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You know, I think Michigan might actually be pretty good. When you lose twice in the first four weeks of the season and struggle against Air Force, it’s easy to be considered not so good. But when you consider that the 14 points UM scored on Alabama was as much as any team has scored on them this year, and consider that UM lost to Notre Dame by only 7 points in a game that UM out-gained Notre Dame by 60 yards (and turned it over 6 times to Notre Dame’s 2 (turnovers are notoriously flukey, especially at that elevated level)) … well, you start to wonder if Michigan might simply have lost to an extraordinarily good Alabama team, and lost a crazy game to a decent Notre Dame team. And the Air Force thing – lots of teams struggle against traditional option teams, particularly when they have only a short post-Alabama week to prepare. Otherwise, UM is blowing teams out. I’m not certain, and next week will tell a lot … but I think the Wolverines might be good.

  • The Yankees stranded a bunch of runners, but came back with a four-run ninth inning to tie the Tigers last night … before losing in the 12th (and losing Derek Jeter to a broken ankle).
  • Bud Selig is interviewed about a variety of things, including the new playoffs. He believes the one-game Wild Card playoffs were perfect, and doesn’t sound particularly inclined to increase that to three games (and definitely won’t be adding any additional playoff teams (good)).
  • The Mesa Solar Sox – the AFL team on which Cubs prospects play – have won three in a row, and Javier Baez hit another moonshot homer during that stretch. I’m not saying it matters, or that it’s reflective of anything other than a super small sample size, but only two players on the Solar Sox have more than six plate appearances without a walk. Both are Cubs, and both have had at least 16 plate appearances – Baez, and Rubi Silva.
  • Speaking of the Solar Sox, they aren’t expected to be adding Jorge Soler when his time in instructionals ends. Instead, Soler will go to his new home in Miami, and continue the process of adjusting to a new life before coming back in the Spring. Hopefully – and presumably – the Cubs will be in close contact with him throughout the offseason.
  • And speaking of instructionals, the games ended yesterday. Some of the young players might stick around for some more/final instruction, but others are heading home for the offseason now.
  • When you rob banks, don’t wear your Cubs hat. It makes us look bad. (In truth, I doubt this guy is actually a big Cubs fan.)
  • cubchymyst

    How long did instructionals last? It doesn’t seem like it was a very long time.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The games portion of it is very short – just a few weeks, I believe. The entire period, though, is more like a month.

  • Ron Swanson

    I share your relief that he’s not going to keep adding additional wild card teams and become like the NBA. On one hand I didn’t want to see the additional team added this year but I do like seeing more of a penalty for being the wild card. Perhaps one way avoid the randomness of a one game series without lengthening the post-season would be to play a 3 game series in the wild card round and make the divisional series AND the LCS 5 game series with only the world series being 7 games. Just a thought.

    • hansman1982

      The only problem with lengthening the WC round is that the league leading team loses some of that advantage having to sit around for a couple days.

      I love the new playoff format and once we go back to 2-2-1 it will really put the WC teams at a disadvantage.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Interesting. I bet you’d hear bloody hell about shortening the historic LCS’s, though. I think I like those at 7 games. I’d like to see 3 – 5 – 7 – 7.

      • Ron Swanson

        I agree that there would be push back to shortening the LCS’s. Kind of feel that way myself. Maybe another compromise so as not to lengthen the post season would be 3-3-7-7.

  • Big Joe

    A decent ND team? 6-0, and #7 in the country? I’m no ND fan, but that’s a tad better than decent. I realize U of M fans hate Notre Dame, but…come on.
    Good to see Bud doesn’t want to add games. Go back to the old format.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That was my point – I didn’t want it to look like I was overstating my point about UM by saying ND is awesome (which they very well might be). I was trying to be conservative – point is, UM is probably better than folks think.

      • Big Joe

        Ok, I see where you’re coning from.

  • fortyonenorth

    I’ve always been ambivalent about the Yankess but, this year, I find myself rooting for them. I’m getting older and I like to think that a bunch of old guys can still compete. You gotta love seeing Ibanez, at his advanced age, tearing it up like he is. Sadly, seeing Jeter break his ankle reminds me that it’s a young man’s game.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    Nice Emperor Selig photo Brett! I’m sure he’s salivating uncontrollably in his throne room right now over Soler’s projected career path, and cursing the rebels’ names for breaking Jeter’s ankle last night with their feeble force grips.

    I was skeptical at first but I really think the new WC format made end stretch of the season more exciting and engaged a wider audience of general baseball fans, including myself. @Ron Swanson makes a good point that it also rewards teams for winning their division, which should be rewarded.

    After all of the Cardinals’ good luck and the Cubs’ bad luck, I am beginning to think there is a direct correlation between the two.. something about that STL voodoo magic you are talkin’ about Brett may go a little deeper. That or there is an incredibly complex sabermetrics equation that can explain why when the Cubs are god awful, the Cardinals are pulling WS titles from a WC spot, winning 6 elimination games in a row. Only time will tell, but if my prayers are answered STL will be the laughingstock of the NL in a few years when the Cubs are perennial playoff contenders.

