B1G T3N football!

B1G T3N football!

Submitted by 1974 on September 7th, 2014 at 5:00 AM

In case you're up in the middle of the night doing laundry (like me) and just saw Ace's post and myriad others (like me), you may enjoy this right about now:


It's the "Big Ten coaches as walruses" video and was the subject of one of Brian's posts last year.

Cheer up! Our walruses will eventually come around.

Evaluating the B1G after Week 12

Evaluating the B1G after Week 12

Submitted by dnak438 on November 21st, 2013 at 10:31 PM

Continuing my string of diaries ranking the Big Ten according to Football Outsiders' FEI plus statistic, I present you with this week's installation, though November 16th (faded icons are placed on the corresponding team's position last week):

Some notes:

  1. Michigan and Iowa's offense are identical according to the advanced stats. Michigan's defense is slightly better than Iowa's. Although their special teams are slightly better than ours, according to these stats we should be a slight favorite to win on a neutral field.
  2. Wisconsin is looking like the best of the top 3 B1G teams according to the advanced stats. Boy I bet they wish they had that Ohio State game back.

Evaluating the B1G after week 10

Evaluating the B1G after week 10

Submitted by dnak438 on November 5th, 2013 at 11:23 PM

The weekly edition of my ongoing diary evaluating the B1G using the advanced stats of the Football Outsiders (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/feiplus). Here is the chart:

Following suggestions, I've rotated the chart 45 degrees so that the better teams are at the top of the chart and worse teams are at the bottom. Teams that are better on defense are on the right (e.g., Michigan State), teams that are better on offense are on the left (e.g., Ohio State).

Some notes:

  1. Michigan is migrating towards the clump of okay B1G teams: Iowa, Northwestern, and Nebraska. These games are certainly winnable but they are looking less and less like gimmes (per the advanced stats, of course).
  2. The B1G ten is currently dominated by Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State.
  3. Purdue is worse than Akron.
  4. That Penn State loss is not looking any better.

Evaluating the B1G after Week 9

Evaluating the B1G after Week 9

Submitted by dnak438 on October 30th, 2013 at 8:14 PM

Following up on my diary last week, here is the Big Ten on offense and defense according to the advanced statistics of the Football Outsiders, though October 26:

Things to note:

  1. Since last week, Ohio State and Michigan State have improved, both on offense and on defense -- not by a lot, but there is still improvement. So too with Iowa.
  2. Nebraska is regressing according to the advanced stats, as are Illinois and Penn State.

As a side note, we all know that Michigan's November is tough. But did you know that the difference between Michigan's future strength of schedule and it's past strength of schedule is the 5th biggest in the FBS? This table is from Football Study Hall and is based on Brian Fremeau's FEI stats:

Rk Team SOS Previous SOS Future Difference
1 Oklahoma State 118 22 -96
2 Miami 98 5 -93
3 Oregon 86 3 -83
4 Baylor 110 29 -81
5 Michigan 112 33 -79
5 Texas Tech 99 20 -79
7 Cincinnati 125 47 -78
8 UTEP 119 42 -77
9 Houston 91 32 -59
9 Oklahoma 75 16 -59

It's Novembers like these that make and break Big Ten championships.

Best and Worst: CMU

Best and Worst: CMU

Submitted by bronxblue on August 31st, 2013 at 9:44 PM

This will be a bit of an abbreviated post because, well, 59-9 tells a pretty compelling story.  Sure, I will try to tease out some larger trends from the game, but the biggest takeaway is that UM destroyed a MAC team in the way you expect the winningest program in college football history to do so, and nobody really seemed that surprised.  Given the relative struggles the past half-dozen years, that’s the biggest Best I can point out.

Best:  The least sexy 59 points you’ll ever see 

As Brian noted in his “Five Questions, Five Answers” preview, the Al Borges offense we’re going to see is not the spread that was trotted out under RR and limped along until the end of the Denard era.  While I take issue with the “wrong side of history” supposition of this decision, I agree with Brian that Borges’s offense will remain dynamic and creative enough that the ghost of Mike Debord will stay in his comically 90’s room for the foreseeable future.

