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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Argh. Vicious headache == no blog + sorry for self. Carrying on.

Big Ten Wonk's Michigan preview has been posted for your enjoyment, and despite the effort put in by myself and Ryan from Hawkeye Hoops he still manages to add something new and interesting:

Everyone agrees that Tommy Amaker's team collapsed in the face of devastating losses in personnel. (Again, Abram missed all but the first two games and was given a medical redshirt. Horton missed 18 games. Chris Hunter was out for eight. You get the idea....) But need the collapse have been so total?
Wonk concludes the answer to this question is "probably not," and I agree with him, though I think his opinion of Michigan's talent level is too kind. That nailbiter against Illinois--which was obviously Michigan playing way over its head, reduced to spreading the floor and desperately trying to reduce the number of possessions--probably lingers in Wonk's mind. Still, some of the dire blowouts to teams like Purdue cannot be explained away with a wave of the Ashtyn Bell wand.

Amaker's main problem seems to be that he's a really nice guy who often seems less like a coach and more like an interested observer on the receiving end of questionable advice re: turtlenecks and their relation to sportcoats. Michigan's players that arrived soft are still soft; those that arrived one-dimensional are still one-dimensional; those that arrived with a license to brick still have it. One cannot help but look across the state to the God-Emporer of East Lansing's totalitarian regime that turns tall goo into robotic, effective players and ponder how he would mold the mercurial talent that Amaker has assembled. Amaker seems to totally forgo the whole molding thing. Given the way he's been recruiting lately (thoroughly meh), continuing this state of affairs will only lead to more mediocrity.

No freaking kidding.
Lost in the constant Terrell Owens everything: Clinton Portis is full on bats. Extra spicy bats. He's taken to dressing up in garish costumes when talking to the media. The top image is "Jerome from Southeast DC" (racist?); the bottom is "Dr. I Don't Know." This is the first I've heard of this and I was required to get it from always-on-top-of-stuff Deadspin instead of ESPN, despite the fact that Portis has made this a habit:
It was the fifth time in six weeks that he has dressed up for the scribes and cameras.
This has been going on for a month and a half and no one notified the national media! It was at a press conference! The mind... boggling!

Wait a minute, this has no relation to this blog's topic area. Strict Blog Ethics require that I relate this to Michigan somehow. Wait, wait... former Michigan tackle Jon Jansen, what do you think?
"I have no idea what he's doing all the time, but he makes it fun," tackle Jon Jansen said. "If he dresses like that in New York, he's on his own. Only when he's on the field will we protect him."
Thanks, Jon. Close shave there.

I leave you with this:
So how did Jerome meet his demise?

"Dr. Don't Know don't know a lot," Portis said. "Complication of a panic attack. He never traveled back with us from New York. The guy, he had an amazing upside. I talked to his family and friends. He's going to be missed, but on with this life."
I don't ask for much as the purveyor of this blog, but please do this one thing for me: should I meet my untimely demise and you find yourself talking about it, please mention my tremendous upside. Otherwise I will haunt your ass.

Better late than never: IBFC has received foreign aid and has posted some belated Iowa highlights.

Fire in the BlogPoll! Wow. Stuffs is getting heated around these parts. All Things Longhorn is not happy about Boi From Troy placing Texas #6(!):
He's either dumb, misinformed, or excessively biased.
BFT fires back:
After all, we’re not the ones who have been homering for UT all season long. Just try to beat Kansas without paying off the refs before you book tickets to Pasadena!
Well, no, BFT, you haven't been homering for UT, but you have had an obvious tendency to overrate USC opponents. What's that? Another salvo?

In other precincts, 50-Yard Lion has his tinfoil hat on:
As you may know, I participate in a blog poll. The poll is run by a THEM [== "Michigan" -ed] fan, and is weighted in their favor (their are two of us for PSU, one for Iowa, one for MSU, one for NW and 2 for OSU, but 5 THEM blogs! There are about 50 votes each week--10% are THEM bloggers.)

All of the non-THEM blogs had PSU ranked ahead of OSU last week (including the Buckeye Bloggers), before the our match-up with Wisconsin. Three of THEM, though, thought otherwise:

Paradigm Blog (Mich): OSU 9, PSU 12
Rob in Madtown (Mich): OSU 8, PSU 13!)
Straight Bangin (you guessed it--Mich): OSU 9, PSU 10

See a trend here? I find it amaizing [sic? pun? it is the mystery.] that these guys would rank their mortal enemy Buckeyes ahead of PSU--even when PSU beat the Buckeyes straight up!
Unfortunately I have to agree: ranking a two-loss OSU team over a one-loss, OSU-beating Penn State team is totally unpossible. I would point out that this disease is not exclusive to Michigan bloggers, though, having seen it many places. It's totally mystifying, but there it is. Of course, 50YL immediately cedes the high ground by totally omitting Michigan. Frequent commenter Pat has started up a new blog that appears poised to bring some measure of sanity to the Penn State Interniche; his first post takes on 50YL's paranoia.

Yet elsewhere: Mark Hasty's latest ballot, featuring #5 USC, drew fire from me and spawned another comment thread featuring tremendous back and forth salvos; his latest moves the Trojans back to #2... and totally omits a Michigan team that has a top-25 resume in favor of Rutgers. This is not exclusive to Mark--Joey at SH has Rutgers #24 and Michigan #25--but Rutgers is a fraudtastic fraud getting Vandy votes at the moment. Let's be clear: bowl-eligible Rutgers is a cute story for the kids, but it's still team that lost to this guy:

Victories? Over I-AA Villanova, 0-9 Buffalo, national punchline Pitt, 1-7 Syracuse, UConn, and Navy. This is more impressive than a team with the same record, one of the nation's toughest schedules, and wins over Penn State, Iowa, and Northwestern? That steams my clam, in the parlance of our times.

I guess it's good that people care about this stuff, though.

What's the moral of the story? Hell if I know. Polling, like many other things, appears to be a lot like sausage. Perhaps it's difficult to take the end result seriously when you see that the ingredients include a heavy dose of flapjack nuts, but as 50-Yard Lion pointed out, the scary thing is that we are obviously no worse than the jokers who actually determine who goes to the BCS... unless you think that this is a reasonable stretch for a poll released in the immediate aftermath of Penn State's domination of the Badgers:
14. Ohio State
15. Wisconsin
16. West Virginia
17. Penn State
That's an actual ballot from Harris poll voter Dick Harmon. The thing also has Texas Tech #8 and TCU #11; it's worse than any ballot I've clashed with all year. Ironically, checking his column archive shows an article titled "'Big Least' one reason why BCS is a fraud". I've got another reason the BCS is a fraud: Dick Harmon.

Stuck at the bottom with you. As predicted, my predictions suck. I'm 2-5 with the sole solace being that I'm tied with the great predictor of all things future.

Why did Peter King say this? King managed to fire off this during his weekly column on his daughter's lacrosse team and his coffee drinking habits:
I think the one thing you can't understand unless you live somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard between Washington and Boston -- or unless you once lived there -- is the intensity of a big sports event.
I mean... um. That's just... wow. Gunslingers has your bile covered, natch.