a terrible blight on our fine country
Things pass. Passing NCAA legislation is like hiring assistant coaches: things are done, and then they're done again, and then they're done, and finally they're officially done. These may or may not be officially officially done because NCAA, but it sounds like it is done-done:
- full cost of attendance scholarships,
- mandatory four-year guaranteed scholarships,
- allowing athletes to borrow against future earnings for one purpose: loss of value insurance
- and new concussion management protocols.
One ACC team voted against the first proposal—I'd love to figure out who that is and if it's Clemson worrying that their bagmen will have to shell out more to make a difference. The SEC (surprise!) and Big 12 voted against the second, with the former using athletes in attendance as cover. This doesn't even make sense:
The SEC's athlete representatives took issue with a clause that would prevent schools from taking away scholarships, or in the case of sports with partial scholarships, reducing the amount of aid, from athletes for athletic underperformance.
"The student-athletes said, 'Don't do that,'" Jacobs said. "They said, 'Give them four years if you want, but … you can pull it away if the players aren't performing.'"
"Give them four years, as long as you can revoke it for any reason." That athlete and his nonsense is headed for Congress. No doubt.
As a result, the second proposal barely squeezed by.
I still have my doubts about how effective the mandatory four year scholarships are going to be. If a guy gets kicked off the team he gets to stay on scholarship, but does the team get to replace him? How difficult is it going to be for coaches to boot guys for unspecified violations of team rules? (Not difficult.) I still think the real solution here is to go from an overall cap to a yearly one. That moves the system from one in which retention comes with an opportunity cost to one in which it doesn't.
The third bullet point sounds seismic until you get to the colon, whereupon it is revealed as a logical change to give athletes some security even if they don't have up-front capital. The fourth may as well be termed the Brady Hoke Derp rule.
Hockey aside. I've mentioned it before: it'll be interesting to see what happens with college hockey after these reforms take hold. Smaller schools have the option to follow the Power 5, but it's doubtful they can do so for just their glamor sport since Title IX looms over all these discussions… unless they're one of the D-II or D-III teams grandfathered in.
Does Miami (NTM) have the dough to keep pace with the Big Ten? Probably not. Would Denver? Maybe—Denver only has one D-I sport. Would the NCHC create an unbalanced playing field within their own conference to help the resource-rich teams compete? I have no idea.
One thing that is definitely good here is that the value of a scholarship went up significantly. That'll help schools compete against the OHL.
You may have screwed up. The San Francisco 49ers fired one of the winningest coaches in NFL history to hire a career position coach who'd never so much as coordinated a defense. This seems unwise, especially when the guy doing the deciding here is Pete Campbell with puffy cheeks.
NOT GREAT JIM
Maybe he's got great interpersonal skills?
Maybe he's going to surround himself with great coaches?
Kiffin front-runner to be 49ers' OC
Maybe he's going to keep the excellent defensive staff intact?
Source: 49ers have fired Fangio, Donatell and Leavitt
At least you didn't have to pay a buyout to fire your previous coach. So you've got that going for you.
Otherwise, the parallels between this and Brady Hoke's coaching career are eerie.
Hello Texas. Random article from Cleveland on Harbaugh recruiting Andrew Luck notes Harbaugh's excellent success in that talent-rich state:
Luck was one of three Texas players in Stanford's 2008 recruiting class. Harbaugh signed four each in 2009 and 2010 before leaving for the NFL. He moved around the state, getting players from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.
And Brady Hoke… uh… not doing that.
The Wolverines have actually offered a surprising number of Texas players in the last four years according to 247Sports:
• 15 offers in 2015
• 9 offers in 2014
• 13 offers in 2013
• 11 offers in 2012
None of those players signed with Michigan, but that could start changing with Harbaugh.
I'm not sure how many of those offers were seriously pursued and how many were fired off hoping to induce a visit, but going 0-fer in Texas is some kind of problem. Which Michigan coach was assigned to one of the richest talent-producing states in the country?
I don't know. No, seriously, I don't know.
