FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
...you're about to be really pissed off about large swaths of the content on this blog, because the World Cup starts on Friday and hooooo boy there is going to be some soccer postin'. Michigan news will be relayed as appropriate as well, of course, but prepare for World Cup stuff.
The latest piece of evidence that the Internet is a wonderful thing came about from my perusal of a NYT article on Barca wizard Ronaldinho. Therein I found this passage:
Ronaldinho received the ball in the center of midfield, 15 yards from the Chelsea penalty area. Around him were four Chelsea defenders. Ronaldinho left one of them for dead and avoided two more. The fourth, the last man standing between him and glory, was John Terry. Ronaldinho's response was to do what he does better than anybody else: the unthinkable. Having mesmerized the Chelsea ranks with the speed of his feet and the swerve of his dancing hips, he met brute force with brute force â€” and won. He shouldered the English Goliath â€” perfectly fairly â€” to the ground. And it was from this abject vantage that London's finest looked on, a picture of defeat, as the samba-loving Brazilian whipped the ball low and true, past the Chelsea goalkeeper and into the net.
Naturally, I wanted to see this thing for myself. A quick "Ronaldinho Chelsea" search later on YouTube and I have the thing in Spanish, French, English, something I don't recognize, the form of a fake Mastercard ad backed by the Decemberists, and Arabic... oh, Arabic:
When I heard the Arabic equivalent for "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAL," I quite literally burst from my seat and ran into the next room, propelled by mad laughter. The score is now Internet 1,220,450, Cotton Gin 0.
...then why don't you have a game tonight?
6/2/2006 - Pistons 78-95 Heat - Gone Fishin'
I live by a few simple guidelines. One: never be nice to people who don't deserve it. Two: buy anything on sale at the grocery store. Three: basketball brings woe. It is a vicious thing to care about. There's nothing so maddening as watching two teams take shots of seemingly identical quality and having all of the wrong ones go in, especially when you are an engineery type who can barely restrain yourself from screaming to the world at large that you understand there is no law of averages but there could be a first-born son involved if someone could maybe impose one for, say, the next hour or so in a specific place with a lot of Cubans and tools in white t-shirts.
But that's not why the Pistons will find themselves photoshopped onto some sportfishing boat or another next to a surprised Charles Barkley tonight, damned by their own hands and the tortously errant shots said hands launched. While game six seemed like a sort of cosmic middle finger, the Pistons were straight-up beat down in three other games of the series. That placed them squarely on a precipice where, say, the unpleasantly linked concepts of "Jason Williams" and "10 of 12" result in what will be a long, unpleasant offseason plunge.
No doubt the sort of person -- let's call him "Lew from Warren" -- who attributes all victories to some sort of triumph of the human spirit is feverishly calling into sports talk radio shows to decry the lack of same displayed by the Pistons over the past couple weeks, but as the sort of person who thinks Lew from Warren should be shot into space, I (unsuprisingly) disagree. The Pistons were defeated not because they were lax or cocky, but because they were badly outcoached and, as a result, outplayed. The human spirit can only take one so far when the offense is reduced to running the same ineffective screens time and again that have been scouted and largely defeated, when Ben Wallace's impact on the game comes mainly at the free throw line, when everyone not named Tayshaun Prince shoots like they need the bricks for a new garage.
In retrospect, the turning point in the East came when Pat Riley unceremoniously axed Stan van Gundy and brought the concentrated evil of his slicked-back hair back to NBA sidelines. Riley is an unpleasant, demanding man -- think of him in the mornings, greasing his hair with an evil glint in his eye, barking out orders to imaginary underlings, his eye subtly twitching as the consumed souls that power his earthly incarnation make futile bids for freedom -- who carved an imposing defensive team out of Wade, a decrepit 320 pound center, Jason Williams, Udonis Haslem, and Antoine Walker(!!!). Riley watched the tape, devised a plan, and obliterated the Piston offense. There was not much of a riposte from Saunders other than to look on grimly.
The Heat were a soft team when they struggled through the opening portion of the season, but Pat Riley is a hard man. The Pistons were a hard team under Carlisle and Brown, but Flip Saunders is a soft man. And thus goes a series.
