"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten official and the debate about setting up conference divisions in full swing, now seems like an appropriate time to take a look at Nebraska's historical record against the rest of the conference. All information summarized here was taken from James Howell's database and Stassen.com.
We'll start by considering all-time records:
Nebraska is 74-64-8 all-time against current Big Ten teams, with a 43-21-4 home record and a 4-1 record in neutral site games. However, though Nebraska has an overall winning record against the rest of its new conference, it has losing records against six out of eleven other teams: Indiana(?!), Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue. Of course, the presence of Indiana on that list suggests that the all-time numbers may not be telling us the whole story. Perhaps we should check results more relevant to recent history -- Nebraska's record against the rest of the conference since 1993, the year Penn State's football team began conference play:
|Iowa||2-0||1-0||Home-and-home in 1999-2000|
|Michigan||1-0||1-0||Pitch it to Breaston! Aaargh!|
|MSU||3-0||1-0||1-0||NE won 2003 Alamo Bowl 17-3|
|N'western||1-0||1-0||NE won 2000 Alamo Bowl 66-17|
|PSU||1-1||1-0||Home-and-home in 2002-03|
Since 1993, Nebraska is 8-1 against the Big Ten, and 3-0 in bowl games. Husker fans have to be happy about those numbers. Only that other "newcomer" Penn State has a victory against Nebraska in the Big11Ten era.
Illinois: The most recent history is a home-and-home series in 1985-86. Nebraska ran away with both games, handing out a 52-25 beatdown in 1985, followed by an even uglier 59-14 in 1986. Nebraska hasn't lost to Illinois since 1926, though the two teams did tie in 1953.
Indiana: Has a winning record all-time against Nebraska! However, they haven't played since a pair of home-and-homes in 1975-76-77-78, and Nebraska took all four of those. Indiana's last win came in 1959, against a Huskers squad that finished 4-6.
Iowa: Nebraska's most obvious in-conference rival. The two teams have played 31 times, with Nebraska having by far the better run of the rivalry. Their last meeting was part of a home-and-home series in 1999 and 2000. Nebraska won both games easily, but that's not much of a surprise: Iowa was 1-10 in 1999 and 3-9 in 2000. Nebraska was 12-1 and 10-2, respectively. The teams also played four times between 1979-82, with the Blackshirts winning three of the four.
Michigan: There have been a total of 6 games between the Cornhuskers and the Conquering Heroes, and Michigan proudly holds a 3-2-1 advantage over their newest conference foes. In our first meeting, Nebraska was a sacrifice to Yost's 1905 behemoth, which at that point hadn't lost a game in five years. A rather weaker 5-1-2 Michigan squad tied Nebraska 6-6 in our second meeting in 1911, the Wolverines' first trip to Lincoln. Nebraska visited Ann Arbor again in 1917, where the home team triumphed 20-0. There followed a 45 year break before we met again in 1962, when a terrible Michigan squad lost 13-27 at the Big House. Many blog readers will remember the next faceoff between the two teams: the 1986 Fiesta Bowl. Jim Harbaugh and Jamie Morris led Bo's 1985 team to a 27-23 victory (and a #2 AP final ranking) over a Tom Osbourne team that featured 20 future NFL'ers. Down 14-3 at the half, our heroes stormed back with 24 unanswered points to come away with the victory. As for our most recent meeting... well... Brian put it best: "screw 2005."
Michigan State: Nebraska's first two games against MSU came back before it was called Michigan State. Indeed, James Howell's database doesn't even consider the Michigan Agricultural College to have been a DI-A school. So, it should be expected that Nebraska handily won the first two matches (1914 and 1920). Actually, Nebraska has handily won all five matches between the schools: 50-10 in 1995, 55-14 in 1996, and 17-3 in the 2003 Alamo Bowl.
Minnesota: Another team with a long history against the Huskers, and with a winning record to show for it. But don't let that fool you: Nebraska has won 14 straight against the Gophers, with the two most recent games being 48-0 and 56-0 drubbings in 1989-90. You have to go back to 1960 to find a Minnesota victory; that 8-2 Gopher squad won 26-14 over a Nebraska squad that finished 4-6. For all their history, I suspect Minnesota is not exactly itching to renew this rivalry.
