Thursday, May 31, 2012

As I Projected: Michigan's 2012 Schedule Among the Toughest

Bruce Feldman over at CBS Sports came up with a scheduling strength valuation system that you can read about in detail here.   Suffice it to say, Top 20 and top 40 caliber opponents, Road Games, and the occasional "extra half point" for back to back nightmare scenarios put Michigan at #4 on his list. 

The Top 10:

1.  Domers - I'll give the Domers credit for not playing an FCS school.
2.  Washington - Hard to believe, but the Pac12 and the non-con schedule look arduous.
3.  Oregon State - ditto
4.  Michigan - Alabama followed by a quirky Air Force offense, not to mention road games at Nebraska, Domers, and OSU and you have a bad mix for repeating 11 wins...Of course, 1997 was also one of the most difficult schedules Michigan ever faced!
5.  Kansas...It's Chuckles Weis...
6.  Ole Miss - SEC West
7.  Auburn
8.  Iowa State
9.  Cal
10. South Carolina - It seems like Steve always gets the toughest opponents on the road...

So, there you have it.  Michigan's schedule is tough.  And it will be difficult to navigate if the plan is to go undefeated. 

PEORIA, Illinois Recruit Tuley-Tillman Lights a Fuse!

Well, I've always said you can piss off a lot of Ohio people over much ado about nothing, but Michigan's current commit Tuley-Tillman (and non wavering at that) really lit a fuse on the Michigan - ohio rivalry by burning a recruiting letter from that four letter school in the state south of Michigan. 

There's lots of juicy comments in the article from this kid, and he's already near and dear to my heart and he hasn't even played a down of football yet!


This kid has it figured out!

Several things that crack me up:  Not only has he made himself an internet star by this seemingly innocent act, but he's pointed out a GLARING faux paus by the ohio athletic department:

Check out the spelling of P-E-O-R-I-A! 

That is the best recruiting tool for all other schools trying to compete against ohio.  You can ALWAYS get a job in ohio's AD department if you can't spell!  It is a 6 letter word that has multiple vowels, so I guess I can see how they got it wrong...Wait, no I can't. Ohio has three vowels and Peoria only has one more than that....I guess it's just too many letters, because after all:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Congrats to Softball and 2015 and 2016 Seasons Are Out

First and foremost:  Congrats to Michigan Softball for winning the First Round Regional AWAY from Ann Arbor!  For anyone not in the know, the 1st Round Regional is a Double Elimination involving 4 teams.  Michgan came from behind on Friday, got a VERY controversial call on Saturday, and handily won walking away on Sunday.  The Saturday controversy:  Michigan's Blanchard was up to bat with bases loaded and was hit by an inside pitch.  Problem was, if you catch the re-play, is that Blanchard looked like she LEANED into the pitch, which before this season, was illegal in softball.  You could get hit by a pitch and still get your base, but the umpire could leave it up to his discretion as to whether or not you did everything humanly possible to get out of the way.  This year, the batter's box is theirs and if they want to stand their and take one for the team, that's their right.  And Blanchard did and scored the victory for Michigan. 

Now, it's on to the Super Regional where the Tide of Alabama will be waiting for a best of 3 series with the Wolverines.  Coincidence and hopefully a tone setting series that leads up the the kick-off classic?  Let's hope so!

Now, on to the next mess:  The B1G Schedules are out. 


Oct. 3: at Michigan State
Oct. 10: Wisconsin
Oct. 17: Minnesota
Oct. 24: at Illinois
Oct. 31: Bye
Nov. 7: Nebraska
Nov. 14: at Northwestern
Nov. 21: at Iowa
Nov. 28: Ohio State
Dec. 5: Big Ten Championship Game

Oct. 1: Michigan State
Oct. 8: at Minnesota
Oct. 15: Northwestern
Oct. 22: Bye
Oct. 29: at Wisconsin
Nov. 5: Illinois
Nov. 12: at Nebraska
Nov. 19: Iowa
Nov. 26: at Ohio State
Dec. 3: Big Ten Championship Game

