to play football, not to play trumpet
[Edit: Note that I was writing this when Brian posted a front-page reference to the same idea on Slow States. All I can say is either great minds think alike or this is freaking obvious.]
What happened to the biggest rivalry of the old BIg 8 conference, Nebraska-Oklahoma, when it was split across divisions when the Big XII was formed? I'll answer that for you -- it was eclipsed by Texas-Oklahoma, a divisional rivalry. The collapse of that game is a major reason why Nebraska is leaving that conference to join the Big Ten.
What would happen to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry if it were split across divisions? Could it be eclipsed by Penn State-Ohio State, a divisional rivalry? This isn't as far-fetched as you might think. An occasional championship matchup will not make up for turning the regular-season game into a trophy game instead of a must-win game with the divisional title almost always on the line. In the long run, the loss of this dynamic could damage the Michigan program and ultimately the Big Ten brand.
This doesn't need to happen.
It is possible to create both geographic equity (i.e., what Penn State wants) and competitive intensity (i.e., what Michigan and Ohio State should want) in a divisional alignment that preserves or protects all major rivalries. The only real question here is how to split up the quadrangle of hate (Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, formerly a triangle) -- no matter how you do it, you're going to lose part of that. Without further ado:
- Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern
- Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois
Protected regular-season games: Michigan-Michigan State, Ohio State-Penn State, Iowa-Nebraska, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Indiana-Purdue, Illinois-Northwestern.
- Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern
- Michigan State, Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois
Protected regular-season games: Michigan-Michigan State, Ohio State-Penn State, Iowa-Minnesota, Nebraska-Wisconsin, Indiana-Purdue, Illinois-Northwestern.
I'm not sure which of these two are better in terms of the quadrangle, but you get the idea. This protects most border-war and all in-state rivalries while spreading out the divisions, thereby not screwing anyone in that regard (i.e., like Penn State would be if you put them in an otherwise western division).
Finally, lest you argue this is the ACC redux, let's take a look at their current alignment:
- Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami
- Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State
I don't know if there are protected rivalry games across the divisions, but regardless, this is not a consistent system. Like the quadrangle of hate, the main problem for the ACC is how to handle the four North Carolina schools and, actually, I think the current scheme has got that right. The main problem with it is they don't split up Virginia-Virginia Tech, resulting in Maryland being split from Virginia.
If the ACC were to follow my methodology with regard to the Big Ten, it would look like this:
- Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State
- Boston College, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Miami
Protected regular-season games: Maryland-Boston College, Virginia-Virginia Tech, North Carolina-North Carolina State, Duke-Wake Forest, Georgia Tech-Clemson, Florida State-Miami.
There, fixed two conferences in one go!
Last spring I wrote a diary called "Please God, Let me be Dead Wrong About Michigan Football 2010". Part of my concern at the time was Michigan's lack of upperclassmen in the secondary. Like most other Michigan fans, when T-Wolf was injured I felt my whole world collapsing in on top of me.
Having had some time to think it over, I'm much more hopeful than I thought I would be.
Two main reasons:
1. Our offense could be on the verge of a breakout year.
*Denard really sparkled in the spring game. I know, I know, it's just a scrimmage, and he wore a red jersey. However, more encouraging than his accuracy on the short routes and the long TD to Roundtree was the understanding he showed of the offense and his role in it. He sold the pass and THEN ran.
*If Denard is not the starter, I still feel very confident in Tate. Wingless helmet or no, he's added 20 lbs, will have a much better line, and showed a lot in his freshman year.
*Devin is apparently the goods. This means that while our QB's are young, we are in VERY good position for this year and beyond.
*O-line looks good, with upperclassman starters and solid redshirt underclassmen for depth.
*Receiver core is experienced.
*Sure, RB is an open question - but the talent seems to be there, and with a solid O-line we could see a breakthrough (especially if our top 2 RB's are not injured off and on thru the whole season)
*RR's offense has succeeded everywhere he's ever been. At Michigan he hasn't had the personnel he's needed on the field - until now.
*Conclusion: yes, the D will be a weak spot, and yes, we can safely assume that our secondary will be awful. BUT in contrast to 2008 and 2009, one of the two units should be solid, and possibly dominant. Only when BOTH units are bad can we say there is no hope. If one is spectacular, as our O could be, we should be at least .500 and possibly better.
2. Contrary to the what pundits are saying, I do not believe that RR has to win 8 or 9 games to save his job
*What if Michigan wins only 6 games and loses to OSU again, BUT the offense makes major strides, averages 25-30 pts per game, and Denard looks like Pat White? What if Demetrius Hart sees that and says, "Huh, they only won 6 games but the offense is finally up and running, I want to be a part of that"?
