Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Since I hate science fiction so much, I have decided to read Book Four in the Dune Chronicles, "God Emperor of Dune." I found the following idea from page 96 very intriguing...

"I know the evil of my ancestors...It has not occurred to you that your ancestors were survivors and that survival itself sometimes involved savage decisions, a kind of wanton brutality which civilized humankind works very hard to suppress."

It's an interesting thought to consider your ancestors as murderers, thieves, adulterers, and all around assholes that were successful in passing on their genes. It certainly makes me wonder what specific evils allowed the Dar line to survive to 2006 A.D.

Pont des Arte Posted by Picasa

Dan Fogelberg - Nether Lands

High on this mountain
The clouds down below
I'm feeling so strong and alive
From this rocky perch
I'll continue to search
For the wind
And the snow
And the sky
I want a lover
I want some friends
And I want to live in the sun
And I want to do all the things that I
never have done.

Sunny bright mornings
And pale moonlit nights
Keep me from feeling alone
Now, I'm learning to fly
And this freedom is like
Nothing that I've ever known
I've seen the bottom
And I've been on top
But mostly I've lived in between
And where do you go
When you get to the end of
your dream?

Off in the nether lands
I heard a sound
Like the beating of heavenly wings
And deep in my brain
I can hear a refrain
Of my soul as she rises and sings
Anthems to glory and
Anthems to love and
Hymns filled with early delight
Like the songs that the darkness
Composes to worship the light.

Once in a vision
I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear
Yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
One road was simple
Acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release.

From the Telegraph...

This week, the archaeologist Prof Glenn Schwartz announced that the team has found another seven tombs nearby in what is believed to be the site of ancient Tuba, one of Syria's first cities and the capital of a small kingdom.

Among the more striking discoveries are a hitherto unseen form of ancient writing and the fact that the women in the tombs tend to have more grave wealth than the men.


The newly-discovered tombs contained signs of the ritual sacrifice: underground brick structures yielded the skeletons of infants and decapitated donkeys or perhaps onagers (their wild cousins), as well as puppy bones, Prof Schwartz said.


The animal remains were sometimes found adjacent to baby bones, perhaps indicating that infant sacrifice went along with equid sacrifice in rituals honouring the important people buried nearby, Prof Schwartz said. Sets of puppy bones were also found in several of the brick structures. The archaeologists found spouted jars in the installations and a large jar containing the skeletons of three infants.

So let me get this straight - they found donkeys, feminists, and murdered babies? Sounds like Democrats to me.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Sacre Coeur! (You may remember this one from the cartoons being pronounced 'Sock-ray-cure') Posted by Picasa

From Frank...

"To many Tennesseans, Cocke County is the place their parents warned them about, the butt of hillbilly jokes, the last redoubt of an old, untamed Appalachia. For decades this poor and dramatically beautiful area, north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was a haven for moonshiners and bootleggers who evaded federal tax agents by hiding in its rugged hills and hollows.

It was also known for its brothels and chop shops, its illegal bars and gambling, its shakedowns and drugs and stadium-sized cockfight pits — and its rampant public corruption. There was a time when people called it "Little Chicago."

Seems the bad part of the state (off Miss Allison's way) has been known for trouble for quite some time and continues to live up to that name. I'm sure Frank is just loving this chance to stick it to Tres, Allison, and myself. In someway we are all responsible for the behavior of Cocke County.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


"But since you gonna run up on me, I gonna treat you like a bitch, bitch."

"But if he's no good, why are you sleeping with him?"

"And when he come out, he better hope he don't get smacked."

"Well, I'm here to marry my fat fiance. She's a big girl, I'm not going to lie."

"Food is love in this relationship."

"We are here to eat a big wedding cake in under 2 minutes." (I kinda wanna do that one - or at least not have to share all that cakey goodness. On second thought, after witnessing this disgusting spectical, I think I would rather eat the cake at my own pace.)

