a terrible blight on our fine country
I think we all know it’s inevitable. Not Meyer taking the job, I still have a minimal amount of unrealistic hope that he’ll turn them down, and that I get to laugh at my OSU acquaintances. But they’re going to offer, if they haven’t already. They aren’t going to handle things in a businesslike manner, waiting until after the season wraps up in January, getting together with Fickel for a few chats, and sleeping a few nights on it. No. They are moving now, in season, and reminding us that a metaphorical discipline bomb could be dropped at the 50 of the Horseshoe and this organization’s immediate response would be : “Well, what can we do to keep winning football games at any cost?”
Should Urban Meyer take the job, what would it mean for Ohio State and Michigan both in short terms and a few years from now? Here are my thoughts:
Do you remember when you were a child, and did something very bad? Do you remember a disciplinary figure giving you hell for it? Do you remember the day your father, or older brother, or mentor, or person that everyone in the room loved and respected, stepped in on your behalf and told those in charge of keeping order that “they’d talk to you about it”?
If Urban Meyer takes over at OSU, put your popcorn carts away. He’ll intercede for them. With Tressel at the helm the Buckeyes would have suffered the long dick of the law. With anybody else, they’d still get nailed for pulling off and covering up a scandal rivaled only by the past three decades at Miami, but not with Meyer.
Just like a pastor, or a youth care worker, he’ll step in, have a short chat with the NCAA board and say exactly this, or something like it, “I’ll talk to them about it.” At this point, everyone in the room will put on their bedroom eyes, and look fondly on Meyer as though he is a returning vet with a purple heart. Someone might even say “You go get em’ TIGER!”
Meyer will save Ohio the slap on the wrist. Write this down.
THE YEARS AHEAD:
This is going to end in one of two ways. Both of them will benefit Michigan.
Option 1: This whole thing blows up in their face. We’ve beaten Urban Meyer before. We will continue to beat him. The recruiting momentum is in our favor right now, and with this Michigan team rising to the current occasion, I don’t see it changing any time soon. Even if Les Miles showed up in Columbus with a scarlet hoodie and a headset. And remember, while Meyer is one hell of a coach, he’s a quitter. When the going got tough in Gainesville, he left, for health reasons. I am not going all conspiracy theorist on this. He probably had shit going on. But then he came back, swept in and took his Castle back a la Jay Leno, and when the ratings didn’t go back up, it was all of a sudden “family-time” for the Meyers. He proceeded to bail on Florida once more, and then proceeded to
spend considerable amounts of time with his family travel around the country producing editorial segments and calling games for ESPN. Now that college football season is winding down and he will finally have that valuable time with his kids and wife, he is settling in at home, and making plans for vacations and down time with his family talking about and addressing rumors about a return to Columbus as if he were waiting on the phone call. If he takes the job this winter, and we’re looking at an 8-4 buckeye squad in 2013 and 2014, will he stick around? The only thing more entertaining than Braxton Miller’s attempt at passing the ball fourteen yards will be Meyer’s newest excuse. Grandchildren? Erectile Dysfunction? Time to spend a few months responding to fan mail?
It works. Two years from now, the Buckeyes are looking at 10-3 post bowl game, and as a result are ranked #3 in the preseason polls for the next year. Don’t get me wrong, while I wish we Beat Ohio every year, instead of rolling a squad that can’t put a decent drive together, I’d rather take a big old piss in their chicken noodle soup. I don’t just want Michigan to beat them, I want them to ruin Ohio’s season. And as a result, our path to a National Championship just got a little straighter. We need our #1 rival to be a top ten team. It’s just how it is. Texas-Oklahoma Alabama-Auburn-LSU, Michigan-Ohio State. It’s rare that any one of these teams makes waves in the annual run at the BCS championship when their (or one of their) corresponding rivals don’t have a decent shot at 10-11 wins.
Meyer may mean we go from taking the Buckeyes 9 times out of 10 to maybe 6 or 7, but at least with him at the helm, we’ll not only get beat by a clean, talented program, we’ll have the opportunity to do it to them, just after thanksgiving, every year.
