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01/24/2013 - 9:47pm the internet!

where unproductive disagreement on trivial absurdities devolves into incoherent tribal rage! 

you'll note that i didn't say what i believe. i have no freaking idea what happened. and neither do you. and that's the point. if we're telling just-so stories, i can tell a te'o is nice just-so story that is just as plausible as your teo-is-evil just so story.

if this were a possible conspiracy to cover up some horrible act, te'o would be innocent until proven guilty. given that we're talking about a harmless lie in his private life, te'o shouldn't have to offer the world anything at all. in spite of that, because of the public presumption of his guilt, he has offered an account of what he believed and a modest amount of circumstantial evidence to support his claim. there is no alternative account supported by anything other than speculation. under the circustances that's good enough for me. if its not good enough for you, the  standard of evidence you require would place you at risk of being judged pretty damned lightly. ...your significant other accuses you of cheating because they can't imagine why else you'd come home late from work every night...your story that "work is just really busy lately" just isn't believable to them..."why is it suddenly busy right after you got a new assistant?"...and even though you show them the time stamp on the ticket from the parking garage, that isn't enough. part of the reason that peope are innocent until proven guilty is that its really hard to prove that you're innocent, even when you are.

and, yes, if i meet that cancer patient who is enraged that a linebacker was duped about a story involving cancer and feels that they, as a cancer patient, feel harmed by his dupedom...i fully expect to be punched in the face when they realize that i once, on the internet, defended that linebacker. i'm feeling pretty good about cancer patients...kind of worried about meeting you, though.

 

01/24/2013 - 8:12pm this story?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2013/football/ncaa/wires/01/18/2060.ap…

1. so, an alumunus who knows nothing throws a fundraiser. notre dame sends a videographer. we have no idea who, amongst the hundreds of people that works at notre dame, makes that decision. pretty clearly not all notre dame employees knew about the hoax until the story went public. furthermore, the story does not say what you imply — that the te'o family requested they send the videographer. rather, it says that notre dame wasn't going to say one thing either way about the story until the te'o family spoke. so, yes, you fell entirely for unsubstantiated nonsensical internet rumor. or your'e not very good at critical reading.

2. you then engage in the common tactic of finding the worst possible interpretation of the story in order to drag somebody through the muck on the basis of no facts. i can't make this point enough times — the burden is on those who want to prove that somebody acted in immorally. not the other way around. your argument, ultimately, is that you can't imagine a way that somebody would have said the things te'o said and be a decent person. that, of course, is because you only listen to the part of the story that fits your preconceived notion and make no effort whatsoever to empathize with te'o, who by the simplest factual story is more victim than perpetrator. regardless, "i can't imagine a way that this makes sense" is a statement of your lack of imagination, not a statement of fact.

try, to imagine yourself in te'os shoes for a minute. you are a naive, nice guy. you, belive this girl exists. you feel really awful for her and you feel like you have a connection. you don't really deep down believe that she is the love of your life, but she (who is trying to dupe you) tells you that you ar the love of her life. you respond in kind, because your'e not the kind of jerk who tells girls with cancer that you're not that into them. when asked by reporters, both because it makes you seem like a stand-up guy and because you want to make her feel better, you elaborate...you publicly repeat  the "love of your life" statement. that, would be a harmless lie. that would be telling a family member of somebody who recently died that their death was painless, even if it wasn't entirely painless. a lie intended to make somebody feel better. even if it was a lie that was intended to enhance teo's stature, still an entirely harmless lie. the failure here is not my failure of logic, its your failure of empathy. your failure to imagine the circumstances under which one might justly elaborate. you failed, completely, to point out a logical flaw in my account...just a failure of your imagination. te'o didn't go to the funeral, because,  he didn't really believe her to be the love of his life. he believed her to be a nice girl he met on the internet, felt connected to and felt sorry for...on this scenario, which is supported by as many facts as your te'o-is-satan scenario, te'o is a nice guy who elaborated. strike him dead! the broader point is that the burden of proof is on those that want to call te'o satan. until you can disprove my te'o-as-nice-guy scenario and demonstrate that your te'o-is-satan scenario is more plausible than this and all other plausible stories, you have judged prematurely and unfairly.

