The Triumph of Mediocrity

Submitted by JDM on January 15th, 2011 at 2:44 AM

The University of Michigan claims to be the leaders and best. Whether it be in the classroom or on the football field the U of M strives for excellence. From the most wins all time, to the hightest winning percentage, to the largest stadium in the country the University of Michigan has staked its claim in the college football world. The football program, however, has failed to evolve with the ever changing college football climate, and nothing proves this more than the hiring of Brady Hoke. This hiring is more a triumph of mediocrity than the pursuit of excellence.

The Bowl Championship Series has forever changed the college football landscape. No longer is it good enough to win the Big Ten and defeat a good team in the Rose Bowl. Now, in order to be called the champions, you must defeat another excellent team - the best of the best if you will. Does this mean that every championship prior to the BCS is worthless? Certainly not, but the method to be considered the champion has changed. In the 13 years of the BCS, Michigan has failed to recognize this change of culture. Sure, Michigan has won their share of Big Ten titles in the BCS era, but they have consistently failed to compete when going up against elite competition in BCS bowl games.

Three years ago, it seemed like the Michigan fanbase had come to recognize that a paradigm shift was necessary with regards to our football program. In other words, we were ready to stop throwing rock on first, second and third down. The fanbase clammored for change and a change was made. We dipped our toe in waters of chage, and many found that it was to cold or to uncomfortable. Instead of being the leaders and best, we have opted for the saftey of the past and the comfort of what was familiar.

Winning the Big Ten championship isn't enough anymore. Or at least it shouldn't be if we consider ourselves the "leaders and best". That is the old way of thinking, and it clearly has not been working in the BCS era. I have no doubt that the current coaching staff can stabilize the program and bring it back to where it was under Lloyd Carr. I am confident they can lead the program to Big Ten championships and even win a bowl game every now and then. But I want more. I expect more. This university and its fans should demand more.

Please don't misinterpret the point I am trying to make here. I don't believe that we should play in the BCS championship game every season. Programs have good years and bad years, injuries take their toll on every team, and sometimes you just aren't lucky. But, there is no reason why the Universy of Michigan cannot compete with the best teams in the country on a consistent basis.



January 15th, 2011 at 3:12 AM ^

Michigan was ranked #2 in the country less than five years ago. People make it sound like the program has completely fallen apart over that time period. Not only will people not give Hoke a chance but they'll tell you we'll never be where we used to be. Why not? Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Alabama, etc. are all programs that have had their years of mediocrity and struggle. Mack Brown hadn't had national championship like teams at North Carolina. Bob Stoops was a coordinator. Pete Carrol was nothing special on paper. But those schools trusted those coaches to make changes and that's what they did. Brady Hoke isn't Lloyd Carr. If you want proof of that just watch highlights of SDSU this season. So I'm not going to resign myself to believing this is an acceptance of mediocrity simply based on Hoke's past coaching stops.

This program needed a change in 2007, but it didn't need the complete overhaul that it received. It needed a modern outlook on conditioning and a more creative mind in playcalling. The actions taken, however were a sign of panic, and they set up RR for failure as much as any newspaper or botched recruit did. Those same signs of panic are present again.

Any sense of "triumph of mediocrity" is a creation of a fanbase who are paranoid and who are currently treading in unchartered waters and who would rather wallow in fear and loathing than realize it's not the end of the world if there are a few more tough years ahead.

I'll give Hoke the benefit of the doubt. I'll give the players who have all welcomed him as their leader that same benefit as well. They're what the program is about, afterall.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:40 AM ^

that you listed, how many of them have set a precedent that coaching hires with no previous ties to the university get two full years of recruiting their players to prove themselves even if they radically change the coaching philosophy of that university's football program?

I am not as pessimistic as the OP, but I do think that we have severly handicapped ourselves when the time comes when we have to go through another coaching change.


January 16th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

..I just don't get.  To me, its been like a guideline that, unless you are a truly terrible program (say, historic SEC punching bag Vanderbilt) you get 3 years to show significant progress.  A belief that I think is more widely shared since pretty much everyone knows that Notre Dame's patience is why they were in such a shambles (2 5 year runs given to Bob Davie and Charlie Weiss).  You get 3 years, that's how it works in college football today.  The days of 5 year plans went out with tail fins in cars, sorry to say.


