Unverified Voracity Lets Freedom Ring

Submitted by Brian on November 3rd, 2009 at 3:44 PM

Note. In case anyone hadn't noticed, the restrictions implemented Saturday were lifted yesterday, so things should be back to normal. I think it worked out pretty well; there were a number of threads that got deleted but overall things here were way less dumb than elsewhere, thanks in large part to turning off the ability for people to sign up to vent. That system will return in the aftermath of future HEAD ASPLODE type events.

There have been complaints about censorship, to which I say nuts. Example of a pulled thread:

F--- me.
F--- my life.
If football can't fill the void in my life, i'm just going to have to turn to booze and sluts. 

This is noise, and things on the internet get ruined when the signal to noise ratio gets too low. The MGoBlog trend is ever-increasing levels of restriction as the blog grows to keep the ratio relatively high, and that won't change.

Also BONUS. I've turned on the ability for folks to use Windows Live Writer to put up diary posts. For now it's restricted to 500+ point folk; once I know it's up and running without incident anyone will be able to use it if you like. Complicated instructions will allow you to access much more convenient picture uploads and tagging and whatnot. It's just a better editor in all ways. (protip: the main column is 560 pixels wide.)

Mac/Linux people will have to pound sand. Sorry.

Fun fun fun until daddy's head explodes, leaving chunks spread across the county. So… was yesterday's appearance on WTKA fun or what? Yes, it was fun or what. If you'd like a hear a man attempting to hang on to the last shreds of his sanity, there are podcasts:

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4 || Part 5 || Part 6

Sorry I can't embed them; WTKA's site is a little less than modern.

If you just want to get to the part where smoke comes out my ears, MVictors has helpfully clipped it out. Now I'm going to go put my head in a bucket of ice. Maybe I'll steam some broccoli at the same time.

Elsewhere in last weekend, This Week In Schadenfreude sticks Michigan—and yours truly!—above the fold. Peek into the terror that is my inbox.

Mary Sue got your back. President Coleman with the long-term vote of confidence:

"I don't think it's fair to coaches to bring them in and say, 'We're going to give you three years,'" she said in an interview on Friday, citing a recent example. "When [former men's basketball coach] Tommy Amaker came in, we stuck with him for six years. It just wasn't going to work; it wasn't the right fit. But it wasn't a rushed decision."

Note that the statement specifically implies not just next year but the year after for Rodriguez. Short of a major violation from the Freep jihad—which I will reiterate is not the expected outcome from anyone on the Michigan side of things—Rodriguez will get to 2011, at which point it's up to him.

Why the suck? We're living in an era of college football hyperbole thanks to the 12th game and bowl games now counting as official stats, but not retroactively. Every good multi-year starter is now breaking or threatening this record or that. There's no better example of this than Juice Williams approaching the top five in all time Big Ten passing yards. All these records mean nothing.

But there's one area of hyperbole that's not hyperbole at all: we are really living through an era of the worst calls in college football history. Before the advent of replay, bad calls were just bad calls and were relatively understandable since they were irreversible split-second decisions. Now, though, replay officials can commit the cardinal sin of screwing up an obviously correct call. Here's a touchdown from the Indiana-Iowa game:

This was ruled a touchdown on the field and overturned by the replay official. It is in the building when it comes to worst calls ever made because some guy saw indisputable evidence—watch the field turf change color as the IU receiver's foot rakes over it—of a touchdown and called it not a touchdown. (It's not very far in the building since I can think of two more egregious ones off the top of my head: Brandon Minor's pylon-aided touchdown against Michigan State last year and the onside kick Oregon was awarded despite never even recovering the ball.)

So, a question: why are confused goats allowed to run these things? Honestly. There is no other explanation for this stuff. A few years ago refs correctly called Antonio Bass down against Iowa and the replay official overturned it despite clear evidence that the reason the ball came out was Bass's elbow hitting the ground. They failed to overturn that ridiculous Domata Peko touchdown. On the Indiana call above it is so obvious that the PBP guy immediately says "oh he dragged that right foot" as the spray of fieldturf pellets goes up. Most replay calls are that obvious on a first viewing, and yet they take five minutes and there's a reasonable chance the guy in the booth can't see what's completely obvious to everyone watching the game.

I don't know what the fix is, but I think a major problem is that replay officials are often referees who have been put out to pasture. Therefore they are crazy and old. Putting crazy old people in charge leads to things like Florida State's defense. It is not a good idea.

