this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
what could possibly go wrong
never heard of it
The University of Michigan football program will open the 2014 season with a match-up against Appalachian State University on Aug. 30 at Michigan Stadium. This will be the second [sic] meeting between the Wolverines and Mountaineers at Michigan Stadium.
Sorry about that error in the second sentence above. Michigan has never played Appalachian State.
If you'll excuse me, I feel like having a seizure.
APR. The NCAA has released all the APR information for this year and Michigan's doing quite well, thanks. HOWEVA, I am a bit concerned Michigan's football numbers will dip over the next few years. The four-year rolling numbers:
That's a steady decline as the Carr years waned and attrition increased. The APR issues two points per student per year, one for being academically eligible and one for not leaving, and Michigan's suffered a lot of premature departures.
Boren, Mallett, Manningham, and Arrington are in those 2008 numbers, but many others aren't accounted for yet: Threet, Clemons, McGuffie, Babb, Horn, Chambers, and Kates all left the team after the 2008-09 school year started. I'm not sure if Slocum and Patilla, who left over the summer, are counted, and I don't know if Taylor Hill's extremely brief tenure as a Wolverine—a couple weeks at most—will be held against Michigan. And if I had to bet I'd put my money on Carson Butler coming up a few credits short of his bachelor's in Nerd Massacre Engineering. (Andre Criswell left the team but not the school, and I'd bet he's got a degree, so he shouldn't count.)
Upshot: the transition period is going to hurt Michigan's APR standing just because of the sheer quantity of transfers, and we can expect that 947 to dip considerably next year. I don't think it'll get into the range where Michigan is seriously flirting with sanctions… but I'm not 100% sure or anything.
Another team to watch is Tennessee, which has an APR a point higher than Michigan's and has just suffered ten Kiffin-induced departures.
Meanwhile, penalties are now in full effect and have clubbed basketball teams at OSU, Purdue, and Indiana with scholarship reductions. Indiana is obvious and OSU's addiction to one-and-dones makes them a logical candidate, but Purdue? I guess they just went through a transition period. Ohio State is probably going get to hit next year, too, with Anthony Crater's transfer and the departure of caveman BJ Mullens for the NBA draft.
Can complaints about this thing being a paper tiger stop now? That's one traditional power and two teams that were in the NCAA tournament last year getting hit with the meanstick. Yes, small schools get punished more heavily but that's because they don't have the resources to support the high-risk players they're recruiting. They should concentrate on kids they can graduate. Myles Brand:
"The truth of the matter," Brand said, "is that if you're going to participate in high-level intercollegiate athletics, you have to provide for academic opportunities for the students. And that's not inexpensive."
Word. Anything that diverts more money, Lebowski, to the people actually on the field instead of the people on the periphery is good.
One downer is the ability to absorb penalties into your year of suck. Indiana lost two scholarships but got the NCAA to agree to these hijinks:
IU anticipated the two-scholarship penalty announced today and took it last season. Purdue did the same with a one-scholarship penalty.
Michigan did something similar under Amaker: hit with a one-scholarship reduction for four years, they crammed three of those into the first year and got out of the last two. Schools shouldn't be allowed to take their penalty whenever it's convenient for them; they should have to take it at a uniform time, convenient or no. Allowing IU to put their two-scholarship penalty towards a year when they already knew they'd be terrible is no punishment at all; the same goes for Michigan conveniently backdating their penalties into a year where they were three scholarships short anyway.
One inexplicable horrible thing though. The good doctor highlights the strangest APR case of the year:
The worst APR score in the country belonged to South Florida, which was also below par in basketball and baseball, but the Bulls avoided scholarship penalties in football by applying for a waiver ... which they received for the second straight season despite an eight-point drop (909, down from 917) from a score that was already eight points below the mandated 925 last year.
WTF? How can a team get a waiver one year, fail to improve their score, and get another waiver? I have an email in to the NCAA's website; we'll see if they respond.
Clarification. A few UV's back I asked whether Pryor was actually booted from OSU's spring game for talking trash. I didn't think he did but wasn't 100% sure; since then several emailers have confirmed that answer is "no."
