this will soon be the literal truth, literally
This site has fretted about, then documented the bad things massive attrition under Rich Rodriguez did to Michigan's Academic Progress Rating. The APR is a complicated number that's supposed to equate a 60% graduation rate to 925. Once you drop below that the NCAA starts glaring at you. Michigan put up a 897 in 2010, a 940 in 2009, and a 918 in 2008 (Carr's last year). They need a 945 this year to keep their head above water; that 897 will be an anchor for the next three years.
Right now, dropping below 925 doesn't automatically start hurting you. Between 900 and 925 the only punishments are a one-for-one scholarship reduction for every player who leaves ineligible. This results in yearly complaints about the various schools that didn't meet the minimum but didn't get punished. It's confusing and a little limp-wristed.
That would change if random NCAA committee has its way:
Currently in the Academic Performance Program, teams face two penalty benchmarks – 925 for more immediate penalties and 900 for longer-term, more serious sanctions. The committee is proposing the penalty structure be consolidated, with a single benchmark set at a projected 50 percent GSR. [Ed: this is estimated to be 925-930.]
While the 50 percent GSR is considered a minimum standard, Harrison said the committee also recommends that the long-term goal be stated clearly for the membership to raise the expectations above a projected 50 percent GSR.
Eliminating that grace zone and a lot of the exemptions that go with it is probably a good idea in the wider view. Right now you get things like South Florida dropping under the 925 level, losing ground the next year without penalty (which totally happened but I can't find the relevant link—their numbers are the worst the BCS FWIW), or Kentucky basketball graduating half of the 60% minimum but still checking out A-OK. Right now the APR is weaker than it should be.
In the shorter view, Michigan David Letterman puts his finger under his collar to go "yeeargh" when he reads this proposed penalty for dropping under the 925-ish level that corresponds to a 50% GSR:
Level One: Public notice and a financial aid penalty of 10 percent from the four-year average of total aid awarded. If the team demonstrates improvement, the financial aid penalty would be reduced to 5 percent. For example, a Football Bowl Subdivision team that awards the full complement of scholarships would be penalized nine overall counters and three initial counters at the 10 percent level, while men’s and women’s basketball would be penalized two scholarships.
Hypothetically, not hitting a 925-ish APR results in scholarship penalties equivalent to the worst NCAA sanctions in twenty years. That's level one! If you get to level two you have to eat your own face. Albert Lin writes your obituary if you hit level three.
A change that drastic would have to come with a lot of warning. (I mean, right? /finger under collar) Presumably by then Michigan will have pulled its APR out of the danger zone, at which point they'd be cheering on any NCAA committee itching to rip the spine out of schools not as committed to graduating kids. So… a qualified hurrah with the stipulation this has to be one of those committee-type timelines where it takes forever to do anything.
Michigan kept the commitment train rolling by landing Matt Godin and 2013 QB Shane Morris last week. With 11 commitments already in the 2012 class it doesn't look like things will slow down just yet. Here's a look at some recent happenings, and where Michigan is at with a few new prospects.
6'5", 270 lbs.
Keenan is a versatile lineman that has racked up around 15 offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi State, and Tennessee, amongst others. Despite the fact that Trey lives in Texas he has some roots in Michigan.
Michigan came by the other day, Coach Funk did. We plan on making it up this summer because my grandma still lives in St. Clare Shores, that's where my dad's from. He played at Northwood and he's a big Michigan guy. He grew up with the 70's and 80's teams when Michigan was cranking out good teams. He always cheered for Michigan.
Trey has been to Ann Arbor before, just not for a football game.
Before I was a football player I was a big hockey player. We went to Ann Arbor for a hockey game once. I played hockey until I was 15, and I was actually drafted by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western league.
Michigan already has one former hockey player turned offensive lineman in Ben Braden. It would be pretty unique to have two in one class. The Wolverines seem to be high on Keenan's list for a number of reason.
Coach Funk said they're in a real shortage of offensive linemen, they only have eleven. They want to try to get six out of our class. I think he likes how athletic I am, and I'm strong enough to be in lifting meets.
It seems as though the Michigan coaches are positioning themselves to make Keenan's final list as well.
