September 1 - Friday
It’s Christmas eve; football is almost here.
Unverified Voracity: Creepy Baby. Should be titled Links that Don’t Work. I would especially like to see the first one about Brian Kelly being crazy. What did that look like 10 years ago?
September 3 - Sunday
Game notes from the game 1 victory over Vanderbilt. Defense was very impressive, run game looked good, but the passing game was iffy.
September 4 - Monday
Somehow a game open thread two days after the game. Also included is a ‘M’ version of the Night Before Christmas.
Unverified Voracity: By S I Mean Herrmann with quotes about how much more simple and understandable the defense is this season for the players.
September 5 - Tuesday
UFR: Defense vs. Vanderbilt. English is better than Hermann.
English coaches like he's got a talent advantage. He swarmed Vandy instead of sitting back, waiting for them to make an error. Bend-but-don't-break is a rube's game suited for weaklings.
Woodley came in for a +12; Crable and Biggs each got +6s.
Blogpoll update. Tennessee is #1. Michigan is #9.
September 6 - Wednesday
Maxwell Pundit Week 1. Apparently, MGoBlog used to participate in a blogpoll equivalent of the Heisman. Brian’s top three are: Calvin Johnson, Garrett Wolfe, and Buster Davis.
UFR: Offense vs. Vanderbilt. Things looked pretty good, except for maybe the right side of the line (Mitchell/Riley).
What did you like about the dawn of DeBord Era II?
Internet malcontents will be malcontents, but they did get a few of their wishes granted. Michigan's base formation was a three-wide set, something long desired by crabby message-boarders. The zone running game vastly reduced the prevalance of the fullback shuffle. The waggle re-emerged as a weapon.
Side note, it seems weird to me that Brandon Minor was in this game. I associate him with the Rodriguez years so much and forget that he was contributing two years before that.
September 7 - Thursday
Update on Brian’s work at AOL Fanhouse.
An interview with CMU alum Brian Seymour about the upcoming game. It’s an interesting read with thoughts about the legacy of DeBord, Brian Kelly’s crazy play calling, and how a spread offense works.
A collection of links that Brian was not able to post during the last few days.
September 8 - Friday
I have a LeFevour and the only prescription is the most obvious reference available.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Jamison debuts and gets a sack.
Morgan Trent emerges as the starter opposite Hall.
27-14; panic spreads like wildfire.
September 9 - Saturday
September 11 - Monday
Blogpoll Ballot Week 2. OSU is #1. ‘M’ is #8.
Somebody submitted a ballot to the blogpoll with San Jose State on it. Brian believed this was done just to get attention and tossed the ballot. They weren’t happy.
September 12 - Tuesday
Brian reviews film of Notre Dame’s game against Georgia Tech. His conclusions include: Brady Quinn isn’t that good, and ND played a very 2005 version of Lloydball.
Brian discusses the upcoming ND game with the House Rock Built blog. Lots of discussion on their mood for this game each year and about the history of the last few games.
Maxwell Pundit Week 2. Troy Smith #1 and Calvin Johnson #2.
September 13 - Wednesday
Brian reviews film of Notre Dame’s game against Penn St. His conclusions include: PSU’s coaching staff is dumb, Quinn is better but still not that good, and Victor Abiamiri is going to give Rueben Riley more problems.
UFR: Defense vs. Central. Good, but not as great as against Vanderbilt. Woodley got a +8, Branch +5, but Englemon -3.
September 14 - Thursday
UFR: Offense vs. Central. This is the first offensive UFR to use number grades. Kraus and Oluigbo both get +3, but Riley gets a -5. Brian admits it’s still a work in process.
September 15 - Friday
Brian does a podcast with House Rock Built. Apparently, he talked about when he puts on pants, which is ironic that he discussed this topic on the recent WTKA podcast (9/1/16).
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Woodley is neutralized.
Hart goes for 150.
A link to “voracity-type substance” on Brian’s AOL site.
September 17 - Sunday
Notre Dame game thread with gleeful update.
Brady Quinn spent the day attempting to remember where he was, then quickly attempting to pretend he was anywhere else. Sorry, kid: there's no happy place on this field. There are only angry places filled with men named Crable, Woodley, Branch, and Burgess.
September 18 - Monday
Some great ND schadenfreude.
As disappointing as this loss is/was/will be, do not forget how Pete Carroll struggled in years 1, 2 and 3.
In year two, Carroll struggled to an 11-2 record and Orange Bowl victory over Iowa. In year three, Carroll struggled his way to national championship.
Unverified Voracity: Victory. With lots of perspectives on the victory, including victory sandwiches and how MGoBlog shirts can make you prophetic.
Brady Quinn for Heisman highlight video! But sadly it no longer works.
September 19 - Tuesday
Maxwell Pundit: Week 3 complete with Brian talking in pirate lingo. One through three is Troy Smith, Dwayne Jarrett, and Lamarr Woodley.
Quinn lets it rip on the first play from scrimmage. Weis is such a genius. It catches us so off guard that Morgan Trent(+2) is in better position than Samarwhatever and can slow up a bit to impede his progress.
This was a dominating performance and 1997 comparisons are beginning to be mentioned. No negatives were given. Crable was +9, Hall +8, and Branch +7.
September 20 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Victory Edition the Sequel is just what it says, lots more takes on Michigan’s recent win.
UFR: Offense vs. Notre Dame. A few concerns about the run game, but with putting up 47 points, there are obviously few concerns. Manningham with +9 and Hart with +7. Long and Eckert both had -3.
September 21 - Thursday
Brian interviews two Wisconsin bloggers about the upcoming game. Nothing earth-shattering in hindsight, but it’s still an interesting read.
Blogpoll Roundtable looks at the beginning of the season and predicts where things will go from here.
