I've sat here pondering this particular OT season for sometime now and struggling to come up with an occasional feature that isn't too hard for me to find time to do, and then seeing the last couple days of threads in particular, it struck me that I could put a few of my talents to work in a series of self-conscious blog parodies written to the melodies of various tunes.
Indeed, I challenge others to do this as well as it is cathartic and would undoubtedly help some of us relieve the tedium until, say, the middle of August when we will be well into camp and unable to wait for the season any longer.
My first submission to the series is below:
(sung to Stevie Wonder’s “Part-Time Lover”)
You post some shit about recruits
Some bad hot takes, insults to boot
You think there’s nothing wrong, bad MGoBlogger
The downvotes start, you wonder why
That’s when the snark begins to fly
And now you’ve killed a thread, bad MGoBlogger
You are struggling to defend your dumb notion
It’s half-cocked, riddled with emotion
When the words don’t come you turn it all around
Throw out a “fuck”, then run the ship aground
The call goes out to find the mods
The blog won’t tolerate the clods
Yes, that refers to you, bad MGoBlogger
And all those points you thought you had
Go down the john, it makes you mad
You brought it on yourself, bad MGoBlogger
You are struggling to defend your dumb notion
It’s half-cocked, riddled with emotion
When the words don’t come you turn it all around
Throw out a “fuck”, then run the ship aground
You cannot see the problem with that post
But it’s so wrong, so much worse than most
You think that you’re being singled out
You likely are, of that there’s no doubt
I will not ask, I’ll just tell ya
Your next stop is Bolivia
This site is not for you, bad MGoBlogger
You’ll go create one more account
Try it again, but you discount
That people won’t spot you, bad MGoBlogger
Ghost of some bad MGoBlogger
Voltron too, bad MGoBlogger
For those unfamiliar with the original song:
Hello and Happy Aloha Friday.
This offseason is still in its infancy, we’ve seen the usual terrible threads rear their ugly head, and our countdown is still in offensive linemen territory.
This board has had significant debates within countless threads regarding John Beilein and the state of the Michigan Men’s Basketball program. There seems to be many users perched at both extremes; the sky is falling crowd, where John Beilein can’t do anything right, and needs to be shown the door sooner rather than later; and the crowd that has belief in John Beilein, his straight-arrowed approach, and success to date and potential for even greater success. We’ve seen birthdate as a hypothesis for determining what crowd you fall in to. We’ve seen differing definitions for a successful season, successful tenure, and recruiting hauls. We’ve also seen questions of how successful a “football” school should be when facing off against “basketball” schools.
My postulation is that the college basketball game is more of a “what have you done for me lately” business. High school players that travel the AAU circuit and earn McDonald All-American and Mr. Basketball accolades are on a one-track mission to go to the University which provides them the best opportunity to put their talents on display for one-two years, and then get drafted into the NBA (ideally as a lottery pick). I believe things such as “tradition” and geographic location can be thrown out the window when these high school athletes are deciding on which University they will attend. They only care about winning during their short time at college, and then fulfilling their dream of playing in the NBA. This is not a fault for these athletes; it’s simply the nature of the business. They know that the way out of wherever they came from, or how they financially help out their family, is to make it to the NBA and succeed.
The data I selected for this review is to look at which programs have been successful “lately”. I chose to go back to the 1999-2000 season. I chose 1999 as my starting season because 1) players on those teams are still competing in the NBA, and 2) coaches from 1999 are still coaching. The table below is broken up into three sections. The first section highlights teams that have made it to the National Championship game since 1999. The list of schools I chose to review is made up of teams that have been to a Championship game. This is how many define success; winning championships. The next section highlights wins, losses, NCAAT wins, and the number of 5-star recruits (as reported by 247 sports). I chose this time period to highlight which teams have had the most recent success. I also listed the number of players from each University are currently in the NBA (*this was made up prior to the 2016 NBA Draft). The last section shows wins, losses, bowl wins, and National Championships in football dating back to 2000-2001.
|1999 - Present||Basketball 2013-2014 - Present||Football 2000-2001 - Present|
|Team||NCAAT Championship Game Appearances||NCAAT Championships||Wins||Losses||NCAAT Wins||5* Recruits||NBA Players||Wins||Losses||Bowl Wins||National Champions|
I wanted to see which schools are not only winning in the regular season, but also making multiple runs in the NCAAT. The figure below shows that Wisconsin and Kentucky have had the most success in the NCAAT, while only Villanova and Arizona can claim more regular season wins. MSU is right alongside Duke, UNC, UCONN, and Florida. Michigan is in a cluster than includes Indiana, UCLA, Maryland, and Syracuse. Illinois, Memphis, Ohio State, and Butler are the four teams which have had the least amount of recent success in the NCAAT.
