"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
- Probably slated for a back-up role to Forcier (if he beats out DRob in fall camp) or a potential redshirt
Stephen Hopkins (EE)
Austin White (EE)
- With Vincent Smith the proposed nominal starter who is now unavailable until fall camp (at the earliest) this position is wide open; enrolling early helps both of their chances to make an impact
- most think White is destined for a redshirt but enrolling early at least gives him a chance to make an impact this season
Ricardo Miller (EE)
- The stud Florida turned Ann Arbor WR who we have heard about for some time now is about to set foot on the campus he loves and be a impact contributor this season
Between the 5 guys already on the depth chart, not to mention the TEs getting some playing time, its doubtful any of the freshman see significant time here.
Both Talbout and Ash (and possibly Hankins) are considered projects and not immediate impact players. Hopefully Martin, Campbell, and Sagesse can hold this stop down.
- With our linebacker situation (talent and depth) I hope he is good enough to play next year
Courtney Avery (EE)
- With Warren "messing around" at least 1 of these guys will be the starter and the others will also see signficant playing time
- our 2010 Defense (and team) hinge on the quick development of these guys
Marvin Robinson (EE)
- Depth chart is light here as well and both of these guys will see the field
- Robinson could also be in the mix for the Spinner position
- no one ahead of him on the depth chart at Punter
TOTALS: 11 contributors and potentially 3-4 starters
Recap of week 13:
Washington crushed Washington State 30-0. The Cougars managed 163 yards of offense and punted for 277. Illinois gave Cincinnati a good game, but lost 49-36 in game where Illinois had more total offense than the #5 team nationally. And of course, the Lions lost on Thanksgiving. I like ESPN's NFL stats, they make this easy. Green Bay and Detroit both had either 67 or 68 plays. Green Bay had 422 yards of offense, Detroit had 272. I need not go any further.
Onto the Bowl preview. This weekend we're treated to Wyoming v Fresno State in the "Wyoming is in a Bowl Game?" Bowl, also known as the New Mexico Bowl, or the Play It In A Fricken' Crater Bowl. Fresno State has been reasonably competitive this year. Wyoming, not so much. Losses to Colorado and a close win over Colorado State. They've been competitive in conference, which a 4-4 conference record shows.
New Year's Eve brings Minnesota v Iowa State. Both teams have losing records in-conference. Iowa State is the same Iowa State that beat Nebraska 9-7 after Nebraska turned the ball over 8 times. Nebraska never punted, because they were too busy fumbling and throwing interceptions. Minnesota has lost to Illinois, beaten MSU, lost to Wisconsin and beaten Purdue. So, typical average Big Ten team versus schizophrenic Big 12 team.
Saturday, January 2nd brings us the International Bowl. I'd watch South Florida play Northern Illinois if it was announced by Christopher Walken, but sadly, that's The Continental, not the International. But, it's in Toronto in The Dome Formerly Known As SkyDome, so maybe they will be required to announce the game in English and French. Just sleep in.
Two announcements have come out today regarding Michigan baseball with the announcement of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America's Preseason All-American list and the location of the BigTen Tournament.
Picture by Chris Dzombak
As far as the Preseason All-Americans, Michigan centerfielder Ryan LaMarre was named to the 3rd team of the All-American list. Last season, LaMarre his .344 with 55 runs, 11 doubles, 12 home runs, and 62 RBIs. LaMarre also performed well in the Cape Cod League, college baseball's most prestigious summer league, to help bolster his resume.
"This is a great honor for Ryan with the success he has had in his first two seasons," commented head coach Rich Maloney. "He is a very gifted athlete who we are looking toward for big things this season in helping our team win and reach our goals."
Congratulations to Ryan and good luck next season.
In other news, the BigTen announced today that they will indeed play the next three BigTen Conference Baseball Tournaments in Columbus. This year's game will be held at Bill Davis Stadium, on the campus of Ohio State, and the 2011 and 2012 tournaments will be held at Huntington Park, home to the Columbus Clippers and site of last year's conference tournament, located just 3 miles from the OSU campus.
This is disappointing from a Michigan fan's perspective, but I'm sure it makes the most monetary sense. The BigTen tried to solicit bids from different communities with ballparks that would be suitable to host the tournament, and I can't imagine they received too many bids.
