Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
100% pure colombian awesome
Namibia loves The Victors. An intrepid emailer spent his time as an English teacher in Namibia wisely:
(There’s also mindblowing video of the kids singing “Like A Prayer”.) This email caused me to look Namibia up on Wikipedia, and now I know that only 1% of the land in the country is arable and that it wasn’t even independent until 1990 because South Africa invaded it as part of World War II. And that it’s the second most sparsely populated country on the planet behind Mongolia. Wikipedia, sometimes I hate you.
They’ll get crappier or better. I’m always looking for any sign that college football scheduling will get less insulting, and this is a good one:
Michigan's fifth meeting against Miami (Ohio) -- and third time since 2001 -- was apparently the last for the foreseeable future.
The RedHawks used to enjoy the big payday that came with a road game against a big school. But now they're trying to get schools to agree to play at home one year, with a trip to Oxford, Ohio, the next year.
Miami (NTM) has home and homes set up with Minnesota, Colorado, and Vandy, so Michigan will have to go elsewhere for its second MAC snack in future years. I expect the Eastern/Central/Western rotation will be more frequent.
As a big picture, though: when the bigger MAC programs start eschewing guarantee games for actual home and homes, that means power schools have fewer options for bodybag games, which means the prices go up, which means there’s more motivation to play a real opponent. Go Hawks.
And now, more
CRIPPLE FIGHT 2008
graphic illustration via College Game Balls
Ha. San Diego State coach Chuck Long was asked which team was better, Cal Poly or Notre Dame. The response:
"That's a tough question," Long said.
Speaking of, I used the wrong box score in yesterday’s post on the SDSU-Cal Poly game. This is the right box, and it changes the table used to this:
|Opp||Yards Gained||YPA||YPC||Yards Allowed||YPA||YPC|
|Cal Poly SLO||379||7.8||1.2||483||10.5||5.2|
So the Notre Dame offense was way, way worse than Cal Poly and only marginally better on defense; they also allowed the flaccid San Diego State run game—3.5 YPC last year against a Mountain West schedule—to rack up almost 5 YPC. ND did do a good job of holding SDSU’s dink-and-dunk pass offense to few yards after the catch.
Meanwhile in overblown LOL. The media has revisited Charlie Weis’s poindextery rant about Michigan and “their excuses and murble murble I want a deep fried deep-fried-ham sandwhich murble murble To Hell With Michigan” to an excessive degree as Cripple Fight 2008 approaches. Check it:
468 articles! Google News tends to throw a bunch of stuff that’s not quite related in there but that was a search for “Weis ‘to hell with michigan’”.
In these 468 articles there is one thing of note:
"Barwis was mad," said UM defensive end Tim Jamison.
He gets mad? I mean… like, there are differentiable levels of white-hot seething Barwis rage? Notre Dame is screwed.
I still prefer “we have not said one word about Michigan, we’ll do our talking on the field” before FBD I. Weis loves this sort of meta trash talk: we haven’t even bothered to trash talk Michigan, that’s how sad they are. We don’t make excuses except about thugs and hoodlums and service academies but boy I bet Michigan does. I won’t blame my kids but if they would just execute the gameplan we wouldn’t lose to Navy.
And he loves complete BS excuses for his jerko (that’s right, I said it: jerko) behavior:
“Anyone who’s a Michigan fan should know and understand that’s a tribute to Bo,” Weis said Tuesday. “I think that’s a very respectful comment toward coach Bo.”
I’m sure he was on the verge of tears as he murble murbled his way through the Domer red meat. Dude, at least stick to your guns if you’re going to say it. When Bo said “to hell with Notre Dame” he meant “to hell with Notre Dame,” and if you asked him for a clarification he probably would have gone Dana Jacobsen on your ass.
Also, Bo had been retired for ten years when he said the version he meant.
Actual onfield items. Rakes of Mallow has an excellent post on Notre Dame’s preferred strategy going into the M game, suggesting a lot of dink and dunk stuff that tests Michigan’s spotty underneath coverage instead of the We Pound It But Not Like That We’re Catholic (And Just Save The Pedophile Priest Jokes We’ve Heard Them) that was much discussed in the offseason. I also think this is Notre Dame’s best course of action: take the Michigan DL out of the game and force the linebackers to make a bunch of tackles/zone drops.
Their only issue is that they don’t really have a guy to do that: Kamara is a ponderous, very sucky receiver, Tate is a straight line burner sort, and they’re down to a freshman at TE. That freshman is an OMG shirtless recruit… we may get a heavy dose of him.
One thing we’re sure to see: a half-dozen screens, maybe more.