That’s like, totally your opinion

But 52 points were scored by this offense without much in the way of trickeration or going for 2 points on the first two TDs, you twerp.  It was an efficient, dominant performance with wrinkles here and there but also a consistent scheme that was frankly missing during the Transition.  As Ace noted there are questions about the line, but Kalis MANBALLED a couple of guys and held up well; I expect Miller to struggle at times but should improve with more reps to at least competent.  This offense will undoubtedly struggle at times when teams are able to collapse the inside of the line, and the WRs need to create more separation than they did today, but overall it felt like the type of performance one expected from this unit.  It should be the best in the conference unless OSU figures out how to block people, and even then I think the plethora of backs and TEs will continue to keep Devin reasonably clean and away from too many hits running the ball.

Best:  Who needs redshirts?

The usual suspects played – Morris, Smith, and Green on offense; Charlton and Thomas on defense.  Not unexpected burning men like Gedeon, Butt, and Stribling also suited up, and while I’m a little annoyed if Gedeon only plays on special teams this year, you have to think the coaches like what he brings on defense to push him into a more prominent role.  Lewis is a bit of a head scratcher, but Norfleet had some troubles early on with returns and Lewis is a shifty guy in space.  But overall, I’m not a fan of redshirting except when the guy in question really wouldn’t help you (i.e. most linemen, small-ish WRs, anybody in the secondary unless they are unbelievable), and basically everyone who played acquitted himself well enough to warrant more playing time in some capacity.

Best:  The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down!

So yeah, the defense looked REALLY fast out there.  Thomas on the punt block practically yanked the ball out of the punter’s hands, and throughout the game CMU players were hit as soon as they touched the ball.  Early on it seemed like Countess was playing off the WRs too much, but then every time the ball was sent their way he stuck the receiver almost immediately.  Other than one or two plays toward the end, the secondary kept everyone in front of them and rarely did you see much separation.  Under Hoke, it sometimes felt like Mattison and co. had to gameplan teams into spots to compensate for a lack of athleticism at certain positions; at least after today it looks like those limitations are disappearing quickly.  It isn’t quite LSU/Alabama speedsters out there quite yet, but this is another check in the “good recruiting” checklist for this staff.

Worst:  We can’t have nice things

Listen, I’m as neurotic and cynical as the next guy when it comes to sports, but at some point it just gets old.  I will admit to being a bit down about the early play calling and will remain a Borges questioner until such time as I learn how college offenses work, but at some point the liveblog became one big bit*hing session+ once it was clear UM was going to run away with the game.  All of a sudden you have people questioning Derrick Green’s ability to run through contact, Frank Clark’s inability to get to the QB (I will admit to being in this group initially), and every non-TD run or non-intercepted completion as proof that some component of the team wasn’t “working” or was a point of concern.  The hive mind of the liveblogs can adopt misguided stances and I get that it shouldn’t be taken seriously, but the team just scored 59 points against a bowl team, held them to a couple of field goal attempts with 3(!) of 14 drives longer than 30 yards, and averaged 5.1 yards per carry and 10.5 yards per attempt.  They played pretty well folks; let’s enjoy the win for at least a day before we all try to Gladwell our way through trends from one game.

+ I never understand *’ing out the vowel in a cuss word.  I think we all know that “f*ck” doesn’t refer to one-time Tiger’s first basemen Robert Fick, yet everyone apparently thinks removing the ‘i’ in sh*t is going to throw everyone off the scent.  Either blot out the whole word or leave it alone.  /HOTSPORTSTAKE


Had 106 yards on 4 returns, and was a couple of broken tackles away from housing at least 1 of those returns.  He also recorded 38 yards on his one run, and overall looked like a dynamic component of the offense.  He’ll never be an every-down back and I doubt he’ll reach the heights of Breaston (who seemingly was both faster a bit more elusive in small spaces), but he gives this team a legitimate return man for the first time since, I don’t know, McGuffie, and the type of guy who can take those once-a-game Ronald Bellomy WR runs and make them work because the other team can’t immediately assume that’s why he’s on the field.

