Unverified Voracity Lives In Near Infamy Comment Count

Brian July 30th, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Marty sets the record. Via Michigan Hockey Net:

Juuuust a bit outside. Lake The Posts previews Michigan with a look back at a name that will live in Wildcat infamy:

Red Sox nation hoists names like Aaron “Effin” Boone and Bucky Dent up on the grand facade of ignominious moments in their history.  Well, when it comes to Michigan football, the name Wildcat fans will never forget when it comes to last year’s Hail Mary loss in the Big House is Ray Roundtree.

Will almost live in Wildcat infamy, I guess.

It's only fair, Wildcats. I still remember when Anthofy Thorbus furmbled the quail without being so much as touched.

Well, what do we think about this? Shakin' The Southland runs a study that attempts to see if there's any validity to the idea that running a fast offense will hurt your defense, and comes out with this table:


[Methodology note: teams were classified by plays per minute of possession, which you've probably just seized on as a pretty wobbly way to do things since the clock stops on an incomplete pass. This would make a Leach system look faster than it actually is in terms of seconds left on the playclock when you snap the ball.]

There is basically no difference until you get to truly sloth-like teams. (Of the 723 in the study, 97 qualify as "slow"—"normal" is the vast bulk of the sample with 516.) Ponderous offense does seem to be correlated with good defense in a real (ie, on a per-possession, not per-game) basis, but is the slow offense a cause or an effect? It's pretty easy to dream up the teams at the bottom of the survey: run-heavy, defense-first teams that try to win a game 17-10 and merrily plow into the line once they get a sliver of a lead, and probably before they do as well. Also in the slow sample: teams that run out to huge leads and spend large chunks of the game murdering the clock, like say Alabama.

If you ask me, the slow teams' better defense is the cause of the slow pace, not the other way around. We've all watched enough football to know when you're in the kind of game where defense and field position are the way to play—last year's State game—and when you need to tell the punter "sorry, but come back next week"—2011 OSU. When you have a boa constrictor defense it makes sense to lower the variance and pound out a win.

The other half of the equation does seem more meaningful. Fast teams play in games with more possessions and points on both sides, but once you put up some tempo-free stats the effect on their defenses is basically zero.

Oh come on man. 277 pound Frank Clark gets four FAKEs for his supposed 40 time:

CHICAGO -- Frank Clark played safety in high school and enrolled at Michigan weighing 217 pounds. Two years later, he's a defensive end who weighs 277.

And he can still crush the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.

"That's pretty ridiculous," quarterback Devin Gardner said of Clark's time, which was clocked during an offseason workout earlier this year. "Huge guy, and he's able to do all the things I'm able to do, which is really frustrating for me. I like to think of myself as a premier athlete, and he goes out and does -- if not better -- close to what I'm doing.

"It's pretty amazing to see, and I can't wait for the finished product to be on the field. You guys got a glimpse of it last year, and I feel like he's going to be one of the best defensive players in the league."

If he went to Ohio State he'd be running a 4.3, because their FAKE 40 scale goes to 11. If Frank Clark explodes into all All Big Ten type player… I would like that.

You guys are lame. More like the NO FUN LEAGUE, amirite?

The NFL, they say, has a long-standing pace at which they do things between plays and the referees "aren't going to change just to accommodate someone's offense," said Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating who is now an analyst for Fox Sports.

"We have to make sure teams understand that they don't control the tempo, our officials do," said NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino. "We're going through our normal ball mechanics, we aren't going to rush [unless] it's in the two minute drill."

Chip Kelly won't be allowed to ram his offense down the field at warp speed, because a man named "Dean Blandino" says so. That is the most NFL.

A much better idea. Instead of just booting guys for hits that you think may have sort of been illegal in the split second you had to observe it, borrow from soccer. Pat Fitzgerald suggests adding a yellow card to the 15 yard penalty, which is a much better idea than just booting some dude out or doing nothing.

