Several years ago a board member came up with the idea of introducing some of the more prominent personalities in the pages of MGoBlog; thus was born the MGoProfile Series. He's interviewed everyone from Lloyd Brady to WolverineHistorian, to Magnus, Shredder, TomVH, and Brian Cook, as well as plenty others, but there's one important member of the MGoBlogosphere he's still missing.
You've read his comic. You've seen his designs that litter every corner of this site. You're probably wearing a t-shirt designed by him right now, and if you're not well you should get on that. He even once ended WWII with vector graphics. Today the writers of MGoBlog turn the microphone around so you can meet the MGoArtist, MGoCartoonist, MGoProfiler, and MGoLegend himself. It's time to set your Maize-and-Bluephoria Hype-o-Meter to six as we proudly introduce the one, the only (…person who can write a more hyped introduction than this one):
Question from Seth:
There's the profiles, the logos, the banners, the t-shirts, and now the Blockhams…just how much art do you do around here, and how did all of these projects come about?
Hard for me to answer, since I’m not entirely sure how much art is really put forth at MGoBlog. I guess only Brian could answer that.
I can say that I’ve done a whole mess of t-shirts, the logo that was originally born out of the first ‘MGoShirt Alert’ series, the masthead and its entire 2010 coaching search shtick, a few Hello player graphics for Tom and Tim, an occasional ad or graphic for Brian, and yes, the Blockhams. Oh, and the Marvin Robinson with the three on his chest, for Shoe, haha.
As for HOW they all came about… it’s a pretty lengthy story to tell. I guess I proposed the t-shirt poll/promotion to Brian in the summer of ’09(?), and I’m sure many can remember how not-so-smoothly the whole thing began. But after the mascot shirt was declared the winner I was basically contacted by the powers that be about developing several other shirts and continuing where they left off. I do a lot of shirts, and not all of them show up in the catalog, obviously, but it’s been fun partnering with some pretty great people to make them happen, and the real payoff is when you see heroes like Desmond and Woodley wearing things that were born on my living room floor on a laptop with my dog on my feet.
Everything else has evolved from the partnership and trust built from those endeavors, really. The Blockhams came together pretty quickly in November of ’11… I had done a comic before when I worked in the newspaper industry, so I had some experience with the process. As for the characters, I just sketched ‘em up as representatives of the fan base, and bounced them off of a few famous names like Tom and Rishi and MGoShoe to see what they thought of it. And it blossomed pretty fast.
When I got my first MGoShirts they were Zoltan: Space Emperor (of Space), the Woodson-Heisman shadow, and an original-run "Strike a Pose" for the wife, making her one of the first people to have one. This is how she came to tell Desmond Howard "you're wearing my shirt" that one time. Anyway as you read this see if you can guess which shirts of the ones pictured below were Six's and which were "Six Zero Style."
Question from Seth:
We've seen it in the little "60" logo you put on your art, but just what does "Six Zero" mean?
I’ve been a hockey player for pretty much all of my life, and in the nineties I was getting pretty respectable—not Jim Lahey good, but one of the stars of the various leagues I played in. My whole life I had worn #6, but being that it was the nineties, and everyone from Rick Tocchet to Radek Bonk was wearing high circus numbers, I wanted something that’d be uniquely mine, that no one else in the entire league would ever wear. Stupid, I know.
I remember bouncing back and forth between 46, 64, and 60 before settling on the latter. I’ve since gone back to the single #6, which looks pretty good on a left winger crashing the boards, if I do say so.
Anyways, a decade later, when I finally decided to stop becoming a reader and an actual member of the community, it just sounded right. It was also around the same time that I wished to create a brand name for my freelance pursuits, and so I slapped it on there as well.
Not gonna lie; we were kind of hoping you were a mini-mite blessed with endless guts, puckhandling skills and eligibility, who's devastatingly effective on the power play.
Question from Brian:
Why isn't there a shaggy haired dog with glasses that speaks only MGoBlog quotes in the Blockhams? I mean, seriously.
