The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
100% complete insanity
"When did you sign a contract?" /looks at Hackett… "YESTERDAY". The WSJ has the first shot at an excerpt from John Bacon's upcoming book, and they go with the courtship of one Jim Harbaugh:
In December, after Michigan finished a miserable 5-7 season that resulted in coach Brady Hoke’s firing, Hackett and Harbaugh had long talks on Saturday nights, developing a good rapport. (To avoid anything leaking to the media, Hackett always referred to Harbaugh internally as “Unicorn,” which reflected Hackett’s belief that Harbaugh was a one-of-a-kind candidate.)
“The interesting thing is,” Hackett later told me, “we never talked specifically about Jim being head coach. We talked about what Michigan needed. After a few weeks of this, we’re going back and forth and getting really excited about the possibilities, and Jim says, ‘We’re getting excited about this, aren’t we?’
“Yes we are,” Hackett said.
“You didn’t offer me the job, did you?” Harbaugh asked.
“No, I haven’t.”
“I didn’t accept, did I?”
“No, you didn’t.”
It wasn’t an agreement, by design, Hackett says, “But that gave me the confidence, no matter what pressure the media was putting on me, I could stick to my guns.”
Hackett was truly the right guy at the right time.
"So unlike him." The Indy Star remembers when Jim Harbaugh punched a guy, specifically one Jim Kelly, then a broadcaster:
"Even though Kelly certainly earned it for publicly questioning Harbaugh's pain threshold, it was costly and so unlike No. 4.
"But, obviously, even a coach's son and the ultimate team player had a breaking point.
"'I don't think you can use this season as an excuse for what I did,' Harbaugh said, refusing to provide any play-by-play on the altercation. "I've never been a fighter, but it happened and it's over.'"
"I regret throwing the punch, but I felt I had to do something since my toughness was being questioned," Harbaugh said. "I regret that I have a crack in one of my bones in my hand."
A truly disturbing incident, one that had a great impact on his future aspirations.
Mother said we can go to Six Flags now. Mother says we can buy timeshare in a Segway. Mother says I have done good and my sleepwalk murders have been redeemed. I still think I never done no sleepwalking.
Sadly, interested buyers, it turns out that you're already out of luck, too. The $1,500 piece of ... art ... has already been purchased by a 1965 Michigan grad and season ticket-holder.
The buyer, Roger Mayerson, told Putnam he simply knows what he likes.
"I think it's going to be quite a conversation piece," he said.
But I do want to ride a Segway.
Bring your Champion-type substances. BYCTOM previews the Northwestern schedule this year. On Michigan:
I can't wait to hate Jim Harbaugh. He comports himself like a nineteenth-century military officer just returned from some colonial posting no longer able to function in the West where he has to answer to a doddering hierarchy of muttonchopped generals with disastrous plans. Even by the insane standards of football coaches, whose lives revolve around yelling and watching film and taking fanboats to the east end of nowhere to convince a 300-pound 16-year-old to allow himself to be yelled at by them for the next four years, Harbaugh is intense. He seems to strive to exist in a world of wide-eyed zeal, where humans only communicate in elaborate football play argots, where discourse is limited to talking about how determined you are, and where the punishments for variation in pants style are unspeakably draconian. He is also a very good football coach and that is intolerable.
I will get you to read this blog if it is the last thing I do.
While I love this quote… OSU has a depressingly likable team this year, a fact that was emphasized by this quote from Josh Perry:
Favorite CFB preseason quote so far... pic.twitter.com/uIPBgp7ier
— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) August 12, 2015
However, it is in fact very much like it went to crap and dilapidated and then some hipsters…
…moved in and renovated it.
OSU-Michigan, 1977. Specifically, Ufer going bonkers at the end:
Sigh. Anonymous Big Ten coach quotes from Athlon have dropped this year, and like most things they will make you upset about the coaching over the last few years:
"I think Devin Gardner was better than people gave him credit for. He is a unique athlete who was capable of throwing the ball. He could have been a great college football player in the right system.”
“They had one of the most dangerous receivers in the league in Devin Funchess. They had two or three five-star running backs. They had a slot receiver (Dennis Norfleet) who could make some plays. So I don’t think it was a lack of skill.”
“They lacked confidence. That was a big problem.”
“It’s not like they were horrible. By no means did I think they lacked talent.”
There are a couple mentions that the talent level was down "a bit" and the like, but the overall picture painted is one of Big Ten coaches marveling at how absurdly bad Michigan was despite having good players last year.
There are exceptions. I am generally opposed to police militarization, but in some circumstances they need all the help they can get:
"The Ohio State University Police Department asked for an armored vehicle to assist with 'football missions.'" http://t.co/xc5hn2NDjc
— Suzy Khimm (@SuzyKhimm) August 10, 2015
Should have asked for some airstrikes, too.