Thoughts on 2015:  Why did they move Sparty to the Big 10 Opener spot (for both '15 and '16??)  Granted, years ago, when Sparty sucked, we opened with them a couple of times, but I have a hard time believing that's what Brandon or Hollis wanted.  Or maybe they are thinking that early season night games in Ann Arbor and East Lansing for the Big 10 opener might be a great tradition to start.  Truly mixed feelings here.  Hate to open up with the third tier rival, but you have to play them sometime.  Love the home schedule knowing that the Domers are in there as well.  A well placed bye before the Corn Suckers come to town is a plus as well.

2016:  Puke.  With the exception of Sparty, why on EARTH would you buy this home season ticket package?  I was afraid of this when I first saw the Leaders - Legends divisions and knew we'd be looking at seasons where we were not only not playing everyone (PSU, Purdue and Indiana) which are easy wins, but we play EVERY DECENT B!G team on the ROAD!  (Wiscy, Cornsuckers, Suckeyes).  That sucks.  Now, depending on who Brandon gets from the PAC to agree to a home and home, it's going to get tough to sell tickets.  From the PAC I would love to see a USC home and home.  I know, year in and year out they're good, but I think they're fundamentally easier for Michigan to play than say, Oregon.  I don't want to try that experiment again...Stanford would have been fun with Harbaugh there, but now, not so much.   Even thought that's probably who we're looking at...Still, it's better than WSU or Oregon State.

In summary:  Similar to this year, when I predicted a potential 4 losses, the even years moving forward are going to be something you almost need to recruit around and be ready to take advantage of the odd years when the home schedule favors victories.  Yes, I know you should be able to win on the road, but let's face facts and realize that in college football, that's always tough to do....And the even years are simply going to suck for home games from an entertainment standpoint. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mary Sue Admits "Hiring Rodriguez a Mistake"

All I can say to that is, "Well.....Duh."

I mean, I think most of us realized we were on the road to a mistake when Sailboat Bill was left in charge to independently handle the hiring of the most important position at any major collegiate football university.   (With apologies to all the AD's and University Presidents out there.)

I know we've done this exercise before, but can anyone name an athletic director or president of a University off the top of their heads (with exceptions of $warbuck$, G.Gee, DeLoss Dodds, and a couple of others) or can you name the Head Football Coach of the Domers, OSU and Texas?  That's kind of what I mean....

You're head football coach needs to be more than a coach.  And a country bumpkin from WVU (no offense, EERS fans..) wasn't what the University of Michigan needed.  I don't think it was a mistake to open everyone's eyes up to the spread and the potential it has at the collegiate level....But there's a whole lot more to it than that.

Namely - DEFENSE, for starters.  But I'm not going into a rehash of all that....

Anyway, I just find it interesting that Mary Sue is coming out now and making a statement that for the most part is not only self explanatory, it simply doesn't need to be said.

It's painfully obvious now.    And you would THINK that a University President could see that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

B1G Softball Champs! Rowing Champs!

I know that this doesn't float the boat of most of the readers of this blog, but any B1G Title gets a mention on the MMQ, especially when I have two daughters that are budding Softball prodigies (well, they just really enjoy the game!)  We've been following Women's Softball on the BTN for the entire season and we've cheered them on with each victory and had our hearts broken with the losses.  It went down to the wire, but Michigan did it again!

Michigan beat Purdue over the weekend to earn a 5th STRAIGHT B1G Championship!

It's Great to Be a Michigan Wolverine!

Women's Rowing also picked up a B1G Championship this season.  Hail to the Victors!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

National Title Odds Have Posted

For those of you wondering where the Ole MMQ gets his best information and season prognosticating abilities from, here's a BIG piece of it....The Las Vegas NCAA Championship odds have been posted.  These will fluctuate throughout the summer, but for the most part, it is what it is.

I first discovered this years ago when travelling to Nevada on work related issues.  I had not idea (at the time) that the sports books in vegas actually posted futures on the NCAA.  I knew that the NFL and pro sports across the board had them, but as far as NCAA events were concerned, I thought they just created a weekly line.  I mean, what kind of gambling junky needs a National Championship Line in May, anyway?

