"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) April 24, 2015
Find a bridge, and look under it. There you will find something you did not expect: a crude charcoal figure in the shape of the man. On certain nights when the moon lances through the overpass just right and strikes the figure at just the right angle, the markings take on a three dimensional aspect.
As you're squinting, wondering why it looks familiar and kind of pisses you off, Harbaugh, Master Of The Toll, will step forth from the rock to answer one question you have. I have been across this nation's highways and byways, searching out the dwindling numbers of his worshippers. Pushed out by EZ-Pass and foreign purchases of American roads, the United States troll is literally at a crossroads.
They ask him about inflicting pain on the country that spurned them.
He told them "form a country duo that sings about comin' to your citayyyy."
He told them "tell 'em it's about ethics in gaming journalism."
He told them to make a website on which anyone can talk to anyone with a 140 character maximum.
He told them to run athletic departments like conglomerations of mining interests.
He told them to name something "The KFC Yum! Center."
Yes, with the exclamation point smack in the middle of it. He is diabolical.
I sought him. I invoked daemons of minor annoyance. They told me that sitting outside in some nice weather and watching something approximating a football game was the sign of a diseased mind, but they also told me where to find him. The bridge was old and rickety, all but abandoned. Long ago a chunk of wood had been clattered free, so the light at this bridge was direct and fulsome. After a time, Harbaugh stepped forth from the charcoal.
I said I had a job for him.
I said he would find glory, and he was uninterested.
I said it paid very very well, and he bridled.
I said he could follow in the footsteps of the all-troll who birthed him from a cauldron of spite, and he took one half-step towards me. I knew not whether I had made progress or a terrible mistake.
I said that all the football coaches in all the land would gnash their teeth and shake their NCAA-mandated chains and wail and wail and wail, that entire fanbases of people would rise up in one agglomerated mass of incensed powerlessness, that even the greatest and mightiest of football would feel their bile rise uncontrollably at his visage.
He said "I accept."
And then he was gone. Shaken, I began the long journey home under the moon.
Scrimmage video. Fan-based, so wobbly.
Perverse incentives create perverse results. It is of course completely nuts for Michigan to play Florida in Dallas. The stadium is smaller, the fanbases are far away, and the pageantry of college football is largely replaced with sterile NFL lawyer spaceship accoutrements. But people do it because they get the money.
After Wisconsin scheduled LSU in a goofy neutral-and-neutral situation, Jim Delany issued a memo that the Cedar Times Gazette has unearthed:
Delany’s letter, which was obtained by The Gazette, highlighted the league’s support for neutral sites provided at least half of the series occur within the Big Ten footprint and under the league’s television agreements. Delany wrote an arrangement would be “disapproved” if a Big Ten game was not designated as the home squad in at least half the games or if it was a one-game event that took place outside the league’s television umbrella. …
“We applaud and very much appreciate your efforts in doing so, as this should create value for your teams and fans as well as for our television partners and, therefore, for all Conference members. But please keep in mind the above policies that are important to all of us as we share collectively in the revenue generated by our televised games."
I'm not sure what "disapproved" means here. Could be "we will not let you do this"; could be "we will raise our mighty eyebrow at you but take no other action."
In any case the memo indirectly indicates why neutral site games are popular: the two teams participating can split the TV money between themselves instead of between themselves and Indiana and Purdue and a bunch of other teams that are not in fact playing. When there's a Jerryworld game, ESPN and Jerryworld get the rights and then give home-team-sized slices to both participants. The Big Ten doesn't like that.
The Big Ten can pound sand. Scheduling real games would be so much easier if the teams in them actually saw the benefits without having to leave campus. There is zero reason that a Michigan-Florida home and home should be less lucrative than a neutral site game for the people involved.
Thankfully it sounds like Michigan's trip to Jerryworld in 2017 will be their last, by league decree. It's for the wrong reason, but these days that's all you can hope for.
Hatch things. Good Morning America had him on:
I am going to judge you on your word. Big Ten coaches given one word to describe their teams!
Illinois’ Tim Beckman: Family
"Can you help me find them? I'm not supposed to be out after 7 PM."
