"What (Michigan coaches) told me is that they're focusing on point guards right now, but if anything opens up, they'll definitely come back on and recruit me as hard as they were," said Towns
- My father didn't wear the shirt to the Miami game.
- The sun got the message and went away like whoah
- Antonio Bass' traitorous knee doesn't seem like quite so enormous a deal after Dual Threet looked like an actual quarterback Saturday.
- Eagles Fans in Maize get off the board but project to return after Wisconsin.
- West Virginia has finally come around on Bill Stewart.
- Me, for completely forgetting this feature last week. If I do it again I'll have to be dead to me, which will be interesting.
- Ball oilers of South Bend. Hur hur hur. Actually, no: seriously, what's with the oily ball, South Bend?
- Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draws. I'm done with these until Carlos Brown can run more than one play here. Also: Threet.
- Carson Butler. Line of the week came from commenter tbliggins in reference to the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre: "Maybe Butler finally found the correct guy that asked to use his iron." +1. As for Carson: don't hit people, yo.
- The lack of sun. Dude, sun, you just don't do shades of gray on gameday, do you?
- The general bloodymindedness of the universe. *#@$ me, universe. Seriously? Are we seriously about to throw down?
- The 4-3 against a spread. Still not a fan, but probably will be against the Illini.
Roh! Though it comes with the promise of headline puns so horrible (Ruh Roh! or something about Rohing your boat, for example) that brains across the Midwest threaten to explode at the mere possibility, AZ DE Craig Roh will commit to a college tonight at 6:30 on ESPNU. If a guy commits on ESPNU, does he make a noise? We're about to find out. Probably the answer is yes.
As for the answer to "where will he go," all I can say is Sam Webb said something along the lines of "I am extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely, extremely confident" a couple days ago on WTKA, give or take an "extremely."
The peripherals are certainly encouraging: USC was thought to be the main competition but Roh took an unofficial to Arizona State instead of an official to USC last weekend. Meanwhile, the Trojans got Nick Perry in at the last second, which dims their depth chart's star in Roh's eye. He was scheduled to visit UCLA this weekend before suddenly deciding to decide.
So: probably good news.
You, you with the #38 jersey and diamond top hat. You're never going to believe your friggin' luck. No, seriously. This, my friend, is your lucky day.
Your lucky day.
BAM. Hey, I know what you're thinking: "a framed photograph of a pretty good but not exactly awe-inspiring kicker, I'd probably shell out at least 40 grand for that."
Well, let me tell you, man, this is your lucky day: just 170 bucks. It's hot, but it's not stolen!
Hey, remember when? I don't know what's weirder about this clip provided by a helpful reader: a future vice presidential candidate doing TV sports or Michigan basketball being notable enough to be discussed in Alaska. Relevant section comes after the dog racing:
Please, no politics discussion in the comments, as that only leads to doom.
Oh, Charlie. Classic Weis:
"I think the message I wanted to say to them before we went out of the locker room is, 'Today's the day you make the change,'" Weis said. "I'd like to sit there and take the kudos, but it wasn't me, it was the players."
Please attempt to imagine any other football coach in the world saying that.
Life on the margins sucks, yo. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Dr Saturday's brilliant Life on the Margins series knew that Michigan would figure prominently in this week's edition, and it is so:
Mr Hinton recaps the various pratfalls and sums up:
loss or not, Michigan should come away feeling better about its prospects for the season than it did after either of its first two games. Notre Dame's offense didn't do much when not handed a readymade scoring opportunity, and Michigan's offense, when not dropping the ball on the ground, looked like a functional unit for the first time, with a viable quarterback in Steven Threet and a potential star in Sam McGuffie. And there's no way they lose four fumbles again in a single afternoon.
This echoes the "Fluck" post from Monday; I co-sign except for the "now way they lose four fumbles again" part. Because: seriously.
For posterity. Because I just know there will be snarky newspaper articles going "lol internet" after Michigan ceases its reign of suck, I just want to note this lolmsm piece from the Monroe Evening News:
Well, Rich Rodriguez certainly has lowered the bar. After a 1-2 start, Michigan football fans searching for something are relegated to pointing out that the Wolverines have improved every week.
That's not saying much. Michigan was horrible in its season-opening loss to Utah. It struggled to beat less-than-mediocre Miami (Ohio) last week, a team that is tied for last place in the Mid-American Conference.