RALPH. Jim Harbaugh had a personal Ohio State back in the day:
A nine-year-old playing tackle football for the first time, Harbaugh stood at No. 7 in the tackling line, and immediately looked at the group of runners across from him to see who his No. 7 counterpart was.
He counted back, and saw the player he'd be forced to tackle.
"Ralph," Harbaugh recalled Friday afternoon during his speech to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Convention in Lansing. "So I said a prayer. I said 'dear lord, I know I'm only nine-years-old and I haven't asked you for a lot up until now. But please, dear lord, when I'm done with this, please do not let Ralph be No. 7.'
"Ralph was still there."
Landing spots. Roy Manning snags the OLB job at Washington State, making him the third former Hoke coach to find a Power 5 job. (Greg Mattison, who was retained, and Doug Nussmeier are the others.) Darrell Funk latched on at Akron, Dan Ferrigno at San Jose State, and nobody else is employed as of now. Al Borges was rumored to be getting the SJSU offensive coordinator job, but that was 1) contingent on Jimmie Dougherty getting a job at Michigan, which didn't happen and 2) reported only by Football Scoop.
I am reading lots about the coaching profession's opinion of Hoke's staff into this.
Redshirt. Not that it's a surprise, but don't expect to see DJ Wilson the rest of the year:
"We'd have to have a couple of major injuries," Beilein explained. "The only way that I'd play him right now is if I could look him in the eye and say, 'Listen, I think you'll play 15-20 minutes per game. That's what's fair to him right now."
Next year's "recruiting class" currently consists of Wilson and Williams transfer Duncan Robinson.
Gardner at WR. He's been impressive:
Michigan WR Devin Gardner: Gardner (6-4, 216) famously is making the switch from quarterback to wide receiver. He played wide receiver for half the 2012 season and didn't start focusing on the position again until early December, right after the Wolverines' season ended. "He got better and better each day," Jeremiah said. Gardner has good, not great, speed but can be elusive and has good hands, especially for a guy who has been a receiver for only about seven weeks. His size also is a big plus. He should become more acclimated to the position, and his pre-draft workouts could be quite interesting.
I didn't think much of his ability to find balls downfield when he was playing WR, but that's something time can fix. Also, for a 6'4" dude his speed is likely a plus.
Hooray. Michigan passes a law that may be directly aimed at Michigan's notoriously horrible FOIA department:
…will not be allowed to charge more than 10 cents per page for copies of public records; they can face increased fines for delaying responses, and people seeking the records now can sue if they consider the fees to be exorbitant. …
Another change in the law requires governments to provide the records electronically instead of on paper if the requester seeks them in that format.
Damages have gone up significantly as well. This doesn't do anything about Michigan's retention policy being "we don't have one," unfortunately, but it's a step in the right direction.
Etc.: LeVert's injury looked harmless. Hockey podcasting with Mike Spath. Zach Hyman is tearing it up. On something meaning something. We're relevant enough to be an offseason theme. Playcalling duties are yet to be determined between Drevno and Harbaugh.
two point buckets are rare as unicorns these days [Bryan Fuller]
That was ugly. I don't have much to say about last night's demolition in Columbus. It's pretty much over as far as an NCAA bid is concerned—even 9-4 the rest of the way leaves Michigan with two horrendous, horrendous losses compared to the rest of the bubble and no real marquee wins.
I don't know what blew up. Obviously losing all three posts from last year is a big factor, as is the almost total lack of production from Kam Chatman (who is shooting an unbelievable 34%/25%). But there's something not right with the guys we thought were going to be the big guns. When your captains are saying you're in "coast mode" after a game that's nasty.
Walton's obvious: he's got turf toe. Irvin and LeVert are both doing okay; neither has become anything approximating a go-to guy. Both are shooting 44% from two with little in the way of free throws; Walton's even worse at 36%. With no one who can create two point shots consistently they've lost the crazy offensive efficiency of the last two years, and the defense hasn't improved nearly enough to keep their heads above water.
The only remaining hopes for the season is that they start getting better, make the NIT, and have a run in there that gives you some confidence.
Mattison back, officially. The latest in a long line of re-re-confirmations:
"Jack Harbaugh will always be one of the most influential coaches I've ever been with," he said. "I had the opportunity to coach with him for five years, just a tremendous football coach who taught me a lot about coaching.
