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Date Title Body
01/03/2019 - 1:15pm Love the FFFF-style lineup…

Love the FFFF-style lineup page. One of the best ways to summarize a starting lineup and overall team I've ever seen.

11/30/2014 - 10:29pm Great post

Dead on about Harbaugh

10/14/2014 - 4:06pm Turnover margin is the differentiator

You're identified a really powerful correlation; I'd say that turnover margin is the differentiator year over year.

10/13/2014 - 8:11am Graham's playing Linebacker

Not a lot of pass rush but he's playing almost every down. What I noticed specificially was that the Giants didn't run at him a single time.

10/03/2014 - 4:34pm This is awful. Just awful

Defensive, underlying snarkiness, implications of attacks and hurt feelings. Just looks weak and wounded, yet arrogant and entitled at the same time. 

Self-pity is just the worst strategy for messaging negative sentiment. I wonder if he got coached on this at all.

10/03/2014 - 1:31am Oregon's going to get the last shot


10/03/2014 - 1:20am Beat 'em last year

pretty handily.

With a QB who had never been recruited to play college football at any level, and who broke all of Arizona's QB rushing records that year.

09/27/2014 - 3:01pm indianas defense is

soooooooooooooo bad

09/27/2014 - 2:43pm Hackenburg Just

Sent a NW guy to the hospital who was trying for a low tackle. He should be ejected for targeting but he won't be because you know.

Dude is competitive but he's clearly an a-hole

09/25/2014 - 3:55pm Hoo boy

I was certain that Michigan was going to vaporize Minnesota and really only get pasted by MSU and Ohio State. Now I'm not so sure. It didn't look that bad live; I thought it was just Michigan struggling against a very well coached, disruptive defensive that is not something Nussmeier saw much in the SEC or these players saw much in the Big Ten.

Now I dunno.

12/31/2013 - 2:34pm Boy that team is incredibly

Boy that team is incredibly young. Their best wide receiver is a true freshman; their best linebacker is a true freshman. Their o-line is sophomores and juniors.

But wait...

12/31/2013 - 9:48am No

Kelly chose the Eagles b/c of the organization, not the roster.

1) Kelly has stated repeatedly that he adjusts his offenses to match his players.

2) Additionally, a lot of the Eagles players had to make serious changes to weight point and conditioning to fit into the system.

3) Foles is a pocket passer first and foremost, and was chosen over the more mobile Vick.

None of these data points suggest that the Eagles were a "spread-ready" team. Kelly is a good coach.

11/27/2013 - 10:02pm You can almost smell the panic in this letter

What a clown. Never throw your own people under the bus, even those you had to let go. It just makes everyone else ready for the axe to fall on them.

Secondly, bluster is a sign of weakness. Demonstrate results and exhibit confidence.

Who exactly is supposed to be the audience of this sweat flop?

11/20/2013 - 1:33pm My sense of this game

follows with what Brian is saying; if NW had caught even half of these balls the final score could have been 27-3. 

More evidence that God does not want Northwestern University playing college football

11/15/2013 - 1:33pm The Michigan Jimmies and Joes

The Michigan Jimmies and Joes in this final recruiting class will have far, far more star power than Arizona. Michigan will have a top fifteen class at worst.

Arizona's talent profile is more like Michigan State. In theory if you were just looking at talent profiles in the Big Ten the only team that should even have an outside chance to beat Michigan is Ohio State. This will remain true when Rutgers and Maryland slouch in next yer.

I didn't say all that to be mean.


11/15/2013 - 1:10pm HOBO APPRECIATION THREAD


11/13/2013 - 3:53pm Your latin trumps my latin

I will go off and ponder this. My latin is nonexistent so I can't use the terms you are using but you'll probably be familiar with the colloquial terms so I won't worry about it overmuch.

I would argue that it remains false cause and not fallacy of accident because Brian correlates the problems (run game sucks) and then argues causality (scheme), whereas all that is being proven is that the run game sucks multiple times. fallacy of accident would be "well, they were just really unlucky all those times" which I am certainly not saying. Something is definitely wrong with this offense.

I would argue that SC avoids false cause because he demonstrates the soundness of an initial offensive premise through example and explanation, and then shows how it doesn't work. He may be making other errors - no true scotsman is the most likely one. But in the scope of this flow of our "debate" nobody has said to SC "that's not a real offensive set" or "that offensive set is a unicorn beast that nobody uses because it's ridiculous", so I didn't consider it. Maybe they are unicorn formations, I don't know.

We are agreed on wrongness in the offense; to me this is just a discussion of how the alchemy of coaching, scheme, teaching, and personnel may be affecting it.