The dog. Brian has no idea how ironic this actually is… I was gonna make the dog shaggy with black ears and have him constantly working on his ‘blog.’ Subtle, right? But there’s some show called Family Something with a dog named Brian, and I’m not a big fan of feeling unoriginal, so I backed off.
This doesn't matter! I am nothing like Family Guy! NOTHING!
Question from Brian's bolded subconscious:
All of your interviewees had to answer so now it's your turn: How did you become a Michigan fan, and how did you find MGoBlog? (Please answer in Haiku and/or a CHART!!!)
It’s hard for me explain exactly what made me the Michigan fan I am today, but I can recall a few very specific events that made it happen. First of all, I remember being a boy some Saturday, and scrolling through the channels to find some football on. I don’t know what the date was, or even where it was being played, but I can very clearly remember seeing Jim Harbaugh roll out of the pocket in that crisp white jersey with the single-color numbered #4 and the Northwestern stripes, and that brilliant high-contrast helmet with the weird design and the stripes… and it just spoke to me. For a while I even thought it was Pittsburgh or something, because those are the kind of presumptions a kid makes growing up in Pennsylvania. But there was something about that image, that moment that I identified with, and although it would be years before anything came of it, a seed was planted.
Growing up in a Penn State family, we watched a lot of football, mostly NFL and the Nittany Lions. And I sort of saw myself as the black sheep or something, because I just didn’t want to be a Penn State fan. I remember shocking the world one night in ’86 when I announced I did NOT want to watch PSU play for the national title against Miami. As time went on, I felt this need to start watching college football more closely, because there was something about the fans and their devotion, something mythic and deeper than pro ball that piqued my curiosity. And I would need my own team to do that, and Penn State would not be it.
From there it was easy. As I learned about the sport, I learned—on my own, as a kid, mind you-- about the tradition of Michigan, the reputation of Schembechler football, the uniforms, the songs. It all spiked from there, and they were my de facto college team. But, I also became a ridiculous hockey junkie around the same time, so everything sort of took a back seat to the NHL. It wasn’t until college that I REALLY began to gorge myself on Michigan football.
In the late 90’s I became totally devoted to Michigan, culminating in that amazing season in 1997. By then my demand for relevant information became insatiable, and so I took to the Information Super.. something, mostly in the form of the official site and MLive.com. For several years MLive and The Wolverine became daily staples for me, and eventually each failed to quench my thirst for info on the team and its various efforts on and off the field.
One day I found this site called MGoBlog, and was amazed by the depths of fanaticism and loyalty. It was like I found some inner circle of UM addicts, and I was intimidated by them. Them and their vulture-like attacks on wrongly cited stats, their passionate soap-box rants, and their bizarre and exclusive humor. And I wanted to be like them.
For a year or two I perused the site occasionally, mystified and threatened and envious of people like ChiTownBlue, Dex and some guy named Brian. I remember the first time Brian actually recognized my presence during an online chat or something, and I felt like Tom Cruise buying into a higher level of Scientology or something. By the time Henne finished rubber-arming his way through a sloppy OSU game, I was reading the blog just about every day. And by the opening week of the Rich Rod era, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I signed up and the rest is history.
Helmet wings to Six Zero: "Join us, and together we will rule the Big Ten with pants that cover our ankles!"
Question from Ace:
Which schools have offered you? Which are going after you the hardest right now?
Funny you should say that… in the process of shopping for my MFA in design. SCAD is the early frontrunner, but unless they offer me a full scholarship for t-shirt production it may not happen.
Question from Heiko:
I have never once seen you run a bubble screen. Do you have something against this particular play?
I do not want to talk about that play. EVER. And that’s it.
Question from Ace:
Talking about Michigan specifically, which coach has been in contact with you, and what's your impression of the coaching staff and the school?
Dude, it’s kinda crazy. The coaches pretend like I don’t even exist sometimes….?
