Mailbag: What Is Wrong With You People? Seriously.

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Arizona-Wildcats-head-coach-Rich-Rodriguez[1]

no no no no no no no no no
BTW: you can only admire Rodriguez's daughter if you are <18

Let's schedule Arizona!

Brian,

I read with interest your article on “Who replaces Notre Dame?” and was wondering if Arizona might qualify as a worthy replacement.  Seems to me they’d be a step down from Notre Dame but my guess is that RichRod would do just about anything to get Michigan on his schedule.  I’m not even sure if we’d want to play him but I suspect that this matchup would generate a lot of interest.

Ken

I didn't think a team that hasn't won more than 8 games since 1998 was going to be a hot ticket, even if Rodriguez is there. FWIW, the Wildcats have a game at Nevada in 2015 but nothing else on the docket in the relevant time frame.

I'm opposed to an Arizona series, because the upside is low—you beat a team that hasn't won more than 8 games since 1998—and the downside is high. By 2015, Rodriguez will presumably have some fleet-footed bastards to scare the crap out of you (or he'll be fired, but… probably not). Casteel will still be there and they'll have a weird defense that's kind of like playing Air Force on the other side of the ball. And Rodriguez will start gameplanning for the thing as soon as it's announced. That is a dangerous situation leading to much mirth if it comes off poorly, and you're just a bully if it doesn't.

It is a very Dave Brandon thing to do, though. Not including them was a wishful-thinking-based oversight.

No, seriously!

Thanks for putting the thought into the open scheduling date; interesting stuff (as always).

But is the MGoBook putting odds on the open dates turning into additional MAC snacks?  And the better question; given the incentives that the current BCS/limited playoff creates, wouldn't it be completely irrational (and, frankly, negligent) to actually schedule a competitive opponent?

Also: I pledge the first $1K to whatever institution (charity, UM, MGoBlog) that would help apply enough influence/pressure to turn this into an Arizona-Michigan home-and-away.  Do you think Brandon could ignore a pledged collective $500K to Mott's Children's Hospital by fans if Michigan were to schedule a home and away with Arizona?  I think he'd find a way to ignore it, but I would revel in the all the headlines if the story gains traction.  And I'd also be interested to see how much fans would be willing to pledge to see these games take place (I realize there is a difference between "pledge" and "pay," but perhaps there are ways around that as well).  And we already know RichRod would take the games in a heartbeat ...

scott

Why? Why do you people want this? For revenge? Revenge on a guy Michigan fired after three years? I know Rodriguez was a disaster here but it's not like he was trying to be. Playing Arizona is beating up on the guy we already beat up on for three years… or losing to that guy. Just say no to Arizona.

As far as the 2015-2017 ND games turning into MAC games—snacks is out the window after last weekend—they might be able to get away with it in 2015, when they've got Utah and Oregon State already on the docket. 2015 is an ND/Nebraska home year. In fact, expect that slot to be filled with a one-off guarantee game.

2016 needs a marquee home game. The current home schedule: Colorado, MSU, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa. Unless the Buffs get it turned around in a major way, that's a repeat of this year's lame schedule minus the Dallas game. The Dallas game may have been a stupid thing to do but it was at least a hook for donors. Michigan needs one of those in 2016 and will have to return a trip in 2017.

As far as the limited playoff structure's incentives, I think the new system will be more inclined to reward quality nonconference schedules. Moving to a committee from polls makes it much easier to come to an agreement about the importance of tough schedules and promote last year's Oregon team over Stanford. Polls would never do that because no one is talking to each other and no common goal is settled upon.

Most years there will be a throng of one-loss teams arguing for one of two or three playoff spots, and those teams will be sorted out by schedule strength.

Let's not schedule Arizona!

Brandon won't schedule Arizona because…

I don't think Brandon would schedule Arizona because the risk / reward isn't there. If Michigan loses or splits with Arizona and Brandon's decision to replace RR with Hoke looks very bad. If Michigan sweeps Arizona, he's somewhat vindicated but given the number of down years Arizona has had, the expectations to win will clearly be on Michigan. Just my two-cents.

P.S. If RR came back to A2 with AZ, I would give him a standing ovation. Three years can change a lot of things, but if the game were played tomorrow, I'd probably be (secretly) rooting for RR to upset my own team. Does that make me a bad fan? Am I the only one who would feel that way? I wonder, though I doubt we'll ever know.

Pete

This is the thinking of a rational man. The first bit, anyway. I am not down with defecting to Team Rodriguez. Yeah, we screwed him. He screwed us, too. Let's just move on and not have that awkward conversation at the DMV.

In re: why Brandon won't do it, that's the same argument that everyone makes against the Horror II and that's still on the schedule. He does not think like other people. He likes to do things that get attention, no matter what sort of attention that is.

