"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Holy pants. YouTube HD, people!
Sweet. Someone lock Wolverine Historian in a room with a computer and a stack of videos. (This may be redundant, yes.)
Pah. The New York Times' bottom-to-top rundown of I-A football has reached Michigan at an uninspiring #57. The meandering glory of the thing has 100 words in German, mentions Elroy Hirsch, cites Varsity Blue, and desperately needs more paragraph breaks. It > CFN.
But the thing that sticks out to your correspondent:
Who is No. 56?: The name of its first president graces our next university’s football stadium and library. There is no memorial to Jimmy Bob, his ever-present parrot.
A commenter solves the riddle:
#56 is Western Michigan, home of Waldo Stadium and Waldo Library.
Awwww, come on. There is no way that's not a hook for the WMU preview.
Up-and-coming. This doesn't come as a surprise to me since the Doc pinged me to ask whether Boubacar Cissoko was a reasonable pick for the team—I replied "if you don't have anyone truly inspiring," to which he said "I do not"—but Michigan features twice on Dr. Saturday's up-and-coming defense. You'll be able to guess the other member without reading the post, but what the hell:
Defensive Tackle: Mike Martin • Michigan
Aside from punting, run defense was the only halfway respectable aspect of the entire Wolverine operation last year, and the best aspect of the run defense may have been that Martin held his own as a regular part of the rotation as a true freshman -- with both starters graduating, the middle of the line remains one of the team's many red sirens. Most importantly, Martin earned the MGoBlog seal of approval, which is no small feat.
Hey, now: the rushing offense was (very, very slightly) above-average. That linked caused me to return to the Wisconsin UFR, in which Martin thwarted Wisconsin's second attempt at a game-tying two-point conversion by escaping a double team and crushing the QB as he released the ball; he is kind of a great interior pass rusher already. I just hope he can hold up against the consistent pounding of the ground game.
The Doc's offensive team is hyah; call me skeptical about the inclusion of a no-block tight end from Ohio State on the list. Ohio State tight ends have to block because they do little else except get death threats. One dollar says that Kevin Koger has more catches than Jake Stoneburner at the end of the year. (Stoneburner, naturally, will blind more messiahs.)
Find Pierce Brosnan. Jewel Hampton is the tailback on that DocSat up-and-coming offense, but his knee may have up and left:
Multiple Web sites are reporting that Iowa football running back Jewel Hampton sustained a knee injury during non-contact drills Friday. If confirmed, that would put a damper on the 4th of July weekend for Hawkeye fans.
BHGP links to stuff that suggests the injury is a torn ACL, which would knock Hampton out for the year. Yea, if there is any Angry BLANK Hating God as wroth as Angry Michigan Safety-Hating God, it's Angry Iowa Tailback-Hating God.
However, the second-wave word on the thing is much friendlier to Iowa and Hampton:
"I'm OK," he said.
When the 5-foot-9, 210-pound sophomore-to-be from Indianapolis was asked whether he would play in the fall, Hampton said with a grin, "Don't know yet."
Dude NFW. You know what? I really don't want to get into this again. But I find it amazing that this happens to be true:
Almost there! With two graduated, third-team seniors predictably (and acceptably) having left the team over the past week, Bama Sports Report reports that the Tide only has ... 10 more scholarships to free up over the rest of the summer! That's not too bad! Here, here's a handy alphabetical run-down of how many scholarships each SEC team still has to clear off the existing roster to bring in their full signing class in fall camp:
Mississippi St.: 0
South Carolina: 0
Say what you want about the man, Saban stands by his principles, such as they are.
Etc.: You will be SHOCKED at the #1 players on Ace's list of the top 15 players on both sides of the ball from the past 15 years.
It is out:
A dossier of what's inside:
The usual team preview by yours truly, except swankier with more stats and highlights and pictures of Jamar Adams because the safety situation is so scary that no one actually scheduled to play the position has available photos. Also: special teams!
