Unverified Voracity Just Wants It To Be Saturday

Submitted by Brian on 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 7:11 PM ^

What exactly is the proper proportion?  They're already compensated better than literally 99.9% of the student body.  I wouldn't hate giving them a fixed stipend of some kind, but as I've said in the past, 1) capitalism is a lousy system for college sports, and 2) on the list of injustices, having a couple hundred athletes temporarily not paid what they're capitalistically worth is way down there, somewhere below throwing a player out of a game for a bogus targeting call.  

We have a system that works pretty well for probably almost a hundred thousand athletes.  Making it worse for most of them so that a small handful can have it better, because capitalism, is a terrible idea.


November 22nd, 2016 at 9:18 PM ^

I believe that those opportunities currently are only able to exist because of exploitation of a few hundred, and as football revenue increases, the degree of exploitation increases. People always hate the analogy, but I think it works just on the parallel and obviously not on the scope by any means, but ending slavery ruined the financial well-being for a ton more people than there were slaves, but that financial well-being was only possible because of the exploitation of slaves.

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November 23rd, 2016 at 8:46 AM ^

I strongly disagree with this here:

as football revenue increases, the degree of exploitation increases.

I don't think there's any such measure as "degree of exploitation."  A football player is no worse off whether his athletic department makes $1 million or $100 million.  His situation is exactly the same.  I don't believe he's "owed" anything more.  If a company becomes more profitable, they don't just run out and give everyone raises - they generally hire more people. Similar to how an athletic department might add a new sport.  That doesn't mean the "degree of exploitation" has increased for the current workers.  It means more people got an opportunity.

This will sound harsh, but there are people running college sports with outlooks like yours and MileHigh's - where everything is seen only in terms of monetary value.  They have names like Jim Delany, DeLoss Dodds, and Dave Brandon.  Their cold, calculatimg, money-only approach is why we play Rutgers every year instead of playing for the Jug.  Its why Texas doesn't play Texas A&M and why Kansas doesn't play Missouri.  It's why we have games against Alabama in Jerryworld that we don't want to bring the band to.  The band cost money, and didn't provide value, so we tried to cut that.  How many people were in favor of that?  It's why our team was forced to wear bumblebee uniformz that distracted from their MSU prep.  Game prep doesn't sell jerzeez.

Those people have killed rivalries and destroyed traditions and generally accelerated the slow walk of college football toward the soulless corporate ways of the NFL.  Does anyone like that?  And I will guarantee you this: if you and he were to get your way, and nine-tenths of college sports were killed off, the money would not go to altruistic things like reducing ticket prices or academic support.  Don't kid yourself it ever would.  You'd turn college football into professional football, and a couple hundred players would have ever-growing millions waved at them while they were 17.  This would not improve anything one iota.


November 23rd, 2016 at 9:02 AM ^

I disagree with the implications of paying athletes. If you start giving the money to the athletes that generate the money, then the Jim Delaneys and David Brandon's stop caring about how much money they make because there will be a fraction to work with compared to now. I think it will actually end up decreasing money is sports overall

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November 23rd, 2016 at 11:14 AM ^

The model you want more or less exists in the NFL, and it hasn't made anyone in the NFL stop caring about money.  I don't think there's any evidence to believe that corporate money grubbing types will stop money grubbing.  The Dave Brandons will always care about money - Jim Delany didn't put Rutgers in the conference so that Big Ten teams could more easily sponsor tennis.  In fact, what you want is to more directly tie money-spending to money-making.  That's always going to lead to more money-grubbing, not less.


November 22nd, 2016 at 7:36 PM ^

I mean, what difference does that make? We have our ways and they have theirs.

It's important to remember that "our way" is not the only way, nor was it even how things used to be here.  In 1997, Michigan football tickets cost something like $27 apiece, with no PSD.  Michigan sporting events were quite cheap to attend for a long time.

The justification in spending enormous sums of money is that we have that money and have to spend it on something.

We have the money now because we've repeatedly asked our football/basketball/hockey ticket holders to stomach price increases. And we justify it by saying that Michigan needs to be able to be competitive in 27 varsity sports. As a season-ticketholder, I'm not a big fan of that argument. The Sears Cup (or whatever it's called now) and the off-chance of training some Olympic athlete do not outweigh the ever-rising cost of buying tickets. We're seeing signs nationwide of the attendance bubble starting to burst, which really shouldn't surprise anyone - people are getting priced out of the market. Michigan needs to tread carefully here.


