Dear Diary Gets it All Wrong

Submitted by Seth on October 10th, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Littlebro  doc4cb122983360a052941666

Dear Diary,

My financial consultant generally is pretty good about predicting markets, knowing when to buy, when to hold, etc., so I invited him to join Misopogal and I as we hopped from tailgate to tailgate in our quest to procure tickets for Michigan vs. Michigan State.

On the way up, my consultant and I had agreed on a plan: We would spend pre-game trying to run into people we know, asking if they had singles with them. If not, we would wait until just after kickoff, when sellers were cursing their greed and desperate to pocket something before heading in. We had another ride lined up just in case not everyone got a ticket, our pockets were full of $10s and $5s, and we were ready – just in case – to bail for my consultant's 62-inch HDTV, where the DVR was running. I trusted this plan; my consultant has a degree in economics from Michigan State University, which I hear is a pretty good school.

At 1:30 p.m. my consultant started getting jittery. He wasn't accepting beers. He was muttering. At 2:00 p.m. he made a call: "We're not going to find tickets," and started toward the car.

I had dreamt of a Great Denardening, the exorcising of rebuilding demons against a pesky in-state rival, a victory to mark the nadir of the Dantonio era and give the local papers the loss they need to expose the program that put Glenn Winston back on the field.

Instead, I found myself in a lightless basement in front of a Matt Millen broadcast, muttering about "execution" in a room full of eight people educated by Mike Valenti, and my financial consultant - my little brother - calmly denying that holding ever occurs at Michigan State because Dantonio coaches them so well.

Whatever tickets actually cost outside the stadium at 3:35 p.m. yesterday, I would have paid it to be there instead of surrounded by people bent on extracting every juicy drop of Schadenfreude.* Sigh. Perhaps in two years…

Where We Went So Wrong

Though not so on purpose, there were an awful lot of bad prognosticators out there, as MGoDiarists spent most of the week predicting scores for the Michigan State game. Most thought it would be Michigan by 3 or 4 with scores in the 30s, suggesting we probably thought MSU was a slightly better Indiana. See:

In Chart:





Week #5 National Rankings, Fremeau Efficiency Index, and Sagarin Predictor for MSU Enjoy Life Sagarin, FEI, etc. M, 30-22
Over/Under: Michigan State at Michigan jamiemac betting savvy MSU to cover 5
Michigan St Preview: Now with more charts! The Mathlete PAN M, 35-32
Anxiety Time Machine Meeechigan Dan "Résumé" M Wins
Tempo-Free Defense Points Per Posession Update: Includes Offense PPP as well bigmc6000 Pts.-per-Poss. M, 38-35
Our Defense Their Offense - tipping point! mistersuits Normalized PPG M, 42-38
Denard/UM Offense Effect: Factored out of Opponents Past myrtlebeachmaizenblue Rush/Pass Stats "Run all over Sparty"
Scouting the MSU Offense (vs. WIS) AAL Scoutin' v Wis. MSU is predictable
Say What? Defensive Optimism Meeechigan Dan Score/Possession Sparty won't score 40
Fear and Paranoia in Ann Arbor Ryano Fear, Paranoia and Desperation F/P was 6/10 ftr.
Preview: Michigan State 2010 Brian tingly bits 35-30

He Picture-Paged My Life

There's little more I can add to BlueSeoul's epic picture-pages journey through the Indiana game, since Brian has used shots from it on virtually every front-page post this week. If you haven't read the whole thing yet, do so, because it's the one with lots of this:

And this:

On this play Roh is in a more traditional stack look.


But he doesn't see Doss coming in motion.


And because he doesn't go with Doss, it makes for an easy blocking assignment for the bubble screen.

Blueseoul has already won the Internet for this post, but he may now add Diarist of the Week honors. Also: now accepting ideas for Diarist of the Week trophies, preferably not something you probably picked up at Forwards in West Branch.

Our resident logoist (and sometime interviewer) Six Zero offered a new shirt design this week, honoring Phil Brabbs' fight against Multiple Myeloma (and his fight against Washington). How cool is it? LaMarr Woodley was seen in the stands yesterday with one of these bad boys on.

MGoCoach steve sharik also made pretty pictures for us this week. These break down the zone read "midline" play, which should have been useful against Michigan State (I thought I saw it twice, one on the dropped TD by Rountree, but I'm notoriously bad at picking this stuff out so don't trust me.).

Some 4-3 teams like to put their 3-technique away from the back.  If they do this, then the Mike is the backside B-gap defender.

If the defense puts the 3-technique to the back, then the 3-tech is the backside B-gap defender.

