Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 5/30/2012

I'm not talking about realignment, playoff scenarios, or Jim Delany, Mike Slive, Larry Scott, and Dave Brandon this week. It's beyond our control, and although we are sometimes drawn to it like we are to Yahoo/ESPN/etc. comment sections--it's the spectacle, you see--it is not wise (or healthy) to discuss this stuff over and over again. I'm sure I'm going to go against this suggestion several times between now and September 1st, but this week we'll talk about things that aren't completed steeped in the fog of runaway speculation. You know, football...that game that all the hemming and hawing is supposedly about?

"Look at my face: I really really hate bubble screens."

Borges vs. Saban, Part III. We can only hope that the third installment of this series does not go as poorly for Michigan as Godfather III went for the eyeballs of everyone that paid money to see it. In lieu of yesterday's name drop of Borges at the end of the Alabama linebackers preview, this is probably timely re: previous meetings:
Borges also faced Saban twice while at Auburn, and beat him both times -- but it was a struggle to do so.
The first matchup came in 2004, when Saban was still head coach at LSU. Borges' SEC-best offense, which averaged 32.1 points per game, was held to 10 points.
The second meeting came in 2007, Saban's first year at Alabama. Borges won again, but Auburn scored just 17 points, a touchdown off its average of 24.2 points.
So, yeah...Borges "bested" Saban both times, but, really, he didn't. That 2007 Alabama team was Saban's first in Tuscaloosa...the Tide finished 7-6 (4-4) that year. Auburn scored less than every other Alabama conference opponent save Vanderbilt (Mississippi State and Tennessee both also put up 17 on Alabama). Even Louisiana Monroe managed 21 points in what is one of the more forgotten upsets in recent times.

As for the 2004 Auburn-LSU game...I was at the '04 Auburn-UGA game, and I remember these things: 1) Cadillac and Ronnie Brown running all over the place 2) Junior Rosegreen's hit on Reggie Brown and 3) a very, very sad UGA fan sitting in front of me. That Auburn team was simply insane, and Borges would have had to do quite a bit to sabotage that offense. He very nearly did this, as Auburn won that one at Jordan-Hare by the grit-tastic score of 10-9. To be fair, LSU was not bad at all that season: ignoring the Auburn loss, LSU suffered only one other regular season loss (a thumping at the hands of UGA) before going on to lose via Drew Tate Hail Mary in the Citrus Bowl.

I would probably expect a similar result on September 1st (underperformance relative to season-long ppg/yardage trends). That sounds like I'm making some sort of value judgment, but really I'm just confirming that, you know, offenses usually perform worse than they typically do when faced with the best defense on their schedule (news at 11). That's not to say that I think Saban and Smart will be in Borges's head like Professor X, it just seems that Michigan's best chance at winning this one will mirror the 2012 Sugar Bowl "game plan":a little luck, a little non-ironic grit, some bending but not breaking, and did a mention bags of pure luck emblazoned with Jareth Glanda's face instead of the ubiquitous dollar sign? I just don't see Michigan having the ability to put together a lot of long drives, but I would love for Al and the guys to prove me wrong.

Otherwise, Michigan will have to count on some uncharacteristic herpin' and derpin' from the Alabama offense and some young linebackers looking like confused tourists in a foreign land.

Raise your hand if you are surprised by this? I don't why this has fomented such an uproar since this has happened before (see: Gardner, Devin), but oh well. It's just a game, fergodsakes. The scary thing is, no matter how many time people express the aforementioned truism, people that believe otherwise will continue to exist.

For all the perks and benefits that come with being a college football player, it is unfortunate that they must come as part of a package that results in millions of middle-aged maniacs knowing who they are and what they're saying while giving said crazies access to said players via social media and other outlets of creepiness. I suspect that these people have always existed, it's just that social media and the Internet at large have given them an outlet through which to express their unique brand of crazy.

