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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tom Harmon would be proud. In 1943, Tom Harmon's plane went down in a tropical storm over South America. Four days and fifty miles later, a half-dead Harmon stumbled into a clearing in French Guina, swearing eternal revenge against tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical depressions, cyclones, tsunamis, and those little swirling eddies you get on fall days. Anything that was wind moving in a vaguely circular direction was in for it.

Though Harmon pwned the Amazon, sired models, and singlehandedly defeated Tojo, he never defeated his nemesis. But you, the anonymous mass of Michigan internet people, did, raising over seven thousand dollars in three days, completely defeating severe weather events forever.

These are your just rewards:

I commend you. Some guy forwarded along his $500 confirmation letter to me and asked if that was worth an MGoWish: yes, it is. Anyone else with a similarly large heart can forward along their confirmation email and gently influence this blog's direction over the summer.

Michigan's total was

  • over a third of the total amount,
  • nearly three times that of runner-up Ohio State, and
  • more than the next six teams combined.
Jesus. Orson's moral is "never get in a fundraising war with Michigan"; mine is "I really should be asking for more donations."

Excuse fatwa! Boiled Sports took the recent Weis yammering and dug up some more of Charlie's greatest hits. Of the listed, my favorite:
"What happened came as a surprise," Weis said. "But I'm not going to use it as an excuse and say our team was distracted."

No, clearly you're not going to say that. We've pointed this out before, but this is like saying, "Your sister's low-cut top and huge tits came as a surprise to me, but I'm not going to insult you and call her a whore."
Weis is inordinately fond of saying that he's not going to use this obviously valid thing he just said as an excuse. He just letting you know that despite the fact he's got an emu at quarterback and five narcoleptics on the offensive line, he's not using that as an excuse.

Ugh. Fanhouse post up on the percentage of BCS opponents each conference takes on, and guess what? The Big Ten is dead last at 29%. Seven of the thirteen games against BCS competition are versus Notre Dame (3), Syracuse (2), Iowa State, and Duke, teams that were a combined 9-39 last year. The entire slate of decent nonconference opposition:
  • Missouri vs Illinois (neutral site game in St. Louis)
  • Iowa @ Pitt
  • MSU @ Cal
  • OSU @ USC
  • Oregon State @ PSU
  • Oregon @ Purdue
It's probably not fair to completely dismiss the Notre Dame games since those are all long-standing rivalries scheduled with the idea Notre Dame won't be coming off the second-worst offensive performance of the millennium, but even if you count them that's nine games across eleven teams.

Minnesota, Northwestern, and Indiana didn't sign up anyone even slightly worthwhile, but Minnesota lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern to Duke so they had the choice between competitive games against Wofford or getting housed, I guess. Indiana is Indiana. Wisconsin, however, has no excuses for yet another nonconference schedule with zero BCS teams.

In a word: weak.

Landing places. There was a thread on Rivals asking where everyone from Carr's staff landed which was interesting enough to appropriate for use here:

Basically Comparable
  • Ron English went from Michigan DC to Louisville DC.
  • Vance Bedford went from secondary coach at Michigan to CBs coach at Florida.
  • Steve Szabo went from Michigan LBs coach to DC at I-AA Colgate.
  • Scot Loeffler went from Michigan QB coach to the Lions QB coach. (This would normally count as a step up, but it's the Lions.)
  • Erik Campbell went from Michigan WR coach to Iowa WR coach.
  • Fred Jackson is still at Michigan as the RBs coach.
All these folk landed on their feet. Even if Louisville and Iowa are steps down from Michigan, finding a comparable assistant position at a good BCS school a few months after you lose your job in a coaching changeover is tough. English and Campbell were amongst the top targets on the market. Bedford may have been, though his connection with Florida co-DC Greg Mattison helps. Lions jokes aside, Loeffler got a promotion and will probably be a college OC somewhere within five years. Szabo's an interesting case: is being DC at a I-AA program equal to being a position coach at Michigan? Probably not, but it's not far off and Colgate's pretty decent from appearances.

Uh, not so much.
  • Andy Moeller went from OL coach at Michigan to assistant (to the) Ravens' OL coach.
  • Mike Debord went from OC at Michigan to assistant (to the) Seahawks' OL coach.
  • Steve Stripling appears to be unemployed.
Michigan guaranteed its coaches their 2008 salaries before the changeover, so it's possible Stripling is just waiting for the right opportunity or spending the year bathed in pudding or something.

Moeller and Debord, well... even Terry Malone got to be the Saints' tight ends coach, not assistant (to the) tight ends coach. Jim Herrmann is the Jets' linebackers coach. The only Michigan coach to meet a grislier fate was grad assistant Jim Boccher, who guided Michigan's special teams to devastating implosions against Oregon and Iowa in 2003 and immediately went into real estate or something.

All told, the landing spots roughly match up with fan opinion of the coaches, don't they? Debord and Moeller are poison, Loeffler is the best, the rest of the staff is solid but unspectacular with the possible exception of Ron English's untapped upside.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Brandon at Garnet and Black Attack must not read this blog, but I don't care, he can be Leibnitz:
PROPOSED: That college football fans support a six-team playoff format.

Why six teams? Because it maintains a good deal of the drama of the regular season. There would still be a lot on the line: Lose one game, and you might not get a first-week bye (see the bracket below). Lose two games, and you might not even make the tournament.

His BCS conference-champs only version will never fly -- not that my version would -- since the little guys and Notre Dame will block it, and I don't like it because sometimes it's clear two of the top six teams are in the same conference.

There were some protests lodged against the proposed system that I'll get to in whenever I do a mailbag, but I wanted to address this MOTSAG post:
Brian’s MGoPlayoff system (which, btw, was written right after OSU knocked UM out of contention for the 2006 title) is very typical of most playoff ideas, in that it doesn’t require nor ask for any changes to the poll system to be made. They’re largely just variations of the same flawed idea.
E. By committee. A dedicated team of people who do this year-round and are geographically distributed.
Polls are sucky, conflict-of-interest-laden things to determine a playoff field. The only way to do it is to get a half-dozen very serious people to pore over the records and statistics and opponent records and opponent's opponent's records and etc etc etc. I do appreciate MOTSAG's suggestion to actually use the Blogpoll to determine end-of-season things, except... wait. No I don't. People would kill me.

Etc.: Lake The Posts points to this Athlon study showing that recruiting rankings are excellent predictors of the NFL draft. Nothing new if you read SMQB, but more fuel for the fire.