"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
Sorry this is late, I had a lot going on today. Here's the weekly update.
6'1", 210 lbs.
Jones is coming up to Ann Arbor with his father this weekend. This could be a huge visit for Michigan, as Kellen appears to moving towards a decision. I asked him about the visit and if an announcement might soon follow:
I can't wait for the trip. As far as a decision, I'm going to let God make it for me. If he tells me it's the right place, then it's right. I plan on making my decision in early August before my season.
I wouldn't expect a commitment on the spot, but I wouldn't rule it out either. A visit to his dad's favorite school could seal the deal for Michigan.
5'9", 160 lbs.
All Purpose Back/Cornerback
Los Angeles, California
While most of the recruiting sites list Thomas as an all purpose back, a lot of people think he'll move to corner in college. Currently committed to USC, Thomas has been open about possibly taking visits to other schools. Michigan was among that list of possible destinations.
I'm not decommitting from USC, I'm just looking around. I haven't planned anything yet, but Michigan is a school I'd like to see. If I do come out there it will be on an official.
I asked him where his interest came from, and what Michigan might have to do to get his attention:
They have great facilities and history with their defensive backs. They don't really have to do anything. I don't have an offer yet, but I want to see the facilities and everything.
He doesn't yet have an offer from Michigan, but if he tells the coaches he'll visit if they offer, they'll offer. This isn't a strong indicator yet if he's going to visit, so we'll have to see how this plays out. USC isn't doing themselves any favors right now.
6'2", 210 lbs.
I said this in another thread, but I'll say it here again: I spoke with Karlos Williams a few weeks ago about Michigan. For those that don't know, Karlos is currently committed to Florida State. He' also one of the top safeties in the country. I told Karlos that what we spoke about was off the record, so I didn't report anything, but now he's given some interviews at the Gridiron Kings that had the same information, so it's time to spill the beans.
Karlos said that he has interest in Michigan, and is looking at coming up for an official visit to the Iowa or MSU game. If he does come up he won't be by himself. He has been talking to a group of Florida kids, one of them being TE Brandon Fulse, about visiting Ann Arbor. If Michigan gets off to a good start, there's a real possibility this trip could happen.
At Gridiron Kings Karlos played on the Southeast team, which was the winning team and it also happened to be the same team as Demetrius Hart and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix. I asked him if anyone was talking to him about any schools:
Dee (Hart) and Ha Ha (Clinton-Dix) are tremendous talents. We all actually talked about schools the entire time we were there. Everybody has their school and they're going to make their decisions. We've talked about playing together, and it's just one of those things where we can all play together, or go our own ways.
So… they could play together, or they could not play together. I then asked him if any Michigan talk down there had maybe helped their chances, or made him think a little more.
Of course it's always positive, but I am thinking of taking the official.
It sounds like some things said are helping him make his travel plans. A little side note: there has been a lot of scuttlebutt from around the Florida area about Michigan and growing interest from athletes down there. If Michigan starts off the season right, then we could see a big shift in the recruiting picture.
- OL Tony Posada will be making his announcement within the next couple weeks. I've heard it could be later this week, or it could be the middle of August. It seems to get moved every day, but it should be coming soon. As long as Florida doesn't offer Michigan is in front. Posada has publicly stated his decision has been made for a while.
- OL Chris Bryant just took a visit with his parents, and everyone loved it. He's going to talk things over with his parents before making any decisions. In my opinion Michigan is a clear leader, and will probably be hearing from him soon.
- RB Justice Hayes is announcing his decision on July 30th at 11am. Most people believe his choice to be Notre Dame. I am one of those most people. If he picks Notre Dame, it doesn't mean it's completely over. He is a similar case to DeAnthony Arnett. in that they are both Michigan fans. Again, if Michigan comes out hot it could pique his interest.
- As MGoShoe noted, RB Dee Hart had a great GK tournament himself.
To the front page, since Michigan got a commit.
Action since last rankings:
7-18-10 Michigan gains commitment from Jake Fisher. Iowa gains commitment from Mike Orloff. Purdue gains commitment from Taylor Richards.
7-21-10 Illinois gains commitment from Tony Durkin. Northwestern gains commitment from Jack Konopka.
