I did not make this headline up
1,000 words on the basketball season. The Daily's Ariel Bond obviates the need for further comment:
For this service we thank her.
On Conway. There has been a huge e-gument in the aftermath of MI WR Shawn Conway's commitment. I'm kind of annoyed. I really hate it when a kid commits out of nowhere in February and people go nuts, pro or con. I think they go excessively negative in response to the school of mindless boosterism that regards every commitment as a victory, but often the end result is like the fights I had with my brother as a kid: I would hit him first, but not that hard. Then he would hit me back harder than was justified, so I would hit him as hard as he hit me. From there it would escalate until we were rolling around on the ground trying to bite each other's eye sockets.
In Conway's specific case, he is an in-state kid who they have seen extensively at their 7-on-7. He's 6'4" and has enormous hands. He won't turn 17 until June. His speed may be questionable—or his highlight tape might not be sped up like many are. There's a good reason he's under the radar: he didn't play until last year because of transfers and when he did get on the field it was for a poor team with a poor quarterback. This doesn't seem too similar to a Drew Dileo or Antonio Kinard because the things that held those guys back in the rankings were physical limitations. Conway has more upward mobility from a rankings perspective. Even cranky local fixture Magnus, an actual football coach, likes him.
And also: it's not like Dileo or Kinard has proven himself either way yet. Rodriguez built a good program with guys like them. At the very least it's clear they trust their own evaluations. That's a better state of affairs than this one:
"I used to go in the coaches' offices, and sometimes they would literally have Rivals.com up on their screen," said Matt Shodell, who covers UM and its recruiting for CaneSport.com. "I won't name the coaches, but they would be writing names down on pieces of paper. I don't know how much film they were looking at."
That was Miami under Coker.
This argument is a lot like people complaining in November that the class was going to have two defensive players in it.
No research necessary. Texas is apparently excluded from the short list of 15 schools the Big Ten is doing research on. Barry Alvarez:
"They basically broke down what they would bring to the table," Alvarez said at a meeting of the UW athletic board. "They talked about academics. They talked about size. They talked about size of their arenas. They talked about attendance. They talked about the populace in that specific area."
According to Alvarez that process will continue, and Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany could make a recommendation to the university presidents this summer.
"I think it could be one (school), or I think it could be multiple." …
"In our initial study, there wasn't anything on Texas," Alvarez said.
Scale back your world domination plans where a 36-team Big Ten fights Mecha-Godzilla every January first, it seems. Alvarez also asserted that Notre Dame is not likely, though he didn't specifically mention their absence from the list of 15 teams.
On the other hand, researching Texas's suitability is a waste of time. Here is a million-dollar consultant's report on whether Texas joining the Big Ten would be a net benefit for the conference: hell yes.
Goalie acquisition. A few days ago I mentioned a potential Jack Campbell replacement, one Jeff Teglia of the USHL. Here's another kid down to Michigan and Minnesota. He is lanky Joel Vienneau of the OPJHL:
"[Michigan's] Mel Pearson saw me last weekend and he thought I played really well," the 6-3, 185-pound netminder said. "He likes my size. They haven't offered [officially] yet but they are very interested in me because they lost Jack Campbell to major juniors and have a big need."
Like Teglia, he's putting up excellent numbers. Unlike Teglia, he's playing in a league that provides questionable competition. Even so, a quick googling of both gives the impression Vienneau is the better prospect. There's the Minnesota offer, for one, and then there's a number of people on Hockey's Future insisting that the latest CSB rankings for Vienneau—29th NA goalie—are preposterous and the kid is an easy top ten prospect. While HF folk are easily mockable, there is some truth in the hive mind. The Hockey News featured him as a prospect to watch and guaranteed he'd be picked in the upcoming draft. The same guy called him out as a potential mid-round pick in an interview. A leap in the final CSBs seems assured.
Yost Built surfaced an earlier article in which Vienneau declared he was "95-99 percent likely" to end up a Gopher, but that was before Jack Campbell changed his mind and Michigan started looking around. Michigan has a big depth chart advantage. While Minnesota also has a junior starter with a questionable save percentage, Michigan's backups are walk-ons who are not threats to play. Minnesota has a sophomore who went in the fourth round of the NHL draft. Vienneau plans a visit to Michigan after his season ends and will decide then.
