Sunday, March 23, 2008

Will the Real Toronto Maple Leafs Please Stand up?

Toronto's record:

1st 53 games of the season: 20-24-9 (13 games below .500)
On pace for a 69 point season
Last 23 games of the season: 15-7-1 (7 games over .500)
On pace for a 111 point season

Just wanted to point out how well the Leafs have played over a pretty decent chunk of the schedule. What could have been? So many should've, could've, would've scenarios to talk about. Over the last quarter of the season, Toronto is on pace to have the best record in the NHL.

What changed?
  • Toskala has started every one of those games.
  • Wozniewski was removed from the lineup.
  • The young kids were brought in and injected energy into the lineup
  • The NTC 5 have stepped and showed that they deserve the big contracts that they were rewarded.
  • Sundin has been HUGE!!! (Mr. Clutch is coming back on Tuesday!)
I think Toronto will go 6-0 from here-on out. Whether or not it's going to be enough to squeak into 8th spot, or take over that familiar and seemingly predestined 9th place spot at this time, only time will tell. This team is playing with heart and emotion, and doing everything they can to will themselves into the playoffs.

Current Pace:
  • Philadelphia - 75 gp, 84 pts, pace: 92 points, potential: 98 pts, 44 wins
  • Boston - 75 gp, 84 pts, pace: 92 points, potential: 98 pts, 44 wins
  • Washington - 76 gp, 82 pts, 88 pts, potential: 94 pts, 43 wins
  • Buffalo - 75 gp, 81 pts, 88 pts, potential: 95 pts, 42 wins
  • Florida - 76 gp, 81 pts, 87 pts, potential: 93 pts, 42 wins
  • Toronto - 76 gp, 80 pts, 86 pts, potential: 92 pts, 42 wins
IF Toronto goes 6-0 from hereon out, they will be very, very close to a playoff spot. They need 5 of the following six to happen:

  • Florida to 5-1 or worse
  • Buffalo to go 5-1-1 or worse (Leafs would win tiebreaker with more wins)
  • Washington to 4-1-1 or worse (Leafs/Caps are 2-2 head-to-head this season, so tiebreaker would come down to goal differential, where the Caps have a -2 to -16 advantage)
  • Boston to go 4-3 or worse (Considering the Leafs play Boston twice, two regulation wins are a must. Toronto would win tiebreaker on wins. It comes down to hoping the Bruins lose at least one more game in their remaining 5)
  • Philadelphia to 4-3 or worse (Toronto would also win tiebreaker here on wins)

It all comes down to Toronto going 6-0. I think this team will refuse to lie down and go silently into that good night. We can't count on Philly losing three of their remaining seven games, but I think the other five are definitely in the realm of high probability. It comes down to Toronto going 6-0. They've shown that they have the heart, determination and talent to get the job done. I know I've been fooled twice by late season heroics that came just a few days too late, but I refuse to not support the team in this playoff run. If they manage to get in, this team is good enough to beat anybody.

My prediction (all based on a hypothetical 6-0 run by the Leafs to end the season):

  • #7 Philadelphia, 93 points (4-2-1 to finish out season)
  • #8 Toronto, 92 points (6-0 baby)
  • #9 Washington, 91 points (They scare me the most - Toronto needs to rely on Carolina to take care of the Caps in 2 remaining games)
  • #10 Buffalo, 91 points (Loss to Leafs and one loss in the three games against the Canadiens or Sens will eliminate the Sabres)
  • #10 Boston, 90 points (Lose two to the Leafs and one against the Sabres)
  • #11 Florida, 89 points (I don't see Florida going 6-0, although they are 8-1-1 in their last 10)


Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Delusional Fan Riding the Leafs Playoff Bandwagon

The playoffs are still in the Leaf's own hands at this point. That loss to Jersey earlier this week really hurt their chances. They basically have 2 losses to give this season if they want any chance of getting in. Sport Club Stats gives them an 84.5% chance of getting in at 11-2. Any higher than that is essentially a lock. 11-1-1 is a 95.4%. The loss to Jersey officially eliminated the Leafs from the running for 1st overall in the Eastern conference, in case you were in any was curios.