Northwestern: NW and Nebraska have only met 4 times, with Northwestern's lone win coming in 1931. NU won matches in 1902, 1974, and at the Alamo Bowl in 2000.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have only played Nebraska twice, winning back-to-back games in 1955 and 1956.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions have a pretty even history against the Cornhuskers. The only non-bowl-game "neutral site" game in the all-time-records table above was the 1983 Kickoff Classic between NU and PSU -- a 44-7 Nebraska victory. Most recently, the two teams played a home-and-home series in 2002-03, with the home team winning each time.
Purdue: The Boilermakers decisively won the only meeting between the two teams, 28-0, back in 1958.
Wisconsin: For all Bret Bielema's talk of making Nebraska a rival (understandable given his own history), Wisconsin and Nebraska have only played five times, and not at all since 1974. Indiana actually has both a longer and more recent history against Nebraska than Wisconsin does. In the most recent NU-UW battle, a 7-4 Badger team edged out a 9-3 NU squad 21-20 at Camp Randall; Wisconsin had lost in Lincoln the previous year.
Nebraska has played every other Big Ten team at least once, though in some cases, it's been 50+ years since the last meeting. We can say with confidence that the Huskers won't maintain their current 0.889 winning percentage once they're playing in the conference full-time -- OSU and Michigan are only at 0.783 and 0.691 since 1993, respectively. Their 0.534 all-time against the conference would rank 5th out of 12, between Michigan State (0.544) and Minnesota (0.479), and thanks to their history with Minnesota and Iowa, Nebraska has actually already played more games against Big Ten teams than Penn State has (146 vs 136). Altogether, Nebraska is a great get for the Big Ten, and I look forward to seeing how the division alignments shake out.
Ray Ball is an offensive tackle out of Westerville, Ohio. Ray was in Ann Arbor this weekend for camp, but didn't work out. He just wanted to come up, and get a chance to meet the players and coaches, to get a feel for everything. He told me today that he got that and a lot more. Here's a look at his highlight video, and then our conversation:
TOM: How was the trip up to Michigan?
RAY: It was awesome, I really enjoyed myself. I got to look around at the whole campus, and we got to watch some of the camp, and all the players work out. We got a chance to talk with the coaches, which was great. Those coaches are awesome, and really cool to be around; I really liked them. I also got to meet three of the players on the team that will be freshmen this year. I know next time I come up there, we're going to hang out some more, they were really welcoming and nice.
TOM: When will you be coming back for your next visit?
RAY: I'm not sure exactly, but since this one was so fun, it will probably be very soon.
TOM: Ok, so it sounds like this visit might have pushed Michigan further up on your list then?
RAY: Yes, sir. I know the top schools I have on my list are Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA, but this definitely puts Michigan in a better spot than before.
TOM: Do you know when you're making your final decision yet?
RAY: Either at the beginning of the season, or in the middle. I'm not positive yet.
Valdez Showers is a versatile athlete out of Madison Heights, Michigan, mainly being recruited as a defensive back. Sitting in Michigan's backyard, Valdez has an offer from the Wolverines and just picked up a somewhat surprising offer from Florida. Auburn, Michigan State, and others have offered.
First his junior highlight film:
There's film on him from a 7 on 7 tournament, as well. Here's what Showers had to say.
TOM: Word on the street is that you received an offer from Florida recently?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went down there on the 16th to visit the school. I camped the next day, and I could tell that the coaches were impressed. When I got home, I talked to one of the coaches, and he offered me a scholarship. They just said that overall I'm a great player, and I would fit well at cornerback for them.
TOM: Is that what most schools are recruiting you for? Cornerback?
VALDEZ: Yeah, that's what pretty much everyone sees me at.
TOM: That's a pretty big offer; how many total do you have now?
VALDEZ: I have a total of around 16 now. I don't have a top list yet, though. I'm going to sit down this week, and see if I can narrow it down.
TOM: There has to be some schools that stick out to you, though, right?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I mean, Florida sticks out because they have great football, and academics. Michigan sticks out, they'll probably be in the top group, too. I have a good connection with the coaches at Michigan, and they're well rounded, too.
TOM: When you say you want to narrow your list down, how are you going to decide who makes the cut? You have some nice offers from Auburn, Cinci, Michigan, and Florida, what's the criteria?
