Thursday, August 30, 2007

Appalachian State vs. Michigan: Alumni Showdown

We're back for another year's worth of alumni showdowns! Since we got started late in the game last year, we still have plenty of schools to cover and lots of Michigan alumni to which to pay tribute. So without further ado...

The "rule" is basically that we find some major alumni from the opposition university and try to find a Michigan analog, and then face them off head to head. Some are straight-forward, others require more effort. As this is for entertainment purposes only, please, no wagering.

(Author's note: To express our mild displeasure conceptually with the fact that Michigan is opening the football season with an Division I FCS opponent, marking the first time Michigan has ever played a I-AA/FCS team, there will only be three matchups this week as opposed to our usual five.)
Just missing the cut for the Mountaineers:
Miss Teen South Carolina 2007: Lauren Caitlin Upton
We could not, in good conscience, include her as an Appalachian State alumna, because she is going to BE an App. State freshman this year, as we understand it, but we also could not ignore one of the trainwreckiest of trainwrecks that live television have wrought upon us.

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, um, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq and everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future."

(In case you're wondering folks, its the country on the left of the map, sandwiched between Canada and Mexico.)

The Matchups
Stephen J. Dubner vs. Rensis Likert
Stephen J. Dubner
Rensis Likert

Stephen J. Dubner is the co-author of the wildly successful pop economics book Freakanomics, which was really good and helped me understand economic principles for the first time in my life. Rensis Likert was a sociologist who founded the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and developed Likert Scales, an example of which would be:

Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr's public persona is that of "crotchety old man":

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree
(GZ notes: "An attempt was made to distribute surveys at Schembechler Hall, but poll workers were refused entrance and told to get the hell off of the lawn.")

Michigan. While Freakanomics is a great read, the CIC snob in me really feels that University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt did most of the heavy lifting.  Likert, though I had never heard of him until researching this, came up with something that so many of us use in our everyday life that we likely presumed that it had always existed.  That's how you know you're good, you come up with something that feels organic.
Charles Frazier vs. Betty Smith
Cold Mountain
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Charles Frazier is the author of the acclaimed 1997 historical novel Cold Mountain, which I do intend to read someday as it purportedly has one of the finest descriptions of the Battle of the Crater anywhere.  Betty Smith is the author of the much beloved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the touching 1943 coming of age story based on Smith's real-life experiences growing up in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Advantage: Push.  Cold Mountain is considered by many critics to be one of the best works of fiction of the latter quarter of the 20th century, while A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was such an instant hit that it was immediately shipped to U.S. servicemen during World War II.  You know what, they're both good books.

Alvin Gentry vs. Rudy Tomjanovich
Alvin Gentry Rudy T.
Gentry actually has a pretty exceptional basketball resume, having played at App. State under Press Maravich (Pistol Pete's father) and Bobby Cremins, was an assistant coach to Larry Brown at Kansas and with the Spurs, and an assistant under Pat Riley in Miami.  He was also the Pistons coach after Doug Collins (in the horrors of teal era).
Rudy Tomjanovich, in addition to being one of the greatest players in Michigan basketball history, is basketball's most famous recipient of a punch, as well as being a two-time NBA championship winning coach (1994 and 1995 with the Houston Rockets, the team for which he is also the franchise's all-time third leading scorer), a gold medal winning coach at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Advantage: Michigan. Rudy T. is the man.  He's the very rare example of a great player turned great coach, and while Alvin Gentry is an impressive assistant coach, his head coaching record leaves something to be desired.

So there you have it, when it's all said and done, it's Michigan 2, App. State 0, Push 1. I don't care if they're two-time defending national champions, it's still the FCS.

That's all I have for today. Once more, GZ should be around with a real preview, you know, actual football content, sometime soon.
(As always, a thanks to Wikipedia for making this a very fast effort, if not always wholly accurate.)

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