I know we're grasping at straws at this point, but I've given up any hope at a lottery pick with the way everyone is playing now. If Toskala plays every game until they are mathematically eliminated, I think they'll go at least 8-4, which will put them solidly in the middle of the non-playoff pack.

I've witnessed the last two playoff runs, and I know what this team is capable of. Last season, they were playing well enough that they might have surprised a few teams in the playoffs, and we can only say "what if" about that poor outing vs. Wade Dubielewicz and the shootout loss by these same New Jersey Devils. A couple seasons ago, the team was almost carried into the playoffs on the back of J.S. Aubin, a career backup/minor leaguer. This season we have Mats Sundin, apparently hungrier than ever to lead Toronto to the playoffs, and Vesa Toskala, a warrior in net, trying to do everything he can to lead them.

It's unfortunate that this team seems to take 5 months to come out of hibernation each season. There are so many "what ifs" this year:

  • The refusal to quickly abandon the strange high-pressure forecheck early this season when it was readily apparent that it wasn't going to work this team.
  • Essentially every appearance Raycroft made this season, save for the shutout over Buffalo early in the season. 2 wins in 17 appearances has gone a long way to destroying any chance this team had in making the big show.
  • The mid-season groin injury to Toskala. He had a stretch where he was 1-5-1, including going 0-3 when he returned from the injury, which leads me to believe he was playing hurt for a few games before he went on the IR.
  • The injury to McCabe. We all love to rag on the guy, but the results speak for themselves. This team is a playoff hockey club, maybe not a very good one, but a playoff club none-the-less, when McCabe is in the lineup.
I'm sick of not seeing the Leafs in the playoffs since 2003. The Leafs were 1 point out of last overall a little over a month ago, and I was in full support of a fire sale, tanking, and the christening of Steven Stamkos the new savior of the organization. The NTC essentially destroyed that dream, but now they are responding to the critics in a big way, and as Leafs fan, I'm going to support them all the way, and hang on to those last few straws dangling off the edge of the playoff bandwagon and hope that we all somehow manage to hang on.



Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life Imitates Art

Man with 700 snakes arrested at airport. Samuel L. Jackson was unavailable for comment.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Selanne's Ketchup Flows Once Again

After finishing the season 3rd overall with 48 goals, and 11th overall with 94 points, Teemu Selanne picked a inopportune moment to fall into a scoring slump. Prior to Thursday's game #4, Selanne had just 6 points in the first 12 games of the playoffs. Things have changed quickly, as Teeemu has 5 points in the past two games, including the Game five OT winner. The 5 points in two games gives him 11 points in 15 games, which is still well off what we have come to expect from the Finnish Flash, but it is good enough to be tied with Ryan Getzlaf for 12th overall in league playoff scoring.

If the Ducks want to win the Stanley Cup, Selanne is going to have to continue to play a bigger role, as he has during the past two games. It's not as if he wasn't playing well earlier in the playoffs. I actually think Selanne's best playoff performances so far have come during the Vancouver series - games where he was held off the scoresheet but was all over the ice. Prior to finally scoring in Game #4, Selanne was getting his opportunities, but perhaps just rushing his shot a little bi - squeezing his stick to hard as they say.

A quote from Selanne during the 2006 playoffs:

"You know how you can't get the ketchup out of the bottle and you keep beating on it and beating on it, and nothing comes out," he told the Orange County Register. "Then, all of a sudden, here it comes — splat!

"That's how it is with goal scorers. You have to be patient. As long as you keep getting your chances, you feel it's going to happen. "

Anaheim is now up 3-2, with a chance to close out the series on home ice in game #6. Living in the greater Detroit area, I would get the occasional odd glance cheering the Toronto Maple Leafs on during the regular season. The Anaheim Ducks are my second team. Cheering for Selanne and the Ducks has made the playoffs a lot less painful these past two seasons, as Toronto fell just short for the second year in a row.