Worst:  Out of Nowhere!

Fair warning: this section is going to be one big wrestling analogy.  Since I was around 6 years old, I’ve been a huge fan of professional wrestling.  I watch it on television, Hulu, and Youtube every chance I can.  I once rented every Wrestlemania (9 of them at the time) and watched them straight, without blinking, and probably lost a gallon of water with the drool that fell from my mouth.  I loved Jake Roberts and Damien so much I cried when Earthquake “squished” him during their feud.  I was a little Hulkster, then a member of the Warrior nation, followed by a heartbroken Rocker fan (seeing Shawn kick Marty Jannetty and throw him through the barbershop window taught me to never trust anyone in a leather jacket).  I was a fan of the Dangerous Alliance and marked out so hard when Stunning Steve became Stone Cold and ushered in the Attitude Era along with DX, the Rock and Sock Connection, Kurt Angle, and washed-up MMA guys like Tank Abbott and Ken Shamrock.  Hogan creating the NWO with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall set the world on fire for a bit, and Goldberg speared anyone with a pulse into next Tuesday.  TLC wasn’t a way to treat a lady or a TV channel with weird shows about future diabetes sufferers; it was a brutal contest with enough splintered tables and broken limbs to remind you how fragile the human body is.  Innovators like Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio showed you little guys could rise to the top, and Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit shed the “Vanilla Midgets” label to become champions even though their careers ended suddenly (and in Benoit’s case, horribly).  Even with the relatively fallow period that followed Brock Lesnar’s departure to NFL training camps and, ultimately, the UFC, I still enjoyed watching Batista, JBL, Orton, John Cena, and the rest soldier on.  And with the ascension of “Indy” guys likes CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, plus the healthy growth of the development system and the indy feds like ROH, PWG, CZW, and the like, it is a good time to be a fan.

Over this time, I’ve seen the medium evolve and grow, and mostly for the better.  Guys train harder and take better care of their bodies, match quality is higher, and storytelling has evolved to the point where major sports blogs have writers dedicated to covering it. It isn’t necessarily still real to me, but I definitely see it maintaining a place in my sports life going forward.

One change I have noticed over the years, though, is the proliferation of “spontaneous” in-ring moments and moves that you just didn’t see back in the 80’s and early 90’s.  It used to be when a guy was going to hit his “finisher”, he had some setup – Hogan gave you the big boot before running the ropes and dropping the leg; Ric Flair gave you the knee breaker and then actually had to lock in the figure-four; and even “quick hitters” like the Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels still had some setup before they finished you off with their splash or superkick.  But around the time Austin hit the scene, guys started in with the reversals and the quick finishers; Stunners to everyone, Diamond Cutters off chokeslams, Tombstones off cross bodies and Sweet Chin Musics off jumping attacks.  Now every move was “out of nowhere”, culminating in Randy Orton RKO’ing literally everybody off ever-more convoluted triple-lindys.  As Brandon Stroud of With Leather always laments, guys just need to stop jumping around Orton and they’ll win all the time.

So what’s my point?  Well, one of the things that has changed about following college sports is that because of the multitude of mediums covering the games, you really aren’t “surprised” by anything before the teams step on the field.  Sure, Gordon being suspended for the first game was relatively unknown, but even then there was a board post on the topic two hours before the game.  I knew the vast majority of the depth chart weeks before it was released, heard the insider buzz about certain players stepping up while others floundered, and even knew the basic structure of the offense and defense, including quite a few wrinkles, despite the best attempts by the Fort to keep them under wraps.  On one hand it makes fandom more engrossing and “fun” because my knowledge is more thorough and nuanced, but the “Christmas morning” feel of watching the team line up that first game is lost a bit when you’ve already read about the N64 and Easy-Bake oven in the nondescript box three weeks ago.  And with  all that information, expectations can explode to unreasonable levels; witness the post above with people complaining about the young running backs.