More than a series was lost, however. At some point towards the end of the season, Ben Wallace went crazy. Maybe he can't stand Flip's offensive emphasis. Maybe he can't abide being treated like Michael Ruffin. Maybe he knows what I've feared all year: his skills are eroding, and quickly. I don't know what happened, but when Jason Maxiell made a crunch-time appearance sometime late in the season and it turned out it was because Wallace refused to go into the game things started to go awry. Wallace started bitching in the papers. He was outplayed by Sideshow Varejao against Cleveland. Even the devastating block against Shaq in game five only served to highlight how invisible he had been in games one through four.
Now he faces free agency, and one of two things will happen: he will get a cap-crippling offer from a very dumb team and take it, or he will not and he will resign. Option 1 will cause me to throw things at the television the first time I see Ben wearing anything other than a Detroit uniform. Option two will result in years of watching Ben decline. Trekkies have a term for this situation: Kobayashi Maru. It won't be the same without him, but it probably won't be the same with him either. And how am I supposed to deal with that?
Update 6/2: Linked to article on the four major D-I prospects at Warren Central in Indiana, including commit Jerimy Finch, and PittLive article on PA WR Toney Clemons. Removed PA H-back Steve Paskorz (ND); added OK OL Matt Romine, TN LB Chris Walker, CA RB Curtis Shaw. Linked to GBW article on Mallet.
Editorial Opinion: Stars have started coming down the pike from Rivals. Those who received the (somewhat) coveteted fifth star are being revealed in batches, as attempting to comprehend their beauty all at once would be a fatal endeavor. Of note thus far are QB commit Ryan Mallet, CB Ronald Johnson, and DT Joseph Barksdale.
Pittlive's article on Toney Clemons says that the internet says Clemons should go to Pitt, as he has much family there:
When word spread that track star Mycaiah Clemons was transferring from Virginia Tech to Pitt, it didn't take long for Internet message boards to do the mathematics.
That means Toney Clemons now has two sisters at Pitt (Mycah Clemons will be a senior) and puts the Panthers in the lead for the Valley stud receiver. Right?
(Yellow card for use of "stud" in reference to something other than horses or nails to article author Kevin Gorman.) Gorman than pulls a NSFMF:
As for his family influence, Clemons doesn't deny that he comes from a tight-knit family, but added that Michigan receiver Steve Breaston (Woodland Hills) is a cousin.
"People say 'Pitt' because of what my sisters are doing," Toney Clemons said. "But there's a lot of dudes who say, 'Get away.' They know location is not a factor to me and that I have friends and family all over the country."
FWIW, a tipster offers the, er, tip that certain Buckeye insiders believe Clemons to be a Michigan commit in all but name. That's somewhere between third and fifth hand, so take it as seriously as you want to, but Signs Are Good.
GBW has this tendency to write articles about West Coast recruits who are really really interested in Michigan and are then never mentioned again, but Curtis Shaw has an offer and plans to visit, so on the board he goes. Shaw doesn't seem attached to staying in California, either, with a list composed of Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, and Cal. Time will tell. Also: this is poor form for a man who presents wince-inducing typos to the world at large on a daily basis, but I have to highlight this glorious malapropism...
When the time comes that Shaw does begin to widdle down his list of schools, the back is still unsure of what criteria he will use in determining the right place for him.
...as one only gets so many opportunities in life to envision a prospective football commitment as a small, incotinent dog.
Steve Paskorz's Irish commit is shrug-worthy but presents an opportunity for sarcastic digs -- also known as "Brian's oxygen" -- so here we go. First, the South Bend Tribune's headline writer knows where is bread is buttered, turning a fairly innocuous commit article with this mention of Paskorz's existing offers...
"I accepted as soon as they offered," said the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Paskorz, who chose the Irish over Virginia, Michigan, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Iowa. "Everyone pretty much went crazy."
... into this headline:
OMG! Irish beat out Michigan for linebacker!!!!11!
Exclamation points and "OMG" mine. Also, Paskorz apparently doesn't watch any football past the high school level (which might explain his fascination with ND):
"We never really recorded my defensive stats because I always thought I was going to be a running back," Paskorz said.
Yes, this has been a Bangkok brothel of a paragraph: cheap and dirty but so, so satisfying. Hypothetically.
It's always bad news when an article starts like so...
It is no secret that Ryan Mallett has an absolute hammer of an arm.