Elsewhere in hockey recruiting, the Cedar Rapids Gazette has a fluff piece on Roughriders teammates and Michigan commits Derek DeBlois and Mac Bennett, who have known each other since they were "tiny." They also surf. On the East Coast. So there you go. I'm curious as to whether DeBlois, currently slated for 2011, will move his enrollment up a year. There's a spot with the departure of Robbie Czarnik, and Michigan needs forwards who can put the puck in the net.
Star system… comes to hockey. College Hockey 24/7 has release a top 50 list that features a ton of incoming Michigan folk:
4. Jon Merrill
13. Mac Bennett
31. Kevin Clare
35. Luke Moffatt
37. Jacob Fallon
Michigan has the third-most names on the list with five. Minnesota has six, Notre Dame seven. Oddly, Miami is shut out and Michigan State has only one guy—goalie Willie Yanakeff is #50. Both schools are bringing in fairly hefty classes, too.
It appears that uncommitted recruits were not included, because Teglia and Vienneau are absent and it seems hard to justify Yanakeff over Teglia when Yanakeff has an .887 save percentage and Teglia has a .918 in the same league.
Etc.: UMHoops scouts Carlton Brundidge and Cody Zeller. Baseball won two against a good OVC team, lost two to Texas Tech, and lost Ryan Lamarre for "an extended period of time." I hate you so much, 2009-10. The final ice dancing competition goes down tonight; Davis and White are in second. Victor's Rally speeches from the Youtubes.
Moderate ado about nothing. So some guy sued the regents for that "informal" meeting that went down a couple weeks ago that discussed either earth-shaking sanctions or lopping off the heads of the people in compliance who screwed up the logging, depending on which probably-baseless internet speculation you prefer. Many internet lawyers have weighed in on the suit. The consensus appears to agree with this university spokesman:
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told the Daily the regents meeting didn't violate any regulations set forth in the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
Fitzgerald said at the time the meeting did not fall under the act because it was an “informal” meeting of the Board of Regents, not a “closed” meeting as set forth in the act.
Additionally, Fitzgerald said the meeting was not even classifiable as a meeting as defined in the act. The Michigan Open Meetings Act defines a meeting as “the convening of a public body at which a quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy.”
Fitzgerald said because the meeting was not subject to the act, no meeting minutes were kept.
There's also an interesting thread on the board from a guy who just had an in depth conversation with a newspaper editor who recently filed a similar suit:
a winner in this lawsuit would get access to the information and reimbursement for attorney fees. However, these cases can last months (my contact mentioned legal fees had exceeded $40k for one case) and the reason a singular person may not pursue this for the “freedom of information”. Also, it is possible a judge may not rule in your favor due to opinion on if the procedures where properly followed and you are simply out the money with no access to the meeting minutes. Again, if I have other litigation pending, maybe I take the chance. If not, I would be an idiot since, even if I believe I am 100% right, I risk that a judge does not see my side of the case. I am also either representing myself or have a lawyer doing some pro-bono work since I would not want to bankroll this.
Having just heard a significant amount of information on this type of lawsuit from my newspaper editor contact, I am curious to understand the real motivations here. I struggle with the idea that a random person who reportedly loves the program and is only motivated by that he “…hopes and prays the university officials follow the rules…”.
Even if the suit has merit, the results of the investigation are due to be announced in a month or so, long before the thing could wind its way through the courts, and the only thing it would turn up would be records of the meeting-type object that evidently don't exist.
Folk interested in who this Very Concerned Alum is need only hop in the super-stalky thread on the message board. He's a litigation-happy Granholm political appointee currently mulling a re-election bid. Media reports consistently mention his status as an "alum," but he's not really:
Education: Graduated 1997, Renaissance High School, Detroit; BA in political science, University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2002; nearly two years at Thomas Cooley Law School, Oakland University
No offense to any satellite campus alums out there, but that's like claiming you're an Illinois alum when you went to UIC.
