Wednesday, August 31, 2005


My heart goes out to all the people impacted by the horrible devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi. There really isn't much I can say. I can look at the alterations to plans for New Orleans Saints and Tulane football or the destruction of local landmarks or listen to the sadness of individual stories. But really, I don't think I can comprehend the amount of devastation that area has just been hit with. I have always loved visiting New Orleans. Looking at pictures of the damage to the SuperDome and Lake Ponchartrain Causeway and Bourbon Street just reminds me of how much things will change there now. Should the city be rebuilt like it was? Should many people pick up and move elsewhere? I don't really know. I don't think anybody knows.

Whatever. I could ramble on and on about this. But here's a link to the Red Cross website where you can donate to the relief effort.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Offensive indicators of victory

Over the past 3 seasons, Michigan has compiled a 29-9 record. This has included some great wins and some heart breaking losses. I thought it would be interesting to look at the performance of the offense in wins and losses as judged by yards/pass attempt and yards/rush attempt as measures of efficiency. I could have looked at yards rushing and yards passing, but those get heavily influenced by the number of attempts. I thought yards/attempt was a better measure of the effectiveness of the offense in each area.

In the 29 victories, Michigan has had a mean of 7.3 yards/pass and 4.3 yards/rush. Pretty good numbers and what you'd expect in victories. In the 9 losses, Michigan has had a mean of 5.4 yds/pass and 2.0 yds/rush. So while a lot of losses get pinned on the defense, it's blatantly obvious that Michigan's offense has tended to not hold up their end of the bargain in losses.

Furthermore, I wanted to look at some ranges of numbers and what they predicted for wins or losses:

In games where Michigan averaged 7.0 yards/pass or more, they compiled a record of 18-1 with the sole loss coming at Iowa in 2003.

In games where Michigan averaged 4.0 yards/rush or more, they compiled a record of 16-1 with the sole loss coming in the Rose Bowl to Texas.

In games where Michigan averaged 6.0 yards/pass or less, they compiled a record of 7-5.

In games where Michigan averaged 3.0 yards/rush or less, they compiled a record of 7-6.

Now 1 yard per pass or 1 yard per rush might not seem like a lot, but it has had a huge impact on the record of the team. I would guess that this has to do with how effective the offense is at getting first downs and sustaining drives and resting the D. No way to really prove it, but I thought the numbers were interesting. I chose 3 years simply to get enough losses to perhaps approach some sort of credibility for the numbers. 9 is still a pretty small sample size and it'd be interesting to see if it held up over 5 or 10 years. It'd also be interesting to see how the average gain allowed by the D on rushes and passes correlated with wins and losses.

Perhaps I'll get to them someday, but for now I'll be pretty damn happy if the offense hits 7 yds/pass and 4 yds/rush. Michigan has only hit both those numbers in the same game 9 times in the past 3 years, but they are 9-0 when they do.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Detroit Tigers: I'm the GM

Let's say I land the job of GM of the Tigers next week. Here's how the offseason would play out for me by position.

Coaching staff: all depends on the players. If they like and respect Tram and co., then they stay. If not I'll go get somebody else. MLB coaches are almost all the same anyways, so in terms of gameday strategy it really doesn't matter. I just want a coach the players respect.

Starting pitching:
IN - Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander
OUT - Jason Johnson
WHO ELSE? - Robertson and Maroth will likely be back and my goal is to add a legit RHP this offseason. Not necessarily a #1 guy, but at least a solid #2. Johnson is just fades after the All Star break every year and isn't worth the money he'll get.

IN - Jamie Walker, Fernando Rodney, Chris Spurling, Franklyn German
OUT - Troy Percival (as in I doubt he pitches again)
WHO ELSE? - I'd like to add at least 1 solid reliever, though not necessarily closer. I'm OK with Fernando Rodney as the closer. He's a K machine when he's on and has the mentality needed to brush off any bad outings. Plus he'll be 2 years out from surgery and should continue to improve once he can use his slider more frequently.

IN - Pudge Rodriguez, Chris Shelton, Placido Polanco, Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge
OUT - Vance Wilson
WHO ELSE? - Omar Infante and Carlos Pena are both possibilities for the lineup next year. If we can add a legit 3B, then Inge can become a utility player extraordinaire and help out in CF. Gotta snag a better backup C than Wilson. Pena could stay as 1B and slot Shelton at DH if Dmitri Young can play leftfield. Pena's on a short rope, though, and I doubt he ends up in Detroit next year.