November 22nd, 2016 at 7:52 PM ^

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth here....at one point you said it was vitally important for us to keep the system as-is or we risk losing our Olympic dominance. Now it's, "what difference does it make?".

And we could spend that money a hundred different ways that would be better than spending $20,000,000 on a rowing complex. We could:

1. Give it to the athletes that earn it;
2. Give it to the school to improve the academic experience for ALL students, not just a limited subset.
3. Use it to lower tuition costs for ALL students
4. Use it to lower the cost of tickets so more people could enjoy the games live.

So so many good ways to use that money.

Were you one of these athletes from a revenue losing sport by any chance?


November 22nd, 2016 at 9:18 PM ^

I did not play a sport in college, for whatever that's worth.

And you're missing the point on the "what difference does it make" quote.  The point is, why should we care if our way is different from the rest of the world?

You and others, by the way, are making one big contradiction.  You don't like the cost of tickets and you think they should be less "so more people can enjoy them."  Well, they're charging what the tickets are worth.  If you're going to demand the athletes be paid what they're worth, you shouldn't have a problem paying what the tickets are worth.  You can't be a champion of capitalism except when it hits your pocketbook.

For the record, I don't like ever-rising ticket prices either and can give you a rock-solid guarantee that paying football players "what they're worth" will not result in lower ticket prices.  If you think it's an arms race and a money grab now, wait until schools need that money to compete for recruits.  If you like advertising and the money chase, by all means pay football players loads of money.  They might be able to fund that for a short time by telling five hundred or so athletes they might want to get acquainted with a FAFSA form, but only temporarily.


November 22nd, 2016 at 6:14 PM ^

I think you need to chill out a bit.....there are lots of people playing sports that don't give out scholarships at the HS level and losing scholarship opportunities at MICHIGAN may not effect them at all. What would end up happening is that smaller wealtheir schools would specialize in those sports that are out of favor under my plan. Those sports, at Michigan, would suffer but other schools would surely see an opportunity to diversify their student body and pick up the slack - especially the Ivies and other elite lib arts colleges. 

Those sports would not disappear simply because Michigan no longer supported them. How many HS athletes do you think even GET a chance at a scholarship? I would bet it's less than 10% but people still love to play sports - they just would pay to play them instead of getting a free ride. Also, your Olympics example seems strange to me considering there are only 558 Olympic athletes on the US Summer Squad....there would be ways to accomodate those athletes (and their competition) at other colleges and universities. 




November 22nd, 2016 at 6:30 PM ^

The Ivies already sponsor a ton of non-revenue sports, and so do the "small, wealthy" schools you propose would pick up the slack.  You're saying that one door would close and another would open, but that door is already open.  People already pay to go to Williams or Amherst and play tennis and whatnot.

What you propose is to take away a couple million dollars from athletes in some sports and give them to athletes who already stand to make millions of dollars.  Why, exactly?  To what purpose?


November 22nd, 2016 at 7:36 PM ^

To what purpose? To give value to those who produce it instead of those who do not. Football is a collision sport and at any moment these guys to lose their shot at the big time due to injury while playing for Michigan. The same cannot be said for Tennis or at least not in any meaningful numbers as compared to football. Give this guys some of the hard earned money they create while risking their bodies for our entertainment.

And again, they create the value, not the tennis players....who don't have to wait to go pro if they are good enough to do so ... Which is not the case for football or basketball.

And this doesn't even touch the economic disparity between these two groups. How many tennis players have a story like Jabrill's?


November 22nd, 2016 at 9:08 PM ^

Wait, so coming from a more privileged background means its OK to take away the opportunities we currently provide them?  I thought I was the one being a communist in this thread.  Who cares about the economic disparity?  And for the record, you will probably find thousands of soccer players, women's basketball players, sprinters, and so on, spread all around the NCAA, with stories like Jabrill's.

Basketball players, by the way, can absolutely go pro.  They can go straight to the D-League or play in Europe.  Europe will pay those guys millions.  They did for Brandon Jennings, and they'll do it for others.  Why do they all go to college if it's so unfair?


