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03/08/2010 - 12:39am McCamey isn't going anywhere.

McCamey isn't going anywhere. His relationship with Weber has been up and down but its nowhere near Harris and Beilein levels. He's still in an NBA or bust mindset according to everyone around him. Harris is looking to get out, even if it means going D-League.

As for the other examples, you think Lucas is going, except for that he really has no incentive to go. Purdue returns two of their top three players for sure, may return Johnson as well, and they were a top five team before Hummel was injured. LewJack will also be around the entire season. OSU loses Turner but is getting a monster recruiting class. Minnesota loses no one particularly special and will get their point guard back from ineligibility. Northwestern gets back their best player. Illinois returns everyone and will be on their second top-10 recruiting class in a row.

And, although I hate to repeat myself, Michigan's recruiting class just isn't that good. You guys sound like Michigan State football fans when you try puffing it up. It's definitely a better class than what you've been getting, but even if you get Zeigler (which you're won't) it would still be behind OSU, MSU, Illinois and Purdue.

Michigan was a two man team this year. They will lose both players. If you want to read improvement into that, by all means go ahead. I'm just looking forward to the threads in 2011 when Michigan is 11-19 (5-13) and people are angrily calling out the haters for all the pessimism.

03/07/2010 - 11:39pm It's true: Brian Cook runs

It's true: Brian Cook runs the best blog in the Big 10. I'd read it if it were an Iowa blog or a Wisconsin blog or whatever.

It's just fun to watch the hive mindset kick in after every bad event. A little bit of trolling helps bring unpopular opinions to the foreground. The Michigan fans won't say them because they don't want to be negged. I don't mind.

03/07/2010 - 11:27pm Yes, truly I have been

Yes, truly I have been schooled. By misspelling a name, you have proven everything I said incorrect.

In about a month you'll start seeing the first projections for 2011. Also in about a month you're also going to see dozens of butthurt threads about how nobody has any respect for Michigan or Beilein the Magnificent. I'm sure they'll be wrong too.

03/07/2010 - 11:18pm Except for that it's not

Except for that it's not going to be four returning starters, it's going to be three. And the two starters you are losing are the only two players you had this year that could have played for MSU, OSU, Wisconsin, etc. Douglas, Novak, and Lucas-Perry are Iowa-level talent. Morris may develop into a better player than that, but hasn't yet. And none of the players you have coming in are game changers as freshmen. They're decent players that might develop in time.

03/07/2010 - 11:12pm Sorry FRIEND. I'm doing

Sorry FRIEND. I'm doing multiple things at once and flubbed the name. Clearly that means Michigan is tournament bound next year.

03/07/2010 - 11:08pm You are right. Returning

You are right. Returning starters, experience, and recruiting classes don't matter in college basketball. I was blind and now I see.

Although I should point out that your statement reflects rather poorly upon Supreme Basketball Tactician Beilein.

03/07/2010 - 11:03pm Well, since Sims is a senior

Well, since Sims is a senior that's pretty easy.

As for Harris, the fact that he an Beilein don't get along is the worst kept secret in Big 10 basketball. I'm certainly not the only one who things he's splitting (see: Cook, Brian).

Draymar Morgan has been a huge disappointment for MSU. Losing him isn't that big of a deal. Lucas might split but it's highly doubtful.

03/07/2010 - 10:47pm Eight of the eleven teams in

Eight of the eleven teams in the Big 10 will be better next year than this year.

MSU loses no one important and gets a top 10 recruiting class nationally

Purdue loses no seniors (though Johnson may declare) and gains a top 25 recruiting class. Hummel and Moore will be seniors.

Illinois loses no one, was starting two freshman for most of the season, and adds a top 10 national recruiting class

Minnesota's best players, minus Westbrook, return and their strength is on the inside, where they are still young. Al Nolen will likely return as well.

Northwestern will get back Coble from injury, and Juice Crawford is only a freshman.

