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Date Title Body
02/05/2019 - 6:11pm Well, that may be true …

Well, that may be true ... but it doesn't really address my question asked.  

If the arrival of Gattis and McDaniels, with the departure of Hamilton, signals a sea-change in offensive philosophy, then the FB position is probably most in jeopardy.  Some of the more blocky-and-less-catchy TEs might be affected as well.

FWIW, Mason ran the ball 13 times for 80 yards and 7 TDs in 2018.  His blocking may be more impactful, but there are no stats for that.  

02/05/2019 - 5:30pm So what player is most…

So what player is most affected by this and the general reshuffling of the offense? Ben Mason?

01/28/2019 - 4:45pm I'm skeptical of the Instant…

I'm skeptical of the Instant Pot's "slow cooker" setting.  I tried it yesterday, and it seemed to cook at a temp lower than my traditional crock pot's "low" setting.  It would probably be okay for 8 to 10 hour slow cooks.  The Instant Pot's pressure cooking is wonderful.

01/17/2019 - 7:16pm Let's hope he will go to TV…

Let's hope he will go to TV analyst school. He wasn't very good at it between his Florida and OSU gigs.

01/16/2019 - 3:13pm I'm a complete dummy when it…

I'm a complete dummy when it comes to X's and O's diagrams.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but every play drawn on paper results in a touchdown, right?  I mean, every play is designed to block perfectly and spring the ball handler to the endzone.  When that does not happen, it's because ... why?

One explanation is obvious: the blocking diagrammed on paper does not get executed according to plan.  Someone misses a block, or only partially executes the block.

Are there reasons on the defensive side of the ball that can make a planned play break down?  A defender shedding a block is one, but is it possible the defense behaves in a way not expected according to the plan?

01/16/2019 - 10:43am Down south, the art of…

Down south, the art of making gravy is damn near a sacred ritual.

I hear the key is using grandma's 110 year old cast iron skillet.  And her wooden spoon from 1929.

Pro tip -- don't try debate a southern cook about deviled eggs.  It's a no-go zone.

01/16/2019 - 7:47am Furthermore, excellence as a…

Furthermore, excellence as a player does not guarantee as a coach.

This is true.  It's possible, but not guaranteed.

Great players often have trouble conveying to others how something should be done.  To the former great player, it was just "natural," and the assumption is everyone has the same natural ability.  They don't.

Look around the list of truly great coaches of any sport, and many times you'll see people who played but were not great.  My theory is these people remember what it was like to not understand -- to not be naturally gifted -- and therefore they make better instructors.

I work in IT and I know some truly brilliant technicians.  They are often horrible at explaining things.  To them, everything is blindingly obvious.  To mere mortals like me, it's not.

01/12/2019 - 9:54pm They saved the late-70's…

They saved the late-70's music.

Saw them in concert in '82. Awesome.

01/12/2019 - 6:12pm Discussion Topic: "Best…

Discussion Topic: "Best songs to play on the car stereo while driving with the windows down on a warm summer night."

One Suggestion: "Kashmir"

01/12/2019 - 6:09pm Quadrophenia


01/12/2019 - 6:07pm 1973 also saw The Who's…

1973 also saw The Who's greatest album: Quadrophenia.

If there's a best "side" to an album, it's the third side of that double album: "5:15," "Drowned," "Sea and the Sand," and "Bell Boy."

01/12/2019 - 9:18am This post made me think…

This post made me think about the yards gained on first down plays.  I looked for statistics that ranked teams by "yards gained on first down plays," or "yards to go on 2nd down," but I couldn't locate any that revealed that.  Does anyone know if such a stat exists?

My sense is Michigan faced a lot of 2nd and long.  I think they ran on 1st a lot, but in general did not gain much.  I'd love to see how teams like Clemson did on first down plays (run vs. pass, yards gained on first down) vs. Michigan, but I'm coming up empty.

There's the NCAA stats on "first downs offense":

which has Michigan tied for 50th place, but I'm not exactly sure what those numbers are telling me.

Bottom line: I'm pretty sure there's a correlation between "yards gained on first down" and winning the football game.  A team that doesn't face many 2nd and long will face fewer 3rd and long, etc.  So the "run" vs. "pass" thing is really secondary to "how successful were you on that first down play."  But I can't nail down specifics on that.

