is there such a thing as an etsy genuis? if so, this is it.
A man who knew how to live.
RIP Terry Pratchett. British author Terry Pratchett died on Thursday at 66, eight years after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.
Occasionally, people ask me about how to be a successful writer. This is kind of like asking a football player about his rad interception after the game—I don't really know, it just happened. But no one likes that answer. So my second-best guess is that I read many different things over a long period of time, and written various things for public consumption all along. Eventually I'd cribbed my style from so many different people that the pastiche seems like something its own. Voila: writer with Voice.
Pratchett was the first and most painfully obvious theft of the Big Four. (The others: Bloom County author Berke Breathed, David Foster Wallace, and SI's Paul Zimmerman.) He had not yet made a successful transition to this side of the Atlantic, but I had a friend in high school whose aunt was in British publishing. She passed Pratchett along to him, and he doled the books out to me one at a time. I lost one once and was terrified that I would not be entrusted with additional precious objects. But my friend kept giving them to me. For a time afterwards my prose was littered with jaunty footnotes and anthropomorphizations of natural forces. A pale imitation of the real thing.
I kept some of that, toning it down, and as I was reading the internet's obituary of the man I found this, in his own words:
There is a term that readers have been known to apply to fantasy that is sometimes an unquestioning echo of better work gone before, with a static society, conveniently ugly “bad” races, magic that works like electricity, and horses that work like cars. It’s EFP, or Extruded Fantasy Product. It can be recognized by the fact that you can’t tell it apart from all the other EFP.
Do not write it, and try not to read it. Read widely outside the genre. Read about the Old West (a fantasy in itself) or Georgian London or how Nelson’s navy was victualled or the history of alchemy or clock making or the mail coach system. Read with the mind-set of a carpenter looking at trees.
This is what I've done. I barely read sports books. I get a lot of them in the mail, or at least I used to before people cottoned onto the fact that a review was not likely to be forthcoming. I read fiction, right now mostly science fiction, and I think it serves the site well.
Pratchett was endlessly creative and subversive, often taking hallowed but trope-laden fantasy novels apart then reassembling them into a half-parodic, half-genuine whole far better than the source material. He found a platform, then found that he'd rather make his own characters than repackage the frustrating ones he found elsewhere. He was excellent at this as well. He always maintained a healthy fear of hollow marketing—Pratchett elves are twisted creatures who live in a neighboring dimension that project an aura of glamour that iron disrupts. His most prominent and probably favorite character was DEATH, yes with the bones and the scythe and everything. He was simultaneously very weird and very kind and very upset, and I'll miss him.
If you're interested in trying him out, I recommend Good Omens, a book he wrote with Neil Gaiman, Guards! Guards!, and Small Gods.
YES OKAY. I did think to myself "by dang, Dave Brandon was selling Extruded Michigan Product" when I read that.
Leach + Ufer. Via Dr. Sap:
Enter the 30 second shot clock. The NIT is experimenting with that and an NBA-size restricted circle, both of which are changes I can get behind as a COLLEGE BASKETBALL CRISIS skeptic. Kenpom notes that the Vegas over/unders for opening-round NIT games differ from his numbers by…
Predicted total score of Tuesday’s NIT gamesMe Market Ala/Ill 126 136 GW/Pitt 125 136 NCC/Miami 117 129 UTEP/Murray 144 151 Mont/TAMU 125 134 UCD/Stan 140 148 Iona/URI 144 152
The difference here is an average of seven percent. Apply that to the average scoring this season of 66.85 points per game and you’d get 71.5. That’s over a point higher than last season when the scoring average was propped up by an increase in free throws early in the season. And it’s higher than any season since 1996.
…seven percent, which in fact precisely offsets the drop in possessions from 2002 (the first year for which Kenpom has data) to 2015. Kenpom also points out that the drop from 45 seconds to 35 resulted in just a two percent increase in pace.
If this year's NIT doesn't show a large negative impact on efficiency, I would expect the 30 second clock to become standard in the near future.
Miller says adios. Already covered by Ace when it happened; Miller releases his own reasoning on twitter. It sounds like he was just done with football. This kind of thing happens when you have a transition, and if Miller didn't have much of an NFL career in the wings (he didn't) it makes sense to just go be in the world… if the alternative you most closely associate with continuing is the last two years of Michigan football followed by a jarring change.
I don't think this is a major issue since Michigan finally has a lot of depth that is not any variety of freshman. It is an indication that the team spirit was worn down extensively over the past couple years. It's one thing to walk away from an NFL job—it's a job. It's another, or at least should be another, to do so when you could be a senior at Michigan. Hopefully Harbaugh can restore that difference.
But it could be a problem because… Graham Glasgow violated the terms of his probation and is suspended as a result. The nature of his violation is worrying:
Michigan offensive lineman Graham Glasgow has been suspended from the program, according to a UM spokesman, after testing .086 on a Breathalyzer given on Sunday and violating his probation.
