McFate's picture


Member since 20 February 2012 | Blog

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Comment 02 Jun 2017

Advancing to title games was just a touch easier back then.

I wonder if that is the case.

There are two title game participants when the field is 8 teams, and there are two title game participants when the field is 66 teams.  "Title game appearances" haven't become any scarcer: there remain two per year.  The difficulty in moving up the bracket by winning (in larger fields) contrasts with the difficulty of being left out entirely (in smaller fields).

Consider BCS era vs 4-team playoff, which is fresh in everyone's memory.  Which is harder: (a) finishing the regular season in top two; or (b) finishing regular season in the top four and winning one game?  The former would get you to the title game in the BCS era; the latter would get you to the title game now.  To me, it's a wash: you're roughly twice as likely to make a twice-as-big field, but then roughly half as likely to win the tourney once in, which balances out.

Comment 08 Nov 2016

My original point is kind of irrelevant since OSU fans don't get to decide whether Michigan is good.  The choice is not whether we face "good Michigan" or "bad Michigan" this year.  The only question is whether OSU beats "good Michigan" in 2016.  Every OSU fan wants that to happen.

 I was aiming more at those who lamented not seeing a good Michigan team during the RichRod/Hoke years.  A kind of: "be careful what you wish for."  Because now we've got it, and a significant chance of a loss comes along for the ride.

Comment 08 Nov 2016

Some of y'all believe bullying a six-loss Michigan team is more fun than knocking these clowns off their 11-0 high

Sure, winning against a bad Michigan team is not more fun than winning against a good one.  However, we must account for the fact that the win itself becomes less likely as the opponent gets better.  Assuming the win in both cases doesn't fairly compare the situations.

A 5-6 Michigan team gives less joy for the win, but the win is nearly a sure thing.  An 11-0 Michigan team is more fun to beat, but the win is a coin flip.  Is the win not just better, but better by a big enough margin to make up for losing much more often?  Was the ten-year war (approx. 0.500 vs UM) more fun than the Tressel years (approx. 0.900)?

Wanting Michigan to be better is equivalent to wanting to lose to them more often.  If you get enough extra joy out of the less frequent wins to make up for the losses, more power to you.  Personally, I don't. 

Comment 18 Oct 2016

In my view, Richt is Georgia's Earle Bruce:  A good coach, and will take you to a pleasant record every year if you're OK with three or four losses, but will never quite get you over the hump and will never quite perform up to the level of his recruited talent.  He's a step up if your program has cratered (like Miami's) but probably not the best a top-tier program can hope for.

The NCAA says that Georgia has more NFL players right now than just about anyone else.  They trail only LSU, Ohio State, Florida, Alabama, and FSU.  This has been the case (they've been 4th-6th) for the past few years as well.  Have their results the last several years (3 losses, 3 losses, 5 losses, 2 losses, 4 losses, 7 losses, 5 losses) been what one would expect from the NFL talent that has passed through?

Comment 27 Sep 2016

Rivals recruiting rankings show PSU as recruiting about 4th-best in the B1G on average over the last five years, and about 3rd on average (behind only OSU and UM) for the latter half of that span.  Maybe that's not quite as good as a B1G "flagship" program would expect -- they'd want to be tied with OSU/UM rather than trailing them.  But they are not suffering too much from the scandal, it seems.

Given their talent level, with average coaching you'd expect them to be about 4th-best in the B1G this year.  Perhaps they can use injuries as an excuse.  But if they had one of the better coaches in the conference, as they believe their program merits, they'd almost certainly be a stronger team than they are now.

Franklin was hired on the basis of winning 9 games at Vanderbilt. He's a bit like Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern: a guy who has done better-than-average at a perennial doormat.  But does that level of success suggest he'll able to get a top-tier team into the national title hunt?

Look at Gary Barnett's career post-Northwestern: Barnett actually won back-to-back B1G titles at NW -- a feat that eclipses Fitz and Franklin's accomplishments at their respective doormats.  Then he moved on up, and it turned out that an occasional conference title was also his ceiling at Colorado. He took over a Colorado team that was still a major player in the Big XII and less than a decade removed from a national title... and managed nothing more than one Big XII title and one BCS bowl appearance which he lost, in seven years.

