Hockey pet peeve: "when a teammate tips a puck in on you, which is exactly how my first collegiate goal against happened. Thanks, Copper."
Alabama receiver Marquis Maze has made a commitment to Michigan. Maze is a 5'8" scatback/slot receiver/return specialist who will no doubt make one huge play during his Michigan career and set off a cascade of Maze-related puns on sports pages across the Midwest. You can see them now: "A-Maze-ing" for the local papers, "Maze and Blue" for whichever team he's just posterized.
This is the H3 version of the Carlos Brown commitment: basically the same but way smaller. Like Brown, Maze is a southerner who plays quarterback, running back, and wide receiver for his high school team because not giving him the ball is dumb. Like Brown, Maze's commitment came as a big "huh?" to Michigan fans who had heard nothing about him. The H3 bit? Maze's rep (instead of a top-100 uber-recruit, Maze is a lightly-regarded three star) and size (Maze is listed at 5'8" and looks it in the video I saw) are both much smaller than Brown's.
Argh what about Clemons and Hemingway?
The Maze commitment shouldn't affect them. Both are pure receivers and whatever impact Maze has will probably be spread through three or four positions. Even his high school team seems to deploy him in the service of shock and awe: as a junior Maze had nine receptions which averaged over 50 yards per. As a runner he found similarly unbelievable success -- 12 yards per carry -- on similarly thin attempts -- 91. (Rivals doesn't have KR/PR numbers in any detail.) Maze isn't going to carry the mail like either of those guys could.
Aargh three star hate three star argh.
I personally like the commit for both ancillary and proper reasons.
- First: fantastic name.
- Second: 5'8" guys who can't be tackled without the assistance of the Red Army are tremendous fun to have on the team.
- Third: he had standing offers from both Auburn and Tennessee -- possibly a better indication of his value than a three-star ranking.
- Fourth: he's almost a guaranteed contributor as a return specialist, and anyone who remembers the days of Diallo Johnson can make a quick comparison to Breaston and arrive at the conclusion that even if he hardly sees a snap on offense he's worth one scholarship of 85.
- Fifth: I watched the available video from Rivals and he reminded me of Mike Hart and Steve Breaston. Before that sentence gets pasted everywhere as clear evidence of homer delusion: obviously there's a huge leap from high school to the pros. He's got a not-insignificant chance of being Carl Tabb. Still... he's got moves. You can hear Berman going "woop woop woop" in your head watching him, which is annoying (shut up, Berman! Or I'll have brain cancer at you!) but exciting.
"I don't think we've faced anybody as talented as No. 5 (Maze)," said Deshler coach John Mothershed , who has guided the Tigers to the 4A state final four times since 1998, with championships in 1998 and 1999. "Some say he's a lot like (Tyrone) Prothro, but I say he's more like (David) Palmer. He does things with a football that few can do."
I'll take two.
I buried this in the "Etc" section of a recent Unverified Voracity, not wishing to steal the thunder from the MZone, as they found the beautifully wretched object. But commenter Ianumich points out that not many actually took the hint and saw... it.
Well, here... it is. Hide women, children, and everybody else.
If anyone produces a Michigan equivalent I will hunt you down, gut you, and wear your skin.*
*(Not for the usual reasons. Because I'm mad at you.)
Hopefully this annual rite -- Michigan defender is undrafted due to mediocre-at-best college career, then impresses NFL team enough to make team -- will cease with Ron English in charge. This year's frustrating NFL candidate is Pierre Woods, who you may vaguely remember had a hell of a 2003 before disappearing into Carr's doghouse.
Also: Braylon article. Has mention of the Browns signing LeSueur.
Tom Brady has a phone, news at 11. Deadspin skewers the New York Daily news for running a story with the headline "Brady Liked To Balco," as the link was one phone call about a future workout that never transpired. Also, Brady does not need steroids since he's a freaking quarterback. And he operates on dreaminess alone.
There's not a whole lot of meat in this Washington Post article on Michigan, but it does have this amazing lead:
As he spoke about last year's mess at Michigan, Coach Lloyd Carr's eyes drifted over toward his star running back, who was busy answering questions about his favorite foods and what song was playing on his iPod.
Way to use precious questioning time, media guys!
File under "questions that answer themselves." WSJ shows us this copy of RJYH signed by Tyrone Willingham:
He then poses a series of questions about the cryptic inscription:
Thanks for letting me bring the Huskies to the Southeast. Go Dawgs! Ty Willingham.
One ("How did Broadway Mylosh welcome the University of Washington to the Southeast?") I cannot answer. One ("What dawgs, specifically?") I can: the Washington Huskies, often nicknamed the "Dawgs," are supposed to go. And one answers itself:
why, why is Ty Willingham trying to pass himself as a writer of narrative nonfiction when EVERYONE knows he's a football coach??