Question from Seth:
When I type in "Six Zero" in Google I get some weird stuff like ladies scarf retailers, a London-based music management group, hockey jersey concepts, NSFW sexy Korean comedy, and the score of whatever crappy, defense-tastic SEC game happens to be on. Which of these are you, and which are someone trying to cash in on your hard-earned fame?
I can definitely say, at least in terms of my freelance ventures, I kinda wish I didn’t use ‘Six Zero.’ There’s a lot of Six Zero’s out there, even and especially in the design world. I actually have a custom logo that I often use for myself, and I’ve been thinking about re-branding my branding business under a new name. To be continued…
As for your above list, I’m the hockey jersey concepts. Done a lot of work for Icethetics.info and Puckdrawn.com. I even was a finalist for the Pensacola Ice Flyers logo a few years back, but lost out on what I think was some kind of backdoor deal between friends. I say that smugly because I think their logo is garbage.
I agree. This is sweet!
Question from Brian's bolded subconscious:
Can you describe just what MGoBlog has meant to you? Please submit your answer in table or chart format (and supply Excel spreadsheet).
MGoBlog isn’t the official page of Michigan football. But it’s essentially the official page of the fan base, or at least its hardcore contingent, as far as I’m concerned. There are times it feels like an empire, and there are other times where it feels like an animal that has yet to fully mature. But when you look at how it has evolved in even the last few years, and how self-sufficient it has become, it’s very easy to believe that MGoBlog will become a part of Michigan sports culture and the fan experience for years to come.
Obviously our generation(s) has been afforded the means to follow Michigan sports in ways that previous fan bases could never imagine, and that’s changed the entire experience of being a fan in general for both good and bad. The blog community makes the experience more individualistic, more single-player than ever before. Our father probably sat at the bar or in a pre-man cave arrangement, watching the game with his closest, most trusted friends on antenna cable or just shooting breeze on a two-week old victory. Men. Talking. (shudders)
Fast forward to now and the average MGoBlog user is tuning out his wife or his prof or whatever to log into the site and rant about team events that happened less than five minutes ago with people he doesn’t even know. It amazes me sometimes—I have friends here, people that I know—how they will react to things, what they will say and what they like and dislike—people that are good to me and watch my back and vice versa. And I’ve never even met them!! For some, I don’t even know their name—and most of them could walk right past me and I wouldn’t even know. And that’s a good thing, because we connect with people we’d otherwise never have access to.
Obviously it’s not all exclusive to MGoBlog. We’re moving more and more to a society where people thrive as anonymous, online-driven personalities, and the actual carbon-based life-forms we meet on a day-to-day basis are more like, I don’t know, alter egos. Our kids could conceivably live in a world of Clark Kents who don’t really show their true self until they log into their online community of choice.
Wait, what was the question??
Also, Excel is the second worst application ever. Ask the Shredder about what I think is worse.
Not touching that.
Question from Ace:
If you had to scout yourself, what are your biggest strengths as a
player blogger, and what are you looking to improve for your senior year and beyond?
Aha, knew this was coming—I always put this on everyone else, and now I have to take my own medicine. I have some say on what the site looks like and all that, but not in some maniacal take-over-the world way. It’s more like a client-freelance relationship, and I’m just trying to give Brian what he wants and help him realize that visually, or at least give him ideas. I’d like to think MGoBlog is more of a brand than it was before I got my hands on it, if that makes any sense. I’m not really on staff, but I kinda feel like I am. Sure, I can admit I’d like to be recognized as a part-timer or something, but things are working well the way it is, so whatever.
I also think I’ve found my voice in terms of posting, and I try to keep things lighthearted and optimistic. We all have unique perspectives on team events and wins and losses, and I enjoy getting philosophical on them from time to time. I remember the night after Tate-to-Mathews vs. ND ’09, and writing a small post about how, after the game, I went out to the back yard with my dog and, in the chilly autumn air, watched the sun set over the mountains in the West. I talked about the special magic that took place that day, and that despite being a couple hundred miles away, I felt like I was a part of it.