VALDEZ: I'm looking for great academics, great football, and a good coaching staff, of course. I really want to find the school that's the right fit for me, though. So, I'm not sure when I'll decide. I just want to take my time with it, and put it in God's hands.
TOM: With some offers out of state, and across the country, how will distance factor in?
VALDEZ: Distance won't be a factor. I'll just go where ever is best for me. My mom was excited when I got the Florida offer, and she's said that she'll come watch me play where ever I go, so that doesn't matter.
TOM: Were you able to make it back up for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp this weekend?
VALDEZ: Yeah, I went, but my flight got delayed from Florida. I came late to the second day, so I couldn't do a whole lot. I got to talk to a couple coaches from Michigan, and they were telling me to come back up and visit sometime soon. I'm going to try to get back up there pretty soon. I'm not sure when, though.
TOM: Since you're from Michigan, are you friends with any of the other Michigan recruits? Do they try to recruit you?
VALDEZ: I'm friends with Shawn Conway. We met through the 7 on 7's, and became cool through that. He doesn't really try to recruit me, he just tells me to pick the best school for me.
TOM: Describe yourself as an athlete to someone who has never watched film on you.
VALDEZ: I'm a leader on the field, a hard worker, explosive, fast, and I just make plays. I ran the 40 at the Florida camp, and I was timed at a 4.48, and a 4.5. I have a hamstring injury, too, so I know I can run faster than that.
I had just spoken with a sophomore recruit, and he told me the first day he would be able to receive an offer was September 1st of this year. I reported that. Tim tweeted me, and told me the rule had changed, and that Junior prospects can not be offered until August 1st, of their senior year.
So, I looked into it.
The proposal is here, on page 11: 2009-47-B
Question: Prior to August 1 of the prospective student-athlete's senior year in high school, may the institution verbally indicate that it will offer a prospective student-athlete athletically related financial aid?
This rule was adopted by the NCAA in May, as you can see here. It was adopted, with a 60-day override period (not 100% on what that means).
Another rule that was proposed, was 2009-45 on page 10. This rule would have allowed Juniors, who had completed their academic year, would be allowed to take official visits starting in June. The maximum number would have stayed at five. Unfortunately, this rule was defeated, as you can see here.
2009-45 – Recruiting – Official visit – First opportunity to visit – June immediately prior to senior year – Football. Status: Defeated.
I'm not sure how the rule that was adopted will help, since it seems like it will get more confusing for a recruit to keep track of "verbal" offers, than written ones. A verbal offer, from this standpoint, will be pretty much the exact same thing as an early written offer is now. I would have liked to see them defeat that proposal, and adopt the early official visit proposal. That to me would have made more sense.
I totally fell asleep on last week's rankings, failing to add the newest conference member, Nebraska. They're included in this edition, and will be for all rankings in the foreseeable future. Though Notre Dame (still) isn't in the Big Ten, I'll continue including them since they're a yearly Michigan opponent, and keeping tabs on their talent is still of interest for Michigan fans.
Action since last rankings:
6-14-10 Northwestern gains commitments from Shane Mertz and Mark Szott. Purdue gains commitment from Brandon Cottom.
6-16-10 Illinois gains commitment from Chris O'Connor. Indiana gains commitment from Nick Stoner.
6-17-10 Indiana gains commitments from Kenny Mullen, Mark Murphy, and CJ Robbins. Ohio State gains commitment from Devin Smith. Purdue gains commitments from Randy Gregory and Michael Rouse. Nebraska gains commitment from Daniel Davie.
6-18-10 Northwestern gains commitment from Max Chapman. Notre Dame gains commitment from Clay Burton.