Would this be fake? Dolphins beatwriter Armando Salguero is advocating that Miami snatch Brandon Graham at #12—something that could actually give me an NFL team to root for if Ted Ginn gets deported—and runs a quote or two from BG. This would shatter the FAKE scale if accomplished, even at a combine:
He expects to run in the 4.5s at the Indianapolis Combine next week. And he loves the idea of playing 3-4 outside linebacker.
"Oh yeah, I feel real good," Graham says about dropping in coverage. "I've been working on my hips, working on my drops every day in practice for Michigan ... With a little coaching from the NFL guys, I believe I can get it done."
Stephen Ross now owns the Fins, so if he's as terrible an owner as Daniel Snyder this is definitely happening. In other BG news, New Era scouting says the similarities between Graham and Lamarr Woodley are "almost scary."
Aw, come on now. I like Andy Staples a lot but re-ranking recruiting classes after a few years and trying to pass this off is ridiculous:
2. Boise State
Analysis: Want to know why the Broncos are such a trendy pick to bust into the BCS title game next season? …
So how did the evaluators at Rivals -- and Scout and SI and everywhere else -- so badly underestimate this class? Simple. Boise State doesn't have a huge fan base. There aren't as many potential subscribers, so, from a business perspective, it doesn't make sense to spend as much time evaluating Boise State recruits as Alabama or Texas recruits. That's probably the biggest flaw in recruiting rankings; the teams outside the traditional power structure can be vastly underestimated. Because if you look only at the teams that traditionally finish in the top 15, the rankings are usually pretty accurate.
While I agree that bigger schools get a fudge factor Boise State doesn't*, it's virtually impossible to compare this class of Bronco starters to any other because all it's shown is vast superiority to the rest of the WAC. Boise has played one BCS schools the last two years, and while the Broncos beat pretty good Oregon teams both years that is nowhere near the sort of baseline you'd need to make that sort of assertion. If Cincinnati had played TCU and Boise State played Florida, are we having this conversation?
*(If Jake Ryan had committed to Boise State does he have three stars today? Probably not.)
Going back to the inconsistent and inconveniently-located well? UMHoops and the Wolverine Blog have a two-part basketball recruiting Q&A session that's required reading if you're interested in the future of Michigan basketball. There's a lot of Zeigler talk, and most of it has the same understated foreboding I've got: I don't think he ends up at Michigan. Given that and the lack of an official offer to Jon Horford, I thought this part was the most interesting:
Would Beilein potentially look to dip into Europe for another prospect?
This is an idea that I have seen thrown around. It makes sense because Beilein has looked across the pond for talent before. At West Virginia he brought in German forward Johannes Herber, who started every game in his West Virginia career and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. A couple years back he tried to bring in Robin Benzing, a 6-foot-10 German wing but he came up one question short on the SAT.
If you were wondering, Benzing is playing well in the professional leagues in Germany and is a member of the senior German national team. His video might make you weep when you imagine him in a Michigan uniform but here’s some additional ESPN draft hype for you masochists.
Seriously: do not look into Robin Benzing if you have a hammer handy. Trust me when I say that after he couldn't get eligible at Michigan, he suffered a series of improbable injuries and is now a librarian. Under no circumstances type his name into Google. If you defy these proclamations, you are required to immediately watch this.
I might be wrong about this, but my recollection of Benzing's recruitment was that the holdup wasn't academics but his amateur standing. Though he himself had not signed a contract, he had played on teams with professionals. At the time this was a no-no in the eyes of the NCAA and a major problem for coaches looking to extract talent from Europe. By August, however, the NCAA will abolish this rule for most sports, including basketball. This will make it a lot easier to grab European kids, and since Europe specializes in 6'10" guys who play like small forwards it's a place where Beilein could make some hay. We might see Horford in limbo until Beilein takes a trip to Europe in early April.
Captain Renault. So let's say you're an unemployed Cleveland man who spends two months constructing an igloo instead of, you know, attempting to find a job. What would be totally bitchin' for the wall of your igloo?
Score one for baseless internet speculation. According to Greg Banks, the internet-wide speculation about a Ryan Van Bergen position move is on the nose:
Banks is one of a half dozen or so Wolverines who’ll play an expanded and slightly different role on Michigan’s defensive front this fall.
