"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
A commitment, but not from that guy. Top 100 wide receiver Daryl Stonum
decides tonight around midnight Eastern; this commit is from Illinois quarterback John Wienke:
GoBlueWolverine just got of fthe phone with Tuscola, Ill. quarterback John Wienke (6-3, 210).
"I committed to Michigan late this morning!"
"I just felt the most comfortable there."
After camping at Michigan and then visiting, he said, "Everyone was just so nice to me there, I just couldn't see myself anywhere else."
Wienke's other finalists were Iowa and Illinois. Though it's a weak year for quarterbacks, he is an Elite 11 selection. Rivals rates him a three-star and the #17 QB in the country; Scout hasn't ranked him yet. Google engaged; will update with relevant information.
Update: I don't have anything truly informative, but there's plenty that's entertaining. UK was on Wienke early in the year, but once actual schools with actual football programs got involved the Wildcats understandably went out the window. The reaction:
1) Tuscola (Ill.) quarterback John Wienke got an offer from Michigan, Illinois and Iowa in the past three days, so any chance that UK can land him is thrown out the window. Wienke was supposed to go to UK's camp in a week or so, but that seems questionable now. Despite being the first to offer him and the fact UK is in the SEC has meant very little to the 6-foot-5, 215 pound gunslinger. [sic sic sic, jesus people, you have schools down there, don't you?]
I dunno, I just found the idea that a recruit would think to himself "I know Michigan is a national power, but at UK I could lose by multiple touchdowns to Florida and Tennessee... SOLD!" funny.
Wienke lead Tuscola to a 14-0 record and its first ever state championship in anything last year, throwing for nearly 3000 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions. In the final they faced heavily favored Aledo, #1 in their division. The result:
Tuscola's John Wienke threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns Friday afternoon to lead his team to a 35-20 victory over Aledo in the Class 1A state championship game at Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus.
Wienke was 20-32. Reviewers were all impressed:
To be honest, this was the first time I got a chance to see Tuscola play this season. Man alive, they were impressive. They had a distinct size advantage over Aledo, and used it to pop everything in a green jersey. At the same time, the Tuscola passing game had a day for the ages.
I say the passing game because â€” to me at least â€” it seemed like equal parts John Wienke and his receiving corps. Broc Winn turned a pair of 10-yard curls into long touchdown receptions. Wienke checked down to his fourth receiver to find Nick Hanke on the 80-yard touchdown pass that put the final nail in Aledo.
Was I ever impressed by Tuscola jr. QB John Wienke. Then I find out he is 6-4, 207 and I'm thinking this Class 1A kid is going to be a Division I prospect next season.
Hell, even the Illinois General Assembly was impressed:
2 WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3 Representatives are pleased to congratulate the Warriors of
4 Tuscola High School on winning the 2006 IHSA Class 1A Football
5 Championship; and
6 WHEREAS, At Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois, the
7 Warriors defeated Aledo High School in a 35-20 victory to claim
8 their school's first State title in any sport; and
9 WHEREAS, Tuscola quarterback John Wienke passed for 384
10 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead the team to this moment; and
11 WHEREAS, Through hard work and determination, the Warriors
12 pulled off a stunning victory, and fans of the team yelled
13 until some lost their voices, excited over this impressive
14 accomplishment; ...
11 RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
12 NINETY-FIFTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we
13 congratulate the Warriors of Tuscola High School on their first
14 State championship and look forward to many more.
Boilerplate congratulations, maybe, but the "some people even lost their voices" is endearingly weird. Additional endearing weirdness can be found in a general assembly resolution specifically praising the Weinke family that hilariously lists the many and varied athletic accomplishments of John, Judson, and Johanna Wienke before dryly noting that "proud siblings" Jenna and Jason exist but have no other distinguishing characteristics whatsoever. (The existence of these resolutions has caused a friend and former resident of the state to spend the last fifteen minutes on Google attempting to discover how much these people are paid so that she can declare it to be far too much. UPDATE: It turns out it's just gone from 57k to 63k; there is an appalled person next to me who is now looking up Illinois teacher salaries.)