3. the argument that actual cancer patients were harmed by this is more hilarious than anything. if you're dealing with cancer, i'm pretty sure that a linebacker's lies aren't on your problem list. moreover, how, pray tell, did te'o slur cancer patients? even if he was a complete liar, he portrayed cancer as a serious and awful illness. he talked aout how terrible he felt for the girl, etc. he didn't down-play cancer in any way. he actually raised its profile and the public appreciation of its horror. to the extent that he did so falsely it was because he was lied to, not because he was a liar.

moreover, given that was duped, he didn't fake mourn anything...he mourned for real. his "fake mourning" apparently consists of his failure to promptly and completely confess to the fact that he was duped.  

finally, imagine that i'm a patient with lung cancer. please tell me a story about how my life is worse off because of te'os story? i can't fathom how this might work. i have lung cancer. a linebacker was duped into believing that a girl he knew from the internet died from cancer. he said that he was really sad about it. i'm outraged because? or, i'm outratged that when he found out he was duped, he failed to do something? what should he have said..."i manti te'o, epic dupe, apologize to any cancer real cancer patient...your disease is very obviously much worse than the non-cancer that my non-girlfriend had. however, it is important that you understand that i believed that the non-cancer my non-girlfriend had was real cancer, even though i might have only believed that she was a very-nice-girl-from-the-internet as opposed to the love of my life"? 

anyway, i'm still waiting to hear the narrative about how a person with lung cancer was harmed by te'o statements. take me through it step by step. i have logic issues, as you point out. so please go slowly. but, i believe your argument is a clumsy attempt to try and make te'o statements which were only relevant to his personal life into much greater sins than they are. 

01/24/2013 - 5:33pm standard of evidence: "i heard it on the internet"

i didn't respond to the fundraiser bit, because i have no idea where that came from. when did it happen? nd states that they found out about the hoax on 12/26. the story broke something like 10 days ago. when was this fundraiser? where is the evidence that Te'o family wanted nd to do anything about it? notre dame is not a single person — where is the evidence that anybody who knew about the hoax had anything to do with the fundraiser? 

and, you're simply wrong about Te'os teammates. one anonymous player said that he liked attention. the vast majority, of the many players that have been questioned, have said that they believed she was real. there are several accounts of players saying hi to her on the phone. there is an account of the recruit who was there when he heard that she died and of the hush coming over the lockerroom. similarly, we have the arizona cardinals fullback who believed she was real. and then we have the girl who posed in the photos, who fell for the ply to get her picture. the only remotely critical "evidence" against te'o has been anonymous — one anonymous player and one anonymous deadspin source that was 80% sure that te'o was in on it. that's it for evidence other than the elaborations that te'o has come clean on.

assuming that te'o crafted this huge narrative to bolster his heisman chances and that he is a liar of munchausian proportions, plese take me through the account of how an "actual cancer" patient is harmed by even that lie. i'm sure there are "actual cancer" patients, this very moment, bemoaning not their fate from cancer but the fact that a college linebacker trivialized them. i'm going to get some popcorn.

i think you suck at determing what is a "fact" as opposed to an internet rumor that has spiraled out of control. separately, i'd love for you to take he through my logical failing. please show me the error of my ways.

01/24/2013 - 5:19pm lie is too simple

my point all along has been that there are lies: "i had nothing to do with the watergate burglary" and there are te'o's lies. and they are very different things. failing to speak the 100% god's truth every moment of the day is a conversational norm. te'os lies are closer to "yeah, sweetie, you look good in those jeans!" than it is to the sort of thing that we rightfully morally castigate people for. he admitted to not being 100% truthful, but i don't see that as much of an impressive moral failing in context.

based on te'os account, which has been unchallenged, his lies prior to early december consist of stating that he physically met a girl who he had not physically met. here, as he has said, his lie was born of embarrassment — a big hubub was made of his relationship and it would make him look like a (ironically) a liar, a wuss and generally not a very manly man if he admitted that he never even met her. his lies after he suspected that she wasn't real can be understood as trying to protect his team from a mediastorm and as trying to hide his humiliation. 

what would you have said in those circumstances? maybe you wouldn't have gotten caught up in the girlfriend narrative, but maybe you would have liked the fact that the media was telling a hero-worship narrative about you and you fell in with it. maybe you would have thought that the hoax was hilarious and you would have come clean. i, for one, would have lied my ass off and prayed to god that nobody ever found out.

context is everything here. who was harmed by the lie? nobody.  whose business is it, other than those in your personal life? no one's. how big of a lie was it? not really that huge...he believed he had a "relationship" and he amplified it. then he failed to undo the story when it took on a life its own. these were small lies about his personal life. these are the sort of ies that we tell each other every day and that nobody ever calls to account. i suspect they are the sorts of lies that are beneath virtually every story of heroism...just nobody had the will or means to call them lies in the past. what would have been the consequences of coming clean? he would have provided a huge distraction to his team and guaranteed enormous scrutiny on him...instead, he rolled the dice and did what i would have done — prayed that nobody would find out.

that isn't the context that accompanies a massive moral failing. that's the context of a tremendously naive 22 year old caught up in something that took on a life of its own. the moral failings of those who reported on this are far worse than te'os.

01/24/2013 - 4:16pm never that simple

1. His dad has said that he elaborated the details of the relationship. He believed, as did everybody, that they had physically met, but he admits to elaborating the story. It isn't an enormous elaboration.

