Mike Lantry, 1972
It is time again to participate in Blogfrica's circle of life. We cull the herd, and then we welcome tiny mucus-covered baby voters onto the great plain of BlogPoll participation.
Three items: if you are on the "add" list and did not get an email from me, you should email me. If you did not hear back from me about not getting in, you should also email me. If you blog about one of the uncovered BCS teams, anyone in the Pac-10, ACC, Big 12, or the great wooly unwashed non-BCS masses, email me today and I'll consider you for last-ditch inclusion. SEC, Big East, and Big 10 blogs are currently out of luck.
And now on with the show:
The following blogs no longer exist and have been excised:
- SEC Football Talk (Auburn)
- ACC Football Report (FSU)
- Old Gold & Blog (Wake Forest)
- Bears Necessity (Cal)
- Varsity Blue (Michigan)
- Around The Oval (OSU)
- Mountainlair (WVU)
The following blogs didn't participate consistently last year or can no longer participate for reasons of time or conflict of interest and have also been excised:
- Deadspin (Tennessee – Clay Travis left)
- Texas A&M and Baseball In No Particular Order (A&M)
- TNABACG (Minnesota)
- Blue-Gray Sky (Notre Dame)
- Excuse Me For My Voice (Cal)
- The Enlightened Spartan (Michigan State)
Repeat: cut for voting his team too high whenever there was the slightest opportunity to. Do not let this happen to you, good voter. One week, or three, in a season is not an unreasonable thing. Getting or being in contention for the CK Award whenever your team was even plausibly vote-worthy—which hasn't been the case with State very often—is cause for ejection.
Also, Michigan voter Russ Levine fumbled Football Outsiders' blogpoll vote over to ND partisan Brian Fremeau.
- Gobbler Country (Virginia Tech)
- Eagle All Access (Boston College)
- Anton Azucar (Miami)
- From The Rumble Seat (Georgia Tech)
- WVU Pressbox (West Virginia)
- The Smoking Musket (West Virginia)
- Simon On Sports (UConn)
- Sox And Dawgs (UConn)
- The UConn Blog (UConn)
- The Bull Gator (South Florida)
- Beat Visitor (Rutgers)
- Eye Of A Panther (Pitt)
- Maize 'n' Brew (Michigan)
- The Wolverine Blog (Michigan)
- The Only Colors (Michigan State)
- SpartyMSU (Michigan State)
- We Will Always Have Tempe (Ohio State)
- Not Qualified To Comment (Illinois)
- Hail To The Orange (Illinois)
- Nittany White Out (Penn State)
- Smart Football (Purdue)
UPDATE: Hey, awesome I forgot an entire conference!
- Bears With Fangs (Cal)
- Coug Center (Washington State)
- Pitchfork Nation (Arizona State)
- House of Sparky (Arizona State)
- Over The Pylon (Ball State)
- One Bronco Nation Under God (Boise State)
- Red And Black Attack (Northern Illinois)
- All Pac 10 (Somewhat oddly, Tulsa)
Voter Distribution And Stats
The poll swells from 88 blogs last year to 107 this year. Breakdown by conference, with mid-majors regarded as another 12-team conference for purposes of vote balancing:
|SEC||ACC||Pac 10||Big 12||Big 10||Mid-Majors||Big East|
|Last Year's Count||21||11||8||13||19||10||6|
|This Year's Count||21||13||10||15||23||14||13|
|Blogs Per Team||1.75||1.08||1||1.25||2||1.17||1.63|
|Last Year's Share||24%||13%||9%||15%||22%||11%||7%|
|Share Of Total||20%||12%||8%||14%||21%||13%||12%|
|Ideal Share Of Total||16%||16%||13%||16%||14%||16%||10%|
The Big Ten and SEC remain over-represented, but less so than last year thanks to an influx of Big East and mid-major voters. Overall, the poll is 22% more balanced this year.