(Hamster of an arm? Ham sandwich? I learn from a book. I am from Barcelona.) ... but it's too late to un-link it now. It's the same thing you've heard before: cannon/gun/artillery piece for an arm, well placed footballs winning the Battle of Britain, etc. "Knit picked" are his mobility and lack of supercool Billy Idol hair. &c.
Despite getting an offer from Michigan, Devon Torrence remains excluded from the happy hunting grounds on grounds of
library masturbation Buckeye fandom:
"It's no secret that I'm a Buckeye in my heart," Torrence said in a recent interview with Scout.com. "I really feel that Ohio kids should play for their state if given the chance. But if Ohio State does not offer me I have to seriously look at Michigan."
He also lists his two leaders as NC State and Arizona State. OSU likely knows the score with Torrence and wants to get him into camp so they can be really sure they want to offer, as when they do he'll commit the instant Tressel says "Escal--".
The board can be found in its entirety here.
5/31/06 - Pistons 91-78 Heat - Heat lead 3-2
Technical note: whenever I edited yesterday's liveblog it slapped a new post up, and since they all had identical timestamps they were in random order. Thus it appeared that updating stopped sometime in the second quarter. I've deleted all the duplicates, so if you would like to review my ravings -- these things always descend into slight madness -- they can be found a post down. Or just click here. The comments thread from the first is here, if you care to review it for some reason.
Courtesy Detroit Bad Boys.
That was more like it. There were passes and (some) open shots and (some) easy points off turnovers and defense and one spectacular moment when Ben Wallace impossibly obliterated what looked like a sure Shaq dunk, reminding the viewer why, exactly, the Palace is filled with whiteboys in afros and the only player in town with anywhere approaching his stature is Steve Yzerman, who's been playing in Detroit since packs of dinosaurs roamed Pangea.
Game five felt vastly different than the previous limp performances. Even though it was touch and go most of the way, this prone-to-night-terrors fan could not conceive of a loss in this situation after the Pistons settled in, grimly determined to take the series back to Miami. Along the way some enjoyment was had.
No doubt Pistons fans, myself included, wondered who kidnapped them and replaced them with slightly-functional android imposters after the first two games of the Cleveland series. The team shuddered and clattered about, intermittently resembling the regular-season juggernaut that stormed to the best record in the league but generally pissing away the advantages they had. I don't know the reasons for the Pistons' extended funk -- the statistic bandied about on the teevee was 3-6 in their last nine games -- but at least that thing they do when backed into a corner is still there.
If -- and I want to stress "if," as the chances the Pistons win the next two are certainly below 50 percent -- the Pistons manage to win this series, then no matter what happens in the Finals they'll have cemented their reputation as best Rasputins in the history of the NBA*. Shot, stabbed, drowned, maimed, assaulted with hamburgers, attacked by leering gangs of bicyclists, thrown from a balloon, shot across the Channel in a V2 rocket, beaten, locked in a room with Stephen A. Smith on speed, run over by extremely determined ant skateboarders, abducted, or stuffed into the overhead compartment on a flight to hell: it matters not. What yesterday seemed like an insurmountable challenge is now just one slightly improbable road win followed by game seven in the Palace. It could happen. Maybe. Probably not. But maybe.
As Terry Foster might say in his indelibly melodramatic fashion, hope flows through the veins of southeastern Michigan again. Now do it again, you bastards!
*(Probably. I would not describe my NBA knowledge as encyclopedic.)
8:00 PM. What was a delightful summer shower has passed, leaving behind a hellish, humid miasma that causes your skin to crawl. Fresh off probably embarrassing myself in a (soon to be released!) EDSBS podcast interview.
Lindsey says "we can't really worry about the offense," then tells Jim Gray that no one from the team is blaming the officials or each other. Jim Gray calls Lindsey a liar before throwing it back to the studio. I am confused as to the reasons for his continued employment. Gray, not Hunter.
8:07 PM. Stephen A. Smith starts talking.
8:07:01 PM. Mute button employed for first time tonight. Over/under on final count: 6.
8:09 PM. The Bulls now have the second pick in the draft? Plus their own? They have to have enough ammunition for Garnett + actual team. Wouldn't Minnesota do Chandler, Deng, and two picks? A team with Garnett, Nocioni, Hinrich, and Gordon starting is an instant contender even if James Jones is the fifth starter. Sigh. Two weeks ago Detroit was poised to dominate the East for two or three more years. Now people are talking about letting Wallace go and about how dumb the Darko trade was. I miss two weeks ago.