*The defense will get better as the talent we already have ages. Defensive recruits could see our progress on the offensive side of the ball and think, "Hmm, their D stinks, so I can step in right away, but their O is dominating, so I know their program is moving in the right direction..."
I am much more hopeful than I thought I would be. We should be much better this year than last, at least on one side of the ball. This should diminish the number of plays we have on defense, and thus reduce the error opportunity of our D-backs. B10 title? Not this year. Victory over The Hideous Minions of Evil? Not likely. But don't be surprised if we surprise. I trust RichRod, and I think that after this season a lot more of the doubters will as well.
There has been great anxiety on this board after the injury to Woolfolk
The loss of the following:
- Warren due to his inability to judge his draft status
- Dorsey due to his inability to read
- Turner due to his inability to get motivated
- Witty due to his inability to read
- Cissoko due to his inability to be smart
- Woolfolk due to his inability to have luck
has caused mass concern and panic regarding the Michigan defense
many people have given up on this season as a lost cause and have started focusing on the 2011 season instead
However, these people have missed the most important fact of all
THE KNOWLEDGE returned to these very pages a few days ago and posted that Michigan will win the National Champsionship game in Jan 2011 against the BS Broncos
people must understand that the post writted by THE KNOWLEDGE was not a mere prediction
it was a season REVIEW
While a prediction/preview can change drastically due to the loss of key players, a review is not prone to changes
THE KNOWLEDGE speaks from the future
therefore, saner minds will quit worrying and start preparing for the champsionship parade
when that happens, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar and bask in glory yet again
Folks that read the previous post by THE KNOWLEDGE carefully will note that THE KNOWLEDGE did not predict an undefeated season for Michigan
Michigan will sustain one loss in the season, which will not prevent the Wolverines from getting to the NCG
That loss will not happen in the OOC games. Michigan will win all four OOC games very comfortably
Many curious minds have requested THE KNOWLEDGE to provide more information about THE KNOWLEDGE. some have requested a "profile" of THE KNOWLEDGE to be made
THE KNOWLEDGE rarely grants interviews. however, to satisfy his fans, THE KNOWLEDGE shall soon write a self-profile
We have lost blood this week, but as long as the team still breathes… it will continue to fight. Show me something more dangerous than a cornered wolverine.
We’re back this week with the next round of the MGoShirt 2010 Season Line, as designed by yours truly and produced exclusively by Underground Printing in conjunction with our very own MGoBlog.
As an MGoBlog exclusive, we’re keeping it light today, focusing on perhaps the most highly demanded design from the Michigan faithful. And, yes, conveniently enough, these very same shirts are immediately available for purchase at the MGoStore! Remember, the title of every shirt is an active link directly to the catalog entry for that product. You can shop as soon as you see the shirt if you'd like.
AND the special offer continues today— Buy all 10 shirts (or any 10 shirts - mix and match your favorites) and get them for $150 (25% off!). MGoStore has also heard your prayers and is now offering multiple shirts in the coveted American Apparel option-- you asked for it, you got it! Think of it this way— life will go on, and the season is far from a wash. Show your optimism by wearing a fashionable MGoShirt, and to hell with the naysayers!
Pride is worn on the sleeves of the faithful. Our shirts have sleeves.
Let’s get to the shirts:
Here it is, people… because YOU demanded it, the Hulk wears #68!!! MIKE SMASH!!!! We all know that the Hulk’s shirts always rip into shreds when he hulks out, but thanks to the new performance materials of the Adidas authentic jerseys, he can show his true colors and sport a certain uniform number.
DESIGNER INSIDER: I originally had an idea to do this shirt on a green background, but it just smelled a little too Sparty. Obviously the face looks nothing like a certain mammoth defensive lineman, and that’s by design to avoid Imperial entanglements. That’s the game we have to play,kids.
Quatre-vingt-quinze. Today's featured athlete on CTK, but Renaldo was not the first. First Alain Kashama wore the number, and made it proud. I envision a day when the #95 jersey will hold a certain stigma of honor not unlike the legendary #1 jersey, one that will be expressly reserved for large Quebecor defensive tackles from the great white north.
DESIGNER INSIDER: Tried to keep it simple. I think the last time I used Vivaldi was on my wedding invitations. Bizarre.
This next shirt, sadly but obviously, has been put on hold...
This shirt was desi—ah, no. No. STOP.
