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06/22/2018 - 3:03am Oh, also btw...according to…

Oh, also btw...according to that article you linked to, FPI does not predict that PSU will go 11-1. They predict 9.7 - 2.3, which you could round up to 10-2. 

(They just say that FPI favors PSU in 11/12 games. Their model assumes they'll drop 1.3 other games somewhere along the way.) 

06/22/2018 - 3:00am I also think they'll lose to…

I also think they'll lose to us in Ann Arbor and figure they have a decent shot to beat OSU in Happy Valley (white out game). But I don't see them going 11-1. Not only do they lose Barkley, Gesicki and Moorhead, but a bunch of the guys who made that defense significantly better than any other defense they've had since Franklin got there. 

Their offense will still be good, but it won't be as explosive and their defense won't be as solid as it was last year. I'd guess 10-2. 

06/22/2018 - 2:39am If not this year, then next…

If not this year, then next year. Or the year after. That's just how it goes. 

As for 2018, we'll have a killer defense and a dependable run game, as well as an upgrade at QB, but I just don't see how we make the CFP with a not-great RT at LT and a 6th year guard at RT who will be starting for the first time. 

If OT turns out better than expected, then sky is the limit. But the fact is, we have a significantly harder path than any of the other 3 contestants in the Big 10 East and also two really big question marks at extremely vital positions. We are likely to struggle against a few defenses on our schedule.

If I'm wrong, that's great. But this is just me being realistic. It's a very tough schedule and we could be very iffy at tackle. 

 

06/22/2018 - 2:29am I expect him to do a very…

I expect him to do a very good job, but I don't think he can work miracles. 

06/21/2018 - 6:31pm I think you're setting…

I think you're setting yourself up for disappointment, dude. If we figure out OT, then the sky is the limit. But we are nowhere near figuring out OT. At present our projected LT is an RT who was at best okay at pass pro last year, and our projected RT is a 6th year guard who hasn't yet managed to crack the starting lineup. Could they be good enough to fight off the best DLs on our schedule? Sure, it's possible. Will they? I am very skeptical.  

Our schedule isn't an excuse--it's a fact. And so is our lack of options at OT. Unless something unforeseen happens, like Newsome coming back or Warriner working magic with JBB and Runyan, we will be a much improved team with not much to show for it. We won't get blown out by anyone and we'll win an uphill battle or two, but we'll also lose a couple games because the pocket collapses in 1-2 seconds. 

9-3 (6-2) seems likeliest to me. 

06/21/2018 - 6:24pm Actually I think OT will be…

Actually I think OT will be more pivotal than QB. Patterson will be good, but if we don't get major improvement at OT, he's going to be running around like mad against the small number of teams on our schedule who can generate pressure with their front 4 (ND, MSU, Wisconsin, OSU). If Warriner works his magic, though, and we get decent performance at OT, then we can beat anyone.

I don't expect that to happen, of course. I expect he'll get us to pretty-good-not-great play from the tackles. I just see OT as the most important variable.  

06/21/2018 - 6:14pm I usually don't expect much…

I usually don't expect much from these things, but those are all really smart predictions. I see it almost the same. Going out on a limb, here's what I predict:

OSU likely wins the east at 10-2, PSU benefits from the easiest schedule among the big 4 to go 10-2 as well, albeit with 2 conference losses as opposed to 1 for OSU. Michigan and MSU both go 9-3, though Michigan edges out MSU with a better conference record (and wins the tie-breaker over PSU thanks to winning the head-to-head). Final standings:

1. OSU 10-2 (8-1)

2. Michigan 9-3 (7-2)

3. PSU 10-2 (7-2)

4. MSU 9-3 (6-3) 

06/20/2018 - 10:00pm Agree with pretty much all…

Agree with pretty much all of this. I do think we can make it to that elite strata, though it will take time. In OSU's case, sure they do have a natural recruiting advantage, but really their sustained success stems from the fact that the athletic department made two extremely good coaching hires (from a football perspective) in a row--and the second one picked up from the first one while the first one still had the program performing at an elite level. Not many schools manage to do that, in part because successful coaches often remain tenured past the performance drop-off point. 

