Update 1/11: Removed OLs Mark Jackson and Doug Stroud (not being recruited), QB Rick Stanzi, RB CJ Spiller, DE Jason Adjepong(VT), CB Devin Ross, LB Mike Morgan, S Ian Conyers. Moved LA CB Jai Eugene to committed. Added SC DT Adam Patterson, who just visited. Also added LA RB William Griffin.
Linked to free Scout article on Thaddeus Gibson in which Gibson is very explicit about his intentions:
"I 'd say there's a 65-70% chance I'll commit to Ohio State over the other programs."
Mentally moving him to the "written off" bin. Also linked to Scout article on Brandon Minor. Minor is noncommittal in the article, though he does get off this totally awesome quote:
"Coach (Lloyd) Carr was here on Jan. 3, and Coach (Phil) Fuhlmer was here on Jan. 4," he said. "They both told me how much they wanted me and stuff. I know that Michigan got a commitment from another running back, but that doesn't mean anything to me, I'll go in and play wherever I go."
Editorial Opinion: Most of the casualties were guys who mentioned Michigan once or twice and then never again. Only Adjepong actually got in for a visit. The Eugene commit is obviously very good. Check last weekend's article for more details.
That leaves a few pieces of news: we're in it for a random SC DT, Adam Patterson, who visited and came away quite impressed; Thad Gibson is probably going to Ohio State; Brandon Minor has Michigan in his leading group and Allen Wallace can't spell "Fulmer."
The projected loss of Gibson is no big deal since Michigan has either three or four linebackers in this class already, though he may prove a thorn in the side down the road. First he'll have to get his grades up. Minor seems interested in Michigan and the above quote indicates he isn't looking at Carlos Brown as a major negative. Some think Minor would be a fullback in college, but Michigan's recruiting him at TB. Patterson--a DE/DT tweener, BTW--still has four more official visits to go but is definitely interested.
For a more complete take on Michigan's recruiting efforts to date, check out IBFC's latest opus. I would just add this: with the departures of Martin and Gutierrez, the most commonly kicked around number of scholarships is 18. It's likely that a few fifth-year seniors do not return, however, and Michigan could take as many as 21 players. Michigan has 15 commits. Simple math (coughLloydcough) indicates 3-6 additional players.
Link a heah.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Blogpoll Declares Victory! Um... yeah, Auburn is lower than Wisconsin. I love you guys.
Fallers: As expected, both Miami and Oregon got thumped heavily, Miami because they lost by 37 points and Oregon because they finished the season as unimpressively as any 10-2 team ever has. Also getting pounded was Auburn after they were run out of the (cough) Citrus Bowl by Brian Calhoun and Wisconson. Fellow top-ten losers Georgia and Notre Dame found a softer landing, dropping only 3 and 4 slots respectively.
Risers: Mass carnage in the top ten allowed several teams to slide up quite a ways, most notably Wisconsin. Their unexpected throttling of the aforementioned Tigers catapulted them from #17 to #10. Also shooting upwards: Sugar Bowl-shockers West Virginia and Miami-assistant-coach-murderers LSU, each gaining five slots. Towards the bottom, an 8-4 Oklahoma team parlayed a victory over Oregon into the #20 spot, largely because down there a lot of nose-holding took place.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: Come on, now, Boi From Troy. Y'all lost. It does the poll no credit to be the only one in existence with someone holding out for USC. Nor does your sanity seem, uh, sane when Florida State is #10. Not to be outdone, Pitt Sports Blather ranks the Tide #17, a full six spots worse than any other voter.
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.
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.
Go ahead, take a guess as to who Mr. Bold is. Yes, it's Boi From Troy. We've discussed TCU, Texas, and FSU already. Georgia at #17 is also a huge outlier and various smaller ones are dispersed throughout the ballot. It's okay, BFT: two national titles is still pretty good.
Oddly enough, our final Mr. Numb Existence is is RD Baker from Cheap Seats, who was a frequent visitor in the "Mr. Bold" category, winning it three times (I think). Newly staid and plaid-donning RD Baker, the BlogPoll salutes your for your ruthelessly efficient ballot! [/Big Ten Wonk]
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 belongs to Oklahoma blog The Gaylord Memorial Gathering for placing the Sooners #15... but given the mess in the middle of this year's poll that's not too insane.
Straight Bangin' Award candidates number exactly two in the post-season, as only two blogs got above the paltry -0.4 registered by any Michigan blogger who (justly) omitted his team from the final poll: Bruins Nation, your champion, and Mayor Kyle King. One wants Karl Dorrell fired... the other is above such petty things as overrating his own team. Salutes all around.
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 is a less notably insane version of The View From Rocky Top, who dropped his tremendous SEC fixation in favor of... well, a lot of stuff. You don't hit 172 on the swing scale without seriously revamping your ballot.