"And I really respect (John Harbaugh), you always knew he'd be successful. ... And there's another Harbaugh (I'm close with), when we had our first child, Lisa, the only person she'd ever let babysit for her was Joanie (Jim's sister). That Harbaugh family, we've known for a long, long time."
Having Mattison around is going to be excellent for recruiting and continuity, and should allow Durkin to gradually adjust to being the man on that side of the ball after coaching under Will Muschamp at Florida.
Early signing may be happening. The Conference Commissioners Association was tasked with looking into an early signing date for football, and the proposal now has a shape:
On Tuesday at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Louisville, Susan Peal, NCAA associate director of operations who serves as a liaison between the collegiate governing body and the commissioners, revealed that the committee is leaning toward recommending a mid-December signing period. Peal said that window would likely coincide with the midyear junior college transfer signing date that occurs in the third week of December.
"Based on all of the feedback -- and there are all kinds of dates out there of what people want -- the most favorable option the committee has seen seems to be for an early signing day in December, something that's in line with the midyear junior college transfer signing date," Peal said.
I'm not a fan of early signing because it does nothing for the players, who get locked in earlier than they do now in exchange for bupkis. But at least that date is much better than the ridiculous August 1st date supported by the ACC, which the Big Ten somehow supported. Signing before official visits are even possible is some kind of dumb.
The darkest alternate timeline. Les Miles lost his excellent defensive coordinator to a conference rival and has now hired former Clemson DC Kevin Steele to replace him. The Kevin Steele whose last act as a DC was this, as Get The Picture points out:
Miles is also supposedly bringing in Ed Orgeron, a move that bodes well for local press conferences, Louisiana-set buddy cop movies, and recruiting but maybe not so much organization and the like. If Les farts around again next year I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the boot, because LSU fans have always been way more discontent than you'd think.
The competition to best describe Harbaugh is over. Former Stanford tackle Ben Muth:
"When I first met him, I honestly thought a lot of it was an act, it was like a robot who was programmed as a football coach," says Ben Muth, who played offensive tackle for Harbaugh at Stanford. "It's absurd stuff, but he believes it all. And after a while, so do you. Just the way he talks, his cadence and his deliverance. He talks like a normal football coach, but kicked up 50 percent and he's always on."
Also: hooray spring game fun? As part of Harbaugh's insane competitiveness, he turned Stanford's spring game into a full on draft-win-die thing:
At Stanford, his spring games featured full-scale drafts. The coaching staff was split down the middle into two groups, and inside the team meeting room, every player was drafted to a side for the game.
They weren't just glorified practices, they were full-scale competitions. Nothing was wasted or viewed as insignificant.
If that format's announced and Michigan pushes it back to best roll the dice on the weather that would be guaranteed to be Michigan's best-attended spring game ever.
Why do you hate turkey? I get most of what Oregon's trying to say here.
I'm down with most of it, as well (though tradition generally wears two colors unless you want to count white). But what's with the shot at turkey on Thanksgiving? Surely you would prefer us to eat that instead of duck, right?
Whiskey the dog. In case you were like "WTF" when Brandon brought up Whiskey during his My Personality Is To The Best Of My Ability tour:
Sap and MVictors have more details over there.
Whatever this is. OSU and Michigan are listed 1-2 in "intrinsic value" thanks to improved cash flows:
Note that OSU is bringing in 20 million less than Michigan this year, and Michigan is above everyone except Alabama and Texas in revenue. Oregon's 18th. Brandon's relentless focus on dollars above everything else was unnecessary.
Etc.: Michigan is getting a visit from 2015 megaprospect Jaylen Brown.
DIRECTORY STALKING IS THE NEW REAL ESTATE STALKING (WHICH WAS THE NEW FLIGHT AWARE). A couple of gentlemen with names matching prospective assistant coaches and no marker to indicate they're students, alumni, or faculty have popped up in the UMich directory: Tim Drevno and DJ Durkin. John Morton is also being kicked around, but if you log in it shows he's not that John Morton. It would be a bit of coincidence if the first two gentlemen were not football coaches, though. Not gospel, Bayesian estimate move, etc.
