this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Tom Harmon would be proud. In 1943, Tom Harmon's plane went down in a tropical storm over South America. Four days and fifty miles later, a half-dead Harmon stumbled into a clearing in French Guina, swearing eternal revenge against tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical depressions, cyclones, tsunamis, and those little swirling eddies you get on fall days. Anything that was wind moving in a vaguely circular direction was in for it.
Though Harmon pwned the Amazon, sired models, and singlehandedly defeated Tojo, he never defeated his nemesis. But you, the anonymous mass of Michigan internet people, did, raising over seven thousand dollars in three days, completely defeating severe weather events forever.
These are your just rewards:
I commend you. Some guy forwarded along his $500 confirmation letter to me and asked if that was worth an MGoWish: yes, it is. Anyone else with a similarly large heart can forward along their confirmation email and gently influence this blog's direction over the summer.
Michigan's total was
- over a third of the total amount,
- nearly three times that of runner-up Ohio State, and
- more than the next six teams combined.
Jesus. Orson's moral is "never get in a fundraising war with Michigan"; mine is "I really should be asking for more donations."
Excuse fatwa! Boiled Sports took the recent Weis yammering and dug up some more of Charlie's greatest hits. Of the listed, my favorite:
"What happened came as a surprise," Weis said. "But I'm not going to use it as an excuse and say our team was distracted."
No, clearly you're not going to say that. We've pointed this out before, but this is like saying, "Your sister's low-cut top and huge tits came as a surprise to me, but I'm not going to insult you and call her a whore."
Weis is inordinately fond of saying that he's not going to use this obviously valid thing he just said as an excuse. He just letting you know that despite the fact he's got an emu at quarterback and five narcoleptics on the offensive line, he's not using that as an excuse.
Ugh. Fanhouse post up on the percentage of BCS opponents each conference takes on, and guess what? The Big Ten is dead last at 29%. Seven of the thirteen games against BCS competition are versus Notre Dame (3), Syracuse (2), Iowa State, and Duke, teams that were a combined 9-39 last year. The entire slate of decent nonconference opposition:
- Missouri vs Illinois (neutral site game in St. Louis)
- Iowa @ Pitt
- MSU @ Cal
- OSU @ USC
- Oregon State @ PSU
- Oregon @ Purdue
It's probably not fair to completely dismiss the Notre Dame games since those are all long-standing rivalries scheduled with the idea Notre Dame won't be coming off the second-worst offensive performance of the millennium, but even if you count them that's nine games across eleven teams.
Minnesota, Northwestern, and Indiana didn't sign up anyone even slightly worthwhile, but Minnesota lost to North Dakota State and Northwestern to Duke so they had the choice between competitive games against Wofford or getting housed, I guess. Indiana is Indiana. Wisconsin, however, has no excuses for yet another nonconference schedule with zero BCS teams.
In a word: weak.
Landing places. There was a thread on Rivals asking where everyone from Carr's staff landed which was interesting enough to appropriate for use here:
- Ron English went from Michigan DC to Louisville DC.
- Vance Bedford went from secondary coach at Michigan to CBs coach at Florida.
- Steve Szabo went from Michigan LBs coach to DC at I-AA Colgate.
- Scot Loeffler went from Michigan QB coach to the Lions QB coach. (This would normally count as a step up, but it's the Lions.)
- Erik Campbell went from Michigan WR coach to Iowa WR coach.
- Fred Jackson is still at Michigan as the RBs coach.
All these folk landed on their feet. Even if Louisville and Iowa are steps down from Michigan, finding a comparable assistant position at a good BCS school a few months after you lose your job in a coaching changeover is tough. English and Campbell were amongst the top targets on the market. Bedford may have been, though his connection with Florida co-DC Greg Mattison helps. Lions jokes aside, Loeffler got a promotion and will probably be a college OC somewhere within five years. Szabo's an interesting case: is being DC at a I-AA program equal to being a position coach at Michigan? Probably not, but it's not far off and Colgate's pretty decent from appearances.
Uh, not so much.
- Andy Moeller went from OL coach at Michigan to assistant (to the) Ravens' OL coach.
