Unverified Voracity Just Wants It To Be Saturday Comment Count

Brian November 22nd, 2016 at 2:24 PM

Rivalry bleah. I find myself completely unmoved by all the rivalry stuff this week, from OSU trying and failing to remove Ms from their campus to Markley spelling out "FUCK OSU". I don't care that Rivalry Game Is Personal For Player, whether it's Mike Weber or Mike McCray. Rivalry Game is personal for everyone on ever roster. Rivalry Game is personal for me. It is personal for everybody.

Does your rivalry item accelerate the pace of time? No? Not interested. Anyway, here's some stuff that does nothing to accelerate the pace of time.

Four minutes of Bo and Woody.

Ohio State things. JT Barrett had a typical JT Barrett bad weather game against MSU:

It was another classic game in this the “Year of the Running Quarterback” as Barrett posted a 55.9 passing grade but made up for it with a 92.6 effort on the ground. He was clearly affected by the wind, with passes floating all over the place and one throw that was dangerously close to a disastrous turnover, but the Buckeyes relied on him heavily to make good decisions in their run/pass option game and he came through with 122 yards on 20 carries. Even on a day where he finished 10-for-22 for 86 yards, Barrett showed that he can still provide enough value in the run game to keep Ohio State in games.

Under Barrett, OSU's passing game falls apart in crappy weather with a consistency that's undeniable at this point. This weekend's weather... partly cloudy, tiny percent chance of precipitation, 9 MPH winds. Subject to change five days out, but doesn't look like we'll be getting Bad Weather Barrett.

OSU made up for it by running for almost 300 yards against a makeshift MSU defensive line minus Malik McDowell. If Michigan cannot significantly outperform MSU, they will lose. You'd expect they would, but if you're in a believe-it-when-I-see-it state when it comes to Michigan shutting the OSU offense down, I don't blame you.

OSU had extreme issues protecting the passer against Penn State, giving up pressure on almost 50% of their dropbacks. Those issues were mitigated shortly thereafter, but one dollar says those are still lurking. Adjusted sack rates:

  • Penn State: 21st
  • Northwestern: 79th
  • Nebraska: 42nd
  • Maryland: 15th
  • MSU: 121st
  • Michigan: 1st

OSU's offense is 67th at preventing sacks. Their run stats are all terrific save for explosiveness—Barrett and Weber are not big play threats and Samuel doesn't get enough touches to make up for it—and that's what'll come down to. Passing downs should be a major advantage for Michigan... if they exist.

Time for a change? Ross Fulton notes something about the Michigan defense you may have noticed watching Mike McCray try to shut down huge swathes of space:

The Buckeyes’ best matchup is Samuel to the edge and as a receiver against Michigan’s linebackers and safeties. Brown often prefers to put Peppers to the formation strength.

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So Meyer and his staff need to use alignment to target the edge away from Peppers – where the Wolverines are left dependent on the less athletic Will linebacker Mike McCray for edge support. And the Buckeyes need to provide Barrett sufficient time for Samuel to work option and out routes from the slot – or routes from the backfield – against man coverage.

I would not put it past Don Brown to make a change here. McCray was exposed in all that space against Lorenzo Harrison and would be again against Samuel; he can get better, but it's not a great matchup. I also wonder if Michigan is going to stick with cover one and a bunch of man coverage—OSU does see many people play man against them for obvious reasons.

Brown's been great so far this year but this is the game he was hired for. Much rides on his ability to stay one step ahead of Urban Meyer.

In one graph. Impossible to defend:

Meanwhile even Power 5 schools raking in piles of cash are seeing a large proportion of their athletes on little to no scholarship money:

All of the colleges Allison was considering provide scholarship assistance up to the NCAA limit in the sports they sponsor. But a closer look at athletic-aid distribution at one of those institutions, North Carolina State University, shows how scarce the dollars are for many athletes.

More than 200 of NC State’s 558 athletes last year had 20 percent or less of their costs covered by athletic aid. Outside of football, basketball, and the four other sports that can [ed: I this is actually "must"] award full athletic scholarships, just 27 Wolfpack athletes were on a full ride.

Power 5 autonomy has not seen these gaps close. The money just keeps rolling in, and going somewhere. Not to the people who earn it, or even the people who are potentially incurring piles of debt to be athletes.

Basketball WTFs. One of these events is weirder than the other:

  • Northwestern hammers Texas 77-58 in a neutral site game. Barking Carnival runs down the good, bad, and ugly, with "everybody driving the ball," "everybody shooting free throws," and "everybody passing the ball" in the latter category.
  • Illinois loses to Winthrop at home. Winthrop is one of those good-but-not-that good low major teams you should be scheduling to prop up your RPI, but you have to, you know, win those games to prop up your RPI.