Indiana was extremely young this year, and their monster class enters their sophomore season.

Iowa was also extremely young. They'll improve, though they'll still be bad.

Penn State returns Battle for his senior season

That leaves OSU, Wisconsin, and Michigan. OSU loses Turner but will get one of the top three recruiting classes in the country. Wisconsin loses Hughes and probably Leuer, but they always seem to reload and never miss the tournament. Even if both are worse next year, history says they won't be much worse.

Michigan will lose their best player (Sims), their second best player will probably declare because he can't stand the coach, and they're bringing in -- at best -- the fifth best recruiting class in the conference.

Plus, Michigan missed two potential losses on the schedule, playing Purdue only once and not traveling to Champaign.

Even without taking their opposition into account, Michigan will be noticeably worse next year. Compared to the rest of the Big 10, Michigan will substantially regress.

02/22/2010 - 10:04pm Mgoblog: come for the

Mgoblog: come for the irrational coaching exuberance, stay for the witty repartee

02/22/2010 - 9:48pm "Tubby Smith hasn't done shit

"Tubby Smith hasn't done shit at Minnesota. They got knocked out of the tourney in the first round last year, didn't make it his first year, and aren't going to make it this year."

Thank God you won that game against Clemson, or else that comment starts to hit a little close to home, no?

02/22/2010 - 9:33pm At least now you guys are

At least now you guys are underperforming ethically.

Tommy Amaker never could have gotten this team onto the CBI bubble.

02/22/2010 - 8:24pm Tubby has had the better

Tubby has had the better record so far, but Beilein will probably do better when the two NBA talents he didn't recruit leave and he's left with three starters that wouldn't ever see the court for 7 of the ten other conference teams and the 6th best recruiting class in the Big 10.

02/17/2010 - 5:31pm In a word, no

Illinois is still on the bubble and needs to win two more regular season games to be safe. That would put them at 11-7, 18-12 with wins over Vanderbilt, and Clemson at Littlejohn OOC. If Illinois goes 10-8 they're probably out, even with two good OOC wins.

If Michigan goes 4-1 in conference, they'll have the exact same record as Illinois (actually, they'll be 17-12 instead of 18-12 because one of their wins doesn't count, but that's not a huge difference) but with a signature OOC win over Connecticut, who definitely isn't making the tournament.

In other words, Michigan would need to go 4-1 in the last five just to get to a point slightly behind an Illinois team that probably wouldn't make the tournament at 10-8. That's ignoring the fact that Michigan's conference wins at this point are Iowa twice, Penn State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio State without Evan Turner, so 4-1 is wildly optimistic.

And the committee is explicitly downplaying the role of conference tournaments in selection decisions, so outside of winning the thing outright or a performance that involves ripping through two of the heavy hitters, probably neither Illinois or Michigan would get in at 10-8.

09/02/2009 - 8:21pm http://smartfootball.blogspot…

Also, Michigan's offense in 2009 looks a lot more like Walker's offense in 2000 than Rodriguez's in 2000. Go watch the old Tulane tapes if you don't believe me. Some of you people act like RichRod split the atom.

09/02/2009 - 8:05pm Actually, you have that

Actually, you have that backwards.

08/31/2009 - 2:18pm FO generally does good work...

but their college stuff is absolutely awful. Their projections are based almost entirely on record over the past five years. The rationale is that good teams tend to stay good and bad teams stay bad, which is probably generally true in college football, and certainly has some extremely broad predictative value, but leads to ridiculousness on an individual level like "Boston College is the 14th best team in the country in 2009".

08/06/2009 - 12:32pm Yes, and yes. Most of the

Yes, and yes. Most of the schools in the Big 10 have higher standards than the NCAA bar.

