chance of bowl: 13.6%
The most notable thing that came out of Mike Hart's mouth, and there were many of them, seems to have gone completely unnoticed by the media at large, who bunkered down and relayed Carr's traditional answer to questions of retirement:
"To the best of my knowledge, I'm healthy," said Carr, entering his 13th season as Michigan's head coach. "I don't think there's anything to that. At some point, we're going to all retire and there's always an appropriate time to speak to that issue." ...
"I heard that three or four years ago," Carr said. "I did have a birthday Monday. The older you get, the tougher it gets. Or the tougher you get. One or the other."
This led to a flurry of articles titled much like the above-cited Detroit News piece:
Carr again tackles rumors
Michigan coach, 62, disputes health concerns, says he has no timetable for when he'll retire.
The Free Press put up a Rosenberg column from before the Rose Bowl: "Carr Enjoying Himself Too Much To Retire." The AP had a more neutral article, but one that still focused on Carr's non-denials. But Hart let something slip in the process of demolishing Jim Harbaugh:
I meant to clip it shorter, but the Forcier slam is so relevant I let it go. Anyway, nestled in there: "He could of went... coached at San Diego State [sic], coached at Stanford for a year, and come here." Emphasis mine; [sic] because it was plain old San Diego, not SDSU. Hart tacitly acknowledges Carr's likely retirement in an unguarded moment that's probably more accurate than the vague lack of plans suggested above. Carr may not be retiring for sure, but he's leaning towards it.
(Sidenote: The AP article citing Hart's comments changes his quote!
"There's always a coaching ladder. He coached at San Diego and could have spent a (few) years at Stanford and maybe come to Michigan."
That "year" wasn't plural, you filthy press liars.)
Whenever this stuff comes up I cast my mind back to an interview I saw on local TV before the Ohio State game. I don't remember precisely who it was... maybe Eli Zaret, maybe that guy named "Bernie" whose last name I don't remember, but whoever the sportscaster was apparently managed to get an exclusive heart-to-heart interview with Carr by agreeing that said interview would take place on a golf course. And in this interview he was asked about the prospect of impending retirement. Carr was vague, but said he had a plan, and smiled, and seemed like a man ready to ride off into the sunset. Certain events could change his plan, but if there's an opportunity for him to go out on a good note -- beat OSU, win a BCS game -- I am confident he'll take it.
And then there's the rest of it. Pure smackdown. I addressed this earlier, when it came out; a brief recap:
- When Harbaugh asserts that the football players at Michigan don't end up in astrophysics, he's right.
- I don't have a problem with this. When your school is harder than Notre Dame, football players tend to cluster in the easier majors. This is because they are working a full-time year-round job in addition to being in school: duh. In addition, many football players come from bad high schools and are not admitted for their intelligence but rather their physical ability. Can we stop pretending that a random liberal arts degree is more useful to these players than their status as Michigan football players? We all want them to graduate, to show that they can function in the world well enough to get a degree, but they're learning more about how to succeed in the world by participating in a highly regimented athletics program than by writing a paper on Foucault.
- When Harbaugh followed that up with:
They're adulated when they're playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won't hire them.
...he crossed the line. Anyone who went to or watched the Bo memorial knows that there's a tremendous bond between Bo's players, the university itself, and its massive alumni community. Implying that Michigan just discards these guys to fend for themselves after screwing them for four years is obviously, patently untrue.
So, yeah, Hart and Carr were right to respond to Harbaugh's assertions harshly. Maybe "I wish he never went to Michigan" goes a bit too far, but, whatever. Harbaugh's shown himself a hypocrite with the Forcier transfer and is either ripping on his teammates from 20 years ago or the current players at Michigan, who he has no knowledge of. As soon as those words came out of his mouth every Notre Dame and Ohio State recruiter had forwarded them to every recruit considering Michigan. He clearly cares nothing for the fate of the program after being passed over for the quarterback coaching job, and more damning yet he's sticking to his guns. From the Jamie Morris article:
"I said, 'Jim, here's my question for you -- do you really believe the comments y
ou said, or are you saying them to make you look good?'â€‚" said Morris, who works in the Michigan athletic development department.
"He said, 'I believe them.' And I said, 'Would you have said it if (former Michigan coach) Bo (Schembechler) was alive?' He said, 'That's not the point.' And I said, 'That's exactly the point. You didn't hurt Michigan, you hurt your coach, and you hurt the guys you played with. These are the teammates you turned your back on.'â€‚"
Morris said Harbaugh became upset.
"We said, 'We're not friends anymore,'â€‚" Morris said. "â€‚'You lose my number, I lose yours.'â€‚"
Harbaugh also stuck to his assertion that Pete Carroll would be in the NFL next year. We'll see how that works out.