I’m settled down with all of the blessings and trappings of work and home and a young family, so I just don’t make it out very often anymore. But yeah, I feel a part of what happens in that football stadium, and I’d like to think that comes through in what I contribute to the blog.
We don't have jackets or anything so if you get a check… But don't tell Heiko that because we have him convinced there's a hazing process.
Question from Brian:
Let's come back to the be-speckled, shaggy haired dog question. You do realize this would be hilarious right?
Yes, I do. I’ve kind of dropped the ball with the dog, Fielding—he’s long overdue for the spotlight. I planned on at least having the baby maul him and stuff, but neither of them are starring roles, unfortunately. Maybe I could kill the dog and replace him with Brian?
Question from Seth:
After an epic game in 2010, Wife Day dropped off the Michigan schedule. Any truth to the rumor that Dave Brandon canceled this in favor of playing a Division II Mahjong Team at a neutral site?
Wife Day. Insanity.
It started out innocent enough, just a play on Brian’s previews and having a little fun at my own expense. But then it BLEW UP, which was kinda cool at first, reading some of the responses and then getting email from my inner circle of MGoFriends. But then, sometime the next day it got a little out of control, these dudes telling me what I need to do to score with my wife or just plain up talking about her. I didn’t care at all what anyone said about me, but I went out of my way to reinforce that the blog was not welcome to make jokes about my amazing spouse. Especially because our family got some bad news that very same day, and none of us really felt like laughing anymore.
Last year I got all kinds of questions about Wife Day II, and it was obvious that there’d be no topping it. So why try.
Brandon and I almost cut a deal for Wife Day, but only if I agreed to be followed around by a mascot all afternoon. And a man standing beside the dressing rooms playing 80’s arcade games on my phone is already too conspicuous for the management of Ann Taylor Loft the way it is, so it’s not likely to happen.
Brandon is altering the deal; pray he doesn't alter it any further.
Question from Seth:
If you had just one chance to write the best diary ever or else the entire world would be vanquished by an intergalactic army of laser-wielding monkeys with wings, what would you choose for a lead graphic?
I’d draw, in vector format of course, Denard riding in on a dolphin with that cool unicorn-fart-gun with Lloyd Brady over one shoulder and Charlie Blockham on the other. He’d be wearing my banned Mike Martin Hulk Smash shirt. He wouldn’t use reins to guide the dolphin, he’d just punch it to get it to follow his wishes. And the dolphin would actually be riding LaMarr Woodley. And all of them would be mauling laser-wielding donkeys like an angry Jake Long.
I'm sorry, the correct answer was Denard riding a dolphin with a unicorn fart gun and Lloyd Brady on the LEFT shoulder and Charlie Blockham on the right. We salute our new winged monkey overlords.
Question from Brian:
I mean seriously, the dog. You could have him look like me and bark out things like "I am a spread zealot no foolies!" This is not a question.
I’ve done talking dogs before. Funny thing is, it gives them too much presence. Like, when they’re NOT talking, you’re wondering why they’re NOT talking, or what they’re thinking. And besides, the temptation to draw Brian Cook the dog doing dog things, like sniffing his butt or humping furniture, would be VERY tempting.
I do not understand why you would be tempted to do this.
This comes from a user who asked to remain anonymous:
"Why haven't you profiled me yet?"
MGoProfile has been a big hit, much bigger than I originally anticipated it would be. The first profile and the entire concept was born literally in about twenty minutes in an email exchange between me and TomVH.
As for why I haven’t profiled XXXX yet… well, I think we set the bar pretty high early on with regards to who is profiled and how well they could turn it into something uniquely their own. Jamie Mac killed his, and Blue in South Bend’s was epic as well. So I feel a certain responsibility of who gets selected... I'm fairly certain my own will fail to live up, haha. It’s also extra work and I don’t always have time for it. In the summer of 2010 I did one every week, and it was really big, but then last year there was just a whole lot of changes in my family life that clearly made MGoProfile a low-priority affair. This year I’ve resigned myself to at least doing one per month during the offseason, which is still more work than you might think. As such, that’s not a lot of profiles, and so the slots fill up very quickly.