- Mike Debord went from OC at Michigan to assistant (to the) Seahawks' OL coach.
- Steve Stripling appears to be unemployed.
Michigan guaranteed its coaches their 2008 salaries before the changeover, so it's possible Stripling is just waiting for the right opportunity or spending the year bathed in pudding or something.
Moeller and Debord, well... even Terry Malone got to be the Saints' tight ends coach, not assistant (to the) tight ends coach. Jim Herrmann is the Jets' linebackers coach. The only Michigan coach to meet a grislier fate was grad assistant Jim Boccher, who guided Michigan's special teams to devastating implosions against Oregon and Iowa in 2003 and immediately went into real estate or something.
All told, the landing spots roughly match up with fan opinion of the coaches, don't they? Debord and Moeller are poison, Loeffler is the best, the rest of the staff is solid but unspectacular with the possible exception of Ron English's untapped upside.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Brandon at Garnet and Black Attack must not read this blog, but I don't care, he can be Leibnitz:
PROPOSED: That college football fans support a six-team playoff format.
Why six teams? Because it maintains a good deal of the drama of the regular season. There would still be a lot on the line: Lose one game, and you might not get a first-week bye (see the bracket below). Lose two games, and you might not even make the tournament.
His BCS conference-champs only version will never fly -- not that my version would -- since the little guys and Notre Dame will block it, and I don't like it because sometimes it's clear two of the top six teams are in the same conference.
There were some protests lodged against the proposed system that I'll get to in whenever I do a mailbag, but I wanted to address this MOTSAG post:
Brian's MGoPlayoff system (which, btw, was
written right after OSU knocked UM out of contention for the 2006 title) is very typical of most playoff ideas, in that it doesn't require nor ask for any changes to the poll system to be made. They're largely just variations of the same flawed idea.
E. By committee. A dedicated team of people who do this year-round and are geographically distributed.
Polls are sucky, conflict-of-interest-laden things to determine a playoff field. The only way to do it is to get a half-dozen very serious people to pore over the records and statistics and opponent records and opponent's opponent's records and etc etc etc. I do appreciate MOTSAG's suggestion to actually use the Blogpoll to determine end-of-season things, except... wait. No I don't. People would kill me.
A friend is getting married in New York, so I will be out thataway the next few days. Should be a post per day, as there are a couple items mostly completed, but there's a small chance I'll be super busy or something. Just FYI.
I meant to link this earlier, but forgot. Other Michigan blogs have picked up the slack; let this be Kevin Newsome on the anchor leg.
Tornadoes just ripped up Oklahoma and Georgia, half of the Irrawaddy river delta's underwater, and Sichuan province just got rocked by a 7.9 earthquake. Pony up and make some primo deposits in the karma bank today.
If you learn anything from the totals, it's this: don't mess with Michigan in a fundraising war.
Team Donation Standings:
1. Michigan - $2,985.00
2. Ohio State - $2,305.00
3. Florida - $1,570.00
4. Texas - $480.00
5. Auburn - $355.00
6. Florida State - $350.00
7t. Case Western Reserve - $300.00
7t. Virginia - $300.00
8. Alabama - $230.00
9t. South Carolina - $200.00
9t. Georgia Tech - $200.00
9t. SMU - $200.00
10. Oklahoma - $185.00
Lurking: Tennessee, Nebraska, Va Tech, LSU, Notre Dame
At the moment it looks like this blog will be sporting Maize and Blue on Thursday, but that's not a done deal. Because you are ready to donate and support your school of course, here are the particulars:
2) Email the donation confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org and state your team affiliation by 8pm EDT on Wednesday, May 14th. BE SURE TO STATE WHETHER YOUR DONATION GOES FOR YOUR TEAM OR AGAINST ANOTHER. Either way it counts, but we want you to have some fun with it, too.
3) Results will be displayed at Every Day Should Be Saturday and Fanblogs throughout the week, with the final results shown by Thursday, May 15th.
4) The winning school will have its colors displayed at EDSBS and logo/mascot shown on every page at Fanblogs.
Mondo important reminder: ALL DONATIONS MUST BE IN TO FANBLOGS BY 8PM EDT (5PM PDT) TONIGHT.