So, for the record, I have no respect left for Harbaugh either. The only person he's looking out for is himself, and in doing so he's harming the program that put him in a position to lose by 80 to USC this fall. I assume the reason is that he's just not that bright and doesn't realize how offensive his comments are -- he continues to poke the grizzly bear of college football with a stick despite being armed only with a pocket knife, albeit one with a really friggin' great SAT score -- and that he might come around and apologize at some future date. If so, fine. We're okay. But he's teetering on the edge. He's...
Elsewhere: MVictors says "over the line"; marks it zero. Autumn Thunder does its inimitable thing. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, where I stole the audio from, has 6 full minutes of Hart speaking plus Henne and
Carr Long interviews.
An onslaught of news spurred by the second, COMPLETELY AWESOME second day of, um, Big Ten Media Day, singular, -- we have such a nomenclature issue in this conference -- coupled with being knocked offline at an inopportune time reduces the amount of time I have to provide comment. So this is a lightning round edition of UV.
Burgess knockin' fools out. Willis McGahee just got pwned:
The first hour of the first day of training camp had barely passed when a rookie linebacker named Prescott Burgess lowered his head into Willis McGahee's chest.
McGahee, the prized running back going at half speed, fell to the ground and fumbled away the football.
There was a gasp, and not the kind you want to hear in the first hour of the first day of any NFL training camp.
This is the point at which I rend my garments, observe the projected starter at WLB, and curse Burgess' useless freshman year that did not contain a redshirt.
This was always a slam dunk, but Dave Heller relays a comment from Chad Henne: WOTS is that the Wisconsin game will be at night.
Many talents. Cole Slaw Blog on McGuffie:
I read on some message board that Sam McGuffie was on the Cy-Fair swim team his freshman year, but then got disqualified because he always ran across the water. After Cy-Fair's first home game last fall, Sam McGuffie wanted to celebrate, so he took five loaves of bread and two fishes, and made fish tacos for the entire crowd of 4,000. At practice, Sam McGuffie isn't allowed to drink water, because the water always turns into wine, and everyone knows that high school kids are too young to drink at football practice. Sam McGuffie's geometry teacher had a shriveled hand: Sam decided to heal it, but when he touched it the teacher's hand turned into an awesome bear paw. One day Sam McGuffie brought salvation to a prostitute who spammed his MySpace profile; she's now an assistant professor in Michigan's Classics Department. On the bus ride home from a game last fall, Sam McGuffie saw a fig tree through the window. The fig tree made Sam angry, so he yelled at the fig tree and it withered.
Be advised that for some reason whenever I think the word "McGuffie" a tiny, flag-o-Japan-headband-wearing karate master screams MCGUFFIEAAAAAAAH in my head, as if that's his name. McGuffieaaaaaaaaah.
When they were lads. Rivals has put up high school video of seniors to be Chad Henne and Mike Hart:
I done seen that deep ball many a time; its parabolic beauty is a sight to behold.
Wait... wtf? Rivals decides to put up some footage of the all time leader in high school rushing touchdowns and an All-American running back and they go with the defensive stuff? Heads should roll, I say.
There is also this of more recent vintage from Rivals, a piece on Henne winning the "accuracy" challenge as a counselor at the Elite 11, where he was tres impressive according to everyone. It would make it embeddable, but the last time I did that they were displeased. You'll have to do with the downloading and the etc., etc. Sorry. But... trust me. You're going to want to do this. Go do it now, then come back. I don't want to spoil it.
So... Henne gets thrown a shirt, launches into an impromptu motivational speech that, as you might imagine, is not particularly motivational, at at one point says:
Excellence is good.
To be fair: public speaking is a bitch for almost everyone not named Mike Hart and he did complete that thought with "but perfection is better"; still, I must admit that in the awkward pause after the above-quoted thought I believed he had finished and that those were his last words of wisdom to the collected campers and I laughed and laughed. Then I made a shirt.
Home field... bunk? Interesting piece from wonky 'Bama blog Outside the Sidelines on home field advantage. Over the last five years, which teams have the most intimidating, most vicious homefield advantage? Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Wha? OTS also cites a Football Outsiders article I somehow missed:
Brian C. Fremeau, who publishes a college football rating system called the Fremeau Efficiency Index, did the research for a November 9th, 2006 column at Football Outsiders. In it, he compiled a list of every Division 1-A college football game that was decided by seven points or less, and he came to the conclusion that 172 games fell into that category in the 2006 regular season. Want to guess the home record and the road record? All told, in the 172 games, home teams went 86-86 (.500), and road teams went 86-86 (.500).
How to square this with the widely-held belief that Vegas comes up with a neutral-site spread for games, then adds or subtracts three from the line based on location -- a near-touchdown swing? Dunno.