Well.....I guess I answered my own question!

USC           9/2

LSU           5/1
Alabama    11/2
Oklahoma  10/1
Oregon      10/1
Florida State 12/1
Georgia        12/1
Arkansas     20/1
Michigan      25/1
Notre Dame  25/1
Texas             28/1
Virginia Tech  28/1
Clemson        30/1
South Carolina 30/1
West Virginia   30/1
Nebraska         35/1
Wisconsin       40/1
Boise State     50/1
Florida            50/1
Kansas State   50/1
Michigan State  50/1
TCU                 50/1
Auburn              60/1
Miami (Florida)  75/1
Mississippi State  75/1
Oklahoma State  75/1
Cincinnati            100/1
Iowa                   100/1
Missouri              100/1
Penn State           100/1
Stanford              100/1
Washington          100/1
California             125/1
Pittsburgh            125/1
Arizona               150/1
BYU                  150/1
Georgia Tech      150/1
Tennessee          150/1
Texas A&M       150/1
Boston College   200/1
Oregon State      200/1
South Florida      200/1
UCLA                200/1

What's interesting to me, is that better publications will all fall along this same "rank" for their pre-season top 25 with small variations.  However, instead of having an AP or USAToday poll, I believe we should just let Vegas tell us who the top teams are for the first 6 weeks. 
1.  6 SEC teams in the top 20...No surprise.
2.  4 B1G teams in top 20...Somewhat of a surprise as I'm expecting a slightly down B1G Season...
3.  Domers in the Top 20?  I don't know WHERE that came from
4.  USC and Barkley is the Chalk
5.  LSU and Alabama virtually tied for 2nd. 
6. Oklahoma with it's pre-season top 10 rank..what else is new?
7.  FSU seems strangely over-rated....Not sure what I'm missing there....
But, it's Vegas and they usually know more than anyone else...
After all, it's THEIR JOB to know....
Strangely, after my last blog and the analysis on National Championship odds, Michigan is right about where I thought they should be:  25 to 1.  I predicted that they should be around 20-1 any given year, but 25 is in the +/- of my analysis.  I know, that seems like a pretty wide range, but we're talking abot NCAA Football here, where momentum is everything, new coaches and freshman surprises can make a 150-1 team look like they have a National Title shot and nothing is ever as it seems from the pre-season to the final game.
That's what makes it Great!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Kung-Fu Fighting....That Kid (WASN'T) As Fast As Lightening....

First….A Moment of Silence for the potential end of the Domer’s 2012 season. I say potential only because the Domer’s claim to have 4 Heisman QB’s on the roster and therefore, losing one shouldn’t hurt their chances whatsoever of winning double digit games this year…Never mind he was the only veteran QB on the roster…


Now, the true MMQ’s colors can shine through:


In case you HAVEN’T heard, Kung-Fu Tommy Rees was arrested after being at a house party that the SBPD (South Bend Police Department) raided. And, because there’s so much that happened and I know you probably don’t have time to read it all so I put it in an alphabetical with critical facts only: Kung-Fu Rees decided to

A. Take off running
B. Through the back yard
C. Hopped over a fence
D. Ran down a street with a cop chasing him
E. Got cut off by a cab (in South Bend?)
F. Knee’d the cop in the “chest” (my guess he was aiming for the groin and missed – kind of like those INT’s he kept tossing last season)
G. Got peppered sprayed
H. Was held down by the cabby until more cops showed up and finally
I. Arrested for felony assault.

Now, the felony charges have been dropped (which the ‘ole MMQ kind of figured would happen) but there are four misdemeanors that he’s been charged with not to mention a boatload of bad press out there.

