also duty-free guys falling over and grabbing their shins
Brian talked a little bit in Monday's Unverified Voracity about the Michigan hockey team's recruiting class. I've seen most of those kids at least a couple of times, so I figured this would be a good chance for my first ever diary entry, before moving on to future diary entries about my hopes and dreams(tentatively titled, 'Minnesota Drops Athletic Department').
Anyway, for the 2009 class:
A.J. Treais: I would definitely compare Treais to T.J. Hensick in terms of playing style, but not in terms of talent. I could see Treais getting off to a slow start next season, but eventually becoming a nice playmaker for Michigan.
Chris Brown: The comparison to Eric Nystrom is pretty much spot on. Neither is going to score a lot of points unless they get paired up with a superstar, but both play very hard and are solid responsible players. The big difference is that Brown skates better than Nystrom did, and is a little more physical. I'd expect him to get picked somewhere in the second round of the NHL Draft this summer.
Kevin Lynch: He's really tough to get a read on because he plays a really unorthodox style of hockey, and as a result, you'll get a lot of different opinions on his play. Personally, I think he goes a little lower in the draft than most people expect--somewhere in the last couple rounds-- but should have a decent career at Michigan as second or third line-type guy.
I haven't seen Lee Moffie play, but all indications are that he's a pretty solid player. It looks like he's having a really nice year in the USHL, which bodes well for his future. I'd imagine Michigan will look to add another forward or two for next year as well. If you consider that Palushaj is almost guaranteed to leave and that Ciraulo and Glendenning are walk-ons, that leaves Michigan with only 10 scholarship forwards on deck for next year.
The 2010 guys...
Brian is right that at least paper, this looks like a great class of kids. I think it's a stretch, however, to say three kids will go in the top 10 of the draft. Individually...
Jon Merrill: Merrill is the most likely to go in the top 10 of the draft. I haven't seen him play in a while, but he certainly has all the tools to be a big time player.
Luke Moffatt: I go back and forth on Moffatt all the time. I think his style of play is more suited for faster, tighter checking games like the NCAA and pro level. He's not much of a dangler, which makes him look unimpressive against less-polished competition, but he's very strong on the puck and can make quick decisions, which will serve him well later on. He's not off to a great start this year with the NTDP, but a lot of great players struggled until about Christmastime in their first year at the NTDP, and then really took off. It's tough to tell where he'll end up in the 2010 draft. It could be really high or really low. He'd be the biggest concern about never making it to Michigan. I'd say the chances of him wearing a Michigan jersey are about 50/50.
Kevin Clare: He's just a rock on defense. I'm not sure that he has the superstar potential the same way Merrill does, but he should be a very strong player. I could see him going late in the first round of the draft two years from now.
As a side note, every year, the NTDP likes to call up a couple guys from the U17 team to play for the U18 team at the end of the year, and these three guys would all be among the top candidates.
Jack Campbell: He's incredibly talented. A lot can change for goalies between the ages of 16 and 20, so nothing is a guarantee, but he certainly looks like a gem. I have no clue where he rates for the 2010 draft, since it's still way too early to evaluate goalies much.
Mac Bennett: He's kind of flying under the radar right now, but I think fans will really like him. He should be a pretty high draft pick this summer, and could step in and play for Michigan next year if he were done with high school. He's one of the most poised defenseman I've ever seen and is a great skater.
Jacob Fallon: He's another kid that is flying under the radar, but could end up being one of the most valuable players in this class. He's an excellent passer, and the NTDP has really tried to put him in the playmaker role this year. I think he has the tools to become a more all-around scorer though. He lacks prototypical pro size which means he'll probably get drafted fairly late, and should keep him at Michigan for a number of years.
It's nice to see Michigan really loading up on players born in 1992 for the 2010 class, because the group of kids for the 2011 recruiting class is looking fairly weak, and there might not be as many options.
