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03/07/2019 - 10:44am I don't disagree that PKs…

I don't disagree that PKs are absolutely the worst of all the sports, HOWEVAH...

As a guy that played goalie at a pretty high level and coached the position, as well, you are drastically devaluing the role a seasoned netminder can play in that situation. The angle of approach, the type of player (finesse vs. power), his/her tendencies, and at the highest levels scouting reports all play a factor in increasing save percentages. 

It's VERY similar to your description of a hockey shootout. The coach picks the shooters who have proven over time that they can deal with the pressure and have the ability to put the ball in the back of the net. As mentioned up thread, this is something that they train for, it's not just some random skill test they drop at the end of a tied game.

It's not a coin flip. Guys have to step up to the spot and convert. Goalies have an opportunity to shade to one side or the other, and to flinch and flex and jump around in an effort to get in the kicker's head. The crowd is going nuts, the pressure is unbearable. 

And if you've ever had a rooting interest in a team going through PKs, to put the excitement score anywhere under 10 is pretty ridiculous. (Though, pants shitting anxiety is probably a more accurate descriptor.)

02/11/2019 - 1:36pm Absolutely. It's only a dick…

Absolutely. It's only a dick move to shoot or dunk when everyone on the opposing team is doing the whole "look glumly at the floor and wait for the horn to end the game" shuffle. Wisc was in full court press mode; that dunk is not even close to bush league. 

02/10/2019 - 1:58pm I know I'm way late on this,…

I know I'm way late on this, and I'm probably not breaking any news, but in searching for more background on the Kampher assault... A brief history of what Conboy got up to after he got booted from MSU:

Tropp has had a fairly unremarkable, but fairly routine NHL/AHL career. The only thing that stands out is getting his ass beat by a Maple Leaf at some point. He's now sitting on a one year AHL contract in San Diego.

12/17/2018 - 9:39am And Ohio State beat Bucknell…

And Ohio State beat Bucknell 75-73... Bucknell had possession at the end to tie/win.

BTW, don't look now but this result aside, OSU seems to be pretty darn good, especially on the defensive side of things. 

11/15/2018 - 12:34pm Weekly Installment: Which…

Weekly Installment: Which OppWatch Sentence Gets Funnier on Second/Third/Etc Read:

This is mankind sitting in the trees and watching our new global overlords, the red-ruffed lemurs, like “dammit how did we let THAT happen?”


11/08/2018 - 3:44pm His shit is on point in a…

His shit is on point in a lot of different comedic ways (using historical analogies, in a funny way, for example.) But his ability, even in a piece you KNOW is full of zingers, to lead you down a path like that is why it's so consistently funny. 

You know you've achieved your goal as a writer if people like me are hitting refresh on your website all morning on the day the piece comes due. 

11/08/2018 - 2:41pm My new weekly installment:…

My new weekly installment: Which OppWatch Sentence Gets Funnier on Second/Third/Etc Read


Northwestern managed to cut a 24-7 deficit to 24-21 through a classic Northwestern tactic of “some bullshit”...

11/01/2018 - 3:24pm I read the Oregon Trail…

I read the Oregon Trail thing as self-destructive traits that all lead to failure. 

11/01/2018 - 3:22pm Pretty sure it got rolled…

Pretty sure it got rolled out as something like "they don't deserve the 's'" or something like that. 

10/04/2018 - 12:55pm The PSU section had me in…

The PSU section had me in tears. 

On the serious side, and this is a compliment BiSB, but if you know you can't get one of these done, please send us a flare. I was surprised how bummed I was when Friday came and went and this didn't show up. (Again, compliment intended, not bitching.)


08/13/2018 - 4:02pm Living in MD, I've made…

Living in MD, I've made friends with some pretty connected alumni... A guy I know gives the athletic dept a lot of money... According to him Durkin is not gonna survive this.

Not exactly breaking news, just another soft data point. 

What a damn mess. 

02/20/2018 - 5:11pm Ayuh

82 is the year I "graduated" to Slauson. Left for Maryland right before high school. 

02/20/2018 - 3:10pm Lockwood

It's been over a month and the hockey articles have been light (not complaining, just noting) so it's probably not top of mind, but...