Brian takes up the fight against bad journalism by shredding a piece from Matt Hayes.
September 22 - Friday
Nobody Expects Unverified Voracity. A backup Wisconsin LB will miss the game because he stole a moped. Also, ‘M’ hockey gets a commit from Chris Brown.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
PJ Hill averages 2.5 YPC.
September 25 - Monday
make no mistake: this was nearly as beat-down-errific as the Notre Dame game, except in this game Michigan won going away with a -2 in the turnover margin column* instead of a +4.
Also, this is very prescient to the 2016 season; not unlike “The Story: 2016”.
And thus severe cognitive dissonance in the Michigan fanbase. Stung by the Year of Infinite Pain and previous Years of Unnecessary But Thankfully Finite Pain, there is a hestiancy to predict anything better than 10-2, to envision horrible losses to teams with no business on the same field as Michigan (I'm looking at you, Penn State), to prepare for the inevitable hammer blow to the chest courtesy a wacky punt formation or foolish confidence in a slim lead or the plain bloody-mindedness of the universe. We hesitate. We don't want to go through that again.
And yet... this team is not last year's team.
(i.e. any team from the last eight years)
Analysis of recent MSU and OSU games. Drew Stanton is running more, and Troy Smith looked fairly pedestrian against Penn State.
Blogpoll ballot week 4: Brian. Auburn is #1, followed by Michigan and Ohio State.
September 26 - Tuesday
UFR: Defense vs. Wisconsin. Another stellar outing by the defense. The line was strong, led by +12 from Branch, +7 from Woodley, +6 for Taylor, and +5 from Will Johnson.
Brian interviews Jay Mariotti. Really.
Maxwell Pundit Ballot. Calvin Johnson is back to top, followed by Alan Branch, and Troy Smith.
September 27 - Wednesday
Blogpoll ballot week 4: official. Top three OSU, Michigan, and Auburn.
And a closer look at individual blogpoll ballots.
Brian has gotten a couple reports that Morgan Trent’s hand is broken.
Unverified Voracity Has No Catchy Title. The defense is starting to get some national hype, and Mike Valenti rants.
September 28 - Thursday
UFR: Offense vs. Wisconsin. Another strong performance by Manningham, but there are concerns about DeBord’s playcalling, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Brian decided to ditch the +/- system on offense for now until he can perfect it.
September 29 - Friday
Morgan Trent rumors are now determined to be false.
Brian takes a look at the Minnesota vs. Purdue game. Their passing game looks terrible, running game is ok, and the defense is solidly meh.
Brian backs off his Morgan Trent rumor back off, so no one is quite sure what’s going on. You think Counter-Strike rumors are bad, this one involved someone passing along Trent’s IM away message.
Minnesota preview. Doesn’t look like they are going to pose much of a threat.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
Still many first-down runs into stacked fronts.
August 2 - Wednesday
The dream is over. Brian is indeed out of the World Series of Poker.
As I exited the Rio, still stunned, I hear not one but two "pssts" from what turns out to be an attractive-in-a-way woman who asks me to come over to her. Despite being the picture of midwest innocence, hooker alarms go off in my head and I mumble something along the lines of "um, er, no... I have to go... over here. Over here."
August 3 - Thursday
August 4 - Friday
Hello David Molk. This is impressive:
Not blessed with the natural ginormity that most offensive linemen have, Molkworked his way up from pipsqueak:
As a freshman, Lemont's David Molk was a 5-6, 175-pounder who bench-pressed only 110 pounds and squatted 250.
As he prepares for his senior season, Molk is a 6-2, 270-pounder who bench-presses 370, squats 550 and power-cleans 320.
Unverified Voracity: Catch Up gives a recap of everything that has gone on while Brian was in Vegas. Ben Winnett has committed to the hockey team, and the NCAA is going away from I-A and I-AA designations to FBS and FCS.
August 5 - Saturday
A request for the blogpoll members to check in.
August 7 - Monday
The recap of the current recruiting picture for the offense. There isn’t a lot of surprising information here, but this is an interesting era to examine. This was definitely part of the “bare cupboard” issue going into the Rodriguez tenure. Take Tight End for instance:
Needs Going In: Major. Instate sleeper Quintin Woods is the only tight end in last year's class and he hardly played varsity football until his senior year, when he starred... at defensive end. He's a project and with only Carson Butler in the year ahead of him Michigan needs a couple tight ends to make up the numbers.
Commitments To Date: Michigan jumped on sleeper Martell Webb before anyone got wind of his freakish 6'5" self, then picked up a second commitment from Denver's Steve Watson, son of current Broncos receivers coach and former Broncos reciever Steve Watson. Webb is the huge HS wide receiver with serious mismatch potential; Watson is the heady coach's son who might be a bit plodding.
Potential Commitments: Two tight ends should do it.
You Should Panic This Much: A little. Three straight years Michigan has swung for the fences with utterly raw, outrageously athletic basketball players and has only Watson in the "safe bet" category. With three cracks at a breakout player Michigan has a good chance of getting one, but it's still something of a risk. And it doesn't seem likely that Butler, Woods, and Webb are going to be crushing, Spaethian blockers.
I realize that this position wasn’t going to be utilized under Rodriguez, but look at those names, would this group have excelled under Carr or another coach of a similar philosophy?
Apparently, Go Blue Wolverine employed a guy who said of OSU commit and likely ‘M’ commit WR Taurian Washington…
Let us pray Washington goes elsewhere. Will never start here... doesn't affect Allen. He isn't that good.
Way to go Scout.
Bullet points from media day (I guess it was the first of fall camp). Highlights:
DT Marques Slocum is also not on campus, having failed to get a qualifying test score after a long struggle. Slocum is in the process of an appeal, but he is a longshot to enroll at this point.
