Unverified Voracity Is Good After All

Unverified Voracity Is Good After All

Submitted by Brian on April 6th, 2017 at 12:54 PM

Sponsor note. This here blog is an S Corp, because of this aspect of US tax law as related by wikipedia:

As is the case for any other corporation, the FICA tax is imposed only with respect to employee wages and not on distributive shares of shareholders. Although FICA tax is not owed on distributive shares, the IRS and equivalent state revenue agencies may recategorize distributions paid to shareholder-employees as wages if shareholder-employees are not paid a reasonable wage for the services they perform in their positions within the company.

This saves me a few thousand dollars a year in taxes, and is a Good Idea for anyone with a small business. There are many things like this, because there are many laws and more loopholes, and boy howdy it would be nice to have someone point them out for you. You are sensing that a logo is coming.

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Maybe he's good. Show this to your local Ohio State or Michigan State fan the next time they foam at the mouth about Jabrill Peppers:

More importantly for your purposes this video offers some clear explanations of how Michigan's defense is structured. Editor Brett Kollman makes an assumptions about why Don Brown put Peppers where he is that are incorrect—it's not because Ben Gedeon is slow, it's because that's how he's run his defense forever—but otherwise it's a definitive assessment of Peppers. Spoiler: he's good at football.

I got dibs on the swooping motions. Basketball is looking to fill its 13th scholarship spot with somebody, whether it's Mo Bamba or a transfer or an out-of-nowhere late recruit. Transfer options keep popping up, with former Wright State PG Mark Alstork currently the hot name. Alstork's going somewhere, whether it's the NBA or a grad transfer. He says he's mostly focused on the NBA...

“I’m really taking it as I’m going to the NBA draft and NBA team workouts and potentially get signed or get drafted that’s what I’m going to do,” he told the Free Press Tuesday. “But if not, I just want to have my options open and that’s why I got my release papers.”

...but he's evidently keeping college options open, as a guy with a sub 100 ORTG should. Michigan is one of them.

Michigan is an option because Billy Donlon was Alstork's head coach a year ago. Here's a surprisingly comprehensive and informative highlight reel for a guy from Wright State:

Not bad, and the ORTG is easily explained away: Alstork shouldered huge usage this year. His 34.7% usage rate was seventh nationally, so there's a lot of Dion Harris "oh shit, there's no more shotclock and my teammates are bad" shots in there. This is why he has a post-like 23 TO rate and shot just 41% inside the arc this year. Those numbers were 13 and 48 the previous year when Alstork had a still-heavy but not absurd 25% usage rate.

Upsides seem considerable: he's 6'5" and should be plug and play in Donlon's defense. He shot 84% from the line and 38% from three, so he's clearly got Beilein-level shooting chops. He had a Waltonesque DREB rate, and got to the line a bunch. I'd take him in a second.

Another name that recently popped up for Michigan's 13th slot is Shakwon Barrett, a 6'3" point guard out of Canada who will be on campus this weekend.

Barrett is a MAAR-style late riser currently with just one D-I offer in hand, that from Tulane. Beilein's done well with guys like that recently, but with Simpson and Eli Brooks already young PG sorts it seems like a grad transfer is a better fit than a freshman. Barrett spent a couple years at Findlay Prep, one of those basketball factories, before a grad-year transfer to Montverde Academy, another one of those basketball factories, so he's no doubt been scouted up and down and passed over by everyone. That's not great; by contrast MAAR just hung out at his high school getting ignored.

That's good, but that's uh what? ESPN puts Michigan in their early top 25 at #22. That's good. The thing I've seen people mutter about on the internet after they read this article is not:

Forward D.J. Wilson's game flourished down the stretch to the point that the NBA seems like a foregone conclusion, and that's a heavy blow, at least relative to the opportunity cost of a fully realized Wilson back on a college floor for one more season.

FWIW, I don't think that's any inside information of Eamonn Brennan has, but rather an assumption—"seems like a foregone conclusion."  I haven't heard anything's changed. The status quo is that Michigan expects both Wilson and Wagner back but they'll submit their names to the NBA, as one does.

One mitigating factor. This is a quibble in a Jourdan Lewis scouting report I otherwise almost entirely agree with, but cumong man:

Struggles with bigger receivers. Gave up 109 yards on seven catches to Michigan State’s Aaron Burbridge in 2015.