On Maize. "Distinctly golden."
Origins of maize: "..the yellow was decidedly golden. Never has there been any warrant for the sickly yellow.." pic.twitter.com/Wu4zIWlXNE
— MVictors (@MVictors) August 14, 2015
Etc.: The Lions are going full Brandon. Cordell Broadus made it about as long as Tony Posada. More from Stagg vs Yost. I talked to Concentrate about the reduced stadium capacity. Jordan thing. I'm confused. Hooray Jordan thing, say recruits. Okay, I guess.
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, EVERYBODY. They've let Tim Beckman out of his tiny pool, gently removed the arm floaties, and put him in front of reporters. Let's see how that's going!
DID YOU THROW THE BALL OR NOT AHHHHH
Illinois kept this person because he led their football program to a better than average performance for them, which is usually why you keep a football coach. Funny ol' world.
OKAY BUT SERIOUSLY. Whenever I see Tim Beckman put in a low-pressure situation and asked softball questions he looks like a dog that doesn't know whether you're going to throw the stick or beat him with it. How does this person get past a job interview, let alone a Head Football Coach job interview?
That is a high pressure situation in which questions like "why on Earth would we pick a guy with one good season in the MAC with an outlying turnover ratio to coach our team?" get asked. Was the answer Illinois sought "uh, team performance leads to excellence in all our endeavors"? Did they not notice when he repeated that when they asked him what he wanted for lunch?
Help me understand. I do not understand.
Also at Big Ten Media Days. Harbaugh finna get himself shivved bae*:
— Sean Churchill (@SeanChurchy) July 31, 2015
Also, and always, Beckman.
*[I think? I may have just said "Harbaugh I fart on myself" in teentwitterese.]
Also also at Big Ten Media days. Never let it be said this is not journalism.
"Saade is a self-taught taxidermist and says that the job can actually be quite lucrative." Got a lot of dead chipmunks around the house. Dunno why. Mother keeps saying something about mah sleepwalking. Mother says she don't wanna say when I ask why such a thing would happen. Mother says waste not want not. Mother don't remember which team won that crazy overtime game from a few years back on account of her blackout. Mother is pretty sure though. Mother is always right.
Mother says this is how it's always been and how it always will be, mother and the chipmunks and the always recovering on-side kicks and never ever havin nobody named Braylon she knows about, no nothin. That ain't even a name she says. Who ever heard of a name like that. Who ever heard of that.
Sometimes I think I ain't sleep-murderin no chipmunks but I know better than to say so.
You know, for a turkey that's on the lam there seem to be a lot of photos of it in the same place. God, I wish this had happened when I was in college.
If I could fight a turkey on my way to discrete math I would be so happy.
"Do not try to approach the turkey," she said. "We've gotten calls from people who have been trapped and unable to move because he's cornered them."
The symptom. It's hard to blame Devin Funchess for his occasional lackadaisical play last year. If I was suffused with ennui it's hard to imagine what he was going through. But that's the thing about coaching: it is your job to get people to play to the best of their ability. Brady Hoke did not do this, and Funchess was the best example last year.
Here is confirmation of that from what's annually the best thing to come out of Big Ten Media Days, Mike Spath's article where he offers anonymity in exchange for real talk:
"They had a guy that on paper was just a nightmare because he was so tall, and big - he was supposed to be a tight end but they played him at wide receiver [Devin Funchess] - and man all week our coaches just kept saying, 'We've got no one that can match up with him. No one that can stop this kid.'
"It was motivating and I was foaming at the mouth, but I built him up into this goliath that was going to take my best effort, and he took a lot less than that. He didn't seem to care at all about helping his quarterback out.
"Everything about him was half-speed. It was sort of like what they used to say about Randy Moss - when he knew the ball wasn't coming his way on a play, it was like he wasn't even out there."
Randy Moss made it work, and Funchess ended up a second-round pick. But you read that and it's just like… I knew that. And I knew that it didn't come from Funchess, it came from the program.
Ferentz finally under the gun. Matt Hinton surveys the situation at Iowa, which is still technically part of the same conference Michigan is:
“It’s been five years now of unremarkable football, is probably the best way to put it,” says Marc Morehouse, who took over the Hawkeyes beat at the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 1999, the same year Ferentz arrived in Iowa City, and who has seen more than his fair share of unremarkable football. “I’ve covered Ferentz since he’s been here, and the ‘hot seat’ concept has come up in the past, but I’ve never taken it seriously. … I’ve never bought into it, but this year, even in November, even in January after [the bowl game], I’m buying into it. OK, this is a real hot seat now. This is a hot seat year, no question about it.”
