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13 Sep 2010

One Foot Inbounds: Rivalry Refreshed

by Robert Weintraub

Ohio State-Michigan. Contemplate the rivalry game for a minute, and you conjure images of smashed mouths and bruised flesh, three yards and a spray of blood, and quarterbacks with descriptions like "leader" and "game manager" -- telltale euphemisms for white dudes who are prone to getting clobbered from behind.

But this year's collision (November 27 in Columbus) will, barring injury, feature two of the more electric quarterbacks in the nation. Terrelle Pryor of the Buckeyes eluded the speedy but overeager Miami defenders to lead Ohio State past the Hurricanes in Saturday's most-hyped clash, 36-24. While Pryor was good, he looked like Automatic Otto Graham compared to the ever-disappointing Jacory Harris, who once again used the big-game stage to herald his understudy status. You've no doubt seen the lollipop Harris lobbed to Cameron Heyward as The U was threatening late in third quarter, one of his four interceptions on the afternoon. The Ohio State score that followed effectively ended Miami's hopes. Pryor had no such lapse, although Miami dropped several potential picks.

Denard "Shoelace" Robinson was superhuman, albeit against a far softer defense at Notre Dame. But 502 yards of offense and the game-winning touchdown run is a pretty dandy afternoon on any gridiron. Michigan dominated the second half of the game with its pass rush, save two plays. One the first, the Wolverines dropped eight, yet still allowed a tight end(!), Kyle Rudolph, to get behind the secondary for a 96-yard touchdown play. On the second, quarterback Dayne Crist had an eternity to throw, but Rudolph couldn't get free from the tuba players in the Irish band, where Christ's pass was thrown.

Michigan appears relevant once more, now that RichRod has a Pat White clone running the show. However, until Michigan's backs step up to a Steve Slaton/Owen Schmidt level, the maize-and-blue won't truly be national players. And let's recall that exactly a year ago, there was a new folk hero behind center at Michigan, and his name was Tate Forcier (who's now a backup). It's good to have some life back in Ann Arbor, though, and that Pryor-Robinson matchup should leave fans breathless, linebackers frustrated, and Woody and Bo purple with rage somewhere in the Great Beyond.

Back when he was being recruited, Pryor chose the drudgery of Columbus over the tedium of Happy Valley. Had he gone to play for JoePa, perhaps Penn State wouldn't have been beat down as badly as they were by Alabama's swarming defense. OK, instead of 24-3, it might have been 24-10. Duke might pose a stiffer offensive challenge to Mark Barron, Dont'a Hightower & Co. than the Nittany Lions did. On the same night, Penn State women's volleyball team lost to Stanford, ending a 109-match winning streak. A bleak Saturday in the Nittany Mountains.

As for Alabama, the Tide's third string is probably a top five team right now. I thought they might come back to the pack slightly, after such a heavy loss of stud defenders, but they look far better than anyone else after two weeks, admittedly a small sample size. If they don't go wire-to-wire, it would be a surprise. Anything can happen, of course -- the Tide almost gagged to Tennessee last year -- but the eyeball test suggests the October 9 game at South Carolina is the main chance to prevent another unbeaten regular season in Tuscaloosa (which would be three straight for the Nicktator).

The Gamecocks are completely transformed now that frosh face Marcus Lattimore is on campus and hauling the mail. He may be in danger of a Curse of 370 letdown in 2011 if Steve Spurrier keeps giving him 37 carries a game, as he did in Saturday's rock fight with Georgia. After the game, Spurrier said, Georgia coach Mark Richt told Spurrier that he "had a hell of a team" -- the first time he's heard that since taking over at South Carolina. Leaving aside what that says about Spurrier's half-decade in Columbia, there's no doubt that this may be the best group of Gamecocks since George Washington Rogers was punishing defenders.

On the subject of our Founding Fathers, Mickey Matthews, the coach of James Madison, had called the idea of beating Virginia Tech in Blacksburg "comical" during the week. Well consider him coach Chris Rock, although few in Hokie Nation are laughing at the 21-16 loss to JMU, only the second time a ranked team has lost to an FBS (Division 1-AA) school. The main culprit in the upset was poor tackling by Virginia Tech, especially on a 77-yard swing pass turned touchdown by JMU's Jamal Sullivan. And when a little dose of Beamer Ball was required, late in the game and JMU punting, Tech roughed the punter. And the Dukes killed off the rest of the game.