As Sgt. Wolverine noted (as have others), a playoff only crowns a playoff champion, not a true National Champion. That's why, instead of trying to shoehorn some logic into the BCS or crying out for a 6, 8, or 12, or 16-team playoff, college football might as well just go back to its earlier pre-1998 system and just accept the "Mythical" before the NC and give the power back to the human polls.
Now hear me out. I look at sports at the elite level the same way I view entering an elite university, the gaggle of beautiful people trying to enter a trendy club, or obtaining a great job. At this level, when everyone/everything has virtually the same resume and skills, people are left trying to distill out the slimmest of stratification to justify why one team is better than another, and by default people believe that head-to-head somehow "proves" who is better. Yet, as we've seen numerous times, there is a myriad of variables that can greatly affect even the outcomes of these head-to-head match ups, let alone a full playoff. First off, when you play an opponent can have at least as much of an effect as who you play. We all remember 2006, when OSU and UM were two of the best three teams in America, played each other in a solid game, and then had to wait 50+ days to take on Florida and USC. Rust, overconfidence, over-scheming, etc. can all set in over that time, and what you get are two blowouts that I severely doubt would have happened if the games were played a week after the Big 10 finale. Conversely, look at Texas this year - they played 4 ranked teams on consecutive weekends, and then finally lost on a last-second touchdown grab. Teams get hot, teams get tired, players get hurt, etc., and when the talent is approximately equal, all a playoff shows is who was able to get hot, avoid injuries, and find a favorable draw for 3-4 weeks. So not only does a playoff only crown a playoff champion, but it now also crowns a playoff champion for the past month.
I still remember the kerfuffle that Colorado made a few years ago when they got red-hot at the end of the season, destroyed Nebraska (the fighting Eric Crouches) and beat Texas for the Big-12 title, and complained they were shut out of a chance at the NC even though they were playing the best football in the country at the time (of course, they then were destroyed by Mr. JJ Harrington and Oregon, yet more proof that "when" is a big deal). Of course, this same team had already lost to Fresno State and rather convincingly to Texas earlier in the season. This team wasn't the best team in America that season, but match them against Miami that year, one week after beating Texas, and who knows how that game plays out.
And the benefit of a favorable draw also plays into the inherit weakness of a playoff in CFB because it all falls on who you play. Look at the participants/scores in last year's BCS games:
Rose - USC/Ill (49-17)
Sugar - Georgia/Hawaii (41-10)
Fiesta - WVU/OU (48-28)
Orange - Kansas/VT (24-21)
NC - LSU/OSU (38-24)
I see a slew of blowouts plus one game (KU/VT) that neither team really seemed to want to win. So does that mean USC, Georgia, WVU, KU, and LSU were the best 5 teams last year, and LSU was the clear champion? Of course not. In fact, I would hazard to guess that if you flipped LSU with Georgia, that NC game turns out differently. Or flip WVU and KU, and maybe OU doesn't get obliterated and the world is deprived of the Bill Stewart Face. And yet, because these lineups were defined by a combination of tie-ins and expected ratings, people somehow believe that they provide an "objective" metric for how good each team was. That just doesn't make sense to me. These match ups never aligned the best teams against each other no more than the traditional bowl tie-ins created the best match ups for determining a true NC. All you have are a bunch of somewhat-arbitrary match ups that may place a superior team in the crosshares of some insanely-hot team, or a team that just lost its best player for some reason (remember Cinci back when Kenyon Martin played - that team was a legitimate NC contender in basketball until Martin injured himself right before the tourney).
Well, the same thing would happen with a playoff. How do you decide who is "better" when the BCS and the polls have yet to show an ounce of consistency in determining who the best 2 or 3 teams are a given week? Sure, SOS, conference strength, head-to-head match ups, etc. provide a component, but ultimately you are just left with more distractions and after-the-fact justifications, not a true barometer of what teams truly are the "best".