You grow like a weed. Hope burgeons for your #15 Michigan Wolverine basketball team (who wants some FREE PPPPPIZZAAA) for a variety of reasons, mostly Manny Harris and Deshawn Sims. Big Ten Geeks has put together a great study that provides another reason for optimism:

The big, overarching conclusion is this: a player shows the most improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons than he does any other offseason. In fact, the freshman offseason improvement is, on average, greater than the improvement between a player's sophomore season and his senior season.

Here's the o-rating chart:

orating-freshman-sophThat's one of four graphs that all say the same thing: older players are better and younger players get better faster.

How this applies to the Big Ten this year:

freshman-minutesSchwing. Indiana is a runaway winner here but their goal is to go from one of the worst teams in a major conference to one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. Amongst actual contenders no team should see its players improve more than Michigan and the only team that's even somewhat close is Minnesota. The bounce Michigan gets should be significant.

I'll add in my default caution: past performance is a better predictor of future results than past results. Michigan's past performance lags behind their past results—they finished the year #50 in the Pomeroy rankings instead of the 40th-ish their tourney seeding suggested or the 32nd-ish their second-round status suggested. That's the baseline from which I'm measuring improvement, and from that perspective I've thought projecting a leap into the top 15 was optimistic. 25? Sure. 15? Probably not. The above chart is convincing enough to close some of that gap, IME.

You rang? There are three main questions going into the season. One: can Manny Harris reduce appearances of Evil Manny to a couple here and there? Two: will one of the wing players step up to be a true three-point gunner with an eFG percentage Salim Stoudemire would be proud of? And three: will we get anything from a big lumbering gumpy white guy?

BLGWG #1 is Zack Gibson, who can't shoot threes like he thinks he can and doesn't do much offensively but has erratic moments of OMGIBSON ownage. College bigs like him often take some time to get it together and find themselves blossoming into useful, even good players their senior year. Examples from recent Michigan vintage include Graham Brown and Chris Young. And late last year Gibson was a huge factor on defense, making a lot of plays that no one else on the roster can make for reasons of being 6'5" tops. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a quasi-breakout year that no one except Michigan fans notice.

BLGWG #2 is Ben Cronin, who Mike Rothstein hyped up a few days ago on AnnArbor.com:

“My legs are in the best shape they’ve been in in a long time,” Cronin said. “I’m sure it’s going to turn over on the court where I guarantee I’m going to be a little more explosive than I’ve ever been. And my endurance is going to be better because of the track, so I’m really excited about where I’m at.”

Cronin is what Beilein looks for in a big man. He’s intelligent. He has good passing skills, something demonstrated during Saturday’s open practice when he found cutting players from the high post.

He’s also demonstrated the ability to shoot three-pointers - something Beilein’s most well-known big man, former West Virginia center Kevin Pittsnogle, was known for.

There's no way Cronin is an effective or frequent three-point shooter and the conditioning/hip issues are probably going to limit him to 10-15 minutes a game—Beilein says Cronin "doesn't have his bounce back" in the article. But in his cameo last year before the injury redshirt he showed some skills to go with his hugeness. If he can spell Gibson effectively Michigan will be able to roll out a decently sized lineup against the big thumpers of the world, which would do wonders for Michigan's atrocious 2PT FG defense.

No. This guy attempts to defend Deadspin for the Phillips Incident, stating that the rumors weren't "unsourced" based on Daulerio's round of contrition interviews in which he repeatedly stated that they weren't just publishing random emails. I don't know if I believe that; given the way it was framed it was clear Daulerio didn't care either way, really.

And let's remember what the "news" is here: Deadspin has successfully ferreted out the very newsworthy information that one ESPN vice president is in a relationship with another ESPN vice president. Armed with this knowledge, we will defeat cancer and Marcelo Balboa. Daulerio's wandered around giving interview after interview in which he acknowledges he had a hissy fit, which he apparently thinks will earn him credit, before claiming that there was a noble purpose—exposing ESPN's inconsistent enforcement of sexual harassment rules—behind everything. The evidence marshaled for this consists of the following items:

  • An ESPN radio host sexually harassed someone and was suspended for it.
  • ESPN VP 1 is dating non-related ESPN VP 2.

Daulerio's attempts to explain his actions after the fact are feeble post-hoc justifications for a mean-spirited, purposeless expose on the private life of a non-public figure.