The next graph illustrates 5-star recruits with recent success. The big three of Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas hog most of the 5-stars. Wisconsin, MSU, and Louisville have been successful while bringing in zero 5-stars; Michigan isn’t far behind.
The next graph attempts to highlight how successful a program is at winning and getting their players to the NBA. It should come as no surprise to see Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina lead the way. Arizona, UCLA, and Florida comprise the next group. Michigan is on par with MSU, OSU, UCONN, and Wisconsin.
The final graph attempts to highlight which schools can be defined as a basketball or football school (or both). Quadrant 1 (upper right) schools have had success in both football and basketball. Quadrant 2 (upper left) schools have had more recent success in football. Quadrant 3 (bottom left) schools have had little success in either football or basketball. Quadrant 4 (bottom right) schools have had more recent success in basketball.
Analysis and Conclusion
I firmly believe in John Beilein, his system, his recruiting, and the success he has brought to this program. Beilein has shown time and again that his teams can compete against Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, etc. He has brought multiple NCAAT runs, Big-10 Championships, a NPOY, and success at getting players to the NBA. This presentation of information shows that Michigan isn’t too far behind the elites in college basketball.
My hope for the future is to have a decade of success similar to what Bo Ryan was able to do at Wisconsin. I believe that Beilein is the right coach for the job, and has the players in place to make a deep run this year and next year.
For a while now, I've been meaning to write a series of blog entries on former players and what they've been doing since their playing days. After participating in "Talking Cars Tuesdays" I came up with the novel idea of Throw Back Thursday. Catchy, right? I made it up, I swear. I hope you find these interesting while gaining an even deeper appreciation for guys you cheered for on Saturdays who have gone on to become "Captains of Industry", as Bo liked to call them.
This first guy is 50% responsible for the worst football play I was ever involved with. I remember it today like you remember the day your child was born or your fiance said "yes". Only not as joyful. Not nearly as joyful.
Bo created a goal line package which moved starting right tackle Clay Miller over to the Tight End position next to All-American OT Jumbo Elliott. Jumbo was 300+ lbs and Clay had to have been 290. That's a lot of beef. The poor, unfortunate soul lined up across from them as the "demonstration team" defensive tackle was none other than yours truly. All 240 pounds of me. Normally I played linebacker but we were light on defensive tackles that day and Coach Agase needed a body. I picked a bad day to volunteer. (I'm assuming Warde Manuel got an early preview of the practice script from Coach Ags and suddenly developed a strained groin or some BS. Infirmary Warde I liked to call him. HA! Only kidding).
The offense breaks the huddle but there’s something wrong. Our two starting tackles are lined up next to each, directly across from me.
"You've got to be kdding me". This is going to hur.....
Harbaugh barks the snap count. Vitale hikes the ball. And the Elliott/Miller combo literally blocks me from the 5 yard line straight into - AND THROUGH - the endzone. I gave everything I had - which wasn't much - while these two behemoths took me for a ride with evil smiles on their faces.
I'm thinking, "Please dear God, blow the damn whistle".
Nope. They continued to block me until I tripped over backwards and they both land on me. They snicker, stand over me, give each a high fives, and jog back to the huddle. It was the most painful and humiliating 5 seconds of my life. The only thing that could make it worse was........
"Goddammit you ham and eggers. RUN IT AGAIN."
That wasn't the highlight of my career nor Clay Miller's. Far from it. No, this man would go on to have an excellent career on the football field and an even greater one off it. He's a 3rd generation Wolverine. His oldest daughter now makes it 4. He hails from Norman Oklahoma where he was recruited by all the big schools including OU, Nebraska, UCLA, and Penn State. He chose to follow his grandfather, father, and mother to Ann Arbor because it was the best combination of athletics and academics. But for as good as Clay was at playing football, he was better at hitting the books.
