Dear Diary Believes in Progressions

Submitted by Seth on August 23rd, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Another reminder: first-ever MGoTailgate on the Friday night (Sept 6) before Notre Dame. We'll be at the MGoPatio on Berkeley Street (second house on the right coming from the stadium), gathering at 7pm and Marlin arriving for a Q&A at 8.

Now onto the user content, where Denard still exists, although in weird colors:

"Superman never wore black." –Lois Lane

DGDestroys put every Robinson play from the Jacksonville/NYJets preseason game into that enjoyable but sad-in-the-same-kind-of-Johnny-RBUAS-way-that-Mike_Hart's-face-on-the-Colts-was-sad video. Also weird: David Harris with a late hit on Denard. Somewhere out there is an imaginary guy I argued with a lot in 2010 who reads something into that. I still hate that guy.

It's on-topic season again. How do we know? Because the diaries section is back to producing content on a level that Brian has to usually pay us to write. All Stars making their triumphant return this week include MCalibur, Eye of the Tiger, and ClearEyesFullHart.

Johnny Pachelbel, offensive coordinator
for the Nuremberg Baroques

Let's start with MCalibur because he uses all the same references I know, starting with Canon in D, a classical chord arrangement you probably know from attending weddings or, like, half of all songs ever written.* This is all a setup for his new metric, an expectation of wins based off net yards per game and turnover margins. Significantly, Ohio State was the extreme outlier, winning four+ more games than the 7.8 they should have by their yardage and turnover margins. And this happens to them a lot. Michigan was a game better, Michigan State two games worse. Notre Dame, Nebraska and Northwestern won two more games than they should have.

Thing: the seven teams in his study whose defense was their better unit last year (ND, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, MSU, Iowa) were a net –2, while the six (OSU, Neb, NW, PSU, Purdue, Indiana) whose offense was its better unit were a net +7. Sample way too small but it doesn't say much for "Defense wins championships." I also compared special teams (by both FEI rank and field position rank) of over- vs under-performers and there was zero correlation there. Strength of schedule didn't explain it either (Michigan had the 3rd best SOS and finished +1).

Eye of the Tiger reprised his "Tea Leaves" prediction from last year. Last time it was "which Star Wars episode will we be?" This time it's "Which Song of Ice and Fire Novel?" ranging from the one where all the kings are finally waging war and surviving sieges to the one where GRRM just can't get over how useless nipples are on a breastplate.

[Jump for Diarist of the Week, Best of Board, Zen]

Ron Utah had two interesting diaries, one where he re-ranked all the Michigan recruits (my attempt at the same is another unfinished project in my great database). Biggest quibble: Jake Ryan is a five-star, man. Then he did a thing on running backs, looking at last year's top YPC guys to discover:

  • Plenty of talented RBs have insignificant seasons; many have more than one
  • RARELY does a freshman RB burst onto the scene as a primary starter
  • About half of these guys spend at least two years developing before they start
  • The experts are idiots (of course, I must admit that I believed the "if they're any good they'll contribute as true freshmen stuff before I looked at it)

Major quibble: YPC is not a good stat since the rest of the offense is such a big part of that. He made his point about good backs not having to produce as freshmen, but I think that has more to do with coaches wanting an established guy. Running the football appears to be a talent; blocking from the RB position is a skill that the old guys usually have over the young ones. Effort is rewarded Diarist of the Week.

Etc. If you missed it earlier, reshp1 UFR'ed the scrimmage, kind of. MEZman took in a Bryan Mone game. ClearEyesFullHart is again way out in front of the basketball season with his ISU preview. This is helpful to me since our ISU preview in the Hoops-Hockey HTTV was running a bit short. BLOCKM gets the MGoProfile treatment.

Best of the Board


We get this post every offseason so may as well make it our official "say hi" thing like they do on the SBNation blogs. Because it's MGoBlog of course people are all gathering demographic information. To the Chicago Guy who's on TV, can I tell people what show it is (yes, I Googlestalk you sometimes).


Every time Michigan posts a Countdown to Kickoff video a post appears to discuss it. This has been a time bandit of a ritual that I enjoy immensely since it seems to attract the guys who really know what they're talking about (e.g. Space Coyote).


Tom that is. He said the greatest achievement of his life was being captain at Michigan. I bet you say that of all your achievements Tom.

ETC. Everything you ever want to know about redshirts is in this thread. Better get used to those gray collars, boys. Pick your breakout player. A fairly brilliant idea for pod-scheduling too-big conferences that will never happen. And for people who like being trolled, fine you can have it back. This is why we need moderation.

Your Moment of Zen:


*He made it a reference to how we write articles around here but this little bit of music theory is quite useful for understanding Borgesian playcalling (also pitching). The idea is this: chords play off each other in predictable variations, and no matter the song or genre they progression will lead you back to chord 1, i.e. the key of the song. There are certain sequences that work well on human brains, e.g. I-V-vi-IV. That means Chord 1, then the chord four letters further down the seven-letter alphabet from the one you started in, then a minor version of the next letter, then go two back. There is no 'H' chord; you go back around again to A. So if you play a I-V-vi-IV in the key of D, it's D then A then B-minor then C. The reason you don't think you're hearing the same song every time somebody makes a 1-5-6-4 ballad is because you can make lots of tiny variations in pitch, tempo, key, what's major (happy chord) or minor (sad chord) or seventh (Canadian chord) etc. A common trick in writing music is once you've established the progression you go off of it really hard and your listener is like "whoa, I am now totally surprised by this. Cool!"

My theory: Borges's playcalling is musical. Let's try this with last year's Iowa game:

Drive 1: Power Run, Screen, Fake Run to pass for first down.

Quick Pass, Counter run for first down.


Drive 2: Denard Jet, Power Run, Option run, Double-Reverse from Denard Jet!

PA short pass, PA long pass, Quick Pass


First down sets the key. Then he runs a progression until he decides it's time for a bridge.



August 23rd, 2013 at 11:52 AM ^

The forecast calls for a pleasant evening during which time I will enjoy a few beverages of moderation.  M football starts in a week.  The Tigers seem to be comfortably playing out a string on their way to the playoffs.  MGoBlog presents a nice example of EO Wilson's version of conciliance.  Good Day.

Ron Utah

August 23rd, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

YPG.  Yards per game.  And I certainly don't think that makes them the top 40 RBs in terms of talent, just in terms of rushing production.

I would agree that YPC is often dependent on the offense, as well as other things like opponents, blocking, etc.  There's no way to control all the variables...but there's also a surprising number of backs that don't play much (if at all) as freshmen that go on to become very, very productive.


August 23rd, 2013 at 1:09 PM ^

As a camp counselor/songleader group we once went through about 40 songs in a row just playing those 4 chords

No Woman No Cry

Crazy Game of Poker

What's My Age Again, etc. Googling this came up with way too many songs.