Ron gone? Your hackier local media types (Pat Caputo and Drew Sharp, if you're wondering) have been promoting Ron English as Sparty's next head coach, causing all sorts of mild panic amongst the Internet fanbase. Personally, I gave little credence to the idea even when the LSJ picked it up and message board insiders rumbled about it: English is a lose-lose proposition for Michigan State. If he fails, he fails and the school looks ridiculous for hiring a guy with one year of experience as a coordinator. If he succeeds, he's going to get snapped up by Michigan or some other school as quick as you can say "Saban." As a young, dynamic recruiter Without any ties to Michigan State or the area, a better job offer would come quickly and be accepted. Sure, there's a Citrus bowl in there somewhere for you but the chances of a Ron English coaching tenure long enough to be called an "Era" are zero.
So this isn't much of a surprise, though you might want to look upon it with a skeptical eye, as I'm pretty sure Roger Brown is Cleveland's Rob Parker:
Look for Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to become the No. 1 candidate for Michigan State's head-coaching job when John L. Smith leaves after this season - provided that former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci, a Michigan native, turns down the MSU job. Grantham was a Michigan State assistant coach from 1996 to 1998.
Creepy quote from Bo on his recent hospital visit:
"When I was in the ambulance, I've got to admit, I wasn't so sure ... that I'd make it. I really wasn't," Schembechler told The Detroit News. "I was thinking, 'This thing is going to take me.' I snapped back out of that."
Of note: Bo's 77, the same age as Bobby Bowden and two years younger than Joe Paterno. His retirement could be featured on "I Love The 80s."
Projected line for OSU: -7? That was before this weekend's close calls, but there you go:
"My first thought would be Ohio State -8 or -8 Â½," says professional oddsmaker Keith Glantz. "But that would probably be a 'take' with the wise guys so maybe OSU -7 Â½ would be better. Make that -7 if wide receiver (Mario) Manningham returns 100 percent for the game."
If that seems high you're not alone:
"To me a 7 or 7 Â½ looks high, but it is consistent with what we have seen all season â€“ Michigan has generated more profits for us than any other Division I team, and the betting markets still do not realize how good they are," says Covers Expert David Malinsky. "A 'true' line based on the abilities of the teams, and not the public perceptions, would be around -4 or -4 Â½. I expect to see it in the -6 range at kickoff."
Etc.: Michgian Monday blows off last weekend entirely; the Indianapolis Star takes a look at the Big Ten's refusal to schedule games after Thanksgiving; What The Deuce looks at the NW game and summarizes the case against boredom.
Saw: WVU-UL; Michigan-Ball State (yow!); OSU-Illinois; Tenn-LSU; Texas-Okie State; Arkansas-South Carolina.
Uh... well, it's like this. Many people saw the UL-WVU game as cosmic proof that the Big East teams were terrible and utterly defense-free and said as much. Apparently none of these people vote in polls. IMO, that game was tennis where serve was broken once on West Virginia's disastrous backwards drive in the third quarter that ended with a shanked punt returned for an easy touchdown. Many of Louisville's yards came on wide-open post routes over the middle -- 'Eer linebackers are apparently prohibited from not biting viciously on even the most token of play fakes -- they could not even think about stopping Steve Slaton, and only a fluky spree of turnovers gave them the comfortable margin they maintained by holding serve against the aforementioned bitin' linebackers.
Are both these teams real good? Yes. Are they incredibly good? Well... maybe. I am less eager to punish WVU and elevate UL for a game that seemed virtually equal both in yardage and my head.
No doubt a controversial minority will elevate UL over Michigan because of the close game against Ball State, ignoring the other nine games both teams have played and, for that matter, the Ball State game itself, in which Michigan outgained BSU by 200 yards and was only threatened because of a dogged determination to rest the starters before the game was actually put away. Hell, while you're at elevating Louisville to heights undreamt, why not put them #1? After all, Illinois is just about as bad as Ball State and OSU was actually outgained by the Illini.
UL at #2 is movement for movement's sake.
Arkansas runs a high school offense, but I mean that in the nicest way possible. Somehow they've cobbled together a system that takes a non-functional quarterback and three completely insane athletes (Marcus Monk, Darren McFadden, and Felix Jones) and gets them running past stunned defenders via some strange formation and playcall alchemy that turns inevitably-doomed Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draws into actually surprising quarterback sweeps, counters, reverses, options, and the like. The overall effect is a low-rent system flooded with electricity in the form of impossibly fast guy and the hazy memory of a Division-C state championship game from long ago.
They still don't have a quarterback. But I'm sold anyway.
- Auburn! I'm tired of your close calls against mediocre opponents. I'm tired of your three-score loss to a team I had ranked below you. You're down five, and don't you forget it.
- I think I need to restore BC somewhere late.