I plan to go out Tuesday and cheer the Ducks on - I'll have a burger and fries, with a healthy dose of ketchup. I just hope they don't kick me out for making some noise after Selanne breaks the hearts of the Wings faithful.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mark's Clip of the Day (05-19-2007)

Who can ever forget that ridiculous brawl between Happy Gilmore and Bob Barker? Adam Sandler pays a surprise visit to the Price is Right as Bob reminisces on the movie scene from ten years ago.

Click Here...


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bowl Predictions

Jan. 8 Title Ohio State 55 Florida 12
Jan. 3 Sugar LSU 36 Notre Dame 31
Jan. 2 Orange Louisville 35 Wake Forest 21
Jan. 1 Fiesta Boise State 38 Oklahoma 24
Jan. 1 Rose Michigan 45 USC 21
Jan. 1 Capital One Wisconsin 35 Arkansas 9
Jan. 1 Gator West Virginia 31 Georgia Tech 14
Jan. 1 Outback Penn State 28 Tennessee 21
Jan. 1 Cotton Nebraska 21 Auburn 17
Jan. 6 International Western Michigan 28 Cincinnati 24
Dec. 31 MPC Computers Miami 28 - Nevada 17
Dec. 30 Chick-fil-A Virginia Tech 31 - Georgia 7
Dec. 30 Alamo Iowa 31 - Texas 28
Dec. 29 Champs Sports Purdue 41 - Maryland 38
Dec. 29 Insight Minnesota 28 - Texas Tech 21
Dec. 28 Holiday Texas A&M 38 - Cal 21
Dec. 26 Motor City Central Michigan 28 - Middle Tennessee St.* 17
Dec. 24 Hawaii Hawaii 41 - Arizona State 21


Big Ten will Dominate in BCS - SEC is Overated

On the positive side of today's (outrageous/unfathomable/unconstitutional/absurd/explicative deleted) outcome, splitting up Michigan and OSU into separate bowl matchups gives the Big Ten a chance to showcase themselves as the strongest conference in the nation, finally putting to rest the mythical notion that the SEC is in some way superior in every way.

National Championship #1 Ohio State vs #2 Florida. OSU is going to completely obliterate #2 Florida. This is going to be a joke. Final Score: OSU 55 - Florida 12

Rose Bowl - #3 Michigan vs. #5 USC - Michigan will destroy #5 USC. USC has been the most consistanly overrated school all season long. UCLA shut USC down defensively, and Michigan has the #1 defense in the nation. Mario Manningham, Prescott Burgess and Willis Berringer will all be 100% healthy. Final Score: Michigan 45 - USC 21.

Capitol One Bowl- #7 Wisconsin vs #12 Arkansas. Wisconsin has done everything they can to demonstrate that they are one of the best schools in the country, but they continue to be disrespected. The Arkansas-Florida SEC championship was a joke, and the Razerbacks are way too one-dimensional. The Wisconsin defense will stop the running game of Arkansas in it's tracks. Final Score: Wisconsin 35 - Arkansas 9

Outback Bowl -#28 Penn State vs #17 Tennessee. Penn State has been disrespected all season long, although they have a very strong defense, and great tailback in Tony Hunt. Penn State's 8-4 record looks somewhat mediocre, but those 4 losses came against teams (Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame) that have a combined record of 45 - 4. Someone had to lose those games, and PSU was just a notch below the top level talent in the Big Ten. Tennessee's #17 ranking is undeserved, and is just a byproduct of the media's continual fascination with overrating all things SEC. Final Score: Penn State 28 - Tennessee 21.

Alamo Bowl - #19 Texas vs (One Time #13) Iowa - A matchup of two of the most overrated programs in the nation. Colt McCoy should have time to heal up, so this game should be interesting. Iowa did little to impress in their final six weeks of the season, with their lone win against Northern Illinois. I have a hard time believing Iowa will be competitive in this matchup, although perhaps Drew Tate can pull one last masterpiece out of his repository to impress NFL scouts enough for a decent draft selection. Although I don't really have any confidence in it, I'm going to predict a Final Score of Iowa 31 - Texas 28.

