Friday, November 03, 2006

Boom Goes The Preview: Ball State

The Series: 0-0

This will be first meeting between these two programs, so there aren't even any record books to throw out. This just ruins my Fun With Historical Statistics segment (Shut up! Statistics can be fun!). Instead, our qualified scienticians have compared celebrity alumni in an attempt to discern the outcome of the game.

Joyce DeWitt vs. Ann B. Davis
Joyce DeWitt Ann B. Davis

Joyce DeWitt made a name for herself as Janet on Three's Company, but playing Not The Hot One, But That Other Chick quickly wore thin for her as Suzanne Somers was getting all the attention. She later turned her experience into a ridiculous TV movie which missed capitalizing on John Ritter's death by about six months, but made for a hilarious TWoP recap. Ann B. Davis played the slightly sassy live-in housekeeper Alice on The Brady Bunch, making dinner and doling out wisdom.

Advantage: Michigan. Wise and no-nonsense, Alice could also keep a man, as shown by her romance with Sam the Butcher. Clear evidence of her superiority is the fact that she has a pop culture tournament named after her.


John Schnatter
vs.
Tom Monaghan
Papa John Tom Monaghan

John Schnatter founded Papa John's out of his dad's bar and has grown it to a 3,000-store chain. Tom Monaghan took an Ypsilanti pizza joint from one store to now over 8,000 in 55 countries. Of course, he's had a little longer time to work with it. In 1983, he bought the Detroit Tigers. In 1984, they won the World Series. Since then, he's sold the Tigers and his share in Domino's, and has taken up conservative philanthropy. He's founded the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor and is now building the town of Ave Maria, Florida as a conservative Catholic city that will house the full Ave Maria University.

Advantage: Michigan. Monaghan's strict, orthodox Catholicism motivates a sort of philanthropy and worldview that, frankly, freaks me out. However, he turned $575 and an old Beetle into an enormous corporate empire, not to mention giving Detroit what remains its most recent World Series victory.


Jim Davis
vs.
Cathy Guisewite
Garfield Cathy

Jim Davis, a native of Muskegon, started Garfield in 1978 and the fat cat now runs in 2,500 newspapers. During my prime cartoon-watching years, Garfield & Friends was always on, so it's the animated show that I remember most, rather than the comic strip. Cathy first appeared in 1976, runs in about 1,400 papers, and has no nose. Ack.

Advantage: Michigan. If you'd asked us just a couple years ago, it would've gone Ball State's way. Somehow, the omnipresent merchandise, the farmed-out strip, and the "humor" weren't enough to put us off the tabby, but the two freakish CGI movies were. Don't get us wrong: Cathy is really annoying. But we're at Lesser of Two Evils here.


David Letterman
vs.
Ann Coulter
Will It Float? Godless

David Letterman started out as a weatherman in Indianapolis, became a comedian in Los Angeles, got some help from Johnny Carson, and became the best late-night talk-show host on the air. He also got really mad once when a paper described him as a "non-voting Republican" (it was the non-voting part that ticked him off). Ann Coulter is a right-wing author/talking head and a self-described "polemicist". She got her start in the national eye with appearances on MSNBC, parlaying that into a slew of New York Times best-sellers, such as Godless, Slander, and Treason. Allegations have surfaced that she might have recently voted in the wrong precinct where she lives (in Florida!), which would be a felony.

Advantage: Ball State. Is it too obvious that we stacked the deck here? Ann Coulter is a shrill, right-wing harpy. If she actually believes even half of what she says, God help us all. She adds nothing to the national discourse and is, in fact, rather boring, since her points are so easy to dismiss. Letterman is way better than Leno and his only real rival in the late-night arena is Conan O'Brien. "Will It Float?" is America's favorite game show, and we have a weakness for game shows.


Brian Collins
vs.
Rich Eisen
Boom goes the dynamite ESPN anchor

Brian Collins was filling in on a Ball State sports broadcast one day. It was terrible, it was awful, and his catchprase "Boom goes the dynamite!" would make him an internet celebrity. Rich Eisen worked his way up to become an ESPN SportsCenter anchor opposite Stuart Scott before leaving to host NFL Total Access on the NFL Network and doing US Open tennis coverage for CBS.

Advantage: Michigan. Internet celebrity is so fleeting. And while you can only go to the well so often with VH1's I Love the --'s, Eisen came out of it looking pretty good. Plus he spent a significant amount of time at the same desk without trying to kill Stuart Scott, which says a lot about his self-control.

Scientifically-Predicted Outcome: Michigan 28 – 7 Ball State.

Actual Football Content

Ball State is currently 3-6 overall and 3-3 in MAC play, with wins over Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, and Miami of Ohio. The only common opponent between the programs is Central Michigan, who defeated them 18-7 in a slightly wacky game. Yes, Brian Kelley games are always slightly wacky, I know the rule. After the first touchdown of the game, CMU tried a trick play on the PAT where the kicker tried to run for the two-point conversion. This failed. After their next TD, CMU again tried a two-point conversion and failed. Then, after their third TD, the kicker missed the PAT. Thus, 3 TDs --> 18 points.

On offense, Ball State managed only 56 yards on the ground. CMU also made a goal-line stand to stuff them on 4th and 1. This suggests Michigan shouldn't have to really worry about keeping their rushing stats down. In the air, the Fightin' Football Cardinals managed 160 yards, but they were fighting a 20-25 mph wind in 45° weather. In all their other games, they've put up at least 20 points. They hung 27 on Western Michigan (of Garrett Wolfe-stopping fame), so this suggests the passing game is where they make their living, and the stats bear this out. They're only getting about 2.9 ypc/86.1 ypg from various running backs, but 264.7 ypg (8.6 ypa/13.0 ypc) through the air. They kept Central's beast-man Dan Bazuin to only one sack, so their offensive line must have at least some talent in pass protection. And even if Michigan knocks another quarterback out of the game, Ball State has been using two of them all season. Joey Lynch was the starter for five games, Nate Davis for four, and both have played in every game with nearly identical stats, so I don't know what's going on there.

The defense is giving up some points. Northern Illinois took them for 40, so they have some rush defense issues. Purdue got them for 38, so they have some pass defense issues. Really, they're a mid-to-lower MAC defense all around. They're giving up an average of 4.7 ypc/160.7 ypg rushing and a gaudy 289.6 ypg passing (8.5 ypa/13.0 ypc). This all leads to the average opponent putting up 28 ppg on them.

Michigan should handle this team pretty well, at least as well as Northwestern last week. The forecast is calling for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the forties, but it's supposed to at least stay dry, which should improve the offensive performance. Ball State's running game will be shut down and we'll get good enough play from our secondary to keep them from threatening. If we can get up early, Lloyd will let up off the gas pedal on offense so as not to embarrass former Michigan coordinator Brady Hoke. It'll be Senior Day and Lloyd will want to rotate as many guys as possible into the lineup. Carl Tabb sightings may be numerous. I really wouldn't have a problem if Jerome Jackson was our leading running back on the day. Jeff Kastl could get some snaps under center. The score might end up 28-10, with the touchdown coming in garbage time, or it could be 41-3 if we decide to play the whole game.

4 comments:

Dave said...

Ironically (or is it?) Cathy Guisewite is also from Michigan.

LB said...

This blog is well named: a rag. One can tell when mindless cliches are recited as fact, as in: "She [Ann Coulter] adds nothing to the national discourse and is, in fact, rather boring, since her points are so easy to dismiss." This demonstrates that you have not read her work, but are reciting Leftist gospel. Her books meticulously document every assertion and I am quite certain you would be unable to cite anything in her books, let alone actually refute something.

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