Fun talk!

11/13/2013 - 3:02pm this discussion is so fun I did a debate flow of it

Let's look at it from a logic flow/debate flow perspective

Here is the core thing they are arguing about: 

Is the Michigan Offense a coherent system that can create yards? Pro/Con

1) SC is PRO. He is saying that in his opinion as a football coach, these schemes are sound, represent a coherent game plan, and that they are reasonable plays to execute, and that the coaches are failing to teach the kids how to execute them. 

The PRO position relies on arguments organized around a history of how these schemes work in the larger scope of a game plan, a history of defenses against these schemes, and an argument that proper execution of assignments would have worked in this model, particularly with a fullback.

In summary, proper execution of this scheme, given its history in the world of schemes of this kind against defenses of this kind, have worked in the past.

2) Brian is CON. He is saying that the schemes were doomed from the outset and it is unrealistic to expect them to get pulled off. 

The CON position relies mostly on examples of places where Michigan's offense has failed using similar schemes with different tweaks to what the backs were doing.

In summary, the scheme as a whole is flawed, which is why the players repeatedly fail to exeucte.

So far so good. Nice initial points made by each. 

Note that in both cases the coaches are letting their players down, just in different ways. 

But Brian is making three fallacies here in his arguments which undermine his position:

1) He is using an appeal to authority, basically saying "look high school coach--IF THAT'S WHAT YOU REALLY ARE--you don't know what you're talking about this is big boy Div I college ball and things are different here."

2) He is making a straw man argument, saying that SC is ignoring his initial position about scheme.

The first is just unfair; look, none of us are experts here but at least SC is putting his cards on the table about why he thinks what he thinks. For that to have less validity than Brian's study of film in UFR is a draw and we should let it go.

The second seems to be a misinterpretation of SC. SC spends almost three pages in his diary explaining why he thinks this play is the right one in this context. 

3) Which leads Brian to his most egregious fallacy in this post, which is a false cause example. Brian basically says, "well, here are three more plays that suck, therefore it's the OC's fault. QED." 

This argument does not prove that the OC has bad schemes. This proves that the play didn't work. This does not in point of fact address SC's arguments.

Brian may well be right. SC may well be right. But from a debate charting perspective, SC is pantsing Brian.

There are interesting things to say about scheme here. Brian may well be right. But he seems to be at a loss at how to respond to SC's core argument, which is that it's the right scheme in a larger body of work and traditions of effective work of this kind in the past.

11/13/2013 - 8:33am Best diary I've ever

Best diary I've ever read.

And there have been some very, very good ones. Bravo

11/07/2013 - 10:46am This is not your best work,

This is not your best work, man.

11/07/2013 - 9:11am Michigan was a top-25 team a

Michigan was a top-25 team a week ago.

It's not an unfair comparison and it is the right ballpark.

There are a lot of ways to argue with this data, mostly by disputing the core premise of the line as an averaged unit, but saying that what has been done here is "cherrypicked" is not on target.

11/07/2013 - 8:50am There are losses, and there

There are losses, and there are losses.

Better to use FEI, rather than losses. From an FEI perspective another way to put it is that with the exception of UCLA, all the less experienced teams have far superior offensive FEI ratings, and even UCLA and Michigan's OFEI is almost equivalent.

11/06/2013 - 1:56pm …Linguist?


11/04/2013 - 4:44pm Just to be clear
1) I'm

Just to be clear

1) I'm talking about the use of that INCREDIBLE coaching in the context of a pro-style offense. It's not the incredible coaching, it's the pro style system that seems like a lot of effort relative to other strategies

2) Stanford has a brutal final schedule, and they have been a little shaky all season. The only dominant wins are UCLA and Arizona State. USC, Notre Dame, and Oregon should clarify whether they are conservative or "sqeaky".

That's why they play the game I guess

11/04/2013 - 1:15pm You can see the ceiling from here

The team is going to be much better next year. But look, Stanford is some kind of freakish fluke and it's unclear whether it can be sustained. The wheels are already looking a little squeaky.

Michigan will hit a higher level but continue to lose to top-tier teams because of their ideology about how football is played. Since the road to the Rose Bowl will run through Ohio State, Wisconsin, and occasionally MSU every year, that means that Michigan will get there one year in six. Maybe. And then when they hit the real killers, the Oregons and the Alabamas, and even the Oregon States of the world...hoo boy.