Also many athletic departments fail to follow one good hire up with another one. (Sometimes, of course, the hire seems good at the time but in retrospect is not.) But the fact is that OSU followed one HOF coach in Tressel (if he isn't barred from that thanks to the scandal) with an even better one in Meyer, and Meyer inherited a full cupboard. 

For us to get to that level, we need time to fill all the holes in the roster and get to the point where we only play freshmen and sophomores when they beat out very good, and experienced, juniors and seniors. 

 

06/15/2018 - 7:46pm Nice to see republicans and…

Nice to see republicans and democrats agree on something for once.

Also nice to see that at least some MSU trustees have their priorities straight. 

06/14/2018 - 7:41pm Germany is still a very good…

Germany is still a very good bet. Germany has one of the best squads, top to bottom, and even if a few of the stars are getting old, they arent over the hill yet. 

As for the others, I'm selling Brazil. World Cup is in Europe, which has typically been a barrier for the South American teams. Of course location didn't matter last time around, but you have to think it's still an advantage for a team like Germany and a disadvantage for a team like Brazil. Plus they just seem like paper tigers to me. 

Argentina could be good, but--Messi or not--may still have problems scoring. 

France could win it but are probably one tournament away from their peak. 

Spain could be a "dark horse" but I just don't see it with this squad. 

Sweden (my team) could notch an upset or two but won't make the finals. England won't make the finals either. 

06/10/2018 - 10:29pm We were close, but they had…

We were close, but they had a more balanced team and so did better than we did. I mean, look at the difference in the two bowl game performances. I don't think it's a stretch to say they were ahead of where we were at the end of the season. 

That said, I think we clearly have more growth potential. So while a lot of Sparties expect to beat us *because* they were a bit ahead of us last year, the smarter ones understand that we'll be a tougher nut to crack this year. 

06/04/2018 - 1:03am Yes and no

Old but not as old as you might think. The grievances mainly date back to the first Yugoslavia (1919-1941), which the Croats thought was going to be an equal partnership and the Serbs thought was going to be an extension of the Kingdom of Serbia. Before that, Serbian nationalists were mostly concerned with Turkey and the Croatian nationalists were mostly concerned with Hungary.

(But even then, the grievances weren't that intense. The serious problems began during WW2, when Mussolini and Hitler lost control of their local puppet, who initiated a genocide he couldn't see through. Not that Hitler had any conceptual issues with genocide, it's just that wanted Yugoslavia to be quiet while he invaded Russia. Instead he had to commit several divisions to pacifying the multipronged insurrection, which he was never able to do. The Communists then beat both the Croatian fascists and Serbian royalists/nationalists, both of whom decided that communism was a plot against them and only them.)

Also, during the later days of socialist Yugoslavia, the regional hooligan fights were usually as intense as the inter-ethnic ones (e.g. Dinamo Zagreb vs Hajduk Split, Red Star vs Partizan). They are still pretty damned intense. I knew some Dinamo "bad blue boys" when I lived there. Crazy dudes. Nice enough out of that context, though.   

 

06/03/2018 - 9:27pm Basically these are street gangs

The Football club just determines the territoriality. 

06/03/2018 - 9:26pm Not just Russia and not just recently

The whole "let's meet in a field and rumble" think is widespread across Europe. It's probably worst in Russia, Poland and the Balkans (including the northwestern/most Balkan-ish bits of Turkey) right now. But its not a new phenomenon. 

In 1990, during and after a match between Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) and Dinamo Zagreb, hooligans for the two sides engaged in a massive, sprawling riot (both inside and outside the stadium).

A year later several of the "supporters clubs" for these teams (as well as Partizan and Hajduk Split) were organized into paramilitary outfits. One particularly notorious group, the Tigers, were led by a former bank robber named Arkan, and are blamed for a very long list of atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. 

 

06/01/2018 - 11:33pm Mostly '90s dudes on my list

 

 

QB - Tom Brady

RB - Tyrone Wheatley

WR - Anthony Carter

TE - Jeramy Tuman

OL - Steve Hutchinson

DL - Maurice Hurst

LB - Larry Foote

CB - Charles Woodson

S - Ernest Shazor

K/P Return - Steve Breaston

K - Remy Hamilton

P - Hayden Epstein

 

05/31/2018 - 9:08am And Wisconsin losing

That seems fairly constant as well. 