Comment 26 Aug 2016

There's a lot of room to argue over coach-of-the-year.  The apparent criteria seem stacked against Ohio State and somehow not against Michigan in the same way, as Bo had no trouble getting the nod.

On the other hand, if anyone had to select a B1G coach of the decade for 2000-2009, it would be Tressel and the voting would not be close.  And I'm willing to bet that by the time the current decade wraps up, coach of the 2010s would be Urban and the voting would not be close.

Comment 28 Dec 2015

When the speed limit is over 50, isn't the zero-point range 10 mph over the posted limit (i.e., 64 in a 55 is zero points)?  I wonder what the rationale would be for reducing a higher speed all the way down to 59 -- a speed that, if taken at face value, just makes the officer seem petty.  If Zeke was in the high 60s, giving him a break to 64 would not be substantially worse than 59, would it?

My police-officer relative tells me that his department has specified a "real" speed limit for all of the major routes in the city that is different from the posted limit (there's a four-lane 35-mph street where they aren't supposed to pull over people going below 46mph, for example).  It doesn't seem likely that 59 would be in the "pull over" range on 670 (I used to drive that segment of 670 a couple times a week at 60-ish mph and was never pulled over).  Maybe a construction zone is another story, but the construction zones on 670 seemed to usually be marked 45 mph.

Comment 14 Jul 2015

I was in St. Petersburg in 2011, and saw a Terrelle Pryor version then.  Also saw versions for Jim Tressel, a couple Michigan players, European soccer stars, etc.

I don't think it's the necessarily case that these folks are all that popular in Russia.  The ones I saw were in a shop geared to serving cruise-ship tourists -- meaning, it's probably "some Russians' idea of what is popular elsewhere."

Comment 07 Feb 2015

After the end of the previous play, #81 had run to the OSU bench and someone (Marshall?) came in for him.  The rule is that if the offense substitutes, then the defense is given an opportunity to do so as well, so the official stood in the way preventing the ball from being snapped until Alabama's substitutes came in.

Alabama's players walking pretty slowly on and off the field.  I'd assume that there's some limit on how long the officials will hold up play, and Alabama was pushing that limit.  But the stoppage of play with the clock running was OSU's fault.  If they didn't want the officials holding up play, they should have made do with the same players they had on the field for the previous snap.

Comment 23 Sep 2014

That seemed odd to me, because you'd expect an even number of teams (since each conference game has two B1G participants).

But I worked it out: 1&2: Maryland and Indiana; 3: Northwestern (but not their opponent Penn State); 4&5: Iowa and Purdue; 6&7: Minnesota and Michigan; 8&9: Illinois and Nebraska.

Rutgers (playing non-conference) and Penn State (playing Northwestern) don't count since they played each other to "open conference play" already.  Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State are still playing non-conference opponents.

Comment 06 Jun 2014

The analysis of "the gauntlet" also has to include an analysis of the ease of getting into the playoff.  It's a natural reaction to think that an MNC recently became twice as hard to get (win B1G title game) and will become twice harder yet (win first round of 4-team playoff).  But that's not so, in my view.

Let's say that Ohio State has a uniform 10% chance to finish each of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (in the BCS rankings or selection committee's view) after the B1G title game.

Under the old BCS system, they'd have a 20% shot to get into the final game, since 1st and 2nd always get straight into that game and 3rd and 4th are always left out.  In the new system they'd be 40% to get into the 4-team playoff, and if they had a 50-50 shot of winning the first round, they end up with the same 20% to get into the final game.

Unless one hypothesizes a fairly strange probability distribution (e.g., "much more likely to finish 1st-2nd than 3rd-4th, but at the same time less likely than 50-50 to win the first round game") the size of the playoff is pretty much irrelevant to the odds of winning the title.  In the end there's still exactly one MNC per year, so they haven't become any scarcer.

As a tangent:  Similarly, the B1G title game may seem like it makes it hard to win B1G titles, but it depends on how you look at it.  It is now easier to win outright B1G titles (there is now one every single year, so they have become less scarce).  There's no longer a straight equivalent to a shared B1G title, though based on total number of co-champs over the recent pre-Nebraska years, a berth in the B1G title game could be considered roughly equivalent (and "division co-champ" far easier) if you're trying to compare success across eras.

Comment 16 Apr 2014

Even if looking at it from a money-only angle, how much concessions profit is there for the extra 40,000 people?