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01/02/2018 - 4:40pm Curious how you think Alvarez

Curious how you think Alvarez "created" the Bielema and Aranda departures? Nothing could be further from the truth. Bielema wanted to coach in the SEC and took his opportunity before the doubters started wondering if he could win without Paul Chryst. The running game started to decline the year Chryst left, so Bielema fired his OL coach after 3 games, wrote a note of interest to Jeff Long and left after the year. Alvarez was blindsided. Aranda stayed in Madison the year after Andersen left. He only went to LSU for the ridiculous $1.3mm they threw at him. Given the subsequent performances of the defenses after Aranda left, Alvarez looks pretty smart in not chasing stupid assistant salaries.

It's arguable that a conflict over program expectations played a role in Andersen leaving, but given his bizarre run at Oregon State I'd say that was more Andersen than anything else. Either way, that was a bad hire and all on Barry.

01/02/2018 - 4:21pm Lucky enough not to have to

Lucky enough not to have to pay our coach $1 million per win.

02/06/2017 - 6:28pm It's not often that a comment

It's not often that a comment literally makes me laugh out loud, but this one did.

Criser isn't even in the same universe as the Kohl Center. I honestly don't even know how you compare them. Kohl is a modern, NBA caliber facility with mid level luxury suites and a seating capacity of 17,500. It holds 5,000 more fans for basketball than Crisler does. And unlike Crisler, it sells out. I've been to Crisler several times. Let's just say the renovations were necessary. They turned a dingy, depressing arena into something passable, and finally provided the program with a dedicated practice facility that others have had for years. Crisler is still lumped in with Illinois, Purdue and Iowa. It's nowhere near Kohl Center, Breslin or Value City, by far the 3 nicest arenas in the conference. It's not even as nice as Xfinity.  

I also have no idea where this student section info came from. Wisconsin allots 2,100 student season tickets. They sell out every year, this year in 3 minutes. Michigan gets like 1,000 students per game.

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

11/15/2016 - 4:12pm If OSU beats Michigan and

If OSU beats Michigan and Wisconsin beats Penn State in the conference championship game, I believe OSU should go to the playoff. It would suck for me as a fan, but it's hard to argue that a 1 loss, #2 ranked OSU team that beat UW in Madison should be left out. 

I still believe it's possible for 2 Big Ten teams to go in that scenario because I could see Washington losing once more. It also would not surprise me if Penn State lost to MSU.

There are still games to be played and a lot could happen. I'm not crazy about playing Minnesota in a rivalry game we've won 12 times in a row and 17 of 19. Law of averages, etc.   

11/15/2016 - 3:23pm Trying to follow the logic

Trying to follow the logic here. Is Michigan touring the SEC and Big 12 while Wisconsin is getting fat on its conference schedule?  Or do the awful teams in the B1G suddenly get better when they play Michigan? Everyone in the conference plays a conference schedule. Teams benefit equally from the weaker competition.

It's interesting that you included Iowa and MSU among the bad teams that help Wisconsin pad its win total. Minnesota and Northwestern can be tough outs, too. That leaves 5 truly bad teams in a conference of 14: Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. We'll end up playing 2 of them. You play 4.

 

   

11/11/2016 - 1:53pm This is an excellent book on

This is an excellent book on Big Ten football during the WWII era. Wisconsin focused but a great read.

 

Third Down and a War to Go by Terry Frei

https://www.amazon.com/Third-Down-War-All-American-Wisconsin/dp/0870203…

09/27/2016 - 3:56pm I was at the game and crowd

I was at the game and crowd noise was hardly a factor. Dayne said after the gme that he coud not hear because he was suffering from an ear infection, which he suffered from since childhood and plagued him throughout his career as a NY Giant.  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1998/11/15/michigan-takes-away-wisconsins-options/8d88c9a5-d6f6-48df-a232-b7c147e3049e/

09/06/2016 - 2:31pm Jacobs already moved back to

Jacobs already moved back to ILB.

Edwards will return from his foot injury, although they will probably hold him out this week as a precaution with Orr out. Edwards, Cichy and Connelly will be the top 3 ILB wth Watt and Beigel outside. The ILB depth is now Jacobs, who started there last year before he was injured, and Nick Thomas, a redshirt freshman from IMG they like a lot.

They had pretty good depth at LB. Losing Orr on the first snap hurts, though.    

09/06/2016 - 2:20pm They are in the top 10

They are in the top 10 nationally in wins over the last 10 years.

They are in the top 10 nationally in wins over the last 20 years.

They are in the top 10 in NFL draft picks over the last 10 years.

They have the 6th longest active bowl streak in the country.

In the last 6 years they have been to 3 Rose Bowls and have bowl wins over Auburn and USC.

They have the top APR in FBS.

Sorry. You are dead wrong.

 

 

 

   

09/03/2016 - 10:42pm Or, a defense that was ranked

Or, a defense that was ranked in the top 5 the last two years, #1 overall last year.

08/23/2016 - 7:32pm Christ. Might want to wait

Christ. Might want to wait and see what those dizzying sack numbers are before worrying about whether they'll be inflated by weak competition.

Wisconsin's OL will not be weak or young this year. Long before Voltz determined he could no longer play he had already ceded his position to a younger player he admitted was more talented than he was. They'll be fine. Maybe not "laughing as they run the ball 27 times in a row" fine, but fine.      