05/31/2018 - 9:07am 28-0

Book it. 

05/31/2018 - 1:58am I could see 10-2

I think 9-3 is moderately more likely, given the schedule, but 10-2 seems fairly plausible to me. 

Obviously would prefer 12-0 :P

05/31/2018 - 1:56am Even though I wouldn't like to see 3 ties

It would also be kind of interesting. 

05/30/2018 - 3:04am That's a rational reaction, IMO

Granted, it doesn't always work out (see: Hoke firing Borges for Nussmeier). But then sometimes it does (see: Franklin hiring Moorhead). 

05/30/2018 - 12:54am Losses after 2018

The only really great players who are sure to leave are Winovich and Higdon. We'd also lose JBB, Kinnell, Perry and Furbush--all of whom are contributors but none of whom are world beaters. We *might* also lose Gary, Patterson, L. Hill and/or Bush Jr., but I'm guessing that only Gary and Patterson are big risks to forego their senior year.

 

05/29/2018 - 11:29pm Serious question for the "I've had it" crowd

If Michigan fails to meet your expectations in 2018, what would you like to see happen? 

05/29/2018 - 11:26pm Disagree with the take

People seem to forget that our program was mired in dysfunction for 8 years (2007-2014) and experienced 3 (!) coaching transitions, 2 of which involved attempts to completely rebuild the roster. That's why we are in a boom/bust cycle. 

What we really need, if you take a long-term view, is stability in the program and relatively even class sizes. If we get that, we can become a gap-blocking version of Wisconsin, only with better skill players. 

Sure, I want to go 11-1 and win the conference too. But I'm a skeptical realist by nature and just don't think we have an evenly-enough distributed mix of talent and experience to make that happen against our 2018 schedule. So I'm patient--as tough as that can be sometimes. I believe we will get there, starting in 2019, and that--once we do--we will be in a very good place for a very long time. 

05/29/2018 - 10:51pm This

...and it's not even clear that record was the driving force in Hand's case. I seem to recall he wanted to major in engineering, and Michigan engineering is a very different beast than Alabama engineering. Hard to know exactly what the main reason was in any event--just saying it's not even clear that our record made the difference in this one isolated case.

By contrast, I don't think it played a significant role--at all--for McDowell or Treadwell.

In the end, we finished with a class that was almost identical to the preceding two in terms of per-player average rating. That doesn't even constitute a downturn, let alone an implosion.   

05/29/2018 - 6:38pm But...recruiting did not implode after 2013

The 2014 class was just small, and that was a function of the 2012 and 2013 classes being large. The average score per recruit on the 247 composite was only slightly lower than in 2013 (89 vs 90). 

(The 2015 class was a different story, as it was a transition class.) 

05/28/2018 - 7:57pm Yeah, I agree

It would have been nice to see then run some other kinds of plays to take advantage of his athleticism, like jet sweeps--maybe one real and two fake per game. 

05/27/2018 - 11:14pm The Game

2002: would have deprived Tressel of his national championship, while our very good team (eventually ranked #9) probably would have ended up in the top 5.

2006: obvious reasons are obvious. 

2016: CFP 

 

 

05/27/2018 - 11:10pm Mixed feelings about Peppers

I thought he was a very good defensive player, but not ever as good as he was hyped to be. Certainly great on ST, no doubt about that. 

On offense, though, I think the "Pepcat" package eventually did more harm than good. It wasn't very effective after Maryland. In fact, his rushing averages after that point were:

  • @Iowa: 2.75 ypc.
  • Indiana: 1.00 ypc.
  • OSU: 1.00 ypc. 

 

05/27/2018 - 10:46pm Talent or skill?

In terms of raw upside over college careers, I'd say 2018. In terms of developed skills, I'd say 2016. Lots of guys on this team, particularly on offense, probably have a ways to go before they develop their peak skills. 

