I did not make this headline up
Alcorn State, home of the epigram. Terry Bowden's latest column for Yahoo starts with this accurate, bizarre explanation of college football from a former Alcorn State head coach Marino Casem:
"In the East, college football is a cultural exercise.
On the West Coast, it is a tourist attraction.
In the Midwest, it is cannibalism.
But in the South, college football is a religion, and every Saturday is a holy day."
Emphasis mine, because !?!?!?!. Mr. Casem's been spending too much time around Ohio State fans.
Tick tock. Michael Shaw is one of the Michigan recruits participating in the annual Big 33 game, a high-school all-star game played between Ohio and Pennsylvania. There has been some mild controversy (read: AAAARGH DESTROY MICHIGAN) about Shaw's last-second switch to the Wolverines after being a Penn State commit for about six months. PennLive talked to Shaw about what went down:
Michael Shaw heard the complaints over his last-minute change of heart to attend Michigan instead of Penn State.
Sometimes, the 18-year-old running back from Trotwood, Ohio wishes he hadn't.
"I just want to be 18," Shaw said during Thursday's Big 33 youth clinic. "It was probably the biggest decision of my life. I lost so much sleep, but at the same time, I mean, nothing is guaranteed. If it was guaranteed ... it would be signed on paper instead of a verbal commitment."
And how about yet another nail in the "snake oil" coffin? Sure, at this point the coffin is about 98% nails, but we've still got two percent left:
Michigan and Lloyd Carr stayed in contact with Shaw after he verbally committed to Penn State, inviting him to Ohio State-Michigan and a few other games.
THINK OF THE GENTLEMEN, LLOYD! THINK OF THE GENTLEMEN!
[don't read the next one if you don't want a Top Chef Spoiler. Weirdo.]
Hail Toledo. Ever since the NCAA hockey tournament went to sixteen teams and four regionals, the CCHA has been perilously close to getting screwed by the committee; this year it happened when there were no acceptable bids in the conference's territory and, as a result, the top two seeds in the tournament got shipped to Albany and Madison. Lame. The problem is two-fold: though the NCAA apparently has no problem putting regionals on Colorado College's home ice -- an Olympic sheet at altitude -- Michigan's back-to-back Yost regionals caused a massive backlash and Michigan's been unable to host since. Other than Munn, which for some inexplicable reason MSU has been loathe to bid with, there are no appropriately sized rinks in the area save for Van Andel in Grand Rapids. Western hosts there about every other year, but the NCAA doesn't want it hosting all the time. Thus last year's fiasco.
Help is on the way. Western College Hockey points to the Lucas County Arena, which is being erected in Toledo as we speak and will be ready for 2009. Bowling Green has already submitted a regionals bid at the arena. It'll be brand new, it's centrally located, and relatively convenient to get to -- Toledo has an airport and NWA hub Detroit Metro is 45 minutes away. It should be a regular NCAA tourney host, and hopefully a regular stop for Michigan fans.
Speaking of: Michigan has bids in for Yost in the coming years, too... maybe they should bid at this place? You host, you get to stay home. It's silly for the CCHA to have Western and BG bid only to see those teams not make the field.
Etc.: Paul DePodesta has a blogspot blog and it's pretty smart; this post is about dissasociating outcome from process and it heavily reflects my worldview. There is a class action lawsuit pending against EA claiming they have unfairly monopolized licenses for football games; godspeed, lawsuit guys.
I wonder how 'Bama is doing with the ol' recruiting class? Earlier this summer MGoBlog got in a poo-flinging contest with every Alabama fan with internet access about Nick Saban's massive oversigning. It ranged hence and forth and left deep scars in the land that will become the cyber-Great Lakes in several thousand years. And now, sadly, it's time to carve out cyber-Huron.
The situation, to recap:
- Fifteen scholarship seniors saw their eligibility expire this year; Saban signed 32 players.
- Two enrolled early, leaving Alabama with a maximum incoming class of 27.
- Depending on exactly what, when, and who you listen to, the Tide have to cut about six guys before fall. On April 17th, SMQB noted 64 returning players on the Tide roster and declared the number to be four, but he forgot about the two early enrollees; the number at that point was six.
- A reserve offensive lineman took a medical scholarship sometime after that.
- A couple days ago the seemingly plugged-in Bama Sports Report made it 63, leaving five guys to get the axe. (Link via Get The Picture.) At the end of their piece they note:
Considering that two players (Zeke Knight & Lionel Mitchell) missed the majority of the spring due to injuries, and one player (Prince Hall) is suspended indefinetly, the numbers appear to be very, very close to working themselves out.
Knight has had a scary time with heart murmurs and would be a legit absence, but Mitchell has had some minor back issues that didn't even prevent him from participating in practice. He spent the spring in a non-contact jersey, but he played. A medical scholarship for him would be dubious.