Etc.: I'm not sure why, but EDSBS has a photoshop of Gruden-as-M-coach on a post about Steve Kragthorpe. I noted that I didn't understand the blocking scheme on a particular run play that Penn State ran last week; Smart Football says it's a zone variant called the "pin and pull"

Comments

Elno Lewis

November 3rd, 2009 at 3:57 PM ^

I don't know what the fix is, but I think a major problem is that replay officials are often referees who have been put out to pasture. Therefore they are crazy and old. Putting crazy old people in charge leads to things like Florida State's defense. It is not a good idea.

Crazy Old People! What the heck is the matter for your head?

I suppose you are an anti-dentite, too!

I expect an apology.

Don

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

I've scratched my head and other parts of my anatomy repeatedly over the last few years over the incredible inability of replay officials to visually comprehend what is plainly occuring on the monitors bare inches in front of their noses. Given the overall horrible level of on-field officiating by the insurance salesmen, corporate execs, and lawyers moonlighting part-time as college football referees, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the incompetence extends into the replay booth. In a major way, though, it's far less excusable. At least I can give the on-field officials a benefit of a doubt since they have to make split-second decisions in real time. The replay guys have the luxury of doing the Kevin Costner "forward-and-back" repeatedly for five minutes from six different angles. The only explanations I have are Brian's hypothesis that they're all just old fucks who are blind and/or cognitively impaired, and/or they're simply corrupt and are doing the bidding of highly-connected boosters and Vegas gambling types seeking to influence the outcome of games for their own nefarious purposes. #1 is probably far more likely.

GoBlueScott

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:14 PM ^

The big, overarching conclusion is this: a player shows the most improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons than he does any other offseason. In fact, the freshman offseason improvement is, on average, greater than the improvement between a player's sophomore season and his senior season.

Any chance this applies to football, too?

Just wondering.

ChalmersE

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:16 PM ^

I don't disagree at all with the point made, but I think there may have been an additional issue with the overturned Indiana touchdown. I totally agree that the player got his foot down, but I think he may have juggled the ball. That was what I called immediately and as I reviewed the clips, I continued to think it might have been an issue. I might be crazy, but I think that's why it was overturned.

Court Wenley

November 3rd, 2009 at 10:26 PM ^

You must mean pylon. I was thinking for a good minute about Brandon Minor piling on people and getting a touchdown and nothing came to mind. Then I thought I was losing my mind because any bullshit call about people creating a crazy pile-on dog pile style which resulted in a touchdown and involved Brandon Minor would be something I'd remember. Then I sounded it out.

joeyb

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:21 PM ^

Brian, to get to their mp3s, follow these steps:
- go to wtka.com
- click on podcasts
- select from the drop downs what you are looking for
- when page loads, view source (in firefox this is ctrl+u)
- ctrl+f and type mp3 and you will see a line that looks like

<PARAM NAME=movie VALUE=streaming.swf?mp3file=http://cumulusannarbor.com/wtka/podcasts/1001monday1102091-1.mp3&gt;

http://cumulusannarbor.com/wtka/podcasts/1001monday1102091-1.mp3 should be the mp3 and you should be able to embed that.

wolverine1987

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:22 PM ^

Nice job with that guy. You are at least as good already as most local radio guys with their own shows. And while that may not be the highest compliment known to man, it is something.

Also, I sense far more basketball coverage is coming down the pike during the football season than in a typical year. Understandable.

Polisci

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:24 PM ^

The replay solution I would propose is that the replay official can only watch the play a set number of times (e.g., 3). If the call on the field is not obviously incorrect after watching the play 3 times, then it's not obvious at which point it becomes a guess.

joeyb

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:40 PM ^

The problem is that if you really do set a hard limit to that and they need to spot the ball/reset the game clock, they might need to view it more times.

The obvious solution to that problem is to make it a soft limit, but then there really isn't much of a way to enforce it.

Erik_in_Dayton

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:28 PM ^

From the one angle he did seem to kick up rubber dust. From another angle it looked like his foot was a couple of inches off the ground. The black-on-black made it hard to tell. I don't think they should have overturned it, b/c it was called a touchdown on the field, but it was one of the weirder replay situations I've seen in that two views seemed to give two distinct results.

As to the restrictions of this weekend, I guess I won't be posting my 36-page prose poem "Such Were the Joys of Booze and Sluts!"

