no wonder we hired Hunter Lochmann
Brian has already covered Jim Harbaugh's Troll God move from, uh, one perspective. Given this is now the biggest news on an otherwise quiet Friday in the college football world, I wanted to take a closer look, so here's a list of the various aspects of this that are just the best.
1. THIS IS BRILLIANT
Purely from a recruiting perspective, this is innovation at its finest. SEC coaches are publicly complaining about Michigan's cross-country tour of satellite camps, the one recruiting loophole the SEC can't exploit? Fine, make them all look petty:
There are two ways opposing coaches, SEC and otherwise, can react to this. They can sit out the camp, missing out on a recruiting opportunity and appearing afraid of competition in the process. Or they can attend, therefore contributing to Michigan's camp becoming a massive draw for recruits. This isn't a decision Nick Saban will enjoy making, and that goes doubly so for Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio. Harbaugh essentially blackmailed the college coaching world into making his program's camp a premier event.
It's not just smoke and mirrors, either. If Michigan is able to get even a handful of well-regarded coaches to participate, it'll be hard to deny Michigan the "Exposure U" tagline they've attached to this project. Getting the program to have the reputation as the place to get noticed would be a huge boon for recruiting.
2. IT'S ALREADY WORKING
Bob Stitt is in! Somebody check on Brian!
@CoachJim4UM I'm in! Thx for the invite!
— Bob Stitt (@CoachBobStitt) April 24, 2015
In all seriousness, this move should attract plenty of innovative smaller-school coaches like Stitt, and it's always a positive to expose the coaches to new and different ways of doing things. Urban Meyer may not be down to discuss the finer points of running power out of the shotgun, but Stitt could give some advice about incorporating the fly sweep; recruiting doesn't have to be the only aspect of the program that benefits from this.
3. THIS COULD POTENTIALLY HAPPEN
I'll give $50 to MSU beat reporter who asks Dantonio after spring game if he'll go to UM's camp. Make it $100 if its first question of day.
— jamie mac (@justcoverblog) April 24, 2015
I'll happily ante up, as well.
4. ADD TO THE HARBAUGH LEGEND
Harbaugh is the rare college coach whose views and actions aren’t motivated by fear, particularly of what others are doing.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) April 24, 2015
Harbaugh made a power move (the satellite camp tour), SEC coaches pushed back, and instead of making any sort of concession, Harbaugh made an even bigger power move. As evidenced by Wolken's tweet, this is going to play well in the media, and you can bet recruits will take notice, as well. In the court of public perception, this is a decisive win. Harbaugh turned a nothing Friday into a day to grab headlines.
There will be no stake-related apologies.
5. MOTION TO MAKE THIS THE SITE TAGLINE
I'll be ending all my conversations, formal and informal, in this manner from now on.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) April 24, 2015
Find a bridge, and look under it. There you will find something you did not expect: a crude charcoal figure in the shape of the man. On certain nights when the moon lances through the overpass just right and strikes the figure at just the right angle, the markings take on a three dimensional aspect.
As you're squinting, wondering why it looks familiar and kind of pisses you off, Harbaugh, Master Of The Toll, will step forth from the rock to answer one question you have. I have been across this nation's highways and byways, searching out the dwindling numbers of his worshippers. Pushed out by EZ-Pass and foreign purchases of American roads, the United States troll is literally at a crossroads.
They ask him about inflicting pain on the country that spurned them.
He told them "form a country duo that sings about comin' to your citayyyy."
He told them "tell 'em it's about ethics in gaming journalism."
He told them to make a website on which anyone can talk to anyone with a 140 character maximum.
He told them to run athletic departments like conglomerations of mining interests.
He told them to name something "The KFC Yum! Center."
Yes, with the exclamation point smack in the middle of it. He is diabolical.
I sought him. I invoked daemons of minor annoyance. They told me that sitting outside in some nice weather and watching something approximating a football game was the sign of a diseased mind, but they also told me where to find him. The bridge was old and rickety, all but abandoned. Long ago a chunk of wood had been clattered free, so the light at this bridge was direct and fulsome. After a time, Harbaugh stepped forth from the charcoal.
I said I had a job for him.
I said he would find glory, and he was uninterested.
I said it paid very very well, and he bridled.
I said he could follow in the footsteps of the all-troll who birthed him from a cauldron of spite, and he took one half-step towards me. I knew not whether I had made progress or a terrible mistake.