Since he won a state championship with his school, Wienke was given the opportunity to answer "Griese or Grossman?" by the Sun-Times, the Bears being in something of a quarterback quandary at that point. Wienke chose... wisely:
1 John Wienke
Junior, Tuscola, Class 1A champion:
"Brian Griese is more consistent because he's been [in the league] longer, so Brian Griese is better to go with. He's more of a veteran and he's used to the big crowds and games. With Rex Grossman, I don't know if he's just not getting used to things."
Weinke's recruitment started a little slowly, as he got scholarship offers from a few non-BCS schools and Kentucky, a BCS school in name only. Then he attended the Colorado NIKE camp, winning MVP honors and picking up offers from Colorado, Iowa, and Purdue. A few weeks later he attended the Michigan camp, impressed, and got his offer. Of the camp quarterbacks, Wienke was the first choice. Offers are still pending to OK QB Nathan Stanley and MI QB Brendan Kay; now they'll only get them if Michigan decides to take another quarterback (a possibility).
Editorial Opinion: Wienke was on the upper end of reasonable expectations for a quarterback to come in in 1 A.M. (anno Mallettus). Though
the recruit sites don't seem high on him yet, he appears to be on the upswing with the Elite 11 invite and might end up a high three star. In a weak year for quarterbacks nationwide, a good pickup.
Fire Mark May provides.
Your Home Field Advantage
Give the more zealous portion of your fanbase a religion. What's this cult following? Feel free to give the splitters a derogatory nickname.
Zealotry runs low in the Michigan fanbase; it is both out of character in general and fairly difficult to maintain after five miseries in six against most hated rival forever. There are people who are hopeful but chastened and then there are the jaded. What zealotry exists seems mostly confined to kids who don't know better, those who have taken up their Zoltan worship with admirable fervor, and that crazy old guy who used to come to hockey games and shout "hey! hey! hey!" as if he was some sort of crazy elderly "that was a penalty" metronome. I miss that guy.
Your biggest rival is in town, and College Gameday is coming....to your citaaaaaaay... Create a blatant corporate sellout promotion to appeal to the mass unwashed.
I do not understand this question. Who am I appealing to? Gameday watchers? Fans approaching the stadium? Me (mass unwashed could refer to my hair)? If it's the latter, everyone would get tshirts reading "It wouldn't be that surprising if Jim Tressel turned out to be a child molester"; on the back they would say "I'm just sayin'", because when you say "I'm just sayin'" you can get away with anything.
Add one local delicacy to your stadium's concessions. Post-tax pricing is optional.
I don't actually buy concessions in-stadium, like, ever, but I believe that Spot's "wings" -- often less wing, more Tyrannosaur forearm -- already have outposts inside the stadium, though I think they restrict themselves to cheesesteaks and the like. So that obvious answer is out, leaving a really, really obvious answer: BTB, nee Big Ten Burrito until the athletic conference sued the pants off of the local cheese and rice and bean and optional meats in a tortilla of joy purveyor. It is still called Big Ten Burrito in our hearts, and if there was any justice they would be in the stadium as well. Ideally these would be as enormous and reasonably priced as the existing BTBs.
With an unlimited AD budget, add or subtract one thing to your school's gameday experience that has nothing to do with football.
This idea is good and free: unite the Maize Rage and hockey season ticket holders in the best student seats available on the condition that they import/invent a wide variety of entertaining cheers, chants, and profanity.
General NCAA questions
Coin a hilariously unrealistic stereotype that you would like to "make stick" for this upcoming season.
My world is full of hilariously realistic stereotypes: Ohio State fans all secretly want to drive monster trucks. Michigan State fans are all bitter about getting rejected from Michigan. Notre Dame fans could, with only a little prodding, end up building Charlie Weis a spaceship so he can fly them to salvation.
Oh, wait, I've got one: Michigan football always wins when it matters most.
Redesign your conference or independent schedule with reckless abandon. Be prepared to include compensation for jilted schools and conferences in your explanation.