Following Michigan and a stint in the NFL, he enrolled in Northwestern's School of Law. Upon completion of his JD he entered the working world, spending time in New York and London working at a private equity firm. After a couple years, he moved back to the states and enrolled in Harvard's business school to gain a better understanding of private equity investments .
That’s not a bad resume, my friends. You won’t find too many former D1/All-Conference football players who earned degrees from Michigan, Northwestern, and Harvard. I couldn’t find the data, but you probably don’t need more than a couple fingers to do the math, if that. We’re talking impressively rare air.
Clay now resides in Minnesota with his wife, Lisa, and two kids (one a recent Michigan grad, the other a hopeful future Wolverine), running his own private equity firm and enjoying vacations at a lake in northern Michigan. He's given back to the University of Michigan through generous donations and also served on an advisory board for LS&A. He is the definition of a Michigan Man, and he and his wife Lisa are the epitome of supportive alums.
But supporting their alma mater by "writing check" wasn't enough. He wanted to do more. On one of their long rides home from the lake back in 2007, Lisa asked him, "what would you have wanted when you were playing?" After considering the question, Clay suggested that having a connection to guys who had been through it and were out on their own would have been beneficial. So with Lisa’s help, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development, a plan was hatched.
In 2009, with cooperation from Coach Carr, Coach Rodriquez, and former Senior Associate Athletic Director Joe Parker, the Michigan Football Alumni Mentoring program was launched. The idea was to hold a meeting where former players would come talk to current players about life after football, answer any questions about their field, and perhaps open a few doors. Clay made some calls and got commitments from 8 former players who agreed to meet in Ann Arbor on a cold night in February to talk to a few dozen players. From that first meeting in ’09 to now, the program has grown to almost 200 former players mentoring nearly the entire football team. The players form small groups and spend about 15 minutes with a group of alumni from a specific business sector for an informal visit while asking questions, taking notes, then rotating onto the next sector. The fields include: Law, Engineering, Financial Services, Health Care, Management, Consulting, Real Estate, and Entrepreneurship among others. The program also includes an introduction to the Letterwinners M Club, the office of Alumni Engagement, and features a special guest speaker. Past speakers include Jon Runyon (former NFL lineman/US Representative/TV&Radio personality), Jim Hackett (Steelcase CEO and a pretty good AD), and Tom Dixon (former USFL lineman/prominent Detroit attorney). There are doctors, business owners, restaurateurs, salesmen, teachers, law enforcement officers, and one guy who’s made a pretty good career coaching football.
You've heard of the Michigan difference? This is it. There's not another formal program like it in the entire country. The feedback from the players and coaching staff has been unanimously positive. More and more alumni are getting involved and the annual symposium is something the current players look forward to. Clay’s even had ex-players from other teams (Iowa's Chuck Hartlieb) contact him for guidance on how to start their own mentoring program. All of this motivates Clay to improve the mentoring and make it more beneficial. Conversations are ongoing with Warde Manuel about how to collaborate with the athletic department and people “up on the hill” while adhering to strict NCAA compliance rules. A collaborative effort with a future LS&A program called M Opportunity Hub is also in the works. The Hub will be an actual office on campus that provides undergrads with guidance, and career placement. Focus will be placed on building an alumni data base which would help students find and secure vital summer internships.
I asked Clay to give me an example of a success story resulting from the mentor program. He gave me former WR Jeremy Jackson (son of long time assistant coach Fred Jackson) who connected with Dave Dever at one of the annual meetings. Dave is a former lineman for the Wolverines and father of former WR Bo Dever. He works at a plastics firm in Chicago and after a successful interview, offered Jeremy a position. Jeremy is "killing it" according to Clay, and is just one of many former players who have benefitted from connections forged through the alumni network. There are no guarantees, however. It’s not a job corps. The mentor program is a tool made available to student-athletes, much like academic counselors for undergraduate students. It’s up to the individual to walk through the door that’s been placed in front of them.