08/06/2009 - 12:29pm There's actually a sliding

There's actually a sliding scale, where the higher your GPA, the lower your ACT has to be. But there are multiple "clearinghouses", so to speak. There's the GPA/ACT restriction which you mentioned, but you also have to have your diploma. My guess is that Turner isn't officially a graduate until the test is passed. Also, individual schools can set higher (though not lower) bars. Most of the Big 10 schools (usually by dictate outside of the athletics departments) have higher standards than the baselines set by the NCAA.

08/01/2009 - 3:26pm I think you're right about

I think you're right about everything you said there. The process is just much more subtle. The one thing that I'd point out is that the books tend to move together because the lines (mostly) come from the same consortium, and because there's no value from being the one oddball in the group. If every book on the strip has Rice -4, -110 and I have them -3.5, -110, the only people who will bet on the Rice game at my casino will be betting one side. There's no value in sticking out.

And hey, maybe you guys clean up every season. I'm sure some do- I have seen it. But it's rare, and I think everyone overestimates how good they are and how easy it is. I suffered several years of losing before I learned that.

08/01/2009 - 1:50pm "The only thing I can add to

"The only thing I can add to those reading this diary is dont over analyze what Vegas or the oddsmakers want you to do. They want one thing, for you to lose. I believe that Vegas both wants to set lines for even money, but also has their eyes set on games they can trap a bunch of one sided action and rake."

This is the credited response.

08/01/2009 - 1:48pm Almost everything you said

Almost everything you said was wrong.

1.) Not true, and the longer you study line databases, the more you come to appreciate just how consistently right the books are. These are the guys with a vested interest in getting things right. Over the long haul, they consistently do.

2.) Not true again, or at least not always true. If the books know they can set the line too far to one direction and still take in more of the money, they'll do so. So if they know that they'll still get %70 of the money at -24 for Florida, and they think the "true line" is -18, they'll leave it there. They might even move it to -23 or -22 before gameday. Different lines serve different purposes, and you need to learn how to read them.

3.) There's two ways to look at this. True, individual bettors are not smart. But bettors in the aggregate are very smart. Otherwise, why would money so often balance around a number which, over time, turns out to be the median of a bell curve of expectations for a given game? The median and mode score of all NFL games over the past twelve years with the line set at home team -3 is home team -3. Same with home team +3. Same with -7 and +7. That is truly remarkable, when you think about it.

But here's the thing: the unsophisticated people think they're sophisticated. This is the trap I see everyone else falling into here as well. I guarantee you that if we took 10 readers and had them pick ATS every Big 10 game this season, at least 8 would finish below 52%. You could run the same experiment with any 5 NCAA or NFL game per week, and you'll get the same result, and I don't care how sophisticated you think they are. Vegas will beat you. It's their job.

The other way to look at this is that the books don't care a whit about the $100 bettor. They care about the syndicate and whales that drop $500,000 a game. Their lines better be good for the whales, because if they're not, they're getting cleaned out. And those guys are sophisticated.

4.) Sports betting is winnable, but not by many. I don't care how much research you do. I've only met one person in my life that claimed to be a sharp, could do actual research, and come out ahead, and I've traveled in gambling circles for quite a while. More consistent- but still difficult- are people who do market analysis type plays. But that's not easy either.

I think your perception is skewed by knowing people who do this locally as bookies. They, by and large, get their lines from people who are thinking about something different entirely. Do bookies try to balance the action to come ahead? Of course- these are penny-ante players that don't have the capitalization or the know-how to play the way that the Vegas books do. It's just a different world in the big leagues.

Your point 6 is probably accurate, and I bet you could win a fair amount of money in the long run and bet every single game where your bookie gave you a two point advantage over where the Vegas lines are set. But that just speaks, ultimately, to the accuracy of the Vegas lines

08/01/2009 - 1:26pm "If the lines were "shaded"

"If the lines were "shaded" as you say the lines would not move as the money poured in."

