Terrible time of year for sports so I felt like making some predictions about the big ten programs for the next five years.
Ohio State- Pryor never develops as a true passer; overall talent will make them average 9-10 wins a year. They will also lose two more bcs games. Come 2013 they will have become stale, just as we did towards the end of Lloyds career.
Penn State- they will remain Penn State, a big ten title 2 disappointing season, 2 good seasons.
Michigan state- I think they finally got someone who wants to stay in EL and can make them legit in dantonio. He’s really surprised me with recruiting, but until they can land players from across the country they are between 7-6 and 9-4 every year.
Illinois- Ron Zook will keep them loaded with talent and disappointment on the field. Great recruiter, not a great coach.
Wisconsin- Bielema is gone after this season when they go 5-7. If he’s able to make it to next season they’ll go 3-9. Hopefully they get it right with the next coach and can rebound.
Iowa- Ferentz is the best coach in the country. Nobody develops talent like he can, if he was at a major program it would be scary. They’ll make it to a bcs game in the next 5 years.
Northwestern – they should be pretty good under Fitzgerald. Averaging 8 wins a year.
Minnesota- why did they ever fire glen mason, he had them ranked regularly. Won’t be the case under Brewster, I don’t like him changing his offense after they had success with it last year. 2 bowls over the next 5 years
Purdue- they’ll really miss Joe tiller, could be a long time till they play in another bowl game.
Indiana- kicked their best player since randel el off the team. Should be a mid-tear MAC school for the foreseeable future.
Notre Dame- I don’t care what anyone thinks about how good they should be this year. Shamu will be gone after this season and Urban Meyer will take his “dream job”. Having the two pioneers of the spread offense coaching will make this a game that will affect the national title race every year.
Michigan- had to save the best for last; we shock the world and finish 11-2 this year. A national title, two rose bowls and two Jan. 1st bowl games over the next 5 years.
There is a pretty in depth breakdown of the UM team by position by Pete Fiutak on CFN. http://cfn.scout.com/2/872378.html
For whatever reason he seems to have tremendous confidence in our safeties, as he deems them the strength of our defense. he speaks of vlad emilien like hes already an all-american and brandon smith like he is about 27 minutes from becoming one. he also completely forgets about justin turner, and claims that there is zero depth behind booboo and warren.
other than those huge errors, the remainder of his analysis is relatively decent, and overall pretty positive. A lot of it is stuff we already know (Tate Forcier is the "player to watch" in 2009.) But he also makes an interesting point that Mark Ortmann is the key to Michigans success in 2009. and while that is a bit of an exageration, it is somewhat true. ortmann, or dorrestein depending on who wins the position at LT, could be either the achilles heal or the finishing piece to an otherwise solid o-line.
in case you dont actually feel like going through the article (it is somewhat long), here is the rating (1-10) that he assigns each position group:
qb - 6.5
rb - 8
wr - 7
OL - 7.5
DL - 6.5
LB - 7
DB - 7
Special Teams - 7
I personally think he was a bit generous with the QBs. I want to say that hes underrating our LBs and DBs, but... our DBs did really underperform last yr (Warren in particular) and there are a lot of question marks, in my mind, at safety. and as for our LBs, i think stevie brown will be pretty solid, but who knows for sure. and ezeh could revert back to his freshman yr glory, or he could continue down his road to bust. i think everyone is expecting good things from mouton though
Every conference home contest to be televised for third straight season
Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference office today released the game times and television plans for every home non-conference contest during the first three weeks of the 2009 football season along with some additional games later in the year. The 2009 pre-conference schedule will feature 25 home matchups televised by ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network.
The 2009 Big Ten home football schedule begins with Indiana hosting a Thursday night contest against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 3 on the Big Ten Network. The other 10 conference teams will begin their seasons on Saturday, Sept. 5.
In addition to the television schedule for the first three weeks, the conference also announced that the Miami (Ohio) at Northwestern game Oct. 10 will be played at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network. In addition, a pair of Illinois games were finalized as the Illini will host Michigan on Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m. CT on ABC and conclude the regular season at home against Fresno State with an 11:30 a.m. CT kickoff on the Big Ten Network.
Remaining television selections beginning Sept. 26 and continuing through the end of the season will be made six or 12 days in advance of the game.