Let's fix our things!

Is Brandon going to take this opportunity to fix the odd-years-good-season-ticket, even-years-bad-season-ticket issues?  Perhaps, making it a point to schedule our new games so that they are not away in years we go to Braska and Hell-hole?

Presumably!

Side note: it is amazing how screwed Michigan got in the conference alignment breakdown. Not in OSU's division—which means I'm rooting for the bastards this weekend because it's in my self interest. The four other teams in the division who aren't Minnesota have crossover games with Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, and Purdue. Michigan gets Ohio State. And Brandon couldn't even wheedle out a tiny concession like splitting the Nebraska and OSU games. Hell, when Wisconsin comes on the schedule again Michigan gets all of them on the road in 2016.

The Big Ten division split literally could not have been any worse for Michigan.

They really should flip MSU and Michigan into the other division and hand Illinois and Wisconsin back. That's got better competitive equity now, especially from an intra-division standpoint. It preserves all the relevant rivalries without requiring awkward crossover games and provides a lovely parallelogram of hate between Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. And you can call them "East" and "West".

152590948_standard_1348608045_730[1]

Gardner slant suck.

This will just turn into more "you love Denard and cannot be trusted", but FWIW:

Brian,

I don't know if this means much but I played WR at a small college so I have some background when I say that the slant-interception was on Gardner. My HS or college coaches would have chewed my ass for days had I come out of a break that slow.

The key to the slant is your third or fifth vertical step is a hard jab with the outside foot and a sharp turn at less than 45 degrees to the inside. You get low over your toe on the break and accelerate across the middle. The DB is
going to be closing hard and when you round your cut or get out slow they beat you to the ball. I watched that in real time and thought right away it was on Gardner and the replay only confirmed that. He comes out of his break standing straight up and his first two steps are not full speed. Little guys run slants well because they are quicker out of breaks, big guys are better targets because they can block out a crashing DB. Gardner was slow out of the break and he was standing straight up so the jab step wasn't as convincing. That throw was on the money if Gardner runs a good route.

Now, the DB was in great position so that may mean Denard should have gone elsewhere but if Gardner runs a great route the worst that happens is a PBU.

Just my two cents,
Keegan

Denard throwing it directly at the CB actually lends this credence (also, like, this guy knows what he's talking about) since the DB is expecting the slant to go where he is so he can tackle; Gardner is not there and CB is like "look what I found."

This does not change my depression level because it just moves some of the incompetence to another guy who is critical to the success of the whole thing.

Fair catches.

Hey Brian,

I was wondering how effective you think it is to call for a fair catch when the ball is inside the 10. Shouldn't the returner gamble on the fact that it might bump into the end zone. Is there any real advantage to getting it at the eight instead of say the two?

The conventional wisdom seems to be shifting a bit on punt returns. Previously it was heels at the ten and no steps back. Now punts at the seven or eight often get fair-caught. Until someone charts the percentage of punts that end up in the endzone after landing at the five, six, seven, etc., we won't have a yes or no answer to this, but I think catching punts a couple yards inside the ten is the right move. The value of field position is close to linear for most of the field but plunges once we start talking about the one or two yard line:

2723338601_713161096f[1]

The reason for this is obvious: most coaches will trade a down for a yard or two instead of risking the safety. I had the Mathlete take a look at whether this was correct strategy a while back, but unfortunately can't find that post. IIRC, he said that was the right move given the costs of a safety and how frequently you'll suffer one if you just run your usual offense.

By catching the ball at the seven or eight you're giving up the shot at a free first down, essentially, but you're also removing that awkward situation where you're burning a down and still trying to get out from your own goal line. It's the safe play, and probably the right one.

Internet, you are called out.

Hi Brian,

Amidst all the whining about football refereeing these days, people are STILL complaining about Mike Lantry's kick in 1974.

You would think after almost 40 years of controversy that you or one of your nerdy engineering friends could use modern technology and run a computer simulation to end the dispute once and for all.

This is much more important than the Kennedy assassination.

Best regards,

Jay McNeill
West Bloomfield, MI

Well? I mean, he's right. Computer engineers, assemble!

Comments

PM

September 26th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

But for the record, my name is Pete and I did not send that e-mail. Also, I would not root against UM ever, even if I felt sorry for an overmatched opponent or whatever. Maybe it is Section 1, although it sounded too balanced (up to the last part).

coastal blue

September 26th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

They are both bad. 

There is no good involved at all in playing Appalachian State. Our upside is that we will be 1-1 all time against an FCS school.

Arizona could only be considered a successful series if were to stomp them 56-0 or something both times. Given that Rodriguez will have plenty of time without all the added pressure that he had here, as well as having Casteel, that's not going to happen. 