Indiana’s Kevin Wilson: Cusp
That's not an adjective. The Hoosiers are not seeming particularly cusp this morn.
Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz: Developmental
Neither is this unless it's followed by "-ly disabled," but I like that Ferentz managed to be even more boring than boring. He's probably in a band called White Toast and that's one of their songs.
Maryland’s Randy Edsall: Hungry
Boring, and not in a fun Ferentz way. Boring in a boring way. Randy Edsall is in a band and their one song is "this is not a band it is just a boring man telling you to eat your vegetables."
Michigan’s Brady Hoke: Together
…now that our first round left tackle is gone
Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio: Committed
…pass interference and still weren't found out
Minnesota’s Jerry Kill: Hungry
This would be boring except for this video of Jerry Kill eating a tiny burrito:
Nebraska’s Bo Pelini: Exciting
Accurate. Nebraska is not great but they are a cat explosion waiting to happen.
Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald: Focused
…until the fourth quarter.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: Fast
Accurate, in fact tells you something about desired composition of team, relatively un-boring.
Penn State’s James Franklin: Perseverance
Again with the non-adjectives.
Purdue’s Darrell Hazell: Hungry
Would be boring but in this case I think Darrell Hazell may be saying that his players are literally hungry because they can't figure out which hole to put the food in. "NOT THAT ONE," Darrell Hazell screams for the third time today, "THAT ONE ISN'T EVEN A PART OF YOUR BODY."
Rutgers’ Kyle Flood: Hungry
wait why is this guy even listed
Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen: Youthful
Well… yeah. Joe Namath ain't walking through that door.
Meanwhile, Spurrier said "decent" because hail Spurrier. Mark Richt said "wow" for some reason. I ain't saying that Dave Brandon goes around wearing Mark Richt's skin. But I ain't saying otherwise, neither.
Would you say that your decisions are film and evidence-based? Hoke:
"The evidence for making decisions is on the film," Hoke said Saturday night after the team's public scrimmage. "It's evidence-based. Based on film."
No word on the moisture status of his upper lip.
Another "students are gone" article. This one from USA Today is standard-issue. It never ceases to amaze that athletic directors can say this…
"I don't think it's a targeted demographic problem; I think it's more of a (high-definition) TV, living room, leather couch problem and we have to give the people a reason to come to our live product," Washington athletics director Scott Woodward said. "It is something we're going to have to address and deal with."
…and then marvel at the fact that it's tough to sell tickets that have spiraled upward relative to inflation, nearly tripling since 2000. Surely there is an athletic director out there who can figure out why they might be having attendance problems. Take 2, and then take this other 2, and somehow we have to reach 4.
The article has another pile of lukewarm solutions that aren't going to fix much of anything. One thing that could help: stop treating students like enemies. Michigan gets the vapors when a student says the word "sucks" and tries to drown it out; the ushers in the student section are constantly harassing anyone who does anything that looks even slightly like liability. You've got a choice here: loosen things up and accept the fact that you're going to have slightly higher insurance premiums, or continue to turn off your future customers with adversarial relationships between students and your main point of contact with them.
[Via Get The Picture.]
Etc.: MSU WR MacGarrett Kings doesn't even get standard-issue one game DUI suspension. Notre Dame previewed by Paul Myerberg. An overview of where the various NCAA lawsuits stand. The Kessler suit is The Big One. I'm in a sidebar of this ESPN story on the state of Michigan. NOPE.
MVictors interviews Dan Dierdorf. Genuinely Sarcastic comes back for a post about Michigan football that naturally includes a section on Stalingrad. Notre Dame scandal is always a good opportunity to rip Notre Dame.
The goal of Draftageddon is to draft a team of Big Ten players that seems generally more impressive than that of your competitors. Along the way, we'll learn a lot of alarming things, like maybe Maryland is good? Full details are in the first post.
PREVIOUSLY ON DRAFTAGEDDON
- Everyone not grabbing dual-threat senior QBs grabs defensive linemen
- Seth takes Venric Mark in front of just about everyone
- Nothing terribly remarkable happens
- BISB takes all the guys I want
- A ridiculous amount of time is spent discussing the merits of one particular interior lineman from Rutgers
- WILDCARD TIME as Brian takes a quarterback despite already having a quarterback.