2. He said that he found out in early-December, a month before the bowl game. He told ND shortly after Christmas. If, as he states, he suspected he was duped...I think that I'd cross my fingers and hope that nobody ever figured it out. Of course, he could have done something different, but its awfully hard to see his failure to act as a massive sin. Nobody needed to know that this was untrue — this wasn't a matter or national security, or even of the public interest. It was a private lie that he believed to be true. If we all went on believing it was true, none of our lives would have been the worse...

This is a story of a giant prank that was amplified a thousand times over by the media and abetted somewhat by some relatively minor elaborations by the Te'o family. Its reasonable to believe that they got caught up in the media narrative and fed the story somewhat. That's it. I've yet to hear about a whopper of a lie...other than the one that was sold to Te'o. I've yet to hear the moment where he crossed some moral line that I couldn't easily imagining myself or others crossing in similarly embarrasing circumstances. I've also yet to hear a narrative of who was harmed by these horrible lies. 

01/24/2013 - 3:42pm nonsense

he admitted to lying about two things:

1. he talked abou the "girlfriend" before the bowl game after he suspected she didn't exist.

2. he talked about "meeting her" when he didn't.

any remotely decent teammate would have told lie #1 — it was 3 days before the bowl game and the media circus isn't going ot help your team win. similarly, anybody who was remotely humiliated by the situation (who wouldn't be) would be awfully tempted to tell lie #1.

lie #2 is similarly unimpressive. basically, it amounts to a guy exagerrating (in a pretty minimal way) his relationship with a girl. if you haven't met somebody who has done that, let me know.

he has claimed, and nobody has disproven, that he believed everything else he said about her. he's a sucker. and there is one of those born every minute, but there is no evidence that he is a serial liar. he told two lies, about his personal life which had no consequence outside his personal life, at least one of which is one that any teammate would have told. that's some serial liar. bernie madoff he is not.

 

01/24/2013 - 3:18pm its implausible in retrospect, but not at the time...

the reason that it wasn't inplausbile at the time is because the reality was more increcible than the fiction that te'o believed — who would have believed that somebody who knows you well enough to be able to push your buttons would create a fake online identify, endlessly fake phone calls, send you fake pictures, have fake scriptual exchanges etc. 

you have to determine which is more incredible: that somebody would create an entirely fake person, in great detail, just to mess with you or that a person who you've never physically met is real. you have to decide which of these improbabilities is less improbable...and only through the retrospectoscope is that obvious.

furthermore, a huge proportion of our society belives in the literal truth of the bible — improbability is not a good guide to whether people might hold a belief or not.

01/24/2013 - 1:45pm can't imagine that decent naive people exist?

ok. fine by me. i suspect you're wrong. i know that you have no evidence whatsoever to support your position. feel free to assume the worse of a person on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. that's a lovely standard to apply.

you mocked everything that you couldn't disprove and didn't answer the question about standard of evidence. well done, indeed.

01/24/2013 - 1:42pm what percentage of the nfl would fall for it?

a bunch of eagles apparently fell for a similar thing. the fullback from the cardinals swore that the very same girl that he believed that the very same girl that te'o fell for was real...even after being told that she wasn't.

its easy to call people idiots in retrospect.

01/24/2013 - 1:28pm many reasons

1. the assumption of innocence. weirdly, if this were a legal matter these assertions of guilt would seem problematic. given that this is a much smaller thing, its somehow acceptable to assume that he's guilty...

2. hours of telephone records

3. text messages shown to schapp

4. flowers purchased

5. the similar duping of the arizona cardinals fullback about the same girl

6. the reported apology to te'o from the dude that supposedly did this

7. if there was a smoking gun that it would have come out by now. the absence of such a smoking gun increase the odds of a duping.

8. the absence of any evidence whatsoever that he did know

9. he denies it. there is nobody on the other side calling him out on that.

10. the plausible alternative hypothesis that he's just a naive, nice sucker who grew up in an incredibly sheltered, incredibly religious universe in a tiny tight-knit community on an island and who has spent the last 4 years on a similar tight-knit and very small island in northern indiana. 

so, there is some evidence that he was not in on it and literally none that he was. why do you assume that he was in on it? what would he have to do to prove himself to you? isn't it profoundly unfair that he has to prove his innocence?

01/24/2013 - 1:11pm "a disgrace to football fans"

he's a liar. fantastic. his lie was what? that he didn't immediately confess that he was duped when asked about his non-existent-girlfriend before the bowl game? becaue, i surely would have been waiting for the opportunity to tell the world that i was a giant sucker. moreover, i'm pretty sure that i'd want to avoid the mediafest that would be sure to follow if i disclosed that three days before the bowl game.

or the lie that he exagerrated his relationship with a girl that he believed was dying from cancer and who he believed was drawing strength from their relationship. i can't imagine a more horrifice "disgrace to football fans". 

te'o is a naive sucker. but, his lies were pecadillos. they were the sorts of lies that it would be stranger not to tell than to tell. the strange part was that he fell for it. but, he did. and, i have no idea what any of us are entitled to know the first thing about that...

te'o may be an impressive dupe, but he's a pretty lame liar.