Insight Bowl - Minnesota vs Texas Tech - This is where I start to wonder why they hold so many bowl games. Minnesota managed to win 4 of their last 5 games to pull back to .500 and secure a bowl matchup. They were robbed of a win against Penn State on a bad pass interference call in OT, and I really didn't see much of them outside of decently impressive performance at the Metrodome against Michigan. Amer Pinnix was the only man to rush for 100 yards against Michigan all season until the field-induced disaster against OSU. Texas Tech almost pulled off an upset vs. (overrated) Texas, but nothing else on their schedule jumps out at me as something to worry about. Final Score Minnesota 28 - Texas Tech 21

Champs Sports Bowl - Purdue vs. Maryland - Purdue launched out of the gate with a 4-0 start against teams my adult rec league could probably beat. The Boilermakers had the easiest Big Ten schedule in history, skipping both Michigan and OSU, and playing an incredibly weak out-of-conference schedule, yet all they managed to come up with was an 8-4 record. At one point in the season, they had the best offense in the country, and the worst defense in the country. The only time I heard Maryland mentioned in the news is when they were cited as the top opponent West Virginia had faced in the country before their eventual loss to Louisville - that has to count for something, I suppose. Maryland actually has a few AP and Coach's poll votes, placing them are #32 in the country, so I suppose this might be somewhat of a mismatch, as nobody in their right mind would consider Purdue to be in that league. Maryland's 4 losses came against ranked opponents (West Virginia, Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forest), and the managed to pull out a win against Clemson. I suppose I should probably respect them for that, but I watched the ACC championship, and I don't think I'll ever take anyone from that conference seriously again*. Final Score - Purdue 41 - Maryland 38

Outside of the Lousville-Rutgers, and Arkansas-LSU matchups, I have walked away unimpressed with every football game outside of the Big Ten I've watched this season. I don't really expect the Big Ten to go 6-0 in the bowl season this year, as it would take a miracle for Minnesota, Iowa, or Purdue to pull out a victory, but I do expect Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to impress the nation with convincing victories. How sweet would it be to see the Big Ten ranked #1, #2, and #3 at the end of the season. Perhaps then we can finally do away with the mythical notion that the SEC is in every way superior to everyone else, so they have no need to play anybody besides the Sun Belt in their out-of-conference schedules.

*Regarding the ACC Championship game: I was mildly curious as to what Georgia Tech and Wake Forest had to offer, since I witnessed those teams hanging around the bottom third of the BCS rankings every once in a while.

The Georgia Tech offense was supposed to be the Calvin Johnson show - supposedly, this guy is unarguably the most talented player in college football. Johnson 117 yards on 8 receptions, but he also dropped an easy pass, tipped a pass up in the air for an easy interception, and let a pass fall on the ground in front of him that I would've certainly been able to catch. The Georgia Tech offense focused entirely around Reggie Ball throwing the ball 50 yards down the field, and hoping the defense would occasionally bump into one of the Johnson twins and draw the inevitable pass interference call. Reggie Ball successfully drew 3 pass interference calls during the game, but he also went 9-for-29, and those 45 yards would've come a lot easier if they were actually trying for pass completions.

The Wake Forest offense was no better. The Demon Deacons offense consisted entirely of reverses and end-arounds, which was the offensive approach I actually recommended Michigan take vs. Northwestern earlier this year, due to the inclement weather. It was hilarious watching Wake Forest attempt an elaborate reverse that took twenty second to run, and produced 2 yards, and then turn around and reproduce the exact same play on second down for no gain, and then run the same play again on third down, resulting in a 5-yard sack.

The offense on both teams was inept, yet somebody had to win. Eventually, time expired, and Wake Forest limped off the field with a hard-fought, nausea inducing 9-6 victory.


Reggie Fish Destroys Michigan's National Title Hopes

The BCS is BS, and CBS had as much to do with that as anybody. I'll never watch another college football game on that station after their blatant and biased attempt to sway BCS voters away from a rematch. Someone even had the gall to vote Florida #1 in the Harris Interactive Poll ???

