Barkley in the Orlando Sun-Sentinel:
"There's only two people I want to kill. Skip Bayless and Jay Mariotti. Everybody else, I respect their opinions. But those two guys. ... One thing I learned about the press it's a really powerful tool. And your shtick can't be, you get on TV and be evil everyday. Because people believe what you say. And Skip Bayless is evil every single day, and Jay Mariotti is evil every single day."
Wow. Does that remind you of anybody?
The hot underhand pitching action gets underway for Michigan at 7:30 tonight on ESPN2. So it's that or Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Uh. Set your DVR, or flick back and forth whenever there's a foul called. Should be about every thirty seconds.
Here's the bracket, including a possible second-round Michigan-Texas matchup that could redeem Michigan's Rose Bowl loss and completely and totally heal mgoblog's broken heart. Seriously. If you would prefer to see sterile numbers (for churchgoers and the like) the scoreboard is here.
Poster ScottAC dropped some knowledge (yo) about the recently released Rivals 100 on The Victors that's worth preserving, so here it is (insults directed at opponent schools may or may not be the opinion of mgoblog. I ain't tellin'):
Fully 47 of the top 100 mention Oklahoma as one of their favorites, albeit they have no verbals as yet. Nearest next school is Fla with 37. Even granting it's early, kids change their mind more often than their underwear, and not all of those can go to Norman, if the Sooners get a paltry 15-20% of those kids to sign in Feb, that's 7-9 top 100 kids in the class. That's a kick butt class.
For comparison, Mich is mentioned by 31 of the top 100 kids, which is 5th best nationally behind Okl, Fla (37), USC & MiaFl (34). OTOH, unlike those ahead of us, we've already got verbals from 2 of the top 100 kids mentioning us. Only the 'Canes actually have a top 100 verbal, and he's at #95. Mich is far and away the early leader in the B10 ahead of tOSU (18 with 1 verbal).
* PSU ain't coming back any time soon - only 9 top 100 kids mention the Nits, same number as those mentioning Iowa.
* The B10 isn't doing well at all. Only 83 total mentions of a B10 school among kids favs, and the bulk of those are us & tOSU. By comparison, SEC schools are mentioned 175 times, B12 116 times and ACC 116 times.
* With a little luck, the 'Canes could lap the field in terms of high end quality. 12 of the top 25 kids are mentioning interest in Mia Fl, including 7 of the top 10.
* 21 kids are mentioning FSU right now, which ain't bad (11th nationally), but badly trails the other 2 Fla schools and certainly isn't up to FSU's usual standards. Is Dad-gummit Bowden losing his touch?
* For all the fuss about Weis's current verbals, only 20 top 100 kids are mentioning ND. Better than Willingham to be sure, and not too shabby overall at 12th nationally, but given their natural advantages this year (read: instant playing time for anyone with a pulse) plus the trendy "I'm an NFL genius" cachet Weiss can emit now without having any downside of actually having lost a few CFB games, I'd have expected more from St. Jabba.
The Penn State thing is especially notable to me, since the are a ton of kids from the traditional PSU stomping grounds--Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland--on the list. The miraculous-ness of them picking up national #1 Derrick Williams and national top ten Justin King appears even more miraculous in hindsight, especially in the midst of a dismal 4-7 season that looked a lot like the rest of their dismal seasons in the recent past.
ND fans should start coming down to earth a little bit after flipping out about their early verbals. Some overzealous Irish were claiming that five or six of their commits would be on the list... this is not so much true. They're still off to a very respectable start but a few of their commitments appear to be very run-of-the-mill. Notre Dame's class is already better than either of their last two but talk of the top five is unrealistic.
This news is slightly old, but Irish QB coach David Cutcliffe has resigned due to health reasons. I wouldn't mention it except it gives me an opportunity to talk about something I've been thinking for a bit: Charlie Weis appears to be something of a dick.
