- Is this a uniquely awful revelation that casts doubt on the ability of Rich Rodriguez to properly evaluate character? Yes.
- Will this serve as ammunition for fans of our rival schools to taunt Michigan? Yes.
- Have crimes of this magnitude been perpetrated by student-athletes at a high-profile university before? Damn straight.
- Did that unfortunate event prove to be the program's undoing? Not even close.
But here's the thing: No matter how true you might think that is, it's still big fat tough titties for you. This could have happened just as easily under Les Miles or Jeff Tedford or literally any other coach in America, save perhaps Lane Kiffin, who would have found a way to sneak a 9-year-old transsexual sweatshop worker into the coke deal.
Even Lloyd, whom we would like to believe incapable of such an oversight, could only sit with folded hands as opposing fanbases across the country laughed at the dismissal of defensive tackle Larry Harrison, who was charged with four counts of sexual delinquency and suspected in 16 more. Harrison endangered fewer people than Feagin, certainly, but the fact remains that Rich Rodriguez does not stand alone among Michigan coaches who have seen a felonious embarassment take place on his watch.
This paragraph originally had a comment concerning the extent of Rich Rodriguez's duties as head coach of Michigan football; the original statement was roughly that Rodriguez's only obligation to the team is to coach them, and that any mentorship or emotional growth that a player might gain from his relationship with Rodriguez would simply be a lucky exception to the rule. That is inaccurate and frankly, pretty cold. What I should have said, and will say now, is that I simply don't know what to expect from Rich Rodriguez's relationship with his players. I formerly insisted that Rodriguez was a saint, beloved by all the pure-hearted cherubim on his roster; now, I can't say that. I don't think anyone can.
I've been trying hard not to compare the young Rodriguez era to the Lloyd Carr era for so many reasons: the small sample size of the current regime, the difference in personality (neither good nor bad, just evident), and the fact that a man deserves to be judged on his own merits.
If you want to claim that the mystique of the Michigan Man is waning, and that Rich Rodriguez has ushered in a new era of filth and depravity where there was once class and dignity, just remember that football will never be anything more than a sport. If you truly feel as though your own reputation is reflected in the record--on and off the field--of Michigan's football team, you are, unfortunately, projecting your own identity onto an inanimate, abstract concept, and you desperately need to reconstruct your priorities.
With that in mind, let us all load up with good defenses for the inevitable bombardment of insults from our peers in East Lansing, Columbus, and South Bend, and prepare ourselves for the upcoming season.
(Note: This has been bothering me for some time; spending my time in college I find myself coming across this more and more.)
I was at a friend’s costume party in East Lansing about a month ago, surrounded by Sparties and the like, when a fellow UofM fan walked in wearing Michigan memorabilia. I naturally walked over and told her I was also a UofM fan much to the other Spartans’ chagrin.
This became an issue throughout the night, however, when we would talk smack and go back and forth with the other Sparties. Arguing with them was an easy task-- as it always is because they really have nothing on us except for one victory in over 7 years-- but then they pulled out a wildcard of sorts. Something so diabolical yet really stupid that it boils my blood and grinds my gears every time I hear a fan of another team use it: I was only a “Walmart Wolverine”.
Now I happen to be a Central Michigan University student (and the UofM fan-girl was a State student) but I was born and LIVED in Ann Arbor my entire 20 years of existence. I have more history in that town than most students of the actual school have. I could’ve gone to Michigan for my undergrad; I graduated with highest honors from high school and know plenty of people from my graduating class who did choose to go to Michigan, but because I am paying for my own schooling, I could not afford their tuition.
I bleed maize and blue, I have always had a passion for Michigan sports and it pains me that I cannot go to school there. That being said, for someone to have the nerve to come up to me and question my fan hood just because I don’t go to the school is just straight out bullshit.
It is by far the dumbest argument I have ever had to face: “You don’t go to school there, you’re not a student, so therefore you cannot be a fan!”
