this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Michigan grabbed a verbal commitment from Oak Hills offensive lineman Caleb Stacey (6'4", 275 lbs) back in March. The commitment came directly after a visit to West Virginia mainly because Stacey said he just knew Michigan was the right place. The decision was made so quickly that his parents never had the chance to see Ann Arbor or the campus.
Stacey brought his parents up to Michigan for the first time today to show them what he fell in love with. "Since it was their first time up there they were really impressed with everything," he said. "First we went to the academic center and they were blown away."
The academic presentation is usually a topic of discussion for parents after a Michigan visit, and this time was no different. "My mom, this was really only her second visit. She came with me to Miami (Ohio) and she was so happy that she teared up a little bit," said Caleb. "She looked at me and said great choice." The academics and support that Michigan provides not just during football, but after his college career really seemed to strike a chord with the Stacey family.
"After that we checked out the trophy room and we saw all the facilities," he said. "My dad was really excited about the Big House. He said he can't wait to get there for a game." Mom is excited about academics and dad is excited for the game, sounds like the norm. The Stacey's also got a chance to meet with Caleb's future position coach Darrell Funk. Coach Hoke was unavailable but the family took enough away to feel more than comfortable with their son's choice.
Inspired by the general concensus that the number of returning starters in college football matter and a diary by NOLA Blue in which he discussed how Michigan would fare against opponents in 2011-12 based on returning starters, some of the comments (including my own) criticized looking at pure numbers of returning starters rather than the actual players returning.
It got me thinking if there was any predictablity to be found in pure numbers of returning starters (from now on referred to as RS) and if that translated into wins the next year by having a high amount of RS or losses by having a low amount.
Using Phil Steele's lists of RS I looked at the record for every team in a BCS conference plus Notre Dame in 2008-09, then listed how many starters they would be returning for the 2009-10 season, then added their record for the 2009-10 season, and noted the change in the amount of wins between the two seasons. I repeated that for the 2009-10 season going into the 2010-11 season.
One important note is that I had to decide what to do when teams played a different amount of games in consecutive seasons. For example a team plays 13 games in season one and goes 10-3. The next year in season two the same team plays 14 games and goes 10-4. Technically, they won the same amount of games in both years and the difference in wins is 0 but the team had an extra game to get 10 wins. I decided to handle this by using 0.5's In this case I would give the team a win change of -0.5 for winning the same amount of games but having an extra game to do it in. This also works to the benefit of some teams.
Here is what I came up with:
Seasons 2008-09 to 2009-10
|Team||2008-09 Record||2009 Returning Starters (* Denotes QB Return)||2009-10 Record||Net Win Change|
And here is a table of number of RS and how many won more games, less games, or no change
|Number of RS||No Change||+ Wins||- Wins||
Total of Teams in
Here is some info to take away from this.
When I refer to same, more, or less I am talking about the amount of wins between the two seasons.
Overall Win Amount: 13 same (19.69%), 29 more (43.93%), 24 less (36.36%) Total: 66 teams
RS with a QB win difference: 10 same (23.26%), 19 more (44.19%), 14 less (32.56%) Total: 43 teams
RS without a QB win difference: 3 same (13.04%), 10 more (43.48%), 10 less (43.48%) Total: 23 teams
9-13 RS: 5 same (27.78%), 6 more (33.33%), 7 less (38.89%) Total: 18 teams
14-16 RS: 5 same (16.13%), 13 more (41.94%), 13 less (41.94%) Total: 31 teams
17-20 RS: 3 same (17.65%), 10 more (58.82%), 4 less (23.53%) Total: 17 teams
I figured teams would be more successful with a returning QB and while that is supported somewhat in these years with 44.19% of teams going on to a better record the next season the teams without a returning QB were equally as likely to be more or less successful proving the lack of an experienced QB didn't significantly lessen the chances of improvement.
As the number of RS increased more teams did improve but I was surprised to see that not until a team returned 17 starters was it significantly more likely to. In the 15 or 16 RS number it still seemed close to a 50/50 to expect more or less wins.