Now everyone remembers Appalachian State's shock win in the Big House a couple of years back, and that seems like an all-time upset. But given the Wolverines collapse that season, and the obvious stupidity of their No. 5 preseason ranking, you could argue that this was a bigger surprise. I mean, the Hokies played hard and well on Labor Night -- losing in the final moments to Boise is hardly a bad loss. Clearly, the short turnaround and non-respect for the opponent played a hand in the loss, but give it up for JMU.

And to football in the Dakotas. Is there a rich, untapped vein of talent in the Black Hills, a latent powerhouse churning out players along the Bighorn River? Last week North Dakota State took out Kansas. This Saturday it was South Dakota's turn to knock off the big-state school with little pigskin tradition, Minnesota. The Coyotes star player, quarterback Dante Warren is from Illinois, not Deadwood, but damned if he doesn't combine the skill and backbone of Seth Bullock with the cunning and intimidation of Al Swearengen -- although he's only the size of E.B. Farnum. Warren accounted for five scores, including a stirring 36-yard dash midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win. Minny head coach Tim Brewster is now 14-24 in Prince's Town, and USC is coming next week. He is unlikely to see 2011.

Lane Kiffin's job is safe, but he was pretty well outcoached by new Virginia head man Mike London. USC escaped an upset by playing much better defense than last week's Hawaiian vacation, though they struggled to move the ball against London's defense, which was active before and after the snap. They clamped down on Matt Barkley and Ronald Johnson, even though star corner Ras-I Dowling didn't dress. A five minute stretch just before halftime was about the only good work turned in by the Southern Cal offense. The Trojans have a favorable schedule, but they'll need some major work if they are to compete with Oregon for the conference title.


  • Where's Matthew McConaughey when you need him? Marshall was up on in-state rival West Virginia in the Friends of Coal Bowl (seriously, that's what the game was called -- not the Mountaintop Removal Bowl, or the Suffocated Miners Bowl) 21-6 with 10 minutes left. But a fumble at West Virginia's four-yard line turned the game. The Mountaineers pulled off two 90-plus-yard drives, scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion with 16 ticks left, and then won in overtime when Marshall missed a field goal. Ethanol for everyone!
  • The Pac-10 was supposed to have a pair of Heisman-worthy candidates at quarterback, but neither Washington's Jake Locker nor Stanford's Andrew Luck has been overly impressive. Sure, Locker threw four touchdown passes against my Syracuse Orange, but the stat flatters him -- the star was receiver Jermaine Kearse, who repeatedly took short swing passes and bubble screens and left a pulpy orange mess in his wake.
  • Cal's Kevin Riley looks like the west's best signal caller after two weeks. The Bears demolished Colorado 52-7 (Weintraub Locks now 2-0!) in Strawberry Valley. If that's what the Buffs have to offer, their move to the Pac-10 may have to be reevaluated.
  • Deep in the shadows of "Monster Saturday," FCS school Gardner-Webb knocked off Akron, giving the lower division six wins over the big boys in two weeks of play, already one more win than all of last year.
  • One of those, of course, was James Madison. Why do Madison, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, etc., all have schools named for them, but John Adams only gets an HBO miniseries?
  • Who said Turner Gill was a bad hire? Kansas rebounded nicely from its 6-3 un-masterpiece against South Dakota State last Saturday by exploding on Georgia Tech 28-25. Daymond Patterson is a talent at wideout, and cornerback Isiah Barfield and company did the seemingly impossible -- they wore Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt out with repeated hits. The PR wizards over at the Institute modeled Nesbitt's Heisman campaign after the Most Interesting Man in the World ads. Saturday, Nesbitt staggered off the field like he'd had a few Dos Equis too many.
  • Duke-Wake Forest played the most entertaining quarter of football in recent memory, combining for 49 points in the second. Wake outlasted the Devils 54-48, the second-most points in an ACC game ever, and more than more basketball games in the old Four Corners era.
  • Air Force was 12th in passing defense S&P in 2009, but there were concerns that defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter would take the great play with him to Texas A&M. Not so, as the Falcons achieved air dominance over the Colorado Springs skies in crushing BYU 35-14. The two squads may not meet once the Cougars go indie, so it was a fond sendoff by a rising power in the MWC.
  • Seeing Nick Montana stare out from under the Notre Dame helmet made the liver spots explode on the back of my hands. Has the time really gone by that quickly?
  • Houston scored 54 points without a single Case Keenum touchdown pass, mainly because he was knocked silly trying to make a tackle after an interception. His backup has a name even more evocative of good ole Texas football -- Cotton Turner, and there wasn't any Cotton-pickin' by UTEP. Bryce Beall, Houston's outstanding tailback, scored thrice in the romp. Keenum's status is unknown, but he'll surely have Cotton in his ears all week at practice.
  • The state of Florida looked bad thanks to Miami's pickfest and FSU's annihilation at the hands of Oklahoma, but Georgia had it worse. Not only did the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets get whipped, but Georgia State, one week after inaugurating the brand-new football program with a win in the boisterous Georgia Dome, thudded back to earth with a 23-14 defeat at the hands of the Lambuth Eagles (it's in Jackson, Tennessee -- admit it, you were curious).