Dear weirdos: get in your car and drive to a little town called Perspective. Nota bene: this town does not exist, anywhere, but I'm hoping that, in tricking you into driving all over the place in search of this fictional town, you may or may not acquire some actual perspective along the way. It's kind of an On The Road for the college football-obsessed crazy person: crazy college football man goes on journey, looking for perspective, man. This version would be infinitely more interesting than the actual book, which does not age like wine and is only good if you are: 1) a teenager or 2) a hipster. ANYWAY.

Lastly: hey there SI headline. What you did there...I see it.

Insert Casablanca quote. Jerry Hinnen takes a look at the over/under win totals for the SEC West, which of course added Texas A&M to the fold (good luck with that, Aggies). I'm not a gambling guy at all, but hey, at least we're talking wins and losses here and not bowl revenues and how Dave Brandon is the worst, you guys. The aforementioned O/Us come via Beyond The Bets, which shows Michigan coming in for an O/U of 9.5, FWIW.

I'd pretty much have to agree with all of those assessments except for Arkansas, who I don't see getting 9 wins in 2012 (O/U 8.5). I would also be surprised if Auburn wins 8+ this season: Brian VanGorder's hair can only do so much, although losing shipping Ted Roof off to Happy Valley is what they call addition by subtraction. As for taking the over on Mississippi State's 7.5...don't know about that one. The momentum built after the Gator Bowl drubbing Mullen and Co. administered to Michigan is largely gone after a disappointing 2011.

Alabama likely does what it couldn't do in 2011, and by that I mean win its own division. I get the feeling that LSU will slip from its 2011 form, but they'll still win at least 10. The question then is who comes in third, which looks to be Arkansas but that whole John L. Smith thing sort of complicates things. Additionally, the Razorbacks have never been strong defensively, and losing Garick McGee--who left to take the HC position at UAB--doesn't help things. It's unlikely that former Buckeye assistant and new Arkansas DC Paul Haynes will be able to do enough to turn things around there in his first year.

For some reason, I'm envisioning a 2007 scenario unfolding in the SECW this year, where the champion (Alabama, this year) has two losses and the rest of the division is a mass of mediocrity after the second place team (LSU, in my opinion). Can Alabama make the national title game this year with two conference losses like LSU did in 2007? I don't know, but even imagining the possibility, especially after what Alabama pulled off last year, makes me shudder a bit.

Spike Albrecht. Via UMHoops, Joe Stapleton continues the "Getting to Know" series with Spike, who might be the lone thing separating Trey Burke from spontaneously combusting at some point halfway through the B1G schedule. This isn't news or anything, but it's still kind of amazing that Albrecht put on 20 pounds last summer and is still only 165. Dear Spike: please head to your nearest Cottage Inn location. Related concerns:
I never really played AAU, and AAU is big nowadays. But when you’re 5-foot-11, 150 pounds, I mean, I’m gonna get killed out there, so I was never able to do AAU. But for me, I think it was a blessing in disguise because I was just going to get hurt if I’d have played AAU.
The B1G, among other stereotypes, is a little bit more physical than AAU ball. With all due respect to Spike, I'm still feeling fairly uneasy about what Trey's work load might look like in 2012-13. Beilein has also publicly expressed these obvious concerns, but when push comes to shove most coaches will choose running their stars down to a nub if it means putting in a guy like Carlton Brundidge or Eso Akunne, (i.e. guys who are clearly not adequate collegiate ball-handlers). I sincerely hope that Spike does well, pitching in anywhere between 4-7 minutes a game, but I'm not that confident that he'll be able to give Trey all that much more rest than he got last season. This is yet another "I will gladly have you prove me wrong" scenario.

More? Didn't get a chance to read this Weinreb piece on Notre Dame until yesterday...nothing too world-shattering, but I have to admit that I actually laughed out loud at the ND alumnus's question because of how much it reminds me of the fact that ND is just a Catholic version of Michigan. Clearly, 2012 is the year of the LSU Tiger Shrimps. Maize n Brew kicks off Northwestern preview week.

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