The inexorable march of progress is such that we’ll only get more insider information and in-depth analyses of players and recruits, and on the whole that is a positive for both fans and the game.  To be a well-rounded fan, you need to read and keep up on your teams to an almost-unhealthy degree; otherwise you are basically Skip Bayless or Lou Holtz without the clothing budget.  About the only time you can  ever be surprised anymore is when you….

Best:  Play the Game

For despite all of the predictions and charts, the acronyms and the tomes written about the game, nobody knows will happen during the game until the teams actually line up.  Fitz looked great out there, making cuts and accelerating through holes opened up be a much-improved offensive line.  Devin looked shaky earlier but played well in the end, accounting for over 200 yards in about 2.5 quarters of work.  Morris, Green, and Smith all had their turns out there and showed promise.  the depth on defense, previously a figment of the fevered imagination of our benevolent overlord, showed up in spades.  Countess looked like the corner everyone expected last year before he was hurt, while Thomas, Wilson, Stribling, Morgan, Ross, and Gordon all stepped into more prominent roles and played well (I recognize Wilson blew at least one assignment).  Even guys like Clark, whom I’m more down on than others, played reasonably well.  I know it’s one game, but it was nice to be surprised by guys actually playing football in a game that mattered. 

Worst:  Big Ten!

Oh where to start.  MSU struggled to move the ball against the other, other directional school last night, and no amount of BTN spit-shining will change that.  As noted earlier, OSU went for 2 twice because (a) Meyer wanted to make a point, and (b) that point is that he is a *ick.  And even with all of that early success, a 4-8 Buffalo team was touch-and-go with the #2 team in the country, at home, for most of the game.  Illinois looked competent against Southern Illinois but still only won by 8, Cincy pounded Purdue by 35 as perennial Most Awesome Name candidate Munchie Legaux stood tall in the pocket.  PSU held on against Syracuse but looked like it will be years until the effects of those sanctions allow them to regain their stronger position in the conference, and Wiscy ran over UMass like they always do against overmatched squads who are lactose intolerant.  At least they can run the ball with James White.  Oh yeah, and Iowa lost to NIU because of course they would.  At time of this post teams like NW and Nebraska are still playing, but I doubt we’ll learn much about either team win or lose (though if they lose to Wyoming and/or Cal, I’m going to book my tickets for Indy tomorrow).

But overall, it was not a banner weekend for the conference.  The Big 10 isn’t great at football outside of the top couple of teams; that’s been an annoying reality for a couple of years now.  The conference isn’t dying or falling behind anyone not named the SEC, but the Big 2, Little 10 mantra is gaining traction every day, and I’m not seeing much evidence down the pipeline that it will change any time soon.

Best:  UTL II

Hey, it might be fun…

10 Game Conference Schedule Being Considered?

10 Game Conference Schedule Being Considered?

Submitted by RakeFight on January 28th, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Not sure what to make of the idea of a 10 game conference football schedule.  That would only leave 2 non-conference slots on the schedule.  I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on the probability and ramifications of such a proposal.


One big difference between Hoke and Dantonio (along with Sparty)

One big difference between Hoke and Dantonio (along with Sparty)

Submitted by michfan4borw on September 15th, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Sparty hopes for Michigan to lose no matter the context. 

Hoke does not (the following quote is in regards to the MSU-ND game this weekend).

(The rest of this freep article discusses EMU and ND in general terms. Not much more to read, so try to not click unless you feel a deep curiosity about info you can likely find at other sources http://www.freep.com/article/20110915/SPORTS06/110915016/Brady-Hoke-will-root-Big-Ten-Michigan-State-Notre-Dame-game  )



"I think you always root for the Big Ten," Hoke said this morning on his weekly appearance on WXYT-FM (97.1). "We're a great conference. I'll probably look at it a little more critically because of that test we have down the road with them. They're two good football teams there, we've got two good football teams playing at 12:01 (p.m) here Saturday."