 

04/25/2016 - 1:50pm Wisconsin gave back

Wisconsin gave back $5,000,000 to the university last year and is one of a handful of schools in the B1G that does not alloctae a penny of student activity fees to athletics. The AD is not only self sufficient but helps support the academic side of the university. Also Gov. Scott Walker cut $250 million from the university's budget last year. Although that sum was made up for by private donors within a month, it's safe to say the state taxpayers are not subsidizing the Wisconsin AD.

The direct or indirect allocation of funds could mean a lot of things. Knowing a bit about the type of expenditures the State of Wisconsin counts as "funding" to UW, I can all but guarantee you this subsidy number is misleading at best, if not bullshit.

Not buying the coaching salaries argument, either. UW has a culture and a system that has worked well. They'll pay when they have to but don't chase the $ coaches get in the SEC and wouldn't throw over $4 million per year at Brady Hoke when he would have happily taken the job for $2 million. If you are able to keep Bo Ryan around until he retires and pay him $300k less than Beilein while beating him 15 out of 17 times, I'm not sure salaries at Wisconsin are an issue.

04/13/2016 - 4:14pm It's not a a matter of

It's not a a matter of playing LSU at Lambeau instead of Camp Randall. They wanted a marquee opponent and LSU would not come to Camp Randall. So they agreed to play LSU at Houston and have LSU come to Lambeau. The decision was to play a non-SEC opponent at home or LSU at Lambeau Field. If anyone should be pissed it's the LSU fans. I don't see the lure of traveling from Baton Rouge to a generic NFL stadium in Houston. On the other hand Lambeau is like hallowed ground and it's less than 2 hours from Madison.

Wisconsin playing at Lambeau is unique, not exactly like Michigan giving up a home game to play at Ford Field. I fly in from NY for about 4-5 home games and can't wait for this. I'm not even from Wisconsin or a Packer fan, either. Lambeau is a bucket list item. If I can cross that off while seeing Wisconsin play LSU, instead of having to watch the Packers? Same for LSU fans. They will flock to this game just for the draw of seeing their team at Lambeau Field. They are saying ticket demand will be incredibly high. Wisconsin will still have a home field advantage but it would not surprise me to see at least 25,000 LSU fans there.

03/31/2016 - 4:44pm You'd think at some point

You'd think at some point during the last two decades all of these built in advantages that are so obvious to you would actually manifest themselves where it counts.

Program measures like proflle, brand equity and power are junk food for the fanbase. They are also objectively worthless if they don't translate to sustained success, unless your method of keeping score is to look at licensing revenues. I promise you, the last thing I felt when Wisconsin was in the last two Final Fours was a brand inferiority or lack of profile.

The reason our program became so good? It's the same explanation for why MSU has been able to maintain its superiority over Michigan. For why UCLA or Indiana, with more "brand" and "power" than anyone, have been inconsistent, and a program without those advantages like Gonzaga has not. Why onetime powers like St. John's or Georgetown have fallen off the map, but bluebloods like Duke, Carolina or Kentucky haven't. Coaching. You need the right coach to implement and maintain the right blueprint for a consistent program identity that is also right for the university. Brand and power without the right coach are worthless, but the right coach can succeed without those things. And that's not a commentary on whether or not Beilein is the right coach for Michigan.

Fertile recruiting territory also doesn't mean anything when you are not the premiere prgram in your state. It's especially overrated in the age of one and done. Last year UW lost out on two in-state prospects, Diamond Stone and Henry Ellenson. They both led their teams to earlier NCAA tournament exits than UW managed without them (Marquette didn't even make it). They will both turn pro after a year. Wisconsin will retunr everyone and start the year in the top 10. So, while I am not insane enough to maintain that recruiting doesn't matter, I do believe chasing blue chips every year is a very difficult way to live for all but a handful of programs, most of which do not share Michigan's academic and ethical profile. I actually think this has been Izzo's greatest accomplishment, and why Tony Bennett's next few years will be interesting.         

                     

 

03/31/2016 - 4:00pm Re:#4 What does Beilein gain

Re:#4 What does Beilein gain here if he knows Spike will appeal it and end up where he wants to go anyway, like Max did with IU? If the result is inevitable or even probable after an appeal, doesn't Beilein look better by releasing Spike to begin with?

I'm not saying Beilein doesn't have a valid interest in keeping a player from transferring within the conference. I still don't believe a coach should restrict a player from going anywhere, especially as a graduate transfer, but I see where the coach is coming from.    

03/31/2016 - 3:23pm Why is Michigan ordained to

Why is Michigan ordained to be better than Wisconsin? I'm trying to think of a single real advantage Michigan has. Inferior facility, worse record over the last 15 years, the fabled "resouces" argument is complete nonsense. History? I guess. But current students and recruits were born almost 8 years after the Fab Five played at Michigan. That's 25 years ago, and it was followed by a scandal and exile. The more meaningful history is 18 straight NCAA appearances, 3 Final Fours, the only school in the country to make the Sweet 16 5 times in the last 6 years and in each of the last 3, finishing in the top 4 in the B1G 15 straight years and a head to head record against your current coach that's like 15-2. Following two straight Final Fours they lost 5 of their top players (3 to the NBA), their longtime coach to mid season retirement, started out 9-9 while playing 4 freshmen and starting a walk-on but still made a run to the Sweet 16. They'll be preseason top 10 next year. In other words, the program has had no downswings, even with significant adversity/attrition following the highest of the highs.     