Doing all of this without Lockwood is another "who would've thunk it" angle. I saw that kid play in person up in Buffalo at the World Juniors and he is crazy good. Throw a line with him and Hughes on the ice and the opposing D is going to shit its collective pants. 

01/02/2018 - 10:54am Twisted into knots

I mean... when you turn the ball over 4(!) times in the second half... How is that on the coaches? That was about as random a game as I've ever seen. It sucked, I'm not saying the play calling was perfect, but ffs... 4(!) turnovers??

11/13/2017 - 2:03pm Packed it in

As someone at the game, I can not emphasize enough how much the game was over at 28-0. The student section, which was actually more crowded than 2 years ago, left en masse after that TD. The entire energy in the stadium changed. I left at HT and then watched the rest on TV (DVR) when I got home and then the 30/60 replay the next day. Almost the entire second half was playing out the string.

10/13/2017 - 6:06pm Hung up

You are very hung up on the notion that Gulati hired Arena because he is pro-MLS. Or that Gulati only would hire someone that was pro-MLS. I don't really feel like debating something that can't be proven or disproven. 

You mentioned conspiracy theory earlier. Yup.  

10/13/2017 - 5:53pm Credit

I don't disagree with your premise, but Gulati has done a good job as our  FIFA rep. Particularly in how he handled the scandal. The US now has a much bigger voice and a seat at the table, which it really didn't have before. 

I think a good way to handle this whole thing is to ask him to stay on as FIFA rep and bring home the 26 WC. Make him feel special. But GTFO as the President. Let's get soccer savvy people in Chicago ffs. 

10/13/2017 - 5:50pm Wow.

You are conflating the job of manager/coach and the job of President/Technical Director. I actually don't take huge issue with the idea of him taking the role of shaping the system, he's actually pretty good at that (according to people in Germany, who would also tell you he is a TERRIBLE manager.)

His track record in his job as manager in Germany was stepping down and handing it over to Low (who has seen that federation to a WC in '14) and getting booted from Bayern after less than a year. He claims it was political, a lot of pundits and players on that team said he couldn't make adjustments or choose appropriate lineups to save his life. 

If you look at JK's tenure, one of the really stark things is that the US lost games or conceded goals to produce a draw a LOT in the second half. I don't think I need to tell anyone here about half-time adjustments. They are just as big a deal in soccer, if not more so, than in football. At least in football, a cadre of coaches can constantly get in the ear of units and players. In soccer, you get about 10 minutes and then it's back out there for 45 minutes mostly on your own as a player.

10/12/2017 - 12:49pm The point

For many is that, like Brian, we DO have "skin in the fight." So when the I Don't Give A Damn About the Whole State of... Soccer crowd waddles in and essentially trolls... It pisses off an already extremely pissed off and gutted group.

The lack of understanding and empathy from this don't care/anit-soccer group is pretty stunning. I'll stop beating my head against the wall, but for one of the smarter commentariat on the Internet, this thread has been pretty frustrating. 

10/12/2017 - 12:43pm Fun Fact

You'll probably never see... Iceland has more certified coaches than the US. Not per capita... Total.

Let that nugget sink in. 

10/12/2017 - 12:41pm Yes, it will.

Not going to the work for you. But there is ample evidence that even after the US is knocked out of tournaments, the ratings crush.

Not that we'll remember or find a way to reconnect, I'll bet you $100 that the ratings will surpass the last round, even without the US in them. 

10/11/2017 - 4:01pm He understands

I am a US soccer nerd. His writeups and analysis are always spot on. So, you can be assured that if you regurgitate them to a soccer-knowledgeable friend, you will come off as knowing your shit.

10/11/2017 - 3:49pm World Cup Pulls Monster Ratings

Whether the US is in them or not, the World Cup pulls monster ratings. Google it. 

10/11/2017 - 3:46pm Or, Find a Better Team

First, at that age, ALL SPORTS are bullshit. I've coached soccer for 15 years... 6-8 year olds are barely coachable. At that age, just relax and focus on them having fun... Around 8-9, time to start getting a little more serious. 10-11 you start the filtering process. By U12, the real shit starts going down if the kid is any good. 