More after the break
With news reports continuing to expose more violations on almost a weekly basis, it may still be premature to estimate the types of NCAA penalties the Ohio State football program may ultimately face. But with the information already available, it appears that the Buckeyes could be headed for some of the fiercest sanctions the NCAA has imposed in over twenty years. Times have certainly changed, and medieval penalties like TV bans or the vaunted SMU “death penalty” are probably off the table. But with major college sports seemingly on the brink of a plunge into lawlessness, the infractions committee is likely to feel enough pressure to impose sanctions at least as stiff as similar offenders from the past. Here’s a look at some prior NCAA scandals with elements similar to the malfeasance in Columbus, which—if the infractions committee wants to be consistent with its past punishments—may supply some guidance as to just what kind of damage the NCAA cyclone will do when it finally touches down.
- Free Shoes University
What happened: A Las Vegas sports agent made cash payments to at least 9 star players on Florida State’s MNC-winning football team, and funded at least one “after-hours shopping spree” in which players received shoes, coats, and other gear on the agent’s dime. This most famously included a 1993 excursion to a Tallahassee Foot Locker, which ended with four carloads of FSU players carting off $6,000 worth of merchandise. As Corey Sawyer, one of the players involved, later told Sports Illustrated, “We just bought out Foot Locker, period. At least half the football team was there.”
Sanctions Imposed: One year probation
Relevance to OSU Scandal: Pretty similar to Tatgate in terms of the numbers of players involved, the nature of the infractions, and the amount of money the players received.
Key Differences with OSU Scandal: (1) while there were some indications that FSU coaches may have suspected that players had received improper benefits and did not take prompt action, this was never proven, and there was absolutely no evidence of a purposeful cover-up like at OSU; (2) the free shoes scandal was not coupled with a “test-drive our cars forever” policy at a local dealership
Sanctions for OSU are likely to be: much greater, both because the OSU scandal is substantially more egregious and because the NCAA was heavily criticized for the laughably weak sanction it gave FSU for an infraction involving “half the football team.”
2. The USC/Reggie Bush Scandal
What happened: USC star Reggie Bush set up a “business” with a sports agent, through which members of Bush’s family received benefits, including cash and a house, estimated at nearly $280,000 in value. This happened at the same time as a separate scandal involving USC basketball star OJ Mayo, resulting in a dreaded “lack of institutional control” charge. Trojans head football coach Pete Carroll, who had encouraged sports agents to hire USC players for internships, was found to have known about the improper benefits.
Sanctions Imposed: Two-year bowl ban, loss of 10 scholarships for three years (30 total), four-year probation in football, plus forfeiture of wins and championships; one-year post-season ban, loss of 3 scholarships over two years, and recruiting penalties in basketball
Relevance to OSU Scandal: Probably the most significant point of commonality is that the USC head football coach was aware of the improper benefits but did not report them, and may have had a hand in facilitating the infractions (similarly, Tressel may have steered players to the Kniffen car dealership and may have connected Terrelle Pryor to greenpalmed boosters like Ted Sarniak). While not engaging in an OSU-style cover-up, USC also failed to satisfactorily cooperate with the NCAA investigators. The USC and OSU scandals are also close in time.
Key Differences with OSU Scandal: (1) Despite rampant speculation that players other than Reggie Bush received improper benefits, Bush was the only football player clearly proven to have done so; (2) USC violations spanned multiple sports whereas OSU’s violations were concentrated in football*
*Of course, it is possible that the Jim Tressel violations could date back to Jim O’Brien era in Buckeye hoops (see: M. Clarett) ; also, a recent report suggested reporters from ESPN are looking into possible point-shaving activity by OSU players, probably in basketball.
Sanctions for OSU are likely to be: About the same. The USC sanctions seem to have established a new standard in the current era, in which TV bans (let alone the “death penalty”) are considered cruel & unusual. The OSU facts are arguably worse, with an active cover-up and proof of widespread player involvement, but so if the NCAA finds the violations are limited to one sport then they might be less likely to drop the LOIC hammer.
3. Michigan Hoops – Ed Martin Scandal
What Happened: Four Michigan basketball stars (Chris Webber, Mo Taylor, Louis Bullock, and Robert Traylor), and possibly a fifth (Albert White), accepted a total of more than $600,000 in “loans” from basketball booster Ed Martin—a former Ford Motor Co. electrician who also ran a numbers racket at Detroit auto plants. Michigan coaches Bill Frieder and Steve Fischer allowed Martin access to the players and the program despite knowing of repeated instances in which Martin supplied or attempted to supply improper benefits to players or their families. The NCAA learned of these violations through an investigation it launched following a 1996 roll-over car accident involving several players returning to Ann Arbor from a Detroit house party, when media reports indicated that UM had violated a rule against transporting a recruit (Mateen Cleaves) more than 30 miles from campus.