Here in Tennessee there is a hotly contested race for the Senate between Harold Ford Jr., a Memphis Congressional Democrat, and Bob Corker, former GOP mayor of Chattanooga. The National RNC has been running this ad showing the disconnect between Ford and traditional Tennessee values. It's pretty funny because they play up Ford's connection to terrorists and 'Playboy parties.' I thought it was a pretty amusing and an effective tongue in cheek personal attack. However, the blogosphere has come up with this rather pithy response on behalf of Mr. Ford...

"The Republicans have accused me of being a heterosexual man. They're implying that I have an interest in women. It would seem that today's Republican Party is more comfortable with elected officials - male elected officials ?who take an interest in teenage boys. Mark Foley is acceptable to Ken Mehlman'?s GOP. Heterosexual men, it seems, are not."

I would love this ad even more than the Corker one. However, The Stranger goes on to call Corker's ad 'racist,' which I really don't understand. Just because somebody attacks Ford and he happens to be black does not make it racist. I'm not sure where this ad hominem attack is rooted, but I still would enjoy seeing the Foley/Ford response ad on TV.

"Utter your gravity o'er a gossip's bowl,
For here we need it not." Posted by Picasa

Remember the balcony in Act II Scene i?

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

Tres and I were recently discussing this play and I had to admit how it had grown on me over the years. You may remember being forced to read it in highschool. A far worse fate befell Tondar when I was forced to actually memorize the above portion in 9th grade. It makes sense that all highschoolers should be forced to suffer this play considering that Romeo and Juliet are too young to know any better. They are at the age when hormones make life an emotional roller coaster. Every emotion and feeling burns with a life or death urgency that throws the entire universe into flux. Whether it is the biting of a thumb by a rival or a kiss by the book from a cute girl, these petty things become the prime mover of the adolescent mind.

Given that, I was never, and still am not fond of Romeo and Juliet themselves. Now don't get me wrong, Tondar has had many a crush in his day. And I would have to agree that there is no greater feeling than to be captivated by the eyes or the touch of that Idee Fixe.

So what makes Romeo and Juliet different? Quite simply, it is their naivete and disregard for the world around them. I found these characters and their ridiculous love about as identifiable as that children's book about the dumbass that plants pennies in the hope of growing a money tree. Both are selfish and have no regard for the functionality of the world they call home.

However, where I have found redemption is in the periphery characters such as Friar Laurence, the Nurse, Mercutio, Lord Capulet, and Benvolio. These characters are so engaging that one is able to look past the complete retardedness of the title characters. Their strong personalities interact to set the tragedy in motion. A great example is Friar Laurence. This benevolent nature lover rightfully gives Romeo a hard time for abandoning his crush on Rosaline for Juliet...

"Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!
Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear,
So soon forsaken? young men's love then lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.
Jesu Maria, what a deal of brine
Hath wash'd thy sallow cheeks for Rosaline!
How much salt water thrown away in waste,
To season love, that of it doth not taste!
The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears,
Thy old groans ring yet in my ancient ears;
Lo, here upon thy cheek the stain doth sit
Of an old tear that is not wash'd off yet:
If e'er thou wast thyself and these woes thine,
Thou and these woes were all for Rosaline:
And art thou changed? Pronounce this sentence then,
Women may fall, when there's no strength in men."

The Friar understands the fickle nature of our mortal passions and rips into young Romeo for foolishly falling in love . After all what are we to make of Romeo if he repeatedly falls head over heels for the girls of Verona? Obviously, this young man has a desperate desire to be loved by anybody (physically or emotionally).

In the end, I realize my opinion is in the minority. Considering this play gave the Romantic Era its name. Humanity is more drawn to the illusion of Romeo's latest flame. As my copy of the Complete Works points out in the introduction...

"That this appeal to a universal longing in human nature is the true secret of the play's success is witnessed by the great popularity of the balcony scene in Act II, which is not at all the dramatic climax of the play but is usually the scene most clearly remembered. In former centuries the Library of Oxford University kept its folio copy of Shakespeare's works chained to a desk at which students could stand and read. The well-thumbed pages of the balcony scene and of the parting scene in Act III give mute evidence that for young Oxonians these utterances of love were the most popular passages in all of Shakespeare's works."