Testing barely over the legal limit to drive is not a big deal if you are not driving… except this test was done at ten in the morning. That is a red flag.
If Glasgow comes through this okay and gets a handle on things, the OL can sustain Miller's departure by sliding him back to center and inserting Erik Magnuson with little loss of efficacy. If Glasgow flames out, then things start to look a bit thin.
Harbaugh is hands on. Knuckle placement.
Hearing about it is one thing.
But seeing your head coach lying on the ground during practice to demonstrate the proper center-quarterback exchange technique?
Well, things get real at that point.
"He's really hands on with everything," the Michigan junior running back said with a smile Thursday. "When I first saw him (on the ground like that), I was like 'why is he doing this?' But I asked the centers the next day if that helped them and they said it did, they said that was the first time anyone had showed them something like that.
"So, I enjoyed it."
"…and barely avoided bursting into laughter like Derrick. RIP Derrick."
More people. Erik Campbell returns to staff as a… guy… who does… things. Probably works with film, breaks down opponent tendencies, that sort of thing. Michigan also added Cleveland St. Ed's head coach Jim Finotti as their Ops guy.
Obligatory. John Oliver on the NCAA:
It's a racket. Related: here's Andy Schwarz on Purdue's "internal services" sleight of hand. Long story short, Purdue takes profit from the athletic department and pretends it's an expense they are paying for. In this way it appears like the Boilermakers are not in the black, helping the NCAA cry poverty.
Finally. Bill Raftery, at 73, gets to call the Final Four. Raftery manages to bring the enthusiasm Dick Vitale does without being a braying nonsense merchant; he is one of the chosen few media people who can be utterly himself without getting in trouble for it and still be awesome. (Another: Scott Van Pelt.)
On long practices. Joe Bolden:
“I would say it’s probably the longest I’ve ever been on the football field, other than a game with a rain delay like Utah last year,” said senior linebacker Joe Bolden. “To me it flies by. If you tell a high school or college kid that they’re going to have a four-hour practice in pads they’ll think you’re a bit crazy. But at the same time, you don’t think about it when you’re out there. Your body can take a lot more than you think it can. If he wants to practice six hours, and it’s (within the practice time cap), then we’ll practice six hours.”
This man was not one of the Big Four influences. A nation realizes that those rabid anti-Rosenberg Michigan fans were probably right all along.
— cuppycup (@cuppycup) March 17, 2015
Etc.: Engineering your bracket. MGoGirl basketball post mortem. Jordan Morgan has a foundation now. John Harbaugh talking to the team. Enter another Glasgow. A comprehensive look at when to foul late in basketball games.
As the Harbaugh turns. There were two main appeals to Jim Harbaugh as Michigan coach. One: he wins a lot. Two: he makes things interesting. After the last couple years, when the only interesting thing was finding out just how incompetent an offense can be, that latter is a breath of fresh air.
…OAKLAND IS STILL IN PLAY
HEAD FOR THE HILLS
WE DIDN'T LISTEN, NFL REPORTERS
WE DIDN'T LISTEN
False alarm. Harbaugh was just out there making fine distinctions between classes of lions:
"The A's to me, the way they compete, the team, the different way they think, they are jungle lions," said Harbaugh, who also coached at Stanford before joining the 49ers. "Zoo lions get tired of zebra after a while and want filet mignon. Not jungle lions."
No one ask him about the Detroit variety.
Oh, and if you're worried that he's slacking off because you're a crazy person:
"He's quite the competitor and a winner. We've been trying to work this out for a long time, but the day after he left the 49ers he was out recruiting for Michigan. There hasn't been that much time."
We get the crazies around here some.
Like the head coach. File under "too good to check." This story from around 2000 involves Harbaugh wanting to throw the ball around with some girls at Dominicks. An observer feels this is flirting until…
He said to the first girl, “keep your hands up, thumbs down,” and he showed her the proper motion with his own hands. When she didn’t get quite right, he grabbed her wrists and showed her how to position her hands. He then paced off 15 yards, held the ball in front of him, squatted like he was under center, patted the ball hard, took three hard steps back, planted his back leg and fired the ball at the first girl. As he let the ball go, you could hear it click as his fingernails hit the ball and, I shit you not, as the ball whizzed through the air you could hear it ssssssssssss… THUNK! It hit the girl in the shoulder and knocked her down. Jim wadn’t playin’.
