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11/30/2018 - 4:40pm Emotions getting the better…

Emotions getting the better of them.

Brian doesn't suffer fools easily, even if it is on a stray comment/belief about an inconsequential bowl game. He has trouble discerning the dancer from the dance. As do we all, at times. Brian probably is, most of the time, the smartest person in the room about UM football, where this means he invests more time in it than any of us who aren't coaches and where he is damned smart to begin with. We can all be this way about something we have invested in and have become expert about. I have learned, on one or two topics (not football, that's for sure) it is wise to just roll my eyes---and try to not let others see it.

But Brian, for his occasional prickliness, is a kind and generous man. He is a good person who  sometimes has a limited veneer surrounding his emotions. He takes UM football seriously, maybe too seriously, and the scars and cuts are more painful for him than for others. Still, I think some of this is shtik.    

Ed is no dope, of course. He has a PHD from Stanford but his sports knowledge is more diffuse than UM football. Soccer, the NBA, the NFL, others. He is more of a sports generalist. Ed is a terrific man, a good friend, and I can't say enough positive about him. I feel blessed to share an hour every week with Ed and Brian.

I thought, for years, we had maybe 10 listeners. Even my Mom doesn't listen. But this is family, a family of UM diehards, so these occasional tiffs might take more out of all us---listeners and direct participants---than maybe it would if this was some slick or "professional" production. And, maybe, the fact the hour is so unvarnished---sometimes awkward and stupid (I stand at the head of the class in both)---is why it appeals to some. I concede I have said some really stupid shit. But maybe that's part of the value of this sort of program. I dunno.

But I do know this business of Michigan football really is the business of caring. And caring with others in this community---the chance to high five those carrying the same hopes. And in this process, maybe emotions get raw. That's OK, because this is all really is about hope.

Emo? I don't care.

Next year we will party like it is 1999.








11/30/2018 - 3:58pm Recall some context. I saw…

Recall some context. I saw the ESPN site saying UM had a 2% chance to make the playoffs. I thought this was a joke, completely absurd, since I couldn't think of any plausible or even possible scenario where UM got in.

So I asked Ed about it. He doesn't believe it is 2% either, or so I think. But he tried to outline where this number might have come from. I think Ed would agree with your comment that "there is literally no scenario in which UM is in..." but he was trying to back-door where this 2% came from.


11/30/2018 - 3:54pm Sorry. I thought old, dour…

Sorry. I thought old, dour Marxists was getting stale.

I try not to be boring---I don't argue I succeed---but I have to earn a living and this radio thing (I don't get paid; not saying I should get paid) takes time---though I can appreciate those who might say "you actually prep for that?"

11/16/2018 - 8:07pm You guys are too kind.

I am…

You guys are too kind.

I am definitely the B team and most posting here could do as well or  a lot better.

11/16/2018 - 1:20pm Yes, assuming the OSU…

Yes, assuming the OSU numbers are adjusted for sacks on both sides of the equation. That is, subtract yards lost on sacks and add the number of sacks as pass plays to get an "actual" YPPA. Plus you have to adjust for home field. Maybe worth 4 in CBus.

But the arithmetic is good and so far this year this little idea has been about as good as any.



11/16/2018 - 11:12am Thanks for asking. It is a…

Thanks for asking. It is a very simple idea I played around with in my first book, and it has been remarkably accurate this year, calling MSU, PSU, Wisconsin within a point. Off in the Rutgers game by 7.

1. It assumes turnover neutrality.

2. It looks to net yards per pass attempt, on offense and defense, to yield a team strength number.

3. These numbers are sack adjusted, because the NCAA lumps sack yardage in with run yardage.

4. At this juncture of the season, UM's offensive YPPA is 7.54. That's pretty good. Their defensive YPPA is 3.54. Maybe the best number I have seen since looking at this stuff. That's a NYYPA of 4.00. This is a final four quality number.

5. Indiana is 5.80 on O and 6.86 on D for a minus 1.06. That shows a team that is 5.3 points below an average team on a neutral field. The delta is 5.06. That is UM's # is 5.06 higher.

6. In terms of points (a lot of trial and error to fit the outcomes of games) that represents a 25.3 point differential, not adjusting for home field or about 28-29 points in Ann Arbor.

7. As an aside Bill Connelly has UM winning the game by 28.7 points.

Numerous footnotes.