Indeed, Miami(Ohio) is tied for last place at 0-0. It goes on from there. It's vastly stupid and knee-jerk and all that. It did not come from the internet. I'm going to collect these.
Meanwhile in Cheeseland. Jonathan Casillas given a DUI after blowing a .15 and draws no suspension. Not that this is surprising since Bret Bielema has shown tremendous reluctance to suspend players for anything short of instigating thermonuclear war, but surely there has to be some Wisconsin-based Sharp ready to proclaim the downfall of western civilization. Actually, no: as of yet there's zero media reaction.
Also, Casillas was on a moped. This is in and of itself hilarious, but two years ago another Wisconsin linebacker, Elijah Hodge, was arrested for stealing a moped. So, like… wow. Mopeds.
It's alive. The Big Ten Network was a money sink last year, but not this year:
Murdoch said that its college sports channel—the Big Ten Network—cost about $83 million to launch. But in the past few months the network has reached distribution deals with most of the major cable operators—it signed deals with Comcast and Time Warner in June and August—and is expected to report a small profit this year.
Now just imagine if they got actual advertisements on the BTN.
Sometimes I am lame and don't answer questions in a timely fashion. So some of this stuff makes no the sense, as I meant to post this up before the ND game. Bear with me.
Why do our quarterbacks clap to initiate the play?. Is a traditional snap count something Rod has done away with to simplify the offense or is this just a feature of his spread? Our o-line is a weakness as it is, I don't think we need to make it any easier on opposing defenders...
I’m just as puzzled about the clapping as you are. The process appears to be:
- The offense sets.
- The quarterback raises his leg like you see most NFL QBs do in the shotgun.
- The QB checks with the sideline for a new play.
- QB claps, center snaps.
I’m pretty sure Michigan isn’t using no snap count whatsoever, it’s just that the count is silent. DEs don’t have license to time the snap with impunity. There will be variable pauses between the clap and the snap.
Michigan lines up in a set, ready-to-snap position to force the defense to reveal its formation, but after they go to the sidelines you'll see a lot of shifting by the D, making the first read of questionable value. Michigan hasn't snapped it after the first ready-snap signal yet… why? It would seem a good opportunity to catch the opponent napping.
I chalk it up to inexperience with the offense; I assume we'll see it later this year and in future years when Rodriguez isn't working with the equivalent of all freshmen.
How worried should we be that Rodriguez seems to be using too many scholarships on 3-star backs and receivers when we're in pretty severe need of, say, linebackers, DEs and O-linemen? I guess he probably knows what he's doing, but I feel like somebody needs to tell him, "hey, you're Michigan now, you can recruit sweet players at positions of need. And if you're going to stockpile that many skill guys on offense, you can at least get the good ones."
This email is a little old and was written before the Lalota commitment, but the point still stands. Until I knock it down. Michigan's three star skill commitments are:
- Teric Jones, who a lot of people think will move up.
- Vincent Smith. Smith is like 5'8 or 5'6", so he's not going to get high guru rankings unless he's ridiculous a la Noel Devine. But he's a fit for the spread at a spot (slot/RB) where Michigan needs more numbers.
- DeWayne Peace. Peace was the one camp offer/commit this year. Michigan usually got a few of these guys under Carr, so that's not out of line. Peace is also a potential corner.
That doesn't seem out of line when you consider that Michigan has a solid four-star RB in Fitzgerald Toussaint and a top-100 WR in Bryce McNeal. And no tight ends, ever again.
Meanwhile, Michigan is on track for a Lalota-Jones-Campbell-Roh DL (which reads excellent-good-sick-excellent in terms of guru hype and offers). They've got four-ish LBs in the class. And they'll be graduating no offensive linemen.
At this point the biggest needs are in the secondary, where Michigan has one excellent prospect in JT Turner and will probably pick up three-star safety Thomas Gordon but needs another two guys, and on the OL, where you'd like to see them acquire one or two more guys.
I have a question for you. I have located lists of things to do or see when I have been going to a couple of other colleges to watch games (Notre Dame, Michigan St), but I haven't ever seen a list of things to do or see when you are going to a Michigan game, other then at Maize N Brew, and I can't eat that much pizza. I had a great time touring around Notre Dame and walking around State before the Michigan/State game last year.
