"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Could Alex Legion become the world's first commit/decommit/recommit/ decommit/re-recommit? If you had asked me yesterday, I would have said no way. Today, though? Maybe. I imagine that Mark Synder was increasingly giddy as his interview with Alex Legion's mom progressed. In place of bland, noncommittal quotes Synder was delivered a heaping helping of Adam West Batman-worthy exlamations. POW!
"I want to make it clear, Tim Green is not part of this process," Williams said Tuesday. "I'm tired of him trying to persuade my son against the University of Michigan and his family."
"I've been quiet for four years, but Tim Green does not speak for my son, and I'm tired of him trying to make decisions for my son," Williams said.
"Mr. Green wants my son to go to Connecticut or UCLA, but my son will go to neither institution."
Mrs. Williams forthrightness is amazing confirmation of all the dark rumblings going on about Legion's "handlers" that have been kicking around message boards for weeks, nay, months. I had written Legion off as soon as he asked out of his LOI, but since Williams has to sign any LOI her son wants to submit Michigan has a fighting chance.
"I really like what I'm hearing about Beilein," she said. "I really want to thank coach Keener, who has talked very positively about my son to coach Beilein. We just needed to get rid of Tim Green."
(ZAP!) Legion will visit Michigan and a few other places, including (yuck) Kentucky. The lists floating around yesterday -- UConn, Kansas, UCLA, UK -- appear to be sourced by Green and should not be given credence. This is beginning to rival the whole Houston Nutt thing.
Update 4/15: Added a legend. Some small changes: all of our little projection icons have names. Mr. Blue, previously reserved for Michigan commitments, is now deployed for players like Marcus Witherspoon (please note latest Rivals article from the PSU site: "Witherspoon has heart set on Big Ten school"; it's not PSU) and Fred Smith who are highly likely to end up Michigan commits and -- this has key -- have said as much publicly. Hopefully no Rojo types end up in this categorization, but no guarantees are provided. There's a new icon, Sad Josh, used for guys who have expressed an interest that Michigan does not seem to reciprocate. With the clarifications and such several players have been moved into new categories. Smith and Witherspoon get Mr. Blue. Deboskie gets a green now that there's a separate category for players who are expected to end up at Michigan. A bunch of players got shoved into Sad Josh. Er.
Added MI DT Mike Martin. Linked to stories on OH TE Kevin Koger, CA QB Dayne Crist (header for second is not good), IN OL Kurt Wermers, IL DE Darius Fleming, some video of OH OL Elliot Mealer. Removed FL LB Nigel Bradham (FSU), CA CB Robert Golden (we don't seem that interested, and neither does he).
Editorial Opinion: For the record, the new legend.
The genre of player with unrequited interest in Michigan. Unlikely to receive offers; most will eventually fade off the list and go to Duke or Michigan State or something.
Player is a longshot. Either they've declared someone else a leader publicly or popular opinion holds that they're likely to go to another school.
Either no opinion or Michigan is one of a fairly even group of chasing schools. Players in this category maintain no leader or change their leader frequently. The default category for players that we don't know much about yet.
Players who have Michigan in a small leading group or have Michigan as a tenuous favorite. Should be regarded as a good shot, not a slam dunk.
Player is either a verbal or is expected to be one sooner or later. Players with this designation are 65%+ to be Michigan commits.
The two uncommitted blues on the board are MI WR Fred Smith, who had that USAToday article (a reprint from Rivals) and NJ LB Marcus Witherspoon, who's been telling everyone who runs across him that he's gone Johansson over Michigan no matter their affiliation.
CA QB Dayne Crist lists us but hasn't visited and wants to make a decision in the next couple weeks. Not coming here. Probably USC.
MI DT Mike Martin is drawing comparisons to Terrance Taylor. As a squat, powerful defensive tackle who also happens to be a state champion wrestler, this is not unexpected. May have to wait for camp to get an offer.
Rivals is reporting that Alex Legion has asked out of his LOI...
"We have had several discussions with Alex and his family and they have expressed an interest in opening his recruitment," said Beilein. "We understand his situation and encouraged him to do so, giving Alex his unconditional release. We will continue to have dialogue with Alex and his family throughout this process.
