go go go
Everyone loves talking about conference realignment, it appears, but some really hate the idea of a conference championship game taking away some of the luster of Michigan-Ohio State or, worse, regularly pitting the Michigan-OSU winner against some goofy school in the Western half of the conference that may or may not be worth the bid.
I do agree with them, partially: there's no reason to go to divisions. Divisions will either split Michigan and Ohio State, leading to a lot of Michigan-Ohio State title games the week after Michigan-Ohio State non-title games, or keep them together, leading to a lot of Big 12-style title games that aren't fair fights or compelling matchups. Ideally, an expanded Big Ten will add a ninth conference game and continue with the single table for standings. This would make a title game a dodgy, sometimes unnecessary possibility. But since Penn State joined the conference there have been co-championships galore, sometimes without the co-champions even meeting, seemingly random Rose Bowl decisions, and a general feeling of being zo... unsatysfyed about half the time. Let's survey the years since Penn State joined to see if a championship game would be net benefit or detriment.
|Ohio State and Wisconsin are co-champions at 6-1-1 in conference; the two tie 14-14. Wisconsin goes to the Rose Bowl because Ohio State has been more recently.|
|Verdict: Obviously a championship game to break this deadlock is desirable, but this situation will never come up again with the introduction of overtime. Not relevant.|
|Undefeated Penn State is the outright champion. Nobody else finishes the regular season with fewer than four losses.|
|Verdict: A championship game would be unnecessary and, worse, would open up the possibility of a K-State-esque fall from glory from a team that had already proven its worth. No.|
|Northwestern's miracle year. They beat Notre Dame, then lose to Miami (Ohio) and sweep the rest of their schedule. They miss second place Ohio State, whose only regular season loss is to Michigan in the finale.|
|Verdict: Ohio State missed out on an opportunity to beat Northwestern head to head and claim the title. Yes, they lost in conference and Northwestern did not but in a hypothetical world where OSU got a ninth conference game against the Wildcats, if they won they would have the same record and a head-to-head tiebreaker. It would have been fairer to have the two play. Yes.|
|Northwestern's second miracle year; this time they tie for the conference championship with Ohio State, who again blow an undefeated season by losing to Michigan. Both teams are 7-1 this year, and the two don't play each other.|
|Verdict: Obvious benefit here. This, along with the coming Iowa-OSU shared title, are the platonic ideal when it comes to title games. Yes.|
|Michigan's national championship season. The Wolverines are undefeated. Penn State and Ohio State tie for second at 6-2. Michigan defeats both of them during the course of the year.|
|Verdict: Two contenders two games back who have already lost to the champion don't deserve a rematch. No.|
|A three-way tie between Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. All are 7-1. Wisconsin and Ohio State do not play. OSU's loss is to Michigan State, Michigan's is to Ohio State, and Wisconsin's is to Michigan. Wisconsin is chosen as the Rose Bowl representative for no apparent reason.|
|Verdict: This is an unfulfilling result. Wisconsin plays an easier schedule than Michigan, loses to them, and still goes to the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, Ohio State beats the team that beat Wisconsin and still misses out. But how do you unravel the three-way-tie here? If both teams had beaten the other it's easy to excise the loser, but here we have an incomplete round-robin. If you go by overall record, 11-1 Wisconsin and 11-1 Ohio State win out but that just increases the incentive to fluff your schedule: Wisconsin played SDSU, Ohio, and UNLV out of conference while Michigan played Syracuse, ND, and EMU. Let's just throw up our hands and say maybe.|
|Wisconsin finally earns a Rose Bowl berth instead of having one handed to them by archaic bylaws by finishing 7-1. Their loss is to 6-2 Michigan, which ties for second with Michigan State. Wisconsin beats Michigan State, Michigan State beats Michigan.|
