"This is really important to be here," Lewan said. "I'm here to give back and help out my teammate."
It is out:
A dossier of what's inside:
The usual team preview by yours truly, except swankier with more stats and highlights and pictures of Jamar Adams because the safety situation is so scary that no one actually scheduled to play the position has available photos. Also: special teams!
Opponent previews by a cast of characters. As per usual, we break out the Notre Dame and Ohio State previews and offer them to partisans of those schools. This year it's Vico from Our Honor Defend taking up the Ohio State banner; Brian Stouffer of The House Rock Built returns to preview ND. The rest of the schedule is tackled by Jerry Hinnen from the Joe Cribbs Car Wash, continuing HTTV's burgeoning tradition of forcing some guy from the South to learn all about the Big Ten.
Research and and analysis in spades. The research and wonkery section of this year's book includes:
- Yours truly on hybrids and spinners and quicks and deathbackers and what it all means. What, exactly, Michigan's defense will be this fall has been a hot topic of conversation. I figured it out, probably. Complete with picture of Greg Robinson and Pete Carroll as chums. Also: diagrams.
- Chris Brown of Smart Football on what went wrong last year, other than everything. The smartest college football blog in the universe—it's in the title—has been flagged down to explain just what the hell happened last year, other than all those obvious things. More diagrams herein. My favorite:
- Matt Hinton on how freshman quarterbacks generally do. In sum: "not well, but significantly better on average that what Michigan threw out there last year." Hinton, of course, runs Dr. Saturday and is awesome.
- Michael Elkon on demographic shifts, recruiting styles, talent, and Michigan. Elkon's contributed to HTTV every year it's existed; this year's bit is a piece on how Michigan finds itself behind a talent eight-ball relative to national powers fortunate enough to be situated amongst oodles of talent, and why a coach like Rodriguez is the right fit for a team like Michigan that figures to face those national powers on a regular basis.
Talking with and observing this year's team in detail.
- Tim Sullivan of Varsity Blue and Tom Van Haaren talk to Tate Forcier, who you may have heard of.
- Johnny of RBUAS is unearthed and directed to expound on Brandon Graham as star player. I am possibly the one internet-aware Michigan fan for whom Johnny's decreased output over the past year has a silver lining: now folks will have a powerful motivation to buy this book.
- S. Mastin Jones of Maize 'n' Brew revisits the Barwis meme in year two. There are quotes about vomiting. Of course there are.
Going back in the day. Michigan history features heavily:
- Greg Dooley of MVictors reminds us all of what a batty year 1909 was. Stuff went down. Let me tell you.
- Jamie MacMillian revisits Bo's last team, 20 years on. Remember when we had awesome safeties? I don't, I was ten. Jamie does, and catches up with Vada Murray in the course of his remembrance. (MGoReaders will know Jamie as frequent diarist Jamiemac, BTW.)
- Dan Feldman, formerly of the Daily and now behind Piston Powered, talks to members of the 1984 team about their bounce-back season. We can rebuild it. We have the technology.
- John U Bacon, who does everything, compares Rodriguez's start to those of Michigan legends past. It's not precisely as good as a few others. (Some of the everything Bacon does includes write Bo's Lasting Lessons, host on WTKA, and produce an epic quantity of articles for publications diverse and sundry.)
- And I swear I'm not making this up but Craig Ross details how he somehow found himself deputized to take Bo's last or second-to-last autograph to Warren Buffett, of all people. Craig isn't making this up, either: there are pictures. It's an incredible, preposterous story.
It's twelve pages longer than last year's book and zero dollars more expensive. If you do not buy it, you are probably brain damaged. So avoid brain damage: buy the book. If you do not buy the book, people will question the functioning of your mind. Do it for the economy.
Step two in the master plan to provide users tools to moderate themselves has been deployed: there are +1/-1 buttons on comments and posts now. This has been met with some displeasure. An explanation of what's going on right now:
- You can vote up or down on any comment, forum post, or diary entry. Up votes are worth two points, down votes minus one. This, combined with the points you get for posting stuff, should make it hard for anyone who's not seriously annoying the great majority of the commenters to see their points dip as a result.
- Dipping into negative points will put you into the "troll" role and spur me to look at the user's recent activity to see whether the user should be banned, or just told to cool it, man.
There are some abuse failsafes built in now and more will be added if—when—people start abusing the system. For one: I am probably going to make a downvote cost the voter points, too, to further restrict wanton point-bashing. Please report any bugs, or ideas, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The third of July, 1776: Ben Franklin buys some cigarettes and sleeps with a French lady. Let's celebrate by not going to work. Yes, I'm taking the day off, like everyone in an office. I must prepare for the tubemeatening.
Mandatory J Leman photo:
Optional Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers animated GIF:
See you Monday.