That's the ceiling. We'll always have the gophers, I guess

10/30/2012 - 6:37am Forbes' article is really misleading

A few things

1) I saw the game. Arizona took a time out after the hit and the coaches and medical staff talked to Scott both after the hit and during the time out, so they did do an initial check

2) When RR was at Michigan I saw him sit starting quarterbacks in three different games when the outcome was definitely in doubt because of a potential concussion (Iowa 2009, Iowa 2010, and Illinois 2010). I got the sense from those games that that kind of injury was non-negotiable for him.

3) Scott said after the game that he'd been nauseous all day.

The arizona forum boards are lit up about this topic; a lot of doctors have been weighing in basically saying "puke <> concussion"

09/26/2012 - 3:58pm resist...telling...over/under...joke

too late

09/25/2012 - 9:47am Wow, that was some vanilla offense

I don't think they did play action ONCE.

09/24/2012 - 1:27pm Two things to look at during UFR

1) Brian, I think when you do the UFR you might find that Notre Dame ran a stunningly conservative and vanilla offense for most of the game, which may one of the reasons the defense looked so good. Not to say that they didn't play well, but when ND ran the same run play three times in a row in the early fourth quarter it made me go "hrm". You'll probably see major RPS edge from michigan.

2) WRT (1), I think it's funny that you mention lloydball b/c early in the 3rd quarter I started thinking "Brian Kelly is playing Lloydball here," and I suspected he was doing it on both sides of the ball, basically grinding up clock through the defensive sets and what he was doing on offense. I think that his very conservative playcalling reflected this attitude - use up clock, don't cough up the ball, win a close one.

09/24/2012 - 9:11am Agreed

If there is any real progression in the last two years, it's that teams have to work harder to push him out of his comfort zone, but once they do, he gets bad very quickly. So, we'll see better performances against inferior opposition, but against elite teams there will be regression.

Notre Dame had a great scheme and talented athletes, that put pressure on Denard through blitzes and a wide variety of reads he had to make. It's small comfort that the next team with the personnel to pull those shenanigans will be Ohio. Maybe MSU, but probably not this year.

09/23/2012 - 4:17pm I'm saying you can skip the RPS metric and still get good value

out of the UFR. Actually, sounds like we're agreed. Sorry if I unfairly overextended your perspective on RPS to the rest of the analysis

09/23/2012 - 3:19pm You can use UFR a lot of different ways

I've accused Brian of bias in the past, but at least with UFR you have something tangible to look at to examine or dismiss that bias.

Look, let me give it to you this way: I assert that Notre Dame absolutely whipped our asses in that football game, and not because of the turnovers. The score doesn't show it, and the yards don't show it. But if I'm right, the game plan, as expressed by scheme, and the matchups are easier to see when you do charting than when you just talk about the game. Brian does the charting. FOR FREE.

If you just skip to his scoring summary, you're basically taking Brian's word for it. But you can also go through it play by play and have the conversation with Brian as he describes what he sees. Sometimes you agree, sometimes you don't. But there's nothing of comparable quality, detail, or insight in college football.

09/23/2012 - 2:26pm Not Borges' Fault

He called a good game, but he was outmanned and Notre Dame's Defensive Coordinator pitched an almost perfect game. I think that UFR will show that Notre Dame took advantage of their talent edge and identified the key weaknesses of this offense. Someone referred to Notre Dame as "Alabama Light" and I totally saw that. Their linebackers are just unbelieveable.

09/17/2012 - 2:50pm Vegas spotted OK State 22 pts over Arizona, too

They're spotting Oregon 23 1/2. But hey that means if Oregon drops 70 on them then Arizona will score 47 points and the game will last SEVENTEEN HOURS

09/17/2012 - 2:36pm Commence Bear Teasing


09/13/2012 - 2:03pm Gotta give Air Force credit

They came in and executed almost flawlessly, aggressively, and without fear. This is a superbly well coached team. I wouldn't feel too bad about it being so close now that I've rewatched it.


I am a little worried about all the missed tackles in the secondary, tho.

09/10/2012 - 5:50pm I hate to have to kibbitz on this but...

Against OK state, Arizona had:

- no muffed kickoffs or punts

- no fumbles or interceptions

- They were 3 for 3 on field goals

- 27 total yards of penalties.

What poor fundamentals or ball handling are you referring to? WRT the defense, time will tell.

They looked sloppy against Toledo. They looked like a tough, disciplined team against OK State.

09/09/2012 - 1:36am Jeez pac 12 football is like the 2010 Illinois game


09/09/2012 - 12:47am No, see this is why he's so brilliant

That was a TUNNEL SCREEN, which we never saw in 2009 or 2010.

09/09/2012 - 12:46am Just saw Arizona score a TD on a tunnel screen

If Rodriguez can call a tunnel screen, surely Borges can call moar bubble screens!!

