somehow we're only 124th
First of all, how do you pronounce my name?
Well, it's a German name (I know, right?), it looks Japanese, my last name is Chinese, my driver's license says I'm from Ohio ... now everyone's confused.
It's okay. I have no idea, either.
The story goes like this. I was born in China while my dad was doing grad school in Germany. My family moved to the US when I was three, at which point we anglicized my Chinese name, which was Hui ==> Huey.
But that wasn't good enough for my dad. The summer before second grade he decided I should drop the Chinese name and use a not-Chinese name. I said okay. How about Michael. Or Tom. Or Raphael because the Ninja Turtles RULED.
My dad said, "No, how about 'Heiko.' It's my favorite German name." I said, "What?"
That was the end of the conversation.
Second grade started, and my teacher asked me how to pronounce my name. I had no clue, so I sounded it out. "Hay-ko." And that's what I've called myself ever since. My parents call me "High-ko," which is also what Brian and, incidentally, German people call me. "High-ko" is correct. "Hay-ko" just sounds right.
Why am I working for MGoBlog?
Because the past three years of Michigan fandom taught me that if someone breaks your heart, the only way to feel better is to get closer to them and then write mean things about them. I'm just kidding. I would never write mean things about Denard (or anyone!).
For real now: I love writing, and I love Michigan sports. When I started the research phase of my training, my time became fairly flexible, so I joined Daily Sports where I assumed the role of the weird older guy. I covered women's volleyball first, and that taught me how to become very good at keeping track of a roster that reads "Alexandra (Zimmerman)," "Alexandra (Hunt)," and "Alexandra (Erwin)." (If you've been following volleyball, here's a programming note: Lexi the senior setter graduated, and she'll be replaced by Lexi the freshman setter.) In the spring I wrote for water polo and followed them all the way up to their unstorybook-like postseason demise at the hands of ... Indiana.
Obviously, by joining mgoblog, I won't be writing for the Daily anymore. So, while the feelings are fresh, here's my plug for them: You guys are great people, you all do a great job -- tremendous, even -- and I'm going to miss you.
But I'm still not convinced any of you know what I do during the day.
And I hate that you start all your sentences with conjunctions.
Am I really getting an MD/PhD?
Yes, really. Are you ill? If you're nice about it and present me an organized list of symptoms, I will tell you if I think you should go see a doctor.
Sorry, my mind is still swimming from the whirlwind of this past week and I couldn't come up with a better title, but I figured I'd introduce myself.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, my name is Ace Anbender, and I've previously written at The Wolverine Blog, The Wolverine Magazine, and The Ace of Sports (I was quite the humble college freshman, I guess). I've been following football recruiting with more than a passing interest since high school, and while it has never been the main focus of my writing, I will be doing everything I can in the upcoming weeks and months to provide the expert analysis that you guys have enjoyed from the great work of Tim and TomVH, who both leave big shoes to fill.
I graduated from U-M with my bachelor's in history last December, after four-and-a-half years (including five, shall we say, interesting years in the student section) as a Wolverine. Though I was born in San Francisco, the undisputed greatest city in the world, I have lived in Ann Arbor since the age of five and started attending football games with my father during the 1994 season. I almost never made it here, as my first game in Michigan Stadium was supposed to be the Colorado game that season, but a serendipitous work trip kept my father from taking me and my mother sold the tickets - who knows what would've happened had I experienced my first soul-dong punch at such an impressionable age.
My favorite Wolverines of my lifetime - well, the part of my lifetime when I've been able to follow a football game - are Charles Woodson, Brandon Graham, Mike Hart, and Tim Biakabutuka, while my favorite games that I have been able to attend are '97 and '03 Ohio State, '07 Michigan State, '08 Wisconsin, '09 Notre Dame, and '10 UConn. I realize those games have a very recent flavor (a flavor which, I admit, had some bitter aftertaste), but I hope you understand that attending games as a student is an altogether different experience.
None of that has much at all to do with what I'll be working on here, and when it comes to recruiting I welcome any and all input, which will be a huge help especially as I get acclimated to the new job. Don't hesitate to contact me via Twitter (@aceanbender) or email (aceanbender [at] gmail [dot] com) with any advice, criticism, helpful recruiting tidbit or article, anything that you think would help me do the best possible job I can at the best Michigan blog in existence. I'll also be a constant presence on the board, posting under the moniker "Ace", so you can track me down there as well.
