Unverified Voracity, Unexpectedly Feisty Comment Count

Brian November 18th, 2009 at 3:31 PM

On UFR. Yes, it's coming, but not today. I'm trudging through it as fast as Henri will let me, and plan to get both up tomorrow.

This. This is the greatest thing in the history of creation.


Via the WLA. Of course.

Hype video. You might have noticed that this space is not very hyped about the football game on Saturday what with all the depressed otters hanging out around these parts. But still, hype video exists:

Not a Paul hype video, FTR. Would have more Explosions in the Sky or whatever that pretentious indie band is.  [/hypocrisy]

Hey now. Many points to Rittenberg for having the same reaction Rich Rodriguez did when he was asked the same stupid question about "getting the rivalry" for the 100th time:

"Just because I did not coach here before, I did not play here, I'm not from the state of Michigan, doesn't mean I don't understand the rivalry," Rodriguez said. "I understand it as well as any coach can understand it. I've only [coached] in it in one game. Trust me, I understand the importance of the rivalry."

The fact that Rodriguez has to keep defending himself on this issue is ridiculous…

All right!

…and it perpetuates the argument that Michigan will always be skeptical of anyone outside the fraternity.

Wait, what? Doesn't it perpetuate the argument that press conferences are useless things and many reporters have never had an original thought in their lives? I don't see how a meme propagating itself across a group of people that basically asks the same dumb stuff every week/year reflects on anything except newspapers.

I mean, in the same press conference someone asked Rich Rodriguez if he thought there was something to the idea he didn't "fit" at Michigan. Rodriguez spluttered out similarly incredulous answer that did everything except directly call the questioner a dip.

Irrelevant but must happen. The Silverdome just got sold to some Canadians who want to renovate the thing to turn it into a soccer stadium for use by an MLS team. This will never work. The Silverdome was too big for an NFL team. Soccer-specific stadiums in this country seat about a quarter of the dome's capacity. And the MLS commissioner just shot down the idea.

HOWEVA, I feel compelled to bring up the greatest idea I've ever had: if and when Detroit gets an MLS team, it should be called "Detroit City" and the crest should have a big rock in the middle. They can call the team "the Rock" and it can be sponsored by Prudential. This must happen.

Is this a shark? I haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's latest book or the slam job the New York Times executed it, but I find Gladwell's counterargument disappointingly shallow:

In one of my essays, I wrote that the position a quarterback is taken in the college draft is not a reliable indicator of his performance as a professional. That was based on the work of the academic economists David Berri and Rob Simmons, who, in a paper published the Journal of Productivity Analysis, analyze forty years of National Football League data. … I found this analysis fascinating. Pinker did not. This quarterback argument, he wrote, “is simply not true.”

I wondered about the basis of Pinker’s conclusion, so I e-mailed him … He had three sources, he said. The first was Steve Sailer. Sailer, for the uninitiated, is a California blogger with a marketing background who is best known for his belief that black people are intellectually inferior to white people. … Pinker’s second source was a blog post, based on four years of data, written by someone who runs a pre-employment testing company, who also failed to appreciate—as far as I can tell (the key part of the blog post is only a paragraph long)—the distinction between aggregate and per-play performance. Pinker’s third source was an article in the Columbia Journalism Review, prompted by my essay, that made an argument partly based on a link to a blog called “Niners Nation."

Spot the fallacy: ad hominem. Berri and Simmons may be "academic economists" but they're also the people who wrote a whole damn book attempting to justify Dennis Rodman as one of the greatest players of all time and basically fudged their way to an arbitrary metric or two that the basketball statistics community very politely ripped to shreds. I'm inherently skeptical of their work since Wages of Wins was those guys applying a lot of advanced statistics to reach an obviously dumb conclusion. (Presenting: a very complicated mathy explosion of the idea that Rodman was particularly valuable.) If there was going to be a brilliantly written fisk blog dedicated to tearing statistical zealots a new orifice it would be called "Fire David Berri."

So… yeah. Just because two guys have a lot of complicated metrics that say one thing doesn't mean much to me when they've got the track record they do.

Don't re-write history plz. This site's had a love-hate relationship with Jay Bilas ever since Tommy Amaker started flailing about towards the end of his tenure at Michigan. Bilas is one of the best color guys in college basketball, a genuinely smart guy who adds a lot of value to the games he broadcasts. He was also totally insane about Michigan's supposed lack of support for Amaker, and when Manny Harris made a basketball move that no one on the opposing team said was dirty, he went off on him. Why? I don't know. It sounds like Bilas doesn't even know:

There are times in dealing with coaches and players you have a relationship with and dealing with comments you get off the record. That's where you hope your best judgment comes in. I worked with Manny Harris of Michigan two summers ago. I have not worked with or been around a better kid. Last year, he was involved in an elbowing incident and I was pretty hard on him. I could have sat there and said, 'Great kid, let's dismiss it,' but I didn't. I said what I thought and I had a lot of critical comments from Michigan fans. But I didn't know any other way to handle it. I worked with Manny again this summer and we joked about it. Adults don't handle that situation better than he handled it. I wish I had the poise that kid has.

Bilas got a lot of critical comments from Michigan fans—including in this space—because he absolutely deserved every last one for misrepresenting his play, especially given his reaction to a far more flagrantly unsportsmanlike act committed by his alma mater:

Bilas on his relationship with Duke:

"If I criticize Duke when I think it's warranted, I don't particular care whether they like it or not. As long as I am confident in what I say and the judgment I made, I will stick up for what I say. If I am wrong, I will say I'm wrong, and I am wrong on occasion."