IN - Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson, Nook Logan
OUT - Rondell White
WHO ELSE? - Dmitri Young is somebody I'd like to stick in LF unless we can find a willing partner to take his contract. Craig Monroe is a nice 4th outfielder but if he wants the $$$ of a good starting OF I'm not paying. I'd like him as a backup in LF and CF. I'd also really like to add a big LH bat in LF or first base, but not sure where I'm going to find that. Logan probably has a spot locked up as a defensive specialist/pinch runner.

In summary of what I'd like to add to the Tigers this offseason:
1) a solid #2 or #3 starting RHP. #1 would be nice, but not absolutely necessary
2) a solid arm in the bullpen like the Farnsworth acquisition last year, but it'd be nice if it is somebody that wants to play in Detroit
3) a lefty bat at 1B or LF
4) a good 3B would be nice to free up Inge, but that'd be a luxury

Verlander and Zumaya aren't far off from being good big league starters. Adding a few key parts could set this team up to make some noise in 2-3 years.

Friday, August 26, 2005

My favorite things about Michigan Football

In no particular order....

  • Beautiful autumn days with clear skies, 55 degree temps, and leaves turning spectacular colors all around
  • Being part of the sheer mass of humanity that descends on Stadium and Main starting at the wee hours of the morning
  • The moment when you first walk through the gate to your section and see the majestic field and stadium open up before your eyes
  • The band marching over from Revelli Hall
  • The helmets
  • The fight song
  • When the players come out for their pre-game warmups and you can just see the energy waiting to burst out as they prepare to annihilate their opponents
  • "Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the 235 member Michigan Marching Band: Band, take the field"
  • Feeling the anticipation and excitement when the players gather in the tunnel and the explosion of energy when they come flying out under the M Club banner
  • The smell of all sorts of tailgate foods being grilled up
  • The crack of that first beer can in the early morning to help warm you up
  • Waking up at 6:30 in the morning even though it's a road game and trying to figure out how to kill time before the game starts because you're too wide awake to go back to sleep
I'll probably think of some more as the season draws closer, but damn it's almost that time of year again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Some lingering concerns as Michigan football draws near

1) Will the Northern Illinois game end up being way too close ala 2002 Utah and 2004 San Diego State? They were both teams from a 2nd tier conference (much like the MAC), both had a bit of talent but not top 25 talent (like Northern Illinois), and both games ended up decided by a field goal. Or will the NIU game end up much more like 2004 MAC opponent Miami who got hammered 43-10?

Right now, I'm not so sure. On paper, this should be a comfortable 3 TD victory. But as the season gets closer I worry that this turns into a big sigh of relief as Michigan escapes with a victory despite playing poorly while looking ahead to the Notre Dame game.

2) Will Michigan' s defense ever be able to tackle a mobile quarterback? I'm way too gun shy to have much confidence right now. Rationally, I fully expect things to improve. But when it comes to Michigan football I am not always rational. I need to see some dominating D before I start feeling reassured.

3) Michigan's secondary still has a ton to prove. Leon Hall is a stud corner. That's about the only thing anybody will be able to count on this year in the D-backfield. 2 new starters and Ryan Mundy really has to prove himself. I love the speed and talent, but they better translate that talent into some results. A great pass rush will help, but they still have to avoid major lapses in coverage (see Ernest Shazor vs Ohio State).

4) That Iowa game is going to be tough. Iowa has really played Michigan tough the past few years (haven't they always?) and they have a heck of a home winning streak going right now. I'm cautiously optimistic that our offense will be able to score at will against their D, but I'm scared that we won't go balls to the wall in our playcalling on the road. And Drew Tate can move around the pocket pretty well and we've all seen what the Michigan D is capable of against a moving target.

I'm sure calmer thinking will prevail as gametime approaches, but it's that dead period right now where summer has been dragging on forever and football can't get here fast enough. It's too easy to worry when the last image I have in my head is of our D getting humiliated by Troy Smith and Vince Young.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mark Cuban tells it like it is

It' s nice to hear the opinion of a guy that has made some tough decisions in the NBA. Here he explains what it was like to let Michael Finley go and how it got to that point. I'm definitely not a Mavs fan but I like the way he runs his team.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The dog days of summer

Damn August is a long month. Seems like football season cannot get here quick enough. Seems like Charlie Weis is running his mouth again..