8:15 PM. Flip showed the players tape of the 2004 Red Sox. Bill Simmons, upon hearing that, took a quick, determined trip to the bathroom. Tip to come. Talking in the breaks.
8:17 PM. Ben Wallace used to win all tips. Now he wins none. Exchange of jumpers goes for Detroit... Hamiton quickly 0-4. I hate that crap where Wallace gets the ball in the post and doesn't even threaten to get better position.
OMG BEN FREE THROW!!! An exciting 6-5 match four minutes in. And now we're rotating and running off of it. Wade just blazed past Hamilton but Rasheed was there to challenge instead of observe a dunk. Tentative hurrah. And Wallace annihilates a Jason Williams shot, plus a five second violation. Is this... hope?
Rasheed caps an 8-0 run by going to the hoops, and the forces of eeevil call a timeout. I feel vigorous and capable of anything by proxy.
8:25 PM. Commercials don't count for mute over-under. If the Pistons continue to perform well the under will be achieved, as Hubie will be entertaining instead of anger-inducing. I need a replay of that Wade "block" so I can scream about it being a foul... none provided.
Haslem finally hits a jumper. Holy Jesus! Ben drives, draws foul #2 on Shaq and gets an and-one! Free throw is bricked but who cares? Not I, I say. Heat are picking up a lot of fouls because the Pistons are out-hustling them. Attacking immobile Shaq has paid dividends, since he can't get his ponderousness over to turn blocking calls into charges. Hunter check in with 4:35 left in the first... Offensive Disaster Watch Engage.
I forgot to mention: after I bitched about Wade's shooting percentage through three games, it went up.
Mourning is such an asshole, and that should be a technical foul -- to paraphrase Hubie, "you cannot put your hands on another player, but Alonzo Mourning is one of the great assholes we have in this league."
8:37 PM. Hunter steal + layup, which is +3 in UFR-speak.
And... wow, that's a bad call. Hunter Haslem with his forearm, all ball, and a foul is called. Hubie Brown, of course, lives in Hubie Brown's Alternate Reality where refs are always correct in all instances and disagrees, causing me to wish him pain. End of one with the Pistons playing like notcrap and being rewarded for it: 25-20. Tom Petty causes mute utilization #2. The VIP room at the Sands goes crazy!
End Of First: 25-20.
8:46 PM. I don't think I want to see a movie that makes Kill Bill look like Sesame Street, because that movie is full of acid.
8:48 PM. I hate the NBA caring. Do it, and don't tell me about it.
Shut up about the layups, Hubie. Hamilton has his first two in the second. "Best that we have in regards to streak shooting" from Hubie re: Hamilton, since Hubie is given a small electric shock whenever he says "shooting" without streak in front of it.
Antoine Walker turnover special leads to a three on one break that Hunter almost blows but for a timely Prince tip in.
The Heat have gotten an eight second violation simultaneous with calling a timeout... the refs adjust the shot clock to 17 (potentially fair given the timing), and the announcers blither about tenths of a second. Detroit continues to push after everything, getting layups like they're... well, Miami two nights ago. Another Miami TO with Detroit up nine. This is just like two weeks ago.
8:56 PM. Wade took a desperation three about five feet behind the line with Hunter in his grill and panicked about it going in. Billups is taking a lot of bad shots, and yes, Mike Brey, Hunter is playing well. He sits down and I have nothing to complain about. Good on yer!
Pistons TO after a Rasheed shot -- a good one -- just barely ticks off the front rim, leading to a fast break dunk for Wade. Still up five, though, and the shots that they're getting are obviously far superior than those of the last few games. Cautious optimism.
9:03 PM. Chuck Daly has looked that old since 1989. Maybe he's Dick Clark. Nice basket cut for Rip leads to a layup... these are frequent tonight and nearly non-existent previously. Miami cuts it to two, then two Ben plays: a dunk and then he draws Shaq's third on the defensive end. Ben is here tonight.
Prince is now on Wade, but he still scores. It LOOKS harder, okay?
2:55 left and the Pistons only lead by two. Bollocks.
9:11 PM. Foul on the Pistons that's obviously Rasheed's third but NBA Magic turns it into Billups' first. Our Greatest Asshole splits the pair.