7-22-10 Illinois gains commitment from Josh Ferguson.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings have been converted to their "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, and ESPN uses grades out of 100.
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#2 Notre Dame - 12 Commits|
Long time, no commits for the Irish.
|#3 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
The Huskers are still awaiting rankings for a couple guys. I imagine all the kickers will be ranked at once in the next updates on the major site, but I'm not sure Stafford will ever be ranked by ESPN, since they list JuCo guys separately.
|#4 Michigan - 8 Commits|
Michigan picks up Jake Fisher. He had a strong camp season, so we'll see if he gets a rankings bump.
|#5 Michigan State - 9 Commits|
No change for MSU.
|#6 Indiana - 20 Commits|
Hoosiers quietly putting together a solid class. Will it be poached like last year's? The Hoosiers stand to fall and fall hard once some other schools reach comparable commit numbers.
|#7 Northwestern - 11 Commits|
The Wildcats pass the Hawkeyes with the same number of commits, and better average rankings on all but Rivals. Iowa stands to regain the lead, since they have more unranked guys at this time.
|#8 Iowa - 11 Commits|
Mike Orloff becomes the Hawkeye's lowest-rated recruit on Rivals and ESPN. Scout hasn't looked at him yet.
|#9 Minnesota - 11 Commits|
Devin Craford-Tufts grabs a 74 rating from ESPN. The Gophers pass up Purdue on the basis of similar-or-better average rankings and a much higher number of commits.
|#10 Wisconsin - 6 Commits|
Wisconsin passes Purdue on the basis of (much) higher averages from Rivals and ESPN with the same number of commits. Plus their class is funny because it only has two positions in it.
|#11 Purdue - 6 Commits|
Taylor Richards joins Purdue. ESPN really likes him, but Rivals hasn't even ranked the guy.
|#12 Illinois - 9 Commits|
Illini pick up a couple new prospects, pulling up their averages. They're close to passing Purdue because they have more commits with similar overall averages.
|#13 Penn State - 3 Commits|
In the loosely adapted ways of Dante, I present to you the eighth canto of Formerly's Football Inferno. I promise nothing when it comes to grammar, punctuation, logical plots, or anything that normally goes into story writing.
For those of you unfamiliar, Dante walks through each region of hell to learn the sins and punishment by talking to those souls trapped. In this canto, we enter the city of
Dis Columbus to see how the souls damned to hell are sorted.
As I pass through the underworld's city of Columbus, I really think they missed on naming it. The dark streets of deserted homes and what looks like certain crime reminds me more of certain areas of Detroit than it does of Columbus.
There are dilapidated buildings set in eternal flames. Souls that are awaiting their placement in the depths of hell are kept pinned in those flames. It is a sad place.
We walked through several blocks of the city before we reached a point where the city ended. At the edge of the city was a line of souls awaiting judgment. As I pass, I try to avoid eye contact, because, I mean, how am I supposed to look at them?
In my probably obvious attempt to ignore the souls around me, my eyes wandered back to godzillatron. Things are getting worse. Last week Michigan made a white, walk-on wide receiver look like an All-American against Michigan State in Ann Arbor. This week we're in a shoot out against a hapless Purdue. They've got some wide receiver in at quarterback. He's torching us right and left. I'd feel better about drudging through hell if Michigan could at least show signs of competency.
While staring in solace at the screen above, I noticed my vision went blurry, as if I was looking through a fog and flashes of light. I had accidentally walked right through one of the spirits who was on fire. Strangely, the fire didn't affect me. The spirit was a man, large in stature, sporting a really ugly mustache.
"Hey douchebag, get outta me!" exclaimed the spirit.
"Oh, so sorry, sir. I just –" I started before Davy Crockett interrupted me.
"Don't you apologize to that piece of slime. Don't you recognize what he is? That Buckstache doesn't give him away? That's the badge of the Ohio State fan. Everyone of them is cast into hell with one of those on their face, even the women," Crockett explained as he pointed toward the ugliest piece of trailer trash I've ever seen.
"That's harsh, but it's also so so awesome," I chuckle out as I realize just how ridiculous these people in line are. Most of the Buckeye fans are either pure trailer trash or dressed like they're heading to a Nickelback concert.