“I think it’s significantly easier because the intricacies of the system,” Weis said about making the jump from the pros to college versus going college to pro. “Pittsburgh doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what they’re going to do. Michigan, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon. Michigan State will have played two games by the time we’ve played them. Washington three games. Purdue has a bye in there so they also will have played three games. I’ve looked at the schedule.”

I can't wait til big Charlie finds out the difference between college and NFL football. He should have fun the first time he realizes he can only install 1/4 of the game plan he had time to in the NFL and that the players trying to execute it will be 20 year old kids instead of 30 year old men.

And for the record, here is what Charlie said on August 8th at media day:

" I'm not really big on putting fodder on other people's boards to sit there and disrespect any team we are playing against for the same reason. I'm not giving any psychological edge to anyone we're playing by me saying, hey, we're going to go whip their butt."

Take your own advice and keep quiet.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Balance of Power in College Football

Heismanpundit asks a seemingly interesting question, "The question is, when will the MSM see the bigger picture, which is how these new trends are going to affect the balance of power in college football?" in regards to the change in offensive styles across the CFB landscape.

Personally, I'm not so sure that these new trends will affect the balance of power in college football. A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick. The best offense is still a balance of rushing and passing no matter how you go about doing it. Steve Spurrier didn't exactly revoluntize college football 10 or 15 years ago when he first got his Fun N Gun rolling in Gainesville. Sure he won a lot of games, but that has a lot more to do with the talent that was in Gainesville than anything special with his offense. He racked up a grand total of zero undefeated seasons in his tenure, though he did pick up a nice national title with a 1 loss season (which is something Auburn fans are probably wondering about right now).

There are a lot of offensive philosophies around the country right now. There is the pro-style balanced offense favored by teams like USC, Miami, Michigan, and Georgia (amongst a bunch of others). There is the spread offense that still maintains a balance with the rush favored by Oklahoma. Teams like Northwestern and now Florida run a hybrid spread offense that moves the QB around a lot. There is still the old fashioned rush based attacks of Ohio State and Wisconsin. The spread passing attack is still seen with Purdue and Hawaii and now South Carolina with Spurrier in town. In other words, if you can think of an offense there is probably a college football team running something similar to it.

But this isn't something new. All these offenses have been in play for 10 or 20 years if not more. Has the balance of power in college football changed 1 bit? Not really. The biggest change of power in college football is still the 85 scholarship limit. Let's look at the last decade of national champions:

2004 - USC (3)
2003 - USC (3), LSU (10)
2002 - Ohio State (6)
2001 - Miami (14)
2000 - Oklahoma (5)
1999 - Florida State (26)
1998 - Tennessee (9)
1997 - Michigan (4), Nebraska (7)
1996 - Florida (24)
1995 - Nebraska (7)

The numbers in parentheses are each program's all-time ranking according to CollegeFootballDataWareHouse. Not exactly a lot of parity if you ask me. The only 3 teams outside the top 10 in the history of college football are the 3 big Florida schools who have obviously all made huge strides in the last 30 years to join the upper echelon of programs.

And let's look at the maybe 10 or 15 programs that are in the best shape to win national titles in the next 5 years (by conference):

ACC - Florida State, Miami
Big East - pardon me while I stop laughing at myself for including the BE as a football conference
Big Ten - Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State
Big Twelve - Oklahoma, Texas
Pac Ten - USC
SEC - Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee

Sure you could include some others like Virginia Tech, or big names hopefully on the rise like Notre Dame, Alabama, and Penn State. But in reality, it's the same cast of characters as it was 10 or 20 years ago. Is it going to change any time soon? No.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Steve Spurrier (We Always Knew)

College football fans: you always knew it was true, even when he was a Gator.

Order your t-shirts here

Disturbingly funny

This linked thread is about Gold Bond and a somewhat novel use for it. I stole the link from the Penn State BWI board, but they don't deserve a link from me. I was practically rolling on the floor I was laughing so hard reading this thread. Some of my favorite excerpts about Gold Bond:

--white magic
--like Winona Ryder licking me after sipping a cool glass of water
--1,000 little gnomes with icey hands massaging your boys

Man, those Subaru Impreza owners. The stuff they come up with. Come to think of it, it is pretty humid down here...

