Slanted And Faceplanted

Submitted by Brian on November 6th, 2017 at 12:12 PM

11/4/2017 – Michigan 33, Minnesota 10 – 7-2, 4-2 Big Ten


FACE TO FACE [Bryan Fuller]

Michigan has a new starting quarterback, a highly touted redshirt freshman who flashed potential a week ago. This week he got his first-ever start, completed some simple throws early, and then went home to have a cheese sandwich. Probably? Maybe? I don't recall if he continued playing after the first drive.

He probably did. Starting quarterbacks leaving the stadium during a game tend to make the news. I think I remember a hitch on third down in there somewhere, now that you mention it. But if Brandon Peters hadn't stayed around the result would have been little different, because Michigan's rushing game can optimistically be termed a Ground Assault now. Michigan assaulted a large number of Gophers on Saturday night. They did not battle or fight or contest Minnesota, because all those terms imply a certain evenness. They assaulted Minnesota, like a gang of Hell's Angels descending on a gaming convention. "Aaaaaargh, why are you still playing Settlers of Catan instead of something fun," screamed Michigan's running game, metaphorically. Also, I hope, literally because Catan is trash dot emoji.

I don't even have to subtract sacks to bring you a stat that's absurd: 10 yards per carry. Ten. One first down of yardage per carry. Also this:

In three weeks there will be a ripped from the headlines Law & Order episode in which Michigan is convicted of murder in the zeroth degree, because of this game. Ice T will accuse Michigan of being hopped up on Zebra Glitter and only be half-wrong. Michigan is hopped up on life, Ice T. Life and 60+ yard rushing touchdowns. And murder.

24323897138_6e18844989_z (1)


Touchdown murder.


And now for the lame bit: hoping this sticks. Falling apart at the end has been the fate of all excellent Michigan football things over the past decade or so. The 2006 defense. Denard Robinson's elbow. Chad Henne's shoulder. Last year's top 5 team. Michigan's pursuit of David Cutcliffe. All of these things ended poorly.

Also some less than excellent ones like Brady Hoke. And last year's passing offense. You probably don't remember this but this was the state of Michigan's passing attack after nine games last year:

  • Speight's 8.9 YPA leads the Big Ten by almost a half yard and is 11th nationally.
  • His 15-3 TD/INT ratio is second in the Big Ten to JT Barrett (21-4).
  • His passer rating is now five points clear of Perry Hills for best in the league and is 14th nationally.
  • He's fifth nationally in ESPN's QBR metric, which accounts for rushing yards and SOS.
  • S&P+ now has Michigan's passing attack third(!) in the country.

I wrote that and can barely remember it in the soup that followed. Michigan got ambushed in Iowa City the next week—though not as ambushed as Ohio State did on Saturday, amirite—and Speight got hurt at the end of that game. Since it's been somewhere between coping and total disaster against teams not named Purdue.

So it must be mentioned that the parking lots that were once Rutgers and Minnesota are very likely to be terrible run defenses, and Minnesota's was badly hurt by their injury issues in the secondary. Back when Harbaugh was hired I talked about his Stanford offenses, which went against the prevailing trends in college football by putting very big guys on little guys; here Michigan put no guys on the littlest guys. They ignored the Minnesota cornerbacks and saw that decision pay off with a series of comically bad attempts to execute a run fit. This kind of hamblasting is always equal parts you, the opponent, and luck.



If you're still waiting for the other shoe to drop, that is a well-learned tendency. I sort of am as well. The last two opponents did not have sufficient confidence in their secondaries to jam everyone forward, and they were probably correct to do so. Michigan's passing game is still almost totally nonexistent, and the two heavies at the back end of the schedule are going to make Michigan suffer for that deficiency.

Probably, anyway. Michigan has been steadily building to this for half a season and will continue refining now that they've put their foot down and become a thing. That thing is a semi truck careening wildly towards the end of the season. Maybe it will flip over in a ditch. Maybe it will careen right through a series of animals and trees until the thick paste on the grill is an unspeakable mélange of the defeated.




no no no no no no no no no[Eric Upchurch]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Khaleke Hudson. Michigan appears to have noticed what we did while taping the podcast on Sunday: Chase Winovich got credit for the sack on the intentional grounding call. They've fixed that and are now claiming 3 sacks and 8 TFLs for Hudson. The former is a solo Don Brown Hat Trick; the latter is a school record. So, yeah, that's good enough.

