Sunday, December 31, 2006



School Total Posessions Total Points Points/Poss P/Poss vs. >.500 TOP* AOTDR* TDR*
Michigan 2006 (12 G) 120 331 2.76 2.67 33:44 65.83 7
Michigan 2005 (12 G) 133 306 2.30 1.75 31:23 66.75 36
Southern Cal (12 G) 120 328 2.73 2.62 30:54 62.16 20
Florida (12 G) 122 285 2.34 2.14 30:24 46 10

AOTDR* = average Opponent Total Defense rank
TDR* = Total Defense rank
TOP* = Time of Possesion, per game

TPA*= Total Points Allowed

More shortly, but first - ALL HAIL THIS MAN?!?

Well, and the two archangels, of course.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


"Look at the last couple of years. USC and Michigan (2004 Rose Bowl), it was a huge game, and USC won, and look at where they were the next year. They were a top 10 team in the nation and went on to win a championship. “Look at Texas, they came in, and were a top 10 in the country the next year after that."

And he will return, Mike Hart, the man who subtly alludes to the notion that if Michigan beats Southern Cal it will win the National Championship the following season.

There are the hopelessly optimistic, the cautiously confident, the cocksure, the arrogant, and the brazen. And there are the purely lion-hearted, a strata in which Mike has most certainly resided his entire life. Were his vague declaration more vehement than that, one could consider it merely the pervading bitterness of a man victimized by the Napoleon Complex. But Mike knew exactly what he was saying in those sentences, and yet he didn’t speak frantically, as if he cared that the audience of journalists knew, or believed, what he was saying; this was the condition of the man, this was something he considered fact, this was a man who fought not as a defense mechanism, not to promote himself and his team – because for so long no one else had ever done it for him – but because he believed in no soul more than he did himself, and in this life he has never been afraid to.

It was President Ford that had given him the moniker “Little Mike,” and had told him so. It was Bo who used to tell him “You’re too small to play here.” Mike reminisces willingly about these vignettes; his size is not a curse, but rather an identity, something to be embraced. He’s not a small boy standing on his tiptoes so that a nation will notice him. “How can you be so short and still look down on so many people”; that’s not what he’s about. Because you realize whether he’s 5-8 or 5-9, or if he’s 5-7 and we’ve just been naïve, it doesn’t matter how tall he is. He is just much larger than us.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

BlogPoll Awards: Part 2

Info Here, Nominate Here (open to readers)

The Keith Jackson Circa 1995 Award

FOR: The blog with the most consistently expressive and excellent writing.

CRITERIA: Mechanical competency, yes, but the ability to turn a devastatingly funny phrase or write something compelling is probably more important. This isn't an award for copy editing; it's an award for kickin' prose.

- MGoBlog- On either Sunday or Monday during the season, before Brian is tempted to write with specific analytical objectives in mind, before writes with charts and numbers, before he writes with his head, he writes with his heart. A few creations of Brian’s come to mind who have not had their quality replicated anywhere else – the BlogPoll itself, the UFR template, Third Down Efficiency project, Recruiting Board – and yet it is constantly his writing, when he puts his hands on the keys and unleashes, that I am most humbled. After Michigan defeated Notre Dame:

“They are constant, something that has been more curse than blessing over the past few years, but now Michigan says: I am here. I have been here. I will be here. I have proven that much.”

And then there was “The New Math”, and “Eleven Swans,” and just about all of what Brian does.

- DawgSports- Blessed with an attorney’s diligence and a father’s warm heart, Kyle has a scholar’s grasp of history, and a reverence for it that makes him a great storyteller. His Lewis Grizzard tribute was part eulogy, part biography, and a lecture in southern culture. To me, Georgia has always just been a perfect place for .400 baseball players and a good brand of cola, but Kyle’s able to depict his home state and its idiosyncrasies as a mesmerizing foreign land.

- EDSBS- The Oscar winner who insists on doing standup instead. In some ways it’s frustrating to see Orson so consistently view things with a broader, nationwide scope, satisfying the demands of such a diverse readership, considering when it comes to his own team he puts forth things such as this, which are remarkable examples of his depth as a writer.

The Brady Quinn Award

FOR: The prettiest blog, the best layout and design.

CRITERIA: An aesthetic appeal, whether from a stylish banner, a pleasing layout, or an eye-catching incorporation of blog technology.

Bevo Sports- The consolidated “recent comments” gizmo on the side is perfect; the whole thing’s neat as hell, and allow me to be the nine thousandth person to say that using a football field as the background was a nice touch.

Rocky Top Talk- A full range of features and amenities; almost like the Maybach of blogs.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray- It’s almost impossible to say something looks elegant without sounding like a bitch, but there you go. I really like the simplicity of it.

Michigan Sports Center- Best banner going.

