Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 8/21/2012

11 days!
Alvin Wistert in the 1950 Michiganensian
 Staples on the B1G. So remember yesterday when I joked about eventually getting to that season preview where I say something about how "Michigan will be better in 2012 but have a worse record yada yada yada?" Well, Andy Staples beat me to it. Down in the "Five Key Questions" section: 
Can Michigan be better in 2012 but finish with a worse record than in 2011? Absolutely. That's the risk Michigan took by scheduling Alabama to open the season. No matter the result in Arlington, Texas, the future looks bright in Ann Arbor. The most important thing for Michigan is the Legends Division, because winning that gives the Wolverines a shot to return to the Rose Bowl. The key stretch for Michigan will come in late October, when they face Michigan State at the Big House a week before traveling to Lincoln to face Nebraska. The Wolverines need to break Michigan State's four-year stranglehold on that rivalry, but if they do, they can't relax. If they can go 2-0 in that stretch, they might reach Pasadena by way of Indianapolis. 
 On a serious note, there's not a whole lot in Staple's B1G preview that I disagree with. I think Michigan settles in at 9-3 this season, which, in my humble opinion, would be a very solid second year all things considered. As for Michigan State, I've been feeling some major cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, I think that losing an experienced player like Cousins is a big deal, and then I look at that defense and just think "eh, Maxwell should be okay." With that said, 11-1 for MSU might be asking a lot after losing every notable receiver, Cousins, and Jerel Worthy (and Trenton Robinson). The Spartans will be good and I'm leaning towards picking them to win the division right now but 11-1 might be a little too lofty of a prediction.

Illusion, Michael. I was reading this article about the persistence of the belief in magic through the ages:
Perhaps this explains why a belief in sympathetic magic—irrational, superstitious, glorious—continues unabated in our hyperrationalist age. If anything, the ascendancy of science has clarified these beliefs, and the degree to which we’re willing to cling to them despite a cognitive awareness of the fallacious nature of magic.
Leave your FEI numbers, completion percentages, and proper mechanics at the door: this is the comforting, irrational, often fantastically irreproducible age of magic.

Talkin' defense, man. There's nothing silly about practice defense, man. Zach Travis over at Maize n Brew talks about Greg Mattison after I talked about Al Borges last week. On Mattison's M.O.:
The Okie package is one of pure havoc. Mattison likes bringing the heat (again from Brown's piece in HTTV: "Mattison frequently stated that on third down he believes in one thing: pressure"), and one of his favorite ways to do it is with mass confusion. The Okie package is a perfect example of that, as it is the kind of hellish, quarterback-nightmare inducing formation that can bring pressure from any of seven different defenders.
Every DC in the history of football when hired will pay lip service to the following things: playing aggressively, playing fast, wanting to bring pressure, harass the quarterback, etc. The 2011 season was proof that Mattison wasn't messing around about all of that. I mean, if the end of the Ohio State game wasn't proof enough--what with Chris Spielman being all exasperated about why Mattison was bringing so much pressure on OSU's final drive--then I don't what is. 

Anyway, go read the whole post. Be thankful for having nice things like "coordinators that know what they're doing" because before you know it you're rolling around on the floor crying while Greg Robinson leads your defense into battle with a stuffed animal. 

Stories about the speed of special teams gunners...are appearing on the Internet. Apparently, Nick Saban wants his gunners to be big and fast. "Oversigning" "cheating" "ESSS EEE CEEE SPEED" "PAWWLLL"<-----there, I have provided you with all the ingredients for a nice joke stew. Doesn't really matter what order you throw 'em in there, the joke always comes out the same way. 

It is August 21st. I don't know how many days it's been since we landed here on Offseason Island, but I pray that they come for us soon. I can only read previews of Conference USA teams for so much longer. 

"University of Michigan ranked as having a packed stadium, good libraries and a great hometown." That is the headline of this annarbor.com article. I wonder: did they only begin collecting the data for this survey of student packed-ness after the end of the first quarter of every game? (Because they only show up after that point, you see.)

Back to the headline, though. I like it. It sounds like something a really confused person trying to be nice would say. "Orlando is ranked as having long amusement park lines, good weather, and a great place to live if you want to live in a place called Orlando." 

That said, Ann Arbor is awesome and deserving of such lofty praise. From its tremendous libraries to its student apathy vis-a-vis athletics, Ann Arbor just the type of place that makes you want to scale a mountain and yell about it. Man, I miss Ann Arbor. 

More? Looking forward to Michael Cox running for 20 yards on one play and in the completely wrong direction on the next one. Dan Greene of SI.com provides you with yet another preview of Team 133 to read. Something I learned: Craig Roh can breathe through his nose now. That is a good thing to be able to do. On a serious note, um...I honestly had no idea that Roh was even thinking about transferring/quitting at one point.

Boise State comes in at #13 on Pre-Snap Read's countdown...Boise, Utah, and Kansas State all come in ranked ahead of Michigan. Now, I don't think Michigan is top 10 material or anything, but I don't know about those teams being ahead of the Wolverines, PAWL Myerberg. 

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