For example, take this season. Provided Alabama loses this weekend to Florida, why should Florida be a #1 seed and Oklahoma a #2, or vice-versa? How about Texas, Utah, Alabama, and PSU battling over the #3-6 spots? Depending on which slot each of these teams fall into, their chances of winning or losing vary wildly. Presuming Boise St. and Ball St. round out this 8-team playoff, Texas would play a weak Ball St. team while Alabama and PSU would hammer away on each other for the opportunity to then play Oklahoma or Florida in the next round. One week earlier, Alabama is the #1 team in America, and now you have them fighting for their life against another team that was one missed field goal away from a perfect season. That's the second inconsistency of a playoff - you may only be as good as the team you match up with that weekend, yet everyone somehow presumes that all the other teams that lost either contemporaneously or earlier are somehow worse. So not only do you only crown a playoff champion for the past month, but you now only crown a playoff champion who played that particular configuration of opponents.
And yes, a round-robin works in theory, but there is no way you can expect college football teams to play into February, even with a shortened regular season. The games are too nuanced and too physical - the reason it works in March Madness is because players and coaches generally can gameplan and recover for another opponent in a few days, while in football the players would be walking corpses after late December.
Finally, the third factor that people tend to forget about a playoff series is that certain teams enjoy the benefit of home field advantage even when it was not necessarily intended. Since I presume the only way a playoff will work is with the consent of the bowl alliance, most of these playoff games would need to be played on "neutral" fields sponsored by the various bowls. True, you should reward teams with "better" records with home field, but you'll inevitably have the problem we've seen over the past few years with certain warm-weather schools (looking at you, LSU and USC) playing meaningful games virtually at home because of these relationships. Heck, USC virtually never has to leave Southern California during bowl season, and I still believe that LSU playing in the Superdome last year helped them immensely against OSU. Sure, the traditional bowl games were not anything better (USC still has the Rose Bowl, LSU the Superdome, Florida/FSU/Miami the Orange Bowl, etc.), but at least there you could argue bowl tie-ins were at work and every team kind of understood the worst-case scenario at the beginning of the season. Admittedly this is the weakest of my arguments, and that is why I left it until the end. That said, now you are left crowing not just a playoff champion who played a particular configuration of opponents over a shortened time frame, but also a playoff champion who played those games at particular fields.
If you have made it this far, then congrats, and you are almost done. I used to be a huge fan of playoffs in football, believing that it somehow crowned a truer champion than the USA Today/Coaches poll or the BCS title game. Yet, the more I thought about it, I don't see it doing anything more than slapping a different coat of paint on the same broken-down car. Implementing a playoff would, ultimately, appease some fans for a short period of time until its flaws would begin to show, probably when a team like BYU runs the table or a 3-loss SEC team gets insanely hot and wins the NC. Personally, the only thing I dislike more than the uncertainty the polls created is the faux-certainty and legitimacy that the BCS gave to each season's MNC. At least with the polls, early-season struggles were at least partially remembered, and getting hot at the right time wasn't necessarily rewarded with any more or less outrageousness than in a playoff. And for those concerned that the polls would overlook worthy teams like Utah or Boise St., I'm all for a rule that would allow a mid-major ranked in the top-10 to knock out a lower-ranked opponent with a tie-in from one of the "big" bowls. Sure, that might cause the occasional outrage and isn't perfect, but then at least you give these teams a chance to showcase their abilities against a top-flight opponent. Best-case scenario, a top-flight team like Utah goes undefeated and miraculously bypasses all of the 1-loss teams and is named the MNC; worst-case scenario is they go undefeated and are still passed over by a 1-loss power team, which is the exact same result we've seen since the beginning of the BCS/time. I am all for abolishing the BCS; I just don't think we need to replace it with some convoluted playoff system.
You’ll have to excuse the Big 10 if they feel a little bit like the counselors from Camp North Star as the league heads into the final night of this year’s Big 10/ACC Challenge.
What, you don’t remember Camp North Star? It’s from the late 1970s comedic classic Meatballs, one of Ivan Reitman’s first breakthrough films. The movie was a pretty standard, slapstick comedy revolving around the antics of the goofiest set of camp counselors ever assembled. It’s one of Bill Murray’s first starring roles, debuting a year before Caddyshack and Carl Spackler was introduced into the world.