It would be interesting to see what would have happened if their love were simply allowed to run its course. As wonderful as these feelings may have been at the beginning, what would be left when the excitement of that gaze or that touch fade? Every relationship needs something deeper to sustain itself, otherwise it becomes a selfish Springeresque fulfillment of our passions. And like the Springer concept of love, alas that supernova of teenage emotion would have burned itself out soon enough. In a way it is perfect that the "tragic" death of these star crossed lovers inherently makes for a happy ending. We do not have to witness Romeo's next crush or the waning affection of Juliet that is to follow. Well, it would be happy if one does not consider the final repose of these selfish, suicidal souls.

Like you needed less of a reason to use the bathrooms in the subway...

"Men who live as women can now legally use women's rest rooms in New York's transit system under an unprecedented deal revealed yesterday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to allow riders to use MTA rest rooms "consistent with their gender expression," the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund announced yesterday."

I didn't even know they had bathrooms on the subway. Well don't I feel like a barbarian for pissing on an isolated portion of the platform after Superbowl XXXVIII.

G Train, why don't you ever come!?! Probably, because NYC hates Brooklyn and Queens more that Trannies.

From James...

"I want to know who was the marketing genius behind this? I know, we'll call it "cocaine". Brilliant."


This isn't the first time Cocaine has been yanked. Some stores in the New York area pulled the drink after local politicians complained. It's all part of the company's plan to stand out in the fast-growing energy drink market.

"We knew the name was going to be provocative," said Kirby, whose husband, James, created the drink.

The kids often find this surprising, but Tondar has never used a drug besides alcohol. And I even view stimulant rich products like Red Bull, coffee, or soda with a bit of skepticism. Maybe it's just the libertarian in me but if the kids want to get all hopped up on this stuff, better than having them do actual lines. Besides as the makers of "Cocaine" will point out...

Kirby said the company wasn't glorifying an illegal drug in the eyes of its young consumers. "Kids understand the difference between a controlled substance and an energy drink," she said.

Frank: "When will red-head bitches ever learn that their place is in the sack, at McDonald's, or at the TN State Fair?"

I don't really understand what in Chinese culture would make a woman want to kill herself in the street. But I have 2 likely explanations...

1) "If I can't have Frank, I don't want nobody, baby. If I can't have Frank, whoa oh oooh!"

2) Well, it's either that or she couldn't stand any more of Sackett's preaching.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


"Beat your feet. I don't wanna hear it."

"I don't care if it's his house. He has to find another one."

"What's wrong with your dick? You can't even get her pregnant!"

"Everyday when you go to work, we go at it like jackrabbits, six times a day."

"You wearin' that turtle neck to hide yo' adams apple."

"You got on boxers. I got on booty shorts."

"He doesn't have a job, but he seems to be working her pretty good."

"It's hard to be a happy person when you know you're not a decent one."

So I wonder what this guy does when he's not sailing. But seriously, isn't that a great name for a boat? Posted by Picasa

When the Fall of Youtube comes, I doubt this one will be purged for copyright infringement.

But anyways, I'm not really sure what to think of the Little Superstar. Is he a boy? Is he a midget? Is he a boy-midget? But I do know that in one episode he bitchslaps a used car salesman.

Not that I expect an answer but what is up with the smiling lingerie chest behind them? Like I always say, the further east you go the more jacked up the world becomes.

UPDATE: As James pointed out, this video is another universal example of a woman ruining a good thing by not being cool. You disagree? Don't forget this classic example from the puking Top 10.

While the birthrate in the West has dropped so far that our Culture needs to import labor from Latin America and the Middle East, Iran has taken another approach to demographics...

"The president said he was ready to decrease the working hours of married women or women with children to make it easier for them to have more children."

Hat tip to James for the link. But theoretically, sociology assumes that as Iran (or any country) becomes more industrialized, that it's birthrate should fall as the child-bearing strategy moves from quantity to quality. Instead, President Ahmadinejad is taking this assumption head-on. Why? My guess is so that a) Persia Iran can dominate the region culturally and b) If there is to be any sort of conflict with the West, a larger population would mean that Iran would have more soldiers 20 years from now.

But anyways, you certainly have to give credit to Ahmadinejad for planning ahead. Many in the American media want to dismiss him as crazy. The truth is he is a very crafty politician that seems to best America and the West at every turn. And that's not good.

