"Michigan has somehow created a world where loyalty is punished with price hikes, and disloyalty is rewarded with freebies."
(Click the image to view full size)
Four days until Arlington. Four days until Team 133 takes the field. It was very hard to keep my hand still long enough to draw this thing. Don't you just love that "last week of school before Christmas" feeling that kicks in right about now??
On Thursday Tom unveils his yearly opening day pregame ritual.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog,
and at least every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to
check out Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Recently a friend of mine (a software developer) was talking to his 11 year-old son about working on an iPad app together. My friend said to his son, "You know what skills you're going to need to learn if we do this, don't you?" To which his son replied, "Arts & crafts like Mr. Jeremy?" We had a good laugh about it but the truth is that I do find myself chasing arts & crafts projects as a changeup to the day-to-day work in my design & software business. So joke's on you, 11 year-old kid, I take that as a compliment!
I've been working for a few years on a Michigan football-related craft project: a wooden puzzle where the laser-cut pieces are hand painted to represent each B10 team and can be arranged in the order of the current league standings. I designed the helmets to match the two-bar face mask style from my 80's sticker books (and used by Steve Largent forever) because they are rad looking and because they will not be mistaken for a youth hockey helmet or space explorer headgear (unlike some contemporary football helmet styles). I'll probably never finish the puzzle project so I was happy to find a use for my original helmet and field illustrations. I added the stadium and Allen screws to lend structure, depth and detail to the image.
The images below are previews only. You can get the widescreen, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
How it was made
The artwork was created in Illustrator (vector graphics) and Cinema 4d (3D extrusions, layout) with some help from Photoshop (wood textures, blur effects, color correction).
Some say the blobs on the beach of Mobile can be chalked up to the tar balls BP donated. In reality, it was the stain and sludge finally surfacing and left behind when Nick Saban crawled upon the shores of Alabama. The man has an automatic “Montgomery Burns” edition of automatic doors and a whole other string of players on medical redshirts. There is no doubt that after this essence of evil was suppressed by a lackluster program on the banks of the Cedar, his bad voodoo has been in full force. He has humiliated and tortured other teams in his conquest of the NCAA.
The man has a disgraceful persona so heavy that even he cannot celebrate his biggest wins. He retires to his lair and begins the planning of world domination after every game in the belly of a Greyhound bus. Michigan is coming from a complete different 270 degree position where they have not had the luxury of enjoying the knee knocking fear displayed on their opponent's face, but instead this once great program that suffered a great civil war and limped along in life. Then a man of mutant stature Hoke emerged from the killing fields of many MGoBlogger meltdowns, détente treaties, radioactive topics that were not safe to traverse in conversation, and a hungry loyal following. Jimmy Carter got booted for a said malaise in the country, as did another southern gentleman by the name of Rich Rodriguez for a football program in the same state.
What followed was thought to be as possible as Luxembourg touting a basketball team in the Olympics to defeat the U.S. Dream Team II. Regardless of the impossible odds of an 11 win season and a Sugar Bowl victory, Michigan did it. The offense had more control of the offense as to sustain lasting drives and the defense look as if they did cage fighting over the previous summer with Liam Neeson to toughen their resolve and TUFFness. As the season progressed, the team, the team, the team began to congeal into a deadly opportunistic football team. GoBo finally shaped the offense around Nard Dog’s strengths along with taking some pressure off him with a respectable running game. The juggernaut in a pumpkin carriage capitulated with a defensive victory over a team that would have taken Michigan behind the woodshed in years prior. The sugar poured, and the people roared.