(Editor's Note: We are having issues with the Blogpoll once again this week, but we should be fully functional by next week's column.)

1. Alabama
2. Ohio State
3. Boise State
4. TCU
5. Oregon
6. Texas
7. Oklahoma
8. Iowa
9. Florida
10. Nebraska
11. South Carolina
12. LSU
13. Utah
14. Wisconsin
15. Miami
16. Auburn
17. Michigan
18. Cal
19. Arkansas
20. USC
21. East Carolina
22. Stanford
23. Air Force
24. Houston
25. Penn State

Lowsman Watch

This space is saved for the non-skill players to get some love. Like these stars from Week 2:

1. Nick Fairly, defensive tackle, Auburn. Two years after the infamous 3-2 game set college sports back two decades, Auburn and Mississippi State played another, less torpid, defensive battle. Fairly helped ensure the Tigers won again, with 2.5 tackles for loss, a pick, a fumble recovery, and countless hurries.

2. Chimdi Chekwa, cornerback, Ohio State. Chekwa had two picks of Jacory Harris and was the best defender on the field, edging out teammate Cameron (Son Of Ironhead) Heyward.

3. Joe Lefeged, safety, Rutgers. Blocked two punts, had a pick, jarred two fumbles loose in a 19-14 win over Florida International, then pummeled The Situation later that evening in a New Brunswick watering hole.

4. Mike Mohamed, linebacker, Cal. He had an interception return for a touchdown and 14 tackles in the blowout over Colorado.

5. Devin Barclay, kicker, Ohio State. Five field goals in a big game on a soggy afternoon in Columbus. The five figgies ties a school record.

Lowsman winner after two weeks: Patrick Peterson, cornerback, LSU. He averaged 25 yards on two kick returns as the Tigers squashed Vandy 27-3.

Posted by: Robert Weintraub on 13 Sep 2010

26 comments, Last at 16 Sep 2010, 11:32am by horn


by Will Allen :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 2:55pm

Hey, when a school has won 6 national championships, it is not accurate to say it has little pigskin tradition. Just because nothing really great has happened for Minnesota in more than 40 years doesn't mean there is no tradition! Sheesh!

We who helped build their new stadium are really, really, happy to see the Gophers give up 41 points in the new place to South Dakota. How Brewster ever got hired by the likes of Schottenheimer and Shanahan, two guys who were/are maniacal about preparation, is a wonder.

by horn :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 3:40pm

Well, Miami did have 4 INTs, but blaming Harris for all of them shows you didn't watch the game. One was deflected, but we'll blame that on Harris since the DB was able to tip it away, but some bad luck there.

The 2nd one, WR Benjamin is supposed to run a 5-yd curl and he doesn't only run the wrong route, he run-blocks, and the timing pass goes right to the DB as he never turns around. Easiest INT ever, except for the next one.

Harris hits Benjamin with a perfect 12-yd sideline first down, except he bobbles it and while trying to secure it DB Chekwa runs over and grabs it out of his hands. So ugly - no rational person would blame either of these remotely on the QB.

Yes, Harris killed any chances of winning that game with an awful INT to Heyward, but man did An Ohio State ever unimpress given that Miami had 4 TOs, 2 missed FGs, at least 2-3 drops in the end zone, 2 poor throws by Harris that would have been easy TDs, and 2 penalty-killing first downs.