First player out of Carr's mouth when asked about the WRs was "underrated" Carl Tabb.
Kevin Grady is going to be "much improved," having lost a bit of weight. Carr expects him to "hit the hole quicker and be better in the secondary."
Somewhat frighteningly, Ryan Mundy's name keeps popping up as a candidate for playing time. I suppose it's good if he can wade his way through the four guys who started games a year ago, but the dread spectre of Yards After Mundy lurks.
August 8 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Media Day. Morgan Trent is moving to CB, lots of weight loss across the whole team, and Mike DeBord says:
"In `97, our whole thing was we want to control the ball and really continue to get first downs, three yards here, four yards here, five yards here. We were really trying to control it. But now you have to score. You have to put the ball down the field a little bit more than what we did then."
A video of Braylon catching balls blindfolded.
South Bend Tribune reporter Jeff Carroll attacks ND and the recruitment of Jimmy Clausen; he then gets banned from asking Weis any further questions. Brian sides with Weis, offering this should-have-been-heeded-sometime-in-the-next-three-years pieces of advice:
I've often wondered why Drew Sharp doesn't get the same treatment from the Michigan program. Even though he's a columnist and therefore not beholden to said facts, his relentless negativity is a drag on both Detroit-area fans and the teams they support. Lloyd Carr hates the guy -- and can you find someone who doesn't? Personally, if I was AD I would ban all Free Press reporters from press conferences and give the News unprecedented access until Sharp was sent packing. But I have been told I'm somewhat combative.
August 9 - Wednesday
Copying a research tool that Carroll (from the previous post) used, Brian settles various arguments based on the number of Google search results.
Apparently, a ‘M’ football fantasy camp used to be a thing. This post includes a long recounting of the recent camp from Jon Chait who attended as a camper. This is a fascinating read.
Unverified Voracity: Coke Geyser. Antonio Bass is optimistic he can come back in 2007, and Anthony Thomas might have found new light with the Buffalo Bills.
The picture says it all, but Maurice Clarett has been arrested.
August 10 - Thursday
Larry Harrison will not be allowed to play a second year at North Carolina A&T. This was due largely because of attack pieces by the local newspaper.
Northwestern team preview. The season looks bleak after the death of Randy Walker and the graduation of starting QB Brett Basanez. Brian predicts 4-8. They would indeed finish 4-8.
August 11 - Friday
Snapshot of the defensive recruiting. I didn’t realize that Ronald Johnson was primarily considered a DB.
Allen's FSU commitment removes Michigan's margin for error. Insiders are confident on both Johnson and (Michael) Williams but were also making assurances that (Dionte) Allen would end up at Michigan right up until he committed to FSU. As long as Johnson continues looking good things will be all right, but you should be spooked.
Also this bit of hindsight:
Ryan Kerrigan from Indiana and Eric Thomas from Ohio were mentioned as Michigan possibilities a while ago but are marginal prospects who may not get offers.
Unverified Voracity: USC USC USC tells about Pete Carroll antics.
As an assistant coach gave the Trojans a tongue-lashing while watching video of a lackluster afternoon practice, Carroll--complete in an official Wonder Bread NASCAR racing uniform and helmet--appeared from the back of the room, accompanied by the roar of an engine and shrouded by the smoke of a fog machine. Carroll raced to the front of the room and, as the team howled in laughter, informed the Trojans that they were going to take a break from football and go to the campus theater to watch the nation's hottest movie, "Talladega Nights, The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby."
August 14 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: Stare at the Watch. Pat Kane is still trying to decide between college and the OHL.
A link to an interview with Zoltan Mesko which sadly doesn’t seem to exist any more.
Continuing a series from last month, here is the most loathsome people in sports 30-21. Highlights are 30. Dick Vitale, 24. Steve Spurrier, and 21. Larry Brown.
This year, Brown's morose press conferences were context appropriate as Brown openly wondered whether he should kill Stephon Marbury or himself.
And no wonder since -- estimating conservatively by pegging his average at, say, 32 and giving him 40 or 50 days off per year for Christmas, Lent, and days when Boone was so drunk from the night before he slept for 30 hours -- over the past two years Boone has consumed approximately 20,000 beers. That's approximately 1,875gallons, enough to drown a small Vietnamese village. Since Budwesier is 5% alcohol by weight, Boone has consumed 94 gallons of alcohol alone over the past two years.
But wait! There's more! At 140 calories per beer, that's a staggering 280,000 calories; at 3500 calories per pound, Alex Boone has ingested 800 pounds worth of beer in the past two years. Alex Boone would not exist if he did not drink beer. He would be -450 pounds.
Brian takes on Tom Dienhart’s Sporting News article about how Lloyd Carr is on the hot seat.
August 15 - Tuesday
Rumors that Justin Boren has a broken ankle and Mike Kolodziej has a career-threatening condition.
August 16 - Wednesday
Blogpoll coming after Brian kills bugs…
And the actual Blogpoll...which no longer has its useful parts.
Unverified Voracity: Man Fun which is what Terrance Taylor and Jason Kates are having.
August 17 - Thursday
Confirmation on the Boren and Kolodziej rumors, though Boren’s sounds more like a sprain.
Unverified Voracity: Simmons is a Donkey. Bill Simmons has written a story on his own experiences in the WSOP.
A post about a video that no longer exists.
August 18 - Friday
Hello AL WR Marquis Maze. Seems like he would have been a nice player to have during the Rodriguez years.
Purdue team preview. They had a terrible year in ‘05 and lost several NFL players off their defense, so things don’t look great heading into this season. Everything hangs on the progress of Curtis Painter. Brian predicts 8-5. They would finish 8-6 with a bowl game loss to Maryland.