My only logical and reasonable reasoning comes from last year’s Penn State and Alabama game. Alabama wasn’t coming off a National Championship, but heading into one. Given that Penn State was a heavy underdog in the souls of the Nittany Lion hearts same time last year, some of the more “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” crowd in Ann Arbor can relate to the angst and guttural fear of being more meat in the Saban grinder. Although Alabama controlled most of the game, the beating wasn’t as severe as once thought. Penn State suffered through the pain of dying a thousand paper cuts. Michigan’s offense is arguably much more dynamic and able to strike than the Penn State team of a year ago. There are some questions of holes being filled on the O-line and receiving corps. There is also a numbing knowledge of an almost certainly suspended Toussaint that could put the responsibility of winning the game on the lone shoulders of D-Nard. This could lead to the irisless peepers of the Crimson Tide defense on the same person. On defense, the anticipation of how well the D-Line will do without Mike Martin anchoring the buffet busters of 2011 is at its peak. There are glimmering prospects with Will Campbell taking advantage of a Groupon coupon to the Barwis Boot Camp training. The senior is a story in the making of a senior that finally gets what his place is in the team and becomes a one man tsunami on the defensive line. Craig Roh may also get to show that he saved the best for last.
With all the potential outcomes, I think it will boil down to a Michigan team with some questions on replacing key players and possibly being in a unfortunate position of actually having to deal with the new feeling of having a high bar that came unexpectedly last season. Can Michigan focus on having a whole new year ahead of them with the loss of an “us vs. the world” mentality they used as tacklin fuel last year? Can the holes be filled with the unknown and compete at an equal or even better level? These things will be made perfectly clear September 1st, 2012. I do think it is entirely possible for Michigan to catch a rusty and hungover Alabama team with stellar performances by their own offense and defense and pull a wet dream of an upset. But this is Alabama. Premier, Nikolas Saban at the helm. The man has created a machine that even would make Neo pee a little. It is for this reason of shadowy practices and ESS EEE SEE culture of moral fortitude in following every loophole that allows me to believe that a valiant attempt will come up short to the meat processing plant built in the West Nile infested swamp of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It will however, be the very circumstance in where being wrong is much better than being right.
The Big Ten Recruiting Rankings returns after a two-week hiatus. Outside of Penn State's class continuing to fall apart, little of note occurred since the rankings were last posted; look no further than Indiana picking up the highest-ranked recruit in that span for evidence. Changes since the last rankings:
8-5-12: Minnesota picks up Jalen Myrick.
8-6-12: Wisconsin picks up Alex James.
8-7-12: Illinois picks up Reggie Spearman. Dorian Johnson and Zach Bradshaw decommit from Penn State.
8-8-12: Nebraska picks up Zach Hannon. Indiana picks up Myles Graham.
8-9-12: Nebraska picks up Jonathan Cook. Indiana picks up Antonio Allen.
8-10-12: Illinois picks up Martize Barr. Northwestern picks up Godwin Igwebuike.
8-11-12: Penn State picks up Jordan Smith.
8-12-12: Iowa picks up Matthew VandeBerg. Indiana picks up Chase Dutra.
8-18-12: Illinois picks up Miguel Hermosillo.
8-20-12: Purdue picks up Dwayne Johnson.
8-25-12: Michigan State picks up Demetrius Cooper.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
To eliminate any confusion about how the rankings are determined (to be honest, they used to be arbitrary), team order is determined by multiplying the number of commits by star average.
On to the full data after the jump.
If you don't have time to watch the whole preview, scroll down for clips of Hoke, Mattison, Borges, Denard, Kovacs and Lewan.
EDIT: I added the FS Detroit preview and changed the title.
BTN Preview (full broadcast):
BTN Preview Torrent:
FS Detroit Preview:
Good morning from the West Coast, my fellow MGoBloggers. As I started composing replies to several comments on the HAIL Fail post, I found my long-winded ways would be best suited for a diary. I'd like to address both the HAIL program itself, as presented and as I think it should evolve, and some suggestions for current students from a '12 grad, and yes, BlueLotCrew, I do have a big girl job.
HAIL: (Honoring Attendance, Involvement and Loyalty!)
Yes, it's currrently a Meh on the Otter scale of Ennui
Silly acronym aside, I'm actually kind of jealous that I graduated before this was implemented since I pretty much lived at Michigan Stadium and Yost. Nice to get rewards for stuff you already do and all. This program isn't targeted towards the already obsessed though, the goal is to get more butts in seats. I do agree with Brian, a free shirt and $5 at Mujo's ain't gonna cut it.
But, still a promising move forward. Why?
