The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
I was going to update the recruiting board but a computer crash ate it. So: #$*((#$. Delay.
Tickets. Have received several emails about the best ticket strategy for the Frozen Four, so: I'm not an expert since I've only gone to one, that in Buffalo in 2003, but that experience leads me to believe that tickets will be available in abundance. In Buffalo you couldn't throw a rock without hitting someone hawking 4 tickets; some guys were carrying around enormous packets.
We ended up buying lower-bowl seats right behind the net where Jason Ryznar's goal was waved off (woo!) for face value; when the immense depression of that game's OT loss combined with the lethal carnie strip of "attractions" on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls border to force us home ASAP we left our (stupidly, arrogantly purchased) tickets for the final with my brother, who ended up selling them for just over half of face.
With both Colorado schools bombing out in the regionals (thanks, MSU and Wisconsin!) the situation in Denver is likely to be similar. BC is half a continent away and Notre Dame fans barely know they have a hockey program. The other ND and Michigan figure to bring large contingents, but Buffalo was much closer to participating programs and the aforementioned scenario played out.
So given all that, I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of heading out there with the intention of buying tickets on the street. Unfortunately, this year the second semi ends within an hour of the first one and there is a single ticket for both. In previous years there had been separate tickets. This scuttles the post-semi dump wherein fans of the losing team sell tickets to the second semi.
We're going to print out a Pepsi center seating chart and go for the gusto. IIRC, the athletic department tickets were lower-bowl but in the corners in Buffalo.
What? Notre Dame is selling your standard a "woo frozen four shirt" on their official site. But apparently they got theirs from a mirror universe:
This seemed like an easy opportunity to make fun, but on closer inspection it's just weird. Michigan goes out in the first round to Northeastern, which didn't even make the tournament. Northeastern then plays Wisconsin, which beat UMass -- also not in the tournament. In fact, every first-round game is wrong and the only thing the shirt got right was a second-round matchup between ND and State going to ND. So that's... bizarre. It's as if they said "hey, no one's going to believe ND is in the Frozen Four anyway, let's just go all the way with this."
Movin' on up. I previously speculated that Brandon Minor might be headed elsewhere because of the shift in offensive philosophy; initial returns on that are as good as "Porter is a creation of Hensick":
Junior running back Brandon Minor and senior cornerback Morgan Trent have become early vocal leaders of the team, Rodriguez said.
That's a week or two old. This is new:
Defensive standouts: Rodriguez listed fifth-year senior John Thompson, redshirt sophomore Obi Ezeh and junior Stevie Brown as the defensive players who have stood out in the spring.
Thompson is trying to take the starting middle linebacker job from Ezeh, who was a Freshman All-American last year. Redshirt sophomore Jonas Mouton and sophomore Marell Evans appear to be leading the way at the outside spots. Rodriguez said the linebacker corps was one of the deepest units on the team.
How are these items related? Evans and Minor both attended Varina High in Virginia. Minor was generally well regarded -- a mid four-star, IIRC, though some sites rated him as fullback -- while Evans was virtually ignored. How ignored? He's the first two-star Michigan prospect (kickers excluded) since Andre Criswell two years before, and Criswell was a last-second edition. Michigan can get a commit from the most obscure Estonian and Rivals will give Argpan Ekerbajain a third star if given a couple weeks to re-evaluate him. Evans, not so much. Michigan recruited Evans specifically because Brandon Minor told them he outworked Brandon Minor; I probably should have given him more credit.
I find the leaders at linebacker interesting for these reasons:
- Jonas Mouton was just a redshirt freshman last year but I'm going to be pretty ticked if he has a good to excellent debut season; last year he was stuck behind a mediocre to bad Chris Graham. Since the coaches were willing to boot Graham to the bench in 2007 I think he got something less than the full-on Massey treatment and Mouton might have a year like Ezeh in 2008: "promising" but pretty meh.