01/24/2013 - 1:05pm the never ending search for dirt

how is notre dame plausibly culpable if they didn't create the hoax in concert with te'o? given that it appears that te'o didn't create the hoax, what is their responsibility? nd's hype machine surely played this up, but that's not morally problematic, because they believed it was true. do you think that the michigan/ohio/alabama hype machine would have behaved differently? they were wrong, as it turns out, but that doesn't meant that there was anything remotely under-handed here. what were they supposed to do, investigate it themselves? they had no reason to doubt that it was true.

one of the many aspects of this story that i find absurd is that the social media/blog/24 hour newscycle universe forces people to prove their innocence. te'o has had to prove that he didn't pull the hoax, when there was never any evidence that he did in the first place. now, notre dame has to prove that they didn't do something under-handed when there is literally no evidence of that assertion? more ridiculously, under no account did anything criminal happen here. just something really weird in the personal life of a college linebacker. 

i don't think that opposing fan bases think about this subject particularly fairly. imagine that a michigan player was similarly duped (it apparently happened to a handful of nfl players as well). i highly doubt the judgements would be so fast or furious. instead, i imagine there would be outrage that some relatively small exagerrations/lies from the admittedly weird private life of a college football player were used to drag them through the muck, humiliate them and force them to apologize. this is particularly problematic given that those lies were or no consequence and in the context of salacious accusations that were completely unsupported by evidence and have turned out to be mostly false. (i.e. that te'o created the hoax)

 

 

 

 

 

11/14/2012 - 12:31pm ksu hasn't beaten better teams than nd

nd, has played by most measures, the toughest schedule of any of the unbeatens. ksu and oregon have beaten teams by bigger margins. that's what i meant by "depending on your criteria" nd could be ranked #1. if you prioritize who you beat over how much you beat them by, then nd would be #1. oregon's schedule has been very weak thus far, although that's going to change a bit the next couple weeks.

perhaps the reason that nd has struggled to beat some mediocre teams is because the floor of nd's schedule is much higher than the floor of the other unbeatens. if your defense takes two quarters off against pitt, you'll end up in a close game...if your defense takes two quarters off against arkansas st, you'll win by 4 tds instead of 6.

i honestly don't have a clue which of the three teams is best. and i hate hate hate these arguments because there is very little useful evidence to inform them. 

here's one good measure of schedule strength: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/fei

 

11/13/2012 - 12:27pm curious about the ND jump

1. so, i can see lots of ways to make the argument that ND should be #2 (even #1 for that matter...all depends on what your criteria are), but i'm hard pressed to see how ND should be aheads of KSU this week, but behind them last week. hard to imagine that we got meaningful new data from ND beating (more soundly than the score suggests) a very bad team while KSU beat a pretty decent one. does this mean that you changed your mind or is there some hidden data that persuaded you?

2. is KSU (theoretically) beating Texas more impressive than ND (theoretically) beating USC? it seems to me that if you have ND ahead of KSU now and they both win out that its pretty hard to make the case that KSU should jump ND. I think that'd be true more or less regardless of margins of victory (see: Oklahoma woodsheding of Texas and both ND and KSU beating Oklahoma)

09/26/2012 - 11:55am not at all obvious what nd plans to do

saying that nd "dropped michigan" is true in the short term, but i doutbt its what nd wants in the long term. given 5 acc games, usc, stanford and navy...that leaves 4 games and its pretty hard to imagine 3 of those being the b1g year in and year out. so, nd most likely wants to cut back to 1-2 b1g games per year.

nd has a history with msu, purdue and michigan. the ideal scenario from nd's perspective is to rotate, at least, those three teams (with an osu, psu, northwestern, etc.) mixed in there. but, if nd has a relationship in perpetuity with michigan, that means that they'll have very little room for the rest of the b1g. 

my guess is that nd wants a rotation of 2 b1g teams per year with most of those games going to msu, purdue and michigan and occasionally another b1g thrown in there. nd does not want to play michigan every year, because it limits what they have room to do with the rest of the b1g. nd probably does want to play regularly - maybe 4 or 5 out of every 10 years. michigan is a meaningful rival for nd and an obvious opponent, and i doubt nd wants to write them off forever.

this, by the way, seems like a reasonable scenario for um  as well — given that the conference schedule has expanded if um plays nd every year (particularly if nd sucks less) — there isn't much room for any meaningful non-conference opponents.  

09/13/2012 - 7:22am gigantic buyout

details aren't clear, but it seems that the acc just changed its buyout terms so that to get out of the league schools have to pay 50 mil...and the number goes up over time. 

hard to imagine anybody anytime soon anteing up 50 mil to leave. the question, it seems, is when this nd-acc deal is up, whether the acc will be able to leverage nd in as a full football member.

