New Rules: No More Restricting Transfers And Redshirt Freedom

New Rules: No More Restricting Transfers And Redshirt Freedom Comment Count

Brian June 13th, 2018 at 1:15 PM

[lead image: Bryan Fuller]

Two fairly major NCAA rule changes just came down the pipe, and both are unambiguously good. #1 is an elimination of most transfer restrictions:

The Division I Council adopted a proposal this week that creates a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student’s name into a national transfer database within two business days. Once the student-athlete’s name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual.

The "most" in the previous sentence is because of this: "Conferences, however, still can make rules that are more restrictive than the national rule." Many conferences had extra restrictions against intra-conference transfers as of about a decade ago; as anyone who's followed the success talismans known as Beilein grad transfers knows, the Big Ten did away with theirs in 2012. I'm not sure if other conferences have followed suit. I kind of doubt the SEC has since bolting for juco for one year and then bouncing back to another conference school is a fairly common practice.

This hereby ends the irritating news cycle that goes:

  1. Player Wants To Transfer
  2. School Says Player Can't Go To Various Schools
  3. Outrage!
  4. "Sorry, Sorry, I'm Trying To Delete It" Says School
  5. Player Goes To Iowa State Anyway

So it's got that going for us. Also a slight inch away from NCAA serfdom.

[After THE JUMP: suspense! what's the other rule change! crap i shouldn't have mentioned it in the title]

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Mattress Talk

Mattress Talk Comment Count

Brian October 23rd, 2017 at 12:00 PM

10/21/2017 – Michigan 13, Penn State 42 – 5-2, 2-2 Big Ten

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I'm still trying to figure out how this is a wicked burn [Patrick Barron]

Got a new mattress. Wife had been saying we should get one, and then I read this article about the crazy Online Mattress War between dudes who had gotten millions of dollars in affiliate sales as mattress reviewers and a leading mattress company that sued them. The company was kind of right that the mattress guys were not fully on the up and up, but neither was the company. The twist ending: company just bought the site and magically their problems were over, man.

Everyone wins, except the average Joe just looking for an honest mattress review. Insofar as that is possible. Which it's not for an idiosyncratic product that is supposed to hold up for years and years.

This article still convinced me that I should just buy a mattress online, because any industry that has people in that level of desperate hand-to-hand combat is a place where The Online is legitimately disruptive. Also I went into an Art Van once and felt like I needed a shower after I left. I bought one office chair. Guy said I was making an amazing choice buying this office chair. I had an incredible eye for office chairs. Nobody in the world could have picked out an office chair finer than the one I had just acquired, and at such a price. And so forth and so on.

So: I am sold that mattresses are vastly overpriced and open to disruption. Also I am the kind of person who would rather roll the dice on Amazon reviews than talk to someone who works on commission. So I went with the company at the beginning of the article that purveyed a mattress the vaguely shady review guy returned. They were not mentioned again and thus seemed to be more on the up and up than everyone else. I dislike angle shooters.

Here is an internet mattress. It comes in a white box that seems far too small for a mattress. After you hack through an Amazon's worth of plastic coverings to unroll it there is a final layer of protective covering. Pierce that with the steak knife you've commandeered and the mattress will take in a great gulp of air, like a drowning man who suddenly finds himself at the surface. Then you have a mattress.

It's springy. Good? I don't know? I slept on it. It was fine.

It is odd somehow, but that's probably not its fault. It's probably always odd to get a new mattress. It's doubly so for us since the monstrosity we are replacing is an old hand-me-down "pillow top" that's like a foot taller than this thing. The hand-me-down is the 1955 Buick of mattresses. It could double as a boat or siege weapon. You couldn't put it in a trebuchet unless you wanted to flatten something three feet away, but it would do quite well as a battering ram. Nice and roomy underneath. The padding above would mute the impacts of various rocks, arrows, and other sundry implements of murder being flung at your head. The tag you're not supposed to take off swears that flammability is not an issue. And when you get that thing going, momentum is going to take you right through that door. Have fun storming the castle!

Anyway, the placement of the reading lights in our bedroom now makes way more sense.

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

The child—who goes by Denard Robinson Cook on the internet because I want his Google results to be his fault, not mine—lost his mind at this whole procedure. One of the great challenges of deploying the internet mattress was getting the little goober off the box spring long enough to simultaneously have a bed and an un-suffocated child.

He bangs the box spring and finds its texture pleasing. "BANG," he says, sort of. Getting the plastic off the mattress is a longer than expected, so he runs off to look at the old mattress, which is not in the spot it's been literally his whole life. "OH WOW," he says, distinctly and repeatedly. When the mattress arrived he pointed at the box and exclaimed "OH WOW" for two solid minutes, at varying levels of intensity. The intensity varied from much to lots.

Perhaps he has been raised to find beds and bedding to be a delight. Later I would discover that when my wife makes the bed there has evolved a certain strange ritual. There are four pillows, and after each is sheathed in its cover the wife will promise the child a "boof," which consists of whacking him surprisingly hard in the face with the pillow and throwing it on the bed. The child falls to the ground, cackling merriment, and gets up demanding to be boofed again.

After the pillows are all on the bed the child is thrown onto it, whereupon he flings himself onto every nook and cranny mutter-yelling "boof." Should an adult have the temerity to join the child on the bed, he or she will be shooed away. The child will cry "ah-weigh" until the offense is repaired, and then resume boofing itself.

This was the only part of the mattress procedure with an unpleasant whiff. It is now clear that the child enjoys throwing himself headlong at things, and having things hurled headlong at himself. He thus might want to play football, which is a sport of no account whatsoever that all thinking people rightly condemn.

AWARDS

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Higdon, not Long above[Eric Upchurch]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 David Long? I guess? Long intercepted a pass on PSU's third drive, forestalling the beat down until the second half. He was considerably assisted in this endeavor by a Penn State miscommunication, but the other choices here are guys with under 50 yards of offense or other members of a defense that didn't do great. On a day when Michigan got bombed, just one tackle for Long is probably a good thing.