In an ideal world I can explode twelve-team conferences entirely. Penn State, Virginia Tech and Boston College are hacked off their conferences and join the Big East. Four teams from the Big 12 and SEC grab TCU, a newly booted USF, and teams to be named later to form an eight-team conference. Everyone plays round-robin schedules; championship games go away. Oh, and no one can play I-AA schools and the NCAA actually enforces its attendance mandates -- paid attendance -- and boots 20-30 teams from I-A.
Following up on your new realignment, blow up the BCS and devise a national playoff system, money grabs and missed exams be damned. Using your new fantasy conferences is optional.
This exercise has been undertaken in this space earlier. The upshot: a six-team playoff with home games for higher-seeded teams with the final at the Rose Bowl. First two rounds take place in December. Bowl system remains intact otherwise. Six teams is the best balance between preserving the importance of the regular season, since there is still a compelling reason to finish one or two and acquire a bye, and opening up the field to a reasonable number of competitors. There are no autobids in my fantasy system, so conference realignment (and non-BCS complaining and the Notre Dame exception irritant) is a nonfactor.
Elect one public figure to replace NCAA president Myles Brand. Anyone with proper name recognition is eligible.
You don't even have to replace the second "C" on the wheel he uses as he steers the ship of state. Only half in jest. Obviously the NCAA does not need to murder 10 million people, but socialism would be better for everyone at this point. Unfettered capitalism in this instance leads to Michigan-Appalachian State.
Draymond Green to Michigan State, says the News:
Saginaw's Draymond Green, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound power forward with one year of high school remaining, is expected today to announce a verbal commitment to Michigan State.
Mixon stuff for real. Confirmation on the Mixon transfer from a real newspaper:
Kent State appears to be on the verge of landing University of Michigan transfer Cobrani Mixon to bolster the interior of its linebacking corps.
Several Internet reports are claiming the Cincinnati Colerain graduate, who redshirted for the Wolverines last season, has agreed to transfer to KSU. Those rumors appear to be true.
Good luck, Cobrani. You had interesting hair.
Gratuitous video. Biakubutuka goes for 313.
And Rivals decided to post video of an up and coming Michigan defensive end... um. Lamarr Woodley. Timely!
Blogs blogs blogs. Some of the Big Ten stragglers have picked up blogs of note:
- Indiana is now covered by The Hoosier Report.
- Paging Jim Something-something violates the first rule of naming your blog -- make it something other than a random collection of letters -- but also covers Minnesota.
- I think I've mentioned Hawkeye State but if so I am mentioning it again. Hawkeye State. Hawkeye State Hawkeye State Hawkeye State. Unless they lose to ISU, in which case I will call it Cyclone State.
Still AWOL are blogs for Illinois (understandable), as IlliniTalk hardly posts and usually doesn't put much more than a link or two up, Michigan State (also understandable, though it would be better if there was one blog everyone was really excited about that just got suckier and suckier until it disappeared three years later and was replaced with an even thrilling-er blog), Northwestern (come on... I've been to Evanston; there's no excuse not for some bored student to have a blog).
Oh no he di'in't. Speaking of PJS, they've been all over this minor internets brouhaha started with one endearing post from NDNation:
So I just moved into a new apartment, and it so happens that Tim Brewster, the new U of MN coach, lives in the same place. Last week there was a "meet and greet" for the coach, and he gave his spiel about how great things would be for the MN Gophers, how they were changing the program around, and how excited they were to be moving into a new stadium in '09. He repeatedly made the statement "we need to keep Minnesota players in Minnesota" and told the crowd if anybody was from Cretin-Derham, to spread that message. I went up to him afterwards and told him congrats and good luck, but that I was from ND and we might be recruiting the same Minnesota players.
