to play football, not to play trumpet
A friend of mine came up with this system for restructuring college football in a way that gives every team an equal shot at playing for the National Championship. He asked if I would post it on the board to get everyone's thoughts and perhaps stimulate some interesting discussion. This seemed like a Diary post to me, but I apologize if it would be better suited for the Board. Enjoy!
On a raw, cold night in mid-March of 1968, I drove with my mother to Grosse Pointe High School (now G.P. South) to attend a very unusual event in that community. Its uniqueness was evidenced by the small but very vocal group from Breakthrough, a radical-right political protest organization based in Detroit, who were on the sidewalks across from the school. Angry protest demonstrations of any political stripe were unheard of in that quiet, well-to-do suburb. This was going to be a strange night in Grosse Pointe.
What had drawn those angry demonstrators to that particular location on that night was the person who was scheduled to speak inside the school: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..
In the eyes of Breakthrough's founder Donald Lobsinger, King was a Communist traitor and agitator who was sabotaging our military efforts in Vietnam. In the eyes of the Grosse Pointe Human Relations Council, the group that had extended the invitation, King was a figure of major importance with particular relevance to the area, which had been convulsed by the Detroit riots the previous summer.
Having grown up in a very liberal household with a deep commitment to the cause of civil rights, our family sympathies with King and support for the civil rights movement was a distinctly minority opinion in the all-white and very conservative Grosse Pointe of that time.
I was only 15, and didn't know what to expect inside, but my mother was nervous about the possibility of violence, and that concern was echoed by the Grosse Pointe chief of police, who basically sat in King's lap as a protective measure during their car ride to the school.
The auditorium was packed, and King delivered a speech that concentrated on familiar themes that he had made the centerpiece of his campaign for civil rights since the 1950s. Breakthrough members interrupted King's speech several times with loud heckling from the crowd, but the most memorable occurence was when a young man began hectoring King about Vietnam. The atmosphere inside the auditorium was already very tense due to the previous outbursts, but King did something amazing to me: he stopped his speech, and invited the guy up onto the stage and gave him the microphone to state his views. He identified himself as a U.S. Naval veteran and made a short rambling statement stating his opposition to Communism. King's non-confrontational approach to him seemed to take the wind out of his sails, and defused what had been a potentially combustible moment.
The rest of the speech proceeded without further incident, and by the time we were making our way to our car, the demonstrators from Breakthrough were gone.
Just three weeks later, King was murdered in Memphis. That event was awful enough, but it was particularly so for my mother and me since we'd just seen him with our own eyes. The unrest his assassination sparked across the country was sadly predictable, and soon I was going to have a small personal taste of the depth of the local hatred for King.
One afternoon close to the end of the school year I was hanging out at the house of a girl I'd thought was pretty hot, and then the conversation randomly turned to King and the fact that I'd attended his speech in Grosse Pointe. She then announced that she was glad he'd been killed since he was a Communist traitor. I was no stranger to the casual racism that was routinely expressed by the people I grew up with in Grosse Pointe and Detroit, but to hear somebody who seemed perfectly nice and normal state their approval of murder so baldly and unapologetically to me was mind-boggling.
Her father then entered the room and then started ranting about how King was a subversive trying to overthrow the government for the Communists. I got the hell out of there since he seemed unhinged. She didn't seem quite so hot any more to me, either.
Given my family's interest in politics and support for the civil rights movement, I was very familiar with the resistance of southern politicians to integration, especially at the university level. Governor George Wallace's symbolic "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" in 1962 in opposition to integrating Alabama was for my Missouri-born parents a symbol of the backwardness of racial attitudes that were part of their own early lives, and it seemed just plain crazy to me that anybody could be so opposed to allowing black Americans to attend the same universities as white Americans.
(Yes, there was plenty of virulent racism in the north back then too, but it didn't have nearly the amount of overt and unapologetic institutional support from politicians and elected officials that it did across the south.)
By that time I was also a young college football fan, and as my grandfather had attended UM during Yost's first four years, rooting for Michigan was natural in our house. While the UM teams then were still predominantly white, they did have notable black players, and I was well aware of the integrated Southern Cal teams of that era since the Big Ten played the Pac 8 in the Rose Bowl each year. It seemed ridiculous to me that it wasn't until the late 1960s and early '70s that the major teams in the south became integrated.