The New Blog on the Block Award

FOR: The best new college football blog.

CRITERIA: Must have launched sometime after last year's national championship game. Transitioning to a new blog or affiliating with a network mid-stream doesn't count.

Conquest Chronicles- Funny, and evidently not prone to those multi-day leaves of absence new bloggers seem prone to.

Black Shoe Diaries- Representative of the Penn State fan base in its devotion, but also coherent and logical, which isn’t.

Maize n Brew- Dave’s writing is often profound, often funny, always insightful; conveys all of the emotional investment a fan needs to make sports worthwhile.

The LOL, MSM Award

FOR: The blog best keeping tabs on the man and calling out all of the injustices in the college football world.

CRITERIA: Consistently ahead-of-the-curve on controversial issues in college football.

EDSBS, MGoBlog, Sunday Morning Quarterback, The Wizzard of Odds, Fire Mark May.

The Best Community Interaction Award

FOR: The blog with the best community interaction.

CRITERIA: A regular solicitation of input from readers and utilization of reader-produced content.

EDSBS, Bruins Nation, Burnt Orange Nation, MGoBlog

The Tyrone Prothro And His Amazing Catch Award

FOR: The finest individual post of the college football year.

CRITERIA: Best post for whatever reason.

Brian’s “Eleven Swans.” Probably fighting an unfair advantage in that it was written the day before the most anticipated football game of my life, hours after Bo died, but that’s kind of like saying Jordan had an unfair advantage because he got all the calls. Either way, the best.

The Chris Berman Antimatter Award

FOR: The best contribution to the lingo of our little interniche, be it a nickname, neologism, or catchy phrase used with frequency.

CRITERIA: Spread is important. The ideal candidate has been universally adopted by anyone with cause to use the term.

The Fulmer Cup, by EDSBS.

The Old Faithful Award

FOR: The best recurring feature of the year.

CRITERIA: The feature should be posted weekly and be generally good and stuff.

LD’s Gameday Recap on Gunslingers. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been up before 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday, unless of course Michigan was playing at noon (and in that case it’s still like 11:56 or something), which means that at this point, Gameday is all but a two-hour validation that my beloved sport is relevant enough to warrant a preview show. And yet over the past year and a half I haven’t missed one of LD’s recaps. Whether it’s critiquing the media biases through a distillation of each segment’s focus, the nature of the media itself through the tone of player features; examining the flaws in the manner the college football mosaic is depicted; or simply calling Lee Corso out for resembling a Neanderthal blowhard at times, LD is incredibly on point, in a fashion the Fire Joe Morgan boys could envy.

The That's Not Really Real Award

FOR: The best photoshop or other counterfeit gag of the year.

CRITERIA: Could be a photoshop, a Motivational Poster, an On Notice Board, or something similar, as long as it elicited more than a mere smile.


The You Talkin' To Me Award

FOR: The best back and forth between rival blogs the week before a rivalry game.

CRITERIA: Must be bi-directional, and both blogs must score points against each other. A unilateral beat-down will not suffice. Should be more in the spirit of fun than wildly abusive.

EDSBS and Warren St. John

The I'm Just Like You But I Have a Podcast Award

FOR: The best podcast or podcaster of the year.

CRITERIA: Uh, must be audio. And about college football, you know. Note that this is "podcast" in a really broad sense. Parody songs, incoherent ravings about Tyrone Willingham, and whatever else you've got are nominate-able. One restriction: it has to be self-generated.

Without question, Orson’s Michael Lewis interview (Part One, Part Two), which, when I think about it, was truly one of the most impressive pieces of the year, of any kind.

The I Wanna Talk About Me Free for All :My three favorite pieces were: Tony Boles, Steve Breaston, Why I write.

The Blogger Championship Series

ACC- Eagle in Atlanta

Big 10- MGoBlog

Big 12- Burnt Orange Nation

Big East- Blue Gray Sky


Pac 10- Bruins Nation

Non-BCS- Pitch Right

Generalist- Sunday Morning Quarterback

Best Blog

Really, this came down to a few that even stood a chance. There were five that came to mind: EDSBS, MGoBlog, SMQ, Burnt Orange Nation, and Dawg Sports. Blue Gray Sky and Bruins Nation were in the photo. Anyway, Brian’s my pick, which might be a bad idea, lest he get any motivation to go find a job that pays better.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BlogPoll Awards: Part 1

Info Here. Nominate Here (open to readers).

The Dr. Z Award

FOR: Cogent, interesting analysis.

CRITERIA: Emphasis placed on statistical manipulation, well researched pieces that reveal something new, and/or solid argumentative pieces that function as the authoritative last word on a subject.

