...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
This weekend saw two literally and metaphorically big visitors in Chris Bryant and Jordan Diamond. No commitments were made, but there was progress in both recruitments. Here's an update on the Chicago teammates, and a few other recruiting notes.
6'5, 330 lbs.
Chris' visit was a great visit as far as Michigan making progress towards getting a commitment out of him. He was originally planning on waiting until signing day to see how things panned out, and to be able to take all the visits he wanted. That seems to have changed now.
That visit was great, I liked everything a lot. I don't think I'm going to wait until signing day now, but I'm not ready yet to make my decision.
Chris said that he wants to get up to Michigan a few more times for games to continue to expand the relationships he's building.
I'm not sure the next game I'll be at, but it will be soon. I just want to get a good feel for them, and keep meeting all the people.
So look for Bryant to make a few more visits to Michigan, and then potentially make his decision. It wouldn't be surprising if he took a visit or two to a couple different schools as well. Michigan is in great position though, and this weekend helped a lot.
6'6, 289 lbs.
The teammate of Chris Bryant, 2012 prospect Diamon came up to see a Michigan game with his mom and aunt. Just like Bryant, Jordan is very high on Michigan. He was very excited to see the Wolverines in person, and they didn't disappoint:
The game was cool, it was crazy. My mom and aunt both loved it too. The coaches told me that I will be getting an offer on August 1st, so that was great.
Being told you'll have a written offer in August is essentially a verbal offer now. Either way Diamond is planning on waiting things out since he's only a junior. Michigan did themselves a lot of favors with this game though, and they're in good position.
5'11, 180 lbs.
Jackson is the eighth ranked corner in the country and has a pretty nice offer sheet. He has both size and speed, and God knows Michigan needs help in the secondary. He hasn't been talked about much, but shared some insight with me today on who comprises his top four, and a potential visit:
I'm really interested in Michigan. I plan on taking an official visit out there, I'm just not sure which game yet. Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Arkansas are my top four right now.
This is a big time recruit, and if Michigan can get him on campus they have a chance to wow him. Terrence Robinson is also from Klein, Texas, although Terrance went to Klein Oak while Charles goes to Klein Collins. It can't hurt to have someone from your hometown up there. We'll see how this plays out. If he visits it could get interesting.
- Fort Myers, FL teammates DB Dallas Crawford and WR Sammy Watkins are visiting for the Iowa game. Watkins needs to get a higher score on one of the required tests and is working on it. As of right now we have a really good shot with Crawford, and maybe not so good with Watkins. This visit could change that though if he gets a chance to see Denard in action playing against another team. They were up for the spring game, but didn't get to see a lot of the offense opened up.
- 2012 instate DL Danny O'Brien was told that he would be getting (verbally) offered at the U Mass game. I'm not sure if they indeed told him he has an offer, or if that was their way of saying you'll have an offer on August 1st. Either way he knows Michigan is very interested in him, and he feels the same.
We have seen a number of Board posts about how struggling against UMass was a wake up call and therefore not such a bad thing. By the fifth one, it was tiresome. So naturally I decided to elevate the discussion to the diary.
The reason is that several elements have been missed:
1. If UMass were the first game, overreacting to the defensive performance would make sense, but we have two other data points that, while this defense may not have the ability to make you forget the 97 D, they have ability to function adequately. Is Sparty lamenting their D this morning? No. There is obviously a distribution of performances forthcoming from any team, from Appalachian State to Florida in Lloyd's last year for example. If you take our Florida performance that year and install it against ASU, they would still be gathering body parts of walk-on Mountaineers. If you take our ND performance and install it against UMass, we score 60+ points with the extra TOP and win by 40.
2. It has reinforced a meme that Michigan can't play D, which is a very good thing for the Sparty game. My guess is that we give up some points to BG and Indiana, too. Such a young and thin D will have a wider standard deviation in performance with the peak performance coming during high motivation games. Having Sparty thinking Michigan's D is tissue paper will only help, whether it is tissue paper or not. Sparty's D last year, if you read Brian's preview, was tissue paper, and Sparty deviated in a high-motivation game to kick our offenses ass for three quarters.
3. It can't get any worse. Now, many of you may laugh at the implication that Wisconsin and OSU can't outperform UMass on Offense, but they pretty much can't. UMass dominated TOP - which will be the number one anti-Denard potion going forward - and gashed us with 1st down rushing. They employed the perfect beat-Michigan formula, which we allowed due to a deviant performance on D. I would argue our D against top opponents will perform closer to the ND data point than the UMass data point. So even a superior team may only rise to the productivity of UMass on Saturday. In other words, Wisconsin can, I would argue, at best hope to duplicate UMass's result. That would be bad, of course, but then...
