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02/15/2019 - 10:59pm And, of course, you could…

And, of course, you could watch 3 B1G/NCHC games today and 3 more tomorrow.  I really think the actual TV coverage has not gone down in either the East or the West.  Remember those CCHA games on FSD were mostly once-a-week telecasts.  This week 67 percent of the Big Ten games are on "national" TV (BTN, NBCSN) and next week it's 83 percent, and the final week of the season it's 75 percent.  Neither the CCHA nor the WCHA ever had TV coverage at that level.

I don't know about fan support; you might be right.  But citing the "sellouts" at Mariucci as proof of a lack of apathy a decade ago might be a bit of a stretch.  And yeah, the niches are shrinking everywhere.  

02/15/2019 - 5:52pm I wonder whether the…

I wonder whether the decreased TV options have anything to do with realignment, though.  It strikes me that I get many fewer Hockey East and ECAC games available to me during hockey season, and neither of those conferences have had a major realignment in the last 35 years.

Fan apathy is certainly up, but does that have to do with a general national trend in all sports except football, or is it unique to College Hockey west of the Ohio/Pennsylvania border?

02/14/2019 - 1:17pm Why the Tuesday game?


Why the Tuesday game?

The initial computer-generated Big Ten schedule had Michigan at Notre Dame on February 15 & 16 (this weekend) and Wisconsin at Notre Dame January 4 & 5.

But then Notre Dame wanted to host an outdoor game.  Not against Wisconsin, either--at least NBCSN wanted it against Michigan.  So they moved one Michigan-ND game to January 5.  Wisconsin had a bye on February 15-16, so they moved the Wisconsin series to that weekend, and Wisconsin scheduled a non-conference series for January 4-5.

That left one Michigan at Notre Dame game to be scheduled, and they made it this Tuesday because ND had a bye last weekend and now Michigan has a bye this weekend, so nobody's playing 5 games in 9 days.

TLDR?  It's because of that outdoor game.

02/14/2019 - 12:29pm Reminder that the top 16 in…

Reminder that the top 16 in pairwise don't make the tournament.  The 6 conference champions make the tournament, plus the top 10 remaining teams in pairwise.  The #16 team, unless I am mistaken, has never made the tournament and often the #15 team doesn't make the tournament either.

The CHN pairwise probability matrix assures us that even if Michigan had beaten Notre Dame they still would need a conference tournament championship to receive an NCAA bid.  These give very different (and much more pessimistic) numbers than College Hockey Ranked, I think because CHN actually starts with a realistic assumption about the probable outcome of each game.


02/12/2019 - 12:22pm Yep--8 games in the LA basin…

Yep--8 games in the LA area over Spring Break!

Fri 3/1:  Cal State Northridge, 2:00
Sat 3/2:  Cal State Northridge, 1:00
Sun 3/3:  Cal State Northridge, 1:00
Tue 3/5:  Long Beach State, 6:00
Wed 3/6:  UC Irvine, 6:00
Fri 3/8:  UCLA, 6:00
Sat 3/9:  USC, 6:00
Sun 3/10:  Oklahoma State (at Dodger Stadium), 10:30 am

02/12/2019 - 10:04am With the entire starting…

With the entire starting rotation returning, plus the starting infield and 2 outfielders, I think there is cause to be optimistic.  Michigan had a very quick, very exciting infield defense last season that I think made their pitching look better than it was.

Michigan has an interesting schedule.  Michigan hosts their 2 biggest competitors for the Big Ten title--Minnesota (on April 5-6-7) and Indiana (May 10-11-12).  These will both be huge series for them.  Michigan's other 2 home Big Ten series will be against the 2 worst teams in the league--Northwestern (April 19-20-21) and Rutgers (April 26-27-28).  There's also a Big Ten home game against MSU on March 30 and a non-conference game against them on May 7.

Michigan will have a very difficult Pacific coast swing during spring break--3 against CS Northridge, plus 1 each against Long Beach, Irvine, UCLA, USC, concluding with a neutral site game against Oklahoma State at Dodger Stadium.  Add to that a 3-game series at Texas Tech and 1 more at Kentucky, and you have a typical challenging road schedule.