|Verdict: We have an outright champion that played the runners-up. Even if it lost to one of them, a championship game here is not necessary. No.|
|Another three-way-tie, this one between Michigan, Northwestern, and Purdue. All are 6-2. Michigan's losses are to Northwestern and Purdue; Purdue loses to under .500 Penn State and Michigan State; Northwestern loses to Purdue and Iowa.|
|Verdict: This three-way is easy to untangle: Michigan gets booted because it lost to both other co-champions. Then we're left with Purdue and Northwestern, who tied in the standings but also met on the field with Purdue winning. This one is a matter of taste. Personally, it wouldn't be a tragedy if the two had a rematch. Maybe.|
|Illinois is the outright champion. Their only loss is to second place Michigan; Michigan drops games against Ohio State and Michigan State.|
|Verdict: Odd situation, this, with an outright champion who lost to a second place team a game behind. A rematch wouldn't be a terrible thing. Maybe. Do you change your mind if reminded that the 2001 Michigan State game was the infamous "clockgate" game? Note than any State fans wishing to make their weak case that they are not filthy cheaters should consider the horrible vengance Angry Michigan Safety Hating God has wreaked on the Spartans: the next year, of course, was the 49-3 meltdown that got Bobby Williams fired and they hired the only guy they could find who was a bigger laughingstock than Williams, who proceeded to lose four straight to Michigan, two of them in excruciating fashion. Yea, you reap what you sow.|
|Iowa and Ohio State are both undefeated. They don't play each other.|
|Verdict: Obviously yes.|
|Michigan is the outright champion. Their only conference loss is to Iowa, but the Hawkeyes end up 5-3. Michigan defeats second place, 6-2 Ohio State on the final day of the season.|
|Verdict: An outright champion that beat the second-place team. No.|
|Iowa and Michigan are co-champs. Michigan's only loss is to Ohio State; Iowa loses to Michigan in the Big Ten opener.|
|Verdict: A matter of personal preference like a few previous years. Maybe.|
|Ohio State and Penn State are co-champs. Both are 7-1. Penn State's loss is to Michigan. Ohio State's loss is to Penn State.|
|Verdict: Repeat of last year. Maybe.|
|Ohio State burns a swath of destruction through the Big Ten, skipping Wisconsin. Second place is a 7-1 tie between the Badgers and Michigan. Michgan loses to OSU; Wisconsin loses to Michigan.|
|Verdict: Another sticky wicket. We have an outright champ who missed one of the second place teams but puttin
g Wisconsin in the title game over Michigan seems to stupidly reward an easier schedule and ignore head-to-head. But what's the point of replaying a game you just saw? No.
We have one not applicable, five no, three yes, and a whopping five maybes. Your personal opinion on the maybes will influence your stand considerably. Personally, I don't mind if we get a rematch when two teams are tied in the standings.
I have a suggestion that may be logistically impossible, but here goes: the Big Ten should have an optional title game. Outright champion? No title game. But if two (or more) teams end up tied at the end of the year, put a game on in Chicago or Indianapolis between the co-champs. If three teams are tied, break ties like so:
- If one team has lost to both others, they're out.
- Eliminate the team with the weakest conference schedule.
- If one team has lost to another co-champion and didn't play the second, they're out.
- I dunno, overall record?
The Big Ten will be wasting some money on preparations on years there is no title game but there would obviously be a net profit, and the Big Ten championship would end up more satisfying overall. Year by year, this system would result in the following games:
1996: Northwestern vs. Ohio State.
1998: Michigan vs. Ohio State.
2000: Northwestern vs. Purdue.
2002: Iowa vs Ohio State.
2004: Iowa vs Michigan.
2005: Ohio State vs Penn State.
Six games in 13 years, only one of them a weird "let's play a doubleheader" Michigan-OSU game, and no more stupid co-championships or undeserved Wisconsin Rose Bowls. In this scenario a hypothetical twelfth team has been added; if the number of games does not expand there will be significantly more Iowa-OSU 2002 situations and a title game will happen more often.
Yes, this is all pretty stupid speculation when I really should be previewing Big Ten teams. I'm on it.
