I’m working on this post while I watch the Wolverines beat up on Michigan State. Going into the 4th quarter, it’s 42-0 Michigan. The Wolverines haven’t allowed any points in the 3rd quarter all season and have outscored their opponents 107-0 in the third.
Of course, the bigger deal than this particular game is the accusation that Michigan has stolen signs from opposing teams.
Did they? I can’t draw any conclusions yet because I haven’t seen any evidence. Nobody has, for that matter. So far, it’s just been a bunch of breathless headlines about stealing signs.
And to clarify, under NCAA rules, “stealing signs” isn’t necessarily illegal. If, during a game, a team figures out that a particular set of hand-and-arm motions means the other team is likely to run a pass play, they can act on that. A team can’t scout an opposing team in person during the current season though. For instance: Michigan plays the University of Washington in 2024. UM could, in theory, have someone at Washington games this season to scout the Huskies, since they don’t play them until next year. But the Wolverines aren’t allowed to send someone to scout the Buckeyes this season (or any season, really) because they play tO$U at the end of the season.
So the Wolverines have been accused of scouting teams in person, not stealing signs. I suspect at least one of the teams we supposedly scouted was Michigan State, because when the news broke Thursday morning, I heard that MSU was considering forfeiting the game “in the interests of player health and safety,” whatever that means. I can’t imagine how knowing something extra about your plays somehow endangers anyone on your team.
The thing is though, none of this stops a team from watching all the tape of their opponents they can get their hands on and learning from all that data. They can develop a list of percentages about what the Buckeyes are likely to do on second-and-long in the rain when they’re behind their own 20-yard-line. That kind of scouting is perfectly legal, and teams have been doing it for decades.
Do I think UM did what they’re accused of? No, not really. Yes, we’re undefeated at this point. But I don’t think any of the victories really looked as lopsided as you’d expect if we were effectively using the information we’d supposedly gained. And as I’ve heard from several of my Buckeye friends already this season, the Wolverines haven’t played any really good teams yet.
/Shrug. We’ll see what happens. I just wish people would quit calling it stealing signs. It’s a scouting violation. If it happened
Elsewhere in Life
I had an interview at the beginning of the week with a national trucking firm for a position in their local hub. It seemed to go pretty well and felt a lot more like a vibe check than a real interview. The conversation seemed to be more about the terminal manager figuring out if I could fit in than it was about me having the experience to do the job. And I do have the experience, I think, going back to my ProSource warehouse and inventory days twenty-five years ago. We’ll see. I’ve got a couple of other applications out that are getting some interest, too. One is in the local city administration; the other is with a local college’s admissions office.
Friday, Diana and I went carpet shopping. We’d cleared the entire afternoon and were prepared to hit four different stores in town, but we found what we liked after twenty minutes at the first store. It’s long past time to replace this carpet. This is original to the house (so 1970s vintage) and we’ve got three different colors in the house. We chose a fairly neutral pattern with enough different colors to make it easy for us to choose paint and furniture next year. If things work out, we’ll be able to get it installed in one day the week before our Hawaii trip.
Which is just 20 days away.
I’m a little excited.
I finally made some progress on Ghost this week, at least in the planning portion.
Diana and I had to take her car to the dealership in Tulsa on Tuesday, and I spent a lot of the trip up using her as my rubber duck. Or my gargoyle. (Don’t tell her I called her a gargoyle, okay?)
At any rate, I talked through where I was in the story and how I was kind of stuck. In the process, I got some ideas about where to go next. When I got home and started reading through my outline, I discovered I’d already written down some possible solutions to my problems. I was able to riff on those notes in combination with what I’d talked to Diana about and make some character development progress. Here’s hoping I can turn it into real writing progress.
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