We also have some bad news in the picture department. monuMental's awesome (e.g. the now-I-can't-show-you Denard Action Figure) weekly backgrounds have had to cease because U-M and the Heisman Trust have lawyers on retainer with too little to do (that's just my opinion, not the blog's). This ends your weekly scheduled wallpaper for the foreseeable future. If, dear diary, your daddy was one of those stacks of legal papers used to shut down all things that don't make money, then I totally apologize, and please put (non-harmful) soap in his coffee.

Great Moments in Statistication

Meanwhile, Communist Football won a great victory for the proletariat over the evil capitalist empire, by ripping various offensive records from hoarding private databases, and sharing them in one common, Denard-celebrating central repository. Read it now before the numbers get updated with MSU stats and everything (note: not everything) goes to shit.


Rushing Yards by a QB, Single-Season

Denard currently has 905 rushing yards in 5 games. This projects to 2,172 over a 12-game schedule (yes, I am aware that stiffer competition is ahead). He has already destroyed the previous Michigan record for QB rushing yards in a season: 674 by Steve Smith in 1981.


And if you think Smith's 674 yards are shabby, at 56.2 yards per game—back in the days before Communist Football—keep in mind that Comrade Pryor, the second-most-heralded dual-threat QB in the country today, has rushed for 373 yards, or 74.6 yards per game. Denard is at 181.0 yards per game.

The Big Ten record is 1,270 by Antwaan Randle El of Indiana in 2000; the NCAA FBS record is 1,494 by Beau Morgan of Air Force in 1996. Both of these records are easily within reach. Denard only has to average 84.2 rushing yards a game over the rest of the regular season to break the NCAA FBS record.

The Mathlete was at it again with his PAN, trying to soothe our fears about this year being like last year (gee, why should I have such fears?). The Mathlete says that Michigan's offense is a lot better this year than it was last year. How much? I make chart, in PAN:

  Land Air Total
2009 3 5 8
2010 8 7 15

Based on the sets of numbers, Michigan initially has been 7 to 11 points-per-game better than year’s offensive unit. This represents a very high level of play.

The Mathlete won't go there, so I will: if Michigan's 2010 offense replaced last year's kind-of-capable offense, here's our 2009 season with 9 points more offense per game:

  Score Score Adj. Record
WMU 31-7 40-7 1-0
ND 38-34 47-34 2-0
EMU 45-17 54-17 3-0
Indiana 36-33 45-33 4-0
MSU 20-26 29-26 5-0
Iowa 28-30 37-30 6-0
Del St. 63-6 72-6 7-0
PSU 10-35 19-35 7-1
Illinois 13-38 22-38 7-2
Purdue 36-38 45-38 8-2
Wisconsin 24-45 33-45 8-3
OSU 10-21 19-21 8-4

Ed (Miso): Woo 8-4! Thanks comments section for the catch.

This exercise is fruitless, but The Mathlete's really is not.

Laveranues did some analysis on something we brought up during the Indiana liveblog: when should Michigan try onside kicking? Answer: never? I get the feeling like this would be a great thing. Brian mentioned on the main page that he thinks there's 0% chance of this happening since the kickers have enough trouble just kicking field goals, but I'm with Laveranues: let's have one guy who practices nothing but perfectly placed onside kicks, and then do this 1/2 of the time.

If you're a chart fan, though, try out mistersuits's It means everything to them diary. We all agree that his "why" is baseless – Brian called him out too and you can see my response in the article - but the "what" is really interesting stuff about Michigan opponents and their tendency to go for it against us on 4th down.

After break, no more good Diary stuff, but you can read my bid for TWIS

*Dear Rich Rod: Stop Losing to Teams Called "State!"

For people whose job it is to exhort Schadenfreude, here's a list of Spartans who can't name eight members of their team, yet that will not stop them from haunting my life and my Facebook notification page for a third year in a row:

