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Thursday Morning Brews: Doing it live, rain or shine

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To our readers in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, stay safe and dry

Minnesota v Michigan Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. We’re just two days away from when Wolverines and Badgers alike will descend on Ann Arbor, when there will once again be a city and crowd that is undeniably Big Ten football. On a programming note, I’m changing up the format a bit today so bear with me. I suspect I’ll return to the usual format starting next week.

As usual, there is a song referenced in this morning’s article. There are at least two clues. Clues may be words, phrases, or photos, and may reference lyrics, the artist, or the album. If you think you know this morning’s song, fire away down in the comments.

Let’s get to it:

Michigan/Wisconsin line continues to move. Continuing our betting theme from Tuesday Brews, the line for Michigan’s game against Wisconsin this Saturday has seen some ups and downs. The line opened at Michigan -8, then dropped to Michigan -6, and is now up to Michigan -8.5 as of me writing this. What’s interesting is this is the first line in recent memory that I recall making these sorts of moves. This trend for this season seems to be lines being beaten toward Michigan’s favor after they open. This probably just means that bettors recognize this is the Wolverines’ first big conference test of the season, and so they’re hesitant to make Michigan too big of a favorite, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Chase Winovich echos Devin Bush, hates MSU more. Most of this article is about Chase Winovich turning down a bet that would have required him to cut his hair when Conor McGregor lost his recent UFC bout. But there’s one heck of a buried lede in this one. Down at the bottom of the article, Winovich is quoted as saying with regard to MSU and OSU, “I feel like we might have a better relationship with (Ohio State) players in a sense, where it’s almost strictly ideology. It’s like Ohio State versus Michigan, it’s such a huge game. Whereas Michigan State, I think there’s almost actual animosity between players. But I hate both of them. I want to beat both of them.”

Poll

Which rival do you hate more?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Ohio State
    (317 votes)
  • 25%
    Michigan State
    (109 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (comment)
    (7 votes)
433 votes total Vote Now

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Should sacks count against a QB’s rush yards?

That’s the question Alex Kirshner sets out to answer in his column yesterday for the SB Nation mothership. How does he resolve it? In the negative. Kirshner argues that sacks in the college game should be treated in the same way they are in the NFL. He says:

The NFL’s stat-keeping system is a little weird, but it makes sense. The pros count sacks against a team’s passing stats, but not against individual QBs’ numbers. (After all, sacks aren’t always the QB’s fault.) The NFL and its most popular outside stat-keepers also don’t count them against QBs’ individual rushing stats. They instead use a separate category, sack yards, to compartmentalize everything.

There’s some appeal to such a system. To support his cause, Kirshner relies upon the example of Tanner Mangum and argued that he was unfairly penalized by sacks and made to seem like a less mobile QB than he really was.

It’s why, for instance, BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum in 2017 got credit for 34 carries for negative-2 rushing yards. Mangum isn’t a particularly mobile QB, but on actual running plays, he ran 21 times for 81 yards. His 13 sacks for 83 lost yards made things seem worse.

So is Kirshner right? I tend to think he is. Many times in the college game a sack isn’t the fault of the QB, but rather the line failing to pick up a blitz, the defense simply covering everyone, or, similarly, receivers failing to get open. For instance, consider the following play from Michigan’s game against Maryland last week.

Is this sack Kasim Hill’s fault? I’d argue it’s not. Khaleke Hudson is untouched off the edge and has a hand on Hill less than 2.5 seconds after the ball is snapped, less than 2.0 seconds after Hill fakes the handoff, and less than 1.0 seconds after Hill completes his drop. That’s not enough time to do anything but run for your life, and good luck running for your life when Khaleke Hudson is chasing you.

Nonetheless, this play resulted in Hill being credited with 1 rush for -7 yards. Much like Tanner Mangum in Kirshner’s example, Hill is being penalized for his sacks this season. After last week, Hill has 22 rushes for -21 yards including 11 sacks for -49 yards. I think Kirshner is right; sacks should count against a team’s passing yards and not the QB’s rush yards because they’re often a team failure, and not a QB failure.

What do you think? Should the NCAA change how these stats are kept? Weigh in with the poll below and down in the comments.

Poll

Should sacks count against the QB’s rush yards or the team’s pass yards?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    QB’s rush yards
    (74 votes)
  • 72%
    Team’s pass yards
    (199 votes)
273 votes total Vote Now