Friday, December 29, 2006

The GLI? We're going to Winnett!

MHNet from The Yost Post posted a link to an article on Hockeysfuture about one of the high-profile members of next year's recruiting class, Ben Winnett. He's having a great season so far, leading his team in both goals and assists.

We haven't heard all that much about him, being that he's from British Columbia and all, so here are Winnett's comments about himself:

"I’m a fast skating and offensive player who likes to shoot the puck but also likes to set up my teammates, and I have a bit of a physical side to me and like to play gritty and finish my checks when I can."

Now here's a less-biased, but still very positive, review from his coach, Ty Davidson:

"He’s a very good player. He’s got, I would say, NHL speed already," Coach Davidson said about Winnett. "He’s got a good hard, quick, shot. He’s a dependable guy defensively; he’s not one of those one-dimensional guys. The other good asset is that he plays with an edge. He’s very feisty, he’s not afraid to go into the corners or to the front of the net. Very competitive, like I said, dynamic is the best way to put it. He has almost European-type speed and skill."

With regard to his studies, the article states that, "he plans on taking general studies for the first two years before moving into the business program". As a Michigan hockey fan, however, I'm obligated to correct the article: He plans on taking general studies for the first two years before going pro a couple weeks before classes start, just after another recruit has decommitted due to a lack of a scholarship for the upcoming season.

We're just a few hours away from the GLI, and according to The Ann Arbor News, we'll have both Jason Dest and Steve Kampfer back for the game. It sounds as if Kolarik is going to be playing with Rohlfs and Naurato. It'll be interesting to see if Naurato can be productive playing with a couple of our better players. Just do what Brett Hull did, Brandon. Just find the open space and be ready to let it rip.

The game tonight is on FSD on tape delay, which means that tonight I will once again attempt the impossible: Watching a tape delayed game without finding out the final score ahead of time. I swear to God if FSD puts the score on the ticker they show during the Pistons game, I will lay someone out.

Lastly, about the Wings win over Columbus last night, I offer up this quote from Mike Babcock:

“(On Wednesday), our goalie (Dominik Hasek) had to do a (heck) of a job; today, our guys had to do a (heck) of a job for the goalie,” Babcock said. “It would have been easy for us to fold, but we stuck with it and got some breaks.”

Anybody want to offer up a guess what changed? Why the guys in front of the goalie had to do a hell of a job last night? Oh yeah, Ozzie was in net. Good thing he's signed for another year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Getting Back Into The Swing of Things

I'm back from my holidays/Green Bay trip/illness hiatus. So--as I frequently do when I fail to post for a week or so--time for random thoughts about the world of sports.

-If we're going to lose players to the World Juniors every single year, shouldn't it at least be a requirement that the US...I dunno...not lose to freaking Germany? Seriously guys? It's Germany. Canada is acceptable. It sounds like you battled hard after getting down 3-0, but GERMANY? Well...on the bright side, at least it wasn't Holy Cross.

-I'm having a hard time getting jacked up for the GLI. I'm not sure if it's the fact that we haven't won it in so long, the fact that our team has been playing like dogcrap since they last beat State, the fact that Billy Sauer is still our goalie, or a combination of the three. Tomorrow is a no-win game for me. If we win, yippee do, we beat Tech. If we lose, I'm pissed that we lost to Tech and I'll start cursing out Team USA and Canada again. And yes, I realize that Tech isn't that bad this year.

-Would a Billy Sauer/Justin Tobe matchup be the worst goaltending matchup ever?

-Expect some heavy fines for Lawrence Frank and Jason Kidd for their comments about the officiating last night. Anytime you call a ref out by name, and refer to them collectively as "The Three Blind Mice" it's not going to be pretty. Especially when David Stern is running the league. Oh, and it was a foul on Sheed. Definitely. But at the same time, Vince Carter still had a wide open 16 footer for the win. And if you asked them before the game would they take that, the answer would have been yes. Plus, you shot 35+ free throws, and the Pistons got T-ed up 3 times for arguing calls, so obviously the officiating wasn't as one-sided as the Nets would have you believe.

-After the ball went out of play with just over a second remaining, Frank ran out on the court like a pissed-off Jim Valvano. So much for the "no tolerance" rule there huh? Where's that T?