One of plot lines of the movie was the camp’s rivalry with the more ritzy and glitzy Camp Mohawk from across the lake. Each year the camps competed in an Olympiad. And, each year Mohawk drubbed North Star like a drum.
That’s how the Big 10/ACC Challenge has played out over the years. The ACC, the more tradition rich and talented league in basketball, has won this challenge, often with ease, every year since its inception. Camp North Star versus Camp Mohawk. Big 10 versus ACC. The results are the same every year.
That might be changing this season. Heading into the final night, the leagues are actually tied at three wins apiece. This is newsworthy because it puts a little drama into tonight’s actions. Usually, the ACC is so far ahead that nothing short of a sweep on the final night would do it for the Big 10.
In the movie, Tripper (Murray’s character) inspired his legion of underdogs with a stirring pep talk, claiming it does not matter if they win or lose and repeating the phrase ‘it just doesn’t matter’ until the whole room joined him.
So, does it even matter if the Big 10 wins this challenge? Probably not. I doubt come March that a random Big 10 team will sneak into the field of 65 based solely on the fact that their conference won the Big 10/ACC Challenge. But, for the individual teams there is a lot at stake.
Ohio State and Minnesota will be two teams sitting on the bubble throughout the winter and their wins last night against Miami and Virginia respectively will only enhance their resume. On the other hand, Purdue, a trendy final four pick, has now lost consecutive high profile games. The drubbing Duke gave them last night--on their home floor none the less—could hurt their seeding in March and make their trek through the brackets even tougher. Illinois, which had been creating a nice resume on their own with some hard fought November wins, let a crucial game slip away at home last night against Clemson. Ohio State and Minnesota boosted their resumes, while Illinois did not. All three clubs figure to be bubble teams and last night’s results could be revisited when the selection committee convenes.
In tonight’s action, there really is not that much at stake for the Big 10 teams. Indiana, Penn St and Northwestern are tournament long shots, at best. Their resumes ultimately will be irrelevant. Michigan St, barring an unprecedented winter collapse, will be in the field regardless of how their showdown with the Tar Heels goes. That leaves one team with a lot of stakes on the line tonight: Michigan.
When Michigan and Maryland play each other tonight, two teams looking to regain former glory will but heads. We all know about UM’s tourney drought, but the Terps, despite being a program that’s considered a power, have missed three of the last four NCAA Tournaments. Both teams are also looking to rebound a little after following impressive victories earlier in the year with ‘meh’ follow up games.
Michigan may have the signature win of the season with their upset of UCLA. But, Michigan was totally outclassed by Duke in their next game and needed overtime to avoid an upset at the hands of Savannah State over the weekend. Maryland, meanwhile, may have the second most noteworthy win of the year when they upset Michigan State on Thanksgiving Day. But, they followed that up by being blown out by Gonzaga and Georgetown.
There is more positive buzz around these programs than originally expected because of those upsets, but the loser tonight risks giving up all that good will. That big November win will be looked upon as a fluke. Both of these teams could spend all season on the bubble, so their head to head outcome will trumpet one program and dog the other all winter long.
For Michigan, this is the front end of an important week as the WolverineS host Duke in a rematch on Saturday. If Michigan can get at least one win this week, they’ll probably be considered a tourney team in most of the early field of 65 projections. Coming off one of the worst seasons in program history, just positioning itself to be a member of the tournament field when the league season begins would be a pretty big step towards ending the decade long absence from March Madness.
According to the experts in the desert, Maryland is favored tonight by 6 points. That’s a pretty reasonable line for a home team to be laying in a fairly even matchup. I like the Wolverines chances tonight, not only to cover the spread, but notch the outright win. The Terps are a perfect matchup for Michigan.