What happens next is anyone’s guess in the Holier Than Thou Domer regime, but this is the same school that reinstated 3-beer Floyd after he was arrested with a BAC of 0.16 and didn’t miss a game. My guess: due to the fact that Kelly is already on the Hot Seat (and he’s just moved into the number 1 slot ahead of Dooley at Tennessee) and the whole charade of having “4 QB’s” in Irishland was just that, a charade to light a fire under Kung-Fu Rees’ behind, that Kelly will run the same playbook that he ran with Floyd. Let the press die down. Make a stern statement that Kung-Fu Tommy is on a tight leash. Literally sit on Kung-Fu Tommy until the season starts and state that he’s led an exemplary life since the incident 4 months prior and the “rest of the team shouldn’t suffer because of a bad mistake by their QB.”

What the Domers SHOULD DO:

Coach (and I use that term loosely as he probably won’t hold that title for more than 6-9 months) Kelly should immediately kick Rees off the team and go with the next best kid on the roster. That’s what good leaders do. Kelly will be without a veteran, but that never seemed to bother him much where he coached before. If they don’t kick Rees off, well, the ole double standard bar will have been raised up another notch and the Domers will have lost whatever respect they have left, which frankly, can’t be much. I don’t care who you are.

But, I do love enjoying the Domer’s misery…

I wish I was better doing things on the Internet, You-Tube and the like, and coming up with song parodies, but because I’m the MMQ, I just don’t have the time. If I did, however, I might put together an Ode To Tommy Rees...You know, a little diddy that went something like this…

(Cue “Kung-Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas)

The Domer QB was Kung-Fu Fighting!
He wasn’t as fast as lightening….
Every Domer was criticizing…
It was just a little bit frightening

He was a funky Domer man
From funky Domer town
The opponents were picking him off
They were knocking him down
It was known as "Tommy Rees Ball"
And everybody knew he’d give it up
Kelly’s face would fly into a rage..
He’d shake Kung-Fu Tommy’s cage…

The Domer QB was Kung-Fu Fighting!
His 40 is not worth timing…
Every Domer was criticizing
And every Domer now feels like crying….

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A College Football Play-Off is Coming - Holy Crap!

So, we’re looking at a College Football Play-off by 2014. And the MMQ is pondering why I have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. We’ve been screaming, cursing and crying for some sort of play-off and the PTB who have held the Bowls sacred are now going to give the masses what they want.

Does that make you nervous? It should. But why, MMQ, Why?

Several Reasons, in no particular order:

1. Play-off Game Timing – Bowl Play-offs vs. Immediately

Here’s my issue: IF LMU had played Alabama in the SEC Championship in December, my feeling is (and I’m basing this on nothing more than what LMU did to Georgia in that game) that LMU beats Alabama. They were rolling and had a rhythm going and simply looked both offensively and defensively, not to mention special teams, like the best college football team ever.

But now fast forward 6 weeks. Timing is gone. Satan has oodles of time to look at every scrap of offensive film from every game that LMU played this year. He had his defense more than ready. It was geared to do one thing: Stop the LMU offense. Which, kudos, they achieved with flying colors. But, and this is kind of where I’m going: Could Satan have done that in one week and achieved the same result? I’m guessing, no.

If Satan would have played OKIE State immediately after the SEC championship and LMU would have played Stanford….well, anything can happen.

Think of it this way: No other sport takes a month off before starting their play-offs. That’s the way College Footballs needs to start thinking. Who Cares About January….the NCAA has March Madness..Why not


2. Conference Championships will mean NOTHING….

Wisconsin would have been screwed last year. Plain and simple. And I honestly believe the B1G was one of the better college football conferences out there. Were the top teams (Cheeseheads – Sparty) among the elite of college football? No, they weren’t. But that shouldn’t diminish a season where two last second victories in a tough conference knock you out of contention for a play-off berth. Alabama LOST to LSU AT HOME….they shouldn’t have had a shot even though they ended up winning the whole thing.

The idea that you can be one of the top 4 teams and not be a conference champ is simply wrong and this one point probably irks me the most.

3. Adding two “BCS” bowls or whatever they are going to be called.

So, if the Rose, Sugar and Fiesta (or the Orange) become the Play-off tie ins, you’re going to need two more “BCS” bowls. Which ones are most likely and why?