Gotta block that punt, though.

#2(t) Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. The backs edge ahead of their top blockers this week because they made a lot for themselves. Higdon ran through Cesar Ruiz on his first big run and set a number of others up with hard cuts after initial feints that bought him a second level block. For his part, Evans ripped off two 60+ yard TDs, the second one featuring a broken tackle near the line of scrimmage on an unblocked linebacker.

#3(t) Mason Cole and Ben Bredeson. Two gentlemen that did work on the opposition defense, consistently and ruthlessly. JBB and Ruiz narrowly miss because their pass protection was alarming.

Honorable mention: Mo Hurst did his usual Mo Hurst things. The rest of the front seven was impregnable on anything but a jet sweep. JBB and Ruiz and Kugler do deserve some recognition for their ground efforts.

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue)
7: Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU, T2 Minnesota).
6: Mason Cole (#1 Cincinnati, T2 Rutgers, T3 Minnesota).
5: Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana, #1 Rutgers), Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU, #1 Minnesota).
4: David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU)
3: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana))
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue, #3 Rutgers), Mike Onwenu(T2 Rutgers), Chris Evans(T2 Minnesota).   
1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana), Ben Bredeson(T3 Minnesota).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Uh... let's pick the first Evans touchdown, on which he broke a linebacker tackle and then glided into the endzone.

Fun fact: I always think "glode" is the right past tense of "glide" for one point six seconds.

Honorable mention: Higdon's enormous touchdown. The other enormous Evans touchdown. Enormous Higdon run that doesn't reach the endzone. Khaleke Hudson tomahawks the ball out from Demry Croft; Hudson tackles for loss like seven more times.


Quinn Nordin misses another extra point. What's the deal man? #collegekickers? Let's not #collegekickers. Let's not do that at all.

Honorable mention: Nordin pushes a 49 yarder just wide; Peters is thundersacked on third down on consecutive third quarter drives; Minnesota has a legitimate touchdown drive; rush is stopped for three yards. Hudson doesn't block that punt.

[After THE JUMP: oh also a defense]



hello nice to see you nice to meet you hello [Upchurch]

Ruiz starts but does not finish. With Mike Onwenu out, Cesar Ruiz got his first start at Michigan. This was filled with promise and peril, as touted freshman OL's first starts always are. Ruiz and JBB did their share of hammering on the right side of the line; Ruiz was at fault for Brandon Peters getting squashed flat by Minnesota's meatball defensive tackle.

Despite Ruiz getting yoinked after that it says something that Michigan went with him instead of Runyan, who's seen a fair number of meaningful snaps this year and was in contention for the right tackle job. If he's pressing for a job already hopefully he'll be ready to step in at center next year.

The other episodes of very bad pressure. First sack was a long-developing PA that saw nobody pick up an edge blitz; either Cole or Poggi was probably responsible. Then: JBB can't hold up, JBB can't hold up, JBB can't hold up, etc. Kugler blew a stunt on one thundersack; Ruiz thought he was getting a stunt and let a guy through on the other thundersack. Three sacks on 16 dropbacks is deeply alarming, except it's just how it goes.

Right, the quarterback. Brandon Peters had a few routine, efficient throws early and then Michigan's ground game obviated any need for passing. He did have a nice sidearm throw on a heavily pressured waggle, and then there were a couple misses that were pressure-affected. After the chop block call at the end of the first half he had Schoenle for most of second and 23 but couldn't fully step into the throw and put it wide.

Then he took the two thundersacks to open the third quarter; his next throw was a duck to the fullback in the flat. Michigan then ran until they were in third and six; he converted with a hitch to DPJ. A play later it was 27-7, and two plays later it was 33-7, and at that point both teams decided to grind it out and go home.

A man who does not do both. JBB features in the previous bullet point as a major problem with the Michigan offense, but it's not a coincidence that the rushing offense took off when he was inserted. He has been crushing people. He more than anyone else was responsible for Michigan's first long touchdown, as his ability to move the relevant DT about four yards gives Higdon enough space to run away from the cornerback:

He is an intimidating thumper of a run blocker. As a pass blocker he's an intimidating thumper of a run blocker.