Which is weirder? It's got to be Northwestern. Illinois has not been good under John Groce, who is Big Ten basketball's Darrell Hazell. Groce was hired after a brief MAC tenure ended well—you probably remember. He was hired on the strength of three games.

One of the reasons Big Ten basketball is rather good is that there's a much deeper pool of head coaches to poach. Indiana plucked Tom Crean after seven years at Marquette including five tourney appearances; Michigan grabbed John Beilein after five years at West Virginia. Maryland got Mark Turgeon after he took Texas A&M to the tourney four straight years. Thad Matta was at Xavier, coming off three consecutive Kenpom top-25 teams.

There are various head coaches who moved up from MAC-like leagues. Fran McCaffrey had three straight tourney bids at Siena, with his final two teams ranking #67 and #59 in Kenpom and has more or less worked out at Iowa. The rest are guys at Minnesota, Penn State, etc. Illinois should be hiring like Michigan and OSU, not Minnesota and Penn State.

Speaking of Illinois, here's a crazy Illinois stat. Via Illiniboard:

I’ve mentioned this stat 131 times but one more won’t hurt: in those eight years, in the Power Five conferences, every single school has had at least a Sweet 16 appearance in basketball or an eight-win football season (with a solid bowl game) except for two: Illinois and Wake Forest. Colorado WAS part of that group, but Colorado just won their ninth game on Saturday and is headed to a great bowl – perhaps even a New Years Six bowl. And, as someone reminded me on Twitter, if Wake beats Boston College this weekend (and they probably will), they’re a bowl win away from eight football wins.

I didn't think I was getting into what I ended up getting into when I started this here blog but the all-time I've Made A Terrible Mistake By Starting This Blog champion is Robert at Illiniboard. Keep him in your thoughts the next time you consider rooting against Illinois for Gary Moeller or something.

Administrative leave is not a good sign. Barney Farrar, the gentleman mentioned in Laremy Tunsil's text, is placed in the plane of Limbo:

OXFORD - Ole Miss has placed assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, Barney Farrar, on administrative leave, according to a report from Rebelgrove.com.

The website reported Farrar did not accompany the football team to Texas A&M last weekend and that he's not expected to travel with the Rebels to Vanderbilt this weekend.

Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork declined to comment on the situation, as did a university spokesman. Attempts by The Clarion-Ledger to reach Farrar were unsuccessful.

Something less than good is coming down the pipe for Ole Miss.

Etc.: Nebraska and Minnesota seek to throw the $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy down the memory hole. Michigan was the only Big Ten school to flat-out say no to Friday games. Remembering Bo. The program from his memorial service, including the Lloyd Carr speech. (Guess who's on the first page!) Rivalry Game Personal for Mark Donnal. Rivalry Game Personal for DJ Wilson. 2K classic keys. Ten Year War 2? Peppers profiled. Fake tickets are bad.



November 22nd, 2016 at 2:27 PM ^

Brian the Curmudgeon returns!

Does your rivalry item accelerate the pace of time? No? Not interested. Anyway, here's some stuff that does nothing to accelerate the pace of time.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 22nd, 2016 at 2:29 PM ^

It's time. This game is me, this game is you, this game is Mike McCray. We are ready and we're winning this year. For the first time my children will celebrate a win at OSU. We all remember but now it becomes real again.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 23rd, 2016 at 12:32 PM ^

"I would not put it past Don Brown to make a change here. McCray was exposed in all that space against Lorenzo Harrison and would be again against Samuel"

I cannot recall who (found it: Coach dad on 11/21 "Looks like Brown found edge solution") but one very learned reader posted some plays from Indiana where DB seems to have made a change to relieve edge pressure on McCray (LBs) already. It was absolutely full of very technical assessments on edge vs gap responsibilities (Ghost 9?!), how McCray was shaded differently in this past game, etc. It'll all be UFRd I'm sure...


November 22nd, 2016 at 2:38 PM ^

Interesting take on Groce, he's basically a much less established John Beilein. His teams are usually below average on defense, live and die by getting out in transition, and struggle mightily without hitting a plethora of 3 balls.


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

In the world of having to pick your poison a bit, I'll gamble on Stribling versus Brown in coverage.

If our DL is getting pressure on Barrett, he is a lot less likely to do consistent damage in that matchup.  Strib isn't JD, but he's pretty darned solid in coverage.  Brown is good, but he isn't a straight up mismatch.

Brown is probably better downfield than Samuels, but Samuels is the game changer for them.


Mr. Yost

November 22nd, 2016 at 5:22 PM ^

This is where losing Jeremy Clark KILLS us.