#2 Karan Higdon? Averaged three yards a carry and this felt sort of noble in the circumstances, with half his carries buried at the line by a defense with no respect for the pass and another fair chunk actually decent.

#3 Khaleke Hudson? I guess? TFL, PBU, and a QB hurry, whatever that means in the box score. Notably did not get torched by anyone unless my memory has failed me, which, thanks, memory. Doin' me a solid.

Honorable mention:

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue)
5: Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana), Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU)
4: David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU)
3: Mason Cole (#1, Cincinnati), Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana))
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana), Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU).
1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Michigan punches in a touchdown from the six by loading up in a three-TE set and manballing it in with power. This briefly saw Michigan come within a point and was the last event in the game that could be read as hopeful.

Honorable mention: David Long's INT; other touchdown; several plays on which PSU did not score a touchdown.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Quinn Nordin misses an extra point, which made it clear that it was about to be that kind of night.

Honorable mention: Most of the rest of the game. Saquon Barkley's opening touchdown rather stands out amongst the writhing mass of events. About one minute in to the game everyone was like "okay this is a huge loss," and they were eventually correct. Would rather that did not happen.

[After the JUMP: mattress SEO mattress links mattress reviews mattress coupons mattress mattress]

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This Week’s Obsession: The 2017 Redshirt Roundtable

This Week’s Obsession: The 2017 Redshirt Roundtable Comment Count

Seth June 14th, 2017 at 4:04 PM

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[Bryan Fuller]

The Question:

Who’s gonna redshirt?

The Responses:

Brian: We should get the obvious redshirts out of the way: McCaffrey, Taylor, Paea, Honigford, Hall, Paye, Hawkins, and probably St-Juste, I think?

Seth: I figured we'd go down the positions. QB is obvious. Running backs?

Brian: We should just set aside the obvious play and obvious sits and talk about the rest. Obvious plays are Black, DPJ, Solomon, Hudson, Woods, JKP.

Ace: Vilain.

Seth: Ambry?

Ace: Not so sure on Ambry. He’s a twig.

Seth: So is JKP but I'm looking at a depth chart.

Brian: Watson and Washington exist.

Adam: JKP is not a twig in the same way as Ambry. I think Ambry sees the field in a "break glass in case of emergency" scenario.

Brian: We're doing the post before the post.

Ace: I think this is the post.

Brian: Oh.

Seth: We're in the post...right now.

giphy

This is now, now.

Ace: Was there anyone worth debating in my obvious sits list?

Brian: No.

[After THE JUMP: When will then be now?]

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

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Unverified Voracity Unburns Shirts

Unverified Voracity Unburns Shirts Comment Count

Brian January 31st, 2017 at 3:10 PM

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McKeon: still a freshman? [Eric Upchurch]

On redshirts. I don't know if this is a recent change or if it has always been this way, but the medical redshirt operating parameters I've been working with are incorrect. I've been under the impression that if you play at all after game #4 you are ineligible. That is in fact not the case:

The injury must occur prior to the start of the second half of the season.

The student-athlete must not have competed in more than 30% of the season or three contests, whichever is greater.

(FWIW, I looked this up in the NCAA's bylaw search engine to confirm. I am an exciting person with many rewarding pastimes.)

The NCAA rounds up if 30% of the season is not an integer, so as long as games played < 5 and latest game played < 7, you are eligible. For Michigan that means guys who played in four or fewer games and did not participate after Rutgers can get a year of eligibility back if there is sufficient medical documentation. I believe Michigan has assembled such documentation.

Classification of freshmen follows.

  • Did not play: Brandon Peters, Kareem Walker, Stephen Spanellis, Ron Johnson, Quinn Nordin.
  • Eligible for hardship year: Kingston Davis, Nick Eubanks, Sean McKeon, Carlo Kemp, Mike Dwumfour, Josh Uche, David Long.
  • Definitely sophomores: Chris Evans, Kekoa Crawford, Eddie McDoom, Nate Johnson, Devin Asiasi, Ben Bredeson, Mike Onwenu, Rashan Gary, Devin Gil, Elysee Mbem-Bosse, Lavert Hill, Khaleke Hudson, Josh Metellus.

If the guys eligible for hardships get them that dials back the Great Halifax Redshirt Fire Of 2016 a great deal. The only burned redshirts that look wasteful in that case are Nate Johnson (who played just three games, but one was Nebraska) and maybe the two linebackers. Everyone else was either an important contributor or clear heir apparent needed in 2017.

We've moved the hardship-eligible folks back to the freshman column on the depth chart by class.

RIP Tirrel Burton. John U Bacon eulogizes:

Today, big time college football coaches are media stars, with thousands of followers on Twitter. They’re rich and famous, whether they should be or not. Even assistant coaches are millionaires. But it wasn’t always that way.

This week in Ann Arbor a few hundred people gathered to remember a college football coach who wasn’t rich or famous. But he’d earned the respect of everyone there.

Returning experience: nope! There was a spate of articles last offseason claiming that Michigan was low on returning experience; these were wrong because they believed the Michigan roster and its lack of announced redshirts. This year, though, I rather believe metrics like Bill Connelly's that declare Michigan to be #127 of 129 D-I teams in returning experience. Losing 9.5 defensive starters*, three OL, and your top three receivers tends to do that.

Other Big Ten teams way down the list: Iowa (#118), Nebraska (#122), and... yep, 3-9 Michigan State (#124). The most alarming aspect of last year's MSU outfit from the perspective of an MSU fan has to be the fact that they were not young at all.

Michigan doesn't play anyone particularly high up the list except Indiana, which just set their program on fire. It is notable that 2017 opponent Air Force—a charter member of the MGoBlog Never Schedule This Team list, thanks Dave—is dead last. Hopefully we don't get the bejeezus scared out of us again.

*[Mo Hurst was a starter in production if not actuality.]

It's been a while. Here's a Big Ten fight song medley from 1929. Chicago is included, and Michigan State is not, like God intended.