That's 3.6 miles for those counting.
Columbus is the only BigTen team that is both in contention to play in the conference tournament year-in-and-year-out and has a ballpark that could offer a sizeable bid. East Lansing and Penn State aren't quite consistent enough to be guaranteed a spot in the tournament, which means they could end up hosting a tournament without any local support. The rest of the BigTen teams would have to host the tournament at their own facility, something that doesn't always mean profit.
So we're stuck with Columbus for the next three years.
Sigh… 65 days until baseball season.
Unless there is a football power that is available (as Penn State was in the early 90s), the most salient selection criteria should be something along the lines of "institutional similarity" to the schools in the Big Ten. For the most part, the Big Ten is comprised of flagship state schools with very good to excellent academics, research prowess, and well-rounded athletic prowess, in no particular order (were I to pick an order, I would say the first two criteria are prerequisites, but that's just my particular bent). Extra considerations are rivalries with league schools, proximity, and the catchall category of "soft variables."
ACADEMICS AND RESEARCH PROWESS
Colorado is no slouch. It was ranked #77 by U.S. News in national universities, and has strong graduate programs in law, engineering, geology, physics, and education. Additionally, it is affiliated with the AAU.
The football team was a national power in the 1990s, and remains a solid program, with a large national alumni base, and better national brand recognition than any of the schools under serious consideration (with the exception of Nebraska, which is not really under serious consideration).
RIVALRIES WITH LEAGUE SCHOOLS
Michigan fans of a certain vintage break out into a cold sweat at the very mention of the names Kordell Stewart and Micheal Westbrook, and the (in)glorious 64 yard hail mary. The 1994 game was one is a series of good games, including 1996, when Michigan got revenge at Boulder, and in 1997 when Michigan steamrolled Colorado, making it clear the '97 team was special.
There is admittedly not much beyond that, other than a Wisconsin-Colorado bowl game from the early 00s. But other than PSU-Pitt, no other team under consideration offers the rivalry factor, and you have to go back even further (i.e., the early 80s) to find a time when said rivalry had national implications.
Under the rubric of rivalries, it is worth mentioning that only one of Colorado's true rivals (Nebraska) are in the Big 12. They could open the season with Colorado State, as they have always done, and schedule Nebraska non-conference from time to time.
I have been to Boulder, and it feels like a Big Ten campus to me. A great college town. Also lefty, hip, and scenic. Lots of places to see live music, etc. Periodic road trips to Boulder beat trips to Syracuse or Pittsburg, for damn true.
I think that it also has the potential to raise the national profile of the Big Ten in a way few other schools can do. Neither Pitt or Syracuse has the national footprint that Colorado has. An average nationally televised conference game with Colorado has a better chance of getting national exposure than either Syracuse or Pitt (or, for that matter, Missouri).
Geographically, this is a stretch, but maybe not all that much of a stretch if Nebraska and Missouri are in contention.
Football Foursome Named to Sporting News Freshman All-Big Ten
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – University of Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch HS), wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison HS), outside linebacker Craig Roh (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral HS) and safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay HS) were selected to the Freshmen All-Big Ten Team announced today (Dec. 16) by Sporting News. The Wolverines’ four honorees were more than any other Big Ten Conference school.
Roundtree was the team’s top offensive performer at the end of the season, catching 30 passes for 390 yards and two touchdowns in the final four contests. He finished the year as the Wolverines’ top receiver with 32 receptions for 434 yards (13.6 avg.) and three touchdowns. Roundtree played in 11 games at slot receiver and started the final four contests as a redshirt freshman.
Forcier started at quarterback from wire-to-wire for the Wolverines, completing 165-of-281 passes (58.7 pct.) for 2,050 yards and 13 touchdowns. He carried the ball a team-high 118 times for 240 yards and scored three touchdowns. Forcier directed a pair of fourth quarter comebacks (Notre Dame and Indiana) during his initial campaign and had five games with 200 or more passing yards. He joined Chad Henne as the only true freshmen quarterbacks in school history to start every game during the season.