I want to figure out my list by the schools that I feel like have invested time in me, coming by my school, and making the extra effort with handwritten letters like Michigan has. If football didn't happen that I'd still love going to school there. I also want to go to a place that could push me football wise and if everything worked out right, get me to the next level. I think Michigan fits those points.
He plans on having his narrowed down list out by the end of this school year. As he said he'll make it up to Michigan sometime in the summer. Ultimately he would like to have his final decision made before his senior year starts up at the end of summer.
6'1", 175 lbs.
Michigan is in great shape with a few defensive backs that already hold offers. The coaches, however, are still offering defensive back prospects that they think fit their system. Glenville DB De'von Bogard is the most recent recipient, and Will Hines could potentially be on that list as well. I have been in contact with Hines for some time now, but he believes that things are starting to pick up.
I have eight offers so far and I think Texas A&M and Michigan might be close to offering. Michigan came by the school the other day. Coach Funk said he liked my updated highlight film and the defensive coordinator just needed to look at it. He's going to look at it in the next few weeks I guess.
I believe the coaches will be out recruiting these next couple weeks, so Mattison will probably watch his film after that. Hines said that he does have a top list right now, but that could change if some schools jump in the mix.
Right now it's Arkansas, Baylor, Missouri, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma State. Those are the top five that have offered. If Michigan offers then they'll probably take Notre Dame's spot.
Hines doesn't know too much about Michigan yet, but is definitely hoping for an offer.
They have a great history, a great program, and they make a lot of great players. It's going to be tough to get up there, but I am going to try to get up there for a visit. I'd like to make my decision towards the end of summer after I get some visits in.
Like I said Michigan is in great shape with a few other defensive backs, so we'll see in the near future how many spots are left.
6'3", 235 lbs.
Michigan has already extended a few offers to 2013 prospects. Commit Shane Morris, and Ohio super Dymonte Thomas were the first two. The third is Detroit Catholic Central ATH Wyatt Shallman.
[Michigan] offered me in person. Me, my dad, my mom, and sister all met the coaches. We went in and talked to Coach Hoke and he offered. We were just kind of small talking and then he said, by the way you have a full scholarship to go here that will pay for your education. We just kind of looked at each other, and my mom cried. It didn't really sink in to me until I was driving away from the stadium and I could see it in the rear view, as cliche as that sounds.
Cincinnati has also offered Shallman, and he's hearing from MSU as well. The interesting part of the Michigan offer is that the coaching staff has told him they want him as a tailback, not a fullback.
I was offered as a tailback at Michigan. There's a common misconception that I'm big and will play fullback. I believe that I could be a different type of tailback. I had a long talk with Fred Jackson. They were telling me how the offensive coordinator came from Auburn with Ronnie Brown. Everyone said Ronnie was a fullback, but they noticed his speed and used him as a tailback. I feel like there's some parallels with him, and they told me I'd be dotting the i.
Even though Michigan was his first offer, Penn State was where his recruitment started. That seems to have left an impression on him as well.
Penn State is really the first school to start recruiting me. I went down to a camp after freshman year and they started talking to me after that. With them being my first influence in recruiting really intrigued me. I would love to get an offer from them because of all the tradition they bring to the table.
Penn State may have been the early bird, but Shallman's family will also factor in to his decision.
It's a great thing for my family to have this offer, because they're a football family. I was never a football fan growing up until about 8th grade. My mom is a crazy Michigan fan, she has bumper stickers that say Oh How I Hate Ohio State and everything. It will probably take me awhile to make my final decision, too. It involves my whole family, they're my rock and this is a family decision. I'm going to take my time with everything.
Wyatt is lucky to have a good foundation to support him, and he also has a good friend that recently went through the recruiting process as well.
Me and Matt [Godin] are really good friends. He was kind of my mentor this season, and he was a sophomore on varsity also. We've talked a little bit about recruiting and Michigan but we haven't had a lot of time to sit down and talk about it. Once you commit you're kind of a recruiter for that school so I'm sure he'll try to do that with me.
Shallman is nowhere near a decision, obviously, and plans to let everything take its course.