November 23rd, 2016 at 12:11 AM ^

Because they don't get paid millions in Europe. They get paid peanuts, have to live FAR from home and in a culture they don't understand.

And the opportunities of the privileged are there artificially. If not for football and basketball, those opportunities would not exist - this is the crux of my argument. THEY CANT PAY FOR THEMSELVES!

And yes, you are the communist. Taking away from those who create value and giving to those who don't is the very definition of communism. And that's what you espouse with your arguments.


November 23rd, 2016 at 6:40 AM ^

Yes, they can and do get paid millions in Europe.  The few that bother, anyway.  Brandon Jennings signed a contract worth over a million and a half for three years.  That's not peanuts.  $500K+ a year is a lot.  So what if it's far from home?  You're the one being capitalist here.  If that's not a sacrifice that's worth it to them, then obviously the money isn't worth it either, is it?

In case you haven't noticed, I really don't give a shit if sports can't pay for themselves.  It's worth it to have them.  It provides multitudes of benefits to hundreds of thousands of people, and frankly, society at large.  Yes, I mean hundreds of thousands.  Athletes, coaches, administrators, construction workers building rowing palaces, parents who don't have to help pay for college, and by the way, easing up on the government-provided student loans.  If a couple hundred people have to forgo being paid millions for a couple years so that those hundreds of thousands can have "artificial" benefits, I really do not give a fuck.

snarling wolverine

November 22nd, 2016 at 8:31 PM ^

Honestly, fuck the Olympics.  I'm fine with them going away entirely.   

I have football tickets and love going to the games, but it's not that easy to keep paying more every year.   Certainly, it's easier to take with Harbaugh as our coach, but still, they wouldn't need to ask so much from us, the ticket-buying public, if we weren't propping up so many non-revenue sports.   Let's face it, they're non-revenue because they aren't popular for people to watch.  So what exactly is the logic in spending a ton of money on them?  


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:24 PM ^

No kidding... that would be pandora's box.  People in favor of athlete compensation (at least beyond some nominal pay/inflation) have no idea what they are asking for.  I can only imagine what would happen with academic people having to manage a budget/payroll like a pro team or company.  People can argue they already manage/run a budget, but I think that's somewhat short sighted (at least for public universities where tax dollars are provided).  When a team has a bad year (say MSU/ND for example) and ticket sales/revenues drop, do they cut players/salaries/people?  

matty blue

November 22nd, 2016 at 4:16 PM ^

suggesting that common, average students get any benefit at all from the money flowing into athletic departments is silly.  in the rare department that is 'self-supporting,' the vast, vast, vast majority of the money goes right back into the department, be it for unnecessary facilities or unnecessary 'smile ambassador' types hired specifically by the department to pursue more athletic department revenue.

how people don't see this mystifies me.


November 22nd, 2016 at 4:58 PM ^

Or to support financially the other sports that can't make it on their own - that's my biggest beef. Why the fuck should any other sport get a dime of the money they don't generate? Why we provide scholarships to certain sports (like tennis or rowing) where the vast majority of the athletes could afford the tuition, unlike for football, is mind boggling. So many problems with this system I don't even know where to start.


November 22nd, 2016 at 6:34 PM ^

Well MileHigh, you have started somewhere, but you started in a terrible place and then headed down the wrong path from there!

Either inter-collegiate athletic participation is a "good" on its own or it's not. IF it's a good, then it's worth the University fielding teams in sports other than what are generally considered "revenue" sports. That is because this "good" is an important part of the collegiate experience for these athletes and their sports. And ultimately leads to the continuation of the "Olympic sports" themsleves - although I'd wager you don't personally consider that too important MileHigh.

IF, otoh, inter-collegiate athletic participation is NOT a "good" on its own, then even football and basketball have no place being offered by universities, under their aegis and bearing their colors and logos. It's simply an economic endeavor at that point, offering no "benefits" to the students who participate, only to those who spectate. We may be dangerously close to that already for the thousands who never make any living from the sport they participate in, if indeed participation itself is not an inherent "good."

But truly the worst part of your argument is that it can be extrapolated to the classroom as well, slashing courses and programs that don't fit a budget or meet a return on investment criteria. This is likely already happening as well, and then you don't truly have a "University" anymore, do you?

You have Heald Institues with fancy pedigrees...