Either way, bring it on! Whichever one of our rivals (Notre Dame. Lolz) (Michigan State. Perpetual dream state that I’m confident will end soon. Very soon.) (Ohio. A big fat mess right now) wants to try and derail us….I say let them in.
In one year, Hoke and Co. have taught this team to play like Michigan again. But they’ve only gotten the job halfway done. Last off season, the fundamentals were laid in place. Last off season, they learned (and are finally showing it) how to play the game right. But his spring and summer, these athletes learn the other half of what Michigan football is: The toughness, the swagger, the Tremendous Tremendousosity. We’re only at the summit, friends.
And whether he’s in the media booth, or on the opposite sideline, Urban Meyer won’t change that.
I started working on this season's Ohio State wallpaper several months ago. The concept was more fun than anything I've worked on (other than the Denard Robinson Action Figures) and soon it grew into my most ambitious project to-date. Nothing even comes close with regard to the skills required to pull it off and the number of hours I'd require to finish it.
In case it's not obvious to you already, this is not that wallpaper. Two things changed my mind about releasing it now: first, I realized that my concept had nothing to do with Ohio State and would work better as a pro-Michigan season theme; second, the memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal provided the first true opportunity to poke fun at Ohio State in nearly a decade.
As I write this explanation I'm reminded of the classic line by rock greats Tenacious D: "This is not The Greatest Song in the World, no. This is just a tribute." Next August I'll publish "The Greatest Wallpaper in the World" for the 2012 season to massive disappointment now that I've stupidly overhyped the thing to the five people who actually read these explanations. For now, I hope you'll enjoy this artwork inspired by Ohio State's fall (and Fall).
The images below are a previews only. You can get the widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
How it was made
The Riddell Revo Speed helmets were illustrated in Illustrator (they really nailed the naming of that product) and then superimposed on the forearm photograph in Photoshop. I used a dash of Gaussian blur, a mix of blending modes and a smidge of smudge tool action to make the color boundaries look more tattoo-ish. If you look closely you can see a little red around the edges of the tattoo that gives the skin the "I was at one time in the past punctured over and over by needles" look. I toyed with a much more elaborate tattoo that used a blackletter font (and went so far as to design an ambigram for the word "game") but in the end I decided on simplicity; I used a type treatment consistent with this season's Notre Dame and Michigan State wallpapers.
Michigan and Ohio share four mutual opponents. The goal of this diary is to examine our respective performances against these opponents, and in doing so attempt to predict the winner of next Saturday's game.
When we played them:
At MSU. Michigan started with an 80-yard, 10-play touchdown drive and then proceeded to punt on 8 consecutive drives before a second too-little-too-late score. Michigan State's offense wasn't a juggernaut but it was good enough for three scores, and Denard's pick-six sealed the game. MSU 28-14.
When they played them:
At Ohio. By the fourth quarter, the play-by-play announcers were considering ritual suicide in the press box in this abomination of a football game. Ohio managed 178 net yards, 62 of which was on the final drive. While MSU's defense looked dominant, their offense seemed determined to keep Ohio in the game, offering up two interceptions, two turnover-on-downs, and a missed field goal. The 10 points they did manage seemed like an insurmountable lead, even after Ohio managed a desperation touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. MSU 10-7.
Our game was played in a trash tornado. Ohio let Joe Bauserman, the human trash tornado, attempt 14 passes (although he did complete half of them and led their one touchdown drive). Ohio still had all the Tatgate and Related Naughtiness players suspended.
Michigan State made both us and Ohio look bad. Ohio came closer by final outcome but both games were ugly. In Michigan's favor, we had to play on the road. In Ohio's favor, they had to play without players that have since returned. I'm calling this a PUSH.
When we played them:
At Michigan: Ill-advised interceptions were the only thing stopping Michigan's offense as we racked up 535 yards and 34 points (plus a safety for 2 more). Purdue scored on their first drive and then spent a lot of time punting until some 4th quarter drives against Michigan's prevent defense made the score look a bit closer than it actually was. Michigan 36-14.