Fred Jackson, meanwhile, is listed as a retiree, disappointing many who had hoped he would be retained as Michigan's Director Of Reasonable Comparisons. Oh, and Brian Cole and Alex Malzone are on the thing now.
Remember when bloggers were the only people scouring the directory? Now who's in the basement? I don't even have a basement.
GALLON DOCUMENTARY. A full half hour:
Returning starters: we got 'em. Phil Steele compiles returning starters in the Big Ten:
Michigan has a 17th coming back in Desmond Morgan as well. Find a QB and some guys who can rush the passer and you're in business.
OUT AND FRUSTRATED. John Chavis left LSU for a DC spot at Texas A&M, and the reason is the same reason it's tough to watch LSU play most of the time:
The sources said the contract negotiations, the Aggies offered $340,000 more annually, were a non-issue in his decision to leave LSU and that Chavis simply felt it was time to go.
Chavis' frustrations reached a crescendo this season when LSU finished first in the SEC in total defense, No. 8 in the nation and second in scoring defense. LSU was 11th in total offense and last in passing offense in the SEC, resulting in an 8-5 record, tied for the worst in coach Les Miles' 10 seasons.
In the past four seasons, Chavis' LSU defenses finished no worse than No. 15.
"(Chavis) threw his hands up and felt he'd done all he could do," one source said. "They made zero progress offensively and it became a sore point, not that he was pointing fingers, but it led to some uncomfortable feelings.
LSU has a lot of returning starters, but I would not be surprised if this was the beginning of the Les Miles death spiral. Better in Baton Rouge than here.
THE NEW OC. Nick Baumgardner tracks down old Tim Drevno charges and asks them about Michigan's new man:
"When you're going through a coach Drevno individual period, you're going to be tough, or you're going to be looking to transfer," says Ben Muth, a former offensive tackle at Stanford during the early part of the Harbaugh era. "You're going to bang heads and there aren't a lot of blocking dummies used. You're going up against other guys, guys who get the hell beat out of them early in their careers.
"It's live. It's intense. And you're going to hit people with him."
Even if Michigan hires a separate OL coach expect Drevno to be heavily involved. Stanford split its coaching between interior line and OT/TE… I would expect something similar.
CHAIT ON HARBAUGH. On his return:
From Harbaugh’s standpoint, if you think of college football as nothing more than a business, it is an act of professional irrationality. The only possible way to make sense of his choice is to consider the possibility that he actually believes what he said in 2004: that he believes he did not merely provide free labor in return for skill development but belonged to a community; that this community stands in his mind for something larger than the self-interest of its component parts; that all this talk about turning boys into men is not just hokum.
UH-OH. Dish announces a small package of channels they'll sell over the internet for twenty bucks. Two of those channels: ESPN and ESPN2. I've been complaining about the shortsightedness of adding Rutgers and Maryland for a lot of reasons, most of them much more important than the amount of money the league makes.
But since the amount of money the league makes is the only possible argument in favor of the expansion, I do take pains to point out that the era of stealing a dollar from New Jersey grannies who don't even know what Rutgers is was always an ephemeral one. Once the cable monopoly shatters in the face of the internet, the only people paying for your content are the people interested, and the fanbases of Maryland and Rutgers are not going to carry the freight. For a momentary bump in revenue the Big Ten galloped towards the nonsense that is a 14-team collegiate conference, but Jim Delany will be retired by then so he DGAF.
