gambling establishment etc
I caught up with Pickerington (OH) Central DE Taco Charlton, an OLB/DE on the 2013 ESPNU 150 Watch List who's already ranked as the #118 overall player in the junior class by 247Sports, over the phone last night. It's been a busy fall for Charlton, as Central made it all the way to last weekend's Division 1 state title game before falling to St. Ignatius, while Taco has picked up offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Syracuse, and UCLA as well as interest from several big-name schools. Here's the latest on Charlton's recruitment:
ACE: How are things going with your recruitment?
TACO: It's been going well. We just had our state championship game Saturday, so it's just been a long road from that, and then looking past that.
ACE: You mentioned being in the state title game—you guys had a big run at the end of the season. How did the season go for you?
TACO: It was good, I definitely had a chance to impact my team more than I did last year. I don't know my statistics right now, but in the next couple weeks we'll get our stats from the start of the season to the championship game. But it was a successful season—I'm just working on getting better, being more dominating in my senior year.
ACE: How do you feel you improved your game over the course of the season?
TACO: Each game I started to do more and more to help my team out and make more plays to help our team in games. So if there's anything I could improve, you know, rush moves, rushing the passer, getting off the ball, stuff like that—anything to help my team out to win games and get us to a championship game.
ACE: Were you playing more outside linebacker or defensive end during the season?
TACO: At the beginning of the season I was playing outside linebacker, then towards the end of the year I started playing more defensive end.
ACE: Where do you like playing more?
TACO: It really doesn't matter. Wherever I go, wherever they like me at, you know, I'm athletic, so I can play either one. When I look at the college I want to go to and wherever they'd like to put me at, I'll play.
ACE: Now, back to recruiting, I see you're on Twitter (@thekidTC33) posting a lot of Michigan stuff and a lot of Notre Dame stuff. Are those the two schools that are sticking out for you right now?
TACO: I haven't been able to declare any favorites yet, but those are definitely schools I have good relationships with and I talk to their coaches a lot. Now there are more offers coming in and I have more options but those are definitely the two schools I have a lot of contact with. But no favorites, yet.
ACE: Who are you talking to from Michigan? Which coaches and which recruits?
TACO: Coach Smith, Coach Montgomery—I talk to Coach Montgomery a lot, almost every week at least. I talk a lot to [2013 DL] Billy Price, he's from Austintown Fitch, and he's a Michigan recruit, he got offered. Also [2013 Columbus Bishop Hartley TE] Jake Matuska, he's a recruit but he hasn't been offered yet, but he's interested in the University of Michigan. Just those guys right now.
ACE: Did you get a chance to watch Michigan at all after the Notre Dame game, and if so, what did you think of them?
TACO: Yeah, I watched them a lot, you know, to see how their defense is. They had a really good defense. Coach Mattison, he's a real great coach, he coached at Florida when Urban Meyer was there and he coached the Ravens too. So he's a real good coach, it'd be wonderful just to get a chance to play for him, and I know he could definitely improve my game.
Right: One the fruits of this week's "Virginia Tech" googlestalking.
First there was the Rose. At this point let's not pretend like this wasn't a marketing ploy because the entire point of the Rose Bowl was to prove to skeptical Easterners that it really is sunny and 70 in January in Pasadena. But at some point the marketing went from "come see our lovely town" to how much can we annoy you. This is where I come in. I carry a keyboard.
When there were fewer bowls the funny names were okay, especially when they matched the local industry. The Citrus and Tangerine and Orange and Gator screamed Florida. The Peach was very Georgia. The Liberty Bowl at least began in Philly and had a logo of the Liberty Bell. The Refrigerator Bowl was in the Refrigerator Capital of the World—if you knew where that was you could place the bowl game.
With naming rights to bowls now going for less than Pryor made in extra benefits (oh snap!) it is time to revolt.
This should have been done before a company called Mine-hickey Care Bear or some such sullied one "hallowed" bowl with that name, let alone its second (map by Hinton):
Going with this week's theme of whining about things that will never happen, here's my plea to readers and bloggers alike for dealing with the billions of bad names and barnacle-like corporate monikers affixing themselves to your bowls.