When they played them:
At Purdue: Purdue had 10 points before Ohio had 10 yards, and then hung on for dear life as Ohio clawed its way back. Ohio was poised to complete the rally and take the lead for the first time when it scored a touchdown with 1:22 remaining, only to see the extra point blocked. In OT, Purdue's touchdown trumped Ohio's field goal. Purdue 26-23.
Ohio had all of their players except for WR DeVier Posey back, and QB Braxton Miller by this time had several games of experience under his belt. Ohio played Purdue on the road while we got them at home.
Home field advantage is not nearly significant enough to detract from the fact that Michigan beat Purdue handily while Ohio seemed evenly matched against the Boilermakers. Advantage, MICHIGAN.
When we played them:
At Illinois. Michigan got about 17 different monkeys off of our collective backs with this convincing win on the road. A bevy of first-half miscues were the only thing that prevented this game from being over by halftime, because Illinois failed to mount a drive of more than 5 plays or 28 yards until late in the third quarter. By the time Illinois found its offense Michigan had found ours as well... and ours was better. Michigan 31-14.
When they played them:
At Illinois. Illinois out-gained Ohio 285 to 228 as Ohio went 1 for 4 passing for the entire game, but Ohio got touchdown drives of 12 and 22 yards thanks to Illinois turnovers. Those scores plus an opening field goal was enough for a victory. Ohio 17-7.
Ohio still had two players suspended, I believe (honestly for Ohio games "suspended players" should be its own category in the box score). If you are the kind of person that believes that Momentum is a mystical force that acts on sporting events rather than the product of mass and velocity, you will put emphasis on the fact that Illinois was on a six-game winning streak when they played Ohio, but a 3-game losing streak when they played us.
Ohio needed a heavy dose of Illinois mistakes to earn a 10-point victory. Illinois needed a heavy dose of Michigan mistakes to stop us from going up by five scores. Advantage, MICHIGAN.
When we played them:
At Michigan. Do I really need to write this paragraph? MURDERED HUSKERS FROM HELL TO BREAKFAST. IF ANYONE FINDS TAYLOR MARTINEZ'S TEETH PLEASE RETURN THEM. I think that about covers it. Michigan 45-17.
When they played them:
At Nebraska. Ohio had a 27-6 lead until Braxton Miller was injured and Joe Bauserman was forced back into action. His 1-for-10 passing explains why Ohio didn't score any more points, but not why Ohio's defense gave up 4 touchdowns and 289 yards in the last quarter and a half. Nebraska 34-27.
Ohio had to deal with home field advantage. They had the Tatgate crew back but were still without the Related Naughtiness guys. Michigan didn't get to play the Michigan Fergodsakes video on the scoreboards until halftime, after which it went from a one score game to a blowout. I think that's Very Telling (TM).
The caveats are legitimate but Ohio's defensive collapse cannot be ignored. I don't think this is as significant of a win for Michigan as it at seems at first, but never the less it's advantage, MICHIGAN.
Three of the four mutual opponent comparisons favor Michigan, and the other is a push. Ohio has been growing stronger as the season goes on and their players have returned from suspension, although this has not translated to better results. Michigan has been growing stronger as well as the coaches learn what the players can and cannot do and the players benefit from the instruction of competent staff, and we have blowout victories in three of our last four games to show for it. I can't promise a victory on Saturday, but if performance against mutual opponents means anything at all, we should be able to win the day.
Ed-Seth: Throwing this up front -- I still need a photographer.
Adopt-a-Shelter is a one-day event at two Detroit homeless shelters where we give the clients a Christmas party and allow the parents to "shop" for donated gifts worth $10 to $20. The shelters are the Booth Evangeline (the larger, for families), and Genesis House II (smaller, for women & children).
