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Stadium and Main: Now that the dust has settled...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Now that the dust has settled...

The Bowl thing

So the Big Ten had the worst bowl season of any BCS team in the BCS era. I’m sure we won’t hear anything about that from the national media. I kid. But seriously, I am consistently amazed at how the media continually overlooks the strength of the Big Ten’s bowl schedule.

Yes, the Big Ten was down this year. But over the long haul, they really should be losing the majority of their bowl games given the circumstances/schedule. If there ever comes a time when the Big Ten is winning 75% of its bowl games over a 5 year period, then that means they’re dominating college football. The Big Ten consistently plays more of the best teams from the best BCS conferences (read: not the ACC or Big East) than any other conference, and plays many of them in de facto road games.

I have to laugh at some conferences’ bowl schedules. Lets see… the Big East’s 2nd place team (Pitt) got to play Oregon State. Our 2nd place team (Ohio State) got to play Texas. If you tell me those two games are equivalent, you’re insane. And it’s the same thing, year in and year out with the Big Ten – all the way down the schedule. But nobody ever takes the time to look at the schedules, they just see the wins and losses. Think about this: the Big Ten played USC, Georgia, and Missouri, all of which were TOP FIVE teams in many polls to start the season. And that doesn’t include Texas, which was Top 10 (and has a legitimate argument, like USC, that it deserves a share of the National Title). That’s nuts. I know that some of those teams didn’t live up to expectations, but they are all very good teams. Think about the experienced NFL-level talent on those 4 teams I just listed, especially at the skill postions – it’s impressive. No wonder the Big Ten lost those games.

The depth of the Big Ten’s bowl schedule is always crazy. This year, we had 7 bowl teams. We played 3 Big 12 teams (Texas, Mizzou, Kansas), 2 SEC teams (Georgia, South Carolina), 1 Pac-10 team (USC) and 1 ACC team (FSU). There are no patsies there; there are no Nevadas or Navys or Buffalos or Louisiana Techs. And some of those games were essentially on the road. I can’t understand how people continually overlook this. Yes I can, it’s because people are stupid.


No, Terrelle Pryor is not very accurate, but he’s already pretty good. He’s going to be very good, primarily because of his athleticism. His effortless scrambling is Vince Young-esque. He’s going to drive the Big Ten crazy for at least 2 more years. One thing that bothers me, as a football “purist,” is how he often runs out of bounds without regard to the first down marker. If I remember correctly, he ran out of bounds 2 yards short of the first down on a 2nd and long play in the first half vs. Texas, when he seemingly could have maintained balance and reached the marker, or even dove for the first down. He did this a few other times when extra yards were there for the taking. That sort of nonchalant mentality isn’t necessarily frustrating because it seems like Pryor isn’t giving full effort; it’s mainly frustrating because it seems as if it doesn’t matter. As in, it doesn’t matter if he stops short on one play because he’s probably going to burn you on the next one. I might be giving the guy too much credit too soon, but he has that rare ability to gain 15 yards with his legs whenever he darn well pleases. Those who think he has no future as an accurate passer should compare his first-year stats to those of Vince Young and Troy Smith. Those guys stunk even worse, but improved. That’s not a guarantee of success, but it’s also not good sign for non-OSU fans.

A word on in-state recruiting

Bottom line: If Michigan State ends up with a class that the websites say is about 20th, on average, and Michigan ends up with a class that is about 10th, then MSU can “own” the state of Michigan in recruiting for all I care. Michigan is going to get most of the guys it wants in-state, and MSU can “lock down” the rest. When you’re MSU, you need those guys from Saginaw or Kalamazoo or wherever – guys who are solid Big Ten players but maybe not superstars. When you’re Michigan, and you are beating Florida and Miami for some of the best recruits in the Sunshine State, you can afford to be a bit more selective, and you can even afford to lose a few 4-star types to your in-state rival. Looking at it from another angle, if there ever comes a time when Michigan has more in-state players on its roster than MSU, we’re in trouble. The state produces decent talent, but in general, better talent can be had elsewhere. Michigan can usually get that talent, Michigan State usually can’t. So while the Detroit media buys into MSU’s spin that the Spartans signing more Michiganders is bad news for Michigan, here’s the deal: It really isn’t.

Other Things

- The college football off-season is the longest in recent memory this coming year, thanks to a calendar quirk. Whereas the season usually starts in late August or the first few days of September, we’ll have to wait until September 5, 2009 for the first full Saturday of games. Just a few extra days for the media to write glowing, factually-sound articles about Rich Rodriguez, right?

- Tulane is the real national champion.

- The Michigan Stadium Renovation site has a nifty map that allows you to view a few web cams monitoring the construction. Click on the red text on the map to see the progress. 3 of the 5 are pointed at the Stadium.

- I strongly urge you to attend the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, April 11th. Check out the construction progress, see new QB Tate Forcier and the other early enrollees, and support the team. Go Blue!


Blogger Jered said...

-My heart sank when we lost our courtship with Pryor to OSU, and the heartache continues. That one will sting for a while, and I think most UM fans knew it at the time. He is the perfect fit for RR's scheme. Now we're left with Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. They're not exactly on the same level.
-Kalamazoo isn't a hotbed for HS football? What about Pete Metzelaars and TJ Duckett?
-I'm looking forward to your Spring Review. My money is on Forcier winning the job right away. Denard Robinson does not look like a QB prospect to me. I can see why Florida said he would be a "package" player. He's only 6'0" and doesn't look like he has much of an arm. Of course, I'm basing this mostly off of YouTube videos, take it for what it's worth.

9:59 AM  
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Anonymous Steven said...

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9:48 PM  

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