Dear Diary: 11-13-09

Submitted by Tim on November 13th, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Rounding up the week's best in user-created content.

A little off the wall choice for the diarist of the week. Captain Obvious writes an awesome set of lyrics about the state of Michigan's football team:

It's a punt block when it's already too late

It's a no-punting sign on your Space Emperor's leg

It's like ten thousand Slots when you need is a MIKE

It's meeting the Center of my dreams

And then meeting his shredded up knee

And isn't it ironic... don't you think

A little too ironic... and yeah I really do think...

It's like rain on Homecoming Day

It's a blown punt when you've already faked

It's the three points that you just couldn't take

Who would've thought ... it figures

Congratulations, Captain Obvious, you are the Diarist of the Week.

michelin looks at similarities between the overall trajectories of the Notre Dame and Michigan football programs.

The promising thing is that, unlike ND, UM has more, not less, starters coming back for the next two years. Clearly, it’s way too early to tell—as Brian has intimated today—but I can't help worrying that we might end up like ND if we keep getting rid of coaches before they can build their program.  

I think at this point, there's no (rational) fan calling for Rich Rodriguez to be fired at least until the end of next year, so this overall worry may not be an issue. I still recommend clicking through because lolnd.

On a similar note, Brady2Terrell looks at the 47 coaches who have started their Big Ten coaching careers with 2 consecutive losing seasons:

*5 (10.6%) have won even a single Big Ten title;

*5 (10.6%) have finished their tenure with even a winning record;

*2 (4.3%) have won at least one Big Ten title AND finished with a winning record; and

*0 have won national titles.

The numbers aren't pretty, but there's still hope ahead for Michigan fans. Like he says, it's not that we're screwed, it's that we're in uncharted territory here. A positive comparison would likely require winning one or both of the last two games. Hey, then Rich can be like... Jackie Sherrill?

TAMU was 5-5 going into its final game at Texas, which was playing for the SWC Title. TAMU blew out the Horns in Austin, something like 38-12, sending the Horns to one of those nondefunct bowls. The 6-5 record wasn't good enough for a bowl game in those days (unless you were ND or UM) so TAMU stayed home but the win in Austin took all of the heat off of Sherrill.

TAMU went on to win 3 consecutive SWC titles in 85-86-87 and beat Texas each year. Sherrill had finally "arrived" at a school where Football is king over the other sports.

Let's hear it for positivity!

The week started off with some seriously emo posts following the Purdue loss. Geaux_Blue said:

I guess why I made this diary is simple. For those of us All In, the road is narrow and uphill. The likelihood is 5-7 and the off-season is going to be months of looking at checkbooks and wondering "why did I spend $50 to drink at the bar and watch non-Siller shred us in November." This is difficult and not even close to the experience of overcoming kneeshoulderelbowhead like Forcier or any player is facing. But the fanbase has its own wounds. And they're licked (that's what she said).

A rational take for the fanbase that continues to support Michigan.

Lordfoul sums up what we know coming out of the Purdue game. In condensed form:

  1. Michigan has the worst defense in the B10.
  2. The offense continues to improve.
  3. This confluence of probabilities is not favorable for the current coaching staff. Michigan is known for giving its coaches time and not being hasty in firings. That said this situation may not right itself in time to save Rich Rod and friends even given the extra slack.
  4. I would put it at at least improbable that we will win either of our last two games this season.
  5. Danny Hope is an asshole.

I disagree with point #3. Dude, there's no way Rich gets fired after two years, and a (highly likely) bowl game is probably enough progress to save his hide for another year. He may get fired after that, but it wouldn't be because there wasn't enough time, it would be because he was given enough time and failed.

hekdchi looks at what has improved between year 1 and year 2 of the Rodriguez era:

This entry will list the raw numbers of Michigan's 2008 season versus the 2009 season thus far to demonstrate where the team has and has not improved in the Rich Rodriguez era.

Hint: offense good, defense bad. This is probably not terribly surprising to anyone. Of note is that the defense is giving up fewer points than last year, and has improved in a couple other categories (though slightly). Expanding on that idea is clarkiefromcanada, who takes umbrage with the use of the term "regression":

Like all of you I am totally frustrated with how this is working out this year; however, I am sick and tired of the naysayers, trolls and newbie idiots posting the exact same material on "regression".

Amen. Especially since it's totally fair to expect a defense that lost half of its starters will get a little worse. Speaking of losing all those starters, Misopogon gives a handy graphical representation of his stellar "Decimated Defense" series. There are kittens involved. Jokewood also shows that even the sheer numbers, especially of upperclassmen, are a sign that Michigan isn't going to be a great defense:

The rest of the Big Ten averages 50% more upperclassmen on defense.  We are dead last in the conference by a wide margin in terms of experienced defensive players.   Purdue and Notre Dame - the two teams closest in terms of youth - also have terrible defenses, against which Michigan averaged 35 ppg this year.

It may be a while before the numbers are worked out, too.

Steve Sharik's awesome X-and-O post was frontpaged; you're probably familiar with it.


Familiarize yourselves with the veer, fools.

Etc.: Wolverine in Exile runs down the BCS rankings. 909Dewey talks about expectations for Rich Rodriguez coming in, how they've shifted, and how he's living up to them. stubob previews the ugly games of the week. The Mathlete looks at the Purdue game by the numbers. I recommend you stop reading before you get to pass defense. The man... the myth... THE_KNOWLEDGE predicts coaching changes.



November 13th, 2009 at 9:02 PM ^

I am shocked and disappointed that my thesis about Transformers: The Movie was excluded.

Still, I think this will turn into a great late-Friday regular feature.


November 13th, 2009 at 11:53 PM ^

"The likelihood is 5-7 and the off-season is going to be months of looking at checkbooks and wondering "why did I spend $50 to drink at the bar and watch non-Siller shred us in November.""

What bars do you go to that take checks?


November 14th, 2009 at 7:05 AM ^

Thanks for the recognition. I am in total agreement with what you say about RR's chances of keeping his job through year four. I mean, we have to make a bowl game next year, right? What you left out was acknowledging the uncomfortably > 0% chance that the defense deep-sixes our season next year as well. If this year ends in no bowl (Go Blue! Beat them Badgers/Buckeyes!) and next year is frustrating (low ranked bowl or none at all) then 2011 will have to be stellar (9, maybe even 10 wins) to appease the, by then, rabid fan base calling for RR's head. Truly I think RR will reach the needed wins to appease everyone, but he has opened the door to the other side of that coin.