Maryland is a doughnut team, meaning they have no center. They have a #4 playing the #5 and a #3 playing the #4. That works to Michigan’s advantage as they’ve vulnerable to big, bruising and banging teams. That description does not fit the Maryland Terrapins. Michigan might have an edge in the frontcourt, given the scoring and overall sound play they’ve been getting from DeShaun Sims, who will be a sixth man of the year candidate if he keeps up his good play.
Maryland’s best player, Grevais Vasquez, is a turnover machine. The Terps take a lot of bad shots. Both of those will come into play tonight under the scrutiny of UM’s 1-3-1 zone defense. Neither team is very deep, but Michigan has shown a lot more second half legs than Maryland. Plus, the Terps could still be worn out from the grueling weekend tournament they took part in, during which they played MSU, Gonzaga and Georgetown. I would be surprised if Michigan was not the fresher team this evening.
Michigan will have the best player on the floor tonight in Manny Harris. With Sims, they might even have the second best. As long as they don’t shrink in the moment of a tough a road environment, I think Michigan can pull away and win the second half.
As for the rest of the Big 10 tonight, it does not look as rosy.
Camp North Star finally beat Camp Mohawk because the scrappy Rudy Gardner won the final event, a distance race through the woods. The Big 10 will need to channel a whole bunch of Rudy Gardner to come out ahead. Indiana will be taken behind the woodshed tonight by Wake Forest. Expect the Deacons to win by at least 20 points. Penn St has shown some scoring acumen this year, but I don’t like their chances in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. Northwestern at least is playing at home, and are slight favorites actually over Florida St. Still, the Noles will have too much in the end.
The marquee game is UNC and MSU playing in front of 70,000 fans at Ford Field. The Spartans will have a nice home court edge, but nobody expects that to really help. UNC is a whopping 10-point favorite tonight. I am not sold on MSU just yet. I’d be impressed if Raymar Morgan stays out of foul trouble and his coach’s doghouse long enough to keep this game close.
But, like Tripper said, it just does not matter if the Big 10 tops the ACC in this challenge. That scoreboard tally won’t mean much come March.
But, the outcome specifically of the Michigan/Maryland contest will loom large and matter in a few months.
This is going to be long. It will contain a lot of elements that are probably only personally important and may at times be only slightly related to the title of the Diary. So, I apologize in advance for that (but, hey, it's a diary), and offer up front a link to the auctions. It begins with Lot 261 and ends with 290. Contained within is the greatest collection of Michigan Football programs in the world. More extensive than even the Bentley Historical Library. Even if you have no intention of bidding, it is a fascinating look at a collection that, for at least a few more days, I can proudly claim is a party of my family.
This post has three purposes, I suppose. First, I would like to recognize and honor my father's uncle for compiling this amazing collection. Secondly, as mentioned above, I want to share the digital likeness of the collection to those interested in Michigan football enough read diary entries composed by complete strangers on a blog dedicated to a collective passion. Finally, I'd like to simply mark this as a somber turning point in my relationship with Michigan Football (or rather, Michigan Football's relationship with me). Note: that last point has nothing to do with on-field results.
The reason I am here now, typing this, is because my father carried me into Michigan Stadium on his shoulders before I was able to walk up all those steps myself and continued to bring me along for the following 16 years. The reason he did that was because his father did the same for him.
My grandfather and his brother had been going to games for 60+ years each until their minds and bodies failed to allow them to continue. Throughout this time, my great-uncle took up collecting programs. I'm not sure if he started with the intent of amassing a Michigan Football Program Collection and in the process branched out into other sports and events, or if he started with a broad focus and decided to pay particularly close attention to the Michigan Football programs. Either way, he ended up with a program collection to rival any other, private or public. A couple of stories to illustrate just how impressive it is:
- There are only two copies of this program known to be in existence. At one point, he had both of them. He gave the other to a friend of his who also collected programs, and that friend still has it.
- I remember walking through Crisler, probably about 15 years ago now, and they always had those somewhat cheesy museum-like display cases in the concourse. There was one with the Little Brown Jug and a program from the game where that legend was born. The University borrowed that program from my great-uncle.