Teams without representation in the major conferences:
- SEC: Vanderbilt
- ACC: Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland
- Pac 10: Washington, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona
- Big 10: none
- Big 12: Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State
- Big East: Cincinnati
Update 8/4: Linked to articles on MI RB commit Austin White, OH CB Terrence Talbott, FL OL Torrian Wilson, MI QB commit Devin Gardner (second), PA DT Sharrif Floyd, MI P Mike Sadler, OH S LaTwan Anderson, VA LB Aramidie Olaniyan, LA QB Munchie Legaux, MD LB Josh Furman.
Added CA CB Joshua Shaw.
Removed OH DE Marcus Rush (MSU), IL S Corey Cooper, MI P Mike Sadler (MSU).
Local content on OH DT Terry Talbott.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here. Slow-ish week.
Not many guys off the board this week. I excised IL S Corey Cooper, an Illinois commit who had expressed a desire to visit other schools possibly including Michigan at one point, because his commitment now appears firm. A couple of kids went off the board to MSU:
- OH DE Marcus Rush, who saw his position fill up when Paskorz and Wilkins committed. Last week I suggested that Rush's aborted trip to Ann Arbor would see M and Rush part ways; that happened fast and revenge-y, didn't it?
- MI P Mike Sadler got sick of waiting to see if Michigan would offer and committed to State. I hope Michigan knows what it's doing with WI P Will Hagerup, who appears to be choosing between M and OSU after a couple of on-campus visits coming in the next month. If Hagerup decides on EVIL, Michigan will be in the lurch at punter unless they successfully crawl back to Sadler or find someone else.
Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update
Nope, not this week either, as the Elite 11 reports continued to roll in. Scout's Scott Kennedy says he's "not as smooth in his release" and not quite as polished as some of the pocket guys—not surprise—but then gets into the serious praise:
"There were certain times when he might take a little bit longer to make a release and other times when he was getting the ball out a little faster, but he was still making all the throws. That is always the big question with the (quarterbacks) that are athletes. I've seen guys that are athletes that can't hit a 12-yard out route. If you can't make that pass, you can't play quarterback at the next level. (Gardner) can make that pass relatively easy. He has plenty of velocity on it.
"I went back and watched his (highlight) video, which I hadn't watched since March, and he is a different player. I told Devin that at the end of camp. I said, 'Devin, I watched some video and you're not the same guy.' If he was that same guy as a sophomore in college, he's playing receiver, tight end or somewhere else. That guy couldn't make the throws that I was watching Devin Gardner make with how he has progressed in almost a full year since he played last fall."
Allen Trieu echoes that assessment in the same article:
Gardner (stock up): "Gardner has gone from athlete to quarterback. Before, I always felt he got by on his raw tools and playmaking skills. Now, he has refined himself from a quarterback standpoint. He has improved his mechanics, accuracy and arm strength. There is still work to be done, but he is night and day if you compare his passes to this time last year.
Meanwhile at Rivals, we already knew Barry Every named Gardner the best QB at the Elite 11 and here's further confirmation of that:
"The comparisons to Vince Young and Terrelle Pyror are legit. He throws the ball better than them at the same stage. Camp instructor Matt James told me the three dual-threat quarterbacks at the event, Garnder, Bolden and Barry Brunetti, are the best three they have ever had at the Elite 11."
Bolden finished third in Every's Elite 11 rankings, while Boisture came in 12th (there were 12 participants at the camp). But Gardner is truly is the driver's seat now. If there is one thing in this debate that analysts and fans agree on, it is Gardner's superiority in games. The Michigan commit could separate himself from the other two even more this fall.
Also, Jamie Newberg said Gardner would "likely" be the #1 dual threat quarterback when the post-Elite 11 rankings came out while tackling Michigan in a mailbag question. He'll fly into the Rivals top 100; it's just a question of how high he ends up.
Michigan's lead for FL CB Rashad Knight has always been tentative since a Florida State offer is universally regarded a recruitment-ending event for Knight. But that didn't seem like it would come as FSU picked up a couple of DB commits and looked good for a couple of highly-touted folk. This complicates matters:
Pahokee CB Merrill Noel has switched his commitment from the good guys to go to Wake Forest. This should absolutely not come as a surprise to anyone, because he was going to commit to Wake Forest in the first place.