WE CAN ACCESS ABOUT ONE OF THESE GUYS. Texas may be in the market for a grad QB after Tyrone Swoopes fell flat this year. Barking Carnival runs down their options, many of whom are JUCOs Michigan isn't likely to acquire. They do mention Kevin Hogan as well:
While he hasn't yet announced formally for transfer, the Stanford graduate clashed withDavid Shaw over his conservative offense and had the unenviable task of replacingAndrew Luck - arguably the most gifted QB walking the planet. The rumor mill is running hard and fast that he wants out and would like a show case for his wares. While imperfect - and possessing a slow release that Shaun Watson could help him with - Hogan is a proven competitor with good athletic ability and a live arm. He has 48 touchdowns to 21 career interceptions, won a Rose Bowl, started 30+ games and has a career QB rating around 145. Yet people treat him as if he's chopped liver. He's not. He's also a sneaky running threat who isn't afraid of contact. He's an upgrade and wouldn't be particularly terrified taking a snap from under center in South Bend next year. He's roughly comparable to a sophomore David Ash, but with veteran experience. That's a significant upgrade from Swoopes. He could help us. Now forward him this post immediately and get the illegal contacts started.
FAREWELL. Lake The Posts is closing effective January 15th. Always sad when one of the originals hangs it up.
ETC.: If you were vaguely worried that Lavall Jordan would end up at Butler after their coach had to take medical leave, the Bulldogs have taken the interim title off of Chris Holtmann. Stephon Diggs heads to the draft. MVictors has entertaining Harbaugh/Yost trivia and old-timey player intros. Dylan Larkin had an awesome WJC.
USE THE FORCE JIM. Daily article on Harbaugh's mentors with them all lined up…
…and the mind instantly puts them in this:
Sorry, Mr. Carr. Shouldn't have stood in the center.
MATTISON IS PRETTY MUCH IN. Man is still recruiting:
Isaac Nauta (@inauta24) said he talked to Greg Mattison: “He said I know you’re committed, but we’re going to recruit you until you sign.”
— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) January 1, 2015
GET THIS MAN A TATTOO. Mark the Nomad has got to get some ink:
He's looking for the internet to fund it, in order to slightly reduce the chance this results in a divorce.
FIFTH YEAR OPTIONS. A quick glance at the roster will tell you that Michigan should be in the market for a graduate transfer QB. Their current options are either freshmen, Russell Bellomy, or Shane Morris. The former two have never played in college; the latter two have struggled immensely when they've gotten in the game. So this bit of news is intriguing:
A redshirt junior on track to graduate in June, [the Chicken Bowl] was probably [Kevin] Hogan’s last shot in a Stanford uniform. He hasn't addressed whether he'll return for his final year of eligibility, and head coach David Shaw intimated that Hogan didn't want to discuss it before the end of the season.
Harbaugh recruited Hogan, and he's obviously got he academic chops to make a smooth transition.
Hogan wasn't a world-beater this year (or he wouldn't be transferring) but he did finish with a 66% completion rating, 7.9 YPA, and a 19-8 TD-INT ratio. He's also a decent runner. He would almost certainly be an upgrade on Michigan's current options, and he knows the offense.
Another option: Everett Golson. Golson dropped off a cliff at the end of this year, as he turned into a turnover machine and split time with Malik Zaire in the bowl game. ND insiders and message boards are rumbling about a potential departure. If I had to bet I'd say he returns to ND, but keep an eye out if he doesn't.
DISCOUNT STILL IN EFFECT. Moe's is taking advantage of an opportunity with an enthusiasm unknown to retail-activation-kind.
AND SUDDENLY YOU'RE A FREE AGENT. Bills coach Doug Marrone has a bizarre window built into his contract that allows him to opt out at no cost… one he's just exercised. This puts his assistants in serious limbo, one of whom is Tyrone Wheatley. Even before this happened a lot of Michigan folk suspected that Wheatley would end up in Ann Arbor; now it seems highly, highly probable.
ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN OURS. LSU fans have always been turning on Les Miles, but now the knives are well and truly out. Miles is losing DC John Chavis to a megaoffer from A&M, leaving LSU scrambling to keep their defense as good as it needs to be to keep the wonky Tiger offense from submarining seasons.
ADDING TO MOUNT NFLWRONG. He hates recruiting!
Every old coach/staffer/whatever I've ever talked to who knows Harbaugh has ranted about how much he actually enjoys recruiting.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) December 31, 2014
His wife didn't want to come!
Was just talking to @IronsJarrett when Harbaugh's wife stopped to chat...she mentioned her shock re: rumors she wouldn't leave the Bay Area.
— angelique (@chengelis) December 30, 2014
His heart is in the NFL!