The Big Ten will hold the 2009 Football Media Days and 38th annual Kickoff Luncheon on Monday and Tuesday, July 27-28, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, featuring all 11 head coaches and some of the conference’s top returning players. The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off beginning with every team in action on Sept. 3 or 5.
The complete list of television games already announced appears below.
Thursday, Sept. 3
Eastern Kentucky at Indiana, Big Ten Network, 8:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, Sept. 5
Missouri vs. ILLINOIS, ESPN, 2:40 p.m. CT
Northern Iowa at Iowa, Big Ten Network, 11:00 a.m. CT
Western Michigan at MICHIGAN, ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET
Montana State at MICHIGAN STATE, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Towson at Northwestern, Big Ten Network, 11:00 a.m. CT
Navy at Ohio State, ESPN, Noon ET
Akron at Penn State, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Toledo at Purdue, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Northern Illinois at Wisconsin, Big Ten Network, 6:00 p.m. CT
Saturday, Sept. 12
Illinois State at Illinois, Big Ten Network, 6:00 p.m. CT
Western Michigan at INDIANA, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Notre Dame at Michigan, ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET
Central Michigan at Michigan State, ESPN/ESPN2, Noon ET
Air Force at MINNESOTA, Big Ten Network, 6:00 p.m. CT
Eastern Michigan at NORTHWESTERN, Big Ten Network, 11:00 a.m. CT
Southern California at Ohio State, ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET
Syracuse at Penn State, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Fresno State at Wisconsin, ESPN/ESPN2, 11:00 a.m. CT
Saturday, Sept. 19
Arizona at Iowa, ABC, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Eastern Michigan at MICHIGAN, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
California at Minnesota, ESPN/ESPN2, 11:00 a.m. CT
Temple at PENN STATE, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Northern Illinois at Purdue, Big Ten Network, Noon ET
Wofford at WISCONSIN, Big Ten Network, 11:00 a.m. CT
Saturday, Oct. 10
Miami (Ohio) at NORTHWESTERN, ESPN/ESPN2/Big Ten Network, 11 a.m. CT
Saturday, Oct. 31
MICHIGAN at ILLINOIS, ABC, 2:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, Dec. 5
Fresno State at ILLINOIS, Big Ten Network, 11:30 a.m. CT
I have seen a lot of things written about what to call the new hybrid defensive position that is being implemented this year. I have heard the term spinner used but this one just doesn't sound correct and reminds me of a small Filipino woman so it will never do. I have heard the term Deathbacker used which sounds kind of cool but it made me think of Darth Backer who was the probably the first apprentice of the Sith Lord but didn't work out so well and never made it into the movies. I wasn't sure what to call it but sitting down the other day to watch the '69 Michigan-OSU game I heard them using a term that I remembered. They had a similar type postion that was a "Rover" player that could pretty much line up where he chose to in order to gain an edge on pass coverage or what not. At Michigan they called him the Wolve-back or Wolve-man. I thought to myself that sounds much better to me and it also makes it more specific to Michigan. It brings a historical element back into play and makes sure it is unique to Michigan so I think this sounds cool.
Ok now what do the rest of you think, here is where I get mocked and my idea gets shot down., but have at it.
So I saw this article: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=957359&PT=4&PR=2, on yahoo sports the other day. I noticed a nice picture of Charlie the Hutt there, and Mr. Buchanan was praising the domers for not scheduling a 1-AA (yeah I'm old-fashioned) team. So at once I thought, Notre Dame might not play a 1-AA team, but with the exception of a few games, their schedule is pretty soft. So I did some research, and typed the following response to Mr. Buchanan:
"Ah yes, stalwart Notre Dame, never scheduling a 1-AA team. They only play such powerhouses as Purdue, San Diego State, Washington, Syracuse, and Stanford. Those teams were a combined 14-46. And true, they did play a couple of decent teams and regular power programs, the overall W-L of their opponents was 79-86. Number of wins against teams with a +.500 record: 1, at Navy. Had it not been for the patsies on their schedule, Notre Dame wouldn't have come close to making a bowl game. Just remember that the domers don't need to schedule 1-AA opponents because their schedule is already chock full of cupcakes."
On the submission form, it has one list their name, city, email, and, most importantly, favorite college football team. Even though I had a gut feeling that it might look bad and corrupt the message, I decided to be honest and type in Michigan.
