spoiler alert: i linked this
A couple weeks ago, I put together a google map with all of the Michigan bars I'm aware of (and also everything from the spreadsheet that bouje has been maintaining.) The map is here.
Hopefully this will prevent the "where's the Michigan bar in Pittsburgh/Fresno/Topeka/wherever" threads that pop up every week, but if your favorite gameday hangout isn't on here, put it in the thread and let me know. I'll do my best to keep the map up to date.
ESPN came up with a list of the 25 athletes with the greatest unfulfilled potential. There are two Michigan athletes on this "coulda-been" list. I could have easily guessed Drew Henson, but not Roy Tarpley. Guess I can't argue.
Also, a Buckeye is No. 1 on the list.
As is typical for this time of year (which is to say, any time between April and August, also known as the "offseason") news has come out of some college football players being arrested. In this instance, the culprits attend Auburn. Naturally, there's been some snark about glass houses and all that, some disagreements about whether the offenses were serious (I believe marijuana is involved) and stuff like that.
Mostly, though, my mind drifts back to a belief I have held* for several years: No college football team with any intention of contending for a national title should ever schedule a big opponent for the first week of the season.
The offseason takes a long time. There are eight solid months between games. Those eight months include an entire semester of school and a long, hot, often boring summer. This is the time period in which players have the least to do in their lives--less structure, less routine, less supervision from those that have the most influence on them.
So it is totally predictable that some players are going to get in trouble on occasion in the offseason. For some it will be a minor issue, but for others the problem will be a bit more serious.
And in many cases a coach will be expected to enforce a consequence that involves the loss of playing time.
And such a consequence must, for both purposes of discipline and publicity, take effect no later than the next available game.
Now, if a contending team happens to be playing Eastern Michigan, it might elicit a chuckle from media and the player feels bad, but a contending team can still roll to an easy victory. No big deal.
But if that first game happens to be scheduled against, say, Notre Dame or Alabama, a missing player could be the difference between winning and losing.
Yet no coach** can, in the public eye, delay a suspension like that for purposes of being competitive in a tougher game. So they suspend the player, cross their fingers, and hope.
So a team suffers due to one (more more) player's infraction based not on the infraction but on a predetermined accident of schedule.
The obvious solution, one that thinking athletic directors across the country should be wise enough to adopt, is to never schedule a huge game in the first week.
It makes the schedule boring, and it might mean turning down money for one of those fancy neutral site games, but if you don't want your team's postseason jeopardized because a couple of players were at the wrong party at the wrong time in April or June, you schedule a cupcake to open the season.
*I am not the first to think about this and I don't want to pretend that I am unique here; I may have even been prompted along this line by thoughts I read on this board, though I do not recall.
**Except Jim Tressel, but even he can get fired if things are bad enough.
Pro Football Focus's 2017 mock draft has three Michigan players in their first round. I've been surprised as to the number of these Jourdan Lewis doesn't appear on, and PFF has him going highest of the Michigan players. FWIW, Malik McDowell goes in their Top 10, with Corey Davis from Western joining him there.
- Baltimore Ravens: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Our top-graded cornerback from 2015, Lewis was targeted often with little to show for it. Of his 90 targets, only 33 were completed (36.7 percent) and he tied for the national lead with 15 passes defensed to go with two interceptions. At a listed 5-foot-10, Lewis will battle the NFL’s preference for bigger cornerbacks, but another playmaking season like 2015 should put him right into the first-round mix.
Then we get the usual suspect:
- Indianapolis Colts: Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
While Peppers may be moving to linebacker on Michigan’s depth chart this fall, he’s the athletic hybrid player for which the NFL is looking. Peppers was strong against the run (+8.3) and in coverage (+6.5) and he has the athleticism to play near the line of scrimmage while matching up with slot receivers and tight ends.
And then the surprise :
- Minnesota Vikings: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The third Michigan defender in the last five picks, Hurst fires off the ball and his +38.0 overall grade ranks third among returning interior defensive linemen despite playing only 418 snaps in 2015. Hurst shows the power to push the pocket and disrupt in the backfield, though he does need to do a better job of handling double teams and finishing plays.
Grew up about 30 minutes from Ann Arbor and still remember my first game when I was 6 at the Big House where Tim Biakabutuka ran for 313 against OSU. Always dreamt of going to U of M from that moment on and could not wait to be able to attend the games each weekend. Moved to Austin post graduation but made it a priority to come back to Ann Arbor during football season. Today I can finally do that without scouring stubhub each Friday night. Here's to everyone else in my shoes, and holding on to these bad boys for the next 50 years!