Wisconsin has been the better program for a long time. I have no idea how this can be news to you.  

       

03/28/2016 - 3:24pm Oz and Don Granato were each

Oz and Don Granato were each in the running for the head coaching job. To land Tony as head coach with those two as assistants was a coup for Alvarez/Richter. Alvarez had to pull of something like this to prove that he was invested in men's hockey after watching it decline for the last few years under Eaves. He depended on his Development Program connections to recruit well enough early, won a national title and played in another title game a few years ago, but he lost some key assistants, couldn't bring in the same level talent and the program went into a spiral.

An interesting sidenote to this is Mark Johnson. He starred for UW and the Miracle on Ice team in 1980, his dad Bob Johnson was a legendary Badger coach, and Mark is now the coach of UW's very succesful women's team, which plays before great crowds in its own arena on campus.He is very popular.Mark was interested in the men's job when they hired Eaves and spoke to Alvarez during this search as well. It probably took a home run hire like the one they pulled off to avoid some second guessing within the fanbase, Anything less and the new coach is thought of as only the second best option within his own athletic department.

This hire was beyond the most optimistic expectations. Hopefully the program will be back on its feet quickly.            

03/22/2016 - 4:38pm Wisconsin's offensive

Wisconsin's offensive efficiency rating over the last two years was insane. Last year it was the highest in the history of the modern era, obliterating the 2014 Michigan team you will probably hold out as the standard for "beautiful" basketball. But keep spewing nonsense that it's ugly. What else can you say about a program that's beaten you like a drum for the last 10 years?

 

 

02/29/2016 - 2:58pm Wisconsin lost 4 seniors

Wisconsin lost 4 seniors from a team that went to back-to back Final Fours, 3 of whom are now playing in the NBA, the best coach in program history to retirement in the middle of the season, one top 100 recruit to season ending foot surgery and another days before the season started to an arcane eligibility issue over his high school transcript from Belgium. They've now beaten Michigan 16 of the last 18 games and are poised to make their 18th straight NCAA tournament.

It's not like Michigan is the only program in the country with injuries or adversity.

           

  

11/30/2015 - 4:35pm I think you need to get out

I think you need to get out more. There is a whole world out there beyond Grand Rapids.

Wisconsin, UCLA, Texas, North Carolina and even Florida are elite public academic institutions with powerhouse athletic departments, huge budgets, cutting edge facilities and large fanbases. If you put the most stock in the Shanghai rankings, as you should, Wisconsin is the only school in the world ranked in the top 25 in academics, football and basketball last year. UW's revenue/expenditures are in the top 5 as well (#2 in 2014) http://www.businessinsider.com/texas-revenue-college-sports-2014-9

We can find statistics to support any argument, but regardless of where you look it's absurd to assert that Michigan's blend of academics and athletics is unique on the national landscape.   

As for the original question, sometimes it's matter of priorites. As a Wisconsin alum, just shoot me before my school tries to confuse itself with a place like Arkansas or LSU, crappy academic institutions with significant budget issues that throw millions of dollars at assistant football coaches like drunken sailors on shore leave. And yes, i realize athletic departments are self-sufficient entities that don't bleed resources from academic departments. At least try to pretend your football porogram has a university attached to it.

Coaching searches are about finding the right cultural fit. It's not simply about "resources." As all Michigan fans know by now, it's a very difficult exercise to get right. On paper Gary Andersen was a great candidate. He won 11 games last year. He was also a disaster at Wisconsin because he underestimated the school's real emphasis on academics and the refusal of admissions to rubber stamp any kid who cleared the NCAA's requiements. So, because Wisconsin didn't throw $5 million at some ethically dubious, gun-for-hire and hired Paul Chryst instead, it settled for the familiar? Or did Wisconsin go for a really smart football coach who understands that winning is important, but so is a perfect APR score and being one of 8 Power 5 schools wth fewer than 2 arrests in the last 5 years? The SEC doesn't give a shit about that last part. Some of us do.    

03/17/2015 - 12:26pm I met Chris a few times and

I met Chris a few times and I'm not surprised by this. He is a highly intelligent, thoughtful and serious kid. He made a mature decision and made it for the right reasons, but I'm sure it was also driven, in part, by the opportunities he will have outside of football. He sees himself as more than a football player and does not want to jeaopardize his life goals for 2-3 years of football. For that reason I can't see it having a domino effect among other players. It will trigger debate, but I doubt there are too many players with their entire careers ahead of them who are willing to give up the financial, ego and competitive rewards of the NFL for whatever plans they've made for after football (if any).

Also, the press may report he did this because he is already experiencing symptoms or cognitive deficiencies. Untrue. He did suffer a concussion at Wisconsin but at this point it was all about research and risk calculation.        

03/16/2015 - 12:44pm Gasser and Koenig are both

Gasser and Koenig are both 6'4".  Wisconsin has great size. I don't think anyone matches up with Kentucky either, but Wisconsin's size is the reason some pundits think they'd have a chance.