Donate early, donate often, and remember to specify your team donation. We're at around $11K right now and expected to get a few thousand; getting to $20K would be beyond all but the wildest expectations.
One of the safest bets in the sports opinion world is to take whatever the NCAA has just done and call it stupid. The AP could run a story like so...
NCAA DOES SOMETHING OR OTHER
SOMEWHERE (AP) -- The NCAA has decided to do something. No details are available.
...and fifty bloggers would link to it. There would be a 50% chance of "NC$$" and "lol" in each post. And 90% of the time, they would be right.
This is the only explanation I can muster for what appears to be a universally negative reaction to the NCAA's newly toothy APR penalties, which knocked on the doors of hundreds of programs at dozens of schools in a wide variety of sports, just not at, like, USC. Except in basketball, where it did. A sampling:
[Orson at TSN.] The NCAA has its own No Child Left Behind Act, and it is called the Academic Progress Rate. It's the NCAA's own road to hell, paved with good intentions. It is on the way to thinning the ranks of Division I college football, and little but common sense seems to stand in the way of it happening.
[Salon's King Kaufman] Schools have always pushed their athletes into taking easy classes and avoiding challenging majors. The APR creates more incentive to push more of them that way. More kids graduating doesn't necessarily mean more kids are getting more education. But that's OK, the NCAA isn't about education. It's about profits from a multibillion-dollar entertainment industry with a mostly unpaid labor force.
[Wizard of Odds] Not exactly sure what Myles Brand has accomplished in his tenure as Grand Poobah of the NCAA outside of collecting a fat paycheck. He likely would point to his fraudulent Academic Progress Report, which was released Tuesday.
(That last is from the Wizard of Odds, who is excellent at digging up stories and was an awesome resource during last year's clock fiasco but is always outraged when given the slightest opportunity and usually wrong in the process of doing so. I have such a love-hate relationship with that site; you go from daily compendiums of interesting things to outrage factories like "the cheapest shot of the year.")
Orson's analogy to No Child Left Behind is inapt. NCLB, oddly, takes money from failing schools. The APR takes students, leaving behind a smaller corps of kids the Idahos (Idahoes? In your area codes?) of the world can fail. If this makes Dick Tomey complain about "class warfare" in the same article he says San Jose State had "no academic support to speak of," he can suck it up. What are the chances San Jose State would have an academic support program now if not for the looming threat of the APR? Zero. Small schools are complaining that they have to spend money educating students.
Both of the latter pieces attack the validity of the APR by speculating that it's the big money-flush schools that have the most incentive to bring in low-achieving students. Kaufman:
The more time you spend studying, the less you have for practicing or working out. The more road trips and tournaments and nationally televised midweek games you have, the less time you have to go to class. The more a school requires its athletes to be good students, the more good athletes it loses out on.
I really like King Kaufman -- most underrated sportswriter on the planet -- but he's wrong here. It's commonplace for academically at-risk recruits to fall to the Troy Trojans (We're From Troy!) or Akron or whatever. Bigger schools have the luxury of passing on some of the severe academic risks* and the guidance structures in place to keep their academic risks on path to a quasi-degree. Players with a potential NFL carrot at the end of the rainbow are also more likely to preserve their precious eligibility.
*(or oversigning by like six and taking the ones who hack it best. Whatever, we're the SEC! We do what we want!)
This annual report regularly punishes the smaller schools and rewards the larger institutions, which are able to prop up their so-called "student-athletes" with an endless supply of tutors, favorable professors and state-of-the-art academic centers.
Yes, that "favorable professors" link goes to what you think it does. Of course, favorable professors are all they have at Florida International -- that's why it's Florida International -- and Panther athletes still fail like whoah. Oh, and they're cheating. The slam on "state of the art academic centers" is weird, too: God forbid schools are forced to spend some of their filthy lucre on the students that actually rake it in.
Of course, the issue here is that many schools do not rake in filthy lucre, and instead blow millions of dollars attempting to keep up with the Space Joneses in a futile attempt to... what, exactly? Let everyone know that Florida has run out of real names for its universities? Remind folks of the existence of schools in north Texas? The NCAA, as of yet, has no real safeguards against the Florida Internationals of the world wasting their money and everyone's time with a foray into I-A that's destructive to their students, their opponents' fans, and Lamar Thomas' broadcasting career.