MGoBlog- It should be noted that had I not been sent a link to one of Brian’s Upon Further Review entries during the 2005 season, I probably would not have a blog. His Third Down Efficiency expedition could blow dandruff off a man’s scalp.

iBlog For Cookies- Vijay’s highlight recaps alone, which unfortunately seem to have slowly disappeared with the advent of YouTube, were one of the most satisfying recurring features to be found – used both as an analysis resource and means to savor the dying embers of Steve Breaston’s career. Admirable composure regardless of content or the oblivious Notre Dame douche bags that set Vijay out to prove them wrong in the first place.

Burnt Orange Nation- Under the Hood feature is as enviably thorough as anything you’d see in a media guide, and his weekly position reviews are written better than much of what I see in print journalism. Peter saw the Brantley de-commit miles before any of us, which was simply the most recent example of his perceptiveness.

Blue Gray Sky- Scholars of the game, eternally loyal, and fans of all that math and science stuff their school’s Catholic overlords shake fingers at; worth the hype their painfully overrated football team isn’t.

Sunday Morning Quarterback- If as much time was taken collecting praise from various internets as is evidently put into daily entries, the testimonial sidebar has all the potential to read like an Ayn Rand chapter.

The Trev Alberts Quits To Do Construction Award

FOR: comic relief; overall hilarity.

CRITERIA: The funniest college football blog.

Every Day Should Be Saturday: In response to Bill Simmons’ live blog of last year’s Rose Bowl:

We (care about it), Bill. It doesn’t make sense, but neither does caring about the NBA or watching 90210. It’s the vestiges of something called “being regional,” which you may understand if we put it this way–it’s paying attention to events occurring outside of the Boston metropolitan area and watching a few new shows, reading a few new books, and dropping the horrifically clumsy hip-hop references thrown in to ward off the creaking obsolescence of your writing, even though you live in L.A. now and should be picking up some new material.

Here’s a comb, Bill – you just got your mother fucking wig rocked.

Tressel’s World- Just about as baffling as anything you’ll ever read, but impossible to omit when its produced things like “I’ll knock freckles off Lindsay Lohan’s tits.” A passage from the inaugural post:

The other day I was at Cost-Co with the misses, we had to find a new remote because, her dog, Waffles, chewed the fuck out of it. I hate that dog, Man, what I wouldn't give for a sack of bricks and a bridge. So yeah, I'm looking for a new remote control for the TV, and I buy one, but have you ever tried to tried program one of those muther fuckers. I'll tell you, it's like Chinese Algebra, I was so stressed by the time I was done, I had to go pop a few beebees into my neighbors retarded kid. It's cool with him, cause I hook him up with free tickets.

The site description, which reads “I'm not all football. I got things to say. I write poetry about things, alot of things that aren't about football. This site is about those things,” perfectly represents the irony of Tressel’s persona: Tressel’s a guy who, with endless ambiguities and the wardrobe of a Social Studies teacher, paints himself as a character so simple and harmless he’s actually corny, yet in all actuality he’s the malevolent mastermind of one of the dirtiest programs in college athletics. The description of the blog satisfies similar objectives, albeit satirically.

Fire Mark May- Frequently drops bombs on ESPN, which is usually a recipe for success; Jim Rome is constantly on left coast time. He is still really into Pogs.” I’m sure one on a career path similar to mine would benefit more from reading things like FMM, but the core curriculum for most English departments mandates we discuss how Kate Chopin’s writing was influenced by the fact that she clearly didn’t get fucked enough instead. A travesty.

Hey Jenny Slater- An excellent writer with a firm grip on popular culture, often evident when his football posts evolve into political and social critiques – as seen here.

The Sports Fans Don't Cry Award

FOR: The blog that has suffered through its chosen team's dismal season with the most dignity.

CRITERIA: Continued engagement in the face of crippling, misery-inducing defeat. A stiff-upper lip and sane reaction to everything crumbling to dust.

Bruins Nation- One of the most vindicating moments of the 2006 season was witnessing UCLA defeat Southern Cal, and watching the celebration commence on Nestor’s blog in the ensuing days. There is not a YouTube highlight in existence from that game that has not been published over there – and I have no basis for that but there’s at least a 90% chance that I’m right. Karl Dorrell spent the season with a tormented look on his face that made his inner anguish incredibly evident; it wasn’t just because he knew thousands didn’t like him, but as if he was slowly starting to dislike himself as well. And when UCLA had actually won, Dorrell’s soul mended – if only until the next game – Bruins Nation forgave him. Or rather, they were willing to ignore the past, because in this painful game we worship, the present always has the possibility for redemption. It’s in a fan’s true nature to forgive, to want to forgive, and watching them find solace in one game despite 11 others brought me great joy. Without a doubt the best a team other than Michigan has ever made me feel.

Ian at the FanHouse, Orange 44, The Bemusement Park