    • Eric

      That image has been around for ages. Brett chose it from the internet, not actually doing it himself.

  • abe

    brett,

    should we be concerned about “no-walk” Beaz?

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    I’m likely in the minority here, but I’d like to see a playoff format that includes teams that have a .500 or better record. Of course, this would likely mean shrinking the regular season, which doesn’t appear to be an option. However, I feel that any team that wins more than they lose over 162 games should be rewarded with a chance in the playoffs. I don’t think the Rangers or Rays should have had to go home after winning 90+ games!

  • King Jeff

    Wow, just wow. Admit that your offense got manhandled by one of the top defenses in the country and please go back and tell me which of those picks was “fluky”. I’m willing to give props to Michigan, but don’t act like they lost to the Irish in a vacuum.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m not sure I’d call 300 yards of total offense (and 8 for 15 on third downs) a “manhandling,” but I don’t think I was hard on ND. The point was that UM was very much in that game despite a ridiculous number of turnovers AND Notre Dame is pretty good. Add that together, and you have a probably good UM team. That’s all.

      • King Jeff

        I know, I was ribbing you. This is my first chance in a few years to hold this win over your head, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Work it.

          • THEOlogical

            Brett, are you a Michigan fan?
            I am, and also a Bears fan as well. I live in the South and get picked on by my buddies endlessly about my choices. They are all die hard UGA and Falcon fans. Did anyone not think that the Bears/Packers and Wolverines/Irish game seemed similar? Cutler and Robinson both had horrible games and yet we stayed in them because of our really good defenses.

  • Tommy

    Brett – it’s typical to feel good about your college football team after playing the Illini. :P

    • CubFan Paul

      Hilarious. UM’s problem is that they have a wide receiver trying to play quarterback.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        What you call a problem, I call the very reason UM has been surprisingly good the last two years (plus the quality defense). Why would you want one of the most dynamic players in football to touch the ball 10 times a game tops when he can touch it 50 times?

        • BluBlud

          Because out of the 50 times he touches the ball, he turns it over 27 times. J/K. I hate ND football. Now that they just screw my favorite conference(ACC), the hate is even stronger.

        • hansman1982

          I’m sorry but run first quarterbacks are a joke. Give me a pocket passer slower than molasses turds over Robinson any day of the week. Look at Vick…arguably the most dynamic QB in the NFL and he ain’t won shit… (wow, 2 poop references in one comment, I AM getting dumberer)

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Do I really need to list the “running” quarterbacks who’ve won National Championships in the last 30 years? Who cares about the NFL?

            • Cubbie Blues

              Vince Young sure didn’t care about the NFL.

            • hansman1982

              Yes, college football seems incredibly suceptable to gimmicky offenses so I suppose on the college level they may have more success but to that I say…

              WHO THE FLIP CARES ABOUT MICHIGAN!!!!

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I do.

    • AP

      As I am presently attending the University of Illinois, I can second that remark. Fortunately I did my undergrad at the University of Oklahoma so they had a pretty good day yesterday. Also, as a former banker I can tell you it’s never fun when someone walks in dressed like that. That’s why most of the banks I worked at had a policy of no hats or sunglasses in the bank – if you walked in like that someone would tell you to remove the items before you got too far into the bank. Scary stuff.

  • Bren

    How bout a soccer style home-and-home two game series, aggregate score wins…the one game thing seems too gimmicky to me, as exciting as it might be.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Oooh, I like it!

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    The Cardinals have lots of pop in the 1 through 6 slots in the order. No holes or soft touches. So if one of 7 or 8 gets hot, no rest for pitchers.

    Also, the playoff teams in general do a great job of grinding out at bats. Lots of foul balls. Few 10 pitch innings. Unlike the Cubs.

  • BluBlud

    Off the subject of this post, but related to what Hansman, Jeff and co. Was talking about in yesterdays post.

    I’m really big on building through the draft, and building a strong farm system. I was also against signing Pujols(Don’t want any ex-cards on my team) or Fielder(I love Fielder but I liked Rizzo better, because of price, once I seen we could get him.) However, to compete consistency, you have to sign some high end, big name free agent. The reason is because of the floor. Look at pujols numbers this year. He hit 285 with 30 HR and 105 RBI. Is that worth 25? No. Is it an out of the world season. Absolutely, not. But if that’s the worse I can expect, then the security of knowing he will produce, even in a down Year, make him worth his salary.(Still would have never gave him 10 yrs.)

    The point is, guys who reach that point are important to sign for big money because even in the years where they don’t reach the value of their salary, their bad season are still better then most guys career seasons.

    • Stevie B

      Grammar….it’s whats for dinner.

      • BluBlud

        AS A FORMER JOURNALISM MAJOR WHO SWITCHED TO ENGINEERING, MATH, NOT ENGLISH, WAS ALWAYS MY GREATER STRENGTH. THINK I MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE?

  • TSB

    Business considerations aside, the one game play off is aseball telling a team “look, you shouldn’t really be here, but since we are nice guys we will give you a chance to prove that you are.”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sort of, but you could be the clear second-best team in the league and wind up in that game.