That's… well… tough to defend. Bilas was wrong about Manny Harris

"I respect his right to protect his kid and stand up for him, and I respect that, but that doesn't mean I have to buy it. I don't buy it. I saw (the play) 100 times. That's not a basketball play. That's not the way the game is played. How many games are played every day, high school, college or pro, and players execute rip-through moves, and how many noses are broken?"

…and has yet to say so.

Etc.: I think I had beef with "Cold Hard Football Facts" at some point in the past—maybe they repeated the Brady-didn't-start myth?—but their breakdown of the disparate reactions to the Belichick forth-and-two between the mainstream media and the blogosphere is awesome. Well known national sportswriters actually think "fourth and jackass" is funny and on point. From the MB: every OSU torrent in the universe that you'd want to download. Smart Football has thoughts on people's thinking about Belichick.



November 18th, 2009 at 3:46 PM ^

Brian, they want to pretty much destroy most of the Silverdome and just turn what remains into the soccer stadium. And of course the MLS "hasn't discussed Detroit", there's been no ownership before now.


November 18th, 2009 at 3:57 PM ^

Either that, or the fact that I spontaneously bought an airline ticket this morning so I can go to the game this weekend.

Yeah, one of those two definitely has me pumped up.


November 18th, 2009 at 4:10 PM ^

Almost, but not quite. The Emo video from before the Western game got me more pumped up. Now we have devolved into existential hype videos- only at Michigan. I think this quote is a little too appropriate:

"For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate."

-The Stranger (last line)


November 18th, 2009 at 5:04 PM ^

The emo video brought a tear to my eye; the hateweek vid barely moved me. No offense to whoever made it.

Apt "The Stranger" reference, btw. Made me revisit my own copy, which is translated slightly differently. The last line in mine, FWIW:

"For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they greet me with the howls of execration."

mr. arbor

November 18th, 2009 at 6:49 PM ^

I dont care what anyone says... if we can top OSU in our house on saturday that makes the season for me... bowl or not. To let OSU beat us 6 times would be the worst ever.


we CAN do this!!!


November 18th, 2009 at 4:34 PM ^

There is a simple explanation for the tripe that RR doesn't "fit" and the reason the press asked him the "do you get the rivalry" question umpteen times: bigotry. The snobs among the University, the alumni, the fan base and the local press believe RR doesn't measure up to their collective intellect or sophistication and therefore does not deserve to hold the revered position of Michigan head coach. Carr quotes Kipling, Rodriguez "The Lion King". To them he isn't just outside the fraternity, he's worse: a yokel from West Virginia, and that makes him unsuitable.

Someone like that can't truly appreciate The Game, can he? "Do you understand the rivalry?" "No, really, do you get it?" "I know you already answered this but come on, do you really think you can fully comprehend it?"

As a Michigan grad, I am embarrassed and sickened by these bigoted twits and their ilk. I want RR to succeed for Michigan, but also to stick it up the collective asses of those beating the drum for his ouster.

Go Blue! Beat tUOS!


November 18th, 2009 at 7:57 PM ^

"Rita Rodriguez expressed disappointment Monday about the degree of rancor from opposing fans she has endured this season.

She recalled how a Michigan State fan approached her 11-year-old son as they left the team bus in East Lansing, plunged his finger into the little boy's chest and assured the kid, in no uncertain terms, that Michigan was going down that afternoon"

(From original jackass at the Freep...you're not clicking the link, so here's the quote)


November 18th, 2009 at 5:40 PM ^

It's no secret that RR was branded a hillbilly and worse when he came to Michigan, the inference being that he's simply inferior in every way, especially to his detractors. That hasn't changed for the anti-RR crowd.

The fact that the press keeps asking Rich Rod the same question about The Game is an understated way of patronizing him and reminding him that everyone believes he's inferior because he isn't from here, so really, how can he "get it"?

Blue in Yarmouth

November 19th, 2009 at 10:12 AM ^

It isn't the fact that they are questioning him that leads the poster to believe they are bigots. It's the fact that he answers them, yet they continue to ask over and over, meaning they don't believe him and think him incapable of understanding it.

There is a big difference between asking a question in search of an answer and asking a question you think you already have an answer to, and continuing to ask it until the person confirms your answer to be correct.


November 18th, 2009 at 4:57 PM ^

The alumni out there that say Rich Rodriquez doesn't understand the rivalry because he is from West Virginia really frustate me. You don't have to be a alum of the schools to understand how big the Ohio State Michigan game is.


November 19th, 2009 at 10:33 AM ^

And on another note... good god, I've convinced myself that we're going to win. Not that we have a chance, but that we will win. I'm probably overdosing on wolverine kool-aid and/or have officially gone crazy after these last 11 games, but we just have to win right? I mean, what other possible outcome could there be? (NOTE: I KNOW WHAT OTHER OUTCOMES THERE COULD BE, THIS IS A RHETORICAL QUESTION).

I will now knock on wood for fear that I've jinxed our team.


November 19th, 2009 at 10:06 AM ^

makes as much sense to me as Christopher Walken as the lead in the Billy Mays biopic. Give me real stuff by real coaches, not prepackaged and eleventy-times re-written Hollywood fantasy.