SMQB recently laid into the very existence of the program, and I co-sign wholeheartedly:
FIU is not the only bad team, nor the only team that falls short of its various extracurricular benchmarks; most of the SBC and a dozen or so other perennially feeble programs probably aren't worth the ink that sets them apart from the lower divisions. It is, for now, the worst on both fronts, and easily taken advantage of, like a sick, feeble herd that keeps on giving to the bigger, quicker predators in the bush. Is there any reason at all Florida International's continued existence in I-A does not constitute a diluting of the sport's gene pool and a waste of its time?
I would expand that to include the entire wretched Sun Belt outside of the aforementioned Troy Trojans (We're From Troy!) and two or three teams each in the MAC, WAC, and Mountain West that are, like Florida International, failing everywhere there is somewhere to fail.
Orson's dire threat above sounds like a positive to me. There is no reason D-I should be forced to suffer the presence of San Jose State or Florida International and if sustained bludgeoning from the APR forces them to drop down to a level more appropriate for their resources, more power to it. There is ample evidence very Saturday in September that I-A is 20 programs too fat.
There are real criticisms of the APR to be levied. They appear to be thus:
- This waiver business is arbitrary and ripe for exploitation. Bruce Feldman points out this article in the State that breaks down the 492 programs that fell short of the APR minimum but did not get dinged. 315 programs avoided penalties because they have no money or did better than their student body at large; 253 of these avoided penalties because no one left ineligible. But then there are the 6
6 programs, including those from Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana, South Florida, Oregon, and South Carolina, that got waivers because they promised to do better, ie: spend more. This can't be done by smaller programs and we should have little sympathy for the pleas of big schools that fall below the minimum. Oregon was at 921 with all of Phil Knight's money: dock them the two or three scholarships. And how the hell did Arizona (APR 902, worst in the BCS) get off this year after getting hit last year?
- The schools themselves set minimums for academic progress and the APR gives them a strong incentive to give students the most remedial classes they can find. End result: the numbers go up but the amount of education does not. The NCAA should institute an exit exam for revenue sports that tests basic reading comprehension and math skills and the like.
Misc.: Protesters have remarked that only two of 37 penalized programs were BCS schools as if the fate of Howard University has any relevance to the landed gentry. Your D-I offenders: *
- Big 12: Kansas
- Pac 10: Washington State
- MAC: Central Michigan, Akron, Temple, Toledo
- Sun Belt: Florida International, Florida Atlantic, North Texas
- WAC: Hawaii, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Idaho
- CUSA: UAB
- Mountain West: UNLV, San Diego State.
Sixteen offenders, two in the BCS, FWIW.
Get the Picture has a good take on the situation, as well.
Last year, MGoBlog had a highly successful contest to create a new banner for the site. Unfortunately, Baxter Allen's winning banner...
- the happy kitten forever blog,
Despite all this, we're going to have another contest, and if we lose to Utah we can blame the whole freshman-quarterback no-seniors-on-offense thing, mkay?
So: dust off your photoshop and whip up something killer. Mail it to email@example.com with the subject "banner"; in about two weeks I'll collect the candidates and put a poll on the site so readers can vote for their favorites.
The winner receives this fabulous prize package:
- An MGoShirt of their choosing.
- A copy of Hail To The Victors 2008 (2007 book link).
- A single MGoWish that can be redeemed for anything reasonable of the winner's choosing: a post that addresses a specific topic, increased coverage of something or another, or increased emphasis on a particular technical task.
Go, and capture the zeitgeist.
In the latest edition of "this ain't your father's Michigan football program," ESPN did their all-access thingy with a spring practice:
The segment goes downhill once Captain Platitude Kirk Herbstreit declares that Michigan is adopting an "us versus them" mentality, instead of, like, the "some of us versus them and the rest of us" adopted by Notre Dame last year.
(Via the Diag.)
