West’s existence; they’ve beaten Illinois twice and upset 6-7 Nebraska for their only three wins in that span. Over the four-year Hazell era, only Kansas was comparably bad among Power Five programs.

Purdue lured Jeff Brohm from Western Kentucky this past offseason, and it was a great hire. Brohm has geographically proximate roots, won double digit games in his last two seasons with the Hilltoppers, and his WKU offenses lit up the scoreboard with fireworks in the passing game. From a stylistic standpoint, he’s far more Tiller than Hazell. Staid Big Ten cavemanball was an approach that failed miserably with the last regime, so the Boilermakers went back to their turn-of-the-century roots, in a sense, with Brohm.

The short-term future is bleak. WKU had a great foundation when he stepped in… Purdue does not. David Blough showed flashes of promise from the quarterback spot, but led the country in interceptions last season. The defense returns eight starters (including Glenn Robinson III’s younger brother, DT Gelen), but conceded 38.3 points per game last season and lost their best player, DT Jake Replogle.

Brohm was a great choice, but the degree of difficulty for his first Power Five gig is very high. Perhaps he’ll bring success to West Lafayette eventually – 2017 will be rough.

63. RUTGERSrut17

#7 B1G East, #13 B1G

2-10 (0-9) in 2016

It’s a minor upset that Rutgers didn’t finish last in these rankings, but the Scarlet Knights staked a credible claim as the worst Power Five team in the country last season (they were, according to S&P+). They went winless in Big Ten play and somehow managed to get shut out by Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State, tallying an aggregate 224-0 margin of defeat against those four teams. Of course, the 78-0 bloodletting at the hands of Michigan in Piscataway will endure as the definitive memory of the 2016 Rutgers football team.

It’s difficult to even mention Rutgers in the context of this preview without making mention of the Big Ten’s horrible decision to promote them to the Power Five in the first place; a scarlet and black ball-and-chain will remain on the ankle of the league long after the cable subscriber revenue stream (which was Rutgers’s main draw in the first place) dries up. They weren’t that bad of a program at the time they were added – mostly due to Greg Schiano – but the hilariously inept mismanagement of Kyle Flood dragged Rutgers back down to their historical norm.

Chris Ash, former Urban Meyer DC and branch of the Bret Bielema coaching tree, had an awful offense in his first season as head coach; he hired former Minnesota HC Jerry Kill as the offensive coordinator to right the ship. Kill – whose well-documented health issues forced him to leave Minnesota – will have to choose between a half-dozen uninspiring options at quarterback. At least electric scatback Janarion Grant returns from injury. Rutgers draws Illinois and Purdue from the West so they could improve on their 2-10 record, but will be one of the worst Power Five teams again.

[57-62 after the JUMP]

Fully Armed And Operational Battlest-

Fully Armed And Operational Battlest-

Submitted by Brian on February 27th, 2017 at 12:12 PM

2/25/2017 – Michigan 82, Purdue 70 – 19-10, 9-7 Big Ten

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GERMAN DURANT [Bryan Fuller]

For months I'd chalked the Purdue game up as a loss. Michigan has certain deficiencies, you see, and Purdue has 7'2" Ivan Drago and a guy better at rebounding than 7'2" Ivan Drago. These gentlemen aimed a dagger straight at Michigan's primary weakness. Therefore, pessimism.

That pessimism was well founded. Purdue grabbed 11 offensive rebounds, 36% of those available. Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan had five of those. Swanigan went 7/8 from inside the arc. And it didn't matter. Mo Wagner summoned the spirit of Stauskas and spearheaded a run-away-and-hide first half that was reminiscent of the good ol' days when official Twitter accounts had no recourse from posting shruggies during NCAA tournament games.

Purdue fans must have felt the same creeping helplessness Texas's social media wrangler during Wagner's barrage. Wagner posted up the dead-certain Big Ten POY successfully. He took him off the dribble. Somewhat later he hit three straight triples like he was Kevin freakin' Durant at Rucker Park. On defense he was... acceptable? Swanigan scored a bunch but some of that was very late during Michigan's no-threes period and some of it was when Wagner went out briefly in the first half. Swanigan got his but he also got got by Wagner's Mitch McGary impression, as Ace helpfully clipped:

Wagner knew he couldn't win the strength battle so those little gambles are making the best of a bad situation. Five turnovers drove Swanigan's game ORTG down to 109 despite his hot shooting. That's below his season average, and that's a massive win, one that led to a massive win.