He said he expects Ryan Van Bergen to take over Graham’s pass-rushing defensive end spot - “I think that’s the plan,” he said - while he plays both end and tackle.
Birkett follows that up with an assertion that Mike Martin "could see time outside" if Will Campbell progresses. I assume that means three-tech DT, not defensive end, because that latter would be plain nuts. To reiterate: the move is the best bet for Michigan to have an excellent defensive line next year. RVB isn't going to be Brandon Graham but he's far better than the alternatives and moving Mike Martin to three-tech will get him one-on-one with guards he's faster than, potentially paving the way for a ton of TFLs. He'll be more effective there, and NT should be decent with the Sagesse/Campbell platoon.
For his part, Banks is up to 278 pounds, 15 or so up from last year. LaLota also comes in for some praise, but I'm betting serious playing time for him is another year off.
Vincent Smith, meanwhile, is already jogging and should have no problems returning in time for fall practice.
And then they do nothing. Internet speculation has gone from "maybe the Big Ten will add Pitt" to "in ten years only four conferences will exist and football will be played by sexy robots." I'm not sure whether this Barking Carnival post positing a 14-team Big Ten, here previously deemed completely infeasible and then met with a crazy semi-relegation proposal*, is genius or mad. Or possibly both. Check the rationale here:
Powers knows that the Big 10 universities compete individually and as a region for its fair share of the federal R&D pie and that, despite the greatness of its member universities, the Big 10 region has not faired nearly as well as the coasts. Compared to numerous universities in California and Massachusetts, several of which don’t give a second thought about college football (MIT, Cal-Davis, Cal Tech, U of San Francisco, etc), there is a rather dramatic concentration of academic R&D that is not favorable to the Midwest or Southwest. Point being, there is room for growth here, and adding two powerful Senators from Texas to the sixteen Senators representing Big 10 states is not an insignificant addition. Without Texas, the CIC universities represent the best of the rust belt. With Texas, the CIC represents the best of the middle of the country.
Wha? I'm not sure how much I buy the idea that heartland universities will have a bigger lobbying block if they're all in the same conference. The CIC happens to have all Big Ten schools and Chicago, but is it really necessary to bring along Texas's athletic programs—not like that would exactly be a downside, though—to invite them to join the CIC? It's not like the Big 12 has any leverage over the Longhorns.
Elsewhere, 14 teams i the new 11 teams. and people are coalescing around a 16-team uber conference that comes with NCAA secession. Andy Staples's version may or may not be sarcastic, but I've seen plenty of other speculation to that effect. Most of it is Bleacher Report quality and not worth linking or anything, but it's out there.
To reiterate my previously expressed stance: a college football "conference" that has more than 12 teams isn't really a conference unless it adds promotion and relegation. Static divisions are separate conferences with a weird scheduling agreement and a wildly unbalanced schedule. It would be logistically terrible.
At this point it would be fantastic if no one did anything. Too bad Tradesports imploded.
BONUS. I don't remember where I saw this, but I believe it was some random message board: if the Big Ten comes down from on high with an end result that seriously damages the Big East, isn't the Big East's best move booting Notre Dame in an attempt to force the Irish into the Big Ten? If ND was cut loose by the Big East all their other sports (save hockey) would be adrift with basically nowhere to go. At that point ND might have to swallow hard and join up.
*(Which a commenter pointed out is mathematically impossible for the same reason you can't play nine conference games in an eleven-team conference. Shame.)
Etc.: Help this pickle get more fans than Nickelback. The second half of the recruiting podcast in which I do my best Mel Kiper. Michigan's putting on a camp thing on the 28th at Newsterbaan, plugging the presence of Rivals and Scout. Seems like a clever move to get an early camp experience, maybe unearth an instate prospect or three.
Take it easy, man. An announcement: WTKA is moving towards a single drive-time host on the Big Show and it won't be me (obviously—I'm not a radio pro), so the Monday 4-6 window I've been holding down since August is kaput. I'll still be on from 9-10 on Thursdays with Ira and probably do intermittent call-ins when there's something to talk about.
Ira was worried he'd get crucified on the internets for this, so be gentle.