First, everyone can probably see that the Cotton and the Citrus (Capital One) are two of the better non-BCS bowls worth watching. Why? Usually, the Citrus gets two really good teams from the B1G and the SEC. Makes sense that the match-up will be a good one. So, why would the Citrus suddenly give up the “agreement” it has with the B1G and the SEC to potentially get stuck with a Boise State? My guess is the Citrus doesn’t. And the B1G and the SEC will be just fine with that.

And that’s going to be a problem. The Cotton also has had some pretty good match-ups (lately) for the same reason: They have power conference tie ins and they aren’t going to want to have to bring a U-Conn or Rutgers in and not sell tickets. Not that you can sell a lot of tickets in Dallas on and especially after New Years….

See the problem? You can’t have tradition and move forward. My guess is that you will be surprised by what bowls are added to the BCS line-up. And it just might not be the Citrus and the Cotton as everyone expects. They don’t want to give up their New Year’s Day monopoly at this point and families won’t travel to Orlando (or Dallas) during the first working week of the year to watch a prime time game that isn’t on New Year’s Day. The Citrus is close enough to see what has happened to Miami with the Orange Bowl not being on New Year’s Day and how much damage has been done there. (How Much Damage? The Orange had the equivalent attendance as the Gator that was on New Year’s Day – THAT’s how much damage) The Outback also had better ratings and attendance on New Year’s then the Orange… It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Orange tries to fight and get a time slot back on New Year’s Day and somehow keep their BCS status (and dump the Beast tie in, which can’t be helping, either). So, don’t expect the Citrus to accept the invite if they have to give up their 1:00 PM New Year’s Day time slot. Just a hunch…

Buuuuuuttttttt – (Here’s the MMQ’s OUT) If the Citrus gets to KEEP the B1G and SEC tie in AND stay on NEW YEAR’S DAY and not move to a prime time night slot post New Years, all bets are off and the Citrus WILL BE the next BCS bowl…

Ditto for the Cotton….
MEANING: The SEC and B1G will have the option of having 3 teams in the BCS…the strong get stronger and everyone else just falls down the list on the pecking order.

How’s that for covering ass?

4. Preserving Bowl Tie-Ins for Semi-final Games

This one puzzles me the most. I get why the Rose is important and I understand that the it’s all the Pac 10 really has (yeah, there’s the Fiesta, but the drop off after that is steep…). But if the B1G is in first place and they play the 4th place team in the Rose and the SEC is in 2nd and they play the 3rd place nationally ranked team, well, what game will you go to – assuming you figure your team has a shot of winning the play-off game? I thought so. So, have the PTB created an un-intended consequence where the bowls that they most want to preserve will be destroyed because Fans will take a “wait and see” approach as to whether or not they are going to attend?

More than likely. And that’s too bad…I mean, I do like the Rose and I think it should be preserved…somehow.

So, MMQ – What would you do?

1. SELECTION: Somehow tie the 4 spots to Conference Championships as much as possible. I know that’s not a popular position, but dammit, I don’t want to see a re-match of any kind whenever it is avoidable. In addition, with a 12 game schedule, it’s high time that the power conferences went to a round robin format and keep the D-II schools out of the line-up. Coaches will hate it as injuries will surely mount, but that will be the true test of a champion. I don’t care if the B1G champion or even the SEC has 2 losses, they will have proven it against EVERYONE IN THEIR CONFERENCE! That, frankly, should be enough. Yes, there will be a discrepancy when you look at the Big 12, B1G, SEC, ACC, Pac12 and Beast (snicker) as to who the top 4 are…But that’s what the polls are for. Sorry if you 2nd in your conference and ranked number 3…You just didn’t cut it…

2. VENUE: I still like the Home Field for the first round and I will continue to bang the drum HARD on that approach. Keep the MONEY with the Team and conference that is winning. That makes sense. All the noise about infrastructure and being able to “handle” the kind of crowd that shows up for a big game like this? Puh-leazzzzzzzzze….You’re going to kill me because I’m laughing so hard. All that talk is Bowl Suits worried that the charade they have been perpetrating on the teams for 30 or so years is going to be revealed. And AD’s all over are going to see what kind of money home-playoffs could generate. And that would simply be the end of smaller bowls.

