courts be like "why is it a problem if people get money"
While we're making it rain. Michigan checks in #4 in overall athletic department lucre. The top ten:
|2nd||Ohio State||$117,953,712||Big Ten|
|6th||Penn State||$91,570,233||Big Ten|
|10th||Oklahoma State||$88,554,438||Big 12|
Texas and Ohio State continue their runaway status as 1-2. Texas's spot at the top of the list is pretty obvious since, IIRC, the Big 12's television revenue is extremely unbalanced and Texas, as the flagship school not located in a tiny state where the only thing to buy is John Deere equipment, is the major beneficiary of the current system.
But I've always been curious where the Ohio State revenue gap comes from. The Big Ten splits all TV and bowl revenue right down the middle, so the only differences can come in stadium gates and sheer sport quantity. (For instance: I'm guessing the Michigan hockey team rakes in most of the difference between Michigan and Penn State by itself.) Ohio State does support a huge number of sports, but I don't think the crew teams or whatever at the tail end of OSU's athletic department bring in a million between them, let alone 18. And Ohio State's stadium is considerably smaller than Michigan Stadium.
OSU's visual cacophony of in-stadium advertising is no doubt part of the gap. The rest of it is probably luxury boxes and primo seating; I'll be interested to see what the numbers look like in two years when Michigan's suite spigot is turned on.
If you're curious as to the per-school average for BCS conferences:
- Big Ten: $76.4 million
- SEC: $71.1 million
- Big 12: $66.5 million
- Pac-10: $58.7 million
- ACC: $54.1 million
- Big East (football schools only): $45.5 million
Someone hide this from Clay Travis*: even when the SEC nuclear bomb contract goes into effect—which adds 60 million-ish per year—the Big Ten teams will still be ahead on total revenue. Not that this will stop the avalanche of OMG SEC FINANCIAL DOMINATION stories.
*(Who has a wikipedia page? WTF?)
Fire this woman immediately. Here's Pat Forde on something called "First Take." As it is on ESPN, it contains no information, but holy hotpants you might want to watch through the Michigan segment, which is right after the ND opener:
I quote this woman now. I quote her:
"They want to get the 'woof, woof' back at the Dawg Pound, back at the Wolverine house, the Big House."
LADY DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A DOG TO YOU?
SERIOUSLY. ARE YOU UNDER THE IMPRESSION THIS IS A DOG?
Hey, guess what sort of values we're talking about. Got it in zero. Good job. Mark Ortmann on the offensive line departures:
"They're leaving for all the wrong reasons," Ortmann said of the Wolverine quitters from the interior line. "They're making false accusations. I got along with Boren, (Grand Haven's Dann) O'Neill and Kurt. But I don't understand where they're coming from.
"The family values at Michigan are there. That's not a question in anyone's mind. So for them to come out and make those accusations is not fair to anyone."
I don't think did O'Neill said anything other than "I'm a better fit at Western," but take that you other guys. Take that.
This is all pretty pointless since apparently it will be announced in a week or so anyway, but dammit I'm interested and given the message board it appears so is everyone else. So, news items:
It won't be a Pac-10 team, and 2011 is not necessarily the return game. Mark Snyder:
The coach expanded a bit on the game to be added for next season's opener, saying it may not be returned by Michigan for a couple of years, one of the criteria of making it work. He also ruled out playing a Pac-10 school, saying U-M doesn't need to do that. That leaves Virginia and Pittsburgh as primary BCS school candidates with an open date early next year.
Cal and Oregon State are dead, then. However, Virginia and Pittsburgh as favorites directly contradicts a previous piece stating that…
The list of Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Oregon State was just wrong, and the team already has a game scheduled for the opener. Chengelis:
The prevailing thought among the media was that the team would be among these four that have an open date next fall -- Virginia, Duke, Pitt and Oregon State. A Michigan official told me today those schools are not candidates and suggested it's very likely the team involved will be making changes to its already existing schedule to make room for Michigan.