“Come on, let’s go!” Jim barked. While Girl #1 picked herself up, Girl#2 gamely grabbed the ball and lobbed it back. Again, Jim got in his QB squat, smacked the ball, did a hard three-step drop-back and fired the ball at Girl#3, she ducked but the ball hit off the top of her head and went into the street. Girl#2 ran after it while Girl#3 sat on the ground rubbing her head. When Girl#2’s throw back to Jim was short, Jim got a bit annoyed, and set the girls up in a relay so that two girls were about 25 yards away, and the third girl was halfway in between so that that girls could throw to her, and she would run the ball to Jim. For the next 5-10 minutes, he was firing balls at these two poor girls, knocking them down or hitting them in the face about half the time. He was 100% oblivious.
…until it becomes clear that the only context in which Harbaugh has ever heard the word "flirt" is immediately preceding "…ing with disaster," and associates it with throwing over the middle late.
Bo post OSU, 1986. Dr. Sap is a treasure:
I'm going to find that high school teacher and tell her what a grave mistake she made almost twenty years ago. Long story short, wrote a funny ha-ha paper that would no doubt make me cringe today, teacher gave it a nice grade and wrote on it something along the lines of "you could be the next Mitch Albom!"
Flash forward to the present day:
— Michael Proppe (@mikeproppe) March 9, 2015
Is that good
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) March 8, 2015
I feel another "what the hell were people thinking not recruiting Aubrey Dawkins" podcast segment is in our future. Also I accidentally typed his last name "Dakwins," which is either Andrew Dakich's rapper alter-ego… or his dad's.
Since Fisch was fired with a year remaining on his Jaguars contract, Michigan found themselves in an odd position with him. It’s somewhat uncommon to see a coach simultaneously drop in both level of sport and title, but Fisch went from the NFL to college and from OC to a position coach. Thus, even if Michigan were to make Fisch the highest-paid position coach in college football, it’s unlikely he’d even approach his NFL salary. From a financial standpoint, it pretty much doesn’t matter to Fisch what his Michigan salary is – in 2015, he’ll be getting the Jacksonville money either way. From Michigan’s side, Michigan now has motivation to pay Fisch as little as possible, since they still get the full benefit of Fisch’s services, while the Jaguars have to pick up the tab. Fisch doesn’t care, so the only real obstacle to Michigan paying Fisch $1 for the year would be the Jaguars.
Michigan gave him something plausible—200k, just over what JayBaugh is making. Otherwise he'd be making in the 300-400 range the rest of the staff is, especially with the "passing game coordinator" title.
This is a nice change from the previous regime. Brandon paid way over the market for Hoke and then did the same with Borges, giving him a ludicrous bump after his first year. (One that ended with Michigan gaining fewer than 200 yards, remember.) He paid people to make them look like they were good ideas. Now Michigan is saving money where it can, like on Fisch's contract, so it can pay the right amount of money to people who are likely worth it.
Something something master… slingers? I'll work on it. 6'10" German F Moritz Wagner was at Crisler over the weekend, hanging with the governor:
— Yvo M (@_YV0) March 7, 2015
It's hard to tell how big of a prospect Wagner is. An NBA scout who Evan Daniels pinged makes him sound a bit developmental:
“He’s a versatile kid who knows how to play ball,” a NBA scout that has evaluated him multiple times told Scout. “He’s not an athlete, but with his length and coordination he manages to deceive his opponents and get to the rack quite easily. Once he becomes a more consistent shooter he will be a nightmare on the wing.”
“He reads the game well, gets his teammates involved and is unselfish player,”
Sounds a bit like Chatman, actually.
Hackett on Project Unicorn. This is a very smart section of his radio interview:
"It was more about "What did the institution need?"," Hackett said. "It can't afford to experiment a lot more. If you look at the last seven years going back to Rich Rod's arrival, there was a seven year period where these were experiments that we weren't sure were going to turn out. There was a gradual decay of "something" because of that. You can call that "winning", you can call that "fan support", you can call it "enthusiasm for Michigan's history". This is the winningest program ever in this sport and it carried the day for a long time. It wasn't behaving that way now though. That Sunday night (after the Ohio State game) I called the President and told him that I don't think we can experiment anymore."
The rest is history.
Yee baby yee. Jordan Morgan is playing overseas, and has found out that Hardaway and father are chicken spokespersons in Turkey.
So things are going to go okay for THJ if he ever has to seek asylum in Turkey. People will recognize him and give him succor in the form of chicken for reasons they no longer remember. And then he doesn't have to be on the Knicks anymore!
Speaking of Euro basketball. Hello post incoming?
Alba Berlin standout in #AdidasNGT Moritz Wagner, im told next year will go to NCAA. Michigan is no.1 option.
— Vedran Modrić (@vedranmo) March 1, 2015
Depending on who you talk to and when, Wagner's either 6'9" or 6'10" and displays the advanced ball skills typical of euro bigs. He could be a 4 or 5, maybe even a 3 if Michigan rolls a natural 20. Meanwhile check this court out:
That court hosts seventy different sports. Several of them haven't even been invented yet. Also, they emphatically do not call technicals for hanging on the rim in whatever league he's playing.