January 15th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Even 2006, the pinnacle of UM's approach in the modern environment, resulted in embarrasment when Michigan got undressed by USC and Ohio State got undressed by Florida.  Its not even clear if either team really earned a top 5 rank that season.

The argument that Michigan has no advantage over other programs near Texas, Florida, Louisiana and California is hard to argue with.  The cache that Brady Hoke still sees in the Michigan name isn't necessarily shared by teenaged kids for whom Oregon sticks out far more.   If UofM wants to be better than the national elite they have to find someway to differentiate themselves.  Excellent coaching or unique strategy are two possibilities that come to mind.

College football is very random however.  If Michigan can win every Big10 game and beat Notre Dame they have a shot of playing in an elite bowl.  The issue is if you want to just cross your fingers to pull an upset in that game (e.g. Carr's last game against Florida) rather than get beat handily (e.g. Oregon, USC) or if you want to roll in with a unflinching confidence and dominance that Michigan hasn't had since 1997.

Theres an argument that Hoke is necessary right now, just to rebuild the brand back to being at the top of the Big10 along with OSU.  Theres no question something had been lost.  But its also clear that the focus is different than it was with Rodriguez.  Maybe thats fine, but for some people that feels like settling.


January 15th, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

Even 2006, the pinnacle of UM's approach in the modern environment, resulted in embarrasment when Michigan got undressed by USC

Carr's two 14-point losses to USC were actually some of the closest bowl games anyone played against them in the Carroll era.  Carroll was a phenomenal bowl coach.  That's not to say that I loved the way Carr coached in those games (I wished he would have gone to the shotgun a lot sooner in the second one, for instance), but I don't see those two games as hugely damning on his record.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:42 PM ^

I love Carr and wasn't trying to downgrade his legacy, but thats shining a turd.  Those USC losses weren't close.  Michigan was down 21 late in both and got outgained by a significant amount. USC players afterwords openly laughed at Michigan's predictability.  Neither USC team was unbeatable, obviously, yet  Michigan wasn't really close, thought having to play in LA couldn't have helped...


January 15th, 2011 at 3:02 PM ^

Your own words show the difference btw Hoke and other coaches in similar situations ("Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Alabama...")

- Oklahoma: hire a young coordinator coming off 5 years at KSU (where he helped turn around one of the worst programs in history) and then 3 years at Florida (where he was part of a natl championship).

- Texas: hire Brown, a known top recruiter who had taken a traditionally mediocre program in a BCS conf (Carolina) to respectability and better, with the last two years being 10-2 and 10-1 seasons (two top 10 finishes)

- USC: hires Pete Carroll, who had twice in the previous 3 years taken an NFL team to the playoffs. His NFL teams were seen as being limited and he was fired b/c he was too rah-rah, i.e., too much like a college coach.

- Florida: After Zook, they get Urban Meyer, a young coach coming off a 12-0 season, in which he won the Fiesta Bowl to finish in the top 5.

- Flordia State & Tenn: too soon to tell.  Their coaches are in their first year.

- Alabama: After struggling for 10 years, they hire Nick Saban, a known-d-bag who flamed out at the NFL level b/c he was seen as too controlling.  AT his previous coaching job in college, he won the national championship. He has NEVER had a losing record in a season in college.

Compare this to Hoke: a nice guy who loves Michigan. He was a v. good DL coach for Michigan back when they won a natl championship, but that was 14 years ago. He was never a coordinator. In the past 8 years, he's been a decent head coach, but never finished in the Top 25 or won a conference championship. His lifetime record is sub .500.

Maybe Hoke will do great. I think it's far more likely he'll do OK (8-4-ish, a little better/worse depending on luck and injuries).  But whatever he does, it's not comparable, at this point, to Okla, USC, Fla, Bama. Those teams hired coaches who had Top 10 or either NFL level success to try and take their own schools back to that level.  U of M did not hire a similar coach.  And while track record is no guarantee of success, particularly over the short-term, unless I get a crystal ball, it's the best we got and it certainly indicates what a school is trying to do.