Activities for the kids include a pizza party, Santa Claus, a teen game room, face-painting, artwork, dancing, and (at Booth) the opportunity to become one of those people in Metro-Detroit who can opine on the subject of Mitch Albom's height in real life. Most of the activities are a diversion for the kids while their parents…
Shop in a gift room filled with donated, unwrapped gifts. The parents can each select a certain number of gifts for themselves and their family members (this is why they have to be unwrapped). Anything left over goes to the shelters—every year we have a ton left over, and every year they've managed to give it all away in a few months after we leave.
What You Can Do
We're looking for 1) Activity Help, 2) Gift Donations, and 3) Volunteers.
1. Activities Assistance:
Photographer - We have a Santa, but I need a PHOTOGRAPHER for the Booth site, preferably someone who does this professionally. We accept pro bono but if you have pay requirements you can let me know what they are. If you have a way to print the photos, that's key (we tried a photo printer last year but one was way too slow—if you know a better way to do it please share). Between all the middle age Jewish ladies (read: have Bar Mitzvah-age kids) and the local press coverage (Mitch will mention with donors on his radio show), I'm pretty sure you'll get some business out of it. E-mail me.
Teen Game Room Captain – I've done it for years. You organize events for between 8 and 25 teens. There's a table hockey system, and a bunch of board games there but in the past we've organized Jeopardy-like games, or brought in TVs and videogame systems and had an all-out Madden-off.
Other activity leaders: Teen dance group who can teach some kids their moves. Manicure room. Caricatures. Food setup. People who did these last year have been contacted but haven't said yes or no yet.
2. Gift Donations
Gift donations should be unwrapped, tasteful, and between $15-$20. Stuff that needs batteries should come with batteries. No guns, no swords, no violent comic books. Historically we tend to fall short with stuff for young moms.
- AGE RANGE: The age of the children range from Newborn to 17 years old, with most of the children being between the ages of 4-11 years old.
- SIZES: A variety of sizes ranging from newborn to 3X are needed. The larger sizes (2X and 3X are for girls.)
- TOYS: Age-appropriate toys and educational toys are needed.
- TOILETRIES: All types of toiletries are needed, except NOTHING with ALCOHOL in it. Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Body Lotion, Women’s Deodorant, Body Wash, Soap, Washcloths, Towels.
If you would like to donate, I have set up an Amazon wish list for either site. You don't have to order what's on there – they're ideas. Links:
If you can't find something you want, buy something else and ship to that address. Or check back – we're still updating it.
|Infant/Toddler||Child (4-12 years)||Teen||Parent|
|Sleepers||Sweat suits||Sweat suits||Sweat suits|
|$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes||$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes||Coats|
|Board games||Board games||$15 Gift certificates for Payless shoes|
|Stuffed animals||Radio walkman||Resume paper and envelopes|
|Activity books||Jewelry kits||Radio walkman|
The Genesis House site has enough volunteers but we can always use more at the Booth Evangeline site. This site is organized by Mitch Albom's Time to Help program; he and Ken Brown will be there:
- Time: 8:30 – noon
- Date: Dec. 3, 2011
- Location: Booth Evangeline Salvation Army, 20775 Pembroke Ave., Detroit, MI 48219. Same spot as last year. Parking is available at the school next door.
- To sign up: Visit the Time to Help volunteer sign-up page. (Note: it should be up in a few days. You can also e-mail me and I'll remind you when it's up).
Can't I Just Give You Money?
This is not the preferred option for me. Last year I set up a Paypal account and then spent three times as much as I received and I don't like taking your money. If you can't find something on the Amazon list above, donate to S.A.Y. Detroit, the umbrella organization for Detroit charities, and specify in the comments what it's for.
UPDATE:: Changed projected to real BCS standings and corrected analysis after talking heads on ESPN clarified the 3 SEC possibility... it is as most people have written in the comments, a conference can only get 3 if BCS1 and BCS2 are not conference champs... aka the LSU v Ala even though one of the two lost to Georgia in the SEC championship game scenario...