They very often don't. It depends upon what purpose the line is serving. It's not altogether rare for 60%-70% of the money to come in on one side and the line to move in the other direction, encouraging even more action on one side. If you're a small time bookie, yeah, you want even action, because you don't have the capital to survive otherwise. If you're a Vegas book, you'll gamble, because you're privy to all sorts of information and expertise that the ordinary person isn't. It's a winning bet for them in the long run.

07/31/2009 - 10:10pm That's a myth. Vegas lines

That's a myth. Vegas lines tend to balance money most of the time only because they are the most accurate predictions available. If that weren't true, sharp bettors everywhere would be using their more accurate predictions to clean up on a yearly basis. That's not happening. Plus, there are a whole bunch of times that the Vegas books actively discourage balancing money, if they think they have a favorable line that's likely to play one way or another against square bettors. Think Notre Dame: especially in the 70s and 80s, Vegas would consistently shade Notre Dame a point off the true line, still take a majority ND money and win. If they wanted to balance the money, they could have.

I hear the misconception that the lines are just to balance action a lot, and I feel I need to uproot it. I've done hundreds of hours looking at NFL lines, and you quickly learn just how efficient betting lines are. At any given line, all games tend to assemble at a bell curve which peaks at the score. All games with home team -3 curve around that point, etc. Vegas really does a remarkable job, on the whole.

Now, lines are not destiny, of course. But these are the guys with a vested, monetary interest in getting things right, more than any analyst out there.

For the record, Michigan was -3 against Utah and -17.5 vs. Toledo.

07/28/2009 - 9:27pm I didn't get my invite

I didn't get my invite

07/27/2009 - 10:32pm 1.) The NCAA answer is that

1.) The NCAA answer is that FSU got the Seminole tribe to agree while Illinois couldn't get the fig leaf. The more likely answer is that FSU is a major player in college athletics and Illini is a mid-tier power, so if you're going to show off your PC bonafides, best to do it where it won't hurt too badly. It's really a shame; the undergrad vote always ran about 70-30 for the chief, and in honesty, Chief Illiniwek and the 3-in-1 at halftime was one of the few distinctive things about Illinois football. Now we're just Purdue without the giant drum or train whistle, or (shudder) Indiana.

2.) I've read the site for a couple of years now. I read a lot of the Big 10 sites, but most of them stink, and this one is very good.

3.) 95% he's going pro.

07/27/2009 - 10:28pm That's the million dollar

That's the million dollar question about the schedule. I don't know how much I buy into momentum or any of that, but starting 1-4 (which is a little to realistic of a possibility) would be a major blow, even if the team could still be plausibly favored in the last seven games. Of course, the other side of that is that if the team starts 4-1 or (unlikely, of course) 5-0, they may run away with the Big 10. It'll be an interesting test case.

As for the mental toughness, there was a win against a decent Iowa team in there, so I'm not really sure. The only game I can really point to and say that it didn't seem like the team was completely into it was the Northwestern game, but then again, Northwestern was pretty decent last year, so maybe it was just a good defense.

07/27/2009 - 4:32pm I actually know this one,

I actually know this one, because it was bothering me once. It's a shortening of the phrase "have sand in your craw". I've heard the phrase "stuck in your craw" before, but this one must have died away, as did the shortened phrase "have sand", although, interestingly, a somewhat more, er, modern phrase has developed ( It means feisty or aggressive, something like playing with a chip on your shoulder. I guess other cliches have simply had more staying power.

07/27/2009 - 3:00pm OK, that's your prerogative.

OK, that's your prerogative. I find it hard to believe that a team that gave up 45 points to Illinois at home last year is going to hold them to two TDs, but hey, that's what makes preseason predictions fun.

I think MSU is going to be very, very disappointing this year.

07/27/2009 - 2:47pm I didn't know it was possible

I didn't know it was possible to hate Minnesota. They are the team I invariably forget when trying to count the 11 teams in the Big 10.