On 19 targets. Struggling is a bit much. It is true that NFL QBs are going to be able to hit the windows Lewis's lack of size provides more frequently and he'll probably be best as a nickel guy. I just have to defend the man's honor for that game.

Slims down to... 360. If you immediately thought "Michael Onwenu," sorry we're talking about your mom:

The 6-foot-3 sophomore from Cass Tech High School amazed Michigan's staff with how quick his feet were and how well Onwenu was able to use his weight and power without grinding to a halt. Jim Harbaugh and company were focused on letting Onwenu adjust to the college game, get his feet wet, learn the ropes. The weight, surprisingly, wasn't a concern.

It's still not, really. But that didn't stop Onwenu from dropping 15 pounds this offseason -- down to around 360 -- to help him polish up some of that footwork. He moved extremely well for a 375-pounder. Imagine what he might be able to do at 360 -- or less?

"I think I want to get lower, just for my health. I don't really have a target, but just want to get lower," Onwenu said last week. "I move better."

Good news, though: your mom is probably the starting RG.

Don't do this, also don't have a roofing business. Kentucky fans did not like the refereeing in their loss to UNC, so they harassed one of the refs at his place of business:

Business at Weatherguard Inc., has become somewhat more normal since phone calls with a Kentucky area code were blocked. Little business got done last week after around 25,000 contacts were made through social media after Higgins officiated the Kentucky-North Carolina game, which the Wildcats lost by two points.

He’s still dealing with the fallout from those thousands of negative emails and phone calls and the reviews on Weatherguard’s Facebook page that dropped its rating from 4.8 to 1.2. It’s back up to 3.0, but that’s still not good when weighed against the competition, Higgins said.

He’s also got the unseen victims to take care of — his wife and family, some of whom wanted him to stop officiating after 28 years, and his employees. They were nervous and a little shaky, Higgins said, driving around the Omaha area in company trucks after everything they’d heard.

False reports were even filed with the Better Business Bureau, using names such as Adolph Rupp, the legendary former Kentucky coach, and Calipari John, a reversal of the current Kentucky coach’s name.

1) It's a miracle this has not happened to TV Teddy. 2) It was always going to be Kentucky fans. 3) Why does a ref who worked the Final Four have to have a side hustle? Or, rather, why is refereeing a side hustle for a guy working a billion-dollar tournament? 

Since said refs destroyed the final game of said tournament I think this is relevant.

Etc.: Incoming C Josh Norris lands at #21 on ISS's latest rankings. Doris Burke is moving to men's basketball exclusively. Indiana G James Blackmon puts name in draft sans agent. I don't know how I feel about this basketball change. Partridge on recruiting.

Unverified Voracity Underestimated The Power Of The Mississippi State Legislature

Unverified Voracity Underestimated The Power Of The Mississippi State Legislature

Submitted by Brian on January 19th, 2017 at 2:42 PM

26099363392_e81e040ed3_z (1)

[Eric Upchurch]

Going to be a dodgy year on the OL. Steve Lorenz reports that Grant Newsome has a "minimal" chance of playing in 2017. That is not good. If that's the case you just about have to slide Ben Bredeson outside and run with something like Bredeson/Kugler/Cole/Onwenu/Somebody.

You'd think the leader to be Somebody would be redshirt sophomore-to-be Nolan Ulizio. Ulizio didn't look particularly good when he got in this fall; I've heard that he had mono and was down to 260 at one point. He bounced back during the fall but only to 280. He could surge forward once he gets to the right weight.

A bountiful draft. The NFL's website names Michigan the team poised to send the most talent to the NFL draft:

Early rounds: EDGE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley
Middle rounds: TE Jake Butt (injury), WR Amara Darboh, OT Erik Magnuson, RB De'Veon Smith
Late rounds: OG Ben Braden, WR Jehu Chesson, LB Ben Gedeon, DT Ryan Glasgow, S Delano Hill, OG Kyle Kalis, CB Channing Stribling, S Dymonte Thomas

I'd be surprised if Braden and Kalis got picked but everyone else has a real shot of going off the board. Charlton appears to be surging up draft boards to the point where debatably silly things are being said about him:

This is a draft with Myles Garrett in it, so that's a thing.