For basic info on King's Grosse Pointe speech:
For information about the integration of major college football:
After Iowa had four scores on its first four possessions, Beilein took a timeout to stem the bleeding: Michigan trailed 9-0 just a minute and a half into the game and conceded a basket on the next possession. On the road, against one of the hottest teams in the country (arguably one of the nation's ten best teams), Michigan was off to the worst possible start.
The Wolverines eventually strung together some stops and started getting open looks on offense; a quintessential "weird guys" lineup (Walton / Abdur-Rahkman / Aubrey Dawkins / D.J. Wilson / Moritz Wagner) sparked a 13-0 run midway through the half and Michigan actually pulled into the lead by the eight-minute mark in the first half. Early on, Michigan found success inside with some nifty cuts as Iowa overplayed the three (2-9 shooting from deep in the half), but Iowa led at halftime after some back-and-forth play to close the half.
Michigan hit three three-point attempts before the first TV timeout in the second half and took the lead with a banked-in Zak Irvin and-one. Over the next eight minutes, Michigan's offense stagnated with turnovers (the Wolverines finished with an atypical 13 turnovers, while Iowa had just 4) and missed jumpers; Iowa went on a 16-3 run to open up a double-digit lead. Ultimately, U-M wasn't able to keep up with the Hawkeyes' shot-making down the stretch, particularly from Jarrod Uthoff and Peter Jok, and wound up hitting the Kenpom spread on the nose with an 11-point defeat.
Iowa's potent offense resembles Michigan's high-powered attacks of the recent past: the Hawkeyes don't get to the free throw line too often, but make up for it with an extremely low turnover rate and great shooting from pretty much everywhere on the floor. Unlike those Michigan teams, the Hawkeyes boast size and depth; they overwhelmed Michigan on the offensive end (1.29 points per possession, per Kenpom, tying U-M's worst defensive effort of the season against Purdue).
National Player of the Year candidate Jarrod Uthoff was bothered into missing 11 shots, but still finished with a game-high 23 points. It was a group effort from Iowa though: their starting backcourt combined for 13 assists and the Hawkeyes put up shooting splits of 51% (2P) / 45% (3P) / 90% (FT). U-M's poor defensive habits were exposed by a pretty-close-to-elite offense, too frequently Iowa took wide-open, high-percentage shots with a defender a step or two away.
Michigan's offense hit 1.12 points per possession -- which is one of the best performances against Iowa's defense this year -- but some inefficient shooting from key players doomed Michigan. Duncan Robinson and Derrick Walton came into the game shooting more than 50% from three; the two totaled 5-19 from deep against Iowa today. Zak Irvin struggled against Iowa's length, shooting 33% total from the field. Aubrey Dawkins was a notable exception, hitting three three's. Impressively, Walton, Irvin, and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman combined for 16 rebounds and 15 assists, but the lack of efficient scoring from Michigan's three biggest scorers was critical.
In the front-court, Mark Donnal remained the most consistent option, though he was sometimes overwhelmed by Iowa's size (Donnal's four offensive boards were a nice bonus, however). Moritz Wagner was the second big off the bench and showed skill around the basket on offense. D.J. Wilson might have played his best minutes of the season, but they came in relief of Irvin at the four -- he looks to be a more valuable asset there than at the five.
Now that Michigan's toughest three-game stretch of the season (@ Purdue, Maryland, @ Iowa) is over, the schedule gets easier. Even with LeVert's availability still in question, Michigan should be expected to win its next four games, though a road trip to Nebraska might be tricky. Still, as the team continues to develop, it's hard not to be optimistic about the return of a player of LeVert's caliber. It wasn't a surprise to see Michigan's second- and third-options to create on offense struggle against Iowa, who looks very much like the best team in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines were a pretty good team last year finishing 39-25 overall and 4th in the Big Ten. The Wolverines won the Big Ten Tournament before falling to Louisville in the Regional Finals.
The Wolverines led the Big Ten in almost every batting stat. They hit .296 as a team, averaged over 6 runs per game and were in the Top-25 nationally in walks and OBP.
On the mound Michigan was a middle of the pack team. They finished 7th in the Big Ten with a 3.81 team ERA but ranked 31st nationally in strikouts.