So, it's a non-Pac-10 team with an opener scheduled already (ie: not Oklahoma State) and it's not Virginia, Duke, or Pitt. And the implication from Rodriguez above—Michigan "doesn't need to do that," where that is jet out to the West Coast to play a legit team—rules out the super-elite across the country, not that we were going to line up Texas in 2010 anyway.
If you go back to the UV from yesterday that included a list of five teams that had some rumor buzz behind them. Four of them have been debunked; the last school standing is UConn. UConn has an opener lined up against Northeastern already, isn't in the Pac-10, hasn't been specifically ruled out, and wouldn't trip anyone's "we don't need to do that" sensors. Also my inbox has a couple of emails asking if I've heard anything about UConn and one stating "it's definitely UConn." My inbox has another email stating "it's definitely Cal," so the inbox is not exactly definitive. The UConn email says it's from the Michigan side of things and the Cal email says it's from the Cal side of things, FWIW.
I'm still pretty skeptical of the idea that Michigan would give up a precious home game to play UConn when the return trip would be at a 40,000 seat stadium, but a lot of teams have fallen by the wayside and the Huskies meet all the criteria we've heard so far. They're the best guess at the moment, which I guess is better than another MAC school but not by a whole lot.
While in Chicago, Tim took the opportunity provided by the Big Ten's roundtable section to ask players a couple of survey questions that have been hot topics in college football for the past few years. He only got to 19 of the 33 players before time went kaput, but 19 opinions are better than zero. The following is an unscientific survey.
Should We Have a Playoff?
Two of the abstentions were vaguely pro-playoff, with one stating "a playoff will happen soon either way because that's what fans want"—ah, if only college football worked like that—and the second saying "something other than what we have now, not necessarily a playoff."
Would A Playoff Negatively Affect Your Schoolwork?
(MOSTLY) NO: 17
The two who said yes were pro-BCS. The rest either said probably not, or "not enough that a playoff shouldn't happen."
Should Players Be Paid?
Most of the guys said something along the lines of "just a little bit more money, not really a salary or anything." Nobody had even thought about whether EA should have to pay them for using their likenesses, but most said they guess it makes sense.
Who's The Best Player In The Big Ten?
Amongst a sea of solitary votes three guys leapt out:
ARRELIOUS BENN: 8
JUICE WILLIAMS: 3
TERRELLE PRYOR: 2
Your unofficial, dominant players' Big Ten offensive POY is Arrelious Benn, which will no doubt please Dr. Saturday.
Other bits from Tim
Most everyone though Ohio State or Penn State would win the Big Ten, and White Michigan State Receiver Named White mentioned (without knowing which media organization Tim was with, no less!) that Michigan was a good darkhorse candidate. I'm not sure whether he was being serious, talking up a rival, making fun of a rival's recent struggles, etc.
I didn't ask this question, but I wrote down the answer because I thought it somewhat relevant to Michigan: OSU TE Jake Ballard mentioned that Justin Boren would win in an all-out fight of the Buckeyes' football team, because he's the toughest. [Editor's note: who asks the question "what would happen if you guys all took PCP and started beating the hell out of each other?"]
Stevie Brown was pretty non-specific about defensive scheme, mostly saying they'll play multiple formations and the "hybrid" terminology has been a little overblown. They're just out there playing defense.
On Tate, Rodriguez said "If we have multiple guys who can win football games at quarterback, they'll all get the chance to play" (paraphrase), nothing specific about limiting carries, though the implication seemed to be that there were viable backup options if a QB did get hurt.
I'll go meta for the final post on the topic here. Since it's not a topic that many people might care about, I'll include more after the jump.
I've been involved in pseudo-legitimate media for the better part of the past decade (wow, has it really been that long?), so I'm no neophyte when it comes to the matter of press conferences. I've seen good interviews and I've seen bad interviews, just like I've seen well-run and poorly-run events.
To be quite honest with you, the format of the Big Ten Media Days event has a lot of improving to do.
Added FL CB Eric Mitchell($).
Editorial Opinion: Sort of a light week outside of the Elite 11. There was a Rivals revamp, I guess.
