The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
At WMU all you have to do to go to a sporting event is to show your student ID and you get in for free, which is a nice money-saver for die-hard fans but doesn't give people a vested interest in being there. That may explain why in the 3rd period with the game tied at 2 a bunch of students left allowing us to move to the front row along the blue line. A lot of people just go to talk and hang out and then leave when they get bored, not caring about the game. I took the same friends to the Michigan-WMU football game this past season and they were impressed at how all the students paid for their tickets, stayed the whole game and paid attention. They liked the sense of community you get at Michigan, which seems to be a far cry from the Western Michigan experience.
The opposing fans were polite enough, the parking lot attendant gave me a lame "No Wolverines Allowed" line as I walked in, and one student said "What are you doing here?" but nothing too hostile. I guess I shouldn't complain about politeness from opposing fans, but it wasn't as wild as I expected after seeing the taunts we at U-M give to opposing fans (ugly parents, If you can't get in to college go to state) or the nasty things I've heard from MSU fans at games there. It was sort of disappointing actually.
Then there was the copying of Michigan's cheers. Whenever Michigan got a penalty they would start waving and then when the player entered the penalty box they would say "See ya bitch, you're a cheater!" My friends immediately turned to me and said 'what do you think of our chants?' I said they got that from Michigan, only ours was more elaborate. They said I'm just being arrogant. They were so proud of that chant. One person said "That chant got us banned from TV by the NCAA, it's the reason our games can't be televised." I said bullshit, Michigan fans say stuff way worse than that 10 times a game and they get on TV all the time, you're not on TV because you're Western (the truth) but that is their legend on campus. After Western scored they pointed at our goalie and said "Sieve Sieve Sieve It's all your fault..." After hearing that I was just offended, can't these kids come up with their own shit to say? That is word for word Michigan's chant. My friends just thought I was jealous of their schools creative genius (I think we took the word "Sieve" from an Eastern school, but we at least improved upon the chant with the "all your fault" part). The only thing I had never heard before was when they spelled out O-R-G-Y "What does that spell? Orgy! What does that mean? Teamwork Teamwork Teamwork" I thought that was alright but they probably got that from somewhere else too.
Michigan won a close game but with Western being a CCHA bottom-feeder, it was a bit too close. I'll take the win, but it was a disappointing experience as the visitor. Walking out after the game I didn't get the feeling of pride I get when walking out of Munn Arena with Michigan gear on after we beat MSU. It was just kinda 'so what'. Hockey is supposed to be the biggest sport at WMU because they get to play in the same league as the big boys. I got the feeling that most of the students there really don't care about their school's sports, and most probably cheer for Michigan or MSU as their primary team anyway.
Fiutak writes that Nick Sheridan "wasn't awful in the season opener against Utah" which is exactly why he was replaced by Steven Threet in that game. Fiutak makes such genius "observations" as Brandon Moore is "not a great route runner, but he's a devastating blocker" (Moore never saw the field during his first season last year, so how could Fiutak know that?). And don't get me started on his preview of the offensive line:
"The key to the line might be the play of Mark Huyge, a 6-6, 291-pound sophomore who was good enough this spring at right tackle that it allowed Schilling to move inside. A major surprise, considering he didn’t see the field last year, he showed that he could handle the workload with excellent athleticism and good toughness. He’s great at pulling and getting on the move."
First of all, Huyge didn't see the field last year because he was INJURED, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that he did well in spring ball because he would've surely played last season if he was healthy given the state of the offensive line. But Fiutak makes no note of this as he was merely pulling this preview out of his ass. He even contradicts himself when he says Huyge is "great at pulling and getting on the move", How the hell do you know that if he didn't play?! Were you at spring practice? Did you ever watch Michigan play and actually take notes of how every player on the offensive line was performing? Did you exhaustively go over the game tape and analyze the intricacies of every play as Brian does here at MGoBlog? No. You merely looked at the names on the roster and made up stuff that would make you look like you know what the hell you're talking about.
This matters only because innocent people might go to this website thinking they are getting real analysis. Not knowing that Fiutak and his coworkers are no smarter than the anyone else. Sure, they can probably tell you the names of all the starting quarterbacks for every FBS team, but just because you can memorize all of the defensive lineman on North Texas doesn't make you smart. Just because an 8 year old can know the batting averages of every batter on the Tigers doesn't mean he could manage the team. Fiutak is put on Big Ten Network as an expert, he writes a column for FoxSports.com last I knew. He is polluting the internet with his uneducated viewpoints. A hack like this must be discredited at every possible turn.
Death to CFN!
I read the post "Sunk Costs" and disagreed with the following point on who is to blame for this past season:
"Lloyd Carr put all his eggs in Mallett's basket, leaving Michigan with David Cone as upperclass QBs this year. His recruiting was obviously rotting slowly, too."
Unlike the Drew Henson situation, Lloyd Carr did not put all of his eggs in the Ryan Mallett basket. When Mallett signed in 2006, Jason Forcier was only a redshirt-sophomore and would've had 2 more years of eligibility left if he had stayed. Once Mallett arrived on campus, Forcier decided to bolt for Stanford, something Lloyd could not have planned for. This turned out to be unfortunate for both sides, as Forcier had to sit out last year (there would've been chances for him to play here) and then played hardly at all this season. He could've been a decent QB here and would surely have been a big step up from Threet or Sheridan this season.
Despite this, Lloyd still had a solid backup plan in place. He signed Steven Threet at the start of the 2007 season. Threet was meant to be a solid back-up to Mallett for 2-3 years that could develop into a potential starter by the time he reached his junior year. This can still happen obviously, he was just pushed into the starting role too early. Also important to keep in mind was that before Lloyd announced his retirement he had signed 4 star QB John Wienke from Illinois, a traditional drop-back player who ended up at Iowa after Carr announced his departure (I don't quite recall if it was before or after the Rodriguez hiring). If Wienke had stayed on he probably would've been better than Sheridan at least this year. Mallett bolted after the bowl game.
The QBs this year were clearly not ready, but Lloyd is not at fault. There was attrition out of his control. A running quarterback would have been great this season but that's not the system he ran and he probably never thought Michigan would hire a coach like Rich Rodriguez. This was just an unfortunate result of a drastic regime change.