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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Blood Battle. Brian Talpos writes:

For the past twenty-six years, University of Michigan’s Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (co-ed national service fraternity) has partnered with the American Red Cross to host the largest blood drive in the Midwest, the Blood Battle. Taking place over the two weeks prior to the Michigan vs. Ohio State football game, more than 25 blood drives are held on the U of M campus, collecting over 2000 pints of blood, and potentially saving over 6000 lives. Last year, the University of Michigan collected 1,954 pints, while Ohio State collected 2,044. Michigan’s campus accounted for more than 12.5% of the total blood collection in Washtenaw County for the entire year, providing local hospitals with the blood they needed to serve patients in our community. As always, our goal is to beat the Buckeyes by collecting as many pints of blood as we can.
To sign up, go to and use the sponsor code "goblue."

Bow Down Part VI:

Die Radford, die. Basketball season starts Friday; Michigan opens against Radford, which is either a university or a way to elegantly prepare kumquat. Big Ten Wonk, now known as John Gasaway, has an overview of the league at Basketball Prospectus that's worth reading en toto. A vote of confidence in Beilein:
Lastly, predicting that an achingly young--qualitatively as much as quantitatively--Michigan team will flirt with .500 should be seen solely for what it is: an expectant vote of confidence in the ability of John Beilein. That confidence is based on what he accomplished with an achingly young West Virginia team last year.
8-10 is the shot in the dark; who knows? At this point I am so NDNation about Beilein I believe the Final Four is possible... last year! Soon, Michigan will have retroactively won ten national championships.

The Daily has an interview with former Fab-Fiver (and soon-to-be BTN analyst) Jimmy King on Beilein.

I hope they sing. This is the most important thing you will ever read on this blog.


It's that important.

Important enough to write like a newspaper columnist.


Chad Henne, Will Johnson, Jake Long, and Jamar Adams are going to be in a play. Yes. A play. It's about Job. And it's at the Power Center. If you live within 1500 miles of Ann Arbor you are thinking "OMG TICKETS HOW". Tickets how.

The price is surprisingly steep for a university production -- 24 and 18 dollars -- which is good and bad. It means that 1) the play is probably something professional and will be worth your time, but 2) our noble warrior-thespians will probably be Plant #1, Plant #2, Interesting Looking Bucket, and Extremely Large Deaf-Mute. Whatever. I'm going. I hope Chad's only line is "Excellence is good." And that Will Johnson's only line is "I'm 21, how can I be going bald?" which, if you think about it, might be plausible in a play about Job.

Miles! Miles! Miles! Astute (== not in coma) readers may have noticed a long hiatus in the "Profiles In Heroism" series; this is mostly because further explorations of the coaching pool seem utterly pointless given the sustained buzz about Miles to Michigan. Thus weekly evaluations of LSU.

Anyway, And The Valley Shook mentions something I asked about Monday. Did Saban's teams commit a ton of penalties? Is it just an LSU thing? Quasi-response in a rant about "outcoaching":
Honestly curious: did Saban DO anything, or is the entire world making a judgment based on Les Miles' team having had one subpar outing? (Yes, I know we lead the SEC in penalties; don't ANYONE try to argue that our Saban teams didn't commit loads of dumb penalties at times.)
In the comments of that post "GeauxTigers" -- if Miles shows up I'm totally ganking "Geaux Blue" -- provides a helpful link to Yahoo's stat repository, which -- unlike the NCAA's -- has penalty data. Unfortunately, the results only go back to 2003, Saban's second year at LSU. Also unfortunately, Yahoo doesn't bother to, like, provide numbers, so anyone in the middle of a particular statistical category can only be called "approximately average" without actually counting stuff out. The numbers to date:

#YardsPer GameApprox RankMichigan
20067456246.3Pretty Good45.8
200510087571.4Bad, not that bad30.3
2004 (@ OkSt)4738034.5Outstanding43.6
2003 (@ OkSt)8276463.6Average42.2

More fuel for the "all right! a penalty!" fire: Michigan was the least penalized team in 2005... their worst season in 20 years .

Meanwhile, Saban:
#YardsPer GameApproxRank
20039478060Below average

Note that in 2005 LSU had an SEC championship game to play, so their raw numbers are higher than most schools. If you drop 1/12th of their penalty yards they finish like 20th or 25th or something.

The only truly conclusive thing in these tables is a remarkable lack of penalties on Michigan. Year-in and year-out Michigan is near the bottom of these lists. Miles looks about average here, alternating flag-filled years with sedate ones.

Also, did you know dude had a brain cyst? In 2001...
A regular exerciser, Les Miles took a jog one morning that mid-December. He returned home with a tremendous headache and feeling nauseated. When the headache did not go away, he saw a doctor in Stillwater, Okla.

Then he saw a doctor in Oklahoma City for an MRI. He was told there was a cyst on his brain causing intracranial pressure and a buildup of fluid. Surgery was needed to remove part of the cyst.

"Well, first of all, you deny it," Miles, in his third season as LSU coach, said recently. "I mean they told me that, and I shrugged my shoulders. 'OK, so what? Let me go.' And I went recruiting. I mean, I left the hospital, and I went recruiting."

The pain came back, though, and Miles had his moment of clarity. He stopped

Dude? Dude! It's totally deranged to find out you have a brain cyst and go recruiting, but if there's one quality I'm looking for in a coach it's totally deranged workaholism.

Braves & Birds takes a look at LSUs "luck" through their brutal Kentucky-laden SEC schedule, concluding it's not actually about luck. A point from the comments that no one seems to make:
Yards per play gained and allowed are as much a function of coaching as anything else. If LSU were a talented, but poorly coached team, then it would not move the ball well on offense (like, say, Florida State) and/or it would not stop its opponents (like, say, Nebraska). A well-coached team doesn't simply avoid turnovers and penalties; it also does well at the basic functions of the game.
Anyone who's watched Notre Dame play this year knows that turning high school kids into slavering beasts is no mere accident. Three years in, LSU's players might be Saban's recruits, but they're Miles' players; their "immense talent" is partly coaching.

Remember the memories. Yeah... Wisconsin is retiring Ron Dayne's number this weekend. You may remember Dayne from such stellar Michigan performances as "58 total yards" and "0 second half yards"; couldn't Wisconsin have retired Dayne's number against a team he actually performed against? Was Temple unavailable?

Etc.: Conquering Heroes on his EL trip; Black Heart, Gold Pants puts together bowl projections that make me want to set myself on fire.