The switch. Cameron Gordon is officially a safety-type player:
“The coaches would always be like, ‘Come to the dark side, come to the dark side,” Gordon said.
A few weeks ago, he did.
Those were the defensive coaches, for what it's worth. Touch The Banner suggests it's not the last move for Gordon in a largely positive take:
I still think he's best suited for linebacker, particularly the weak inside linebacker position held tenuously by Jonas Mouton. Perhaps this is the next step in a slow transition to WILL, because I don't foresee Gordon having the speed to play weak safety, either. There are times in this defense where the strong safety has to roll over to play man coverage on the strong side, meaning the weak safety has to back up to play the deep middle or a deep half.
"Held tenuously" is this defense's equivalent of "magic" in the Winter Olympics. As far as the critique goes: I'm with him. If Gordon is 210 pounds now he'll probably be pushing 220 by fall, which is good for half that position's job but maybe not so good for the deep half bit. Michigan didn't have the ability to have the box safety drop into a deep zone last year and was forced to use Donovan Warren as the second guy in cover two. This exposed Michigan to those wide receiver screens that killed them all year.
I do disagree with TTB's assertion that Rodriguez hasn't shown a propensity for using the middle of the field in the passing game. Who's the number one receiver going into spring? Probably Roy Roundtree, right?
Demon Bear: the interview. Neal Rubin of the News was so moved by Demon Bear destroying everything in sight that he has a newspaper column and bonus Q&A with the developers. Unfortunately, the original video that pwned MSU, OSU, and Notre Dame has been replaced by one that obliterates Miami instead of ND, but that's life.
Anyway, the highlight from Rubin's opus is definitely this:
Jon Dorfman and Szymon Weglarski, partners in a computer animation studio called HiFi 3D, also say they've heard from other universities interested in a similar approach. "Rival mascots," explains Weglarski, "want revenge."
I thought the second bear video would be inevitably disappointing and I was wrong, so maybe Dorfman and Weglarski can continue to raise the bar with bulldog light saber fights and broncos that bore into the earth's core.
Rubin also gets an indirect answer to the question "where's Michigan?"
As a Michiganian, I felt a rush of pride when a polar bear obliterated Spartan Stadium. Any particular reason you chose MSU?
SZYMON: The rival schools were singled out by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Apparently they're a big rival.
I get including MSU, a longtime power, and Miami and Notre Dame, the league's new hotness, but what's the deal with blowing up perpetually mediocre Ohio State? Actually, scratch that. The need to destroy Columbus is self-evident.
Save (for) us. Bob Miller of the Wolverine is running a new college hockey recruiting site and one of their recent articles is on Omaha Lancers goalie Jeff Teglia, who's currently second in the league in save percentage as a 19 year old and should be on Michigan's radar now:
"Once they landed Campbell, they lost interest, but again that's an awesome school and a great, great hockey program," Teglia said. "I'd love to go somewhere in the Midwest because that's where I'm from, but out east would work also.
Notre Dame is Teglia's "dream school," but we'll forgive him for that. ND doesn't have room for a scholarship goalie, FWIW.
Oh… right… the weekend. I didn't do a usual recap post for the petulant reason. Yost Built has one. The weekend was incredibly sloppy, with UNO provided a ton of scoring opportunities because Michigan players got excessively aggressive. My favorite was the goal Saturday night where two Michigan players checked a guy at center ice, creating one of UNO's many, many two-on-ones. Or the one on which Llewellyn turned a routine rush into a two-on-one by aggressively moving to check a guy on his partner's side of the ice and then shot the resulting cross-ice pass into his own goal. I'll just say I'm surprised Lee Moffie was a healthy scratch the last couple weekends. He drew into the lineup when Summers got knocked out for the Saturday game.
Michigan's done unless they win the CCHA tournament, which at this point means trudging through two best-of-three series, one on the road, and then beating Miami and someone else at the Joe. Chances of that: low. At least I won't spend a bunch of time figuring out all the crazy vagaries of the PWR this year.
