"What (Michigan coaches) told me is that they're focusing on point guards right now, but if anything opens up, they'll definitely come back on and recruit me as hard as they were," said Towns
hail to the victors: the book
HUZZAH! The Kickstarter has been Kickstarted. HTTV shall be printed, just as Steve Gutenberg anticipated when he invented the four-color glossy printing press in 1988. Not only that, but with Draftstreet picking up the tab for express shipping, you will receive it mere seconds after it is mailed. But what will you actually GET for your money?* I thought it might be interesting for people who contributed to get a sneak peek at what is in this year’s HTTV, as well as to hopefully convince those of you on the fence to secure your copy while you still can.
*Disclaimer: I have not seen the magazine yet, so these are just my assumptions of what will be in there. But it all seems pretty likely.
Full Team Preview
Brian provides an in-depth look at every position group. Some tidbits:
- The defensive line section spends a couple of pages analyzing the various positions along the DL, including how Michigan will adapt to Ondre Pipkins’ injury, how the snap distribution is likely to shake out at the 3-tech DT spot, and whether we can expect Frank Clark to take another step forward.
- The parts about the linebackers and secondary are a combined 37 pages long, and largely consist of hand-drawn battle scenes of Jake Ryan and Jabrill Peppers attacking ninjas and robot dinosaurs with fighter jets and tanks. Complete with “neeeeeeeerrrrrrrVRROOOOOOOMMM” sound effects.
The part about the offensive line is a quarter of a page long, and consists mostly of a drawing of a seven-legged spider.
- The quarterback section is exactly one word long. I can’t tell you what it is, but it rhymes with “Kevin.”
- The running back section is just a list of every calorie Derrick Green has consumed since the end of last season.
- The wide receiver section is a full-page explanation of why Devin Funchess is a wide receiver, not a tight end.
- The tight end section is a full-page explanation of why Devin Funchess is a wide receiver, not a tight end.
Ace basically watched every available snap of every opponent Michigan will face this year other than Notre Dame and Ohio State. He broke the tape down, player by player, until he had a handle on the personnel and how they were used in the various offensive and defensive schemes. He then looked at the teams in the broader context of their previous seasons and used everything to put together a comprehensive and cohesive picture of what we can expect in 2014.
Meanwhile, I Googled “what is Notre Dame football” and “Ohio State intelligence joke” and pretty much copied and pasted the first few results. Between the two of us, this is what we found:
- Appalachian State is bad and we shouldn’t be playing them.
- Miami (NTM) is bad and we shouldn’t be playing them.
- Rutgers is bad and we shouldn’t be playing them.
- Maryland might actually be good and we shouldn’t be playing them.
- Michigan State will be good and we shouldn’t be playing them where we are playing them.
- Minnesota is probably bad but BROWN JUG.
- The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is the intercollegiate football team of the University of Notre Dame. The team is currently coached by Brian Kelly and play home games at the campus’s Notre Dame Stadium, with a capacity of 80,795.
- Ohio State ain’t come to play school.
Twisted Blue Steel
The creative essay portion of HTTV. People wax poetic on things of interest. This year's things of interest:
- A farewell to Jeremy Gallon. If you were wondering how many ways in 2,000 words you can call someone short without using the word “short,” the answer is 61.
- A farewell to Denard. Yeah, I know. He left two years ago. SHUT UP AND READ ABOUT DENARD.
- A farewell to Trey Burke. See above.
- An inspiring piece about the scrappy underdog tale of Hunter Lochmann. From his childhood days with a Darren Rovell poster on his wall and nothing but hand-me-down marketing plans, he learned the game from his sandlot strategy meetings, and managed to fight his way to the top. I challenge you to not cry at the description of the slow clap that follows his first successful SEO initiative.
The X’s and O’s. Space Coyote does a lot of it, so I don’t fully understand it. But it looks impressive, and I’ll take his word for it.
- An explanation of the change to the 4-3 Over from the 4-3 Under, and something about Doug Nussmeier. Blah blah.
- A detailed explanation of how running plays are designed to, under ideal circumstances, move the ball closer to the end zone.
- A bunch of pretty pictures with lines and stuff.
There are also a few other tidbits and other assorted whatnot buried in the book. I don’t want to give them all away, because half of the fun is finding them for yourself, but here are a few:
- The first letters of every line will give you a really nice recipe for chicken tetrazzini. The secret is nutmeg.
- The lower right-hand corner acts as a flipbook of the Dileo power-slide.
- The paper is made from real recycled pieces of Devin Gardner’s ribs. This wasn’t actually intentional; Michigan State just sacked him into a paper mill when this particular batch of paper was being made.
- Everyone who purchases HTTV will have a chance to play three snaps at right guard this season.
- If you read HTTV while listening to Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Destruction," it syncs up in a really cool way. If you read at the right speed. And change some of the lyrics.