That blog post still lists Knight as a third option behind uncommitted prospects LaMarcus Joyner and Terrance Mitchell, FWIW, but you should be hoping those two guys commit to FSU.
Also in the erk category is FL OL Torrian Wilson. The last three or four times Wilson deigned to name a leader it was Michigan, so I'm not sure what to make of this SoFlaFootball article:
On the recruiting front Wilson is still not saying much other than listing what is an ever changing top five of Standford, Miami, LSU, Alabama, and Georgia. Wilson also denies the fact he is a silent commitment to the hometown Hurricanes, but a decision should be coming in the coming months.
Wha? Michigan goes from leader to not in a top five, and after Wilson spent like three weeks in Michigan this summer? I'm half-skeptical, half-depressed. Sometimes these things get corrected on follow-up articles; we'll see.
Recent Visits Go Well
Terry Talbott has 17 scholarship offers including Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, UCLA, Cincinnati, North Carolina State, Connecticut and Kentucky. Terrence has offers from some of the same schools.
"We definitely want to go to the same school," Terrence Talbott said.
Terry's offer list there is pretty nice. Given that and Michigan's severe need at DT I'd be in favor of both jumping aboard. Tom VanHaaren caught up with Talbott, Defensive Lineman Edition, for an interview last week, though Talbott kept things close to the vest.
Also, PA S Brandon Ifill made his end-of-July visit as scheduled and came back from it sounding like he had a leader. Tom VanHaaren on this here site:
"It wasn't the same, but it was the same excitement being around a college atmosphere. I mean, it's the University of Michigan. The tradition there is so much greater than any other school. (laughs) The Big House, there's no comparison to any other school, or stadium. That was the icing on the cake. Walking down that tunnel; I got chills. I wanted to put my pads on right there. Walking on that grass, there's been so many great players to play on that field."
Despite that promising quote and some others in Tom's diary, Ifill did not say the magic words about a lead or a commitment. He still claims to be relatively open and not in a hurry to commit any time soon. With PA CB and teammate Cullen Christian this year's version of Will Campbell—just commit, plz kthx—Ifill's likely to have another reason to jump aboard before signing day. Personal speculation: Michigan leads.
More Scouting Type Things
Duane Long, who's been in the Ohio recruiting game a long time, says Michigan's class is third in the Big Ten at the moment—fair enough—and has some encouraging words for some of Michigan's more obscure Ohio commits. He's also got some really out-there assessments. I'll skip the stuff on Gardner "not sold on [him] as a passer" because it appears based on junior film, compares Gardner to Pryor's senior film, and contradicts the widespread praise recruiting analysts have heaped on him since the Elite 11. It's expired analysis. The other bits:
I really like D.J. Williamson but I don't know if he is a Michigan player right now. He might be after this season but right now he is not. That could be an offer that makes it worthwhile to secure a foothold in Ohio with a program that has put a few players in maize and blue. Christian Pace is another player I would put in that category.
Fair enough on Williamson. He's been a mystery recruit for a while and didn't have much in the way of other offers. He does have Ohio state champ 100m speed, but that's about all we know about him. No sale on Christian Pace, though, who both Michigan and Florida State (home of former Rodriguez OL coach Rick Trickett) pursued heavily. He might not be a fit for every offense; he does fit in Michigan's.
On the other hand I think Antonio Kinard could be a steal. He is a big athletic kid who can run. I think it more likely he makes his mark as a DE than an LB. He is highly likely to get a good deal bigger. Courtney Avery is a steal. Flat out. No could be in there for him. Ken Wilkins is not the most athletic kid but he has really good straight line speed, strong and has a great body. He is a really good looking strong side DE prospect. Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson are big time athletes. Rivals has a four-star on both and it is well earned.
These are positive assessments and therefore I have no problem with them. But seriously folks: it'll be interesting to track Kinard and Avery's senior seasons to see if there's any correspondence between Long's assessments and the major sites' reality.