Very simply, ladies and gentlemen, if you think that Ohio State is in trouble against USC because of the way the Buckeyes played against Ohio, you know nothing about college football and have failed to pay attention to this sport during your lifetime.
CFN remains a place to go only if you want to kill brain cells, but now they’ve got extra pretension!
Etc.: Only Jonathan Tu could link Borges and college football. Shavodrick Beaver is going to be on ESPN2 Thursday night: there will be a CIL liveblog/chat session—and this one is going to actually happen because I will be around to make it so. 8 PM.
So sometimes the internet goes beyond awesome and into the sublime. This happened yesterday, when Paul from Varsity Blue pointed out this Muppet version of "Temptation":
OMFG, &c. This is the real stuff, 100% pure Colombian awesome.
But it gets better: a commenter followed up with "you can't have one without the other" and linked to MUPPETS DOING THE HAWAIIAN WAR CHANT.
I keep watching these. I am going to make these an institution here.
Programming note: I'm moving, which is going to seriously cut into posting time today and possibly the next couple days. It also was not accounted for in my estimates of what I could get done re: other Big Ten teams before the season. Monday the weeklong Michigan preview extravaganza starts; prepare thyselves.
I have the powerful desire to sex you on the puce shag carpet. One thousand cocktails to whoever gave Michael Phelps the sexbomb Spitz mustache he's sporting on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (It's Wednesday, Swindle, get to it.)
If you're not tingling, I don't want to know you.
Phelps, by the way, will be honored at the Wisconsin game. Insert hacky "can he play quarterback?" joke here.
Vote for Marques. Dude's never going to play for Michigan but he can make the Deadspin Hall of Fame. Vote or die. Slocum is currently just above the 75% cutoff line.
R. Lee Emery is wearing JoePa's skin. No, seriously.
The Big Ten Network needs to start running this during every commercial break instead of their current annoying university promo stuff.
All Hail Dan Feldman. When it comes to Michigan beat writing, the Daily's Dan Feldman is killing all comers. He was the guy who uncovered all sorts of useful information during the Women's Football Academy while the Free Press was concerned with Tae Bo. Just a couple days ago he clarified the George Morales situation that's had everyone confused since February; he wrote two other interesting articles on the same day and then dumped some useful bullets in a blog post. Excerpts:
- Redshirt freshman guard Mark Huyge was in crutches. With redshirt junior Corey Zirbel out with an injury, Huyge started last Tuesday’s walk-through at right guard. Redshirt junior David Moosman started the walk-through at center. He moved to right guard after a few plays, and redshirt freshman David Molk played center.
- J.B. Fitzgerald stood out to Jay Hopson as the best freshman linebacker.
- Freshman safety Brandon Smith, who Rodriguez said could see significant playing time, said the talk of moving to linebacker was just a rumor, and it was never seriously discussed.
It the starting line for Utah appears to be Ortmann-McAvoy-Molk-Moosman-Schilling, with Perry Dorrestein the first guy off the bench and Hold Me I Feel Like Dying the second. (He's foreign.)
Moose and squirrel? Actually, the second guy off the bench may be true freshman Rocko Khoury, who's been impressing at center:
“Rocko is working in there [at center] and he’s willing to put his face on somebody,” Frey said, when asked about redshirt freshman David Molk.
“He’s getting consistent with his snaps,” redshirt junior lineman David Moosman said. “When you’re as young as he is, and he hasn’t played center before, it can be tough making sure every snap is good. But he’s doing really well and becoming more consistent.
There is the possibility that Rocko will play next to Moosman at some point, at which point the band has to play "Rocky and Bullwinkle" after every play. There will be no discussion.
There are additional interesting quotes in that article, like this on the slot electrons:
Clemons, working out of the slot position, has spent a good amount of practice time with Martavious Odoms and Terrence Robinson and isn’t ashamed to admit they have something on him.
“They’re quicker than me. Faster? We can always line up and race,” Clemons said, laughing. “They’re real explosive and they’re tough guys too. You look at them and you think they’re undersized but they don’t play like they’re small. They play like their 6-2 even though they’re both 5-9. It’s exciting to watch them work because they work real hard. They’re very explosive, very quick and fast.”
We should place bets on which freshman skill player is has the most buzz after Utah. I'm going with Odoms.
By multiple, persistent request. Some time back the Hoover Street Rag pled for assistance, asking if anyone out in MGoBlog land had a copy of "The Victors" by a jazz singer named Pat Suzuki. Several people offered versions of this weird piece of Michigan apocrypha, the HSR's request was met, and I got a file containing the audio. At the time, however, the laptop's soundcard was on the fritz and I had no idea what was actually in my possession.