  • My little brother
  • My little brother's disc golf friends
  • My little brother's girlfriend
  • My sister (whose application to U-M grad school I just helped her write)
  • My brother-in-law
  • My sister-in-law
  • My cousin, who was texting me before the game predicting Denard would not score a rushing TD and then we ended up betting a steak dinner on the game W/L, and I know is going to make me pay because he goes all out on this kind of shit.
  • The IT guy who has to install every update of iTunes for my office computer because company policy says I can't install things on my own
  • My brother's neighbor who's always out on his porch drinking a very strong vodka drink or another, and doesn't have a dog in this fight but thinks it's funny because Misopogal once told him it's funny to give me shit about this.
  • That dude I was friends with when I was 12 who just reconnected on Facebook but only puts Sparty!!!!! updates on my wall and now has a Days Since Michigan Beat MSU in Basketball or Football counter up, as if the "Days Since Michigan Beat Ohio State in football" wasn't way way past that.
  • …and doesn't believe me when I swear I care more about hockey than basketball because I came to Michigan in 1998 and would you rather root for Ellerbe in Crisler or Red in Yost?
  • My brother-in-law's friends, who are always cool guys until someone mentions I'm Michigan and they go "auuwwwwwhhh. Sucks to be the little brother NOW doesn't it?"
  • Every MSM sports outlet in Metro Detroit
  • My father and brother's office partner, who's a big booster
  • The guy in my office who used to have the MSU sports beat for a certain paper, and is pretty good-natured about the rivalry except he thinks I'm a homer for supporting Rich Rod and says so.
  • Misopogal.
  • Ohio State. We know you're laughing because your parents have a bigger house and you just have lots of baby sisters who never beat your pants off, but save the "I hope Michigan gets better so it'll be sweeter when we win crap" and remember that the reason we hate losing to Sparty most is that it makes it less likely we can beat your asses, which is all we want in the world.
  • Misopogal's best friend who didn't even know they played but likes to "Like" everything MSU on Facebook then send me messages because at State the first thing they teach you is it's important to F with a Michigan fan whenever you can
  • My sister-in-law's roommates
  • The girl who is always at my mother-in-law's house like what-her-name-the-girl-who-was-friends-with-DJ-in-Full-House
  • Misopogal again, because for some stupid reason the one thing I dislike most about her is she's a Spartan fan just because her brother used to let her party in East Lansing and now she has no idea why she's a State fan but refuses to change, and I figure if MSU goes back to being as unwatchable as the Lions she won't bother anymore, but since Michigan has never beat State since I've known her, this is getting harder and harder and srsly guys I'm a blogger for Michigan and deathly scared my wife will never stop being a fan of a school whose fandom is more about hating Michigan than celebrating anything cool about Michigan State.
  • RCMB. Hey, Karma, what was this your three years off or something?



October 10th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

I love how on this list your wife falls behind the random neighbor drinking on his porch.

And actually, of all the folks on your list that cause me to give you my empathy, I think porch drinker is exempt. Actually, he sounds kind of awesome and I want to be his friend.


October 10th, 2010 at 7:05 PM ^

You wouldn't have liked to sit in my seats. Row 85 section 5 in front of 100 drunk ass sparty bros cheering for injuries and saying things like "kill him" and "bitches" every time Michigan got a kick off or sensed touched the ball
<br>It could always be worse


October 10th, 2010 at 7:06 PM ^

...feature as it drives home the point of how awesome MGoBlog truly is.  This is inspired and oh, so accurate:

...[OSU fans] save the "I hope Michigan gets better so it'll be sweeter when we win crap" and remember that the reason we hate losing to Sparty most is that it makes it less likely we can beat your asses, which is all we want in the world.

With that excellent insight into the heart of Michigan fandom, Misopogon may not have "won the internets", but I think he won MGoBlog for the week.


October 10th, 2010 at 7:10 PM ^

Most prognosticators got the MSU score pretty close to right. What was WAY off was the Michigan score.

The main reason for was execution: Denard got things wrong that, until now, he was getting right. Three TD passes that were there for the taking were replaced by 1 FG — a result that any forecast based on past results could not have predicted.

State fans, of course, predicted a Denard implosion, but I don't give them any credit for great wisdom; they will predict a State victory every year, no matter the circumstances.


October 10th, 2010 at 7:39 PM ^

On a side note, is it me or does MSU make a much bigger deal of that trophy than we do?  I don't remember seeing our players ever hold that thing when we won, let alone parade it all over the place. 


October 10th, 2010 at 7:49 PM ^

will disappear when things get back to normal. (They will, too, sooner or later. I think sooner.)

I live in Iowa City. I really only have to talk about football every five to seven years or so. I smile, take the abuse and remind them that we've been here before, and we'll be here again, but most years, they're the ones who don't want to talk about it.

I like the long view age gives. I'd rather have the speed youth has, though.


October 10th, 2010 at 8:05 PM ^

IA will be focusing on stopping our running game and DROB running the ball.  I just hope the passing game is on next week, which will allow for more room for DROB and the running backs.

When this offense gets rolling nobody can stop them. This is why I'm still optimistic about this season even though the defense may have their problems.


October 10th, 2010 at 9:37 PM ^

thought I had it bad.  I work with some SEC fans, mainly Bama, MSU (NTMSU), Auburn and LSU and our dialouge is relatively well informed Michigan talking to the MSM/  They are all Saints fans and now they give me hell about the Lions.  But whats worse are the non college football fans that will catch a headline and then want to talk football. But you man everyone that is near and dear are State fans this time of year must be hell, well for the last three years anyway. No advice just empathy Go Blue!!!