... and that Reed Baker, Rainmaker, has left the team. Interesting note from the Rivals article:
"With the fact that Reed's financial aid package had expired, he has decided to look into other options for his playing career," said Beilein. "We have encouraged Reed to do so and will do whatever we can to help him with that process. We wish him nothing but the best in the future."
Apparently his ride was a one-year only deal? All scholarships are technically year-to-year, but the way Beilein phrased it made it sound like this was a prearranged one-year deal. Anyone who wants a Reed Baker, Rainmaker shirt for old-time's sake can get one in the MGoStore for another week or so. Just my luck that I fix those just in time for him to leave the team.
No word yet on whether or not Michigan will seek immediate help. There's not much out there if they choose to. WVU signee John Flowers reaffirmed his commitment a few days ago and almost everyone else is already locked up.
I might be excommunicated from the church of college football for this startling revelation, but I am sick and tired of EA's NCAA football franchise. Every year they add inane or useless features aimed at 14 year olds: ridiculous suspensions in franchise mode, impact players, momentum and their career mode. Each of these "features" save the inane but thankfully irrelevant career/Heisman/whatever mode acts as an active detriment to the game's realism. This would be irritating but acceptable if EA had given you the option of turning off the feature that turns any trip to Iowa a 60-7 loss (don't ask... the horror... the horror), but they don't even do this. While they're busy inserting these inane features into the game they release games in which receivers drop 20% of the balls that hit themselves in the hands, the inside running game is useless, or the passing game is completely broken.
This year is no different. The features they're pitching only promise to heighten the silliness:
Impact players, aka ballers with high ratings, will be able to trigger "lead by example" events that impact each player's morale. Score a touchdown with an impact player, a chain-reaction of good feelings spread to the rest of the team, which in turn, boosts each player's performance.
Awesome! Now the randomly selected impact players and the totally unrealistic momentum system are one and the same!
EA is now a company run by its marketing arm. No longer actually concerned with making quality games as long as they know that their franchises will sell, they go years without implementing even the simplest features.
Even so, I might get it. I hate myself. But one of those simple features I've been waiting on for years has been implemented:
Campus Legend makes great use of the new Super Sim feature that allows you to skip single plays or to the next change of possession. You can still watch every play from the sideline through the eyes of your legend, but you can also skip ahead to the next time he takes the field. Super Sim is available in every game, which will come in handy during Dynasty mode when you want to get your second stringers on the field to mop up.
Thank God. And how long did that take? Like... ten minutes? No longer will I score 77 on Northwestern in a perpetual state of glassy-eyed boredom. I will score 42, sim the rest of the game, and bump the difficulty to Heisman just in time for a disastrous trip to Kinnick.
(Initial link via EDSBS.)
Shocking revelations about our head coach's past! It would all be so very Arkansas if it wasn't so very Lloyd:
"Lloyd went from West Virginia to Michigan," the retired Nehlen said from his Florida winter home. "He wasn't with us long, about six weeks at the most, I'd say."
Controversy? Uh, not so much:
"Bo called, and he wants you back there." Carr protested that he had joined Nehlen because "I wanted to stick with you." Nehlen told Carr, "This is Bo. When Bo wants you, you go."
Beisball es caliente. Michigan's impressive 12-game winstreak was a bit hollow, since they've been playing the likes of Oakland and Eastern Michigan of late and had their four games against conference co-favorite Minnesota cancelled on account of Hoth-worthy weather, but is no longer after a four-game weekend sweep of fellow co-favorite Ohio State. Michigan outscored the Buckeyes 41-14 over the four games, to which we at MGoBlog say "ha ha!" before scurrying into our Bunker of Denial so that no one can proffer the obvious and terribly effective response. Michigan is now an impressive 22-6, 8-0 in conference, and has a good shot at an at-large bid to the NCAAs if they finish out the season. Coach Rich Maloney has previously set the at-large threshold at 40 wins, though that was before Michigan lost the Minnesota series. To hit 40 before the Big Ten tourney they'd have to win 2/3rds of their remaining games; since the Big Ten is essentially a mid-major in baseball that's probably doable.
Michigan's home for the next six games, with a Wednesday doubleheader against EMU and a weekend series versus Purdue all at the Fish. Wednesday might be sort of crappy and rainy, but the weekend should be decent weather.
(Side note: in this era of year-round athletic and academic competition, doesn't it seem silly that the college season starts in February and ends in May? Shifting it summer-ward a month would really help out northern sides.)