As a Michigan fan, that interception by Eric McNeal had me at the highest point this season since Breaston caught that two point conversion to close the score to within 3 with a few minutes to play. All of that emotion dropped to an emotional numbness when Reggie Fish dropped that punt inside the ten yard line, giving the Gators a free touchdown, and a renewed life. I had no idea that the BCS voters would be so braindead as to swap places between Michigan and Florida after such a mediocre performance on the field -- I feel numb.

I've been calling for a playoff all season long, and after getting snubbed like this, I've never felt so adamant about it. There is really no strong argument against a playoff:

1. The players are college students first and foremost - True, but other College sports play a lot more than 13 games. Drop the twelfth game of season, start a week earlier in the summer, and your more than halfway there. Have the top eight teams play in a single elimination tournament, which amounts to a total of 7 games played, and a maximum of three playoff games. Since you've dropped one game from the regular season, and one of the bowl games, that amounts to only one extra game played for the national champion.

2. There is too much money involved in the Bowls - The quarterfinal, semifinal and final games can all be considered bowl games, and they can all keep corporate sponsorships. Teams not involved in the eight team playoff are free to continue playing in minor bowls, and teams that drop out of the championship series early can still play in consolation bowls.

3. A playoff devalues the regular season - No, it doesn't. USC lost against unranked Oregon State, and yet they were still in the running for the national championship until they blew it in the final week of the season, against UCLA. Florida lost to Auburn, yet somehow made it into the national championship game, ahead of a team that only lost by 3 points on the road to the eventual national champions. A team has to finish in the top eight to make the championship playoff series, and the top ranked teams face an easier matchup in the first round, so there is as much motivation to win as ever. If a team loses their final game of the season, they are as likely as ever to drop out of the top eight teams. Arkansas lost the SEC championship game, and fell all the way to #12.

A few weeks ago, Urban "Crybaby" Meyer was whining and lobbying for the immediate dismantlement of the BCS system, and the installation of a playoff system. Meyer got his way, and hopefully he'll follow through with his demands to initiate discussions for the immediate dismantlement of the BCS system. Lloyd Carr is too proud and stoic to stoop to the levels of Meyer, but surely everybody can see the injustice and complete arbitrariness of the system currently in place.


BCS Update - It's Election Night all over Again

It feels like the night of the 2000 and 2004 elections. The race is so close, but I have the impending feeling of doom. I already have every reason in the world to hate the state of Florida after the election fiasco. Does poetic justice not account for anything?

MGoblog has already declared Florida the winner, after they took 71% of the 2nd place ballots in the coach's poll. After USC lost, I was almost sure that Michigan and Florida would split those 2nd place ballots up for grabs, but it looks like they went unanimously for Florida.

It's down to the computer polls and the Harris Interactive Polls. Florida is up .948 to .933, or .017. Last week, Michigan held a comfortable 0.0302 lead in the Harris Interactive poll, but it looks like the entire country was swayed by that mockery of a football game that was the SEC championship, and the blatant lobbying of coach "crybaby" Urban Meyer, and the staff of the CBS broadcasting team.

I'm still desperately hoping that Michigan can pick up an advantage in the computer polls, and that the Harris Interactive voters have some level of independent though process. What I know:

Sagarin has Michigan #2, Florida #3
Wolfe has Michigan #2, Florida #3
Billingsley - Michigan had a massive lead over Florida in Billingsley, and should hold on
Anderson-Hester - Michigan had a slight 0.004 lead last week, and might hold on
Massey -Already had Florida at #3, and Michigan at #4. Should finish #2 and #3, with USC falling
Colley - Already had Florida at #3 and Michigan #4. Should finishe #2 and #3, with USC falling

So - If Anderson-Hester goes to Florida, we have:
Michigan S2, W2, B2, A3, M3, C3
Florida S3, W3, B3, A2, M2, C2

The highest and lowest rankings are dropped off, so we finish with a virtual tie.