09/13/2012 - 7:17am isn't that just getting the best deal?

so, arrogance = maintaining independence? for nd, independence is the football tradition, just as the b1g is tradition for michigan. from a pure monetary perspective, why should michigan remain in the b1g and continue to subsidize the dregs of the conference? michigan could make more money on their own, right? it wouldn't be quite as stable a revenue stream, but it'd still be there. msu and osu would still schedule you, because they couldn't NOT schedule you. part of the reason, i suspect, is tradition. the b1g is part of what michigan is about. independence is part of what nd is about.

its also important ot point out, that as a fan, independence is great. forget delaney dictating terms...forget playing 9 teams out of an 11 team sample every year...

you get to play everybody, home and home, no less. the only major college football power that nd hasn't played in the last 20 years is alabama. every year, we get to play the B1G, the big east, the acc, the pac 12, the big 12...and every now and again the sec. its not a question of whether we'll get one novel out-of-conference game a year. and when you get tired of playing pitt, you drop them and play byu or somebody else. its really quite lovely.

 

09/13/2012 - 7:09am it is a lateral move

but, it was a lateral move off a sinking ship. even though the big east was always a basketball conference, football brought enough money in to create some consistency. with the death of the big east as a football conference, its going to be unstable for awhile.

the acc, what with the $50 mil buyouts, is going to be stable. a mediocre football conference, to be sure, but stable.

09/13/2012 - 7:06am not slack...money

money makes college football go round. nd, in spite of a mediocre product on the field, still sells tickets and brings ratings. as long as that continues to be the case, they'll continue to get able to (mostly) get what they want.

eventually, they'll have to win football games to maintain their revenue generation...but the brand has proven surprisingly resilient over the last 20 years.

09/12/2012 - 2:07pm not the key element

the key is 5 games. if the deal was 5 games with the B1G, that may be where nd would have ended up. the only options with 5 games on the table were the acc and the big 12. 5 games means that nd doesn't have to fill the whole schedule on their own and it also means that they have the flexibility to maintain a national schedule. 

full B1G membership basically consigns nd to a midwestern footprint. this season nd plays the B1G, big 12, acc, big east, and pac 12. that's not feasiable when they're looking at 8-9 conference games. the national footprint is the key to nd's revenue. its how they maintain the nbc deal even with a mediocre product on the field, and sell the t-shirts.

09/12/2012 - 2:04pm correct

can't remember the exact numbers, but nd now gets nowhwere near a full 18 million by getting a bcs bowl. its a nice number, but it no longer dominates the economics for nd.

that, in part, explains why nd started toughening up the schedule. nd can increase its revenue by getting a better tv contract, by really cashing in on neutral site games and by selling the crap. schduling patsies doesn't help with any of those things, so the prior ad's plan of weakening the schedule has been abandoned.

09/12/2012 - 1:26pm where is the arrogance?

i'm always fascinated by the perception that nd's every move is arrogant. 

putting aside the argument about whether nd is arrogant in general...where is the arrogance here? nd wanted a tie in with a conference for scheduling security to avoid getting left out in the cold if the super conference thing reemerged. it wanted a home for its non-football sports. the acc wanted the revenue that nd brings to the table and they offered them a deal. nd took the deal. what about that is arrogrant? 

09/12/2012 - 1:21pm not at all clear

its all about what they do with the 7 non-acc games.

let's assume that its basically: usc, stanford, navy, msu, purdue. and then 2 more fliers. if those fliers are michigan and texas, that's still a plenty tough schedule. if its air force and army then not so much.

given that nd's recent trend has been to beef up the schedule, i doubt this is about trying ot make it easier. it is plenty easy to dumb a schedule down and nd has resisted that recently. 

09/12/2012 - 1:13pm not sure i buy that

nd's scheduling trend under the current AD has been to beef up the schedule, not water it down. texas, oklahoma, miami, etc. have been added to the near future under swarbrick. i don't think this was bout making the schedule easier, but about making scheduling (finding 12 teams) easier. nd doesn't really benefit from just getting into a BCS game anymore, because their share was hugely trimmed under the current deal. nd makes more money by playing high profile games and maintaining their national profile.

of course, we'll know soon enough. nd and texas have talked a lot lately...if we hear an annoucement about a long-term scheduling deal, it'd be hard to argue that nd is watering the schedule down. 