DeShawn Sims says Go Blue

Looks like DeShawn Sims, Rivals #39 overall player in the 2006 basketball rankings, has decided to hop on over from Detroit to Ann Arbor to play his college ball. He was long rumored to have been heading to Michigan, but now it's public. He joins K'len Morris from Grand Blanc as 2006 commitments for the Wolverines with possible additions of Tom Herzog and Tory Jackson in the not too distant future to make a quartet of talented instate kids for Tommy Amaker's next class. With excitement building for a good year on the court, it's nice to see the recruiting back in top form after last year's disappointments from Malik Hairston and Joe Crawford.

For what it's worth, Sims is now Rivals highest rated player in 2006 headed to a Big Ten school not named Ohio State.

Down with the MSM!

Now I'm normally not so gung ho when it comes to hating the mainstream media as is our good friend at MGoBlog. Today, however, a certain member of the MSM who covers a certain pro baseball team wrote an article that got me going. It was an article touching on such subjects as a certain team not having enough speed, having a lineup that seems cooked from a rotisserie league, etc. I'll refrain from naming names for now.

I took the time to write a well thought out and statisitcally supported argument disproving much of what this columnist wrote and sent it along as an email. This columnist was kind enough to respond very promptly, within perhaps 5-10 minutes of my writing it. The response, however, included the following: "here's why i prefer to zero in on what i see instead of using stats spread over the entire season". Thanks. It's nice to know that you don't care if I can prove you wrong, but you trust your eyes. You probably also trust your eyes when looking at these lines to figure out which is longer instead of using a ruler.

The columnist used such phrases as "big hits", "late innings", and other such mumbo jumbo. Now normally I blow such talk off as just the uninformed spouting off with no basis for their opinion other than what they were taught 30 years ago. Well, the earth isn't flat anymore and these members of the MSM should not continue to misinform the public.

Here's what I'd like to see. If you are going to go on and on about things like "hits with runners in scoring position", "clutch hitting", "small ball", etc. then at least have the guts to try to prove your opinion right with some numbers. If I can shoot holes in your argument left and right and you don't care, why should anyone believe anything you write? Consider me a critic. Prove me wrong. I'll happily admit so if I am.

As an aside, here's a brief overview of my opinion on statistics (particularly concerning baseball):
--stats do tell the whole story (or at least most of it), you just have to know which ones to look at
--some stats reflect past performance (BA with RISP, W/L record, record in 1 run games, RBI)
--other stats are much better predictors of future performance (K/BB ratio, OPS, DIPS)
--the key is telling the difference between the two
--don't forget sample size

For example, Derek Jeter. This guy has a monster rep, in no small part due to his good play in the 1998 and 1999 World Series and fantastic play in the 2000 World Series. Does that mean he's a "clutch" player (assuming clutch means he's more likely to have future big performances in big situations)? Not really any more so than does his all around good play during the regular season. He was clutch in 1998 and 1999 and 2000 postseason play but that is what I'd call a stat indicative of past performance and not predictive of future performance. Here are Jeter's career WS batting stats (as noted by BA/OBP/SLG):

1996: 6 games, 20 at bats, .250/.400/.250, 1 RBI, 5 runs scored
1998: 4 games, 17 at bats, .353/.450/.353, 1 RBI, 4 runs scored
1999: 4 games, 17 at bats, .353/.389/.412, 1 RBI, 4 runs scored
2000: 5 games, 22 at bats, .409/.480/.864, 2 RBI, 6 runs scored
2001: 7 games, 27 at bats, .148/.179/.259, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored
2003: 6 games, 26 at bats, .346/.393/.462, 2 RBI, 5 runs scored
career regular season numbers: .315/.385/.463
career world series numbers: .302/.375/.434

Did Jeter suddenly forget how to become clutch in the 2001 World Series? He only had 4 hits in 27 at bats against Arizona. For the record, he was also only 2/17 in the ALCS against Oakland that year. Isn't it amazing that the larger the sample size, the closer his WS numbers are to his regular season numbers? And please don't bring up clutch as being hits with his team trailing by 1 run in the 7th inning or later. When you start narrowing down that far, you start getting to sample sizes you can count on 1 hand during the season. The stats are much harder to dig up, but trust me when I say that they reveal the same thing. Over a large enough sample size, performance in all situations regresses to the mean (as measured by overall regular season performance).