As for the Illinois/Michigan "rivalry", I don't know if it's really even considered much of a rivalry at Illinois anymore. There is a lot of hatred of Bo Schembechler for reasons too arcane to go into here. A lot of Illinois fans think they were screwed in 2000 as well. Most of that is water under the bridge though.

I will say that (speaking in generalities) the Michigan fans that travel to Illinois games have, overall, been douchier than most team fans. That seems to be a general consensus amongst most people I've talked to. The odd part is that people were very nice the one time I went up to Ann Arbor, but Michigan fans carry that reputation on a lot of campuses. Just to be clear, I'm not saying it's true of all Michigan fans, and every team has their jerk fans (I sat in front of 4 of the most obnoxious people I've ever met at the Illinois/Northwestern game last year, and they were Illini fans).

If you were to ask most Illinois fans who they most want to beat year in and year out, you'd probably hear Iowa more than anyone else, partly once again because of the fanbase, and partly because of some bad history between the two programs.

07/27/2009 - 1:22pm I'm just not buying into Penn

I'm just not buying into Penn State this year. The WRs made that offense run, and they're gone. Not a huge fan of Darryl Clark, and PSU is in the same one-injury-and-they're-toast situation OSU is in. The back end of the defense might be scary bad too.

They'll probably win 9 games because they didn't schedule anyone, but I think they go 5-3 or 4-4 in conference play. PSU will be better than Michigan to start the season, but by the end of the year the gap will be closed (or in the other direction).

07/27/2009 - 12:13pm Sheesh... can't say. I don't

Sheesh... can't say. I don't so specific score predictions. Vegas says Illinois -7... that might be a little high. I think something in the 4-6 point range is about right, especially given the game being in Champaign.

In fairness to Michigan, I think they're the 4th best team in the Big 10, behind OSU, Illinois, and Iowa, and in front of PSU.

07/27/2009 - 12:11pm I don't the discipline to

I don't the discipline to update something regularly enough to have an e-blog. I just DVR the games during the season and keep paper notebooks on the individual plays. Low-tech, doesn't take terribly long (and I enjoy it), and afterwards I generally know what happened on any given play during the season; I also have an idea on who is being overrated/underrated by everyone else. I've thought of transferring everything online, but that sounds like a chore, and I don't want it to turn into a chore.

07/27/2009 - 11:54am On Benn... meh, maybe? I'm

On Benn... meh, maybe? I'm not sure he's the best WR in the country, or even top three. He's also been used terribly in his two years here; he's really not a particularly good punt returner, and he doesn't work well when motioned to the backfield. That being said, your perception is probably colored by the games you've seen (he hasn't had great games against Michigan, but Penn State fans wake up in cold sweats thinking about him.) I see him continuing to attract a lot of double teams early in the season, and as the year goes on teams will start to single him more and more out of necessity. You could see some huge efforts then.

07/27/2009 - 11:39am Depends upon what you mean.

Depends upon what you mean. Most girls in Bloomington in September-May are from Chicago, or at least the suburbs, so there's probably not much difference (except for the fact that Bloomington is a college town, so you get the "WOOO!!! College!!1!" atmosphere). I'll say Bloomington in the winter and Chicago in the summer.

07/27/2009 - 11:36am I'm optimistic because a lot

I'm optimistic because a lot of the things that point towards improvement are there. All the major component parts, with the exception of Vontae Davis, are back. The offense will be much improved even beyond last year; senior QB, addition of another 5* WR who seems to be the buzz in Champaign, and the running game should be improved as Jason Ford takes over more of the responsibilities as a sophomore.

The achilles heel last year was turnovers and punting, and while the turnover discussion usually turns into "Juice Williams sucks" talk, it should be noted that of the 16 interceptions he through last year, 7 were outright drops. Not badly thrown balls that were deflected, but middle of the hands type drops and deflections. Huge discrepancies in turnover ratio usually regress to the mean, and I think that's what we'll see here too.