I'm not sure if anybody has noticed it this year, but the UM cheerleaders are now wearing warm-up pants and polo shirts. Personally, I am outraged and I find these outfits to be very insensitive. After all, if one is to wear the clothing of those that don't care about appearances, then they should simply bring on the sweatsuits. This way the team will be allowed to eat as much as they want without demeaning those that can't afford polo shirts and warm-up pants. The University has to remember that most Americans don't have an all you can eat buffet in their basement. They actually have to put on their good sweatpants and go to Old Country Buffet.

But anyways, given the known facts, would you rather go to UGA and witness the wheels fall off the football team with 12 beautiful Southern Belles?

Or would you rather go undefeated and risk losing some fingers when the trolls devour the goat and Icehouse?

Ahh, The Michigan Difference.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


It appears that things are back to normal as "Midgets Fight & Todd Dates A Tranny..."

"Like, Reba McEntire has nothing on my looks."

"Who doesn't want a midget? Midgets are awesome!"

Viva Tondar Primero! Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006


"You're good for nothing except stomping."

"We're not stupid!"

"Just leave my food alone. I eat what I want!"

This week I had the privilege to be visited once again by the lady of my dreams. You may remember my prior rantations on The Brunette. In this latest dream we were swimming together in a makeshift lake in the backyard of my home in Grand Rapids. I remember her being on an inner tube while I was treading water and could see the weeds growing up from the bottom of this unusual lake. Eventually, our conversation turned to our singular status. After, I mentioned that I too was single, she gave me that "come-hither" look. Seeing my chance, I closed my eyes and went in for a kiss. Unfortunately, it was at this moment that I awoke to find myself alone in bed with my eyes still closed. I was very disappointed because that was about to become the first time I've actually made any kind of move on her. What made the moment weird was when I awoke, I had the phrase, "All the attention of the art-gut refinos" running through my mind (I immediately wrote that bad-boy down). Frankly, I don't know what that means. But it could very easily be a play-on-words of "Rot-gut winos." Not that this is any less cryptic, but it certainly has some connection and significance given my obsession for bumwine experimentation.

I was a bit pokey in writing on this latest dream because I wanted to give myself time to ponder if it actually had any meaning. Like, is the real Brunette right around the corner? Is there something I should know about the "Art-gut refinos?" Should I change my diet to keep the insanity of my dreams to a minimum? I still have not determined the significance of The Brunette, nor have I met any real-life manifestation of her (contrary to the declarations of those that once had personal agendas). Since I couldn't figure it out, I will simply post what I do know and maybe some of the kids can shed some light on her cryptology.

Seth found this post-season prediction full of DJ Gallo satire that predicted that the Tigers would dominate the Yankees. In the end, it's funny because it's true.

Money Quote...

"Rotation: Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright versus Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman
The so-called experts say Detroit's young rotation is exhausted from logging so many innings during the regular season. But this isn't the regular season anymore. It's the postseason -- a whole new season. And Detroit's pitchers have yet to record a single inning in the postseason. So they'll be as fresh as can be.
Advantage: Tigers"

If you haven't seen "The Way It is" yet, be sure to swing by Youtube and check out the first video from Tres Crow's band, Greenland. I especially like the part where Tres spins around like he's possessed by a Demonbreun.

I always thought Seth was a bit paranoid when he spoke of Christian efforts to evangelize him. I guess he was right. Posted by Picasa

Often while watching football, I will refer to situations or a shenanigan filled bed-crapping quarter as I have seen during my days playing EA Sports' John Madden Football. Since Madden football is the most popular game in history, I recently asked Seth his thoughts on how Madden play and strategy translates into real world success...

"As Madden progressed to greater realism, the old pass-deep-into-triple-coverage play began to be met with more INTs than TDs, and rightfully so. EA Sports purposefully (and I could kill them for this) scaled back DBs' abilities because the gamers wanted to play their old run-em-up 5-minute quarters.