Harbaugh stories. Chase Goodbread collects them from Michigan players at the Shrine game:

"One time, he told us as a kid he got hit by a mail truck and was in a cast, and was still playing football with it. Then they had to rebreak it -- I can't remember if it was his foot or his arm -- because he kept playing on it and made it worse. I mean, who gets hit by a mail truck? It could only be you, coach Harbaugh." - DB Dymonte Thomas

Screaming works? 538 tracks penalties by which sideline they're thrown on and the results are not encouraging if you're the kind of person who believes people are in charge of things for a reason:

lopez-sideline-1

lopez-sideline-2

This is NFL data and so not directly applicable to college, but you'd think college refs would be even more susceptible to these sorts of things since they're drawn from a wider pool and are probably less capable on average than NFL refs.

So: the defense gets called for "aggressive" penalties ("unnecessary roughness, personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, and horse-collar tackles" per the article) 30-40% more often when there are people complaining nearby.

Meanwhile the holding graph is very strange since the effect inverses once you approach the goal line. The only mechanism there is revenge(!) as side judges who are now far away from the screaming maniacs exact their price. Maybe it evens out for holding.

Not that anyone calls holding anymore. This was one of the main takeaways from the Film Room broadcast of the national title game: Alabama scores thanks to an edge block on which a defender is yanked to the ground; someone exclaims that is a hold; the assembled coaches all laugh about the fact that nobody calls holding any more.

Tracing Michigan's ground game issues. De'Veon Smith is performing impressively at the Shrine game practices:

One of the best players at the East-West Shrine this week has been Michigan running back De'Veon, Smith and he had a tremendous practice on Wednesday. ... Both his route and the blocking earned Smith some a lot of praise from the coaching staff. In the team scrimmage, he also broke off a few chunk runs, weaving his way through defenders with quickness, balance, and vision.

Scouting sources told WalterFootball.com that Smith could be the best offensive prospect on the East team, and he has had a tremendous week to help his draft stock.

Also:

It would be nice if Michigan's problems were because of Smith since he's out the door and Michigan has a number of guys who look like viable replacements; I don't think that's the case, and his rising draft stock concurs. Michigan has a major build job on the offensive line to undertake. Related: TTB has a breakdown of the guys who Michigan recruited and their destinies.

I guess this is fine. Football is set to get a slightly early signing period:

The Division I Football Oversight Committee is moving forward with a proposal that would open a 72-hour signing period for high school recruits in December. The timeframe would correspond with the current December signing time for junior college recruits.

But the committee isn’t recommending an early-signing time for recruits in June.

That "early" period is still after everyone's season, so most of the coaching changes will have already transpired. I didn't like the rumored June signing period since it was inane to lock guys in before they could take official visits and before the firing season.

While the June date didn't make it, an artifact of those earlier discussions may have wormed its way through anyway:

As part of the committee’s proposal, rules on official visits for recruits would also be modified. Recruits would be allowed to take official visits from April-June of their junior years, two months earlier than initially proposed.

That's good for Michigan, which will be able to get early-deciding kids on campus more easily now.

Midterm CSB rankings. Michigan-relevant players ranked by the NHL's central scouting board:

  • F Josh Norris: #46
  • D Luke Martin: #67

...and that's it. Mike Pastujov, who was hyped as a potential first-rounder, is not on the list. The cavalry is not coming next year.

Shooting a gun with no bullets in it. There is a Mississippi state senator who thinks he has a magic wand:

Mississippi Rep. Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia) has proposed a new House Bill that would surely benefit Ole Miss’ current recruiting woes: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Fairness in F.A.C.T Investigation Act of 2017.

Lamar, a former Rebels walk-on running back from the early 2000s, is pushing a bill giving the NCAA one year to complete its investigation once it notifies a school of possible rules violations, according to a report from WCBI News.

NCAA: "Or what?"
TREY LAMAR:  "Or I shall name a bill at you a second time!"

This is not how state government works, Trey Lamar. FWIW, various coaches at AFCA project that Ole Miss will find out their fate in 2-3 months, and that it will not be pretty. Or it will, because NCAA.

Etc.: Fired Alabama DL coach Bo Davis talks to AL.com, attempts to spin a tale about how his firing was for one violation of the bump rule, cumong man. Analyst Rick Finotti gets the head job at DIII John Carroll. Dumb, but important. The playoff is good. Willis Ward and the track captaincy. Recruiting rankings are getting better because of Hudl. Yost, 1946.