Yes Plz Linebacker Yes
Other than defensive tackle, linebacker is the spot at which Michigan's current class and future prospects are most likely to yield a disappointing final haul. So MD LB Josh Furman, who's tested off the charts at a series of combines but has yet to translate that athleticism to the field or his recruiting rankings, planning an official visit is important news. Virginia Tech and Maryland are two of Furman's other visits, with UCLA also in the running.
Michigan is extremely strong for Josh Furman. … Tony Dews has done a great job. They can't put it into words how good a job Michigan has done recruiting him. I think it's one to keep an eye on.
Furman's a safety/weakside linebacker prospect.
Anderson Of Debatable Relevance
OH S LaTwan Anderson has much confidence and is surprisingly forthright about his size:
“I’m probably going to end up playing it [corner] anyway. They always say that I’m 5′10″ or 5′11″ but I’m actually 5′8 3/4″ and I don’t think I am getting any bigger. A lot of coaches have seen me cover and I think I can just take a wide receiver out of a game which I think I can also.”
Michigan needs to get him on a serious visit; West Virginia is the heavy favorite. Though if Bill Stewart implodes and the job security looks shaky, you never know.
Nothing To See Here
Helmholdt put out kind of a weird article about how TX RB Tony Drake and OH LB Antonio Kinard, two of the least-touted recruits in the class, aren't thinking about bolting. Kinard:
“I still feel good about my commitment. Things have not changed at all and I cannot wait to go to Michigan,” Kinard said on Sunday. “I’m 100% to Michigan… forget those other schools.”
…which yay I guess. Sort of a "dog does not bite man" article. One small note of interest: Kinard says he's being recruited as a deathbacker like Paskorz and Wilkins, which would be a lot of dudes for one spot. More ammunition for this blog's theory that Wilkins is headed for strongside defensive end.
You are on the board for a reason, Olaniyan
Duke commit linebacker Aramide Olaniyan (Woodberry Forest, Va.) said he is still firm with the Blue Devils, but plans to visit Michigan and UCLA. "I like both coaching staffs a lot," he said.
Olaniyan camped at Notre Dame, too. He's as solid as Michigan's offensive line last year. For more check out today's interview with Olaniyan.
Etc.: LA QB Munchie Legaux is down to three: Oregon, Baylor, and Michigan. What a confusing list. Michigan's presence is probably window-dressing with Jones and Gardner in the fold. PA DT Sharrif Floyd has set two officials to Penn State and Boston College. He says he'll only take one more, leaving Michigan fighting… oh… the planet for that last slot. Floyd's never seemed particularly likely, and he still doesn't.
I recently spoke with VA LB Aramide Olaniyan about the importance of academics in his college choice and his recent decision to take visits to other schools. Aramide is a linebacker prospect currently committed to Duke, which is obviously one of the better academic programs in the country.
Olaniyan's current high school had a lot to do with his emphasis on academics. “I go to a private boarding school right now, and I usually have about 3 hours of homework every night,” he said. “I could’ve gone to a public school, but I really like challenging myself every day, and thought this was one of the best schools in the area.”
If you talked to 100 recruits, 90 of them would say that academics are important. Not many would really mean it. Olaniyan is one who means it. “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, so I’ll probably major in political science,” he said.
When asked if he loved football or academics more, he said, “That’s a tough question. I don’t think there’s a single person playing college football that doesn’t want to make it to the NFL. I would say they’re about the same for me. I love both of them equally. If the NFL doesn’t work out, then I would love to have a great degree.”
If Michigan's strong program in political science isn't enough of a draw, then Michigan's new emphasis on hybrid players might help. Olaniyan's familiar with the position. “I actually play a hybrid linebacker position right now," he said. "Sometimes I have my hand down, and sometimes I drop back. Michigan is really the only one recruiting me for the hybrid, everyone else is really linebacker. I have talked to coach Dews about it, and we’ve stayed in good contact so far.”
As per usual these days, Michigan's commits are doing their best to recruit Olaniyan too. Austin White struck up a friendship with Olaniyan at the Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 in Orlando. “We hung out a lot down in Florida," said Olaniyan. "Every time there was some down time, we were hanging out together, he’s a cool guy. He was telling me about Michigan, and how great it is, he was definitely recruiting me. I got his number, and we’ve stayed in touch.”