Jacob Cronenworth played second and was the closer; Cronenworth hit .338, led the team with 91 hits and drove in 48 runs as the leadoff hitter. Cronenworth earned second team All-Big Ten honors and signed with Tampa Bay after being selected in the 7th round.
Jackson Glines played center field and was the team leader in OBP. He hit .349 as a 2-3 hitter, drove in 34 runs and his .984 fielding percentage was third best on the team. Glines was a first team All-Big Ten selection and was drafted by the White Sox in the 10th round.
Junior Travis Maezes played third and short. After lofty preseason expectations pegged him as the Big Ten Player of the Year, Maezes posted a .297 average and 27 RBI. Maezes was a third team All-Big Ten selection; he was drafted by Kansas City in the 13th round and signed this offseason.
Behind the plate the Wolverines lose Kendall Patrick. Patrick was a low average, high power hitter who led the team with 8 home runs, knocked in 33 and was pegged 15 times hitting cleanup. His .990 fielding percentage was the best on the team.
Eric Jacobson and Kevin White were regular starters; Jacobson the infield and White in in the outfield. Both players were solid in the field but didn't make too much of an impact at the plate.
Infielder Kyle Jusick graduated. Jusick started 17 games in the infield and hit .231.
Three arms have departed from a year ago.
Matt Ogden rotated in as the 3rd starter and threw as a bullpen arm going 5-1. His 2.47 ERA was the best on the team for a pitcher who threw more than 15 innings and he held hitters to a .234 batting average.
Donnie Eaton threw 21 innings in relief with a 5.14 ERA. The third arm, TJ Shook, pitched 5.1 innings of relief.
Ramsey Romano left the program a year ago after starting 24 games as a freshman. He entered spring practice for football as a quarterback and is now playing at Yavapai College. He will attend Long Beach State in 2016.
On the Infield
First baseman Carmen Benedetti took a monumental leap forward his sophomore year. As a middle of the order hitter he led the team in almost every hitting category; batting .352 with 71 RBI, 25 doubles and 28 walks, Benedetti was named 1st team All-American.
At first Benedetti had the highest fielding percentage out all position players besides Patrick.
Jake Bivens is your starter at short. Bivens was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and earned Freshman All-American honors from various outlets after hitting .319 from the top of the order and driving in 19 runs with a .435 OBP.
The third returning infielder is Hector Gutierrez, a junior from Detroit. Gutierrez played sparingly as a reserve appearing in 21 games, starting 4. He hit .250 with 6 driven in.
The Wolverines lost quite a bit from last year's infield and the incoming class is thin. Chicago native Ako Thomas will be in the hunt for playing time in the middle infield and George Hewitt, a highly regarded recruit and brother of former Phillies first rounder Anthony Hewitt will be in line for games at third.
The rest of platoon will be between upperclassmen Michael Brdar and sophomore Matt Ross, neither who have appeared in a game, freshman Joe Pace and Jimmy Kerr.
As a junior Cody Bruder started every game between DH and left field, pairing with Benedetti as middle of the order hitters. Bruder hit .308, knocking in 43 runs and slugged .423.
In right Johnny Slater returns after starting 36 games a year ago. Slater was able to drive in 25 runs last season from the back of the order despite hitting .229. He snagged 9 doubles, two triples and three homeruns while posting a .325 OBP.
Junior Jackson Lamb was a highly regarded recruit who hit .250 as a freshman and threw nine fantastic innings as a sophomore but missed most of last season with an injury. Lamb will be in the mix for starts between all three positions.
The prized recruit of the class, California native Jonathan Engelmann heads to Michigan after a distinguished high school career saw him drafted in the 28th round by the Twins. The 6'4 Engelmann looks to be a fit for the Wolverines vacant center field position and he also features a power bat who can switch hit.
Behind the Plate
With their every day catcher gone, backstopping duties should fall to sophomore Drew Lugbauer. Lugbauer played mostly as a DH last season and spelled Patrick behind the plate, hitting .211 and driving in eight.
Junior Harrison Wenson and senior Dominic Jamett both played sparingly a year ago. They'll battle for the backup position.
On the Mound
Pitching was a sore spot at times for this team a year ago but this season the group looks to take a big step forward.