Pryor made 2 good throws all game, max, the fact that Miami was still threatening in the 4th shows how overrated they are - Bama would beat them 40-10.

by stanhansen1 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 4:41pm

Well said.

by Will :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 5:01pm

Ohio State gave up one offensive touchdown. They should have won this game by 35 or 40 points, but they still struggle in the red zone and ended up attempting 6 fairly "gimme" field goals (21, 24, 24, 24, 41, missed from 32).

Alabama appears to be in a class of their own, but the Buckeyes are just as good as anyone else in the country. If Pryor ever learns to throw short passes (unlikely), the Buckeyes will be scary as a lot of the field goals will suddenly become touchdowns.


by horn :: Wed, 09/15/2010 - 4:05pm

That first sentence is true, but you can't penalize Miami for running two kicks back either. After all, if they had run both kicks back inside the 5, people'd say, 'Well, it wasn't An Ohio State Defense's fault they started on the 5...' can't have it both ways.

Yes, they are the better team, and yes they should have won by a LOT more but they are just NOT good enough with Pryor making 1-2 good passes a game: The aOSU blogs are giving him credit for that bomb to Posey which was a jump-ball thrown into double coverage...turn that into an INT which it was more likely to be and have Aldarius Johnson or Chase Ford not drop TD passes [or Harris not misfire on Benjamin 5 yds open at the goal line] and Miami wins 31-29 even losing the turnover battle by 3. [!]

For all the kudos to aOSU's defense, both offenses had the same YPP, Miami was 43% on 3rd v 33% for Bux, and averaged 4.3 ypc behind a young offensive line with RBs that haven't started before -- imagine what a real running team will do.

Completely agree on Pryor. As you say, it won't happen. Be interesting if aOSU drops one to say, Iowa, and misses the BCS Champ and Miami wins the ACC if they play on a neutral field 4 months from now [say Oregon plays Bama, etc].

Of course, Miami has to beat a few teams like Pitt, Clemson and whoever ends up good in the ACC first. 1-2 losses might still win that conference.

by Will :: Wed, 09/15/2010 - 8:23pm

I didn't penalize in Miami in any way - they definitely have some very good talent. Jacory Harris is a talented passer who consistently makes some real bone-headed decision - the INT to Heyward was definitely the turning point of the game, and was a really bad decision.

YPP can be misleading a bit because of the massive difference in starting field position the teams had, coupled with the fact that Ohio State went into prevent offense at the end of the game.

I think the Hurricanes are the best team in the ACC, but would still be a 5 point underdog to a team like Ohio State on a neutral field, and about the same level of play as Wisconsin in the Big Ten (roughly the third best team).


by horn :: Thu, 09/16/2010 - 11:32am

Will, I don't disagree with any of your conclusions, incl about Harris, and good point on the YPP-prevent offense at the end of that game.

However, you are de facto rewarding aOSU's Defense [like most pure stat-based analysis would] because Miami had 2 Special Teams TDs.
An offense that gets the ball 2 fewer times because their S/T scores will have fewer TDs. QED.

Their Defense simply wasn't that great, they got a lucky deflection for an INT, a luckier INT where the WR didn't turn around, and the luckiest INT [shades of Clarett] where the DB wrestled the bobbling ball from Benjamin.

3 'undeserved' turnovers, a 4th the QB threw right at the guy's chest in an awful decision, and 2 fewer drives to defend against will make anybody's Def look good on paper. Miami's not a strong running team [we think] and yet they put up 4.3 ypc, teams like Iowa and Wisconsin will feast on aOSU if they don't improve that by leaps and bounds.

Pryor had one TD drive of more than 19 yards, and that incl a 52-yd jump ball thrown into double coverage.

Miami +5 on neutral site sounds exactly right.

by Tyler (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 5:46pm

If Ohio States special teams doesn't implode, and Jim Tressel doesn't take mercy on Miami at the end of the game, OSU wins 43-10. And that score is much more indicative of the actual play on the field than what the final score actually was.

The F.E.I. ratings are going to be good to OSU this week.

by Floridan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 8:35pm

And if the OSU team still had Archie Griffin in his prime, they would have won running away.