Wagner, meanwhile? 148 ORTG. Like the turnover embedded above, it's a trap(!).

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

People get the Death Star all wrong. When a real life thing is compared to fiction's most well-trodden trope it's a supreme thing. A thing of tremendous power at the top of the game. That's not right. Whenever a Death Star shows up—and it shows up in every Star Wars movie because it's not called New Idea Wars—it is immediately and spectacularly destroyed by someone throwing a can of soup at it.

image

I submit that this year's Michigan basketball team is a real Death Star kind of team. Charge 'em up and point 'em in the right direction and they will turn a bucolic, pastoral world into rubble.

Penetrate their flimsy defenses with some chunky clam chowder or, like, whatever Ohio State purports to be this year* and you'll be rewarded with a gradually expanding cloud of pine-scented debris. They put the thermal exhaust ports at backup center and for some unfathomable reason created nine-foot-high neon signs that blink SHOOT HERE. It doesn't have to make sense, because Ewoks.

It is possible that Michigan has turned the blinking signs off. That awful period at the beginning of conference play when every Michigan basketball observer except Ace gave up is now firmly in the rearview mirror. Michigan's defense is... acceptable? Both Dylan and our entire Slack chat took note of a particular play in the second half on which Michigan looked like they knew what they were doing:

Purdue's been very good this year not only because of their big guys but because they've surrounded them with shooters. Almost 40% of their shots are threes and they go down at a 40% clip. Michigan held Purdue to just 16 attempts, barely more than a quarter of their shots. They hit barely more than 30%, because a lot of them were contested jacks like the above.

That's a trend that's taken them off the bottom of the conference in most stats. Michigan actually hasn't given up significantly more than a point per possession since their win against Nebraska in the middle of January. That's an 11 game stretch of 1.01 PPP, which would be good for fifth in the league. Pair okay defense with an offense that is as scorching as any Beilein's had...

...and you're looking at the proverbial Team Nobody Wants To Play In The NCAA Tournament. Per this guy on twitter, Michigan was the best team in the Big Ten during February. One that nearly lost to Rutgers, just in case anyone was getting cocky.

One thing is clear: when Michigan takes the court a fireball will soon follow.

*[Ohio State Basketball 2016-17: "We Take A Comparison To A Can Of Soup As A Compliment."]

Bullets

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[Fuller]

The cost and the benefit. Credit to John Beilein for rolling with Wagner for the vast bulk of the first half. He got an early foul and the bench time that results; Donnal came in and did what you'd expect against the Purdue front line for a few minutes in which Michigan was –7; Wagner returned and did not exit the rest of the half. This allowed Michigan to race out to a huge halftime lead.

Wagner's quick fouls in the second half were not the Bad Mo Whistle coming back out; they seemed to be sheer tiredness, especially the third, on which he grabbed Swanigan so blatantly that he did the sheepish hand raise thing. Every Michigan beat writer noted the time of his departure (14:58) but Michigan managed to extend their lead during the nine minutes he was out. This was largely because...

DJ Wilson functioned as the five. A few more Donnal minutes that were headed in a very bad direction and then Michigan went with their smallest possible lineup: DJ at the five. This had the same offensive benefits that Wagner did against Purdue's bigs, and Wilson did an admirable job using his tremendous length to deny entry passes to Swanigan. It's a stopgap, but I'm way on board with stopgaps at backup center.

Peak Derrick Walton. In a game featuring Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan, Derrick Walton led all rebounders with 11. He had literally half of Michigan's defensive rebounds. This is kind of a problem but not a huge one—Michigan is 9th in DREBs in the league.

Also in Derrick Walton news, 17 points on 13 shot equivalents, five assists, zero turnovers, and a steal. Find me a better point guard in the Big Ten. Melo Trimble has one thing on him: volume. Nobody else is even in the conversation.

Pretty good refereeing! There was only one thing that was insane.

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[Fuller]

The above is Wagner getting clocked in midair by Haas without a call. Nothing else stood out at bad either way; even the second half foul-fest looked to be entirely initiated by the players.

Third banana time. Zak Irvin was a perfect third banana as a freshman during the good ol' days. With Walton and Wagner blowing up Irvin's back to being #3, and that's fine. Sometimes he hits some shots and pulls Michigan over the hump—his 16 against Rutgers were desperately needed—and sometimes he throws up bricks and dribbles it off his foot and fades into the background. Michigan can live with Irvin scoring just four, as he did against Purdue, if he's only taking eight shots.