Roh is the first true freshman defensive player to start every game during the regular season. He posted 37 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception and three pass breakups during his rookie season. Roh registered a career high seven stops against Eastern Michigan (Sept. 19), including his first career interception and an assisted sack. He added five-tackle efforts against Purdue (Nov. 7) and Ohio State (Nov. 21).
A walk-on who kept making plays each and every week, Kovacs earned eight starts at safety and played in all 12 games on special teams. He finished the year second on the team with 75 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, one interception and forced two fumbles. He had three double-digit tackle efforts, including a league season-best 17 tackles and 2.5 TFLs at Michigan State (Oct. 3). Kovacs was named to the CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-America second team squad.
Graham and Mesko Add to All-America Accolades: Senior defensive end Brandon Graham (Detroit, Mich./Crockett Technical HS) was named to SI.com’s All-America second team and fifth-year senior punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg, Ohio/Twinsburg HS) collected second-team accolades from Phil Steele. Graham earned a fourth-team nod from Phil Steele while Mesko received honorable mention status from SI.com.
Congrats to those guys. For anyone questioning whether or not Michigan was a very young team this year, that's the most All-conference selections of any B10 squad. A couple others had 3 selections.
- I represent the persecuted minority. Woe is us, the playoff deniers. I recognize that the tide is against those of us who would prefer not to turn to a playoff in college football. In order to pander to the majority, idealogues like Dan Wetzel and Pat Forde condescend to those of us who disagree. I believe that a playoff is inevitable, somewhere down the line, due to the tide of support for it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it or not go down swinging. But in order to be heard, it sometimes requires drastic measures.
- Gumdrop rainbow playoff ideas. Hardly a day goes by without someone inventing their own playoff. Having come up with their own special proposal and convinced themselves it's perfect, they become entrenched. "I have a great idea, therefore I'm in favor of a playoff." The problem is, people approach it like this:
- I see problems, X, Y, and Z with the current system.
- Here is a system that fixes X, Y, and Z.
They have given zero thought to the actual realities the NCAA operates under. They might fix X, Y, and Z but they break A, B, and C. They come up with ideas that break NCAA bylaws, ignore the considerations that the power brokers deal with, force unrealistic expectations onto the scene, and generally fail to take into account most of the factors that drive the situation. Some are just playoffs for the sake of playoffs. Extremely rare is the playoff proposal that it's not easy to poke a ton of holes in at first sight. Extremely rare is the playoff proposal that the NCAA and conference commissioners wouldn't round-file the moment they saw it. But everyone from POTUS on down has their gumdrop rainbow idea that they like, and having presented it, they see no reason why it shouldn't be implemented and therefore they are playoff advocates.
Even I have my own gumdrop rainbow idea, but it doesn't make me a playoff advocate - I recognize that what I want and what playoff eventually emerges are likely to be wildly different. I suspect many people will find that the end result is as disappointing to them as the current system. At least, though, I've tried to take what I think is the correct approach when designing a playoff, which is to try to think through what the commissioners and presidents would want out of it and then apply those rules to fit what I want into them, rather than start with my own burning desires and convince myself that the result is workable.
- The BCS folks are idiots. The anti-playoff arguments they come up with are at best hit-and-miss and at worst totally off-mark. They aren't much better at thinking through the eyes of a fan than the fans are at thinking through the eyes of the commissioners. Someone has to take up their slack.
- Get off my lawn. I'm a traditionalist at heart, and college football has the best ones. I don't like the idea that we must tear down the old ways because somewhere along the line, we decided the national title is all that matters. And further, many people think you can have it both ways. Well, you might be able to, but not through the methods most propose. Again, I suspect many would find themselves disappointed when the presence of a playoff removes some aspect of college football they thought would be kept. In any case, though, I'm kind of reflexive about it - the default setting should be to keep what you've got if there are doubts, because once you change, you can't go back.
I don't think the BCS is the perfect system, and it could always use a fix here and there. But anti-playoff is not pro-status-quo - an assumption made by too many. That assumption, and others like it, permeate the pro-playoff ranks, and, because those ranks are the majority, are too often accepted as the truth. Too many wrong ideas about why we don't have a playoff and why we should are in every debate. I just can never resist shooting them down.