We keep walking, and instead of avoiding looking at the poor souls, I'm taking in some deep pleasure in seeing some of these opposing fans waiting in line to be sent to their circle of hell. A certain schadenfreude, if you will.
When we reach the head of the line, much to my surprise, I see the great fiery whip that I once saw pluck Rudyard Kipling from the first circle of hell. I couldn't yet see the master of the whip, but he was plucking out souls from the masses one at a time, flinging them down into the lower levels of hell. His precision was insane, plucking one person from the masses without even touching another. It was masterful.
As the the origin of the whip came into sight, I was both shocked, and, well, who am I kidding, at this point, not surprised to find that this minion of hell, the wielder of the whip was Goldy Gopher. If there was ever one mascot in the BigTen that would know something about being whipped, it'd be Goldy. Apparently all those football beat downs taught him something useful.
"Davy, you think I could talk to him?" I asked.
"You'll need me to translate. If you couldn't tell from Bucky, the mascots can't speak with Sparty being the lone exception. They can mumble, so it comes out kind of like Kenny in South Park."
So we made our way up to the boulder from which Goldy operated and Davy called him down. Goldy leaped down and made his way over to Davy and myself. He started shaking his head and making a muffled squeaky noise. It was like watching the old Chip and Dale cartoons where it's a high pitch squeak that makes no sense.
Crockett laughed at whatever it was that Goldy said, smiled, and replied, "Yeah, man, still going by Davy Crockett. They'll never catch me."
Goldy mumbled some more, pointing in what seems like random directions, moving his hands around more than Bill Clinton in a speech. Goldy continued to talk for a while with Davy just humming in agreement. After a couple of minutes, Goldy turned to me and mumbled something else to Davy.
Davy translated, "Goldy tells me there's good news that you'll probably want to hear. Your fortunes are going to look good by the time you reach the 6th circle."
"Well, that's, uh, good?" I mutter.
"Yeah. So, what do you want to ask him?" Davy asked.
"What is it that you're doing?" I ask. Goldy seems to laugh, then he starts to mumble to Davy, bobbing his head.
About thirty seconds into the mumbling, Davy plainly interrupted Goldy, "Do you really have to say 'Don'cha know' after everything you say?"
Goldy seemed a bit pissed off at this, bobbing his head much quicker and sounding a bit more stern in his mumble. Just like a Minnesotan.
So when Goldy finished, Davy turned back and translated the long mumbling, saying, "He says he whips a person, grabbing them and throwing them to their final destination."
"That was like 5 minutes of rambling, and that's all he said?" I ask.
Davy replied, "There was some talk about starting an hell ice hockey club, but I didn't think you'd really care."
"Yeah, you're right."
"But yeah," started Davy. "He said his whip goes around the person the same number of times as the circle he's destined to spend the rest of time in. So say that Buckeye fan you walked through earlier, he'll get wrapped up 8 times. Hey Goldy, why don't you show him how it's done?"
Goldy mumbled, leapt back up to the top of his boulder and gave his whip a spin. The tip made it all the way back to the Buckeye fan I walked through earlier, wrapping him eight times around. The spirit was lifted and thrown back and down into the far reaches of hell. It was awesome.
After feeling the satisfaction of watching a Buckeye being thrown deep into the depths of hell, we waved adieu to Goldy. He did that weird mascot salute that they tend to do when signaling goodbye. We were off, heading from Columbus down into the 6th circle.
I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man, as you will witness.
– Francis Dolarhyde, Red Dragon
After the Iowa game last year, my nervous system instantaneously rushed to the precipice of meltdown every time Denard Robinson stepped onto the field. Mixing equal parts of anxiety and exhilaration yields a volatile cocktail. There were times when I couldn’t stand up because I was so nervous; only once or twice but, regardless of frequency, that ain’t right. Trembling calves, bated breath, dilated pupils, thumping heart. Then, a money Chewbacca impression; happy or sad, the reaction was the same. I can’t have been the only one.