One cut. Earlier in the year I complained about Michigan backs' tendency to be "zero cut runners." They've mostly shed this tendency; Higdon in particular made a series of sharp cuts to set up a block and ruin second-level guys. FOX's director (Rick again?) got a number of very useful endzone replays of Michigan's long runs that will feature in UFR. Upshot is: Higdon is now running on paths that take him outside of a block he has no intention of going outside of; then he plants and fires upfield, leaving guys in the dust.


nobody to block [Patrick Barron]

Gotcha. Michigan's first touchdown was an RPS play on which they went tackle over; with McKeon at "left tackle" Minnesota didn't account for him as a receiver, and the throwback screen was an easy six. The play before this was another new play, a fake pitch with McDoom running an intermediate route on a waggle type substance; that got called back on an irrelevant and fairly silly illegal man downfield call on JBB.

Chop block. Michigan was cruising towards another TD at the end of the first half when Patrick Kugler was hit with an illegal chop block call. He pulled, left the tackle box, and went low on a linebacker. That looked entirely typical to me so I asked twitter if anyone knew if or why this was a penalty. The responses: yes, no, yes, no, yes, no. Jake Long was rather peeved about the call:

If it is a penalty it's because you have to cut someone from the front—from 10 to 2 on a clock, they often say. This one's tough because Kugler is indeed cutting a guy in that zone if he's square to the LOS and it looks like the guy turns outside after Kugler makes his decision. It's the offensive equivalent of getting a targeting call because the quarterback slid his head into the strike zone.



like a bag of dirt [Fuller]

A year in a day. Well then: Khaleke Hudson. Hudson got a 99.9 from PFF after his record-setting day. This is good. It's probably not a trend. While Hudson was maximally effective in his role it didn't ask him to beat many blocks, at least not right away. All of his sacks saw him effectively forced way upfield, but good coverage and a lack of awareness from Croft gave him time to run around the edge of the track and still get there. A number of his other TFLs were corner blitzes where he got to go clobber the running back instead of contain the QB.

He executed all this to a tee; one particular TFL on Rodney Smith looked like it was going to be a missed tackle until Smith went down like a brick. He's established himself as a top-notch blitzer. Don Brown loves Hudson's blitzing so much that he was willing to put linebackers on the outside to keep him in the box. That is no longer possible, but if Michigan upgrades its athleticism at that WLB spot next year it may be again.

Gotta block that punt though.

Script and then done. Minnesota had some early success, moving the ball on their first two drives and getting a touchdown on the second. Once Michigan adjusted to Minnesota's new stuff—a couple edge pitches vaguely similar to the speed option that got Michigan against PSU and some slants were early successes—it was over for the Gopher offense. Michigan did take a bit longer to get the various jet sweeps defensed, but this is another game where the drama in the fourth quarter is whether or not the opponent will get to 200 yards. (Answer: no.)

Second start for Solomon. Michigan again spent most of the day in a 4-2-5 with Aubrey Solomon getting most of the playing time that had previously gone to Mone and Furbush. Solomon got blown out from time to time but also had a number of impressive moments where he won and discarded his guy productively.

Hurst's NFL draft reel is going to be 15 minutes long. He added another couple of candidates in this game, one a bull rush sack where he almost literally threw his blocker into the QB.


More like WHY-ldcat, amirite? I have no earthly idea why Minnesota thought that appropriating the Penn State wildcat thing would bring anything except pain. Save for one cutback lane that was coached out of the Michigan defense as soon as it occurred, it did not work for Penn State, and PSU actually had a real mesh point. Minnesota did not, and by the second half Hudson was ignoring the outside runner with impunity, because at no point was the handoff actually made.

Poor damn Tyree Kinnel. Minnesota tried the corner route to the slot receiver that everyone's been trying this year. Kinnel broke it up smoothly; Kinnel got a ridiculous flag. He's had some issues in other aspects of his role but the corner route stuff is a straight up curse. Kinnel did get a measure of revenge later by jarring the ball loose on third and goal and forcing a sad field goal.


Hill has been knitting a sweater the past month [Eric Upchurch]

Meanwhile, the corners. Someone asked me on twitter when the last time a corner was targeted and I could not remember. This is sort of my fault—the CBs gave up a couple of completions in this game—and sort of not, because other than that and like one pass against Rutgers they've barely been a factor the past couple weeks. Before that they wrecked Simmie Cobbs* and observed the rest of the defense getting immolated vs Penn State.

*[If you doubt he is good you should watch the UW-Indiana game, which I saw most of. Wisconsin's hoodie-bearing cornerback interfered almost constantly and got called 3-4-5 times; he should have gotten another couple calls. I have an irrational hatred for football players in hoodies, by the way. But I'm totally right about this.]