Kentucky will absolutely overwhelm the field with their defense. They have length, athleticism, depth, and their ability to recover is as good as I've ever seen. Wisconsin is tough this year because they can score from every position on the floor and they pass the ball well, but Kentucky can defend a team with multiple offensive threats. They are good enough to hound a guy like Kaminsky but still quick and long enough to recover when he passes out of a double/triple team. Maybe a team with bigs who can shoot can draw WCS and Towns out of the paint but Kentucky is just so good. Now that their goal is in site, they will play with a consistent intensity they have only flashed when they've needed to this year. I think they are going to make some teams look downright silly on offense.

 

 

 

11/20/2014 - 6:00pm The tournament Wisconsin is

The tournament Wisconsin is in features North Carolina, UCLA, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgetown, Butler and UAB. They open with UAB, then should get Florida next and if they win that they'll see UNC, Oklahoma or UCLA (or Butler). They also play at Marquette, at Cal and Duke. I don't think Milwaukee makes the schedule any more difficult but the UW Green Bay team they beat last night went 24-7 last year and is the Horizon Conference favorite again.  

10/03/2014 - 12:10pm There are more Wisconsin fans

There are more Wisconsin fans than Minnesota fans in the home zip code of Minnesota's stadium. That's a rough statistic for a Gopher fan.

03/03/2014 - 9:27pm What does that even mean?

What does that even mean? Your original premise was that Wisconsin plays painfully slow, low scoring games, was it not? Statistics show they score about the same number of points while playing at about the same (or an even faster) pace with very similar efficiency to Michigan. Now you are arguing who looks better doing it?

Your hypothetical street poll is as relevant as asking people whether they think one runner "looks" faster than the other even though both are running at the exact same speed. More exciting to me are meaningful results, measured objectively. On that count Beilein is now 2-12 at Michigan against the team coached by the leader of the Bug People of Rigel.

03/03/2014 - 2:23pm There must be an awful lot of

There must be an awful lot of pace and excitement wrapped up in the extra two tenths of a possession that Michigan ekes out over the course of a game. Michigan plays at the 331st fastest pace in the nation, with 65.1 possessions per game. Wisconsin is 335th, at a "horrendously slow" 64.9. Points per game is a worthless stat but probably meaningful to you. Michigan averages less than a basket more per game than Wisconsin, 74.9 to 73.4.

If anything is "funny", it's that Michigan's resurgence coincides with their emphasis on aspects of the game that are benchmarks of Wisconsin's philosophy. They are both in the top 10 in fewest turnovers (UW #1, UM #7), offensive efficiency (UM #4 at 1.15 ppp, UW #10 at 1.13 ppp) and very similar defensively (UW #31 at 63 points per game and UM #46 at 65 points per game).

These teams are nearly identical statistically.

Other than that, your thoughts were dead on.  

  

11/16/2013 - 1:51pm Hilariously delusional.
All

Hilariously delusional.

All three Rose Bowls were down to the wire losses to top 5 teams. If a season ending in a Rose Bowl loss is so worthless, you obviously don't think very highly of Bo's legacy. That also makes 6 Rose Bowls in the BCS era. Wisconsin has a better winning percentage than Michigan since conference expansion.

What major resource advantage do you think Michigsn has that Wisconsin does not? Both programs are in the top 10 nationally in football revenue and expenditures. Both have state of the art facilities. Camp Randall and Wisconsin's game day atmosphere do not exactly take a back seat to anyone, something everyone in the country is aware of unless you've never left Southfield. Academic support, a topic that came up here this week? Since 2009 Wisconsin has 86 academic all conference selections. Michigan? 45.

I'll give you the February recruiting title, though. Somehow we survive with our 3 star players.

Michigan is an elite program for sure. Might be a good idea to get out more, though. With a single shared national title since 1948 and mediocrity for the last 7 years, I have no idea why you think you have a right to expect more than 3 straight Rose Bowls.

10/20/2011 - 5:12pm I've been stunned by MSU's

I've been stunned by MSU's tone deafness this week but you guys should consider this almost like a gift. The negative implications to MSU will be so much deeper and far reaching than if they had handled this correctly by suspending him early and offering up the proper  mea culpa. That program, and by extension, the university, is getting absolutely slaughtered over this. When MSU's scumbaggedry is a topic in New York Magazine, isn't that a type of win for Michigan?    

We've been fighting with the occasional so-called "rational spartan" poster on our board, where outrage and negative sentiment toward MSU is virtually unanimous. It's pretty amazing that there isn't a single logical voice from the entire institution. At no point did anyone step up and recognize that the lack of accountability was not only troubling on an ethical level but also damaging from a PR standpoint. The official response to the suspensions is typically equivocal and full of lame justifications. I almost wonder who the hell is in charge there.

All MSU has done is give the rest of the country a reason to view them with disdain. It's almost like they set out to confirm their status as a second rate lowlife program. I don't know how an MSU fan will ever be able to argue equivalency again without being beaten back with this fiasco, and as someone with a few Sparty friends, that's a blessing indeed.        

    

10/18/2011 - 7:46pm The best offenses are

The best offenses are balanced enough to punish a defense that sells out to take one thing away. If they take away the run can you pass and vice versa?  Can you use the run to set up the pass and vice versa? Can you play ball control if the game is tight, the weather is bad or your defense needs a blow? Can you score points quickly if it turns into a shootout?  