And goddammit. I swear to God, that's a foul on Hamilton but it goes uncalled because it's Wade and a runout dunk results. Detroit is pissed and runs off four quick points. Then some other stuff happens... Wade gets his second and is yanked with 12 seconds let in the half, which brings me to a pet peeve of mine: why is it verboten to play Wade with 12 seconds left in the half but okay at the start of the third? Do you get spanked if you have a player with three fouls before the half?
As I say this, Chauncey drives to the lane for a layup and the half ends.
9:38 PM. Rasheed opens the half up with a hit jumper. Chauncey does draw a foul against Williams, which causes Brown to talk about Chauncey's confidence against him... but it's been mostly bad shots thus far.
Hubie gets muted after calling someone "active" for the 300th time... and then it's SERENITY NOW time for the refereeing, as Hamilton gets banged while shooting with no call and picks up a technical, and for some reason ESPN refuses to show us any of these replays. Thanks, ESPN. Feel like cutting in for some Barry Bonds at bats any time soon? At least they've cut out the rolling camera stuff.
AAAH! BEN DESTROYSHAQ!!!!! AAAH BEN WIN TIP!!!!
Ahh Chauncey falldown? That's not right.
9:47 PM. "From The Creator Of White Chicks": not something I'd put in my movie preview. Mine would go something like "From a man who had nothing to do with White Chicks or, for that matter, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigilo..."
9:51 PM. Wallace dunk and foul. Horrah. WadeJumper(TM). Not horrah. Defense, offense, bitching at the refs: we look like the Pistons. Wade flops like fishy, gets call. AARGH. Could we hit an open three? We've had about six. Antoine Walker shows his true chucker nature by hoisting a three on a two on one break, which he hits. Riley calls TO; Pistons by six; 3:52 left in the third. Refs smell like death.
9:58 PM. 0 for 9 from three, and the Pistons lead by six... that's why this feels like a blowout but is not. Our Greatest Asshole commits a loose-ball foul (uncalled), shoves a du
nk at the rim and picks up a foul (phantom), and splits a pair. NO HUNTER NO JACK THREE. YES PRINCE YOU JACK THREE. 24 for Prince. Funky.
Chauncey's shot a lot of junk tonight but he has nine assists and one turnover.
After three: 73-65. Further playing, like, good and stuff will result in a game six.
10:09 PM. I find Burt Reynolds whining about a finger in a beer somewhat dillusioning. Peyton Manning, sure, but Burt Reynolds is supposed to be a man, man.
10:11 PM. Hunter gets an assist by taking an 18-foot jumper that McDyess puts back in. PS: I hate Wade, in the same way mice hate cats. Three minutes gone in the fourth and the Piston lead is down to four: not an acceptable attrition rate.
10:15 PM. It's a special time: we've been making fun of the WNBA for ten years.
A 24 second violation followed immediately by Chauncey's imminent return. Shaq goes to the line and one of two: Pistons up three. Wit and decorum have left for the next eight minutes of game time. Yes. Dice from his spot on the baseline. Goddammit. Ben successfully challenged a shot... a great, great defensive play. Ref checks to see if the shot goes in. It doesn't. Then a foul call. Most irritating thing in sports. Ball don't lie: Wade misses both.
Ach. Tension! Stuart Scott is still talking about things! Why?
10:26 PM. Pistons come out of a timeout and run a disjointed set. Screen switching raises its head again... Hamilton misses an open jumper and Wade banks it in, the bastard. Hamilton blocked by Shaq, ball bounces to Prince... three! Zing! The b key on my keyboard is getting wonky! Just in case you see references to "en Wallace" or "asketall"! Talking with exclaimation points is fun! I need some whiskey!
10:33 PM. Awesome: in many fonts the words "BLURAY" and "BLURRY" are nigh indisinguishable. Fire someone in marketing! More exclamation points!
10:37 PM. Dammit, with 3:25 left just foul Shaq when he looks dangerous in the post. Dice pre-emptively comes in so hack-a-Ben cannot be employed. Yuck. Wallace's line: 3-11. Misses first free throw. Makes the second. Hubie gets muted (#4). Haslem nearly airball a jumper and there's a total joke of foul call on Wallace. Ball continues to agree with my assessments of the refereeing as Shaq misses both. Hubie helpfully suggests that you should rebound missed free throws. Chauncey to the line, which is a wonderful experience relative to the Wallaces: Rasheed is shooting like Ben and Ben is shooting like a man trapped under a Yugo. 2/2. Pistons up seven with 2 and 35.