Almost the entire pitching staff has returned, starting with #1 and #2 starters Brett Adcock and Ryan Nutof.
Adcock threw 90 innings last season and went 10-4, posting a 3.10 ERA and holding batters to a .213 average. He also posted an impressive K/9 of 9.50. Adcock was named Big Ten All-Third Team.
Nutof started 14 games as a freshman and was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. Nutof threw 80 innings posting a 3.71 ERA and a 5-3 record. He held batters to a .247 average.
Evan Hill missed the first two months of the season, but went on to start seven games and appear out of the pen. Hill posted a .450 ERA and a K/9 of 8.76.
Out of the bullpen Bryan Pall is the top returner. Pall threw 33.1 innings of relief a year ago with a 2.97 ERA and a K/9 of 8.42. Pall features a devastating slider as his swing-and-miss pitch.
Jackson Lamb and Carmen Benedetti both excelled in smaller roles, Benedetti allowed just three earned runs in 14 innings and held batters to a .085 average. Lamb threw nine innings and earned 1 run.
Mac Lozer, Jayce Vancena and Michael Hendrickson make up the rest of the group.
The freshman class is not short on arms. Eric Bakich has brought in five pitchers in this class; righty Ricky Karcher, lefties Benjamin Keizer and William Tribucher.
The two headliners of the pitching class are California native Troy Miller and Jack Bredeson. Miller was a Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention and features a blazing fastball.
The 6'6, 235lb Bredeson, brother of football commit Ben Bredeson, has a raw power arm. His fastball reaches the mid-to-high 80's and he also features a power changeup, a curveball and a nice biting slider.
The Wolverines enter the season ranked 23rd in the country, the only Big Ten team to earn a preseason ranking.
In 2016 they'll take a step back at the plate. There's going to be a drop in production after losing upperclassmen bats in Glines, Cronenworth, Maezes and Patrick but they should see improvement on the mound.
With the Big Ten not having a clear favorite going into the year, this Michigan team should be contending for their first conference title since 2008. At the very least, the Wolverines should hold a spot in the top-4 of the conference standings.
I did some research on the D1 opponents we have played thus far and put together a little something to summarize how they've fared through this point of the season. I recorded our score against said team, what their record is, what their Kenpom ranking is, and wrote down a few notes on how their season has gone. I characterized our wins and losses against our opponents this year using this metric:
Wins: Great (Kenpom 1-25), Good (26-50), Decent (50-100), Meh (100+)
Losses: Not Bad At All (1-25), Not Bad (25-50), Borderline Bad (50-100), Bad (100+)
Road wins get bumped up one catgory. For example, our road win at NC State (Kenpom 78) gets the bump from "Decent" to "Good" for being a road win. Similarly, home losses get bumped one category down.
Elon (W 88-68): 11-6 Overall, 2-2 CAA
Notes: Elon has lost to anybody of significance thus far; a very average mid-major team.
Win Status: Meh
Xavier (L 86-70): 15-1 Overall, 3-1 Big East
Notes: Xavier has been one of the best teams in the country so far this year. They have a list of quality wins including Butler, Cincinnati, Dayton, USC, 3 SEC teams, and Wake Forest. The only loss they suffered was a blowout at Villanova when guard Evan Sumner was injured when a Villanova defender landed on his head. This team is likely to be in the 1-4 seed range come March.
Loss status: Not Bad
UConn (L 74-60): 11-4 Overall, 3-1 American
Notes: UConn hold two quality non-conference wins against OSU and at Texas, but have suffered losses at the hands of Syracuse, Gonzaga, Maryland, and Temple. This is a hard team to get a read on. Their play in the American will show whether or not this team truly is a contender.
Loss Status: Not Bad
Charlotte (W 102-47): 4-11 overall, 1-2 C-USA
Notes: Charlotte isn't quite as bad as their record leads you to believe, but they're still pretty bad.
Win status: Meh
Texas (W 78-72): 10-6 overall, 2-2 Big 12
Notes: Texas has done a quality job of defending home court this year, with a 2-1 record against Kenpom Top-40 teams (Wins against UNC and Iowa St., Loss to Uconn). Away from home is a different story. Texas has lost to Washington, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and TCU away from home. They're going to have to step up their game if they want to make the dance, as 13 of their last 15 games come against teams that are currently Top-50 in Kenpom.