-What stat best goes to show how crappy the NBA's Atlantic Division is? That a 10-16 team is just 1 game out of first place, that a team which is 13 games below .500 is only 4 1/2 games out of first place, or the fact that the last place team in 3 of the other 5 divisions would be either leading--or less than a half game out of first place--in the Atlantic? Yikes.

-Jason Maxiell has just been fun to watch these last few games. Dale Davis as well. It's nice to see the guys coming off the Pistons' bench performing at a high level. I'm still a little worried about Flip Murray. He's playing like the Flip Murray of last year's playoffs, and that's not a good thing.

-It's Week 17 and the Packers still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Beat the Bears (not likely, but hey, the Lions were 1 play away from doing just that), have the Giants lose on the road against Washington (I'd say that's more than likely), and have either the Rams lose, or the Falcons win, or the Panthers win and we're dancing.

-I went up to Green Bay for the Packers/Vikings game last week. There's still no better place to watch a game than Lambeau Field. If you haven't been there, you need to. If you're not a Packers fan, who cares? Wait until your team plays at GB, and go. It's amazing. I love it there.

-I'm starting to think that unless he's franchised, the Packers should make Tony Gonzalez priority #1 in the offseason. It might be a product of a weak NFC, but this is a 10-5 football team right now if they've got a red-zone threat like him.

-Overall, I have to say I'm pretty happy with the direction Green Bay is going. The linebacking corps has been transformed from a glaring weakness to an obvious strength. Aaron Kampman leads the freaking NFL in sacks, Cullen Jenkins has been outstanding since they moved him outside. Ted Thompson was 2 for 3 on his big free agent signings this year. Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett have been fantastic. Marquand Manuel has been a major disappointment. He drafted a bunch of players who are getting experience--particularly on the offensive line. A lot of young guys are getting experience, and there is some good young talent there. Obviously there's a huge hole at QB if Favre leaves because I don't think Rodgers is the answer, though he hasn't had a chance to prove it either way. But for what is probably the youngest team in the NFL, to be a borderline playoff team is a major accomplishment--no matter what my preseason expectations are. I said I wanted to see improvement, and I have. The defense was giving up big plays left and right at the start of the year and they've drastically cut those down, while they've increased their sacks and takeaways. The red-zone offense is what is holding this team back right now.

-Favre should come back and play. Can he still play? Yes. Can he still help this team win? Yes. Can they be a contender next year? They might get in this year, so I don't see why they can't improve on that for next year with $20-30 million to spend.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Quick NBA Comment

Just a quick comment about the Nets/Knicks brawl from last night:

Whatever suspension Carmelo Anthony ends up getting, they need to tack an extra game onto it just for being a bitch. After he threw that sucker-punch, did you see how fast he got the hell out of there? He couldn't have run away any quicker. That was my favorite part of seeing those replays last night. He's the guy that Jared Jefferies is going after. He's the guy that Nate Robinson runs after. But he's nowhere in sight.

Watch it again, and keep your eye on number 15:

Big man, Anthony. It's pretty sad when 5'5" Nate Robinson will stand in there and fight guys a foot or more taller than him, but 'Melo bugs out after he throws a sucker punch.

Friday, December 15, 2006

At Least We Can't Lose This Week....

No Michigan hockey this week, so things have been slow around here. At least it means no losses, eh?

TSN had an outstanding article about Andrew
as he prepares for the World Junior Championships. No shocker, he
made the final roster. In the article, Cogs talked about how winning the gold
last year actually hurt his play at Michigan:

''When I came back after world juniors, I think I slowed down a bit. My
points really tailed off,'' he recalled. ''(Winning gold) was such a high, such
a major thing in my life.
''It was tough for me to get up for games at
Michigan, but really now I'm focusing on doing well here and going back and
playing as hard as possible.''

Yeah. Let's not repeat last year's second half, kay?

Mgoblog has links up to a few good articles as well. Bob Miller had good things to say about two of our commits, and I got a similar review from a friend who attended the tournament out at Compuware:

"A.J. treais was sick, so fast, great hands. Kenny Ryan is good, looked kind of like a man amongst boys, skates and gets to the open spot a lot. [He] seems like a thinker/anticipator out there, trying to get where the puck will end up. [Jon Merrill] is a solid dman. "

As for other hockey stuff:
Seriously, what has gotten into Dan Cleary? He's one goal behind Zetterberg for the team lead. I love that he's getting rewarded for his hard work with a career season. He won me over with his play at the end of the Calgary game that I went to, where we were killing a penalty and had an empty net to shoot at. He missed the net, but then booked down the ice to beat the defenseman to the puck, and drew a hooking penalty on Calgary that pretty much ended the game. I love players that give 100% effort every shift--it's why the two Red Wing jerseys I own are Doug Brown and Tomas Holmstrom.