The Maurice Clarett saga turns humorous again. Apparently, he’s been bankrolled by Israeli gangsters.
Unverified Voracity: Hoep Cares. IU coach Terry Hoeppner has to use a media guide to identify his players.
August 21 - Monday
Highlights of a 13 play, 81 yard drive the from the 1989 OSU game, all running plays. It went Hoard, Bunch, Bunch, Bunch, Hoard, Bunch, Hoard, Bunch, Bunch, Taylor, Jefferson, Taylor, and finally Jefferson with the touchdown.
Brian’s answers to the blogger roundtable.
Unverified Voracity: Vote Zolton. Lamarr Woodley feels that his career has only been good, not great so far.
August 22 - Tuesday
Brian is rejoicing that a helpful reader has identified the Across 110th Street music.
Recap of a Carr press conference. Long and Woodley will be captains. Alex Mitchell is likely the RG, and Jamar Adams is likely the SS. True freshmen Mathews, Minor, and Carlos Brown are likely play.
Brian goes after print journalists who attack blogs. Watching how Detroit media interacts with MGoBlog and other blogs now, I think we have come a long way in the last ten years. Of course, print media has taken some major hits. I think they’re more contrite these days.
August 23 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Jaren Hayes Returns. MSU’s defensive backfield is getting beaten up.
Brian references some ND piece of clothing, but the link is broken so who knows.
Already an update to the available shirts.
August 24 - Thursday
Brian fights against more “Carr is on the hotseat/there’s a coaching controversy in Ann Arbor” articles.
Tyler Swystun has left the hockey team.
Hello Junior Hemingway. Kind of rough career for him (injury, coaching changes, etc.), but there are such good memories of him in the Sugar Bowl.
Marques Slocum is on campus and enrolled. Let’s have a little primer on where things stand with him at this point in time.
For those not intimately familiar with the bizarre saga of Marques Slocum, he was a near-five star defensive tackle recruit who commited to Michigan for the '05 class, but he did not qualify academically. He then spent a semester at Milford Academy attempting to get his grades and test scores up, then another when the first semester didn't take. He spent this summer taking and retaking standardized tests, never quite getting the score he needed. All hope appeared to be lost after his last score came back, but Slocum appealed on grounds that some of his answers weren't counted or didn't show up or were misgraded or something. It's all very vague. Now he's around, but with a catch.
August 25 - Friday
Ohio St. team preview. Coming off a 10-2 season, OSU is commonly ranked #1. However, they have lost nine starters on defense, two 1st round picks on offense, and their kicker, so they can’t possibly be that good again this year (hmm, sounds familiar). Lots of familiar names here that have littered the NFL in the years since. Brian predicts 10-2; they would, of course, go undefeated until losing to Florida in the national championship game.
Unverified Voracity: Literally Shirtless referring to a shirtless picture of Braylon. Also, NU’s QB is out for the season so Mike Kafka is the starter.
August 26 - Saturday
MGoBlog will receive its one millionth hit at some point today.
Changes are a comin' to this space but they're made in the hope that this thing can become something of a profession. Perhaps this is a foolish goal but damn if it doesn't sound romantic, at least to me. We -- and I do mean "we" -- are going to give this a go. As anyone who saw "Michigan" placed in the tossup category of the OSU preview knows, I'm something of a romantic and I hope that this is but the beginning.
Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning. Go Blue.
I wonder how many hits it’s at today?
August 28 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: OL Ees Better. More “Carr is on the hot seat” articles with which Brian takes umbrage. This time Pat Forde claims that Carr, Larry Coker, Tubby Smith, and Phil Fulmer should all be worried about their jobs. Ironically, none of these would be coaching at the same school a little more than two years later. To Brian’s point though, Carr would leave on the best terms of any of these.
Hello Avery Horn (who I’m struggling not to confuse with Avery Queen). This is a 3-star RB disappointment for fans hoping for John Clay or Robert Hughes.
Brian got a job! He will now be the lead Big Ten blogger for AOL Fanhouse. These are interesting details related to the history of the blog.
Also, this marks a transition point. Selling out is going to occur. A few months ago my job and I agreed to not have each other any more, partially due to the fact that instead of doing "things" I was "supposed to be doing" I was "posting on my blog." In the subsequent months I've come to two conclusions:
I like blogging.
I don't like engineering.
August 29 - Tuesday
Information on Avery Horn from someone connected to his high school.
Michigan team preview: Offense. This is the normal copious preview we’ve come to expect from Brian each August. It is long, but essentially, there are lot of questions about the offense coming out of 2005.
No idea on this one. (ed. the link within the link is NSFW)
August 30 - Wednesday
Michigan team preview: Defense. Again, a lot of content here. I didn’t remember that there was this much concern surrounding Leon Hall:
Magazines and Mel Kiper tell us that Leon Hall is an excellent player worthy of accolades, though he doesn't seem like Marlin Jackson to me. He enters his third year as a full-time starter on All-American lists and NFL mock drafts as the top corner in the country, which is something of a surprise since he's never exactly dominated.
August 31 - Thursday
Brian wants to know why the Northwestern vs. Miami OH game is on ESPNU. Yes, a post just to ask that question.
Prediction of how the members of the Big Ten will finish.
To recap: everything should be better and I have totally reasonable reasons for thinking so. Everyone we liked except Avant, Stenavich, and about a third of Watson returns, plus we get our best two players back and healthy. Incremental improvement from many plus wild improvement from a few -- my bets are Manningham, Crable, and Jamar Adams -- should see Michigan re-assert itself. On the other hand, this team is flawed on the offensive line, at linebacker, and in corner depth.