07/16/2012 - 10:41pm maybe its more about the long-term trend

clearly, your'e right, it isn't going to make a big change to um's schedule in the near term , but what about the conference as a whole over time? it won't be much harder to tell if um is better than florida in a given year, but won't it be harder to compare the b1g to the sec?

basically, it means 12 fewer games against other conferences. if everybody in a 12 team conference goes from 4 ooc games to 3 ooc games, you're left with a measly 36 games to compare the whole conference to other conferences. given that a huge chunk of those 36 are going to be against the dregs of college football, comparisons between the major conferences are going to be based on next to nothing. going from 48 ooc games to 36 seems like its probably a meaningful change in terms of making useful comparisons, particularly if it means further incentivizing playing weaker opponents (eg: um less likely to schedule nd and osu less likely to schedule miami/tex/usc, etc.)

 

07/16/2012 - 10:41pm maybe its more about the long-term trend

clearly, your'e right, it isn't going to make a big change to um's schedule in the near term , but what about the conference as a whole over time? it won't be much harder to tell if um is better than florida in a given year, but won't it be harder to compare the b1g to the sec?

basically, it means 12 fewer games against other conferences. if everybody in a 12 team conference goes from 4 ooc games to 3 ooc games, you're left with a measly 36 games to compare the whole conference to other conferences. given that a huge chunk of those 36 are going to be against the dregs of college football, comparisons between the major conferences are going to be based on next to nothing. going from 48 ooc games to 36 seems like its probably a meaningful change in terms of making useful comparisons, particularly if it means further incentivizing playing weaker opponents (eg: um less likely to schedule nd and osu less likely to schedule miami/tex/usc, etc.)

 

07/16/2012 - 3:22pm the downside of more

haven't followed this debate closely, but i haven't heard much about what seems to me, the main downside of 9 conference games: you can't figure out which conference is best. 9 conference games allows confident conclusions about which team in a given conference is best, but it makes between-conference comparisons well nigh impossible. as a fan, this drives me nuts — i can't tell the difference between, for example, a very good team in a great conference and a good team in a solid conference. the move to 9 game conference schedules seems like yet another step towards the inevitable scheduling strategy of: in-conference teams + the snackiest snack cakes money can persuade to play at your building.

given the general consensus that the sec is the greatest conference in the history of the universe, shouldn't the b1g see the move towards more conference games as a negative? if the b1g catches up or surpasses the sec, it'll take the voters/media et al a long time to figure it out this way. let's hypothesize that the sec and the b1g are exactly as good as each other from 2012-2014...how long will it take for the media to catch on and rank b1g teams as highly as their sec brethren? given the entire lack of head-to-head games, that conclusion will be based on a lot of shoddy data...and to change the minds of the sports media takes an awful lot of time...

generally, it seems to me that more conference games insulates conferences against changes in the judgement of their overall quality. this is a good thing if everybody believes you're the big kid on the block, but not such a good thing if your'e considered to be a notch below.

 

01/29/2012 - 6:18pm coaching, good. talent, not-so-much

even if they somehow sneak into the tourney, i can't see them doing much. they're well-coached and spunky, but they don't have all that much experience and they have next to no talent. they're incredibly fun to root for, because they have no business knocking off the the top of the big east, even after losing their best player for the season. but, i think the season hightlights are already in the rearview mirror...

12/12/2011 - 2:36pm hope = qb improvement

the only hope for next year is a substantial upgrade at qb. kelly's system, much like rich rod's, is highly dependent on the qb. rees has major limitations - arm strength, inability to move in the pocket, no read option, etc. if hendrix or golson can improve qb play by a substantial margin, i bet it'll offset the loss of floyd and the o-line turnover (where there are relatively experienced and talented backup options at least).

of course, that was also pretty much the story this year - if crist stepped it up, nd would have been in good shape. we all know how that turned out.

12/12/2011 - 2:23pm double post deleted.

double post deleted. 

12/12/2011 - 2:22pm not sure occam is helpful here

occam's razor is a useful device when thinking about the natural world, but i'm not sure its so helpful with human behavior - where complexity is an expectation. its not obvious that the simplest possible explanation of why people do something is the best one. if that were the case, you could argue that unemployment is best explained by people choosing not to work. on top of that, its not at all obvious to determine which type of behavior is "simpler".

rather, i think its more useful to think about what is implied by competing hypotheses:

1. kelly just slipped - an experienced coach who has been trying to motivate college kids for 20 years and is noted for being slick with the media, slipped up and happened to throw half his team under the bus. 

2. kelly did it on purpose - an experienced coach whose team was underachieving, opted for a commonly used motivational tactic (eg: the drill seargent) - getting his team to play more emotionally because they're pissed and using himself as the target of their ire.

neither is obviously impossible. but, hypothesis #2 seems more likely to me. #1 would be quite the slip for a college football coach: "oops, i didn't realize that saying that half the team isn't trying hard would go over badly..."

this hypothesis is also supported by additional evidence: nd's upperclassmen who grumbled about the statement, didn't quit. t'eo, a leading grumbler, decided to teturn for his senior season. kelly has demonstrated surprising variation in how he motivates kids in other contexts- the same guy famed for red-facedly losing his mind was surprisingly gentle when true freshman tommy rees messed up or when andrew hendrix blew reads against stanford.