Win Status: Decent
NC State (W 66-59): 10-6 overall, 0-3 ACC
Notes: NC State started the year off on the wrong note when William and Mary ran them out of the gym. It really hasn't gotten better for the Wolfpack. They picked up a quality win against LSU, but had close games with almost every mid-major team they played. They've lost their first three ACC games by 13 points total, and are about to enter a 5 game gauntlet that includes Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, and Miami. Likely not a tournament team this year.
Win Status: Good
Houston Baptist (W 82-57): 8-7 overall, 3-0 Southland
Notes: Not a very good team. The Huskies have beaten the 3 bottom teams in the Southland Conference, and those teams all rank below 330 on Kenpom.
Win Status: Meh
SMU (L 82-58): 15-0 overall, 4-0 American
Notes: One of two undefeated teams left in D1. Their seemingly low ranking is due to strength of schedule, which is 250th according to Kenpom. They have beaten two top-40 teams in Michigan and Cincinnati. Trips to Houston, Uconn, Cincinnati, and a home date with Gonzaga will determine how good this team really is. If they could play the postseason this year, they certainly look the part of a 2-4 seed.
Loss Status: Not Bad At All
Delaware State (W 80-33): 1-14 overall, 0-1 MEAC
Kenpom: 349 (out of 351)
Notes: They are a D1 team that put up 33 points against an average defense. That is all you need to know.
Win Status: Meh
Northern Kentucky (W 77-62): 4-10 overall, 0-3 Horizon
Notes: The Norse have lost their first three Horizon league games by a combined 41 points. The only true bright spots on their season are not getting blown out by Michigan and Xavier.
Win Status: Meh
Youngstown State (W 105-46): 7-10 overall, 2-2 Horizon
Notes: Another average-at-best mid-major team. Blown out by any team of significance.
Win Status: Meh
Bryant (W 96-60): 6-11 overall, 3-1 NEC
Notes: Bryant got absolutely slaughtered in non-conference play, earning only two wins (one against a D2 squad). They're off to a good start in conference play though, with their only conference loss thus far on the road at Wagner, who currently sits atop the NEC.
Win Status: Meh
Illinois (W 78-68): 9-8 overall, 1-3 B1G
Notes: The Fighting Illini are a confusing team, as always. They have played good games against good competition, such as a win against Purdue and close losses to Iowa State, Providence and Notre Dame. On the other hand, they have also had some baffling losses, such as North Florida and Chattanooga at the beginning of the year. They opened B1G play with Michigan, MSU, OSU, and Purdue, a tough opening that certainly attributed to their 1-3 record thus far. They're going to need to pick up some more quality wins and beat the bottom level teams of the B1G if they even want to sniff the tournament bubble.
Win Status: Good
Penn State (W 79-56): 10-7 overall, 1-3 B1G
Notes: Another year, another bad Penn State basketball team. The Nittany Lions were crushed by Duquesne early in the season, and also have a loss to Radford. Their best game of the year was probably against Maryland, where they took the Terps down to the wire before succombing in the end. Likely another season spent in the basement of the Big Ten for Penn State.
Win Status: Meh
Purdue (L 87-70): 14-3 overall, 2-2 B1G
Notes: The Boilermakers are a very solid squad this year, but their weak non-conference schedule showed itself when they entered Big Ten play. Purdue suffered losses 2 and 3 on the year to Iowa and Illinois respectively. Their only other loss comes at the hands of a good Butler squad. This is a team that is going to improve as the year goes on, and if they learn to shoot like they did against Michigan on a consistent basis, they'll be a terrifying team come tourney time. Likely a 2-5 seed in the big dance.
Loss Status: Not Bad At All
Maryland (W 70-67): 15-2 overall, 4-1 B1G
Notes: Unlike Rutgers, Maryland has certainly proven that it is worthy of playing basketball in the Big Ten. The Terps only lost one non-conference game, and that was in Chapel Hill to an excellent UNC team. The Terps still have much to prove however, as their best wins have come against UConn and Northwestern, neither of which are top-30 Kenpom teams. If this team plays up to it's potential it will most likely be a 1-seed come tournament time. If not, the lowest they'll fall is a 4 or 5 seed.