"He made good saves, and he gave up goals he should’ve saved, simple as that," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “There were times when he saved us, and there were times where he cost us. Four goals against is not good enough. And that’s a team thing too, but Hogie is the last line of defense." …
“There were times when he had no support and times he didn’t read the support,” Berenson said. “Like, if I know this guy (to my side) is wide open, and I’m focused on (the guy with the puck), and I’m convinced he’s going to shoot. And he passes it. I’m toast. I didn’t read it. Every time they got a two-on-one, they scored.”
That is blunt even for Red, and though I've repeatedly expressed the opinion that Hogan's save percentage is 1) bad and 2) deserved I'm surprised given the kinds of goals UNO scored, which were mostly off terrible defensive play.
Etc.: Charlie Davies is going to France to train. PSU basketball blog—good lord—Battle Does It Again has a UFR-type object for Penn State's game against the Spartans. Slate is tracking Olympic sap. I miss CBC's coverage so hard. Curling starts today, though. Michigan ice dancers go on the 19th.
Whoah… Texas. I'm on druuuugs.
Overtures!!! Everybody PANIC:
A source with ties to the Big Ten said that while most people’s attention has been trained on the conference stealing Missouri, the Big Ten has engaged in “preliminary exchanges” with a much bigger fish from the Big 12.
“There have been preliminary exchanges between the Big Ten and Texas,” the source told the Journal-World on Wednesday. “People will deny that, but it’s accurate.”
Accurate though it may be, "preliminary exchanges" are just folks in suits keeping doors open in case of disaster. Texas to the Big Ten will never ever happen. Reasons:
- The Texas legislature would have the mother of all hissy fits and threaten UT's state funding.
- Texas would go from its usual diet of nummy goo-goo bears plus the occasional big game to a nonconference schedule with mandatory games against A&M and Oklahoma, and that's if Texas isn't forced to play more in-state teams as part of an agreement with the legislature.
- Texas's baseball team, currently a national power, would be playing in the college baseball equivalent of Conference USA.
- Texas has the mojo to have it own damn channel if it wants and won't have to share jack with the other Big Ten teams.
Note that travel costs are omitted, because putting the Big Ten Network on Texas channels means even the crew teams can fly first class. It would be ridiculous. Jim Delany would buy a monocle.
That goes for this Pac-10 expansion, too. I don't buy that adding Colorado and Utah does anything for anyone except bust up the one conference that makes total sense.
Plot against America update. So I toss a link to a USA Today article arguing that adding another 31 teams to the NCAA tournament wouldn't even make much money on mgolicious and the artist formely known as Wonk duly shreds it:
The larger issue here centers on what constitutes “loose change” for the NCAA. Let’s accept that the difference between what a network will pay for a 96-team field and what they’ll lay out for a traditional 65-team version wouldn’t be all that much in percentage terms. Hiestand’s right: The new games would be the least attractive ones and, anyway, they’d represent just 17 percent of the programming “tonnage.” But if you’ve ever bought or sold a house, you’re intimately familiar with the paradox at work here. You negotiate a price and give a few thousand here or take a few thousand there. Then you step away and think: Sweet mother of Ben Bernanke, that right there’s the equivalent of a new car or three years of daycare for your kid, or 50 HDTV’s, etc.
So maybe it's some money up front that's meaningful. Meaningful spread over 340-some D-I teams? Eh… probably not. Meaningful to one organization in Indianapolis? Maybe.
Not that the idea is any less terrible today than it was a few days ago. The proposed expansion would, for all intents and purposes, absorb the entire NIT into the NCAA tournament. Last year's editions of Northwestern, Penn State, Notre Dame (18-14), Nebraska (18-12), Virginia Tech (18-14), and Washington State (17-15) would all have weaseled their way in. That's nine of the Big Ten's eleven teams in the tourney plus an ugly assortment of teams who beat no one and have no chance of winning the tournament. At some point you have to say no.
John Beilein's on the side of justice, FWIW:
"I don't understand right now," he said during his Big Ten teleconference. "The 64 (teams) – I could see adding a couple more 'play-in' games if you have to. But going to 96 may be a hard thing to do. I think it's pretty good right now."
Unsurprisingly, Bo Ryan likes evil and preposterous generalizations:
“To me, it’s foolish for those people who are saying it’s perfect the way it is,” Ryan said Monday. “Obviously, they’ve lived a very shallow life when it comes to looking at change and what change can do and how it can affect things. The history of expansion with the NCAA has been very successful."