Not all borings all the time. Bill Martin does a little bit to assuage fears that Michigan's only interesting nonconference game ever will be against Notre Dame:
"You're not going to have a steady diet,'' Martin said Tuesday. "Every now and then.''
Some years Michigan might host Notre Dame, go on the road to play a Big 12 opponent, for instance, then host two Mid-American Conference foes to fill out its four nonconference games. A season when Michigan travels to South Bend, Ind., might be a good time to spice things up at home with a top-flight opponent.
"We want to have the flexibility to play other major programs in the country,'' Martin said. "This gave me the flexibility to keep Notre Dame on the schedule long term and still be able to bring in other teams if we so choose.''
This is why I liked not getting an ND-OSU rotation going; Martin has an incentive to schedule someone between "decent" and "big time" when the two are on the road.
Etc.: Autumn Thunder has EDSBS-level bad photoshop... and the scoop on the ND-M series renewal.
Knocked off the internet this afternoon; wanted to get this up earlier. Will cover the Hart stuff tomorrow.
On the scheduling thing: Angelique Chengelis' article clarifies the ND-OSU rotation thing:
...the attempt to tweak the schedule to avoid playing Notre Dame and Ohio State on the road in the same season was, the official said, too complicated to get done because there were so many scheduling issues.
So it's status quo for now, which I'm okay with. It gives the University more impetus to schedule a nonconference opponent that's at least somewhat interesting in the years when PSU/OSU/ND are road games. Also in that article is a depressing confirmation of the current state of college football scheduling:
What this more than likely means for Michigan fans is that the Wolverines will not have room on their 12-game regular-season schedules for another major powerhouse team. One Michigan official said that now that the Irish occupy a solid position in the schedule, it would make it "challenging" to add another name team.
It's not that challenging. Officials of Michigan, I propose this technique: a phone call and the offer of a home-and-home
On the roster thing: Carr was queried about the missing players on the official roster and reported thusly:
- Patilla is still on the team and should report next week.
- Schifano has given up football and may or may not stay at the university.
- McKinney has a medical issue that Carr, as per usual, doesn't want to discuss and may or may not be around. Exact quote:
"James McKinney has a medical issue, so I can't really speak to that other than to say that we're hoping that he can get his health back to where it needs to be."
So... still on the team, probably.
So that's one gone, one not, and one in limbo. Carr also guardedly addressed the Carson Butler situation; it is a possibility he'll make it back, but...
On if the issue with Butler is seeing where his head is...and if he is in any shape to come back:
"Those are some of the issues that we have to discuss...and I want to make sure that it's the right thing for our team first of all...and for Carson second of all. I've got to make sure of that. As sure as I can be. Part of that will be dependant upon what his responses are. "
"I have met with him, but I have another meeting scheduled for the end of the week where I'll really find out where we're at."
For Carr to be so open about it makes me think that he's going to get his shot, but he's got a lot of stairs to run and obstacles to overcome before he sees the field even if given the opportunity.
Other news of note from Carr's secondary presser with the local media:
- All the freshmen made it in. (Avery Horn was the only one who was threatened, AFAIK.)
- Obi Ezeh is going to be given a shot at the middle linebacker job:
"Defensively, Obi Ezeh had a great spring, but he was at the SAM linebacker position. He played last fall at the inside position. Based on what we saw in the spring and based on where Shawn Crable is, we've got to give (Ezeh) a chance in there at the MIKE linebacker position with John Thompson and Austin Panter. We've got to give him a chance."
- Alex Mitchell's job is not secure. When asked about things he'll be looking at for fall camp he said "we've got to sort out" both right tackle and right guard.
- Marques Slocum is not quite cleared. He has "one thing left to do with one class"; Carr "expects him to be" cleared for fall camp.
- True freshmen in the secondary, oh yes, they will play.
- Mario's healthy:
On if Mario Manningham is back to where he wants him to be:
"Early in the summer he was having some issues, but I think his conditioning has really come along. He did some things late in the summer that our players... he can make everybody stop and say "wow!" Those are the reports I get."
Cue diabolical laughter.
Carr's main presser wasn't particularly illuminating, but Friends of Zoltan will be happy that Carr opened his remarks about the team like so:
"We're excited about our team at Michigan. We return a lot of guys offensively...some outstanding players, some outstanding leadership...guys that have had experience in big games."
"We return an outstanding punter in Zoltan Mesko. He has an opportunity based on what he did last year as a redshirt freshman to be one of greatest punters we've ever had at Michigan."
YESSSSSSSS. You have to love (or fear and hate, depending on your cynicsm level) Lloyd Carr. He returns four potential All-Americans on offense and the first player out of his mouth to open the 2007 season is the punter. Hail Zoltan.
Etc.: MVictors has a look back at Michigan's first-ever night game, which was in 1944(!) against Marquette(!!!). Some original research and digging here; very cool.
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.