Why care? Without getting into the mercenary finances of the bowls I don't care that companies buy naming rights. I care that they are very bad at it, and that this makes the bowlscape very unhelpful. It is not my intent to restrict or confine or dictate language. I'm just tired of having to Google where the Maaco Bowl is.
Just Add 'Bowl': Rose. Orange. Sugar. Fiesta. Cotton (no need to add "classic"). Liberty. Holiday. Alamo. Gator. Sun. Poinsettia. Oh they all have title sponsors who've tried to affix their names but you can pretty safely ignore them, especially since the sponsorships almost never last more than half a decade or so.
Fine with the Sponsor: Fight Hunger (leave out Kraft, it's an image wash anyway). Outback. Y'know what, "Hall of Fame" bowl in its day never really impressed me. On the other hand Outback Steakhouse did the sponsorship thing right by not adding the extra two syllables, allowing the bowl to evoke the Aussie desert instead of a restaurant that doesn't believe anything could be over-salted. I don't know what Tampa, FL, has to do with interior Australia but for some reason this doesn't bother me at all. Board? Hall of Fame or Outback for this one?
Never Change: Peach. Tangerine. Citrus. Copper. The chicken guys are insidious. Watch this logo progression (thanks Chris Creamer):
It ate the whole peach!
The Tangerine is now called the Champs Sports Bowl and was a zillion other things too but it's easy to remember as the Tangerine because it's still the other Orlando bowl after the Citrus. As for the Citrus itself, until such time as Capital One casts Michigan State in one of their marauding commercials, then has them sack a dorm while Kirk Cousins turns to the camera and says "what's in YOUR wallet?" this should always remain the Citrus. The Copper Bowl is the one that's now in Tempe and used to be in Tucson. It's been the "Insight" for a time but I can't stand .com names.*
What Was Wrong With the Old One? Pop quiz hot-shot: where was the Aloha Bowl (1982-'00)? Oh you guessed it. It was obvious. So why is it now the Hawai'i Bowl? By the way it was the Pineapple Bowl from '39 to '51, and the Poi Bowl from '35 to '38. Amazing that this bowl's predecessors go all the way back to when the BCS bowls were starting up.
Use the City: Virtually all of the rest of them. There is no way you should be responsible for remembering what bowl is currently the Franklin American Mortgage Company Bowl. Call it Music City or Nashville. The one in Mobile is Mobile. The one in Birmingham is Birmingham. Las Vegas. Detroit (or Motor City). Boise (you can call this one Potato if you like). New Orleans II. New Mexico. Tampa II (the one they're now calling Beef 'O' Babies or something, and is in St. Petersburg. So Tampa. Tampa II. Like the defense). Charlotte (the old Continental Ire, then Mein Kitty Carb Scare Bowl, now Belk). The "Armed Forces" and "Military" Bowls are currently battling it out to see which one can be the most Captain America:
…but until that is settled you are not going to remember which one is in Ft. Worth and which one is in D.C. So they're D.C. and Fort Worth ("Dallas III" gets confusing with the Cotton Bowl and Cotton II both in the tri-city area).
Special Cases: The "Pinstripe" Bowl can be that or the Bronx Bowl, or the one they're playing in Yankee Stadium. The bowl that's moved into the old Cotton Bowl is best referred to as Cotton II (not Ticketcity)
If you're in need of non-sullied bowl logos, the following is a collection of such created by bloggers (except the Rose: a Rose is a Rose).
* Unless you guys want to take up a fund to start the MGoBlog.com Bowl. But then we'd just call it the MGoBowl. Man who do we invite? I mean after Slippery Rock.