Sherman-Williams will be crushed. I'm sure I've bitched endlessly about the horrific charging calls that floppy white guys get all the time in college—unless it's Zach Novak, for some reason. It turns out I'm not crazy and the NCAA wants to do something about kids showing up directly under the basket with the opponent already in the air… sort of:
The recommendation on play under the basket won't call for a restricted-area arc painted in the lane as the NBA has, but it prohibits a secondary defender from establishing position in the area from the front of the rim to the front of the backboard. A defender must establish position outside that area to draw a charge or player-control foul.
This sounds frustrating in practice, albeit less frustrating than the current setup. Basketball refereeing suffers from a lack of clarity already and, when possible, rules should be adjusted to be black and white. That goes double for college. An NBA-style no charge circle is black and white. This is pretty vague.
Also, one of the guys quoted in the story is named Dick Hack. He's chair of the men's committee and athletics director at New York-Maritime and sounds like he either leapt out of noir novel or Idiocracy. Various cocktails to you, sir.
Then we'll build this awesome hotel. The coaches poll took a look at the criticisms leveled at it and is considering two bold steps:
- Not releasing the votes in the final poll.
- Keeping the identities of the voters secret.
Wait… what? Is Kim Jong-Il in charge of this thing? These are bold steps in exactly the wrong direction. Over The Pylon's already pulled out the flamethrower so I'll just quote them:
So for the coaches poll to have any "credibility" to begin with, we, as fans, are asked to assume that coaches will be informed, participatory, and non-biased. And the only way to ensure that's happening is to ensure that the public can see exactly how these non-biased informed voters are voting. More transparency is the answer.
Context provides heavy sarcasm on "non-biased" and "informed," BTW. The BCS should step in and declare those moves unacceptable if the coaches' poll wants to remain part of the BCS formula. The only thing worse than having biased voters participate in the critically important selection process is having secret biased voters.
Etc.: Sam Keller's suing EA and the NCAA for copying the likenesses of players without paying them. I hope he wins as long as the solution is to pay the players a little bit and not randomization, but if he wins I bet they go with randomization. I don't have a strong opinion on this Daniel Hood thing—he was convicted of rape at 14 and now a Tennessee football recruit—but lean towards think it's okay.
Judging by the relative volume of email I've gotten on this, the entire universe read this FoxSports story and went "wha?"
The Green Bay Packers aren't the only ones who are interested in Greg Paulus.
According to sources close to the situation, the former Duke point guard was in Ann Arbor on Tuesday meeting with Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez about the possibility of playing this season for the Wolverines.
How can Paulus have eligibility at all, let alone this year? Apparently NCAA transfer rules don't apply if you switch sports and neither do eligibility limits. There's just the five year "clock" that starts when you enroll in college.
Though bizarre, this isn't totally insane. Paulus was actually a big time football recruit with offers from a number of major powers, including Michigan, before he chose the dark side. (And poorly: how many 6'2" white point guards are in the NBA?) Since he's got only one year left Michigan could put him on the team without adversely affecting next year's recruiting class. It's basically a free quarterback.
The only downside is being associated with this:
The great worry is that four years at Duke have burned this sort of behavior in Paulus' head and he'll fall over when pass rushers come upfield or, you know, the running back brushes him when he's trying to get the handoff.
Paulus hasn't played a down of football in four years, so the article's suggestion that he could "come in and play immediately" is more foreboding than a hopeful. Forcier isn't losing his job to this stopgap unless he's miraculously good. If Paulus comes and if he sees the field he's probably going to be really bad, but since there's a chance his really bad is less really bad than some walk-on's really bad there doesn't appear to be a reason to say no*.
If he does come don't revise your season projections either way.
*(Except for aesthetic ones embedded above.)
Okay, we've got zero additional organization from the thread, but some people are bringing beverages and food and a grill, so what the hell it's a go: there will be an MGoTailgate (wsg Varsity Blue!) at approximately 9AM tomorrow. Location is in the general vicinity of the bus stop near Crisler in the Blue Lot.
I am relatively easy to spot. My hair is basically configured like this:
…so there you go. See you there.