I just can’t… I don’t wanna talk about it. This… it's still a little painful and raw and fresh. I’m legitimately thinking about doing a shirt that touches on what happened, but we’ll see where that pans out. Above all else I want to be respectful to Troy-- what bothers me is that so many of us, myself included, think of what this means to the team, rather than to the player himself. Imagine how he must feel.
DESIGNER INSIDER: Maybe we can just throw his dog in the #29, and no one will notice the difference?
Two weeks, kids. Sure, this week hurt… but the season is coming. All I can suggest is to think about what Bo would say about this week. There was no crying in your beer when the ol' general was around, so why should we start now. Pick up your head, buy a shirt, wear it with pride, and remember your allegiance to the Michigan Wolverines. And don’t forget—if you’re interested in loading up your closet with some high quality MGoApparel, UGP has made it possible with the MGoShirt Alert special offer: Simply go to the store and put 10 shirts into your cart, and the special offer will take the discount off for you!
I have posted this transcript before the start of the last 2 seasons, so here we go again. This is from a rally held a Chrysler when Gerald Ford was in town in 1976.
"There run's through the core of all Michigan activities both on and off this campus, a certain intangible thing. We call it "The Michigan Spirit". Maybe you can relate to it. It's the atmosphere that permeates that stadium every Saturday afternoon in the fall where over a hundred thousand fans patiently wait to see whether Bo Schembechler is going to continue his winning ways. You know what I mean! You can feel the tension, the excitement, the charisma that surrounds that stadium every Saturday afternoon. Especially ten to fourteen minutes before kickoff. When a hush settles over that stadium and we all anxiously wait for that simple 4 word command to eminate out of the P.A. system. I can hear it now! "Band take the field!" and out of that eastern tunnel pour 215 well drilled, well disciplined Michigan bandsmen. They pour over the Eastern sideline and they form the big block M and they play the greatest college fight song ever written! The Michigan Victors!! That's when the chills go up and down your spine! You get goose pimples all over, your blood turns maize and blue and everyone out there becomes part of the winningest tradition in the history of Big Ten football as well as the winningest tradition in the history of Big Ten athletics. Folks lets join in and sing the song that the late and great John Phillip Sousa claimed was the greatest college fight song ever written. The Michigan Victors!!!"
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the second-to-last installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH CHITOWN BLUE
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.
I happen to have it on good record that there are only three things in life that Brian Cook fears: The first happened on Tuesday night. The second is the threat of legal action by the Jim Henson company and/or the Disney empire for the extensive use of all things Muppet. And the third is, quite simply,
the WOLVERINE LIBERATION ARMY.
The WLA… the Chinese—no, the North Korean contingent of MGoBlog, whose radical ideology and user-generated content strike terror in the hearts of MGoBloggers across the globe. I can tell you—and I take my very life in my hands by sharing this story—that I once designed a T-shirt criticizing the WLA and their brand of humor. That night I went to bed, satisfied with a new design that might find its way to the MGoStore. The next morning I awoke, only to find a bloody Macbook screen laying between my feet, and a simple message: The WLA had been watching,
and was not impressed.
To help dispel some of the myths, and to avoid the gulag, we recently sat down with one of the most prominent leaders of their party, the esteemed
ChiTownBlue, for this exclusive interview:
1. Okay, first and foremost, and I know I’ll hold my breath when starting my car tonight just for asking this question, but there are many posters who do not even fear the WLA anymore, let alone know what it is. Tell us in your own words, what is the Wolverine Liberation Army?
The Wolverine Liberation Army is a state of mind. It's also our frequently fallow (at least in the off-season) blog. The term was cribbed from a Steve Szabo quote in which he referred to the Spread offense as "communist football" - thus, Dex borned this babby. All our silliness with Unicorns, Zima, and was cribbed from a trolling WVU fan who accused us riding Unicorns and drinking Zima. Hey, it stuck. But the state of mind part is more interesting, so I'm going to run with that.
The WLA, basically, thinks that we watch football, and sports, for fun. Not for opportunities for moral outrage, chances to express dissatisfaction, or some sort of pecking order of "what fans are cool" or whatever. The outrage over the Free Press? Forget it - that's not football. The efforts to find out "who the mole" is in the AD? Forget it - that's not football. Making character judgements about anyone based on their choice of team? Not football. Talking about Sparty and Buckeyes in the most facile, terrible stand-up comedian terms of "Sparty's are like this, Bucky's are like this"? Again, not football.