Neck Sharpies: Let's Talk About the Calls

Neck Sharpies: Let's Talk About the Calls

Submitted by Seth on October 20th, 2015 at 4:57 PM

Hypnotonio_zebra

Why?

What, are you worried Spartans are gonna be all "Typical Wolverines, whining about the refs."?

Well, yeah.

[Interference on Desmond.gif] [Spartan Bob stops the clock.gif] [etc.] Things that happen happened. Plus can you name a Spartan anyone actually takes seriously?

Chris Vannini.

Granted. But is this hypothetical Spartan in your life Vannini, or this Youtube commenter?

image

Wow. That's— uh, that is…

…a person whose opinion does not matter.

I was going to say my brother-in-law. But they outgained us!

Special teams matter.

Indeed.

Dude.

Still can't we be above blaming the refs? Steel in the spine and all that. It won't change the outcome of the game. At most we'll get an apology from the Big Ten that's worth exactly as much as Rutgers in a post-cable bundling media landscape.

Nice one. I'm not making a "Michigan should have won…" argument, because every play matters. The last play had a huge effect on the outcome. Connor Cook throwing perfect back shoulder passes and Aaron Burbridge being an NFL-caliber receiver was very relevant. Jake Rudock being bad at deep balls was relevant. If they'd won, Michigan's stops on 4th downs were relevant. All of it is relevant, and the game, as they say, is over.

So then what's the point?

The point is to assess how good this Michigan team is at football. IE were they significantly better than a Michigan State team that nearly lost to Purdue and Rutgers, and was absent its Rimington-quality center plus half the legs of its bookends, and is fielding a pretty awful secondary. But I'm also doing this for some more personal reasons:

  1. For myself, and for posterity, I want a thorough canvassing of the things I saw and thought I saw.
  2. I want to point out where the refs are getting a bad rap. Not everything we thought we saw was a legit gripe, and some of the legit gripes may have been hard for human refs to see in real time. Since complaining is inevitable, let's get it right.
  3. Right now I feel like a truck ran over my dog and then half of the people in my life came over to gloat as if they were driving this truck. This is part of my healing process.

And you're going to show we got hosed?

Can't promise it. That was my certainly biased hypothesis in the stadium, but I'm not going to be able to find every incremental hold and would-be pass interference. I want to tackle the things people were talking about.

How?

Clip the plays people bitched about, watch the hell out of them, gauge the relative expectations we should have for the officials on those plays, and use the Markov Drive Analysis tool to calculate a rough expected points swing.

Markov?

This tool is based on NFL drives but it serves for what we're doing here. It gives you a basic expected points for every down, distance, and field position. For example if you have 1st and goal on your opponent's one yard line, the expected points is 6.32. A 4th and 10 on your 40 is about zero.

If I've left out any plays (including and especially those where something went Michigan's way) let me know and if I deem it worthy I'll add it to the post.

I'd rather not be part of this.

Then don't hit...

[The jump]

Unverified Voracity Is Sportmanteaing

Unverified Voracity Is Sportmanteaing

Submitted by Brian on October 3rd, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Marve: available? Robert Marve's ACL isn't completely torn this time so he may give it a go this weekend, which would give Purdue a second option if TerBush struggles. Emphasis on "may":

Marve said he participated in the full practice for 1st time since his latest injury. As for the game "I hope I can help out some" #Purdue

If he ends up in the game that's probably good news since it sounds like it will be a desperation move by the Boilers.

dangit should have titled this section "marvailable?"

Oklahowat. Of all the crazy things to do to save a couple lousy bucks:

Four-star offensive tackle Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) had been mentally preparing for two weeks, but that didn't make the news any easier to take.

Beyer said he was told Tuesday by Oklahoma offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle that his scholarship offer to Oklahoma will not be honored, Beyer confirmed to SoonerNation on Thursday night.

Beyer, who committed to the Sooners on July 2, has been forced to give up football because he was diagnosed with the spinal-cord condition cervical stenosis about three weeks ago.

The Bylaw Blog notes that OU could sign him and immediately give him a medical scholarship. So… like… why not do that? Your program + Rinaldi profile of this guy – cost of scholarship > Your program + perception you're heartless + cost of scholarship. I don't get it, man.