Event! Okay. It has been proposed that there should be an MGoBlog tailgate before the spring game. I am amenable, and Varsity Blue is also onboard. The current, extremely tenuous plan is to meet at 9 AM by the bus stop outside of Crisler. I fear that some guy will show up with emo hair and talk like people in Idiocracy speak and he will be set upon and eaten, but that's the chance you take.
I have no idea if this plan is feasible or not. At every previous spring game ever, it obviously would be because there would be no one else there but there's a chance people might be enthused this year or something and space might be limited. Also we need, like, food equipment beer etc. There is an official organization thread. Hopefully in a couple days it will come to some sort of consensus and I'll post final details later in the week.
I bet this is going to be a fiasco.
Dammit, Western. You've failed me for the last time. I don't know what's more surprising: friendliness between riot cops and State students or a girl at State who doesn't bleach her hair in an effort to look like a sad Midwestern version of a UCLA student.
Elsewhere in Michigan State getting housed, Orson obliterates the annoying "this will save Michigan" meme.
Name partisanry part two. Yesterday I pimped Barkevious Mingo in the Name of the Year competition several times. This is right and just. But a reader points out that we have another rooting interest: Iris Macadandang. Ms. Macadangdang is the #1 seed in the Crotchtangle regional and a recent alum. (An unusual one, too. How many people are involved with the College Republicans and Amnesty International?) She's in the sweet 16, where she is currently trailing Dr. Shasta Kielbasa.
Vote for Iris. Shasta Kielbasa is only around because of the "Dr." in front of her name and that's a title, not a proper part of the name.
(If you were wondering: yes, this section is a dense thicket of squiggly red underlines.)
Manny Harris is sticking to his story. Michigan's star wing has no current plans to leave Michigan this spring, following his sophomore season. But that doesn't mean he's totally ignored his future, either.
"It's an option, but not really that serious though," Harris said Monday regarding the buzz about him exploring his NBA options. "If it's something to look into, then I will, but I haven't even thought about it much. I doubt I'm going."
Okay, still not particularly worried and he should be back. Snyder does mention that Sims can put his name in and withdraw it without consequences since he's a junior. There's no reason for him not to, so he might apply, go to the draft camps and such, and withdraw.
He lurks. In the days of Gittleson there was a group of Michigan fans with thick necks and GNC memberships dedicated to the proposition that all men trained under Git were, well, gits. Or at least more git-like than they would otherwise be. One of their favorite talking points was that only two programs in the country used the machine-heavy High Intensity Training: Michigan and obviously archaic Penn State.
[PSU] Strength coach John Thomas brought a graduate assistant and some weight equipment into Holuba Hall. They did a session of manual resistance training, in which the GA did various exercises while Thomas used his strength and body weight to work him to failure. For example, the GA did pushups while Thomas pushed down on his back; the kid looked like he hated him for it.
The funny thing was that Thomas mentioned four or five times that he had learned some of these techniques "from a guy who's probably going to hate me saying his name, and that's Mike Gittleson." He looked over toward the opposite corner from me, as if Gittleson were over there somewhere. Of course, most of the coaches at the clinic were from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, so I don't know if anyone else recognized the name. But I immediately started looking for someone who might be Gittleson. I couldn't find him initially, but I eventually saw him. I spoke to him for a minute about resistance training, but I didn't mention anything about Michigan, since I thought that might bring up bad memories. Interestingly enough, when I got home and Googled John Duncan, one of the first hits I came across was this article in which ex-PSU players suggested that players were actually getting fatter and weaker under Duncan; those are the exact same criticisms that Gittleson suffered from fans, although I'm sure many S&C coaches face the same questions.
Penn State's been hugely erratic of late and it's impossible to tell why. They've had their share of throbbing destroyers on the lines, some excellent tailbacks and so forth and so on, so it's not like the old style can't produce some excellent players. But, hey, no one's ever accused Barwis of making them into anything other than indestructible death machines.
A delicious side note: at the open scrimmage TTB attended, freshman QB Kevin Newsome hit 3 of 15 passes.
Behind enemy lines. This is a bit strange for me, but, uh: I'm posting this weekly thing at Bucknuts now, keeping them up to date on various things Michigan. Oh, and mocking. Mocking it hard. Here's the first one. If you feel the need to bring a stone to the tailgate/disaster/fiasco, feel free.
