Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
The local beat reporter in Colorado Springs has tweeted that Michigan will fill in one of its holes in the 2012 schedule with Air Force. That's a one-off at Michigan Stadium, obviously, and a higher-quality one than usual. Given the way these things go Michigan is probably going to be shelling out a cool million bucks to the Falcons.
Why? Well, that year's home schedule is awful—OSU, Nebraska, and Notre Dame are all on the road with Alabama in Dallas—and whatever small cachet Air Force brings to the schedule it's better than Eastern Michigan or Baby Seal U. I'd expect the last nonconference opponent to be a MAC team.
RC Slocum, man about town. This doesn't have anything to do with anything but here's Joe Paterno doing the limbo:
Sort of, anyway. I don't think you're supposed to go that way. Paterno probably thinks going backwards is a Hun affectation. Also prepare for the OBC to burn himself into your retinas:
These are from a recently unearthed cache of photos of former Texas A&M coach RC Slocum that features both Gorbachev and Mathew McConaughey, although not in the same picture. Barking Carnival theorizes that Slocum is the most interesting man in the world, and it's hard to disagree. Gorby!
OTL on oversigning. ESPN's put out what's hopefully part one of an extensive series of interviews with college athletes who have been screwed out of scholarships and swept under the rug. It's LSU again:
So Les Miles…
- Runs a program that oversigns and cuts players who don't seem useful.
- Doesn't bother to tell players they've been cut in a face to face meeting.
- Relies on someone else to send a letter to the kid.
- Refuses to meet with the kid after he's received the bad news.
- Baldly lies about the kid at media day.
Then Elliot Porter shows up and says he had to be a man about getting cut by Miles, demonstrating more maturity than his erstwhile head coach. Unfortunately for those of us making huge "Please Be Our DC, Randy" signs for the bowl game, Randy Shannon's rep as an awesome dude also takes a huge hit.
Not to beat this dead horse for the thousandth time, but this is some bullshit right here and should be a major target for reform. ESPN's doing the Lord's work, and I hope they continue.
The inevitable redshirt. To reiterate something from Tim's presser recap, Devin Gardner's back problems held him out of the last eight games and have set him up to take a (surprise!) redshirt this season:
“His back has been better, and he’s been able to do most of the stuff today,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Saturday.
Should a medical redshirt be granted, Gardner would, in theory, have two years to hold the starting quarterback job. Denard Robinson is penciled in as the starter through the 2012 season.
Yes, the nature and timing of Gardner's injury is unbelievably convenient, but if they've got documentation they've got it and the NCAA will have to grant Gardner his redshirt. We should all go back and undo the Great Gardner Non-Redshirt Infighting, since it looks like Michigan's going to have its cake and eat it too… unless Rodriguez gets fired and everyone transfers and we're starting Jack Kennedy next year.
Gwaltney in repose. A Bruce Feldman article on well-travelled former blue chip recruit Jason Gwaltney, who I remember openly campaigning for Rivals to raise his ranking as just another message board plebe, has a random quote about Rich Rodriguez($):
He says he did learn how to practice full-speed from his days at WVU. "They chiseled that into my brain," he said. "Coach [Rich] Rodriguez instilled something in me. I still owe that man a lot."
Gwaltney ended up at a D-III HBCU in New Jersey and is in an upcoming all-star game with fellow spectacular flameout Fred Rouse. His brother Scooter Berry was an afterthought throw-in but developed into an All Big East defensive lineman as Gwaltney toured the lower divisions of college football, so he's got an obvious what-could-have-been in his own family.
Hello Georgia? After UGA's athletic director was pulled over for DUI with a girl in the passenger seat and her panties in is lap, UGA has a new athletic director. His first scheduling actions were cancelling games against actual opponents that the old guy had put in place, so it seemed like Georgia's brief glastnost period wherein they were prepared to end their infamous policy of never leaving the South was over. This, then, is a surprise:
Preliminary discussions have taken place with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State about the prospect of one or more of them scheduling a home-and-home series with Georgia in the future, UGA athletics director Greg McGarity confirmed to Dawgs247.
“We’d love to do a home-and-home with a Big Ten or Midwestern school that has a rich tradition,” McGarity said. “We’re going to work as hard as we can to make that happen.
“Hopefully, within the next year, we’ll be able to have something in writing.”
Georgia and Clemson have a series that extends until 2014, so any series would have to wait until at least then. McGarity says the series would be "way down the road" so one school or the other would have plenty of time to cancel it.
Would Michigan be interested? I'd hope so. Dave Brandon's already set up a neutral site matchup with Alabama that's slightly cool but also thousands of miles from either campus in a generic, if swanky, corporate stadium. From a fan's perspective having a home and home with Georgia is way cooler than a one-off in Dallas. From a financial perspective not so much—Michigan's getting a home game's worth of revenue from the Jerryworld game—but money isn't everything and Michigan needs something to spruce up the schedule in years when Nebraska, Ohio State, and Notre Dame are all road games. Of course, "sprucing up" the schedule in those years means "making it brutal," so maybe not.