Yeah, well, you now, that's just, like, your opinion, man. We have lived a shallow life in which we have never considered how change can affect things.
Yet another way in which college football is like figure skating. Remember some time back when the coaches threw a hissy that people were paying attention to their votes and threatened to take the final coaches' poll private? This was roundly condemned and eventually dropped, but the scars still linger.
If they try it again, opponents should point to what went down when figure skating attempted to beat the corruption out of their judges by making their scores anonymous*:
[Dartmouth economist Eric Zitzewitz] finds that the home-country bias gets even worse when anonymous judges can hide from a scrutinizing press and public, despite the barriers that anonymity may create for effective backroom deal-making. The home-judge advantage under the new system is about 20 percent higher than in the days of full disclosure.
College football coaches already display serious biases when their votes are subject to scrutiny. It would only get worse if they weren't.
*(This seems insane but there is a plausible reason it might be a good idea: it prevents collusion amongst judges. Before there could be backroom deals where a couple countries conspire to rate each other's skaters higher. Now those deals can't be enforced.)
That is more like it. Fred Jackson gives us all hope that Fitzgerald Toussaint is in possession of all his limbs:
"He's as talented as anyone who walked in the door," said Jackson, who has coached Michigan career leading rusher Michael Hart, Chris Perry, Anthony Thomas and Tyrone Wheatley, to name a few.
Jackson said he had never before heard of a player breaking his shoulder blade. But before the injury, Jackson saw budding talent.
"He's got great feet, acceleration, strength, power," Jackson said. "I can compare him to somebody -- he's like a fast Chris Perry. He's going to be very good."
Fitzgerald Toussaint is like a Doak Walker winner who was a first round draft pick… except fast.
Etc.: Basketball recruiting remains dirtier than a dirt sandwich. What's with Ann Arbor as the epicenter of ice dancing? Russians. Obviously. What is the point of this new rule about head coaches in waiting? Manny Harris has never been that efficient in the Big Ten.
Sylvia, go to the dry cleaners and get me my indignation pants. Fire up the typewriters, stentorian columnists of America, because FL DE and Auburn signee Corey Lemonier has got a gun!
Don't forget that he probably has scurvy.
Even more Dorsey still. The WLA has a guest post up from a person with "extensive real-life experience dealing with juvenile offenders." His has some numbers on how likely an average juvenile offender is to re-offend…
My research indicates that after two years, generally speaking, a youth has a four percent chance of re-offending. To put it another way, a youth has a 96% chance of not re-offending. Mr. Dorsey, having been free of criminal activity for two years would seem to fall into this category. Even Jamie Mac would take those odds.
…and perspective on the "risk" we're talking about here:
There are a whole bunch of people out there that are wailing because Mr. Dorsey might besmirch the good name of the U of M.
Mr. Dorsey is coming into a highly structured, overwhelmingly positive environment. His cousin and positive peer will be there. He’ll have tutors and advisors and Barwis. He’ll live in a supervised residence in a city that almost forgets crime even exists. He’ll be pursuing an education that could set him for life just as likely as an NFL contract might. And the downside is that he might, might give the U of M a black eye? Wow. Life really is getting cheap nowadays.
Rodriguez's discipline track record should be judged as a whole, and with few significant incidents in the last five years it's a good one. Demar Dorsey isn't going to change that by himself, and the focus should Michigan doing whatever it can to extract him from the negative environment he was in previously. It doesn't always work—Pacman Jones—but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.
Wojo, meanwhile, has a take on the matter that meets his usual standards of sanity. Wojo has other positive aspects, as well, but it's the not being totally insane that stands out these days.
War of the Roses. There are a ton of positions on defense where a half-dozen kids will go head-to-head for starting jobs this spring but only one spot with real uncertainty on the other side of the ball. That's tailback. Fred Jackson on his group:
“I got five or six guys here that I got to make a decision on at the end of spring to see how we’re going to shape up for camp,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what to expect from of a lot of them, but I think we have enough talent to have an excellent group. It’s just a fact that I have not had a chance to put them all on an equal playing field yet, and once I do I’ll know a lot more.”