SpartanDan

November 3rd, 2009 at 11:59 PM ^

There's absolutely no question he got his foot down. The question is whether he had full control by that point. One view showed what looked like him bobbling the ball a little bit as he falls to the ground, which is probably why it was overturned.

It shouldn't have been overturned, as I don't think that view was conclusive enough. But there was some evidence for it being not a catch.

SpartanDan

November 3rd, 2009 at 11:59 PM ^

There's absolutely no question he got his foot down. The question is whether he had full control by that point. One view showed what looked like him bobbling the ball a little bit as he falls to the ground, which is probably why it was overturned.

It shouldn't have been overturned, as I don't think that view was conclusive enough. But there was some evidence for it being not a catch.

jamiemac

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:33 PM ^

Already printing my IU Is Back, t-shirts.

Seriously.....great to see some HOOPS on the front page. I plan on doing a ton of college hoops here and at my place all season. Two thoughts:

1.) Just looking for Michigan to continue its progression. We all want to leap into the top 10 and compete for the Big 10, but personally, I will settle for a return trip to the tourney. If anything, I hope the bid is locked up way earlier than it was last season. That would be a nice next step.

2.) In the event IU improves and gets off to a better-than-expected, nice looking start, I really really really hope the fan base does not go nutso should the team appear to regress in the middle of the season and have a poor second half in a game they should win.

Drill

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:34 PM ^

Someone with way more knowledge about football than me and way more time than me should start a blog where they document terrible overturned calls and missed calls and just straight up terrible calls.

RockinLoud

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

Linux people will have to pound sand. Sorry.

Ha, we crafty Linux folk (and most Mac folk, too) have this little thing called Virtual Box that allows us to run Windows and subsequently Windows apps. Windows Live Writer is actually about the only thing I use windows for.

physics guy

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:38 PM ^

many of the on-field refs are too. This amazes me. You have 60-year-old men trying to keep up with some of the nation's best athletes. It's a prescription for failure. Aren't there hundreds, if not thousands, of ex-college athletes who know the game and are still young enough (30's-40's) to at least attempt to keep up with the action on the field? I suppose that the system requires you to move up slowly through the ranks from peewee football, and it takes time. But we should be able to find a couple hundred really good young candidates who can fill these positions.

Sgt. Wolverine

November 3rd, 2009 at 5:26 PM ^

This isn't a problem just at the college level; I see a lot of older high school refs, and last year the MHSAA began adding messages begging for new refs to the usual lineup of playoff PSAs and ads. I think they have the biggest problem with basketball (due to the boys and girls seasons running concurrently), but that's not the only sport whose pool of refs is aging and/or shrinking. Considering the abuse refs take even at the high school level, I guess that's not a shock.

Captain Scumbag

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:43 PM ^

At what point do we have to consider that having officials with specific conference affiliations represents a major conflict of interest and calls the integrity of officiating into question. At this point, it's in the Big 10's monetary interest for Iowa to remain undefeated and qualify for the championship game, since doing so would likely lead to a second Big 10 team in a BCS game and a double pay out of the sweet BCS pot.

Whether or not there is an actual conspiracy in play, the outcome simply looks terrible. Many commentators in sports media (Bob Davie, MNF crew) all quipped that you have to start to question the integrity of Big 10 officiating... I wonder when it will become a national issue.

spaciorek

November 3rd, 2009 at 5:06 PM ^

Thanks you for locking things down during the meltdown. There are plenty of other places on the net that you can go into full meltdown mode with others. Your time on the radio yesterday was awesome! Some of your sigh's made me crack up, and the best part was hanging up on the guy. Look forward, win or lose to hearing you on Monday's.

The FannMan

November 3rd, 2009 at 6:13 PM ^

The lockdown was a good idea. In fact, I would not be opposed to having some limits made permanent. (Even though I would affected.) It cut down on the number of original posts, which allowed topics to remain on the first page of the board longer. I have noticed that a post on sunday morning can be on page three or four within hours. Often, there are two or three similar posts going at the same time. Limiting the posts kept more people in the same discussion and made those discussions easier to find. This was a good thing.

Brian may have to tweak the system to allow veteran curmudgeons who have been negged to hell and back to comment. (I kinda missed the King of Belch.) He would also have to adjust the specific numbers to find the right balance. But, I think this could have promise. Just my humble opinion.

imdwalrus

November 3rd, 2009 at 11:40 PM ^

For what it's worth, I finally made an account this weekend after lurking for a while, and began commenting today. I'm already up to 20 points, with four or five comments to my name.