      • King Jeff

        I think for that reason, the one game playoff is an anti-climactic money grab. I hate that they trivialize the whole season to have a sudden death game for a team that likely barely topped .500.

  • Fastball

    The Wolverines … can’t believe I typed Wolverines twice.

    You know how to get to Ann Arbor from Columbus. Go North until you smell s**t and then go left until you step in it.

    GO BUCKS… We haven’t lost yet!!! And Denard ain’t no Braxton.

    Okay… I am an IU grad. I have paid for 1 IU, 3 OSU kids. 1 MSU kid and 1 UVA kid. Yep 6 of them and not a UM in the bunch. Would have made them pay their own way to go there. LOL

    All in fun…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m an OSU grad, for whatever that’s worth.

      And you’re quite right – Denard ain’t no Braxton …

      • MichiganGoat

        For some reason I thought you were a Miami University (the Ohio one) grad.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I am, for undergrad. OSU for law school.

    • MichiganGoat

      Cheers from one IU grad to another, looking forward to basketball season.

      • Ron Swanson

        Amen brother!

      • Cubbie Blues

        It’s going to be REALLY crazy around here (I live in B-town). I thought ticket prices were high last year. This year they are going to be insane. Hopefully I will get a few freebies from work like in years past. If not I guess I will have to pony up for the family to see a game.

        • Michael

          I am an IU senior, I have season tickets for the 4th year in a row, so they better give me some good tickets.

        • OlderStyle

          I sometimes get tickets from my boss. He has good seats. I refuse to see anymore games in the balcony. I also know a kid in the pep band that gets me tix on the floor behind the band for the off-brand games.
          Let’s hope they can live up to some the hype. Hoo Hoo Hoosiers.

    • Cubbie Blues

      But, you almost got beat by the hoosiers’ 4th string quarterback Sat. The clock beat IU not OSU.

  • Fastball

    My kids were smart enough to not even consider Purdon’t. Dad would have sawed their life line off and quick.

    • Cubbie Blues

      My wife grew up in Lafayette and of course was a Purdue fan. Since I we have been married she has grown to like the Hoosiers. Now that we live in B-Town she and has been engulfed by the belly of the beast she has become a fan. Her sister is now back in college (late 30′s) at Maurer (IU’s law school). The in-laws have to love me now right?

  • Fastball

    That’s cool your an OSU grad. I was a bit of a standout at the Hollywood Casino last night wearing a IU sweatshirt and OSU hat at the blackjack tables. It was my daughters birthday and she is one of the OSU grads. I have no allegiance to OSU once rounball starts.

    I must say you are pretty diverse being an OSU grad and a UM fan. We all need diversity like that I suppose. I have to endure it myself.

  • Fastball

    We went to Bloomington last week for IU Home coming against the Toons. I used to be okay with the Toons until I had to sit in a section full unruly MSU students or young grads. My son who is the IU grad and I decided we to trash our Spartans gear when we got home and had to let my youngest son know that MSU was not represented well and that we hate those guys now.

  • TSB

    Get ready for the deluge of Derek Jeter stories crowding out all other baseball stories on the networks: “what is Derek Jeter’s condition this hour?” how will Derek Jeter’s loss effect the Yankees post season against what’s their names? ” How will Derek Jeter’s loss effect the presidential election? The world mourns the loss of Derek Jeter . Go Tigers!

  • leroy

    Go Northwestern! We’re 6-1 (though really haven’t played anyone yet)…

  • Fastball

    NW could very will win the big 10 with things being as they currently stand. OSU can’t win it. the rest are so sketchy from week to week. It will be interesting.

  • Caleb

    I can’t wait for Iowa to crush Michigan again. No matter what Iowa team is present in a season, were always good at crushing denard. I think I’ll even drag my Michigan friend to the alumni bar where I watch all the hawk games. Ps this bar is a few blocks from where Adrian clayborn grew up- apparently he stops in from time to time. Hope I run into him! .. And beat him up. Just to say I fought him and survived (if I survive).

  • North Side Irish

    Another video of Baez’s homer…not my video but I do love the sound his bat makes.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2012/10/cubs-fall-league-recap-javier-baez-goes-yard/

  • Kevin

    Did anyone see that blown call at 2nd base? We need instant replay in baseball, what a joke. I think the umpires union has lined Selig’s pockets.

    • North Side Irish

      Now that it’s hurt the Yankees, Selig and Fox will makes sure there’s replay next year.

      • Kubphan82

        The Yanks didn’t score a run all game…

        Anibal Sanchez hurt the Yanks today, if the game had been 1-1 at that point, and the 2 runs after the blown call would have made a huge difference, then we could say it “hurt” the Yanks or cost them something….

        The Yanks hurt the Yanks today…

  • AK Cub Fan

    Wow, Yankees lost 2 already. Happy Days. I too would have liked to see either the A’s or O’s in the WS. On the bright side, it’s been almost 2 weeks since the Cubs lost! Looking forward to 2013.

  • The Show

    I want Anibal Sanchez on my roster.

  • santo’s toupe

    the bank robber is steve bartman. i believe he didn’t wear his head set to confuse the keystone cops in chicago.

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