Have fun. Stop looking at things to get upset about. Please don't contribute to the tabloidization of sports coverage with crazy "As the World Turns" stories of Archie Collins kidnapping recruits and stuff. Talk to Buckeye and Sparty fans. Wear green or red sometimes, it's cool. It's just football. Enjoy it.
(For the record, this interview was conducted before the Fall of the House of Woolfolk.)
Anyways, when I first arrived on the MGoScene, you were everywhere on the blog, constantly (for lack of a better word) kicking the ass of unintelligent posters who made unsubstantiated claims and keeping the standard of commentary at a very high level. You’re certainly back and holding posters accountable again, but what happened? Where’d you go?
Yeah...I should probably tone that down. I can be a bit strident. It certainly earned me an army of detractors. I "left" MGoBlog mainly because I thought I spent too much time screwing around on it, and that maybe my bitchiness wasn't really making it a great place. My last act as a mod was to ban myself, hence, the vanishing of my old screen-name. But yeah, after awhile I heard the siren song, and, for better or worse...I'm back.
2. Okay, finally onto the football. For some of the most loyal maize and blue faithful, this offseason has been as difficult as last year. The infractions, the Dorsey situation, and further implications of battling factions within the halls of Schembechler. Being someone who holds people accountable for their words and actions, what’s going on here??? And, if I can ask, where does Rich Rodriguez stand in your book?
I think Rodriguez is a demonstrably good coach, which he's proven over the course of his career. That said, if he doesn't get it done this year, am I going to waste much time and energy arguing that his termination is a miscarriage of justice? No, I'm not. Some will want to talk about how "The Carr Faction" didn't want him, or something of the sort, but I don't buy the "warring factions" thing a bit. The violations were caused by two pieces of a large bureaucracy that didn't efficiently do their job. If he's gone, it will be becase his record isn't very good, and you don't need conspiracy theories to find the rationale of 86ing a coach with a losing record at the winningest football program of all time.
You were possibly the first person I ever heard discuss (a long time ago, if I remember correctly) that we’re better off with Denard as a quarterback. What do you think will happen under center this year, and are there any other clairvoyant observations you’d like to share with us heading into the 2010 season?
Let me couch everything I say here with a caveat: My skills as a talent evaluator are useless.
First, I just liked Denard - he seems to have a magnetic, charismatic personality, he has a huge smile, and he's a ton of fun to watch. So, there was definitely a bias there. Second, knowing that Rodriguez has just come off 3 years of Pat White, in his most successful stretch as a head coach, I figured he might be pre-disposed to the lightning bolt at QB.
This year? I think we'll see both, but again, I think that pre-disposition to Robinson exists. Robinson just needs to develop to the point where he can make the easy throws to keep the defenses honest. If he struggles through the air as much as he did last year, I'm sure it will be Tate's job.
In addition to that, I think that if Tate plays this year, Roy Roundtree has a huge season - the moment he stepped into the rotation last year, he was Tate's first option, and it was obvious. It sort of makes you wonder where he was for the first half of the season. If Robinson plays, I think you'll see the TE's and the slots as the prime targets - guys who can be outlets to a scrambling Robinson. Jamiemac is a huge proponent of Kevin Koger, and I agree that he could be poised for a big season if he washes the petroleum jelly off his hands.
3. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what you do for a living? And what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
I work in the hospitality industry, and have held jobs in hotels and restaurants. Most of my work now comes mostly in a "consulting" capacity, specifically regarding financial decisions like forecasting, budgeting, pricing, etc. Are you still awake?
I could tell you what I did for fun prior to a few months ago, when I had my first kid, as the answer now would be "not sleeping much, changing diapers, and cleaning vomit". I used to swim on a "Master's" swim team, and do some recreational running in Chicago's multitude of summer 5 and 10k's - I once built up to a 1/2 marathon, but that convinced to not go any further. I still run, but early morning swimming and newborn babbies aren't terribly complementary. I also really like cooking, but these days, that mostly manifests itself by watching Top Chef.
4. With that being said, you perhaps might be the single most qualified person to ever answer this next question… describe the perfect meal.
Having spent some time in the industry, and more time in a peripheral industry, I've gotten to eat at, and have enjoyed, some pretty swank restaurants around Chicago, but I have a hard time beating a hunk of prime, aged NY Strip with salt and pepper, seared hard on each side and finished in the oven (AS HOT AS IT GOES, PEOPLE). Carmelize some shallots, put them on top, maybe saute some corn and mushrooms in olive oil as a side vegetable. Glass of red wine (if you're feeling frisky, use some to deglaze the pan and reduce it for a sauce, but I rarely do this). BOOM, DINNER'D.