Beilein visited Wagner in November and Michigan could use a flexible player who could fill in at either of the frontcourt spots.
And let's check in with the German perspective:
In the first days of pre-season, the heads of coaches full of question marks. Which fragrance brands are the new ones such as the elderly respond? How fit all?
Google translate is getting really good these days.
Flippin. Dang son.
— Blake Countess (@TheeCount2) February 27, 2015
Countess for alumni cheerleader?
It lives. We've addressed Texas's Brandon problem occasionally in this space, usually when referring to the Longhorns' spectacularly tone-deaf, loathsome women's AD Christine Plonsky or branding-means-you-brand true believer Steve Patterson, the AD proper. Patterson has pissed off a lot of people in a manner similar to Michigan's dear departed, though I don't think he's firing off the emails just yet. Chip Brown has talked with the big ballers in Austin and comes back with quotes ominous for Patterson's future:
“It’s clear Steve Patterson is a numbers guy. Well, you can reach all your numbers and have it be a complete failure if you alienate important people along the way,” said one key UT donor who has been left cold by Patterson.
“It’s also how it’s done. This place is too important to too many people for athletics to be run like some cold, bottom-line pro franchise front office. I see a lot of John Mackovic in Patterson. Mackovic tried to tell us how to think and how it was going to be, alienated people, and at the first sight of trouble, he was gone.”
If Charlie Strong doesn't make it, Patterson will be quickly disposed of. Patterson's made the mistake of pissing off the men with money instead of the hoi polloi, who are less easily roused to rebellion.
I wonder why you're failing. I haven't talked much about the local media landscape in a while because we're clearly in the "…and then you win" segment of the process. Teams have their in-house organs, it's difficult to tell some of them from purportedly neutral guys at papers—Vincent Goodwill went from embarrassingly carrying water for Joe Dumars to literally working for the Bulls—and the bleeding has gone from layoffs everywhere to weird infosec campaigns to get guys to resign.
As a result of Goodwill's departure, barely-literate Terry Foster has been thrown back on the Pistons beat. He's taking the idea he should actually work for the paper that's been inexplicably paying him for decades hard:
He is complaining about an NBA beat that several thousand people in this state would get a tattoo on their forehead for. Jeff Moss has broken a lot of media stories over the past few years and reports that Foster's getting six digits from the News. That's incredible: Foster's contribution there has been the occasional slapdash column his editors have to turn into English. For years.
And they can't just get rid of the guy for some reason. Even if Mitch Albom's contributions to the Free Press consist of Borscht belt jokes so lame his colleagues are calling him out on his terrible columns, at least you can argue that Captain Fun Death Times has a certain cachet with the demographic that still subscribes to a newspaper. Terry Foster? Who does Terry Foster appeal to? Maybe his family, if they haven't read his output in a decade.
A sane organization would have fired Terry Foster years ago.
Gibbons compare and contrast. Rasheed Sulaimon's dismissal from Duke stems from rape allegations that were never followed up on by the alleged victims or the university itself. A basic timeline:
- October 2013: student says in a "large group setting" at a diversity retreat that Sulaimon sexually assaulted her.
- February 2014: at subsequent diversity retreat, a second student asserted the same thing.
- March 2014: unnamed person affiliated with basketball program (manager? teammate?) brings this information to the team psychologist; from there it goes to the rest of the program.
- January 2015: intern quits based on finding this out, gets lectured by the designated fireman Duke has, six days later Sulaimon is dismissed for vague failure to live up to program standards.
A couple people have emailed wondering about parallels here. There aren't many. Gibbons was the subject of a complaint that the university evaluated, deciding to expel him. Nobody even went so far as to pursue that remedy at Duke despite the anonymity offered by that process; Duke either put restrictions on Sulaimon that he failed to live up to or panicked and booted him after intern incident made them afraid they were about to have this hit the media. One doesn't reflect on the other.
I can't say much more without running afoul of no polo, but I don't know what the hell a coach is supposed to do in that situation. The only group of people less qualified to adjudicate a sexual assault accusation than university bureaucrats is the coaching fraternity, and with no one pursuing any kind of sanction it seems impossible to boot a guy because some people said some things that no one evaluated.
Michigan's case was much more clear cut, with significant physical evidence addressed by a neutral (or at least an attempt at a neutral) evaluation, and then the subsequent PR incompetence.
It was always such. Analytics has won and is in its hot moment, which means a lot of people who don't know their ass from a properly-deployed regression are prominent. This is more prominent now but nothing new: witness David Berri, PRINCETON(!) economist and crazy person.
Except PRINCETON economist David Berri is not actually that, and apparently never was?