UPDATE: Handy Chart.
|They Call It||You Call It||Started||Location||Payout|
|Alamo Bowl||Alamo||1993||San Antonio, TX||$2,250,000|
|Armed Forces Bowl||Fort Worth||2003||University Park, TX||$750,000|
|BBVA Compass Bowl||Birmingham||2006||Birmingham, AL||$1,000,000|
|Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl||Tampa II||2008||St. Petersburg, FL||$1,000,000|
|Belk Bowl||Charlotte||2002||Charlotte, NC||$1,000,000|
|Capital One Bowl||Citrus||1946||Orlando, FL||$4,250,000|
|Champs Sports Bowl||Tangerine||1990||Orlando, FL||$2,125,000|
|Chick-fil-A Bowl||Peach||1968||Atlanta, GA||$3,350,000|
|Cotton Bowl Classic||Cotton||1936||Dallas (Arlington), TX||$6,750,000|
|Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Boise||1997||Boise, ID||$750,000|
|Fiesta Bowl||Fiesta||1971||Glendale, AZ||$18,000,000|
|Gator Bowl||Gator||1945||Jacksonville, FL||$2,500,000|
|GoDaddy.com Bowl||Mobile||1999||Mobile, AL||$750,000|
|Hawaiʻi Bowl||Hawai'i or Aloha||2002||Honolulu, HI||$750,000|
|Holiday Bowl||Holiday||1978||San Diego, CA||$1,000,000|
|Independence Bowl||Independence||1976||Shreveport, LA||$1,100,000|
|Insight Bowl||Copper||1989||Tempe, AZ||$1,200,000|
|Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl||San Fran or Fight Hunger||2002||San Francisco, CA||$825,000|
|Liberty Bowl||Liberty||1959||Memphis, TN||$1,350,000|
|Little Caesars Pizza Bowl||Detroit or Motor City||1997||Detroit, MI||$750,000|
|Maaco Bowl Las Vegas||Las Vegas||1992||Las Vegas, NV||$1,000,000|
|Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas||Houston||2006||Houston, TX||$1,700,000|
|Military Bowl||D.C.||2008||Washington, DC||$1,000,000|
|Music City Bowl||Music City or Nashville||1998||Nashville, TN||$1,700,000|
|New Mexico Bowl||New Mexico||2006||Albuquerque, NM||$750,000|
|New Orleans Bowl||New Orleans||2001||New Orleans, LA||$325,000|
|Orange Bowl||Orange||1934||Miami Gardens, FL||$18,000,000|
|Outback Bowl||Outback||1986||Tampa, FL||$3,400,000|
|Pinstripe Bowl||Bronx||2010||Bronx, NY||$2,000,000|
|Poinsettia Bowl||Poinsettia||2005||San Diego, CA||$750,000|
|Rose Bowl Game||Rose||1901||Pasadena, CA||$18,000,000|
|Sugar Bowl||Sugar||1934||New Orleans, LA||$18,000,000|
|Sun Bowl||Sun||1934||El Paso, TX||$1,900,000|
|TicketCity Bowl||Cotton II||2010||Dallas, TX||$1,200,000|
I'm just… all. Terrifying HSR photoshop:
Now you're going to have "Push It To The Limit" stuck in your head all day. Q: how did that gem escape Special K's playlist this year?
Staying with usually illegal things. Lines. They are out. The Wynn opened VT a 2.5 point favorite; my go-to-line aggregation site says Michigan actually opened –1.5. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot of wiggle: right now it's ranging a full three points from M –2 to VT –1. The Mathlete's numbers have Michigan a two-point favorite.
For all the Herbstreitian complaints about the matchup here at least it seems competitive. I'd ballpark a Michigan-Kansas State line around M -10. The Wildcats are 96th in total offense and 74th in total defense; 90th in sacks, 106th in TFLs, 111th in sacks allowed. They kind of suck hard. Massive TO margin saves them. Virginia Tech is a much better team.
Silver lining to the dumbest edition of the BCS yet: at least this year it isn't serving up two woofers like they usually do. Oregon is favored by just under a touchdown. The lines for WVU-Clemson and Stanford-Okie State are around three points, and the Sugar Bowl and Cox Communications's 2AM replay of last month's LSU-Alabama game are basically pick 'ems. No Georgia-Hawaii or Louisville-Anyone.
Oof. I bet you're tired of Sparty schadenfreude. Can't stand it anymore. You are in the wrong place, sir.
Via the board. Someone with access to the Detroit News's ad manager is getting reamed in a conference room right now.
BONUS: Michigan State's complaints are laughable in many ways.
One: they are not even eligible to be selected. This isn't Michigan getting in over MSU.