Thank Jesus. Paul Maguire will blight your television screens far less often this fall:
Although not formally announced, ESPN's Mike Soltys confirmed Sunday that college football analyst Paul Maguire, 70, will have a "reduced role" this season. Rather than having a full slate of games, says Soltys, Maguire will work only "the occasional game and do some studio shows and radio."
As long as that "occasional game" is the Society of Eastern European Panhandling Midgets versus Regan Pornography Czar Ed Meese's Metacarpals, I'm okay with it. Anything less obscure and we have issues. Just keep him away from the otherwise excellent Nessler-Griese pairing. And all other ones involving the Big Ten.
Side note: Maguire is 70! That guy is hitting up the Just For Men like crazy.
Hype video. Haven't had one of these for a while, and this one is well-executed:
(So… yeah, the top recommended Youtube video I'm getting for this: "So Ronrey." Is this because I posted about soccer earlier?)
Wait… what? The Free Press on Tim Hardaway Jr's commitment, screencapped because they'll probably fix it now:
It appears someone let a spellchecker loose on that article with "replace all" checked, or something. I'm at a loss how "Smotrycz" can become "Metrics" and "ESPN" can become "SPUN," though the latter is a serendipitous slam at the Favre-Owens Network. Evan Metrics sounds like a superhero from Square One who goes around teaching people about kilograms and centiliters; I suggest people condemned to write Smotrycz for the next four and a half years band together and force him to officially change his name. We'll buy him a Zorro mask and a meter stick in exchange.
M-Boned. So, yeah, the athletic department has switched official providers of Michigan apparel from the locally-owned M-Den to the Jerry Jones-owned and spammy-sounding "eSports Partners." The reason is the same reason it always is: money. eSports Partners has guaranteed millions that the M-Den could not, though I strongly suggest that the Athletic Department keep its PIN numbers to itself. Be suspicious of any barristers, yo.
There can be no better reason to do it than someone else's reason not to. Outgoing Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen is not well-loved by his fan constituents, who have to turn to Fox Sports Atlantic to catch any Pac-10 game not involving USC. And I don't think we should be big fans, either. TSN's Dave Curtis has an exit interview of sorts:
Q: So what are the chances of a playoff down the road?
A: We get playoff proposals around the calendar, with many more coming in the late fall. There just isn't anything that would be good in our opinion. We would have to go to 16 teams. The political pressure for participation would be even more intense than in the BCS. You'd have to play the games until the championship on campuses, so you'd be playing games at Michigan and Ohio State, weather-wise, in late December or January. Most of the TV time periods that are attractive then are taken by the NFL. There are some many factors that people never consider.
Well, one: that's just, like, his opinion, man, that you'd "have to" go to 16 teams. Why would the political pressure for participation be more intense? And why couldn't you structure a playoff such that everyone worthy is included? This is common anti-playoff gambit: you can't have a good playoff that makes sense, you have to have a stupid one because of fuzzy reasons I will not justify. In it is an admission that a properly structured playoff would be awesome.
Two: the bolded section is one of the best aspects of a true playoff. Who hates it when NFL playoff games are rough and tumble affairs on the frozen tundra of Lambeau? Oh, that's right: no one.
Low places. Vegas has released a bunch of win over-unders. Your most relevant set:
Over 6 reg season wins -165
Under 6 reg season wins +135
Six seems low but you have to bet 165 to win 100, so it's not a great deal or anything. Still… if anyone wants to do the Forbidden Thing and wager on your own team, there you go.
Etc.: I've mentioned the hole Kiffin finds himself in re: QB recruiting before; Bleed Scarlet has a terrific overview of the situation, which after the commitment of Barry Brunetti to West Virginia comes down to hoping Jesse Scroggins does not pick USC as expected or grabbing a flier. The WLA reviews Rich Rodriguez. There are holes in Michigan's recruitin' bucket.
The Michigan Daily reports this doozy of a rumor:
Some sources tell me that the Athletic Department is looking into a home game against the University of Georgia in 2010, one that would also bring the Wolverines to Athens in 2011.
Whaaaa? A quick check of Georgia's future schedules reveals an open date in 2010 but the opening week of the season is currently filled by Louisiana Lafayette. UGA's other nonconference games that year are @ Colorado and @ Georgia Tech. In 2011, Georgia's schedule is already complete, with home games against Louisville, GT and a couple of cupcakes lined up.
To add Michigan, Georgia would have to…
- accept three nonconference road games against legit opponents in 2010,
- accept three nonconference home games against legit opponents in 2011,
- move the Louisiana Lafayette game, and
- cancel an existing 2011 game.
The former two would be unusual for any college football team not named USC. The latter two cost money. The athletic department can "look into" a home-and-home with Georgia all they want, but UGA is an poor fit for a home-and-home over the next couple years. They are not likely to go for it; if they do they're likely to demand exorbitant terms that Michigan will balk at.