Gardner: likeable. Our starting quarterback is a card.

"People ask me for my number all the time on Twitter. Sometimes I'll give 'em a fake number. Like a 555 movie number. One guy got so mad at me, like, 'I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GAVE ME A FAKE NUMBER,' and I was like, 'You should know! It says 555! No number in the world starts with 555! You really tried to call that?'"

Etc.: Starting Minnesota receiver quits football to run track full-time, and… yeah, I totally feel you, Devin Crawford-Tufts. Tennessee attendance is collapsing.

I had missed the fact that Malcolm Gladwell compared football to dogfighting in 2009. Because dogs == football players, I guess? That's not a massively troubling comparison or anything? Malcolm Gladwell is still defending this position, because Gladwell.

Surprise! Basketball recruiting taking it real slow. Brandin Hawthorne has a Kickstarter for your consideration. EA sports tries to flee the Ed O'Bannon case.


My name ... is Tim

July 30th, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

I'm just assuming that Turco video is being narrated by the WCBN announcers?

Oh to be young and able to go to Michigan sporting events for free under the guise of "broadcasting" again.


July 30th, 2013 at 12:55 PM ^

Don't remember the play-by-play guy's name off hand, but the game was broadcast on WOLV-TV...back when they were able to broadcast like every home game (and I can't recall for sure but I think a lot were also streamed online for free via MGoBlue at one point).


July 30th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

I don't think WOLV-TV has aired in a game in a while. They used to broadcast all the games that weren't picked up by FSD, Comcast Local, and the other networks. But I think it's a rights issue with one of the contracts Michigan has that prevents them from doing so (which is also what has prevented MGoBlue from streaming nontelevised games online in recent years).

I'm pretty sure the students at WCBN-FM still broadcast hockey games, though.


July 30th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

Re: Chip's offense

The Patriots run a modified version of Kelly's offense and it has worked so far in the NFL. Granted, it is not nearly as fast and the Patriots actually do huddle. Still, the Eagles should be quite interesting to watch this year.


July 30th, 2013 at 3:52 PM ^

But that was kind of what I meant in that, from my recollection, Belichick had visited Kelly a few years back to talk about how to run a (heavily) modified version of his offense. There are absolutely some huge schematic differences, cause of Brady and all, but I was more focused on the tempo part, because that was what Brian was pointing out. Sure, the Patroits weren't nearly as fast as Oregon, but they were still a fast team by NFL standards and I was merely expressing intrest in watching to see if Kelly was going to go "full crackhead" with his scheme and how that would mesh with the referees or if he would have to try to tone it down to the Patriots level.

Zone Left

July 30th, 2013 at 12:55 PM ^

Read the Tennessee link. Michigan and Tennessee were basically the same program opposite OSU and Florida for a large portion of my formative years. 10000 fewer tickets per game times 8 games times $50 per ticket is $4MM per year. I'm pretty sure that's basically Michigan's whole AD surplus.

Athletic departments have placed themselves in extremely precarious situations, financing huge improvement projects, like baseball and crew facilities, that project to earn zero revenue. The entire premise is that football makes huge money forever, which the Tennessee example shows is not a valid assumption. There are huge consequences to this, TV contracts remaining in place, and the O'Bannon lawsuit results. Any bad news could seriously impact ADs, schools, and the states that are ultimately responsible for the bills.


July 30th, 2013 at 1:10 PM ^

There are plenty of things that make Tennessee different from Michigan though. They don't have the student body size we have (and therefore the alumni size), they don't have the alumni dollars that we have (does anyone?) and although they had a stretch in the 90s and 2000s where they were as good as us, they haven't been good forever like we have. They don't have the academics or the national name that attracts recruits either.

Point is, there are lots of reasons to assume we'll stay afloat longer than Tennessee.