York, though, would not shed any light on what was said in those discussions, saying they were "private" in nature, though he did acknowledge that teams had inquired about trading for Harbaugh, and Harbaugh was not interested.
It was all about the money!
Jim Harbaugh told Hackett he did NOT want to be the highest paid coach in CFB, or even the Big Ten. More concerned with pay for assistants.
— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) December 30, 2014
NOPE. If you were wondering if Devin Funchess would return to the team because Harbaugh, your answer is no:
Just met coach harbaugh...Wish him the best with Team 136! Great guy glad he got the job #goblue
— Devin Funchess (@D_FUNCH) December 31, 2014
He'll be a first or second round pick in the draft even with the disappointing finish to his year.
WHAT ON EARTH. There is a woman named Ann Arbaugh who lives in Ann Arbor. And she's…
The Ohio State graduate said she hasn't abandoned her Buckeye roots, and that she's become an Ann Arborite but not quite a Wolverine-lover.
…an Ohio State graduate. Life is weird.
COLTS ON HARBAUGH. They didn't think he was a total weird megalomaniac:
"I've read about that side of him, but that's it," Ward says. "He was not thought of in that way (here), and it doesn't characterize Jim as we knew him. He was intensely competitive, absolutely, but he was a great team player and scrappy and always, always battling for the team."
Indianapolis fell in love with Harbaugh, in part because he was the anti-Jeff George, a superstar talent whose less-than-superstar results and aloof air – think Jay Cutler – rubbed people the wrong way. Jeff George was not what the city of Indianapolis craved in a leader. Jim Harbaugh was, and he gave this city what it loved.
There was the 1995 AFC championship game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, when the Colts trailed 20-16 in the final minutes and Harbaugh was bleeding from a torn hand and still leading the team down the field before his final pass, a heave into the end zone, bounced away from Colts receiver Aaron Bailey.
"I remember blood dripping from his hand," Ward says, "and he singlehandedly pretty much drove the team within inches of winning that game."
PODCAST TOMORROW. Hooray. Also we'll do a twitter Q&A/presser thing.
THANKS FOR PLAYING. Countable coaches are also not a priority at the Free Press.
— Brian (@BKudron) December 29, 2014
Yes, you have already seen this six times today.
INTENSITY. One, tiny Jim Harbaugh looks exactly like my brother did at the same age. Two, he was always Jim Harbaugh.
— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziBlade) December 29, 2014
THIS IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN. But I wouldn't put it past him.
LOOKS PRETTY HATED TO ME YOU GUYS. The early-season word in the NFL was that Harbaugh's act had worn thin with NFL players and that he was widely hated in the locker room. That appears to be attempted spin by the Niners management as they attempt to cover for their decision to axe the fifth-winningest coach in NFL history:
This is not at all what it was said to be.
— Ryan Leong (@RyanLeong) December 29, 2014
In the aftermath of Harbaugh's departure Niners players tweeted out seemingly heartfelt things about how they'll miss him. They gave him the game ball. I was struck by how Harbaugh lit up when someone in the room for his final presser asked about Frank Gore's performance in San Francisco's season-ending win over Arizona. "THANK YOU!" he exclaimed before praising Gore as a true competitor.
It was reminiscent of Harbaugh's reaction in the aftermath of Stanford's stunning upset of USC in 2007: approached by ESPN, he said "don't talk to me, talk to Pritchard," his third-string QB who led the team to victory. So they did. The guy is a nut but he's a team-focused nut.
If the YOU DON'T SAY meme didn't exist we'd have to invent it. I mean.
Jim Harbaugh and 49ers have mutually parted ways, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 29, 2014
Schefter is still the last guy dying on NFL hill (well, maybe not the last), saying that Michigan official "believe" Harbaugh is coming back with them today and continually saying things like Michigan boosters were "told" that it's happening while still saying that NFL teams are pursuing. Schefter will probably tweet "Raiders officials plan to meet with Harbaugh after this press conference ends" on Tuesday.
And ESPN is simultaneously trying to credit him with breaking the story. Cumong man.