We were using Clark and Strib on the outside WRs and letting Lewis take the slot.

I was told firsthand, that this was going to be the plan and basically if at any point in the game an opposing WR was getting hot they'd switch and have Lewis shadow that guy and figure out the slot with someone else.

That's how much they think of Lewis. Basically he can play 3 positions and he's going to take away your best receiver - no matter who that is.

Losing Clark is tough, but I'd be interested to see if they still don't move Lewis inside on Samuel to start and then bring in Lavert Hill or Brandon Watson to man the outside. If either of those guys can't cut it...we'll just have to go back to what we've been doing and pray Peppers and McCray can contain him.


November 22nd, 2016 at 2:39 PM ^

It will be interesting to see if Brown tries to contain Barrett in the way that Northwestern did more than he tries to sack him.  I fear that going all out to sack him will lead to a death by a thousand cuts that involves Barrett picking up first downs on the ground over and over again.

oriental andrew

November 22nd, 2016 at 4:51 PM ^

As poorly as JT Barrett performed as a passer, he still gained over 100 yards on the ground against msu. He's definitely a guy who can make things happen with his feet when plays break down (and he's a hoss to bring down).

I Am Not A Defensive Coordinator, but my simple brain tells me not as many exotic and/or all-out blitzes, maybe some movement on the DL to confuse the OL, and spy Barrett. The question that raises is who he uses as the spy and if he does, indeed, move Peppers to the wide side of the field. 


November 22nd, 2016 at 5:47 PM ^

But he used at BC verse the likes of Clemson and ND. They are designed to meet at the mess point of the read plays that spread to run teams use. He will use those for sure.
I'm also in the camp of throwing everything at him. Run blitz on early down and blitz again on passing. Exotic it up. I don't think the oline for osu will be able to handle that. I mean, we all expect them to get a few chunk plays anyways. Might as well have a few guys playing in their backfield all game and put them behind the chains.


November 22nd, 2016 at 4:44 PM ^

That '05 punt to let Troy Smith march it down the field in our house (with everyone knowing we couldn't do anything at all to stop it, other than hold our breath and hope for a fumbled snap) for the game winner was the epitome of what many of us despised about the latter half of Lloyd's reign.



Goggles Paisano

November 23rd, 2016 at 6:07 AM ^

I bought 4 tickets from that douche for that game.  Fortunately my credit card company credited the $800 back to my account and then I found 4 more for $700 or something like that. The biggest thing I remember and it still pisses me off to this day is when Carr trotted out Rivas on the 34 yard line (or something like that) on 4th and short to pooch punt.  We were pounding it on them and a first down there equals game over.  We had that game and coached not to lose.  


November 22nd, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

and therefore to all the students. It does not go to Simon Legree types who go laughing all the way to the bank as they twirl their mustaches. How people don't see this mystifies me. 


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:12 PM ^

I don't think that's correct about most athletic departments.  It's true for Michigan, and perhaps a majority of Power 5 schools, but smaller schools like EMU, and even some Power 5 schools, ask students to pay a special athletic fee as part of their tuition.





November 22nd, 2016 at 4:06 PM ^

And those two examples you clipped may not be how you'd decorate your home, but they are certainly an example of the money going back into athletics.

Not in a food on the table, the heating bill is paid way, but in a "I like this, I feel good about myself" way that so many of us also spend our own money on ourselves.

We ALL recognize the entire endeavor is a farce, but we all pay good money to participate in one way or another, and there's no shortage of willing participants on the "labor" end as well.

This is a Greek Tragedy, illustrating eternal human failings in a manner that shows there is no answer. Well, for public consumption the Greek playwrights had to say the answer was in fealty to the Gods, but really, there was no answer....

Here's a debate topic:

How would you distribute the monies? Then follow your own solution with at least two possible positive and two possible negative ramifications. Get to work

snarling wolverine

November 22nd, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

I don't think most of the money actually flows back to the football program.  Some does, but there's a huge overall sports operation to maintain.

The graph posted above is deceptive.  it contrasts gross revenues with one budgetary expense (athletic scholarships).  It's not like that's the only expense and everything in between those two lines is profit. We've got a couple dozen sports teams to feed, train, tutor, provide accommodations for (either in the dorms or by giving them rent checks for living off-campus) make travel/hotel arrangements for - we do all that for several hundred people.  And then you've got coaching salaries, maintaining all the sports facilities, paying for all the people who work the games, and so on.  Many athletic departments aren't actually profitable at all.