About the departed:
- IL WR Kyle Prater took a visit in the spring and mentioned Michigan high up immediately afterwards but once that faded it became clear he wasn't feeling it. Cramming him into this class would have been difficult in any case.
- FL LB Jeff Luc was a major longshot.
- MD OL Robbie Havenstein mentioned M like once and then went radio silent; I'm not sure how much mutual interest there was in the first place.
- FL CB Nickell Robey said he'd visit, but will not. Minor ding there but CB still looks strong.
- CA LB Tony Jefferson's sudden commit to UCLA robs Michigan of a touted prospect at an area of need; even if they weren't in the driver's seat a 20-ish percent chance of landing him is better than none.
And then there's TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, who tried to commit to Michigan earlier and was told by the coaches that Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz had taken his spot. He was offered the chance to come in as a middle linebacker and turned it down, went to Florida State's camp as an outside linebacker, got offered, and committed. Swing and a miss by the coaching staff here; if Onwukaife pans out it's going to be painful.
Here's a direct example of Michigan's eagerness to accept commitments probably costing them a better class. I mean no offense to Antonio Kinard or Jordan Paskorz, but if I had to pick one guy from the three just based on offers, recruiting buzz, and whatnot, it would be Onwukaife. I know, I know: Rodriguez forges two-stars into firey death machines and so forth and so on. It'll be interesting to see how Kinard, Paskorz, and Onwukaife end up panning out.
Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update
No, it's not this week that sees the recruiting roundup go without mention of Devin Gardner, but I've got a good reason: Gardner just participated in the Elite 11 camp, where he won awards for Best Feet—no doy—and Best In The Classroom. From there it gets schizophrenic. Gardner did not finish in the top five in the "Overall MVP" voting, but did cause Rivals analysts Greg Biggins and Barry Every to swoon:
Rivals.com national analyst Barry Every ranked Gardner as the top overall quarterback at the camp based on long-term potential and the ability to win football games.
“I don’t think there’s any question, after having seen him for four days, how hard he competes and how hard he wants to be the best,” Every said.
Every and Biggins agreed Gardner compares favorably at the same stage of his career to players like Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Juice Williams and Dennis Dixon, all Elite 11 alumni.
Yow. That's a huge disagreement between the camp counselor voting—current college QBs—and the scouting professionals. I'm naturally inclined to take the word of the professionals. According to Every, Gardner is a lock to shoot into the top 100 when Rivals revamps its rankings again. (Odd that Rivals would re-do their rankings before the most important quarterback camp of the year, no?)
Every's other favorite QB there, by the way, was PSU commit and OLSM QB Robert Bolden; MSU commit Joe Boisture finished last. MSU's resident Guy Who Knows Guy Involved With Elite 11 was not pleased with what he heard from his guy.
Other opinions also exist, though they're necessarily less star-struck. Scout's Scott Kennedy:
"Gardner is a superior athlete who is handcuffed a bit by a passing camp that doesn't showcase his playmaking ability with his legs. However, as one might expect, Gardner was solid in the bootleg drills, and while struggling hitting the deep-out to live receivers, Gardner picked up his game in the target practice segment, showing off better accuracy than many of his Elite 11 teammates."
ESPN's evaluation intertwines Bolden and Gardner:
Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./Saint Mary's) and Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) could almost be considered identical. They are the same in height, weight, frame, athleticism, arm strength, dual-threat capabilities -- you name it and they are probably alike in it. It is hard to tell the two apart. Bolden surprised a bit with how compact, quick and capable he was of getting rid of the ball. At times, the ball jumps off his hand with tremendous zip and power. Gardner is mechanically more like Vince Young with a bit of a three-quarter release, but he has the same "pop" out of his arm as Bolden. As the week wears on, these two will likely see a big jump in overall, consistent accuracy. Bolden, a Penn State commit, and Gardner, a Michigan commit, are terrific fits for their respective programs from a scheme standpoint.