One Other Reason
There is one other reason to buy this magazine: you will want this magazine. You might not think so right now, because this has been a long and generally crappy few months. You don't think you'll be excited about this football season. I know, because I felt the same way. And then I started watching video of last year's Michigan/Notre Dame game and Michigan/Ohio State game to write my stuff, and I remembered how much I love college football.
You'll get there, too. It might be in early August, or it might not be until the team runs out of the tunnel, but you will get there. You'll get that familiar feeling of anticipation and dread that has accompanied those September saturdays your entire adult life. Regardless of the team turmoil or the weak schedule, it will at some point strike you that Michigan is playing football, and you will once again fall under the autumn spell. There's no shame in it. It happens to the best of us.
The only question is whether you will be prepared.
You won't see it in the Kickstarter but we just got a big pledge today toward making this year's Hail to the Victors season preview and feature mag.
Draft Street, you ROCK!
Our online fantasy sports partner must know a good bet when they see one, cause they're doubling down on us hitting our goal, and covering the difference between 3rd and 1st class shipping so you'll get your books sooner and in better condition.
Our gratitude is immense; if you want to show yours, I think they'd just like you to keep playing. They have games for all sports—college/NFL/NBA/NHL/PGA/etc.; check out the MLB games going on now. They're also offering to cover a free MGoShirt from our store to one new person who signs up this week.
Did he leave a message? Here's what the sponsor wrote us when he offered to do this:
"Hey guys, it's Larry from the DraftStreet team. We are really excited to team up with you guys to be a part of the MGoBlog annual. We look forward to this magazine every season and even pass it around the office during the year to help our scouting of the Michigan players and the guys they're facing.
If your readers haven't signed up for DraftStreet yet I would highly recommend they check us out. They can sign up for a free MLB draft right now and pick 8 players from 8 tiers. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com. GO BLUE!"
What's This Then? HTTV is MGoBlog's annual 128-page print magazine, now in its third year of us publishing it on our own. About 30 of those are dedicated to a positional preview of Michigan's 2014 team, and another 20 are team-by-team breakdowns of all the scheduled opponents, with special attention paid to ND/PSU/MSU/OSU. Most of those were Ace, but PSU was done by Mike Pettigano, the Brian of the PSU blogosphere, and BiSB did ND and OSU.
The rest are features. Brian wrote his ode to Gallon, I wrote the decline and fall of the Big Ten Empire, Space Coyote introduces the Nussmeier's offense like so…
…and Mathlete has promised the his study on highly touted prospects will be in today. Dooley's annual article is on the 1964 team (he scored an interview with Bump!) and Kryk's is on Bo's last. There's a couple more features I'm forgetting at the moment. Oh: Craig Ross takes us from the origins of the game to Bennie Friedman. And a former Daily writer investigated where the Wave came from (actually not Michigan but a Michigan game). Anyhoo it ends with our regular roundtable.
Why Kickstarter? We fund each one through Kickstarter so we'll have the capital upfront. No loans = lower cost to make it.
Why do I care about your sponsor? Because we have to pre-pay for the shipping. Last year we had a lot of issues with mailing because the new printer sent them 3rd class bulk, which saved a lot of money but also got some books out reeeeeealllly slow-like, sometimes damaged. We HAVE to go 1st class, but that takes a bit chunk out of us that we didn't really calculate into the initial overhead. Problem solved.
Our preseason magazine is back for a third year as an independent publication, and back on Kickstarter. It is the same 128 pages of twisted blue steel, containing a full team preview from me, opponent previews from Ace and a selection of the internet's finest opposing team bloggers, technical football stuff to thrill and amaze your friends (read: dog) with, a healthy slice of Michigan history, and profiles of Michigan Men.
- FULL TEAM PREVIEW: No, the offensive line page isn't blank. It's full of hope!
- OPPONENT PREVIEWS: The enemy in detail. Ace brings the sass.
- PINT A MINUTE: I am very proud of my Gallon retrospective title.
- DECLINE AND FALL OF THE B1G: How this happened and how to get out, maybe.
- NUSS FUSS x2: Doug Nussmeier's background, and a separate article from Space Coyote on what he wants to do.
- HALL OF THE HIGHLY TOUTED: Mathlete evaluates the most touted recruits in Michigan history, because Peppers.
- 1964 UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Greg Dooley takes on a little-regarded portion of Michigan history.
- THE LAST BO TEAM: John Kryk on 1989.
- ORIGINS OF THE WAVE: A unique Michigan tradition, examined by former Daily writer Michael Florek.
- ORIGINS OF THE GAME: Craig Ross on the paleolithic.
This year we're offering a DRM-free e-book to everyone who purchases a physical copy. This should get to you as soon as we're done with the thing. Share it, sure. Please don't put it on Pirate Bay.
What about basketball and hockey?
