Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Update on Countdown to Kickoff - day 1 Great Autographs!!!

Back in September I finished my countdown to kick off with a recap of the Michigan - Indiana game from 1979.
Here are the scans of the autographs from the Go Blue Brunch:

Calvin O'Neal 1976
Jim Pace 1957
Pat O'Donney (???)
Barry Dehlin (my cousin - Fullback/linebacker 1963-64,66)

Bob Timberlake 1964
Lowell Perry 1951
Paul Seymour 1972
Marty Huff 1970
Jim Mandich 1969
Ron Johnson 1968
Alvin Wistert 1948-49

Rick Volk 1966
Billy Taylor 1971
Tom Curtis 1969
Pete Elliott 1948
Jim Pace (again)
Rick Leach 1978
Calvin O'Neal (again)
Ron Kramer 1955-56

Ernie Vick 1921
Benny Friedman 1924-25
Rick Leach (again)
Bob Chappuis 1947
Maynard Morrison 1931
Bill Daley 1943
Merv Pregulman 1943
Ed Frutig 1940
Otto Pommerening 1928

Finding the old photo album may have answered the question of where I sat for the game. My parents stuck with the tickets from the Pharmacy School down in Row A of the South Endzone. Horrible seats, until AC splits the defenders and ends up right in front of them. I remembered being in the student section, but I would have thought I was closer to midfield then section 31, which is pretty deep into the corner. Since the two tickets aren't together and the late 70s student section was even less strict on where you sat, who knows if I was even in section 31.

Gator Bowl Prediction based on historical data

M is 164-46-1 in all games I have attended (all data refers to games I have attended, unless otherwise noted)
M is 28-12 in games away from Michigan Stadium
M is 6-4 in bowl games
M is 31-6 in games where M's starting QB is #16
M is 5-0 against teams from the SEC
M is 48-26 against ranked schools
M is 23-13 when unranked
M is 7-4 when unranked facing a ranked opponent
M is 39-14 against "state name" State University schools
M is 2-1 in the final game coached by their current head coach (1-0 when he gets fired)
M is 13-2 when they'll be lead by Jim Harbaugh in their next game

It's simple when you add it all up:

Michigan 28
Mississippi State 27

Friday, December 24, 2010

OSU, NCAA and ugh!

How could you not know that selling a Big Ten Championship ring or a jersey is OK?  Is that something that they have seen others do, so they thought it was normal?  Really?

With the delayed suspension, the NCAA does it again.  I really wish the NCAA wouldn't be so transparent with regards to their existence as a money-grabbing organization.  

For those who are saying the rules that the OSU players broke show that players should be paid, I have to ask one question:  WHY IS IT A RIGHT TO GET A TATOO?!?!?!?!

So, I caught portions of College Football Live on ESPNU (I think) a couple days the past week and they were talking about Maryland possibly hiring Mike Leach.  With all of the discussion about how great a coach he is and how he would be a good fit with the Terps, nothing was mentioned about why he is not coaching Texas Tech anymore.  I'm not saying he did anything wrong, because I have no idea, but how can that not be part of the discussion?  ESPN is as bad as the NCAA.  

I have a lot of ideas of this whole Michigan Man issue regarding RR, but it would be a very long post.  Nobody wants to read that.  But, for those who say Bo wasn't a Michigan Man when he came here, I have two responses:  1) The high standards (on and off the field) may or may not have been part of the culture at M when Bo was hired, but M alums and the uni, as far as what I know, embrace what Bo stood for.  If he wasn't a fit for the culture at the U, then he certainly helped to create the culture as we know as The University of Michigan.  2) RR did not, and has not, embraced the U traditions/culture.  He came in knowing it was a great football job.  But, anyone who cares about M doesn't care that it is a great football job.  We care that it is a great place to be.  This is not an SEC job, where you win and make alums happy.  Winning is only part of it.  Being a good Michigan Man is the other. 

I saw a story on WBKB-TV (channel 11, Alpena) about the MSU-Alabama bowl game and they had three quick soundbites from Alabama players talking about the MSU team.  All three said that MSU is like an SEC team.  It was clear they were doing this as if to say it as a compliment.  I really want the Big Ten to beat the SEC this year . Ugh

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sad Anniversary

Seventy-one years ago today, this AP photo captured the end of University of Chicago's football program.