Fuck you!* Have you ever worked for the Detroit Tigers? You haven’t? Well you aren’t associated with them, therefore you can’t be a fan. I just can’t imagine what these morons say to other State fans (or other fans of other schools) who didn’t go to their school. Walmart Spartan? I mean the logical argument works for all teams spanning across all fans.
Didn’t play soccer or live in Europe? Can’t be a soccer fan.
Never been to a hockey game? Can’t be a hockey fan.
Did you ever play for the Detroit Pistons? No? Well can’t be a fan of them either.
Of course some people might try to say that the fallacy in my argument with other sports, such as professional sports, is that you can be a fan of the said team because you live in the region.
But then they just proved their own argument wrong that I can’t be a Michigan fan because I lived in Ann Arbor my entire life, thereby associating myself with the local team.
I apologize that I am not a Michigan student nor on my way to becoming an Alumnus to the school. I apologize that I lived near the campus my entire life and chose to follow them instead of some other school that I have no local/familiar ties to. I’m just straight up sorry that your best argument to try to deface my fan hood has no logic to it. But say what you have to say, I will always root for the maize and blue, even if it means being a “Walmart Wolverine”.
*I apologize for the profanity. It is there for emphasis and nothing more.
This diary will give you a game by game Win and Loss prediction of what I expect UM to do this season. HOWEVA, it will also provide a projection as to where I expect UM to be at in the coaches poll. In addition, I also detailed what I believe the (ever-changing) fans' expectations for the season will be. This was the tricky (and fun) part of this diary because as we all know, expectations can and will change during the season. If you don't believe me, see the 2009 Detroit Tigers. Remember in Spring Training, most fans would have loved to just be in contention in August. But now, if they don't win the division, most fans will be disappointed. But let's get back to UM football...
Stage 0: How many more days til the games start?
Record: 0 - 0
Poll Projections: The coaches poll was just released. Only 1 coach projects us to be in the top 25 (and this was probably RR). Overall, around #57 in the country. Not very good.
Fans' Expectations: Most fans (gauging from various message boards and informal conversations with other UM fans) expect us to be anywhere from 5-7 (pessimists), 9-3 (optimists), but more likely 7-5 (realists). Motor City Bowl...hey we'll take it and be happy with it.
Game 1: Western Michigan W 42 - 17
Game 2: Notre Dame W 31 - 27
Stage 1: Hey, we're better than last year!
Record: 2 - 0 (0 - 0)
Poll Projections: I believe that after a nationally televised victory over a ranked Irish team, the coaches (along with the rest of the country) will take notice. We will definitely get some votes for the top 25. How many, not really sure. But this big win should be enough to break us into the party at around #24 or so.
Fans' Expectations: On MGoBlog, there will be some crazed lunatics that will be predicting 13-0 saying that this team is better than '97. While others, in an attempt to bring them off the ledge, will go overboard themselves in the opposite direction, and overly downgrade the good start to the season. But all in all, the fans' consensus will be it's a good start, but let's not get too excited yet. We will still be happy with any bowl, but we secretly have left our calendars open for New Year's Day, just in case.
Game 3: Eastern Michigan W 52 - 10
Game 4: Indiana W 38 - 24
Game 5: @ MSU W 24 - 20
Stage 2: WEEE'RE BAAACK!! And WE BAD AS HELL!!
Record: 5 - 0 (2 - 0)
Poll Projections: The nation is buzzing with UM talk now. RR is all over ESPN and for a good reason for once. We are steadily moving up the coaches' poll, and at 5-0, this puts us around #13 in the country. Surprisingly, we have 1 number one vote. (RR strikes again!)
Fans' Expectations: We are all overjoyed. You see UM t-shirts, hats, banners and car flags everywhere you go. The internets is full of talk about BCS bowl berths and dare we speak, even NC game appearances. We totally rule MSU and Mike Valenti takes a personal leave from 97.1 after his head explodes. Some fans even take to talking trash on OSU message boards in anticipation of the Big Game on 11/21. There is no stopping us now, RR is king!!!