It's nice to see that someone finally told Datsyuk that it wasn't the playoffs and he was allowed to score goals once in awhile. I will give it to him that he has been pretty good in his own end throughout this slump. He looks great playing with Zetterberg. But his still not someone that I'd be willing to give $6 million to. I still hold firm to my belief that he should've been traded this past offseason, and I think it will be a colossal mistake if they break the bank to keep him. You do that for a player that makes his teammates better, not someone that has to have a top-flight wing on his line to be remotely effective.

Looking back at the moves that I wanted this past offseason, I was wrong about Gerber. He hasn't been good in Ottawa. But I was dead-on that it would've been a huge error to sign Ed Belfour over Hasek. We are really lucky that Belfour wanted too much guaranteed money. We would be in a real hurt right now if he was in net for us every night. Hasek hasn't been spectacular, but I can live with having the goalie with the top GAA in the league. The defense has helped him a ton by limiting shots, but Hasek has been good when he's needed to be overall. I'll stick with what I said at the start of the season: Give me a healthy Hasek in April and I like our chances. They need another scorer though, especially since you can't go into the playoffs counting on Datsyuk. Holland better be ready to pull another deadline deal or two off.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Scooter to Michigan!

The Wolverines received another commitment for the class of 2007. Bob Miller reported on the Yost Post that St. Louis Bandits defenseman Charles "Scooter" Vaughan has verballed to Michigan. He sounds like just the type of defenseman that we need. Plays with an edge, good skater.

On the season he has a 1-10--11 line in 26 games, with 60 PIMs. The link to his Pointstreak profile is down, so until it's fixed, the sidebar link to his name will go to the team stats page.

Here's the non-premium information that I was able to dig up on him:

He was a damn good roller hockey player back in the day.

He's on the B-List of "Players to Watch (pdf)" by NHL Central Scouting.

Western College Hockey says that he is a "solid defender, but not in the same class as other top defenseman in the class. Solid offensive defenseman, but can also play with edge."

Unfortunately that's it for now. The Wolverine should have more on him in the morning. It is worth noting that that now makes four defensemen we will be bringing in next year with Dest, Cook, and Hunwick for sure leaving. At least they're covered numbers-wise should one of our three first-round picks on the blueline head for the NHL.

Lastly tonight, I have a new favorite google search that someone used to reach this site. Apparently I have the top two results if you search for: "robbie earl" + "bitch". I love it!

An Original Six Matchup

I'm sitting here watching the Wings throttle Toronto, and even though it hasn't been a great game in terms of competitiveness, it really makes me wish that the NHL would allow these matchups more often. Last year, these teams didn't play--which is absolutely absurd in my mind. Basically the fans in Detroit will only see the Leafs come to town once every three years.

It's just a travesty that the Wings will only face four of their Original Six peers once a year at most--barring a playoff matchup. The NHL is so intent on saddling us with facing the teams in our division "to develop rivalries", wouldn't it make sense to just let us face our traditional rivals more often?

There was electricity in the Joe tonight unlike I've heard in a long time in a regular season game. The teams were hitting, the passing was outstanding, and even though the Leafs got smoked, it was a fun game to watch. This game was hockey the way it was meant to be played, and we need to see more of it.

The league could still have divisional teams play 6 times a year, and it would open the door for four home-and-homes against "traditional or geographic rivals". It would allow us to play Toronto, Boston, the Rangers, and Montreal in a home and home series every year. Who wouldn't want to see that?

It'd be even more preferable in my eyes to make sure that every team plays every team at least once home and once away in the season. We shouldn't have to go three years with only seeing Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in Detroit (or in any Western Conference city) one time.

This has been one of the issues that I feel the league has made a big mistake on. You've got several awesome rivalries. Why eliminate them rather than showcase them? Detroit/Montreal, Detroit/Toronto, Chicago/Montreal.