NFL scouting for various Michigan players. Many impressed. Jourdan Lewis:

Lewis used light feet, loose hips and excellent acceleration to blanket receivers throughout the practice. Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp (more on him later) was one of the few receivers to gain even a sliver of space on Lewis Tuesday and though he managed to catch one pass on the Wolverines' star, Lewis was there immediately to eliminate any possible yardage after the grab.

Lewis' agility and acceleration stood out in the afternoon but during the weigh-ins Tuesday morning it was his surprising length that proved a pleasant surprise. Though possessing just "average" height for the position at 5-foot-10 and 188 pounds, Lewis has disproportionately long arms (31 inches), which make him that much better suited to handling the massive receivers he'll face on the outside in the NFL.

Ben Gedeon and Chris Wormley:

Ben Gedeon - Michigan LB - Hard nosed, seems to be going faster than others at the spot / Instinctive / Not a playmaker but could be a strong special teamer 

Chris Wormley - Michigan DL - Huge / great line from a scout 'his calfs are the size of goal posts' / prob a 1st rounder, needs to play mean

Also Wormley:

2. DE -  Chris Wormley, Michigan - An ideal blend of size (6-foot-5½, 297) and speed for an NFL defensive end in a 4-3 system, nobody displayed better and more consistent pass-rushing speed in Mobile this week than Wormley. He's quick off the snap, good at splitting double teams and can get to the quarterback.

Also Gedeon:

8. ILB - Ben Gedeon, Michigan  - Yes, there was a lot of Wolverine representation on the North Defense. Michigan didn't finish No. 1 in the nation in total defense for nothing. Gedeon (6'1 5/8" / 247) was a standout against the run in all three days of practice. He's strong and physical with good instincts. He struggled at times on his pass rush drills, but he may be best suited as a two down inside linebacker who goes to the sidelines in passing situations anyway.

De'Veon Smith:

Smith, who gained 846 yards on 181 carries and scored 10 rushing touchdowns for the Wolverines in 2016, has looked more elusive than he did in Ann Arbor. He also has proven he can catch. Add those traits to his blocking ability and his familiarity with pro-style protections after playing two seasons for Jim Harbaugh, and Smith suddenly looks like a mid-round pick a team can plug in immediately. And if the line in front of him is good enough, Smith could wind up on one of those lists.

Blue chip quarterbacks: many transfer. Dueling takes on the same subject on Signing Day eve from the Sporting News and Sports on Earth. The latter article is a just-the-facts-ma'am take on the recent history of blue-chip QBs:

It would be a mistake to call it an epidemic. Transfers have gone up in college football, and that's especially true at quarterback, where there are only so many starting positions available. The wave of transfers is often treated like a problem, but players switching schools to try to find a better opportunity for themselves is hardly an actual problem. (Coaches do it all the time.) The graduate transfer rule in particular has made transferring easier, as veteran players with degrees in hand can switch teams without sitting out a year.

The massive wave of transfers is undeniably a big story, even if it's overblown as a problem. While a lot of coaches and fan bases will be excited on Wednesday when blue-chip quarterbacks sign to play at their school, there's a good chance that those QBs won't actually finish their careers with the same team or deliver on the hype.

In fact, from 2007-13, more than half of four- and five-star quarterback recruits didn't finish their college career at the school they originally picked, whether it's because they transferred, were dismissed, switched to baseball or gave up playing football. (This does not include players who left early for the NFL Draft.) Likewise, just 44.1 percent of the 145 blue-chip quarterbacks signed from 2007-13 attempted at least 300 career passes for their original team.

The Sporting News article gets a bunch of huffy quotes from Brady Quinn about kids these days:

"It's almost like a generational systematic issue where kids feel entitled and they feel like they should have the opportunity," Quinn said. "They don’t realize that opportunity is earned. It's not given. That's kind of my issue with it. I don't know how you change it unless you change things at the levels below college."

As you might imagine, this caused some eyerolls in MGoSlack. There are two main reasons for the uptick in transfers: the grad transfer rule and the commercialization of the sport.

The first one should be obvious: a redshirt senior who would otherwise be out of luck can now transfer, degree in hand, to another school where he'll get a shot. Shane Morris counts as a departure; ten years ago he would have not been offered a fifth year by Michigan and would be done with college football.

The second is a little more winding, but when you've spent the last 20 years doing literally everything you can to maximize revenue with no other concerns do you really expect platitudes about loyalty to mean much? Recruits are told it's a business now, and, I mean, does it or does it not act exactly like a business? It does. And you'd be dumb to have loyalty to most businesses.

Meanwhile I wonder how many of those Bama transfers even had the option to return this season. One, certainly. Saban no doubt prefers a veteran option if Hurts gets injured. Three? No. The NCAA's overall cap on scholarships encourages movement. It's not a damn millennials thing, and it's certainly not a problem with high schools and parents. Move to a yearly cap with no overall cap and transfers go down immensely because there's no motivation for schools to prune kids who aren't panning out.

To blame the players, who are doing the things the system either tells them to or literally forces them to, is high grade paternalist bullshit. I love the smell of NCAA in the morning.

Harbaugh antics, year 3. I mean:

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh bumped into a familiar face on the recruiting trail in Iowa on Wednesday evening.

This meeting was significantly less painful for Harbaugh than the first.

Harbaugh tweeted a photo of himself and Dan McGivern, the man who he said was driving a mail truck that broke Harbaugh's leg nearly 50 years ago.

Just like wow man.

Etc.: Notre Dame blogs are bringing up Charlie Weis again, so that's fun. A look back at the 2007 Rivals 100, ten years on. Michigan guys do not feature heavily—that was the Mallett/Warren year where after the top two they barely got anyone. Toney Clemons was the only other top 100 guy. This is a good recruiting class. Lawsuit filed against Baylor is incredible. Charity Bowl opens early. Fouad Egbaria on the MSU game. Ryan Glasgow might land at the same place his brother did.