One thankfully persistent reader, however, has not let it drop. It turns out that the item in question is surreal. Its closest analogue in my experience is Marylin Monroe's infamous rendition of "Happy Birthday" directed at JFK; both are utterly transformative. And weird. And were undoubtedly undertaken in cocktail dresses.
Seriously. I was pretty annoyed by Josh Jarboe's sudden dismissal from Oklahoma for -- gasp! -- rapping, more annoyed when I read Bob Stoops' pre-dismissal quote to the effect of "sticks and stones," and just plain angry when the bitter old men at the Oklahoman smarmily applauded the about-face. So I wrote something to that effect.
I probably wouldn't have bothered, though, if I knew that SMQ was going to kick off his final week of amateur wordsmithery by dropping a bomb on the Typical White Middle-Aged Sportswriter villians referenced above:
Was it "the Internet culture" that asked him to act swiftly, with the full weight of his position? Every Day Should Be Saturday, the most widely-read college football blog on the Web, linked to the video with no call for discipline. The very mainstream-leaning Wizard of Odds, which broke the video's existence and posted the version that drew tens of thousands of hits last week, made no call for discipline. None called Jarboe a "thug" or described his freestyle efforts as "jabber." Who, then, is Stoops actually frustrated with?
The finger points squarely at the old men who don't understand the internet but feel free to blame it for all ills, real or imagined.
Maybe they need someone to degrade them. West Virginia has leapt up the Fulmer Cup scoreboard with a series of crimes spectacular and petty:
- Three players are caught with felonious, drug-dealing amounts of weed.
- Noel Devine and four other players got in a nightclub fight.
- Charles Pugh pulls a Kevin Quick and goes on a stolen credit-card spree.
- Evan Rodriguez beats up a girl.
- Kendall Washington breaks into a home, steals some stuff, and shoots a guy. He wasn't actually on the team at the time, FWIW.
When I initially noted this apparrent explosion of bad behavior, Washington was believed to still be on the team and his nine points brought the 'Eers into a tie for the lead. It turns out he was dismissed after spring practice. The points go away but this is a kid who had some major issues in high school; Rodriguez pursued and acquired him.
So, like... WTF? As I've noted before, West Virginia was not a big mover in the first couple years of the Fulmer Cup, scoring nine points total. Michigan racked up 15 points, all of them coming last year when Lloyd Carr's retirement was impending. Driven by the realities of recruiting players to West Virginia, Rodriguez brought in his fair share of... uh... characters but he largely kept them in check. Even Pacman Jones had but one incident, that as a freshman. From there on he was off the police blotter.
"Coach Stew" -- West Virginia fans are constitutionally incapable of using their coach's full last name -- has not had similar fortune. Why?
It's tough to scare the hell out of your players when you're obviously thinking "I can't believe I'm a Division I head coach. How much are they playing me? I get a whistle!"
I foresee this ending badly.
(Sidenote: in searching for Stewart pictures I came across this engineering dork LOL page:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function: graceful_fail() in /web2/dmblogs/docs/wp-content/blogs.php on line 77
Back to the future. Wolverine Historian has assembled Rick Leach highlights for your edification.
Site note: I've added the Depth Chart by Class to the "useful stuff" navigation item and updated it to reflect the current situation.
Ladies. Hello. We would like to talk to you. No, we don't ever take these off.
Can anyone ID these gents? The guy on the left looks a little like Boren, but AFAIK the only guy on the team with dreads is Martavious Odoms, a freshman who never crossed paths with the family values maven. Don't bother with the one on the right, who's obviously John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever.
I read this thing called SEOmoz, which is a horribly named but quite good blog on search engine optimization and related things. Before Friday, if you had asked me what the chances are I'd ever mention it in this space I would have told you "zero point zero," but I'm wrong:
Fluent Simplicity compiled a list of brands who are on Twitter. The list is pretty comprehensive and is broken down into sector. It's interesting to see which major companies have a Twitter account. (I was especially amused to see that Michigan State has one. I imagine their tweets to consist of either "won the game. students rioting" or "lost the game. students rioting.")
Etiquette advice from a caveman. A couple people have emailed noting that newspapers have used quotes from the response to "my question" about tight ends from media day. It's really nice that there are people out there who act as defenders of the MGoFaith, but the question was asked in an open forum with a dozen people listening. Responses in that situation are fair game, as if it was a press confernece. It's not like I had an exclusive interview with Rodriguez or anything.
Also, Angelique Chengelis is really nice, continually got information no one else did during the Carr era, and helped Johnny land the Carr interview that features in Hail To The Victors 2008; she's the last media person anyone should be criticizing.