As I type this, FSD just had a quote from Chelios that the people running the league don't realize how great these matchups are. Something needs to be done. It may not get the fans coming back in droves to watch hockey, but the fans in these old time hockey markets should at least get to see the great rivalries of the past more often than we're seeing them currently.

The Wings looked great tonight. 5 PPGs for, they just missed scoring 6 with the man advantage for the first time since 1942. Datsyuk has found his game again--though I still think they should be looking to move him. Dan Cleary is fast becoming my favorite player on the team, and not just because he's scoring now. I love the way that guy plays. And Hasek was outstanding tonight.
It's nice to see the Wings' special teams clicking again. The panicking about the power play was unwarranted. This team has far too much talent for it to not start clicking sooner or later. It looks like they've got it going now. They've been scoring at a 30% clip over the last 5 or 6 games.

For our game against Ottawa, Ken Daniels is going to be calling the game from between the benches. Somehow, I don't think this is going to work so well. There's a reason that play-by-play guys are usually up high, that being it's extremely hard to see the near corners of the ice when you're down that low. There's going to be guys in front of him constantly when there are line changes. I just don't get how this is going to work. It would make much more sense in my eyes for Mickey Redmond to be down low. It worked great when NBC stationed a reporter down there. Mickey would have time to be listening to what the players and coaches are saying. Ken won't because he's going to be calling the game. We'll see I guess, but I have the feeling this is going to be a one-time thing rather than the start of a trend.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Sauer Taste

Again, just the first two periods because of my own hockey commitments (at least WE won! Off to the Championship next week!).

We really didn't play all that badly. Frankly I thought we outplayed ND by a not insignificant margin in the first couple of periods. Really...neither of those two ND goals in the first were "quality scoring chances".

The difference is that Billy Sauer fricking (and I didn't originally type fricking) BLOWS. He's done folks. The kid's confidence is back in the sewer. He's gotten lit three straight games, two by teams that have less than stellar offenses. He didn't play the second game last week, he got the hook tonight. He's done.

Honestly, I'm not sure at this point that it wouldn't be better for all parties if he headed back to junior (a la Justin Tobe) to try and get a fresh start. He obviously has no confidence, I can't imagine his teammates have confidence in him, and I sure as [crap] don't--not that I really matter.

Pray that Bryan Hogan is for real, because we're in bad shape goaltending-wise for at least the next couple years if he's not. Who's going to come in when we've got a junior two-year starter, a sophomore, and a freshmen--and all three are getting money? I can't believe they missed this badly on Sauer. At this point, he's not an NCAA-quality netminder. And I really don't think that's an overreaction.

The first goal tonight was inexcusable--and it'd be his worst goal of the year if he didn't give up that other one against WMU last week. It's such a let-down when you come out and give up a goal in the first minute--especially against a good defensive hockey team. It takes the wind out of the building and the team, and it gives the other team confidence coming into this barn.

What stat do you like better? The fact that Sauer has given up 10 goals on his last 33 shots (Yikes) or the fact that the year we played ND in the playoffs, they scored seven goals against us total. In six games. They matched that tonight.

The defense was fine in the part that I saw. 5 goals on what? 13 shots before he stopped the last 3? Can't blame the D when you keep em under 25 for the game and they limited odd-man rushes for the most part.

It also didn't help that we blew a bunch of high-quality scoring chances in the first period. Porter missed a tap in, Cogliano missed a tap-in, Cogliano also had a partial breakaway that he shot over the net straight up Milan Gajic style. Kolarik was leading the rush on a 3 on 1, they bunched up too much (the center was right over his shoulder) and Kolarik simply deked into the defenseman's skates.

The way I feel about this team right now is the way I felt about football when they were a pretty solid team apart from starting Todd Howard and Brandon Williams at the corners. We're a solid enough team, but we have NOTHING in goal. And even though I haven't seen Jakiel play yet, it seems that he's equally adept at giving up 2 goals a period.

Red's got a big dilemma in goal. Do you stick with Sauer and hope he plays his way out of this before it sinks your season, or do you go with Jakiel knowing that if he's got nothing, then Sauer's confidence is in the gutter and he's going to be useless the rest of the year since he's as fragile as Charles Rogers--only his problem is mental.

I need to start drinking at these games. It'd make it a lot easier to watch....