Clay continues to work with players, coaches, and administrators to refine and enhance the program. Creating a secure portal, increasing participation, and broadening the alumni network are all part of making it more practical and successful. There's an enormous amount of work involved and it requires tremendous organization throughout the year. As you can imagine, it’s not easy managing all of this from 700 miles away while also running your own business and devoting time to your family. But this is what Clay knows: hard work, dedication, perpetual improvement, and motivating people. He’s not doing it for the notoriety and he’s not taking a salary. He does it for the love of his university and to give back to something he believes gave him so much. Giving back and paying it forward is part of what makes us Leaders and Best.
Those who stay……
A couple quick tidbits about Clay:
He played from 1981-1985 and wore #79
He came to Michigan as a defensive tackle then moved to the offensive line.
His favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor is Zingerman’s.
The best dish he cooks are BBQ Ribs
If he had a son, he would definitely let him play football. "Football is such a great game and teaches so much."
What other school did you seriously consider: Penn State.
 While researching for this blog post, I came across a "Where are they now" piece Bruce Madej wrote back in 2011 for MGoBlue.com. It’s a great read and includes a funny story about Clay’s first play in the Big House.
B1G/MAC Draft Prospects
I’ve had a contact with a couple of scouts whom I known for a while and they are assigned to the Midwest region. This is their early watchlist for the 2017 draft. These are their thoughts on the prospects that they evaluated to see if they’ll progress for the 2017 season.
CJ Beathard Iowa
- IMO, he’s the top senior QB in the draft. Beathard is a name that no one is talking about for the 2017 draft. Beathard has experience in pro-style offense, shown good command of running it and has good arm with athleticism to buy time in the pocket. Beathard is a much more aggressive passer than given credit for and was responsible for some of the close wins that Iowa has produced last season. Occasionally, his accuracy can be spotty and is a bit of an injury prone. If he progress, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets drafted at 2nd round.
Kareem Hunt Toledo
De’Veon Smith Michigan
- This is a bad year for them to be eligible for the draft because 2017 RB class is going to be LOADED with top tier prospects like Fournette, McCaffery, Cook, etc. That will push mid-tier RBs down in the draft board. Kareem Hunt is the best of the B1G/MAC prospects. He is one of the main reason why Toledo has played well last season and should continue to shine as the man at RB.
De’Veon Smith was on and off last season, but there are things that they liked about him like his power and surprising quickness. However, they don’t like the fact that he’s been hurt last season and he has been on and off as a runner. They questioned his vision which is important for a RB to succeed in the next level. They see him as a complimentary RB who can play in short yardage situation.
Corey Davis WMU
Jehu Chesson Michigan
- Corey Davis would’ve been a 1st/2nd round pick, had he come out for the 2016 draft. He has the size and speed that would entice the GMs to take him high in the draft. He has been productive despite the fact that he gets attention from the secondary. The scouts believed that he is the best draft eligible WR (pending 2016 season).
Jehu Chesson bursted into the scene and they liked what they’ve seen from Chesson. They have him as one of the best Senior WR in the draft and they’re curious to see if he can take the next step as a WR. They liked his deep speed, but they want to see him improve his quickness in route running outside of 9 route. They noted of his tendency to body catch passes in which he must show improvement.
Jake Butt Michigan
Josiah Price MSU
- Jake Butt is unquestionably the top TE in the Midwest. They believe that he’ll be a successful move TE in the next level. They liked his size, hands and catch radius. They are very interested to see how he’ll test out at the combine because they think he isn’t an explosive athlete (he’s more fluid than twitchy/explosive athlete which isn’t a bad thing). Butt will have to compete in what it looks like to be a top heavy TE class.
Josiah Price stood out as an all-around TE. He has soft hands and can block at the LOS. However, he isn’t a great athlete and is more of a #2 TE in the next level.
Dan Feeney Indiana
Pat Elfiein OSU
Dan Voltz Wisconsin
Mason Cole Michigan
- This is a pretty strong year for draftable interior OL prospects in the B1G conference. Feeney and Elfiein are the best of the bunch and should get a look at day 2. Voltz and Cole should push their way into day 2 convo with strong play for the 2016 season. The scouts are interested to see how Cole perform at C because they feel that it’s his best position for the next level.