- He had duplicates of many of his programs. On one occassion, someone inquired about a 1950s Red Wings/Maple Leafs program, and since my great-uncle had two of them, he was willing to sell. They had not yet discussed a price when gentleman came to his house to pick up and pay for the program. My great-uncle allowed the man to name his own price, which he did, at "seven fifty." He wrote a check and left. My great-uncle was shocked when he looked at the check and saw $750.00, as he was happy to let the guy buy it for $7.50.
Even after he stopped going to games several years ago, his connections in the M community and the program collecting community were such that people would buy and mail him copies to ensure that the collection continued to grow. It had long been a hope of mine that when he decided he could not keep up with it, he would entrust my father and I with its upkeep. I probably laid waste to those hopes when I decided to leave the state for college. Despite his own daughters attempting to dissuade him from selling the collection, even putting in a good word for me without my solicitation, he has, obviously, decided to sell. While this saddens me deeply, my respect and reverence for him will not allow me to question his decision. But it does sever the last special tie to the Michigan program and community that my family had.
The first in a series of unfortunate events was my great-uncles fraternity brother committing suicide around 1999-2000. Mr. Calhoun and his bus doubling as a mural to honor the vast history of Michigan football (parked in front of Crisler, right by the main entrance, I'm sure some of you were familiar with it) was the epicenter of my Michigan tailgating experience. It was never the same tailgating without "The Bus."
A few years later, when I moved south for college, my parents shortly followed and my dad was forced to give up our Section 18, Row 20, Seats 9-10. The ones where I cheered for Jamie Morris and learned more players' names at age 4 than most of the grown ups around me; The ones I cried in when Miami came back to win in '88; The ones I watched some other team from Florida tear us apart a couple years later; The ones where I saw Kordell's prayer answered in '94; And the ones where I saw Desmond streak down the sideline against OSU in '91 and Charles do his finest recreation six years later.
That was difficult enough to let go of, but when my gradnfather gave up his season tickets a few years later, after sixty-some-odd years of going to games, it was nearly devastating.
And now, with the program collection being auctioned off, my special connection with Michgan football has probably come to a close. Now, I'll just have to be happy being a "normal" obsessed fan and be content with sharing stories of days gone by.
Lo! Praise and heraldry of the glorious Wolverines has been heard far and wide. Our standard is bright among stars and without peer on this earth! Bring forth your ears with great intent as tales of majesty resound in your mind, for darkness endeavors to consume it. Whence does this commendation arrive in most timely fashion? Reason spake thus: None of humanity but the glorious spirit of Michigan is worthy of praise.
The power and virtue of these lofty Michigan Men has driven them far and wide. Compassionate stewards of Prometheus's flame, into lands most foul they bring glory and greatness unto the unwashed hordes of our vulgar cousins. Though by the nature of those vile knaves who dwell in pestilence shall our heroes' offerings be rejected. Wherefore, then, traverse they thus? Reason spake anew: That which is noble shall ever drive itself into the wicked; light shall proceed into darkness and vanquish it with hasty abandon.
Through battles in sight of the eternal sun and under shadow of cloud or cover have our heroes made their mark. Forsooth! Many a time have they triumphed o’er the profane masses of otherlings. The most recent siege and assault having ceased at Columbus, the Great Rodriguez returned our heroes from the darkest absence of civilization known to man—yet darkness persists therein. Verily, oh brothers and sisters, have the blackened hearts of the weak become many and, by virtue of their numbers alone, grown strong.
And now we, the witnesses to those mighty Michigan Wolverines, in their pride and prime, who, albeit untriumphantly, gave their greatness to the worthy cause of forwarding the Michigan spirit face a dilemma of our own. Shall we despair and flounder at the enormity of the loss? Though we writhe rightly in agony, there is no need to let the shadow into your soul. Though some have already, by corruption’s cruel forces, crashed ruinously into shambles and scattered as sheep with smote shepherd—though they have perished, shall we follow suit and plunge headlong into the void? No! I implore you, though the skies may crumble around you, stand tall and with proud heart! Thus shall we remain ever-full of vitality. Yet a doubt persists—what to do with those emptied husks of the once-proud?