I said that all the football coaches in all the land would gnash their teeth and shake their NCAA-mandated chains and wail and wail and wail, that entire fanbases of people would rise up in one agglomerated mass of incensed powerlessness, that even the greatest and mightiest of football would feel their bile rise uncontrollably at his visage.
He said "I accept."
And then he was gone. Shaken, I began the long journey home under the moon.
Ten nanoseconds after Saban and Swinney cried that high schoolers might get exposed to football programs that actually care what happens to their kids after it, Emmert moved to quickly fix the loophole that allows a football coach from Michigan to ply his trade across state lines.
Harbaugh is already one step ahead:
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) April 24, 2015
World: Wait, you can't create a national college football trade fair at your school.
Harbaugh: Just did.
Jim Harbaugh is legend.
FOR WANT OF GLENDENING
Luke Glendening blocked a shot into the neutral zone to seal his own spin-o-rama shorthanded goal as a game-winner to steal Game 1. Red_Lee was so inspired that he created this:
Last night Glendening's Red Wings were cruising to a 2-0 victory (that should have been 4-0 given the play) and a 3-1 series lead when Luke ill-advisedly decided to check a guy near enough to the boards to trip the sensitivities of hockey players towards that sort of thing. While everyone else scrummed about them some Lightning players were able to mess up Luke's hand (Aside: amputating a guy's hand when you're trying to recruit him is some seriously Urban Meyer sh--, Darth).
Without Glendening shadowing one of the top-scoring lines in the country, that line put up two quick goals and a third in overtime. Detroit didn't backcheck properly, and just looked, I don't know, unfocused. The parallels to Star Wars are there, but the parallels to Michigan since Luke graduated are eerie.
IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF MERCYHURST YOU'RE NOT A FAN (OR YOU'RE NORMAL)
Via Spath, Michigan's been having a hard time getting sexy programs to come to Yost unless they're small schools with Utah football-quality hockey programs. Of these, next year's schedule will host Mercyhurst, Robert Morris and Niagara. I bet you two petty Notre Dame administrators that the Domers were one of the "of note"s here:
Michigan wants to schedule top-tier programs but they couldn't get anyone to come to Ann Arbor this year. Everyone of note wanted U-M to come to their venue. And Michigan couldn't do that or it would have ended up with two non-conference home games. They agreed to Union and BU so that they could get those two teams in 2016-17 at home but then they HAD to have home games, and so some of these teams were more willing.
The sooner somebody puts this intra-state round robin thing together the better.
WORDS HAVE MEANINGS
It's offseason alright, evidenced by the feely threads (and one diary) popping up to define words that already mean specific things. To wit:
- A fan is someone who roots for that team. To date there is only one remotely worthwhile adjective that's ever been applied to "fan" to distinguish levels of fanhood: "Loud."
- An alumnus is someone who attended that school; graduation is not required.
- A graduate is someone who graduated from that school.
Last word for today: if you are a graduate or alum who thinks this distinction makes you more of fan, you are an "asshole."
WIFI NAMES ARE 21ST CENTURY NEIGHBORLINESS
Good ideas for Michigan-themed WiFi names? thread is how I learned about the Linden Street Flamingo Heist of 2011:
Shout out to the guy with "HARBAUGH" in a Columbus complex.
Etc. The Royals are the new Sparties of Major League Baseball.
Your Moment of Zen:
none of the lights none of the lights [Bryan Fuller]
Buried in a release about Michigan playing Minnesota at night is this:
With primetime selections through the networks and Big Ten Conference office now complete, Michigan will not host a night game this season at Michigan Stadium. Kickoff times for the remainder of the 2015 season will be announced in coordination with those partners.
Michigan's choices there were OSU (in November), Michigan State, or a middling opponent like Oregon State, BYU, or Northwestern. None of those are particularly appealing, though I thought a BYU at night might have been fun.
TMD: A Mother Knows
2016 #1 overall recruit Rashan Gary is expected to be on campus in May, accompanied by his mother, who's playing a very important role in the vetting process. Gary discussed her role in his recruitment with TomVH ($):
“My family being able to see me play is really important. My mom is my everything. Whatever she says and thinks is positive; that’s what I’m going to consider. My mom sees what I see and says all the schools I’m considering are good schools. It’s probably going to come down to me and her putting together a pros-and-cons list and figuring it out.”