Seriously though. How?


FFS [Barron]

I guess that's why he got a 99.9.

Wither my dear sweet kicker. A missed extra point and a missed 49-yarder that just pushed wide at the last minute. What has happened to my perfect precious freshman kicker? Oh, the travails of the world. Fie!

Punt exchanges went poorly. Minnesota's Ryan Santoso spent most of the game hammering 50 yarders; DPJ got a couple of return opportunities but nothing huge resulted. Michigan got a chintzy hold call on a big DPJ return that cost them some 30 yards of field position, too.

Michigan's punting was not up to snuff. Brad Robbins just squeezed over 40 yards a kick. No returns, but the punts were so short you don't expect them.


PJ Fleck says things! So... uh... what?


A chip is a physical object that is a smaller bit of a larger physical object. You can put it on your shoulder. A crack, like a hole, is defined by the lack of physical object, and cannot be put on your shoulder. Also I don't even want to get into the difficult conversations for breakfast thing. Have a sausage!

Ejected for yellin'. Tyree Kinnel's innocuous, fairly dainty shove got a frustrated Minnesota OL to take a swing at him. Josh Metellus ran in like he was playing hockey and someone had whispered at his goalie... but he didn't actually do anything other than get in that guy's grill and inform him that he'd disappointed his mother. The ejection there was unwarranted, surely. Can you get kicked out of a game for saying bad words? Surely not, right?

Not that Metellus was saying bad words. I imagine he was telling the guy that punching someone wearing a helmet doesn't work. Because of the helmet, you see.

I would do this if I was a student manager. I would make a bunch of play boards and hold them up during the game. They would have nothing to do with anything, but 1) they would be awesome and 2) maybe someone would waste time trying to figure out the significance of the nonsense we're running out there. Related:



My version of this would just be stills from The Big Lebowksi, but that probably went without saying.

Jug security. Chase what are you doing


BAD NO BAD [Barron]

oh god Chase is the worst person to give the jug to



okay that's better, but still i mean it has a handle


Best and Worst:

Best: Rock

I swear I've written this analogy before, but I guess if it rings true there's no reason to deny it. Some football games feature a pitched battle between two teams trying to out-flank each other, to employ misdirection, counterplays, and true creative playcalling to attack their opponent's weaknesses and adapt to their counters. It's like when you open up the full Madden playbook and realize the hundreds of different formations and wrinkles to said formations that most teams possess. Brian has the RPS metric for a reason, and oftentimes you can determine who won or lost a game based on who got the upper hand in these sideline matchups.

And other times, you can just keep throwing Rock because the other guy either doesn't understand Paper exists or knows Scissors is all he's got. This game was a classic Rock fight.

Satisfaction index. Some penalty stats. RIP to AKGOBLUE97.


Baumgardner on the grind:

Here, Juwann Bushell-Beatty completely punishes a defensive tackle. Ben Bredeson has an easy kick out and an inside linebacker thinks better of challenging Khalid Hill head-on. The safety helps out with a bad angle and that's how you score a 77-yard touchdown power run without being touched.

Also with more quotes. Karan Higdon has a chance to be Michigan's first 1000 yard back since Fitz Toussaint. Jeez.

On Ruiz:

They held an open competition.

Three players took reps at the position, including true freshman Cesar Ruiz, redshirt freshman Stephen Spanellis and junior Jon Runyan, Jr, graded by Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno after every practice.

"Cesar won it," Harbaugh said. "And I thought he played really well."

Snap counts from PFF have a couple interesting bits: Lavert Hill is basically a full time starter with Watson and Long splitting time, and Solomon had a 2 to 1 snap edge on Mone. Maize and Blue Nation. We're #21. Jug photos from MVictors. Sap's Decals:

COACHING CHAMPION – Offensive coordinator and interior o-ine Coach Tim Drevno gets kudos for a couple of things: 1) Calling a good mix of runs and passes that were executed with little or no negative plays early when the game was close. (2) Having a short leash with some of the O-Linemen when Missed Assignments caused plays to break down. Playing Time is the biggest factor a coach has over his players. MA’s will greatly hamper your PT in a hurry. Hopefully the short leash will get their attention and reduce the numbers of MA’s going forward.

Congratulations: now you're a Rutgers fan. Hudson stuff. Evans and Higdon stuff.