1. Why YPPA? because I was looking for a single variable idea and I read a footnote many years ago (Pete Palmer?) that net YPPA was the only single variable that tended to predict NFL games. After I had played around with this, I found another guy, Bud Goode (deceased) who worked with NFL teams and he believed this was the best single metric for prediction. Goode, I am guessing, did not confront how the NFL put sack numbers to the side, however, keeping them out of run and pass yards.

2. Why no run yards in the equation, like ED Feng and other stat guys do? Because I think run yards are baked into NYPPA. I think looking to relative numbers and not gross passing yards, tends to include the efficiency of a team's run game. Hence, I think looking to all yards gained tends to have "too much running factored in it." Ed doesn't agree with me, but, this year at least NYPPA has been a spot-on metric, better than the multi-variable ideas I have looked at. Admittedly, I haven't studied this carefully. I am old but I still have to make a living. 

3. Why 5 as a multiplier? This is a very crude number that I played around with and it tended to fit/solve the equation in prior games at that time. It would be great to see the NYPPA numbers for every team in the country, but that's more work than I can do. I wish someone else would take that one on. But I have done a few years of BT data, and with occasional outliers, the NYPPA attempt numbers and standings match right up by the end of the season. Usually the outliers have had crazy TO numbers or have exceptional/dreadful special teams.

4. About 5 other footnotes about run yards, pass yard, fumbles, interceptions, but I suspect I am boring you, assuming anyone is still breathing in this particular the first place.






10/31/2018 - 10:14am Thank you. I will be a…

Thank you. I will be a minority view but (a) I thought he was a good ref, (b) he was one of the two best refs (with Tom Rucker) in the BT for some number of years, (c) he wasn't intimidated by coaches or home crowds---on the road, he was the one ref (for many years) you had a chance to win with on the road, (d) he and Hightower hated each other---he once got into a fistfight with Ed at halftime of an Indiana (Knight) game----when Ed wouldn't protect Ted's back. Now EH became a decent ref late in his career. But for many years he was just so awful, he rooted so hard.

For many years the BT was just pro rasslin'. It started to change when Steve Welmer came on the scene. The BT is now pretty good in BB. Football is the debacle.

10/27/2018 - 9:55am Agree it was stupid, but not…

Agree it was stupid, but not devoutly stupid. I have no religious beliefs.

I admit I don't care if we ever play MSU again.

I see no value added to the institution.

Contrary beliefs, devout or other, aren't stupid.


10/26/2018 - 3:34pm I have no idea what a donkey…

I have no idea what a donkey show is.

But don't tell me. Once you are over 70 you survive on denial.

Trust me on this one.

10/09/2018 - 9:15pm That's true< Sam. Cold but…

That's true< Sam. Cold but true.

10/05/2018 - 7:25pm For those thinking I was…

For those thinking I was just not telling the truth, this is proof. Thanks 5th and Long.

09/07/2018 - 10:15am Frida was married to Diego…

Frida was married to Diego Rivera, who claimed he had a pathological aversion to monogamy. Rivera, a communist, was giving Leon (Lev) safe haven in Mexico but/and Frida and the revolutionary hit it off and had an affair. Even though Rivera had plenty of affairs, he wanted Frida to be monogamous, which I suspect may have caused some problems. Frida grew tired of Leon and Lev and Diego argued. Trotsky left the Rivera residence. In 1940 a Stalin agent murdered him with an axe.

So it goes, Billy Pilgrim.


09/05/2018 - 2:16pm The big question this year,…

The big question this year, the biggest one by my guess, is whether we can shoot the ball. UM was 18% from three in Spain, under 63% from the line. UM should be a solid defensive team. Maybe as good as anyone. Charles and Ignas can score. But this team may well lack any ability to shoot the ball, though that was mostly true last year, also. But last year they had Duncan and MAAR who were at least threats from three and (without looking) likely above average (35%) from distance.Poole is about it and it isn't clear how solid he is from the perimeter. My guess is he will flirt with 35%  or 36 %. Nunez is probably a year away.  

09/03/2018 - 3:33pm Completely agree on the…

Completely agree on the helmet stickers. Ugly. Stupid. Leave them for TOSU.

I think it is more difficult than ever to be a power/pro passing team since few high schools do this. Most are in spread. That said, I think there is always some advantage in being an outlier if you can find the right parts. But, post Rich Rod, the coaching staff has had a difficult time distinguishing a tackle from a mackerel.