Yes, your math's wrong. By request of Dennis Dodd, who titles his latest blog post "please someone tell me my math is wrong": your math is wrong. This is your math:
According to my math (always a dicey proposition but hang with me, it's only a blog [SCREW YOU GOLLUM -ed]), the average college team ran 72 plays per game last season. Fine, great. The average NFL team ran 62.76 plays per game. That's with the 40/25 rule. That's also a difference of 9.14 plays per game. Multiplied by two teams thats more than 18 plays per game difference. ...
It looks to me like the NCAA rules committee is about to bastardize the game like it did two years ago when its misguided timing rules slashed something like 13 plays per game. The rules were adjusted last season and once again we had reasonable college football.
Your math completely ignores the biggest timing difference between college football and the NFL: on a first down, the clock stops until the chains are set and the ball is ready for play. This takes somewhere between 10 and 15 seconds -- looks like 12 is a good average -- and last year the average Big Ten game had 40.6 first downs. Approximately eight minutes runs of an NFL game clock that does not run off an NCAA game clock because of this rule change, which means a college game is 15% longer than an NFL game because of this rule's effect*. 72 is 115% of 62.76: virtually the entire difference the length of pro and college games is explained here.
Also, during the bastardized clock season you wrote an article proclaiming the Return of Defense, citing an amazing 10% decrease in scoring offense in a year when games were 10% shorter. You should probably not write things about the game clock.
Games will probably be a bit shorter because out of bounds plays will now have the clock wound after the ball is marked ready for play; the effect will be considerably smaller than 2005.
*(I think. I'm not sure whether I should be dividing 60 by 52 or 68 by 60. Statistician help? The latter would be 13%, FWIW.)
Coin. More dollars for the program:
The University of Michigan became the latest elite college athletic program to sell off a package of its media rights, bringing in $86 million through a 12-year deal with IMG College.
The deal, which runs through June 2020, marks the first time Michigan has bundled all of its media rights into one package and marks the continuation of a trend where colleges are hiring companies, such as IMG College, to maximize revenue from those rights.
That's about $7.2 million per year on top of the reported $5-7 million they're making from the Big Ten Network. Since Florida just signed over a similar suite of rights (that is: all the stuff Michigan is signing over to IMG plus the TV rights to everything except most football and some basketball games) to the same company for $10 million per, that seems like a pretty good deal. And it's not going to compromise Michigan stadium's zealous purity:
Throughout the negotiations, IMG College had to convince the school that it would protect the integrity of the game-day experience inside Michigan Stadium, known as "The Big House."
"We can increase the revenue and value of corporate sponsorships by doing things outside the stadium," Stultz said. "The more we talked about that, the more excited they got about it."
Etc.: Michigan is running a video countdown to the season; they're super fluffy but where else can you see images of guys doing hang cleans to rawkin' 80s guitar solos? Don't answer that question. Soon-to-be-ex AJC sportswriter Tony Barnhart has Auburn spread junkie Tony Franklin give key bullet points on why it, like 80s guitar solos, rawks. (Sidenote: the problem with newspapers offering voluntary buyouts is that often the guys with options -- the ones who aren't reprehensible -- say "okay" and the Terence Moores of the world cling to the lifeboat.) The Hoosier Report has old video of a 50s-era Michigan-IU game. The stands, they are not so full.
DUDE. California QB Tate Forcier is the younger brother of former Michigan QB Jason and has a website up with offer letters, personal photographs, stats, and a bunch more stuff. Amongst the personal photos is Jason Forcier in an old school "Worst State Ever" shirt:
Awesome. You, reader, should probably buy four. Tate, by the way, is the one in the hoodie.
We might not die. Michigan fans look to Vegas for reassurance they won't end up in Detroit against a MAC team this winter, and Vegas provides. Earlier this year they provided absurdly good odds for a Michigan national title, naming M the tenth most likely to win it all. Those are sucker bets, though, and their latest available bet proves that:
That's Vegas's over-under for the entire Big Ten, which still might be a sucker bet susceptible to public perception -- Iowa at 6th? -- but 8 wins is way more plausible than tenth overall. The best bet, IMO: the Minnesota under.
Taiwan. That's where Arizona transfer and likely starting point guard* Laval Lucas Perry most recently played. He didn't shoot well, but it was only three games. Here's the first half of one:
Feel the excitement of basketball in Taiwan!
*(once January rolls around; Perry has to sit out the fall semester because of his transfer.)
Etc.: How West Virginians see America. Made by a West Virginian, so don't blame me.