01/11/2019 - 2:20pm So I spend summers in West…

So I spend summers in West Virginia, and I'm well known where I live as a rabid Michigan fan.  I've talked to some of the locals about this.  They're a bit wistful about Beilein going to Michigan, but they're not resentful.  They understand Michigan is a big step up, and they don't begrudge Beilein taking that step. 

Their view of Rodriguez is different.  Their resentment over how all that went down still burns bright.  But the resentment is towards the man, not Michigan.  

01/11/2019 - 2:09pm I wonder if these moves…

I wonder if these moves would have happened regardless of the outcome of that game?  I'm guessing ... maybe?  Promotions, title, more money, etc. ...

The "coaching carousel" each year is a fascinating thing to watch.  It seems to be getting more intense recently.  

01/11/2019 - 2:04pm In other news:


In other news:


The Alabama / Auburn divide down there is incredible. They take that shit seriously.

01/11/2019 - 1:53pm Especially if you're a…

Especially if you're a tribble. Then you show up on a Klingon ship.  And you hate Klingons.  Suddenly your happy life on the Enterprise is a miserable life.  Damn transporter.

01/11/2019 - 10:39am I'd love to know how these…

I'd love to know how these donations work ... are they recurring commitments of money to the program?  Or are they a one-time lump sum that's put into a trust, and the proceeds from that trust are what's used to "fund" the coaching chair?  Anyone know?

01/10/2019 - 6:11pm The Wikipedia page for…

The Wikipedia page for Gattis is already updated. 

When I was doing the bowl attendance thing (see Diaries) I grabbed attendance figures from pages created for each bowl game.  People were updating those pages moments after each score, and moments after the final gun sounded.  

I am not normally an optimist, but for this Gattis hire I choose to believe it's a good thing.

01/08/2019 - 10:10am My wife -- also a UVA alum -…

My wife -- also a UVA alum -- liked the outcome of the Belk Bowl. :-)

In an ideal world we'd have someone at each stadium to offer a "real attendance" factor.  In the comments here we've heard from a few ... and universally the answer is "actual was a lot less than announced."

01/07/2019 - 7:59am Case for Alabama: OL holds,…

Case for Alabama: OL holds, Tua has a lights-out game.

Case for Clemson: OL holds, Trevor has a light-out game.

My get tells me the scale tips to Alabama.  Trevor Lawrence gets pressure, makes a few bad throws resulting in INT ... game ends up 35 - 31 Alabama, or something like that.

01/07/2019 - 7:35am Announced attendance will be…

Announced attendance will be close to capacity.  Actual attendance will be in the 50% to 60% range.  Lots of tight camera shots to avoid showing empty upper decks.

Decision to put the game out there really questionable:

  • Lodging is really, really expensive
  • Traffic is horrible
  • When they made decision, chances of Pac-12 team getting into this year's final: 0%

They should just stick with what they know works: Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas.

01/05/2019 - 10:54pm Rob Lytle ... #41 is still…

Rob Lytle ... #41 is still the jersey number of choice.  I mean, look at this photo:


Note the chipped paint on the helmet, the wound on the wrist, and it looks like he's not wearing a mouth guard. 

My college intramural basketball jersey number was #41.  

01/03/2019 - 7:46pm I understand ... I was lucky…

I understand ... I was lucky it was the first thing in the feed.  I can't figure out how to follow twitter stuff beyond a few things myself.  I'm not a twitter user, and I generally don't go there.

01/03/2019 - 5:05pm According to the linked…

According to the linked tweet, Cole plays center for the Cardinals.

01/03/2019 - 12:00pm I gave serious thought to…

I gave serious thought to assigning a weighting factor based on the name of the bowl.  It would have been completely arbitrary, of course.  It was that thinking that led me to do the correlation based on bowl name length.  

I suspect it's only a matter of time before they start assigning multiple corporate names to bowls.  For example: "The Bad Boy Mowers and Scott Liquid Fertilizer Gasparilla Bowl Presented by Ace Hardware Your Place for Garden Supplies Bowl."

01/03/2019 - 8:47am it's just as likely to be to…

it's just as likely to be to Army triple option

Just like Ricky Leach!  Old school, coach! :-)

01/03/2019 - 8:04am Am I doing this right?