BTW, the reason for the LONG review on the second ND goal...the net was off the moorings for a solid two minutes and no one noticed. Unfortunately for us, it didn't show it on the camera they could use for review. It was apparently clear as day on FSN's coverage though. Not that it mattered.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More Nonsense From Harris Pollsters

The Detroit Free Press contacted some of the various Harris Poll voters in order to get their defense for voting Florida ahead of Michigan in the final rankings. One would think that they would come out with the standard, albeit wrong, "I just thought Florida was the better football team" response. It appears, however, that the voters were strangely truthful in stating their reasoning. I say it was truthful because, honestly, no one would lie by making themselves look this stupid.

A sample of the responses (and my comments below each):
"Michigan is an outstanding program, but they already had their shot. If this was a tournament system, then they were already eliminated. That was the basis in which I voted for Florida."
Well. I suppose technically so was anyone that isn't Boise State or Ohio State. Nothing like putting in a vote based on an "If this". The general response to that would be, "But it's not!" Wouldn't Florida have been eliminated, then, about 7 weeks ago when they played a decent team and lost?

"We could argue until we are blue in the face who is better between Michigan and Florida. But when you simplify it, we know Ohio State is better than Michigan. Under our system, this brings closure by giving the Big Ten champion the chance to play the SEC champion."

No. We know that Ohio State is better than Michigan (by 3 points) when they're playing on their home field. Due to that relatively slim margin of victory, we know nothing about how those teams would fair on a neutral field. Unless, of course, you feel that homefield advantage means nothing in college football. And if that's the case, I'd say that you're dumb enough to in the Harris Poll!

"The biggest factor is that the SEC and Big Ten are the strongest conferences, and Florida beat six or seven teams ranked in the top 15, and that was a stronger point than Michigan's schedule."

Six or seven teams ranked in the top 15 huh? So you've got LSU, Arkansas, and Tennessee was in the top 15 when Florida beat them, but they aren't anymore. Who else out of Southern Miss, Central Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, West Carolina, and Florida State are we considering to be a Top 15 team? Keep in mind we have to pick three or four of them to make this statement accurate.

"I believe Florida had a tougher schedule. I also remember Michigan had a tough time against Ball State. The idea of a rematch between Ohio State and Michigan was a factor, but it was at the bottom of the considerations."

Florida had a tougher schedule by an average of .0003 per team in winning percentage. So I guess that part of the statement is true, but not by as much as Gary Danielson would've had you believe. By the way, I heard they had to rent a power washer to clean the announcer booth up after the SEC Championship.

If Michigan is getting knocked down for "having a tough time against Ball State" (fine, next time, leave the starters in) then why aren't we knocking Florida for "having a tough time against Vanderbilt". Or Florida State. Or South freaking Carolina who is only bowl eligible because they beat Wofford, Florida Atlantic, and Middle Tennessee State. And do you "remember" that Michigan had a tough time against Ball State, or did you "hear" that Michigan had a tough time against Ball State? It's fun only looking at final scores isn't it?

"The championship game is not scientific. It's just a show. Let's see something different."

Tell the players that, jackass. I hope you're entertained by 30 point blowouts...

Half the people interviewed in the article pointed to strength of schedule as a factor in the decision. I guess the old saying is true after all. If enough people repeat a lie, it eventually becomes fact.

The Harris Poll, folks! Let's give it a hand!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bad News But a Silver Lining

Michigan hockey got some bad news, with James Dowd from the Michigan Daily (and my hockey team, the Blackbears) reporting that Jason Dest will miss up to a month with a dislocated shoulder. That could keep him out up to--and very possibly through--the GLI. The good news, however, is that x-rays on Jack Johnson's shoulder were negative. He's listed as day-to-day and the general thinking is that if he's practicing on Thursday, he'll play in the game Friday.

More good news is coming, as it appears that Mark Mitera did NOT make the US World Juniors team, and neither did Chris Summers (at defense or forward). That's a big boost for the Wolverines as they'll only be missing two plays for World Juniors (it's great when we have to be happy that we're only missing two players. Balls).