Gary visited Michigan and Ohio State recently without his mother, who took a trip to Rutgers instead. (That trip reportedly didn't go very well for Rutgers.) Gary reported back to his mom, of course, and given what she told Sam Webb it sounds like Michigan is in a great position to stake themselves to a lead when she gets to campus with her son ($):
“He liked Ohio State,” said Mrs. Coney. “He didn’t say too much of the school. I think they didn’t spend a lot of time at Ohio State. I think most of their weekend was at Michigan. I know he met with Coach Johnson because he called me and I talked to Coach Johnson. I’ll tell you the difference (between the Michigan and Oho State visits). When he talked to me about Ohio State it was football, football, football. But when he talked to me about Michigan he just told me about the environment, told me about the academics, told me about the dorms, told me about the campus. I spoke with Coach Mattison it was totally a different conversation. One was about athletics, and then Michigan was all about academics and the people, (and) the environment.”
‘Okay Rashan, let me go see it for myself. (laughter).’
Michigan's M-Pact presentation should go over quite well.
Meanwhile, Michigan jumped out to the lead for another Paramus Catholic prospect, three-star WR Donald Stewart, who was offered last week, per 247's Steve Wiltfong ($):
“I talk to Coach Partridge daily,” Stewart said. “He told me that the players he coached that played there have nothing but positive things to say. I talk to Jabrill (Peppers) and Juwann (Bushell-Beatty) and they really like the school so I want to go up there and see for myself.”
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Stewart plans to see Michigan the third week of May.
According to Wiltfong, Northwestern is currently Michigan's biggest competition for Stewart.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Support this cause. A bunch of alumni are getting together to help raise money:
On December 26, 2014 Evelyn Grace Spytek - daughter of former Wolverine John Spytek - passed away due to complications following a CMV (Cytomegalovirus) related surgery. In her memory and in support of the National CMV Foundation, a team of eleven former Michigan Football student athletes - John Spytek, Dave Pearson, John Navarre, Grant Bowman, Andy Mignery, Tony Pape, Phil Brackins, Brent Cummings, Jeff Rich, Steve Baker and Eric Rosel - will be running the Columbus, Ohio Capital City Half Marathon on May 2, 2015 to raise money for the cause.
As causes go this is one of the best. Hit it up here to help out.
Har-bonus. Additional items that didn't make the cut for the Real Sports thing:
As for the piece itself, I thought it was fine. Alex Boone's statements were self-contradictory, which made me feel like maybe the full conversation would help reconcile that into something where context makes the first bits less harsh.
Harbaugh himself came off as a guy who is aware that his personality is to the best of his ability but had no plans on changing it; the moment where Visser asks him about the "wear out his welcome" thing and he just says "that must be true" given the evidence was charmingly without artifice or defensiveness. There was some regret in there, but nothing to the point where Harbaugh would consider changing. Even if it meant he spent his childhood playing baseball with himself in the strip mall nearest to my home.
(Does he still do this? Can I buy tickets if that is the case?)
Gumbel's bit at the end was predictably smug, but whatever.
Hilarious aside. Remember when NFL reporters were swearing up and down that Harbaugh would never leave the NFL because he hates recruiting? Nobody asked his wife.
THE LAST BASTION OF zzzz. Don't care, is football coach, must have mandatory football coach opinions unless he's Lloyd Carr. The position is self-selecting gentlemen who value toughness above just about everything else and can't find that value elsewhere.
no I don't want to talk about it
the problem with politics from the perspective of a sports fan is that there is no difference between the two activities
The Houston Nutt of satellite camps. Michigan's camp schedule in June, via Sam Webb:
June 4th - Midwest stop
June 5th - Prattville, Alabama
June 6th - Tampa, Fla.
June 7th - Pennsylvania
June 8th - Houston, Tex
June 9th - Dallas, Tex
June 10th - California
June 11th -12th - Sound Mind / Sound Body (Michigan)
This is the satellite camp equivalent of Houston Nutt signing 37 guys one year at Arkansas: the thing that gets people up in arms enough to bring down the NCAA hammer. SEC coaches are complaining, the commissioner is bringing it up to the rules committee, even Urban Meyer's against it, another avenue in the arms race threatens to open up, and soon there will be a bylaw saying NOPE. Because when it comes down to it, NCAA laws are for the coaches, not the players.