But at many positions, I think the 2018 roster has a higher ceiling. On offense:

  • DJB and Black will eventually be better than Darboh and Chesson
  • Patterson will be better than Speight this year
  • Higdon and junior Evans are already better than Smith and freshman Evans
  • The 2018 OL will eventually be better than the 2016 OL
  • TE is the onlyonly position where I think our top player in 2016 (Butt) finished his career better than anyone on our current roster will finish their careers

On defense:

  • Current DL may not end up as good as the 2016 DL
  • Linebackers are already better than the 2016 LBs
  • Safeties probably a wash
  • CBs close but I think will end up better than 2016 CBs
  • Unpopular opinion, perhaps, but I think K. Hudson will end up better than Peppers was

 

05/23/2018 - 11:22pm You're right, it was 2016

But otherwise I stand by it. We need viable tackles--desperately--and do not have them. He's a viable tackle. We should have taken him. 

Also "quit making up stupid shit to fit a narrative?" Seriously? I'm actually very supportive of this staff. I think they have done a much better job than many people credit them with, considering the 8 years of dysfunction they inherited. And I'm confident that the offseason staff changes will pay major dividents. They need time and the fanbase need to be patient. 

That said, they have made errors, and it's not wrong to call them as you see them. The worst one, to me, was the attempt to go inside zone when our identity and skills are much better suited to gap blocking. Credit for recognizing that mid-season, but I wish it had been recognized pre-season. 

05/22/2018 - 11:37pm He may be, but...

...you can't base that on one relief appearance, where the defense was not prepared. See also: O'Korn vs. Purdue last year. 

Granted our defense was much better than Purdue's, but the point is that QBs sometimes do much better in a relief situation than when opposing defenses are prepared for them.

That said, I'm guessing he's pretty good. 

05/21/2018 - 8:40pm True, but I have a valid reason

...mainly I don't feel qualified to predict special teams play the way I can predict offense or defense. So the omission is a function of my ignorance, not thinking it doesn't matter. 

Basically I've assumed ST as average--on balance, either (a) not remarkable enough to swing games our way or the other way or (b) swinging games in both directions in roughly equal measure. I agree this is a tenuous assumption, but it seems like a reasonable stand in for pretending I can talk about something when I don't feel like I can.  

 

05/21/2018 - 6:29pm Here's the reasoning

Our defense will be great, no doubt. But our offense is likely to struggle against better defenses, and this is doubly true in hostile road environments like South Bend. (Not all road environments are that hostile, FTR.)

Like most people, I see a grind not entirely unlike the MSU game last year. And I do think we can win this game. I just don't think, based on available information and reasonable conjecture, that we should be *favored* in this game. That said, I don't think it's a big advantage for ND. Maybe 60/40 or even less. Close to a tossup, but with ND slightly favored. 

If we played them at home, then I'd probably pick us to win. 

Also, worth noting: my record prediction is less about firm win/loss predictions and more about predicting mean losses based on uncertainty in multiple games (including those I expect us to win). I may think we lose to ND with 60/40 probability, but I also think we beat MSU with about the same (60/40) probability. We could win both, we could lose both, but I think the likeliest scenario is we lose to ND and beat MSU. 

 

 

05/21/2018 - 6:22pm I'm not convinced either

I think they'll be good-not-great. Also, interesting factoid: Kelley has never won 10 games in back-to-back seasons at ND. 

Unfortunately for us, we play them early and at their stadium, which I think makes the game more challenging than it would be if it were 3rd on the year and at home. I think we certainly can win, though. The only game I'm really pessimistic about is OSU. All the rest are winnable, even with our tackle issues. 

That said, I think--given our tackle issues--we are bound to have a couple bad performances, either on the road and/or against the small number of teams that project to have very good defenses (ND, OSU, MSU, Wisconsin). 

05/21/2018 - 6:17pm I wish

I wish you were right about 10-2 being the floor, but I think you're (a) overestimating the ability of JBB, Runyan and a couple redshirt freshmen to face down the schedule's best DEs in pass protection and (b) underestimating our schedule. 

We certainly can go 10-2, based on available information and reasonable conjecture. But a team that doesn't even project to have one viable pass protecting tackle does project to have serious problems against teams with good DEs--especially on the road. A team with a 10-2 floor looks more like OSU than Michigan at this point in the pre-season: a more complete team with an easier schedule. 

In my view, our non-injury floor is 7-5 and our ceiling 11-1, with the mean normally distributed around 9-3.    