- Peppers drafted in WILDCARD TIME II.
- Someone drafts an Illinois defender! I know!
- BISB goes Maryland crazy, reminds us all that he has Kurtis Drummond eighty-five times.
- The transitive property of MSU corners and Wisconsin RBs, and Phil Steele goes Heiko.
ROUND 23 - PICK 2 (Ace): Tony Jones, WR, Northwestern
O: QB Connor Cook (MSU), RB Ameer Abdullah (NE), WR Devin Funchess (U-M), WR Tony Jones (NW), SLOT Levern Jacobs (MD), SLOT/RB Dontre Wilson (OSU), TE Maxx Williams (MN), LT Brandon Scherff (IA), LG Kaleb Johnson (RU), C Chad Lindsay (OSU), RG Jordan Walsh (IA), RT Tyler Marz (WI)
D: WDE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), SDE Andre Monroe (MD), NT Darius Kilgo (MD), DT Adolphus Washington (OSU), OLB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW), OLB Matt Robinson (MD), CB Desmond King (IA), CB Darian Hicks (MSU), S John Lowdermilk (IA), S Jarrod Wilson (U-M), HSP Earnest Thomas III (IL)
ST: KR Dontre Wilson (OSU), PR Ameer Abdullah (NE)
…in the animal kingdom
While Brian is trying to convince you a stat he came up with that indicates Ohio State's safeties were anything but a massive pile of suck last year is TOTALLY LEGIT, YOU GUYS, I'll go ahead and nab my possession receiver. Tony Jones recorded 55 receptions last season, more than any other returning receiver in the conference. He posted a very respectable 68.8% catch rate and averaged 7.7 yards per target; both marks well surpass those of Kenny Bell (59.1%, 6.6 YPT). (BiSB, before you scream "BUT TOMMY KELLOGG TURFTOE THE EIGHTH!"—take a look at the respective passing numbers for the Wildcats and Huskers. Yeah. Yikes.)
Sure, Jones' numbers were bolstered by being one of Northwestern's main targets on screens, but he can do a lot more than run after the catch (though he's pretty good at that). He's a very solid route runner—here he is torching 2014 second-round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste off the line for an easy touchdown:
His scoring reception amid a sea of bodies at Penn State may have been even more impressive. He catches the ball well, blocks with enthusiasm, isn't afraid to go over the middle, and can line up wherever; all of that was on display when he lit up Syracuse for nine catches, 185 yards, and a TD last season. From watching film, I get the impression he had a much better rapport with Unstoppable Throw-God Trevor Siemian than the departed Kain Colter, as well, so he could see an uptick in his numbers now that the throw-first quarterback is taking over full-time.
Take a look at my veritable panoply of skill players. In my not-so-humble opinion, only Brian's lot comes remotely close, and he's ostensibly playing Josh Ferguson in the slot (or out wide?) while using one of his skill spots on Christian Hackenberg. Imagine all the things I could do with that group. Imagine me winning this thing...
Wait, you don't have to imagine that. It's happening, and there's nothing a pair of Northwestern safeties can do about it.
Seth: ...says the guy who drafted "I only do cover 2" Lowdermilk like 10 rounds ago, has an Illini in a coverage role, and is gambling on a new starter as a starting corner.
And no I'm not just grumpy over the ruination of my plans to draft both OSU Smiths and Northwestern Jonesii.
Ace: The guy whose best offensive player may very well be his backup running back should probably stay out of this.
BiSB: Kurtis Drummond things.
Seth: The Team The Team The Team
Ace Sadly, Seth's head coach, Motivational Poster, couldn't quite compel his team to score any points, though probably not for lack of trying.
Brian: I'd just like to point out that the guy who "might" be my slot receiver had five fewer catches than Tony Jones and is extraordinarily better at not being boring as heeeeeeeellll.
BiSB: Brian's stats conclusively demonstrate that Northwestern was really good at allowing plays of between 10 and 19 yards. This might well correlate to super-awesome safety play because Kovacs. But then again, 19 yards is many yards for one play. But Northwestern gave up 256 yards per game. Their Defensive S&P+ ranking on passing plays was #73 in the country. This was 9th in the conference, ahead of only Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois. Only one player has been taken from those other three defenses combined. This is your safety tandem. We get it; the pickings are slim at this point. But, yeah, the end result may indicate that you should have gone safety instead of backup quarterback in Round 13 (though I appreciate you doing so).