Edward Khil

October 10th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

ABC(ESPN) showed the trophy case wherein Mr. Bunyan is normally esconsed, and noted that the label situated thereon said something like, "The Paul Bunyan trophy is temporarily located in East Lansing until next year."  Next year?  I expect that that label has already been modified to read "October 15, 2011."  (Fail.)

It hurts me that Misopogon has met, married and shared a life with a woman who has not yet seen him glory (in an appropriately humble fashion) in a Michigan victory over MSU.  Stay strong, M.  She is testing you, and she will be graciously and truly excited when Michigan wins the MNC.


October 10th, 2010 at 11:53 PM ^

Either a) the trophy is there, hiding the label, or b) the trophy is not there and the label applies.

It's pretty clever, which means that we should expect to see similar comments in empty trophy cases all across this great land of ours. Imitating pissed-off athletic departments is the most sincere form of flattery.


October 10th, 2010 at 9:55 PM ^

What makes Michigan losing to MSU bearable for me, is that I grew up out of state, and moved back to NY after graduating, so I don't know any MSU fans or alumni.  Don't know any OSU fans either for that matter.


October 11th, 2010 at 7:46 AM ^

Sad Panda after Saturday, but at least I am a little richer in the pocketbook as a result

We just dont have the defense to be quality favorites in Big 10 plays. Michigan is +3.5 right now against Iowa. I like them as an Underdog. I trust Denard to bounce back and cash in on red zone attempts.

Go Blue!!!


October 11th, 2010 at 8:55 AM ^

Even with the added offensive points per game, I would like to see how this years defense would have compared to last years.  If our D is giving up 7 more points a game this yearBut our O is hanging 9 extra thats only a difference of 2 pts a game...I would like to see those results.  Is our schedule tougher or easier this year.


October 11th, 2010 at 9:24 AM ^

are bugging me about Sat.'s game. Well, a lot more than a couple but i'll limit it to two for now: One, why did Richrod go away from the running game? It was working! on our opening possession we drove down to what, the 20? then a pass and the pick. Why? why not run it with Denard and the running backs. That's what got us in the redzone in the first place. Two, a rule in college football i'd like to see changed: Sparty has a third and 10 and we stop them. But they false start and get another shot at it because we can't decline the penalty and have it be 4th and 10 instead of 3rd and 15? And lo and behold first down! There's more, lots more...


October 11th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

  Be careful betting steak dinners. I have been buying a steak dinner for  a great friend of mine (unfortunate he was born in Canton,OH)  for  the last SIX YEARS!  And it is true....Steak doesn't taste the same anymore.  Bet something like a grilled cheese or vegemite sandwich......Don't ruin your taste for STEAK . Hopefully I  will reacquire the flavor and get one soon..




October 12th, 2010 at 8:51 AM ^

Thank you for another week of great stats and commentary on the game. I hope that the next time you will find the tickets you are looking for !

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East Lacedaemon

October 15th, 2010 at 9:35 PM ^

Hey this is Misopogon's "financial consultant" (the good-lookin' kid on the right)

I have a few corrections, in the name of good journalism, to share with you all concerning the alleged "story" above.

First off, let it be known that my tv is 63 inches, and not the aforementioned 62.

Now we can get down to business.

On his $5s and $10s - I brought $20s and $100s.

calmly denying that holding ever occurs at Michigan State because Dantonio coaches them so well.

I simply stated that Michigan State is better at holding, because Dantonio coaches them so well. Anyone who played offensive line like I did in the glory days of high school [Ed-M: I played guitar] knows that "interior holding is part of the game." [Ed-M: He actually said "It's only holding if you get caught," but unfortunately I didn't DVR my little brother]

I tried seven different people, trying to buy tickets $350 for a pair, and got laughed at. And I did laugh at a guy who offered to sell me a ticket for $1,000.

I also want to address the....the gross generalizations of Spartan fans. While some of us do not necessarily know every player on the team, or even more than five, but that doesn't mean we're not fans. I grew up rooting for UofM, I went to Michigan State, I'm allowed to have pride in my alma mater. I'm disappointed in a lot of our fandom, but for someone like me who really enjoys watching football, I get really excited about this rivalry, especially because it runs so deep into the family. My best friend [Ed-M: that's me!] is a hardcore Michigan fan. I believe that you can be a fan, and not know every stat, every player, and remember every play.

Oh, and one more thing. I fully support removing Matt Millen from television, as he is an abomination to the game of football, and should be punished for what he did to the Lions. Fuck that guy.

The best part about the result of this game for my friendship with my brother, is I now get to root for Michigan to beat Ohio State (and send MSU to Pasadena!)