- Johnny Thompson and Obi Ezeh both impressing and Evans being the leader at strongside linebacker. Ezeh was a SAM until the dire situation at MLB forced him over. Presumably either he or Thompson could shift back. So if Evans does get to start he's beaten out either a returning starter or (more likely) a fifth year senior with spot starts to date.
Varsity Blue has some video from spring practice. Remember that year in NCAA when 1) John Navarre was Michigan's quarterback and 2) the option was unstoppable anyway? Yeah, watching David Cone run a triple option brings back the memories:
There's another set of clips at VB. I watched them, for what little value that provided. Main impression: holy God, Jason Kates still blocks out the sun.
I usually don't go in for the predictable photoshopped baby in the aftermath of someone bailing or complaining or something, but good freakin' lord this is creepy:
Mmm, that's good nightmare fuel. Image you'll see in your sleep tonight prompted by this Matt Hayes article in which he checks out Michigan practice and finds a distinct lack of blood orgies.
Etc.: MVictors actually cased Saline High's football field in an effort to scout out spots from which you, the fre
nzied, BTN-less Michigan nut, can espy Michigan's spring game. The internet at its best.
In a big departure from previous seasons, when all of the first- and second-round hockey games were available in syndication for local cable systems or networks to pick up, rights holder ESPN is isolating almost all of the regional action on ESPNU.
Only four games that occur at conflicting times will be syndicated this season - none of them from the East Regional that has the Wolverines.
Upshot: those without ESPNU are screwed, especially since the hockey tournament runs concurrently with basketball. To the bars, in large, pitchfork-toting groups.
Todd Leopold has just announced that he and Leopold Brothers are leaving A2 for Denver.
The reason is the same one it always is: skyrocketing rents.
Death to landlords! Death to capitalism! Death to Amerikkka! I might be over-reacting slightly! And this has nothing to do with sports! I'll fight any ponce in the comments who talks crap about Leopold's!*
*(unless you're huge, or a ninja, or made of bees, or are dangerous in any way.)
Eggs congregate further in a particular basket:
B.J. Daniels, who has been ranked the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, is no longer being recruited by Michigan, it is being reported.
Michigan called off an in-home visit that was scheduled for Thursday and backed off the recruitment, scout.com is reporting. Kyle Rice, Daniels' high school coach in Tallahassee, Fla., told rivals.com that the recruitment was over.
I have no idea what could have caused the rift; Daniels was supposedly qualified and excited about the opportunity at Michigan. Though Justin Feagin's still out there he's way less touted than Daniels (until recently, kid was a two-star). It's Pryor or bust, I guess.
(Side note: newspapers have taken up taking subscription content from the recruiting sites -- which this is -- and posting it willy-nilly. That seems unethical.)
"Typical West Virginia fan" at the moment. Michigan fans will return to that state if (when) this falls through.
Rodriguez did have that press conference today. The full extent of the coaching stuff:
"It may be disappointing to you, but I'm not going to talk about any rumors or innuendos or jobs or whatever else is floating out there. I'm not going to talk about that at all," Rodriguez told reporters. "I'm not talking about anything other than this year's team, this season and this year's bowl preparations."
When pressed, Rodriguez told reporters "You all have not understood what I just said. One more question and unfortunately this conference will end."
Pointed non-denial? Perhaps. This is an actual denial from RR's agent:
Mike Brown denied reports in Detroit media and "The Sporting News" saying his client met with Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman and athletic director Bill Martin. If so, Brown said, "That's news to me." Brown, who said he was in Atlanta despite reports that placed him in Toledo, said Rodriguez flew to Ohio to see a financial advisor.
Rodriguez apparently flew from Morgantown to Toledo on a chartered twin-turboprop plane around 8 a.m. yesterday and returned shortly after 5 p.m. -- the time of a scheduled meeting prior to the 11th-ranked Mountaineers' first, full Fiesta Bowl practice.
In terms of least plausible obvious lies, "he's seeing a financial advisor in Toledo" is up there with "I was advising them on possible non-Les Miles candidates." A Sporting News report says Michigan has received permission to talk to Rodriguez, probably about a long-term adjustable rate mortgage.