DetNews's Charboneau breaks news: Michigan fans disrespect Sparty by attending MI wedding

DetNews's Charboneau breaks news: Michigan fans disrespect Sparty by attending MI wedding

Submitted by michfan4borw on July 30th, 2011 at 11:51 PM


Cousins stood up at three weddings in Grand Rapids, MI.  During the receptions, some guests introduced themselves as Michigan fans to him.   In his mind this is disrespectful, and so he will thus harness such disrespect to get to the Rose Bowl.


Also, any internet articles or magazines that don't give him the respect in a manner in which he wants will be used to "kindle a fire beneath" his team.

These fans and writers will be tragic heroes when it's all said and done.

"So being at those wedding receptions is about all the motivation I needed to get back to work and prove to all those people why they shouldn't be a Michigan fan."
"I told my brother, Kyle, the other day to go on the Internet and find every article he can find, every preseason magazine he can find and compile a list of all the quotes, articles, anything that disrespects us or doesn't give us our due," he said. "I want copies made of those and I want to put them in front to the team during training camp. He's already got a pile and believe me, come two or three weeks into training camp, I'll put that up at night and be sure it kindles a fire beneath us."
"I saw a preseason magazine cover which said in the bottom corner, 'Title time for Spartans?' Cousins said. "I wanted to tell them we won the title last year, title time was last year. We're looking to repeat, so we do still feel overlooked and that Big Ten championship was somewhat forgotten by a lot of people, and that's fine."

Wisconsin starts Big Ten Bowl season off right...

Wisconsin starts Big Ten Bowl season off right...

Submitted by michiganfanforlife on December 30th, 2009 at 8:44 AM

I loved seeing the physical domination of Miami last night, and Wisky could have won by 35 points if they didn't fall prey to some flookery in the very begining and end of the game.

What are your predictions for the rest of the Big Ten bowl season? Will OSU shut down the Oregon spread? What about Penn St. vs LSU? I am not happy to be watching a second season of bowls without my team in there somewhere, but after this it's baseball for eons and eons and some more astrological space on top of that...

Out of left field: why is there a advertisment for OSU jerseys on the top of this website? I don't get it.

Big Ten round-up

Big Ten round-up

Submitted by Geaux_Blue on August 23rd, 2009 at 1:31 PM

  • Michigan players find better communication in Robinson defense (link)
  • Bielema remains firm on suspensions, cause still unknown (link)
  • Wisconsin may start redshirt freshman at Quarterback over Sherer, Clay No. 2 back (link)
  • MSU quarterbacks feature mixed results, freshman Caper leads pack (link)
  • Preseason Butkus Award list features Seven Big Ten players, including UM's Ezeh (link)
  • Five Big Ten Players on Rimington watch list, including Michigan's Molk (link)
  • Seven Big Ten Players on Nagurski watch list, including Michigan's Graham (link)
  • Minnesota to utilize the Wildcat offense. (link)
  • MSU offensive line continues to shift as injuries in replacement slots persist (link)
  • RS Freshman Brinson may be Greene's replacement in Iowa (link)
  • Graham on ESPN top 25 draft board (link)
  • Illinois cornerback and expected starter/contributor out for season with torn ACL (link)
  • MSU's "Celebrate the State" Michigan directional scheduling bonanza (link
  • ESPN Big Ten Position Rankings: Special teams: UM #2 (link)
  • Indiana starting true freshman at DT ($$$ link), Seven projected starters missed a practice or more this past week (link)
  • OSU linebacker Spitler with strained calf, return unsure only in timing (link)
Mod Edit: I'm going to suggest using bullet points for this just because they look cleaner. You can add these in future posts using the enriched editor (button at the top next to the numbered list) or using the <ul> </ul> tags and <li> for each bullet in the plain editor. For more information, see THIS.