The program was quite impressive for much of their time in the Big Ten. The programs record up to that point was 261-149-30. The school was 22nd in over all wins at the time they dropped the program. Chicago's 7 conference football titles tie them with MSU (7th this season) and lead Penn State and Indiana.
However they hadn't had a winning season in over a decade. In their final season they finished 2-6, however in their 6 losses they were outscored 306-0.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two other playoff ideas

In addition to the world renowned sarcasMike playoff, I stumbled across these two playoff suggestions.

WhatIfSports has a suggestion very similar to mine. Eleven conference champs plus five at-large teams. They use the BCS rankings instead of the CFRC, so the teams are slightly different. If you look back at their previous years, Michigan has been in the tournament twice, in 2004 and 2006, with their best finish #2 in 2006.

The second example is from an actual 1998 patent application. It's not the easiest read, but it looks like a 12 team playoff with the teams determined by a combination of the media and coaches poll and an objective formula. The top 4 teams get byes. Games are at campus sites at least until the final four. This suggestion also has a secondary 16 team playoff with the next 16 teams. I assume this takes the place of bowl games.

Obviously I prefer the system that includes conference champs over one that selects the entire field subjectively. I wonder how the secondary playoff would do compared to keeping the majority of the bowls in tact, interesting idea.

Friday, December 17, 2010

MGoBlog comment - since I've apparently gotten the banhammer

I was reading this post from MGoBlog commenter SixZero. He is (or considers himself) a graphic artist and is commenting on the new Big Ten log and his distaste for BrianGoBlog's create a better logo contest.

Although he has other, probably true, arguments; to me it boils down to "You aren't _____, so you don't understand and shouldn't really comment on this."

Isn't that what the entire site does? No one is a player or coach yet they write diaries and posts about particular plays and players and why they failed or succeeded. This seems to me to the Mike Taylor argument - that "you've probably never played the game, so you don't know!"

I think the Big Ten's new logo is unimpressive, I think the suggested crest style logo is far superior. I don't think anyone needs to be a graphic artist to know that, anymore than they need to have been in the marching band to know that jiMpossible was the best Gilligan in the history of the MMB!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Big Ten Logo, Divisions and Trophies fiasco

The Big Ten issued its new logos, Football Division names and trophies today.

The public opinion is less than favorable.

Stifled Chirp
Nice division names, there, . Sounds like a strip-mall sports bar in Peoria.

jesus, the logo may be worse than the division names.

Dave Presser
Ironic how the divisions are labeled "Legends" and "Leaders", neither of which apply to the administrators themselves.

Alex Cohen
Legends and Leaders? Come on now. I feel like I'm looking at something out of Summer Camp Color War.

Carolynn Boeh
why the hell is a trophy named after a Univ. of Chicago coach who coached 78 years ago? fail

Ryan Gray
does Mich have to remove the line "leaders and best" from The Victors since they are apparently "Legends" and not "Leaders"?

I haven't heard or read much favorable response to anything announced today.

I understand what they tried to do with the trophy naming - give each school somewhat equal representation. But when M and OSU have won or shared 42 & 35 title respectively (in 115 conference seasons) yet are represented on only 9 of the 36 trophy slots.

Coach of the year - not named for Yost and his 10 titles, Williams or Bierman from Minnesota and their 8 & 7 titles; Illinois Bob Zupke and his 7 titles... but Stagg from Chicago - a school that dropped football in 1939 and Paterno with 3 titles. There are 20 other coaches with 3 or more titles including Gary Moeller, who managed 3 titles in just 5 years (8 total). I get it that he's the all-time leader in victories, but not in the conference. Northwestern has as many conference titles as PSU since they joined the conference in 1993.

Offensive MVP - Otto Graham and Eddie George. Ugh! OK so Graham is fine, I guess, you're looking for another NU representative but Eddie George gets picked over other (IMHO - more deserving) OSU representatives like Hopalong Cassady, Troy Smith or Vic Janowicz. Not to mention players form other schools who aren't on any trophy - Tom Harmon, Bruce Smith or Elroy Hirsch...

The overall by school breakdown has:

Michigan, Wisconsin 4
Illinois, MSU, PSU & Purdue 3 (two of Purdue's 3 are on the same trophy)
Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern 2
Chicago, Nebraska 1

I am totally biased on this, but I think Michigan is under-represented on these lists. I think it is ridiculous that in choosing the stupid Leaders and Legends divisions, they didn't put M in the leaders division...

