The conventional wisdom among Michigan fans is that it's in our interests for Alabama to beat LSU, because that increases the likelihood that only one SEC team makes it into the CFP. I'd like to argue the opposite, which obviously is mainly of relevance only if we win out.
M-Dog posted this comment last night in the who will OSU get thread:
If Urban gets canned, every single Ohio State coach since World War II has been fired.
Not a single one has left on his own terms in over 70 years:
Bag men and all, I say that Saban deserves every penny.
The university announced a new eight-year deal Friday worth at least $74.4 million, which would appear to make Saban again college football’s highest-paid coach based on annual salary.
How 'Bama was 'Bama recruiting when McElwain coached there and how good was his offense with that level of talent? How does that compare to Michigan's talent-level? There's plenty of hand-waiving going on, so I thought I'd look into it.
- Use Wiki to find the 2008-2011 'Bama offense starters.
- Use the 247 Composite to check 'Bama starters' rating and create an average.
- Evaluate the talent level in light of OFEI Rank (link).
- Compare this information to Michigan's probable starters and their 247 rating.
Chart: 'Bama Starters and 247 Ranking + OFEI Rank
|2008 Starters||2008 Composite Rating||2009 Starters||2009 Composite Rating||2010 Starters||2010 Composite Rating||2011 Starters||2011 Composite Rating|
|Mike McCoy, WR||3||Brad Smelley, FB||3||Preston Dial, FB||3||Brad Smelley, FB||3|
|Marquis Maze, WR||3||Marquis Maze, WR||3||Marquis Maze, WR||3||Marquis Maze, WR||3|
|Andre Smith, LT||5||James Carpenter, LT||4||James Carpenter, LT||4||Barrett Jones, LT||4|
|Mike Johnson, LG||4||Mike Johnson, LG||4||Chance Warmack, LG||3||Chance Warmack, LG||3|
|Antoine Caldwell, C||3||William Vlachos, C||4||William Vlachos, C||4||William Vlachos, C||4|
|Marlon Davis, RG||3||Barrett Jones, RG||4||Barrett Jones, RG||4||Anthony Steen, RG||3|
|Drew Davis, RT||2||Drew Davis, RT||2||D.J. Fluker, RT||5||D.J. Fluker, RT||5|
|Nick Walker, TE||4||Colin Peek, TE||3||Michael Williams, TE||4||Michael Williams, TE||4|
|Julio Jones, WR||5||Julio Jones, WR||5||Julio Jones, WR||5||DeAndrew White, WR||4|
|John Parker Wilson, QB||3||Greg McElroy, QB||3||Greg McElroy, QB||3||AJ McCarron, QB||4|
|Glen Coffee, RB||3||Mark Ingram, RB||4||Mark Ingram, RB||4||Trent Richardson, RB||5|
Chart: What of Michigan?
|2017 Predicted Starters||2017 Composite Rating|
|Kekoa Crawford, WR||4|
|Ben Mason, FB||3|
|Nolan Ulizio, LT||3|
|Ben Bredeson, LG||4|
|Cesar Ruiz, C||4|
|Michael Onwenu, RG||4|
|Juwann Bushell-Beatty, RT||4|
|Zach Gentry, TE||4|
|Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR||5|
|Shea Patterson, QB||5|
|Karan Higdon, RB||3|
On its face, it looks like McElwain accomplished some impressive things at 'Bama with less talent than Michigan has presently, at least based on ratings. Year one of McElwain was especially impressive because 'Bama's OFEI ranking was 67th when he came in. Also, especially if Patterson starts, Michigan would have the same number of 5-star starters as 'Bama's teams did during McElwain's tenure (though none at OT). Finally, I think Michigan of present and 'Bama during McElwain have similar quality defenses.
- Only looking at starters
- Not sure if a starter at 'Bama during that stretch is like a Mattison starter--i.e., guys who rotate a great deal
- Only looking at recruiting rankings as a proxy for talent
Maybe McElwain isn't so bad? I know this is looking at data from a long time ago, but he seemed to do a great deal with less talent than he'll have at Michigan. Also, I was very conservative about Michigan's talent pool (no Black listed, for example), so I may even be understating that talent edge.
On the other hand, any improvements in talent really depends on what was a 'starter' at 'Bama. I'm not sure about that. Also, this was years ago, and perhaps arguments can be made about the game passing McElwain by. There's also something to be said of integrating his concepts into Michigan's current system, and whether there will be a transition cost associated with that.
For the internet trolls who are purely concerned with crystal balls, read no further; 100% of crystal balls have Eyabi Anoma going to Alabama. However as ACE put it yesterday:
The coaches have mostly narrowed their focus to a short list of high-level prospects, including DEs Eyabi Anoma...
Michigan appears to be making a big push for him and they aren't shy about letting reporters know when asked. Echoing Ace, the freep reported yesterday that Michigan continues to make a heavy push for him. So I'm saying Michigan thinks they have a chance.