We found that there was just barely enough interest last year to push the basketball and hockey magazine to even and that was after a national title game appearance. We're going to split that magazine out separately, because we probably can't justify printing it up again unless we hit a certain level we don't think we did last year. We couldn't be sure because we had one mega-kickstarter.
Our goal is to get an e-book of the same length out, with more expensive on-demand printing options for people who really really want a physical copy.
WHAT DO I DO NOW
HTTV Hoops & Hockey arrived at our warehouse yesterday. They look rather nice. Rush orders should be getting theirs and the rest of you in not too much time. If you skipped ordering one on the kickstarter, get it in any UGP Store or Moe's, or have one delivered from the MGoStore. We also have another DraftStreet deal if you've got another email account. Saves you on shipping and gets you $30 extra to play with.
If you'd care to bother your local store to carry a few copies or next year's football books, have them email me ([my first name] @ [this site]). The more requests the better.
This is the first 5-0 when I've ever felt like "I'm pretty happy hoops/hockey season is starting." Part of that is me being a worry wart about Gardner vs. Road Performances (scroll down). Part of it is the basketball team practice reports are a ticker tape of "youguysyouguysyouguysyouguys!" The last of it is something happened last night that didn't get the proper treatment it deserves. Let me rectify that now.
We Beat Beantown Muppets
And you can't have one without the other...
National title contender Boston College came to Yost last night for the hockey season opener and Michigan beat them 3-1. Washes away last year? Not at all. Changes the likelihood of coming out of a brutal non-conference schedule with enough tournament credentials to make up for a relatively eh Big Ten? Definitely. From people who've gotten to see it I'm hearing Compher is something between a second Copp and a god. Next step is revenge on R.I.T.
HTTVHoops/Hockey contributor MGoBlueline is probably running around in circles after last night. BEFORE last night however they dropped an exhibition 2-1 to Waterloo and that was harrowing.
His response was to experiment with Corsi, a stat named for the guy who came up with it that measures the carry of play by tapping blocked shots and misses as well as shots on goal. It's a think brought up a lot in games Waterloo and every Red Wings loss from 1995-2012, where one team carried the play for two periods and probably earned a draw on the other, but were done in by more than just bad puck. You can make it a % too to come away with an idea of defensive performance:
Theory: fewer pucks end up on goal if the defense is getting in their way.
Weeklies. Best and Worst by bronxblue was effusive in its praise after two weeks and a bye of things to be mad about. At first I didn't get the part about Mitch Leidner being mini-Tebow, but now that I've seen the broadcast oh man: my Sparty brother isn't an RCMB'er but even he was like "wow these announcers just hate your guys." Inside the Box Score by ST3 had about 12 Blues Brothers/Belushi shirts that might have been better than my PSU excuses one. LSAClassOf2000 is just trolling Purdue now. Turnover Analysis says not turning it over=good. Jonvalk went there with the weekly wallpaper, is probably going there for it. Program.
Etc. Bill an I agree: Ohio State and Northwestern only made each other look terrifying.
[Jump: Best of the Board, Zen]
I'm gonna Akron this column today since we're sending the final PDFs of Hail to Hoops and Hockey to the printer. The contents (click to make it readable):
Actually we had to cut the 2nd Bartelstein article today
If you don't know what Henri* is doing in the upper-right corner you didn't follow hockey so much last year. If you did follow hockey last year you probably have strong opinions on goaltending. HTTV contributor MGoBlueline put together a neat diary this week trying out the "quality start" metric they use in baseball for hockey goalies. He gives them out for having a save% better than the DI average, i.e. a start that gave your team a chance to win. My quibble: it's justification of feelings-ball (-puck whatever).
|Racine's year to MGBL: 12 quality starts, 10 non-quality, 5 cheap wins, 2 wasted quality starts. [Paul Sherman, Michigan Daily]|
The problem with any gamesmanship stat is this: have you ever met a goalie who ever liked any goal going by him in any situation ever? It makes sense for pitching because it's possible to surrender a run to get an out, a pitcher's most important currency; for goalies the currency is time. What you're measuring is consistency, which is useful so long as you remember that's what you're measuring (and that we wouldn't be having this conversation if Racine posted any shutouts last year).
While we're being realistic, alum96 wrote a board post that got diary-bumped that compared the recruiting profiles of Michigan's defensive line to those of Ohio State. His metric for guys is the quality of offers—Michigan's were mostly regional while OSU's guys mostly had Alabama offers and plenty more power programs after them.
True, and that's a big part of why Michigan is hard after the top DL recruits in the country right now. If you take away the Heininger Certainty Principle Michigan's DL looks really thin; since pass rush is more of a talent thing it should be no surprise that the deficiency in recruiting stars is most apparent there. But then Ohio State's line is just ludicrously stacked right now—Michigan doesn't need to get 8 guys Saban wanted badly to get to good.
[Jump for the Weeklies, Best of the Board and some badly needed zen]