I am wondering if you can give a bit of help to a Canadian who is a big Michigan fan, but has yet to see many of the game day festivities on his trips to the big house, other then the stadium itself and saline rd. Any advice?
This email so old that I think this guy may have come and gone, but it's a good question anyway. I have a Visitors Guide to Ann Arbor in the works that has an ETA of 2009; for now I suggest checking out Arbor Wiki for a general overview of stuff and (debatably accurate since they don't have an entry that says STAY AWAY FROM "MONKEY BAR" AT ALL COSTS) restaurant/bar recommendations.
Personally, I don't really know much in the way of what goes on for gameday festivities because my routine since time immemorial has been to go to my family tailgate. Can commenters/emailers help?
Via Mike Krautner comes this summary of the Orin Incandenza action from the first two games:
Below is a list of of the yards for each of our opponents 14 punts this season:
52, 38 (but to the Michigan 11 yard line), 36 (touchback), 59, Blocked, 48, 50, 56, 55, 53, 74, 35 (but to the Michigan 10 yard line), 58, 46.
What a nightmare for a team with an awful offense (and a clueless punt returner).
And, finally, there's no way to post this without ripping off Bill Simmons:
Yes, someone got a custom-made MGoOnesie for their baby. I have to say it: yep, these are my readers.
|1||Southern Cal (65)||24.6||3.0||--|
|14||East Carolina (1)||12.9||4.7||4|
Total Ballots: 70
Well, it was nice knowing you, Ohio State. OSU takes the pipe, USC takes #1 by a vast margin, and the rest of the shakeout is pretty interesting. Though the preseason AP and Blog polls were nearly identical, three weeks in we have some large discrepancies:
- The BP is way more enthusiastic about #9 Penn State (#16 AP), #21 Vandy (UR AP), #22 Oklahoma State (UR AP)
- The BP is down on #15 Auburn (#10 AP), #18 OSU (#13 AP), and #25 West Virginia (#21 AP).
Last week the BP was much higher on ECU (then #10) than the AP (then #14) was, but enthusiasm scaled back after a narrow win against Tulane.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
I’ve again omitted anything from the resume zealots, such as “Texas #24”. We know the reasons behind these votes and as such they aren’t “wack.”
- ARRGH THIS IS WHY YOU POST YOUR BALLOTS FOR REVISION ON MONDAY: Buffs.tv has South Carolina #1. Wrong SC.
- To the four guys voting for Tennessee… really? I mean, seriously? Similarly… Cal voters?
- From Old Virginia shot Nebraska up to #11, three spots higher than any other voter and one of only three voters to place the Huskers above #20, after NU beat—woo!—New Mexico State.
- Except for couple resume zealots who have the Tigers lower, Garnet and Black Attack’s ranking of #20 for LSU is five spots worse than any other voter.
- Georgia #18 is weird even for a resume zealot (Rakes of Mallow in this case), especially since they have a win over an actual half-respectable SEC team and a similar team (Vandy) that had a narrower win over the same freakin’ team ends up #12. WTF.
- Fulmer’s Belly: dinging Arizona State one spot for a loss against UNLV seems generous.
There’s still not much because we have little data. Extracurriculars after the jump.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ah, Texas Tech, atop your familiar highest standard deviation throne. Play someone ever, please. Meanwhile, pay no attention to the “lowest STDEV” please: the Buffs.tv vote above throws it off like whoah.
First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
This will probably be the end of DocSat’s iron-fisted grip over one of the top two spots as voters start moving towards ranking by resume, but not yet. I can go into ballot oddities if you like, but you know the story already: voting exclusively by results on the field in the first few weeks is an exercise in wild swings and weird rankings:
- ECU #2, BYU #4, USF #6, Vandy #9
- Utah and Notre Dame living at #11 and #12 off victories over a distinctly non-vintage Michigan team.
- LSU #24, OU #13, OSU gone.
I should probably just denote resume zealots early in the year and have a separate table for them, eh?
I never have much to say about Mr. Numb Existence since by definition the winner of the award has submitted a ballot closely in line with the poll as a whole. And this is the one award that goes to a sane voter instead of an extremist. And I’m a bit concerned that people will think all publicity is good publicity. So, new feature: Mr. Numb Existence gets a good recent post highlighted.
