This Week in the Twitterverse Comment Count

BiSB August 15th, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Programming Notes

Football season is upon us, and with the end of OT season it seems like about time to put This Week in the Twitterverse on the shelf for a while. We’ve got a few ideas as to its replacement, but I’m open to suggestions as well.

Also, you may notice that the name on the dog-tag has changed. Given the number of Brians/Bryans/Bhrayinz working around these parts nowadays, I figured it might reduce some confusion if I peeked half-way out of the name closet, especially since I haven’t been in South Bend for a couple of years.  Don’t worry, I’m still a football-playing golden retriever writing based on the promise of delicious noms.


Social Commitments

I’m sure you all saw last week that Jared Wangler announced that he would become the 38th* Wangler to play football at Michigan. But one of the interesting things about it was that he announced it via Vine.

This is a very encouraging development. No frills, no long lingering build-up, no reach-for-this-hat-fake-grab-that-hat-SURPRISE-I’m-wearing-a-Florida-elbow-pad. Derrick Green’s principal talked for like 20 minutes. I think Cullen Christian’s announcement is still ongoing. Wangler took exactly six seconds. Done and done. This was the 12-minute wedding ceremony of football announcements.

In that vein, it’s only logical that more recruits should commit via various social media outlets. And I have a few suggestions, based on the school you’re planning to choose.

  • Alabama - YouTube. In fact, 2014 WR commit Derek Kief already did so. So feel free to post your commitment, but be warned: it may be pulled down by the platform at any time based on the flimsiest of reasons, including the ambiguous "violation of the Terms of Service." You will have no recourse.
  • Nebraska - Instagram Video. It’s like Vine, but it’s 15 seconds long, so you get an extra nine seconds of your life before Bo Pelini starts yelling at you about the size and color of your ears or whatever is pissing him off today.
  • Ohio State - Regular Instagram. Buckeye players are kinda video-averse these days for some reason. Plus you can use cool filters like “black-and-white security footage.”
  • MSU - iTunes. Rap game. Spartan fo life. Fo fo life.
  • Penn State - Vine. But you can only use the first 4 seconds. It’s actually in the NCAA sanctions. Look it up.
  • Notre Dame - Christian Mingle. "I found Touchdown Jesus's match for me..."
  • Maryland - MySpace. Nothing screams "wait... people still do that? What are you thinking? No one will ever see you there" like MySpace.
  • Northwestern - LinkedIn . Networking is a lifelong pursuit, people.
  • Kentucky - Google Plus.   A platform that, while tied into the biggest name in the game, is only a peripheral member of that association which is smirked at by the rest of the empire, still kinda sucks, and you know isn't going to succeed long-term? Sounds like Kentucky to me.
  • Iowa - Manual Typewriter. Kirk Ferentz doesn’t approve of the internet. Or computers. Or the forward pass.
  • Purdue - WebMD. "I've decided to play my four years at Purdue." / "TOP RESULTS: Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament." / "But my knee doesn't feel... oh, there it is."
  • Ole Miss PayPal. Oh, no reason. No reason at all.

*Estimate. Exact figures are unavailable.

[AFTER THE JUMP: Jay Bilas sees hypocrisy. Twitter is sees the future. Sparty doesn’t see what’s in front of him.]



Michigan fans have long had issues with Jay Bilas, many of them stemming from Jay’s… uh… principled disagreement with the firing of Tommy Amaker. He’s said some dumb things about Michigan and he has said some downright laughable things about Michigan. But then he goes and does something like this.

Somehow the NCAA’s website somehow knew that if you searched for “shoelace,” you were probably looking for a #16 Michigan jersey. Go figure. How impressive was Bilas’s Twitter assault? He convinced the NCAA to voluntarily part with money.


Bravo, you crazy Duke homer.

Twitter is omniscient. And a football fan.

It turns out, Twitter is useful for some things that don’t involve sharks, tornadoes, or combinations thereof. If you know how to read Twitter properly, you can see the future. Or, more accurately, if you break down enough tweets you can predict the outcome of upcoming football games.

The researchers pulled several million football-related tweets from the Twitter fire hose during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons. They then analyzed and cataloged the sentiment by team, ran the data set through a number of statistical models, and came upon several that either matched or beat traditional forecasts.