So Michigan has another recruit for the 2008 class. His name is Mike Cox. He's from Connecticut. He's got one Scout star, two Rivals stars, and he plays... running back? WTF?
Cox did have offers from UConn, Maryland, Boston College, and, er, Duke plus interest from running-back hungry Penn State and participated in the Michigan summer camp this year, but, um... McGuffie? And stuff? ESPN rates him a 77($) -- not particularly good -- and says:
he currently lacks the speed to turn the corner against Division 1 defenders. We question his fluidity at the next level to avoid the initial trash at the line of scrimmage. To keep production as a between the tackles runner in college, he will need added bulk and strength, particularly through his hips and lower-body. Cox's top-end speed and elusiveness may not allow him to run away from many college defensive backs, but he possesses the natural tools and upside to be workhorse type back.
Such a weird offer. At this point Michigan has somewhere between 17 and 19 open scholarships for next year, depending on the statuses of James McKinney and Carson Butler and has given out 10 of them to offensive players. I assume they'll add another wideout at some point; they'll probably pick up Christian Wilson, and with Schifano's departure another interior lineman is probable, which would be 13 guys on that side of the ball. If we take a full class, that's fine; if we end up with 20 scholarships or something it's going to be tighter than a steer's tuckus.
Hypothesis. Maybe Cox is position flexible? He's usually listed at six foot even and around 200 pounds; he could project to safety.
Sidenote. Here's a great indication that you are attending a shmancy private school in Connecticut:
1 Helstowski, Chet K '08 Bridgehampton, NY 2 Brechbueler, Tim WR/S '09 Gillette, NJ 3 Higginbotham, Jon TB '07 Winthrop, MA 5 Cox, Michael TB '07 Dorchester, MA 6 Cheyne, Corey RB/DB '09 Simsbury, CT 7 Driscoll, Blaise QB/DB '07 Avon, CT
That's right, kids, a "Chet" and a "Blaise" amongst the first six names listed. Also a good indicator: when the name of the school is "Avon Old Farms School For Boys."
Sidenote II. AOFSFB, being a shmancy private school in Connecticut, has a killer website. It also has a student newspaper. One issue has an article. This article (c&p because PDFs are annoying):
Springer Inspires Rap Battle Trend
For any students who find themselves bored on Friday nights, stuck in the halls of the quad wishing they had something fun to do, try this on for size: quad based rap battles are becoming increasingly popular among Avon Old Farms students.
On any given Friday evening, one could easily find Mike Cox '08, Sam Emmes '07 or freshman Anthony "Problems" Springer in the quad gearing up for a freestyle rap battle. In recent years people have battled in the Hawk's Nest during the School's famous "Open Mic Nights," but this year the battles happen organically and frequently. Rap battles are typically judged informally by the audience watching the battle. The audience looks for originality, delivery, vocabulary used and rhyme scheme. In battle, the freestyler's objective is to simultaneously win the crowd and dishearten his opponent using a variety of verbal weaponry. The most famous battle yet this year was the notorious Mike "One Million" Cox vs. Anthony "Problems" Springer. The upstart Springer came out on top, employing some particularly original tactics to disarm his fearsome opponent.
Rap battles at Avon were originally sparked by Charlie "Sun Zoo" Custer '05. He sparked interest in local rap with his song "Avon," which is well known to many current Avonians .
He used the basement of his house on Faculty Row as a recording studio to cut a lot of tracks, and his influence as an musical pioneer at Avon cannot be overstated. Custer, a freshman at Brown University, performs regularly in the Providence, R.I. area.
Though there are many different freestyle rappers at Avon, none of them can come close to testing the talents of Avon's new "rap king": Anthony "Problems" Springer. Once one hears his rhymes one is immediately convinced that he is Avon's best. "We rap battle because hip- hop is very competitive," Springer said. " You can't have two people screaming they are number one without them eventually bumping heads to find out who really is the best." Springer, of course, proved himself by taking out former frontrunner Cox.