Two: it's not like MSU had a slam-dunk better season than Michigan even before the Big Ten title game. If all you focus on is head to head they did, but Michigan beat ND and Nebraska. MSU got hammered by both. The computers aren't thinking about butts in seats and they give Michigan almost a six-spot advantage over MSU. And they can't take MOV into account.
Three: they are playing the exact same team Michigan is. Georgia rode a soft schedule to a conference title game in which they were destroyed. They have a tough defense and an iffy offense. Their best offensive asset is a tailback. The only difference between VT and Georgia is Georgia's decision to schedule Boise State. The only difference between the Sugar and the Outback is a day on the calendar.
I'm just going to put this here. Kork Coupons:
"Michigan sat home tonight on the couch and watched us," the senior said shortly after the game's conclusion. "We played our hearts out — you saw it. I don't see how you get punished for playing and someone else gets to sit on the couch and get what they want. "If this is the way the system is, I guess it's a broken system."
Gary Danielson, devil. Braves and Birds on the SEC's chief propagandist:
In 2006, Danielson and the SEC on CBS team spent the fourth quarter of Florida’s win over Arkansas lobbying for the Gators to play for the national title over Michigan. Their argument was based on the fact that Florida had played a tougher schedule, which they demonstrated with a graphic comparing the teams that the Gators and Wolverines had beaten. Guess what metric CBS did not use yesterday? You guessed it, the one that favored the SEC team in 2006, but cut against the SEC team in 2011. … At times during the fourth quarter yesterday, I felt like I was at a mediation, watching one side make a PowerPoint presentation as to their strengths of their case and the weaknesses of mine.
… CBS apparently has the sports equivalent of Roger Ailes doing its SEC games and they think that no one remembers their convention speech in 2006.
How's "the spread is dead" working out for you, Danielson? Since he has no memory of the spread vs spread title game last year he probably thinks the answer is "really well!"
Gary Danielson, angel. Danielson advocated a playoff system nearly identical to the MGoPlayoff in the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship game. I don't care if he eats babies as long as he's spreading the gospel of a restricted-field playoff.
Heisman. In other hopelessly broken college football institutions, Feldman makes the RGIII for Heisman case, which can be stated thusly: Baylor and their 114th-ranked defense (yardage) beat OU and Texas in the same year. BAYLOR. BAAAAAAAYLORRRRRRRRRR. Feldman has Mathieu second, which I also agree with. Bruce Feldman for king of college football.
This week in "Drew Sharp should be fired." Another blah blah trolling column has this gem in it:
Drew Sharp thinks the Big 12 still has a championship game and that 9-3 Oklahoma has played 13 games.
Etc.: Carvin Johnson talks personal style. It's on the internet! Sugar Bowl's contract with OSU on scribd indicates that Michigan will probably be the away team since they are lower-ranked. Sugar wallpaper.
When UV bullets keep expanding you must post them as posts.
I hit up Crisler for the first time this season to take in Michigan's 76-66 win over Iowa State; it wasn't that close. Michigan led by 20 for a good chunk of the second half before getting sloppy and letting ISU whittle the lead down to 8 or so; I got frustrated. KenPom is always watching.
Anyway, items. First, Eric Upchurch's photoset. (Thanks to the Ann Arbor Observer.)
Photos are Creative Commons licensed.
If you want it large, there is a link that takes you there.
THJ Face Pantheon addition. This is an all-timer.
McLimans is pretty good, too.
Speaking of the Bird. McLimans and Akunne put up ten points in the midst of a game-opening run that took Michigan from down two to a comfortable lead and we were all like "WTF." Via UMHoop's five key plays:
McLimans came in with a rep as a big who could shoot threes but has struggled to do so; with no other discernible skills that means bench. Akunne spells Burke at "point guard," though when he's in the offense doesn't run through him. Doesn't really run through anyone. They're making shots, though, especially Akunne.
The downside of Akunne's time is that it means someone else is struggling. That would be Vogrich, who's started the year off one of ten from three. When shooters can't shoot they can't play.