Dawuane Smoot Illini
Sam Hubbard OSU
Kemoko Turay Rutgers
- The DE group has potential to be a 1st round pick, but they have to prove themselves for different reasons. As it stands, Smoot is the best of the bunch with burst and quick twitch athleticism to dominate as a pass rusher. However, Smoot is unpolished as a pass rusher and needs to show improvement with pass rush techniques. Hubbard has flashed as a reserve DE, but is still raw as a DE. He came into OSU as a S and bulked up which prompted him to move to DE. Hubbard is a smooth athlete with good burst off the edge and is surprisingly adept against the run. The scouts would like to see him as a starting DE and if he shows improvement, they feel that he could be a 1st round pick. Finally, Kemoko Turay has been super productive in his first two seasons at Rutgers. Last season was a huge disappointment because they expected more from him. Turay has the size, length and athleticism to be an elite prospect. Turay showed inconsistent effort and Rutgers coaches unwillingness to play him despite the fact that he’s their best DL is baffling to the scouts. Turay is still raw as a DE since it’s his 4th year playing football, but the upside is there.
Malik McDowell MSU
Darius Hamilton Rutgers
Maurice Hurst Michigan
Jaleel Johnson Iowa
Chris Wormley Michigan
- This is easily the strongest position group of the region. Malik McDowell is the best of the bunch, but is miscasted at NT with his size and athleticism. They projected him as a 3T or 5T DL. Darius Hamilton has been one of the best DT in the conference until his injury has knocked him off the season. If he’s healthy and if he shows that he is back, they expect a big year from him. Michigan DT duos, Hurst and Wormley has made their name from last season with strong play. The scouts are hoping that Wormley can get back to early season form, not the one where he faded at the end of the season. The OL figured out how to block Wormley in which he doesn’t have a counter move once his initial move gets blocked. Hurst flashes last season and the scouts would like to see more consistency from Hurst. Hurst has the athleticism to be a very good DT in the next level.
Jabrill Peppers Michigan
Ed Davis MSU
- Scouts are already salivating at the thought of Jabrill Peppers as a Money Linebacker (a position that is becoming more and more popular in the NFL thanks to Denone Buchannan). They really liked his athleticism and his willingness to stick his nose against the run. They’re not sure if he’s a fit at SS or Money Linebacker because of the coverage issue against slot WRs. They believe he has the athleticism to do so, but the fact that he struggled against WRs is a concern. As it stands, they see him as a potential 1st rounder.
Ed Davis is a LB that they are interested in because obviously, he was out for the season with an injury.
RaeKwon McMillian OSU
Anthony Walker Northwestern
Hardy Nickerson Illini
- RaeKwon McMillian is the clear top dog in this group. Whether if he’s a 1st round pick or not remains to be seen, but he has been impressive as a MIKE LB calling the shots for OSU defense. Anthony Walker has been all over the field and they consider him a chess piece at LB whether if he’s a rush LB, MIKE LB or a true 4-3 OLB. Hardy Nickerson is a guy to watch for and he’s a grad transfer from Cal to play for his dad who is a well-known NFL LB.
Desmond King Iowa
Jourdan Lewis Michigan
Gareon Conley OSU
- It should be an interesting battle for the top spot as the top college CB because both are legit NFL prospects and both had a phenomenal year covering WRs last season. It was a surprise that Desmond King decided to come back because he is likely a 2nd round pick at worst for the 2016 draft. Either way, both are almost a lock to be an All-American this coming season. King is a better prospect at this point because of his size. There’s a bit of a concern about Lewis size and NFL aren’t generally a big fan of short and small CBs. Jourdan Lewis is 5’10” and 170 lbs which is small (granted 5’10” isn’t small since Hargraves got drafted at 1st round). Measurement will be important for Lewis or NFL will view him as a slot CB which will hurt his draft value.
Gareon Conley is raw and it’s based on potential. They’re interested to see how he’ll perform as the #1 CB on the team. I’ve heard that they viewed him as a FS because of his stiff hips but has the athleticism to be a good S in the next level.
"I stopped at a small hotel outside the city that was on a cliff, with the entire Atlantic Ocean below it. In the lobby there was a middle-aged European man. He took a look at my passport and then he said 'Wallenberg? Are you Swedish? Are you a relative of Raoul?'