Berri graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a B.A. in economics in 1991, and earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He taught economics at Coe College and California State University-Bakersfield before accepting a position at Southern Utah University in 2008.
No offense to any of those fine institutions, but if this was clear from the start maybe we don't have to deal with the scourge of this guy in the first place. All have the salutary property that anyone hailing from one of their institutions has to actually explain themselves instead of just saying "I'm from PRINCETON."
HELLO. I am back. I was blank yesterday after being in a car for like 14 hours, but here are some links to other things.
According to Wikipedia, I have been to the place where this was conceived.
Things I learned in Iowa. A sampling.
- Iowa is not as flat as Nebraska
- …but it's close
- …and it's really surprisingly large when you have to drive from one corner to the other
- Do not smell a pig farmer's phone
- …especially if he's presenting it you to like the natives might present Dr. Livingstone an eyeball to consume
- …even if he looks stunningly like Dr. Drew
- David Foster Wallace was not joking about the omnipresence of the howling mid-American gale that scours pockets from your face when there are shards of ice to fling at you
- …this does at least keep the roads clear
- You can be relieved and grateful to see a Subway
This is maybe not enough things to justify the time spent but needs must.
Here are all these things and then a school that's like NOPE. As Ace covered this morning, there's another uniform hijink in the near future. (Can hijinks be singular?) The basketball uniforms aren't iconic like football, so the proportional outrage is lower. I'm still bugged by the fact that Adidas is coming up with one design element and applying it to everyone because they want to advertise themselves, with no thought to how they could help Michigan out.
Michigan did draw the line at Adidas's Zubaz monstrosities a few years back, so at least there's that.
Still, I'm jealous that Indiana's the uniform in the center going NOPE here:
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) February 26, 2015
"We have seen your ideas and find them lacking." –university that employs Tom Crean.
I wish we had the desire to do that. And the desire to go back to the 1989 throwbacks permanently.
"These throwbacks appear to be jerseys Michigan actually used to wear. They just don't get it, do they?" –The Brandon formerly known as athletic director
A seven footer! 2016 C commit Jon Teske was supposed to be growing constantly, as high school people tend to do, and now he's broken through a symbolic threshold:
Jon Teske has grown 1 inch since verbally committing to play basketball at Michigan back in early August.
This would be trivial if not for one fact: When Teske enrolls in 2016, he will officially be U-M's first 7-foot player since Ben Cronin, the first recruit coach John Beilein signed when he arrived in Ann Arbor eight years ago.
Teske is reportedly a shot blocker, something Michigan hasn't had since Beilein arrived.
Other than adding strength and bulk and improving his quickness in the lane, Teske's defensive skills are already at an elite level. He provides Medina with a safety net on the back line and blocks shots with a combination of a pterodactyl's wingspan and sharp instincts. Most impressively, he does so without fouling.
"The number of shots he changes is just unbelievable," Hassinger said. "That's what Michigan will get out of him -- he's such a good rim-protector. ... We can do so much defensively because he just rules the paint."
Would you go so far as to say he is also strategic? Jedd Fisch gets in on the Jameis Winston praise pile:
George Whitfield said Jedd Fisch really wowed Jameis & Bryce Petty on their time at #Michigan: "He was very tactical but also dynamic."
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 18, 2015
Sounds like a man to play Battletech with. Meanwhile, another quote on Harbaugh from Petty:
"Outstanding guy," Petty said. "Just a football dude. That's the best way I can describe it. He just gave us a lot of advice about what to expect here (at the combine), about how to handle everything, especially going in as a rookie into a camp and what he expects as a coach in that scenario, things like that.
"We were tickled to death, anytime you get a chance to meet and talk to a guy who has been in it for four years and had a lot of success in it."
Harbaugh is definitely a Football Dude, as anyone who has watched that QB clinic video and giggled about knuckle placement knows.
Marketing back in the day. Gary Moeller repeats "keeps ticket prices down" three times in about 30 seconds at the end of this clip about marketing from a 1991 edition of Michigan Replay:
The word "brand" does not make an appearance.
We like this better because it doesn't work as well. It's that time of year when NFL guys ding spread QBs because their offenses provide too many open receivers to judge whether the guy can fit it in tight windows:
Ignore NFL translation, isn't this weird? Prostyle is better because it produces less open guys/doesn't work as well? pic.twitter.com/wfChgwGzdN
— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) February 26, 2015
I think the NFL guy was saying that tight windows are an inevitability in the league rather than pro-style is necessarily better. (Or even a concept that really means much other than Our QB Don't Run. New England is basically Texas Tech with a separate LeGarrette Blount offense stapled to it.)
