a terrible blight on our fine country
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."
At 11:49 am on September 4, 2010, Carl Grapetine's voice will ring throughout Michigan Stadium as it has for the past 39 years. "Ladies and gentlemen," comes the purr of Bearded Grapentine. 100,000 boring old people and 400 sober students preoccupied with applying their 200 SPF sunscreen squint into the sun towards the Michigan Stadium press box. "At punter, number 71, Burt Chuckberry." The students look at one another. "Who?" they ask aloud. "Dude," vomits Broham Brosephton of Farmington Hills, 18, "I've never even heard of that fag." Brosephton's friend and seat partner, Screechy Tanfastic, does not reply. She sits on the metal bleachers, sobbing for no discernible reason, just as she and every other Kappa does every fall Saturday.
As for young Chuckberry, he will punt four times that day against Michigan's feeble opponent Boise State for a total of 27 yards; one of the four punts will be for -17 yards after poor Burt drops the ball out of nervousness and attempts to salvage the play with his face. Michigan will win 478-0 despite Chuckberry's incompetence. "Tonight," growls manly starting quarterback Jack Kennedy, who threw for 1100 yards and 18 touchdowns against Boise State, "I will personally fix the US economy. Because Trojan stock is going through the roof. I'm bringing America back to where it should be--we're on top of the world, and Jack Kennedy is full of venereal diseases!" That night, Jack Kennedy will reinvent AIDS.
At the post-game press conference, Burt Chuckberry will be nowhere to be found, mostly because he is a punter, but also because he is terrible. "OUTRAGEOUS!" booms Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez in between large mouthfuls of sandwich. "As you all know, I only talk about guys who play for Michigan. Therefore, I will not be answering any questions about our punter today, as he was clearly playing for Heroin State University. I've already cut him. Literally. I carved my name into his flesh; he will hereafter be forever branded with the mark of RICH ROD so that all the world may know of his shitty punting."
The following Wednesday, a drunk and malodorous Burt Chuckberry will stumble into the newly-finished BooBerry Oosterbaan Olestra House for a football practice at which he is most unwelcome. As he nears his position coach, however, his mouth will slowly fall open in drunken amazement at what he sees.
A nine-foot man with a 270-pound left leg stands next to a basket of footballs. He removes one and drops it with precision upon his waiting foot. The resultant kick knocks Burt off his feet and sends the ball soaring into the air, where it catches fire. The smoldering corpse of the football lands dully 100 yards away on Tony Dews' shoulder. "Ouch," he says softly before bursting into flames himself.
"My God," Burt Chuckberry whispers aloud. The nine-foot punter turns toward Burt and smiles. "HELLO," he booms. His voice is half Barry White, half Gheorge Muresan. As he greets Burt and helps him to his feet, the giant turns his head and sees a beautiful Michigan cheerleader. He smiles. A strange look comes over her face. Nine months later, she will give birth to an 8-pound Hugh Jackman.
"Who....what are you?" gasps Burt. "MY NAME POLTAN ZESKO," booms the giant. "DO YOU SEE THIS BALL I KICK IT LEBANESE FOOD IS BEST." Before Burt can reply, Poltan laughs. "YOU POLTAN KNOWS," he shouts. "YOU KILL PRESIDENT KENNEDY GIVE HIM APE SEX PLAGUE." "I...what?" Burt asks meekly. "POLTAN SAY THIS BECAUSE YOU ARE LIKE WOMAN WHEN YOU PUNT AND JACK KENNEDY SEXES THE WOMEN. PLEASE LEAVE SO POLTAN CAN FOCUS ON BALL KICK AND WOMAN PUMPING."
Defeated and humiliated, Burt Chuckberry leaves practice, leaves Ann Arbor, and leaves the state of Michigan, never to be heard from again. 38-year-old freshman sensation Poltan Zesko will lead the nation in punting and become the first illegal immigrant to win the Ray Guy.
i think we have all been a bit spoiled over the past three years with zoltan as our punter. it seems very easy to overlook how important the position is to a teams success, and how invaluable zoltan has been for us. but to say that our current backups, who could potentially step in for mesko during the 2010 season, would be a downgrade is a rediculous understatement.
as of now i havent heard much in the way of punter recruitment. just today i saw an article on scout mentioning a MI kid named Mike Sadler, who they identified as one of the top punters in the nation. although he is entirely unrated, he does have offers from LSU and Alabama, which is enough to tell me that hes a hell of a kicker. my concern comes from the fact that he attended michigans kornblue camp yesterday, was said to have performed well, but still walked away without an offer. this is obviously a serious area of need for michigan. shouldnt we be all over this kid? hes expressed serious interest in michigan, declaring blue his "top choice right now." does anyone know if were looking at any other prospects? are we just looking to settle with a walk on? (in my opinion that would be a mistake.)