So while we got some good news tonight, it still kind of sucks that heading into a huge weekend against Notre Dame the three questions are:
1) Who is playing goal for us? (Gotta believe it's Sauer...whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen)
2) Will Jack Johnson be ok to play? (If he's at all able to, he will. He'll suck it up.)
3) Will Andrew Cogliano be able to play Sunday when the Canadian camp starts Sunday night? (My guess would be yes. He's one of the few "locks" for the team. It probably won't hurt him to miss one day of the camp. I bet he gets the ok.)

Those are still not the three areas you'd like to have question marks.....Big weekend coming up!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The BCS Mess

What a joke. The events of yesterday have proven that this system sucks more than a "recruiting hostess" when a 5-star is in town. I wouldn't have a problem with Florida going if I believed for a second that people voted for them because they truly felt Florida was the best team. That's not what happened though.

You're not going to read anything new here, but I took the time to respond to someone on the Packer Wire who asked me my thoughts, so I might as well paste them here.

If people felt that the Gators were better than U of M, they would've jumped Michigan the week we lost to OSU. Not two weeks later. I have a very hard time believing that an ugly win over Arkansas convinced people that this team was better than Michigan. The voters didn't vote for the 2nd best team, they voted to set the matchup. And that is not at all what their job is when voting in these polls.

One has to go no further than breaking down the components to see how stupid the BCS is.

Why is the coaches' poll stupid? Urban Meyer inadvertently explained it in his interview with Chris Meyers. The question was asked, "How does your team match up with Ohio State?" His answer? "I don't really know. We haven't seen too much of them. Down here in the South we don't get a lot of film of their games." What are these coaches basing their votes on then? They obviously aren't watching other college football games on Saturday. It's impossible. They've got their own gameday duties to worry about. And Meyer admitted as much.

The other reason it's stupid is that not every coach has a vote. I understand that part of that could be that they don't want to give the Non-BCS conferences too much power--or at least that's the only thing I can come up with. But Joe Paterno doesn't have a vote. Joe freaking Paterno doesn't have a vote. Urban Meyer didn't have a vote either. Coaches don't vote based upon who they think is better. They vote based upon geography and their own personal interests. Seriously, do we really think Mike Bellotti knows if Michigan or Florida is better? How many of each team's games do you think he watched?

The Harris poll is even dumber. Who are these people and why are they qualified to send a team to the title game? According to stuff I've read today, there's a voter who has a radio show in Ohio, who regularly refers to Michigan as "Skunkbears" and "scUM" on his show. There's a bar owners, radio hosts, ex coaches. Are we accounting for bias in this poll? Nope, the NCAA shot that idea down last year. This little tidbit is included with the Harris Poll rankings: "Last season the 11 Division 1-A Conference Commissioners and Notre Dame Athletics Director Kevin White decided to not accept the Harris Interactive recommendation to apply a standard statistical practice that addresses potential instability, error, or bias associated with unusual ranking patterns."

So you get things like the jag-off (Jim Walden) who put Florida #1 because "The Big Ten is a joke of a conference"...despite the fact that they've got 3 of the top 6 teams in the country, and in his coaching career he was 0-17 against teams from "That joke of a conference".

You've also got guys like George Lapides who was quoted in the NY Times (HT: mgoblog) as saying that he feels Michigan would beat Florida if they played, but he put Florida in anyway because he likes the idea of conference champions playing each other. Where was that sentiment when everyone was loving on Notre Dame??? When did "I like the idea of it" become an option for ranking the teams?

Then there's the guy who put Michigan behind USC! USC!!!! The team that lost to two unranked teams is ahead of one whose only loss was to the #1 team in the country on the road?

There are several who have Michigan (or Florida) behind Louisville. I like Louisville. They're a nice team. I'm from there originally. There's no justification for that. Someone put them #2! Just as egregious was the guy who put Florida number 5 behind Michigan, OSU, Wisconsin, and Louisville.

Someone had Boise State #2, which I guess is kind of understandable if you want to prove a point that you should get to play for a title when your best win is Hawaii). I heard that someone had TCU in the top 10, though I didn't check every ballot to verify that. Someone definitely had BYU in the top 10. How can we trust these people to make a rational decision when there's no accountability for someone whose ballot is completely out of whack. A poll that allows someone to vote Florida #1 at this point loses all credibility.

Then there's the computer polls. For an example of how stupid these can be, look no further than this this breakdown from awhile back.