Olaniyan says he's still firmly committed to Duke despite his desire to visit other schools. “I just want to be in a situation where I know I made the right choice," he said. "I want to visit all the schools that I like, and weigh my options; just make sure I made the right choice. I don’t want to end up with any regrets, and I just want to know that I made the best decision.” The Blue Devil coaches know that he’s taking his visits and are confident that he’ll stay committed to their program.
Olaniyan plans to visit with Duke, Michigan, UCLA, and North Carolina. UCLA’s visit has already been scheduled for their game against ASU on November 21st. He’s not sure of the exact date that he will be visiting Michigan, but he knows it will happen.
My last question, to test his commitment, was what he would do if he really enjoyed any of his visit. “Well, I don’t know," he laughed. "If I like them better, then I’ll sit down with my parents, and make sure they feel comfortable. I’ll just take all my visits, and see where I stand, and how I feel about all the schools. We’ll see what happens.”
While Michigan fans can hope that current commits see their stock rise when Scout, Rivals, and ESPN update their rankings, players often stay stable or drop. In this look at Michigan's recruiting class, we'll see which guys have probably reached their maximum guru approval (or close to it).
MI/FL WR Ricardo Miller
|Ranking||WR #24||WR #19|
Why Here? When Michigan fans were told how good Miller was, it sounded like he was a shoe-in for 5-star status. Even the Florida rankings released by some sources prior to the release of Rivals' and Scout's official lists had him in the top 5 prospects in the state. However, when the major sites released their rankings he was a mid-4-star to both.
It's not from lack of exposure. Miller's situation (being a southeast player committed to a non-southeast school before the rankings came out) may have hurt him somewhat. Southeast recruiting analysts are likely to ding a prospect for being an early commit to a school from a different area of the country.
Prediction: Miller has moved to Michigan, so it will be an entire different set of eyeballs looking at him. If he blows up in the state of Michigan, it doesn't hold as much weight as if he had done so in Florida. Miller's move to Michigan probably helped him in terms of getting acquainted with the area, recruiting other prospects, and getting ready to enroll at the University. But it put something of a cap on his rankings. Miller will probably remain a 4-star.
FL S Marvin Robinson
|Ranking||OLB #11||S #10|
Why Here? Robinson has a lot in common with Ricardo Miller. Michigan fans have been hearing for years about how he would be a Locky McLockerson for both Michigan and 5-star status. He impressed at Michigan's summer camp as a rising sophomore, and ever since we've been hearing about how awesome he is. Eventually, the 2010 rankings came out... and Robinson was a medium-range 4-star. The only plausible explanation, given his apparent exposure, is that he just isn't quite as elite as we'd been hearing. If he isn't highly ranked by now, it's probably just not in the cards.
Prediction: He's listed at either OLB or safety, so if the premium sites can come to a consensus on his future position, it might help them figure out where he should be ranked. If he gets bigger, he could be an elite OLB prospect, but he has limited upside in the rankings at safety. Michigan has a perfect role for Robinson, either as a safety if he can keep his speed, a linebacker if he adds a bunch of weight, or as a hybrid if his physical development is complete. He doesn't have the speed that an elite safety his size would have (i.e. Taylor Mays). I think he'll top out near the higher range of 4-stars.
PA DE/LB Ken Wilkins
|Ranking||WDE #17||DE #31|
Why Here? Wilkins is much like Paskorz: a tweener that scouting services don't love. He's athletic and the services recognize at least that, giving him a 4-star ranking. His exposure should be pretty good at his school (trinity has produced a number of D-1 players over the years), so he is probably ranked where the services want him.
Prediction As a tweener, it's going to be tough for him to move up, despite the fact that his coach says he's more athletic than all of the D-1 prospects who have come through Trinity. Unless collects absurd statistics as a senior, Wilkins will probably stay right where he is: a low 4-star. The Quick DE position on Michigan's defense may be a more natural fit than conventional DE or LB spots. That should be encouraging to Michigan fans.