Our inaugural Suck Up To The Sane people recipient is Third Saturday in Blogtober, which is a weird concept blog based around the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry. It covers both schools and is the kind of blog that actually seeks out painful moments from years past to relive; TSIB knows that pain is part of college football fandom. They’ve just dredged up a horrible, horrible moment from Vol history:
You’ve experienced it. It’s the moment when you stare ahead but you can’t really see anything. You know there’s noise around you, but you just hear a hum. Movement is everywhere, but you don’t notice.
Fourteen seconds. Dead silence. Players celebrating. Game-winner. Throat-slash. Dropped ball.
That’s all that fit in my small mind as I watched from the sideline.
It’s known simply as “The Catch” to Tennessee fans - Sept. 16, 2000.
Tennessee fans get their catharsis… Bama fans get their schadenfreude… all in one place!
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award could not claim a third straight victim, as Auburn beat Mississippi State 3-2, but hey, man, do you doubt this thing’s power? Just place the words “3-2 victory over Mississippi State” in your head with your favorite team in place of Auburn and see how you like it. That’s what I thought. This thing is evil. I give it 4/5 CKs for its performance last weekend.
Meanwhile, this week I believe we have a first: a non-BCS team taking the award. Block U has the temerity to rank Utah #13. Some mitigating factors: this is a bit high but the margin here isn’t in the outrageous range, Block U also has hated rival BYU a spot ahead of the Utes, and that vote isn’t even the highest for the school in question. In the past these things have sometimes let a CK victim off the hook.
There’s a dangerous game ahead for Utah: a roadie against Air Force.
Rope-a-dope wins the Straight Bangin’ award as Buckeye Commentary completely excises Ohio State from its ballot. This is a common coping mechanism for FAIL teams that have performed FAIL poorly the previous FAIL week. FAIL.
With all due respect to their win at Fresno State, this might be the worst top-ten team in the history of the major polls. They're just not very good on defense, with too much of a penchant for missed tackles, bad angles to ball-carriers, and blown assignments. Fresno couldn't take advantage because of an inaccurate kicker and some key drops. Teams like Penn State, Ohio State, and even Michigan State won't make those mistakes as much once we're in the teeth of the Big Ten season.
While I can’t sign up for “worst top ten team in the history of the major polls” because there has to be some 4-6 Notre Dame team out there claiming a national title, that’s a damning assessment from an actual Wisconsin fan.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
I’m all in favor of these massive swings from the resume zealots since they all represent their ballots coming more in line with those of the poll at large. Here, Saurian Sagacity’s strict tier system of voting improves massively from week two to week three. Here is an award. You are Manic-Depressive.
Sometimes the Mr. Stubborn winner isn’t all that stubborn, it’s just freakishly prescient. This is the case this week, as RazorBloggers already had USC at #1, USF pretty high, Kansas, ASU, UCLA, and Cal pretty low, ECU right around where they fall in the poll at large. It’s more amazing Kreskin than Mr. Stubborn.
Mizzourah is also is in a similar boat with extreme skepticism of the Pac-10 and Ohio State serving him well; oddly, they go from one of the poll’s most negative OSU voters (#8 last week) to one of its more optimistic ones (#13 this week).
GURU RATINGS & CHATTER
|3*, #32 WLB||3*, #61 OLB||78, #37 OLB|
Though Hawthorne is literally OMG shirtless above, he is not metaphorically OMG shirtless. Everyone’s like “eh… meh.” This is because they see him as a project. He’s not that tall and not that big at the moment; to perform in college he’ll have to bulk up considerably. The two-sentence review:
Brandon Hawthorne -- Another small but athletic linebacker prospect, Hawthorne's body type will enable him to add some weight pretty easily. … He covers ground in a hurry at linebacker and looked good in drills.
STRENGTHS: Speedy outside linebacker has good speed to the ball. He can rush the passer, using his quickness and athleticism.
WEAKNESSES: Hawthorne is undersized and needs development in the weight room. Can get lost sometimes at the point of attack.
And so does ESPN, although they’re more enthusiastic($):
Hawthorne possesses all the physical tools for a college program to mold into a disruptive perimeter player at the next level if they are patient with his development. He can run, close, and hit and has incredible upside. Tall, rangy frame with a very long wingspan; should play at close to 225-pounds at next level while retaining his good play speed and athleticism.