And stay out? CHL teams are making noises like they would withdraw from Washington if their for-profit enterprises with mid five-digit attendances have to give their players anything other than a per diem and the vague promise of an education package maybe a sixth of them will use:
Silvertips GM Garry Davidson was clearly singing from the same songbook when he told legislators if the state did not exempt the teams from minimum wage laws, “it could negatively impact our ability to operate and would force us to move or not operate in the state.”It’s an age-old tactic used by sports teams and it’s age-old because it so often works. Build us a new arena or we’ll go to a place where they’ll happily build one for us. Give us tax breaks and concessions or we’ll have to pick up our ball and go somewhere else. And in this case, grant us an exemption from laws governing the basic human right to minimum wage or we’ll take our teenagers and have them entertain hockey fans somewhere else.
Oh really? Considering the Everett Silvertips (4,898 average fans per game), Spokane Chiefs (5,570), Seattle Thunderbirds (4,353) and Tri-City Americans (3,976) are attracting decent home crowds, it’s safe to assume the revenue they’re drawing from their regular season gate alone is robust. Probably multi-millions.
A CHL departure from Washington is about as likely as the Big Ten re-implementing freshman eligibility. There aren't enough markets in BC and Alberta that aren't already covered. Meanwhile on the other side of the continent, a QMJHL team just sold for 25 million dollars.
Silver lining: it turns out there is in fact a sports organization that can make the NCAA look good.
Obligatory. Ohio State has a five star recruit incoming.
This is man with a good super power. Michigan Hockey Now pings commit Nick Pastujov about various personal things. He has never gone to a concert, he likes the World Cup, he envisions having a hilarious dinner with Bill Gates, Steve Carrell, and Bob Marley, and he has a very practical approach to super powers: "could do anything." That just about covers it, I'd think.
Etc.: Kentucky fans are terrified of Northwestern.
Do you think we should take both? So Bryce Petty and Jameis Winston stopped by Schembechler yesterday to hang with Mr. Harbaugh.
QBs Jameis Winston (FSU) & Bryce Petty (Baylor) are preparing for the NFL Combine at Schembechler Hall. pic.twitter.com/2ICM9XMVrc
— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) February 17, 2015
"These guys don't know how blessed they are to have this kind of facility. I mean, Florida State, we're a very prestigious school, we have nice stuff, but we don't have this. I'm sorry, I love Florida State. Go 'Noles till the day I die, but they're so much [more] advanced than us."
"This is bar none the best one that I've seen. We've got great ones in Waco, you know I love what we had at Baylor, and so it's cool to kind of see other places, and this is definitely by far one of the best I've seen."
"It was a blessing to meet a guy like that. It was an honor to meet him. All of his accomplishments, and the type of coach that he is, I wish I could have played for him."
"If there's anybody that you want to play for as a player, it's a coach like him. Just a fan, energetic guy, passionate about football. From the second he came over here he was sizing up Jameis and wanted to see his grip. He's just a quarterback. And that's the coolest part about playing the position and being coached by somebody that's been there and done that."
Ndamukong Suh showed up today, because why not.
— MGoJen (@MGoJen) February 19, 2015
Can't hurt recruiting, that. Unless people think those pants are mandatory.
Doing what needs to be done. Note that this kind of thing did not happen under Hoke, who didn't have twitter at all. Harbaugh's firing off shade tweets at OSU and putting his mug on the internet with NFL stars, to wide publicity.
Michigan is—ugh no way around it—Leveraging Social Media much better than they did under the previous regime, during which they rarely did anything anyone would pay attention. Brandon (or rather his ghost-tweeter) tended to send out the kind of #hashtag tweets that make you sound like a broken robot. Hoke was invisible, and nothing that was interesting enough to pass around was constructed. The Winston/Petty stuff had some viral quality to it. That serves the program well.
Good to see goals other than incremental revenue being advanced these days.
“You’re Iggy Pop, man. I love your stuff. I’m from Michigan too,” I rambled on, sounding as moronic as the Pop is accused of being by some of his critics.
Iggy pointed to my t-shirt with the word Michigan splayed across my chest. “Meeschigan,” he said, holding his right arm in front of his slight chest in a 90-degree angle. “Meeschigan.”
After a minute or so of gushing and trying to open up a conversation with the man who’s music, with the Stooges anyway, was the soundtrack to much of my late adolescence and early adulthood, all I could get out of the guy was “Meeschigan.” As I turned to go back to the boys, I decided Iggy was either too burned out by the adulation of the years and hero worshiping kids like me or the critics were right. He was so sort of junkie savant. Either way, I was utterly confused by our meeting. …
Half an hour later, AMC had gone through a series of ballads that failed to alter the weird, contained rage from the mosh pit. I felt a tug at my shirt and turned around. I looked down right at Iggy Pop.
“Meeschigan,” he said, his arm cocked at that 90-degree angle.
“Meeschigan,” I answered him, my arm at the same angle. He turned and walked out with his Ginger look alike on his arm.