So... close to working itself out? No. Remove Knight from the equation and assume none of the recruits who aren't on campus yet ("schools also can make it so some player doesn't qualify if they don't need him to" -Bruce Feldman) make it in, and Alabama is two scholarships over. If they do reach the 25 maximum, they're four scholarships over.
Around these parts, being two to four players away from reaching the scholarship limit of 85 on June 13th is not close at all. Even if you give Alabama the benefit of the doubt and assume every one of the mountain of medical scholarships they've given out is totally legit*, it's mid-June and Alabama is in the precarious position of hoping that some their players don't make the grade or get into serious trouble.
My prediction: This will "work out," as the Bama Sports Report suggests. There are probably several Alabama players who are taking summer classes to remain eligible, and exactly enough will find out they didn't make it. Or someone will come down with "ow my thing hurts." Or Prince Hall won't live up to Nick Saban's strict standards. Which will be just terribly convenient, and the 'Bama-bots will crow and everyone who's heard of Occam's Razor will look at a recruiting class that needed an incredible twelve players to leave the team between its signing and fall practice and shake their heads.
As SMQB pointed out in his April post, Alabama and Clemson are the only schools in the country to have put themselves in this position, and Clemson fixed their issues by cutting Ray Ray McElrathbey. They got the public whipping they deserved for that, and it should be Alabama's turn.
Schools should never be allowed to do this again. Alabama is in a position where they are rooting for kids to leave the team, and that will necessarily bias their actions and judgments in favor of shipping a kid off to Alcorn State. The NCAA must implement a simple rule: no oversigning. You show where the scholarship is coming from or no LOI for you.
*(Not likely, IMO, since many of the medicals were given to backup linemen with vague injuries like "knee problems" or "ow my shoulder sorta hurts" or "ow my shoulder too"; these guys were probably told they were cut and to take the scholarship and deal. How many backup offensive linemen could you offer medical scholarships to? 80%?**)
**(It's worth noting that Michigan gave two of its offensive linemen medical scholarships this offseason. This 1) reinforces point about just how many linemen you could put on medical scholarship and 2) will probably be seized upon by some irate 'Bama fan. The difference: Michigan enters the year with 79 scholarship players and at no time would not have had room on the roster should they want to return.)
Your victors from the first round of voting in the second regional:
59% of the vote
Creator: Don Helfrich
95% of the vote
Tobias Hopps' naked guy, Casey McClatchy's uber-montage, Tyler Sellhorn's uh... contribution, and Chris Sebastian's field-running are eliminated. Naked guy was so close to winning despite explicit instructions not to vote for naked guy, which is an accomplishment of sorts. Sad fugee faces for all.
Helfrich takes on McKibben and Westlund takes on Eagal in the next round.
It is for quiz. Clay Travis throws down the gauntlet to blog-bashers in his latest CBS Sportsline piece:
Five bloggers that have agreed to participate will take on a team of five of the most talented, educated and intelligent mainstream sportswriters that are willing to compete against them. Hopefully the roster will feature at least a few of the recent blogger insulters (Bob Costas, Buzz Bissinger, Rick Reilly, Michael Wilbon) you name the mainstream media members who are willing and there's a blogging team ready to play them for charity.
And, as a bonus, we'll let the captain of the mainstream media team select a charity they would like to raise money for. So, for example, if he's willing to participate, we would be happy to send all the proceeds to fund more of Reilly's mosquito nets in Africa. In fact it would be ideal if Reilly, given his frequent and vituperative criticism of sports bloggers and his new boffo column deal, was willing to put together his own team. Even if Reilly's not a member of the mainstream media we'll be willing to let him join.
There's more, including a brief section on yrs truly, one of the distinguished panelists. If anyone who's taken a shot at blogs is reading this, 1) your father was a hamster and your mother smells of elderberries and 2) seriously, step up to the plate. Money goes to a good cause and I can't answer any questions except those about my mother's basement. (Example Q: who did you cut open during the Great Lego Battle of Thanksgiving 2005? A: Tom.) You will wipe the floor with us. I can barely spell.
O ZOMBIE RLY? Penn State fans are super-excited that they've raided Maryland something wicked in this recruiting cycle, but, uh...
|Eric Shrive||OL||6-7||285||5.1||6.0||Scranton, PA|
|Darrell Givens||DB||6-0||170||4.46||5.8||Indian Head, MD|
|Sean Stanley||DE||6-2||250||4.7||5.8||Gaithersburg, MD|
|Brandon Felder||WR||6-2||167||4.43||5.7||Oxon Hill, MD|
|Ty Howle||OL||6-2||290||-||5.7||Bunn, NC|
|Derrick Thomas||DB||6-0||176||4.49||5.7||Greenbelt, MD|
|Mark Arcidiacono||OL||6-4||289||-||5.5||Philadelphia, PA|
|Stephon Morris||DB||5-8||172||4.48||5.5||Greenbelt, MD|
|Stephen Obeng-Agyapong||DB||5-10||174||4.5||5.5||Bronx, NY|
|Malcolm Willis||DB||5-11||201||4.64||5.5||Indian Head, MD|
|Curtis Drake||QB||6-0||175||4.49||-||Philadelphia, PA|
|Frank Figueroa||OL||6-4||282||5.2||-||Alexandria, VA|
...is this recruiting to be excited about? Dominating Maryland football recruiting is like doing a killer job finding hockey players in Ohio.