Opponent previews by a cast of characters. As per usual, we break out the Notre Dame and Ohio State previews and offer them to partisans of those schools. This year it's Vico from Our Honor Defend taking up the Ohio State banner; Brian Stouffer of The House Rock Built returns to preview ND. The rest of the schedule is tackled by Jerry Hinnen from the Joe Cribbs Car Wash, continuing HTTV's burgeoning tradition of forcing some guy from the South to learn all about the Big Ten.
Research and and analysis in spades. The research and wonkery section of this year's book includes:
- Yours truly on hybrids and spinners and quicks and deathbackers and what it all means. What, exactly, Michigan's defense will be this fall has been a hot topic of conversation. I figured it out, probably. Complete with picture of Greg Robinson and Pete Carroll as chums. Also: diagrams.
- Chris Brown of Smart Football on what went wrong last year, other than everything. The smartest college football blog in the universe—it's in the title—has been flagged down to explain just what the hell happened last year, other than all those obvious things. More diagrams herein. My favorite:
- Matt Hinton on how freshman quarterbacks generally do. In sum: "not well, but significantly better on average that what Michigan threw out there last year." Hinton, of course, runs Dr. Saturday and is awesome.
- Michael Elkon on demographic shifts, recruiting styles, talent, and Michigan. Elkon's contributed to HTTV every year it's existed; this year's bit is a piece on how Michigan finds itself behind a talent eight-ball relative to national powers fortunate enough to be situated amongst oodles of talent, and why a coach like Rodriguez is the right fit for a team like Michigan that figures to face those national powers on a regular basis.
Talking with and observing this year's team in detail.
- Tim Sullivan of Varsity Blue and Tom Van Haaren talk to Tate Forcier, who you may have heard of.
- Johnny of RBUAS is unearthed and directed to expound on Brandon Graham as star player. I am possibly the one internet-aware Michigan fan for whom Johnny's decreased output over the past year has a silver lining: now folks will have a powerful motivation to buy this book.
- S. Mastin Jones of Maize 'n' Brew revisits the Barwis meme in year two. There are quotes about vomiting. Of course there are.
Going back in the day. Michigan history features heavily:
- Greg Dooley of MVictors reminds us all of what a batty year 1909 was. Stuff went down. Let me tell you.
- Jamie MacMillian revisits Bo's last team, 20 years on. Remember when we had awesome safeties? I don't, I was ten. Jamie does, and catches up with Vada Murray in the course of his remembrance. (MGoReaders will know Jamie as frequent diarist Jamiemac, BTW.)
- Dan Feldman, formerly of the Daily and now behind Piston Powered, talks to members of the 1984 team about their bounce-back season. We can rebuild it. We have the technology.
- John U Bacon, who does everything, compares Rodriguez's start to those of Michigan legends past. It's not precisely as good as a few others. (Some of the everything Bacon does includes write Bo's Lasting Lessons, host on WTKA, and produce an epic quantity of articles for publications diverse and sundry.)
- And I swear I'm not making this up but Craig Ross details how he somehow found himself deputized to take Bo's last or second-to-last autograph to Warren Buffett, of all people. Craig isn't making this up, either: there are pictures. It's an incredible, preposterous story.
It's twelve pages longer than last year's book and zero dollars more expensive. If you do not buy it, you are probably brain damaged. So avoid brain damage: buy the book. If you do not buy the book, people will question the functioning of your mind. Do it for the economy.
Step two in the master plan to provide users tools to moderate themselves has been deployed: there are +1/-1 buttons on comments and posts now. This has been met with some displeasure. An explanation of what's going on right now:
- You can vote up or down on any comment, forum post, or diary entry. Up votes are worth two points, down votes minus one. This, combined with the points you get for posting stuff, should make it hard for anyone who's not seriously annoying the great majority of the commenters to see their points dip as a result.
- Dipping into negative points will put you into the "troll" role and spur me to look at the user's recent activity to see whether the user should be banned, or just told to cool it, man.
There are some abuse failsafes built in now and more will be added if—when—people start abusing the system. For one: I am probably going to make a downvote cost the voter points, too, to further restrict wanton point-bashing. Please report any bugs, or ideas, to email@example.com.