You have, at a minimum, 3 more years of watching tadpoles follow a ball around a small sided field. 

10/11/2017 - 3:41pm Yep.

That's what Brian is saying. Julian Green is the Bundesliga 2 player he's talking about. I would also throw Wondolowski on the pile of "guys that LD should've been ahead of for a roster spot." If you don't think he would've been helpful off the bench against Belgium... I don't  know what to say to that argument. 

10/11/2017 - 3:36pm No.

You would've been drummed out of here for your post because it is fundamentally fucked up to bitch about a soccer post on this site. It's the kind of bullshit you expect from your 60 year old neighbor, along with some racist bullshit and maybe something something communism. 

Maybe you're unaware, but people around Brian's age lived through an era of people constantly shitting on soccer. (I'm a little older - I was part of the first Rec Leagues and then Travel Clubs that popped up in Ann Arbor in the late 70s and early 80s.) 

It's fucking tiring. So, no, it wasn't just leftover angst about the MSU game. You tapped into some deepseated annoyance, the day after a devastating loss (for many of us.) It is the rough equivalent of coming on this site and trolling after a loss to OSU. 

10/11/2017 - 3:28pm Lalas ranted

Last week or in the last two weeks. Google it. Pretty much went after everyone on the roster. 

10/05/2017 - 5:20pm PSU

There is no way PSU gets over on UM with that offense. I've watched good chunks of 3 of their games. They are so incredibly reliant on Barkley getting tons of after contact yards... That's just not going to happen against this D. 

If there's one thing that it seems this D is even better than last year is limiting those plays where a guy gets to the ball, doesn't wrap up, and then the guy gets another 5+ yards. These team wolfpacks like nobodies business. 

I agree with another (sking), we don't know if the offense can produce against a solid D. But if they can put up 17 points, pretty sure PSU is going to struggle to get more than 10. 

09/28/2017 - 11:24am PSU

I watched just about that entire game and I know I'm not out on a limb with this, but...

I don't think Barkley is going to be able to single-handedly beat M they way he did Iowa. We just have much more athletic guys across the board. He was getting away with YAC that just won't be there.

I agree with the O'Korn/QB concern, but I think PSU is very over-rated. 

09/15/2017 - 4:43pm Colorado and/or Illinois EASILY Horrors

I mean, Illinois comes in and knocks off a Tom Brady-led team that was sitting (I think) in the Top 10 at that point. I'm too lazy to look it up, but they scored 3 or 4 unanswered, the last one (in my mind's eye) was very late to win. And that Illinois team was definitely not ranked at that point. Huge upset.

CO I don't really need to get into. 

03/24/2017 - 3:23pm Miller Time!

I can count on one hand the number of times I've turned off the sound on a game... Any game. Last night, with about 5 minutes left, off went the sound in favor of a Spotify mix on my remote speaker.

Obviously, a devastating loss. But I was just so much more sane not having to argue with his nonsense down the stretch.

What  a moron.

03/19/2017 - 6:10pm Pitino. Suck it.

Not sure how many folks caught his postgame interview. Totally classless. I don't want to dwell on it... I've been walking on clouds all afternoon... But he is such a douchebag. 

11/21/2016 - 3:18pm Credit to Peppers on another punt

I don't remember exactly when it occurd in the game, but Indiana flat-lined a punt over near their sideline. Peppers hustled over in the vicinity, but not in time to field it.

But the punt had taken a pretty wicked pro-IN bounce and was probably going to skip and roll another 20 yards, at least. Pep, ever the quick thinker, juked like he was going to field it, the IN player hastily grabbed it and we had another pretty massive field position flip.

The announcers were questioning why the IN player did what he did. I guess they didn't see Peppers jump at the guy and force a bad decision.

11/06/2016 - 10:01am 71...74

I'm about your age, so I don't remember 71 and barely remember 74... but those are really the only seasons I could find that have this many overhwhelmingly dominant games like this. Someone may prove me wrong, but I think this season is unprecedented n this front (to date.)

10/31/2016 - 5:15pm Did you go to UM - Why it Bugs Me (a lot)

As my username conveys (to those of you with more than cursory knowledge of the A2 public school system), I grew up in Ann Arbor.