Mr. Stubborn goes to the aforementioned Pitt Sports Blather, who had West Virginia in front of Georgia even before all this crazy Sugar Bowl stuff happened... and reacted to that game by bumping WVU up two spots and Georgia... up one spot! Likewise, the (cough) Citrus Bowl saw both participants drop a single slot. I, uh... okay.
Aaaaand that's all folks. Except not really. I'll throw together some season averages for next week so we can have some fun badgering the outlying voters with evidence o
f their clear insanity. Thanks to all who participated by voting, writing roundtable responses, commenting, and reading. We'll wind down over the course of a few weeks, discuss what went wrong and what went right, and then start up again in the summer when the impending season can no longer be ignored.
Well, it ain't Maine... but it ain't all that good either. Michigan managed to spin its schedule around and cram the Vanderbilt Commodores in as the season opener. Sacrificial lamb Ball State has been moved back to the November 4th bye week. Vandy will not have that Cutler guy who beat Tennessee and scared the jean shorts off of Florida. They'll probably revert to their total doormat status after reaching the hallowed heights of Michigan State's annual 5-6 record, but at least they're a semi-credible I-A team. The Wolverine has further details.
Note: The final BlogPoll will be posted at noonish tomorrow. Get your bets in.
In other news, Ohio State stands for gooded edumuhcation and strict NCAA compliance. Recently dismissed Miami running backs coach Don Seldinger:
'The one thing that bothers me is the U stood for family and tradition and all the things that other colleges don't have,'' Soldinger said.
You knew this picture was coming. (Er... second bullet.)
Holy balls. What is Seldinger's family like? Is he part harpy? Has he gotten his double-digit Jerry Spring guest chip? Is the most delusional thing that has been uttered in the last ten years? Fifteen?
Also of note: Miami offensive line coach Art Kehoe got the boot despite approximately two million years of quality service. He's regarded as one of the best, and with current OL coach Andy Moeller a former linebacker and current LB coach Jim Herrmann, uh, looking around, we could finagle ourselves an opening... nah.
Unfathomable! Inconceivable! I guess if you live in Idaho many things aren't fathomed on a regular basis, like disliking potatoes and turf that doesn't burn your eyes and, like, electricity. Thus Gutierrez's decision to leave Michigan gets this sentence in the Idaho State Journal:
The thought of another year on the sidelines as Henne's backup was unfathomable.
Other than that instance of thesaurus overload, the rest of the article on Gutierrez's future is quite good. Peruse.
(HT: "Wolverines," the simply-titled MLive blog that replaced Gregg Henson's abomination.)
Good riddance, various NFL-bound future opponents! The list of people we won't have to deal with next year is fairly heartening:
- OSU has lost WR Santonio Holmes, CB Ashton Youboty, and S Donte Whitner, bringing their total count of returning defensive starters down to two. Despite graduating the finest assemblage of remarkably ugly, remarkably effective linebackers in all the land, I wouldn't expect that unit to be anything less than average next year, but the secondary is now looking questionable at best.
- Notre Dame TE Anthony Fasano has left early. No doubt Weis E. Coyote will construct a new tight end from the mighty sinews of his frontal buttocks.
- Laurence Maroney and his warp drive are gone, though Minnesota seems to have a never-ending supply of guys they can plug in who will grind out 1,500 yards and watch helplessly as their defense blows yet another season. Gary Russel is next in line, though he won't have the opportunity to run behind Setterstrom and Eslinger.
- Diminutive, evil, Michigan-smiting Brian Calhoun has not officially announced his departure but is widely expected to enter the draft. His replacement can't possibly be as good... right?
- Purdue isn't technically an opponent, but there is a slight chance that they could be a bothersome contender for the Big Ten title next year (hey, I said a slight chance). This chance has gotten even slimmer, as both trash-talking safety Bernard Pollard and prototype DE Ray Edwards have declared.
If you can't beat 'em, inflate their NFL prospects enough to make 'em jump to the league, I guess.
Say goodbye to your little friend? After last year's dismal defensive finish there was a small assortment of tentative rumors regarding Jim Herrmann's demise that amounted to nothing. This year the rumors have returned after a year of Barry Bonds' Totally Legal And Healthy Supplements. They're pissed off... and likely true. Herrmann is reportedly scouring the professional ranks for a face-saving job of any description whatsoever (maybe he can be Butt of Cato June's Jokes Guy for the Colts), as he is unlikely to have a post at Michigan much longer.
Zounds! Three or four years after most Michigan fans had mentally written Herrmann out of the Michigan will and he finally takes the pipe... probably. Replacing him? That's not clear at this point. Humor me for a moment when I say that poster "dwags" from the RCMB has proven in the past that he knows a Michigan insider of some description and gander at this misspelled beauty:
Anyway, English and Lafloer? What do you think of that combo?