The third of July, 1776: Ben Franklin buys some cigarettes and sleeps with a French lady. Let's celebrate by not going to work. Yes, I'm taking the day off, like everyone in an office. I must prepare for the tubemeatening.
Mandatory J Leman photo:
Optional Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers animated GIF:
See you Monday.
Thank Jesus. Paul Maguire will blight your television screens far less often this fall:
Although not formally announced, ESPN's Mike Soltys confirmed Sunday that college football analyst Paul Maguire, 70, will have a "reduced role" this season. Rather than having a full slate of games, says Soltys, Maguire will work only "the occasional game and do some studio shows and radio."
As long as that "occasional game" is the Society of Eastern European Panhandling Midgets versus Regan Pornography Czar Ed Meese's Metacarpals, I'm okay with it. Anything less obscure and we have issues. Just keep him away from the otherwise excellent Nessler-Griese pairing. And all other ones involving the Big Ten.
Side note: Maguire is 70! That guy is hitting up the Just For Men like crazy.
Hype video. Haven't had one of these for a while, and this one is well-executed:
(So… yeah, the top recommended Youtube video I'm getting for this: "So Ronrey." Is this because I posted about soccer earlier?)
Wait… what? The Free Press on Tim Hardaway Jr's commitment, screencapped because they'll probably fix it now:
It appears someone let a spellchecker loose on that article with "replace all" checked, or something. I'm at a loss how "Smotrycz" can become "Metrics" and "ESPN" can become "SPUN," though the latter is a serendipitous slam at the Favre-Owens Network. Evan Metrics sounds like a superhero from Square One who goes around teaching people about kilograms and centiliters; I suggest people condemned to write Smotrycz for the next four and a half years band together and force him to officially change his name. We'll buy him a Zorro mask and a meter stick in exchange.
M-Boned. So, yeah, the athletic department has switched official providers of Michigan apparel from the locally-owned M-Den to the Jerry Jones-owned and spammy-sounding "eSports Partners." The reason is the same reason it always is: money. eSports Partners has guaranteed millions that the M-Den could not, though I strongly suggest that the Athletic Department keep its PIN numbers to itself. Be suspicious of any barristers, yo.
There can be no better reason to do it than someone else's reason not to. Outgoing Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen is not well-loved by his fan constituents, who have to turn to Fox Sports Atlantic to catch any Pac-10 game not involving USC. And I don't think we should be big fans, either. TSN's Dave Curtis has an exit interview of sorts:
Q: So what are the chances of a playoff down the road?
A: We get playoff proposals around the calendar, with many more coming in the late fall. There just isn't anything that would be good in our opinion. We would have to go to 16 teams. The political pressure for participation would be even more intense than in the BCS. You'd have to play the games until the championship on campuses, so you'd be playing games at Michigan and Ohio State, weather-wise, in late December or January. Most of the TV time periods that are attractive then are taken by the NFL. There are some many factors that people never consider.
Well, one: that's just, like, his opinion, man, that you'd "have to" go to 16 teams. Why would the political pressure for participation be more intense? And why couldn't you structure a playoff such that everyone worthy is included? This is common anti-playoff gambit: you can't have a good playoff that makes sense, you have to have a stupid one because of fuzzy reasons I will not justify. In it is an admission that a properly structured playoff would be awesome.
Two: the bolded section is one of the best aspects of a true playoff. Who hates it when NFL playoff games are rough and tumble affairs on the frozen tundra of Lambeau? Oh, that's right: no one.
Low places. Vegas has released a bunch of win over-unders. Your most relevant set:
Over 6 reg season wins -165
Under 6 reg season wins +135
Six seems low but you have to bet 165 to win 100, so it's not a great deal or anything. Still… if anyone wants to do the Forbidden Thing and wager on your own team, there you go.
Etc.: I've mentioned the hole Kiffin finds himself in re: QB recruiting before; Bleed Scarlet has a terrific overview of the situation, which after the commitment of Barry Brunetti to West Virginia comes down to hoping Jesse Scroggins does not pick USC as expected or grabbing a flier. The WLA reviews Rich Rodriguez. There are holes in Michigan's recruitin' bucket.