My middle school band teacher was in the Marching Band; I could hear the band practicing while playing basketball at Virginia Park. My mom got her under grad and then Grad at IPPS; I spent countless hours on campus running around while she was in class or in study groups; I served as a young intern when they held their interenational meeting.

I played youth hockey for Ace Hardware and Bimbo's, where if you gutted out 5:00 a.m. outdoor rink sessions, you got to play at Yost at the end of the year. I became friends with guys on the 76-77 hockey team and they'd give me sticks when I'd visit during practice and fetch pucks. I cried like a baby when Greg Natale, my favorite player, got taken out by an asshole Sparty in the corner, breaking his collar bone and ending his year. I cried like an even bigger baby when they lost to Wisconsin

My best friend, who has gone on to a pretty successful broadcasting career, used to call me over so we could listen to Bob Ufer on vinyl(!)... And we could feel every second of those games from before we were born. I played baseball against Bo's grandson, with the man himself sitting on the 1st base side in a lawn chair.

I could, literally, go on like this for another 1000 words. My point is that the question is just so incredibly ignorant. I didn't go to UM, but you know who else loves the town and roots for all of their teams? Both of my kids, my wife, and my younger brother-in-law... All because of my love and spreading the word about why the school, and the town, creates such a special environment.

Obviously, folks that attend or associate themselves with State and East Lansing don't understand that. How could they, really?

10/28/2016 - 1:22pm Anagnorisis

As a part-time editor, normally I'd be inclined to take a shot at the writer for using a word like anagnorisis. But, for some reason, the fact that I know a pretty large chunk of the readers probably Google'd that word without even a grumble, and some other decent chunk just knew what it meant on first read... I don't care if it's elitist or whatever... This place is just special.

08/31/2016 - 12:38pm Plenty of National Coverage

At a minimum, this issue was prominent on Deadspin and Uproxx yesterday. Millions of page views on those sites ona a daily basis.

And the idea that this blog shouldn't be critical of Harbaugh or Michigan is... The best thing about this blog is its commitment to honesty, even when it hurts like Hell to read it.

05/19/2016 - 12:47pm Which is all to say..

I'll be sharing this excellent preview with my crew to remind them to get on the bandwagon a little earlier this year.

05/19/2016 - 12:47pm My daughter plays softball...

at the high school level and it's become an annual tradition to follow the M softball team this time of year. Last year, the entire family gathered around to watch the match-ups with Florida. Keep in mind, I'm transplanted in MD now, so this was truly a force of will type situation. They saw the two of us having so much fun and just wanted to join in on the fun.

04/29/2016 - 1:05pm Social Media and Texts

Here's the thing about how dumb the "Adults" were in this situation... You up to shady shit. It's highly likely this was going on with other players, but whatever. Even if you don't consider the fact that it's super easy to get into most social media platforms and into people's cell phone accounts... WHEN the shit hits the fan, these Asst AD's don't think their text messages and direct messages are going to be poured over??

I guess working in the govt, where I've had to deal with FOIA's and subpeona's puts me in a certain percentage of the population where this is top of mind. (I don't send any electronic communications that could be used in a negative way.) But I just can't imagine, with the stakes involved, that these guys didn't think this aspect of this through.

And it's why I'd be completly shocked (seriously, not sarcasm) if the NCAA doesn't step in here. We have a fucking electronic paper trail ffs. I don't see how they can ignore this.

03/14/2016 - 5:34pm I like the goal-by-goal analysis, but...

I was missing a good Brian hockey recap. I know it has been a strange year, and living out of the area I sometimes struggle following the team I grew up on (yeah, more than the football team... I was a Yost rink rat and played for Ace Hardware and Bimbo's in my PeeWee years.)

Thanks for these, Brian. They really mean a lot to what I imagine is a pretty hard core group that frequents the site from points outside of the area.

03/11/2016 - 4:33pm Bonus

I wonder if part of the plan was to go against form and foul a lot. The announcers mentioned it, but more as a joke "we're gonna be here awhile" when both teams got into the bonus with something like 11 mins left in the game.

That totally chopped up the flow of the game, and I'd submit that was to M's advantage.

11/23/2015 - 11:59am Yep...