After some more of the usual about needing to add strength and bulk, they finish with a flourish: “Hawthorne is greatly underrated and is a definite late bloomer with a ton of natural gifts to develop at the next level.” Calling someone “underrated” when you’re doing the rating seems odd, but whatever. Maybe they’re talking about Scout and Rivals.
Pahokee QB and Gator WR commit Nu’Keese Richardson—who plans to visit M with Hawthorne and Smith on Hawthorne:
"I've never seen anyone hit like Hawthorne, even [2008 Florida recruit] Janoris [Jenkins]," Richardson said. "Brandin Hawthorne will make you think twice about coming his way."
Cornerback Willie Hickman:
''Brandin's a monster,'' Hickman said. ``He goes 100 percent -- the whole play, the whole game -- he's just a monster. It's good to have him on your team. You don't have to sit around and wait for somebody else to make the play, because he's going to make the play.''
Aaand he’s got something in common with Charlie Weis:
Hawthorne is a 6-foot-0, 185-pounder, who goes by the nickname “The Animal” because of the tenacity he plays with.
Many people question his size, but he has a message for the doubters:
“Don’t let size fool you,” Hawthorne said. “There’s a grown man inside me.”
Smith’s decision came down to Louisville and Michigan; he also had offers from South Florida, Tennessee, Kansas State, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. A respectable set.
Hawthorne, a linebacker, recorded 80 tackles last year, including 31 for a loss.
FAKE 40 TIME
Fake! Fake! Fa—
Hawthorne is 6-2 and 200 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds.
Actually, that seems almost feasible. In fact, we’ve got an electronic time from a Scout camp. Survey says:
At 6-feet and 185 now, he ran a 4.72/40 and jumped 36 inches.
That was in April; more recent reports have him around 200 or even higher.
Nothing out there, unfortunately.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Despite the fact he’ll enroll early, Hawthorne seems like a holy lock for a redshirt what with the whole add-bulk-add-bulk-add-bulk trifecta from the scouting services. Also, GBMW notes that he plays a standup end position at Pahokee and probably has little idea what to do in pass coverage. Past that it’s a crapshoot. He’s rated where he is for a reason, but that reason is “obvious project with major upside” instead of “meh,” so there’s reason to hope he blows up under the tutelage of the Great and Holy Barwis.
Possibly off base socioeconomic thingy: Pahokee is poor and the kids from it are tough guys who play football as a way to get out, so he might have a better shot of reaching that ceiling than your average bear.
One other note: though Hawthorne may be undersized in the realm of traditional run-stuffing linebacker sorts, one way in which teams are defending the spread is by stockpiling these OLB/S hybrids. Hawthorne sounds like that sort of player.
I don’t want to see Hawthorne on the field for at least two years, but I think he’s got a better shot at being a major contributor than your run-of-the-mill three star.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
With the loss of OLBs Marcus Witherspoon and Taylor Hill the position went from a minor need to a major one; Hawthorne helps mitigate that. Safety commits Isaiah Bell and Mike Jones are both reputed to be future linebackers, too. Three is probably enough; I think they’re done unless Jelani Jenkins wants to sign up. They might take another OLB sort if they think one of the safeties can stick in the secondary.
Michigan is still recruiting a couple of inside linebackers: NC LB Hawatha Bell has M in his top four and plans a visit, and Michigan just shot an offer out to FL LB Mike Marry.
Both Hawthorne and teammate Vincent Smith plan on taking visits elsewhere, something the staff is apparently aware of:
"Michigan isn't worried about us visiting other schools, they just said to keep Michigan No. 1," Smith said.
Carnage in the Pac ten rips three schools from well up the poll to out of it, but ASU’s got a couple wins over meh teams and a loss to UNLV, Cal got housed by a team that lost to MTSU, and UCLA lost 59-0.
Major jumps for:
- USF, for beating a legit opponent
- Wisconsin, for doing so on the road whilst getting hosed by the refs
- Florida for no apparent reason
- BYU for hosing UCLA
- Utah and Wake Forest for no apparent reason.
Descents were mostly for obvious reasons: playing bad against bad teams like South Carolina or Mississippi State. I think I should have dinged ECU, maybe, and will do so in a revised ballot.