Win Status: Great
Overall Opponent Record: 150-106 (.586)
Michigan Record vs.
Kenpom 1-50: 1-4
Kenpom 50-100: 3-0
Kenpom 100+: 8-0
Currently ranked 31st in Kenpom, Michigan is sitting in a good place with no losses outside the top-50 and a signature win against an excellent Maryland squad. According to Kenpom, if the season were to end right now the Wolverines would be an 8-seed. If they continue to take care of business against teams they should beat and rack up a few more quality wins, there's no reason this team couldn't be a 4 or 5 seed come March.
January 3 – Tuesday
What went right during the year of infinite pain? Among other things: Steve Stribling, Ross Ryan, Antonio Bass, and Shawn Crable.
In this hockey update, Brian talks about ‘M’ coming in third at the GLI, Jack Johnson and Andrew Cogliano getting in a public dispute, and a commitment from Trevor Lewis. It looks like Lewis ended up playing for Owen Sound instead.
January 4 – Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Putting it to Bed gives various blogs’ opinions on the Alamo Bowl loss. Everyone is sympathetic; no, it doesn’t make anyone feel better.
Perhaps this is an overreaction to an abberrantly bad game, but let's be serious: if you were to pick any game from the Amaker era against reasonable competition and peg the under/over on turnovers, 20 would not be a totally implausible estimate. 16 would probably get you even money.
January 5 – Thursday
Bullets on Texas’ national championship over USC. This is interesting with the perspective of ten years:
Can we shut up about Mack Brown now? Blah blah blah never win big game blah blah blah never beat OU blah blah blah never does anything with all his talent... totally bleeding ridiculous given the state the program had fallen to under Mackovic and the powerhouse Sooner teams that kept Texas down for so long.
And this is as true now as it was then:
Also can we learn our lesson? All talk about "greatest ever" anything should be banned after that ESPN fiasco. Who knows? No one. Who can prove anything about anything? No one. So can we stop the inane assertions of the finest performance, best quarterback, best game ever?
A repost from the previous August showing Brian’s feelings while watching Vince Young play.
January 6 – Friday
Rumors of change are coming out of Fort Schembechler. Here is a list:
· QB coach, uber-recruiter, and all-around Boy Genius Scot Loeffler is being promoted to offensive coordinator. Or co-offensive coordinator. Or being given more responsibility in the offense. Or pissed off and about to leave.
· Former offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, who went splat at Central Michigan, is going to retake the post or co-retake the post and is being set up by Carr as his designated successor.
· Terry Malone is ceding some responsibility, or all responsibility, or has been shot.
· Jim Herrmann has a silly mustache.
· Also he may be relieved of his linebacker coaching duties, or his defensive coordinator duties, or just left to stand because that's how we roll. The mustache remains intact.
· Defensive backs coach Ron English is either about to leave for the NFL, about to be defensive coordinator, or about to undergo a strange procedure that leaves him crippled but able to deflect passes with his mind, like that cat.
· '07 uber-recruit QB Ryan Mallet of Texas has been told that Scot Loeffler will be offensive coordinator/mayor by the time he arrives and is polishing up for an unprecedented run of twelve Heismans.
· Former coach Gary Moeller is coming back to be defensive coordinator or something. Yeah, far out, dude.
· Ohio State is about to get hammered by the NCAA.
· Bobby Petrino is about to be the new coach.
· None of this will matter because Carr is still the coach and OMG LLLLLoyd is a LLLLLoser. oneoneone. two.
January 7 – Saturday
Jai Eugene is wearing a ‘M’ hat. This is cause for great excitement. It sounds like he might have even committed.
January 9 – Monday
Unverified Voracity: This Time I Really Mean It has more rumors about coordinators. Strong signs pointing to Jim Hermann finally being replaced, and maybe Terry Malone too. One possibility is replacing them with Ron English and Scot
Lafloer (as spelled by an RCMB poster) Loeffler. Also, Matt Gutierrez and Max Martin are likely transferring. Finally, the NCAA authorized a 12th game which means that 1-AA games are on the horizon. No one knew the disaster that this news meant at the time.