Ohio DE Chris Wormley recently said Michigan was his leader in a Toledo Blade article. Wormley told me last week that he thinks he's inching closer to a decision. Once track is over in June is when he'll start to focus on his recruitment.
Instate DB Terry Richardson will most likely be making his announcement this week. It will probably be Tuesday or Thursday, according to his coach. I'll let you know once I have the official word. An early decision is good for Michigan. [Ed: The announcement is set for Tuesday at 11:45am]
Ohio DE Adolphus Washington told me that he will be making a trip to Michigan soon. It's safe to assume that he will bring his teammate WR Dwayne Stanford with him as well. Look for that to happen in the next two weeks.
There's been a rumor running around that Michigan may be getting a visit from QB Gunner Kiel. I haven't confirmed that yet, but there's been a lot of smoke around Kiel's name lately, so keep an eye on that. [Ed: Source of the smoke seems to be Facebook stalkers noting a Kiel wall post from Borges asking if he's coming in this weekend. If he does end up on campus that's a very good sign since he was just in Ann Arbor. Rapid-fire visits like that usually mean the school being visited is the leader.]
Georgia DT Jordan Watkins is expecting a visit from the Michigan coaches this week, or next. Watkins has a ton of offers, has a 3.7 GPA, and even plays the cello.
A couple quick notes on a few questions that keep coming up. It looks as though the Michigan coaches have cooled on TE Ron Thompson for now. His coach is planning on calling the Michigan coaches this week to find out what's going on. Please try not to speculate too much here.
Illinois DB Anthony Standifer had to reschedule his visit this past week because his father couldn't make it. He plans on rescheduling it in roughly two weeks, once the coaches are back from recruiting trips. Michigan is still in good shape with him. The new offers from the likes of Notre Dame may cause him to slow things down, but when he visits a commitment is possible.
I was told and reported awhile ago that Michigan and Rutgers were probably the top two schools for New York DB Wayne Morgan. I was told recently that Michigan may have taken over the top spot for Morgan by his coach. Both Morgan and his coaches have been impressed with the Wolverine coaching staff.
Before we start, do me this favor: Make a fist, then straighten your arm at about a 45 degree angle from your body. All set? Now say this with me:
It came out earlier this week that HC Carol Hutchins, along with Jenny Brundage and Bonnie Tholl, helped save a recruit's father's life in late April. Then on Friday and Saturday softball twice made Little Sister cry uncle (ie 8-0 mercy rule). Friday it took 6 innings in Ann Arbor; on Saturday it was a 5-inning no-hitter in East Lansing to take the Big Ten title outright. They're on to the NCAA Regionals starting Friday with a 51-4 record, 16-0 on the road, and feel like a team headed for the Golden Palace.
Aside: Unfortunately for Mark Dantonio, there's no mercy rule for in-state recruiting. Onward and upward!
I've been kicking this entry around ever since the stupid logo with the stupid names came out. As Six Zero noted at the time, there's a lot more that goes into a branding job than drawing something on Photoshop. However it's not the 20-page booklet explaining proper branding uses and sizes and colors that caused a region-wide facepalm.
Ever since the moment about 20 minutes after the unveiling when we realized this wasn't Delany et al. pulling a DeAnthony Arnett commitment hat dance, the Internet has taken it upon ourselves to propose something better. Brian suggested East-West as a throw-up-hands consensus just so we don't have to use the official ones – and since this is his blog you are instructed to do the same – but personally I hate the cardinal direction convention almost as much. Herein are a handful of those collected, plus a few of my own:
Leaders / Legends:
Reason to Like: None if you have a soul.
Reason to Hate: That such an idea ever got past an ESPN message board.
Awkwardness ensues when: National reaction to unveiling of names was "Ha ha; no really…"
What's the catch: Keyword is "surprising."
"I think we have enough experience with names, and expansion and development of divisions, to know that you never, rarely, get 90 percent approval rating," Delany said during the interview. "But to get a 90 percent non-approval rating was, you know, really surprising."
Now remember the people who were surprised by this reaction later said they're not going to make any changes this year in the hopes that the divisional names grow on us. Where have I heard this reasoning before? Oh yeah, that's exactly how I ended up playing clarinet for 5 years instead of 5 minutes.
