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 3:36 PM ^

You are still pretending your situation is anything like theirs and in any way comparable. Your jealousy is unattractive.

I wouldn't call it jealousy. It's a simple truth that most people at these schools would trade places in a heartbeat with the football or basketball players.  That the players don't also get paid millions of dollars doesn't really gin up a lot of outrage in that situation.

Frankly, on the scale of injustices, the fact that a tiny handful of gifted athletes has to wait a couple years before realizing the massive paydays they think they're worth, rates awfully low.  And a significant percentage of those could go start getting paid right away if they wanted to.


November 23rd, 2016 at 6:46 AM ^

If you believe that being able to play ball is such a valuable skill to society that justifies multi-million dollar salaries (as opposed to, for example, pulling people out of burning buildings, walking a patrol beat in a bad neighborhood, serving on a battlefield, dealing with the heartbreak that social workers do, teaching children, etc.), then continue with that line of reasoning.


November 22nd, 2016 at 3:50 PM ^

The argument is not about their skill set, but where they choose to use it. The purpose of universities is to help development skills (academic skills before all). If their skills are that profitable coming into the university, then why go that route when they are non-profit institutions? They go because they want further development and exhibition, in exchange for which they use their skills to help generate (for only 2-3 sports) some revenue to the department. Therefore, in a general sense, it is not fundamentally different than other students.


November 22nd, 2016 at 4:55 PM ^

?? They go because they don't have a choice. The NFL, totally arbitrarily, set a rule stating you could not join their ranks until the passing of your 3rd year out of HS. Otherwise, the ones who could go straight to the NFL, would. 

They come here because they are forced to....no other reason.


November 22nd, 2016 at 5:35 PM ^

It sounds to me like they do have a choice - they can do whatever they like for those 3 years out if HS. They can train somewhere else, play where they want (including abroad). If they CHOOSE to go to a university, they know it is not for an immediate paycheck, but instead is an INVESTMENT in themselves for a future paycheck (which is true for just about anyone going to school).


November 22nd, 2016 at 6:46 PM ^

The funniest damn thing in this whole discussion is that both MileHigh & crg voted for Trump without EVER having this discursive and detailed a debate with anyone who was voting the same way they were. If only there'd been anywheres near this much thought put into that decision...


November 22nd, 2016 at 9:51 PM ^

You are correct, Sir!

I AM prejudiced against anyone that rates the value of an endeavor in a scholastic organization by it's revenue stream. Both you and Tai have done so, even while arguing vehemently against each other over paying the athletes. So that's a little weird anyway?

Anyway, I lumped you...

So, if I judged your political stripe incorrectly based on that, I apologize. 


November 23rd, 2016 at 12:35 AM ^

If you don't judge it by its revenue stream, how do you judge it? Who gets to make the decision what's worthy and what is not? In my example, society makes the decision based on monetary success or failure. Otherwise it's a group of people arbitrarily deciding what's worthy and what's not based on their set of values.

And I'm not arguing against Tai, I'm supporting him. Don't expect you to understand that, though.

We both want those who generate the value to be compensated for it even if it means cutting sports programs that can't fend for themselves.


November 22nd, 2016 at 7:15 PM ^

Could easily see some politicians in Texas and Alabama touch it if they thought it would help Texas or Alabama football. Don't think gender politics matters much in those states, plus they could spin it to be fighting for minority rights (a disproportionate number athletes that aim to make money in this whole mess are black)..

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November 22nd, 2016 at 3:23 PM ^

I used to think in a similar vein. But then one has to look at the numbers. If you assume 25 scholarships per school for 125 D-I schools and then another 100 or so D-II/III school, that's a pool of ~5600 student-athletes. Out of them, 200 are selected for NFL bringing the ratio to about 3.6%. For all engineering degrees, students getting a "job" is much more than 4%. So even though football players seem to be making it really HUGE, overall that's a very small minority. Compare that to the other students and they can earn for a much longer period. 

Engineering and other students also get the chance to showcase skills for multi-milion dollar paydays - publish papers - go to conferences - do an MBA - get hired by McKinseys-BCGs and Hedge Funds. 

These student-athletes are also working 20-30 hours per week outside their class work - it's called practice/film study/team meetings.

I am trying to undermine your efforts. I am always awed and respect who can pull off study and work together. But compare their efforts to the rest of the student pool and you will find similarity. They are not some mystical creatures appearing every saturdays. They are 18-23 year old students just like the rest of us.