What this has done, I think, is not so much teach our generation about football but to make our generation hopelessly misunderstand offensive playcalling. Gross examples of conservatism are as stupid as they ever were, but how many times have you heard Carr criticized for short passes and runs to the stacked side of the line, etc.? Michigan's offense is a prime example of real football strategy: hold onto the ball, set up your play action, establish the run, then pass deep into SINGLE coverage.

If you want proof that "conservative" playcalling is actually superior, it's readily apparent when you look at the records. Here's the win-loss record since 1990 of the three coaches who've been most often deemed "conservative:"

Lloyd Carr: 109-34 (76.2%)
Bobby Bowden: 168-37-2 (82%)
Joe Paterno: 138-63 (68%)

Not bad.

A lot of people actually get "conservative" offensive playcalling mixed up with what kind of sets the coach uses, particularly the spread. The spread is a FORMATION, not an entire offensive scheme. It's true that is in employed in many high-risk offenses, because by spreading the field horizontally you increase the width of lanes between players and thus the potential space a defender has to cover, which is essential in raising the percentage of success in a series of high-risk plays.

However, most spread offenses actually work off of a "conservative" strategy -- or least, the most successful have. Randy Walker's no-huddle offense at Northwestern, Urban Meyer's offense at Utah and Florida, John L. Smith's offense at MSU, and Mike Martz's NFL version all looked like Madden-style throw-it-long strategies on highlight reels, but when you watched the games, you could see they were using the same strategy that Mike DeBord instituted at U-M after we discovered the forward pass in 1994, which is run the ball to set up play action, and pass deep into single coverage or short to open receivers in the slot.

What they do is either pass to open receivers short (Purdue), run inside or pass to the backs and tight ends in the slot (Martz), or just run run run (Walker and Smith). John L. Smith uses a bunch of fake reverses, delayed handoffs, and a speedy quarterback to complement his great backs, while Walker used more short passes and screens to maximize his smart QB and great running back.

In St. Louis, Mike Martz's offense took advantage of Marshall Faulk, and spent much of the game passing to the fullback and tight ends out of the backfield to bring up the coverage and set up the deep ball. The reason Martz's offense was so effective wasn't his strategy, but his players: he had a fantastic running back and fantastic offensive line, and fantastic receivers, and he designed his schemes around their abilities. Similarly, Joe Tiller put his spread package together to maximize Drew Brees' perfectly accurate arm, Urban Meyer made his to emphasize Alex Smith's deep arm, John L. Smith designed his for Drew Stanton's legs, etc.

These are the same exact concepts that Michigan uses. The overarching idea is to get the defensive backs keyed up on your receivers and running back, then pass to your best receiver deep in single coverage. If they're playing soft, keep an outlet pass short, preferably with a guy like Braylon Edwards or Steve Breaston who can often make guys miss for an extra five yards. And the way to keep your outlet passes open is to get the linebackers keyed on the running back by running the ball. And the way to keep the linebackers from just blitzing when you run the ball is to run screens and draws (more screens when we had big-ass, sure-handed Chris Perry, more draws with the elusive Hart).

Contrast that with what Mike Martz did with the Rams. He'd run Faulk between the tackles until the blitz came, then ran him off screens and draws, then passed to the tight ends and fullback out of the backfield, and THEN went deep to Torry Holt.

Whether you're doing it from a spread set, an I set, or the Winged T, it's the same offensive strategy, and it's largely CONSERVATIVE, in the sense that you're focusing on high-percentage plays with low risk and low reward over lower-percentage plays with high risk and high reward. The difference is that Michigan has the offensive linemen to take on linebackers, so we don't need to set up such quick passes as you see from Purdue or Northwestern, and can thus spend more time doing the one thing that has always and will always win football games -- running your ass over.

You can run any offense from the spread set -- West Virginia uses it for an option offense, while Mike Leach's Texas Tech teams play a run-and-gun type strategy. You wouldn't want to run West Virginia's offense on Madden, though. It's boring. And once you start playing against linebackers with speed (the Mountaineers are playing the most ridiculously easy schedule in the history of the BCS), you'll go

A Madden fan would, however, probably enjoy playing with Texas Tech, who uses a high-risk offense. What the Red Raiders do is come out with the field spread as much as possible, and use smaller, speedier receivers to run all over the place and drive the defense insane (or just tire them out -- you can only send out so many defensive backs). The offensive linemen are also spread out to maximize their speed and give the smaller guys some space to absorb a defensive lineman.