It would be really nice if he could get back to that 40% three point clip he had early in his career.

The late slowdown. With about six minutes left Michigan took the air out of the ball and proceeded to give everyone a near-heart attack. It's obvious when that slowdown took place on the Kenpom probability chart:

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Michigan in blue

The Walton heave at the buzzer starts off Michigan's final scoring flurry. There has been a lot of consternation in the aftermath. I'm of two minds. I was freaking out like everyone else, and I hated those four minutes of bleeding the clock and shooting your offense in the foot. It's especially grating because Michigan has one of the nation's slowest and most efficient offenses. If they just act normally they are likely to run a bunch of time off the clock and get a good look.

On the other hand, the defensive end of the floor was close to the worst case scenario...

The Boilermakers scored on 10 of 11 possessions after DJ Wilson hit a three to put Michigan up by 21 points with 8:50 to play. That’s 25 points in 11 possessions or 2.3 points per trip. That’s more than a basket every trip down the floor and Purdue scored just 45 points in the other 54 possessions of the game.

...and Kenpom was almost entirely unmoved.

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Whittling it down to six with just over two minutes to go got Michigan down to a 95% win percentage, and Walton's dagger shut the door again. So it was probably the percentage play to shut down the variance.

Still felt like a couple minutes too early.

Bubble watch turns into something else. Michigan's punched their ticket and is now trying to get out of the 8-9 game, but there is significant bubble intrigue left in the league: Northwestern. At the beginning of February the Wildcats were 18-4 and cruising towards a bid. After losing five of seven—oddly one of the two wins in there is at the Trohl Center—they're 20-9, 9-7, and solidly on the bubble. They finish with Michigan and Purdue at home. Both those games are near coinflips to Kenpom.

It would have been disappointing if Northwestern's first NCAA bid was a cruise to a six-seed. This feels much better. The downside is that Michigan's going into Welsh Ryan against some desperate dudes.

Unverified Voracity Should Run The Option

Unverified Voracity Should Run The Option

Submitted by Brian on October 17th, 2016 at 12:26 PM

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[Eric Upchurch]

The best quote. ESPN was offered full and frank access to a Wisconsin DBs meeting before the Ohio State game. This was kind of a questionable decision since ESPN published some takes on OSU's personnel that would seem to have a negative impact on Wisconsin's ability to use said takes. For example, Jim Leonhard's take on Curtis Samuel would seem ripe for Samuel to break tendency:

"You watch him, the thing that he gets guys on is if he kind of goes lazy in a route, don't believe it," Leonhard said. "He'll stem you. He's going to break hard as hell. Everything he's going to do, he's going to be patient at the top of routes. But if he starts just kind of bending into something, he's going opposite. Don't fall for the trap."

I almost always think coach secrecy is absurd paranoia but I was shocked Wisconsin let this get published, especially before the game even happened.

Anyway, at the end of the piece there is a quote directly relevant to your interests:

"You just have to communicate, which you've done a really good job of," he said. "Is that nearly as hard as Michigan last week? Michigan was something new every single snap. These guys are almost the complete opposite. You'll watch the game and be like, 'Damn, they did exactly what we saw.' We'll just have to see early recognizing the formations that they're going to be in, then we'll motion."

I can't tell you how many times during the Carr era that we'd be on the other end of that quote, with teams playing Michigan and then stating that M did exactly what they saw on film and nothing else. I love the alternative.

Meanwhile the other side of the ball just got the same makeover. I love that Michigan went out and got Defensive Jim Harbaugh in Don Brown. Michigan's gone from a very simple defense under Durkin to a blizzard of different looks. Craig Ross mentioned on WTKA that a Power 5 offensive coordinator told him that he spent most of BC week just trying to figure out what the hell Brown was doing.

Michigan is now an incredibly difficult opponent to prepare for on either side of the ball.

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Brock Spack's best attribute is his mustache. This is a compliment.

Exit Darrell Hazell. Purdue pulled the trigger on their head coach after nine wins in 3.5 years, and is now on the Lowered Expectations dating scene. Everyone's got a list. Hammer and Rails has one, and here's a sad commentary on where they're at:

Name: Brady Hoke

Position: Oregon DC

Why?: Ya, Oregon isn’t very good right now. Hoke was up and down at Michigan. But, he has head coaching experience and is looking for another head coaching job. Getting back into the B1G isn’t easy, but this could be a chance for him as he could take over a Purdue program in shambles.