Novak's addition. Novak's added a pump fake and step-in midrange jumper to his arsenal this year that he's knocking down with excellent consistency. He has some awesome shooting numbers thus far: 12 of 19 from two, 13 of 28 from three.
Not to be outdone. Jordan Morgan is 20 of 25 on the season. Hit up the Five Key Plays to see his 12 points in the second half and note that only one bucket was the undefended throwdowns that seemed to be most of his points last year. He hit a jumper from the elbow, had a couple of baby hooks in the lane, and seems like a guy who can maybe generate some of his own offense from the post.
We'll have to see if he can continue this against quality competition. I mentioned this before but he seems to be tracking like DeShawn Sims, where he can blow up crappy defensive teams (with a lot of help from the pick and roll) but doesn't have the height or athleticism to deal with guys like those at UVA. This is maybe not good news against MSU later this year—Adreian Payne is approaching the top 100 in block rate. OTOH, he did have an efficient 12 against Duke's diverse Plumlees.
Burke and Morris. Holdin' The Rope on the divergent point guards:
I miss Morris's ability to get into the lane at will using his size but Burke's outside shooting and distribution is getting to be just as fun to watch. He will surely hit a rough patch or two at some point this season, but he seems to have the perfect demeanor to weather those storms. While Morris thrived on a sort of expletive-based verve, Burke is a cool customer. Both work, but the latter is particularly surprising for a freshman. The minutes he has been logging thus far is somewhat worrisome, however. I guess I'd have to go back and see what kinds of minutes Morris was getting last year (I'd imagine they were similar if not higher), but you'd imagine that Morris's body would be more capable of handling a long season, including a TOUGH Big Ten schedule. I actually didn't realize this until looking at the box score just now but apparently he went 3/11 from three, which: a) is not good and b) only in a Beilein offense can you shoot 11 threes and be okay.
Burke was 3 of 4 at one point before finishing on an 0-for-7 skid, which does lend some credence to the idea that he might be losing his legs. Nick Baumgardner:
Entering Saturday's home game against Iowa State (noon, BTN), Burke is averaging 31.6 minutes per game, third-most on the team. However, in Michigan's last six games, its freshman point guard is averaging nearly 34 minutes.
The problem Beilein is faced with is simple: Outside of Burke, who is averaging 11 points and 4.1 assists this season, the Wolverines have no other true viable point guard option. …
"If we had a true other point guard, we wouldn't be concerned," Beilein said. "When he's on the floor, he's one of our best guys to just run our offense. But he does need to get two to three minutes of rest every half. At least that's our plan."
Or it might mean nothing. We're early enough in the season that sample sizes are laughable. Burke went from a 42% three point shooter to 31% in those seven shots. Ask again later.
Q: where does the backup point come from? Next year's recruiting class is a post and a couple of 6'6" guys. Akunne is never going to get penetration; Michigan really needs Carlton Brundidge to develop into a viable option over the next year or so.
The truly important thing. Our long local annoyance is over: no longer does Crisler have "souvenir" and "large" options for soft drinks in which "large" is the smaller size. "Large" is now "regular" and I don't have to tell the teenager behind the counter that when I say large I want the large one, not the small one, who's on first. VICTORY
Half of the new Crisler. It is a massive improvement and I'm happy to report that rumors the seats were reminiscent of flying coach turns out not to be true. Room was sufficient. The place looks a lot better, which is step one. Step two is not being able to look around and think "the empty seats do look a lot better."
This week in terrible fan-spurning ideas. Crisler is going to be re-seated next year based on priority points. Are you really going to tell the guy in the third row who's been buying tickets for a decade that because he hasn't coughed up enough dough he gets booted to crappier seats?
This is man who has endured. He deserves our respect and admiration. Instead Dave Brandon puts his hand out. His drive to undermine fan loyalty is relentless.
Why always the terrible teams? I'm looking at the schedule. Michigan's small conference opponents by Kenpom rank: #117 Oakland, #217 Bradley, #289 WIU, #316 Arkansas Pine Bluff, #327 Alabama A&M, #331 Towson.