Is it reasonable to assume that Jeter's clutch rep is based on the following?
  • The Yankees are always good, always on TV, and have won a lot in the postseason
  • He's a good player that puts up numbers regular season or postseason
And not on the fact that he has some special ability to get big hits? I think it is a reasonable conclusion. Heck, most of the career Yankees have a rep as clutch players. Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Tino Martinez are all glorified as players that know how to come up with big hits. I call bull. I'll take Barry Bonds (steroids and all) or Albert Pujols at the plate with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in the 7th game of the World Series and the winning run at 2nd base. They might not have the past history of success in that situation, but they do have career numbers that predict success in that situation in the future.

Sorry for the rant, but that darn MSM got me going today.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Packers win over San Diego

Good: Brett Favre. He's slimmed down and fired up and putting the rest of the NFL on notice. He could have a very big season this year.

BJ Sander. He had a fantastic game. For a guy trying to secure the job as punter, he looked like an All Pro out there. 7 punts, 46 yd gross, 41.1 net, and 1 beautiful high hanger downed inside the 5. Also had a smooth hold on Longwell's 53 yd game winning FG in the rain.

Bad: Everything around Aaron Rodgers. He finished 2/6 for 7 yards which isn't very good. But I thought he actually looked pretty good out there. His first 4 passes were picture perfect, but 2 of them hit receivers in that dreaded between the numbers spot where they can't catch them. He evaded the rush nicely on consecutive plays to gain some yards with his feet including about a 6 yard scramble on 3rd and 5 to move the chains. But he also had a helmet headset malfunction, a ton of penalties on his OL, and the most basic/conservative playcalling you will ever see. Now I know this is preseason and they are trying to evaluate lots of positions including both guard spots, but it would have been nice if they would have let him throw more than 1 pass down the field. My quick and dirty scouting report on Rodgers: good footwork, quick release, accurate passer. He definitely passes the look test. I can't be so kind to Philip Rivers, even though he had better numbers. For having an entire season under his belt, Rivers just doesn't look like a good QB.

Ugly: The Packers run D. Yes, they were without Cletidus Hunt and Grady Jackson in the middle. They are a huge part of stopping the run. But San Diego didn't play Tomlinson or Lorenzo Neal and there were huge holes all night long, starting with the 17 yards they gained on the first play from scrimmage.

Packers DBs. Al Harris got toasted on a double move that was fortunately overthrown, otherwise he played well. Everybody else? Well there was a frightening return of the holding/illegal contact/PI calls from last year. I didn't keep track, but there were plenty of flags on the Packers DBs.

The Catholic Packer fan has a similar, but more detailed take on the game.

In other news, iBlog for Cookies has a brilliant retort to the Chris Stassen over/underrated teams list. This is seriously good stuff.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Battle of Big Name Backup NFL QBs

Tonight the Packers take on the San Diego Chargers. We'll probably get to watch Brett Favre and Drew Brees for about a quarter each before the real fun starts. Then 2005 first round pick Aaron Rodgers comes in for Favre. You might remember him as the guy who took a free fall from perhaps the #1 overall pick to #24 a few months ago. And he's not the only high draft pick that is playing backup that we get to watch tonight. Philip Rivers the #4 overall pick from 2004 is still riding pine behind Drew Brees, but he'll get some nice PT tonight as well.

Should be a decent matchup to watch with some big time talent on the field.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The long awaited, much anticipated, Michigan football season prediction

This is my quasi-scientific estimate of Michigan's 2005 regular season won loss record. I try to be as objective as possible and it's worked pretty well in the past. Just a primer on how this works: I'll run through each game and give a % estimate of Michigan's chances of winning that individual game along with some rationale. At the end, I'll add up all the chances of a loss in each game (1-predicted chance of victory) to get an estimate of number of losses on the season. I'll color code the teams by chances of victory (green for >90%, yellow for 70-90%, red for <70%). Here we go:

Northern Illinois (98%): They might have some offensive talent, but they still have no chance in Michigan Stadium. They might even keep it close in the first half if they get a bounce or two, but the OL and DL for Michigan will just blow them off the ball in the 2nd half if it's even close.