For all those young battlers trying to improve their game, "Problems" has some tips to offer. One is "be yourself" and don't put up a front of you. Springer said, "Originality is something hard to find in the rap game right now. So if you are not about punch lines, just be original with what you do say and it's likely that people will respond to it."
Rap battling has become a intriguing facet of the Avon culture and interest will likely expand as long as Springer's title is contested. More rappers will surely come to Avon, and, recognizing with Avon's natural competitive spirit, battles will certainly ensue. As Springer says, "Where there are rappers there are sure to be battles."
many conflicting emotions! It's good he has a pre-fab nickname; it's very, very bad that anyone at Avon Old Farms School For Boys can even touch his flow. Also: I would pay money to see this.
Update: Hey, Varsity Blue broke this at 5. Too bad my feed reader is (re-)tardy.
I pulled the numbers of the freshmen from the roster just released on the official site but did not mention the big, obvious pieces of news: FB/LB Quintin Patilla, DE/DT James McKinney, and OL Justin Schifano aren't on it. This, in all probability, means that they are no longer on the team. If the roster still includes Antonio Bass but not those three... they are very probably done. Don't know if it's academics or playing time or what, but an attempted assessment follows.
Patilla. A blow to fullback depth, as Patilla got moved over to the offensive side of the ball in the spring, but he was probably third behind Helmuth and Moundros. It's always a bad sign for someone's career when they get moved to fullback, so he was unlikely to contribute anywhere and may have decided to pack it in or transfer.
McKinney. McKinney was a fringe top-100 recruit a couple years ago who came in as a defensive end, got injured, moved to defensive tackle, got injured again, and was obviously not going to start either of the next two years -- three juniors and a sophomore on this year's defensive line. He could have provided some interior depth but had been passed by John Ferrara and would have had a tough battle with Marques Slocum coming up. Maybe a playing time departure.
Schifano. The most disappointing departure, Schifano was offered as a junior at camp and picked up a Miami offer soon thereafter; he was a solid four-star offensive guard recruit on signing day. Boren passed him the moment he hit campus, but he should have been a strong candidate to replace Adam Kraus next year. He was probably third when it came to interior line depth behind Ciulla and Moosman, so it'll take a spate of injuries to make his departure relevant, but with iffy OL classes back to back the last two years his departure exacerbates what will probably be a scary year or two on the OL in the near future.
Overall: our four-strong linebacker class from 2006 is now down to two. Mixon transferred, Patilla is likely gone, and Graham is a defensive end. Mouton (who moved down from safety) and Ezeh are both drawing very positive reviews and are odds-on favorites to start next year, but past that we have only the two freshmen, one of whom was a two-star and the other a three-star regarded as a combine freak who needs a lot of work. Depth is also going to be an issue at linebacker going forward; we need at least three in this class.
Update: Commenters suggest that Patilla and McKinney may not be as gone as the above implies; Schifano is apparently giving up football entirely.
Living in DC, I've been a loyal DirecTV subscriber to the ESPN Gameplan package for 5 years, since it is the only way to reliably ensure that I'll be seeing Michigan's Big 10 games on the east coast instead of the typical Clemson-Wake Forest ACC dreck that ABC generally substitutes as the "regional game of interest" each week.
I was surprised to get my glossy DirecTV ESPN Gameplan mailer this week telling me that for my $109, I'd be fortunate to get football games from major conferences like the Big 12, SEC, Pac-10 and ACC, along with the Big East, WAC, Sun Belt and MAC (these are major?). Glaring omission: Big 10 is out of the Gameplan.
Possible plus: I can save $109 by cancelling Gameplan, and I get BTN for free as part of the DirecTV package I already pay for.
But...a possible (and very disturbing) minus: Michigan game is on ABC, East Coast idiots determine that Clemson-Wake Forest is the more interesting regional game, and I am unable to see the Wolverines on either BTN or ESPN Gameplan. The latter was always insurance for these purposes, but with Big 10 out of the plan, that option seems to have been wiped out.