I've outlined below paraphrasing rationale for why 100% of crystal balls are saying Alabama, as well as hopefully more information on Eyabi and his situation. In any case we will all know tomorrow as he has moved up his announcement date to tomorrow at 2pm instead of Friday.
Essentially from what I can gather the crystal ball calls have been made for the below reasons:
1) Eyabi has visited Alabama four times, the most of any school, and is their top DE recruit of the year. He lists only Alabama, Michigan and Maryland as his top choices.
2) Sam Poggi, one of his current coaches has ties to Alabama (suspend your knowledge of the Michigan connections for a moment).
3) It makes a pretty trend; Eyabi would be the second five star DE recruit out of the North East to go to Alabama recently, after Terrell Hall (he changed his name to Terrell Lewis ) (suspend your knowledge, this time of Rashan Gary).
4) Most importantly, Eyabi is looking for two things that Alabama can provide- Training to get him to the NFL and a winning schedule. In the words of his own head coach:
Alabama does a great job of getting guys to the NFL and putting their players in position to succeed. Coach Saban runs a great program. You have the academic support in place. All of the little things are taken care of in that program. Eyabi is also super competitive and hates losing. Alabama is that type of team. They don’t lose much. He thrives in those types of environments. I think that’s why he’s very attracted to what they offer.
However this is far from a normal recruit, and the predictions on this guy deserve a second pass.
I've compiled what I hope is a better understanding of Eyabi and his decision process.
Eyabi has played football for eighteen months at this level, and had been focusing his high school career on playing basketball prior to transferring to St. Francis as a Junior. However having seen him up close and in action I'd say that his frame is too big to play the kind of basketball he does, though he could easily put on more weight as a DE. His assistant coach is none other than Sam Poggi who hopefully needs no introduction. In Poggi's own words:
He's the best player I've ever coached
Michigan first became aware of him at a satillite camp Harbaugh attended in the summer of 2016 as he was preparing to start playing for St. Francis. In his Michigan interactions he attended the summer BBQ, the MSU game, watched the Maryland game, and took his official for the OSU game. He has indicated that he's looking for two things out of a program. First, he's looking for a school that can really challenge him to be a better defensive player.
So when I go up (to Michigan) I want to see how they coach. Are they aggressive? Are they conservative? Are they (relaxed) or are they on me? I want my coach to be consistently on me. If I’m going to do something wrong, yell at me. I take criticism pretty well when it comes to football, so I want that. I don’t want nothing given to me. I don’t want no promises. As long as that happens, I think that will be a good visit.
The second thing he is concerned about is getting to stay close to his sister Amiya who is also a senior (though they are not twins). He's the only boy in the middle of six sisters, so that should tell you all you need to know about his ability to thrive under constructive criticism. Amiya is looking at schools also, and they really want to compete together athletically at the next level. As a junior she was a state champ for track and field and also set the all time state record for the triple jump. In an interview with 247 Eyobi talked about the competitive nature between himself and his almost twin, and it doesn't seem like getting in together somewhere will be an issue.
(We) have many of the same scholarship offers and talk about attending the same school.
As far as what Amiya wants, academic wise the choice between Alabama and Michigan is fairly clear. While the SEC (to a lesser extent Alabama) has been a traditional powerhouse of women's Track and Field, Michigan just completed a state of the art track and field facility and roped in a very competitive 2017 recruiting class as a result. Amiya would be hard pressed not to consider Michigan if that's what her brother is doing.
With his two stated considerations above, I'd agree that at one point he may have made an informal decision with his sister to attend Alabama. However there's an important timeline that bears review, a narrative of facts if you will.
The day before Eyabi made his official visit to Tuscaloosa, Alabama's Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced he was leaving the Tide to be Tennessee's new head coach and was taking with him one of his assistants, Brian Niedermeyer. Pruitt then began a recruiting blitz for the Vols and wasn't around helping to prepare Alabama for the Clemson game (let alone helping with recruiting for Alabama) until the beginning of this week. Consider this development with Eyabi's need for good coaching as a new player, his desire to mesh with coaches, and not even knowing who the new Alabama defensive coordinator will be.
Soon after this Eyabi posted two similar tweets in what I can only consider a shot across the bow to anyone listening.
I am not committed to any school still weighing my options
I haven't seen this posted, but wow is this telling of the manner in which Saban communicates (or not) with his supposedly key players. I just can't see this kind of horseshit happening in a Harbaugh interaction with a Peters or McCaffery. Bateman and Barnett were 5* QBs that I know we were after at certain stages. Hurts is a talent, no question, but not all is fun and games in Tuscaloosa.
Apparently the NCAA is going to look at the size of coaching staffs. Alabama is featured here:
On-topic, I think, because Michigan has at least a few analysts on its staff ...
For a little alone time with Saban, recruits will head to the coach's office. In there, the swag is measured in karats."The first thing that really caught my eyes were a lot of diamonds, just shining in my face," Wright said. "First thing [Saban] said, 'Oh yeah, we love jewelry here.' All you could see was a lot of diamonds."