As for who gets the nods and when, it’s not really my choice anymore. I just try to fill the loudest demands. (Looks at Aquaman tellingly).
Actually this went pretty quickly except for the part where the profile-ee wants to micromanage the responses and format because it's his…heheheh
Question from Heiko:
There's been a lot of talk on this site about pooping impossible things. Could you tell us what one should consume in order to excrete gold, rainbows, and/or magic? We don't cover that in med school.
I hate to say this… I recently grew up, and now fart jokes just don’t work anymore. I’m sorry. Be careful, kids, or this will happen to you too. Hopefully this helps, and thanks for taking the time to put all this together.
In all seriousness Six Zero has done an amazing job in helping MGoBlog establish a professional look and identity. Anywhere you find Michigan fans you'll see one of his shirts. From the page that loads with the iPhone app to the shirt store to the imagery inside Hail to the Victors and on so many pages of the blog itself, his artistic talent and skills make him an important part of our operation.
Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges has spent much of the season with his name as candidates for other jobs. First was the head coaching position at New Mexico, which eventually went to Bob Davie. Then, it was a potential replacement for Charlie Weis as Florida's offensive coordinator. On Tuesday, Borges said he isn't interested.
"No," Borges said. "This is Michigan, [fergodsakes]. In the noble words of someone we all know and love.
En route. Six Zero has a treat for you in the new year.
Molk will headbutt you. This is a literal thing if you are Jack Miller.
After each of Michigan's coin tosses this year, senior center David Molk would march to the sideline and find freshman center Jack Miller for his pregame ritual: headbutting.
"I like Jack," Molk said earlier this season. "He doesn't like it. He always says it's OK if he knows it's coming. ... I'll just kind of run up to him and grab him, and slam my head into him."
I hope they're wearing helmets when this transpires but wouldn't bet my life on it. Also, JB Fitzgerald has spent his career at Michigan evangelizing the superiority of shoe polish over eyeblack.
All too easy. Michigan has hired another coach, so it's time for another round of Fisk The Creepy Lech, this time with an assist to some guy at Ball State whose butthurt is exceeded only by his knowledge of identity phenomenologies. Yes, it's time once again for Gregg Easterbrook to complain about literally every college coach who's taken another job:
TMQ Readers Know Too Much: I wrote that Kevin Sumlin has joined the ranks of weasel coaches who walk out on their promises the instant dollar bills are waved; then listed Nick Saban, Rich Rodriguez, Randy Edsall and Bobby Petrino as other prominent weasels.
Justin Bauserman of Indianapolis writes, "Brady Hoke belongs among the ranks of weasel coaches. First he walked out on his own alma mater, Ball State, without even coaching in the 2008 International Bowl after the team's terrific 12-1 season. His walkout essentially doomed his team to a loss in the bowl. Hoke broke his promises to Ball State in order to sign a lucrative five-year contract at San Diego State. When more money was waved by Michigan, Hoke walked out on his SDSU deal after just two seasons. How long before Michigan fans rue the day some NFL team offers him more, and he breaks his promises and bolts again?"
San Diego State must have been shocked when Hoke took the Michigan job. Hoke had gone to great lengths to conceal his ultimate goal.
When Weber interviewed Hoke for the SDSU job in late 2008, Weber said he asked Hoke, “How do you see this position at San Diego State fitting in with the arc of your career?”
“He said the end of that arc was head coach of the University of Michigan,” Weber said. “I don’t think I’d want a coach who didn’t have that kind of aspiration.”
Only his closest confidants had any idea of his ultimate destination.
I don’t pretend to know Brady Hoke very well, but I know that his father was a college teammate of Bo Schembechler at Miami University, and that the Wolverines’ crusty Patron Saint became a mentor during Hoke’s eight-year apprenticeship in Ann Arbor. I know how much the place means to him.
And he made sure that he was going to get paid tons of money.