Michigan has a very odd 2-game home series against San Jose State on March 26 & 27; hopefully the weather is warm enough to bring fans out to the stadium but not so warm that SJSU feels comfortable.

02/09/2019 - 9:46pm 1. Ohio State, 38 points, 7…

1. Ohio State, 38 points, 7 games remaining
2. Michigan, 30 points, 5 games
3. Minnesota, 27 points, 4 games
4. Penn State, 26 points, 6 games
5. Notre Dame, 25 points, 7 games
6. Michigan State, 24 points, 4 games
7, Wisconsin, 22 points, 7 games

Ohio State with the 3-0 lead over Wisconsin after 2.  Michigan in a good position right now, but with a difficult schedule.  Remaining games:  1 at Notre Dame, 2 at home against OSU, 2 at Wisconsin.  With the conference tournament at home sites, a second place finish would be very nice.

02/09/2019 - 7:06pm So Luke Martin is out today…

So Luke Martin is out today after yesterday's injury; hopefully he's back in a couple of weeks.

This means Blankenburg moves back to "D" and Randl enters the lineup as the 13th forward.

02/09/2019 - 7:00pm Big Ten Standings, going in…

Big Ten Standings, going in to today's games:

1. Ohio State, 38 points, 7 games remaining
2t. Michigan, 27 points, 6 games
2t. Minnesota, 27 points, 5 games
4. Notre Dame, 25 points, 7 games
5. Michigan State, 24 points, 5 games
6. Penn State, 23 points, 7 games
7, Wisconsin, 22 points, 7 games

A second place finish gets you a home game for the semifinals, if you get past the first round series.  With only 5 points separating second and last, every game is very important.

02/08/2019 - 2:19pm The good:  Storako's…

The good:  Storako's performance.  9 batters faced, 9 outs, 6 by strikeout.  All with a 1-run lead.

The bad:  Michigan at the plate.  Only 4 base hits, all singles.  Left the bases loaded in 3 of their 6 innings.  Needed 5 HBP, 2 walks and an error to get anything going--would probably have only scored 1 run without those 5 batters getting plunked.

The scary:  Beaubien's second time through the order.  The defense bailed her out; that 4th inning could have been a disaster--she was hit hard that inning.

02/08/2019 - 12:42pm Also the only Michigan…

Also the only Michigan basketball player with an Olympic gold medal (1976, between his Freshman and Sophomore years--the only Freshman selected for the team).

02/08/2019 - 9:43am Right.  The only possible…

Right.  The only possible ways to handle turnovers (a) a team getting a turnover wins instantly, just as though they had scored or (b) a team getting a turnover gets a 50-yard walkoff as well. 

So, for example:  Team A play from the 50, and Team B intercepts on its own 10-yard-line.  Team B gets the 50 yard turnover bonus, and for the next play puts the ball in play at the Team A 40-yard-line.  An interception in the endzone gets a touchback plus another 50, I guess.

It's still a weird way to end a game.  Every spot after every play has a margin of error between 2 inches and 2 feet, depending on the play.  Imagine if a big game came down to where the referee spotted the b...wait.  Never mind.

02/07/2019 - 4:21pm Good point.  You can have…

Good point.  You can have literal game-ending penalties under this format, where a trailing team gets a win solely because of a penalty taking the ball across the 50.  The good thing about regular overtimes is that there's no such thing as a penalty that awards a touchdown or field goal.

(NOTE:  Yes, nitpickers, I'm aware that there are penalties where a touchdown can be awarded.  They are very rare.)


02/07/2019 - 4:04pm Oh, hmm.  You would have to…

Oh, hmm.  You would have to assume that a defensive (live ball) penalty also gives an extra play to the offense.  In other words, you get the 15-yard penalty for DPI and then you also get another play.  I don't see any other way to do it.


02/07/2019 - 3:42pm Only complaint about…

Only complaint about California Tiebreaker is that it would favor the high-variance offense.  Passing team over the running team.

My only question...what happens on an interception or fumble?

01/31/2019 - 1:42pm The only other postponement…

The only other postponement due to weather at Crisler Arena that I can recall is a men's basketball game against Purdue that was postponed from Thursday, January 26, 1978, to Monday, January 30, 1978, due to snow.


01/30/2019 - 3:59pm I don't know.  This touches…

I don't know.  This touches on actual federal crimes (under the Clery Act) committed by Michigan State University as an institution.