...but you know and I know that the key to the season wears #7 and has a goofy haircut. If he plays like he did last year, we have a season similar to last year but slightly better. From 8-4 to 9-3. If he plays like he did at the tail end of last year, um, yeah. There's a chance.
Wins: Vandy, CMU, Ball State, @Indiana, Northwestern
Probable Wins: @ Minnesota, Drew Stanton, @ PSU, Wisconsin
Tossups: @ ND, @ OSU, Iowa
Split the difference: 10-2.
The first game is three days away, so here are highlights of the 2004 MSU game to get you in the mood.
July 3 - Monday
The month starts off with a July 4th break.
July 5 - Wednesday
Penn State preview. They went 11-1 the previous year; their only loss came from Michigan. However, the biggest concern is going to Anthony Morelli at QB. Brian predicts 8-4. They would finish the year at 9-4.
July 6 - Thursday
Unverified Voracity: Ack Math. Brian immediately warns mathophobes to stay and away, so I’m hesitant to comment too much on this post. He looks at a Smart Football article, the gist of which is that a balanced offensive attack should be viewed with a weighted value on pass plays. The conclusion is the Texas Tech had a balanced attack.
July 7 - Friday
Blogpoll memberships for the upcoming season is opening up. There is some criteria this year about who can get in.
Unverified Voracity: SI for Kids Rules because that publication has ranked Michigan #2 for the upcoming season. Also, Pat Fitzgerald has become Northwestern’s new coach, and NCAA Hockey is requiring more boarding calls.
July 10 - Monday
Illinois preview. They went 2-9 in their first year under Ron Zook.
By the midpoint of the season the only people watching Illinois games were pissed-off Florida fans, who traded tapes of the debacles and watched them intently in pitch-dark rooms full of unpleasant, familiar noises best left unspeculated upon.
And not much hope of improvement is available. However, a certain freshman QB named Isiah Williams is mentioned and a sophomore running back named Rashard Mendenhall is on the team. Brian predicts 3-9. They finish the year at 2-10.
July 11 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Orange Seizure. I think I have seen this stat in recent years, but something called “I Blog for Cookies” came up with this:
That's right ... in the last 6 years, we are more likely to lose a game than to win it if we go into the 4th quarter with a small lead.
Hello: Manny Harris. This is a great improvement over recent recruiting news (Reed Baker and Zach Gibson), but there is a concern that there won’t be enough roster spots left, specifically for another Michigan high school guard, Laval Lucas-Perry.
July 12 - Wednesday
Hello: Steve Watson, a recruit about whom not much is known, but he has decent offers so who knows.
July 13 - Thursday
Wisconsin preview. Lots of uncertainty here, starting with a new coach. Bret Bielema was the youngest coach in the country...until Pat Fitzgerald was hired. They return QB John Stocco and LT Joe Thomas, but not too much else. New starters are expected to be RB P.J. Hill and LB DeAndre Levy. Also, I didn’t remember that there was another Randle El.
Randle-El proves the old maxim "Mothers, don't name your younger son 'Marcus' when your older son is a ridiculously exciting mobile quarterback because he is guaranteed to be a knucklehead if you do."
Brian predicts 9-3. They would finish 12-1, only losing to Michigan.
Unverified Voracity: Z Agrees. Minnesota has worked a deal with TCF Bank for naming rights to a new stadium that is being planned.
The corporate naming of stadium has always been a mystery to me, as whenever I hear something like "Comerica Park" I make a little note to myself to never, ever bank with Comerica. I can't be alone in this, can I?
July 14 - Friday
A collection of videos of the Zidane headbutt. Most of them work!
At the invitation of another blogger, Brian participated in a “commissioner for a day” post. His ideas:
1. Eight team playoff.
2. No I-AA games.
3. No more than one guarantee game per year.
4. Drop the Sun Belt to I-AA.
5. Tweak OT.
6. Fix the fumble-out-of-endzone rule.
7. Add a flagrant pass interference foul.
8. Implement NFL-style challenges.
9. Crack down on this facilities ridiculousness.
10. Assign Mark May and Lou Holtz to the WNBA.
Of course he elaborates more on all of these.
Unverified Voracity: Auburn College-like Substance because Auburn has found a way to make school very easy for their athletes. Also, the Kings have signed hockey prospect Trevor Lewis before he could even reach Ann Arbor.
July 17 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: Diamond Dallas Page. A Nebraska blog is incorrectly trying to prove east coast bias in CFB balloting, as compared to computer voting. Also, Georgia Tech has its players doing “commando yoga” with a former pro wrestler.
Brian addresses an email about Michigan’s talent advantage. Allegedly, a common complaint at the time was that ‘M’ had superior talent, but the coaches were not that good. He works through several theories and looks at NFL draft data. Little did anyone know how soon this (raw skill vs. getting coached up) would become an even bigger issue.
July 18 - Tuesday
A ranking of the top 50 “Most Loathsome People in Sports.” This post is 50-41. Coming in at #50: Brian Cook, #49 Bill Simmons, #44 Colin Cowherd, and #42 Sean Avery.
July 19 - Wednesday
Surprise, surprise Alex Legion has committed again.
Unverified Voracity: Piref Edition: HHYYAAAR. Apparently a referee worked in CFB for five years with only one eye...and no one knew about it. Further, his performance reviews improved. Also, Pat Kane might go to college and it will either be ‘M’ or BU.
July 20 - Thursday
Unverified Voracity: More NCAA with reviews of the NCAA ‘07 game. After evaluating these, Brian has decided against purchasing it.
July 21 - Friday
Penn State blogs/fans have taken umbrage at Brian’s preview, so he responds to their emails in this post. Alan Branch would make this statement prophetic:
A night game at the Beav will be Edmonton-Stanley-Cup-Finals insane, granted, but the game is still played on the field. On said field, I think the Michigan defensive line will give PSU all kinds of problems.