There was good reason for such a strong pavlovian response. It seemed as though the outcome of a play with Robinson under center was the random result of the flip of a coin—tails: utter disaster, heads: spectacular success, on edge: just another play. Denard threw interceptions at a nauseating 13% rate on 31 passes. However, he also scored touchdowns 7% of the time on 100 total touches. Forcier only produced TDs a little over 3% of the time. Think about that for a second, Forcier had 399 touches last year and scored 13 TDs…Denard, theoretically, could’ve had 28. Those numbers are ridiculous to quote because Denard touched the ball so infrequently last year, but it isn’t fair to quote his turnovers without also quoting his TDs.
Anyway, eight months later we are faced with another batch of the cocktail, this time with a twist. A full offseason and a spring practice session have apparently yielded a thrilling prospect, Denard can throw. Maybe we can actually stomach the elixir and keep it down. That prospect sparks at least two questions. The first, how much could he have realistically improved? I mean, there’s improvement, and then there’s being good; the latter is not guaranteed. The second question is, who do you play, Tate or Denard? In this diary I hope to rigorously estimate an answer to the first question and hopelessly flail at the second.
The NCAA announced today that based upon the success of the pitch clock experiment at the SEC Tournament last year, they will be mandating the pitch clock be used league wide in an attempt to pick up the pace of games.
After allowing the use of a pitch and between innings clock experimentally last year, the committee voted to mandate the use of a timing device and implemented penalties for non-compliance. Current rules require pitchers to start their delivery in no more than 20 seconds without runners on base. This rule remains and an umpire will be required to monitor and enforce this time limit. Additionally, in non-televised games, umpires will enforce a 90 second limit between innings. The committee recommended a time limit for televised games of 108 seconds, which the Southeastern Conference used experimentally during the 2010 season. However, the committee acknowledged that the time between innings will continue to be a negotiable point in television agreements.
This isn't a huge game changer by any stretch. The rule for length between innings and between pitches has been part of baseball for several years. This new rule appears to only mandate a "play clock" like mechanism so the umpire can track the time without having to check his watch incessantly. There's enough other things for an umpire to watch closely other than his watch, and this makes it much easier for an umpire to enforce because the clock is in the open for all to see.
That said, this won't impact length of games more than 5-10 minutes for most teams. If anything, between innings will become a bit shorter, and that's it.
Obstruction While Making a Play
The NCAA had a vague obstruction rule regarding infielders making a play on a ball at a base while a runner was coming to the bag. For example, under the old set of rules, a batter grounds the ball to short stop. The short stop fields and throws an off line throw to first. The first baseman has to move up the line towards the batter-runnner. Before the first baseman can secure the ball, the runner and the first baseman hit each other with glancing blows. This would have lead to an obstruction call against the first baseman and the batter would be given first base, even if the first baseman was able to secure the ball, then tag him before reaching the bag.
Basically, you're punishing the first baseman for trying to make a play on the thrown ball way despite the fact that the runner could have gone around him in the running lane.
The committee also proposed a slight change to the obstruction rules, in an effort to provide fielders the ability to make a play on a thrown ball during a play at a base. Previously, any contact made between a fielder and runner could be called obstruction unless the fielder had possession of the ball. In the new proposal, a fielder that has established himself will be provided the opportunity to field the throw without penalty.
“This change is being made after careful consideration of our current rule and how this play was adjudicated previously,” said Overton. “The rules governing collisions and dangerous plays have not changed, but the committee believes the fielder must be allowed some room to make a play on a thrown ball.”
The rule change gives the fielder an opportunity to field a throw. This makes complete sense and should reduce unnecessary collisions as the runner has no incentive to go right through a fielder making a play.
Home Run Celebrations
The final rule change that should affect Division 1 is related to post-home run celebrations. The new rule limits the dugout from flooding home plate by restricting them to the warning track area, or 15 feet from the dug out. As an umpire, I'm a fan of this. This slightly speeds up the pace as you don't have to wait for the 25 guys on the team to clear the plate area and return to the dug out. The other major plus is not having 25 teammates that close to the opposing catcher, which is only asking for one of the young men to say something stupid and start a feud.
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the latest installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH TIM
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
The twelfth edition of MGoProfile! Hopefully it’s helped to make the summer feel a little cooler, the Thursday workday a little lighter, and most importantly, the offseason go a little faster. And certainly I hope you’ve all enjoyed learning a little bit more about your fellow bloggers.