12/12/2011 - 10:20am too much was made of that exchange

why does anybody believe that when a coach talks to the media that they're being truthful? good coaches, i think, know that their main audience when they're talking to the media is their team. for example, they give credit to the guys who need self-confidence and they call out the guys that need a kick in the butt.

that exchange happend at a point where nd needed a kick in the butt. isn't the hypothesis that kelly was trying to motivate his team by getting them pissed at him as likely as the hypothesis that he's such an egomaniac that he was throwing half his team under the bus? if he had really alienated his team, wouldn't they have quit on him? would te'o be coming back?

even if kelly is a gigantic jerk with no self control, it still seems more likely that was an attempt to get his team fired up rather than a slip. the interpretation that he accidentally threw half his team under the bus implies that kelly is not only an egomanical jerk, but that he's a moronic egomaniacal jerk. no matter what you think about the guy, it seems a little far-fetched to account for his record prior to nd if he's a moronic egomaniac.

12/12/2011 - 10:10am your implication?

that even perfectly reasonable 20 year olds must stick to their proposed plan at age 18? sorry, son, no switching majors for you...

the skeptical tone would have been better served if he bolted for the nfl, but he fairly clearly put other values ahead of dollars.

11/20/2011 - 1:43pm they're genuinely friendly, damn them

the nebraska fans that came to south bend awhile back were completely pleasant before, during and after they kicked our ass. i'm not going to lie, i kind of hate them for that.

the crew in a2 this week looked like they have found there way into the 21st century. a decade ago, traveling nebraska fans looked like they parked their tractor on their way into the stadium. now, they look like everybody's fans...but, nicer.

10/26/2011 - 5:25pm nd's future schedules

nd is ramping up the scheduling difficulty the next couple years: http://www.maplenet.net/~trowbridge/NDSched.htm

i don't think the fear of losing is the major issue. maybe it should be, but series with miami, oklahoma and texas are getting added on top of usc/michigan...

10/26/2011 - 5:09pm so, why schedule any good teams ever?

if michigan makes precisely the same amount of money playing patsies as a good team and can obviously get to the bcs more easily playing patsies, why play anybody out of conference, ever?

if michigan stopped playing good teams, eventually they'd stop being michigan. they'd be wisconsin.

10/26/2011 - 5:05pm as a fan, its great to be indepdendent

if you put your understandable conference loyalty aside for a second...being indepdendent is great as a fan.

do you really want to play indiana every other year? illinois? northwestern? minnesota? purdue? moreover, the effect of 9 conference games is going to mean that, at best, you get to play one major non-conference team per year.

nd has scheduled home and homes with the best of the b1g (michigan, osu, penn state), the big 12 (texas, oklahoma) the pac 12 (usc, stanford, washington), the acc (fsu) and to a lesser extent the sec (lsu, tennessee, florida...but no alabama) over the last 15 years. that's fantastic as a fan. the theoretically patsies on our schedule - the academies are more interesting tradition-wise and football-wise than playing the mac or scraping up a 1aa team.

wouldn't you rather play a couple rivals every year (osu, msu) and then rotate in a series of power non-regional teams and fill the schedule out with some regional rivals? it sure seems more interesting to me than play 9 b1g games, 2 mac snacks and maybe one other interesting game if you're lucky.

10/26/2011 - 4:54pm its comprehensible why conference teams play along

nd brings money. its that simple. for purdue and michigan state, for example, the nd game is one of their biggest games of the year. they sell more tickets, t-shirts, hot dogs, etc. they get to have one more game on national tv. the idea that the b1g teams will boyott nd seems pretty far-fetched to me. i'm guessing that loyalty to dollars trumps loyalty to conference. 

it'll continue this way until nd continues to suck for long enough that the fanbase dwindles and an nd game isn't an atm visit for the lower tier b1g teams.

10/26/2011 - 4:50pm its a question of what a conference is about

from nd's perspective, a conference is primarily a way to schedule games. there isn't a concept of loyalty to a conference or conference identity - nd conceives of itself as an independent. nd certainly didn't change its non-sporting identify when it joined the big east. i dont' think switching non-football sports to the big 12 will have much effect.

nd is going to have as much in common with the big 12 as it does with the big east - not much.  but, i don't know how that qualifies as a sell out of nd's academic standards.

10/25/2011 - 4:40pm where is the quitting?

USC kicked our ass in that 2nd half, but I haven't heard anybody in the last 45 years suggest that ND quit. I've heard players and coaches interviewed about that game and none of them suggest that ND quit, rather that they just got destroyed by Davis. That was Ara's last season. His players loved him. Hard to believe that they mailed in the 2nd half of the biggest game of the season.