09/08/2012 - 11:58pm Actually

the OK St QB looks really sharp. What got me was when they stopped three short yardage run plays in a row with the 3-3-5. I do not understand this gappy kung fu from sensei Casteel

09/08/2012 - 11:54pm You know, when the 3-3-5 is played right, it looks...

kinda nifty

12/23/2011 - 10:03am Yeah...okay

Since I wrote my last post, about an hour ago, you responded to the various comments on this thread with approximately 3,000 words of rebuttal, most of which were ad hominem and straight-up trolling ("big boy pants"? "Small words so that you can understand?" seriously?).

I don't have that much time. Let me respond to two things you said and then I'm done with you.

1) Poking holes in an argument is not a problem. The problem is implying a hidden agenda or malice as a result of that argument. This logical fallacy is called circumstantial ad hominem, which I assume you know, since you imply that you're a college boy and stuff.

2) As a corollary to this, again, identifying problems with an argument is okay. However, then arguing that those problems invalidate the entire body of work is not okay. This logical fallacy is called hasty generalization.

My problem with you, M-W, is that you go from pointing out mistakes in the book, which are proven and not debated, but then distort the narrative dramatically by primarily using the two fallacies listed above. And you are SO FREAKING OBVIOUS ABOUT IT.

You have far more time on your hands for this than I do, which is obvious to anyone who compares our mgopoints, but I did want to make this point. You get an "A" for effort, but honeslty, if you really thought your position was strong and defensible, would you have to resort to so many tiring acts of sophistry to try to get your point across?

12/23/2011 - 8:41am And ever sadder...

Is that you feel the need to carry out a systematic character assassination of Bacon by trying to undermine the overall quality of this book and implying his biases just to create a narrative that makes what RR brought to this team irrelevant in Michigan history. It. Is. NOT.

I understand that you love Michigan, and I understand that you love winning, which this new coach has done. But you attack and undermine everything that raises the issues uncovered in the last three years in doing so.

Stop trying to destroy the past in your hope for the future. They coexist. And Bacon is too good a man, and too honest a reporter, to be subjected to your underhanded insinuations that he's some kind of plant for the RR Revolution.

The fact that this discussion still brings up so much bile and debate is evidence that the issues it created are not resolved. Until people stop trying to create a simple explanation for what happened or wish it away, it will continue.

Merry f-ing Christmas.

12/22/2011 - 5:29pm Pot, meet kettle

Seeing you imply Bacon of a hidden agenda is hysterical. As usual, your lack of credibility makes it impossible for anyone to take those kinds of concerns seriously.

12/18/2011 - 2:49pm Third hand innuendo

What troubles me about these kinds of assertions is that Bacon is putting the information out there, with the invitation for anyone to confirm or deny it. It's all there, the dates, facts, and figures. The fact that the only thing anyone has found so far to criticize are small errors in the narrative of a couple of games (out of over 35 over the course of the book) suggests that the information is more right than not.

All we've heard are second-hand assertions from the AD about the book being false, or, from Rosenberg, basically ad hominem attacks against Bacon's skills and character. This is exactly the kind of undermining I would expect from people who want to weaken the messenger because they can't deal with the message.

If Brandon can't address the book directly, then to tell people in private that the book is "false" seems like sheer dishonesty and political backstabbing. Thumbs down.

12/13/2011 - 3:35pm I'm curious too but it doesn't matter

Desmond Howard showed a remarkable lack of class and if Hoke will hopefully never invite him to speak again. Of course players on the team thanked Rodriguez. Why wouldn't they?

12/08/2011 - 4:17pm Zone Read analysis

Brian, I really like your thoughts on the zone read; it makes a lot of sense. When you see multiple players doing something repeatedly that looks like a mistake, it's probably a coaching decision, and your thought on what is being coached is logical.

I'm not sure I agree with this approach, if only because it forces the ball carrier to make a move against a linebacker in a fairly constrained space in order to get more yardage, as opposed to an open field juke against a DB. But it does get yards and plays to a ball control approach.

I asserted on BWS' blog that the blocking schemes were evidence of Borges not understanding the zone read. I retract my assertion. It's an interesting wrinkle.

One thing that surprised me: do you really think first level defenders force more fumbles? Is there any evidence of this? I don't have stats in front of me but that feels counterintuitive.

12/01/2011 - 11:29am Yeah, you could never really imagine reading it

So you kinda don't count.

11/30/2011 - 3:43pm Dude have you ever been to LUBBOCK?!

One of the ugliest places going in a state that is filled with ugly, ugly things

If he could get them to come to Texas Tech, he can get them to come to Pullman.