EERHole chips in:
This is still very much in the air. RR is conflicted and there are several issues at play. My sources say that no decision has been made as of yet. But, it is under serious consideration. It is not the lure of Michigan which concerns me - the issues with RR are more personal than that. Certain relationships are not what they should be and others will never be the same. The influences of RRs decision-making process concern me. My stance remains the same - I am done with him, regardless.
There's also another guy on that board who the rabble cries out for when news is going down named Mexman; his take:
As of late last evening (early this morning) he was leaning toward staying. I am no longer emotionally invested in this man.
He is ignoring those that he owes something to... not us as fans/donors but the kids that he has CHOSEN to drag through the mud AGAIN.
His ego has alienated me beyond repair.
A slightly more detailed post in the EERHole thread:
The latest word from those closest to him are that he is leaning a bit toward staying. A slight bit.
FWIW. These guys seem to be bonafide, though.
|Head Coach, Ball State|
|DL coach @ Michigan||1995-2002|
|DL coach @ Oregon State||1989-1994|
|LB Coach @ Toledo||1987-1988|
|DL Coach @ WMU||1984-1986|
|Four-year letterman and captain at Ball State as a defensive lineman.|
For those of you who are not Jason Whitlock and thus know nothing about the Ball State football program, like all red-blooded Americans should, Brady Hoke is its head coach. In five years on the job, Hoke is 22-36 and has one winning season, this year's 7-5 campaign that will end when Rutgers houses the Cardinals in the International Bowl. Hoke's main accomplishments to date are
- being the first coach to torch Johnny Sears and one of dozens to hang close with Michigan despite a massive talent deficit,
- nearly beating the worst Nebraska team ever, and
- being good friends with Lloyd Carr.
There isn't a power program in the country that could make Brady Hoke's candidacy for their head coaching job seem like anything other than a PR move designed to help a friend of the program... but remember the boats. The goddamn boats. Anything is possible.
Ball State's Stassen numbers for the decade preceding Hoke's arrival:
|68||San Diego State||0.45690|
Hoke's winning percentage? 38%. And he did not take over a program in disarray. Ball State had disastrous years in 1998 and 1999, going a combined 1-21, but recovered from the tailspin to go 16-18 the three years before Hoke arrived.
Hoke promptly put up records of 4-8, 2-9, 4-7, and 5-7 before his "breakthrough" 2007, when he finally got the program back to the level it was at when he arrived. Historically, Ball State has been one of the better programs in the MAC, their overall record above distorted by those two bombs; other than that the last time they won fewer than five games was 1987. The evidence suggests Hoke is outclassed in the MAC.
So let's make him Michigan's head coach!
Xs and Os Proficiency: Hoke has never been a coordinator on any level.
Recruiting: A N/A. It's Ball State.
Potential Catches: Potential "catches"? The whole damn thing is one big catch! Even in the realm of people who Michigan would approach after getting turned down by everyone -- EVERYONE -- there are vastly preferable candidates: Ron English. Mike Trgovic. Glen Mason. Jon Chait. Me. The Golden Retriever from "Air Bud: Golden Receiver." Mussolini, who is dead. Dick Vitale. Sigourney Weaver. Richard Nixon's penis. Sigourney Weaver's penis. All of these people and organs don't have a track record that suggests they are a below average MAC coach. It is in this way they are superior to Brady Hoke.
Relative Compensation: Hoke makes 170k per year, the third lowest in D-I. We'll probably offer him $120k.
Would He Take The Job? Yes.
Overall Attractiveness: Awful. Awful, awful, awful. The worst possible candidate. The mere idea this guy -- who's never even been a coordinator anywhere and has his MAC team performing at a level well below the program's historical baseline -- could get the job is infuriating. Only at Michigan could this happen, and if it does I guarantee you that Bo is going to haunt the mofo that signs the contract.
Better that Debord? No. Absolutely not better than Debord. The functional equivalent of Debord and a guy who would either keep Captain Failure or bring in Stan Parrish. If Hoke is hired there will be a riot, and with good reason.