Come on, the game is what it was. Special team play is part of the game, as are interceptions and coaching decisions.

by horn :: Wed, 09/15/2010 - 4:10pm

Actual play on field = 5.3 ypp v 5.4 ypp.
4.3 ypc v 3.7 ypc. 56% comp rate v 44%. The home team was gifted 3 turnovers by the road team, and deservedly won, but don't get cocky, kid. Don't pretend special teams aren't a huge part of the game - even Cheatypants McSweatervest knows that.

by beargoggles :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 4:27pm

Strawberry Canyon, not Strawberry Valley. Otherwise thanks for the Bears love. I'm going to not get overly excited given prior Cal fast starts, but the defensive coordinator and special teams coaches are major upgrades (the latter by default; I would have been an upgrade possibly), and there's a lot of defensive speed. I don't think Riley played that great, actually. Missed some really easy passes but did make a few nice ones as well. I'd rather have Luck (sacriledge)

by Thok :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 5:35pm

Agreed. Riley doesn't actually look that good given the type of field position Cal has started in and the amount of skill position talent surrounding him (Keenan Allen looks like the real deal.) He's been throwing a lot of dink and dunk passes that he should be completing at a 75% rate, rather than his current 65% rate.

Nevada will be an interesting test for the Bears, since Cal's defense shouldn't be able to shut down Nevada's offense as completely as they did UC Davis and Colorado.

by zlionsfan :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 5:05pm

Appalachian State went on to win their third consecutive I-AA championship that year; JMU didn't even make the playoffs last season. There are even those who suggest that the most surprising result in I-A football that year didn't even involve a Big Ten team. (Not that it wasn't an upset; I'm just pointing out that the Mountaineers generally get much less credit for that win than they deserve.)

Excitement over Forcier wasn't the same: he was leading Michigan to victories, but he wasn't anywhere near the running threat that Robinson was, even last season, and thus the offense with him at QB wasn't as complete as it may be under Robinson. The excitement in this case is easier to justify.

In defense of Colorado, don't forget that this is an all-sports move (or perhaps more accurately, an academics + athletics move). CU struggled against the top of the conference, but it looks like that'll happen to more than one team on Oregon's schedule ... and I think they'd do pretty well against the bottom half of the conference.

by Gary the unregisterd user (not verified) :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 3:45am

academics, athletics... and money

Adding Colorado had as much to do about adding the Denver TV market (and recruiting grounds) as anything else.

by Jeff Fogle :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 5:15pm

"Who said Turner Gill was a bad hire? Kansas rebounded nicely from its 6-3 un-masterpiece against South Dakota State last Saturday by exploding on Georgia Tech 28-25. Daymond Patterson is a talent at wideout, and cornerback Isiah Barfield and company did the seemingly impossible -- they wore Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt out with repeated hits."

"Not only did the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets get whipped..."

It was North Dakota State not South, but...

When did a 3-point win while getting outgained 407-320 and 6.1 to 4.5 in YPP become "exploding" or "whipping" somebody? Kansas did hit Nesbitt hard. No doubt about that. Guys not named Nesbitt rushed for 257 yards on 37 carries for 6.97 yards per rush. Georgia Tech was driving with a chance to win in the final minutes. Yes, it was a big win for Kansas. But, "exploding" while allowing over 400 yards and gaining just 320. "Whipping" by losing yards-per-play by 1.6?

Your audience is watching these games and/or reading the boxscores...

by ammek :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 6:12pm

Was "Christ's pass" (last line, paragraph 3) a hail mary?

Ba dum.

by Yinka Double Dare :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 7:31pm

Why would it make Bo mad in the great beyond? He ran a bunch of option football back in the day, with athletic QBs.

by Dave H. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 7:56pm

Did you ever watch one of Bo Schembechler's Michigan teams? Dennis Franklin wasn't exactly a "white dude who was prone to being clobbered from behind". Rick Leach wasn't a pocket passer with no mobility.

Bo would have loved to have Denard Robinson at quarterback. To suggest he'd be furious is just ridiculous.

by Go Bleau (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 9:09pm

To the F.O. staffers--what exactly is the college equivalent of the curse of 370, and does the position of the player matter (say, certain Maize and Blue QB vs. a running back from South Carolina) who may get to the college equivalent of 370?