Jackie Moon

November 22nd, 2016 at 7:02 PM ^

Two ways to decrease the difference in that graph:

  • Charge less for tickets and have larger margins in ticket reselling market and have less money go to athletic departments
  • Spend more on scholarships (i.e., pay athletes)

I'm not sure it is not that impossible to defend.


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:05 PM ^

I'm not sure the issue is the doubling of revenues considering it is quite possible (and looks to be true) that spend on the athletes has also doubled (more or less) in the same timeframe.  Without the initial numbers disclosed, one cannot tell but the story/issue here is not the growth in revenues.  It is the percentage of spend on the athletes.  If you want to complain, focus on that.  The increase is not really the real complaint issue.  Problem with that take is it doesn't serve your purpose/view as that revenues have exploded and athlete spend hasn't. I wonder what you would say if both have been constant around 10% in the first year of the graph....

The graph should include the initial numbers and % to be a more viable analysis.


My 2 cents.


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:34 PM ^

While the facilities arms race is absurd, that's not where the bulk of athletic spending goes. Most college sports teams lose money.  Of our 27 varsity sports, 24 of them (everything except football, men's basketball and ice hockey) are in the red in a typical year.  That's where most of the money's going.  If you financially support Michigan football, you're helping to underwrite a lot of other sports.

If you significantly increase compensation to student-athletes, some of those non-revenue sports will likely get the ax.  They don't make a lot of financial sense as it is.   




November 22nd, 2016 at 5:06 PM ^

I'm in favor of axing most, if not all, of the sports that can't support themselves. I don't see why my tickets for football need to be so expensive so johnny tennis player or suzie rower can have an athletic scholarship to a sport no one cares about. Especially when you consider the disparity in facilities (meals, study hall, access to tutors, etc.) between athletes and regular students. At somepoint it gets to be a bit ridiculous when the athletes get the A+ stuff and regular students paying full price for everything get B+ facilities. It's untenable in the long run. 


November 22nd, 2016 at 6:06 PM ^

It might surprise you to know that the concept of "athletic scholarships" only goes back a few decades.  For a long time, the guys playing at Michigan Stadium and elsewhere were all paying tuition like everyone else.  The athletic scholarship was invented as a recruiting tool for football (MSU actually pioneered this practice) and it's become this unwieldy beast that's contributing to athletic budgets everywhere collapsing.

My argument is not that schools shouldn't field sports teams, but that they should be fiscally responsible in doing so.  We don't need a $20 million rowing facility.  


November 22nd, 2016 at 5:36 PM ^

That's an absolutely horrifying idea.  It should never see the light of day.  Without athletic scholarships to those other sports, they'd completely dry up at the high school level, too.  And many sports, like hockey or baseball, can support themselves at some schools but not others.  So if those that can't support them get rid of them, they'll likely find themselves unsupported at the other places, too, as the competition disappears.

College is where a lot of our best athletes train for things like the Olympics.  What you're proposing essentially says let's never be good at Olympic sports and let's never allow anyone to play a sport unless you're interested in that sport.  Oh, you say, but we would just establish Olympic training centers for all these great track stars and tennis players.  Yes, and how are we going to find them if high schools don't have those sports?  Again: No scholarships for anything but football or men's basketball means nobody would ever take an interest in anything but those sports.  Leading to the end of their existence in high school.  I like how you think that not only should girls have all their opportunities taken away, but boys too, unless they happen to be good at the sports you like.

Worst idea ever.  I'd rather have Dave Brandon in charge of Michigan sports for eternity, than put your idea into place.


November 22nd, 2016 at 6:02 PM ^

Your argument would only make sense to someone from the United States.  This notion that schools must field high-level sports teams is a particularly American thing.  Most of the university graduates worldwide - and even many in this country - attended institutions that either did not field sports teams at all or had club-level teams.  They find it utterly bizarre that we've let sports infiltrate our schools like this.

For the record, I don't have a problem with universities fielding teams in all these non-revenue sports, but I don't see the justification in spending enormous sums of money on them.  It makes no financial sense and just makes it more expensive to be a fan of the sports that actually do make money.





November 22nd, 2016 at 6:19 PM ^

Your argument would only make sense to someone from the United States.

I mean, what difference does that make?  We have our ways and they have theirs.  They also find it strange we care so much about football and use that word for a totally different sport than them.

The justification in spending enormous sums of money is that we have that money and have to spend it on something.  Do I like the incessant revenue chasing?  Not one iota.  But since they have it, what do they do with it?  I'm not in favor of paying players like professionals.  That would only drive the revenue chase into even more of an overdrive than it is now.  It might be a bit silly to build a $20 million rowing palace, but I have no problem with giving rowers the same support as football players.  The last thing I would want is for the level of support for various sports to be perfectly correlated with how much money they bring in.