Comments

Mailbag: Coachin' Poachin', Injury Redshirts, Shelton Johnson And Shelton Johnson, The Only Good Sports Movie

Mailbag: Coachin' Poachin', Injury Redshirts, Shelton Johnson And Shelton Johnson, The Only Good Sports Movie Comment Count

Brian October 13th, 2016 at 2:24 PM

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Will someone raid the braintrust this offseason? [Bryan Fuller]

Coaching turnover?

In your last UV you talked about how there's basically air behind Tom Herman as far as possibly available decent head coaches go. What are the odds that Don Brown gets poached by someone? Is that something he would be looking for?

DJ

Also:

What are the chances that one of our coordinators gets a look a high level job?  Jedd Fisch or Tim Drevno probably are most at risk?  Wheatley probably stays to fill in one of their roles if they go so he can be with his son for a few more year so that’s probably not a huge deal.  Is this something that is concerning to you?  I didn’t see it specifically flagged in your post today, nor did it really matter with Durkin moving on and the staff staying put.

Similarly, any shot at OSU getting some of their staff poached (and maybe less loyalty to Urban for a chance to move up the ranks)?

Go Blue!

-Jim Dudnick BBA ‘01

Don Brown is a minimal threat to leave. He's 61 and is a DC lifer in the same way that Bud Foster is. Nobody gets a first-time head coaching gig in their 60s unless they've been promoted from within. FWIW, when Michigan hired him Jim Harbaugh said he went into that hire trying to find someone who could provide some stability and Brown provides that. This is another reason grabbing Brown was such a good move.

Things are more uncertain on the offensive side of the ball, where both Fisch and Drevno could pop up on smaller schools' radars. Fisch has already been mentioned as a potential option at FIU by Bruce Feldman. Drevno hasn't come up yet. Meanwhile they're coordinator types under Jim Harbaugh, who runs the show on O. Usually guys like that have to put in at least five years before they start getting mentioned.

Meanwhile, these days the pay bump when you get a head job at a smaller school is small or even nonexistent. Ron Turner was making 550k at FIU; Drevno is at 800k. There aren't many non-Power 5 schools who could make a compelling offer to high-paid Michigan assistants.

Fisch is 40; Drevno is 47. Both have some time to find the right opportunity before their window of opportunity shuts. They're likely to be patient, passing up jobs like FIU as they wait for a Power 5 opening like DJ Durkin got. Even then, do you want to sign up for a meat grinder like Purdue? Probably not.

I can't say with certainty that both guys will be back but I wouldn't worry about losing them to an AAC team, and it doesn't look like there will be any plausible openings in the Big Ten this year. (Purdue: nope.) I'd bet Michigan gets everybody back.

[After THE JUMP: redshirts, Shelton Johnsons, omnipotence paradoxes]

Comments

This Week's Obsession: Shirting the Sixteens

This Week's Obsession: Shirting the Sixteens Comment Count

Seth May 19th, 2016 at 12:27 PM

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Even with McCaffery behind him and plenty ahead, we're still seeing Brandon Peters in our futures. After a shirt. [Upchurch]

The Question:

Who redshirts from the 2016 class? Which of those has the biggest impact down the road?*

The Responses:

Ace: Michigan is finally in a position where they can default to redshirting freshmen unless they’re too talented not to see the field (Rashan Gary), happen to fit at one of the couple positions in serious need of depth (Devin Bush), or auditioning for a starting job next year (David Long, LaVert Hill). As such, the list of players I expect to redshirt is long, especially on offense.

OFFENSE: QB Brandon Peters, RB Kingston Davis, RB/SLOT Chris Evans, WR Brad Hawkins, WR Eddie McDoom, TE Nick Eubanks, TE Sean McKeon, OL Ben Bredeson, OL Mike Onwenu, OL Stephen Spanellis, K Quinn Nordin

DEFENSE: DT Michael Dwumfour, DE Carlo Kemp, DE Ron Johnson, DE Josh Uche, LB Devin Gil, S Josh Metellus

A few of those guys might end up seeing spot snaps or special teams duty, and I guessed a bit with the receivers; Dylan Crawford, Nate Johnson, and Ahmir Mitchell aren’t locks to play, either, but it’s probably safe to assume the coaches won’t keep all six receiver-types in the same class. Even Devin Asiasi, who’d see the field right away under normal circumstances, might sit a year given TJ Wheatley’s emergence and the overall depth at tight end.

As for which redshirting freshman I expect to have the biggest impact, those who listen to the podcast probably won’t be surprised that I’m going with Brandon Peters, even with a few really talented linemen on this list. Peters was lights-out as a senior and is an ideal fit in Harbaugh’s offense. Even with Dylan McCaffrey coming in a year behind him, I have a really difficult time not seeing Peters as a very successful multi-year starter.

[After THE JUMP we tweak Ace's answer]

Comments

Mailbag: Stats Love Us, Saban Manball Canary, Substitution Style, Cole Absence, Playcalling Approach

Mailbag: Stats Love Us, Saban Manball Canary, Substitution Style, Cole Absence, Playcalling Approach Comment Count

Brian October 13th, 2015 at 11:34 AM

computers2[1]

On S&P+

S&P+

Number 3? For the statistically challenged, what do you think of this methodology?

S&P+ is as good as any other ranking system that drills into play-by-play data to get a clearer picture of a football game than scoring margin alone can give you. Bill Connelly, the guy behind it, also runs Football Study Hall. He does a lot of smart things. S&P+ is a valuable look at who is playing the best.

Unfortunately, it can only go on the data that exists and in early-season college football that's always going to be sparse. Meanwhile some folks will dispute lot of the assumptions S&P+ makes, primarily that turnovers are super random and not major factors in the rankings. It also values all games evenly in ways that humans aren't always big fans of. Utah is significantly below Michigan because:

  • the Michigan-Utah game was about even down to down and turned on turnovers
  • Utah did not significantly outgain Utah State or Fresno State
  • Michigan yardage-murdered everyone other than Utah

S&P+ is not trying to be a descriptive ranking (ie: these teams have had the best season so far) but rather a predictive one (ie: if these teams were to meet who would win). Michigan has performed like an elite team so far according to S&P+, and I can see why it thinks that.