Wade misses as Prince challenges at the last second: Hack-a-Dice, who knocks both down... and then? D-PICTURE OF FENCE. Up 11. 1:50. Walker chucks one. Missed. Still Miami ball. Why is useless-on-offense Payton still on the floor? 1:33 left, up eleven. Game six beckons.
10:44 PM. Five second call. Ballgame. Mute-button under achieved. Game six in two days. Please don't suck.
Programming note: TONIGHT ONLY, a liveblog of Pistons-Heat game five. DO NOT MISS a chance to see someone melt-down in semi-public (again)! MUST CLOSE TONIGHT.
An unsolicited but not unwelcome second offseason roundtable that I am waaaay late to can be found over at Burnt Orange Nation; answers to the questions posed can be found herein.
Which offseason story are you most tired of, and, on the flip side, interested in? (e.g. Reggie Bush's house, Jimmy Clausen, etc.)
I second everyone's Notre Dame fatigue. Buoyed by their almost-win against an almost-great team that fades considerably in the harsh light of things like that game against Fresno State and the Rose Bowl, Notre Dame has the right mix of hot oldness and hot newness to be thrust down the throats of ... er... nevermind. That sentence wasn't going anywhere my mother would approve. The point is: ND accomplished very little a year ago and does not deserve 10% of the tongue-bathing it's getting. Color me confused by the love for Brady Quinn -- what I saw when I watched ND was a spray passer who excelled against terrible defenses (and there were many of those) but confounded by anything with a pulse. The only thing keeping Michigan in the game last year was the fact that the only player on the field who looked worse than Henne was Quinn.
Let me not swing too far in the opposite direction: with Quinn's experience and a host of returning starters, Notre Dame should be in the lead pack of presumed NC contenders going into the most uncertain season in a decade or more. But can we stop pretending ND did much of anything last year?
The flipside: I love me some good scandal and relish the prospect of an apocalyptic swipe at the USC program that would suddenly give Michigan a victory in the '04 Rose Bowl. An implausible dream, but dreams are all we have left after that season.
Your head coach comes down with a mystery illness and has to step aside. You get to hand pick the replacement for the 2006 season. Who gets your vote?
Spurrier. Not only would Spurrier bring his frenetic offensive game, hilarious comments directed at opposing coaches, and visor, but he would probably cause noted anti-luxury-box crusader John Pollack's head to explode, Total Recall-style. I have nearly as much of a mancrush on Spurrier as the lads at EDSBS, and seeing phosphorus and water get together could be... wait for it... explosive. H!IKM*
*(Ha! I kill me!)
Lastly, we'll mix the football and the blogging together here. If you could have anyone switch allegiances and start covering your team, who you gonna pick?
This is actually a difficult question on pure quality grounds, as there are four or five bloggers out there who I count amongst my favorite writers period (If you have a blog and are reading this, yes, you are one of them. Hugz!). Perhaps we can narrow it down based on the specific needs of the Wolverine blogosphere.
- Ian from Sexy Results is out, since he has a near-doppleganger in Johnny from RBUAS, and that's a compliment to both.
- Stranko and Orson of EDSBS and House Rock Built are out, as Michigan bloggers already possess a blog full of hilarity in The MZone.
- Kyle King of Dawg Sports is out, as we would miss out on weeks of strangely entertaining intersectional sniping with Maize 'n' Brew about the proper place to put Northwestern in a totally fictional, totally implausibile total realignment of college football.
- Other Atlanta bloggers are out because Michigan already has one at Braves & Birds.
- Aaaand Syracuse's Matt Glaude (& co) are out, since Michigan already has a stat-obsessed engineery type prone to gibbering in the corner when things don't go his way.
Those blogs disposed of and many other blogs that cover their teams extremely well but would be largely redundant amidst the dozen or so Michi-blogs politely ruled out, there's one that stands out: Sunday Morning Quarterback. Matt Hinton, the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members -- or, as he endeavors to do, all of them. Keeping up with my Bloglines account is sometimes a daunting task. Sometimes getting through all the information coming into it is a bit of a chore, but even after four days off and a hellacious number of posts to catch up to, I found SMQB worth lingering over. He's the Big Ten Wonk of college football and should be given gifts.