January 15th, 2011 at 5:52 AM ^

Winning the Big Ten championship isn't enough anymore. Or at least it shouldn't be if we consider ourselves the "leaders and best". That is the old way of thinking, and it clearly has not been working in the BCS era.

Michigan, as a university and as a football program is quite unique.  The high academic standards allow a select few the opportunity to don the Maize and Blue.  Compared to Alabama, Florida and others, I believe that Michigan has the toughest requirements for admission thus you will not be able to get student athletes who cannot excel at both sport and education.  This limits the pool of qualified players.

Integrity, character, education, and being the best can take place in many forms.  Would you rather have a program that does the right thing all the time and have a high level of success both on and off the field (such as winning in the classroom, society and/or Big Ten Titles) or would you have a program that clouds the line of what is right or what is wrong in pursuit of a National Championship.  Since 2003, the national champions, LSU, USC, Alabama, Florida and Auburn have been mired with either off the field arrests (Florida), oversigning (LSU, Alabama most notably) or pay for play scandals (USC, Auburn). 

The question is, do we blur the line and oversign people, recruit people with poor character and/or pay top recruits in order to win and compete for NC/Big 10 championships and lose the identity of what Michigan really is or do we practice what we preach and aim for Big 10 titles and possibly an NC with character. 

Until the NCAA passes legistration, such as oversigning (I feel that it gives the SEC a huge advantage) and make tougher rules for off the field problems/ pay for play, we will be at a disadvantage.  The BCS and money that come along with it has caused greed amongst universities/football programs,


January 15th, 2011 at 6:37 AM ^

There isn't anyone on this board who will dispute the fact that Michigan has higher academic standards than most, if not all, universities fielding top level football teams.  The ability to have high academic standards and field an elite level intercollegiate athletics  program is what makes Michigan unique and special.  Issues such as oversigning and pay for play certainly tilt the playing field against schools that choose to try and win with integrity.  But that should not be an excuse to not try and be the best.  Just because we are at a disadvantage does not mean we shouldn't make it our goal to win a national championship. 


January 15th, 2011 at 8:01 AM ^

Many have posted in the past about the sham of confusing regular academic standards with those of the athletc department.  If we really had to rely on players who could get into Michigan solely on their academic records we would finish last in the MAC every year. 


January 15th, 2011 at 9:21 AM ^

There are three sets of standards

There's the SEC standard used by most big-time football programs to take anyone anywhere and doctor their SAT scores if need be

There's the Michigan standard which is take anyone who academically qualifies for clearinghouse standards without doctoring their SAT score

There's the Stanford standard which is to have your own standards that athletes need to meet for admission, though substantially lower than the standards non-athletes need to meet

I suppose there would potentially be a system where athletes had to meet the same academic standards as everywhere, but I can't think of anywhere that actually happens


January 15th, 2011 at 10:13 AM ^

I think this is a decent summary.  All Big Ten schools, except Northwestern, fall into the second category.  I also don't think *all* SEC schools operate in the first category (Vandy, Florida, Georgia).  

There are schools that will take more academic risks than others.  These are usually non-traditional powers.  MSU, Iowa and Illinois come to mind in the B1G.  There are many recruits who pass the clearinghouse, but will definitely have issues maintaining eligibility in college.  The SEC seems to take more of these than most.  Other schools will limit the number of "at risk" recruits they'll take.


January 15th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

I remember reading about one Stanford recruit who had a 3.0 and 1500 on the SAT. And I had to remind myself that the SAT is now out of 2400. Who honestly thinks a student like that would be able to get into Stanford without being able to throw a football?

Academics don't mean a whole lot here in the context that we put it into- in relation to what a typical high school student would need to be competitive for admission to the undergraduate program. Maybe someone needs to coin a new term, like athlademics or something like that to better encapsulate the different admissions standards that different schools have- a sliding scale of GPA, SAT and football ability, with a minimum bar set by the school/NCAA.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^

The average GPA of an incoming freshman to UM is 3.8, with an average ACT of 30.  Trust me, the average GPA and ACT of a member of the football team is NOWHERE NEAR THAT!  If it was, we would be up a creek with finding anyone who could actually play football and meet the academic standards.  I am not saying there are not players on the roster who do not meet the regular UM admission standards, but those that do are typically the guys whose uniform is exactly as clean after the game as it was before the game, week after week.  If you want to win, you HAVE to make provisions to get competitive players into the school.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:07 AM ^

Are there people out there that actually think the academic standards for Michigan football recruits are higher than most Big Ten schools?  I could only find 3 recruits with posted ACT scores on Scout, but the scores aren't exactly anything to brag about.