Unverified Voracity: Unfathomable Idahoe. A number of feared opponents are going pro which is good news. These include: Santonio Holmes, Ashton Youboty, Laurence Maroney, and…
Notre Dame TE Anthony Fasano has left early. No doubt Weis E. Coyote will construct a new tight end from the mighty sinews of his frontal buttocks.
January 10 – Tuesday
No 1-AA opponents yet. The 2006 schedule will see the addition of Vanderbilt, but it’s ok because they “will not have that Cutler guy who beat Tennessee and scared the jean shorts off of Florida.”
January 11 – Wednesday
Recruiting board update. Adam Patterson visits and is impressed. Brandon Minor isn’t worried about having Carlos Brown in the same class.
Unverified Voracity: Go Away Creepy Man deals with moral matters of the day.
January 12 – Thursday
A comparison from last year’s offense to the coming year. It should be improved; however, if things don’t go well, here is why:
· Evil Henne. This is obvious: he has to play better. He should have more opportunities to actually do something right with a (please, God) better offensive line and the threat of an actual running game, but even accounting for the myriad problems he had to deal with this year he was an average Big Ten quarterback at best, which doesn't cut it.
· Hey, offensive line, it's your mom! She says you still suck? Yoda says if the OL does not improve, the skill position talent matters not.
· Proving message board retards right. This is not a place where lamentations about Carr's utter unsuitability for anything other than janitor at a meat packing plant are offered up constantly, but Michigan has shown a tendency to fritter away offensive talent on a regular basis. This usually happens when Michigan has found itself in a "comfortable" lead (like, say, 3-0 in the first quarter) and decides to pack away the scoring offense for another day. Stay aggressive.
January 13 – Friday
Brian recaps half of his Big Ten team previews from the beginning of the season. Here is an interesting note from Wisconsin:
Stocco threw seven more passes in 2005 than he did in 2004 but had 32 additional completions, 12 additional touchdowns, and 921 additional yards. Wisconsin went from 99th to 11th in the country in passing efficiency. Sweet Fancy Moses.
What happened? Paul Chryst returned from pass-nutty Oregon State to become offensive coordinator and lived up to the ridiculous preseason message board hype--a titanic accomplishment. To put it in terms Michigan fans can understand, if Steve Stripling had the impact Chryst did, Lamarr Woodley would have beaten six quarterbacks to death this year with only his right pinky toe.
January 14 – Saturday
Basketball game versus Illinois open tread. Unfortunately, no comments exist.
January 16 – Monday
That Illinois game didn’t go so well. But hey, there was a moral victory.
You can say what you want about moral victories not existing--fair warning if you do: you're parroting dull sports press conferences and are therefore being very boring--but when you're Michigan on the road against #6 Illinois and your eleven point halftime deficit turns into a tight game you literally have a shot at winning instead of a 30 point blowout, eh... moral victories here we come.
Also, Anthony Wright committed. With not the most encouraging headline: "Michigan, Wofford watch Wright."
Recruit board update. ‘M’ started looking around at other QBs (in addition to Cone), these include Nick Stephens who they offered and Greg McElroy. Stephens went to Tennessee and later transferred to Tarleton State.
January 17 – Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Blog Bowl. Interesting speculation about Purdue DC Brock Spack being an option to replace Hermann. That didn’t look great then, but he took over Illinois State in 2008 and has had success in the last couple years. Obviously, ‘M’ went a different direction.
Hockey game versus MSU liveblog/open thread. Doesn’t look like the game was going well, and then Brian’s cable died after the 2nd period.
January 18 – Wednesday
Yep, the game from the previous night did not go well.
Recruiting board update. Quintin Woods has committed. Interesting guy, he didn’t attend any camps and there are no substantive articles about his football skills.
January 19 – Thursday
Unverified Voracity: Actually Relevant. Idaho State is excited about Matt Gutierrez.
January 20 – Friday
Brian opines about the changes he has experienced in how he reads sports: from mainline news sources to blogs. He compares it to the comeliness of women in the north vs. the south.
I guess I grew up at 15,000 feet. I'm used to walking into a bar and having my mental girl filing go something like "no, no, yeesh, no, if I'm drunk, no, maybe, no, no, yes."
Brandon Minor commits! Concerns exist about a lack of speed, but he is a “guy who can smash face.”
January 23 – Monday
Game recap from basketball win over Minnesota. Brian took notes during the game and then commented on them in the column. Sort of a precursor to Twitter.