That said, I think it’s safe to say this is the most informative profile yet. Our man Tim, most likely the Senior Vice President to the Fearless Leader here at MGoBlog, gave me a killer interview describing himself and some of the many contributions to the site. Once the proprietor of another Michigan blog, Varsity Blue, Tim joined the team last year and has never looked back. Let’s catch up with him in this exclusive interview:
1. Tim, the right hand man of Brian himself. The Little John to his Robin Hood, the Vader to his Palpatine. But as some of the more seasoned readers know, at one time you had your own UM blog that was something of a rival to ours. Describe the decision-making process behind the marriage of MGoBlog and Varsity Blue.
Originally, Brian approached Paul and me last spring and proposed a merger, because the Athletic Department had deemed mgoblog worthy of a press credential. He wanted me to be that beat reporter (and Paul to come along for the ride, I guess). Initially, I was hesitant to do it for a number of reasons. First, I had never been the "go to press conference guy," though I had occasionally with WOLV-TV, it was never my thing. Also, it really sucked to shut down Varsity Blue. That was something I had built from the ground up, and it felt like I was killing my own child.
I thought about the decision for upwards of a month, but eventually the desire to make blogging about Michigan sports a real life job(!) and the fact that I really think MGoBlog can grow into something special. It's already the biggest team-specific blog on the internet, and I think there's still a lot of potential for it to grow.
Yes, MGoBlog is certainly growing and evolving into what I'd be willing to describe as the premier online Michigan athletics community. With that being said, is this still Brian's blog?
I think it would be foolish to assume that MGoBlog will ever become something other than Brian's site. He started it, helped it grow into what it is today, and without him, it would be nothing. Brian produces the majority of the content, and although the user-generated content and the message board have become a big part of what the site is today, MGoBlog wouldn't be MGoBlog without Brian Cook.
2. If I recall, you're the MGoBlog on-site reporter, sitting in on official press conferences with the likes of Angelique and Pinnochio Rosenberg. Tell us what that's like. Do they look down at you as 'the web guy,' do they treat you like an equal, or are they threatened by you as an outward extension of the very digital age that has been sinking print media for over a decade?
First things first, Rosenberg doesn't work the Michigan beat. He comes to press conference only when he's looking for a certain story (and it seems as though they're all negative...), but the other mainstream reporters are Angelique, Mark Snyder, Michael Rothstein, Dave Birkett (football only), the reporters from the daily, and occasionally a couple other people. I think they understand that we internet folk (at least mgoblog in particular) aren't necessarily trying to take away from what they do. I don't go to a press conference to write my 800-word column, so it's not like we're in direct competition.
There are also a few other independent-internet-type folk there (particularly for football, though if the basketball team had been something other than awful this year it could have been a different story), such as Greg Dooley of MVictors and Phil Callihan from UMGoBlog. So, if it was just me, I might feel a little uncomfortable, but having those guys also around makes me feel like I'm not out of my element. Combine that with the fact that the mainstream is moving toward the internet - AnnArbor.com being the biggest and most obvious example - and I think (hope?) I fit in as just one of the guys.
What's your relationship with the University of Michigan Athletic Department? Do Bruce Madej, or anyone over there, read or even know about MGoBlog?
Before the MGoMerger was completed, Brian and I actually had a meeting with a few guys in sports information, including Bruce, to talk about what our goal was for getting credentialed, how we were going to go about doing it, what they expected from us, etc. We actually helped them hash out some of what they were planning to expect from other independent websites in order for them to get credentialed.
On top of that, Bruce is sometimes in attendance at various press conferences, and he knows who we are. The SIDs for the two main sports (Dave Ablauf for football and Tom Wywrot for basketball) are there every time, and Tom in particular has helped me a lot. Brian is in somewhat-regular contact with Bruce about various questions here and there, so he's definitely aware of our presence.
As far as athletic department staffers actually reading the site, I couldn't say for a fact. I would imagine that someone at least skims the content, to see what we're saying about them, and some might read it for entertainment, rather than in an official capacity. I know some players do read the site, and even some recruits.
You hear that everyone? PLAYERS READ THE BLOG. Remember that the next time you feel like badmouthing the team you love on the site you spend most of your day.