"'Yes,' I said, 'his second cousin.' Then he beamed at me, this hotel receptionist and said, 'I will make sure that you receive our finest room with a view of the ocean. And whatever you need, Mr. Wallenberg, you have only to ask.'
Peter Wallenberg taps his pipe on the side of the ashtray. "This came a little unexpectedly and I didn't know much about Raoul. I must have looked quite puzzled. 'You understand,' the man went on, 'Raoul Wallenberg saved my life.'"
(From Ingrid Carlberg's "Raoul Wallenberg: The Heroic Life and Mysterious Disappearance of the Man Who Saved Thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust"--more info about this book at the end of the diary)
The hotel receptionist above was far from a rarity: Raoul Wallenberg, Michigan class of 1935, saved tens of thousands of lives while in Budapest during WWII. He grew up in a prominent Swedish family, and in 1944 traveled to Budapest, Hungary with the mission of saving Jewish lives. Secretly funded primarily by Americans, his official status as a diplomat of neutral Sweden gave him some protection and independence. He quickly realized that evacuating Jews from Budapest would be incredibly inefficient, and instead turned to protecting their lives in Budapest. He created a "Schutzpass" document--which appeared official and supposedly granted the holder the protection of Sweden, then risked his life to argue with Hungarian and German officials for it to be accepted. He rode a fine line between protecting as many as possible without undermining its legitimacy--but the most tenuous connection with Sweden was sometimes enough for his team (eventually consisting of hundreds of staff-members, many of them rescued Jews) to issue a Schutzpass, and as the Soviet Army approached, Wallenberg declared that any application must be approved.
Wallenberg developed a system of Swedish safe-houses, and eventually worked to create a separate international ghetto for Jews under protection from Sweden and other neutral powers. He created a rescue team that worked to protect those under Swedish protection--in some instances, they would impersonate Nazi officials in order to demand Jews from death marches, and then return them to Budapest. For his actions, Wallenberg was a target of multiple assassination attempts.
As the Soviet Red Army approached and others fled, the Swedish team stayed in Budapest in order to prevent a final catastrophic act by the Arrow Cross (essentially Hungarian Nazis). As the Soviets approached, Wallenberg went out to meet them and present his plan to rebuild Budapest. He was initially protected by the Soviets, but was soon arrested by direct order from Stalin himself, who believed Wallenberg to be a Nazi spy--not only was the Soviet system under Stalin incredibly paranoid, but it simply could not believe that Wallenberg would do what he did.
The Swedes, who could not believe that the Soviet Union would take a neutral diplomat prisoner, missed several signals from the USSR that they had done exactly that. The Soviets took the lack of Swedish response as confirmation of Wallenberg's status as a spy. For years, the USSR denied knowing anything about Wallenberg's whereabouts and intentionally muddied the waters, claiming he had been killed near Budapest. Eventually, in 1957, the Soviet Union would acknowledge that Wallenberg was taken prisoner, but said he died of a heart attack in 1947. Whether that story is true, or he was executed at that time, or survived hidden in the Soviet Gulag system for many years after, remains a mystery.
Wallenberg's Schutzpass alone is credited with saving the lives of 20,000 Hungarian Jews. Wallenberg's work in total is often credited with saving at least 30,000, and some say he deserves credit for every Hungarian Jew who survived the war--a total of approximately 100,000.
I learned of Raoul Wallenberg when I had some time to waste before a meeting near Rackham, and noticed the sculpture by the Southeast corner of the building, dedicated to his actions. There is also a sculpture in front of the Art and Architecture building on North Campus (he was an architecture graduate) which states simply "One person can make a difference."
For those interested in learning more, check out the university's page at http://wallenberg.umich.edu and reading the biographical sections.
If you're interested in a much more thorough understanding of the man, I recommend an excellently researched biography I just finished reading by Ingrid Carlberg, "Raoul Wallenberg: The Heroic Life and Mysterious Disappearance of the Man Who Saved Thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust" (Which is the source of the quote at the top.) It interestingly omits or limits many of the heroic stories of physical action in Budapest--perhaps some of the stories are more legend than truth, or perhaps they simply cannot be documented well-enough for the author--but she otherwise does an outstanding job telling the story of his upbringing including his time in at Michigan (although he doesn't enjoy it in the beginning, he quickly becomes a fan), his amazing work in Budapest to create a large burocracy aimed at protecting Jews, as well as his time in Soviet custody, and how efforts to learn more have faltered and failed. Interestingly, one of the primary reasons his story has been told was that the CIA pushed it, wanting to create problems between Sweden and the USSR.
