Dear Diary and the Legend of West Branch

Submitted by Seth on November 1st, 2013 at 10:52 AM


Full name: The Paul Bunyan Governor of Michigan's Wife Was
Going to Throw It Out Otherwise Trophy.

People don't get this rivalry, why the board seems to get obsessed with it, and why it means so much to take home a tacky statue from an off-highway store in West Branch.

Those Michigan fans not from Michigan, or from a part of Michigan that regularly sprays for Spartans, are often suggesting a bigger second rivalry than this one. They'll grant that game's importance goes as far as winning the Bo Division, with the Dantonio-fueled addition of protecting the purity of the game from one if its biggest dicks (see: press conferences devoted entirely to asking Michigan coaches how they plan to defeat inevitably bad officiating).

Besides, the guy who went 4/4 vs. MSU can talk all he wants.

That's because this thing is really for the mitten-staters: those who know what it means to be thrown into the back seat of the station wagon, to defend the middle seat arm rest, to decide who can put whose feet where, and fight to ensure the integrity of fart justice for five hours of pure Michigan hell.

Mercury Hayes, I feel you, man. That's a diary from a former MSU student who has maintained his Michigan fanhood despite four years and assorted change of East Lansinginity. There was another from ttifiblog (formerly Blue Seoul) that went into some of the stuff that'll get retread this weekend, like Narduzzi's quote, and MSU's fake mascot, and Gholston. Let's not leave out the great sin of shopping at non-campus outlets, because when 80% of a state's fans choose one local school over the other, it must mean rooting for a place you didn't graduate from isn't okay (somebody please inform the Ohioans).

I think this rivalry is done a disservice when glib reporters only focus on that time a 22-year-old made a 50-year-old analogy, and a 50-year-old was a total baby about it. Rivalries aren't just as base as hate; they're analogues for human relationships, with all of the sameness and quirks those have. In this case it's two brothers close enough in age to be competitive, and young enough to not have the maturity to appreciate each other.

The inferiority complex is bred out of inferiority; the smugness is bred out of superiority that most of us had little to do with earning. All shit talk is good and encouraged, so long as you remember nobody really believes any of it. Of course it's immature! Rivalries for athletes are motivation to excel; rivalries for sports fans are about finding an outlet for our primal child.

Speaking of primal children, k.o.k.Law and his daughter wrote a sort of how-to guide for raising your kid blue. Step 8: introduce to Hutchinson (I think that's Hutch?), Morris and Everett.

Weeklies. The FEI chart from dnak now includes past opponents. Suggestion: turn it 45 degrees: teams higher vertically are better, and left-right says whether it's the offense or defense doing the pulling:


MSU is off the charts defensively and just under okay on offense, which puts them with Wisconsin and Ohio State among the conference elite. Michigan's about equal with Notre Dame and a clear 2nd tier in the Big Ten. When you look at this and realize State played Illinois instead of Penn State and Purdue instead of Ohio State you get a better appreciation for how vastly different our route to Indianapolis is than theirs.

Turnover Analysis says MSU puts the lie to the "turnovers are random" assertion: their safe offense and high-pressure defense put them far to the good despite recovering just 17% of their fumbles. Purdue remains an outlier of awfulness. MSU miniprogram should have included criminal records.

Etc. Bentley event the Friday night before Nebraska.



jonvalk wallpaper.

Best of the Board


Michigan's been worse on the road during the Hoke era, which is obvious considering he's still perfect at home. Akron was at home this year. But the road games so far have been UConn and Penn State. Ungh. Also scary: the recent history of Michigan's Halloween Horror Shows ever since I began attending my wife's family's annual Saturday-closest to-Halloween party:

  • 2008: The 3-3-5-ening at Purdue was 11/1. My brother in law came in wanting to show me a pic of that billboard on his phone.
  • 2009: 10/30 was the Dong Punch game vs. Illinois
  • 2010: The slaughter at Penn State that turned out to be RR's death knell.
  • 2011: 10/29 was the Purdue game. I was pleasant enough.
  • 2012: October 27th was Nebraska.

They think I hate the party. Or Halloween in general.


We don't love anyone as much as you. Except for Norfleet, and Shoe(lace). Oh Space Coyote we love you. Seriously, I think he'll be back. Anyone with the kind of passion for informing that guy has won't be able to stay away. If you're out there, SC, remember that people addressing contrary opinions while behind the internet's shroud of anonymity are seldom at their most eloquent.


Thread to discuss the discussion of the bullying being discussed. If constant repetition of the word "physical" in the media can actually destroy civilization we'll find out this week.


Thank GoBlue48105 for making a png we can use for things.


MGoBlog is not responsible for damage to your door caused by Dave Brandon's people kicking it in.


Brian already mentioned this on the front page but we're still dancing: Wolverine Historian's videos are back online. T3Media quietly released his YouTube account, or perhaps YouTube finally listened to all the complaints made against T3/Thought Equity Motion. Anyway goodness has triumphed! Here's what you've won:

Your Moment of Zen:



November 1st, 2013 at 11:03 AM ^

in the bullying thread came from SFBlue: 

I think this is all terribly overblown. 

1.  Has everyone forgotten that Michigan beat State 13-10 last year in a physical game that is exactly the type that now it is widely believed Michigan cannot play, yet alone win? 

2.  What happened in the 2011 game was not bullying, but Sparty, Gholston especially, engaged in Buckeye-level cheapshots that would make George Perles blush. 