Blake Countess  22 ACT

Jake Fisher 19 ACT

Justice Hayes 20 ACT

The disadvantages Michigan has are 1) weather and 2) they share the state with MSU and 3) they have a smaller talent base.  If anything, academics are an advantage.  It attracts more kids than it keeps out.


January 15th, 2011 at 7:56 AM ^

Michigan's academic requirements for football players have nothing whatever to do with its requirements for regular students.  Our actual entrance requirements for football players are similar to the much maligned SEC factories, though we perhaps reject a few of the really marginal kids that lesser schools might accept. Several Division I schools are stricter than we are so perhaps we can stop erroneously conflating normal academics with football academics.

 The vast majority of our players take a very unchallenging ciriculum and are walked though their classes by tutors.  This is as it should be - we are not in the Ivy League - our scholarship players are semi-professionals who get a Michigan degree as part of their reward for working incredibly hard both on and off the field.


January 15th, 2011 at 7:12 AM ^

But is it true that our standards for athlete's are higher than the other elite football schools? 

For as much fun as we make of that school from Ohio, do they really have players that we wouldnt take?  Texas is a good academic school for example.  So is Notre Dame and they were able to win at a high level until Holtz left. 

Brian Cook noted that our APR for example was struggling.  He said a lot was due to transfers but also pointed out that one of Carr's teams did poorly.

I am not being sarcastic, I am genuinely interested. 

Eye of the Tiger

January 15th, 2011 at 7:30 AM ^

Look, I know putting up a diary means you're putting yourself out there, so I don't mean to be harsh, but I really don't understand this attitude. Even if I was also underwhelmed by the Hoke selection, we both have to recognize that he hasn't had a chance to demonstrate anything yet except question-answering abilities. We also have to recognize that, even if Rodriguez accomplished some things, putting us on a clear path to national championships was not one of them.

Will Hoke be better or worse than Rodrigue or Carr? I have my hopes and concerns, but at the end of the day, I don't know, and neither do you. I will give him a chance to try before I write him off as x, y or z, though...


January 15th, 2011 at 7:41 AM ^

Yes, Michigan was ranked #2 in the country.  Then they lost to the only two elite teams they faced that year.  The loss to USC wasn't even a football game; it was an execution.  And, of course, USC players laughed at Michgan after the game and a few commented that they knew what Michigan was going to do before they did it. 

So, while Michigan may have been ranked #2 in the country, can you honestly say they were really the second-best team in the country?  That's like saying USF was the second-best team in the country because they were ranked #2 for a week a couple of years ago. 

I am as concerned about a return to mediocrity as anyone.  But I also think Hoke is in a unique position.  Because he has been outside of the Carr-tel/IMCT for awhile, he has a chance to insert some new DNA into its stale and limited gene pool.  I hope beyond hope that he does exactly that.  If he doesn't, it's going to be a long four or five years.

If the spring game is open to the public, it will probably give us a good idea whether we will see more Carr-tel playcalling or whether Hoke can transcend his roots and call a 21st century game with a 21st century offense.  I think he can.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:24 AM ^

the USC players knowing what we were going to do. I remember thinking, 'Seriously, this is the best the coaches can come up with?'. No significant adjustments at halftime, just more of the 'We're Michigan, see if you stop us...some more'.

I don't think we'll have this with Coach Hoke. While many of us are still mourning the passing of the fine offense Coach Rod installed, I think Coach Hoke will have some variety installed in his offense, especially with both Denard and Devin lined up to be the futures QB's; it will be exciting in it's own way, me thinks.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

I think Hoke and company will have offensive diversity for the near future, mostly because our personel dictates it.  When you have Denard, you have to use all of his abilities, and that will force the offense to do many different things.  What I worry more about is if he starts recruiting 6'5'' statues as QBs.  Then it's easier to get a stale offense because your QB is more limited.  With Hoke, I'm more worried about fizzle.  Start strong and as the years go on, go back into mediocrity.  I personally think that it's getting to the point that no matter what offense you run, it's best to have a QB that can move as well as throw.  It forces more creative offenses and keeps things from degenerating into the DeBord type playcalling.