Iggy Pop, spreading the Ufer gospel wherever he goes. Confusingly. Demanding that people imbibe the spirit of Ufer before departing with his girlfriend. Following them around.
The best restaurant he's ever been to: "Cracker Barrel ... you can't beat the bacon."
Harbaugh then put his twitter where his mouth is.
Enjoying dinner with Addie at the Cracker Barrel: Life is Good! pic.twitter.com/pCV6pYHhGA
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 17, 2015
FWIW, my wife used to work at Cracker Barrel in high school. When I told her this, she expelled a sad, hurt sigh. The kind of sigh you expel when someone has told you something horrible. "Cracker Barrel isn't supposed to be anyone's favorite restaurant," she relates, "but if your main priority is getting out of the restaurant as fast as possible, Cracker Barrel is great at that."
I think we have found a reason.
(Also they make all their stuff from scratch instead of taking it off the SYSCO truck, so there's that.)
Miss you big guy XOXO. Charlie Weis is taking the slow boat to Shoney's:
For the first time since 1978, Weis will spend a football offseason as a bystander and not a coach. And it might very well be for good.
“I think it’s highly doubtful that I will ever coach again,” said the 58-year-old former Notre Dame head coach whose five-year regime in South Bend, punctuated by extremes, launched 10 seasons ago.
"…because I will still be paid to coach until the sun engulfs the earth and would rather follow Bon Jovi around than deal with people who don't understand my schematic genius."
Weis was a bad football coach and a good enemy, and for that I thank him.
(By the way, never go to Shoney's. Never ever.)
The ineligibility gambit. This will never happen but hopefully the NCAA folk pushing it know that and are trying to leverage the NBA:
7. Address the “one and done” phenomenon in men's basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball.
In today's lawsuit-rich environment that would be the equivalent of slapping a "SUE ME" sign on your own back, but anything that fixes one and done is a good idea. Increasing the age limit is the wrong direction, but anything is better than the current system.
Normally I would believe that this is just a leverage play but you never know with the NCAA. Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12 commisioner, makes a somewhat self-contradictory case for it:
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there is “almost a uniform acknowledgment that there's kids in college that don't have any interest in an education and don't have the proper education to take advantage of an education.” Bowlsby said freshman ineligibility would have a “profoundly positive effect” on football and men's basketball by easing the transition from high school without the distractions of competition.
“I think there's a growing interest in a robust debate, and I think we ought to drag it to the ground and consider it any way we can,” Bowlsby said. “I think it is the one change that could make an absolutely dramatic difference in college athletics.”
Kids who don't have interest in education aren't going to find it because they can't play. I don't think that helps much of anything. Maybe it sends more Mudiay types overseas as they cool their heels. It may help the guys who are behind educationally, but how much when they're participating in all the team activities anyway? They don't have more time. They will be prepped to play just as much as any freshman.
It's impractical for a ton of reasons and won't happen, but go ahead rattle that sword just in case you knock a concession loose. The NBA draft is the worst system out there. The NHL or MLB models would be much preferable.
Des updated. Wolverine Historian has released a revised Desmond Howard tribute video. Up to 20 minutes(!).
A mea culpa. A couple things on the fight song kerfuffle from yesterday. One: apparently there are people who have escaped Taken memery. (They probably "take walks" and "go outside.") No part of the threat-type substance offered yesterday was serious. I'm not going to poison anyone's search results.
I was just referencing this famous Liam Neeson thing:
As for Weiss, I hopped aboard the outrage express in the manner that the generally loathsome Gawker and Jezebel do for most of their clicks. If I'd thought about this Daily article more I would have realized that this proposal was in no way going anywhere, but I took the cheap, easy route. While the goal of preventing a Michigan version of We Are ND is a laudable one, firing up the internet outragemobile is likely to get out of control and I should know better.
Seriously, though: just stop. Nothing good can come of this quest.
Now, like, call it. One of my top eleven subjects to rant about in recent times has been offenses flinging ineligible guys downfield on pass plays with impunity. Boy does that put a bee up my bonnet. Spielman, too.
It appears the hue and cry has made it to the lawmakers of our sport:
The ineligible downfield rule was shifted from three yards to one yard past the line of scrimmage. National officiating coordinator Rogers Redding said defenses were beginning to read run more frequently because offensive linemen were 3 yards downfield and then the quarterback would pass. “It's going to be easier to officiate,” he said.
Or, like, six yards downfield blocking the people who were supposed to be covering passes. One or three doesn't help much if you're just forgetting to enforce it either way; hopefully this will come with an increased emphasis on calling illegal men downfield.
(One exception: if you're engaged with a guy and just kicking his ass enough to end up downfield that should be let go. Taylor Lewan got a penalty a couple years ago because his pass blocking was too effective.)