The Clery Act requires that Universities inform their students of all crimes committed on or near campus, and violations can lead to loss of access to federal financial aid programs (although this penalty has never yet been imposed).  The 2 largest fines under the act were to Penn State University (obvs) and Eastern Michigan University, for their repeated public denial that a murder that took place in one of their dorms was in fact a murder.

01/29/2019 - 9:21am Yep--we were #3 at the…

Yep--we were #3 at the beginning of the week, and #1 and #2 lost midweek games, so Michigan was "playing for" #1.  Because it was Selection Sunday, this was pretty much the only game going on at the time other than a couple of conference tournament championships.

You know what?  You're right--Michigan mounted a big comeback.  I don't recall now what game I was thinking of with the "big lead; opponent comeback falls just short" scenario.  

Funny; in the end, I guess all I really remember (I was there too) is (a) Rickey Green--my favorite M player of all time--being hurt, (b) having the tournament pairings announced during the game by the PA guy, and (c) the energy of the crowd.

01/28/2019 - 3:02pm Good one.  

Bill Bradley…

Good one.  

Bill Bradley scored 41 for Princeton, and he fouled out with 4:37 to go and Princeton with a 76-63 lead.  Michigan outscored Princeton 17-2 the rest of the way, and Cazzie Russell hit a jumper with 3 seconds left for the 80-78 win.

01/28/2019 - 2:45pm Sunday, March 6, 1977 …

Sunday, March 6, 1977 (selection Sunday):  Michigan 69, Marquette 68.  This was essentially a #1 vs #2 matchup in Crisler the day after the Big Ten season finished and a few days before the NCAA tournament started.  They actually released the brackets during the game (the PA announcer went over them at halftime), but it was still a battle for the #1 ranking heading in to the tournament.

Even though Rickey Green was injured and only played a couple of minutes, Michigan got a good early lead and held off a strong comeback by Marquette.  Phil Hubbard scored 19 points with 8 rebounds before fouling out.

A loud, enthusiastic crowd probably only equaled by the Michigan-Indiana games of the 1970s.

01/14/2019 - 10:49am Nobody knew that Michigan…

In Sam's defense, nobody knew that Michigan had hired Faehn at the time.  It wasn't spotted until Friday's meet in Tuscaloosa, where a local Alabama reporter noticed her on the floor and made a comment about it to a Michigan Daily reporter.

This is the central part of the issue here--Faehn was hired but the hiring was never officially announced until after the Michigan Daily mentioned it on Friday night.  Michigan put out a hasty press release on Saturday morning, listed her as an "Assistant Coach" on the official website, and then announced her firing as a "consultant" on Sunday.


01/10/2019 - 10:41am Wait, what?

He was asking …

Wait, what?

He was asking "fair market value" of football (and basketball) players.  "Fair market value" of field hockey players would be calculated differently.  Also, football is the only sport with 85 scholarships, so even spreading them evenly would result in a different number.

Or perhaps I don't understand the point being made here.  If that's the case, I apologize.

01/09/2019 - 12:11pm I'm pretty sure it has…

I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the Notre Dame outdoor game.

The Big Ten has a 2-part schedule.  Part 1, from November 2 to January 12, everybody plays everybody else 2 times.  Part 2, from January 18 to March 2, everybody plays everybody else 2 more times.

But something doesn't fit that pattern--the January 5 game against Notre Dame.  It appears we had a 2-game series scheduled at Notre Dame for February 15 & 16 on the original schedule, and a single game against Merrimack on January 5.  When ND wanted to do that awful outdoor hockey thing, we were asked to re-schedule Merrimack.

At least, I think that's what happened.  It fits with what we know.

01/09/2019 - 11:22am Not a plan; just a straight…

Not a plan; just a straight answer to "what is market value for a football player at Michigan?"

I agree--actually paying $55MM as player salaries in football alone would destroy college sports.  But $55MM as player salaries would be just about market value, which was the question.  Instead Michigan is paying about $8.5MM (~$100K scholarship, 85 players).  


01/09/2019 - 11:03am Pretty easy to ballpark.


Pretty easy to ballpark.

(a) How much does the school bring in?