I think the conference has given too much lee-way to Penn State over the years and they continued in this effort - you could argue the new logo uses their colors! Ted Kwalick on the best TE trophy? His record against Big Ten schools was 0-1. I doubt he could have made that much of an impression in a 42-8 loss to Michigan State...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Big Ten Bowl Matchups (second edition)

Last year, I wrote a post to compare the Big Ten Teams and theirr bowl opponents to see what team should be expected to win, based on various indicators.  It was my attempt to head off the criticism of a bad bowl season for the conference, as I showed that based on the indicators a 2-5 would not be out of the question and 4-3 would be the best possible record.  Well, the conference ended up with 4-3.  Very impressive, really.

Well, this year, I decided to add some categories.  Here is a brief explanation of each:

-Conference Record:  Regular season conference record
-Position Conference Record:  This is the record each team would have if they lost to all teams above them in the standings and beat each team below them.  A tie would be 1/2 win and 1/2 loss.  In conferences with championship games, the winner of the championship game is 1st in the conference, the loser of the championship game is 2nd, and all other teams are listed based on conference record.
-Ranking:  This is the BCS ranking.  If neither team is ranked in the BCS, then it would be AP ranking, then USA Today ranking.  This would include receiving any votes.
-CFRC Ranking:  Self explanatory
-Head-to-Head / Common Opponents:  If the two teams played each other, what was the result?  If they didn't play each other, what was the result for any common opponents?  If the record against common opponents is the same, there are 'points' given based on point differential using this system (1-8 point difference = 1 point; 9-24 = 2 points; 25-48 = 3 points; 49+ = 4 points)
-Vegas Line: Self explanatory

So, here is what I found.

Conf Record           7-1     6-2 
 Position Conf Record9-1  8.5-2.5
 Ranking (BCS)
 Common Opponents

Conf Record         7-1    8-0
 Position Conf Record9-18-0
 Ranking (BCS)5     3
 Common Opponents1-0 (+2)1-0 (+3)

Conf Record           7-1     5-3 
 Position Conf Record9-1  7-4
 Ranking (BCS)16
 Common Opponents1-0 (+1) 1-0 (+2
Conf Record           4-4     6-2 
 Position Conf Record7-38-3
 Ranking (BCS)12
 Common Opponents1-0 (+2)1-0 (+2)
Conf Record          3-54-4
 Position Conf Record3.5-6.55.5-5.5
 Ranking (BCS)x21
 Common Opponents
Conf Record          4-44-4
 Position Conf Record6-4 5.5-5.5
 Common Opponents0-1 (-2)0-1 (-3)
Conf Record         4-4   4-4
 Position Conf Record6-46-5
 Ranking (BCS)xx
 Common Opponents
 Line -1.5
Conf Record         3-53-5
 Position Conf Record3.5-6.5 4-7
 Ranking (BCS)xx
 Common Opponents

Based on conference records, The Big Ten should go 2-3-3
Based on position conference records, The Big Ten should go 4-4
Based on rankings, The Big Ten should go 2-3-3
Based on CFRC rankings, The Big Ten should go 1-7
Based on Head-to-Head/Common Opponent, The Big Ten should go 1-2-5
Based on the line, The Big Ten should go 1-7
The average of the above is 2.75 wins, making a 3-5 record a good one.  

I think the most important category is the position conference records.  This minimizes the effects of a tie on the top of the conference (is MSU's 9-1 equivalent to 9-1 in another conference, for instance?) and accounts for the difference in conference sizes (4th place in a 12 team conference is not the same as 4th place in an 8 team conference, for instance).  In this category, 4-4 will be expected.  And that is certainly something to hope for, but the other categories are all below that, and some of them are probaby actually better predictors of what is going to happen.  And the Big Ten will be criticzed for being bad.  And the criticism appears to be somewhat valid if it doesn't pull out at least 3 wins. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What Meyer's retirement could mean for Michigan

I found this post from the O Zone through a Tweet from Jamie Morris (gutsy little guy). Although part of it talks about OSU recruiting battles with Florida, the middle section points out how Meyer's retirement could affect RR's job situation.

General opinion has Mississippi State's coach Dan Mullen as one of, if not the, leading candidate for the Florida job. O Zone makes the assumption that this uncertainty at MSU could help M win the Gator Bowl and potentially force Brandon to keep RR and "...lose their one shot at the most perfect candidate they're ever going to find in Jim Harbaugh..."

I think there are two possible explanations for Brandon's RR strategy. Either he really hasn't made up his mind or he's definitely getting rid of RR but has some alternative reason for keeping him for now - letting him coach the bowl game, letting his choice coach his bowl game, etc.