Thank you all for what has already been an outpouring of support, which is very much appreciated - I know that I'm following in the footsteps of a couple of great guys who did fantastic work, and I hope you all enjoy what I bring to this fine establishment.
40 years ago today -- August 22, 1971 -- saw the only NFL game ever to be staged in Michigan Stadium history; a preseason exhibition game between the Detroit Lions and the Baltimore Colts. It is a factoid now, just a trivia question. But it opens up a series of stories that are instructive on the past, present and future of our Stadium and our Athletic Directors.
The 1971 preseason game between the Lions and the Colts was a classic bit of showmanship by Don Canham. In those days, the Lions still shared Tiger Stadium with baseball, and in August, it was still a minor problem to arrange dates and reconfigure the field for the two sports. A Lions game at Michigan had been talked about for some time, but it was not until 1971, three years into Canham's reign at Michigan, that he had the power and wherewithal to pull it off.
The game was even bigger for a lot of personal stories. One is that I was there, so I remember what a blistering hot day it was, and how badly they worked the refreshment concessions. It was not a regular game-day operation. Still, there was a lot else going on, that made it fun and memorable.
There was a major film crew on hand that day. They were there to film George Plimpton, who played a series of downs as a quarterback for the Colts. It was Plimpton's second stint as the Walter Mitty-QB: In 1963, Plimpton had played in the Lions' summer camp that was conducted at Cranbrook and memorialized his experiences in the bestselling 1966 book Paper Lion:
That book became a feature film in 1968, starring Alan Alda in the role of Plimpton (Plimpton had wanted to play himself) and a lot of the then-real Lions, including Alex Karras and John Gordy. Frank Gifford was featured, along with the previous year's rookie of the year, Lem Barney. Vince Lombardi was given a couple of speaking lines, the model Lauren Hutton was cast as Plimpton's wife, and they found a role even for Sugar Ray Robinson!? Karras' walk-on role brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and it changed his life. He got other movie roles (Blazing Saddles, etc.), a spot on the Monday Night Football team with Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell, and then a feature role in the tv series Webster.
The 1971 Lions' exhibition game in Michigan Stadium was not Karras' first game there; Karras had played for Iowa, where he famously butted heads with Iowa's head coach (and Michigan man) Forest Evashevski, getting into physical fights with his coach. Karras eventually won the Outland Trophy and finished second in the Heisman voting, when he wasn't getting suspended.
Against the Colts, Karras knew that his career was coming to an end. It was his 13th year in the NFL, and as it turns out, Karras was cut by the Lions before the 1971 season began.
The game also marked the return of three of the Colts who had played at Michigan; All-Pro safety Rick Volk, the remarkable defensive back Tom Curtis and Ann Arbor's own Bill Laskey, a linebacker.
But Plimpton was the star of the show, as he frequently was. He was given one series, starting on about the Lions' 20 yard-line (the south endzone), to run a series of plays with film cameras rolling for a television feature.
The Plimpton-led Colts offense ended up picking up 18 yards, 15 of them on a roughing the passer penalty inflicted on Plimpton by Karras (who named one of his sons George, after Plimpton). It was that kind of day.
Michigan has not seen an Athletic Director with that kind of verve and showmanship since Don Canham. Until now. And we now have a Stadium, with lights and luxury boxes, that might make possible something else, something new, like that NFL exhibition game, 40 years ago today.
Very light week, with fall camps under way. Action since last rankings:
8-14-11 Purdue gains commitment from Jordan Roos.
8-21-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from DJ Singleton.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte is not included in Minnesota's average, Darius Stroud doesn't count against Indiana's average, and Steffon Martin is excluded from Purdue's.
On to the full data:
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
Sione Houma picks up three stars from 24/7 Sports.
|#2 Notre Dame - 13 Commits|
Armani Reeves is just a three-star on ESPN, not four like I had previously thought.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
Badgers snag New Jersey producy DJ Singleton. Hugs Etienne picks up a 3-star rating from 24/7 Sports.
|#7 Indiana - 17 Commits|
Caleb Cornett, Tanner Kearns, Alex Todd, and Dawson Fletcher pick up 2-star ratings to Rivals. Todd gets 3 stars from 24/7 Sports, while Dawson Fletcher gets 2 (he also gets 2 from ESPN). Todd also moves up to three-star on Scout.