Would they be more interested than the other three schools listed? Probably not. I'd bet Michigan is the least likely of the four to actually land a series with Georgia. Because of their Notre Dame series they have to work in games against actual opponents where they can; Penn State and Ohio State don't have any annual commitments and Notre Dame has to fill twelve games every year.
Limbo update, or backdate, or whatever. Yesterday Tom's recruiting post quoted Darian Cooper saying Tony Dews told him Michigan coaches would "know January first" whether they'd be around next year. Recent commitment Desmond Morgan was told something similar with more confidence but something less than rock-hard certainty:
“I’ve talked with coach Rodriguez and the rest of the coaches and they’re pretty confident he’s going to be there after the season,” Morgan said. “I’m pretty confident as well. No matter what happens, Michigan’s a great football program.”
So that's Morgan and Countess in the boat no matter what. Picking up two commits during this time of uncertainty is a nice insurance policy against the uphill battle a January coaching change would see the new guy fight.
Bang-bang. Soony Saad's been called in to the U20 team, whereupon he scored in a dismantling of Canada and essentially announced he'd be back for 2011:
Philadelphia Union striker McInerney scored in the 50th minute while Saad also notched an impressive 25-yard half-volley score in the 34th.
It's nothing new for Saad, one of the top strikers of the ball in the country, who helped lead unsung Michigan to the College Cup as he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. "It was nice being in camp. It was kind of a tough adjustment coming off the college season," he said.
When the subject turned to the College Cup, where the Wolverines suffered a semifinal loss to eventual champion Akron, Saad declined to comment.
"Not until we win the College Cup next season," he said.
The usual disclaimers apply.
Etc.: Zac Ciullo comes in for an extensive profile in the News. Random New Yorker poem about Michigan. Jason King drops some positive fluff about the basketball team along the same lines as my column but with far fewer references to the DOS command line. Might want to update that photo, though.
U-M to Open 2012 Season vs. Alabama at Cowboys Stadium
DALLAS, Texas -- The University of Michigan football team will face the University Alabama in the 2012 College Football Kick-off Event at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 1, 2012. The game will be televised nationally in primetime.
“This is a great way to kickoff the 2012 season with two of the nation’s winningest college football programs,” said Athletic Director Dave Brandon. “We are excited about playing a regular season game in the state of Texas, a region of the country where we have traditionally recruited. Our goal is to get as many Michigan fans to the game as possible to witness this match-up of traditional powers.”
The Wolverines will be the away team with the Crimson Tide designated the home team. The game officials will be a crew from the Big 12 Conference. This will be the fourth time that Michigan faces Alabama in school history, and the first contest played during the regular season by the two programs.
All three previous games between the Wolverines and Crimson Tide were played in bowl games. Michigan defeated Alabama by a 28-24 score in the initial meeting, the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl held in Tampa Stadium. The Crimson Tide got the better of the Wolverines in the second meeting in Tampa, winning a closely contested 17-14 game in the 1997 Outback Bowl.
The most recent match-up between the two schools is arguably the most exciting bowl game in Michigan history. The eighth-ranked Wolverines edged the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide, 35-34, in overtime to claim the 2000 Orange Bowl title. Tom Brady completed 34-of-46 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns in the winning effort. He tossed a 25-yard TD pass to tight end Shawn Thompson and Hayden Epstein converted the PAT as Alabama scored but was unable to convert the PAT in the first overtime session. It was the first-ever overtime game in school history.
With the addition of the Crimson Tide, the Wolverines are looking to fill two slots on their 2012 schedule. Both open dates are scheduled to be played at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 8, Sept. 15 or Sept. 29. The other previously scheduled non-conference game is Sept. 22 at Notre Dame.
Ticket details will be announced at a later date.
Following is Michigan’s current 2012 schedule:
Sept. 1 vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 22 at Notre Dame
Oct. 6 at Purdue
Oct. 13 Illinois
Oct. 20 Michigan State
Oct. 27 at Nebraska
Nov. 3 at Minnesota
Nov. 10 Northwestern
Nov. 17 Iowa
Nov. 24 at Ohio State
Off Schedule: Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin
Oh shiiiii… So yesterday I noted that Purdue starting quarterback Robert Marve had been knocked out for the year with a torn ACL, and suggested that Michigan was less likely to lose that game now. I was terribly, terribly wrong:
Robert Marve is no longer an option at quarterback. I would argue that his effectiveness was unfortunately limited to poor line play against Notre Dame, then he was banged up from the Western Illinois game on. That leaves Rob Henry as the presumptive starter. He is not the only option, however. Justin Siller has three starts at quarterback in his career. Could he be a better choice?