4. Open the playbook that was closed for much of the UMass game (except for panic time) and the Wisconsins of the world will be contending with a different offense. All in all, probably a push.
5. Finally, the most commonly made point: it is a good kick in the ass for anyone and everyone who was starting to believe a little too much hype.
Would we feel that much better or know that much more about our team if Michigan won comfortably against a horrid team? I will take the W knowing that they mailed it in and still won...and that they learned a lesson. There's a lot of kids playing meaningful miuntes on D who have no frame of reference like Toledo and Appy State.
This one was fun; a little more subtle than the wallpapers for the first three games. It is hard to create an image that communicates distaste for an opponent for whom I do not harbor distaste. My solution? A mascot vs. mascot throwdown. I like how the wolverine looks more interested in sharpening his teeth than in his friend the falcon (or what's left of him).
The image below is a preview only. You can get this week's widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
...to everyone who has downloaded and commented on the wallpapers. Now that I'm caught up with Diaries for the first 4 games (and in the wake of the insane Denard Action Figure project) I'll take a breath and move into a once-weekly posting schedule. As long as the mods are OK with me using Diaries to introduce the wallpapers I'll continue do so every Monday. Either way, you can get a new wallpaper at www.wearetrue.com/goblue every Monday for the rest of the season. I really hope that I have a reason to design a bowl game wallpaper this year too.
All of the 2010 Schedule Wallpapers
Right now the database appears to be overvaluing dominant wins against bad teams. This will change in the next two weeks as there is enough interplay to start doing better adjustments for team strength based on this season’s games.
There is obviously a lot of noise in here still but I want to keep the numbers clear of human intervention to see how they straighten out as the season goes on. As a reminder, the In Season rating is made up of one quarter of the rating from each game against a FBS opponent (or loss against a FCS opponent) and the remainder is pre season rating. A team with three FBS opponents is 75% in season, 25% pre season. A team like Indiana who has only played one FBS opponent to date, is 25% in season and 75% pre season. Michigan is 50/50 right now. Game success is adjusted for strength of opponent based on the pre-season PAN number.
|Rank||Team||Conf||Preseason PAN||In Season PAN|
|2||Oklahoma St||Big XII||5.0||17.9|
|5||Ohio St||Big Ten||11.8||16.0|
|14||Texas Tech||Big XII||7.0||11.3|
|15||W Virginia||Big East||8.2||10.9|
|17||Air Force||Mtn West||0.4||10.7|
|23||Texas A&M||Big XII||(0.6)||7.7|
- Michigan holds on at #25. There change is a reflection of the movement of other teams. The UMass game had no factor in the final calculation although it would have if we had lost.
- Oklahoma St’s high powered offense and multitude of weak opponents has them at a way too high #2 ranking.
- A lot of conference hodge podge right now. No ACC teams, only W Virginia from the Big East. Michigan and Ohio St only two from the Big 10 after Iowa’s poor showing in Arizona. A lot of Big 12, SEC and PAC 10 in the ratings right now along with 5 teams from the future/past Mountain West conference.
- Michigan Projection
- Since Michigan scraped by UMass for the win, their is no knock on Michigan for their performance. The only adjustments are for changes to their remaining opponents. The projection is largely unchanged but still hovers around 8.5 wins.
Bowling Green – rank 84, 97% chance of Michigan win
@ Indiana –67th, 67%
Michigan State –40th, 66%
Iowa –39th, 65%
@ Penn State –31st, 43%
Illinois –65th, 82%
@ Purdue –43rd, 52%
Wisconsin –26th, 59%
@ Ohio State –5th, 16%
Projected Big 10 finish
The distinctions between Penn St and Purdue are very slight as the six teams between are projected between 4.2 and 5.1 wins. Right now it looks like a solid #1 (Ohio St), four bad teams (Illinois, NW, Indiana and Minnesota) with everyone else lumped in the middle. Michigan would look much better if not for their patsy free Big 10 schedule. Michigan only plays 2 of the bottom four while everyone else in the middle group plays at least 3 and Penn St and Purdue get all four.
Action since last rankings:
9-11-10 Minnesota gains commitment from Cameron Brown.
9-12-10 Notre Dame gains commitments from Josh Atkinson and George Atkinson III.