Mike McHugh and Chris Fitzpatrick both get 2-star ratings from 24/7 Sports.
|#9 Minnesota - 18 Commits|
Brian Nicholson and Samad Hinds get 2 stars, Mitch Leidner gets 3 from 24/7 Sports
|#10 Nebraska - 6 Commits|
|#11 Iowa - 9 Commits|
|#12 Purdue - 12 Commits|
Purdue adds Jordan Roos to their class. BJ Knauf, Anthony Brown, and Paul Griggs get 3 stars from 24/7 Sports, while Thomas Meadows gets 2. Andy Garcia moved up from 2-star to 3-star.
24/7 Sports gives a 3-star rating to Zach Jackson and two stars to Joey Warburg.
It's that time of year again, kids-- the boys are in camp, the hype is reaching meltdown status, and we're just a few weeks away from that most glorious time of the year known as football season. We've also been given a great boost of
Hoke hope this year, so it's certainly understandable that we're feeling a little optimistic that this year might be a little different.
Amen to that.
So I'm sure some of you are in need of some new gear, and what better than a new batch of MGoShirts for the whole family before the Western game in two weeks! Featuring the finest quality apparel, MGoShirts are designed only for the most ravenous and dedicated community here at MGoBlog. They also help a certain newlywed put bacon on the table, so remember that every shirt you buy is a contribution towards the site you love.
But enough of the sales pitch! Onto the latest shirts for 2011:
You know what kind of play the new coach is all about, and so will everyone else when you sport this new tee. Now available in Offense and Defense. No, not really-- but you can wear this shirt and identify yourself as a true Hoke supporter.
The most famous Schadenfreude of the cartoon world, now in convenient maize and blue and ridiculing something known as TSIO, whatever the heck that is. And yes, if you look closely, he is indeed wearing his own 'WORST STATE EVER' MGoShirt. My personal fave of the MGoShirts this year.
THE DAY THE CLOUDS PARTED
Remember that day? It was a Tuesday, and most of us were still reacting--some revelling, some reviling-- to the hire of Brady Hoke, when out of the blue we learn that he's miraculously pulled away RAY LEWIS's own Defensive Coordinator. Whether you consider yourself a conspiracy theorist or not, it's hard to argue with the meme around here that everything turned around the day Greg Mattison was hired.
Brian Cook, in two succinct words. I could wring that photographer's neck for not getting one of these on our fearless leader, but that's another story. You wear your love of Michigan on your sleeve, and now you can do the same for your loyalty to the premiere Michigan sports online community.
A happy laugh out loud, either because of your extreme joy at a situation, a lot of fortunate turns of events leading to happiness. Can be used ironically.
Alex: I just pre-ordered black ops, HALOL.
Caitlin: HALOL, the funniest thing just happened at church!
(DEFINITION COURTESY OF URBANDICTIONARY.COM)
CUE THE MUPPETS
Not quite as new, but still a part of the 2011 line is the famous "CUE THE MUPPETS" shirt. It's a well known fact that anytime the Muppets show up on MGoBlog, it usually means that something really good just happened on a UM field, court, or rink.
Dear Jesus, let us see many Muppets this fall. And leave our DBs alone. Amen.
Very exciting times to be a Michigan man-- don't get caught without the proper team gear, AND remember that September 2nd is once again National College Colors Day.
All shirts are available now in sizes S-2XL and in stock only at the MGoStore.
Order yours today to ensure delivery by the opening game. And on behalf of myself, the MGoStore, and Brian.... GO BLUE!!!!
Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon confirmed with me in a one-on-one interview on media day that a working design is ready for the next stadium expansion, which would start on the south end zone.
The specs include all-bleacher seating, which will rise up to enclose the spaces between the sideline structures to the scoreboard at a height that the scoreboard will appear as if it is "set into" the new seating area.
The design would also make the seating appear like a second deck, as a concourse will be included in the new construction below the new seating. Brandon said the waiting list for season tickets supports the expansion.
He offered no thoughts on a how soon he would take this project to the Regents for approval. He said the south end zone expansion would increase the stadium's capacity by 6,000.
This can only mean that a similar NORTH expansion would follow at another time in the future to balance the stadium's appearance from within the bowl.
With this updated information, one can reasonably conclude that including a north expansion of an additional 6,000 seats, we can project the capacity of Michigan Stadium will eventually increase to at or near 122,000 (and 1).