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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wait. Michigan's official contact with Miles will wait until after the SEC championship game:

“Bill Martin called (LSU AD Skip Bertman) today and asked permission to talk to Coach Miles,” Vincent said. “Bertman asked that (the Wolverines) wait until after the SEC championship game. They agreed to that.”
That might make a lot of people's hypothetical Monday-Tuesday timeline difficult, if it meant anything. It likely does not. Bertman has a realistic perspective on the situation:
"I don't think anyone would try to speak to Les before the SEC title game, but that doesn't mean they couldn't speak to his agent (George Bass) before the game or at any time," Bertman said by telephone from his home. "There's no reason Bill or anyone else can't use headhunters to speak to Les' agent, but I would not assume that Bill would speak to Les himself without our permission. That doesn't mean he can't speak to other people."
Realistically, at this point Michigan could have hammered out every last detail through intermediaries and this would be a formality. I believe this is the case, as taking the formal step of asking for permission to contact is a public event that can create a PR backlash if the coach in question turns it down.

Bertman's sticking with his promise to let Miles coach LSU in its bowl game, by the way.

Where's the talent? Blue takes on the "Miles is winning with Saban's recruits" argument effectively. Killer graph:

(data here)

There are some holes in the methodology here, IMO. Recruiting ratings are fallible for a lot of reasons. From a high level perspective each recruit can be viewed as a weighted lottery ticket.
You cash in the best ticket and start him; the others languish. If there's a three star in the starting lineup for LSU he may have beaten out really highly rated guys and is likely to have high value. A three star who starts for Michigan State is probably beating out Jon "Samurai" Misch and is probably not very good at all. The entire roster should be considered.

Also, youth was not taken into account. Steve Schilling might be a five star but he's still a freshman.

Still, the Blue post rhetorically dissects the "it's Saban!" argument with considerable skill. It's worth checking out. My biggest problem with that particular meme is it ignores the Weis effect. Simply stated, the Weis effect: "If Charlie Weis was in charge of developing these players, would they be 'talented'?" Miles has been the head coach at LSU for three years now, which means that even if most of his starters are Saban's recruits, they're Miles' players. And many of them have developed into sure-thing NFL first-rounders despite being meh recruits: Ali Highsmith was a three star. Player development exists, and some coaches are better at it than others.

I mean, God, look at Ohio State's starting defense this year. Laurinaitis and Jenkins were three stars, both starting safeties two-star nobodies, the defensive tackles were pretty meh recruits IIRC, and Larry Grant was an unregarded JUCO transfer. Only the defensive ends and Marcus Freeman were real blue-chip recruits. Every year I write an Ohio State preview and Ohio State fans read it and say "that's pretty good, but you rely way too heavily on recruiting rankings"; this is because I try to use consistent heuristics across the entire conference, one of which is recruiting rankings, and no school in the country defies those as frequently and dramatically as Ohio State.

Great, it's noon and I need some whiskey. Thanks, Tressel.

And the winner in the rinky-dink bowl contest is... not the Outback, which took Wisconsin. Illinois is a lock for the Citrus unless they get drafted by a desperate BCS -- unlikely unless Hawaii coughs it up against Washington. Michigan is fighting with Penn State for either the Alamo Bowl or the "Champs Sports" Bowl, something never before considered by this blog and henceforth referred to as the "Citrus Junior" in a futile protest against title sponsors.

Which should you prefer? That depends. The Alamo usually features the #4 team in the Big 12 but this year the league will certainly get two BCS bids, leaving Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Kansas to other destinations. The leftovers: Texas Tech. Sweet Jesus. The Citrus Junior features the #4 ACC team, which will be Clemson or Virginia. Since my concern is just to win the damn game, I would prefer the Citrus Junior, especially if Virginia is the opponent. No offense to the Hoos, but if there's a team out there with a flattering record relative to its expected Pythagorean record, it's Virginia.

No, I can't let this go. DeBord:
"I don't think there's any doubt I learned a lot," DeBord said of the CMU experience. "In every position I've had, I learned a lot. ... We were able to take that program from day one and improve it all the way through to where now they're competing for championships. I feel good for all that."
CMU's record in four-year blocks from twenty years ago to today:

Pre-Debord III26-13-664%
Pre-Debord II23-1252%
Pre-Debord I17-2738%
Post-Debord 27-2156%

Mike Debord presided over the worst four-year stretch in Central Michigan's history at a program with a history of success in the MAC. He was placed in a position where success was eminently possible against a set of coaches that, while good, are not generally of the caliber found in BCS conferences. He failed totally. In no way can you describe his tenure at Central Michigan as anything other than a complete debacle; the culture Brian Kelly walked into was the one where six guys got in serious trouble for a murder charge and Kelly, in an attempt to defend his players, said something unwise about a "culture of violence" said players were raised in.

Right, this thing. NDNation swiped an enormous post from an Iowa board about the Michigan situation that many people have forwarded to me as something of interest. It is of interest, as I believe the story relayed in it is mostly accurate from what other people have told me: Ferentz was the strongly preferred choice of Carr once it became clear that the captain of SS Spectacular Failure was not a viable option and that the animosity between Carr and Miles was real and lingering.

After this is all done I'll put together what I think happened behind the scenes -- totally speculative, of course.