Sanctions Imposed: One year post-season ban, four years’ probation, loss of 4 scholarships over four years, ten-year “disassociation” from Webber, Bullock, Taylor, and Traylor, forfeiture of wins, championships, and post-season honors. (Contrary to popular belief, the hiring of Brian Ellerbee was not an NCAA-imposed sanction).
Relevance to OSU Scandal: (1) these scandals are remarkably similar in the nature of the violations and in spanning long time periods; (2) the chairman of the NCAA infractions committee, Thomas Yeager, referred to the UM scandal as “one of the three or four most egregious violations of NCAA bylaws ever,” and the OSU scandal surely deserves a similar description.
Key Differences with OSU Scandal: (1) UM did not get caught in a secondary cover-up scandal; (2) whereas Michigan players accepted money from just Ed Martin, the OSU situation appears to involve multiple boosters and numerous sources of improper benefits (e.g., Ted Sarniak, the Kniffin car dealership, Fine Line Ink, etc.); (3) hoops vs. pigskins
Sanctions for OSU are likely to be: somewhat greater. The Ed Martin investigation dragged on for six years, the A.D. and all of the players and coaches implicated in the scandal had left by the time the sanctions came down—a factor that may have led to some leniency on the part of the NCAA; by contrast, the NCAA appears to be moving much more quickly in OSU’s case, and will likely impose the sanctions while delinquent players, coaches, and administrators are still in C-Bus. This could change at the end of the 2011 season if, as is widely expected, Luke Fickell is replaced as HC by an outsider with a clean rep. But this may be easier said than done for OSU administration if the players rally behind Fickell and turn in another 11-win season.
4. Alabama Football Recruiting Scandal
What Happened: Numerous Alabama boosters were found to have made large cash payments—many over $10,000 and one case $115,000—to high school coaches in return for steering recruits to sign with the Crimson Tide. One recruit received the use of a car in return for his commitment to Alabama. A booster was also found to have made cash payments directly to a recruit, but this violation occurred outside the NCAA’s limitations period. The scandal, which involved conduct beginning in 1995, was exacerbated by Alabama’s status as a “repeat offender,” having been placed on probation in 1995 due to (former player) Antonio Langham accepting money from an agent and thus competing while ineligible during the 1993 season.
Sanctions Imposed: Two-year bowl ban, five years’ probation, loss of 21 scholarships over three years
Relevance to OSU Scandal: The Alabama sanctions were the heaviest the NCAA had imposed on a football program, short of the death penalty, until the USC sanctions—and media reports (if you believe them) suggest the NCAA seriously considered the death penalty in Alabama’s case. Yet, the Alabama scandal appears to have been even more egregious than the USC scandal. This may indicate that the NCAA has stiffened its overall level of discipline. Another point of similarity is that the Alabama investigation turned up evidence of gross violations (e.g., a $20,000 payment to a recruit) that were outside the NCAA limitations period; similarly, Tressel appears to have a well-documented history of misconduct that may not be admissible in connection with the present OSU proceedings (ahem, Clarett, ahem, hack, cough, Ray Isaac, ahem...).
Key Differences with OSU Scandal: (1) Alabama was largely punished for allowing boosters to pay high school coaches, not for providing benefits to recruits directly (as the OSU boosters appear to be doing); (2) it is not yet clear what the NCAA will be able to prove regarding the extent of OSU coaches’ involvement in arranging or “not noticing” the receipt of improper benefits by players.
Sanctions for OSU are likely to be: about the same. See USC above.
5. Pell Grant Scandal at The U
What Happened: Between 1989 and 1991, an “academic advisor” at Miami helped 50 or more athletes obtain over $200,000 in federal Pell Grants by submitting falsified applications. Since the players had full-ride scholarships, the grant money went directly into their pockets. In the wake of the scandal, SI called on Miami to disband its football program, and reported that “[f]ifty-seven players were implicated in a financial-aid scandal that the feds call ‘perhaps the largest centralized fraud upon the federal Pell Grant program ever committed.’" The ensuing investigation also uncovered over $400,000 of other financial aid improperly paid to 141 football players, as well as other improprieties regarding a drug test policy.