Frustrating call to a rather clueless DirecTV rep named Conchita failed to answer any of these questions adequately.
In your exhaustive review of the BTN and its global impact, have you run up against this issue? It would seem that the Big 10 would still want to participate in ESPN Gameplan so that loyal out-of-state alumni will have some option to see those ABC regional games that don't make it out of the midwest.
Thanks, and of course, Go Blue!
I've knocked the Big Ten office for a lot of stuff in recent weeks, but they did handle this Gameplan exit deftly. In short: if you have ESPN and ESPN2, there is no such thing as a regional ABC game anymore. All Big Ten games on ABC will be shown in markets that aren't receiving the game on either ESPN or ESPN2. No more frantically hoping that the daft programming director avoids UConn-BC. Every game that Michigan plays is either on the BTN or nationally televised.
As a result: Michigan fans should not get Gameplan unless they want it for ACC/SEC/Big 12/etc purposes.
(Sidenote: hopefully this means I can now regularly watch things like the Red River Shootout, which is almost always an ABC regional game that gets blown off the air by something like Minnesota-Penn State. That ESPN channel showing the regionalized Big Ten game has to show something in the areas where said game is on ABC, and it'll probably be another ABC regional game, yesno?)
Brian, I was considering the benefits of scheduling a difficult non-conference opponent, and they are many. Michigan can maintain seven home games if they schedule two cupcakes at home, then alternate travelling to difficult sites when the Irish come to Ann Arbor and hosting difficult opponents when they travel to South Bend. When ND is off for two years, schedule home-and homes with two tough opponents. When ND comes back on, organize a home-and-home with one difficult opponent.
Tougher scheduling would mean increased exposure and possible primetime Saturday games. Michigan must do a better job appealing to recruits nationally if they want to become a powerhouse like USC (and who would not like that?). Schedule games against opponents in talent-rich markets with plenty of potential viewers. Bring our team to the recruits. Here are my top ten candidates MIchigan should consider.
Miami, USC, Texas, UCLA, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech. Cal would also be a good opponent because the Bay Area has a lot of talent.
Michigan needs to back up their claim to being "The Leaders and Best". If we schedule tougher opponents we wouldn't be so scared of mid-level Big Ten teams or tough opponents in the Rose Bowl.
Thoughts? Maybe bloggers and concerned fans should write the AD. From, Andrew.
I don't think there's a college football fan alive that wouldn't like his team to step up their scheduling unless our hypothetical everyfan likes USC. I'm with you: while I'm glad the Notre Dame series is continuing, the brief moment in which a Texas or Georgia or Tennessee series seemed feasible was fun. Now it's unlikely any Michigan fan will see a truly elite nonconference opponent in the Big House until we have the technology to send Arnold Schwarzenegger back in time to prevent Jim Tressel from ever being born. Even if we accidentally schedule some mid-level BCS team that manages to flail itself into the top ten just in time for us to play them, that team won't have the history or sex appeal of the aforementioned trio or one of the Florida schools. If only we could rely on Notre Dame to maintain their 90s-level performance; alas and alack, it is not so. We're not going to get a big time team in any time soon.
But I do think that the above proposal for a seven game home schedule with two MAC pancakes and two actual opponents should be the model going forward. This year is an anomalous schedule with both eight home games and two respectable nonconference opponents borne of our desire to delay Oregon's return trip originally scheduled for 2003; future eight-game home schedules will be like Penn State's 2007 nonconference schedule: Notre Dame and the three dwarves (Temple, Buffalo, and FIU). Michigan shouldn't stand for that. Repeats of last year, where the interesting nonconference home game was Vanderbilt, should not be allowed to happen.
Now that we have him in our grasps I feel more comfortable asking the question. Does McGuffie have any chance of moving up to 5-stars on Rivals when they re-evaluate (whenever that is). This guy is talked about everywhere. I can't believe how much hype it seems he gets. What do you think? Also, is he going to step right in and play with Grady, Minor, and presumably Carlos Brown ahead of him?