Morgan head thing. Michigan is very cautious about head injuries:

Morgan said the word "concussion" never was used by doctors, but his symptoms were enough that he was held out against the Minutemen.

"Just got knocked and was a little out of it for a little bit," the sophomore said Tuesday. "A lot of it was precautionary, just doctors making sure on everything. But I haven't had any symptoms since and I'm feeling good.

"I haven't had a head injury, so I didn't know what to expect I guess going into it. But the doctors were really positive and honest through the whole thing and I was real upfront and told them exactly how I was feeling every day."

A plague of missed assignments. ND film review was ugly. Not for me. Not just for me. Also the players:

Against Notre Dame, the Michigan offense had 23 of those missed assignments, according to redshirt junior tackle Taylor Lewan, a number he called “unbelievably high.” The mistakes could range from missed blocks to improper reads to poor communication.

“You should have one or two maybe in a game,” Lewan said. “I’ve never seen (23 missed assignments) happen before, personally.”

Yeesh. Two were on the Smith INT, I'm sure, and various others are in Denard's lap. I hope they get these things fixed, because I don't like watching games like the Notre Dame game. Also I enjoy oxygen and water.

Epic troll? So I'm thinking about making some sort of George Clinton joke about this article on Denard Robinson…

Denard Robinson's funk 'lasted for days' after Michigan loss to Irish

…and end up looking at the comments. I've just read a bunch of "Ken M" trolling posts and this sets off the alarm bells: 

Chuck Luck · Top Commenter

"Denard Robinson's funk 'lasted for days' after Michigan loss to Irish".

Glad this young man is not in the military, people die when their fellow soldiers act like this.

Troll: successful.

In a nutshell. The SF Weekly profiles Bleacher Report and in doing so captures the thing's essence:

The exemplar of contrarian thinking offered within the site's curriculum is a Bleacher Report article titled "Why Tom Brady Is the Most Overrated Quarterback in NFL History."

This piece epitomizes much of what frustrates the site's detractors. The article's author, an affable 19-year-old college sophomore named Zayne Grantham, tells us he still thinks Brady is an overrated "system quarterback" who largely succeeds thanks to his team's capable defenses. (The New England Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl last year with the 31st-ranked defense in terms of passing and overall yardage in a 32-team league.) But even Grantham doesn't believe Brady to be history's most overrated quarterback: "In hindsight, I may not have used that headline. I'll be one of the first to say he's one of the best quarterbacks we've ever seen."

And there you have it: Anyone baited into responding to these hyperbolic stories finds themselves debating a non-starter argument with a teenager from Shreveport who doesn't even buy the premise of his own article.

Somewhere in the Bleacher Report salt mines is the next generation's Drew Sharp, who will be forced to write slideshows about the top tittays in tennis and why LeBron James is bad at basketball until he gets paid 600 dollars a month to write SEO filler under predetermined headlines. Don't tell me you don't believe in the narrative of progress.

Shades of that Illinois game, except weirder. Remember way back in the day when refs botched two massive fumble calls against Illinois and publicly apologized afterwards? This got Michigan fans in a lather because they'd experienced their share of refereeing mishaps without getting a reassuring pat on the shoulder, and did nothing to actually correct the issue. Well, in the Big 12 they've "apologized profusely" for this:

That's a lot more ambiguous than two clearly wrong calls against Illinois. Q: why are Oklahoma State fans taping horrible angles on TV the best we can do here? Shouldn't there be some cameras on the LOS, like, for all games?

[UPDATE: Big 12 says "never happened."]

Compher "marquee." The USHL just had a prospects game and reviews are rolling in. This is from The Hockey News:

J.T. Compher, LW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
Along with Fasching, Compher is the marquee name on the NTDP this season and though he doesn’t have his teammate’s beastly size, Compher gets in the mix. At the AAPG, the University of Michigan commit demonstrated a dogged determination around the puck, never giving up on a play. He’ll be one of the team’s leading scorers this season. Draft eligible in 2013.

Michigan Hockey Net rounds up reactions to Compher, Allen, and Downing and provides season-to-date stats in his weekly hockey recruiting update.

Exit CCHA. MLive has a good article on the end of the CCHA. Relevant bit on the Mason Cup:

“I’ve been asked a lot about that. Does the final winner take it? Just like the Stanley Cup, there are two Mason Cups. There’s one where (current CCHA tournament champion) Western Michigan has it on display and we have another we keep on display at the Joe (Louis Arena) during the season.”

