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Monday, November 05, 2007

column coming early PM.

Recap. BTN highlights:

Bow Down. RCMB:

Did anyone see the huge "Bow Down Sparty" sign?

Some UM fans hung it from the upper deck and it flew like a flag over OUR stadium while myself and the rest of the Spartan Marching Band stood and listened to the Michigan band play their Victory march. We then had to play our postgame show for a crowd of primarily UM fans.
You mean this "Bow Down Sparty" sign?

I will show you a lack of respect. If Gerry Dinardo hadn't said "Howdy Doody could coach LSU" earlier this year, Jehuu Caulcrick's postgame interview would win "least self-aware comment of the century".

The comment:

Hey, Jehuu, remember this?

Dear Mr. Caulcrick,

You're in this video. Hell, you appear to be one of the ringleaders of this stunt. You're number 30. That's a squiggly backwards "E" next to a big thing that looks like your gaping mouth after Manningham's touchdown. You should probably shut up about winning with class.


PS: Ha, ha.

Weekly Les Miles opinion-giving. Game + walking + traffic meant that I only caught the final quarter of Alabama-LSU, and that without the benefit of the announcers clarifying things, so nothing too strident, but...
  • Yes, the annual mental implosion of LSU does give me the heebie-jeebies. This would be more convincing...
    “We kept hanging in there, kept fighting,” Miles said. “We found a way to win. I’ve never seen that many mistakes in a game. We’ll never play that poorly again.”
    ...if LSU hadn't turned it over six times in a shoulda-woulda-coulda loss to Florida last year. 14 penalties for a million yards is not good. I'm not so much with the blaming Miles for Matt Flynn's interceptions, since by this point in the season it's become clear that Flynn's a mediocre system guy prone to errors and poor throws.
  • I think I've mentioned this but I'm not sure where this supposed surfeit of talent is. Sure, the defense appears to be flush with fast, angry men, but on offense there's the aforementioned Flynn and a gimpy Early Doucet and... certified caucasian Jacob Hester? This is an obviously talented team but it's not Reggie Bush USC or Vince Young Texas. People appear to be demanding that LSU live up to its obliteration of VT; even the contingent of mouthbreathers who claim that a one-loss SEC team is the functional equivalent of the Patriots are disappointed by LSU's inability to put away any of its opponents despite the absence of its one bonafide offensive star for much of its tough stretch of games. But... it's the SEC! OMG!
  • Please note that the failure to recruit a quality bridge between Perrilloux and Russell is a Saban thing; along with like four first-round picks on the defense he also gifted LSU its wonky offensive backfield.
I wonder how much of LSU's self-destruction gene is ingrained in the culture of the program, how much of it is luck or misperception, and how much of it is actually symptomatic of a flaw in Miles' coaching.

We just saw yet more evidence of State's remarkable ability to bring in coach after coach and still be the same bunch of slack-jawed chokers with all the discipline of Charlie Weis at Old Country Buffet. (Zing!) At least part of this has to be State's role as the raccoon of Midwest recruiting. They scoop up the refuse of Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc, etc., kids of questionable character, work ethic, intelligence, or talent, and are fighting uphill from day one. In sum: Michigan has the luxury of passing on Eric Knott and Damon Dowdell, and it shows on the field. Maybe LSU's recruiting base is just prone to wild burst of cajun passions that draw flags?

There's also the possibility Miles' reputation for penalty-laden, undisciplined teams is a media creation based on a couple high profile occurrences that does not reflect reality. This infrequent observer of LSU believe this to be unlikely, but it is a possibility. When something settles into the conventional wisdom it becomes very hard to dislodge, and the next time a mainstream college football writer does some independent research and comes up with a conclusion based on actual facts will be the first.*

And then there are the bizarre results of an offseason SMQB study of stat relevance:
First counterintuitive result: the most penalized teams were slightly better as a whole than the least penalized teams. Penalty yardage, over the course of an entire season, had no discernible effects on winning and losing. You can probably think of a situation that would specifically argue otherwise, cuz penalties are definitely bad, mmmkay?, but they're bad more as situational mistakes than an overall, cumulative drain.
It got weirder, and consistently so. When SMQB went game by game, calculating the "record" of various salutary statistical indicators like "better yards per pass" (#1 at 78.5%) and "more rushing offense," (#5 at 67.8%), "fewer penalty yards" finished dead last by a country mile. Hell, it was actually a negative indicator of victory, and a significant one: the Fewer Penalty Yards Fightin' Flags finished 119-175, a mere 40.5% winning clip and the only "team" to finish below .500. So... yeah... go get them penalties, Les!

In retrospect, this entire section is definitely the lady protesting too much. It's a concern. It doesn't change the fact that Miles is exceedingly likely to end up in the SEC championship game (beat Ole Miss and they're in no matter the Arkansas result) and the BCS for a second consecutive year. Unless Tedford (who I still heart) decides to bolt -- unlikely -- there's no one with the sort of track record Miles has out there.

*(I don't even mean this snarkily. I mean it literally. Not once in years and years of reading college football writers has anyone bothered to challenge the CW with analysis.)

Softened. Noted on the sidebar, but important enough to re-note: three important Wisconsin players went out against Ohio State and are unlikely to play next week. Starting cornerback Allen Langford is definitely out. Starting DT Jason Chapman's injury is also "significant". Starting OT Eric Vanden Heuvel is not definitely out but is doubtful (or questionable or something). The Journal-Sentinel article makes it sound like the most concerning injury is Chapman's, then Langford's; Vanden Heuvel has a decent backup in Jake Bscherer.

Biff. Cool, calm, collected. Chad Henne:

Etc: Wetzel on Miles; postgame Carr audio; postgame player audio.