As good as Oregon can look I'm a firm believer that you have to be able to pound teams if necessary. They haven't fared too well against fast, athletic defenses. If the defense is fast enough to minimize their strategy of putting defenders alone in space, they don't have another way to beat you.

I liked Oklahoma's offense with Bradford and AP. 

10/18/2011 - 12:53pm I think you guys just want to

I think you guys just want to see some acknowledgement that what happened last Saturday wasn't right, and I don't blame you. Count me as dumbfounded that MSU hasn't announced a suspension yet or forced Narduzzi to read a "my comments were taken out of context/not the way we do things here/to the extent I offended anyone I'm sorry" statement.

I'm fully familiar with Dantonio's tactics after witnessing the Jim Sorgi choking and let's face it, there is an inherent conflict of interest in having the person who is paid to win football games also be the person responsible for doling out punishments to his football players. What really surprises me, however, is that no faction of alumni/adminstrators has come forward and said "this is embarrassing and not what we want to be known for." In other words, if Dantonio can't see what's right, where are the reasonable people to turn on the lights? This should have been taken out of his hands by the end of yesterday.

Although MSU has never been on the same plane as Michigan, I lose respect for that institution by the minute.

      

10/17/2011 - 6:54pm I must say I was beyond

I must say I was beyond stunned by MSU's display of unabashed thuggery against Michigan. I haven't seen anything that bad on a football field since Reynolds choked Sorgi, which of course came while the OSU defense was being marshaled by the Dean of Discipline Mark Dantonio. How Gholston hasn't been suspended for trying to rip off Denard's head ina game he was also flagged for throwing a punch is beyond me. What's more, I can't believe Narduzzi actually came out with his comments, which are truly shocking from a coach. Isaiah Williams' idiocy and the absence of a suspension, let alone any acknowledgement of wrongdoing, are just more proof that Dantonio feels he has tapped into something with this team and is willing to sink to great depths in the interests of winning.

We've pointed out that Michigan handled it all pretty well, refusing to lay blame in the media. I'm sure they are all seething behind closed doors and it wouldn't surprise me if Delaney got a DVD from Brady Hoke's office, but he asked his team to take the high road and they did. If nothing else it shows the team has bought in to whatever Hoke is selling and they are squarely behind their new coach. I'm not being solicitous when I say that i was impressed by this.  

I don't know how this will play out. MSU has a legitimate defense and will be playing in front of a very hyped nighttime crowd. The thing is, and I say this cautiously, Wisconsin as also had this game marked for a long time, and they are capable of punishing an undisciplined, hyper-aggressive defense. Nebraska chirped about Wisconsin "not playing a defense like ours" and did a fair amount of woofing at the beginning of the game. That only gets you so far. MSU's defense may be better than Nebraska's and the Spartans are good enough to win this game for sure, but I tend to not buy into teams that have to run their mouths and resort to cheapness to claim a psychological advantage. The quietly confident teams usually do best.

I think the key is to start fast and not give up the turnover/special teams plays that further energize the crowd and the team. Match Sparty's intensity but not their emotion. Stay even-keeled, do what they do and let it play out over 4 quarters.        

   

10/06/2011 - 11:17am In fairness to Kill, and I

In fairness to Kill, and I agree his comments came off poorly, he was probably irked by Tim Brewster's constant bullshitting about the condition the program he left to Kill and some of the other things Brewster did that made Kill's job tougher. Apparently 25 players were academically ineligible when Kill took over. Brewster has also made some stunning statements:  

“This is the same group of kids that beat Illinois and Iowa. Same group of kids that played well to start the season at USC.”

“That’s a very talented football team that’s at the University of Minnesota right now. Coach Kill is very fortunate and he knows that,” Brewster told the Daily at Big Ten football media days in Chicago in July

Brewster told the Daily in July that his greatest disappointment was that the Gophers would be going to the Rose Bowl and he would not be there to lead them. Brewster denied making those comments when reached by phone Tuesday.

http://www.mndaily.com/2011/10/04/kill-doesn’t-mince-words-brewster-left-football-team-rough-shape

Patrick Reusse, a longtime Minneapolis journalist, also just came out with some damning accusations of Brewster's conduct on the recruiting trail. I'll bet Kill is dealing with plenty of other very ugly remnants of Tim Brewster's disastrous reign, and while Kill was wrong to downgrade his kids like that, I at least have an idea of where it came from.     
10/04/2011 - 3:08pm I don't know about better

I don't know about better talent. Wisconsin's O-Line looks pretty good right now, but when you consider that each of the 3 offensive linemen they lost from last year's team is now starting in the NFL (including  a starter for the Cowboys who didn't start for Wisconsin last year), the talent level there is pretty high.

At the skill positions they rotate 2 very talented backs, and Ball is only a junior and White a sophomore. WR Toon is a potential late first round, more likely second round pick. They say the TE Pederson has a chance to be the best to ever play the position at a school that has 3 tight ends starting in the NFL, and Brady Ewing is the #2 fullback on the draft boards I've seen.

The second WR, Abbrederis, is a very good college player and a rising talent as a sophomore but probably lacks the measurables to play in the NFL. Interestingly, Nebraska assigned their top corner Dennard to cover Abbrederis, not Toon, and Abbrederis pretty much torched him anyway.