MGoBlog: Carty's attack on Amaker "nonsensical." The Diag transcribes some of Jim Carty's latest appearance on WTKA:
"I've got a little complaint and it goes to the heart of what's wrong with Tommy Amaker. I had breakfast with Tommy a few weeks ago ... but of course we talked about his staff. I said, "I just can't understand why you won't shake up your staff" ... He said, "I'm not doing anything with my staff, I have total confidence". So what does he do?
Not only does he shake up his staff, but he announces it while he's en route to Australia so he doesn't have to face any questions. It's gutless. Calculated, gutless, reverse of course, totally ignore what I said before, I'm going to do something else.
For the record, the "staff shakeup" consisted of swapping the duties of two coaches and passed without mention on this blog because of its obvious lack of newsy qualities like "impact" or "interest." Carty's weird.
Update: M'n'B has more.
Simmons roulette lands on "bash." Ok. One last tiny poker diversion, but only to give Simmons a good rubbishing. Good God. Simmons managed to crash out of the World Series of Poker without thoroughly embarrassing himself -- when the chips went in he had his opponent down 6-1 -- but that went out the window when he published his column on his experience, a 1200 word bad-beat story worthy of Hellmuth or Matusow. Here's the lead:
I believed Mike McD for eight years. "People insist on calling it luck," he kept saying sarcastically. Sure. We all knew better.
I find it hard to believe that Simmons did anything but luck his way into a dominating position since he clearly knows zero about actual poker. Exhibit A:
Holding K-10 suited, I called his $550 bet along with two others. The flop? K-10-6. First guy called. Jeff came barreling in for another $1,200. Third guy folded
I had the best hand (nobody had trips, I could tell from the body language).
Ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha.
At the final table, no famous pros were left sitting.
Perhaps you can debate the fame of Alan Cunningham -- he has appeared in no movies with Matt Damon -- but he is one of the world's best players and certainly a pro.
Second, I needed to steal that $3,400 in the middle. Third, having played one big hand in two hours, everyone would know I meant business with an all-in wager. And fourth, with 20 grand in chips, Jeff George might be dumb enough to call me. Which he was. And you know what this nitwit had? [AK -ed]
This is the same hand with the top two pair and one super aggressive nut betting into you. You're not trying to steal the pot and you're not particularly worried about the one other player in the hand. And for God's sake, you got your stack in as a huge favorite. That, at least in my world, constitutes skill.
You know that guy online who gets sucked out on by some donkey and fills the chatbox with "OMG LOL U SUX FISH"? Yeah. Probably Bill Simmons.
Score one for unsubstantiated Internet rumors... and one for actual reporting, too. Intrepid Marc Snyder of the Free Press went straight to Boren and Kolo's parents to get the scoop on their situations. Boren's injury is not as bad as initially speculated:
"Basically he did sprain his ankle -- it's the same as a sprained ankle," Mike Boren, who played football at U-M from 1980-83, said Wednesday. "He's doing what he can do. I don't know how long he'll be out, but he did not break his ankle." ...
"He's not in a cast and he's not going to have surgery," Mike Boren said. "It could be three weeks, who knows? But it's nothing that serious."
Kolodziej's mother was less helpfully specific; this is the only reference to his situation:
His mother, Cindy, would not discuss her son's condition other than to say it might compromise his career.
So that's vague, but something of a confirmation. With rumors of another lineman getting dinged you might see redshirt freshman Mark Ortmann sooner rather than later.
Yes. College. We called it "man fun" when we lived in the house with the purple door on Geddes. Despite the thoughts knocking around in your puerile mind, O Reader, man fun was an innocent expression of childhood glee via the medium of unprovoked amateur wrestling, albeit one that often had dire consequences for knees, elbows, and -- in one memorable incident -- walls. Man fun was unpredictable and could be spurred by almost nothing. It was dangerous enough when average-sized people were participating, but this is on another level. Folks, watch out for seismic disturbances in town. Terrance Taylor and Jason Kates are having man fun:
Terrance Taylor's Michigan football initiation came in the middle of a living room last summer.
He was low to the ground and really got worked up.
But this wasn't a secret hazing - it was senior Gabe Watson trying to take down the high school state heavyweight wrestling champ.
Now that Taylor is a sophomore defensive lineman, he's extending the tradition and dishing out the punishment.
"Me and Jason Kates have played a little bit," Taylor said.
Talk about taking on all comers. Taylor is getting his weight down and said he's about 300 and dropping. Kates, a freshman defensive lineman, looks every bit of his listed 325 pounds.
"It just happened," Kates said. "We were hanging out, playing NCAA `07 when I was up here earlier and we were hanging all around, the defensive line. ... It happened a couple times. I'm going to get him before it's all said and done."
So far, Taylor has not lost the wrestling matches, just like his senior year at Muskegon when he was 24-0 on the mat and his team was 14-0 on the football field.