Unverified Voracity: Ginorbous. Jim Hermann continues to look for a new job (Cowboys LB coach is the latest rumor), and hockey splits with Bowling Green.
Recruiting board update. Thad Gibson has committed to OSU, and Sam Young has committed to ND.
January 24 – Tuesday
Part 2 of the season preview review. The worst prediction was Purdue going 10-1 with BCS bid. They went 5-6.
Recruiting board update. Jason Kates is added. This is seen a bad sign for the progression of Marques Slocum’s test scores.
January 25 – Wednesday
‘M’ is going to play MSU in basketball. It’s been a long time since they’ve had a victory over the Spartans. Can they win this time? They could.
Unverified Voracity: Doctor 90210 gives bad news about Hermann to the Cowboys and Jack Johnson possibly leaving during his freshman year. Looks like Johnson will stay for the rest of the year.
January 26 – Thursday
Horton was the Making Things Happen Guy Who Takes Over and Makes Things Happen Player Of The Game
It's no exagerration to say that [Chris Hunter] was the best big man on the floor, as Sims provided a valuable service by transmitting his acute vaginitis to Paul Davis, turning the much-ballyhooed beast of board into a nonfactor.
Brent Petway's collision with Ager didn't appear intentional to me, but I think once it was clear the two were going to bump into each other Petway decided to get his money's worth. Ager's response: hunch over and allow teammates and medical staff to swarm over him. Bill Laimbeer he's not. Ager then went 0-4 for the rest of the game, though he did have 4 FTs.
Was it unethical/wrong/evidence of the moral decay inherent in the Michigan program? Um... ask someone who doesn't regard that Laimbeer guy as something of a father figure. IMO: he didn't intentionally clock the guy, so play on.
January 27 – Friday
‘M’ gets a big 5-star OL commit in Steve Schilling.
Unverified Voracity: Just Like Life with recaps of the blogosphere rejoicing over the basketball victory. There is a basketball recruit out of Illinois who ‘M’ is recruiting who Brian keeps referring to as Eric Beverly. I don’t think he’s talking about former Lions Tight End, but rather the once Arkansas Razorback and current Houston Rocket, Patrick Beverly.
Recruiting board update including several good reports on Brandon Graham and Steve Schilling, and Jonas Mouton is looking good.
January 28 – Saturday
Open thread for hockey game v. MSU and basketball game vs. Wisconsin. Again, sadly no comments still exist.
January 30 – Monday
The basketball team beat Wisconsin, they’re 15-3, and expectations are running very high.
Unverified Voracity: Unusual Pigment. ‘M’ Basketball is ranked for the first time since April 11…1998.
Basketball gets a commitment from Kelvin Grady.
Now a source of confusion in the Grady household can be shared by the entire Michigan family... awwwww.
Also, there was a Grady cousin named Demarcus. Looks like he ended up at Northern Illinois.
January 31 – Tuesday
Recruiting Board Updated: Aaargh Edition. Jai Eugene decommitted to go to LSU. Here is the list of top remaining targets heading into signing day:
· OL Daron Rose: Dropped us, unsurprisingly.
· DT Corey Peters: Visited OSU and M recently; those two with UK and Auburn are the final four. I think the late visits to Big Ten schools that had not offered indicate serious interest.
· S Jonas Mouton: Down to USC, Michigan, and Texas, though USC has about four guys of the exact same size and build as Mouton--I doubt he ends up there.
· DE Adam Patterson: Down to Michigan and South Carolina, as the article above notes.
· DE McKenzie Matthews: Haven't heard much about Matthews as of late. He still maintains a nominal top four of Michigan, Pitt, BC, and Syracuse. With things looking good for Peters, Kates, and Patterson he may get slow-played to one of the other schools, though with the Eugene decommit we do have room.
Unverified Voracity: Don’t Tread on D. Sportswriters are coming to Detroit for the Super Bowl, and writing not so nice things about the city.
Unfortunately, no one coming into town has the ability to see past the blindingly obvious. That's why they're sportswriters--every time you set the bar for them they manage to snake under it.
Bonus Voracity: It’s Gettin’ Stale with a weird story about Jeb Bush and Myron Rolle and more good news on Jonas Mouton.