A few recruiting notes about Toney Clemons, Steve Watson, and Donovan Warren (some in his family want him to go to Ohio State, but he seems destined to go to USC).
July 24 - Monday
The next installment of loathsome people (40-31). Highlights include: #40 Jason Whitlock, #39 Jacques Lemaire, #37 The Sun Belt Conference, and #33 Lou “Holth”.
Unverified Voracity: Apocalypse. Bill Martin says that the basketball team needs better facilities. Donors might be hard to locate.
July 25 - Tuesday
Iowa preview. Big concerns in the secondary and the receiving corps, but they have Drew Tate and a favorable schedule, so expectations are high. Brian predicts 11-1. Unfortunately...all is not well, and they finish 6-7.
July 26 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: Bird of Frank Thomas. Ryan Mallett is looking decent at Elite 11, and Brian takes a look at some of his old sports cards.
A panoply of Lindros cards... thanks for nothing, Eric! You and your stupid concussions cost me some "clams" or "bones" or whatever you people call them! Don't get me started on your stupid "knee injury," Pavel Bure!
Also, Mallett won the EA Sports NCAA ‘07 title, so that has to be a good sign right?
July 27 - Thursday
Brian is preparing to head out to Las Vegas to participate in the World Series of Poker.
July 30 - Sunday
Update from the WSOP. Brian is still alive, but only seems to be just surviving.
A second WSOP post, this in much greater detail. Brian describes his experience in Vegas…
Percentage Of Professionally Hot Girls Who Would Actually Be Attractive In Something That Covered, Say, 60% Of Their Bodies
Hovering at about 30%. But that 30% is impressive. Also: irritating. I think it's worse when an impossibly hot girl is showing obviously fake enthusiasm towards you for money instead of the usual scoffing. I pointedly ignore them.
...and gives specifics about each of his hands during the game.
June 1 - Thursday
Liveblog from game 5 of the Pistons vs. Heat Eastern Conference finals. Here is the box score if anyone is interested. Lots of good stuff here, but I will just add this early autobench gripe:
Then some other stuff happens... Wade gets his second and is yanked with 12 seconds let in the half, which brings me to a pet peeve of mine: why is it verboten to play Wade with 12 seconds left in the half but okay at the start of the third? Do you get spanked if you have a player with three fouls before the half?
A game recap to accompany the liveblog.
If -- and I want to stress "if," as the chances the Pistons win the next two are certainly below 50 percent -- the Pistons manage to win this series, then no matter what happens in the Finals they'll have cemented their reputation as best Rasputins in the history of the NBA*. Shot, stabbed, drowned, maimed, assaulted with hamburgers, attacked by leering gangs of bicyclists, thrown from a balloon, shot across the Channel in a V2 rocket, beaten, locked in a room with Stephen A. Smith on speed, run over by extremely determined ant skateboarders, abducted, or stuffed into the overhead compartment on a flight to hell: it matters not. What yesterday seemed like an insurmountable challenge is now just one slightly improbable road win followed by game seven in the Palace. It could happen. Maybe. Probably not. But maybe.
June 2 - Friday
Recruiting board update. Steve Paskorz commits to ND. Toney Clemons is Steve Breaston’s cousin.
June 3 - Saturday
The Pistons lost game 6 and the series. Brian says it was because they were out coached. Now, speculation begins on what Ben will do in the offseason.
June 5 - Monday
Brian gives fair warning that if you hate soccer, you’re not going to enjoy the upcoming contents of the blog (World Cup coverage). I must admit to only following soccer peripherally, so my comments on the soccer posts will be pretty light.
Brief recruiting board update mentioning John Ditto and Taurian Washington.
June 6 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Yee Haw Hee Haw includes a comparison of top 100 rankings for Rivals and Scout. Also this is of interest to Lions’ fans:
Something you must know: Tennessee's Jim Bob Cooter was arrested for DUI. God willing, this was a moonshine incident.
June 7 - Wednesday
Brian gives a defense of soccer.
It seems the best way to shore up your average comment count is to declare that the World Cup is of interest and that you intend to post on it. It also helps if you then mis-date the next day's post so that the shocking revelation that you are some sort of hippie euro-snob fairy remains at or near the top of the blog for all red-white-and-blue blooded to see and fret over. If you, the blogger, do this, then you will return to see the soccer-sucks-no-it-doesn't sniping has bloomed like algae across any surface it can attach itself to. It's so bad that other noted college football bloggers have retreated to obscurer interwebs in a (thwarted) attempt to avoid serious loss of street cred.
June 8 - Thursday
There is a new MSU blog call Spartan Bob who is attacking the gameday atmosphere at the Big House. Brian’s assessment?
I do know that Spartan Stadium has all the atmosphere of your local Walmart and the class of the woman selling herself outside of it.
June 9 - Friday
The internet is down.
Unverified Voracity: Better Late. Chris Summers and Mark Mitera are looking good to join the hockey team.
June 10 - Saturday
Game recap of Trinidad and Tobago’s tie against Sweden.
June 12 - Monday
June 13 - Tuesday
Recruiting Board Update. Added David Molk and Troy Woolfolk. A few more notes about Molk camping at ND.
Zach Gibson is transferring to the basketball team from Rutgers, and Bryan Hogan has committed to the hockey team.
June 14 - Wednesday
There seems to be some progress in the attitude toward soccer in the US. There were various moments of outrage over the loss to the Czechs.
More hockey notes on Chris Summers and Mark Mitera.
June 15 - Thursday
A post containing various, murky insider tidbits. Some prove accurate (Junior Hemingway); some prove very murky (Ronald Johnson).