6-19-10 Indiana gains commitment from Raymon Taylor. Nebraska gains commitment from Bubba Starling.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals and Scout are on the 5-star scale, ESPN is on their numerical rankings. In next week's update, I may convert Rivals to their "RR" rating. Please bear with me (and let me know) if you see any errors in the charts, as adding Nebraska may have screwed with some stuff that I didn't notice.
|#1 Ohio State - 15 Commits|
Devin Smith picks up a Buckeye offer and commits almost immediately. No surprise there.
|#2 Nebraska - 11 Commits|
The Huskers grab top QB Bubba Starling. They debut at #2 in the rankings.
|#3 Notre Dame - 10 Commits|
Irish pick up Clay Burton for their first commitment in quite some time. They have a couple top guys, but their class is underwhelming so far, per the rankings.
|#4 Michigan - 5 Commits|
No commits for Michigan coming out of their Elite Camp, but a new offer or two could net them a new pledge soon. Michigan and Michigan State are right on Notre Dame's tail, despite the Irish having many more commits.
|#5 Michigan State - 5 Commits|
The Spartans are right on Michigan's tail, and the next commitment could push them over the top - if the Wolverines don't beat them to the punch.
|#6 Indiana - 16 Commits|
Huge week for Indiana, as they add to their already-large class. I will eat my hat if Raymon Taylor's ranking stays that lofty through signing day.
|#7 Iowa - 3 Commits|
The Hawkeyes are staying quiet for now, but a strong camp season could see more commits.
|#8 Purdue - 5 Commits|
Purdue adds a couple pieces. If those guys were ranked by all services, the Boilers would probably be ranked ahead of Iowa.
|#9 Northwestern - 5 Commits|
A couple pickups for Northwestern help them pass Wisconsin. They will benefit when their last couple guys get full rankings.
|#10 Wisconsin - 4 Commits|
Nothing new for the Badgers.
|#10 Minnesota - 4 Commits|
ESPN has finally recognized James Farrow's decommitment. The Gophers have nothing new.
|#11 Illinois - 4 Commits|
Chris O'Connor pledges to Ron Zook.
|#12 Penn State - 1 Commit|
This began as a reply to the Board Post below, but screw it, Dad deserves better.
I didn't stand a chance of being anything other than a Michigan fan. Dad, Mom, Grandparents, countless aunts and uncles, Sister, Brother, several cousins... most are alums and diehard Wolverines. Growing up was centered around family every Fall Saturday, with huge parties for the OSU, MSU, and Rose Bowl games. Wins on any given Saturday were followed immediately by a dash to the phone to call Grandma and scream "Yay! Yay! Yay!"
My Dad did host most of those parties, always setting up a great time by all even if Michigan lost (read: most Rose Bowls). I can remember joyous yells of "Touchdown Michigan!" filling the house after yet another brilliant play by Bo's Wolverines. I recall the elation of watching Jamie Morris scamper for a TD, and the horror of watching Tony Boles have his career cut short. Watching a game on TV still always takes me back to that little TV room in Saginaw.
He also took each of us kids to Ann Arbor for a day on our 7th birthdays. My day started with the long car ride, early in the morning before the sun came up. We got to Ann Arbor just after first light and then began with a walk up to and around Central Campus. I especially remember the feeling of running up and down the stone walls that lined some side streets. Then it was off to the Big House, a frigid scamper on the Astroturf field (gotta love Ann Arbor in December), and a climb to the top of the bowl. Finally there was a trip to Blimpie Burger, and then into the car for the ride back north. That trip made me realize that Ann Arbor was sacred ground, without Dad ever having to say it outright.
When Saturday Afternoons were compromised by duck hunting, the radio was always right there in the blind. Dad took his hunting very seriously and he would stay very still and quiet with me charge of listening to the headphones and giving updates. I always hated getting up early, in horrendous weather, to hunt the ducks, but I have some of my most enduring memories of my father from those times in the marshes of Shiawassee, Crow Island, and Saginaw Bay.
Notre Dame games are a blur of memories, almost all taken in at a bar in Lovells. The
town village crossroads is right next to the land where we would one day have a cabin. We seemed to always be there on the weekend of the Notre Dame game and the bar/restaurant would be packed nearly standing room only, with all eyes glued to the tiny TV in the corner of the room. When Michigan scored, things would get rowdy in there. I think Dad even dislocated Grandma's thumb with a high-five once.
Of course introducing me to Michigan Fandom was really the least of what my Dad has done and continues to do for me. He is the most upright role model I know to this day. He instilled a sense of morals and dignity in all of his children, and protected and enriched us in countless ways. He gives of himself always to the benefit of all that know him, and many who do not. If I can end up half the man my Dad is, I will consider myself a success and net benefit to the world.
Thanks Dad, for everything.