All in all it's not unreasonable to say that 10 of 11 starters will play in the NFL. In fact the second biggest question mark may be Russell Wilson. He's shorter than the prototypical NFL QB.

So, while Michigan could probably recruit a more explosive player as the #2 receiver, depth at QB and is more than capable of bringing in NFL caliber players across the board it'd be almost unrealistic to expect more talent than Wisconsin has on that offense. It's easy to see why people were so excited to get Wilson. He truly was the one missing piece to the puzzle.

  

09/28/2011 - 5:30pm Embarrassing themselves?

Embarrassing themselves? Against a team that was physically inferior? That's an interesting take. You realize TCU was actually favored right? And the game was pretty close? And TCU's strength all year was its defense?

Do actually watch college football?

 

 

09/27/2011 - 3:01pm Yes, their fans will be in

Yes, their fans will be in black.

Nebraska received over 20,000 official ticket requests for an allotment of 3,000 tickets. That's official requests, which obviously doesn't include fans who go the Stubhub route and was also this summer, before fans knew both teams would be in the top 10, the game would be on ABC in prime time, Gameday, etc. I read that UW is preparing for as many as 25,000 Nebraska fans and will set up the Fieldhouse as a viewing center for those who could not get tickets  

I manage to get into town from NYC for most of the big games and will be there Saturday.  This is the toughest ticket in school history. I've never seen the market like this. Obviously there is significant demand from both sides, but I'll be very interested to see how many Husker fans make it into Camp Randall. So far they are not afraid to spend and are driving the market up pretty high.   

09/26/2011 - 3:10pm At this point who deserves to

At this point who deserves to be #3 more than Michigan? It doesn't matter if there are question marks. Everyone has question marks. This ranking isn't a forecast of how the standings will look in December. It's based on what has happened to date, and Michigan is 4-0. OSU is not. Penn State is not. MSU is not. Iowa is not. The conference has been really, really weak so far.

 

So, while I'm not terribly surprised Michigan is 4-0, I am somewhat surprised they are deservedly the third best team in the conference at this point in the season. But they are deservedly third. 

I'm also not sure I see things changing much.  You won't have to be very good to do well in this conference. I suspect OSU will find its stride and get a lot better than they showed vs. Miami. Other than that, who is there? MSU has serious issues along both lines. Iowa looks like a team that still has talent in spots but lost too many key players to be a reliable contender (although they may be right there). Penn State is just not a good football team. Illinois is terribly inconsistent. Northwestern will be decent but not great even when they get Persa back. Purdue, Indiana and Minnesota are pretty weak.

 

09/19/2011 - 1:48pm Wisconsin got a $1,000,000

Wisconsin got a $1,000,000 payment from NIU and the opportunity to play in front of the sizable number of UW alumni in Chicago. It was a pretty good deal for a road game.

I suspect we'll start to see more of these arrangements as non-BCS programs try to expand their reach into larger markets. The smaller program gets to showcase itself in a major market against a bigger name opponent that will bring its own fans, and the bigger name opponent gets a nice alumni event in a big city, as well as a little cash.

I've heard UW is close to a similar deal with Boston University at Gillette Stadium. That's obviously not in downtown Boston but it will  give UW's alumni in the Boston/CT area a chance to see the Badgers play.

    

    

09/08/2011 - 2:24pm Do you really want the

Do you really want the Michigan Stadium crowd to be like they are in the SEC? There are some college atmospheres that are loud and still collegiate, largely as a result of well organized, clever student sections (Penn State) or acoustics (Autzen) but the brand of hysteria they boast of in the SEC is not for me.

I'm actually proud that my school doesn't draw 80,000 to a spring game, like they do at Alabama.  Sorry, but at least try to pretend there's an academic institution attached to the football program.

09/02/2011 - 3:04am How does the fact that their

How does the fact that their punter didn't see the field until well ino the 3rd quarter with almost 50 points on the board fit into your little summary? You know what I found exciting? Rich Rodriguez's spread averaging about 5 points in the first half of every game against a bowl team last year. What fun!!

You're embarrassing yourself.

08/16/2011 - 10:58am The US News and World Report

The US News and World Report rankings are not respected at all in academic circles, certainly not by those in a position to consider conference expansion. They are more interested in a university's research profile given that conference members (together with the University of Chicago) comprise the CIC. Big Ten schools share a huge research fund through the CIC, collaborate on research and use joint purchasing power to lower costs. Research prowess is the main factor member schools would look to when considering a new addition. The US News and World Report ranking is a marketing gimmick. 

I believe Nebraska was an AAU member when they were voted in to the conference but they lost it just after the effective date of admission. I also heard Texas was the main proponent of their expulsion. Nebraska's medical school is structured in a way that makes it a separate entity from the rest of the institution, which has a significant negative impact on its AAU standing. I'd never argue that it's a great academic school but its ouster from AAU is maybe a little flukey. 

07/28/2011 - 5:14pm Love him, but if his good

Love him, but if his good friend Roman couldn't persuade him to come to Chelsea because he wanted to see through his commitment to the Turkish team (and to Russia before that), I don't think he'll come here.