I actually like Jay Bilas quite a bit. He's one of the rare color guys/studio analysts who will explain the finer details of basketball to the layman. He usually strikes a nice balance between the Vitale and Packer ends of the basketball announcer spectrum. But he's totally nuts about longtime friend Tommy Amaker's firing at Michigan. The latest salvo, and there have been a few previous, is an interview in the Free Press in which Bilas says many ridiculous things. Here's one:
Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said he tells his coaches that their job is to be always knocking on the door of a Big Ten championship every year and knocking on the door of a national championship every few years. Is Beilein capable of those standards? They haven't been doing a lot of knocking the last 40 years. Before Amaker got there, all they were known for was cheating.
A completely false and unprofessional assertion. Michigan has been to the Final Four during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, winning a national championship in '89. Even if you would like to pretend that the Fab Five never happened, that's a record of achievement most schools look up to, asshat. In a four-question interview, Bilas brings up Michigan "cheating" twice. (This is where I point out that none of the violations were recruiting inducements, that if Ed Martin didn't exist the Fab Five still would have attended Michigan, and the same frickin' one-year self-imposed postseason ban and meaningless scholarship reduction penalties were assessed to an Ohio State program that obviously turned itself around quite quickly.)
Bilas has been beating this drum ever since people started question Amaker's job at Michigan, constantly questioning the dedication of the program while simultaneously decrying the one extremely obvious thing they did -- firing Amaker and hiring a guy at twice his salary -- that shows they're paying attention. Why does anyone bother to ask Bilas about this situation? Not only is he a fellow Dukie bound by their arcane preppy rituals, he was a frickin' teammate of Amaker and is evidently his bestest friend in the entire world. As a result, he says things like "Tommy put (the program) in really solid footing, and I think Michigan owes him a debt of gratitude for doing that," when any minimally competent coach could have ceased recruiting Dom Ingerson and Maurice Searight and Avery Queen, who were not only thugs but sucky thugs.
We can stipulate that Amaker was a better coach than Brian Ellerbe -- I mean, God, if we're going to get meatheads into the program let's at least make sure they can play -- but that's all. Michigan owes Tommy Amaker nothing more than the 900k stipulated in his contract. He was a terrible floor coach, a recruiter who couldn't put together a coherent roster, and he looked ridiculous. He is not a martyr. He was not done wrong. Michigan showed him more patience than virtually any other school in the country would: six years is an eternity in college basketball. No school above the Northwestern-Penn State level would tolerate Amaker's result and no one except Bilas would confuse the Michigan basketball program with either of those schools.
I want to be very clear on this: Tommy Amaker was not good for the Michigan program. He "cleaned up the program" only because the worst athletic director in the history of Michigan athletics decided to hire the worst coach in the history of Michigan athletics. Since Amaker is not three standard deviations below the mean it looks like he did a good job, but any basketball coach remotely qualified to coach in the Big Ten would have done a better one. Every reasonable candidate kicked around six years ago would have had more success. Everyone in the world except Dick Vitale, who refuses to criticize any coach ("Dave Bliss is awesome, baby!"), realizes this. Except Bilas.
Jay Bilas is quite literally the least objective person on the planet to talk to about this. So why bother asking?
Elsewhere: Joey demolishes Bilas as well:
What actual insight did a purported expert, Jay Bilas, offer during this interview? None. I feel stupider having read it. It was a bunch of tired talking points and worthless generalities. Not a single person who knows even a little bit about college basketball could have learned anything from this piece
Yeah, USC has Snoop Dogg but do they have this?
More on the game can be found at Colin's new digs. I can answer this question of his:
I saw Quentin Patilla in a blue jersey (blue = offense) and couldn't come up with a reason why.
Okay... that's not a question. Anyway: Patilla was switched to fullback this spring once the backfield situation got dire, which bodes unwell for his future. Fullback is a black hole of a position that sucks in the underwhelming from other positions and holds them in its gravitational clutches forevermore. Maybe he just got moved there to fill in a temporary hole in the roster, but Quintin, get away from the event horizon.
In other, more alarming, picture news...
Yes, that's a tie. Now he gets fashion sense? If he wears a tie on the sidelines and takes Harvard to the tournament while Beilein roams around in a Hawaiian shirt and jam shorts winning NITs I officially give up on basketball.