False alarm? ESPN's Paul Biancardi momentarily had hearts a-flutter yesterday when he asserted, citing sources "close to his family," that national #1 player Jaylen Brown had a top two of Cal and Michigan. That's Cal the school, not Cal the coach who thinks shot clock violations are the way to go in the late stages of a Final Four game.
No offense to Cal the school, but competing against them versus the blue-bloods of college basketball seems like a highly tractable position—no doubt Cal was thinking the same thing.
Alas, Brown shot that down:
Jaylen Brown has not cut his list, he told SNY.tv by text on Wednesday.
“No,” he said when asked if he was down to Cal and Michigan.
Now, that is not quite a response to what Biancardi said. He made no assertion that Brown had dropped anyone—they in fact also mention Kansas and Kentucky in the segment—just that those two schools were the names they were hearing. Biancardi can be correct and Brown can answer that question like he did. And that would be very nice.
Cal, now the home of bizarrely-deposed former Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, does have a commit from top-ten Ivan Rabb. Despite going 7-9 in the Pac-12 last year they will have some surrounding pieces to entice with.
Brown's recruitment is currently very mysterious, but as we were talking about this on the WTKA roundtable today Sam re-iterated that he was confident that Michigan was in Brown's top two and that the other school seems to keep changing—always a good sign for the constant. I'm still in believe-it-when-I-see-it mode when Michigan goes head to head for the big dogs, but they did get Mitch.
In other big boy news. 2016 SF Tyus Battle is coming off a visit to Louisville that his father rather gushed over($) to Louisville's Scout site…
The elder Battle said all of the pre-visit information with the day and a half spent with the staff on the official visit made for an "awesome" time in Louisville.
"We got a lot out of it," he said. "A whole lot."
The father said the campus tour and atmosphere around the program led him to believe he would be turning his son over to "someone who really cared about him," if Tyus Battle were to pick Louisville down the road.
…and is winding down his recruitment. A lot of people are talking about Duke, which is natural. Though he and Derryck Thornton are not a package since Thornton reclassified to 2015, they are friends. Unless Thornton's going to become the equivalent of a none-and-done, that could be a factor.
But Michigan does have another shot:
"He's probably just going to go through the process and just pick a school," the father said. "It's not that we don't like the recruiting process, but there are some other things that he needs to get along with.
"He will visit Michigan on May 8 and after that we will see."
Michigan will have openings after the departures of LeVert and DEFINITELY JAYLEN BROWN*.
*[Unless Brown sticks to his statements he might stay two years.]
This is not your job. FSU's trustees are complaining that Florida State, which was bombed by Oregon in the CoFoPoff, was disrespected so thoroughly as to be placed third in the final rankings:
"I think the perceived bias of the ACC in general, [with] Florida State falling to No. 4 in the rankings and still being undefeated and being [No.] 3 at the end of the season … a one-loss ACC team or two-loss ACC team is going to have a hard time breaking that top four," Gruters said. "I think the top ACC team over the next four or five years, we're going to be in that [No.] 5 to 8 category. And we're going to be on the outside looking in."
You are. And it will be justified. Florida State's season was a series of high-wire escapes indicating that it was nowhere near the team that steamrolled to a national title the previous year. Voters and the committee reacted appropriately. In a sport like college football there is not enough data to just exclaim "just win baby"; FSU drop was not about bias but performance.
I did not know that #talkinboutthenoles extended to the trustee level. In retrospect I'm not surprised, though.
All right. Michigan gets a home game with Xavier in the new Gavitt Tipoff, which is basically a Big East/Big Ten challenge with less overall oomph since the Big East is short on teams. Unfortunately, the Stain Train is out of eligibility. Michigan does get to match up against Trevon Bluiett, who was quite good as a freshman.
Xavier was a six-seed this year, reaching the Sweet 16 before losing to Arizona in a tight game. They lose two starters but return a large group of experienced players; they appear to have an excellent replacement for Stainbrook in junior-to-be Jalen Reynolds, who had a virtually identical shooting percentage (62%) on a similar number of shots.
Hope you like night games. Minnesota joins Maryland and Utah as night games on the road—though Utah was always going to be at night since it is on Thursday. Add in rumors that PSU could be at night and Michigan searching for one at home and noon kicks are dead, man.