West / East:
Reason to Like: It's simple and neutral, I guess. "Champions of the West" in the song means something again. Deep thought: While we're fixing fight songs, wouldn't MSU's be more accurate if "vim" meant "D.U.I.?"
Reason to Hate: Trite, boring, and inaccurate.
Awkwardness ensues when: I am Funnybot. Where can you get from Michigan to Wisconsin by going East? In the Big Ten! Awkwaaaaard.
What's the catch: Thankfully this is off the table.
Griffith / Palmer:
Reason to Like: History of the Big Ten 101: Griffith was the first commissioner, Palmer House was the venue in Chicago where the conference was founded.
Reason to Hate: History of the Big Ten 101 is a prerequisite
Awkwardness ensues when: Could have honored James H. Smart (the "brains" behind the formation of the original Western Conference) but whoever's not in the "Smart" division would raise hell.
What's the catch: The Gary Bettman-itude of the shirts who decide this means there's close to zero chance of division names that your typical Ohio State fan won't recognize. Meijer & Wal-Mart Divisions are more likely.
Great Lakes / Heartland (or Great Plains):
Reason to Like: Neutral and highlights regional nicks.
Reason to Hate: Completely interchangeable. Favored by Lynn Henning.
Awkwardness ensues when: Generations of young Big~Ten fans grow up sucking just as much at Geography as counting.
What's the catch: Either Nebraska and Iowa are not "Heartland," or Michigan and Michigan State are not "Great Lakes."
Black / Blue:
Reason to Like: Because the region is mostly in the footprint of the NFL's black & blue division. Or because we tend to have entire positional depth charts wiped out by injury by the time the conference season starts.
Reason to Hate: Think how tired this will get after the umpteenth headline featuring the conference getting bruised.
Awkwardness ensues when: In the conf. championship game, (Black Division Champ) Michigan fans take up the "Let's Go Blue" chant.
What's the catch: This isn't a trait the conference really wants to focus on.
Lakes / River:
Reason to Like: Best shot at a geographic split. Mich&MSU are surrounded by the Great Lakes, Minn, Neb, & Iowa have 1,000s of Lakes, and Northwestern's on the Lake; the other division's schools are in states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania) either along the Ohio or Mississippi Rivers. Okay, it's a stretch.
Reason to Hate: Like we're the only place in the world that has lakes and rivers.
Awkwardness ensues when: The rule of silly recruit names means we'll eventually have a kid named Lakes representing a Rivers school playing a kid named Rivers representing the Lakes Division.
What's the catch: Like "Lake Michigan" somebody will get offended when something's named after the Ohio river.
Bo / Woody:*
Reason to Like: Is perfect.
Reason to Hate: If you're Michigan or Ohio State: none. If you are not Michigan or Ohio State: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!
Awkwardness ensues when: Michigan State wins the Bo Division, burns the trophy, and replaces it with another piece of schlock from Forwards in West Branch.
What's the catch: The newer members won't care as much – Penn State and Nebraska are two proud programs with history and tradition that rival M/OSU - but the years and years of being one of the "Little Eight" are not fond memories for the rest.
Where's Wisconsin? / Why Do We Have Wisconsin?:
Reason to Like: ha ha, yer funny.
Reason to Hate: Hey, these division names recognize a school that isn't mine! WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!! (just kidding, guys. Could you imagine if we were like that?)
Awkwardness ensues when: Wisconsin thinks we're playing peek-a-boo and keeps yelling "I'm right heeeeeeere!"
What's the catch: Levity is underappreciated in formal settings.
Like one more than the other? Take the poll.
The minute the Big Ten announced it would have divisions, fans of 9 other schools* immediately screamed "Don't call them Bo and Woody!" This is because the most obvious binary convention in the conference are two iconic coaches who for a tenth of the conference's history were the Big Ten. When people talk about the Big Ten it's not how Randy Walker and Joe Tiller revolutionized passing from the Spread, but how Hayes, Schembechler and their acolytes did things that are manly. The two schools account for over 45% of the conference's football championships, and that number's over 50% when you stop counting the Purdue and Iowa's with 2 losses in the early 1900s who claimed one anyway in those Wild Western Conference days.