FEI, the other major ranking that takes more than score into account*, is more skeptical than S&P, but I think that's because that still bakes some preseason assumptions into the ranking.

*[AFAIK Sagarin only uses the final score.]

Can we manball it when even Saban flees to spread-type behavior?

It seems that Nick Saban has recently admitted that his current style is a bit outdated, that he needs to adjust to the recent trends in college football. It is pretty obvious that teams like OSU, Oregon, TCU, Baylor, even BGSU are seeing a lot of success by utilizing both up-tempo and featuring quick guys in space.

Can you speak to offensive philosophies such as Alabama and Stanford and how this may or may not be a concern for us going forward? I understand that "smashmouth" football is not mutually exclusive with up-tempo and quick guys in space. But it just seems to me that Harbaugh's style doesn't seem to emphasize either of these current successful trends.

Thanks,
UNCWolverine

Given how the season has gone so far I actually think Michigan might occasionally run into the opposite problem. They've been absolutely lights out against six consecutive spread offenses. (Not very good spread offenses, sure, but Michigan isn't holding these guys to 20 points and high-fiving afterwards. They are crushing opponents.) Meanwhile the Harbauffense is winning plays against teams that aren't always comfortable putting heavy D packages on the field or filling all the gaps Harbaugh creates.

Saban's move to a more spread and tempo oriented offense is a reaction to the many times his defense has been blown out of the water by those kind of attacks over the past few years. When the Tide get to line up against one of the remaining "pro style" offenses, the results are generally ugly. Ask Georgia.

Michigan might not have that issue. Durkin seems very comfortable devising ways to neutralize spreads. I will have trepidation when and if Michigan does come up against… well, pretty much just Alabama.

On and off and on and off

Brian or Ace-

Do you know, or, if not, could you ask someone, why Dan Liesman (I think that is who it is, at least according to my Mini-Program; it is #54) comes out a few yards onto the field between plays almost every time when we are on defense. It is as if he is not sure whether he is going in or not, but since he NEVER goes in, it is obviously for some other reason. Is there some rule about substitutions that this relates to, are we trying to confuse the opposition, or does he just like to pretend he might be going in? There has to be a reason, and I would think most MGoBloggers would love to hear it. Thanks

David

We've seen Ross and Gant also do this. It's just a substitution strategy. After the play Michigan sends guys who may or may not be in the defensive package, depending on what the offense does, to about the numbers. (Any farther could get you an illegal substitution penalty.)

If opponents send in two or more blocky-catchy types, the linebacker will stay in and a DB will be removed. Since every team Michigan has played almost never uses two or more blocky-catchy types the LB heads back to the sideline almost all the time.

Liesman specifically is interesting because Michigan usually has Ross available; I haven't noticed if sometimes he is poking his head on the field when Michigan's already in a 4-3. That would imply Michigan has a heavy package in case someone tries to manball them.

Someone was confused.

Mr. Hammond

I wanted you to know how much I appreciate and enjoy your broadcasts of Notre Dame football.  Your kind deference to Our Lady's University is a beautiful expression of the christian love that infuses your broadcast persona.  Thank you so much!  You are a good man.

May God bless you and yours.

Andrew V.

I did flip over to the Notre Dame-UMass game when it was interesting for a minute and heard Hammond's dulcet tones. He's missed.

I assume that guy who made the Tom Hammond tie is in Congress by now.

[After THE JUMP: early drives allowed, Harbaugh's playcalling system, a search for superclusters.]

Comments

I'll Believe In Anything; You'll Believe In Anything

I'll Believe In Anything; You'll Believe In Anything Comment Count

Brian October 5th, 2015 at 12:24 PM

10/3/2015 – Michigan 28, Maryland 0 – 4-1, 1-0 Big Ten

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fight or fliiiiiiiiiiaaaaaaargh [Patrick Barron]

I'LL BELIEVE IN ANYTHING – WOLF PARADE

"I mean ... there were a couple plays where they got first downs. We've got to look at that and correct it. They shouldn't have anything."

-Maurice Hurst

"I BELIEVE" seems like one of the most fun things to say at full bellow. You are in thrall to whatever it is you are busy believing in. You are ejecting spittle that contains within it the virus that will pass the belief on to those blessed by its impact. You have left the constellation of niggling doubts and pressing issues behind for at least three syllables. It sounds like a good time.

With neither Catholics nor Michigan fans prone to bare-chested, cloth-rending proclamations of that sort, I haven't had many opportunities to test this theory out personally. Once I when I was a teenager I ended up in a place where super serious teenagers were hanging out and speaking in tongues and the like. Yes, the reason was a girl. No, it didn't take.

But anyway in the aftermath I have occasionally found myself lingering on late-night exploitative religious television with equal parts scorn, sympathy, and jealousy. While the pompadour'd reverend is immediately repulsive, I get the flock's desire.

Just give me a sign, Lord. Just give me a sign. I will take this sweaty dude's earpiece radio telling him details from the card I filled out. I'll take anything. My God, this dude is sweaty. That wasn't directed at you, necessarily, Lord. You probably know about the sweaty guy already. Sorry.

Just give me a sign.

He is really sweaty though.

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

Here is what this game was like: Michigan punched in the first touchdown of the game early in the third quarter. When Maryland got the ball back, the play by play announcer gamely attempted to maintain the general public's waning interest by noting it was "just a two score game."

Unless it's the Big Ten West you're talking about, in modern college football you don't have to say that in the third quarter. You don't have to say it until there are about five minutes left, and that's only if someone's out of timeouts.