MI RB Austin White
|Ranking||APB #15||RB #17|
Why Here? White has torn through Michigan in the past couple years, but high school football in the state being what it is the competition has not been the best. Looking at Stevenson's results over the past couple years, it's not clear whether White's stats (which are very good) are a product of his team obliterating the competition or his exceptional talent.
Room to Grow? Literally, yes: White's a small guy who could use some time in the weight room. But he's also an established star at his school who's gotten a ton of combine exposure; there's no much secret about him.
Prediction: A good senior season can only do so much for White since he's smallish and proven. He may get looks at a RB/slot hybrid, and Rivals lists him as an all-purpose back, so showing off his receiving ability could give him a bump. But White actually moved down in the Rivals re-rank; not many do that and then bounce back up.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
|Ranking||WDE #36||DE #59|
Why Here? Paskorz is something of a man without a position. Half lineman, half linebacker, he doesn't fit into lots of schools' lists of needed prospects. Still, Paskorz has some physical talent, enough that the recruiting services know about him. The bigger question is whether he performs on the field for his school.
Prediction Especially if he grows enough to become a true defensive end, and puts together a productive senior year, he can move up somewhat. The sites have pretty different opinions of him, so he's might move one way or the other. Scouting services will never really be enamored with players that don't have obvious NFL potential. Unless he gets more athletic or bigger in an obvious way during his senior year, he's stuck where he is.
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
|Ranking||RB #80||RB #57|
Why Here? Hopkins has been solid, but not great, against high-level Texas competition. He has led his team to successful playoff runs in the past couple years. However, he lacks that one attribute that really sets him apart. He runs tough, but doesn't truck the hell out of guys. He'll get to the second level, but not outrun everyone in the secondary. He'll put a move on you, but won't make most defenders go looking for their jockstraps.
Prediction: Since he plays good competition in Texas, if Hopkins has a big season of any sort he could move him up. But he has the exposure and body of work that comes with being a two-year-starter at a big Texas program and hasn't gotten more three stars from the recruiting sites. He might move up a little bit if he's able to put in the offseason work to increase his speed or toughness, but I'd be surprised if he gets to a fourth star. He should end up a high(er) 3-star, not far from his current ranking. Note that Hopkins disagrees with this assessment, stating he's been told a big year will get him a fourth star.
OH OL Christian Pace
|Ranking||OC #7||OG #36|
Why Here? Pace's film is impressive. He is an aggressive blocker who will drive defenders into the ground. However, he is limited from being ranked any more highly by his height. At only 6-3—which may be exaggerated—he does not have ideal size for a guard, nor does he excel in pass protection. Pace's team success may not have much bearing on his ranking, so even if they improve from last year's finish, he won't reap much benefit. He will probably not grow. That will always limit him in the eyes of the recruiting services, regardless of how impressive his film is.
Prediction Even though Rivals scouts drooled over his junior film, they actually moved him down in their recent re-rank. If Pace has a dominant year blocking (and his Scouting Ohio film certainly indicates that he's capable of that), he could move up to low 4-star status, but he had a dominant junior year and didn't go anywhere.
Pace seems a lot like current Michigan center David Molk, who is a short but effective center. In the Michigan system, slightly smaller but more athletic interior linemen can still have success (again, see Molk).
LA Slot Drew Dileo
|Ranking||ATH #58||WR #27|
Why Here? Dileo has been productive in his high school career, but perhaps his ranking is held down by a few factors: 1) His team is routinely a behemoth in its small-division Louisiana competition, so it's tough to gauge individual talents at times. 2) He is a 5-10 wide receiver. 3) He is a white wide receiver. None of these factors are likely to change this year, so look out. He has limited upward potential - but as with lots of little guys, that might not mean detrimental things about his career at Michigan.
Prediction Like I said, if the scouts don't already know about Dileo, it’s not because he hasn’t been exposed. He is likely stuck in neutral as far as his rankings go. The situation from last year won't change, and barring an absolutely transcendent performance (which doesn't seem likely), he'll stay where he is. Worse still, other players might be able to move up and pass him down the road, dropping his ranking even further than its current level.