I guess just for completeness... most people watching will probably be away from home.
Update: Briefish thoughts @ The Fanhouse. Obviously not thrilled but unless Sears and Stewart are our starting cornerbacks in two weeks I don't think it has much relevance to Ohio State. Michigan's big weakness under Carr has always been treating inferior teams like they're full of retarded Armenian six-year-olds instead of actual players, lip-service or no. Lifting the starters as early as Carr did was ridiculous.
But does that have any bearing on Armageddon? Not really. A suggestion, though: let's catch the damn passes Henne throws.
Note: Comment moderation has been enabled. I don't think it's any secret that the signal to noise ratio has gotten hideously low in recent weeks and this is an endeavor to change that. Anything I think is going to lead to noise will stew in limbo. Anything really angry is in that category, as is anything posted by Buckeyes that does not specifically strike my fancy as useful. I'm tired of being condescended to by people who couldn't spell their name in three tries. I'm tired of wading through a bunch of crap. So no more crap.
Upshot: if your comment doesn't appear right away it's being held. Things should get back to normal after the OSU game.
Ball State sucks.
Update: The Hoover Street Rag has a real preview, if you like. "Real" means "with content," in this case.
Tomorrow being senior day, MGoBlog presents haiku in commemoration of those graduating. You might want to get a box of kleenex for this. Make it two.
#3, P Ross Ryan
Once I thought you were
Kevin Grady but no more
As you hit harder
#4, CB Darnell Hood
Somebody dug up
Your modeling pictures
In brief: sex miner
#6, LB Prescott Burgess
We're all glad Clarett
Stole your girlfriend, no offense
Because you now kick ass
#9, S Anton Campbell
Hey: kickoff coverage
Is the noble art of speed
Applied to face masks
#15, WR Steve Breaston
A wind through the trees
Line-drive punt tumbling earthward
Who would need a seat?
(Addendum: BLOCK THE DAMN GUNNERS.)
#17, WR Carl Tabb
'03: Avant out,
Tabb in, converting third downs.
And you're still fast.
#19, S Willis Barringer
What's wrong with your hand?
I mean, I'm seriously:
It's always broken.
#24, RB Jerome Jackson
Many lives pass without
Plunging in overtime endzone
#26, RB Alijah Bradley
You're really, really
really, really, really, real-
-ly, really quite short.
#29, CB Leon Hall
Too bad re: Woodson
Otherwise "Best corner since?"
Would be a debate.
#35, TE Brian Thompson
Reach down, snatch the ball
Hidden cog in Braylonfest
So, yeah, thanks for that
#38, ST BJ Opong-Owusu
Hey, did you know this?
An entire line
#38, K Garrett Rivas
Well, compared to
The Brabbs/Neinberg/Finley year
You're more than all right
#40, FB Obi Oluigbo
When you're coming through
Linebackers should know better
And run far away
#45, LB David Harris
On one of these days
You are going to kill someone
I'm okay with that
#50, DE Jeremy Van Alstyne
You've got Barringer's
Hands in your knees, so it's hard
to play much football
#54, C Mark Bihl
I can't think about you
Without seeing a bloody
newborn cow. So... yeah.
#56, DE Lamarr Woodley
If you were to sack
A QB with eye lasers
Only mild surprise here
#61, LS Turner Booth
You're the long snapper
I've never thought about you
Therefore: good job, Booth
#72, OT Rueben Riley
Guard? Tackle? Neither?
Say both, focus on Riley
Does what Lloyd Carr needs
#76, OT Mike Kolodziej
Sorry about the
Whatever it was. So weird.
Enjoy life despite
#89, TE Tyler Ecker
Leaping grabs, missed blocks
You can't have everything
Heal that ankle soon
#91, DE Rondell Biggs
Biggs: the anti-Watson
Arrives: nothing; leaves: starter
By sheer force of will
Have any of your own? Fire away.
Since Last Update: Status quo. I guess we are more or less officially out with Barksdale. Rumors hold that Martez Wilson, an OMG shirtless DE, is parting ways with ND and we may have a shot.
Needs: Minor. Marques Slocum will finally join the team next year. Last year's class also included four -- now five -- defensive linemen: John Ferrara, Jason Kates, Adam Patterson, Greg Banks, and Brandon Graham. All but Patterson and Graham are redshirting.
Commitments: Depending on who you listen to, Whitehall's Ryan Van Bergen is either k-rad or merely meh. Rivals gives him three stars, but R-V-B finds himself in the Scout top 100 -- a wild difference of opinion. At 6'5" and 250 pounds going into his senior season, he could end up at either end or tackle.