08/31/2018 - 11:04am Yes. Correct.

Yes. Correct.

08/13/2018 - 11:48am Yes, this is exactly my…

Yes, this is exactly my point of view. 

07/06/2018 - 9:03pm I  don't think UM offered…

I  don't think UM offered and I don't think he visited, at least by my memory. I think he was strictly an Under Armor guy---at least that were the rumors at the time. Wisconsin offered, OKSU, numerous others. But not UM. But I think it came down to the home school and MD.  

07/03/2018 - 12:35am I have had the pleasure of…

I have had the pleasure of talking to Brian some. Some might say a lot.

While I might characterize myself as "hard left," I doubt if I would say that about Brian, though, of course, he can speak for himself. From my POV Brian is an ultimate rationalist (unlike me) and his POVs may fall all over the political spectrum. I have never found him to be knee jerk in his opinions.

07/03/2018 - 12:26am Glad you got it in.


Glad you got it in.

My favorite UM judge is Frank Murphy, who wrote the (brilliant and prescient) opinion in Korematsu. I would hope a reading of that dissent (IIRC Douglass and Black were in the majority; Rutledge, as usual, concurred with Murphy) would make UM grads proud.

If, say, Scalia were a UM grad, I would find it humiliating. Others, I understand, would feel differently. It makes me feel good (perhaps not rationally) that Clarence Darrow attended UM Law. Not so great that Ann Coulter (who despised UM) did, though her hatred of UM mitigates my own feelings to some degree.

07/02/2018 - 4:20pm Thank you for this, Brian.

Thank you for this, Brian.

I am always curious about your opinions on sports (even soccer) and politics. 

And this is more comprehensive than what I will see elsewhere.


06/24/2018 - 7:24pm Thank you. Note that JH…

Thank you. Note that JH continued to offer Falcon as a medical. Falcon declined and then was injured quickly at his new destination. WMU?

06/13/2018 - 1:18am Seth:

Great work, truly.


Great work, truly.

The most obvious omission I see is Len Ford, who was a main cog in the Mad Magicians and is in the UM and NFL HOFs. He was the best defender on the Browns/Rams great championship teams.

Alas, I saw Ford play and he died before many on this board were born.

Others I would think about are James Baird, QB from the 1890s who led the Wolverines in the game that put them on the national map---the Cornell win in 1894; Horace Prettyman, who actually could play and George Jewett, the first great UM RB.

Friedman is the most consequential player in football history. He changed the college and pro games and kept the NFL from falling into the dumper. The fact he was a generational defender and placekicker and return man only adds to what he accomplished as the best passer of his time and a fine runner. His numbers dwarf any other QB of the time, until the ball was changed and Baugh and Luckman showed up.



06/02/2018 - 3:57pm Thank you

 for Ella, at last.

No one has ever compared, but I would inclue Pavoratti and UM Grad Jessye Norman on the list.


05/22/2018 - 7:13pm and..

who knows, maybe a withering away of the state.

05/06/2018 - 3:42pm Roger Angell's

writings are the best of a strong genre.

Nothing beats Five Seasons or The Summer Game.

05/01/2018 - 2:46pm If you want just the Video Tapes

they are yours.

No strings attached.

Just don't tell me if you dump them in the trash.





05/01/2018 - 2:35pm Will check

to see if I have any of these and get back if I do.


04/13/2018 - 7:30pm Perhaps...

I should have said he came across as genuine and likeable. I didn't intend to imply anyhting beyond that. He may be a great coach. Or not. I don't know. My guess is he is at least cmpetent.

04/02/2018 - 7:23pm Wonderful writing

again,from a fine man.

Thanks, Seth..

03/30/2018 - 10:51am Yes, you are right...

Joe Johnson needs to be in the conversation, and your description is apt. Green was a good defender, too, but not quite at the level of JJ, Grant or Simpson. No one was ever faster than Green.  I always seem to forget about JJ since I was in grad school in Boston for much of his career. So, thanks for the addition/correction.

Orr was absolutely committed to D (and JIm Dutcher was a major part of that) and was a terrific coach (and person). The best coach we had until JB, though I never saw Ozzie Cowles' slow break.

03/26/2018 - 10:46pm We have

a limited history with these two, other than the fsu game..However, we had Kimble for Texas this year and he was fine. Had McCall for LVille last year and he was OK in that one.