Without intervention, this would be the organic standard. Obviously Michigan and Ohio State fans (of which we are many) are leading this charge, but Nebraska fans and non-Big Ten followers seem to also be coming around to a split of "The one with Michigan & its rivals" and "The one with Ohio State & its rivals" since that's the most natural way to remember it. As for placating the other schools, I recommend we rename all the trophies:
- Champion: Paterno Trophy
- MVP: Red (Grange) Award (can certainly have some fun pouring red paint on the MVP each year, right?)
- Coach of the Year: Osborne Award
- Kinnick Award: To the Big Ten player who shows the greatest combination of outstanding athletic performance, sportsmanship, academic achievement, and service to his community, as embodied by Nile Kinnick
- Amos Alonzo Stagg Award: To the player or coach who makes the greatest contribution to Big Ten football (through outstanding innovation, service, or play).
- Offensive POY: Randle El Trophy
- Defensive POY: The Bucking Bronco (Unfortunately Nagurski's taken by the NFL for the same thing)
- Special Teams POY: Biggie Munn Award (so we can tell both Minnesota & Michigan State they got two)
- Best Passer: Griese Trophy (highlights them as Cradle of QBs)
- Best Back (QB/RB/FB/WR/TE): Paddy Driscoll Trophy
- Best Lineman (Offense or Defense): Big Joe's Slab of Bacon (Since they play for an Axe now, we could repatriate the old Slab for the best lineman. Big Joe is Joe Thomas)
- Best Defensive Back or Linebacker: Webster Trophy (I totally had to Wikipedia this one -- you try to find a Spartan football player other than Kirk Gibson or Plaxico whom anyone outside of Michigan can name!)
- Bo Div Champ: Schembechler Trophy
- Woody Div Champ: Hayes Trophy
* Nebraska was still too giddily checking out the house like Little Orphan Annie to care. Plus their online community is, for the internet, pretty level.
Above, that's Michigan's Solar Car Team's 2010 build, which won the U.S. solar car race thing. Below: that's Michigan State's entry in the same race. These are from Bronco648's (short) must-read diary UMsolar and the FSGP, which includes pics of M's even sleeker 2011 car apparently en route to Australia for the international competition. Before you rip on Sparty just remember which one you'd rather find in your basement years later when you're desperate for a beer pong table.
NOLA Blue did a comparison of Michigan's 2011 opponents and returning starters. The concept's there but then he kind of inexplicably ignores backfields and how good the players are, just listing number of returners at OL, TE, DL and LB as his basis for predicting games. This is the classic Charlie Weis-era Notre Dame mistake: Returning Sam Young again doesn't make you better.
As for the Diary of the Week, it's Part I of one man's journey from Pee Wee Hockey in Ontario to (hopefully) Yost Ice Arena.
"This is the biggest game of your career so far, their captain, like you, is also one of the best players in Ontario. If we win, people will say you're better than him. We always support you, but if we lose, people are going to blame you and say that he's better than you. Do you want that? Get to sleep early tonight, make sure you eat lots of carbs, protein tomorrow, and drink water all day. When I talk to your teacher, I want to hear from her that you were asking to go to the bathroom all day."
I was 8 years old.
Part I tracks JimLahey's journey from top Ontario prospect to waiting for a scholarship to Michigan or heading to the OHL. FTR he's not Caporusso so stop guessing he's Caporusso. Caporusso Mention Rule still applies:
The Michigan commitment train never stops. Back to the front page we go! Action since last rankings:
5-9-11 Penn State gains commitment from Brian Gaia.
5-12-11 Michigan gains commitment from Matt Godin. Illinois gains commitment from Jason Robertson.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
Rivals has released their initial rankings, so instead of watchlist guys, I'm going on the 5-star system for them. Remember, currently unranked prospects by any service receive 1 star.
Full data after the jump.
There's a David Foster Wallace story from Oblivion in which a main character has an incredibly talented sphincter. He becomes renowned for pooping out beautiful works of art and it's all very confusing and revolting and weird and sad because that's the overall thrust of Oblivion. It's called "The Suffering Channel." You should check it out if you've always wanted to read a 90-page story about poop art*.