Ferentz has doubled down here by letting his starting quarterback depart for a team technically in the same conference. If Rudock does well and Iowa remains Iowa-esque, Ferentz will go from "can't afford to fire" to "can't afford to keep" in a flash.
All of this makes for a fascinating alternate history in which Michigan goes with the coach Lloyd Carr recommended if they were making an external hire. Things probably go better for a while. Does Ferentz take better advantage of Michigan's ability to recruit? Are they again that kind of 8-4, 9-3 team that Michigan was for big chunks of the 90s?
The end of civilization. Not with a bang but with a pun.
— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) July 31, 2015
Etc.: They promise to actually pay attention to the illegal men downfield rule this year. Now I like it when the Onion writes something about Michigan! A whopping 37% of top-100 players who aren't one-and-done transfer. Kellen Jones has been to Michigan Oklahoma Clemson Wisconsin Tampa Panama Mattawa La Paloma Bangor Baltimore Salvador Amarillo...
SUMMER OF HARBAUGH PLUS FIVE MINUTE KLINSMANN RANT
Top five best Harbaugh things of the summer. Partial consensus. I give myself exactly five minutes to thunk my head about the Gold Cup, and I tell you when they start so you can fast forward if you're so mad
Vincent talks Team Gardens and fall camp and tells Fred Jackson stories.
We have our first-ever sponsor so what do we do? We have her on for a segment that starts out ridiculous and goes down/uphill from there.
If you're around Ann Arbor you have a 50/50 chance of knowing Liz (E.T.) Crowe (t: @beerwencha2) personally, but for the other half and people not from around these parts, Liz is a best-selling, (usually sports-themed, not exactly censored) fiction author, Ann Arbor real estate agent, craft brew consultant and blogger, and mom times three. She will be backing the Podcast this year so we can keep making it, and we had her on for a special entire segment in this one as an introduction. During the season we'll have briefer bits with her.
Where Michigan stands and where they may go.
"Across 110th Street"
"Sad Penance Raps," Open Mike Eagle
"Playing Your Game, Baby", Barry White
"I'm Not Part Of Me," Cloud Nothings
THE USUAL LINKS
"I just forgot we're allowed to pitch it because that happens so rarely, you know?"
This week we have a guest responder, Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan, and The Search for the Unified Theory (Football Version), neither of which he would actually encourage you to buy—as if that's going to stop us.
Craig also has an article about the weird as hell 1925 season in this year's HTTV, now available for pre-order in the MGoStore, and which we do encourage you to buy. Because his fan memory goes back to pre-Bump I thought he'd have a unique response from history that none of us young 'uns would have remembered, then he answered with a play we'd just as soon forget.
Special thanks to Wolverine Historian for making most of these replies possible. Prepare thineself for some youtubes!
Describe the weirdest play/sequence you can remember as a Michigan fan?
BiSB: Personally, I find weirdness in the mundane. It's the draw play on 2nd and long, or the corner who allows a receiver a free inside release on 3rd and 2. Like snowflakes, even the most typical, nondescript plays demonstrates the chaos of our very existence. Each is unique, and each is OH MY GOD PITCH THE BALL TO BREASTON YOU ARE TYLER ECKER AND HE IS BLACK JESUS WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY DO YOU STILL HAVE THE FOOTBALL HE'S RIIIIIIGHT THEEEEEEEEERE.
Honorable mention for the Brandon Minor touchdown catch against Michigan State in 2008, when 100,000 people we all like,"uh, I'm pretty sure that's not how a pylon works, champ..."
[Hit the jump for two blocked punts in a row and people making top fives]
10/11/2014 – Michigan 18, Penn State 13 – 3-4, 1-2 Big Ten
OONTS OONTS OONTS OONTS
Songs designed for da club have one over-arching theme: tonight. Buy another drink, raise it to the sky. The OONTS OONTS commands you. Feel the beat. The beat is inside you. Tonight is going to be a good night, says the worst song ever written. The people around you accept this and so do you. Your sky-drink is empty. You are commanded to buy another. The OONTS OONTS doesn't care if you vote or do your homework or wake up tomorrow with a gremlin jackhammering at your temple. It commands you to see only what is in front of you now.
What is in front of us now is a lady named Victory. She is… well… she's a little ragged. Makeup's smeared; eyes are a little twitchy; you don't want to know the Vegas over/under on how many times she will throw up in the cab. Because she will do that, in the cab. Because there is going to be a cab.
Tonight, we go home with Victory.