03/26/2018 - 10:11pm I don't trust...

Higgins any more than Phil Bova and Bova was the worst ref (sinceJim Bain) to ever work a UM game..


03/26/2018 - 10:03pm Seth...

I had some questions about Wymer from the past, but I think he has given us fair games in the past 3 years. I think we are something like 7-7 against real competition in games he has called. in 2015-18.We had him in the round of 32 this year and I thought he was very good.

We also get Oglesby routinely and I think he is a very solid ref. Always happy to see him.

Reffing BB is hard and it is impossible not to make mistakes, but I think Oglesby is very good and Wymer---I have come to believe has no agenda, is not putting his finger on the scales.

03/23/2018 - 7:17am I appreciate the forgiveness...

Go Blue. Beat FSU.

03/22/2018 - 6:03pm hvsiii

I cocede, at times I may have overstated the 6 man thing. But I stand by the idea that teams with short benches tend to over achieve. This was true for UM's teams in the 70s and for all of Ray Meyer's DePaul teams. Maybe Syracuse this year.I haven't made any study and am aware of none. [I also concede, I mention the 6 man thing now and again since it drives Brian to distraction. Don't tell him I said this.]

Beilein's preference seems to be for a short-ish bench, as an aside. He seems to prefer a 7 man rotation, 8 at most. 

I am willing to be disabused of this but might not Izzo have been better with a short bench against Syracuse?

I just don't buy the "getting tired" thing. Just doesn't fit with my experience as a 20 year old. Though I am not sure I can recall that long ago.

03/22/2018 - 5:49pm BB

I hope to be wrong about a lot of what I said today.

03/22/2018 - 5:46pm Bronxblue..

...this is not exactly what I said. At least I hope not. Over the course of the season UM has been a better team than TAM. No question. The season long data supports a UM win. I believe in KenPom's prediction that UM will win the game. As an abstraaction and I sure hope KP is correct. Better, I hope BC is correct that UM wins this one easily. 

My concern may well be "what have you done for me lately," i concede. I watched a terrific UM D weather two awful offensive games. I watched an athletic UNC team, one UM seemed overmatched by, get physically dominated by TAM. Now, certainly, UNC couldn't put the ball in the ocean and it may be a complete one-off. But it didn't feel that way to me.

Watching the games gave me pause and makes me somewhat pessimistic. Now, I hope to be wrong. I hope to be called out on an idiotic opinion. I hope to be a chump.

So, I think UM is a better team---looking to the work of the season. But the way boh teams played this last weekend, i dunno.  

03/09/2018 - 1:31am As of this...

moment UM is #7 in the AP and #9 in KenPom and #12 in the RPI. Looks like a 3 seed to me.

Purdue is #9 in the RPI and MSU is #15.

Of the various metrics I think the RPI is the most heavily weighted..

02/15/2018 - 1:23pm You...

are right. I apologize for my role in this.

Plus, my wife agrees with you (re me).

She has had enough eye rolling for one lifetime.

02/09/2018 - 11:11pm Hey GB in MN is a privilege and that's no BS. I get the chance to talk to a lot Michigan fans with Brian, Sam and Ed. What other UM fan wouldn't jump at the opportuniy---getting up at 3 AM or otherwise.I am blessed. 

But I appreciate the empathy.

02/09/2018 - 8:05pm Exactly...

...and thank you.

Plainly, anyone can "pick" a three star team that will demolish a 5 star team with after-the-fact knowledge. So, the question is, is there some coach who has the ability to do this before the fact? Certainly, no. But what if there is a coach who has some success rate beyond what the recruting services provide? What if, say, Jim Harbaugh or Mark Dantonio is better at evaluating talent than, say Rivals? And what if, as some coaches have suggested [Brad Lawig, IIRC] it is possible for coaches to jake the system by turning 3 star guys into 5 star guys, and minimizing the potentials of others?

Certainly, this particular playing field has frictions---but there is no doubt that a person with perfect knowlege would (easily) beat the services. So, what about well less than perfect knowledge but still better than the services? Shouldn't we assume, after all, that Jim Harbaugh might be a better evaluator of future success than many of the guys who do this for the services?

02/09/2018 - 2:50pm Don..

...thanks for making my point in a different and better way.

02/09/2018 - 1:09pm Brenda...