Pletsch said no option is being kept off the table. He said he has contacted the Hockey Hall of Fame to gauge the interest there. He said he has also thought about giving the Mason family one of trophies to keep.

In a respectful gesture Pletsch said he has even reached out to the Big Ten about possibly donating the trophy to the league that ultimately led to the CCHA’s demise.

“If they wanted it we would consider donating it to them,” he said.

I doubt any of the other five teams in the newly formed Big Ten are going to be enthusiastic about that idea. Given the hodgepodge of trophies they created for football, the new trophy will probably be the Comley-Markell-Gadowsky Cup.

Etc.: As part of my trip to Georgia I got to deploy my best Marvin the Paranoid Android impression in an AIRBHG t-shirt. Stuffing the Passer. Hockey season preview from Yost Built.

Picture Pages: Was It a Catch?

Picture Pages: Was It a Catch?

Submitted by Seth on January 4th, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Screenshot 1

There's been some question over the no-catch ruling on Virginia Tech's 3rd down overtime prayer to receiver/punter Danny Coale. The play was ruled a touchdown live but overturned on review.

The setup: On 3rd down and 5 from the Michigan 20 in the first possession of overtime, Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas attempted to hit Coale on a corner route in the end zone. Coale had Michigan's coverage (by safety Woolfolk and cornerback Avery) beat to the outside but the ball was slightly overthrown. Coale dove for what would be a spectacular one-handed catch, bringing the ball in just as he, and it, hit the ground just inbounds. The side judge ruled it a touchdown, but on review it was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass because the receiver did not have control of the ballrulebook when the ball hit the ground.

The rule: You can find it on Pages 72-73 of the NCAA rulebook (emphasis mine):

Incomplete Pass
ARTICLE 7. a. Any forward pass is incomplete if the ball is out of bounds by rule or if it touches the ground when not firmly controlled by a player. It also is incomplete when a player leaves his feet and receives the pass but first lands on or outside a boundary line, unless his progress has been stopped in the field of play or end zone (Rule 4-1-3-p) (A.R. 2-4-3-III and A.R. 7-3-7-I).

The argument: The debate centers on whether or not Coale had "firm control" of the ball when it touched the ground. If the ball never touches the ground it's a clear reception, but since in this case nobody is arguing that the ball didn't touch the ground, the standard we're debating is whether or not Coale had established this firm control before the ball touched turf. For that we will consult the video.

With the grit of 40 Ecksteins, two Welkers, and half a Dileo, Coale reaches out and gets a hand underneath the ball. This is not "firm" control.

Screenshot1

Coale now brings the ball between his forearms. This too would not be confused for "firm possession." However at this point he has a chance, if he can bring the ball to his chest and get it crooked in his arm, to prevent the ball from hitting the hard thing that is rapidly rushing toward him very fast.

Screenshot2

So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like 'Ow', 'Ownge', 'Round', 'Ground'! That's it! Ground! Ha! I wonder if it'll be friends with me?

Screenshot3

Here is the money shot (clickening embiggens). Coale's elbow has hit the turf (just inbounds) but the ball is still between his forearms, not in his hands. It is hard to tell but the ball has now hit the ground as well, a nanosecond after the elbow.

Video:

The announcers were focusing on the elbow but the question is still one of whether the ball was firmly controlled by the player before it hit the ground.

A good test of this "firm control" (this is a sanity check not the final arbiter) is whether the ball moved when it hit the ground. It stands to reason that if the receiver had firm control of the ball when it came in contact with the ground it won't move that much.

If you recall, this is what doomed Junior Hemingway's TD catch attempt while down 8 in the closing seconds of the Iowa game. Hemingway actually managed to get two hands under the ball and secure it against his chest and arm a moment before coming down atop it. The "firm control" test in that case seemed to have been passed, but the catch was ruled incomplete because the reviewers saw the ball move in his possession after it hit the ground.

As you can see in the screenshots below, at the zero moment (when a part of the body made the player down) Coale's level of possession is way less than Hemingway's.

coale Hemingway

What controversially damned Hemingway was that after this the ball rotated about 90 degrees after the nose of the ball hit the ground, or so it was supposed since Hemingway's body blocked most of that. With Coale however the movement after contact with ground was pretty clear.