The argument that "Michigan had their chance" absolutely holds no water. Unless Florida is going to go play OSU in Columbus on that crappy field, things aren't equal there. Why didn't Florida "blow their chance" when they lost to Auburn on the road. Last time I checked, Michigan didn't "have their chance" at beating Ohio State on a neutral field. OSU beat us by 3 at home, which as Vegas will tell you, is pretty close to being at wash at a neutral site.

Additionally, the campaigning that Gary Danielson did on CBS for the entire second half was shameful. I laughed my butt off when he put his "victory comparison" up on the screen. That was all well and good to compare wins, until you realize that he wasn't taking into account the score, how the teams played, or anything like that related to the games themselves. Only who beat whom. That's when you get asinine things like Michigan's win against Vandy being a push with Florida's win against Vandy. Even though Michigan beat them by 20 and Florida won by 6. And you know, Michigan actually had more yards than Vandy in their game.

That win over South Carolina looks ok, until you realize that they slept through that game, needing what? A couple blocked kicks to beat them by one point? They squeaked by a BAD Florida State football team. And Arkansas was leading that football game the other night until their backup punt returner decided it would be a good idea to try and Willie Mays catch a punt inside his own 5 yard line.

Michigan was in a game they could have lost/did lose twice this year. Every other game was never in doubt. Ball State made it a game, mostly against the 2nd and 3rd string defense. And of course Ohio State beat us.

I love that a pair of voters on CBS Sportsline admit that they voted for UF because...umm...well...13 games is harder than 12. Good thing UF scheduled that game against 1-AA West Carolina. That made the difference, by God! If you're going to schedule a 1-AA team, at least pick one that is within sniffing distance of .500....

What else, what else, what else? Oh yeah. Vegas is pretty good at this stuff. Even they agree that Michigan is the better team. It was said that if Michigan and UF played on a neutral field, Michigan would open a 6-6 1/2 point favorite. But Florida is the better team. Riiiight.

Michigan was also hurt because they sat idle for two weeks while Florida and USC were still playing. After the country's last look at the Wolverines, the voters still thought Michigan was the second best team in the country. That after a LOSS even. But somehow in there, they were jumped by not one, but TWO teams. One of which scraped by Florida State and won a decently close game against a bumbling, depleted Arkansas team. The Big Ten needs to do something about the schedule. Build in an extra bye week or two, or something. Who wouldn't be in favor of us taking our bye against Ball State and then playing a game after OSU at this point? I know OSU is supposed to be "The Game" but these other conferences have a HUGE advantage by playing after we're done. Since the media appears to be so distracted by bright and shiny objects that they can't remember how most of them were in favor of a rematch just a couple weeks ago.

If USC had won yesterday, there's no part of me that believes Florida would be ranked ahead of Michigan today. The anti-rematch sentiment took over, and the voters manipulated the rankings to make sure it wouldn't happen, ignoring their job to rank the teams by how good they are--NOT by what matchup they want to see.

It's too bad too, because they've robbed the nation of an absolute EPIC national title game, in favor of what will likely be an Ohio State 20+ point victory. All that gimmick stuff isn't going to work against OSU. I just can't imagine how good a Michigan/OSU game would be, when neither team has anything to do but prepare for each other for a full month.

Through it all, I'm still very excited about the Rose Bowl. It's hard to complain about a "traditional" Big 10/Pac 10 matchup against a team like USC. It's a chance to get revenge for a couple years ago, build some momentum for next season, and snap this bowl losing streak.

Go Blue, Beat USC. And ::gulp:: Go Buckeyes. The best thing for college football would be for both those Big 10 teams to win easily...I'm willing to take one for the team and deal with the OSU fans after another national title if it means we move closer to a playoff. And I'm thankful that we have a coach that won't whore himself to the media just to buy votes.

BTW, Jim Tressel is a bitch for not voting in that last poll. I understand that it was a lose-lose situation for him, but still. Bitch.

The BCS screws someone almost every year, and this year it just happened that our number was up. The networks may love it because it creates controversy, and controversy = ratings, but if the NCAA is actually interested in crowning a true champion, they need to move to a playoff system as soon as it is possible. I'd much rather the controversy be over who is the 8th seed and who is left out as #9 than for it to be over who should play for the friggin' National Championship. Let the players prove it on the field. Don't let coaches with agendas, who likely haven't seen enough games to make an accurate judgement haphazardly throw a ballot together, dopes from all across the media who have about as much right to pick teams as I do, and computers that aren't fed enough information determine things.