I know they're going to fill their schedule with some creampuffs but I wonder what the impact of having so many awful opponents has on the RPI. Towson is 0-7 and projected to go 3-27. Alabama A&M just lost to South Alabama but 23; they're in the SWAC and should go 9-9 in conference because the best team in the league is ranked #292. I'd rather see more Bradleys and Oaklands on the schedule, for both entertainment and RPI-jiggering purposes.
The conference championships are completed and it's not that one year Vince Young played USC, so the BCS's answer is a stupid one. Yes. Yes, it is that time again.
this "On Notice" board from 2006 is remarkably apropos today save for the hatred directed at random SEC mediocrities who failed to beat Florida
If the BCS hadn't popped out of its mother in midair above a dorsal fin, this would be the moment when it jumped the shark. Since it did we have to invent a new term for a terrible thing everyone hates reaching maximum troll. The BCS just Clay Travised all over us.
Anyway, every year at this time I pull out the MGoPlayoff proposal. I don't do this in any real hope it will make a difference, since anyone who could assemble our current system will botch a playoff just as badly. I don't really know why I do it. Maybe it makes me feel better—yes, there is a hypothetical version of college football that makes a goddamn lick of sense.
CREATE A SINGLE TEAM WITH THE DEFINITIVELY BEST RESUME. College football is unique amongst sports in that the national title is essentially decided by eyeballing it. The only thing the BCS changed was to take the one team people used to eyeball and turn it into two. Hinton:
What we should be asking instead is, why does college football and college football alone insist on wedging itself into this ridiculous corner year after year? When did we concede to leave the results of a sport to a cacophonous, ill-informed debating society? How have we convinced ourselves that dragging statistics and resumés and eyeball tests to the podium — along with preconceived biases that trump them all — can possibly deliver a satisfying answer?
Obviously, it can't. Any answer to an unanswerable question is the wrong answer.
Literally every observer who has ever laid eyes on the Bowl Championship Series has mocked it as an absurd anachronism, and continues to mock it to this day. Rightly so. Every sane observer within the sport has mocked it as an absurd anachronism. Seriously: Voting on the better football team? Are we still doing this? We're really going to do it again? Deferring to polls and algorithms in a competition that keeps score? Why are we still doing this?
Because of the unique structure of college football, a playoff can be constructed to be inherently satisfying. That is: you can make something that always leaves one team alone atop a pile of skulls no one else in the country can match. This is obviously not the case right now.
The key components!
RESTRICTED FIELD. No 9-3 teams. Maintain as much of the importance of the regular season as possible. Keep out anyone who could win three straight and still reasonably have an AP vote go against them.
HOME GAMES. Helps with attendance, prevents people from having to travel multiple weeks, helps maintain importance of regular season, makes the guys at the bottom wade through a tougher task and helps bolster their pile-of-skulls argument.
BYES. Again, importance of regular season and pile-of-skulls argument.
NO AUTOBIDS, MAX TWO TEAMS PER CONFERENCE. Autobids can suck it. So can third place teams in their own conference. Also no first round intraconference matchups.
FINAL AT THE ROSE BOWL. Iconic. Would become one of the great traditions in American sports.
This year's version based on the final BCS standings:
1. LSU vs winner of 4. Stanford and 7. Boise State
2. Alabama vs winner of 3. Oklahoma State and 5. Oregon
Arkansas is left out because of the two-teams-per-conference rule; Boise and Oregon flip to prevent a conference matchup. The first two games would be this weekend with the second round on January 1st (2nd this year) and the final a week after. Anyone outside of the final four can go to whatever bowl they want, so this hardly touches the bowl system. The net result is removing one BCS bowl in favor of the playoff.
An eight team version of this is less ideal but also acceptable; that would see Kansas State and Wisconsin on the road in the first round against the SEC teams. Autobids are awful. Clemson and West Virginia can win three straight games here and still not be as worthy as LSU.
The pointlessness of existence!
Don't bother telling me it's not happening. I know.
After the jump: blogpoll ballot time. Sure to endear me to Alabama fans even more.
[The Athletic Department made Ryan Van Bergen and Kevin Koger available for short interviews following the BCS bowl announcement. Brady Hoke was not available because he is currently in New York for the Football Hall of Fame Inductions. Hoke will be back for a Wednesday presser, and bowl practice will commence at the end of the week.]