Baylor and Texas Tech were a couple hours away from trading 45 minutes of haymakers before falling over in an exhausted heap. Tennessee hired Mike DeBord and now specializes in blowing three-score leads. Indiana—Indiana minus its starting tailback and quarterback!—took three separate Ezekiel Elliott uppercuts and still staggered its way back to attempt a potential game-tying drive. They got a 79-yard touchdown run from that quarterback made out of popsicle sticks. Their attempt to tie only ended because a relatively obvious pass interference call in the endzone went unnoticed.

Indiana. Indiana's bench.

These days a two score lead in football is slightly more meaningful than one in basketball, but you could be forgiven for forgetting that during any particular Big 12 game. Anyone turning off a game because two scores separate the sides is ravenously hungry and can't turn on the toaster and the TV without blowing a fuse or has something seriously wrong—like Lions fandom—with them.

Not right now, not against Michigan. If you find yourself two scores down against Michigan it's time for a priest and a eulogy. "BYU: at least they're already saved." "Maryland: if you pay really close attention you can tell they tried."

I mean, maybe not forever. Anything this good is bound to regress to the mean and get various holes poked in it and fall over breathing heavily. This isn't even typical Michigan fan bleating, it's just a fact. The ultimate fact of the universe is entropy. Ask Ohio State, currently struggling to nose ahead of MAC teams and Indiana after returning almost literally everyone of importance from a team that blitzed Oregon and Alabama to end last year. Ask the water on Mars. Ask Devin Gardner. Chaos reigns.

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

Michigan now faces back-to back undefeated top 15 opponents. A year ago this would have been time to stock up the bunker and wait for the bombs to fall. Even when the Harbaugh Hail Mary was gloriously completed, we collectively told ourselves we were going to keep expectations on the level. Hopes stopped at "this is a nice 8-4 season that feels very nice and also like football mostly."

It's dumb to go past that even now. Reasonable expectations are a nice thing to have. The poison of ridiculous ones is evident down the road. I've been here before, latching on to the things that seem good and saying maybe it'll happen this time. I have gotten naught but misery for my troubles.

But each three and out, each time a Michigan defensive lineman shoots through a gap he should not be able to pierce, each bewildered quarterback throwing a ball he sort of hopes is complete but mostly just wants out of his hand—all of it sucks me closer to the event horizon. Within it all reason is lost and the future is a horde of pending victims in our war against the galaxy.

Outwardly I am still too Michigan to cry it out, the thing that is fun to say. But on third and long—and there is always a third and long—my eyes dance with blood. Just give me a sign, Lord.

HIGHLIGHTS

Also, the BTN profiled Amara Darboh:

AWARDS

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

Now named! Named like so because this is the nicest thing Harbaugh can say about you.

you're the man now, dog

#1 Desmond Morgan was actually relevant this week. He was also terrific, with a difficult diving interception on a deflected pass, two pass breakups besides, and nine tackles.

#2 Maurice Hurst edges out the rest of the defensive line with two ultra-badass TFLs, one a sack on a three man rush, one an extremely similar play where he dumped the RB in the backfield.

#3 Blake O'Neill delicately located two punts inside the five, had a 59-yarder, and was extremely important for field position in a field-position-heavy game.

Honorable mention: All defensive persons. Drake Johnson. Jake Butt. The offensive braintrust.

KFATAotW Standings.

5: Chris Wormley(#2 Utah, #1 Oregon State)
3: Jake Butt (#1 Utah), Jourdan Lewis (#1 UNLV), De'Veon Smith(#2 Oregon State, #3 BYU), Ryan Glasgow (#1 BYU), Desmond Morgan (#1 Maryland)
2: Ty Isaac(#2 UNLV), Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU), Maurice Hurst (#2 Maryland).
1: Willie Henry (#3 Utah), AJ Williams (#3 Oregon State), Channing Stribling(#3 UNLV), Blake O'Neill(#3 Maryland)

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Jehu Chesson gets loose on a jet sweep and puts a Maryland safety in an early grave before outrunning the other guy to the endzone.

Honorable mention: Perfectly called Drake Johnson screen goes for touchdown; perfectly called Jake Butt screen goes for 44 yards; every defensive play except about six.

WGIBTUs Past.

Utah: Crazy #buttdown.
Oregon State: #tacopunts.
UNLV: Ty Isaac's 76 yard touchdown.
BYU: De'Veon Smith's illicit teleporter run.
Maryland: Jehu Chesson jet sweeps past you.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

A Jake Rudock NO NO NO YES throw hits Sione Houma in the hands and bounces up to a defender, thus prolonging the first-half slog significantly.

Honorable mention: Even though Michigan got it back, Ty Isaac's second fumble felt a lot like a promising guy eating bench for half a season. Also Isaac's first fumble.

PREVIOUS EDBs

Utah: circle route pick six.
Oregon State: Rudock fumbles after blitz bust.
UNLV: Rudock matches 2014 INT total in game 3.
BYU: BYU manages to get to triple digit yards in the last minutes of the game.
Maryland: Slog extended by deflected interception at Houma.

[After THE JUMP: sad ghost rudock, tuff ghost defensive line]

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Dear Diary Demands You Watch More Trey

Dear Diary Demands You Watch More Trey Comment Count

Seth March 20th, 2015 at 3:09 PM

IMG_6206IMG_6204-2

Five Star Characters. Vincent Smith's event happened. In a Q&A Smith shared his favorite block ever was getting concussed by J.J. Watt, and led us to believe for about a minute he was going to make comparisons between Rodriguez and Hoke. Sometime after Brian left to catch a bunch of highly padded MSU students stand lazily in front of a net and get a hundred pucks shot at them, a bunch of former and current players showed up: Willie Henry, Thomas Rawls, Justice Hayes, Al Backey, Christian Bryant, and Floyd Simmons, with whom I shared the Never Forget banner. Campbell was a hit. The shot above is Big Will making a show of excitement over Thomas "Jimmy" Rawls. Then he acquired a newborn, because every iphone collection needs a giant teddy bear in a casquette holding a baby.

More importantly Vince and Will and the rest helped raise several thousand to go toward a new community garden in Flint.