Shrive's their only top 100 recruit and of their 12 commits only three have four stars. This looks exactly like 2008, when they had one non-linebacker pick up four stars, or 2005, when the Justin King-Derrick Williams duo overshadowed a class long on signees (19) but short on talent (only four of them got more than three stars. Penn State has gone back to its recruiting style from the early portion of the decade, when they would lock up a host of marginal prospects -- "QB" recruit Curtis Drake's only other offer was from Northwestern -- early.
You can get away with that stuff here and there when you uncover a diamond in the rough -- talented if somewhat asshatted DT Chris Baker was a two-star, Braylon Edwards, all those anonymous guys from Ohio State's secondary -- but in general you either recruit like a national contender or you don't, and Penn State isn't.
If you believe recruiting rankings matter (and you should), Penn State's lining itself up for more of the same. This is a complete list of offensive skill position players with more than three stars acquired since 2006:
Chris Bell(off the team after machete incident)
- Pat Devlin
- Andrew Quarless (hanging by a thread, their Carson Butler)
- Brent Carter
- Brandon Beachum
Michael Shaw(snake oil enthusiast)
That's one QB, one TE, and two RBs in three and a half classes; Michigan has locked down that many four star skill position recruits in the 2009 class. I think I might harp on this a bit more than I should, but this article in the Inquirer set me off. It unrealistically portrays everything as hunky-dory in Penn State land, when I, and most other Michigan fans, would be freaking out given the last four years of results on the field and in the star realm. Hell, I'm still a little freaked out about this year's class, and it features seven four-stars amongst nine recruits so far.
Ohio State? Killing it. They are not going away, not like you expected them to.
Assistant to the. Fluff on Mike Debord has this paragraph embedded:
DeBord was a candidate to replace Lloyd Carr as the head coach at the University of Michigan, and when that did not pan out, he opted to take a job as assistant offensive line coach for the Seattle Seahawks.
I was also a candidate to replace Lloyd Carr but opted to not wear pants.
I drive a Benzing. Spectacularly named new MLive author "Philip Zaroo" provides a post detailing John Beilein's latest appearance on WTKA:
"Robin would only be an emergency center/big man type of kid," Beilein said. "He's a straight-out forward. He could play either the three or the four at 6-10 1/2.
The comparison always made is Dirk Nowitski, so expect him to hang out on the perimeter a bunch. Most expect Benzing will have to sit out 2008 after playing on a professional team (but not getting paid) in Germany.
Dude. Sporting News is re
launching, and amongst their new contributors:
Lloyd Carr and the Legends Football Coaching Association
See a different game with Michigan's Lloyd Carr, UCLA's Terry Donahue, Alabama's Gene Stallings and dozens of famous college football contributors.
Hopefully he writes a media-crit column.
Etc: UMTailgate takes a look back at Moellergate; Tim from VB 1) fell four stories, 2) isn't dead, 3) has a broken spine. But he's answering mailbag questions. Hardcore. (FYI: this QB we've offered is 2010.) Michigan has not one top 25 vote across ten preseason polls.
A couple sources are suggesting Michigan fans breathe easy about this potential academic casualty on the hockey team. Michigan Hockey Net:
Not true, according to a source who said there are not going to be any departures from the hockey program due to academic reasons. He did confirm Pateryn will join this fall, but "it's not because we need him to fill a roster spot of a player not performing well in the classroom."
As of now, no one is out. Red made a comment to Blais about bringing Pateryn this year more as a precaution than a realization that they're going to lose someone. There are a few kids that are not stellar students, but as of this morning there had been no academic causalities. Mitera and Summers are definitely coming back. Pacioretty we're still awaiting word on but feel confident he will return.
Spath would later add that everyone should "relax" and there's "no need to panic," with an explanation pending in Rivals' premium Inside The Fort on Thursday.
I'm still a little leery. I doubt Pateryn would want to give up a year of eligibility to be the eighth defenseman, and I doubt Michigan would want him to spend a critical development year getting scratched. On the surface it makes little sense to bring him in this year unless someone taking a regular shift is departing. We'll see. The one scenario that does make sense: Pateryn is sick of waiting and wants to go to college now.