Sanctions Imposed: One-year bowl ban, loss of 31 scholarships over three years, one-year bowl ban; also, the academic advisor who prepared the false applications was sentenced to three years in prison
Relevance to OSU Scandal: While the nature of the infractions are considerably different, the end results are the same—large numbers of players receiving improper benefits having a relatively low cash value. With the Miami case appearing objectively much more egregious than the OSU violations, the penalty ultimately assessed seems to suggest that the NCAA will not seriously consider scholarship reductions much above 30, or bowl bans lasting longer than one or two years, even for the worst offenses.
Key Differences with OSU Scandal: At least with the OSU scandal, the players have who took money and cars from willing boosters and memorabilia dealers appear to have violated only the NCAA bylaws, not criminal laws. In the Miami case, the funds were fraudulently procured from the U.S. government. Even with the botched cover-up, it is unlikely the OSU scandal will eclipse the Miami scandal in terms of sheer criminality. Also, the central role of Miami’s “academic advisor” lent a degree of plausible deniability to the coaching staff and athletic administrators—OSU’s folks are unlikely to enjoy that luxury.
Sanctions for OSU are likely to be: milder. Tressel may have been a liar and a cheat, but at least he does not appear to have allowed university officials to steal public funds to pay his players.
Oh, and since I know how much the mgoblog community likes charts:
Year of Sanctions
Players got $$ and free stuff
School officials got athletes grants illegally
31 (over 3 years)
Boosters paid HS coaches for recruits
21 (over 3 years)
Multiple players got $$ from one booster
4 (over 4 years)
Players in multiple sports got agent
30 (over 3 years)
Prediction for Ohio State (based on the above): 3-year bowl ban, reduction of 11 scholarships per year for 3 years (33-scholarship loss total), 5 years probation, forfeiture of wins and trophies for all games in which Terelle Pryor competed after he began receiving improper benefits
Some forseeable things that could aggravate the sanctions: (1) the NCAA amplifies the penalty due for having allowed it to happen less than five years after the OSU basketball scandal; or (2) violations in other sports (such as the rumored point-shaving in hoops) are uncovered; or (3) OSU fails to clean house after the 2011 football season
A name that has been popping up a lot since Michigan's camp is Kentucky safety Jeremy Clark. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defensive back went up to Michigan to show the coaches what he has to offer. He now finds himself in a unique scenario, and I caught up with his coach today to talk about where Jeremy is at.
"He was offered a greyshirt today by the coaches, which could eventually lead to being a part of this class if the other safety they're in on doesn't commit," his coach said. The other safety he's talking about is likely Ohio defensive back Jarrod Wilson, who could be deciding as early as tomorrow.
To those that aren't familiar, a greyshirt would mean Jeremy would commit to Michigan and pay his way through school, likely only for a semester. Once the semester is up he would then be able to earn a scholarship, the greyshirt preserves his eligibility while not counting towards the 2012 class numbers.
"He's going to talk to his dad tonight and make a decision soon. He really fell in love with Michigan and the coaches," said his coach. "He said the facilities, the tradition, and the coaches just made him feel at home. He said it just felt right." Deciding to take the greyshirt from Michigan would show just how interested he is since he would be passing up full rides from North Carolina State, Akron, Ball State, CMU, Illinois, Ohio, and Toledo.
"Jeremy is a great kid, kind of quiet, but very hard worker. As far as on the field, he's a head hunter. I coached a kid that went to Notre Dame as a safety, and I think Jeremy has potential to be better," said his coach. Jeremy is a big defensive back at 6-foot-4, but his coach reports he ran a 4.4 forty time at both Kentucky and Cincinnati's camp. "He'll come down hill and play hard nosed football, too. He's got size and speed, and he just grew three to four inches in the last year. He went from being undiscovered to blowing up."
Clark's coach isn't sure when he'll decided but is supposed to speak with his father tonight to go over what exactly a greyshirt is. "I told Jeremy what [a greyshirt] is, so I'll tell his dad tonight," he said. "I don't know when he'll decide but I know he was as excited as I've ever seen him that Michigan still wanted him." It sounds like Clark could make his decision soon. The Michigan coaches explained to him that he can take the greyshirt and if Jarrod Wilson were to commit elsewhere then Clark would take that spot for the 2012 class.
I’m sorry to post again, but I think the improvements are significant enough – thanks to some intelligent feedback – to warrant a new posting.