Check it. Spent a large chunk of the weekend trying to figure out how to roll my own video hosting thing so the UFR videos could go somewhere where they would not be struck down by overzealous people accusing me of piracy. This did not go well. But it turns out in the year since I last checked my third-party options, YouTube went from unusable and ugly to swanky as hell. The tubes and one slick popup module yield a net effect that is pretty cool. Clip embedding returns to UFRs this fall.
Embeds ahoy. This would be better if it was the Coner, but it's Mike Cox and it's still pretty awesome:
Around 1:45 Cox dances himself up some cleans and then looks tired… a dramatic re-enactment of a Barwis workout? Also, someone call up The Oklahoman's Barry Tramel so he can call for Cox to be shot.
Elsewhere in video straight from the football team, Zoltan faced off with Filip Filipovic in an attempt to whack the top of Newsterbaan with a punt. Filipovic failed. (Zoltan at one point deploys "FAIL" IRL LOL.) Zoltan got it in one. Newsterbaan is very large, but Zoltan cannot be contained in any enclosed space. He expands to fill the universe.
The real Lloyd Carr is halfway to Alpha Centauri. Lloyd… are you feeling okay?
“I absolutely think what we have can be improved upon because right now, we got two teams and they are voted in,” Carr said. “It’s a two-team playoff but it’s voted in. Let’s start with the idea, take the four best teams and they’ll be controversy there.”
Carr maintained he wanted to keep the bowl format but felt too often, players would be kept out of playing for the national title, not because of on-field performance, but because of computers, coaches who are voting and a bunch of things that have nothing to do with actual play on the field.
Jokes aside, this isn't out of character for Carr. As he aged he got publicly discontent with the state of college football. There was one quote about how the players should be paid now that the 12th game had become such an obvious money-grab, and "fah, money" was a common complaint as his term wound down. You will note that Carr's playoff solution is the most conservative one possible, though.
Not that it matters. As always, the Great Looming Bald Man ruins everything:
“I was with (Big Ten) commissioner (Jim) Delany last night,” Carr said. “I have great regard for him and it does not sound like, in listening to him, it does not sound like a playoff is (going to happen)."
Good, bad, I'm the guy with the butter knife. Rodriguez gets frank about the talent on last year's team:
"It was like taking a butter knife to a gun fight," Rodriguez said.
…ohhhhh crap they're gonna blow up about this media fiasco again…
"And that was not from a talent standpoint, but more from an experience standpoint. As much as we tried to coach and educate them, they were going to be in a tough battle, and we knew that coming in."
And last year comes into yet more focus. Michael Shaw's sports hernia*, Jonas Mouton's shoulder issue, and Donovan Warren's bone-chips-with-ankle-salsa…
Donovan Warren needed to get his nagging high-ankle injury, complete with loose bone chips, addressed with spring surgery.
"Talking with trainers and Donovan, he's as good as he's ever felt," Gibson said this summer. "Nobody really knows it except (us what he endured). He wasn't healthy at all. There wasn't one game he was healthy. We had to sit him out of drills to get him healthy. We'd never get him right."
…are amongst the many reasons Michigan was poor last year and figures to get a lot better this year. Shaw may not be slated to start but Mouton and Warren were Michigan's best linebacker and defensive back, respectively, and neither was healthy. From the sounds of it Warren wasn't anywhere near healthy. This is good, as it provides an explanation for Warren's sophomore-year plateau other than "just isn't very good."
*(A "sports hernia" is a somewhat less gross version of the inguinal hernia**; an inguinal hernia is when the little bits that seal off your testicles from the rest of your body rupture and you keep getting intestine in your scrotum. When you get the infamous "turn your head and cough" test they're checking to make sure you don't have an inguinal hernia.
I have the feeling some "sports hernias" are really inguinal hernias that people would rather not disclose to the public for obvious reasons. Like "ewwwww.")