Approximate top eleven rant subjects in recent times. Give or take:
- Dave Brandon
- excessive basketball timeouts
- block/charge calls
- Big Ten expansion
- bubble screens
- "but the spread won't work in the Big Ten"
- piped in music
- ineligible men downfield
- Tom Izzo press conferences
- when my wife puts the cheese grater in with the food manipulation devices (tongs, spoons, spatulas, etc) instead of the food reconfiguration devices (juicers, graters, mallets, zesters, etc)
This is not 'Nam, MGoWife.
Nyet. Roquan Smith will announce his decision on Friday, whereupon he won't sign an letter of intent. He'll just sign scholarship papers. Well done, sir. (It seems like it's a foregone conclusion that it's not Michigan, unfortunately.)
Add another to the list? If Justice Hayes goes and rips off 1,500 yards I'm gonna be all like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Sleeper to keep an eye on: #CMU RB Thomas Rawls. Michigan transfer w/ off-field flags. But quick and physical on the field. Mid-round talent
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 10, 2015
I'm looking forward to a running backs coach with aspirations.
We would like less football, I guess. It's time once again for a college football person to mutter about changing clock rules For The Fans. Larry Scott's turn, as he advocate running the clock after first downs:
"You'll always get traditionalists who won't change it," Scott said. "I don't find it concerning or daunting that there are some that would oppose it. I think the job for commissioners is to take a step back and look at it holistically. The health and welfare of student-athletes is first and fans are a close second in terms of keeping games appealing. Three-and-a-half hours, to me, is too long."
There will always be traditionalists who are your core customers who know you're not seeing increased costs but still soaking fans with higher prices and ever-longer commercial breaks.
Why might games be longer?
The high-pressure, commercialized world of FBS is playing a much longer game than other NCAA divisions. While FBS games averaged 3:23 in 2014, the Football Championship Subdivision was 2:55, Division II was 2:45 and Division III was 2:41.
Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson also favors a running clock after first downs, citing declining attendance. FBS home attendance dropped 4 percent in 2014 for the sport's lowest average since 2000.
"I think our fans are expecting shorter games, and I think when you see attendance is down, we need to address it," Benson said.
Changing the ratio of game to red-hat-on-field the wrong way isn't going to help your attendance, but you don't actually care about that anyway. Just be honest about it. At this point it might be worth looking at some soccer models, which have to deal with an un-interruptible flow of gameplay. I'd rather have a logo next to the score chryon instead of ever-expanding ad time.
Early signing is dumb. Andy Staples addresses it:
I don’t mind an early signing period in theory because the vast majority of recruits know where they want to go, are happy with their decisions and shouldn’t have to wait. But cutting a month off of the process isn’t going to change much. It might be nice if the players who make up their minds really early had a chance to sign before their senior seasons begin, but that isn’t going to happen, either. Athletic directors would hate that since it would make it more difficult to fire a coach if he underperformed. The coach would have the leverage of half a signing class in the barn, and the AD might have to wrestle with double-digit players asking to be released from their National Letters of Intent. This happens all the time in basketball, but it’s different when the coach has 15 players signed instead of three.
Staples advocates a change to the LOI that says "the LOI is a bad thing to sign," so that's not… likely. To reiterate my excellent plan:
The MGo Recruitin' Plan
You can sign a pre-NLI any time.
The pre-NLI guarantees you a scholarship at the school you sign with, allows them to contact you whenever and prohibits other coaches from doing so. You can only take an official visit to the school you sign with.
You can withdraw the pre-NLI at any time.
On Signing Day everyone makes it official.
(Optional but highly desirable) NCAA does away with 85-player cap and allows everyone to sign up to 22-25 players a year, no exceptions. Transfers and JUCOs count.
Changing the cap from a roster limit to a yearly limit instantly does away with any oversigning mutterings since your motivation is to keep players instead of cut them.
(Via Get The Picture.)
Karan Higdon will help you with your homework. Unless you're a fellow athlete, I think that's a violation. Randos welcome though:
"Football comes second to academics and my future after it."
Higdon's a 4.0 student at Riverview. He wants to be an occupational therapist. He's involved in several academic leadership groups at his school, and has been invited to various academic summits, from Washington D.C. to Paris.
If Higdon couldn't run, catch, block or score a touchdown, he'd probably still be headed to college next year with a scholarship in tow.
Academics aren't just part of the deal for Higdon. They're the deal.
I guess he doesn't want an MFA, or he'd be at Iowa. If Fred Jackson was still here he could be a grad transfer and get drafted, maybe.
Etc.: Orson is so fascinated with Tom Crean that he wrote about him. Michigan was the 12th most-watched team in college football last year, which really says something since… uh… you know. NTDP camp thoughts featuring comments on a few Michigan recruits. SBNation has a "Jim Harbaugh is weird" page. Tom Leyden on Bo's passing.