Yinka Double Dare

November 6th, 2017 at 12:43 PM ^

Obviously that sign meant "can we stop those guys who may as well be the Night King and The Man In Black from running through our whole defense? Stranger Things have happened, but probably not. Also this broadcast is being directed by Rick"


November 6th, 2017 at 12:46 PM ^

Passing game is really worrying right now. The running game may work perfectly fine against Wisconsin and OSU, but if they can bring their athletic secondaries into the play a perfectly block counter can still be snuffed out after three yards because the safeties can fly downhill and devour it. Troubling that the coaches felt they couldn't risk passing in a time when Peters needs live game reps to grow. 

Either Peters has to grow up in a hurry, or Speight has to get better quickly (promising quotes from Harbaugh this morning!), or the defense has to pitch a shutout against Urban Meyer.

On the OL: it's funny that JBB is so good at run blocking and so bad at pass protection. The upside here is that he can be transformed as a player (and NFL prospect!) if he can just flip a switch into a good pass protector. Probably late for this year, but it seems like it would be nice to have Greg Frey basically just spend the rest of the season one-on-one with JBB coaching him in pass pro. 

If JBB can develop that skill our offensive outlook is completely different. This year if he can get it (I'm skeptical), next year if necessary (possible--he can make millions if he turns the corner). 


November 6th, 2017 at 3:02 PM ^

Any O line coaches out there? Why do some guys seem to excel at one aspect of the game vs. another? 

It would seem to me that run blocking would be harder, because you have to memorize traps, 2nd level blocking, etc. while pass blocking (seems) to be just setting up a perimeter and holding the line for a few seconds. But maybe its more physically demanding? Requiring quick feet and faster twitch muscles? 

I remember Lomas Brown being awesome at pass pro, but he had such a huge wingspan. 


November 6th, 2017 at 3:06 PM ^

'athleticism'.   good pass pro means even though you are 6'5"+ and 300 lbs+, you can very quickly slide left or right in space, not just in a gap, though that is sometimes required.  you are usually trying to hit someone who is moving very fast themselves.  

run blocking can involve some of that and certainly a better athlete will have a leg up on that too, but you can be a reasonably smart, large and ill-tempered guy and be a good run blocker.  less quick/hop/step/pop needed. 


November 6th, 2017 at 1:26 PM ^

felt it was risky to pass. When your ground game is so effective you stick with it and grind out the run. Heck if Issac had been healthy I bet we have 3 backs with 100+ yards in one game.

Play the game as it comes and stick with what is working can't get thinking ahead during a game. Now saying that I do hope they throw a little more against Maryland and give Peters a little more work as well as our OL as all will need to continue to grow and improve before our last two games. Our running game has been improving every week and think we will continue to do well even against Wisky and OSU but will need a little more balance to beat both teams.

Don't think Speight is the answer. He has been horrible this year and after being out for several weeks I don't want to see him back in there. Peters has done a very good job managing the offense and if he plays a decent game against Maryland he is our best hope to win the last two games.


November 6th, 2017 at 1:58 PM ^

My personal take is that the QB is no longer the problem, and the passing game would be fine if we could get better protection from the OL and if our WRs would stop getting injured. 

I'm not saying Peters would be TB12 with a better supporting cast.  But he really only needs to do enough to make defenses respect the threat of the pass.  I think he's shown enough to do that already.  But Ohio State definitely and possibly Wisconsin have to figure (i) short routes to TEs and FBs are not going to beat them, (ii) their DBs can lock down our inexperienced WRs, and (iii) their DL can get to Peters before a long passing route could develop anyway.  


November 6th, 2017 at 2:58 PM ^

I can't imagine the kvetching if Speight was inserted back into the starting slot. 

I like Peters. I hope he stays in; if only partially because I hate the idea of Speight taking a hit with recently cracked vertebra (I was at the Utley game. I was at the game where Reggie Brown broke his neck. No more spinal injuries in football for me, thanks). 

That said, Speight might come in and bring an offense with a power run game some balance because he has the whole playbook in front of him. 


November 6th, 2017 at 3:12 PM ^

I've come to believe that the majority of the passing issues have always been on the other 10 players lining up on offense.  It doesn't mean the QBs are without blame, but even in this game you saw Michigan unable to handle sorta basic pass protection responsibilities and receivers still couldn't consistently get open.  DPJ had a nice hitch but als dropped a very catchable ball, and a couple of times it felt like there weren't guys really open until 4-5 seconds into the play, which has been a problem all year.