**(DON'T DO IT DON'T DO IT I WARNED YOU)
Etc.: Rodriguez loads up on walk-ons, some of whom will hopefully be useful; "Stevie Brown looking to prove self" stories on their third go-round; Meechigan Dan submits a diary that I'm not front-paging because I fear a mullet invasion but the upshot: over the last four years 'Bama has signed 107 players to Michigan's 84. Whoah.
I wrote the band director last season and complained that I couldn't hear the band in Section 21. He wrote me back and was very nice but said that NCAA rules prohibit any kind of amplification of the band. I think that the completion of the new boxes will help reflect the band back to those of us sitting in the old folks sections.
…and I thought "awww" to myself. I spent a season or two in the band deadzone and feel for the people stuck there. Then I got an email from someone on the listserv of the College Band Directors National Association forwarding along a mighty interesting email from one of the marching band's assistant directors:
Recently, we were posed with a question from our Athletic Department regarding the possibility of amplifying the Michigan Marching Band and projecting it through house speakers during the game to maximize the in-game atmosphere.
Naturally, we have logistical concerns regarding amplification quality, delay, operation of the microphone, etc. Do any of you have experience with amplifying your marching band?
There followed a series of questions designed to get a handle on amplification, quality, delay, and whatnot; the point is that the Athletic Department is on the same wavelength, man. And unless the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, this is a legit possibility. Upon reflection, an NCAA prohibition on amplifying the band doesn't make sense when you can blast music from the loudspeakers at any volume you choose.
So then it's just a technical issue. HOWEVA, it appears to be a significant one. Another email:
Regarding your comment about putting mics on the band to make sure the whole stadium can hear it: it's a bad idea. No, strike that. It's a good idea that is nearly impossible to do with good results. I've been a sound engineer in various situations and capacities for 10 years or so, and micing an area as large as the Michigan Marching Band, outdoors, combined with a public address system would be a nightmare. (Plus, I know the guys at UM who would be asked about this, and I'm sure they would agree with me). It's bad enough indoors in theaters, which are relatively controlled environments. I guarantee it would sound like hell coming out of the speakers. Much worse than RAWK MUSIC. And that's coming from someone who is in complete agreement with you on that topic.
Just thought you'd like to know.
I followed up with this guy asking if a dedicated set of speakers covering just a portion of the stadium—the deadzone—would be more feasible. The response:
That would make it better, with less bleed from the speakers, therefore less feedback. The big problem comes from the mics themselves: to cover the band, one either needs a few mics far away, or lots of mics close up. The problems with either are fairly obvious. Fewer mics = more noise, more mics = more obtrusive. If you gave me a nice big budget and free reign to hang speakers, I might be able to do something tolerable, but that never happens, right?
No, it usually doesn't. Though if there's a money issue I'd be surprised. More likely are structural/technical ones.
In summary: it appears you can amp your band, or at least the athletic department thinks you can. They are looking into it. But they're going to find a host of technical issues that may make it infeasible.
The other option, as suggested to me by various band folk, is just to eschew musicianship and strive to blast people's hats off. Apparently the MMB has gotten quieter over the years as it's gotten more technical, and this is due to the people running the thing. They're not likely to change in the near future.*
Denizens of the deadzone are probably going to have to suck it up and deal with it. They will get some relief this year, when the sonic impact of the luxury boxes is complete, and in 2010, when they remove the pressbox and open up more space via which sound can flow to them.
Side note: judging from the volume (ha!) of email I've received on the subject and the comment count of the above-mentioned screed (currently pushing 200), this is a subject that arouses great passion around these parts. If Rodriguez wants to fire up the stadium he should threaten to pipe in a ton of music the week after Michigan loses.
*(I don't know anything about music other than "hit the strum bar when the note arrives" but I'm pretty sure I blame director of bands Michael Haithcock, who killed Yost's dancing band director tradition because he thought it was lewd or undignified or something and has overseen the MMB's dip in volume. Anyone remember that episode of Coach where Craig T. Nelson is at war with a priggish band director who doesn't see the importance of all this football surrounding his halftime show? No? Just me? Well it was just like that anyway.
It seems relevant that Haithcock's last job was a 23-year stint at Baylor. I think he caught the Baptist.)