McGuffie will have plenty of chances to convert doubters this fall with a senior year at Cy-Fair and the Army Bowl to come. If he can replicate last year's success behind what I believe is an entirely (or almost entirely) new offensive line, he'll probably crack the Rivals 100. A five star? Probably not, but it's worth nothing that both ESPN (#97 overall) and Scout (#59) are higher on McGuffie than Rivals, which omits him from its top 100, and maybe one or two services could be impressed enough to move him up into such rarefied air. Tom Lemming is probably going to rank him way ridiculously high, too, but around these parts we don't take him seriously. So there's a chance. Personally, I am doubtful Rivals will change course on him. They've pigeonholed him not as a white guy but as an "all-purpose back" and even when he went to the Boulder Nike camp and impressed, Rivals guys said he was really good catching the ball out of the backfield and it just confirmed their opinions. They've adopted a bunker mentality here and significant movement in his rankings is unlikely.
As far as playing time goes: the opportunity is certainly there. The coaches cling to Mike Hart like he's their Binky Bear, but in his absence it's doubtful one running back emerges from the pile two games in and establishes a death lock on the job like he did. For the first time in what seems like forever, a rotation is likely deep into the season. McGuffie will be a part of that rotation.
I've been looking all over the web for the incoming freshman jersey numbers. Do you know when they arrive on campus and get there jersey numbers? I heard that Woolfolk is already on campus.---Jim Boyle
My super-secret sources declare thusly:
- #6 Donovan Warren
- #15 Ryan Mallett
- #17 Toney Clemons
- #21 Junior Hemingway
- #26 Zion Babb
- #29 Troy Woolfolk
- #30 Ja
mes Rogers II
- #32 Vince Helmuth
- #33 Marell Evans
- #34 Avery Horn
- #38 Artis Chambers
- #40 Mike Williams Jr.
- #50 Dave Molk
- #53 Ryan Van Bergen
- #58 Brandon Herron
- #72 Mark Huyge
- #80 Martell Webb
- #81 Steve Watson
- #95 Renaldo Sagesse
JUCO Austin Panter is #54.
I am a student at the university and I am concerned about the tight end position this year. I was reading on the Mlive forum that Carson Butler's father talked to Lloyd Carr about a possible reinstatement. Do you think this will happen, and is it a good idea or not? On the field he is a better pass catcher than Massey, and if he is able to overcome his past woes, he may end up in the NFL.
This has been batted around as a possibility and there is enough internets smoke to declare that, yes, Butler would very much like to rejoin the team after being acquitted in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, and that someone affiliated with his camp has been attempting to talk Carr into it. We won't know anything more until someone works up the temerity to ask Carr about it at a press conference of some sort -- I have put in a request to FanHouse machine Michael David Smith, who will be at Big Ten media day today -- and even then things promise to remain murky into the fall. Even if Butler does end up back on the team, which is not close to a given, I doubt he sees the light of day this year, as Carr will probably put him on Pierre Woods triple-secret-you-don't-play- even-if-the-alternative-is-Pat-Massey* probation for 2007 with the potential for full reinstatement only coming in the Mallett era.
I'd like to emphasize that the above is speculation and consists of no insider info at all.
*(Operative theory here is that Woods would have been a fine weakside DE and allowed Branch to move back inside, leaving the 2005 DL to read like so: Woods-Branch-Watson-Woodley.)
The University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame athletic departments announced jointly on Monday (July 30) a 20-year contract extension in the Michigan-Notre Dame football series, extending the series from 2012-31. With the current contract expiring after the 2011 season, the new contract guarantees that the two winningest football programs in NCAA Division I history will meet every season for the next 25 years.
"We are pleased to have reached a formal agreement with Notre Dame to extend our football series," said U-M director of athletics Bill Martin. "We are thrilled that the series between two premier college football programs will continue uninterrupted for the next 25 years."