Chance: With how Oregon has looked this season, I don’t think we take a chance on him. But his head coaching experience in the B1G makes him appealing a little bit.

At least they're unenthused.

The candidates drawing the most mention seem to be WMU's PJ Fleck, former LSU HC Les Miles, and Illinois State HC Brock Spack. Fleck's probably going to get better offers this offseason and should wait on a less difficult opportunity; Miles is probably a real bad idea since by the time he'd have his players in he'd be close to retirement; Spack hasn't lit it up on the FCS level.

If those aren't the names, Purdue might repeat their Hazell move:

Hazell had been a head coach at Kent State for two years, but he was close to a "close your eyes and throw a dart at the OSU assistant roster" move. It would be uninspiring and very Purdue to replicate their failed process from last time.

Bill Connelly points out that Purdue's only successful coaching hires in the past 30 years have been relative outsiders, and he suggests a selection of creative offensive minds at smaller schools. He's correct. This is the pool Purdue should be selecting from. They need something weird to overcome their talent deficiencies, and they have the financial resources to grab a guy from Tulane or Air Force or wherever.

Personally, I would loathe playing a triple option version of Purdue—never schedule Air Force!—and co-sign this tweet from Jane Coaston:

Ken Niumatalolo may not be poachable after he turned down overtures from BYU last year, but if the problem there was BYU's reluctance to go flexbone Purdue might not have a shot. Connelly mentions Air Force's Troy Calhoun, who's won eight games a year two-thirds of the time at a service academy and gave Michigan all it wanted a few years back, and he seems like a good idea. Willie Fritz ran a deeply weird pistol triple option thing at Georgia State; I mentioned him offhandedly during the portion of Michigan's most recent coaching search where I threw out every candidate who was even vaguely plausible. He'd be a good idea.

In non-option options: Jeff Brohm at WKU has assembled Tiller-esque explosive offenses. I'd at least kick the tires on Chris Klieman, the third-year NDSU head coach who's kept Craig Bohl's train running without a hiccup.

For your sake, Purdue, don't close your eyes and grab a manball retread or an assistant who's operated with an embarrassment of riches. Look to someone scrabbling up from down below.

SLEEPER THOUGH. Charlie Strong.

Michigan assistants? Drevno and Fisch draw mention from Feldman in the Others Receiving Votes section of his list. While I think both guys are good coaches and will be HCs somewhere down the road, neither seems like a good fit for perpetually undermanned Purdue, and both guys can find themselves jobs less likely to end in termination. If Purdue's smart they won't focus on either guy; if either guy is smart they'd wait for something like Maryland or Cincinnati.

Another Endzone excerpt. The Postgame runs a piece from Bacon on Harbaugh's long-term prospects in Ann Arbor:

As one of Harbaugh's closest associates, attorney John Denniston, told me, "Jim doesn't like to recruit. He loves to recruit." If that sounds like hyperbole, you might consider the 22-state, 38-stop satellite tour, which Harbaugh described as "more fun than you can possibly imagine, like a pig in slop."

The only issue on that list that would seem to present a compelling reason for Harbaugh to leave is the health of Michigan's athletic department. When people on the book tour asked me to predict how long Harbaugh would coach Michigan, my answer was simple: It depends on his relationship with the next athletic director.

Quinn on Rahk. MAAR's development is probably the second-biggest key for Michigan this year behind that of Mo Wagner:

"For two years now, I've seen a great evolution in his game," Beilein said. "I want to see much more. He's capable of being a superior athlete."

A few things need to happen.

Abdur-Rahkman's jump shooting needs to improve. He raised his 3-point percentage from 29.3 percent (12-41) to a respectable 36.5 percent (31-85) from his freshman to sophomore year, but another jump could elevate Abdur-Rahkman among the best guards in the Big Ten.

His playmaking also needs to improve. Despite playing in 21 more games than LeVert last year, Abdur-Rahkman finished with 13 fewer assists for the season. His 3.7 assists per 100 possessions ranked below Duncan Robinson and Kameron Chatman. While his 27 turnovers in 1,001 minutes played were impressively meager, they also speak to a lack of facilitating for others.