Below is my attempt to aggregate the Rivals, Scout, 247, and ESPN rankings into a universal list. The goal is to draw from all of the data available to create a single list that eliminates the need to juggle rankings, ratings, and stars from four different sites when comparing prospects.
First, though, I’ll describe the logic and process.
There are countless ways to do this, and none of them is perfect. Importantly, even though I’m a Michigan fan, I never considered how this would look for Michigan before deciding how to do it. I’m trying to make this as objective and sensible as possible given time and data constraints.
The first decision one has to make is whom to include. In my first draft, I included only those who appeared in the top X lists for all four sites. Others thought that requirement was too rigid, so I’ve relaxed it here. The players appearing on this list appear in at least three of the four following lists: Rivals’ top 250, Scout’s top 300, 247’s top 247, and ESPN’s top 300. This eliminates the “veto power” nature of the first rankings (and the related outlier worries), since two sites would have to leave out a prospect for him to be excluded.
The next decision is how to rank those who make it. The most straightforward way to do this is to take the average ranking for each prospect across the four sites. In an ideal world, each site would rank every prospect so there would be no missing data. That isn’t reality. Therefore, I imputed rankings where they were missing. Here’s how I did in for each site (this is boring if you aren't interested):
- ESPN – ESPN actually makes this the easiest, because they just rank thousands of prospects. Every ESPN ranking here reflects ESPN’s actual ranking.
- Rivals – Rivals ranks its top 250 prospects and then gives elite prospects a star rating and a “Rivals rating” of 4.9 to 6.1. Using those ratings – and especially the Rivals rating – I found the range within which a recruit must fall (rankings-wise) and gave him the middle value. For example, Rivals has 222 guys rated a 5.8. Of them, 163 appear in the Rivals 250 (and 59 do not). That means that a prospect who receives a rating of 5.8 from Rivals but does not appear in the Rivals 250 must rank somewhere between 251 and 309. For this prospect, I would impute a ranking of 280.
- 247 – Exactly the same logic as with Rivals except that I had to trust them when they said, for example, that about 300 prospects are rated 90 or higher. (They don’t let you sort by prospect rating.)
- Scout – This one might seem unusual, but I think it’s actually pretty accurate. Scout doesn’t have anything like a Rivals rating, but it ranks prospects at their positions. For those outside of the top 300, I took their position ranking and imputed based on where ESPN had that ranked overall. For example, Scout has Amos Leggett as its #22 cornerback. ESPN has its #22 CB ranked #404 overall, so this is Leggett’s imputed Scout ranking. (There was an exception to this with two TEs that I can explain if anyone's interested.)
I hope that makes sense, and I’m happy to answer questions in the comments. Please feel free to share feedback or point out errors.
Also, if one of these sites significantly changes its rankings in the next few days I’m going to kill someone.
|3||Mario Edwards||DE||6.25||2||8||14||1||Florida State|
|28||Dante Fowler||DE||41.75||11||39||43||74||Florida State|
|39||Jarron Jones||DT||49.75||67||14||21||97||Penn State|
|40||Trey Williams||RB||50.5||24||20||24||134||Texas A&M|
|44||Ronald Darby||CB||57.5||64||32||64||70||Notre Dame|
|49||Chris Casher||DE||61.5||83||57||96||10||Florida State|
|60||Tee Shepard||CB||83.5||51||49||145||89||Notre Dame|
|67||Brock Stadnik||OT||91.25||165||69||72||59||South Carolina|
|72||Mario Pender||RB||98||53||88||204||47||Florida State|
|80||Se'von Pittman||DE||109.25||61||79||196||101||Michigan State|
|87||Kendall Sanders||CB||115||54||94||142||170||Oklahoma State|
|91||Michael Starts||OG||116.5||148||70||119||129||Texas Tech|
|94||Angelo Jean-Louis||WR||119||113||223||88||52||Miami (FL)|
|103||Matt Davis||QB||131.25||144||38||187||156||Texas A&M|
|104||Brionte Dunn||RB||131.75||124||28||154||221||Ohio State-ish|
|107||P.J. Williams||S||134.5||173||127||124||114||Florida State|
|111||Bralon Addison||WR||137||155||119||137||137||Texas A&M|
|117||Jelani Hamilton||DE||145||79||62||92||347*||Miami (FL)|
|134||Reginald Davis||WR||169.25||214||120||261*||82||Texas Tech|
|135||Amos Leggett||CB||169.5||104||404*||75||95||Miami (FL)|
|142||J.J. Denman||OT||173.5||242||111||181||160||Penn State|
|144||John Michael McGee||C||173.75||82||169||210||234|
|153||Camren Williams||OLB||185.25||243||138||116||244||Penn State|
|161||Joshua Perry||OLB||194.75||131||231||235||182||Ohio State|