January 16th, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

That was maybe the most eye-opening things about the Gator Bowl to me. There were plenty of RR supporters who were certain that he and his staff would implement new plays/tactics/etc. for the game, and the opposite was true. I'd have thought that RR would have figured it was time to pull out all the stops in the faint hope of changing the game dynamic. Just another puzzling thing about RR's decisions during his tenure.

SC Wolverine

January 15th, 2011 at 8:28 AM ^

I see your argument, but the B1G is probably a lot better than it used to be.  Now, to win the B1G you have to get past Nebraska and Ohio State, who are both high quality opponents, and you face lots of pretty good opposition along the way.  With this in mind, I don't think BH is off base: if you are able to win the B1G, you should be able to compete in the BCS bowls.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:34 AM ^

Note--this comment replies to Anthony Thomas's comment on BigBird's post.

Anthony, I think you're on target, especially about the sense of panic in 2007 and again today. 

I agree that the program did not need a complete overhaul in 2007.  I suspect one reason we panicked, ironically, is because we had been stable for so long.   Had we undergone more frequent change in coaching philosophy and / or coaches before 2007, we could have successfully transitioned to a coach like Rich Rodriguez, or to a less "radical" coach.  Having been through more frequent program change, we would have made more realistic assessments of our needs.

If I'm right, we'll want to have an AD who has successfully hired a coach(s) to revive a stale program. I  think we're starting in that direction.   And I'll bet that the next Big 10 school to struggle with a big change is not in Ann Arbor but in that school down south.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:02 AM ^

the level of ignorance required to continue this way of thinking is beyond me. These people continue to say that he can compete for B1G championships, but not nc's. I do not understand how a team can win the Big Ten, with psu, osu michigan, and nebraska, but not be considered in the national hunt.
I truly believe this attitude should be considered a crime and referred to as aggravated stupidity and the punishment should be getting bitch-slapped by all who are subjected to the offending stupidity.

Mr Mackey

January 15th, 2011 at 10:39 AM ^

Well it can be assumed that the B1G champion, due to the addition of nebraska and the overall toughness of the conference, could easily win the B1G without being undefeated. In several cases, this would not send them to the NC, such as this year. It takes a special team to go undefeated and compete for the NC, which Hoke can hopefully lead us to. As long as we are a consistent B1G power, there will be several years where all the chips fall in the right places and we can play for the NC.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:08 AM ^

...that they know how this will turn out? Maybe he'll be mediocre...or even or bad...or maybe he'll have the best record in school history. See me in a couple of years when there are actual results to talk about...


January 15th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

We are not in the top 10 anymore because lets face it, the State of Michigan just does not produce enough 4 and 5 star recruits to compete with the South.  States half of our size, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama produce way more Division 1 talent.  States like Florida and Texas have 4 and 5 times the talent we do.

In order for Michigan to be great we need to convince Southern kids to play for us.  If not, we can't afford to lose one 4 or 5 star recruit to MSU or to an out of state program.

We can argue about scheme and coaches etc but the problem runs way deeper.  Our kids just don't play enough youth football or train as hard as the kids down south.  For instance, in Texas when they are not playing tackle football, their kids are running the same high school offenses and defenses in a spring Flag Football league.  Big advantage for RB's, QB's WR's, CB's etc.

Start at the bottom and maybe in 10 years we catch up.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:06 AM ^

Ohio State has played in BCS bowls in eight of the last nine years. In seven of those years, OSU won or shared the Big Ten championship, including the last six straight. They’ve played in the BCS title game three times, winning it once. There are only a handful of schools in any conference (including the SEC) that can even sniff at that record. If Michigan could do that over the next decade—if Michigan could do even half that—it would take an awfully greedy fan to consider it mediocre.