9-13-10 Purdue gains commitment from AJ King.
9-14-10 Illinois gains commitment from Henry Dickinson.
9-15-10 Notre Dame gains commitment from Stephon Tuitt.
If you see any errors in the individual tables, please let me know. I'm tempted to move Indiana down a bit, but their averages per commit are about even with (or only very slightly behind) the teams nipping at their heels, and they have more commits.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 19 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||4||79|
Irish pick up one of their top overall commits in Stephon Tuitt, along with a pretty good set of twins out of California.
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
No change for Nebraska.
|#4 Michigan State - 15 Commits|
No change for Sparty.
|#5 Michigan - 10 Commits|
blah. Hopefully some commits on the way... but we'll see.
|#6 Indiana - 21 Commits|
The Hoosiers' class might even be done at this point.
|#7 Iowa - 14 Commits|
Nothing to see here.
|#8 Northwestern - 13 Commits|
No change for Northwestern.
|#9 Minnesota - 15 Commits|
Gophers gain WR Cameron Brown.
|#10 Wisconsin - 11 Commits|
Nothing new for Wisconsin.
|#11 Penn State - 4 Commits|
They have to get some commits sooner or later, right?
|#12 Illinois - 16 Commits|
Illinois grabs Henry Dickinson.
|#13 Purdue - 7 Commits|
Purdue picks up AJ King, who gets decent marks from Rivals and ESPN, but none at all from Scout.
EDIT: Pictures should be fixed... sorry for that.
So on September 4th while Michigan was breaking in its brand new digs in Ann Arbor and breaking the record for largest audience to ever watch a football game in America at 113,090, I was halfway across the world making my visit to one of the two (non-racing) stadiums that can claim a bigger capacity than The Big House in Ann Arbor - Rungrado May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. With a seating capacity of 150,000 it is the largest stadium in the world. You may have heard Sean McDonough mention it during the beginning of the game as he noted the two stadiums larger than Michigan Stadium.
The stadium, located in the heart of the North Korean capital, dwarfs any stadium I have ever seen (and I consider myself pretty well sports-traveled). The thing was massive.
Myself outside of May Day Stadium w/ my Michigan Season T-Shirt
May Day Stadium from the top of Juche Tower
The stadium is primarily used for the Arirang Mass Games, which take place three times per week from the Months of August to October (usually...). The mass games are one of the largest gymnastics displays in the world, which also feature a human-mosaic backdrop made up of 30,000 students, which essentially becomes the world's largest LED screen - sure to make Jerry Jones envious. If you managed to catch the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, imagine that but about 100 times grander and more awe-inspiring.
The 'gymnastics' display is much less about the actual sport and more of a narrative opus which tells the story of the Founding of the DPRK (North Korea) and highlights certain Korean cultural aspects as well. It was, easily, the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed in person (and I was at the Big House for UM-MSU in 2004, and at the Capital One Bowl in 2008 to put things in perspective...). Over 100,000 people participated in the display, and just the sheer numbers alone were breathtaking. Not to mention the synchronization and transitions were absolutely flawless. I normally could care less for gymnastics, but this was stunning and unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire performance and did not want it to end. Here are a few more highlight pictures from the event -
Opening act of the Mass Games... the mosaic with the Korean text is made up of 30,000 students holding books with pages of different colors that they change on order from a flag captain. I don't know how they managed to synchronize everything so perfectly. It makes the block M in the student section during a Maize-out look like child's play....
The students were also able to animate the mosaic, as the Korean script was "written" across the mosaic. It was crazy.
Mosaic of Kim Il Sung, North Korea's 'Fatherly Leader'. Even though he died in 1994, he is still the President of North Korea
Although the mosaic was the coolest part of the performance in my opnion, some of the gymnastics displays were superb. My favorite was this Tae Kwon Do, which culminated in two fighters taking on over 80 'bad guys'. It was epic.
The performance lasted around 1.5 hours but I did not want it to end. While stepping into the Big House on football saturdays is still one of the most humbling experiences for me. May Day Stadium took the cake. It's size was unlike anything I have ever seen. Another American who was on the tour with me (and also a die-hard Purdue fan) joked that we should talk to our respective schools about staging a football game over here in the future.
Outside of the mass games, North Korea was one of the most fascinating countries i have ever been too. It really was like traveling to another planet. If you are interested in Korea or enjoy traveling to unique locations, I would highly recommend a trip to the DPRK. It is not cheap by any means, but it is the experience of a life time and is completely safe.