Notre Dame (80%): Notre Dame has some talent. Notre Dame has Charlie Weis. But Notre Dame still isn't winning in Ann Arbor. Last time they tried it was 38-0. The talent differential this year is similar. Even if Weis is worth 2 TDs over Willingham, it won't be close in the 4th quarter. I do give ND a slight chance because they have enough offensive talent to score some points if Michigan turns the ball over too many times.

Eastern Michigan (99%): The battle of Washtenaw county will likely end up similar to the previous meeting when Michigan put up over 50 points (if memory serves me correctly).

Wisconsin (75%): Wisconsin loses a ton of talent on both sides of the ball including their entire DL, their 2 all conference DBs, and their star TB. But it's a night game in Madison and Barry Alvarez last chance to beat Lloyd Carr. Normally I wouldn't even sweat this one, but the Alvarez retirement announcement has got me wondering a bit. This could be THE game the Badgers have circled on the calendar this year.

Michigan State (65%): Michigan State might not be a top 25 team, but they did take it to Michigan in Ann Arbor last year before Michigan's historic, Braylon Edwards-powered comeback. And they always play Michigan tough in East Lansing. With payback on their mind, I give the Spartans a chance. But Michigan does have the talent edge and should score a lot of points on the Spartans.

Minnesota (85%): The Gophers have an explosive offense lead by Laurence Maroney, Brian Cupito, and Ernie Wheelright. But they are still weak on D and they haven't beaten Michigan since 1980 something (86?). The game is in Ann Arbor so plan on the Jug staying put for another year.

Penn State (85%): Penn State had a very good defense last year and a historically bad offense. This year the O gets a boost from some young talent, but that isn't enough to make them any better than average. And it'll take more than that for the Nittany Lions to snap a 6 game losing streak to the Wolverines when they come into Michigan Stadium this year. Did I mention they are still handicapped by having Joe Paterno at the helm?

Iowa (55%): The toughest game of the year for the Wolverines (by far). Playing a top 10 team on the road in a tough environment is no picnic. Though I do think Michigan matches up extremely well with the Hawkeyes. Michigan should own the trenches on both sides and has more talent at the skill positions. Still, Drew Tate is a tough SOB and Iowa has a long home winning streak. I think Michigan is the favorite, but this will come down to the wire.

Northwestern (85%): Northwestern is good every now and then, but they likely don't have enough talent to beat Michigan this year. Count on there being plenty of fans in Maize and Blue in Evanston for this matchup.

Indiana (95%): This is about as easy as a conference game can get. Indiana? In Ann Arbor?

Ohio State (70%): The Buckeyes might be a top 5 team when they come into Ann Arbor. But they aren't leaving with a victory. Not after last year. Not after we made their crappy offense look like world beaters. Not after they pulled that stunt before the game with the police search. Now it's not just The Game, it's personal. I hope Sweater Vest brings some police protection with him, because the Buckeyes are going to get violated on November 19th.

So let me pull out my calculator and add this up. That's 2.33 losses predicted on the season. That just seems a bit pessimistic based on my assessment of each game. I could be persuaded to adjust the chances to 75% for MSU and 65% for Iowa which would swing to 2.13 losses. Wisconsin might also be closer to 85%. And does Notre Dame really have a 20% chance of winning in Ann Arbor? Probably not.

Anyway, I can't realistically predict any better than 9-2 on the season. But damn it, I'm optimistic right now. I'm saying 10-1! I'm saying another BCS Bowl with a chance at the Rose Bowl.

edit: I should also point out that you can take the percentage chance of victory in each individual game and multiply them together to get the chances of an 11-0 season. I come up with an 8.49898% chance of seeing Michigan at 11-0 and headed to the Rose Bowl.

The era of the AP Poll

Lots of people like to bash Michigan for only have 1 national title since the inception of the AP poll in 1936. To the ignorant, that might sound like Michigan hasn't been much of a power over that time frame and is living off a long distant reputation.