3.  The best team, not the toughest team, or by extension the team that takes the most cheap shots, usually wins this game.  I think it's great that Sparty's head is swelling right now.  See, Sparty has never lacked for confidence.  Stupid and cocky is the mark of a true Sparty.  The truth is that this is an evenly matched game, as Michigan has the playmakers to offset what Sparty does on defense, and as a team Michigan has a higher ceiling.  Anyone who is confident in winning a close game is a fool.  (See Jeff Seidel's article where he is "98.2%" certain that State will win by 3.) 

4.  There is more upside than downside risk for Michigan in this game, so let's relax. Losing this game is not going to ruin the season.  Sparty is favored, and if Michigan loses a close game so be it.  After the UCONN game it was clear to me this was a Gator Bowl team.  If you want to talk about frustration due to the lack of progress the program has made this year, your case is already made with the Akron, UCONN, and Penn State games. But it is likely central Florida for the Holidays either way.    


November 1st, 2013 at 6:04 PM ^

What I meant is that Michigan has enough talent to be a BCS team.  I see them as an underachieving group (ergo, Gator baby Gator). 

Michigan State does not have the same upside.  Their defensive will keep them in games against elite teams, but they would not match up well with elite teams. 

As Michigan does not consistenly play to its potential, I do think that ceilings are irrelevant on a game-by-game basis, especially a rivalry game on the road, as is the case here. 

Of course, I hope to Hell that I am wrong, and that Michigan will put it together over the next month.  The problems are, in this order: youth on the offensive line; Gardner's inconsistency; youth on the defensive; stubborn/insipid offensive playcalling. 

Space Coyote

November 1st, 2013 at 11:17 AM ^

Because how can you turn down a rhyme, seriously.

FWIW, my intention was never to threaten to leave the blog entirely. I think a brief break from the comments section is in order, and will for sure be in order next week however the offense performs, but I'm not going Kaiser Soze "And like that... he was gone", though, who hasn't wanted to do that before. But I couldn't stay away from the loveable bunch of misfits that patrol this place, it's just dealing with some of the other stuff and how that's played into some things for me.

But yeah, I'm not leaving now, even if I'm not going to comment as much. I appreciate the work done too much to not be here. And, while my comments will be much less infrequent, they may still pop up every now and again.


November 1st, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

I'll do my best to start commenting with unsubstantiated arguments against your point of view, for old times sake.  By the way, the rhyme wasn't even all that good.  And it was separated between a headline and a paragraph.  Seth clearly isn't capable at getting more good at English, so he needs to be fired in the offseason.


November 1st, 2013 at 11:23 AM ^

Mark Dantonio tried to act like he didn't know about Hart's little brother comment. His reaction to the question said it all. He probably heard it and went home and punched a hole in his closet door.


November 1st, 2013 at 11:26 AM ^

about this game is whether Michigan can physically match the physical physicallity of State's physical defense physically and mainitain that physicallness for the entire physical game. 

TOUGHNESS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


November 1st, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

Who cares about our players? The real question is whether Michigan fans are negative nancies or can MAN UP or SACK UP and whether THEY WANT IT MORE than MSU fans do. That'll determine the outcome on the field. Remember, every time you predict a Michigan loss a kitten dies.


November 1st, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

plan on sacking right up and bringing this game home. 

AGGRESSION ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !  AGGRESSIVENESS ! ! ! ! ! !  AGGRESSIVITY (word?  Who Cares!) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sextus Empiricus

November 1st, 2013 at 2:03 PM ^

and the game lost... shameful as having to show it may be - Michigan is rarely without it even in defeat. I'm proud of that.

Bellomy showed this against Nebraska - and I will always remember him for that. Toughness doesn't always win, but lack of it always loses. That is football.

Against State I'm looking for smart and well executed.  Toughness is a base expectation.

Wisconsin Wolverine

November 1st, 2013 at 12:08 PM ^

I don't quite agree with tipping the chart on its corner and equating up-ness to goodness.  Firstly, notice that the intervals on the defensive F/+ axis are larger than those on the offensive F/+ axis - this effectively weights defense disproportionately, because distance along that axis contributes more to vertical distance when tilted.

I would propose using a geometric mean of offensive and defensive F/+, which does a better job of average products - think of the position on the chart as a two dimensional product of offensive and defensive F/+.  In order to do this, however, you'd have to convert the F/+ scales to be exclusively positive.  You could do this by subtracting the minimum to normalize all values positively, but I'm not sure if this corrupts the original meaning of F/+ because I am dumb and don't know anything about it.

Anyway, math.


November 1st, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

If you're out there, SC, remember that people addressing contrary opinions while behind the internet's shroud of anonymity are seldom at their most eloquent.


November 1st, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^


Suggestion: turn it 45 degrees: teams higher vertically are better, and left-right says whether it's the offense or defense doing the pulling:


If you want to do this, you should fix the scale so that to remove the distortion.  Right now because of the scale distortion having a better defense is more important than having a better offense.  (The underlying assumption is that being good is equal parts defense and offense). Therefore, teams who have the same level of goodness are on the same line with slope = -1.

Blue Durham

November 2nd, 2013 at 11:29 AM ^

it is easier to read as the higher up the team is, the better. The closer the team is to a vertical line through the origin, the better balance it has between offense and defense.

Notre Dame, Michigan and Michigan State are pretty close to each other (I think the games played between them bear this out), with Michigan being the most balanced. With just a little better defense, Indiana would be the polar opposite of Michigan State.


November 2nd, 2013 at 11:09 AM ^

Realizing MSUs path this season has been - and will be - easier than ours, means that they have really been able to point to this game. I remain optimistic, and glad we had a bye week.

- Go Blue!