If Anderson-Hester goes to Michigan, we have:
Michigan S2, W2, B2, A2, M3, C3
Florida S3, W3, B3, A3, M2, C2

Michigan - 3 Second Place and 1 Third Place votes
Florida - 1 Second Place, and 3 Third Place votes

Overall, this would give Michigan a commanding .0300 lead in the computer ranking, and would completely wipe out the .017 lead given to Florida over the Coach's poll. Since Michigan had a comfortable 0.0302 lead over Florida in the Harris Interactive, they might have enough to hold on should this scenario pan out.




Sagarin Ratings

#1 Ohio State
#2 Michigan
#3 Florida
#4 USC
#5 LSU
#6 Boise State

Wolfe Ratings

#1 Ohio State
#2 Michigan
#3 Florida
#4 USC
#5 Louisville
#6 LSU
#7 Boise State

Colley projected to go to Florida
Billingsly projected to go to Michigan
Anderson-Hester is projected as a slight lead to Michigan

It looks like the Computer rankings comes down to Anderson-Hester. Since the best and worst result are thrown out, whoever finishes with the #2 ranking in Anderson-Hester should gain an important 0.010 edge in the overall rank

The Coach's poll is out, and it doesn't look good.

Michigan actually lost a vote, dropping from 1,445 to 1,444. How can that be? A team above them falls, and they lose a vote? Someone is obviously gaming the system? I wonder how many SEC-biased coaches have Michigan ranked #4 or lower? Meanwhile, Florida picks up the entire boost from USC's loss, gaining 65 votes, jumping from #4 to #2, with 1470 votes.

BCS Rank to date:

Florida (1460/1575 votes - .9333)
Michigan (1444/1575 votes - .9175) Florida has a .0158 edge in the Coaches poll.

If Michigan takes the Anderson-Hester, the edge should fall to .0058, making it all come down to the Harris Interactive. Last week, Michigan had 2614 votes, while Florida had 2528. That gave Michigan a .0302 advantage, which would be more than enough to give them the BCS birth. If Michigan can hold on to a seventeen vote lead (currently 97), it should be enough. It all comes down to which team claims more USC votes (I still can't believe Michigan lost votes in the coach's poll. What the hell?)



Why Michigan should be #2 (The Vanberbilt Addendum)

It seems like the entire sports world is lobbying for Florida to take the #2 spot over Michigan, for a variety of inane reasons. Michigan is clearly a superior football team to Florida, and I'm just trying to bring some sanity to the world. If you haven't already done so, first check out my last two blog entries, BCS Talking Points (AKA: Why Michigan Deserves a Rematch) and OthelloRank Strength of Schedule.

The SEC isn't not the super-powerhouse that everyone is making it out to be. Last season, #21 Wisconsin exposed this with a convincing 24-10 over #7 Auburn in the Capitol One bowl. This season, USC exposed this with a 50-14 beatdown on the road against #8 Arkansas, which was one muffed punt away from winning the SEC championship.

The SEC's winning %s are overinflated, due to a weak out of conference schedule that featured 15 matchups against Division I-AA opponents. The lone impressive out-of-conference win for the SEC was Tennessee's 35-18 win over Cal, who turned out to be rather mediocre anyway.

Let's take a look at Vanberbilt's record. Vanderbilt is the only common opponent between Michigan and Florida. In the first week of the season, Michigan handed Vanderbilt a 27-7 drubbing, outgaining them by over 200 yards, and holding the Commodores to 171 total offensive yards.

Let's look at how Vanberbilt performed against the rest of the SEC:

Vs. Florida: Loss 25-19. Vanderbilt puts up 391 yards, outgaining the Gators by 60 yards. Florida throws three interceptions. Florida manages to salvage a victory when they recover Vanderbilt's onside kick attempt with just over 2 minutes remaining.

Vs. Arkansas: Loss 21-19. Vanderbilt puts up 364 yards, but a failed 2 point conversion in the 4th quarter keeps them from tying up the game against the team that was a muffed punt away from winning the SEC Championship.

Vs. Georgia: Win 24-22. Georgia was at one time ranked as high as #7 in the coaches poll, falls to the SEC bottom feeders.