We must strive against those agents of contagion, who seek to undermine the Michigan spirit! Combat their villainy at every turn! Let not fools with the minds of embittered servants tarnish what we know to be ultima virtus. We, the proud and mighty Wolverines, are not creatures of reaction! No! For we are masters of our own destiny, and masters of our values, too, so none but ourselves must define for us our worth among men—we alone are worthy! Our great leaders of yore boast peerless influence among the unfallen in what this greatest of enterprises, this collegiate football, has been and has become, that those who challenge our greatness must also challenge that by which they endeavor to glorify themselves. Fools! Their scorn is akin to a child’s cursing of the gods or a shallow man’s quest to conquer nature itself—enterprises doomed from the start and amounting to nothing but desolation of petty souls.
With these words I bid you farewell, oh brothers and sisters. We are one in our glory, made strong by the spirit that binds us; that bind made strong by the noble ones who came before us; and those noble ones made strong by the merit of their actions performed for one sake—the glory of Michigan! Be swayed not by the doubters and the haters, those envious spirits who mock us in their forged vanity. We remain now and forever worthy of pride and glory, we Michigan Men!
Hail! Hail to Michigan!
Drew Sharp is at it again. http://www.freep.com/article/20081201/COL08/81201092/1048/SPORTS
The gist of the article: RichRod better watch the ND situation closely and learn something from it, otherwise he will be out the door sooner rather than later.
Let's examine the claims. On RichRod:
"He came to Michigan a year ago extraordinarily confident in his role as a revolutionary. He scoffed at those who questioned his strategic intellect because he never doubted for an instant that he was the smartest football guy in any room he entered."
Huh? Where was the scoffing? Where does the claim about him thinking he is the smartest football guy in the room come from? Sure, he is confident; would you hire him if he weren't?. But beyond that?
"Rodriguez passed the buck. He indirectly blamed Lloyd Carr’s suspect recruiting — in what were, nonetheless, highly ranked classes the previous two years — for his first-year transitional difficulties. He chastised fans for what he deemed unrealistic expectations for a new coach stripping a program of its reliable, though staid, personality. Even though he was pretty much correct on both counts, it nonetheless comes across as arrogantly selfish and unaccountable."
Why does the press do this? If Sharp had listened to any one of RichRod's press conferences, he would have heard him repeatedly saying the coaches have to do better and that at the end of the day, he is the head person and most accountable for what has taken place. Repeatedly.
One time, he made the mistake of saying he thought they were short a few players (they are). And perhaps he chastised some fans by saying that people who say awful things to coaches should "get a life". The press takes these comments and blows them up to make news, repeating the untruths until they believe them themselves, distorting reality such that it is little wonder why people bother speaking to them. Journalists complained about lack of access in the Lloyd era, and then, given more access, utilize it to invent this type of tripe about the subject of their venom.
The result of all of this criticism will soon be clear: RichRod will slowly provide less and less access to the press. Who wouldn't? And then we'll soon see an article from Drew Sharp about how RichRod has changed.
And the final dumb quote:
"Michigan should watch closely how Notre Dame resolves the Weis conflict because it’ll next make that same determination — perhaps as early as next year if Rodriguez doesn’t reverse this season’s slide."
Why should Michigan watch closely as Notre Dame fires a coach they overpaid who, in his fourth year, has shown an inability to build a consistent winner? That frankly did much better when his players were trained by another coach? And the thought that Michigan would fire RichRod after two years is so asinine that it should not find its way into print. Why does the Freep keep paying for this substitute for journalism? Or perhaps this is just what journalism is, and always will be: sensational instead of informative, extreme instead of intelligent.
What an ass.