July 30th, 2013 at 1:55 PM ^

The Athletic department was F'd three ways to sunday by Mike Hamilton. On top of that, our Chancellor (Jimmy Cheek) has been pushing a "Top 25" campaign pretty hard on top of staying involved with the Athletic department-- and, I must say, his involvment has been pretty detrimental on both accounts. While I think UT-K  Athletics is going to be fine within a few years, they have an enourmous amount of debt.

On one hand, he tried like heck to make UT Athletics self-funded-- but he chose a really bad time to do this, what with roughly 297 former head coaches still on the payroll. 

On the other hand, th top 25-thing is doing the right thing-- but some of the measures (including not accepting as many in-state students) have come and precisely the wrong time. 


Zone Left

July 30th, 2013 at 5:23 PM ^

Yeah, but what about Iowa or Penn State or Illinois? The larger point is that the college athletics model is trashed if the revenue streams falter. Remember, by 2009, Michigan Stadium was flooded with red shirts. No one is selling 100K tickets at $60/per ticket if the team isn't good. The TV revenue may disappear if the O'Bannon suit goes a certain direction.

Brandon thinks the model is broken. I just tend to agree with him.


July 30th, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

I don't know that UT having problems illustrates that the model is broken (though there are clearly issues with the new and wacky way money comes in and gets distributed).  To me it just shows that where you stand on the pecking order matters.  UT has had four losing seasons in the last five years, and hasn't been good since 2007.  On the flip side, Vanderbilt, after missing bowl games for over two decades, has gone to three in the last five seasons.  Presumably they are making way more money and drawing more fans than they did in the '80's and '90's.  South Carolina has had their best three year stretch in school history.  Kentucky is recruiting at a level higher than they ever have before and may see some success in the near future.

There are only so many wins to go around in any conference/division.  I'm guessing any financial loss the Vols have suffered has been met or exceeded in gain by their closest competitors who have been on the corresponding upswing to their fall.

Zone Left

July 30th, 2013 at 7:23 PM ^

Tennessee isn't the reason the model is broken. I think the revenue streams themselves are really shaky. Basically, TV money is entirely dependent on subscription revenue for cable channels, which is in a really complicated place right now from a technology and regulatory standpoint. Attendance for football games, the other major revenue source, is entirely dependent on winning. A drop of, say, 10% in attendance at any school is potentially catastrophic for an athletic department budget.

ADs have enormous fixed costs, lots of debt, and very few variable costs, so the consistency of revenue is critical to the business model. If O'Bannon requires that more money go to the players, that could upend things for everyone below the Michigans and Alabamas of the world. A drop in TV revenue due to the change in operating model that everyone knows is coming eventually would potentially put every D1 AD into a position of foisting their debt and fixed expenses onto the schools themselves. The TV contracts are supposedly guaranteed for several more years, but I don't think a sudden change would bode well for anyone involved.


July 30th, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

i think that the schedule issue is a real problem for them, but also, as one of the commenters mentioned that the upfront costs of season ticket holding are so honerous, that it is a tough hill to climb financially for a large segment of the population.

if you don't have season tickets, then the likelihood of wanting to buy them, pay the huge psl upfront, the cost of the tickets and then getting a poor sched ule in return is pretty low when you can stay home and watch on tv.

Space Coyote

July 30th, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Teams that likely aren't very good, especially on defense, are going to try to slow the tempo down to increase variance. The reality is that they still kind of suck though, and those numbers should be factored in when skewing some of the results.

My personal opinion, if you're going to be up tempo, you better be able to get some first downs. Because up-tempo three and outs will hurt a defense, I have little doubt of that.

Bando Calrissian

July 30th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Turco's run for the record was so much fun to watch. I seem to remember there was a gigantic countdown banner hanging on the end wall of the arena for the last few games before he set it. 

If anything, that video is just a nice reminder of how fun the old Yost was. No blaring goal siren, really loud ambient noise, super low-tech all around. Just a fun old barn to see a game on a Friday or Saturday (not a Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday). And boy were those Bowling Green unis gloriously bad.