Ian Boyd on OSU. This piece went up before the Wisconsin game and looks fairly prescient right now. It's SBN's Ian Boyd on certain flaws that OSU has demonstrated so far this year:

So if the Buckeye run game were stopped or slowed?

An opponent that knew how to line up against Urban Meyer’s arsenal of formations and variations on option run schemes would undoubtedly have a chance to force this particular team into some obvious passing situations.

The Buckeyes have had 40 TD drives so far this season and 14 of them (35%) required 10 plays or more. They’re very used to having to grind their way down the field with the run game and if you stopped up the works they’d be forced to rely more on their passing game.

Venturing back up to our handy chart, we notice that against the three toughest opponents on Ohio State’s schedule that Barrett threw 63 passes for 394 yards at 6.3 yards per attempt with five TDs and a sole INT. He’s been good at avoiding turnovers, though that may be partly due to simply not throwing many passes in the first place, but simply hasn’t been that threatening throwing the ball. If not for the four touchdown passes he threw to big Noah Brown in the red zone against Oklahoma, those numbers wouldn’t be too impressive either.

Barrett had a good second half against Wisconsin and managed to get OSU to 23 points in regulation. It was a struggle the whole way, though. Michigan's defense is another level up from Wisconsin's; that game gave me great hope that Michigan can turn the Game into a defensive slugfest.

Illinois week. The Illini probably won't be much of a challenge—they got outgained by Rutgers last week and Michigan is a whopping 35-point favorite. But it is an opportunity to point out Illini Board, which is a good Illinois blog/community. Their take on Rutgers:

Because this is just year one. The idea is 2019, with Michigan in Champaign, with the roster rebuilt, and that defense taking the ball away from the Wolverines and stopping them on fourth and one. I flipped the switch to rebuild mode last week, so watching this game in rebuild mode, it was great to see those plays from Milan and Watson. Bodes well for the future.

Remember the Minnesota game in 2008 when we outgained them something like 550-310 yet we lost because we kept turning the football over? That was a few months before I started the blog, but if I was blogging that fall, that game would have been my first “Turnovers Are Football” post. So many times, being on the wrong end of turnovers cost us.

And today, being on the right end delivered a win.

Lovie Smith is the most credible head coach they've had in a while, but it's going to take a long time to get out from underneath the Beckman denouement.

We've been there. Georgia lost to Vandy and their irritating athletic director hasn't crossed the line to get axed, so Get The Picture is feeling pretty gloomy:

It dawned on me leaving the stadium Saturday that one thing is really missing from Georgia football — it’s not fun to watch.  By that, I don’t mean losing sucks.  It does, of course.

What I mean is that watching a Georgia game feels like more of a chore these days than entertainment.

Man, did I write a column or two like that a few years back. It must be frustrating to be UGA and always be good but seemingly never be great—oh right, we know what that's like too. Throw in the fact that Ann Arbor and Athens are almost the same city and the UGA and Michigan fan bases are the most golf-apparel-friendly ones in the country and the parallels go deep between the two schools.

Anyway, this season is super fun and let's be sure to savor it.

Desmond Morgan gets into coaching. He's a GA at Wayne State:

Q: What are some of your responsibilities at Wayne State as a graduate assistant?

Morgan: One thing that’s been really interesting is that playing at Michigan, I was really used to the Division I level, where there’s resources and funding. There’s almost a paid position for everything.

At the Division II level, the resources are very limited. The money isn’t there. Something that I learned quick is that you’re not just a GA who helps an assistant. You do a bunch of other things on top of it.

Here, I spend 8 to 10 hours a week making sure highlight films are done on Friday nights, and we do all of the importing, editing and transcribing of the film. We help coaches with their daily responsibilities, like making copies, making sure meetings are set up to be run.

Juan Harris is single again again again again. The enormous IA DT decommitted from Indiana after three separate Iowa commitments. I can't wait to see where this rollercoaster goes. Hopefully back to Indiana twice more.

Etc.: The Big 12 probably isn't expanding because the TV networks will pay them not to. This might seem like a fiasco but could it actually be a bit of Machiavellian brilliance? What went wrong under Hazell other than everything. Nigel Hayes visited Gameday to protest not getting paid. Fred Jackson is the head coach at Ypsi High now. Indiana's struggles in the redzone dissected. The playoff looks all but set, so of course things will implode over the next month.

Brian Kelly Blames Things Dot Com. Recommend Go Iowa Awesome's weekly "Hybrid" column. Harbaugh eats a steak.