We all realize that the midwest does not produce as much raw football talent as the Southern states. But the Buckeyes offer pretty good evidence of what can be done despite that “handicap.”

El Jeffe

January 15th, 2011 at 11:59 AM ^

Ohio != Michigan. Having lived in both states, I can assure you of that. Southern Ohio is more like the South in its obsession with HS football. It is probably also true that Ohio != Florida, but Ohio is closer to Florida these days than Michigan is to Ohio.

So what does that mean? It means that locking down MI is a good step, and continuing to pick off a few less-ranked recruits from OH and FL and TX and LA and CA like we've done in the past would set us up pretty well.

I think the worry with Hoke is that whereas RichRod pulled Dee Hart (temporarily) from Florida, Hoke will not be able to. Of course I don't know if that will be true, but that's the concern.


January 15th, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

Southern Ohio (at least the Cincy area) isn't a big OSU stronghold.  Ohio State is much bigger in the Akron/Canton/Youngstown/Cleveland area than in Cincinnati, which, with all of its large catholic schools, tends more towards ND.

Michigan could recruit well in Southern Ohio.  That's where Jibreel Black is from, and UM traditionally does well in Colerain as well.

Pennsylvania is another hot bed that Michigan hasn't taken advantage of lately.  It used to be that Michigan would steal the occasional top Penn recruit.  Now these seem to go OSU's way (Pryor, Dorian Bell, Corey Brown).

There's enough talent in the area to allow at least 2 of UM/ND/PSU/OSU to be very good.  Right now, only one is.


January 16th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

...Rodriquez did get a couple of 4-star, highly sought after recruits in the 2010 class in Cullen Christian (who was thrown to the wolves in a particularly nasty fashion and its not clear if he will be able to recover) and DE Ken Wilkins (who redshirted but got offers from BC, Wisconsin, and North Carolina pre-NCAA investigation).


January 15th, 2011 at 10:00 AM ^

Let hoke coach a couple games.  You claim we only "dipped our toe" with Rodriguez, but haven't let Hoke coach a game before you condemn him to mediocrity.  By the way, the mediocrity you describe sounds pretty good to me.  Let's get back to winning B1G championships, then we can talk about winning more than that.  


January 15th, 2011 at 12:30 PM ^

Last I checked, Hoke had coached 97 games.  Lost 50. I hope it's different at Michigan with the same staff, but it's not like we're taking a hot OC or DC (see WVU or Florida, even Indiana) and betting on them succeeding in their first gig as a HC.  And remind me how many conference titles Hoke has won in his eight years as HC?


January 15th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

Hoke also inherited a Ball State team that was very close to the worst team in FBS, and a SDSU team that hadn't been to a bowl in 12 years.  He made both of those teams respectable.  I understand that his record ins't great, but a lot of coaches' records would take a major hit in those situations.  The record doesn't tell the whole story.  

I would argue that we are in a better position than if we had taken a hot coordinator, because Hoke has experience as head coach.  I'm not going to make any predictions, but it seems kind of ridiculous to label Hoke as a lessened version of Carr when the sample size is essentially zero.


January 15th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

Funny thing with is argument is that it's being singularly applied. Somehow people just "know" what Hoke will produce because of his previous record (47-50) and connections to Carr. Yet when that argument was applied to RR - that because of how well he had done at WVU he would do well at UM - it didn't work out so well did it?
<br>Point is, many intervening variables will impact expected outcomes (injuries, luck, coaching, recruiting etc). It boggles my mind the level of assertions being leveled at what Hoke will or will not accomplish as a UM coach.


January 15th, 2011 at 9:02 PM ^

Who on this here blog "knows" Hoke will produce? Nobody is really saying that...all I hear is wait until Hoke actually coaches a few games for MICHIGAN before we condemn ourselves to mediocrity. IF anything, RR helps prove the point that past success/mediocrity doesn't mean anything in regards to coaching Michigan. RR was a stud at WVU...and he couldn't replicate that success or anything resembling it in 3 seasons at Michigan. Hoke was arguably ho-hum at his past schools...what does that mean for Michigan? Who knows? He was a stud DL coach  at Michigan, he's had some killer success at Ball State, and also some mediocrity there. Which translates here? Who the hell knows?