Dave's Decision: 2011
Dear citizens of this Great Nation of Diary,
We stand at the doorstep of a new era of Michigan football. Whose era that will be, well, that's up for discussion, apparently a lot of discussion.
As partisan lines harden, the diaries section has been filled with bloggers intending to help Dave Brandon make his most momentous end-of-year coaching assessment yet. The readers have even invented a neat little title tag, "CC:" to denote any coaching-related discussion and make it easier for those who want to avoid it to keep away (co-sign), but not before user jhackney, our resident MGo-Gonzo Journalist, somehow got his neg button replaced with The Red Button:
With apologies to those for whom that ad brings up bad memories.
His point (this isn't his point) is well-taken: whoever wins the most David Brandonectoral votes in January will be in command of the most dangerous weapon (pic by MonuMental) ever devised by the Big Ten:
The stakes are high: since I am unable to divorce enjoyment of life from the adventures of Michigan football, whichever coach is chosen must win Big Ten Championships, end the Ohio State streak, re-tie the hoodie we keep MSU trapped in, continue politely breaking ND fans' hearts, and be Michigan Manly while doing it.
Some may believe that the One Man has already cast his one vote, that this is actually part of some great conspiracy involving a cabal of Les Miles, Leslie Nielsen, churchgoing redheads and Dominos (bwgrundt1484 – it's pretty funny).
Anything that was just e-pinion or stream of consciousness was bumped down to the boards, or in some cases just nuked; my cutoff for Diaries on this topic is whether or not the author has provided a bare minimum amount of new information or insight. The following is a rundown of the survivors.
Notes: "m's" is my completely subjective rating of the article's persuasiveness, referring to the number of 'm's I mentally put in the word "hmmm" after reading it before moving on. A 1 is "hm" -- basically a grunt. A 5 is hmmmmm, or "wow, that's really insightful." They're listed in order of (my opinion of) reading importance:
Experience vs defensive performance
||ebv||Probably JH but it wasn't intended as an election article, just is.||Uses class (not age) data from every school to see if that correlates to D.||5|
|MGoBoard: "'Should we keep Rodriguez?' 'Yes.'"||
|RR||Poll update as of 11/29 tracking||5|
|ikestoys||RR||By FEI, M has improved a lot since '08||4|
|In depth analysis of Stanford's D under Harbaugh||
|JH slightly||A good rundown of Stanford's D under Harbaugh||4|
|Lack of improvement, Quantified||Nonnair||JH||Mistakes during 1st half drives are M-2010's problem||3|
|A different look at the importance of experience||2012||On fence||Good defenses have few freshmen starters||3|
|Rich Rodriguez vs John L Smith||
|JH||Some parallels btw yardage and scoring O/D||2|
|Jim Harbaugh transition easier then you think?||The program||JH||Tries (and fails) to assess a 2011 starting lineup under JH||1||
..wait, Gardner&Cox whut?
|Hard to Disagree with Both "Sides"||snoopblue||RR-ish||It's not an easy decision. Mostly just e-pinion.||1|
|RR||Patience: RR's excuses are good ones||1|
For the record, just so you know my biases, I would vote for four more years! with the conditional proviso of major changes (either Casteel, or a Shannon-type hire who gets complete control) in the Department of Defense, because I don't want to be one of those schools who fires their head coach before he graduates a class.
Also: If Harbaugh's elected (and decides to run), he would have my complete support.
Also Also: I don't get a vote.
Also Also Also: I realize I invited a little with the election-y metaphor here but keep the real politics out of the comments. If you think anything in this analogy favors any political side, e-mail me and I'll change that as quickly as I can.* The intent is to have none.
Hope for Change (of the Subject)
Last week I urged Enjoy Life to continue a new "unforced errors" wrinkle to his turnover tracking, after his Wisconsin autopsy revealed this:
Also: EJ's weekly turnover & special teams disaster spectacular.
Also also: Diarist of the Week.
(By the way, DotW gets 200 MGoPoints. I've been doing this quietly for several weeks and guess I didn't tell anybody. Oops).
Since talking Michigan is too painful, some of us started looking Big Picture, or at least Big Ten. I did a little game-by-game comparison of MSU/Ohio State/Wisconsin. Then Coach Schiano one-upped me with a graph of who beat who etc. that lead to actual calculations of Big Ten seasonry:
The graph is simple to understand: each team is a node (circle), and there is an line connecting each team that played another team. The line is actually an arrow, making this a directed graph, in the obvious form: if there is an arrow from Team A's node to Team B's node, it means Team A beat Team B. Here is the graph:
So then, of course, joeyb came in to one-up Schiano by applying this concept to the entire FBS:
The first thing that I tried to do to fix this was to weight the games. Instead of automatically giving a team a path of length one for a win, I started dividing that by the number of scores (8 points) that a team won by. So, winning by 24 points, or 3 scores, would give you a path length of .333 over that team. This works out really well because it benefits teams that win by 2 or 3 scores, but it doesn't benefit teams too much for going beyond that.
Next week: MGoDiarist creates graph analysis of all matter to create a single unifying theory.
My understanding of graph analysis is that it works better the more various nodes interact, so doing this for every college team will net really weird results and doing it for the Pac Ten (until 2011) would work best.
Drakeep discovered that Big Ten teams fared the best among FBS conferences vs winning teams this year (probably because beating two 7-5 Big Ten teams is worth more than beating a 10-2 SEC team and a 5-7 SEC team, but if you have this conversation with an SEC fan they might not know that.
Brady2Terrell found that The Year of Infinite Pain and The Year We Expected 7-5 and Got It had little in common beyond their records.
This wasn't a diary, but BleedingBlue gave an historical account of the Rich Rod era (so far?) in pictures:
To this, Michigan4Life replied with an alternative history writ in kittens.
And finally, I want to extend a personal THANK YOU to all the MGoBlog readers and fans who contributed gifts, money, and time for this year's Adopt-a-Shelter. Again, several readers (and readers' mothers) showed up to help. Again, the Salvation Army officers mentioned to me they were impressed at the Amazon gifts that kept coming. Again, Mitch Albom didn't seem to know we exist. Special shout-out to reader/non-commenter Robyn Morawski, who patiently sat around for hours after the event so that every single kid would have their printed picture with Santa Claus.
* Unless it's about the borders: RR coaches Michigan (navy blue), Harbaugh coaches Stanford (cardinal red), and I used the official school colors for each. Yes, these are U.S. major party colors. Yes, that was on purpose. No, the color of the party and the color of the coach does not say a damn thing about the coach's candidacy.