You Might Remind Us Of Such Former Players as…From the diarist who brought you "I wonder if Ole Miss is doing something different" and "20 years without good basketball" comes the latest in postseason player analysis approach technology, as AC1997 reviews the 2014-'15 cagers by which former Michigan guy they ought to watch on YouTube. Sample for the biggest X factor next year:

Derrick Walton

  • FMPHSWOYT:  Trey Burke
  • Clips: 2012-2013 Highlights, 2011-2012 Highlights
  • Explanation: Again with the all-time great, but there’s a specific reason.  As much as Burke was our best player in ages, he actually struggled at times as a freshman with running the ball screen offense in part due to his size.  I think that was what we hoped to see Walton adjust to as a sophomore but he struggled in some of the similar ways that Burke did (height, explosiveness, inconsistent big men, etc.).  Watching how Burke adapted and ran a masterful offense as he became a sophomore is what Walton should look at – with realistic expectations obviously being far short of POY results.  
  • Also Considered: Daniel Horton, Gary Grant, Demetrius Calip

It's kinda like "YMRMFSPA" in the recruit previews. The usefulness is limited since we're restricted to a small sample size of Michigan players people other than Craig Ross remembers. Burke comparisons for Walton are bountiful, and still unfair. Trey came in a scorer who liked going to the rim, and became an excellent distributor (and Kobe Assist-er) as a natural extension of his ability to attack the basket more so than mastery of the two-guard offense. Watch where these assists come from:

Also the subs we had. That was so crazy you guys.

Walton came in better at distribution and I think with a leap forward from his scoring game that'll really shine. His handle is fantastic but that toe kept him from being able to attack the lane; the same second he would have to stop and make a pass is when the shooting pain would hit.

A penny for a shot at a twenty. The other diary this week was Lanknows arguing with me about burned redshirts. After much discussion I declare points 1, 2, 3, 8, and 11 ancillary considerations that shouldn't affect the decision except in extreme situations, and all the other points wholly incorrect, and he conceded that it's okay to redshirt quarterbacks and offensive linemen if you don't need them. There's no need to go in there if you're planning to call his stupid points stupid—MaizeandBlueWahoo has the official fisk in the thread—but I'm all for attempts to pick holes in my arguments.

Best of the Board

MGOMEMES

Offseason threads are a good opportunity to catch up the newcomers and remind ourselves of things like Fck Lyons and Tacopants and the pain Alan Branch leaves in his wake.

Still needs a lot of filling in.

RULES FOR WEARING A JERSEY

Same guy who started the above thread also asked whether adults should be wearing team jerseys, which, and when. I have given this a lot of thought over years of mainstream sports fandom and have come up with a few personal tastes.

Everyone likes the kid who wears team gear, at least until high school demands a higher level of sophistication. For adults however I have created this handy formula: Take the number of times you thought the player is awesome while he's playing for your team, plus the number of times you expect you'll think the player is awesome in the future while playing for your team times 0.5. For college player also do this again for his pro career divided by 30. Divide the result by the number of people you will ever encounter who own that jersey. Then multiply by the percentage of people you expect to be around that day who are fans of that team, and subtract from this a percentage point for every year you've lived past 14. Add and subtract circumstantial percentage points as you choose.

The highest score on the Seth-o-Meter ever achieved was a guy who wore a Brookens jersey (and accompanying handlebar mustache) to Comerica Park before Tommy was re-hired by the Tigers. The lowest score ever was a 400-pound dude wearing a Yankees A-Rod jersey to a Mets game. The highest score at a Michigan game is:

tacopants-jersey_thumb

Your Moment of Zen:

vincesmithguns

Comments

Mailbag: Harbaugh Wedding Invite, Late Redshirts, Hockey Expansion

Mailbag: Harbaugh Wedding Invite, Late Redshirts, Hockey Expansion Comment Count

Brian March 17th, 2015 at 11:59 AM

WHAT COULD GO WRONG

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Hey Brian,

Please publish this anonymously because my fiancé didn't even want me to take this picture.

We're getting married at the Union this summer. Harbaugh is crazy, but not crazy enough to show up, right? Do we need to worry about a hora with enthusiasm unknown to mankind?

Thanks, and love the blog,

Anon

First: that's what we did when we got married. Did you get the Pendleton Room for the reception? It has a painting of Yost in it. That's what sold me (that and the fact it was the only appropriately-sized room in town).

Anyway. To your question.

You have committed a grave mistake. Harbaugh has just asked a 2016 recruit to prom, and they are still slightly disorganized after coming in from the NFL and scrambling to fill their 2015 class. The chances are high that they assume you are a recruit, or somehow connected to an important recruit, and show up in force at your wedding. There they will demand your brand new wife run 40s in heels. Your mother will be badgered into voluntary summer workouts. Both will  leave arm-in-arm with JayBaugh.

Your only consolation is that the younger Harbaugh will not have an arm to cradle the Lombardi Trophy that he carries with him everywhere, but can you confide in the Lombardi Trophy? Can you snuggle next to it for warmth on cold nights? Will it make you breakfast? No, no, and no. Your future is a bleak one, sitting across from a cold metallic unfeeling brick, trying to make small talk over endless breadsticks and salad. The Lombardi Trophy's only reaction will be to reflect a hideously distorted version of yourself back to your eyes.

Sounds like hell, anonymous. A hell you willingly signed up for when you taunted fate. We will remember you alongside our most foolish archetypes. 

Mid-career redshirts?

Brian- I realize I'm probably not the only one to think this but if Rudock does come and Speight seems serviceable as a backup will they try and redshirt Morris if they think he's a viable option down the road?

I know there's gentry, Malzone and O'Korn as well but possibly this would give them another QB option.

-Phillip

It is possible. Mid-career redshirts are rare but there's no rule against it, and if Speight is as good or better there's no reason to not give yourself the option.

That might be in Morris's best interest either way. He enrolled early, so it wouldn't be too hard for him to get a degree after this year a la Gardner, and then he'd have two to play somewhere if it didn't work out here. And if a guy a class behind you beats you out for the #2 spot, it's probably not going to work out.