Chew on this, though. Winning percentage (since 1936) and number of top 5 and top 10 finishes in the AP poll:

Oklahoma: 74.5%, 28, 33
Ohio State: 73.5%, 17, 25
Michigan: 72.6%, 15, 36
Penn State: 72.3%, 13, 21
Tennessee: 71.7%, 13, 23
Notre Dame: 71.5%, 22, 34
Alabama: 71.0%, 18, 31
Texas: 70.0%, 17, 22
Nebraska: 69.1%, 13, 30
Southern Cal: 68.1%, 14, 23

So Michigan has racked up the 3rd best winning percentage, 6th most top 5 finishes in the AP poll, and most top 10 finishes in the AP poll in this so called "modern" era of college football. Not too shabby. And we won't even get into the 1947 "AP national title" given to Notre Dame despite the fact the voters were so impressed by Michigan that they held a special post-bowl vote (for the first time ever) naming Michigan #1.

Hi, I'm a Penn State fan

Here's a look at the dear old Nittany Lions win/loss record during the last 15 years, broken into 5 year blocks:

1990-1994: 49 wins, 12 losses (.803)
1995-1999: 48 wins, 14 losses (.774)
2000-2004: 26 wins, 33 losses (.440)

Now I know what you are saying, that Joe Paterno has lost it and can't coach anymore. But no, that's not true. He's back and working harder than ever. Just disregard the striking downward trend we've had recently.

I'm optimistic this season! We may have only played in and lost one bowl game this century, but we're going all the way this year. JoePa is going to lead us to a national title before he retires. How do I know this? Because we've got recruits! Not just 1 or 2, but like 4 or 5 really good ones. I don't care if other teams have been stockpiling talent every year for a decade, we've now got some talent of our own.

I don't care if our senior quarterback has a career completion percentage below 50% and has never thrown more TDs than INTs in a season. Those are just numbers and they don't really mean anything. I don't care if we wasted a RS season on our star QB recruit last year by barely playing him. He'll be ready to go by his senior season!

I don't care if we've only finished the season ranked in the top 10 once in the past decade, this is the year! Did I mention that we will beat Michigan for the first time since 1996 this year? I don't care if it's in Ann Arbor where Michigan is almost unbeatable. My 8 year old son doesn't know what it is like to taste victory over Michigan. Then again, he isn't very familiar with the taste of victory anyway.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Kevin Whelan tearing it up at W. Michigan

The Tigs 4th round pick got promoted to West Michigan of the Midwest League after a very good start at Oneonta. So far, so good in A ball. He's pitched 4 innings in 4 games and picked up 4 saves. Of the 13 batters he has faced, only 1 has reached base (via a walk) and 9 have struck out. Last night he struck out the side in the 9th for the 2nd consecutive game.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Notre Dame game is getting closer

Here's a list of things Notre Dame fans will either: a) deny having ever said or b) will place qualifiers on; after having been throttled in Ann Arbor once again.

  • Charlie Weis will have a decided "schematic advantage" over the Michigan coaching staff
  • Darius Walker lit us up last year and should have another big game
  • any form of Brady Quinn/Tom Brady comparison
  • the talent difference really isn't that big
I know I should be remembering more, but all the smack just sort of blends together. In short, it will be extremely funny to see the rationalizing after their D gets shredded by Michigan and Charlie's Angels on offense can't muster much against the attacking D of the Wolverines.

The Charlie Weis count down to firing clock is currently at 40 months.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The NCAA and mascots

I see the NCAA is really getting involved with the old Native American mascot controversy now. Their latest move is banning offensive mascots from use in NCAA championship tournaments. Florida State and some other schools are pretty pissed off about this, and there might be a legal challenge filed in the near future. What I don't get is how the NCAA is claiming to decide which Native American mascots are offensive and which aren't. They came up with a list of over a dozen schools with Native American mascots that they did not consider offensive, but a whole bunch more that were offensive.

So what's Illinois going to be known as in the future? The Fighting Farmers from Champaign-Urbana? Not quite the same historic ring as Fighting Illini.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tigs slide

So the Tigers have dropped 7 of 8 games and dealt Farnsworth for a pair of pitching prospects from Atlanta. Hopefully they can turn it on and get back to .500 despite falling out of wildcard contention.

On a side note, the blogging has been light because of a ton of emergencies at work. I'm really getting pumped for football season, though.