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 4:12 PM ^

JD Lewis is pretty good at getting off blocks and tackling in space (especially for being a pretty small dude).  I think that is one more reason why we'll see him in the slot on Samuel frequently.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see some earlier-down snaps (maybe many, depending on how our DL is doing) where we pull either McCray or Gedeon and pull Delano H up into their spot (on the outside).  I'd rather take my chances with extra speed than extra (or even standard) brawn.  Because Urban is going to work those edges really hard.

Huge game for Taco, Wormley and Gary to consistently set the edge.

CRISPed in the DIAG

November 22nd, 2016 at 4:19 PM ^

What exactly did Michigan do to Mike Weber - aside from not allowing the guy who recruited him to leave the day after signing day without? Shit, he had every opportunity to flip back to his hometeam.  I don't feel like clicking on Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

N. Campus Tech

November 22nd, 2016 at 6:50 PM ^

Weber decommitted when Hoke was fired. Mike didn't want to wait until UM hired a new coach. MSU wanted him to be a WR/H-back. OSU was really good. OSU's RB coach made a great sale's pitch the night before signing day. after committing to OSU, Weber was seen wearing M gear.

What wasn't mentioned anywhere was how hard Harbaugh was recruiting Weber. JH might not have been that impressed, or due to not having much time to get a class together, thought it was a better use of resources to go after other guys.


November 22nd, 2016 at 8:16 PM ^

No, no ... Harbaugh was on Weber like white on rice on the night before signing day.

Thought we had him right up until the Higdon flip came out.  That was the final straw for Mikey ... or he thought it was final, until he THEN found out the very O$U coach who was throwing shade at Harbs was in fact himself exiting stage left just days later.

Poor dude got yanked around. And now he's cursed with being only a Buckeye for his whole life, when he could have been a Wolverine. It's a shame, but sometimes you gotta play a weak hand.


November 22nd, 2016 at 5:00 PM ^

I'm not convinced bad weather favors us. Bad weather emphasizes the run game, I think that's advantage OSU. We've done ok on the ground, but stall against stacked boxes when there's no deep threat. With their spread style and running QB and +1 blocker, that's their bread and butter. 

Also, if O'Korn plays, I think weather effects him more than Barrett. O'Korn needs as few additional things to fluster him so he can get out of his head and settle in. He's been very competent when the pressure is off (Spring game, mop up duty) and needs some easy completions to calm down and get into that mode. 

Clarence Boddicker

November 22nd, 2016 at 5:08 PM ^

No more $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy? I tell you, these kids today with their twitter, their internet, and their underwear hanging out have no value at all for our proud traditions of 3 years ago.

GoBlue in IA

November 22nd, 2016 at 8:23 PM ^

Damn Brian, what a line today - can it be Saturday already!  Been reading this column for as long as I can remember and you hit it today.  Nothing can get satisfy my thirst for this game to be here - not hype videos, highlights or anything.  And I'm not even a grad of UM, just a die hard Michigan kid growing up during the end of the Bo era.  I'm nervous and excited about the possibility of us pulling the W in the 'shoe.

Go Blue from a mis-placed Michigan farm boy living in Iowa.




November 22nd, 2016 at 10:26 PM ^

Did anyone else watch that interview and do a double take when Bo talked about how one of the things that made the rivalry great was how both programs ran cleanly and above the board?!? I mean, this blog is biased a bit no matter how hard we try, but I feel pretty confident that UM runs a cleaner ship these days (and have probably for at least the past 15-20 years). Sanctiminous or not, I took some small measure of pride the past 15 years in knowing (or at least thinking) that UM didn't treat the rules as mere guidelines to be bent and tested. If I'm wrong about this, please tell me, but I've always thought of OSU as no better than the SEC or USC in this regard. Replacing Sweater Vest with Meyer after his very checkered past at UF doesn't exactly indicate that ethics are a major priority. It's all about the Ws and while I'm OK with that to an extent, I'd like to think Harbaugh and the program represent getting the Ws AND doing things the right way. 


[/end rant]


November 23rd, 2016 at 3:42 PM ^

Woody ran a very clean program.  No nonsense.  So did Earl Bruce.  

It drifted after that . . . Cooper's Arizona State team that won the Rose Bowl was all 'roided up.  He brought that same approach to OSU with him.  We know about Tressel.  Don't know about Meyer.

Things change. 


November 23rd, 2016 at 3:34 PM ^

I love this Jamie Morris quote from the Bo link:

“We were at the Penn State game in ’97, and he said, ‘Hey, stand right here,’ and he’s got a hot dog. He’s making me stand in front of the glass door so (his wife) Cathy doesn’t see him. She saw us. She said, ‘I’m mad at you, Jamie Morris’ and took the dog. I failed him. So when she went to the bathroom, I got him a hot dog. If he told me to run through a wall, I’d run through a wall and fire. That’s just the way he was."
Here's a famous multi-million dollar football coach and his All American former player sneaking some junk food like 7 year olds hiding from their parents.
It was a very human moment that made me laugh my ass off.