It should also be noted that I'd chop of some of my less useful fingers for one more free day in Ann Arbor when I can go to the Maize & Blue Deli for lunch (they had a sandwich on challah with turkey, cream cheese, havarti, honey-mustard, sprouts, and cucumber that I'm in appropriately excited about just typing) and hit up China Gate for dinner (Chef Yan FTW). I haven't been to either since maybe 2001, so I don't know if they still exist. Do they still exist? Please tell me they still exist.
5. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
This is rather simple - I went to Michigan from 1996-2000. I'm not from the area, but my mother was a Michigan resident who wanted to go to Michigan, didn't get in, went to Michigan State (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA), then transferred to Wayne State. Anyway, I had been getting pressured, in one way or another, to go to Michigan since birth. So, yeah.
Now, it is public record that you were indeed a scholarship athlete at the University of Michigan. Tell us about it: the sport of choice, the process of being offered, and the honor of actually wearing the block M in competitive play.
I swam at Michigan for three years, showing up they year after they won the national championship with Olympians like Dolan, Malchow, Potts, Borges, and Namesnik either in the program or still hanging around with Club Wolverine...all guys I had watched in Atlanta a few weeks prior to stepping on campus. Urbs was the Olympic coach - it was about the highest profile situation you could find in college swimming.
With that sort of quality, I never got the opportunity to swim in that many big meets - I was the swimming version of the victory cigar on meets we knew wouldn't be that competitive. The one thing it did instill in me, watching a guy like 'Snik, was a huge respect for not only how talented, but how dedicated you needed to be in order to be successful at the college athletic level. This largely informs my frequent scorn and intolerance of people who knock current or former players, like say Nick Sheridan: you have no idea how hard he worked to get where he was. I just think of how amazing it would have been, personally, to swim in an NCAA championship and, concurrently, to have ANYONE, much less hundreds of thousands of people, disparage me being there. These guys eat, breathe, and sleep their sport ringer where they are, something like that is, in my mind, worthy of unconditional respect.
6. Finally, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
Because I was an athelete at Michigan, I got to have some interaction with a few of the players in my time there - my favorite player is the guy I met who I liked the most (happily, he was also pretty good) - Dhani Jones. Dhani was a smart, charismatic, friendly guy who took genuine interest in anybody he met. He also, from 1997-1999, played on some of the best defenses that Michigan has turned out over the past 20 years. Not many legendary defenses lose their starting middle linebacker (and captain!) in the pre-season, as happened in 1997, but Jones stepped in as a sophomore and played at a high level.
I don't know him, but I think I see many of the same qualities in Denard Robinson - which probably explains my affection for him.
If MGoBlog is an exclusive club for the most diehard Wolverine fans, then the WLA is the elite of the elite. The revolution from the revolution. I maintain a vision in my head where they enroll their members in elaborate candlelit ceremonies that involve cult robes, two-handed swords and the blood of goats. I’d like to think that elaborate secret handshakes identify one member to the other in every walk of society, and that there’s no telling how far their influence reaches into the stands of Michigan Stadium and beyond. And, like our very own Skull and Bones Society, most of us will never be good enough to call ourselves a member.
For what it’s worth, as a designer by trade I can honestly say that the WLA has a pretty gorgeous web site. Its functionality, user-friendly interface, and general aesthetic appeal fits their unique style and really promotes a high level of quality and integrity in the product. The articles are written primarily for humor’s sake, and yet there’s a very significant amount of insight and truth stirred in for good measure. To top it all off, some of the MGoBlog members I hold in highest regard are the contributors if not proprietors of the whole thing. So why, then, don’t I read this thing every day? Why am I not a maize and blue Bolshevik by now?
Eh, prob’ly the unicorns. Horned horses are just freaky.
All kidding aside, if you take away all of the imagery, all of the stylized Rich posters, all of the gimmick—ChiTown and the other contributors are just really good fans, following our team in their own out-of the-ordinary way and having fun the entire time. And any site that can publish Big Boutros’s philosophical take on the career of Patrick Swayze surely doesn’t have to worry about taking itself too seriously, and that’s always a good thing. In other words, if you enjoy the posts of ChiTown, Dex, CPS, Musket Rebellion, Chrisgocomment, Big Gay Heart, Ninja Football, Big Boutros, Imafreak, and others… check out their site. You might find yourself some cultural learnings of Michigan for make glorious website of Wolverine Liberation Army.
Last week will be the last MGoProfile before the 2010 season of Michigan Wolverines football. So you better be good, I’m tellin’ you why…