Ryan Van Bergen
How does it feel to be going to the Sugar Bowl and playing Virginia Tech?
“It’s huge for us to be in the Sugar Bowl. It’s a great opportunity for us to this season off strong. We felt like we earned a spot in the BCS with our performance this year. We’re really excited to get one more chance to play as a group. It’s been a special year for us and we get one last chance to make a statement.”
Were you keeping track of all the games yesterday and which teams to root for?
“No I actually stayed off twitter and everything, honestly. I was just sick of hearing the different things and the different scenarios how it all could play out. Just figure let the chips fall where they may. Like I said, we feel like we deserve this spot and we’re really excited about the opportunity to play a good team like Virginia Tech.”
What does this change or add to your legacy?
“It gives us another opportunity. It’s been since 2006 since we’ve been in a BCS game, and I just think it kind of reestablishes what this team has been able to do and how we’ve come, especially with the expectations we had coming into this season. It’s a tremendous opportunity to put a final stamp on this year.”
This is the first time Michigan’s ever played Virginia Tech. How familiar are you with them?
“I can’t lie. I’m not very familiar with them at all. Obviously I’ve only had about two minutes to watch their game film. From the clips on ESPN, they looked pretty good. We didn’t get a chance to watch them too much this season, but obviously we’ll take them very seriously. They’re a very good team, a very talented team. Unfortuantely they’re going to be motivated off their loss to clemson, but they’ve got plenty of athletes, I know that.”
Did you hear what Kirk Cousins said last night about you guys?
“I didn’t catch it. What did he say?”
In a nutshell, that Michigan got to stay home and watch the game on a couch and Michigan State shouldn’t be penalized.
“I mean, if he wants to be able to sit on the couch and watch us play in the Big Ten championship game, then he can do that. We would have loved to trade places and have that chance and have that opportunity. All complaints aside, they had an opportunity to the Rose Bowl sitting right in front of them to grab, and they didn’t seize the opportunity. I think they’ll do well in the Outback Bowl, but best of luck, best wishes -- we’re going to the Sugar Bowl, and we’re excited about it.”
What does the January 3rd spotlight do for this program?
“It’s huge! It’s huge. It kind of establishes national relevance for Michigan as a program. It puts us back on the map, so to speak, as a national powerhouse. It will be great for recruiting, it will be great for the alumni and the fans, but the biggest thing for us: team 132 wants to play again. We’ve really grown close. We have great team chemistry, and the opportunity to play one more game on a stage as big as the Sugar Bowl is huge for us.”
Have you ever been to New Orleans?
“Never been to New Orleans, but I hear Bourbon Street’s pretty cool, so I’ll have to check it out.”
Hoke’s emphasizes winning the conference and rivalry games. Do you expect the same kind of emphasis for a bowl game?
“I know he’s going to emphasize the Big Ten conference and representing the Big Ten conference. It’s more than just about Michigan. It’s about representing the Big Ten conference on the biggest stage as possible. Obviously this is one of the biggest stages you can represent the Big Ten conference in, and we want the Big Ten conference to receive national attention as one of the best conferences in the country. We want to be able to beat out of conference opponents, and then kind of get respect nationally as a conference, and that’s something that we get an opportunity to do representing the Big Ten in the Sugar Bowl.”
How might this bowl game help erase your poor showing in the Gator Bowl last year?
“I think that that’s exactly what it is. It provides an opporunity for the guys who played last year and fell so short in that bowl game -- it provides us a chance to redeem ourselves and show that we can put forth a championship effort in a championship game, because that’s what this is. That’s why I think everyone’s going to be so well motivated and so excited for it.”
What was the reaction like in that room when the bowl game was announced?
“It was huge. It was something, like I said -- we all thought we were going to get it, but we weren’t sure if it was something that was going to happen, but we felt we deserved it. To have it finally and not on some kind of rumor or headline or something like that, having it on good authority that you’re going to that bowl game was huge for everybody I think on that team.”
How did you find out originally?