In what I can only describe as bizarre, Brewster basically went off on me, saying how sick he was Notre Dame and our arrogance, pompous attitudes, and fear of playing Minnesota in their new stadium. When I told him it was the collective opinion of ND fans that it was our athletic director who wouldn't budge the schedule, he went off on Weis of all people, called him a "slob, a disgrace to Notre Dame, with his dirty mouth and appearance" or something similar. He said Notre Dame could never recruit another Minnesota player until Weis was under 350 pounds. This whole time I was kind of in awe that another D1 coach could be so tactless, especially around somebody who he had never met. I should have asked him if had a Notre Dame opt out clause in his contract, like Holtz. Oh well. But now I really wish we would play them in for their first game in the new stadium
Wheee for unsubstantiated probable-fantasy from the looniest place in all the tubes! Except someone actually asked Brewster if, when prompted about Notre Dame, he momentarily contracted Tourette's. The response, as you might expect:
The gist of this posting was e-mailed to Brewster and he was asked if this conversation had taken place. Brewster's response was:
"I may be a first-time head coach, but the info in that e-mail is ridiculous. Charlie is a good friend of mine. There is a good reason why I don't read the Internet."
(Doesn't read the internet? Move aside Amish, we have a new punching bag.) Not that he'd cop to it even if he had said the mean and nasty
and so so true things he is accused of saying. For MNIrish's part, he stands by his posting:
I'm not making it up! I was honestly just trying to joke with him as a conversation starter, knowing that coaches can't comment on specific players,but can talk about a school (ie Cretin-Derham). As a Minnesotan, the U of M is my second favorite program, and I have been impressed with Brewster from the start. I actually debated about whether to post my encounter, chalking it up to a bad day for the coach, but now for him to say Weis is a good friend? Unbelievable, from what I heard from his mouth. My feelings aren't hurt, I know a lot of people don't like Notre Dame, but we like Weis and don't think he is a disgrace by any means. And he doesn't deserve to be berated like that.
I'd be more inclined to believe him if the ludicrous, unflattering personal anecdote delivered against a member of the ND Nation enemies list (contents: everyone less enthralled with Notre Dame than Tom Lemming) was not a standard form of expression over there.
Indoctrinate. Indoctrinate. Beilein's running a first-ever Michigan basketball camp, as per his usual tactics; Eric Lacey has some information:
Went to Michigan basketball camp today and saw a lot of signs of offseason progress. The camp itself is taking off, attracting more than 230 in the first session and could get up to 300 for the second.
Plus several of the current players that are working it look in great shape including Jerret Smith, Anthony Wright and Ekpe Udoh. Wright has lost about 25 pounds due to extra cardio workouts immediately after playing pickup ball. Smith also looks slimmer and Udoh says he's gained nine pounds of muscle.
More at the Detroit News' blog, but hurry over in case someone posts something else and you have to scroll down the page. Which would be tragic.
Jim Carty now has a blog under the auspices of the Ann Arbor News and has an interview with Beilein up. Our new God-Emperor seems cautious about rasing expectations too much:
Q: Incoming freshmen guards Manny Harris and Kelvin Grady have received a ton of attention prior to even stepping on the court. What's your approach with them?
BEILEIN: I've watched a lot of their film. Those are the films I've watched quite a bit. Grady, he really seems like he has a high IQ. Kids who are quick as he is, you rarely expect their mind to catch up to their body quickness. But I was really impressed with the games I saw him in, how he had a good mix of making plays and knowing when to slow it down and run a team. I was really impressed with that.
Manny's not going to be 18 until October 29, so he's going to be one of the younger freshmen in the country. Everybody has to be careful of expecting too much from Manny. Let him just sort of go through the process and learn. I'm really impressed by what I saw, but I don't want to build on that any more.
K'Len Morris and Zack Gibson are really freshmen. K'Len's never played. We're going to have a lot of very, very young players.
Other brother Daryl. Texas wide receiver Daryl Stonum is announcing Sunday between Michigan, Florida, and USC. He has visited one of those schools, which is us. Should be a slam dunk. Someone sent me this; provided in celebration.
Etc.: Does the Big Ten have a wack, impossible-to-enforce new recruiting "rule"? (Personal opinion: no, and the Sporting News is full of le crap.)
Yeah, internet hijinks. Something in an hour or two.