Screenshot3

The ball is between Coale's forearms and possession only becomes firm long after the ball has impacted the ground. This I believe is what the review officials saw.

Screenshot7

Incomplete! Time to bring in the 3rd string VT kicker who has been 4/4 today for an easy field g…oh snap!

But it's too close to call/not enough evidence to overturn! If someone is saying this to you they are confusing a Law & Order episode for reality. They have conceded that "incomplete" is the correct call, and are essentially complaining that it should have been ruled incorrectly because of a technicality in the literal meaning of the review rule. You cannot complain about calls the refs get right; that's not how complaining works. If you think the video is "inconclusive" you are conceding the call could have gone equally either way and saying it should be one or the other makes as much sense as whining that a flip of the coin should have been heads.

Mailbag: Tacopants In The Flesh, Esoteric Two Pointers, Zombie Armpit Jerseys

Mailbag: Tacopants In The Flesh, Esoteric Two Pointers, Zombie Armpit Jerseys

Submitted by Brian on October 12th, 2011 at 12:49 PM

So there's this.

Attached is a picture I took at the game. I'm sure you've seen people wearing Tacopants jerseys before, but thought it was apropos per Denard's 3 INTs.

-Nick

I'm not sure what's weirder: that there is an extant "Tacopants" jersey or the guy who emailed it to me thinks I've seen people—multiple people!—wearing them before.

I wonder why the Tacopants jersey guy picked 12. If I was going to create a Tacopants jersey he'd probably be 11 (his height in feet) or 8 (he's Jason Avant's imaginary friend) or 8i (obvious, probably not available). 12 seems random. I guess we are talking about a guy wearing a Tacopants jersey. Random is his middle name. Jason Random Tacopants.

Tacopants man! Explain your decision-making process!

Esoteric two-pointers.

Brian-
The internets have been all "lolzook" this week after the Illini's esteemed coach decided to go for 2 after scoring to take a 20-13 lead, then told a reporter in the postgame presser that they had a 5-point lead when asked to explain his decision.  I'm not trying to push back on the lolzook, because obviously, but the situation brought to mind a piece of anti-CW Game Theory I've always held, although without a single shred of evidence to back me up.  Maybe you can draw upon your vast resources to look into this so that next time I bring this up while watching a game with somebody, they won't look at me like I'm Ron Zook at that postgame presser.

Now, to be clear, in the Ill-Ind game, I'd have kicked the extra point there.  With that much time left, you maximize expected value.

BUT, if it were the 2nd half with the same situation (scoring 6 to go up 7), I believe that the correct Game Theory move is to go for 2.  With possessions limited, the opportunity to make it a 2 score game far outweighs the advantage you gain by forcing a 2-point conversion, rather than an extra point, to tie. 

Additionally, if you miss the conversion, and if the opposing team comes back to score, the opposing coach will virtually always elect to kick the extra point to send the game to overtime rather than go for 2, and the win, in regulation.  In essence, with a standard-issue coach on the other sideline, the worst-case scenario in the "go-for-2" situation (miss conversion, opposing team scores, and kicks the extra point for a tie) is exactly the same as the worst-case scenario in the "take-the-point" situation (make the kick, opposing team scores and makes the 2-pointer to tie).  But, the upside to going for 2 in that situation is significantly greater.

I'm interested to know what you think.  I have a similarly insane Game Theory belief about going for 2 when you score to go from down 14 to down 8, but I'll save that for another day.

Regards,
Brian in Charlottesville

I don't think I agree. In the event of going for two:

Win: P(you2)
Tie: 1 - P(you2)

Going for one:

Win: 1 - P(them2)
Tie: P(them2)

With 2PT%s generally under 50% it doesn't seem like the right move. You want the burden of making the two pointer to fall on the opponent.

Also, as the team with the upper hand I also think you want the information about whether the two-pointer is successful to remain unknown. If you get it you've changed the opponent's calculus about how to win by collapsing the waveform. Armed with more perfect knowledge of their situation they will press forward knowing they are down two scores. The temptation to think "we're just one score down" when they are actually 1.6 scores down is strong. It causes a lot of lackadaisical behavior you do not see in teams down two scores late, which you like. So don't accidentally make the opponent play better.

If you pick up a penalty or are Wisconsin or have a gotcha two-pointer or are in a game that's going to end 58-51 the probabilities could swing in favor of going for it yourself; in an average situation leave it to the opponent. As always, context matters.