|164||Raphael Kirby||OLB||199||126||233||287*||150||Miami (FL)|
|169||Dalvon Stuckey||DT||207.25||207||171||184||267||Florida State|
|186||Warren Ball||RB||230||212||52||206||450*||Ohio State|
|199||Trevor Knight||QB||264.75||228||274||261*||296||Texas A&M|
|216||Deontay Greenberry||WR||331.5||115||244||209||758*||Notre Dame|
|217||Michael Richardson||DE||371.25||756*||294||226||209||Texas A&M|
A final note about ESPN
Several commenters in my previous diary expressed that they’d like to see these rankings without ESPN. I don’t think there’s enough reason or evidence to dismiss ESPN entirely. However, for those who are interested, here’s how some recruits would rank among the above prospects if ESPN were excluded: Kalis (23), Washington (55), Magnuson (57), Ross (76), Dunn (79), Diamond (82), Richardson (104), Jenkins-Stone (106), Stanford (123), Burbridge (131), Pipkins (169), Strobel (181), Wormley (183), Bolden (201). Of course, the list of prospects included would change if ESPN were ignored altogether.
A lot of Michigan fans like to throw around the tired phrase that Hoke and his coaches get it. They really understand "it", and what "it's" all about. We know the word "it" is ambiguous; MGoBloggers like to throw around the phrase sarcastically so as to make fun of those who think that a coach who gets it is somehow better than a coach who doesn't "get it," whatever that means.
"It" being loosely defined as tradition, then by and large, I think the Michigan fanbase popularly believes that having a coach familiar with the traditions of the program is a good thing. But why? Other than vain aesthetics, what does a coach familiar with the program do for our team beyond what an "outsider" might do?
I think many MGoBloggers have found themselves asking the above question. I'd contend that there are actually many positives to having coaches familiar with traditions than having coaches who aren't familiar with traditions. Things it benefits include (but are not limited to):
- It helps the players understand the program. It helps them to understand that they are not just playing football, but they are playing football for a cause. It increases their motivation. They are not just playing anywhere: they are playing at Michigan, one of the greatest college football powers of the past 132 years.
- It helps the coaches and the fan base find common ground. We've talked before about how a coach's job is not really PR, but PR is still a big part in our media-centric world. Fans have to like the coach. Tradition is a huge selling point for liking a coach. Someone who understands the tradition likes to listen to other people who understand it.
- It carries on the legacy of greatness. Rather than just trying to be a great school for football, Michigan has to be its own great school for football. We are more likely to sell ourselves to recruits well if we have an established "brand," as DB might call it. We have to protect the brand: to maintain the academic integrity, the clean record, the traditions, the alumni connections, the in-state connections and relationships...which brings me to #4.
- It attracts a certain type of recruit: namely, those in-state and in the state down south. It's good to recruit elsewhere nationally, of course, but winning in-state recruiting battles can make a huge difference. These are kids who have grown up watching Michigan football more than anyone else. Maybe their mom or dad or aunt or uncle went to UM. They will have a dedication to the program that a kid who comes just to play at a good school and a usual BCS contender will have. The motivations of the kids the tradition attracts are not selfish; they really want to serve the program rather than just rack up W after W and yard after yard. The great thing is: those who want to serve the program want to do that too. But it's more about honor and sacrifice to make it great.
None of this is to say that an "outsider" can't do the same as all the above points, but I think the odds are better with a coach familiar with the traditions and program, one who "gets it" rather than one who doesn't. There may also be drawbacks about keeping the coaching succession "in the family," as well, of course. But that doesn't mean it's without its benefits.
Frankly, I think it's best to have, in general, someone who has coached or grown up in the Big Ten area as our coach. I think Hoke's appreciation for tradition is not only a PR response to the tenure he follows, but something he actually does feel pretty genuine about as he coaches. After all, he grew up in Ohio and his family is closely connected to Bo and Woody. The question is: can he coach at the requisite level? Well...that's a topic for a different diary.