...thanks for remembering that occasionally I have said something that actually made sense. Or came to frution. I will be the first to concede that I have also said stuff that was idiotic or just plain wrong. Predicting the future is a treacherous matter.I hope I am 55% to date, but concede it might be 45%

Here's one prediction I made a few years back. That UM fans might eventually regret the hiring of Jim Harbaugh because I saw his offense being one that would be hard to sustain; that most HS teams were running spreads and it was a lot easier to find "Denards" than "Tom Bradys." I said Tom Herman would be a better choice; that I felt he had a better opportunity to run an offense that would be routinely good; sustainable..

Now, this prediction was roundly decried by Brian, Sam and Ed. And why not?Off air, at least, they said I was a dope.  My opinion seemed contrarian just to that end. But it wasn't intended that way. I preferred Tom Herman. I thought he was UM's best alternative at that moment.

I sure as hell hope Harbaugh works out. Certainly, he has brought great defense to Ann Arbor. I am hopeful about offense, but worried. Let's see what we see in the spring.

Thanks for listening to us. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all persons who listen, even those who might not care much for me. 

02/09/2018 - 12:45pm Thank you...

...UM1944, for more accurately characterizing my POV. I have never said recruiting ratings are meaningless or not relevant or without predictive value. To the contrary, I think they are relevant and do have predictive value. That said, most of the good college players in any year will not be 5 or 4 star guys since, plainly, there are only about 300 such guys in any year. Plus, some high percentage of these guys crap out. Half or more. 

If you take a random group of four stars, they will outperform a random group of 3 stars. But who says a coach is stuck with random choices? The question is "how good are the coaches at evaluating and projecitng talent" because there are plenty of guys who are 3 stars who will  out perform 5 stars. After the fact, if you let me choose from among 5 star guys and 3 star guys, I can construct a team of 3 stars who will run the 5 stars off the field.

So, if you believe that JH has a limited abilty or an average ability to discern, well, this class is worthy of concern. I looked at some tape of the lower rated guys, however, and I had a hard time seeing them as much or any different than some higher rated guys at their positions.Now, I am no coach or talent evaluator. But JH and his staff should be. Or mght be well better than average. Let's hope so.

I wrote about this extensively in The Search for the Unified Field Theory (Football Version). Forgive me for mentioning this, since I do get about $ 2 per book of royalties on that (maybe $ 100-$200 per year) and I prefer not to talk about anything in which I have a financial interest, regardless of how nominal. But in that book I provide some data and examples and a fuller argument on point.

Thanks, again.















02/07/2018 - 10:57pm Don..

this is truer than you know.

Good read of the strands of info.

otoh, who knows, might all work out.


02/04/2018 - 2:58pm Good article

Thanks for posting this.

1. What a curious team. We are #4 in the country (#1 in the BT) in TOs and #11 in the country (#1 in the BT) in DRB. These are team qualities that don't seem generally conencted; certainly, I can't recall any such connection on Beilein teams.

2. OTOH, unlike most all JB teams, this one struggles shooting the ball. Average from 3. # 342 in FT %---worst of any major team---and the latter is hard to understand. Certainly, it isn't practice or work ethic or any such speculation. My guess is it is mental/psycholgoical, and as the team struggles at the line the mental aspect of it becomes worse. I suggest hypnosis---it worked for me. [Not a joke.] But it might be as simple as the fact that UM has two guys (Matthews and Simpson) who just can't shoot free throws, for whatever reason.

3. The good news is that we don't get to the line much (that may change) and we continue to be a good defensive team and one that has the flexibility to transform to a zone (won the game) even though the strength of the team would generally be checking on the perimeter.

4. It is hard to make a prognosis for this team. One would think that a team that is average from 3, and terrible from the line, has limited post-season potential. OTOH, they have gotten hot (Purdue at Purdue) and they are a routinely good defensive team that makes few mistakes. So, I dunno.




02/02/2018 - 12:22pm I agree...

I fear Brian has some nasty flu.

But I don't think this debacle/tragedy is going away soon. We will have the benefit of Brian's POV.


01/31/2018 - 12:53am Actually...

he was there six years, a couple short of Horace Prettyman, Brian's GGF.

01/14/2018 - 12:32am Hawaii

any time but especially in the winter or early spring is a good choice.

01/14/2018 - 12:29am Aero you are

well too kind...

I hope I just qualify as about average among those who follow Brian's site.

Hey, if you are in AA in the spring or fall, give me a call.