Am I doing this right?

More use of all-capital letters would be nice.  Throw in the occasional bold font for entire sentences. :-)

01/02/2019 - 9:08pm A measure of humility would…

A measure of humility would serve him well. He will find out that in the real world -- not in college, and not on a message board -- if one talks tough, one had better deliver. I'm 35 years deep into a professional career at a multinational, and I've witnessed only a few who justify arrogance. Related: some of the most powerful and respected are those that operate with quiet grace.

01/02/2019 - 8:32pm Sometimes I think posts are…

Sometimes I think posts are created just for the sake of stirring the pot. This original post sure seems like one of those.

01/02/2019 - 8:29pm It could be a detriment…

It could be a detriment. Someone who played the position at a really high level might think things are obvious or intuitive, when to the player being coached they're not. 

Some of the best basketball coaches played college ball but weren't stars. Same effect- they know through experience what needs to be learned.

01/02/2019 - 8:00pm You know, there's something…

You know, there's something to this. Some games are great, some are bad, and some are so bad they're fun. What would the formula for that look like?  What does that U shape look like?

Also, close games are not necessarily good games.  Two games come to mind: 10-7 and 7-6.

Finally: any game in which Notre Dame is stomped on is a GREAT game in my book.

01/02/2019 - 2:31pm During the game?  They…

During the game?  They confer prior to each play as to what play should be called?

If so, that's surprises me.  

I get that during the game there's headset chatter about things ... and that may shape play calling ... but I would think in the immediate heat of battle there's one guy calling the plays, especially when time is a factor.  I could be wrong.

01/02/2019 - 2:28pm What NFL team -- given…

What NFL team -- given current QB and current needs -- would he be a best fit for?

01/02/2019 - 2:23pm What way -- single mind, or…

What way -- single mind, or offense by committee?

If the latter (committee approach), then I'm genuinely curious after yesterday's games: how in the heck do they go up-tempo?  For the UCF/LSU game they were snapping the ball within seconds of the referees signalling ready.

01/02/2019 - 12:31pm At the invocation of the…

At the invocation of the word "pedant," I feel this picture is obligatory:


01/02/2019 - 12:20pm Yeah ... I take those …

Yeah ... I take those "official" numbers with a grain of salt.  But that's all I had to work with.

If I were to guess, a "reduction factor" of 30% to 40% is probably in order for most of those games.  Not the Rose, Sugar, or Orange, but most of the others.

For television, they try very hard to *not* show the empty seats.

01/02/2019 - 11:24am It would not surprise me…

It would not surprise me that certain positions tend to possess similar characteristic traits.

We have to be careful not to imply causality.  Correlation perhaps; causality, no.

In a team-oriented sport like football, there's only a small number of positions where one has the opportunity to shine as an individual -- QB, WR, RB, and maybe CB.  That those positions would tend to collect people who enjoy being in the spotlight is not a shocking thing.

01/02/2019 - 11:16am I read something that the…

I read something that the NCAA has approved three more starting in 2020.

01/02/2019 - 11:09am I wish there was a way to…

I wish there was a way to run a simulation of this to see if it shows true variability.

The "different sport" tag does apply -- basketball requires a relatively few number of athletes per team, so the number of good athletes gets spread around more than in football; a great player in basketball can influence team outcome more in basketball than in football, for both good or bad; all it takes is a few players to shoot lights-out to produce an upset in basketball (see 1984 Villanova vs. Georgetown, where Villanova shot 82% from the floor).

Yes, those kinds of things can happen in football as well, but the variability is less.  Run 100 simulated Michigan v Alabama football games and Alabama wins 90 or more of them.  Run 100 Michigan vs. Villanova (last year's championship) and Villanova wins perhaps 65 or 70 of them.

01/02/2019 - 10:56am I'd add one other thing --…

I'd add one other thing -- back in the day (I'm thinking the 70's into the 80's) there just wasn't many televised college games.  One per week on ABC.  Seeing "your team" on TV was a big thing.  If "your team" was in a televised bowl, it was a very big thing.

Now there's dozens of games every weekend, and the with conference networks it's possible to see "your team" every week.  In that scenario, what's one more televised game at the end of the year, particularly if the outcome doesn't mean much for "your team?"  Answer: not a lot.