Speaking of, nobody cares about Charlie Weis using H E double hockey sticks to describe where Michigan can go; we have heard the word deployed and, yes, do know that Bo basically said the same thing about ND. We're just laughing at Weis E Coyote preemptively mocking Michigan's "excuses" mere days after muttering about thugs and hooligans. Unlike Notre Dame fans, we do not think a not-for-public-consumption statement that expresses disdain for an institution via bad words is particularly noteworthy or horrible.
There is funny news about the basketball program. It is not bad news, nor indifferent news. It is an entirely new basketball-related sort of news. I think it is called "good"?
The NCAA has granted Arizona transfer Laval Lucas-Perry's appeal to be granted an extra year of eligibility, meaning the guard will be eligible to play three and a half seasons at Michigan
Lucas-Perry still has to sit out until the winter semester, but will be considered a freshman by the NCAA instead of a sophomore.
Hostybits. The baseball season is winding to its end, and the newly renovated Fish is likely going to see a heavy dose of postseason action. Michigan has won the Big Ten for the third straight year and will host the conference tournament, and with a few smaller schools who will not bid for regionals poised for #1 seeds, the general opinion is the committee will attempt to provide Michigan a regional. Baseball America:
San Diego and Coastal Carolina look like strong contenders to earn No. 1 seeds for the second straight year, but neither team is likely to submit a bid to host a regional as they did a year ago. USD coach Rich Hill said San Diego State's Tony Gwynn Stadium played like a neutral site a year ago, rather than a home environment, so the Toreros don't plan to bid again. And the Myrtle Beach Pelicans have said their stadium is unlikely to be available again for Coastal, meaning the Chanticleers would have to bring in temporary seating to Charles L. Watson Stadiumâ€”a scenario that also seems unlikely. So USD gets shipped to Michigan as the top seed, and Coastal is the No. 1 seed at East Carolina, which is 10th in the RPI and would give Conference USA a second host.
Michigan is a #2 seed in San Diego's regional; #3 LSU and #4 Wright State are the other teams. Michigan, by the way, is the only Big Ten team in the field.
This could be a significant advantage for Michigan going forward. With the fancy new stadium and college baseball's desire to have hosts in the midwest more often than not, Michigan is in line to host more than their fair share of regionals.
History! I haven't actually embedded a WolverineHistorian video in a while:
West Virginia newspaper columnists are awesome. This contretemps about the #1 jersey and Braylon being ticked is highly likely to be resolved satisfactorily in the near future, but don't tell that to West Virginians:
For a sports writer in this neck of the woods, Rich Rodriguez has become the gift that keeps on giving.
This is the slow time of the year around here, finals week, graduation, a time when a sports columnist has to wrack his brain â€” or what's left of it after dealing with the likes of Pacman Jones and Chris Henry â€” to come up with a story idea.
This is Bob Hertzel, and he is correct to warn the reader that he is brain dead.
The No. 1 uniform meant a lot to Edwards. It has belonged exclusively to a wide receiver since 1979, dating back to Chris Carter.
There's something wrong with this sentence: his name is "Cris Carter." Oh, and uh... here's a photo of Wolverine legend Cris Carter in his precious #1 jersey:
Little known fact: in 1979, Michigan and Ohio State were sent the wrong jerseys. With the nation at war with Cuba, all horses were diverted to Teddy Roosevelt's unit so they could be heroically and futilely shot. The two rivals had no choice but to don the other's silks.
Also, one equaled two for a brief period in the fall.
Please. You'd think Penn State fans' righteous indignation about Rich Rodriguez's recruiting would be severely blunted by the fact that PSU just yoinked Maryland cornerback Darrell Givens out from underneath Ohio State's nose. Not so much. Black Shoe Diaries:
I'm sure that certain people who swear there is no gentleman's agreement between Big Ten coaches will claim that we just violated it. Whatever. It's pretty obvious since Rodriguez joined the conference that anything goes, so when in Rome...
Weak, man. A little rhetorical flourish to preemptively dismiss the obvious: there never was any "gentleman's agreement" and Penn State fans are full of crap. Yeah, "anything goes" since Rodriguez showed up, which is why the very post BSD linked has no fewer than four examples of intraconference poaching the year before Rodriguez showed up.
Give it up, guys. This, like JayPa's efforts to recruit skill position players, is getting pathetic.