Do you even read what you write? Ray Ratto:
People will immediately seek out informers at Stanford, where Harbaugh wore out his welcome on a college setting, as well as he did with the 49ers.
Many people will yell at him for being a dumbass on twitter, and Ratto will blame the people yelling at him. I have a feeling that Stanford might have consented to a fifth year of Harbaugh.
He may know Michigan, but he cannot truly own Michigan. He didn’t own Stanford when he helped bring down USC, and he only owned the 49ers until the smell of a new stadium got into York’s lungs. And his history of wearing on players is well and often told, loudly enough to show him that he has to find another, more contemporary, gear.
Tell that to Frank Gore, and a lot of people:
Iupati said things got pretty emotional after Harbaugh and his players had what Harbaugh termed a "discussion" in the locker room after the game.
As usual, Harbaugh concluded the talk with everyone huddled in the middle of the room, a hand raised in the air and thrust toward Harbaugh's hand as he asked, "Who's got it better than us?" And everyone replied "Nobody."
"That was awesome," Iupati said. "I will remember that for the rest of my life. We're going to miss him. I'm going to miss him."
The other narrative. Now that Harbaugh's exited the NFL, the narrative switches from "never happen" to "there weren't any suitable openings" and "he's going to leave immediately anyway." Florio:
He wanted to stay in the NFL, but with no viable options paying him at or near $8 million and Michigan ready to give him the keys to the financial kingdom, it appears that Jim Harbaugh will indeed become the next coach of the Wolverines.
Please. If Harbaugh wanted to stay in the NFL he wouldn't be on a plane today. He wouldn't have told Michigan he was coming a week ago. He would be waiting to see what the casualties were on Black Monday, and possibly having his agent hint, oh, 20 or so NFL teams that if they axed their guy he would come. As Braves and Birds put it:
Yes, NFL insiders, after being consistently wrong about Harbaugh to Michigan, I am interested in your opinions on how long he'll stay.
— Michael (@BravesAndBirds) December 29, 2014
Tangential Harbaugh. Via Dr. Sap, Gerald Ford with Bo, 1976:
PEAK WEINREB. As Michigan struggled, Michael Weinreb carved out a cottage industry for himself rewriting the same column about how Michigan is old and fusty and arrogant and not too good at football, all the while coolly ignoring the fact that similar criticisms could be made about Penn State at deafening volume levels. So it is right and just that he's the guy Grantland called out of the bullpen to throw shade on the Harbaugh hire. This covers all the bases:
I would worry that Harbaugh is doing this for the money (a reported $48 million over six years, which would make him the sport’s highest-paid coach) or out of some misguided sense of obligation to his alma mater.
Weinreb is concerned that Harbaugh is doing this for money and that he is not doing this for money. I think he's got us on that one.
I look forward to the next one of these. My almanac says it should be in the immediate aftermath of the Spring Game.
Etc.: Probably legit post from a Harbaugh son about what went down with the Niners. Nick Baumgardner could teach some NFL folks the three words that lead his column. All your Harbaugh weirdness documented. Manning is still around, if that means anything. Best And Worst! Top 5 Harbaugh games. Five reasons this is awesome for neutrals.
Slidin' in your DMs like... Via Ace:
Oh, no reason. Wolverine Historian with a two-part Harbaugh tribute:
Hire this man. I would seriously give Ryan Van Bergen a job in the athletic department today:
"In my opinion, and this is going to upset some people, there have been times last three, four years, the environment has been almost toxic with the negativity surrounding the program," Van Bergen said.
"Everything about Michigan poises it for success. The things that obviously are contributing to our recent misfortunes have nothing to do with if we're able to recruit and our facilities. There is blame to be shared among everybody — players, coaching, administration and fans. Everybody who supports the Michigan program needs to evaluate how they're doing it. If they're being negative about it, change that."
Van Bergen has credibility as a guy who's been under all three of the recent regimes, was willing to tell it how it was when Hoke was there, had a superior senior year under Hoke, and will be honest about the issues facing the program even if they're inconvenient.