Game 6: at Iowa L 31 - 14
Game 7: Deleware St. W 41 - 3
Stage 3: So, I guess we're not going to go undefeated after all...
Record: 6 - 1 (2 - 1)
Poll Projections: Losing at Iowa at night is not a bad loss, all things considering. We fall a bit, but still are solidly ranked at around #16.
Fans' Expectations: You can't win em' all, right? I mean, we DO have 2 true freshman quarterbacks and this was their first time leaving the great State of Michigan, and it was their first ever dreaded NIGHT game, and hey, they just had a bad game, right? All is not doomed. The fans are still excited. The BCS is still within our reach.
Game 8: Penn State L 31 - 30
Game 9: at Illinois L 45 - 21
Stage 4: RR SUCKS! I knew he couldn't compete in the BIG 11!!!
Record: 6 - 3 (2 - 3)
Poll Projections: We've lost 3 of 4 games. At 6-3 in a below average Big 11, and with blowout road losses to Iowa and Illinois, and a close loss to PSU, we haven't really beaten anyone good (ND doesn't count, sorry Irish). The coaches drop us out of the polls, but we still get some votes and are around #30 in the country.
Fans' Expectations: Like Wojo would say, "Panic in Ann Arbor-town! Panic in Ann Arbor-town!" (a WDFN oldbit) The magical luster of a once promising great season has dwindled. That blowout at Illinois was a disaster. An unusually high number of posts with the the letters "wtf" are recorded on MGoBlog. What the hell is going on! The crazies are loose and you hear words like, disappointment, let-down, underachievers, etc. Rational fans try to convince us that we are a good, young team, but just not ready to compete with the big boys, not yet. But they are quickly drowned out by the louder fanatics. Mike Valenti mysteriously arises and reminds us all that he said all along that Michigan was overrated and that MSU was going to be rebuilding this year.
Game 10: Purdue W 49 - 31
Game 11: at Wisconsin W 30 - 23
Stage 5: Okay, I guess we'll be alright!
Record: 8 - 3 (4 - 3)
Poll Projections: 2 straight meh victories, but they still count at W's. We are ranked again at #20 as the coaches finally realize exactly who we are.
Fans' Expectations: Okay, that's more like it. 8-3 is pretty good and we are stabilized in the coaches' poll. The Big 10 championship and BCS talk has disappeared, but we have a good shot at an excellent New Year's Day bowl. Orlando and Cap1 Bowl sounds pretty good! Fans' expectations calm down as we all prepare for the Big Game. For the most part, the fans are pretty happy.
Game 12: O$U (It's petty, I know, but it's fun to type) L 24 - 20
Stage 6: We lost the Big Game, AGAIN : (
Record: 8 - 4 (4 - 4)
Poll Projections: Everyone saw it coming. We competed really well, but there's no such thing as a moral victory or a good loss. Except, in the eyes of the coaches' poll. We stand pat at #20 and finish the season there. Not bad, all things considering.
Fans' Expectations: Even though you hate to admit it, OSU is just a better team than us right now. But, our time is coming. All the naysayers have switched their focus from RR being a terrible coach and possibly getting fired at season's end to when will he ever beat OSU? They question if he can ever win a big game and they bring up examples of the WVU-Pitt debacle from a couple years ago. But most fans stand up for their program. We can see improvements from the beginning of the season to now in terms of the offense, defense, ST, and coaching. And when compared to last year, the comparison is like night and day, a dramatic improvement.
An invitation to the Outback or Capital One bowl is accepted (depending on how good Illinois and Iowa are) and the fans are "partying like its 1999" cause we need a good Florida vacation. All in all, a very entertaining season and hopefully, one that will foretell good things to come in the near future.
Thanks for reading along....only 27 days, 21 hours, 32 minutes, and 55 seconds until we play some M football.
Gentlemen (and ladies), the 2009 Michigan football season is less than a MONTH away. You have very little time to prepare the gameday menu, to put a new coat of lacquer on the beer pong table, or to spend quality time with your wife before she loses you every Saturday for the next three odd months. You’re also going to need something to wear… and that’s where I come in.