Hockey expansion.

Hey Brian,

I was wondering if you could explain or if you even knew about any future BIG hockey expansion? I've started following BIG hockey and just wondered why Nebraska, Rutgers, and other schools do not have hockey programs if the BIG dishes our tens of millions of dollars each year. I am a hockey NOOB and just thought the BIG could be a legitimate conference if more teams (and even OSU) put any effort into making hockey decent. Thanks.

814 East U

The Big Ten shouldn't have to have more teams putting in effort to make hockey decent. Michigan and Minnesota are two of the sport's glamour programs, constantly stocked with NHL talent and near-perennial NCAA tournament participants. The have 15 national titles between them. Wisconsin has been more up and down recently but has six titles to their name. Michigan State was a national power until they hired Rick Comley and Tom Anastos back-to-back.

That's four of the six teams in the league clearly capable of being powers. Minnesota and Wisconsin are annually towards the top of the attendance leaderboard, and Michigan still more or less sells out Yost every year. Then you have Penn State, which is new but has an attractive rink and sold-out experience to offer kids. It's really only Ohio State—which plays in their inappropriately cavernous basketball arena to indifferent, sparse fans—that has an uphill battle towards respectability.

In fact, the second-most prominent complaint about the Big Ten's formation* was that it would spell the end of college hockey's charming mix of big time and small time competitors. Instead the Big Ten is in the same spot Atlantic Hockey is: vaguely hoping for a second bid one day. This is not how it was supposed to be.

But anyway that's not your question. There are two main hurdles to adding a hockey program: the arena and Title IX.

With limited exceptions, the correct size for a hockey arena is mid-four digits. Trying to shoehorn hockey into a basketball arena results in a tepid crowd and is a major drag on your program; also many arenas weren't built with a conversion like that in mind. Penn State's program was kickstarted by a 100 million dollar donation from Terry Pegula, the new Sabers owner. Similar seed money is just about required to boost any extant club hockey team to the varsity level.

Title IX adds a big hunk of expenses to your program. Hockey is popular enough that it can turn a small profit in the right situation. Penn State was 150k in the black in just its second year of existence; Michigan's program is also a net positive. If that was the end of it, all you'd have to do is pony up for the right arena and be done with it, but Title IX mandates you add a women's team of some variety. That team will have a revenue of approximately zero. It will not have zero expenses. With the BTN influx most schools could probably afford that expense, but it is something to consider.

One man's ranking of B10 schools by likelihood they would add hockey at some point:

  1. Iowa. Iowa is the epicenter of the USHL, the NCAA's primary feeder league. Iowa is financially stable and their fans have a demonstrated passion. Wrestling may be a small issue since it competes for attention.
  2. Nebraska. Iowa, except further west. Lincoln in fact already has a USHL team that plays in an arena of about 4k that has had good attendance. Nebraska's new basketball arena does have the capacity to put down ice, which has gone through a test drive. There has been sporadic chatter about adding a program that the AD has thus far shut down.
  3. Northwestern. Would need a large gift to create an arena. If that does happen it then makes a lot of sense, as there is a lot of local talent and high academic schools have proven their competitiveness over the years.
  4. Illinois. In the middle of nowhere, which is good for attendance. A basketball school, though, which raises questions about whether hockey will get requisite attention. One of the reasons Penn State has been so successful is that their fans are desperate for something other than pain after football season ceases. MSU has struggled with attention and attendance even when they were very good because basketball takes up so much headspace.
  5. Purdue. Neither Indiana team seems particularly likely to add hockey what with the state obsession with basketball.
  6. Indiana. See Purdue.
  7. Maryland. Financial basket case that slashed a ton of sports and only joined the Big Ten to mitigate the damage they'd done themselves.
  8. Rutgers. See Maryland, minus a fanbase.

You could see Iowa and Nebraska in the next ten years; anything after Illinois is highly unlikely.

*[#1 was the disruption of the Minnesota-centric WCHA and Michigan-centric CCHA, losses that are keenly felt by many long-time college hockey fans. I myself miss the old days more than I thought I would.]

Tom Osborne is watching your punting

Brian,

I went to the Sloan Sports Analytics conference last month and the college football panel was by far the most memorable. About six minutes in, Rachel Nichols asked a member of the playoff selection committee (Oliver Luck) what metrics were most important in helping to separate the top four teams from the rest. Here is the brunt of his answer transcribed:

“It’s difficult to say that there were any bits of data that everybody on the committee shared and agreed [upon] because that was really left up to [each of] us. I can tell you [that] Tom Osborne: great football coach, nobody is going to question Tom Osborne’s integrity, or his intelligence, or his football knowledge [and] he loved the kicking game . . . [H]e would spend a lot of time looking at all the data on the kicking game for all these teams in question. Others would look at other data."

My friend and I (almost) had to leave the room we started laughing so hard. Don’t let anyone tell you that adopting the spread punt is overblown. THAT'S HOW THEY CHOOSE BETWEEN PLAYOFF TEAMS.

Hail,

Travis

P.S.—Here is the link to the video (question starts at 06:40). You can watch it by starting a free trial and then cancel right after. I was hoping they’d upload it to the conference page by now but I couldn't wait any longer to share. Also, not nearly as worried about Penn State after listening to James Franklin spout nonsense for an hour.

I'm not entirely sure, Travis. "Go look at punting stats" sounds like a quintessential "go away" job.

The committee has Tom Osborne. Osborne spends most of his time rattling on about the Spanish-American War and declares every team after 1960 ineligible for the playoff. The committee says "Tom, you are a legend and we respect you immensely, and as you've said a thousand times in the last hour, punting is the most important part of the game. So have we got a project for you." Tom goes off and collates punting stats; committee swiftly chooses teams that don't punt.

This was titled "mailbag question" despite not being one.

Brian,

I hate Wisconsin basketball.

Sincerely,
Erik (Erik_in_Dayton)

I feel that sincerity, Erik.

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