I checked my email today, and this is what I saw:
"Didn’t Michigan play Miami, Ohio (2-10), Toledo (3-9), Purdue (4-8) and Illinois (5-7)? Those teams were a combined 14-34. And by the way, didn’t Notre Dame destroy Michigan? Just because the cupcakes are in conference play doesn’t mean they’re not cupcakes."
Strange! Not a word about Notre Dame's weak schedule! Nothing but him trying to distract me from my original argument. Never once did I say that Michigan played a strong schedule last year (though they did - SOS was top 30 by most metrics I believe, definitely all greater than ND). Yet all he talks about is Michigan. Yes, Michigan had a tough year last year, yes we lost to ND, and yes we played those teams. But how come he didn't list the rest of Michigan's schedule (like I did with ND). Let's see, there's Utah (13-0), ND (7-6), Wisconsin (7-6), Penn State (11-2), MSU (9-4), Minnesota(7-6), Northwestern (9-4), and OSU (10-3). That's 8 bowl teams combining for 73-31. Including the weaker third of Michigan's schedule, you have a total of 87-65 (ND's opponents played more games because ND played Hawaii in their bowl game). All in all, it's a cowardly and bitter response from someone who's original argument has had a hole poked in it.
I sent him back an email stating such:
"While you've stated true facts in your email, it doesnt change the fact that you've been lauding Notre Dame for scheduling "tough, non 1-AA" opponents. All you've done is point out weaknesses of my team over the past year, not address the faultiness of your own arguments. Instead of trying to come with clever ways to protect your own arguments, how about you address the facts?"
At this point in time, I'm not sure what to expect from him. Maybe he'll send a gracious apology back, realizing that he got caught in the act. Maybe he'll send more diversionary emails. Maybe he'll resort to ad hominem attacks. He probably won't respond at all (it's the easiest way to duck out of a difficult situation).
I'll be honest, I'm a Michigan homer. Previous diary posts will show that. However, I also present facts to back up what I say. And while I may have a conflict of interest when I criticize schools like ND and USC (see my last diary post), it doesn't mean that I am wrong.
What do you all think? Thoughts? Comments? Rebuttals?
Update! As of 12:40 PM (CST). A new email for Buchanan
New email is as follows:
"I did not just laud ND. I applaud any team – Tennessee, USC, UCLA, etc. that did not schedule schedule FCS opponents.
I just thought it was ironic that you were ripping ND for its weak schedule, while your team’s schedule wasn’t much different. And I think pointing that out is rather clever."
Notice in my original emails, I didn't say anything about the other teams. There's a reason for that - because for the most part he was right about those other teams. While I really dislike USC, I respect them for playing a tough non-conference schedule. Also notice that he still hasn't addressed the original point about Notre Dame.
Thus, my response:
It might be ironic, but it doesn't change the fact that your original argument was wrong. It was a clever distraction, but it was nothing more than that - a distraction. I never mentioned the other teams, because there was no need to criticize you on them - you were right about them. However, Notre Dame doesn't deserve the same veneration. You still have not addressed the original point that I brought up, and at this point. The only reason I can think of for that behavior is that you know that your original point (about ND) was weak, and you're trying to throw up a smokescreen to distract me. It won't work.
I wonder how differently that email would have been received if I'd said that I was a Utah or a Tennessee fan. While I am a Michigan fan, I am making these observations as a college football enthusiast. I wonder if he realizes this.
Also, for reference, link to comment on the article linked above: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/drawform.asp?form=943
Olin Buchanan's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also (way OT), what the heck are mgopoints for?
I've got no typical Scout disclaimer to begin with. You know, when a guy says, "Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE me some Rich Rodriguez. I think we're gonna win the next 14 national championships. I now drink 4 gallons of chocolate milk every day. I haven't washed my underwear since we beat the Minnesota Golden Goophers. Charlie Weis is fat. BUT..."
I simply question why people are giving Rich Rodriguez so much of the benefit of the doubt. You can call me negative. you can call me a "Closet Sparty," you can call me a "H8TER," but I don't care.
Charlie Weis, Jim Tressel, and Mark Dantonio--the coaches of Michigan's most hated rivals--all won with with another guy's players. They all came in and implemented different systems, brought all new assistants, all of them are assholes, and yet--they ALL won with players they did not recruit (but they did add some of their own). And all of them did even better in Year 2. You can argue that Notre Dame fell off over the last two years--but at least Charlie Weis is recruiting the hell out of (whatever you recruit the hell out of), and Ohio State is stockpiling talent in a big way. They also have this one guy named Terelle Pryor.