As for your "insane" theory you should go for it when you score to draw within eight, that is never going to happen in a game but has already been discussed by stat nerd types. This piece even uses the 2005 Notre Dame game as an example:

On September 10th, 2005, the University of Michigan football team was trailing by 14 points when they scored a touchdown with 3:47 left in their game against Notre Dame. Their coach decided to kick an extra point to get within seven points. Even though this strategy is followed in the NCAA and the NFL almost without exception, it is, in general, incorrect. In this paper I will show that the correct strategy in this situation is to immediately attempt the two-point conversion.

This is because you can make your choice about the second two-point conversion with the knowledge about whether the first one succeeded. So your chances, assuming that the 43% number given in the article is correct:

WIN: 43%
TIE: 57% * 43% = 24.5%
LOSE: 57% * 57% = 32.5%

By adopting that strategy you shift your chance of winning should you come back from the two TD deficit from 50-50 to about 55-45. They use a lot more detailed numbers to reach that conclusion but that's it in a nutshell.

A much better strategy is not be down 14 points.

On the armpit jerseys never dying.

Any thoughts or ideas as to why the defensive linemen switched to the road jerseys of the RR regime in the second half with the yellow piping?  Also, Denard was wearing that one of those jerseys on the last drive.  I like the look of this year's road jerseys without the yellow piping but wondering if if it is a fit or comfort issue although this year's home jerseys looked like they have the same fit with the wide, open arm-pit area.

Let's let another emailer answer this for me:

You've probably observed the same, but there are issues with the new Adidas techfits. I've seen them getting ripped to shreds at various points this season, and so you have guys like rvb, martin, roh, switch to last year's model in previous games. They were presumably asked to wear the new ones tonight given the more drastic change in appearance with elimination of the thick yellow piping. However, we've already seen rvb change back anyway despite the old piping.

I wouldn't normally care about this except for fact that underlying issue appears to be their tendency to be grabbed in a game-impacting way. Even fitz changed to the old jersey last game against Minn after being dragged down by the new techfit variety. We've seen the same thing happen to denard, although he hasn't switched. This is more annoying than anything else, especially to see potential big(ger) gains get stopped shorter than they should because some defender who was beat desperately was able to get a few fingers on some cloth.

We have seen a lot of guys dragged down by the jersey this year, haven't we? Could the Nike zealots have a point all of a sudden?

On OSU timelines.

Hello,

I’m writing because I am a little confused about the status of the Ohio State Investigation.  I understand the NCAA came out with some findings earlier this year, but is that it?  Are there still ongoing investigations?  When will the findings/punishment be released? 

-Kevin

OSU has proposed (laughable) self-sanctions at this point and had their meeting with the NCAA; they are now waiting for the final word. The comparable moment in the stretching Jihad is the middle of last season for Michigan, when they'd proposed and implemented the practice time penalties. Three months later the NCAA slapped on a token extra year of probation and issued their final report. OSU is in that period now.

Their ongoing issues with Posey, et al., complicate things. The NCAA is supposed to get back in 90 days—which would have been in the next few weeks—but has notified OSU that even more cripplingly obvious evidence the Buckeyes lack institutional control will have to be considered and then ignored.

So we just don't know, dude. Hopefully the new information pushes the decision date past the end of the season, just in case the NCAA decides to toss a bowl ban out. I'm actually surprised Gene Smith didn't announce one after the Nebraska game, because there's nothing the OSU athletic department loves more than brazenly late, transparently insincere actions designed to piss off the nation.

On instant replay ritual.

Brian,

I'm noticing more and more people are saying that when referees say: "The ruling on the field is confirmed" versus saying: "The ruling on the field stands as called", that they mean two different things, as if there's a level of indisputability that you need to "confirm" a call.  I think that it's just two equal ways of saying that there wasn't enough indisputable evidence to overturn.

Can you clarify?

Thanks,
Simon
Boston, MA

They do mean two different things now. The "ruling is confirmed" means the replay official agrees with the call and "the ruling stands" means he just doesn't know, dude. This doesn't prevent replay officials from being violently wrong all the time, as they were when they did not overturn the Hawthorne interception, and still declaring the ruling "confirmed." This is because replay officials are crazy old Estonian men who have never seen football before in their lives.