3. Keep the rotation for the National Title game among the current BCS bowls. (Which is kind of what is being proposed) They are kicking around a “highest bidder” for northern cities and the like, but I think if the traditional bowls want to bid like anyone else, so be it.

4.  But what about the Independents (Domers) MMQ? What about them?

I’ve been trolling the NDNation board lately and the level of stupidity over there and of the Domers (JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!) in general is baffling. The playing field is no longer level, the Domers do more than anyone else to put themselves behind the eight ball, and they STILL think that Domer football can somehow find a way to get to a National Title Game in the next 3-5 years with the new format. Hee-hee….It is to laugh.

Putting it simply: That ain’t gonna happen.

However, it got me to thinking about the odds of winning a National Championship using the last 15 years as a point of reference. Why 15? Well, with the BCS, it’s pretty clear that the SEC has an upper hand in the mess and has won the last 6 NC’s, making them somewhat of a force in the discussion. But what if you truly had to handicap it as what was “probable” for any given team or conference to win a National Title? For the top teams in the country, you know the odds are better than 1:132. I mean, realistically, any team that’s not in a power conference (SEC, B1G, ACC, PAC12, Big 12) can immediately be ruled out. That leaves it at about 1 in 60.

This past year, there were two realistic teams from each power conference that had a shot:

SEC: LSU and Bama
B1G: MSU and Wiscy
ACC: Clemson and Va Tech
Pac 12: Oregon and Stanford
Big 12: Okie State and….Well, let’s just say Okie State this year.

So, assuming for a second that’s the case every year (that there’s two reasonable challengers for the national title in each conference) you have to take the odds of being in a power conference:

6 conferences and 60 teams in those conferences, or about 1 out of 10 for any given conference to have a shot at the national title. But that number is really skewed right now with the NCAA rules and the way the SEC is bending them in their favor. That’s for another discussion. However, you can easily eliminate the bottom 8 to 10 in each conference every year which really puts a number of actual teams that have a shot at the title somewhere between 16 and 20. So, let’s say for the elite of College Football, they have a 1 in 20 shot of winning a national title, with the edge of conference power going to the SEC, making their odds slightly more favorable, probably around 1 in 8.

So, Michigan’s odds of winning a national title in any given year are 20:1. Which makes some sense.

Why CAN’T the Domers win? Because they would never get a shot at making a play-off game. Assuming for a minute that any undefeated team from the power conferences is in, there is still going to be another “VERY GOOD TEAM” from another power conference that may have one loss that will be below the Domers, until their conference title game. That game (assuming the 1 loss team wins it) will give the very good 1 loss team an additional win that the Domers or any other independent for that matter, simply won’t have an opportunity to get. Even without the conference championship, the Strength of Schedule of being in a conference and playing 13 games vs. 12 will be impossible to overcome.

Not to mention that the opinion polls will still play a factor when deciding on who should be in the top 4, which, generally speaking, when it comes to the top 4, I’ve rarely found an example where the masses are incorrect. Yeah, after about the top 10, it can get screwy, but who really cares? And that ranking will not be favorable for the Domers.

Example: Would an undefeated Domer team (last year) ended the season ranked ahead of Alabama with one loss? The answer should be easy: There’s no chance in hell. The Domer schedule wouldn’t have been as “tough” and even though it would have been close (See Okie State and Stanford) the Domers would have been in 3rd place.

So – Where, Exactly, does that leave us?

We didn’t solve anything today and this was more or less just an open airing of grievances akin to “Festivus”. I just hope that as the thing slowly evolves, everyone comes to the realization that regionality can be maintained along with bring power conferences together for a football play-off. Independents will “slowly” figure this out and eventually get on board with someone. Or somehow align themselves with someone in the future.