"The Notre Dame-Michigan game has been a red-letter date on the football schedule for a long time, so it made perfect sense to make certain the rivalry continues annually long into the future," said Notre Dame director of athletics Kevin White.
Like... WTF? There is apparently no break in the series. Did we give up on the ND/OSU alternating thing? Or did we just say screw it, we'll get an interesting nonconference opponent? I dunno.
A-ha! Please note that Oklahoma's upcoming series with Notre Dame is structured such that Oklahoma will have a home game in 2012, Notre Dame in 2013. You will note that this means Notre Dame will have both OU and USC on the road in the same year. It hardly seems like accommodating Michigan's request to split the ND/OSU games is not doable, hmm? Asking someone for two straight home games is unnecessary, just take a third year off and then resume playing most of the time.
Um... okay. An excellent summary of the trouble newspapers find themselves in:
Check out top recruit McGuffie on the Web
...says the Free Press; then they suggest you go to youtube and type in "McGuffie" to get some highlights. One: duh? Two: when they put this story on the web it did not contain even a single link, let alone actual embedded video. So the offline version basically reads: "the internet is more interesting than this"; the online version reads "we are clueless at the interent."
A watershed moment in this blog's history came when some poor misguided soul wandered by looking for pictures of "tim tebow shirtless." This led to the OMG shirtless scale of recruiting hottness -- Tebow was, at the time, a totally shirtless five-star recruit. Well, SMQB has done me one better.
Spielman says we are the winrar. Freep:
What are your thoughts on the Big Ten season? I like Michigan. I think (defensive coordinator) Ron English will do a good job. The middle of their defense is pretty solid with Terrance Taylor, Jamar Adams, Morgan Trent on the corner, Shawn Crable back at linebacker. I think the most dominating tackle in college football is Jake Long. As far as physical run blocking, he knocks them out. Chad Henne, he's gotta be working on his doctorate by now, it seems. Mike Hart's a Heisman Trophy candidate. Mario Manningham. ... They're going to be good. Wisconsin's going to be good. Penn State's going to be better, and Ohio State's going to be 8-0 when they play Wisconsin. That's how their schedule sets up. Ohio State's defense is going to be stronger than they were last year. It's just a matter of the young offense growing and getting better each week.
What are the chances Michigan goes undefeated? As good as they've been in a long time for Michigan. Now the question is how are they going to replace a pretty darn good defense? Now I know they have some players back, but when you lose guys like Alan Branch and Leon Hall, you're replacing future NFL players. ... They certainly have all the tools in place to go on a big run this year. And they finished poorly last year. I did that (Rose Bowl) game last year for ESPN radio, and that wasn't the Michigan team that I covered numerous times last year. I didn't know what that was. That wasn't the team that I expected to see.
Yeah, about that. David Jones has no fans in Pennsylvania, where he covers collegiate athletics much like Drew Sharpe does: LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME I AM NEGATIVE. So they'll love this cracked-out speculation:
If you're thinking contiguous states -- West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Louisville or Missouri -- start thinking outside the box. Way outside.
Texas is known to be displeased in the Big 12, both because of a low revenue stream and a dearth of big-market, high-academic-profile schools such as itself. I would bet anything that if Delany and the Big Ten presidents can't court Notre Dame in a third try, UT would be a great fallback position. Six million TV sets in the state of Texas.
And former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg's recent move to the Big Ten Network only adds to the intrigue. He knows about Texas' TV clout better than anyone.
And if not Texas, stay south. Florida? It's by no means out of the realistic realm. More snowbirds are from the Midwest than any other area. Think UF wouldn't move? Think again.
Texas is a weird suggestion, but has some precedent because when the SWC started breaking up the Longhorns and Big Ten had serious discussions about the possibility of a union. Florida has no such history and is in a stronger conference in a location farther away. But hey, it's in a newspaper so it's got to be credible.
(via Dave Heller.)