November 22nd, 2016 at 8:00 PM ^

I guess based on time stamp that you were replying directly to my points about whether inter-collegiate athletic particiption has in and of itself some inherent value? If it does, then it doesn't really matter whether you're into lacrosse or whatever. 

If it doesn't then we shouldn't be participating in it at all. That's my point.

I guess I'm between the various points on this debate being posted here. Some don't want athetes compensated monetarily, you do. Some don't want the school offering any benefits to non-revenue sports (apparently including you), while I feel if there's value in it for the athletes, then that's worth doing as much for wrestling as for football.

My problem is when it gets down to people on this blog or in the community arguing that what doesn't interest them has no value, and what can't be proven to be monetarily self-sufficient shouldn't be supported, that in a college setting that too easily translates to the academic offerings as well!


November 22nd, 2016 at 7:43 PM ^

What are you talking about? Other countries have olympic teams that do very well without having their university students subsidize the sports. 

And in no point in your rambling mess of an argument do you talk about the non athlete student body....what's best for them? 

And where do we draw the line? Why not have full scholarships for every possible sport in existence? How about ping pong or e-sports that are so popular now? 

Your arguments make no sense.


November 22nd, 2016 at 8:27 PM ^

Well my arguments may make no sense MileHigh, but we'd never know that from your reply because you didn't address them, like - at all...

IF there is value in playing sports - for the ATHLETES - and I don't mean monetarily but as an experience, then it's just as valuable for the diver as the hooper, the grappler as the gridder.

IF on the other hand we're only talking about the monetary value as a business endeavor for the university, then call that what it is, and don't ascribe any higher value to the competition than it's monetary value.

I'm just saying that once you begin to view the value of University activities through the prism of profitability it can be a slope, encompassing the entire body of offerings.


November 23rd, 2016 at 12:26 AM ^

You're arguing about the value of athletics for the athletes but what about the average student who doesn't get to have these experiences but is paying for others to have them? Frankly, there is zero point in having sports tied to academics but if you're going to do it, at least keep it to the ones that can cover their own costs so others aren't baring the costs for a small population of the university to have these experiences.

matty blue

November 23rd, 2016 at 8:03 AM ^

i have no problem with supporting other sports...if i believe that football is a valid pursuit, then the creation of other sports is fine, too.  intercollegiate athletics are...fine, insofar as they exist.  whatever.  scholarships, sure.  i just have a problem with chasing more and more and more money, be it via tv or uniforms, or whatever, for the sole purpose of advancing those departments further.

i'm well aware that there's no small amount of hypocrisy here.  i'm conflicted.

but go blue anyway.

Yinka Double Dare

November 22nd, 2016 at 2:48 PM ^

Northwestern also lost @Butler in a game that was tied with 30 seconds left (Butler held for the last shot and hit a contested jumper with 0.5 left). Butler is probably going to be their usual decent self, making the tourney, finishing 4th-ish in the Big East, etc. I think some of the talent Collins has been able to bring in is starting to come to fruition at Northwestern?

(of course now watch Vic Law and McIntosh go down hurt because Northwestern)

Also Northwestern has a guy whose name is Dererk Pardon. Not Derek. Dererk. If you were going to go with an odd name, shouldn't you go the full monty and go with Begyar Pardon?


November 22nd, 2016 at 2:58 PM ^

I will never shed a single tear or have a moment of pause for "student-athletes" complaining (or their proxies) about not getting paid while getting a full-ride to some of the best schools in this nation (and world, for that matter). On top of which, they get to develop skills and showcase them for potential multi-million dollar careers - while still getting the possible glory and social status afforded to modern college players. But, what would I know - I only put in my time for two engineering degrees, with tens of thousands in loans and working 20-30 hours per week outside of class to help pay for it... maybe I was just a special case.


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:06 PM ^

The are not sacrificing anything for someone else - they are in for their own advancement also. They can get injured, of course, but they are well informed of the risks by the time they reach a major university (and they are also full grown adults capable of making their own choices).


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:14 PM ^

Why should "their" situation be different from any other student in the university? Or, for that matter, any student who decides to play a sport on the side (which is why it's called an extra-curricular activity). If they want to be paid immediately for playing a sport, they are in the wrong venue. There are minor leagues for almost every major sport, including abroad. They chose this institution and the restrictions it entails.