If you live near Ann Arbor, consider attending the lectures of the university's Wallenberg Medal, awarded each year since 1990. I attended memorable lectures by Paul Rusesabagina (whose story was told in Hotel Rwanda) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Other receipients have included Aung San Suu Kyi, John Lewis, the Dalai Lama, and Elie Wiesel, as well as Per Anger who worked with Wallenberg in Budapest, and Wallenberg's half-sister Nina Lagergren.
This topic has popped up on the MGoBoard periodically over my time here so I wanted to share my experience with cord cutting. I want to start by saying I don't work for any of the companies mentioned nor do I get anything from them if you switch.
I was a Comcast subscriber for years (first during my time in AA then when I first moved out to DC) and I thought the service was good but the price was too high. I was paying over $120 for the most basic cable and internet bundle. This included 120 channels and 25 Mbps internet and HD DVR. Most of those channels I never watched, in fact with Netflix nad Hulu, the only live programming I watched were sports and GoT.
I recently discovered an App called Playstation Vue. It works a lot like Sling TV but it is better in my opinion. Playstation Vue can be accessed only on a playstation (3 or 4) or Amazon Fire TV. I had Apple TV before (I thought it was great) but I switched to save money. If you already have Fire TV or a Playstation 3/4 you don't need anything else. Amazon Fire TV is $85 (at least at the BestBuy where I got them) and a Playstation 3 is about $220 with a Playstation 4 running about $350.
You must create a log in for playstation if you don't already have one, butat it is free. However, once you create the profile (which can be done on a computer/tablet/phone) you will need to sign up for the service on a Fire TV or Playstation. At this point you will have to enter your credit card information. However, there is a 7 day trial so if you don't like it in your first week, you can always cancel and pay nothing.
Playstation Vue has 3 different packages you can choose from one that hass 55 channels for $30/month one that has 70 channels for $35 and one with 100 channels for $45. I purchased the $35 option becuase it has ESPN 1/2/U/News, FS1 and FS2 and BTN with alternates. It obviously has more channels but those are relevant ones for the purposes of this blog.
In addition to more channels, one advantage the Vue has over Sling TV is that you can stream on up to 5 devices under the same account, while Sling TV only allows 1 stream.
I recently added RCN internet and local channels when I dropped Comcast. I pay $50/month for the 70 channels that could be picked up with an antenna (though not with a lot of consistency) and 155 Mbps wifi (which is probably overkill).
So total I am paying $85 for something I was paying $120 for. Saving $35 a month seems like a no-brainer.
One thing most of you will ask is how are the live sports? I will tell you my expericence so far. When I first ordered the Vue with my old Comcast internet (25 Mbps) I was watching baseball and it was not the best quality. After I switched to RCN with my 155 Mbps internet, I watched the Kentucky spring football game on the league of extraordinary bagmen channel and it was if I had not switched at all! While the quality of play on the field was subpar, the clarity was great!
Now for the drawbacks, and there are a few. First, it only has NBC and Fox locals as part of the package. If you live in an area where an antenna can reliably pick up the local channels, this will be of no concern to you. If you want your local channels, such as ABC and CBS, then you will have to pay for them from your cable company, those this option is pretty inexpensive from most cable companies.
The second note of caution is your internet speed and the size of your dwelling. I live in a one bedroom apartment with my modem/router in the center of the apartment. I also have one of the Amazon Fire boxes plugged directly into the modem via ethernet cable. The internet I have is ridiculously fast, the guy who installed it said 50 Mbps would have been sufficient but for $10, I thought it was worth it. Obviously the slower your internet speed and the further away your Fire TV is from your router, the worse your picture will be. I suggest you try test these things during your 7 day trial period.
The last thing I would caution against it internet data caps. Some companies have them and streaming live TV will use a lot of data. You want to make sure your internet company doesn't have a data cap.
On balance, I think this is a good alternative to cable and I suggest you give it a try!