(b) Given that both NBA and NFL salaries are about 45-55 percent of the team's revenue, let's assume that's fair market value.

So, here are your answers.

(a) Michigan football brings in about $110MM a year.

(b) So $55MM for player salaries, or assuming 110 players on the team, including walk-ons, average salary per player of about $500K.  Given the disparity between best-paid and worst-paid players on an NFL team, let's say the non-playing walk-ons get $0, just like now, the non-starter scholarship players get $100K or more, just like now, average starters get about $500K, and a handful of 5-star types get maybe $5 million a year.

That seems to be pretty close to fair market value, and it passes the smell test IMO.

01/09/2019 - 10:29am I think this would be an…

I think this would be an interesting discussion.

Of course yes, he pioneered a lot of the ways that we market sports today.  On the other hand, he often fought hard against television (he refused to move the starting time of the 1983 Ohio State game, for example) and would have been very opposed to the idea of every single game being on television.  He would have certainly opposed the lengthening of every single game by 50 minutes just so the networks could show commercials. 

In my opinion, he would be one of the people identifying that there is an attendance bubble right now, and he would be on the side of reducing the presence of television and the price of tickets in order to get people in the seats.  He would have been opposed to the modern practice of taking the annual surplus and building unnecessary facilities with it instead of giving it to the University (which he started doing once the AD started making money).  And yes, I think you are right that he would have continued resisting the influence of corporations in college sports.

01/09/2019 - 9:58am The P5 did start their own…

The P5 did start their own governing body.  It's called "The NCAA."

Really.  Yes, other schools have votes, but I doubt that you can tell me about one single NCAA rule that was passed over the opposition of a majority of the P5.  If the P5 wanted the NCAA to make any kind of change, the NCAA would instantly make that change.

So anything you see in the NCAA that you don't like, it's there because a majority of P5 schools like things the way they are.

01/04/2019 - 10:54am NCAA rule.  Really in just…

NCAA rule.  Really in just about every men's sport other than football, basketball, and hockey, and most women's sports too, even the best athletes are on partial scholarships. 

As an example, baseball only has 11.7 scholarships for about 35 players.  Obviously 10 or so are walkons, but it still means that there probably isn't a single NCAA baseball player at any school on full scholarship...other than the multi-sport athletes who play football too.  

01/04/2019 - 10:26am This isn't exactly my area…

This isn't exactly my area of expertise, but I do notice that just about every single wrestler on the roster who isn't a superstar ends up being redshirted.  Hardly anybody on the roster is on full scholarship, though--there are only 9.9 scholarships to split up among the team--so being redshirted does involve some extra expense for the athlete.

Given that a wrestler is only capable of wrestling in 1 or 2 weight classes, and a team needs exactly 1 wrestler per weight class, roster management can get pretty complicated for a coach.  So even for those superstar wrestlers, you sometimes see mid-career redshirts for roster management purposes, or because of injury.   Also, teams sometimes identify a single season in the future where they will be able to make a big push for a championship, and use redshirts to get as many top athletes available for the big season as possible.  

The transfer situation is different than it is in the major sports, because minor sport athletes are allowed to transfer at any time without having to sit out a season.  But yes, you hardly ever see transfers in the minor sports.  The only sport where transfers seem to get a little out of hand is baseball.

01/03/2019 - 10:04am Semifinals Friday:

Russia v…

Game times announced for the Friday Semifinals:

Russia v USA, 1:00 PST/4:00 EST

Finland v Switzerland, 5:00 PST/8:00 EST

The championship game is Saturday at 8:00 EST, so it will be going on at the same time as the M v ND outdoor hockey game.

01/02/2019 - 11:02am The game's on Monday night…

The game is on Monday night because the NFL First Round games would destroy the ratings of the CFP Championship game.  NFL has 2 games each on Saturday & Sunday. 

The only options for the CFP are Friday night, Saturday noon and Monday night.  They picked Monday because a lot more people watch TV on Monday than on Friday, and noon EST isn't exactly West Coast friendly.


01/02/2019 - 10:45am Pace of play.  Ticket prices…

Pace of play.  Ticket prices.  HD Television.

We are losing a generation.  We can already see it in the half-full student sections in otherwise-full stadiums across the country, and it's going to come into clearer focus in a decade or two.  There's no incentive for the next generation to actually become football fans.  The stadiums are going to empty out over the next half century unless something changes.