The quote about the excitement in Ann Arbor this year with Robinson being more intense than last year isn't totally accurate. Remember, Forcier led a very dramatic comeback against ND in his own right and was largely responsible for the early attention U of M was garnering. This year is different, especially since it was more than a mild surprise that Robinson emerged as the likely starter at the end of the spring. But dear lord is he on another level thus far...

Surprising no one is commenting on the utter lack of performance from the other 21 starters on either side of the ball for U of M--that spells trouble.

by bird jam :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 8:59am

Oops, didn't see this comment before I posted mine below. I had the same question about the college Curse of 370.

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/13/2010 - 11:57pm

Nate Montana plays for Notre Dame. Nick Montana is a Washington Husky and barring injuries to Locker, will redshirt this year.

by kevinM (not verified) :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 12:12am

Apparently I missed the point in the game in which Michigan "dominated" outside of the Tommy Rees and Nate Montana adventure. When Crist was in the game, Notre Dame outscored Michigan 24-7 and scored on 4 of his 7 drives.

by Jeff Fogle :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 12:49pm

"Michigan dominated the second half of the game with its pass rush, save two plays. One the first, the Wolverines dropped eight, yet still allowed a tight end(!), Kyle Rudolph, to get behind the secondary for a 96-yard touchdown play. On the second, quarterback Dayne Crist had an eternity to throw, but Rudolph couldn't get free from the tuba players in the Irish band, where Christ's pass was thrown."

Michigan's offensive drives in the 2H went: punt, punt, missed field goal, punt, missed field goal, punt, punt until they fell behind and got the game-winning drive that pulled out the victory. How can you "dominate" a half by having seven empty drives before you score a come-from-behind TD after you blew a lead?

Notre Dame started the 2H with a TD drive and a field goal, and won the third quarter by about 145-84 based on the drive point yardage in espn's boxscore. Notre Dame won 2H yardage by roughly 310-200 (using the drive distances, which isn't necessarily the same as total yardage because of penalties). If you take out the 96-yard TD pass that is listed in the "save" hunk in the quote (which is listed as a 95-yard TD pass on a 91-yard drive that came after a penalty), it's still a yardage edge for ND...and you can't assume they would have taken a goose-egg on the drive that was just starting.

Rob, are you just scoreboard watching and checking out highlight packages on TV or something? The only defense for your characterizations of the Kansas-GT and ND/Michigan games would be that you saw Kansas work it's way to a 28-17 lead at one point on scoreboard updates, and saw footage of Nesbitt getting tackled on a highlight show...then you saw Michigan's second half lead on periodic scoring updates (21-7, 21-14, 21-17) and interpreted that as them "dominating" the second half until the TD pass from Christ.

Football Outsiders is supposed to be the antidote to mainstream coverage because of "innovative statistics and intelligent analysis." Interpreting highlight packages from Wendy Nix or whoever isn't either. Read the boxscores and the drive charts. Find out what actually happened if you're going to write about a game. Kansas didn't "explode" on Georgia Tech with negative 87 yardage differential and -1.6 yards-per-play...and Michigan didn't "dominate" a second half with seven failed drives before a desperation score.

Anyone can scoreboard watch. Reading the boxscores and drive charts helps clear up illusions that scoreboard watching creates.

Editors, where the heck are you? This is the opposite of reporting because it's relaying things that didn't actually happen. If you're going to call it an "opinion" piece and the author is entitled to think Kansas "exploded" and Michigan "dominated," then it's just a different form of the same problem. The facts have to be right, or the interpretation of results should be sound. (How can a stat/analysis site ignore the stats when evaluating a game? Or make assessments that fly in the face of game stats without an explanation?)

Sometimes nits like me are talking about something important...

by Yinka Double Dare :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 12:57pm

Most of Michigan's second half possessions were killed by Michigan penalties rather than Notre Dame shutting them down, but it's still pretty hard to say a team that repeatedly shoots itself in the foot is dominating anything -- not getting penalties is part of the skill set of the offense.

by bird jam :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 8:58am

Does the Curse of 370 also apply in college? I have no reason to believe it wouldn't, but I just don't remember hearing that it did. Does the data back it up?

by Bill Connelly :: Tue, 09/14/2010 - 3:05pm

It's hard to tell with only five full years of play-by-play data. Would be worth a study in the offseason, however.