Edmonton beats Carolina to force game 6 in the Stanley Cup Finals (In case you didn’t read the May edition, Brian has become a huge Oilers fan).
June 16 - Friday
Updates and corrections on the recruiting tidbits from the previous day. Taurian Washington is likely to commit soon.
Brian’s answers for an offseason roundtable on another blog. Most interesting is that Brian has never purchased any CFB preview magazines.
June 17 - Saturday
The game ends in a tie. Sounds like the US scored a goal that was called off because of offsides. Brian is not happy.
June 19 - Monday
Unverified Voracity: Fried Ice Cream. There is a new ‘M’ blog (Michigan Football Saturdays). One of the first posts is to highlight the 3rd annual “Carr Wash”. Apparently, this was a regular thing where players would wash cars at the stadium to raise money for charity. The link to the original post is still active, and I would recommend it for some great pictures of Alan Branch.
Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals is about to begin. Brian pays tribute to the Cup and recaps Edmonton’s run through the playoffs.
June 20 - Tuesday
The Oilers lose game 7.
Still, today I'm going to shave the playoff beard and I will not be putting it in a plastic baggie carefully labeled Playoff Beard 2006(!) WOO! GOILERS! WOO! In times of stress I will not remove the baggie from its secure location, gingerly open it, and stroke the hairs therein as Michigan plays Notre Dame or my sixth wife says she wants to divorce me because I watch too much football or someone close to me is gravely ill or Michigan plays Ohio State.
June 21 - Wednesday
Unverified Voracity: They Will Suffer has details of the Big Ten’s renegotiated TV contract. Also this:
Also, the rumored Big Ten Channel is official. Coming next summer
June 22 - Thursday
USA vs. Ghana open thread (no content is still available).
Woolfolk is some sort of defensive back but is still sixteen and growing, so whether he ends up at corner or safety is yet to be determined.
Four years of college wouldn’t help to figure this out.
The US lost 2-1. Brian tries to figure out who to blame. I think soccer fans will find this line interesting:
Maybe the fault lies more at Donovan and Reyna and Beasley's feet than in Arena's head, but at this point I just want a Dutchman. Or Klinsmann. Or just anyone who doesn't remind me very strongly of Lloyd Carr with a two-touchdown lead.
June 23 - Friday
More NHL draft news regarding incoming ‘M’ freshmen.
June 26 - Monday
Recruiting Board Update. Lots about a legacy recruit named David Arnold. I couldn’t find much about him on the internet, but it looks like he might have ended up at Northwestern.
June 27 - Tuesday
Unverified Voracity: Seriously. Trevor Lewis, Mitera, and Summers were all taken in the 1st round of the NHL draft. Also, some quotes from Uni Watch about how the outrageous Oregon uniforms came to be.
Link to a helmet being auctioned off on Ebay. It has been signed by many current players and proceeds will go to charity.
June 28 - Wednesday
The first of the opponent previews. Up first: Michigan State.
On a micro level MSU is completely unpredictable week-to-week. On a macro level it's always Same Old Spartans.
In short, Stanton and Ringer are good. The O line, D line, and DBs are terrible. The linebackers are okay. (Also, a Josh Thornhill mention, so shoutout to his uncle Nay, a former co-worker of mine.)
June 29 - Thursday
Hello Reed Baker, and Brian is not pleased. It does sound pretty sketchy. He was dropped by the Citadel after their coach left, committed to Birmingham Southern but then they dropped from D-I to D-III because of finances, was offered a scholarship by the Air Force but couldn’t commit because of a severe peanut allergy, and finally was offered a scholarship by Amaker...who never saw him play in person. (It is interesting to contrast this to the leeway that Beilein still gets and deservedly so. “Oh, I guess he’s the next Spike Albrecht.”)
The Big 10 only had three team defenses give up fewer than 400 yards per game. Too much spread? Too many experienced QBs?
June 30 - Friday
Brian was born in Saudi Arabia? Here’s another offseason roundtable of bloggers, this one focusing on biographical information.
Also...Brian was in the World Series of Poker. Apparently we’re going to find out more in July.
If I get far enough to actually be on TV, and find myself in a big TV-worthy hand, I will tell the world that Lloyd Carr needs to stop punting on fourth and medium when a first down seals the game.
Unverified Voracity: Bakermania. Randy Walker has passed away. Also, more complaints about Reed Baker. Brian is fully on board with firing Amaker.
May 1 – Monday
The NFL draft happened over the past week and apparently the ‘M’ blogosphere is in a panic because only three players were taken, especially in comparison to many Buckeyes drafted. Brian says don’t worry about this; be rational. This could be a good mission statement for the blog:
This space strives to be reasonably balanced about all things largely because relentless neg- or pos-itivity is almost always irrational and therefore infuriating; I find this desire places me in the 95th percentile of Michigan (Internet) fans on the Pollyanna scale. I find this extraordinarily annoying.
May 2 – Tuesday
This appears to the first use of the MGoMailbag. This edition addresses the use of Carlos Brown. Will he play on defense or offense?
Ah Michigan football in 2006, when our biggest concern could be laughing at ridiculous, middle-aged, Notre Dame fans dancing during a tailgate. I think we’ve lost some innocence since then.
May 3 – Wednesday
Hello from Martell Webb. Reported that he wants to be a WR.
Here is a look back at Rivals top 50 from 2002. Brian rates each player based on college performance and determines that their rankings were fairly accurate. Top 5 were: Vince Young, Haloti Ngata, Lorenzo Booker, Ben Olson, and Reggie McNeal.
May 4 – Thursday
Recruiting Board Update. Brandon Saine has likely committed to the Buckeyes. This is surprising news.