So when last I left you (two weeks ago), LSU had just defeated Alabama in the most underwhelming 1 v 2 matchup in modern times, Boise St was crusing towards a BCS at-large again but likely to get snubbed out of the national championship game, and the B1G was a muddled mess.....
Flash forward to today, and we have utter complete and no-shenanigans chaos erupting in BCS land. Only one more step friends until we have SEC on SEC violence due to one of their beloved conference teams being shut out from a chance at the national championship... or will there be?
First, the official BCS standings as of tonight, via ESPN:
Official BCS Standings: 1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. Oklahoma State, 5. Va Tech, 6. Stanford, 7. Boise St, 8. Houston, 9. Oklahoma, 10. Oregon, 11. Kansas St, 12. So Carolina, 13. Georgia, 14. MSU, 15. Michigan, 16. Wisconsin, 17. Clemson, 18. Baylor, 19. Penn St, 20. TCU, 21. Nebraska, 22. Notre Dame, 23. Georgia Tech, 24. Auburn, 25. Texas.
Note:: No Big East teams in Top 25, meaning Houston will be a mandatory pick should they win their conference and stay in the Top 16. The BCS selection rules say that a non-AQ gets a mandatory BCS at-large slot if they win their conference and:
A) are in the top 12
B) Are in the top 16 and are higher than a AQ conference champion (i.e. the Big East sucks rule)
Houston's good anyway since they're in the Top 12-- non-AQ's in the top 12 don't have the "we're better than the Big East" clause. If Houston should stumble, TCU is going to have some work to do since they'll have to get in the Top 16 to get a mandatory non-AQ slot.
- The SEC is poised to blow the 2 teams in the BCS from a single conference rule out the window... the BCS bylaws state:
"No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings ."
This means that should the SEC get two teams in the NCG, they wuold have the possibility of getting a third in the BCS games as an at-large. As we'll see, this is possible.
- Michigan is poised well to get in a BCS game as an at-large.
- The Big12 and ACC crapped their pants and liklely lost their shot at both conferences getting a 2nd team in.
- The biggest benficiaries of the two weeks of chaos are Michigan & Houston.
- The Big East still sucks.
Now the projections.. we'll use the projected standings as our basis. The teams that are GUARANTEED a slot per the BCS rules are LSU (BCS1), Alabama (BCS2), Ok St (B12 chmp), MSU/PSU/Wis (B1G chmp), VaTech (ACC chmp), Louisville (BE chmp per ESPN standings), Houston (non-AQ in top 12 & conf chmp-- Boise is NOT MWC chmp so even though they're higher than Houston, Houston qualifies) :
NCG: LSU v. Alabama
Fiesta: Ok St (B12 champ) v. Stanford (at-large)
Sugar: Houston (non-AQ mandatory) v. Michigan (at-large)
Orange: Va Tech (ACC champ) vs. Lousiville (BE chmp)
Rose: Mich St / Wiscy / Penn St (B1G champ) v. Oregon (Pac12 chmp)
- LSU v. Alabama... I'm going say for simplicity sake, they both win out meaning LSU is the SEC champ, and 'Bama is the #2 team in the BCS.
- The Sugar gets one pick to replace LSU.... they take Houston who as commenter Mat points out, is a 40k member school just hours away from New Orleans.
- Then the regular slotting for 2012 takes over (fiesta, Sugar, Orange).. Fiesta takes a 1-loss Stanford with potential Heisman winner Andrew Luck in a regional play, the Sugar goes again and takes a 10-win Michigan team with three quality wins in a row and a fan base itching to get back to the big time. Orange takes the last at-large and gets Lousiville by default.
Who got screwed:
- Arkansas, a 2-loss SEC team who only lost to the #1 & #2 teams and is in the top 5 of the BCS can't go to a BCS game b/c of LSU & Alabama.
- Oklahoma, Boise St, Clemson... these teams were poised to take an at-large from Michigan.