Michigan put it all aside. There is no one to credit here; I found out a long time ago that pushing large groups of people in a direction is impossible. To lead is to find yourself at the head of a tidal wave hoping it won't notice your tiny course corrections. The people are the direction.
And except for a third of the student section that was momentarily absent because of malice or apathy—impossible to tell—the people showed up, were as into it as can be expected of people watching two cows rub against each other threateningly, and were happy to win.
After the game a section in the south endzone unfurled a section-wide FIRE BRANDON banner; that was about right. Michigan fans have for the most part held their fire on players, held their fire for the portions of games in which Michigan can win. When things get out of hand or are just intolerably incompetent on the staff's part, they let their feelings be known. They have in fact been as good as an enormous amorphous mass of pissed-off people can be at aiming before firing.
They're still mad, because they should be. This kind of win over this kind of team is just more of the same, and the athletic director's futile gestures towards humanity are the definition of too little, too late. But tonight is tonight and tomorrow can be dealt with later.
Devin Gardner put it all aside. A guy who'd been moved to wide receiver because the coaching staff thought more highly of Russell Bellomy. A guy whose ribs are a fine paste after last year. A guy who got benched for Shane Morris because the coaches had lost faith in him. There is a guy to credit here.
He's going to be a footnote, now, no question. All hopes and dreams of being a towering colossus have fled. He won't have Navarre's redemption story, and unless something deeply bizarre happens he won't have an OSU win. Ten years down the road mention Devin Gardner and most Michigan fans will wince involuntarily and offer sympathy.
This is especially cruel on the heels of his predecessor. Denard was a tragic hero but he got his OSU win, his BCS bowl, and anyone still trying to be disappointed with him after what happened when he left is certifiable. Ask a Michigan fan about him in ten years and it's different. A lot different.
But that's tomorrow, and tonight the guy who's had his leadership questioned since he arrived is going full Novak on his sideline to WIN THIS FUCKING GAME. He limped out on the field because that's just what he does. Probably can't even throw right unless several different areas of his body are telling him to go to the spa immediately. Rod Gilmore's screaming that he shouldn't be in the game because Rod Gilmore is incapable of telling a head from a leg—not that we are at all surprised by this revelation—and Devin Gardner is just like I put my heart in this shit.
Heart only gets you so far. It gets you to a narrow win over a Penn State team starting a broken vacuum and a Teddy Roosevelt biography at guard. We appear to have a vicious all-day hangover scheduled in two weeks. But that's for tomorrow.
Tonight, we are in a cab and squinting and feeling pretty okay, because we've got something to hang on to.
DEVIN GARDNER I PUT MY HEART IN THIS SHIT POINTS OF THE WEEK.
1: Devin Gardner.
2: Dennis Norfleet.
3: Devin Gardner again.
[After THE JUMP: don't start thinking about tomorrow. Oh no we did.]
Adam Glanzman/special to MGoBlog
Human beings, and not just those associated with Michigan, are capable of extraordinary incompetence. The biggest brain fart tonight was when a guy watched Amara Darboh make a catch, take two steps, dive out of bounds, and place the ball on the ground, then “confirmed” it “incomplete.” The call on the field was malpractice; getting it wrong with the benefit of a DVR and HDTV is so staggeringly separated from reality that most fanbases will go for sinister explanations.
A Michigan Man knows better. Watching this program try to manage a clock, manage an offense, or manage a press release is the kind of thorough education in the extent of the human capacity for ineptitude that you’ve come to expect from the nation’s top public university.
“Blame the refs!” explains why Wile had to attempt a 56-yarder—which Rutgers blocked—and why Michigan had just one timeout to throw against a 1st down-and-kneel drive to end the game. It doesn’t explain why Michigan manipulated the clock to leave their opponent a comfortable 120 seconds to drive at the end of the first half. Or why they forgot they had Funchess for two quarters. Or why a heretofore deep and competent secondary gave up 404 yards to Gary Nova, overcoming a record previously held by the John L. Smith Razorbacks.
Michigan stayed in it, partly because Rutgers is Rutgers. Also because Devin Gardner laughed off two tackle attempts en route to a 19-yard 4th quarter touchdown that needs to be put to Autumn Thunder immediately. I feel awful about how this guy’s career has gone. Given the schedule from here, the Wolverines would be lucky to go 6-6 and unlikely to win four. When the team is this bad and the coaches’ meat this dead, we can check out, or just enjoy the occasional exploits of those who won’t.
People are just stupid sometimes; even Unpossible Throw God Gary Nova himself took a false start(!) this game. This will be important to remember whenever it’s time to commence a headhunt as inevitable as the Big Ten’s empty apology. Humans are only tenuously rational creatures, and as soon as a coaching search commences, all contact with reality is lost.