I'm slightly worried that Jackson isn't comparing any of his guys to Adrian Peterson crossed with a killer whale, which in his language means "barely functional Big Ten player," but we'll probably get some quotes like that after spring practice.
Hello: goodbye: hello: goodbye: hello. Goodbye. Jim Harbaugh is at Stanford, as you well know, and hauled in a pretty decent recruiting class despite a whopping 19 decommitments. That makes Michigan's 2009 class look downright peaceful, and comes with Stanford coming off an excellent (for Stanford) 8-5 year in which their moose tailback almost won the Heisman.
Jim Stefani on what might be going on:
This begs an answer to the question as to why Harbaugh and staff are accepting so many verbals from prospects who are not yet admitted. Perhaps it is in hope that will eventually qualify. Perhaps it is to build recruiting momentum by putting together a class that looks great on paper and would attract additional prospects. Maybe if Harbaugh goes through a couple of difficult seasons he could in part justify the poor performance to the Stanford administration by arguing that his limited success is due to the limited recruiting universe that he can avail himself of. He could pull out a list of all the kids that he received commitments from and tell his boss that if these kids had been accepted into Stanford the team would have performed much better.
I think Harbaugh has little choice but to recruit a bunch of guys he thinks might get in to Stanford and hope the admissions committee admits them. His alternative is to give conditional offers that kids can't commit to pending admission and watch them head elsewhere. It'll be interesting to see how long Harbaugh is willing to put up with those meddling adults before heading to greener pastures.
Strange days. So what's Bill Frieder up to these days?
The Sacramento Kings owners are Joe and Gavin Maloof and long story short, they got me into skateboarding and I run a huge skateboarding event called the Maloof Money Cup. This is competition skateboarding. We’ve got it on national television and it’s the world’s greatest skateboarding event with the richest purse. We have a half-million purse at each place.
That is… unexpected.
Minus ten million for cheese. I noticed this too when throwing together a Sporting Blog post on disappointing recruiting classes. Three Big Ten teams ended up in the top five, but one of them was not Wisconsin despite the Badgers ending up a bizarre 86th in their team rankings. This is why:
Take a look at who the Badgers signed; it’s not USC, but pretty decent group, right? Scout has it ranked at 33rd. Rivals? No lie, it’s #86. Now, I’ll just use one example here to keep this brief. Ken State is ranked 5 spots higher than Wisconsin on Rivals. They have fewer commits, and a much smaller average star rating. It’s incoherent to suggest that most, if not all Kent State commits would immediately flip to Wisconsin if they received an offer from the Badgers.
It's not that Rivals hates all of Wisconsin's recruits relative to Scout, because the Badgers finished behind a don't of teams with way worse star ratings and fewer commits. Wisconsin's 51st in star average, and would obliterate say… UTEP. Or Vanderbilt. Or Toledo. Or a couple dozen other teams they somehow finished behind. Bret Bielema's criticism of the guru industry seems well-founded, at least in his specific case.
Now I get it. Tim Brewster's "extension" does not have a raise except for some incentive clauses and reduces Coach TRY FIGHT WIN's buyout to 200k per year left. He's probably safe for this year and next, but then it's axing time.
So I think he's going to try to knock down all the pins. During the couple years I was doing standup comedy at half-ass open mics around town, one of my compatriots had a funny bit about how he couldn't really consider bowling a sport because analysis always boils down to "…so I think he's going to try to knock down all the pins."
What this reading consists of, then, is a mystery indeed:
“Bowling was probably the hardest class I had last semester,” [Austin] White said at the National Signing Day press conference. “You know, if I had like 20 pages of reading for Meteorology, I would have 40 for Bowling. And then there was a bunch of terminology and phrases that I had never heard before.”
Like… strike? Spare? Turkey? I bowl about as well as Barack Obama but I bet it's not too hard to pick up on the lingo. What does page 40 say? What about page 4?
Etc.: Even more podcast can be had at "The Michigan Man Podcast." I do my best Mel Kiper impression with Michigan's defensive recruits. Interested in rap about Demar Dorsey that slams Certain People in the media? Of course you are. Don't get super excited about Manny coming back yet.