I want to say it's encouraging that they appear to have the replacement lined up, but I'm not sure they could put a deal together with Klinsmann so quickly and quietly

I truly wonder if the poor performances by MLS in these recent friendlies had anything to do with the timing of this. The US soccer people can't be happy about all these European teams coming here and running roughshod over what was thought to be an improving league. Not saying it contributed to the decision, just the timing.   

  

07/12/2011 - 3:47pm Why did you put "letting up"

Why did you put "letting up" in quotes? That phrase doesn't appear anywhere in what I wrote and it's not at all what I was arguing. I never claimed Wisconsin "let up" or didn't want to score there.  I have no doubt they were trying and wanted points, otherwise they would have taken a knee. Their general tendency in that situation, however, would have been to go to their strength and run the ball, which was working rather well, and at the very worst come away with 3 points. Instead they did something uncharacteristically riskier and came away with none. I guarantee you their OC was angry at himself for getting sloppy with a big lead and would have freely admitted to making a call he would not have made in a closer game.  

What about a basketball player who throws a behind the back pass or tries for a reverse dunk with a big lead. Is he letting up? No. But his willingness to try something he wouldn't feel comfortable trying in a closer game is indicative that his mental approach with a huge lead is different than it was at 0-0. And that might be relevant in a debate about the defensive ability of the player guarding him at that point in the game.  

All of this by the way, was just one of several examples I offered from the perspective of a fan of the opposing team in question to show that I thought UW's approach to the game might have changed. Does that mean it was easier for Michigan to score? Who knows. It's all just good natured speculation among people who follow this stuff more closely than we should but will never know what really goes on in the heads of those who play the game.

But this is all "flamebating" and "extremely irrational."  

 

  

07/08/2011 - 2:31pm Good lord. How whiny.

Good lord. How whiny.

07/08/2011 - 12:16pm I've been reading this debate

I've been reading this debate and am actually a little surprised it even exists. Wisconsin played a certain game to get a 28-0 first half lead. All the evidence I need to know they changed their philosophy at that point was their drive at the end of the first half, in where they had the ball in the red zone with under a minute left and did something they would never, ever do at that spot on the field if they were really putting a premium on points: they threw the ball into the endzone for an interception. As effective as their passing game was last year, they would normally just pound it in from that spot, especially against a defense that wasn't really able to stop the ground game at all. That's exhibit A that they let their guard down a bit and lost discipline.

it is also 100% accurate to say they were content to trade scores in the second half. It's precisely what they did against OSU as well. They got a big lead and were fine giving up points as long as (1) the drives took time and (2) they could answer with scores when they needed to. This happened all year long. Because of the cushion, teams did not have time to catch up so long as they didn't turn it over, the defense kept everything underneath and the offense could answer with scores of its own. Remember, one of Michigan's second half scores came on a very short field after a Wisconsin WR fumbled after making a catch for a first down. Bielema saw that and realized he could only lose by playing as aggressively as  he did in the first half. He shut it down. I can think of a great throw and catch that got behind our defense, other than that they gave Denard exactly what they gave Pryor: 5-7 yard runs that took time off the clock.

This is also why we ran the ball every single play, save one (the fumble), in the second half. The strategy was to just take time off the clock while maintaining a cushion on offense and make Michigan work for their scores so there was no time to mount a comeback. Wisconsin's offense was actually pretty balanced last year. They were good at throwing it out of play action. The fact that they never did this in an entire half should tell you they had focused on sewing up the win in the second half, both offensively and defensively.

Put it this way: I have a vested interest in beating Michigan. In a few recent Wisconsin wins (and one disastrous loss) that got close in the second half I threw things and  behaved in such a way that on one such occasion my wife took my daughter and her playdate shopping  because I was scaring them. At no point during last year's game was I nervous. The way they were playing fit a blueprint I had seen before and I knew the game was totally in control. That's not statistical evidence, but the "look test" can't be dismissed altogether either.  

None of this is to say that Michigan's offense wasn't good last year. It was. With all due respect, however, I don't think it was great. When you average fewer than 7 points in the first half of every game against a decent opponent (PSU, MSU, Iowa, WIS, OSU and MSU), only to come back with points once the game was out of reach, that is a statistical trend. You can't discount the notion that your second half points were the product of a changed mentality by the opposing defense.

As an opposing fan, Michigan scares me a lot more with a talented running back running counters behind a bruising offensive line, a drop back NFL caliber QB throwing to tall speedy receivers and a good tight end, and a 4-3 defense with 300 lb pluggers at tackle and 220 lb safeties. Denard carrying the ball every play and a "light and quick" defense? Not so much. That's nothing against Denard. He's a rare talent. It's like Drew Brees, arguably one of the 5 greatest QBs to play in our conference in the last 20 years. I realize his version of the spread was different than what Rodriguez did, but I still remember them moving the ball up and down the field at will against us, only to run a half back option pass from inside the 5 that was promptly picked off. Those teams never did much against Michigan's physical, athletic corners. The spread relies on maximizing space. When you get close to the goal line the amount of space shrinks. You can beat the spread. On the other hand it's difficult to beat a team that can pound the ball, throw it out of play action, play defense and control the clock, especially a team that can recruit kids like Michigan can. Mixing in other elements is fine, but I do not think you can have sustained success without that physical element as part of your game.             