November 23rd, 2016 at 7:05 AM ^

I'm not sure who've you met, but I would probably not be able to name any engineers that were offered multi million salaries immediately after graduation. And it is true that all students have some form of opportunity to showcase their talents during school (publications, projects, conferences, etc. relevant to their field), I doubt any of them expect (let alone demand) to be paid for it as well. As to your point about the low proportion of student-athletes that actually make it to a professional sport, those that do not still had the opportunity to get an excellent education and earn a degree that can provide a successful livelihood - at reduced or no cost in most cases.


November 22nd, 2016 at 4:32 PM ^

Whether you acknowledge it or not, you Mr. Engineering ranter, are also benefiting from the football teams' efforts. And not just in being able to drink beer and having an excuse to emotionally invest yourself in a game played, in part, by teenagers. You benefit from the disproportionate amount of capital you gain in the workplace for going to a school that has a rich sports tradition. Not sure of your age, but without fail every job interview and subsequent job I've had enabled conversations about Michigan football, good years and bad. This allows you to differentiate yourself from the other nerds out there and build the relationships needed to succeed in the business world. You think MIT or Cal Tech students have that advantage? Not saying there aren't other ways to build connections, but sports, in a American business, goes very far. And you are an heir to the work that these players and teams have put in over decades to claim that mantle.


November 22nd, 2016 at 5:58 PM ^

Not sure about your experiences, but I have never had football play any role in my career prospects or interviews (in point of fact, most of the workplaces couldn't care less about sports). It is true that I am emotionally invested in the team's success and cheer them on accordingly, but I also follow the solar car team among many other UM organizations as well (also populated by teenagers in part). I gain no material or professional advantages from any of these organizations' success, but I enjoy the glory and accolades that they bring to the university. As both a fan and alumnus, this should be self explanatory.


November 22nd, 2016 at 10:49 PM ^

Surprised to hear that "most of the workplaces couldn't care less about sports."

Do you mind me asking, what do you do for a living? When did you graduate college? What type of organizations have you worked in?

Every single place I have worked or clients that I have represented has had some cultural artifact of sports in the office. It may not always be college football, but it was always there. In America, my man, this is an undeniable fact. It's the small talk you make at the cooler other than the weather and the where are you from script.


November 22nd, 2016 at 4:40 PM ^

I think it's a damn crime that ANYONE has to go 100k in debt to attend a public institution. That said, I begrudge athletes nothing if they're able to walk out with zero debt, which would include some money for basic needs as payment from an athletic department propped up by rich donors. I don't see the harm.

A better argument to have would be about funding our PUBLIC universities to the extent that they're as affordable for kids today as they were for me back...then.


November 22nd, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

I'm fine with increased funding, but universities also need to do their part and keep costs under control, especially in the administrative sector.   University budgets have ballooned like crazy in the past couple of decades, in spite of stagnant or declining state aid.  They then pass the cost onto their students.   


Leaders And Best

November 22nd, 2016 at 3:14 PM ^

Did anyone else notice that Maury Povich was the moderator at the forum with Delany?

BIG TIMES AT THE BIG TEN: Panel moderator Maury Povich referenced Ohio State’s 62-3 win over Maryland last Saturday when asking Delany if he was worried this his conference has turned into one of haves and have-nots.

I guess the symposium is named after his father who was a longtime Washington Post sports columnist. I guess you learn something new everyday.


Bando Calrissian

November 22nd, 2016 at 3:24 PM ^

I mean, it's OK--Bo basically saved that commencement.

The speaker was the head of engineering for Xerox, gave a totally dull speech that only drew applause when he said he'd helped invent spell-check... It was awful. Bo gets up there to get his degree after DB read the citation (which is understandable--he was a regent and a former player, who was unquestionably close to Bo), ad-libs an absolutely magnficient, typically Bo speech, and brings the entire stadium to their feet. I don't think he was even supposed to talk. He just did it, and it was good.

Mr. Elbel

November 22nd, 2016 at 3:25 PM ^

I'm driving the 3 and a half hours across that damn state tonight. Leaving Virginia for Flint with my fiance and the kids in tow. Always a joy to drive past AA on my way up. Last year for Christmas we stopped by the Big House and snapped a selfie in the snow that's sitting in a frame next to me at work right now. I'm so freaking pumped. Let's. Fucking. Go.