2/27/2009 – Michigan 6, Ferris State 1 – 25-10, 19-8 CCHA
2/28/2009 – Michigan 4, Ferris State 0 – 26-10, 20-8 CCHA
Everyone held serve this weekend, with Michigan and Notre Dame both sweeping inferior opponents. The critical comparison remains as grim as it was last week (PWR rankings from Sioux Sports, as usual):
I could break every category down in detail, or I could just give you the upshot: Notre Dame basically has a two-game lead on Michigan. If they bomb out of the CCHA playoffs in the second round Michigan can pass them. That's unlikely. The best team they could face in the second round is UNO, which has a –14 goal differential compared to ND's +43. The other option is for ND to lose twice at the Joe while Michigan wins the CCHA, which is more plausible but still a slim window.
So it's best to just accept the fact that Michigan is either a 2-seed or getting shipped.
Compounding the bad vibes is Denver's flight up into a tie with Michigan despite 1) being way back in RPI and 2) splitting this weekend. DU got a lot of fortunate results around the TUC cliff and now owns that point along with common opponents, which overrules the, you know, season. So they win that comparison with Michigan and are currently the #3 overall seed with Michigan slipping to #4. With nine relevant games sitting in the last four RPI slots, this comparison is going to be hugely unstable until the end of the season.
Slipping to the last #1 seed doesn't really matter, as any spot behind ND results in getting shipped and PWR's just going to throw up some random stuff at the end when it comes to the brackets.
The Whole Situation
Michigan's PWR status by category (some "lock win" teams may not be TUCs at the end of the season but Michigan will win the comparison with whoever replaces them):
- Lock Wins: Air Force, Alaska, BC, Cornell, Lowell, CC, Minnesota, UMD, Mankato, UNH, North Dakota, OSU, Princeton, RIT, SCSU, St Lawrence, Wisconsin, Yale
- Lean Michigan: Miami, Northeastern, Vermont
- Tossup: Denver
- Lean Opponent: ND
- Lock Losses: BU
Okay, that's a pretty good situation. Michigan is guaranteed to be at least a #2 seed and it'll take some doing to not be a #1:
- Miami has basically lost the M comparison if Michigan sweeps its first-round playoff opponent; even a head-to-head victory wouldn't be enough to move things since H2H games don't count in either of the other categories. This is a near-lock.
- Vermont has COP but is well back in TUC and about a game and a half back in RPI.
- Northeastern loses COP and it would take some fortunate playoff matchups for any chance of that changing; they'd have to sweep BC to take TUC and that would remain precarious depending on the results of conference tourneys.
The upshot: unless Michigan fails to make or gets swept at the Joe, the only thing that can prevent M from being a one-seed is sustained hot streaks from Northeastern and Denver coupled with unfavorable results near the TUC cliff. They have a one-game lead, basically, with few opportunities to lose it.
Things That Aren't Math
It's worth noting that since Michigan finished trundling to a 9-7 start, they've caught fire. They're 17-3 since, and two of the losses were one goal games featuring not one but two obviously incorrect decisions on goals. Michigan dominated those games, outshooting ND 38-22 and Ohio State 37-25. The only game that Michigan has just straight-up lost since November was, bizarrely, a home game against last-place Bowling Green.
And they did all that without Mark Mitera, the captain and last year's INCH defenseman of the year. Mitera returned to the ice this weekend and put up two points. Even if he was rusty—and though I didn't see the game @ Ferris most commenters at USCHO said he was to blame for the lone Bulldog goal of the weekend—he's got three weeks to round into shape before the NCAA tournament arrives.
So… yeah. It appears this team is in position almost as good as last year's team to make the Frozen Four and, hopefully, break the painful streak of semifinal exits. Though they don't have the elite All-American sorts on the top line they did last year, they're fast and tough defensively and almost unbelievably deep on the blueline. My excitement levels are getting dangerously high. I worry about what happens if Michigan goes down a goal without a Hensick sort on the team, but 17-3 with an asterisk is 17-3 with an asterisk. One team in twenty has outplayed Michigan. One.