12/20/2018 - 1:51pm Well, they did need 6 majors…

Well, they did need 6 majors and the Peach Bowl had a lot going for it as the sixth major. 

It is a very old bowl game and had been quite stable in terms of sponsorships as well.  Also, it was in a major city--arguably the most important warm-weather city (other than maybe Houston) without a NY6 bowl, and Houston just doesn't have any kind of quality bowl history that matches what Atlanta & the Peach Bowl have.

I think only the Gator Bowl would have had the history to challenge the Peach Bowl, and let's just say that Jacksonville isn't Atlanta and leave it at that.

12/20/2018 - 1:35pm The original plan was for 3…

The original plan was for 3 NY6 games on December 31 and 3 on January 1.  The Rose & Sugar must always be on January 1 and the semifinals must be on the same day as each other.

After the second season, everybody realized that having the semifinals on 12/31 was a bad idea--New Years Eve is a workday for a lot of people.  So they moved the 12/31 games to the Saturday before New Years Day (12/29 this year).

Rose & Sugar were locked into 1/1, Orange & Cotton were locked together & moved from 12/31 to 12/29.  For whatever reason--some kind of rotation, I think--the Fiesta gets the early 1/1 slot and the Peach gets the early 12/29 slot.

12/20/2018 - 1:25pm That Fiesta Bowl thing is…

That Fiesta Bowl thing is why Michigan was locked into the Peach Bowl.  Last year the G5 team went to the Peach.  Next year the G5 team is locked into the Cotton.  So this year was the Fiesta Bowl's turn to take the $$$ hit and host the G5 team.

The G5 is going to end up being a huge problem for FBS when it comes time to create a new postseason system.  There is no way I can see for the G5 to bring any value to any postseason, because people don't watch them on TV, and people don't want to pay to see them.  All of these proposed formats with G5 teams getting autobids are going to have to deal with the hard facts, including pushback from the bowls and the TV networks.


12/20/2018 - 1:10pm Indeed:  where do you assign…

Indeed:  where do you assign the values.  When we let the free market assign the values (the NFL, for example), we get something that gives us a pretty good idea what the values actually are, correct?

If you assume that a scholarship counts as compensation, Jim Harbaugh probably makes 7 times what his entire starting offense makes.

If you look at the NFL, John Harbaugh probably makes 1/7 as much as his entire starting offense.

Yes, coaches are more important at lower levels than at higher levels (because more instruction is necessary), but is a college coach really 50 times as valuable compared to his players than an NFL coach?

I think you find that about 50 percent of an NFL team's revenue goes to player compensation--48.5 percent to be exact.  Now Michigan football makes $50 million a year just from the TV contract, plus another $60 million or so from ticket sales and branding and donations.  If we take the "50 percent" model of the NFL, that's $55 million to player salaries, or half a million per player on the roster, not that they would divide it evenly.

12/20/2018 - 11:55am Not only can it be both, it …

Not only can it be both, it *must* be both.

The NCAA declares that the players are amateurs--they are playing for the love of the game and the educational and health value of athletic competition only.  That's the only benefit they receive, per the NCAA (the scholarship is not compensation, they say, and that athletic scholarships are *not* a 2-way agreement in any sense of the phrase).

So if the players are playing for the love of the game and the educational value only, that means that they do have all the cards--they get to decide when they no longer get any benefit out of the competition.

12/20/2018 - 11:50am The players are not being…

The players are not being compensated, the NCAA bylaws state this quite specifically.  Any scholarships given to the players are not given in compensation for services rendered.


12/20/2018 - 11:03am Well, if you don't send…

Well, if you don't send their last check until after the bowl game (and include bowl participation in the contract somehow), then I think you would get much better participation rates than you are getting now.

Also, why don't the Lions have bagmen?  Okay, sure, but why don't the Patriots have bagmen?

12/20/2018 - 10:56am "The NCAA" (assuming from…

"The NCAA" (assuming from context that you mean the organization) makes almost $0 from bowl games.  They get some licensing fees but compared to the basketball tournament the money rounds to 0.  It certainly isn't $1 billion, and it certainly isn't $100 million, and it isn't even $10 million.