“We found out upstairs, a couple of us, and then through interviews and stuff like this, we’ve been kind of just notified. It’s been very recent, though …”
Has your roommate David Molk been insufferable since winning Offensive Lineman of the Year?
“Oh you know Molk. He’s such a jabberjaw that he’s so hard to keep contained. That’s all he does is run around the house and talk about how he’s a better O-lineman than me, and I told him, ‘I don’t even play O-line.’ No, I mean, I couldn’t be more happy for Dave Molk and what he’s accomplished. He works so hard, and he’s a tremendous worker, and as far as national accolades go, the sky’s the limit for him. I know that there’s still the Rimington to be announced, and I think he’s the prime candidate for that because he is the best center in the country hands down. I wish him all the best, and I have confidence in the fact that he’s going to be reward for the work that he’s put in.”
Your reaction to Michigan going to the Sugar Bowl?
“I mean, it’s really exciting. It’s a testament to how hard the team worked this year. It’s really good for the senior class. We’ve been through a lot, so it’s good to end on a high note.”
What do you see when you look at Virginia Tech?
“I mean, I can’t say them I followed them a lot this year. They always have good athletes, and I know Marell Evans has a couple friends on their team.”
Van Bergen said he stayed away from everything yesterday to avoid overanalyzing the BCS scenarios. What did you do?
“Oh yeah, I was actually the opposite. I was with a couple of teammates. We were over at Kenny Demens’s house, a few of us. We watched probably every game we could possibly watch throughout the day, and we were going over scenarios and all that. It was a lot of fun, though.”
Who did you think was going to be your opponent?
“We really didn’t know. We kept hearing different stuff. I distinctly remember JB Fitzgerald was so negative the whole day, but I mean we were just going through every scenario possible, googling all the scenarios as each game went on. Like I said, it was a lot of fun.”
What kind of stuff did JB say?
“Just being so negative. He said, ‘Oop, we’re going to the Little Ceasar Bowl in Detroit.’ He was being really sarcastic, and he was basically cheering for every team he should have cheered for. Yesterday if you were following him on twitter you would see that.”
When, where, and how did you find out tonight?
“Actually before our meeting -- Justin Dickens told us earlier, but I wasn’t supposed to say anything, so I kind of had to act surprised. Yeah I found out probably about an hour and a half ago, 7:30.”
What are your plans the rest of the night? Is there a team meeting?
“Yeah we have a team meeting. I guess we’re going to go over all the logistics and all that for about a half hour, 45 minutes. And after that probably just bask in the ambience.”
Ever been to New Orleans?
“Never. Never, but my roommate JB, he has a lot of family down there, so he says it’s a good time.”
What kind of spotlight will the Sugar Bowl provide your team after the season you’ve had and the struggles you had before this season?
“It’ll be a great atmosphere. It’d be great for the team, but it’ll just show everybody Michigan’s back, and we’re serious.”
Did you see Kirk Cousins’s comments after the Michigan State?
“Nah. I didn’t see anything.”
He basically said that Michigan shouldn’t go to a BCS bowl because you guys sat home and watched the Big Ten championship game.
“Yeah. I mean, we did get to recover a little bit, but I’d rather play in the Big Ten championship game. I mean, the inaugural Big Ten championship -- that says a lot of about the teams that played in it. We’d be happy to trade places, but it is what it is.”
Will you make this more of a business trip as a senior and a captain? Do you want this to be very focused?
“Definitely. We went down to Jacksonville and didn’t put on our best performance. It was embarrassing to say the least. We can learn from our mistakes. I mean, we’ll definitely have a little bit of fun, but the main thing is to go down there and win the football game.”
Do you think the focus will be different this time with a different coaching staff?
“No I think the focus is always to win the football game, but I mean it was just disappointing to put all that work into a game and have the outcome we did last year.”
What do you make of the prestige of the BCS games?
“I mean, it’s definitely exciting. One thing that people don’t realize -- I think we’re going to be playing indoors, and a lot of people on the team haven’t played indoors. I have freshman year against Minnesota, but it’s a lot different playing indoors as opposed to playing in Glick. It’ll be a different experience. The lights are a little bit different, but it’s going to be a great stage with a lot of people watching.”