Purdue: Robert Henry, Purdue, Robert "Rob" Henry. Purdue: he is awesome and made of ninja stars and if you think about starting anyone else I will find the World's Most Medium-Sized Drum and blast it into the Pacific Ocean with a river of tears and this will not go well for anyone and I'll probably get very dehydrated. Just say no to Siller.
If I have to make a Hitler video that starts off with the guy pointing at the map and saying "Marve transferred from Miami and was entrenched as a starter and tore his ACL" and then Hitler saying "fine, fine, Robert "Rob" Henry is a redshirt freshman with only decent mobility, we'll be fine" and then the guy saying "Mein Brimley, Purdue has installed Justin Siller as their quarterback" and then the ensuing and ceremonial Losing Of The Shit, I totally will. And I won't like it.
He is the sun and the moon and the stars. Tom Brady/Lloyd Christmas fan. He hugged Denard. He showed up for Colin Cowherd. He's aquaman2342's avatar. People made gentle fun of his hair and compared him to the aforementioned dudes. I got like six billion emails from someone who must be his mother complaining about the gentle poking of fun. But we like him, don't we? He is everywhere, and he's always really happy about Michigan. His haircut is charmingly reminiscent of the guy who's (still, for now) the best Michigan quarterback of our lives.
He is so everywhere that I'm just innocently watching this RAWK-laden official site video of Michigan's top kick returns ever and BAM, I'm saying there's a chance at 2:02:
Lloyd Brady has been happy everywhere. It is at this point that he is photoshopped into historical situations that he's really happy about, like an inverted Stunned Aggie.
More Lewan. Woo!
"During film, he was wearing sweatpants, a fedora and a sweatervest with no shirt on underneath," Van Bergen said at the press conference, rolling his eyes.
He's like an enormous Tressel who uses his power for mustaches and good. Q: there are Michigan players with twitter accounts. Why on earth did this not get a twitpic?
Financial what? So… whenever people talk about going to a nine game schedule they cite the financial considerations that make it difficult. Example:
"I know our fans want to see more Big Ten games," Delany told the Tribune. "Our TV partners want to see more Big Ten games. But if we can't finance our programs, it's not going to happen."
I'm not so convinced. Situations, assuming that PSL fees do not apply (reasonable since they don't change based on number of home games):
Home and home with real program. One game, 100k people, 50 bucks each = 5 million dollars.
Two games against tomato cans. Two games, 200k people, 50 bucks each = 10 million dollars – 1.5 million for payouts = 8.5 million dollars.
That's 1.75 million per year, but it doesn't take into account the increased TV value of games against real teams, the increased attractiveness of season tickets when you have a real opponent in the nonconference (more relevant now that schools are charging close to what the market will bear and that seats are sometimes going unsold), and the various intangible wow factors that contribute to the bottom line. (In college, the bottom line is program prestige, wins, and losses, not money).
The problem has been that when Michigan schedules a killer nonconference game the money from TV goes to… the conference. Indiana makes just as much money from Michigan-ND as Michigan makes from Indiana-Towson. This severely reduces the incentive to schedule real opponents since you take all the risk of a loss and get zero gain relative to your conference-mates. But if you force the entire conference to add real games against each other and you own a network far more interested in televising Iowa-Wisconsin than four versions of Indiana-Towson, then the financial differences quickly tilt in favor of actual games. The bottom of the conference doesn't get to buy body-bag games, remember: IU just played at WKU.
I don't think financial considerations are going to be a major factor. It's close enough to a wash that a home/road imbalance and complaints from the IUs of the world about bowl eligibility will be more important.
Point Griese. Brian Griese was generic during the broadcast of the BGSU game but this is an interesting point that I've thought to myself but never though I'd hear an analyst drop:
“The ability to approach the line of scrimmage with the threat of running and (him) being able to throw those balls off-balance, that’s so hard on a defense,” Griese said. “Guys are wide open because of him.”
One of the many things that make Denard ridiculous is his ability to go from run to throw in no time flat. See the Roundtree touchdown against Notre Dame or the "Anything Tate Can Do I Can Do Better" improv in that same game. Accuracy from odd body angles makes his play action even more deadly than it would otherwise be.
Etc.: Some guy in the media says Michigan and BYU are talking about a home and home, which like okay. I'll take anything against a real program. Doubtful this ever comes to fruition, just because. "Staunch wave hater" and BG fan credits M with a "mad fun series," which is true. Michigan's wave is one of the hidden joys in sports. Michigan attendance has been more resilient than FSU's. Dreaded Judgment writes on the "why do I care about this?" question.
Via the axeman himself:
TUSCALOOSA -- It hasn't been announced officially yet, Alabama coach Nick Saban said tonight on his radio show, but he announced it anyway:
Alabama will play Michigan in 2012 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Senior Denard! A bunch of guys who haven't been cut from Alabama and are therefore badass! SATURDAY! SATURDAY! SATURDAY! IN THE JERRYDOME!
WHY DON'T WE JUST PLAY A HOME AND HOME I DON'T KNOOOOOOOOW