There just isn't that much money in the non-playoff bowl system, with the possible exception of the Rose Bowl.  It really seems to be some kind of weird Nash equilibrium perpetuating the system.

12/19/2018 - 11:45am Ah, okay.  I guess we were…

Ah, okay.  I guess we were kind of talking past each other then.  I was very focused on the true meaning of Seth's word "exhibition" and refuting that obviously incorrect statement.

I doubt you will ever see a Michigan season where fans think of the Ohio State game as less important than any Bowl game, unless the bowl game is part of the championship tournament structure.

12/19/2018 - 11:09am I am quite serious.  I'm…

I am quite serious.  I'm aware of the statistical position of the NCAA, and the history of the AP and UPI polls with regard to whether there was polling after the season or not.

I was contradicting the "bowls began as exhibitions" statement, which was false on its face (and I presented evidence that the first bowl was not considered an exhibition at the time).  All teams considered bowl results as part of their record, from the beginning. 

The NCAA had its quirks, and didn't even begin compiling statistics until 1938, so I will ignore their position on bowls because the existence of bowls pre-dates the existence of NCAA statistics by decades.

I will use a similar argument for the AP & UPI polls.  Since the AP actually did conduct polls after the 1947 and the 1965 seasons, they clearly considered the bowls to be official even though they did not conduct a poll after the bowls.  As a matter of fact, the Associated Press after the 1947 bowls gave Michigan's record as 10-0-0, not 9-0-0.  Even the AP considered the bowls official games back then even though they did not generally conduct a post-season poll. 

To leave actual history and delve into opinion, I agree with your implication that this bowl game is only the 6th most important game of the year.  You ranked this game exactly where I would have.

12/19/2018 - 10:51am You assert that "bowls began…

You assert that "bowls began as exhibitions."  As they say on Wikipedia, [citation needed].

The first bowl--the beginning--was the 1902 Rose Bowl.  Look at the season reviews in the Ann Arbor and Detroit newspapers from January 1902.  They said that Michigan was 11-0-0 on the season, not 10-0-0.  They said that Michigan outscored its opponents 550-0, not 501-0.

Nobody considered the 1902 Rose Bowl an exhibition at the time, and nobody considers it an exhibition today.

Here's the article from the January 2, 1902,  New York Times.  No hint of this being anything other than a completely official football game:


12/18/2018 - 2:11pm This is quite a posting…

This is quite a posting history here.  You might want to consider an appropriate action for somebody impersonating a former Michigan athlete, if nothing else.

12/18/2018 - 2:04pm Yeah, you're right.


Yeah, you're right.

He really did seem like the sort who could take constructive criticism, though.

12/18/2018 - 1:56pm What portion of the…

What portion of the scholarship?  Classes end before the bowl game. 

Is Higdon going to be attending classes in January?  If so, then maybe you could argue that he should have his Spring 2019 scholarship yanked.  If not, then Higdon played right through the last game of the semester.

12/18/2018 - 1:55pm At the risk of unleashing…

At the risk of unleashing something even more tedious than this, I suggest that you might want to consider developing a new act.

12/18/2018 - 11:53am Pushed out??

Come on, that…

Pushed out??

Come on, that's not even remotely true.  He was out the door the year prior except "we" begged him to stay for one more year.

12/18/2018 - 11:46am Perhaps to follow in the…

Perhaps to follow in the footsteps of several other sports agents who were varsity athletes at Michigan.  Former Michigan baseball superstar Casey Close represented Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard, among others.  Former Michigan basketball player Rob Pelinka represents Kobe Bryant.

I know there are others out there, but those are probably the 2 biggest names.

12/11/2018 - 2:04pm That's something that doesn…

That's something that doesn't get discussed enough:  relegation is objectively awful for everybody except casual fans of a sport.  Americans love relegation in the EPL because it's incredibly fun to watch from a distance.

The real, on-the-ground facts seem to be that relegation is a bad idea when most of a team's revenue comes from a television contract negotiated by the league.  When money came from ticket and merchandise sales, great--the teams with the most support generally ended up at the appropriate level.  Unfortunately, promotion/relegation seems to have created a permanent "lower middle class" of teams that yo-yo between the bottom half of the EPL and the top half of the next division (whatever they call that now).