May 8 – Monday
Hello from Epke Udoh. This is sort of prophetic:
Oklahoma post Epke Udoh has committed to Tommy Amaker and the star-crossed Michigan basketball program. Normally this would be grounds for massive skepticism and cynical jokes about his decommit ETA, but he's actually signed a letter of intent so the chances of that are slim.
May 9 – Tuesday
Ben Huff died. If I knew this at the time, I didn’t remember it. I mainly remember Huff for being one of those players who seemed like he was around forever (I think this was due to getting a 6th year, but I could be wrong).
A round up of hockey news. Trevor Lewis continues to impress.
May 10 – Wednesday
The Pistons are up 2-0 on the Cavs, and Brian is losing his mind. Looking back, I think of these as the frustrating years after the championship, but I forget how good this team continued to be. I guess they were frustrating because they were so good, but couldn’t get to the finals again. Also, Brian loves the TNT studio show (which is amazingly still going 10 years later):
More Barkley: "I took some good players over to Europe to play, and he [Dirk Nowitski] dropped 50 on us.... so I ask him 'How old are you' and he says '19' so I tell him 'I'll give you any amount of money in the world if you go to Auburn"
Kenny Smith: "Isn't that cheating?"
Charles Barkley: "We're in the SEC, if you aren't cheatin, you ain't tryin. We got Alabama, Georgia, Florida..."
May 11 – Thursday
Unverified Voracity: Hockey Drinking looks at how the new NHL is doing in the playoffs, specifically the Oilers-Sharks series. Also, there are plans to expand the student section, move the band back into the student section, and possibly…add microphones on the band so it can be heard throughout the stadium.
Recruiting Board Update with a Boubacar Cissko mention!
May 12 – Friday
Jerimy Finch says ‘M’ is his school of choice, and he looks like a great prospect to pick up.
Unverified Voracity: My Name is Bill Rock features the results of a caption contest of a no-longer-existing picture of Bill Laimbeer and Kid Rock. Also, Finch did indeed commit, though he’s going to take other visits and there is a small chance the commitment won’t stick (spoiler: it doesn’t).
May 15 – Monday
Unverified Voracity: links to a MSU preview. The prediction is 6-5, like normal.
May 16 – Tuesday
After winning the first two games, the Pistons have lost two in Cleveland. Defense isn’t a problem, but the offense is struggling.
May 17 – Wednesday
Brian will be gone to NYC.
May 22 – Monday
The Pistons finish off the Cavs, holding them to only 61 points.
· I continue to insist that Tayshaun Prince is one of the most underrated players in the league. He was probably the best player the Pistons had over the course of the series; in game seven he was killing the Cavs everywhere he went. Flip Murray couldn't check toast and got abused; Lebron ate a few layups, and whatever Prince missed he rebounded. Carmelo? Whatever.
I know the Darko pick will forever be seen as one of the worst ever, but that pick in light of what Dumars knew he had in Prince (and the faith in him), makes sense. I wouldn’t trade the ’04 championship and the following conference title round run for several years of a malcontent Carmelo (tough in hindsight I would have traded that 3rd pick for parts that could have furthered the run).
May 23 – Tuesday
Brian recaps all he’s missed the in the last week or so. Of note ten years later, the regents have approved Bill Martin’s plan for stadium renovation.
May 24 - Wednesday
May 25 – Thursday
Posts mainly about videos that longer work ten years later are mysterious.
May 26 – Friday
Bullets from the Pistons’ game, though no mention of what the score was. And yes this was written ten years ago, not three months ago after a certain ‘M’ basketball game.
· We all know ESPN is violent death as a sports broadcast, but really, that awful camera angle with the sliding camera that's way too close to see the corners and at an angle in which you can't understand anyone's movement is beyond even my expectations for their stupidity. As King Kaufman always says, "show the game."
May 29 – Monday
The Pistons lost to the Heat and are now down 2-1 in the Conference Finals. Interesting ideas about judgement over knowledge in making good decisions. Brian sides with judgement.
Prince struggles against Walker like he does against most players who are 50 pounds heavier than him. None of this makes any sense. Gladwell sounds the bell for the sports fan who can't believe how... why... aaargh:
The point is that knowledge and the ability to make a good decision correlate only sporadically, and there are plenty of times when knowledge gets in the way of judgement.
It's a cold comfort.
May 30 – Tuesday
I hate this losing stuff on a variety of levels, but since people actually started reading this thing the worst part is having to sit down and not call for assassinations. I try to keep an artificially even keel when things are in progress but going badly; when the need for a post-mortem arises one shall be given. This is not that time. Yet.
Unfortunately, Brian would be able to hone his skill of writing post-mortems in the coming years.
May 31 – Wednesday
The second half of Brian’s answers from a roundtable with Burnt Orange Nation.
Your head coach comes down with a mystery illness and has to step aside. You get to hand pick the replacement for the 2006 season. Who gets your vote?
Spurrier. Not only would Spurrier bring his frenetic offensive game, hilarious comments directed at opposing coaches, and visor, but he would probably cause noted anti-luxury-box crusader John Pollack's head to explode, Total Recall-style. I have nearly as much of a mancrush on Spurrier as the lads at EDSBS, and seeing phosphorus and water get together could be... wait for it... explosive. H!IKM*
I don't post topics very often, but was surfing somewhere near the edge of the internet and came across a very intriguing baseball history article about Ty Cobb. The article was derived from a speech given at Hillsdale College by author/professor/journalist Charles Leerhsen.
His book, Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, is one of the first (only?) original sourced reports I've read about Cobb. The speech is an excellent primer for the book, or a great short read for those that don't have the time/interest.
In addition to unraveling some of Cobb's infamous traits, the book is an interesting study of journalism, particularly the laziness of sports journalist. That at least, was a topic I figured most of the board would appreciate for all the (just) lamenting we do.