Usually, Texas Tech's offense doesn't score early. Often, they throw interceptions, or fumble a shovel pass, or end up in 3rd and long. But in the course of the game, they score an awful lot. Part of this is because the game is longer -- incomplete passes and running a no-huddle means you can play twice the amount of minutes. And part of it is because Leach has found you can raise the percentage of success for low-percentage plays with more practice, better timing, better speed, better hands, better throws, better conditioning and better weather (which is why instituting Leach's offense in the Big Ten would be ludicrous).

Leach's defense gets scored on a lot. This is partly because defense, moreso than offense, relies on talent and execution, and talented players would rather go to Texas or A&M. But it's also because the Red Raiders don't use up a lot of clock and then turn the ball over. So you get a final score of Texas Tech 56, Baylor 38, and say "gosh, if they had Michigan's defense, Tech would be winning 60-0." But that's not true. If they had Michigan's defense, they'd win 56-21, or maybe 56-35, because the offense turns the ball over, often doesn't give the defense much rest, and keeps putting them in there with lousy field position. If the Red Raiders and their opponents were to run the same offensive plays with the same amount of success, but only ran the same NUMBER of plays as Michigan and their opponents do in a game, the Raiders would maybe win 28-14. So the offensive isn't that much more potent, or "high-octane," so much as it lengthens the game to the point where smaller speedier, better conditioned players would have a better chance of playing well than larger players.

They'd also have fewer injuries, which is one of the reasons Tech still has trouble recruiting top-flight NFL talent.

Mike Belloti at Oregon runs a similar offense to Leach's, with high-risk, high-reward plays based around an intelligent, accurate QB throwing to speedy receivers in space between coverages. Oregon is also the most inconsistent team in the game. The only thing they do with any consistency is lose to top programs, i.e., those who can recruit enough defensive speed to man-up Oregon's receivers.

Hawaii is like this too, except they throw more often than Oregon or Texas Tech. They also lose more often, and this might not be a coincidence (I'll come back to this after Purdue).

Another high-risk offense today, if not as extreme, is that employed currently by Joe Tiller at Purdue. This one I think bears greater study because by nature of playing in Indiana, in the Big Ten, they are more comparable to any theoretical Michigan high-risk offense.

Tiller uses the spread formation, but it's not a no-huddle offense, and doesn't do much in the way of running except when he's got a good running back in the program (figures). Tiller likes to run big receivers across the middle and have them catch the ball while fighting smaller defensive backs. This is actually a good strategy if you've got the horses, i.e., Drew Brees, for perfect passing and catching. And in the heart of basketball land, Tiller has found there's no shortage of tall guys with good hands and good ups and a good sense of space to exploit defensive holes. His problems come when his quarterback isn't on target (he recruits for accuracy, but that's harder to find than you think), and when the other team has DBs with size and/or linebackers with speed. Tiller's high-risk operation can't take the chances that Leach's does. Not in the chilly Mid-West against big teams who hit first and ask questions later. But in order to compete against teams like Michigan and Wisconsin and Ohio State and Michigan State and Iowa, Tiller would rather roll the dice than step up mono-e-mono every week.

Conceivably, however, if you could recruit talent like Michigan does, you should be able to do a lot of what Tiller and Leach do, i.e., throw long early and often to big, speedy receivers. Thus, your talent would make the riskier plays statistically more probable, earning greater reward. But that's the biggest fallacy in football, and I'll tell you why:

Here's a stat, taken from a book written by a Michigan fan: In college football since 1990, the team with the most rushing yards has won 84 percent of the time, and the team with the most passing yards, just 62 percent of the time.

And in case you think that the rushing stat comes from the winning team usually being better at both , get this: teams with more rushing yards but fewer passing yards than their opponent won 72 PERCENT OF THE TIME.

Another stat: the team with the higher completion percentage won 81 percent of the time.

Finally, the team that turned the ball over less often won a staggering 88 percent of the time.