My guess is Peters is the starter all year and then there's a real competition in the off-season, but I don't remotely understand those people who say Peters should be the starting QB forever and ever amen.


November 6th, 2017 at 2:52 PM ^

oh god Chase is the worst person to give the jug to

okay that's better, but still i mean it has a handle

Eh, I wouldn't trust the Jug's handle.  I'd carry it from the side also.


November 6th, 2017 at 12:52 PM ^

Khaleke Hudson is who we thought he was. HE IS WHO WE THOUGHT HE WAS. 


Also, that announcing was one of the worst in recent memory. Somehow their guy was in the right for punching our guy, but our guy was terrible for the push... And for some reason they went back to it like 4 times. Awful. 


November 6th, 2017 at 12:54 PM ^

Pass-blocking, he's like an elephant at the circus that is standing on his hind legs trying to grab a peanut. That's ridiculous and why we go to the circus, but still, he's an elephant. Let him do what elephants do. Rampage in the run game.

I think he's getting a little too much blame for the pass protection woes. There was a corner blitz from Cole's side (RPS -3,) a Kugler biff (look up, man, don't bury your head in the defender's chest,) and Ruiz' complete whiff that got him pulled. JBB is no Magnuson pass blocking, but he's destroying fools in the run game. Let the big man eat. Do what we do best.


November 6th, 2017 at 1:01 PM ^

I'm becoming irrationally excited about our run game now. I started having visions of Higdon and Evans blowing past blurry Buckeyes and leaving a trail of salty bucknut tears in their wake. I just hope to god we can come up with a passing strategy against OSU that - at minimum - keeps the defense somewhat honest.

Shop Smart Sho…

November 6th, 2017 at 1:03 PM ^

If David Molk isn't busy, can he be hired in the offseason to some random position that requires him to do nothing but teach Ruiz how to identify slants and make good line calls?

Because I'm really banking on Kugler and youth being the biggest issues with this year's line when it comes to pass protection.


November 6th, 2017 at 1:04 PM ^

Got 12 days to figure out how to pass protect. If the run game can go from not great Bob to dominant, maybe they can figure something out. Otherwise, Peters is going to die. 


November 6th, 2017 at 4:33 PM ^

Trivial Pursuit retired that trophy decades ago. Just try sitting through 5 minutes of some doofus maximus trying to figure out who's buried in Grant's Tomb, guessing correctly just as the room was ready to defenestrate him, then rinse and repeat five more times. Your turn comes, and then in the category of "History" the question is what soap opera was interrupted with news of the Kennedy assassination.


November 6th, 2017 at 1:14 PM ^

Jon Falk was on WTKA last week and specifically mentioned that the weakest place on the jug (and therefore worst place to hold it) is indeed the handle.  He did not mention anything about tossing it in the air.

yossarians tree

November 6th, 2017 at 1:19 PM ^

I too was gasping at the sight of a young Scandinavian thunder god tossing around the oldest trophy in college sports like he was twirling pizzas at a children's birthday party.

Jon Falk should have a word with him.


November 6th, 2017 at 1:19 PM ^

A qualified agreement re: Catan:

"Aaaaaargh, why are you still playing Settlers of Catan instead of something fun," screamed Michigan's running game, metaphorically. Also, I hope, literally because Catan is trash dot emoji.

Catan is fine for what it is - a gateway and/or ambassador to Euro-style boardgaming that you can teach to almost anyone.  The Green Bay Packers like it, at least one of your friends likes it and the brand has made Mayfair a ton of money and introduced many people to the hobby.

It doesn't stand up to more than a few playthroughs, though - the robber mechanic is so punitive that it generally trumps smart pre-planning and resource allocation; morever, since it happens when you roll a 7 on 2x d6, it's an annoyingly frequent part of the game.  Although the generally accepted calling card of Euro/modern-style boardgaming is that it eschews the negative player experience of elimaination and rewards strategy over dice rolls, Catan is still heavily dependent on the randomness of the dice.  The other major quibble that's probably just me is that there's always gonna be one slick-talking sales guy who hoodwinks novice players into making bad trades that enable his eventual win.

That said, I don't hate Catan - it's just not my bag.  Now, Fluxx - that's a fucking annoying game I actively hate because not only is it pointless, it actively celebrates its utter pointlessness and in a way that's completely fun-deprived.