Vs. Alabama: Loss 13-10.

Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina all easily handled Vanderbilt, but the point remains that several of the supposed to top-tier teams in the SEC struggled against this supposed bottom feeder. This has all the markings of a mediocre/overrated conference.

There is little to no evidence to support the claim that the SEC is a tougher conference than the Big Ten. In fact, most evidence points to the contrary. The SEC is composed of a bunch of middling/overrated teams that are exposed each time they face a stronger out-of-conference opponent. (See Wisconsin vs. Auburn, USC vs. Arkansas, Michigan vs. Vanderbilt)

Florida's out-of-conference schedule featured C-USA opponents Southern Miss and UCF, along with Division II-A bottom feeder Western Carolina (who finished 0-7 in a Division II-A Conference. Western Carolina's only two wins of the season came against Chowan (???), who lost every game of the season, and Eastern Kentucky, of the OVC (???)). This out of conference schedule tells us nothing, and the fact that SEC is overrated exposes the fact that Florida's supposedly toughest schedule in the nation is vastly overrated.

My own strength of schedule calculations show that the Big Ten has vastly superior top end talent in Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin. Florida struggled for many portions of the season, and consistently looked mediocre on their route to an 12-1 season. Michigan, meanwhile, dominated in every facet of every game this season, and truly looked like a national title contender. Their only loss was by 3 points, on the road, to the #1 team in the nation. They truly deserve a rematch on neutral territory to determine who the #1 team in the nation should be.


OthelloRank Strength of Schedule - Michigan's tougher than Florida

I've put together the updated strength-of-schedule component from OthelloRank.

1. Illinois - 63.415
2. Stanford - 67.238
3. Connecticut - 69.199
4. Michigan - 70.084
5. Minnesota - 72.134
6. Florida - 74.279
7. South Carolina - 78.599
8. Arizona - 79.779
9. Cincinnati - 80.923
10. Indiana - 82.160
11. Mississippi State - 84.571
12. Kentucky - 86.663
13. USC - 87.165
14. Iowa - 89.291
15. Penn State - 90.316

Things to note:
  • Michigan is ahead of Florida
  • 6 of the top 15 teams are from the Big Ten, while only 4 reside in the SEC. Big Ten schedules are considered tough because they had to face Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. I through out matchups against Division I-AA opponents entirely, but if I included those games, the SEC would be a lot worse off, since the Big Ten faced only 9 D-IAA opponents all season, while the SEC faced 15.
  • Face it - the SEC was overrated all season long, and Florida did not have a stronger schedule than Michigan. When you factor in how dominant Michigan looked all season long, while Florida limped through much of the season, this shouldn't even be close.


BCS Talking Points (AKA Why Michigan Deserves a rematch over the Gators)