Hoke has left San Diego State to coach football at Michigan, and his deliberations might not have spanned a nanosecond. He accepted the job before money was mentioned, and later said he would have walked to Ann Arbor as a condition of employment.
Easterbrook's complaints about coaches taking better jobs are always dumb, but going after Hoke is a new bar. In this department, anyway. The whole head-injuries-and-jews thing probably still takes the cake.
[Via the board.]
They're onto us. Arizona's Greg Byrne has adapted to the realities of the internet era:
Fly commercial. I know, who flies commercial with a private jet at his disposal? No way. These days, though, it's just too easy to track the tail numbers of private planes online. In this case, Byrne hopped on a flight that stopped in Denver (Couldn't get a nonstop? Really?) before heading to Detroit. In fact, Byrne was spotted in Denver, and news quickly hit Twitter that he was no doubt there to grab Colorado State's Steve Fairchild after his thrilling 3-9 season in Fort Collins.
By doing this and using Wire-style burners Byrne managed to keep his hire so secret that I'm still not sure who Arizona's head coach is.
General bowl-lol update. West Virginia is struggling to sell its 100 dollar Orange Bowl tickets because Stubhub has comparable seats for 19 bucks. WVU blogs note the bowl is spending some of the money it steals from the schools on a cruise for "40 FBS athletic directors and six conference executives."
The Orange Bowl is a nonprofit.
Elsewhere, Village Voice Media burns the whole system to the ground in an extensively-researched piece that ran in weeklies nationwide:
The ticket scheme alone leaves schools awash in red ink. Virginia Tech lost $400,000 on last year's trip to the Orange Bowl — despite getting $1.2 million from the ACC. Though Auburn claimed last season's BCS crown, financial records show it still lost $600,000 — even after a $2.2 million bailout from the Southeastern Conference.
Some bowls have also found a way to scam schools on hotels. Since the bowls usually arrange lodging, athletic directors assume their "friends" are negotiating the best group deals. But that's not always the case.
Under Junker's rule, the Fiesta Bowl required schools to purchase 3,750 room-nights at about $200 a pop. According to the contract, the schools had to pay whether they used them or not.
But what Junker wasn't telling his "friends" was that he'd arranged a side deal with the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. In exchange for funneling teams to Scottsdale resorts, the city's tourism arm agreed to kick the Fiesta Bowl $8.2 million over the 20-year pact, according to a contract discovered by the Arizona Republic.
The whole thing is recommended. It's a comprehensive rundown.
Calling Smotrycz’’s rebounding numbers a year ago “underwhelming” would be kind. They were disdainful for a player that stands 6-foot-9. The same Evan Smotrycz that rebounded like a guard a season ago is suddenly the second best defensive rebounder in the Big Ten.
Rank Player Team Ht Wt Yr DR% 1 Jared Sullinger Ohio St. 6-9 280 So 33.3 2 Evan Smotrycz Michigan 6-9 235 So 23.4 3 Draymond Green Michigan St. 6-7 230 Sr 23 4 Meyers Leonard Illinois 7-1 245 So 22.9 5 Ryan Evans Wisconsin 6-6 210 Jr 21
*Removed Trevor Mbakwe (knee surgery) from the fifth slot.
You can try to discount that as an artifact of Michigan's style but I don't think the argument works. Michigan has played almost entirely man to man and has reaped benefits from Smotrycz's enormous rebound-pinchers. Opponents are only grabbing 27.6 percent of their misses. The national average is 32.6. Michigan is a good defensive rebounding team and Smotrycz is one of the primary reasons.
He's also shooting better than 50% from three. If he can just stay on the floor…
Etc.: If you're wondering why on Earth Michigan signed up for a home and home with Bradley, it was probably had something to do with Bradley hiring Beilein's son. Angry Iowa Running-Back-Hating God is never sated. OSU react roundup from Rittenberg. Coastal Carolina fired the dogs and cats guy (who was actually a fairly successful coach) to hire a billionaire. Boo, Coastal Carolina. Boo.