So if you're planning an offense, by those numbers it would seem that it would be smart to put these considerations in the following order of importance:

No. 1 -- Protect the football
No. 2 -- Run the ball
No. 3 -- Pass the ball accurately
No. 4 -- Take chances downfield

It means that rushing yards are more important for winning games than passing yards. And passing accuracy is more important than passing yards. And not turning the ball over is the most important thing of all. This, I would suggest, would seem to favor a conservative strategy.

And if you've noticed, the teams that use high-risk strategies too much end up with one good season before losing. Because if one guy messes up, the whole thing falls apart. One missed block means the QB is under pressure. One bad route can lead to an interception, or leave the QB exposed too long for the o-line. If you have guys who don't make those kinds of mistakes, you can increase your rate of success for high-risk plays and thus have more success. But when you try to keep the same offense once those guys are gone, well, it's not just a risky move, but a dumb one (ahem, Joe Tiller).

There is one scenario, however, that I believe coaches are too conservative with, and that's when to punt. Statistically speaking, almost any team should be able to get one yard against any defense on most plays, and that rate of success is increased every time you add another square yard of the field to the area in which your offense might penetrate (which is the prevailing reasoning behind high-risk offensive playcalling, and feinted high-risk offensive schemes.)

Therefore, if you set up in a normal I formation on 4th and 1 from your opponent's 40 yard line, you should almost always be able to get the first down. You've basically given yourself a free play in which you know the other team is blitzing. And the more talented your players are, the more chance there is that they'll make the play.

Conversely, by punting, you have a 15 percent chance -- give or take -- with the best punter in college football of getting blocked, shagging the punt, or getting fewer than 20 yards.

This is obviously very situational, but according to statistics, a good offensive coordinator should be going for it on every 4th and 1 past his own 40. Why doesn't Lloyd Carr? Because he's not the offensive coordinator but the head coach, so even if the risk/reward favors the Wolverines insofar as the play is concerned, the risk/reward for the future of his job (and everyone else's) if he were to not make a first down (which would happen on occasion) is a different equation.

Then again, lo and behold, this year, Lloyd Carr has gone for it on 4th down twice, in just these situations, which tells me he cares more about Michigan wins than his job, which tells me this is the guy I want coaching the Michigan Wolverines for a long time to come.

These are the kinds of things that they don't tell you on ESPN, probably because it takes a 2,000-word essay to explain them. And they're not the things that coaches will tell you in the post-game, probably because they doubt anyone would understand them if they tried. And they're certainly not the sort of things you learn playing EA Sports games, where a quarterback can chuck the ball deep into Cover 2 every play while the cornerbacks concentrate on stopping the tight ends. Such a strategy can have success -- Texas Tech does it with smarts and speed while Florida under Steve Spurrier used to do it with huge possession receivers. But between the two, I'd take real football strategy over Madden.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


If two wars of German aggression were the great tragedy of the 20th Century, surely, African poverty and unrest will dominate the 21st Century in a similar way. James recently sent me this Yahoo piece on tensions in the Horn of Africa...

Corrupt governments, porous borders, widespread poverty and discontented Muslim populations have created a region ripe for Islamic fundamentalism. The Horn of Africa, home to about 165 million people, is roughly half the area of the United States.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get any better. And it's really a shame too because small investments today in both cash and human capital could prevent large expenditures in the future. However, the nature of government is to be a fireman instead of focusing on fire prevention. I'm sure in 25 years when we are involved in another Iraq or Afghan style guerilla war, the West will ask what could have been done to prevent all this suffering and the disintegration of Africa.

In case you missed it, Michigan is now ranked #2 in the latest BCS standings as well. Of course this is all rather moot since Michigan and Ohio St. have the inside edge to participate in the BCS Championship game. However, if there is one thing that should have us confidant for this year's showdown in Columbus, it is the play of the defense. Mark Beech of CNNSI has an interesting piece that talks about the dominant defensive front of Alan Branch, LaMarr Woodley, and Rondell Biggs.

It seems that Hendersonville, has a bit to offer as far as Adventure is concerned. We must have the next Tonaroo here! Posted by Picasa