3. This Internet idea seems to be working. We've already approached an age where general information portals (Sports Illustrated, for example) are losing their ground with readers, simply because it takes no greater effort to find sites with very specialized content (ie. MGoBlog) that can probe deeper, longer, and uncut. With regards to Michigan sports in general, what does the future hold for readers looking for faster, more detailed, and more accurate information?
I think that niche-based media (i.e. MGoBlog fills the Michigan niche) is going to be a big part of the future of sports media, though I think at least for some outlets, like Sports Illustrated, the talent they're able to acquire, the resources they can use to pursue a story, and even just the momentum of having been around for so long, is going to prevent them from ever going away. It's sort of the same story for newspapers. Though they're struggling, and many have even folded, I think they won't go away. Maybe, in the age where we can get information right away, at our convenience, they'll play a much smaller role.
The immediacy of the internet, and the opportunities it provides (research capabilities, embedded video and audio, outlinking and networking) make it so important. Could you imagine, even just a couple years ago, hearing about the important news from a press conference as it's still ongoing (as I usually give from my Twitter account)? Probably not. Even user-generated content is something that newspapers, in their traditional format, can't really do. There are so many knowledgeable people on this site alone that simply needed a place that would give them a voice. That has improve the quantity and quality of information and analysis out there.
Speaking of the future, what will it hold for you? You've clearly made some in-roads as part of the media, and I've read that you once wore a TV producer's shoes as well. Any chance you're one day a part of the Sports Information department??
As much as student-run media can be a true position, I once held various roles at WOLV-TV, including producer of several shows, Programming Director, and I was the Co-General Manager of the station (along with Paul) as a senior. In fact, when I graduated from Michigan, I really wanted to get into some form of broadcast media, but those jobs were even tougher to come by than... well I guess I haven't really had a real job other than mgoblog since I graduated.
I would love to have a future in the Michigan Athletic Department (duh), and if they came knocking on my door, I would accept it in a heartbeat. For now though, I'm happy with MGoBlog, and helping this site grow is something that really excites me. It doesn't exactly pay like a full-time job, but I keep telling (fooling?) myself that if I keep working hard, I'll be able to turn those 60-hour weeks during the basketball season into a career.
4. I think the answer is obvious, but can you describe what you do for a living? And what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
MGoBlog is my job. It's not your traditional 40 hours a week (more like 50ish during football, 60ish during basketball, and 25ish in the offseasons), but this is what's paying my bills. It's also a perfect situation for me, because I'm definitely not the type of guy who can sit in one place for 8 hours, 5 days a week, and not do anything. I love being able to wake up in the morning, work for a couple hours, take a break to go for a run or play some video games, and then get back to the grind in the afternoon.
On my own time, as I just mentioned, I like to play XBox (NCAA, Fifa, and Red Dead Redemption are the games I've been playing the most recently), and do other stuff the semi-recent college grads like to do. I also like to try a lot of different beers, and brew my own. I was never much of a TV watcher (even when I could afford cable), but watching sports always gets its chance.
I know Tim and Brian won’t say it, so I will—this is their job, how they pay the bills. Your entertainment is their livelihood. More about that later.
5. Moving on—time for the old standards. Describe the perfect meal.
There are so many different ways I could go with this. I love so many different types of food that it's hard to pick just one type for a meal. I do know that, as much as I love beer, the perfect meal would accompany a bottle of Bo Merlot that I've been saving for the past few years, that I arbitrarily decided I wouldn't open until Michigan beat Ohio State on the football field. OK, I guess I'd have a couple glasses of that and then switch to some homebrew.
I guess the food would have to be something fresh off the grill, not only because it's delicious, but also I like the process itself. Beef and Chicken kabobs with grilled veggies would have to be my choice.
6. Mmmm, I love grilled anything. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
My answer for this question is definitely going to be a little different from your standard response, and probably a lot longer as well. May dad is an Ohio State alumnus, and though my family wasn't big into college sports when I was growing up, I would have described myself as a casual Buckeyes fan as a child (my parents still have an unopened 6-pack of "OSU National Champs" Coke sitting in their basement).