Let's save Arizona as a possibility for a Rose Bowl a ways down the road. 

roosterbaan

September 26th, 2012 at 3:14 PM ^

i can sort of see why brandon wants to play appy state again. i think he believes (probably incorrectly), that as long as we win and as painful as the hype leading up to the game will be, it will put the whole thing to rest in the media's eyes once and for all. i think he believes it will bury the whole horror for good.

i am still not a fan of it, but i think his rationale for it is different than arizona, so i don't think he'll scheule arizona. 

 

bronxblue

September 26th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

App St.  Arizona is at least a BCS team and might be good; teams play their former coaches that it really isn't a massive deal except to a couple of people.  But why beat the crap out of David after he slayed Goliath?  Nobody is going to say "Good on Michigan" for evening the series.  That game should be locked in a time capsule and buried in the middle of Michigan Stadium, not trotted out because "oh man, I bet Lee Corso will talk about it on Gameday", which is apparently David Brandon's sole measure of relevance.

M-Wolverine

September 26th, 2012 at 3:34 PM ^

So Brian's right, you never know if Brandon might do it.  I think on Brian's scales he's a bit off though. App State is reasonably low risk, low gain (except that it's not replacing a Notre Dame, it's replacing an Eastern Michigan, so you're getting some pub about a game otherwise no one would care about. Still small gain, but that's why it's not 0 gain).  Arizona is fairly high risk, and low gain. You probably have a better chance of losing to Arizona 3 years from now than you do App State, and you're gaining about as much if you win each.

Other than Brian's "revenge" theory, which, I don't know...are there that many people calling to stick it to Rich one more time? Prove us "right"?  I'd say there are more like Pete up there who want Rich to pay back Michigan than are really looking to "fire" Rich again.  Though it's probably an equal number of the fringes of each side.  

Which is another reason why Appy State isn't as bad: as weak as it is, we can still get a win against a program who is 1-0 against us, revenge if you like; do we really need revenge against Rich?  As Brian said, if we needed some sort of "payback" for 3 years of football, I think firing the poor guy was enough.  At least beating App State has some reasonable motivation to get a win against them, even if it shouldn't be that big a deal.

(Edit- if you really WANT to play Arizona, as a good number do, not just in the letters, but the posts of the "who replaces ND" thread, why?  I'm sure you can give some reasonable answers for your desire...I'm just curious, since Brian seemed to get bombed with the idea in his mailbox)

profitgoblue

September 26th, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

I think everything you said is spot-on.  The only thing I'll say is that the App State matchup is not appealing to me at all because I don't think any real good comes out of it.  And I first thought a matchup against Arizona would be interesting but, the more I thought about it, the more I realize that its a terrible idea.  No offense to others, but you're right M-W, only bad can come of it, especially the "marketing" in the press leading up to it.  Can you imagine how terrible Michigan will look in promoting that game?  "Come watch Michigan beat up on its old coach that they essentially ran out of town!"  No thanks.

M-Wolverine

September 26th, 2012 at 3:49 PM ^

Is a bad idea. It's just the reaction that the coming of it was the Mayan sign of the Apocalypse that I thought got overblown. I personally don't mind it, but I don't really have much reason to promote it as a grand move either. And I can certainly see logical objections to it; many. I just don't think it was worth melting down over.

And if you're going to make the comparison, as was interestingly asked, I'd say with little value to either, the fallout is more likely with Arizona. (Though if anyone has shown us there's always risk, it's App State).

profitgoblue

September 26th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

Vis-a-vie the Denard-to-Gardner interception, I think you can see the frustration on Denard's face after that interception if you watch it again.  I remember seeing it live and immediately thinking that was on Gardner after seeing Denard's reaction (and I am a layman).  Might be interesting to go back and check out . . .

the unsilent m…

September 26th, 2012 at 3:31 PM ^

I don't know if it was so much a true "slant".  It looked like Gardner made a double move, which froze the safety.  The safety wasn't crashing down on the slant when he picked the ball off: he was just standing there.  This looked more like a play designed to bring the reciever underneath the coverage, as opposed to a slant which is more or less a physical "shielding" of the corner.  I too, was frustrated after this pass.

Mon-L

September 26th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

Here's the best approach to RichRod - wish the guy well and move on. I loved the hire. Hated the results. And have zero interest in reliving the past over and over.

I hope he does great at Arizona and gets that program cranked up. His WVU teams were so much fun to watch. Good luck to him. They only Michigan Zona game I need to see is like the 2016 Rose Bowl.

ST3

September 26th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

Besides RR, the big problem with playing a home-and-home with Arizona is that you have to play @ Arizona in September, when it's about 120 degrees in the shade, so the game starts at 10 EST, ending around 1:30 am. I don't think Brandon would do that to the grey-hairs.