And if you were listening to the broadcast drone on and on and on about this point, it makes it even tougher to swallow. STFU about it. He kept saying they needed to run to, I dunno, get back to the culture they wanted to create.

Inane. I hate that guy now. After only two games and I couldn't have picked him out of a line-up 15 days ago.

10/13/2015 - 4:28pm Tall Order, no doubt

But when the discussion starts with "be the Oregon of the east" you also acknowledge and tip your cap to what they've been able to do in terms of recruiting and building their brand.

I'm not saying this is going to happen for MD. There is a general ambivalence about the school in this region, despite a basketball program with an extremely rich tradition. The football team used to slug it out with Clemson for the coference title in the 70s and 80s, Bobby Ross had a little buzz going, and Friedgen was moving in the right direction until he wasn't.

That's not a strong history, but it's not non-existent. But, really, the pitch to the recruits is "come build a tradition... new facilities, new coach and Under Armor." If they can get some quality seasons together, they won't lock anything down, but they'll have a better shot at some of the 4 and 5 stars moving through the football factories in the school's backyard.

10/13/2015 - 3:42pm Wetzel

From the Wetzel article, describing M's defense: "brunt force trauma defense."

While not quite "unverified voracity," that's still a precious botching of a colloquilism.

10/13/2015 - 1:39pm Straight Answer

Instead of pulling out the flamethrower, I'll read your second sentence as a legit question. MD, DC and Northern Virginia house a number of the top prep programs in the country (DeMatha, Good Counsel, etc.) Depending on what metric you want to use, MD is middle of the pack in terms of "where college programs get their players" or "number of 3-star and up" recruits.

But where it gets interesting, and why it's really a huge "upside" situation is that there's virtually no in state competition. The other FBS school is Navy...  That's not a program MD is competing with, on any level. If MD could lock down the state in a meaningful way, there are 4 and 5 stars to be had.

And if you build any kind of momentum, you extremely close to NJ and of course VA, which which even with VaTech is a state ripe because of the volume of quality recruits they spit out. And, if you can plant a flag and make a mark in these "soft" target states... Now you can make some noise in PA.

There is a huge opportunity here for MD.

10/13/2015 - 11:08am EXACTLY

Same reason I was confident against NW... That series, other than the last few years, has been incredibly lopsided in our favor. I'm pretty sure they didn't win a single game against UM from the mid-60s to the mid-90s and even with a bit of a correction, we are something like 12 or 13 wins to 3 or 4 losses in the last 20 years. I'm not scurred of that team.

10/12/2015 - 11:03am Nailed it

I'll just add that the section describing the change in perspective from the last 7-8 years to now is spot on. Well done.

10/09/2015 - 3:58pm Good points, but...

To me, Stanford just never seemed comfortable or in any kind of rhythm that day. Absolutely give credit to NW and its D, but I really don't like it when P5 programs play each other first game of the season. It's crazy to me, actually. So many random outliers.

And I'd also say that, again, where we're going to see a MASSIVE change from the last 8 years is the difference is in the game-by-game and half-by-half changes by this coaching staff. They will have schemes on both sides of the ball that NW won't have planned for and THAT is why I don't believe we'll see Chaosball anytime soon.

Low scoring games are inherently nail-biting affairs, especially when you can't rely on your QB to get big chunks if something whacky happens in the 4Q. I just don't have a sense that NW has athletes that that special they can turn this game in their favor.

10/09/2015 - 3:03pm Nope. I'm not buying into the M00N crap

The history of this series is not one of chaos. It is one in which the Wolverines kick the crap out of NW. Up until 92, MI won every match-up going back to the mid-60s. The overall record is 56-15-2.

Yes, recently, as the program post-Bo slowly lurched to its 2014 self, there have been glitches. BUT, we're still talking about a 12-4 record  since 1995.

The 97 team beat NW 23-6. I'm going with that scoreline for Saturday. We will wear them down with the run, stifle their offense and beat them in the field possession game. Won't be exciting... We will all be excited.

(I'm done using the last 4 or 5 years to predict how MI will perform this season. Night and day. Yes, anything can happen, but under this coaching staff EVERYTHING doesn't happen... there is no more chaos as it relates to MI football. Those days are over.)