And Dantonio? All he is doing is winning over provincial Michigan and provincial, sniping, self-righteous Michigan Media members and the perception is that MSU is THE program in Michigan. Yeah, Michigan high school football may not put out tons of talent, but Michigan has benefitted from being the Big Dawg in our great state for 40 years, and many, MANY Michigan stars have come from My Michigan. But overnight, MSU has seemingly usurped UM in the hearts and minds of Michigan, and Dantonio has, to this point, won a sort of "culture war" with UM. He tutored under the all-time passive agrressive genius in Columbus, and he is indeed making the state of Michigan greener.
So where does that leave Rich Rodriguez, Michigan football, and Michigan football fans?
Well, in my opinion, this goes way deeper than just shouting "We'll be back!" "Wait'll Rich Rod gets his players!"
Let's look at it from strictly a football standpoint for this first "blog" of mine.
2008: Rich Rod is hired. UM implements some sort of "spread" for the Capital One Bowl and beats Florida. Everyone happy. Everyone clap. Everyone say: "Where has this been? See what we can do? Look at what Rich Rod did at West Virginia! Now, with MICHIGAN TALENT--LOOK OUT BEEYOTCHEZZ!" And when Rich Rodriguez holds Lloyd's last recruiting class pretty much intact (losing only a tight end and a drop back QB)--and adding SIX players to that class in the 11th hour--it was party time!
Let's fast forward past last football season to now.
The recruiting class from 2008, for those who care to notice, is not looking so great, expecially for a team so thin. We have seen five players leave the team. A sixth, Justin Feagin, may never see the field again. The horribly named Mike Cox is a huge question mark. Even Darryl Stonum causes people to wonder. People, that's over 25% of the class.
2009 saw a great class come in. Eligibility questions aside, it is a good mix of real talent, offense and defense, and diamonds in the rough. And Rodriguez again showed great 11th-hour prowess with the signings of Warshington, Robinson, Lewan, Roh and Lalota.
But with so many departures during the first-year transition, and the attrition already seen from the 2008 class, 2009 and 2010 have to be HOME RUNS for a team that is thin with defensive talent and depth.
When Scout posters began hating on star gazing, forty times, and Michigan high school talent, they all shouted in unison: "Look at the offer sheets!" Well I did--and it ain't pretty.
To wit: Four---FOUR of the verbals from this class have no other offers.
Outside of Christian Pace, MRob, Ricardo Miller, Jeremy Jackson, Kenny Wilkins, and Devin Gardner, the other schools offering UM recruits are these (according to Scout): Army, Bowling Green, Indiana, Stanford, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Duke, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Minnesota, and Tulane. I have to admit--that is an impressive list--if you are going after possible future Rhodes Scholars and guys who can go out on a date with a coed and not even think about buying a condom. But Big Time national championships? Not so much. And go ahead and color me not terribly awed by a 6'2, 256 lbs offensive lineman in Pace. Can you say, "Another turbulent offseason splattered with multiple decommits?" I hope so.
Now we stand on the precipice of the 2009 season with two true freshmen at the most important position in the world (yes, even more important than the head cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys). We stand on the precipice of the 2009 season hoping that Brandon Graham and Mike Martin don't even get a hangnail. We stand on the precipice of a 2009 season which will see our beloved Wolverines go on the road to Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin. We stand on the fuck that. Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State are all coming to town. We have our THIRD defensive coordinator in THREE years.
I know you all want to think that Rodriguez is "building something"--and so do I. But I'd like to know what it is, and I'd like to know if you really think he has the time.
2009 and 2010 have to be all-time recruiting classes. We need them for talent and depth. We can't have half this class being "flyers"--if 25% of the guys you really DO want wash out--what are the odds with guys that NOBODY wants? It is scary. Expecially if you are a guy who, like me, is a real loser with no other identity than to put on my Michigan jammies and go to the mall on Sunday with my chest all puffed out, just daring some fucking pathetic fucktard to give me some shit. Of course, if he does, I'll rear back and say, "Hey, I was just robbed and the police gave me this stuff to wear because the goddam robber even took my clothes and stuffed them in a basket he had attached to his iron lung."