- 2nd B1G team not named Michigan... Sparty could be in the unenviable spot that even though they beat Michigan in the regular season and got to the conf championship game, if they get spanked by, say Wisconsin on a revenge tour game, they do not look good as an at-large Michigan on awin streak against high profile programs (no, I'm not talking about you, Zooker)
Remaining items for Chaos:
- LSU v Arkansas: this has the most potential for upsetting the NCG, but in reality if Ark does beat LSU, all that means is that the one that emerges from the Ark/LSU/Ala triumverate to the SEC champ game goes to the NCG if they win and the 2-nd team in that threesome likely gets the 2 seed in the BCS standings. The SEC tiebreakers are so screwy (go read http://www.sbnation.com/ncaa-football/2011/11/20/2574943/bcs-rankings-standings-projections-predictions-week-13 for detailed explanations), it's going to a lot of backroom talking between voters to see who gets that little bump in BCS standings.
- Iron Bowl: Auburn could throw an even bigger monkey wrench in this if they somehow take down their rivals.... Bama loses and Arkansas wins, its chaos.
- SEC championship: If Georgia somehow beats the SEC West champ, no matter who it is, the entire system crashes into the goddamn mountain- aka the other conference commissioners might band together to change the system so one conference doesn't get 3 slots. This is the 3 SEC team scenario... let's say:
** LSU wins over Arkansas huge and 'Bama mops the floor with Auburn. Going into the SEC championship game, LSU and 'Bama are the undisputed #1 & #2 BCS teams by a wide margin in human polls and computers.
** LSU loses a controversial game in the SEC championship game. Think Spartan Bob type screwing in the Georgia Dome to a Georgia team. Finebaum show is packed for weeks with "Louie from Natchodoches" claiming LSU is still the #1 team in the country and it was a conspiracy by the state of Georgia to screw LSU. Legend and Jim from Crestwood counter with calls taunting LSU fans for losing that game and jumping LSU in the polls because 'Bama has 47 national titles (35 awarded from the Montgomery Free Press & Girl Scout Newsletter).
** Ok St loses to Oklahoma in Bedlam, eliminating the only real 1-loss contender from jumping 'Bama or LSU.
** LSU and Bama in some order come out #1 & #2 in BCS standings after all this, with Georgia the SEC champ. This means the SEC champ gets the automatic Sugar Bowl bid (UGa), LSU & Bama are in the NCG, and like Emeril saying 'BAM' you have 3 SEC teams in BCS bowl games, all played in New Orleans.
** If this happens, the variation to the BCS slots from above would see either Michigan or Houston getting shipped to the Fiesta and the other in the Sugar with Stanford booted out. Since Fiesta goes first with no team that the Sugar has to replace in the NCG, Fiesta picks Michigan over Stanford, and Houston goes to NOLa to play Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Even without my maize & blue glasses, I think Michigan is more attractive than Stanford.
- Houston losing: If Houston drops a game, then it will be dogfight between Stanford, a 2nd B12 team, and maybe Va Tech if Clemson upsets Va Tech in the ACC championship for the open at-large slot vacated by Houston. TCU would need help to jump 4 BCS slots to get to #16 and clinch the BigEast sucks clause spot.
Per the sage words from Doc Saturday... rooting interest in the BCS? Chaos... always Chaos.
Besides a few minor individual rating changes, there's very little of note for the teams at the top of the Big Ten rankings this week. A lot of new commits for teams in the bottom half, however, including Illinois picking up four new commits to leap past Nebraska in the battle to stay out of last place. Action since last rankings:
11-6-11: Rivals just got around to posting this one, but Illinois picked up kicker Ryan Frian.
11-13-11: Minnesota picks up Jeremy Baltazar.
11-15-11: Iowa picks up Greg Mabin. Dominic Twitty decommits from Minnesota.
11-16-11: Northwestern picks up Eric Wilson. Indiana adds Shaine Boyle, David Cooper, and Tregg Waters. Iowa adds Daumantas Venckus. Illinois picks up Robbie Bain and Keith Brown.
11-17-11: Illinois picks up Lamar Atkins.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so they are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka 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.
On to the full data, after the jump.