I grew up mostly in Illinois and California, though I was still in elementary school when I moved to Michigan, and I was more of a Cubs-Bears-Bulls fan as a child. Ironically enough, I can't stand pro sports today, but I'll watch any college contest I can get my greedy eyeballs on.
Fast forward to my final couple years of high school, and I wanted to, like, get a good education. The only two schools I applied to were Michigan State and Michigan, and I had to sweat out Michigan acceptance to get that good education thing I just mentioned. Even by the time I enrolled in Ann Arbor, I wouldn't have described myself as a Michigan fan. Sure, I learned the fight song at orientation, but that was about it. I didn't even know what time the 2004 Miami (NTM) game started, so I missed the first quarter of it.
It was that 2004 football season that really turned me into a Michigan fan. The wins were great, especially the Tyler Ecker rumble to take down Minnesota, but it was the heartbreakers that really made me fall in love with the Wolverines. Part of me died on the inside when Dusty Mangum baaaarely slipped the ball inside the goal posts to take us down in the Rose Bowl, and going to the OSU game in the Shoe with my cousin (then a high schooler, now a Buckeye alumna) brought me down a notch. The 2006 season ensured my Michigan love as a permanent thing, since I don't think there was any cooler experience than being on the field for Michigan's romp at Notre Dame, or the long, tired drive home from Penn State.
My parents are still Ohio State fans, but I've put in the necessary lobbying to make sure Michigan is their #2 team. I even bet my Ohio born-and-bred mother probably roots for Michigan - or is at least neutral - in The Game because she knows a Michigan win is much more important to me than is an Ohio State win to my dad. One of the downsides to being something of a Johnny-come-lately to Michigan is that I've never once watched live as Michigan beat Ohio State in football (the only game I watched before I was a student was the 2002 game).
Finally, the staple last question-- who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
As I mentioned above, I've only been a fan for a few years, so my selections are going to be recent. I think most of my contemporaries can understand my Mike Hart love, and are similarly sad that he didn't emerge until it was too late to win the 2004 Notre Dame game. The guys who have stuck with Michigan through the rough years at the beginning of the Rodriguez administration will also hold a special place in my heart - especially those like Brandon Graham who excelled despite the poor teams.
A lot of my choices are current guys, that really haven't done enough yet to verge into "all-time" territory. As someone who gets to interview these guys, I get to see a lot more of their personalities, in addition to what they do on the field. My favorite press conference answer came from Denard Robinson, when a reporter asked him following the Eastern Michigan game if he really liked running into the South endzone (he scored going that way in the Western game too, as you may recall). His response?: "I think I scored one going this way, too [points North]." If he can live up to his tremendous physical potential, there's a good chance that he goes down in Michigan fan lore as well.
For so many of us, myself included, MGoBlog is a welcome distraction to the daily grind of our own jobs (and occasionally lives). It’s a place where we feed our devotion to Michigan football with to-the-minute updates on the team and its players. We also go here to fraternize with colorful characters, to rejoice victories, whether on the field or in a young man’s living room, and to lambast the enemy with like-minded people we may or may not truly know. It’s a clubhouse, a haven, a place of recreation.
For Tim, and Brian, and a select few others, it is their life. In terms of profession and productivity, it is literally who they are… so their investment in the quality and content of the blog is immeasurably higher than the rest of us who simply come here to play. If nothing else, I hope this entry gives us all a new sense of respect of their dedication not only to keep it going, but to keep making it better and better. I don’t think Brian will mind me saying that he’s hard at work on an improvement to the blog—why would he mind, he always is—and I’m sure he and Tim lead a pretty hectic life just to keep the ship on course throughout the season and year. So as we creep ever closer to the eve of the 2010 opener, remember all of the sacrifices these guys make, all for the sake of making the blog better. For you.
In a totally unrelated topic, there is a button on the top right, just below the main navigation called Beveled Guilt. All jokes aside, think of how much you receive from this blog even though you never pay a cent. Brian’s given us the ability to pay for what you receive, and even name your own price a la Radiohead. No one asked me to include this part (in fact, I hope they aren’t upset that I have), and I’m not trying to give anyone the guilt trip. Just consider what you’d be willing to pay for what you receive here, and if you’re so inclined, give it up. For these guys.
Thanks again, and I’ll see you all next week for another exciting edition of MGoProfile!