(Might have to start calling him "Guy.") I realize this is not the most rock-hard evidence in the world, but others have offered up a comparable rumor; I think there's a good chance that one or both will come to fruition. Loeffler is clearly in line for bigger things sometime soon, either here or elsewhere, and is a key player in the recruitment of one Ryan Mallet. Michigan is probably plotting clever ways to get him more responsibility without thrusting a guy who still gets carded into the role of full-time offensive coordinator.
As for English, he arrived from Arizona State three years ago with a reputation for liking big corners and press coverage, so I think it's safe to say that last year's gameplan did not heavily feature his input. Certain insiders have muttered about English's frustration with the passivity employed by the Wolverines leading to his departure sooner rather than later--that would clearly change if he was the guy in charge of the passivity... er... defense.
English and Loeffler as Michigan's offensive and defensive coordinators would likely signal a wholesale change in the philosophy of the program. Long known primarily for his stodginess, Lloyd Carr would be sporting two charismatic coordinators, one of whom is ethnic, under 40. And we might see a cornerback within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. I suggest you cease praying for orphaned dolphins and switch to an English/Loeffler double bill.
Also saying goodbye is backup quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who is transferring to I-AA Idaho State so he can play. Good luck to Matt, who got a major beating from fate about a year and a half ago but handled with as much class and maturity as is possible. It wouldn't be surprising to see him back on the sidelines in some capacity sometime in the future.
Also also (probably) saying goodbye is greasy-armed malcontent Max Martin. No doubt this will prompt a storm of criticism from those who saw him as something other than Fumblor The Misplaced Linebacker, but um... trust me on this one: we're better off without his presence. Gird yourselves, women and bouncers of Tuscaloosa, for he is coming.
All aboard the I-AA train of total boredom. Michigan finds themselves in a tough spot since the NCAA has authorized a 12-game regular season schedule but no additional week to play it in. Thus if Michigan is to schedule that 12th game it has to be their Big Ten bye week, November 4th. Obviously, this isn't the easiest date to find a free I-A school that wouldn't demand a return engagement. As a result Michigan is likely to welcome someone like the Maine Black Bears for a ritual slaughter.
There is another option: decline to schedule a glorified scrimmage in the middle of November and forgo the five million dollars. Fat chance of that even though Lloyd Carr has publicly slammed the twelfth game, as that five million could be used to build another opulent palace in which to stash the ever-more-important
harem girls academic advisors that are the linchpin of modern day recruiting. It seems more and more apparent that collegiate sports needs its own version of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. Each BCS team has more than enough firepower to provide sexual congress to every recruit in the country hundreds of times over. It's time to stop the arms race.
|2||Southern Cal||...this is the exact order...|
|3||Penn State||...these somewhat controversial...|
|4||Ohio State||...top four teams were in before. Ha.|
|5||West Virginia||Uh... and I had WVU 13th.|
|6||LSU||Please make up your mind about the sucking.|
|7||Virginia Tech||At least next year will be mercifully devoid of Michael Vick and his chili cheese fries.|
|8||Wisconsin||My great hope for the BlogPoll is that a 10-3 Wisconsin team that played a very tough schedule and beat the tar out of a 9-3 Auburn team ends up, you know, in front of Auburn. Then, and only then, can the BlogPoll declare victory.|
|9||Alabama||It's good! Sort of!|
|10||Georgia||Kyle said it best when he bemoaned the fact that we won't be getting rid of this Big East autobid thanks to the Sugar Bowl.|
|13||Florida||Were handed the game by Iowa with a small assist from Conference USA. Still, 9-3, tough schedule, defense that tends to choke small children to death, etc.|
|14||TCU||Stupid SMU game.|
|15||Notre Dame||Fiesta was a few OSU turnovers from being a lot like that game against the other OSU (Oregon version) a few years back. In the end, ND's best result was a loss to USC. They beat one meh team in Michigan but showed that in reality not even a Super Genius like Weis E. Coyote can make his cornerbacks fast. Worse resume than any of the 9-3 teams ahead of them, thus the harsh assessement.|
|16||UCLA||Hard to believe they're 10-2.|
|17||Louisville||Oversight on first draft.|
|18||Boston College||Winning the Depression Bowl a tough trick for many teams.|
|19||Oklahoma||Not so much of a disaster after all.|
|20||Oregon||The Holiday Bowl: shutting up Pac-10 teams that whine about BCS at-large berths since 2004. And thank you for that.|
|22||Florida State||Wide everything!|
|24||Michigan||Best 7-5 team ever.|
|25||Iowa||Second best 7-5 team ever.|
Games I Saw: BCS bowls, Alamo fiasco, Iowa-UF, AU-UW, bits of VT-UL, and some other random stuff.
Help requested: Anything. There is a vast swath after about #8 where arguments are being heard.
Update: Bumped Oregon down and UCLA up (in front of Oklahoma), Added Louisville at #17, revamped the bottom of the poll to be more internally consistent: if I'm going to overrate Big Ten teams it may as well be the right ones. Thanks to commenter statprof for offering a strong argument in favor of the Cards.