What I am saying to you is this: Brady Hoke is not entirely dissimilar from the talented Brint Moltke. The man poops magic. In this he is the exact opposite of the star-crossed Rich Rodriguez. Because we are (largely) not clinically depressed people trying to grapple with 9/11 we can leave out the existential dread. The man poops magic. Yay!
When Hoke took the job he brought some dudes with him and no one was that impressed since no one had ever heard of them, and then he asked Greg Mattison if he'd like to come back to college a year after he'd flirted with Florida and his defensive backs coach was going to be hired away. If you listen to Peter King, they really liked the defensive backs coach and didn't necessarily love the idea that their DC would constantly be flirting with a return to college. So they said "okay, you should probably go" instead of backing up the dump truck of money at his house. So now Michigan has a veteran defensive coordinator Urban Meyer says is "the best recruiter in the country" who can say "you == Ray Lewis."
When Hoke took the job Michigan State had barely had to fight for the top player in the state the past couple years because his coach had him ready to pick Michigan State a year before he signed. The guys responsible for that are no longer at those high schools and four of the top five players in the state are either from Cass Tech, best friends with the guys from Cass Tech, or Michigan fans. Michigan got all those guys.
When Hoke took the job Ohio State was the omnipresent Big Ten Death Star, scandal free since the arrival of Darth Tressel and merrily blowing Michigan's seasons to bits. There was no reason to believe it would change until Tressel entered his JoePa phase about ten years from now, which is when Hoke would be getting ready to retire himself. Then a lawyer inadvertently sent a photon torpedo down the exhaust hatch.
So. When Brady Hoke was hired I put up "We Are ND" which wait why link when you can embed:
This was both an opportunity to post "We Are ND" again and an editorial commentary on hiring an old guy with an indifferent career record instead of a young one who can plausibly be declared up and coming. At the time I thought Hoke was good to beat OSU maybe three times in a ten year career and then would give way to the next guy because he'd be 65 by then, and while this would be an improvement on the last decade there are several Southeast Asian prisons that would qualify as an improvement on the last decade vis a vis OSU.
A few months after Hoke's hire the two low-probability events above have transpired. Michigan's ceiling in this brave new world is now unknown. Or more unknown than "probably not as good as Ohio State," which wasn't exactly an axiom in the first place.
It's likely Ohio State will be searching for a new head coach soon, and the addition of Mattison not only promises defenses better than not only the Rodriguez-GERG debacles but those of the last half-decade of the Carr era when punt-and-strangle became punt-and-strangle-the-DC. Even if Tressel manages to survive he will take a heavy hit from the NCAA. His reputation is already in tatters. Michigan State's renaissance will be brief and quickly ended if in-state recruiting continues on the path it has this year, and Michigan already has the top guy in 2013 whispering in his classmates' ears about where they should go.
Meanwhile, Hoke has done a tremendous job to not screw it up. This is not a backhanded compliment. Not screwing it up is really hard. Greg Robinson: QED. Hoke knew and acquired Mattison; even if the Ravens weren't fighting hard having the temerity to ask or the knowledge he could get him is something. He has not lost any of the in-state locks to Penn State or Ohio State or Notre Dame or Michigan State and along the way he flipped two of the three guys Michigan State fans were banking on and probably the third if he can get his grades up. A wave of media and program adulation was waiting for anyone who could say "hi, I'm not Rich Rodriguez"; Hoke has turned large sections of Southeastern Michigan into lovesick tweens by saying "you're not Rich Rodriguez either!" He hasn't blown his layups, which is more than Michigan's head coach has been able to say for a while.
The prognosis now is much better than it was in January. Hoke will be able to shovel early missteps onto Rodriguez's grave—already the tallest mountain east of the Rockies—and ride out the awkward transition from the spread, at which point he'll have a roster full of guys who are qualified, a career record worlds better than Rodriguez's, and a talent advantage over his division opponents. From there it's a matter of grabbing that goddamn win over Ohio State and seeing what happens. It's hard for me to think we'll be as good as spread terror du jour in any particular year, but let's whine about that bridge when we get to it.