Ace, BUT TOMMY KELLOGG TURFT... oh, right. You addressed that. But I would point out that Bell's numbers in '12 were MUCH better than his numbers in '13 (as well as much better than anything Jones has put up). A little quarterbacking stability in Lincoln will put Bell back where he should be. Plus, you can't doubt AfroThunder. Wait... NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
(And speaking of Joneses, Northwestern has FIVE Joneses on its roster: Christian, Daniel, Joseph, Malin and Tony. This means nothing, but is worth noting.)
[After the jump: MGoBlog Fantasy Theater, featuring the stars of Ace's offense]
Ask Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann is a syndicated column found in newspapers across the country. Universal Syndication, Inc., is not responsible for the content, opinions, punctuation, or ethics espoused in this column. Ask Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann should not be relied upon for advice. She threw volleyballs at us until we let her do this. Please, someone stop her. We need… a hero.
Dear Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann,
Hi! I'm a journalism student. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I'm ready to take on the world. Where do you think I should apply for a job?
GG, I hope you die. I hope you die in a tower of fire a thousand feet tall, writhing in agony as I watch. I'll throw volleyballs at you even though I know they'll be incinerated by the tower of flame before they reach you because I just love throwing volleyballs at people, cackling madly as your body burns to a cinder. You'll smell of crisp pork; I will start salivating involuntarily; after you have vaporized I will go get barbecue.
Good luck in your search.
Dear Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann,
I seem to be having trouble making my offensive line do anything at all. They just sit there, wondering what to do, and I fear that if they do not improve I will be fired. What's the best way to motivate your charges?
BH, I've always found that aggressive leadership paves the way to success. If they do not respond to simple commands, taunting people about their probably-very-real learning disabilities inspires action. Nobody wants to be the team Lenny. I assume the pillar of flame is out since you need these people to save your ass, so if that doesn't work try calling them alcoholics and whores. (Note: "whores" is mostly effective against women, so you may want to change it up for men. Try "sea buffalo crack baby," "the Antichrist except stupid," or "Charlie Weis.")
If these motivational tactics don't work, wholesale purges are necessary. My "lawyers" have forced me to cut this paragraph down from 15000 words of detailed instruction, so in lieu of the master plan please just google "Joseph Stalin wiki."
Dear Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann,
We have experienced a tragedy in our family that has left one of our sons disabled but defiant. An inspiration to all who meet him, we were looking for the best way to publicize his story, so he can live his life as he might have if his legs had not been so cruelly taken from him. Advice?
-Persisting Through Pain, The Parent
PTPTP, I have a terrific idea. As athletic director of Rutgers University I have some not-insignificant pull around here. Why doesn't your son come in and give a commencement speech to our graduates? Great! We are all agreed. Let's just get this contract signed and then…
…oh, sorry about that, must have been a gust of wind. Let's just get this contract signed and then…
…getting a little impatient here, PTPTP, we're going to have to get this done pretty soon…
…HAHAHA he's sooooo slow it's like he doesn't even have a spiiiiine
Dear Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann,
I crave your very presence. I need you in my life, Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann. I need your great giant… demographics. I think about tenderly stroking your skyscrapers. No, Julie, no. Don't tell me about Rutgers. Tell me about the world.
-Certainly Not Jim Delany
I may have some sort of disease that makes me incapable of perceiving the appropriate thing to say in any social situation, CNJD, but even I know enough to not talk about the various accomplishments of Rutgers athletics to someone interested in having Rutgers athletics in their conference.
Dear Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Herrmann,
For years I have been plagued with voices that I know are not real but tell me to do and say unspeakable things to the people around me. I worry that one day I will no longer be able to distinguish reality from fiction and do something terrible, but I also fear that revealing my disease will get me fired from my job and accelerate my downward spiral. What should I do?
HV, I have it on good authority that Rutgers will be looking for a new athletic director soon and you sound like the perfect candidate.