The O Zone's theory only affects the first of these options. I do agree that this might be the perfect opportunity to get Harbaugh, but I'm not convinced that beating Mississippi State would be enough to keep RR if Brandon hasn't decided.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pairings for 2010 sarcasMike college football playoff

Conference champs (with CFRC Rank)
Oregon (1)
Auburn (2)
TCU (3)
Boise St (5 - wins 3 way tie-breaker)
Oklahoma (6)
Ohio State (7 - wins 3 way tie breaker)
Va Tech (14)
Central Florida (34)
Connecticut (50)
Miami-Ohio (70)
Florida International (86)

At large teams
Stanford (4)
Arkansas (8)
Wisconsin (9)
Alabama (10)
Missouri (11)

First teams out are LSU, Oklahoma State & Nebraska. I don't have a real problem with any of them being left out.

Have to rotate Va Tech, Wisconsin & Mizzou to avoid conference games as well as non-champs hosting a first round game.

16 FIU @
1 Oregon

8 Arkansas@
12 Va Tech

4 Stanford @
13 UCF

11 Missouri @
5 Boise St

14 UConn @

9 Wisconsin @
6 Oklahoma

10 Alabama @
7 Ohio State

15 Miami (OH) @
2 Auburn

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Congratulations Auburn - new trophy holder

Once again the BCS Championship game will determine the holder of the jiMossible-sarcasMike Trophy. Auburn's victory over South Carolina gives them the trophy heading into bowl season. Auburn has an 18-6-2 record all-time as trophy holder. If Oregon knocks off Auburn in the BCS MNC game, it will be their first time as trophy-holder.

Auburn first won the trophy in the 1938 Orange Bowl, beating Michigan State (were the MSC then or still MAC? Spartans or Aggies?) The Tigers went 1-1-1, losing to Tennessee.

They next took the trophy from Georgia in 1942. They finished the 1942 season the next weekend with a victory, but did not field a team in 1943 due to WWII. Their program resumed in 1944 with 2 victories before losing to Georgia Tech.

Their longest trophy possession began with the 1954 victory over Miami (FL). The Tigers reeled of 8 wins and a tie before losing to Tulane in 1955.

In 1971 a win over Georgia gave the Tigers the trophy for a 2 weeks (1 game) before losing to Alabama.

The Bo Jackson Tigers took the trophy from Florida in 1983 and carried into the next season (including a Sugar Bowl win over Michigan) before losing to Miami (FL) in September of 1984.

There most recent trophy time was in 2007. A victory over defending MNC champ Florida gave them the trophy for 3 weeks until they lost it eventual MNC LSU.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I don't understand the NCAA ruling

From what I've read, the NCAA's decision in the investigation into the Cam Newton incident doesn't make any sense.

Ultimately they ruled that his dad did seek money from (at least) Mississippi State, but that since Cam didn't know about it, he's not punished. Since there is no evidence that Auburn paid any money, they're not punished.

Even the scourge of college athletics, Sonny Vaccaro, admits this makes it free reign for players handlers to go out and ask for money with the pretense that the player doesn't know about it.

I see this as a money grab for the NCAA. A BCS game without Auburn will be less interesting than with them. A Heisman given to a player other than Cam Newton would be viewed as going to a lesser player. I almost hope he did know, ask for, and get money from Auburn in a way we'll find out about in 1-5 years so that all this gets thrown out like the Reggie Bush years.

ND, MI, Oregon and others

7-5 M is currently #43 in the CFRC, while 7-5 Notre Dame is ##25.  And M beat ND!! 

So, I asked myself, is ND's schedule that much more difficult than M's? 

ND has played only 1 team with a losing record (4-8 Purdue in week 1).  That is impressive.  M will surely played a lot more, right?  Not so much.  M played 3 teams with losing records. 

So I'm thinking, "that't normal for the big time schools who pad their non-conference with bad teams and prevent everyone from having losing records, right?"

#1 Oregon has played 7 so far and plays 5-6 Oregon State this week
#2 TCU (not a major conference, but highly ranked) has played 6
#3 Auburn has played 3, plus 3 .500 teams
#4 Stanford (with next year's M coach Jim Harbaugh) has played 7 (3 of those teams could jump up to .500 this weekend)
#5 Ohio State has played 5
#6 Boise St. has played 6 and plays their 7th this week
#7 Oklahoma has played 4
#8 Arkansas has played 4
#9 Wisconsin has played 7
#10 Alabama has played 4

I don't know what it all means, but just by taking WL records, there really is a difference in SOS.  M has played fewer teams with losing records than any of the (CFRC) top 10 teams.  Impressive.

(I hate being impressed by ND, but 1 really is impressive)