One less way we can differentiate ourselves from Ohio. This is potentially lame:
Michigan student-athletes at public universities would not be allowed to unionize under state collective bargaining laws if a bill introduced Tuesday in the Michigan House of Representatives becomes law.
House Bill 6074 would require all student-athletes be classified as “students” and keep them from becoming employees of universities. Because the student-athletes could not be classified as public employees, they would not be entitled to representation or collective bargaining rights under state law.
I'm not sure if that's the way the law-type thing works. Seems like work is work and a legislature can't wave a wand and declare it not so, but I'm just a common sense type guy, not a law-talkin' one. The guy who sponsored this legislation has the usual mish-mash of non-sequiturs—most college athletes don't go pro in their chosen sport—and false dichotomies—is college about getting an education or making money—in its defense, and I dislike him.
Well, yeah. Fred Jackson in the aftermath:
"I expected a decision to be made today, but I didn't know which way it was going, one way or the other, I had no idea," Jackson said reporters. "I didn't really expect it. I know we didn't play as well as people would like to see us play. I also understand that it's all about winning and losing.
"We didn't win enough games."
Ah, Fred. In four sentences he says 1) he had no idea, 2) he didn't expect it, and 3) they didn't win enough games. Truly a closing statement worthy of a man with sixteen different beverages on his desk, telling you that every back he ever coached was Adrian Peterson on top of a surly dinosaur.
Engineers in the marching band, you say? I am subscribing to your newsletter.
Nooooooo. David Jones has an entertaining article on the enormous, ridiculous Land Grant trophy, which is just getting to the age where its ridiculousness is a real asset instead of a detriment. Jones details its origin story…
When Hoffman picked up the shiny new Land Grant Trophy from a local Lansing sporting goods shop in 1993, he realized it wasn't quite what he'd pictured:
"I thought, 'My God, that's big.' I'll take the blame for it being so big and heavy," said Hoffman when reached on Tuesday in Cleveland where he's in semi-retirement.
The shop owner, whose name escapes Hoffman 21 years later, had taken all of the specifications and come up with something like a paneled rec room from the 1970s with knickknacks and photos attached to it – a Nittany Lion figurine mailed by Thalman, a Sparty gladiator statuette, a generic gold football player tacked on top, photos of Old Main and MSU's counterpart building – all built into a boxy wooden structure. And it had these decks and levels built onto it, like a committee kept deciding to add more stuff.
…and then suggests the thing might not be long for this world:
Alas, I come to you today with a heavy heart. Because I've been informed by powers greater than I that the end may be near for the LGT. For many of us, we'll feel as if an old friend is moving away. A particularly ugly old friend. It's going to be like comedians saying goodbye to Dan Quayle.
But Penn State officials have, as officials like to say today, "reached out" to Michigan State officials about the future viability of the LGT, "moving forward." When you have a traveling trophy, it's probably best that it can be transported in something other than the bed of a semi-tractor trailer.
To which I say fie. The Land Grant trophy may be the ugly duckling of the trophy world, but it has a charm the "Freedom Trophy" lacks. Keep it.
I know problems. You have problems. Interesting Tim Kawakami article on the dysfunction in the 49ers front office, which is far from all Harbaugh:
York doesn’t like talking to the local media (but Harbaugh’s camp is sure York loves secretly talking to the national media and I can’t disagree with Harbaugh’s camp on that).
Baalke despises almost all media–Baalke really doesn’t like most people, period. He’s a pure scout, cold, clipped, anti-social and often angry.
That works tremendously in the film room or out on the road scouting (Baalke probably is on the road more than any GM in the NFL), but maybe not so well when personalities and philosophies have to be managed.
Oh, and you might’ve heard that Harbaugh is volatile and occasionally crazed. That Harbaugh actually likes it better when things are rattled and people are on edge, all the better to find out what his associates are made of.
Well, Harbaugh has found out exactly what York and Baalke are made of. And they’ve made their decision on him.
Good luck with that, guys.
Etc.: Player react twitter roundup. Almost all about how Hoke was a great dude without any shots at the decision or fanbase. Timely M Heritage article about dudes against football back in the day. Orson goes to Tallahassee. At least Hoke recruited really well. Tinder trolling is now a thing.