That's all I got.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Michigan vs. WMU weekend

Can't bring myself to comment on the BCS right yet--except that the whole system is beyond stupid, and I'll hold firm to the thought that we need a playoff, even if by some miracle they do put Michigan into the title game. Thoughts from the weekend against WMU:

I didn't go to the game at WMU, so I'm sure these comments are going to be on the negative side, but they should be! There's no excuse for losing to a joke team like WMU at home. We aren't taking advantage of our home games this year (Northeastern for one--note that until this weekend they hadn't won a game since they beat us).

It was huge for us to get a win at Lawson. A sweep to that team would've been devastating. But the coaches can't be happy about giving up 11 goals in two games to a team that had only scored 30 in the previous 11 conference games. That said, we're still only 2 points back of Miami with a game in hand, and we move up by 5 points on Sparty.

Cogliano kept it going with 5 goals this weekend. Red is going to be absolutely pissed if we lose him for the Sunday game against Notre Dame because of WJC commitments. First they move the game to Sunday for TV, then we might lose Cogs because of it. That'd be bad.

Hensick is still rolling. His career-high 4 assists moves him within 1 of a tie for sixth place on our all-time list. He's got a very legit chance at ending his career #2 all-time behind Morrison.

Some other good news is that our powerplay was 3 for 7 last night.

The bad news out of last night was that Johnson, Dest, and Summers were all injured during the game. Summers came back from a very ugly injury--he ran into the open WMU door at full speed--to play the rest of the game, but Johnson and Dest didn't return. It's being reported that they both have shoulder injuries. Here's hoping neither of them are serious. We wouldn't lose a ton putting Cook back in for Dest--I thought Cook was actually playing ok hockey before he came out of the lineup--but losing Johnson would be very, very bad. Hopefully our anonymous commenter who seems to be in the loop with regard to Jack can provide some info as to his condition and status for next week???

From Friday Night, what I posted on the Rivals board...slightly edited:
I only caught the first two periods (hockey playoff game) but it was easy to see where things were going.

Sauer...I've pretty much given up on him. I'm not going to be fooled again. He's a goalie that's capable of putting together a few good performances, but he is NOT a good goalie, or someone that I can see us winning a championship with. When he's off, we might as well just pull him and play 6 on 5 the whole night. 4 goals on 11 shots? Against Western? Are you kidding me?

The first goal he gave up Friday night was the worst of the season definitely. If you want a reason the crowd was out of it, that was probably it. Teams know to go high-glove on him now, but half the time it doesn't even matter. What an awful performance. It's hard to go to a freshman backup on the road, but I'm pretty confident we're going to see Jakiel make his first career start tonight (I called that one!). The only question is if Sauer will go in the tank now like he did last year.

Hunwick was brutal Friday night. He seems to be getting walked around every single shift now. I'm thinking about going ahead and awarding him the Josh Langfeld Memorial "Got Progressively Worse Every Year" Trophy.

Summers seems to be getting better, but he had a giveaway on the 4th goal.

Did you notice: Fardig is still playing center, but he's not taking faceoffs as much (he did take 7 Friday night and won 2)? An incredible 0 for 13 performance on draws against Wisconsin will do that. Turnbull was 2 of 8 though...

That second goal was a sight to see wasn't it? Johnson skated back toward our net by the red line, drops it behind the back to Hensick, he gets spun around and throws it behind his back to Cogliano, he gets into the zone, throws it behind his back into the slot for a shot, then Cogs puts home the rebound. Yowsa. Of course, the third behind the back pass wasn't really necessary. It looked pretty though!

Bailey came out with a lot of energy and went around killing people. Just keep doing what you do Bailey. Don't worry about getting points. That's not what you're here for. I know it sucks to not score, but you can help the team by hitting people and hopefully staying out of the box in the process.

We need to stop losing home games to bad teams.

Oh and the people that sit behind me need to STFU. Lord. I'm starting to feel like I did at football games, where I don't want to be there anymore because our crowd--at least the people around me--are so uneducated. Or they just want to get drunk and try to look cool. The alumni section is looking really good to me right now......

Now I'm going to get back to pouting about the BCS.