It’s time for the...
That’s right folks—Because all of you demanded it, Brian is now rolling out the MGoBlog apparel in a brand new store. And… wait for it… That’s not all— we’re even going to ask YOU to decide on a shirt or two that will be featured in this 2009 line!
Over the next three weeks I’ll be unveiling a new shirt design every day from Monday to Friday. Each will rejoice in the glory of Michigan football, and by necessity, none will actually say Michigan football. For each shirt design we’ll be asking readers to ‘score’ each shirt on a scale of ***** (5 stars, Chad Henne) to * (1 star, Cobrani Mixon), based on the following criteria:
1. Visual Quality: Regardless of the message or joke, does the shirt look good? Certainly I’ll be doing my part to create aesthetically pleasing and professional designs, but the best design should be something that everyone is happy with.
2. Character/Humor: Assuming the shirt is funny… how funny is it? Does the joke work, or does it miss its mark? If the shirt is NOT meant to be humorous, then what IS it attempting to be? And is it successful in that regard?
3. Michigan Pride: How well does the shirt represent the glory and honor of Michigan football? Our various enemies are always looking for new ways to ridicule the block M and tear us down, and we’re certainly not going to give them any extra ammunition.
4. Mass Appeal: There is an inevitable culture here at MgoBlog, and for many reasons it is why you visit this site and not another random Michigan blog. So that’s great—Tacopants and Muppets are the order of business around here. But what happens when your Uncle Joe, also a loyal M fan, sees the shirt? Or perhaps the blue hair three rows behind you? Will the general UM fan base get the shirt’s message, and does it matter anyway?
5. Marketability: Most importantly, is this shirt something you would wear, or even more appropriately, something you would BUY?? A design can be hilarious or interesting to look at, but if it’s not going to sell it’s really not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for something that all of you will be willing to spend your hard-earned money on and wear with pride on gameday.
Each day for the next three weeks, starting Monday, will see the release of a new t-shirt design by yours truly. We’ll allow the judging of each to last for a limited time and then tabulate the results to see which designs the MgoBlog community has chosen as their favorites. The top selection will then be made available for future purchase during the 2009 season.
2009 MgoShirt Alert is all about celebrating the culture of Michigan Football, and everyone is encouraged to take part. When all is said and done I hope to see everyone wearing the gear we’ve created at MGoBlog. Look for the first design tomorrow. GO BLUE!!
I know that the quality of the recruits since the coaching change had been discussed to death on this board, but I'm bored at work and I’ve always been a fan of beating dead horses, so here’s my take. Coach Rodriguez had some pretty good seasons at West Virginia, with his system and with the level of recruits that he could bring there. There was talk that the move to Michigan would be great for him, because of the increased level of recruit that he could draw with the Michigan name. Since that point, there has been repeated concern from fans about the higher numbers of 2 and 3 star recruits that he has brought to Michigan, rather than the 4 and 5 stars that we were used to. It has been pointed out that slot receivers, smaller scat back running backs, and option/athlete quarterbacks do not get the ratings of the pro-styles, and this has been the case, so it would seem that the real test of whether Coach Rodriguez’s recruiting has been successful would be a comparison of recruiting numbers at West Virginia, rather than past numbers at Michigan. (Actually, the real test would be to start winning) So, using Scout ratings (I would have used the rivals ratings as well, but there are limits to the free time I have at work) I looked at the average star rating of recruits in different positions of Rodriguez’s classes at West Virginia from 2002-2007 vs. those same position ratings since he got to Michigan. Just for curiosity/comparison, I ran the numbers for the Coach Carr recruiting classes from 2002-2007, to see how different the ratings actually are.
A couple of notes:
1. The position ratings are based on what scout rated them at, not what they ended up at in college. This leads to inaccuracies, like Gabe Watson as an O-lineman, Steve Breaston as a QB, Denard Robinson as a DB, etc. WR and TE are combined, as well as OL, DL, and DB.