As we enter the last season of the Big Ten as a natural twelve-team conference (er…) it is only natural that we begin to question exactly who's a "real" Big Ten of the Big Ten, and who ought be "the other four." With media days under way across the Midwest and 2014 recruiting now in full swing, the Big Ten coaches have begun the annual rite of playing up their school as the epitome of this great conference. To separate the contenders from the pretenders, in the great tradition of teen magazines, I have created a sort of test. Answer these 20 questions and find out if your school is the Real Bee-One-Gee:
1. After you joined the conference people commonly started calling it…
a) the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives
b) the Western Conference
c) the Big [actual number of schools in the conference]
d) the Big11Ten
e) That league that's been arguing with Time Warner and running all those ads to call your cable company lately.
2. When it comes to finding a head coach the ideal candidate would be a man who…
a) was born into our program and will be content to stay here making $50k/year until his dying day.
b) can most plausibly be foisted on the fans without breaking the bank.
c) is the most Kirk Ferentz.
d) best embodies the traditions and ideals that contrast most sharply with the guy we just fired.
e) has already proven he can win at the highest collegiate levels, preferably coming off his obligatory two-year NFL excursion.
3. Our school is best known for growing ______.
a) leaders and legends in the weight room and in the community.
b) a new strain of pesticide-resistant turf
c) offensive linemen
d) pro-style quarterbacks
e) disillusionment in the NCAA, its rules, and its enforcement competency.
4. With 6 minutes left in the game you have the ball up a touchdown on your opponent's 37-yard-line, and it's 4th down and 7 to go. What do you do?
a) Run up the middle because that kills the most clock.
b) Punt and play defense.
c) Fake FG then pooch punt and to bury 'em on the 1.
d) Send in your kicker with thoughts of beautiful co-eds.
e) Send all your receivers on deep routes and tell your quarterback it's time to poop some magic.
5. You have just been informed that one of your players was ticketed for a DUI. Whom do you speak to first? (UPDATED)
a) The offending student.
b) The parents of the offending student.
c) The parole officer of the offending student.
d) The guy from the local police station who fixes these things.
e) The shady agent dude who sold you the student.
6. A fan of a rival school is Tweeting about how much your school sucks. What is your first/most typical reaction?
a) Tweeting? Is that one of those computer whatsit things? Sorry I don't have an iBay account.
b) Reference historical record against each other going back to that one period when your school was a national power.
c) Calmly explain that you take great pride in the tradition and history of your great school and the profound respect you have for this, the greatest rivalry in college sports in your opinion.
d) Demonstrate your unparalleled passion for your school: "YOUR/UR JUST JELLOUS!"
e) Wait, back up. We're rivals?
7. "Chicago's Big Ten team" refers to...
c) The University of Chicago
e) Notre Dame
8. The best example of a great rivalry trophy would be…
a) a piece of schlock we stole from the Paul Bunyan Museum that one road trip.
b) something we picked up at a farmers' fair 100 years ago, and had it bronzed when it started to smell funky (slab of bacon, whole pig, whole turtle).
c) something our "rival" left on the field (megaphone, shillelagh, spittoon, wooden bucket, water/Gatorade jug, house keys) when they skedaddled after that one time we beat/tied them.
d) an item we dug up at a Civil War site and have been fighting over since (tomahawk, top-hat, ship's bell, etc.)
e) something Jim Delany made up to explain why we have a protected game with someone 5 states away.
9. What is Notre Dame to you?
a) A great and important rivalry that dates back to the days of _____.
b) Another great university and football program with great tradition.
c) Mackerel-snappin' papists; after that Guy Fawkes incident I don't trust 'em. Heck, didya year they think "Bill Shakespeare" is a quarterback?
d) Any of several magnificent High Gothic cathedrals you will see on our world-class study abroad program to France.
e) A small, overrated private school for lazy rich kids in a train-stop rust belt town in Indiana, notable for operating since 1924 under the delusion that it's in Lower Manhattan.
10. The following word/phrase shall never depart your lips without the reverence of a thousand angels with very long trumpets:
d) [Name of school]
e) The Percy Harvin role
[Jump: 10 more questions and scoring]