Conventional, non-Twitter prediction methods predict the winning team around 58 percent of the time. But by combining conventional methods with Twitter-based models, the researchers were able to predict the game winner with 65.9 percent accuracy.

This research was done on NFL teams, but you’d imagine that it could work in the college ranks as well. And in a way, their conclusions kinda make sense. Legend has it that Jimmy the Greek used to pay railway porters to bring him newspapers from all over the country, because he could glean info that wasn’t readily apparent from a cursory national view of the teams. Crowdsourcing works in a bunch of areas, so football results don’t seem that farfetched.

From here, though, we have two choices. We can either delve deeper into this phenomenon, or we can just sit back while twitter-using Kentucky fans fail to distinguish between correlation and causation, and try REALLY hard to tweet their team to a victory. It works in recruiting, after all…

A Michigan Man does not take kindly to your guff

Jacksonville Jaguar Center (and former Ohio State Buckeye) Mike Brewster tried to give Denard Robinson a gift this week. Denard, while surely appreciating the gesture, was having none of it.

Sparty Spring Film

Possibly following Michigan’s lead (again), we haven’t seen much film come out of MSU’s fall practices. They had a scrimmage last week, but didn’t release any tape. So, we’re left to scout them based on the only tape we have: this prank where a guy dressed up like a mannequin and scared a bunch of players and coaches. WARNING: DANTONIO’S LAUGHTER MAY CAUSE INFERTILITY:

General takeaways: Mark Dantonio has the physical and emotional capacity for laughter (and based on that information, many of us just lost long-standing bets). Several of Michigan State's players have remarkably slow reflexes, particularly the running backs; this guy could have read Anna Karenina to Riley Bullough before Bullough reacted. And most importantly, Tyler Hoover will, upon the slightest provocation, threaten to unleash some serious jiu jitsu all over your mannequin ass.  The Gholston is strong in this one.


Sounds about right.

I don’t have much to add. That just… I mean of course he said that. And you know he meant it.

Tempting fate

You can’t tell, but the cameraman was 800 yards away using a telephoto lens. Better safe than right next to this group of literal lightning rods.

By some miracle, the incoming asteroid deflected the runaway zeppelin away from its collision course, and AS OF PUBLISHING TIME these four young men remain un-exploded.

Your weekly Roy Manning



August 15th, 2013 at 9:55 AM ^

This isn't really much different from how Nate Silver looks at the state-by-state polls and internal numbers to produce an expected outcome from elections that make us all believe he has some kind of machine to travel to and from the future at will, complete with a Mr. Fusion to generate his 1.21 Jiggawatts of power. 

Fuzzy Dunlop

August 15th, 2013 at 10:10 AM ^

Actually it's very different.  Polls are not predictions -- polls ask likely voters how they will actually vote, so you expect efficient polling to reflect what will actually happen.  The person polled has an impact on the result.

People giving predictions have no impact on the result, and you wouldn't expect predictions to have such a high degree of accuracy.


August 15th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

There will thankfully always be limits to the accuracy of Twitter predictions just as there are to any kinds of predictions about sporting events. Even if the crowd wisely predicts a victory for Team X, the crowd cannot actually read the future and see that the fumble is going to bounce the wrong way, or that the wind will pick up and send the kick wide, etc.

And beyond that, the crowd is often trapped in a miasma of media BS. I think you could probably look at the data to find patterns of crowd mis-prediction - might even be more interesting to know when the crowd is likely to be wrong, then place your bets the other way...


August 15th, 2013 at 10:09 AM ^

Those Iowa running backs look like children compared to the recent picture of our new crop of monsters (with the exception of Fitz and that tiny dude to his left).


August 15th, 2013 at 10:39 AM ^

...TWIT during the season? I'd have to think that Twitter will be an absolute gold mine of fan overreactions, player/coach social media misuse, and media blunders. Plus, if it's not Roy Manning, we'll have Bacari Blitzes to keep us entertained.

Keep on keeping on, Bryan Macintosh.


August 15th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

But the MSU video was a kinda fun, lighthearted look at what seems to be a mostly grim program. So I think it did it's job. Though they need a better actor; he started moving way too quick and not letting them get close and really percolate.