Aaand JC Shurburtt:
Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich./Inkster) has also surprised many. His hustle, leadership and athleticism add up to a tremendous maturity that will help him compete early for playing time in Ann Arbor. He was a notch behind Bolden throwing it, but still has a strong arm and excellent size.
All told, a highly positive camp for Gardner and Michigan.
Rivals did rejigger its rankings. Plenty of folks moved around but only a few items seem worth mentioning:
- PA DE Ken Wilkins got a fourth star.
- OH OL Christian Pace did not, which is somewhat surprising given Mike Farrell's almost rapturous praise for his film. I don't care; I think he's perfect for Michigan, and so does Rick Trickett.
- MI RB Austin White dropped a decimal point and is now actually behind MSU commit Nick Hill, which makes no the sense given that Hill's BCS offers were Stanford and State and White was clearly preferred by both instate schools, Wisconsin, Illinois, and LSU. But whatever.
- PA CB Cullen Christian flew up from a three star to the #60 player.
- Various stragglers at the mysterious end of Michigan's class all got their requisite three stars.
Grimes, We Talk To You
Rivals AMP with FL CB Tony Grimes:
Elsewhere in secondary prospects, OH S Bobby Swigert has a Michigan offer, has visited, and says Michigan is in his top group:
“Michigan was amazing. I was impressed with everything I saw, like the facilities and the new indoor building … it was just amazing. Coach Rodriguez is one of the coolest coaches I’ve met. And the academic advisor (Shari Acho) explained everything really well.”
With such a glowing recollection, it’s no wonder the Wolverines are in such a strong standing with Swigert, even though he hasn’t officially narrowed down his list.
“If I was to narrow down my list, Michigan would be in there. They are definitely one of the top contenders.”
On the other hand, OH S Kurtis Drummond now has Michigan State in the lead ahead of Michigan. OH S Latwan Anderson has bumped around his list a ton, with the latest update omitting Michigan. We'll see if that sticks; some recent scuttlebutt says Michigan is still in the running but needs a real visit to stay there.
You are large, but hopefully not too large
With defensive tackles thin on the ground—or too fat and on the ground—Michigan needs to make OH DT Terry Talbott a priority. So hurrah: Tom VanHaaren reports that Talbott will come up for a visit tomorrow. He also snags a quote from his coach:
"As for Terry, his strength is his ability to use his explosiveness to get off the ball and change direction. He is very strong upper body and his core is strong. He, like a lot of High School players need to better define his technique. He has good technique now, but to play at the next level and be successful his technique must be great. He uses his hands well now, but needs to always work on using them better." - Jay Minton
Terry's brother Terrance, a cornerback, is also coming in.
Punters are punting in code
WI P Will Hagerup is apparently the #1 guy on Michigan's board—he's the only guy out there with an offer—and a decision is coming soon. Two schools are seemingly in prime position:
Hagerup mentioned that a commitment could come in the near future, "I will decide within another month for sure."
Before he announces, Hagerup would like the further investigate Ohio State and Michigan, "I'm going to visit Ohio State and Michigan for sure within a couple weeks. I'm going to see practices at both places and take another tour at each school."
If it comes down to playing time, Michigan should win. Hagerup would be able to start at Michigan immediately with Zoltan the Inconceivable scheduled to transubstantiate into pure energy after the season. At Ohio State, AJ Trapasso has just graduated. Redshirt junior John Thoma is atop the depth chart; scholarship incoming freshman Ben Buchanan, Rivals' #3 kicker last year, is listed second.
User Mscharbo15 talked with TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins recently and put up a quick summary on the message board:
- He's graduating in December and will be enrolling early.
- His HS has OSU colors and he "wears them with shame."
- He's excited about the possibility of a home-and-home with Oklahoma State, since the 2010 game would be his first as a Wolverine and the 2011 contest would be the closest thing to a homecoming for him (he's from Texas).
- Although being the one power back in the 2010 class, he claims to be getting faster and quicker (can't hurt).
- Had he waited another month to commit, he likely would have received offers from Oklahoma (!!!), Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Sparty and Arkansas.