  • Michigan completely dominated every opponent they faced this season, save the #1 team in the country, on the road. Florida needed two blocked field goals to get by unranked South Carolina, and they struggled against mediocre teams like Georgia and Florida State. Michigan played like a national championship contender for the entire season, while Florida struggled for much of the season, and managed to limp there way to an 12-1 season.
  • Michigan's only loss came on the road to the #1 team in the country. They lost by 3 points. Florida lost convincingly to Auburn, a team which later lost to Georgia, who went 4-4 in the SEC.
  • The argument that the SEC is a stronger conference is a myth. Michigan's top end victories (Blowout vs. Notre Dame, impressive wins vs. Wisconsin and Penn State on the road) are more impressive than Florida's (Impressive win vs. LSU, fluky win over Arkansas, squeaking by Tennessee 21-20) According to Jeff Sagarin, Michigan has a stronger strength of schedule than Florida.
  • The only reason people feel that Florida's schedule is more impressive is the strength of the middling/mediocore opponents they played. Is defeating 8-4 Georgia, 7-5 Kentucky, 6-6 Alabama and 7-5 South Carolina really that much more impressive than defeating 8-4 Penn State, 9-4 Central Michigan 6-6 Minnesota, and 6-6 Iowa. We're talking about national championship contenders, and the argument is over which team faced more mediocre opponents. National championship contenders are supposed to breeze by this type of competition. Michigan did, and Florida struggled.
  • The SEC's win loss records are bolstered by an impressive array of wins over Division I-AA schools. Florida's opponents defeated 15 D-I AA opponents, while Michigan's opponents faced only 9. Florida's direct opposition have a slight edge in winning percentage, at .580 vs .579, but when you look at opponents-opponents winning percentages, Michigan has a .526 vs. .518 edge. If you factor in the fact that most D-I AA schools would've gone 0-11 vs DI-A competition, the edge is .454 vs. .419. Sagarin's rankings show that Michigan had a stronger schedule than Florida, and I tend to agree with him.
  • The SEC championship game was a joke. Punt Returner Fish handed them the ball game with a poor decision to field a punt over his shoulder, when it clearly would've gone in for a touchback. The game was filled with ridiculous coaching decisions, like Meyer pulling out a fake punt from his own 15 yard line in the 4th quarter (referee-aided, by neglecting to call a blatant hold) Meyer showed terrible clock management by burning all three timeouts in the third quarter, including one that resulted in a decision to punt the ball (The previously aforementioned Fish muff. Chris Leak threw a "pitch" six to Arkansas. Dick did everything he can to giftwrap the game to the Gators, as Arkansas managed to throw three interceptions while they were trying to mount a comeback. The game was a comedy of errors.
  • There is no way you can watch this Florida team from last night, that barely eaked out a win against unranked Florida State, squeaked out a 21-20 win vs. Tennessee, and had to block a field goal as time expired to hold out a victory over unranked South Carolina, and came close to losing to unranked Vanderbilt, and declare this team the #2 team in the country.
  • The only common opponent shared between Michigan and Florida was Vanderbilt. Michigan soundly defeated the Commodores 27-7, and outgained them by over 200 yards. Florida was outgained by Vanderbilt, and won by less than a touchdown 25-19.
  • Urban Meyer is a whining crybaby. You don't reward these people by giving them what they want.
  • Vegas says Michigan is a 6 point favorite in a head-to-head matchup over Florida
  • Yahoo Sports says nationwide, Fans want to see Michigan-Ohio State over Florida.


Updated OthelloRank rankings

If it was up to my computer ranking algorithm, Michigan would play in the national title game, but by the slimmest of margins. With my algorithm, Michigan has wins against 4 of the top 26 teams (#6 Wisconsin, #7 Notre Dame, #22 Penn State and #26 Central Michigan), while Florida has wins against 3 (#8 LSU, #14 Arkansas and #16 Tennessee)

1. Ohio State 73.000
2. Michigan 66.920
3. Florida 66.670
4. Boise State 65.000
5. Louisville 49.330
6. Wisconsin 48.360
7. Notre Dame 33.750
8. LSU 31.500
9. Auburn 20.080
10. West Virginia 17.640
11. Oklahoma 15.540
12. USC 14.750
13. Wake Forest 14.170
14. Arkansas 10.420
15. Rutgers 9.820
16. Tennessee 9.250
17. Hawaii 3.910
18. Virginia Tech 2.730
19. TCU 0.090
20. Brigham Young - 6.170
21. Texas - 8.550
22. Penn State - 9.820
23. California - 20.910
24. Navy - 27.550
25. Texas A&M - 29.820
26. Central Michigan - 37.850


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Gary Danielson is a Second Rate Announcer

I just left a complaint for CBS on their feedback form:

The team covering the SEC Championship was horrible. There is no call for such an obvious and openly biased attempt to sway the opinion of BCS voters. I'm tempted to boycott CBS entirely, and never again watch a televised college football game on your station. It is completely irresponsible to play favorites when broadcasting a nationally televised championship football, and attempting to undermine and overtly influence the BCS voting process. Quotes from Gary Danielson during the game:

"Let's face it, Michigan is a second place team".

"This is the SEC. WE don't call that".

Let's face it - Gary Danielson is a second rate announcer, and has no business openly lobbying for and attempting to influence the outcome of the final BCS ballot.