It shows that the athletic department is trying to answer a key issue (and yes it's an issue, deal with it, ya drunks). We've bitched about it, they're responding. Let's accept that this is mostly a "test year" where they figure out the technology, implementation, etc before rolling out a long-term incentive program.
At the risk of using some coporate speak, it's promoting a more devoted student culture. For those of you who had already graduated pre-Horror, that game really kicked off a climate change in the student section. I've heard from many alumni, both on the board here and in real life, that they weren't really college football fans at all until their first game in the Big House. Well, you can't deny that the experience hasn't been quite the same in the past few years, and we're all glad to leave that behind us, but we've still cultivated a good 3 years of students whose first football experience was less than inspiring. Understandably, these people who would have normally dove headfirst onto the bandwagon now have to get a little bit of a push, and an incentive program could be that push.
The best incentive? Earning better seats. That would be easily the best direction this program could go in, especially if they could guarantee your seats by your earned point percentile and seniority.
Also, a lot of people have mentioned general admission as a solution. At first blush, that seems like a cool plan until you have people camping out a la Paternoville. If they don't let you line up before gameday, you'll still have huge lines, and if hockey's "not-really-assigned-seating' is any indication, people will cram into the best seats a la phonebooth stuffing and leave the less desired seats very empty. Brian Cook will then take a picture of the empty nosebleeds and tweet it, asking more people to show up on time. The people who got there early will try to tweet back, but their arms are pinned to their sides by a mass of highlighter yellow humanity.
Now, about that key issue, and what you can do about it, ya drunk:
Current students, I know our generation has been called a lot of unflattering things. Lazy, entitled, spoiled, you name it, it's been written in a half-assed trendpiece, and Michigan football is no place for you and your buddies to be reinforcing these stereotypes. Time to get it together and prove to the alumni and yourselves that you can in fact be both a loud, raging fanbase and get your drunk ass in a seat on time like any fan of respectable devotion.
"But CMR, I'm on deck at the pong table and I need to take more picturessss, please advice!"
This is where I'd like to offer my expert advice.
- Four glorious years as an active sorority member, including my junior year where I served as a Rho Omega (rush officer, and yes that's during football season, and yes, at least one rushee called me in a panic at 2am asking what to wear for next set.)
- BSE Aerospace Engineering. DANGER ZONE.
- Attended every home football game from 08-11 without missing a kickoff and without leaving early. Don't ask about Northwestern, my toes are still thawing.
Now, the advice, in list form because everyone knows that's how this generation writes:
- Don't overdo it the night before. Whether you're at a mixer or the Dude, make sure you hydrate (yes, with water, ya damn drunks) and get some quality sleep. Do not be like me and fall asleep at 3am before OSU in 09, only to awake at 5am. I was in top drinking form as a sophomore and ready for Rage 2.0, you probably won't be.
- Because you need to wake up early. There, I said it. If it's a noon game and you need to get your drink on, you need to at least wake up by 6am. How much time it takes you to get ready should be factored into this as well.
- DON'T FORGET YOUR DAMN TICKETS. I may or may not have written this on my arm in Sharpie during sophomore year. This is not a run you want to make, and you need to remember to include "tickets, Mcard," in your phone-wallet-keys patdown.
- Make a pregaming plan with your amigos. This was absolutely essential, because gameday communication is LOLtastic at best. Figure out breakfast, where/when you're meeting who, if you need to stop by to say hi at your parents' tailgate relatively sober, and give yourself a half hour from leaving a State St. pregame to get to the stadium.
- Stick to the plan. Believe me, your cameras will still work for group pictures at the stadium. Also, unless there is a medical emergency, stragglers should get one warning before being left to their own devices. I MEAN IT, LINDSAY!
- DON'T STAND IN THE LONGEST LINE AT THE STADIUM. Yes, the Hoover entrance will probably be closest, and yes, you will be sitting there for some time, especially if it's Parents Weekend. Go around to the ones near Crisler or on Main Street. Just because the student section is in that corner on Hoover doesn't mean you have to enter there.
With that, I welcome your
scathing disagreements thoughtful comments, though I may not be able to reply for a while because I have to be early to my flag football game on the beach to maintain my priority points. I think I can get used to this California place.