That might be a sign that either 20 points is too low of a barrier, or (preferably) an indication that you guys think I'm not a complete idiot.

TomW09

November 3rd, 2009 at 5:32 PM ^

The pre-season Cronin love is getting a little troubling. I wouldn't bet that Cronin is a frequent contributor at all this season. In fact, if he is able to do what Gibson did last year (one or two moment of OMG-CRONIN) i'd be surprised. He's just not there. He did NOT look that good at Michigan Madness, and every time I've seen him in practice in the last two years (an admittedly small sample size) he's been dominated by Gibson.

I'd temper all excitement about Cronin and hope for the best.

DoubleMs

November 3rd, 2009 at 5:38 PM ^

The IU call may be correct.

Two touches of the ground were involved.

Touch one: Toe skims tips of turf grass, not necessarily making forceful contact with ground - can't see any in video, even slowed down. Receiver has unclear possession. Foot comes back up.

Touch two: Knee lands on line before foot touches ground in-bounds again. It's about a one-frame difference, but it's there. Possession is bobbled and then secured, but it's too late.

I think the bobble and the knee were the reasons for the overturn.

The FannMan

November 3rd, 2009 at 6:00 PM ^

You may be onto something about the bobble. But even then, I don't think there was indisputable video evidence to overturn the call. The on field ref was in perfect position and called TD.

I think one of the main problems with the college system is that the standard of review is applied differently by different officials. It seems that some follow the rule and others just go with what they think happened based on the replay. There needs to be some defernce to the on field ref, especially when he is on top of the play.

DoubleMs

November 3rd, 2009 at 7:13 PM ^

I agree that this may have been a needle-in-the-haystack review where they were looking for evidence, found it, but it took forever. It took me about 20 times to be sure of what I saw and make a decision on it. I think whatever call in that case would have stood.

SFBayAreaBlue

November 3rd, 2009 at 7:13 PM ^

yeah, it's noise. Wonderful, emotional noise. Remember why you got into this biz in the first place? I wear my emotions on my sleeve when it comes to michigan football.

And yet you saw fit to place it in UV. So it must have been memorable. Although I'm disappointed that you snipped it so small. That was part of an explosion of rage at anything and everything and was phrased like that to both add self-effacing humor and reference an internet meme. You lost the poetic 'shooting in all directions like Harper's crew in Predator' sense and rhythm.

In fact this is like the 4th or 5th time you've put me on the main page.

I'm also disappointed to not make TWIS.

Mon-L The Magn…

November 3rd, 2009 at 7:20 PM ^

Loved the podcasts. It kills me that these callers keep referring to things that happened TWENTY YEARS AGO, as if Michigan is McDonald's and football players are made on some magic assembly line like Big Macs.

Coaching transitions take time. They suck and they are awful but they take time.

03 Blue 07

November 4th, 2009 at 1:04 PM ^

Oh my god, poor Brian. This crazy caller in podcast 1 was making my head explode. Wondering out loud here, do they pay Brian enough at WTKA to put up with this kind of stupidity? Or is this the type of the thing that Brian has to do to educate stupid Michigan fans like some of these callers? There are arguments to be made against what we're doing, but jesus- these people make the dumbest damn points I've ever heard, and they simply are factually incorrect. Statements like "Lloyd never got blown out," and "Bo only had 2 bad games in 21 years" and comparing that to Rich Rodriguez is asinine. This is no longer the era of 110 scholarships. Boise State beat Oklahoma. Utah went undefeated.

Sigh. Stupid people.

imafreak1

November 3rd, 2009 at 9:42 PM ^

How is it possible that I laughed at the 'ridiculous Demato Peko TD' line? I think of that every time I see his ridiculous hair sprouting from beneath his Bengal's helmet.

kman23

November 3rd, 2009 at 11:11 PM ^

I think the key to this season will be Sims. Will he 1. Not have those 20 minute disappearance acts and 2. will he be able to stay at the 4 with Gibson and Cronin manning the 5. I think having a SF only have to play PF not C is going to be a huge difference in those Big 10 games where the other teams goal is go inside.

Coach

November 4th, 2009 at 3:20 PM ^

The only real solution to the replay mess is to scrap the system. Then they can (they won't) fix the clock rules and give us back the football that's been stolen from the fans.