this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
big ten network
A few TV items. Three things of note follow.
If you have Dish and live outside of the Big Ten footprint, they just yanked your BTN. An emailer, uh, emails:
After being all cocky about being the first guy to have BTN in the lineup last year on DISH, I just noticed that DISH has dumped BTN except in Ohio, MIchigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and "sections of Pennsylvania and Indiana". As a California alum, this sucks pretty hard. I have already complained to DISH, but I thought you might want to help mobilize mgoblog nation to get on their case. Thanks!
Class of '98
David followed up with Dish and found this out:
So, last year, the BTN was added to the base package. Now, I had to upgrade to the "Plus" package ($5/mo. for the music channels) and then add the big sports package for another $5.99/mo. I was assured by the operator that I could get it in LA, despite the footnote on the program guide. So, it appears to be available for about $11/mo. Very frustrating.
Unfortunate, and pricey, but heroin doesn’t come cheap.
A note on the “reverse mirroring” policy mentioned in yesterday’s mailbag: no, it doesn’t apply to ABC night games. MSU fans in Chicago are screwed since the powers that be decided to put Clemson-Alabama on this weekend instead of MSU-Cal.
This affects Michigan less than most other teams since they refuse to play night games at home, but there’s occasionally a regional ABC roadie that would not be available except on Gameplan. Your best bet in that situation is to get Gameplan for the weekend, which I believe costs twenty bucks.
And a protest from commenter Ninja Football about my dissing of sopcast yesterday:
I take exception with your disparaging remarks about Sopcast. I was forced to use it for a variety of games and for other events throughout the past year, and as long as you know what you're doing it isn't so bad. There is always the chance of the guy changing the channel, but if you find the right site and "reputable" (HA!) streamers you can be assured that won't happen. Saying it's "fraught with peril" immediately makes people think of viruses and crashing computers, and while it can at times be frustrating, it's better than reading about the game in the paper two days later.
If that’s all you’ve got and you want a live stream, I guess it’s worth a try. If anyone finds some reliable streams or wants to go so far as set some up themselves, let me know and I’ll pass the information on.
It’s in. Marques Slocum will not go into the night without a plaque, dammit:
Godspeed, Marques; I hope you eat Mark May and take his place someday.
How to act. Three separate Michigan blogs inform you how to act on gameday. Varsity Blue has the student section covered:
If you are sitting below row 80 and hear a cow bell and say anything related to the Christopher Walken sketch on SNL lampooning "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult, I hate you. Freshman year it's acceptable and funny for the first few games. Beyond that, seriously, that sketch was on like 8 years ago.
Just as in the student section, refrain from getting plastered at the tailgate. And if you do, stay at the tailgate. If not, that drunk feeling in the first half will turn into a hung-over feeling in the 2nd half. Your head and your fellow seat mates will thank you.
If you are in the student section, try not to get drunk enough so that to keep your balance you have to shove the people in the row in front of you over and over again.
I only have one request: when the PA announcer says “welcome to Michigan Stadium,” don’t boo MAC teams and the like. “We’d like to extend a warm Michigan Stadium welcome to… Toledo!” should not be followed by rampant booing. I would prefer the booing to be restricted to actual rivals: ND, MSU, OSU.
Wait, also: if you wear a shirt with “Buck The Fuckeyes” or any sort of letter inversion shtick please castrate yourself. Possible exception: “Iuck the Fllini.”
Well, the situation is very fluid, you see. OSU defensive tackle Doug Worthington will not be suspended for the Youngstown State game after picking up a DUI. This is no doubt acceptable to the folks who thought Kevin Grady should be executed after his wild night of being passed out behind the wheel of his Denali.
Maybe I missed something in an earlier post, but I'm still a little confused on the TV deal.
I live in Florida. My local ABC just announced they are carrying USC/UVA at 3:30pm. Since Big Ten is not on Gameplan anymore, and Big Ten Network has "postgame Saturday" scheduled at 3:30pm... where will I see Utah/UM?
Go Blue, Scott
I think I’m going to answer this question every year for the rest of my life: if the Utah game isn’t on ABC in your region it will be on ESPN2. The Big Ten’s contract with ABC/ESPN has a “reverse mirroring” clause that guarantees every Big Ten game on ABC regional will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2 in areas that receive another ABC game.
If it’s not on ABC, it’s on ESPN2. Repeat 100x times.
On a similar note:
I am a recent UM grad currently working in Japan in desperate need of watching Wolverine football. What is the best option for watching the game over the internet? Is there a service I can pay to stream the game?
Also, do you know of any sports bars that show the game. I am about 5 hours from Tokyo which seems like the most viable option; however, this weekend I have plans to be in Nagoya (relatively large city) to try to find the game at 1 AM.
Do you have any insights into these viewing option?
Thanks for the expertise.
We’re probably a few years away from reputable live streaming on the internet, so your options are threefold:
- Try to figure out this sopcast thing and hope the guy streaming it doesn’t change the channel randomly. Probably no good.
- Get a buddy in the States to set up a Slingbox for you. (Wikipedia)
- Download the game from MGoVideo.