Hold on just a second with the mailing me dead leprechauns, Irish fans. I realize that he is God incarnate and without him Tom Brady will suddenly turn into Rick Mirer, but he is also, eh, a bit of a dick. I'm just saying. Blue-Gray Sky's excerpt from the Weisconference highlights a passage that I hope illustrates the point:
"I have a contingency plan if I lose anybody, so it's not just him. No matter who we would lose, there's a contingency plan.
Just as I told you coming in, I wasn't blowing hot air when I talked about having a depth chart of coaches. Well, once you hire them, now you need to revise that depth chart so you know who's waiting in the wings and who you can get if something happens, and you have to have them at every position because you never know what's going to happen."
That seems to be an exceptionally confrontational answer to this question: "Did you always have sort of a contingency plan in place? You always hoped he was coming back, but just in case?" I dunno. I just see overtones of "of course, you useless peon, I foresaw this and machinations you CANNOT CONCEIVE OF WITH YOUR PUNY WRITER BRAIN(!) are happening at this very moment. Worry not, foolish mortal." It certainly doesn't help matters that Charlie Weis referred to Charlie Weis in the third person twice--as if he was a Dirty South rapper--during what was apparently a ten-minute press conference.
Maybe I'm reading this all wrong and if I had actually heard the audio everything would be clear to me and I would regard Charlie Weis as just God incarnate and not God incarnate and a bit of a douche. But this isn't the first time I've read a Charlie Weis quote and thought to myself "man, Charlie Weis thinks a lot of Charlie Weis."
Bill Martin heeds thy cries, Michigan fans. The planned Michigan Stadium renovation now comes complete with one or two endzone second decks to prevent any seats from being lost and to give us a better place to stick visiting fans.
The latest epistle on Saint Tressel and his lovably rambunctious drug-dealin' Buckeyes from Bucknuts.com rates high on my personal unintentional comedy scale for this sentence alone:
"...The majority of Ohio State fans appreciate the fact that Tressel treats all 105 of his players as his children."
Super. Hey, Coach Tressel, please keep your "children" the hell away from me.
Finally, can we get this Palestinian prisoner a different jersey? Maybe something that says "Doss" would be more appropriate.
Update 6/1: Rivals has released its initial five stars and top 100, and everyone's notes have been updated to reflect the new information. There are still a few "4.5" stars out there for guys who will probably be Scout 5-stars but not Rivals 5-stars; Scout usually gives out maybe 20 additional five-star ratings. I also rearranged them so the players are more or less in ranking order. Moved DeMarco Murray to RB from CB, Steve Brown to S from CB, Brandon Spikes from DE to LB.
So, a lot of moving stuff around without a lot of content changes. The Rivals 100 looks pretty good to Michigan fans. Michigan already has commitments from #19 (Graham) and #39 (Boren) and is in on a lot of the rest, including about eight five-stars that they have a realistic shot with.
Update update: Right. Link is here.
Larry Brooks says the NHL lockout is finally coming to a merciful end. The new deal will have a salary cap of around 36 million dollars and a floor of somewhere from 24 to 28 million, a league-wide salary rollback of 24 percent, a reduction of the UFA age to 28, modifcation to the RFA procedure, and a draft in late June.
If what he says is true (sometimes in question with Brooks), the Al Montoya watch immediately starts. Montoya has alternately insisted that he will return and hedged like a madman. mgoblog believes that if there is a CBA in place by the end of the month and the Rangers offer Montoya a contract he finds acceptable, he's gone. With Dan Blackburn probably retiring in the near future, there would be room in the AHL for Montoya.
How would losing Montoya affect Michigan's prospects for '06? That depends on which Montoya showed up for his senior season, the clutch goalie who was the first goalie taken in the 2004 draft or the sieve that made mgoblog muy triste last year. The effects probably wouldn't be devastating; Michigan would bring in one of the two '06 recruits a year early and anoint them the starter. Whoever is brought in would have to be very sucky indeed to match Montoya's junior year.