- He's heard from somebody in the know that if he has a good senior season he'll vault up to a 4-star.
Ooh: early entrant tidbit. That brings Michigan up to six commits with tentative plans to enroll early (Miller, J. Robinson, M. Robinson, Pace, and Gardner are the others).
Caveat: Though I can't confirm the poster isn't having us on, he signed up 28 weeks ago. Unless he was planning an incredibly long-term hoax in which the payoff is "you suckers thought I talked to a running back commit and posted innocuous things about it MOOOHAHA!" it's legit. The troll probability here approaches zero.
Etc.: ESPN evaluates SC QB commit Cornelius Jones and OH WR commit DJ Williamson, giving them three-star-ish ratings. Williamson sounds like the outside burner who will be stupidly wide open when safeties freak out about Gardner. OH DE Marcus Rush was supposed to visit Michigan Thursday but this apparently did not come off; I think this will be where M and Rush part ways. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has two officials, neither of which are M.
Since I've discovered there isn't a whole lot to actually, like, learn at Big Ten Media Days ("I think every team is great/we're the only people who can beat ourselves/etc." are the most common things heard), here's a look at the impressions that each Big Ten coach gives either in press conference or 1-on-1 (more often, 5-on-1) format:
Pat Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald is super-enthusiastic (especially for a Northwestern coach), and he seems genuinely excited to be the coach at his alma mater. Of more interest to NU blogger Lake The Posts, he's a staunch advocate of the "Since 1995" propaganda metric. He used it 3 or 4 times during his stand at the podium.
Ron Zook - With a reputation for being intense and often hilarious, Zook was disappointingly low-key. He talked about his excitement for the upcoming season, having high expectations, and the unconventional schedule the Illini face this year. Not interesting stuff from a guy who's typically among the more quotable Big Ten coaches.
Bret Bielema - Wisconsin is on the opposite side of the trend that Northwestern is seeing, going downhill in each of Bielema's 3 seasons. Seeing the way he talks , it's not too tough to see why. He comes off as the same meathead in person that he appears to be on TV.
Rich Rodriguez - Michigan fans are well-aware of how their coach acts towards the media. He was his standard "aw, shucks" self, though his confidence about the upcoming season was refreshing.
Danny Hope - Hope is known as a near-clone of his predecessor, Joe Tiller. For my money, though, he looks more like ex-Lions GM Matt Millen. Having never heard Hope speak, I was surprised to hear a weird accent (understandable considering his Eastern Kentucky background) that brought to mind Randy Moss.
Tim Brewster - GO FIGHT Brewster is understandably excited to be the WIN Gophers' head football coach, though ROSE BOWL like Ron Zook, he was a little less excitable than FIGHT his reputation holds. Still, he GO TEAM was visibly excited by the Gophers' prospects in 2009.
Jim Tressel - Tressel was as boring as expected, which is to say very. His talking style is pretty bland (though not as unlistenable as Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany). He's sort of the opposite of Brewster, in that he can talk about how ridiculously excited he is about something, while sounding like he's boring even himself to tears.
Bill Lynch - He is a pretty anonymous guy, and he seems nice enough, I guess. It's hard to tell anything about him just from a press conference, which is probably not great at an anonymous football program like Indiana.
Mark Dantonio - Ive figured out who he reminds me of. Obviously, he's his own person, but he seems a lot like a version of Nick Saban that's not deliciously evil, and instead just kinda a dickhead. He of course has the Tressel act going as well, but he's tries to be more Saban-like I think, though he is pretty clearly obsessed with Michigan.
Joe Paterno - Everyone knows about JoePa. He's like the senile-but-fun grandparent, and he's always going to give a couple good quotes. Given his propensity for talking down on good Penn State teams, and building up mediocre ones, it seems like Penn State might be pretty good this year.
Kirk Ferentz - Ferentz is like the master of coachspeak and the meaningless quote (which might be one of the reasons he was one of the favorites to be picked as the successor to Lloyd Carr). He, like Carr, almost seems to be annoyed that talking to the media is part of his job.