Sopcast is fraught with peril and I would avoid it if possible. The slingbox is immediate and reliable, but quality isn’t always top notch. MGoVideo is free and will have high quality copies of the game but you’ll have to wait a day or two before you can get your greasy mitts on it. If it’s that important to you, I’d just shell out the 200 bucks for the Slingbox.
As for Tokyo UM bars, I’ll throw that open to the peanut gallery. Any ideas?
So great - the BTN gets more money to Big Ten schools. Unfortunately I think the net result of this is actually problematic.
While the BTN may now be readily available to those within the conference footprint, our fans and (more importantly) recruits happen to live other places as well. Yes, I'm annoyed that living in Tampa means I still have to go to the bar and sit amongst the SEC d-bags to take in a BTN game. But what about recruiting? Does the extra million(s) that our school receives make up for the lack of national exposure to recruits? Even if the BTN does eventually become a national network, how many southern kids are actually going to tune in to watch it? They will instead be flipping back and forth between CBS & ESPN to catch all the SEC football their little mulleted hearts desire.
In the long term, the BTN could end up putting Michigan and other Big Ten schools at an even greater recruiting disadvantage than they are at already. And due to the fact that university presidents will continue to side with the BTN because of how much money they are receiving from it, the chances of this changing any time soon are slim.
Personally, I'd rather have less access if it means better recruiting for my team...better to watch a good team some of the time than a bad team all of the time.
Any effect like this is likely to be minor. The bulk of the Big Ten Network’s games are the kind of things that would have been on ESPN+ syndication before. Recruits outside the BTN footprint weren’t getting those games anyway.
There is an occasional hit for Michigan when the BTN has a second pick week and grabs a game like Purdue, but that’s going to be a once a year occurrence that will probably be offset by a Michigan game that would otherwise hit syndication being dragged onto ESPN because the BTN grabbed a different game.
Meanwhile, the extra money the network brings in will allow Michigan to install personal butler robots or whatever in the locker room. And everyone knows butler robots bring in the recruits.
Spurred by the recent AP preseason poll, from which Michigan is absent for the first time I could remember, I checked out historical AP pre- and post-season polls (appollarchive.com).
I am sure you and many of your readers already know the following, but it was eye-opening for me: Only twice before in the modern era (1969-present) has Michigan gone into the season unranked in the AP poll. The first was 1969( Bo's first year) and we all know how that turned out--a stunning turn around with Michigan finishing ranked 9th highlighted by a huge upset win over Ohio State. The second time Michigan entered a season unranked was 1985, a campaign that saw them go 10-1-1, winning the Big Ten, beating Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl and finishing ranked second.
So apparently Michigan has a grand history of defying the polls --underperforming when ranked highly and outperforming when unranked. My question is whether you think this year will follow the script? I firmly believe Michigan will finished ranked, but am I being utterly delusional when I daydream about a top ten finish, beating Ohio State and/or winning a bowl in the process?
Can't wait for Aug 30th!
~Jim in Kalamazoo
Excellent research there, but… uh, no, I don’t think that’ll follow the script. 1985 was an anomalous year because it came immediately after the 6-6 1984 season, but said 6-6 season was poor mostly because Jim Harbaugh was injured. Once that was no longer an issue, Michigan resumed its usual ways. And in 1969 Michigan wasn’t that great, going 8-3 in an era of college football more easily dominated by the big schools.
A lot more teams are serious nowadays and the team is significantly smaller due to scholarship restrictions and thus less able to absorb the sort of attrition that Bo and, to a lesser extent, Rodriguez unleashed. My advice is to keep your expectations manageable and be pleasantly surprised if they’re exceeded.
You might this interesting....this morning I typed into google "third holiest site judaism," and the first hit is Zingerman's in Ann Arbor.
(I was trying to find more information about Rachel's tomb)
The Midwest’s long regional nightmare is over. Time Warner joins up:
Charter does as well:
Charter Communications Inc. and the Big Ten Network say they've reached a distribution agreement.
The multiyear deal announced Wednesday allows the St. Louis-based cable company to carry the network's programming throughout Big Ten territory, including systems in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and northern Illinois.
With the much publicized Comcast deal and a unconfirmed-but-likely agreement with Mediacom, the Big Ten Network is nearing saturation levels in the footprint. After all the huffing and puffing from the media, fans, and partisans on both sides of the carriage debate, Jim Delany’s diabolical plan has worked.
It cost us a year of irritation and about 70 cents a month. In return, we get
- vast amounts of HD programming, even when Minnesota plays Northwestern
- much better coverage of basketball and other lesser sports
- a comprehensive survey of the various horrible commercials put out by the conference’s alumni associations
- all the Dinardo you can eat
- paid cash money homes.
Thanks to Big Ten Network and the conference’s unique contract with ESPN/ABC, which assures that any non-night game on an ESPN network is nationally televised, you can see ever football game your team plays—even if it’s against Cal-Poly on the last week of the year. No pay per view. No Gameplan. No syndicated Michigan State games at noon occupying otherwise interesting slots on ABC.