More Avant, this one from the Eagles' official site. Much is adone about the 4.8 40 that dropped Avant to the third round. Wide receivers coach Erik Campbell tells you how he really feels:
"If he was a 4.4 guy, he would have been the first receiver taken in draft," said Michigan receivers coach Erik Campbell in a matter-of-fact tone like he's telling you the sky is blue or Texas is large.
David Baas is also doing well according to John Clayton's latest:
With the announcement this past weekend that center Jeremy Newberry is out for the season awaiting microfracture surgery, the 49ers look brilliant with the selection of Baas. He will be the starting guard while Eric Heitmann gets the nod at center. Baas already has become one of the best on the line in San Francisco.
Jed Ortmeyer is not doing well. He has a blood clot in his lungs ("pulmonary embolism" for those who like doctor lingo) and may miss a large chunk of time if he decides to go on blood thinners. I still owe Jed some portion of my soul; good luck.
In the beginning, there was college football as rap. Then college football as the Simpsons. Then college football as South Park. Now... the SEC West as fancy paintings. With book larnin'. I'm shocked that something from the oeuvre of Daniel Moore wasn't the 'Bama pick.
Etc.: IBFC has compiled all upcoming Michigan appearances on Classic; Pickin' on the Big Ten is BACK, baby; The MZone finds something affiliated with Ohio State that may be more humiliating than library masturbation; Maize N Brew turns the negative recruiting on Notre Dame (projected to be most effective: "Tom Lemming and Mel Kiper get keys to your rooms. It's part of the deal."); RBUAS breaks down the offseason weight changes, includes standard amounts of Gittleson-bashing.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Cal returns a plethora of talent on offense and the defense should be the best in the Pac-10. This pick is a wild guess, and I'm hesitant to pick a Pac-10 first overall, but the chief weakness on offense appears to be at QB, a position that Jeff Tedford seems to be able to coach pretty well. Ask me again who the best team is after about four games.
I dunno about that defense. They didn't exactly stop any of the good offenses they opposed, and by "didn't exactly stop any" I mean "were massacred by all."
Fallers: Next poll.
Risers: Next poll.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: It's just preseason, so we'll let wacky expectations stand. I could point out my ballot... I've got Iowa #2! I suck!
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
USC repeats as preseason standard deviation champion, though their margin this year is significantly lower than it was last year when the Trojans got all but one first place vote.
On the other side of the ledger, an unsurprising list of teams no one can figure out:
- Oklahoma: no Bomar.
- Cal: Bad QB or Tedford magic?
- WVU: fluke?
- PSU: Good this year or death by graduating senior? (Also: PSU bloggers going buckwild did not help.)
- Tennessee: good Lord, Phil Fulmer is fat, isn't he?
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is Tulane blogger Frank McGrath, apparently the last person on earth with faith in the state of Florida. He ranks the Florida-Miami-FSU triumverate extremely high (3-6-7, respectively), but that's only the tip of the iceberg. I wonder if the placements of LSU (20) and Michigan (24) have something to do with McGrath's split Tulane(NR)-Notre Dame(1) fandom. Other sources of BOLD: Tennesee and Georgia in the top ten; Penn State and VaTech 12 and 13; Louisville unranked. Let's try to keep the writhing hatred somewhat better cloaked, kids!
Mr. Numb Existence is Tennessee blogger View From Rocky Top. No doubt last year's loss to Vanderbilt was well worth it now tht VFRT has demonstrated his ability to predict the actions of a mass of football bloggers.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award for oustanding bias in the name of making the poll look silly has several strong contenders, but none could best new SBNation GT blog Ramblin' Racket's LSD-inspired placement of Georgia Tech at #7. What part of "Chan Gailey always finishes 7-5" equals "#7"?
Two Penn State blogs feature in the irrational exuberance -- 50-Yard Lion ranks PSU #8, Black Shoe Diaries #13 -- as one might expect from the comments found on this very blog whenever things like four new offensive linemen, a new secondary, and Anthony Morelli's potential lead poisoning are brought up. Braves & Birds ranks Georgia #4 but has the decency to try to explain himself:
Why Georgia at #4? Because the defense has been consistently excellent under Mark Richt, because there are worse scenarios than picking between a 5th year senior and a ballyhooed freshman under center, and because the team ought to be able to run the ball well.
Sure, there are worse scenarios. But Tereshinski != Shockley in the realms of long-benched fifth year senior quarterbacks if Tereshinski's lone start last year is any indication.
Straight Bangin' Award for reducing expectations to reduce future pain goes to EDSBS for their reservations about Florida's offensive line and Chris Leak's tendency to squeal and duck when faced with incoming defensive linemen.
(This might be a good opportunity to find a name that doesn't sound like the world's worst Halloween candy and enter the Witness Protection Program.)
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive and Mr. Stubborn debut next week.