2. This is based on who was recruited and signed that year, not whether they ended up at school. The only edit on this was Marques Slocum, who was listed by Scout as a 5 star DT signee in 2005 and 2006. I only counted him once.
3. I counted the 2008 class both towards Rodriguez’s and Coach Carr’s numbers, rather than separate early recruits from late.
So, the numbers:
2002-2007 West Virginia
QB- 2.25 average stars, 12 recruits
RB- 2.94, 17 recruits
WR/TE- 2.38, 32 recruits
OL- 2.37, 19 recruits
DL- 2.41, 17 recruits
LB- 2.21, 19 recruits
DB- 2.34, 38 recruits
K/P- 3.67, 3 recruits
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QB- 3.33 average stars, 3 recruits
RB- 3.4, 10 recruits
WR/TE- 3.38, 15 recruits
OL- 3.36, 11 recruits
DL- 3.85, 7 recruits
LB- 3.4, 5 recruits
DB- 3.31, 13 recruits
K/P- 3 1 recruits
QB- 4.14 average stars, 7 recruits
RB- 3.58, 17 recruits
WR/TE- 3.90, 21 recruits
OL- 3.55, 29 recruits
DL- 3.25, 24 recruits
LB- 3.33, 21 recruits
DB- 3.41, 24 recruits
So, my thoughts:
Yeah, the numbers have dropped in the places you’d expect. To go from 5 star drop-back passers to star dual threats and 2 star projects, you’ll take a hit. Wide receiver was an expected drop as well, although that number wasn’t as glaring. I thought, however, that the other numbers were very respectable, considering the quality of those Michigan classes, and the hardship of a coaching change and a 3-9 season. RB was close, as was O-line. Defensive line and LB ratings went up.
But, the comparison of numbers between the West Virginia classes and the recruiting numbers at Michigan shows an incredible jump in almost all areas. 3-4 star slot receivers instead of 1-2 stars. 4 star QBS instead of 1-3 stars. (Granted, Pat White was a freak of nature and cannot be judged as the basis of what a 2 star QB can do in his offense.)
My point being: ahh, who knows, I don’t really believe in star ratings, but I can’t wait for football season.
(Post script note—
3 Star or lower recruits of note for Michigan since 2002-
David Harris, 1 star; Rueben Riley, 1 star; Shawn Crable, 3 star; Mike Hart, 3 star; Jamar Adams, 3 star; Alan Branch, 3 star; Zoltan, 3 stars;
Notable West Virginia, 3 star or lower-
Adam Jones, 1 star; Chris Henry, 1 star; Dan Mozes, 3 star; Pat White, 2 star; Steve Slaton, 3 Star
I’m just saying)
In the pre-season coaches' poll, we only got 1 vote. That leaves us tied with Minnesota, Houston, and Troy, of all teams, for 57th.
Other "notables" receiving more votes than us: South Florida (who went 2-5 in the Big East last year), Northwestern, Arkansas (2-6 in the SEC), Southern Miss (4-4 in Conf. USA), Colorado (2-6 in Big 12), Tennessee (3-5 in SEC) and Central Michigan.
I know we didn't have a great year by any standards last year (and I am usually one to urge caution in the pre-season), but are people sleeping on Michigan a bit this year? When was the last time that happened?
|USA Today Coaches' Poll|
Others Receiving VotesKansas 138, Michigan State 136, Texas Tech 114, Cincinnati 90, Pittsburgh 64, West Virginia 55, Rutgers 51, Miami (FL) 46, Missouri 44, Illinois 38, Clemson 30, South Carolina 18, UCLA 14, Auburn 12, South Florida 11, Nevada 11, Kentucky 9, North Carolina State 7, Wisconsin 6, Arkansas 6, Northwestern 5, Southern Miss 4, Wake Forest 4, Arizona 3, Boston College 3, CENTRL MICHIGAN 3, East Carolina 3, Colorado 2, Maryland 2, Navy 2, Tennessee 2, TROY 1, Minnesota 1, Michigan 1, Houston 1.