And it’s keeping us ahead of the Joneses even with the SEC’s mondo ESPN contract:
Under the new deal, that annual number could leap to as much as $15 million per school, which is just shy of the projected average revenue Big Ten schools get from their TV deals each year.
It is difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two conferences because of the incongruity of the length of the deals and their escalating values. But the Big Ten Network could annually pay its schools an average up to $10.2 million each over the 25-year term of its deal with the Big Ten. The deal started this past year with a payment of $6 million to each school and the number could escalate each year, depending on the network’s revenue.
The Big Ten Conference’s 10-year deals with CBS and ESPN will produce an average of $9.3 million for each school.
So, like… holy crap. It worked. The Big Ten monetized the hell out of content it was getting very little for, got a ton more games into everyone’s home, and provided gainful employment to poor Gerry Dinardo.
This is going to be weird, but here goes:
Thanks, Jim Delany!
Now, no offense, but please refrain from making public statements about anything.
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.
Add another 1.2 million subscribers to the BTN pile:
For sports fans, Verizon is launching three new HD sports channels.Verizon has always placed a high priority on providing all major sports programming and offering as much as possible in HD.
The company has now added top college basketball and football action with the Big Ten Network, which will be available in both standard- and high-definition.
Verizon was the last alternative (fiber/satellite) provider to sign on; now it's just Charter, Time Warner, and Mediacom left.
Full up. The Bama Sports Report says Ivan Matchett has made his grades and will enroll at Alabama shortly. Matchett is the 27th recruit to qualify -- two enrolled early -- and Alabama has now maxed out their freshman class. Three players will have to go by September, and there are still two guys trying to get eligible.
Hello, nurse. Anyone with an interest in viral marketing, branding, or boobs probably knows that JC Penney has been scrambling to control the fallout from a fake teen sex ad that was leaked onto the internet. But everyone's missed the hidden subplot except an alert reader: that chick is a Michigan fan. Check the shirt she's putting on/taking off/putting on:
Thousands of sixteen-year-olds across the country will now find themselves inexplicably fond of winged helmets.
Slightly lame. A large number of departures from the quasi-revenue sports of hockey and baseball:
- 2010 hockey recruit Jared Knight has signed with the OHL. This is not a huge deal since that class is two years from seeing the ice and Michigan will no doubt secure a suitable replacement, but Knight would have been a first-round OHL draft pick without his Michigan commitment and is a disappointing loss.
- 3B Adam Abraham, SS Jason Christian, and top reliever Mike Powers have signed MLB contracts and won't return for their senior years. Putnam is still wavering after being selected surprisingly late, though.
"It was the greatest thing I ever did professionally," said Bob Lipson, who created the show in 1975 and produced it for 33 years. "It's me. That's my identity. I absolutely loved it and worked with three great coaches. Nobody had it better than me. It was a great run."
So what's to become of new coach Rich Rodriguez's show this fall?
One thing is certain: it will not be called "Michigan Replay."
"I own the name," Lipson said. "It's not for sale."
Feed me, multiply. Stadium and Main emerges from a long slumber with some original reporting:
...the most important thing about the BTN is having access to all of its "overflow" feeds, so you can see all of the games (without having to worry about whether you'll receive your team's game). This is especially important for me, since I live in Washington, DC. So if I only get one BTN channel, my "regional coverage" might be the BTN Game of the Week (which may or may not include Michigan), or worse yet, Penn State (since they're the closest geographically). This short blurb from the Baltimore Sun makes it sound like the BTN will be available on Comcast's Sports Entertainment Package in cities like Baltimore (stated), DC, NYC, etc. (inferred), which was expected. But what about those overflow feeds?!
S&M (...errrr) goes on an intrepid journey to get a comment on the matter from Comcast, finally surfacing with:
We plan to review this situation week by week, and hope to bring our customers as many of these extra games as possible, based on level of interest and available channel capacity. BTN has told us that these details of this opportunity will not be available until August, and that they are quite subject to change, week to week, based on the game selections by ESPN, ABC and NBC.
Bleah. Sounds like this remains in question; head over to Stadium and Main for a fuller parsing of the above.
Snippet. Oddly, I'm an Edmonton Oilers fan (long story involving Chris Chelios and Mike Comrie), which sucks when it comes to actual on-ice accomplishments except during the Pronger year but is pretty killer when it comes to blogging. One of the best Oilers blogs out there -- albeit one of the worst named -- is MC79Hockey, and they've just wrapped up the main problem with the "access" frequently trotted out as the reason you shouldn't read the internet. Former Sioux defender Matt Greene just got traded:
Looking at Matt Greene first, he’s a fifth or sixth guy on a bad team. I had to laugh tonight as Jason Gregor was promoting his upcoming LIVE INTERVIEW WITH MATT GREENE and then explaining that he saw his upside as being a number three defenceman, because he can’t play on the PP. It was a stark illustration of the corrosive effect of access on truth telling.
Not everyone goes that route, of course, but the ones who don't tend to be Sharp/Mariotti types who Speak Truth To Power in a super-annoying way. Access is a double-edged sword.
(Also re: Greene: " I’ll always remember him, but mostly because I went to school with the guy who hit him with his truck." ZING!)