In sum, without having seen what Brady Hoke can do I'd say getting back to Michigan's traditional principles and tweaking them is the right idea. It was never really broken, was it? Maybe in need of some paint but not a down to the studs renovation. I know that has been debated ad nauseam here but that's an outsider's take.

Sorry for the length . . .   

06/16/2011 - 11:55am I would argue the obscurity

I would argue the obscurity factor makes European soccer jerseys that much more acceptable. My kids and I are avid followers, and they are big time soccer jersey collectors. I started to notice the jerseys are really comfortable for lounging or as workout gear. The team branded adidas clima cool shorts are also great for playing basketball or running. I'm not above wearing an Argentina, Holland, Chelsea or Barca shirt out and around. The white collared jersey England wore in the 2010 World Cup is actually a pretty nice shirt and I love my long sleeved red version as well. This spread to Rugby and I wear my All Blacks jersey with jeans all the time.

i would not feel right about wearing the jersey of a domestic team, though a Red Wings jersey is tempting. That most people don't know anything about the European soccer shirt I'm wearing somehow makes it more palatable for me. Having said that, I don't judge. It's just my personal taste and I can't logically justify it.  

06/14/2011 - 11:08am Wisconsin picked up its 5th

Wisconsin picked up its 5th commitment yesterday in Kyle Dodson, a 4* offensive lineman out of Ohio.  24/7 has him as the #9 ranked prospect in the state and he had an OSU offer. I understand he was also considering Michigan and had an offer there as well.

I don't know if this is proof of the scandal having a negative impact on recruiting but it is certainly interesting that a lifelong OSU fan who was said to be waiting for an OSU offer finally got it, and then promptly committed to UW.  While I happen to think Wisconsin can recruit offensive linemen with anyone and our most talented recruiter covers Ohio, pulling a kid like this out from under OSU can't be a great sign for them.

On the other hand, I think it's wise to wait until signing day to see what happens with kids like this. He verballed during the height of the scandal. Things may settle down and stabilize for OSU, in which case I wouldn't be surprised to see some Ohio prospects change their minds and turn back to the Buckeyes (assuming they have spots left). Either way, UW is off to a very nice start.      

06/10/2011 - 11:41am Everyone knew Bielema was

Everyone knew Bielema was brought in to succeed Alvarez but they were smart in not announcing it as a formal arrangement. Bielema was a talented defensive coordinator in his own right. The idea was to let him run the defense while he learned how to run the program under Alvarez, all while Alvarez could train him and assess whether he was the right guy.

It worked out well overall but the process was not without its snags. There was a lot of resentment among older assistants who spent considerable time working under Alvarez, especially when Bielema indicated he would take a look at the staff from scratch rather than automatically retain Alvarez's people or elevate them to the coordinator positions. This led to some shakiness in 2008, but Bielema has gotten things together since then and maintained a good staff/program identity.    

06/09/2011 - 11:56am I'm not sure he has to carry

I'm not sure he has to carry the offense or even be the focal point. They have a lot of pieces in place. They just needed an experienced game manager type who can be efficient in the passing game. That he has the ability to make plays and extend drives with his feet is a great bonus but not really crucial to the success of the offense.

Wisconsin has another talented offensive line in place. They lose two great players there but are still pretty loaded. 6 UW OL earned All Big Ten recognition last year, which shows the depth considering there are only 5 spots on the OL. They get back their top two running backs in White and Ball and have some great talent behind them, including a very talented incoming freshman in Melvin Gordon, who will get to develop slowly behind Ball and White. They have pretty good talent at WR, led by a returning Toon. And, the defense was expected to be the real strength of the team.  The missing piece, a huge one at that, was a capable QB. Looks like they have added it. Who knows what happens on the field, but I feel a lot better now than I did two months ago.

The real key to our offense last year was balance. The running game was great, largely because Tolzien and the passing game were too good for teams to sell out to stop the run. The QB in our system does not have to be Tom Brady. He simply needs to protect the ball and be good enough to prevent defenses from keying on the running back all the time. If Russell can fill that role the team could be decent again. I know most Badger fans were thinking this year could see 9-10 wins, possibly 8 due to the QB, with 2012 shaping up to be a special, BCS type season. Maybe Russell moves up that timetable, maybe he doesn't. I just can't see us being worse with him on the field than we were with the QBs who played in the spring game.           

      

06/02/2011 - 12:21pm What is the methodology for

What is the methodology for this ranking? Wisconsin is higher than Michigan in Rivals average, Scout average, 24/7 average and has a higher percentage of recruits on the ESPN watchlist, yet UW is ranked 5th and Michigan 1st.

 

04/13/2011 - 10:54am Believe it or not this is a

Believe it or not this is a fairly crowded space in the LA food market. Despite its reputation for being obsessed with health and glitz, LA is almost peerless when it comes to junk food dives. Pink's, Tommy's, Carney's, Tail O' the Pup, Cassell's, The Apple Pan, even chains like In N' Out and Fatburger.  Then there are the countless roadside taco/burrito stands that quietly serve up a top shelf burger  (the one I used to go to near Koreatown, just east of Vermont, made one of the best burgers I've ever had).

Glad to see they are bringing this Detroit staple to LA. I'm quite familiar with Lafayette and we've always said a coney would do well here in New York. As alluded to in this thread it's not a business I'd ever get into. Especially in this town.