Quitting is not using your timeouts to try and pull off an admittedly unlikely, but crazier-things-have-happened comeback. I was at the game and it sure as hell felt like ND just wanted it to be over. It was the 2nd lowest point of the Kelly era.

 

10/24/2011 - 8:31pm its very simple: does it work?

making blanket judgements here is  impossible. its not like its morally reprehensible to call a guy out. its a little jerkish, certainly, but lots (most? all?) good coaches have a healthy jerk streak.

the question, is whether it works. is wood a guy who responds to getting called out and steps up his play or is he a guy that gets bitter, pissy and stops playing hard because he thinks kelly is a jerk?

lots of old-school retired players often talk about how their coach impacted their character. lots of that "character development" could easily be categorized as verbal abuse. so, its all about: 1. does it work? which is related to: 2. what does a player expect?

 

10/24/2011 - 1:47pm if they had gone on to success elsewhere

the real signature of an institutional failing that makes it improbably hard to win at nd would be if folks who succeeded at nd went on to succeed as head coaches elsewhere. none of the 3 pre-kelly hires went on to do anything after nd. i suspect that lack of opportunity to fail elsewhere (ie: davie) relfects the judgement of athletic directors on their likelihood of success.

the options are either: 1. the institutional failure is in selecting coaches, and bk may or may not represent another failure or 2. the instibutional failure is a failure to create an environment conducive to winning and nd coaches have just had back luck or lacked opportunity elsewhere.

i think #1 is by far the most likely explanation - nd has done a lousy job of picking coaches. the question remains whether bk is a similarly lousy choice. the last two years haven't exactly inspired optimisism, but the jury is still out. the possiblity that he has run into a patch of disproprotionately crappy luck is still feasible. 

10/23/2011 - 8:53pm that may be true

i guess, the issue isn't that nd lost per se, its that they looked like a very mediocre football team that is going to be mediocre for a long time. i can't imagine that recruits watched that game, and thought that looks like a team that's just a year or two away from a national title.

i also can't imagine that anybody went to that game and was impressed by the intensity of the gameday experience. if they've been to happy valley, madison, columbus or just about anywhere in the sec, they've seen much more impressive crowds.

10/23/2011 - 8:38pm kelly is the only graveyard candidate

nd has just done an awful job of picking coaches. its not like they took good coaches and ruined them - they've just picked awful coaches. davie hasn't had a job post-nd. willingham fairly clearly demonstrated his failings in washington. weis is a perfectly dandy offensive coordinator and has no idea what it means to be a head coach.

the only guy who seemed to be on a respectable trajectory that nd might be altering downwards is kelly.

10/23/2011 - 8:36pm they want everybody fired

unless you win every game, have the respect of all men and make women swoon, you can't live up to the standard of nd internet crazies. 

given that we've been mediocre for 15 years, i find this to be an awfully weird standard. i'd be happy just to stop sucking and maybe maybe compete for a title in a year where everything falls right.

10/23/2011 - 8:33pm the stadium sucked

it was really quiet. the fans generally sucked. the nd gameday experience used to be pretty intense. now, its flaccid.

i can't imagine that game impressed much of anybody. i can't imagine 4-3 looks terriby impressive either.

 

10/23/2011 - 8:31pm its not like "under the lights" was wildly creative

the nd administration will do anything for a dollar, but its not like calling the first home night game in a couple decades, "under the lights" is so wildly creative that nobody else could have come up with it.

sadly, the RAWK has been there for a year or so. its awful. after that game, hearing crazy one more time will probably be enough to send me into the fetal position. but, the rawk does a  little good to prod the horrifically passive crowd onto their feet and get them to make a little noise.

10/23/2011 - 8:27pm i'd be shocked

i'll be completely shocked if anybody who wasn't already planning to commit to nd, commits after watching nd's craptastic performance in that completely pulseless stadium.

nd's gameday experience has gotten consistently worse over the last 20 years, and its pretty much awful at this point. the stadium is a morgue.

10/21/2011 - 6:55am watching the games

overall ncaa rankings tell you a much, if not more, about the quality of your opponents than the quality of your team.

nd's defense is very good - but, we've only played one crappy offense thus far - purdue. the offense has struggled for long stretches, even against so-so defenses to move the ball and has turned it over like crazy. moreover, they've given up a lot of yards in situations that didn't matter much (ie: the 4th quarter against air force). i think most people who have closely watched nd have believe their defense is a much strong unit.

 

10/20/2011 - 11:56am too little data is my guess

i'd similarly point out that anybody that thinks that notre dame's offense is better than their defense is crazy...but, FEI does at this point in the season.

i think this is largely because that the rankings are still highly unstable at this point in the season - notre dame's offense's ranking shot up this week (presumably because msu's defense now looks better) and the defense plummetted  - all during a bye week.

sadly, as much as i'd like to believe the rankings (nd with the 6th best offense in the country and 18th best defense) i think they don't mean much at this point.