Prospects: Joseph Barksdale still drops Michigan's name occasionally but the chances of him ending up here are zero. At last report, DT-desperate Notre Dame had "backed off of him," which is either face-saving bull or indication that Barksdale's considerable rep is... uh... Watsonian. Rolando Melancon once listed Michigan as his leader but has backed off that stance. He's from Louisiana, too, which means it'll be difficult to pull him from the south. Devon Still and Josh Brent, a four-star-ish end and tackle, respectively, both list Michigan but have Ohio State as their leader. It's unlikley we get either.
Then there's Wilson, long thought to be a Notre Dame lock. That's no longer the case, and he'll take a look at Michigan.
Projection: We get one guy, probably someone sleeper-ish who we haven't heard of yet.
Panic: Minor, though it would be nice to pick up another player or two.
Since Last Update: Manny Abreu committed to Rutgers.
Needs: Moderate. Michigan brought in four a year ago, but Brandon Graham showed up at 270 pounds and was instantly moved to the defensive line. Quintin Patilla, Cobrani Mixon, and Obi Ezeh are redshirting.
Prospects: Floridian Ronnie St. Fleur is listed as having high interest in Michigan by both sites and was featured in a recent Wolverine article titled "St. Fleur has one on top." Draw your own conclusions. He made a soft verbal to Minnesota in July, but then backed off. He's a middling recruit but has offers from Iowa-level schools now.
Other than that... uh... Lorenzo Edwards, a former teammate of freshman WR Greg Mathews, took an official visit earlier in the year and seemed to like it quite a bit. He's another one of the safety OLB/tweeners we're stockpiling like mad.
Projection: We pick up one or two. St. Fleur, I guess, and someone else from out of the blue.
Panic: Moderate. With Graham on the DL, our LB class from last year looks... speculative. Mixon was well-regarded but Patilla and Ezeh were sleepers. Our current LB corps shows that sometimes having blue-chippers is nice: Burgess and Crable were both heavily hyped. David Harris not so much, though.
Since Last Update: Status Quo.
Needs: Vast. No cornerbacks a year ago; Harrison, Richards, and Sears the year before that. None were can't miss prospects and only Harrison has established himself as a contributor to this defense.
Commitments: Sleeper and Michigan legacy Troy Woolfolk committed at camp. Californian Zion Babb says he's been recruited as a wide receiver but is open to a position switch, and switch positions he shall.
Prospects: Ron Johnson, Ron Johnson, Ron Johnson. Dionte Allen's decision to pursue academics at Florida State leaves Michigan in a bind. They need Johnson badly. They should get him, if reports are correct, but that's what they said about Allen.
Also being heavily pursued by Michigan is Michael Williams, a California quarterback who's been down to Michigan and Notre Dame since around March. He's coming in for a visit this weekend and will decide soon thereafter. Notre Dame seems more confident than Michigan at this point but it's around 50-50, IMO.
In the "speculative" area: rumors swirl around a Dionte Allen decommit but I wouldn't get your hopes up. #1 JUCO (yeah, JUCO) Woodny Turrene is listing us. Top-100 corner Donovan Warren, also from California, officially visited and is considering us but USC is probably the favorite. Three-star Cris Hill from Virginia has the offer list of a star and will visit after the season.
Projection: We get Johnson and someone else, hopefully Williams.
Panic: Moderate trending to minor if Johnson commits. We've got the two back-end guys we wanted for depth purposes but neither seems particularly likely to bust out and be a star. The last blue-chip corner recruit we got was either Hall or Marlin Jackson, depending on your definition of blue-chip. We need another.
Since Last Update: Status quo.
Needs: Moderate. Two safeties came in in the last class but there were none the year before that.
Commitments: Indianans Jerimy Finch and Artis Chambers were both early commitments. Finch is technically a "soft" verbal, but his latest visit is to Indiana. I don't think we have much to worry about. Chambers is a three-star-ish recruit who's been forced to play quarterback for his high school team this year but will be a safety on arrival. Finch is in the Scout top 50 but only the Rivals 250
Prospects: No one on the board who's got an offer.
Projection: It's likely Michigan is finished, but if they find themselves with a spare scholarship towards the end of the year they may take a shot at someone.
Panic: Minor. Depends on whether or not Finch and Mouton, both of whom have been mentioned as potential weakside linebackers, stay at safety. Presumably at least one of them will. Michigan should be fine at safety for the next few years. Freshman Stevie Brown has been a standout on kick coverage and will probably start seeing time in the secondary next year. Mouton's redshirting.
C+, same as earlier. Van Bergen and Finch are nice recruits but whiffing on Dionte Allen still stings. Our options on the DL and at LB are few and far between. At corner a large portion of our eggs are in the basket of Ron Johnson. If he commits like most expect him to, this class will be fine but uninspiring. If he doesn't we'll be playing with makeshift corners for at least a year or two and people will be muttering about Todd Howard and such.