EDIT: Really, someone gave that -1? If Vegas is predicting ~8 wins, and I say that seems reasonable for X reasons, that's unacceptable?

07/27/2009 - 11:33am In fairness to the CPS, the

In fairness to the CPS, the Illinois High School Association has some absolutely byzantine rules regarding practice times and restrictions on offseason work. Still, that doesn't seem to stop the suburban teams. For how big a city it is, Chicago punches far below its weight (I imagine Detroit has many of the same problems).

07/27/2009 - 11:25am Extremely. Sitting at work.

Extremely. Sitting at work.

07/27/2009 - 11:16am Tough to say on Juice, since

Tough to say on Juice, since everything gets filtered through coachspeak/spring optimism. The offense, including Juice, looked great at an open scrimmage the team held near Chicago, then stunk at the official spring game. However, there were some mitigating circumstances there (winds of about 40MPH, plus the defense knew that the QBs weren't ever going to keep the ball on option reads). The problem isn't his working- he's always been a hard worker- it's because he was unbelievably raw in high school, and Chicago Public School athletes are trained and coached very poorly.

Weakest part of the quad is the outside of the defense: DEs, outside linebackers, and CBs. The middle should be fairly strong- not great, but middle of the Big 10. Besides from doug Pilcher, who is a 5th year senior at DE, there's going to be a lot of very young players everywhere else. Given that these positions were weaknesses last year, I don't see a ton of grounds for optimism. The two outside linebacker positions in particular are worrisome.

Realistically, I see 8-4 or 9-3. Vegas has Illinois at 7.5, but you need to pay $150 to win $100 on the over, so 8 seems closer to the truth. The team was probably a 6 or 7 win team ability-wise last year that happened to go 5-7 (they were probably a 7 or 8 win team the year before that, and happened to go 9-3).

07/27/2009 - 10:41am I (unfortunately) do know

I (unfortunately) do know Missouri fans, and they have no interest in joining the Big 10. Their main rivalries are with Kansas and Nebraska, and they'd have to give that up. The only school that Mizzou has any relationship with in the Big 10 is Illinois. And the Big 10 doesn't gain much, outside of perhaps a little bit more of the St. Louis market (although the Big 10 is already covered pretty well in St. Louis because of Illinois.)

07/27/2009 - 10:34am Cincinatti doesn't have the

Cincinatti doesn't have the academic credentials. They'd be excluded on that alone.

07/27/2009 - 10:16am Army is worse than Duke!

Army is worse than Duke! Isn't Army the team that always gets mentioned whenever people make fun of Notre Dame's weak schedule? "Yeah, it's easy to make a bowl when you beat up on Army", etc.

07/26/2009 - 8:29pm Really? Duke excites you

Really? Duke excites you guys? Maybe I've just seen too many Duke/Northwestern games in Evanston, but I don't see how Duke would be any better than (insert MAC team here).

07/25/2009 - 7:31pm Wouldn't Paul Johnson (or

Wouldn't Paul Johnson (or someone similar- they'd never get Johnson now) be the perfect Indiana hire? What do you have to lose if you install something completely crazy? It's not like recruits will think less of you, or the results on the field could get any worse. So why not find the most bizarre FCS or D-2 offensive system out there and adapt it?

As for Michigan, I think the risk of failure of adopting something like the spread option Johnson runs would be too great. It's one thing to say Michigan had stagnated under Carr with 10-2 or 9-3 type seasons, but imagine the consternation you hear about Rodriguez and quadruple it if you had a couple of 6-6 seasons with that system.

07/24/2009 - 9:23pm Illini fan/lurker. I'll join-

Illini fan/lurker. I'll join- I'm looking for a league where I won't spend my time being sworn at by angry 12 year olds. Never done the online dynasty, but I've done the offline version several times.

Tag: Angusfan666
Team preferences (in order): Texas Tech, Nebraska, Oregon