05/21/2018 - 6:09pm I read somewhere he was projected to start

But who knows. Either way, we could really use him right now, as our tackle situation is a cause of serious concern on an otherwise promising team.

05/21/2018 - 5:52pm No, I meant Swenson

He's playing OT at Oklahoma after Michigan pulled his scholarship a month before singing say in 2015. In retrospect, that was a very dumb decision. 

05/21/2018 - 5:51pm Well, me too

If something unforeseen happens at OT, like Newsome coming back at full strength, JBB learning to pass protect and/or the young guys developing ahead of schedule, then this is possible. 

That said, it does not appear possible given what we know now and can reasonably assume about the tackle position. 

05/17/2018 - 9:46pm Probability

He doesn't say ND is a lock to win every game. Some of his win probabilties are slim. If there is a high degree of uncertainty in many outcomes, that uncertainty is likely (though not certain) to produce some outcomes that contravene the predicted reselt.  

As I said in another discussion, his season preduction is likely the mean wins from a large number of simulations. If distributed normally (i.e. a bell curve), then he's saying that 10-2 is the most likely outcome, that 11-1 and 9-3 are the next most likely outcomes, and then 12-0 and 8-4 next after that. 

 

05/17/2018 - 9:42pm Connelly

He can be very right and very wrong. Over time and across all teams, he is right much more often than he is wrong. 

He was dead on about Michigan last year. 

05/17/2018 - 9:41pm No, he's correct

For Notre Dame to be "favored in every game," they just need >.50 probability of winning. But that doesn't mean you are predicting the team to actually win every game. In fact, your level of confidence with regards a 51% win probability, or even a 62% win probability, is fairly low. 

What Connolly is doing is modeling that uncertainty, almost certainly via simulations, with 10 wins the mean on the distribution of win probabilties. If one assumes a normal distribution, then he's also saying that ND has about equal chance to go 12-0 as 8-4, and about equal chance to go 11-1 and 9-3. All based on the level of confidence he has in the individual game probabiltiies.   

 

05/17/2018 - 9:23pm He was spot on about us

Though he was way off on some other teams. But yeah. His predictions for Michigan turned out to be quite accurate. 

Of note: I believe when he ranks teams preseason, he ranks them by how good he thinks they are, rather than what he thinks their final record will be. So we could go 9-3 against our schedule and be a better team, according to S&P, than a lot of schools with better records. 

05/17/2018 - 6:00pm Hmm, hard question

It's either "Shadows in the Neon Rain," which was the first song I did for this album, or "Stars that Fade," which is a collaboration with Vandal Moon (friends and also a fantastic band). 

05/17/2018 - 5:58pm Oh cool!

What kind of music? 

05/17/2018 - 5:57pm Thanks dude!

Much appreciated. I'm a huge Spotify fan myself--have discovered a ton of great music that way. 

05/17/2018 - 12:52am We are going 9-3 this year

Enough to demonstrate progress from last year. Not enough to silence the griping. 

05/16/2018 - 11:39pm There was both a vinyl and cassette release

Both sold out, however. So now there's just a digital album/tape-like substance left :)

05/16/2018 - 11:39pm For sure

They're awesome--tracks like "Sunset" and "Jason" are near perfect.

My favorite artists, as a listener, are probably Makeup and Vanity Set (esp the albums 88:88 and Wilderness) and FM Attack. Lazerhawk is pretty badass too. 

05/16/2018 - 11:28pm He's the godfather of synthwave

Him and College (both of whom are featured on the Drive soundtrack). So thanks for making that connection! 

05/04/2018 - 9:19pm Depends on your son

Is he the kind of kid who is self-motivated, aggressively pursues opportunities and isn't afraid of putting himself forward? Or is he the kind of kid who needs some gentle coaxing and handholding to become that kind of adult?

This isn't a value judgement--kids are just wired differently, while some kids just need more time to develop their independence. But my questions encapsulate the difference between a high-quality education at a public university and a high-quality education at a private university. The right person thrives in a public university, where there is far less handholding, but the wrong person may need the extra attention and better quality advising you get at a private school--which, I should add, comes at a steep financial cost.

(So you don't think I'm just talking out of my ass, I'm an academic who has taught at both public and private universities.)