01/02/2019 - 10:29am You and I are old enough to…

You and I are old enough to remember the pre-playoff, pre-BCS setup where the bowls would be played and there'd be three or four teams that would argue for their place as "champion."  It would be the topic of endless debates on sports talk radio.  Fan bases would shake clenched fists at each other all the way to start of the next season.

I miss those days. ;-)

01/02/2019 - 10:14am Take a look at the 28-0…

Take a look at the 28-0 drubbing Virginia laid on South Carolina:


That's what I would have expected from a four TD shutout ... look at SC's 3rd down (2 for 13) and 4th down (2 for 5), rushing (only 43 yards), and interceptions thrown (2).  Also, look at that time of possession discrepancy!  South Carolina didn't have the ball much, and when they did have it they didn't do much with the time.

I see the point you're making about Ohio/SDSU ... the breadcrumbs are there to discern how the game went down ... but it's not as obvious as I expected.  Hence my inability to find "that one stat" to include in my metrics to punish further bad games.

01/02/2019 - 9:59am I endorse this take.  Next…

I endorse this take.  Next year really is critical.

I'm not convinced it's a "championship or bust" season.  But I do think it's imperative Michigan show that it can credibly compete for the B1G championship and entry to the playoff.  For next year, that implies 11 wins going into the Ohio State game, and either a win against OSU or a game that's well-fought and narrowly decided.  11-1 with a blowout loss to OSU will not do the trick.

The very best football recruits are watching how this playoff team situation is coalescing.  Eventually all the best recruits will go to a small handful of schools -- 6 or 8 or so.  Teams outside that 6 or 8 will get players, but not enough great players to compete the big boys inside that group.

01/02/2019 - 9:52am The Arby's turkey reuben is…

The Arby's turkey reuben is suprisingly good.  I like to add their "three pepper" sauce.  I'm weird that way. ;-)

01/02/2019 - 9:50am I agree ... someone is…

I agree ... someone is making money.  People won't run crappy bowl games as a charity.

But I'll be darned if I can figure it out.  I posted a diary entry on the bowl attendance, and I cited the Arizona Bowl as an example of a bowl the finances for which I just don't understand -- lower-tier teams playing to a mostly empty stadium in a town that generally doesn't care about football.

Benefit to the local businesses?  Some, but the estimated actual attendance was something like 10,000, which for Tucson (a city of nearly a million in the metropolitan area) that's not much of an impact.  Plus -- and here's the key -- that would imply a mis-match between those who benefit (the local businesses) and those who pay to organize the bowl.  See: nobody does this for charity.

I don't get it.

01/02/2019 - 9:36am this idiotic CFP set up is…

this idiotic CFP set up is accelerating apathy in even OUR pocket of fandom

This was a predictable result of the playoff system.  I hate the playoff for football.

The basketball playoff works because basketball is a different sport -- it takes far fewer good players to make a difference.  With football, you must have a lot of very good players to make a difference.  

Back when the playoff was established, my sense was there was a window of opportunity for teams to either get into the group of teams that can compete, or be shut out of entry to that group.  That window is almost shut.  I hope Michigan can be inside when it shuts.

01/02/2019 - 9:29am It's an expensive sport to…

It's an expensive sport to run; it's a sport prone to injuries; fewer and fewer kids are interested in playing the game; general interest in the game is dropping as evidenced by attendance and ratings.

For the lower-tier programs it all adds up to "Why am I still doing this?"

Answer (for now): "Because we always have."  That model has its limits.

01/02/2019 - 8:57am It won't be fixed as long as…

It won't be fixed as long as money is to be made with the present format.  And money is being made with the present format.

Those in charge of all this don't care about the long-term health of college football.  They are focusing on near-term revenue maximization.  

We're headed for a 'super conference' alignment of perhaps 12 to 16 teams, and a mix of everyone else.  I fully expect programs to start dropping football as a sport in the next 10 years.

I wish I could say I'm being overly cynical, but I don't think I am.

01/02/2019 - 8:42am Below average, below median …

Below average, below median ... :-(

01/01/2019 - 10:23pm I agree, though at the time…

I agree, though at the time it was hard to argue against a 12-0 Notre Dame. But in retrospect, Ohio State should have been the fourth team.