in town for free camps
I write this column every year: a plea for humans of the college football world to use clear language instead of the names they have for bowl games. Truthfully, a brand name for a bowl game communicates something, but think how much more accurately we could communicate if things like geographical location, history, traditions, and common, relatable experiences were more important than who pays the most.
I realize not everybody enjoys the ability to elegantly express ideas to other humans as much as I do, and that mercantile interests can be human interests as well. But since I started using language in my communication, I've experienced a 1000% improvement in comprehension, and I wanted to share that success story with you. Don't believe me? Here are some other humans who've benefited from this same extraordinary device:
: "Hello, I'm Steve, a relatable middle aged white man with the body, hairline, and lifestyle that other middle aged white men envy. My wife Janet and I are proud Bowling Green graduates and big fans of the Falcons. I wanted to get Janet a trip to BGSU's bowl game for Christmas, but when I triumphantly announced "We're going to the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl!" she was very confused. Then I discovered Talking Like a Human Being™, which taught me to tell Janet it's the "Camellia Bowl in Montgomery." Janet was thrilled, because the name communicated to her that we were going to a bowl game in Montgomery, and the flower association made it memorable!"
: "I'm Lewis, a non-threatening yet sexy young African-American businessman with perfect skin. My in-laws are coming to visit our tasteful suburban Atlanta home over Christmas, but they asked me to drive them to the airport the afternoon of December 31st. When I tried to explain that we would have to leave very early because of "Chick-fil-A Bowl" traffic, they thought I meant the South is just that insane over a fast food restaurant. But when I called it the "Peach Bowl," suddenly they could recognize the name of a big traditional football game that they've heard about since the late 1960s, and even offered to order a taxi so that I could stay home and watch it! Thanks, Talking Like a Human Being™!"
: "I'm Krista, a cute and friendly Minnesota undergrad. Men find me very attractive in an approachable way, and women want to be my friend because they wish they looked this good while rocking a knit scarf, high wool socks, and "" stickers on my cheeks. I was so totally stoked by my Gophers' great season, but when I told my girls we were going to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl they were like "that's a crappy one" because until recently that meant the old Copper Bowl. So then I said it was "the old Capital One Bowl," but then they got even more confused because that's now the name of the Orange Bowl—you know, the BCS bowl in Miami that Big East teams used to go to. Then I discovered Talking Like a Human Being™. And once I said "Citrus Bowl" my friends knew that meant the bowl that 2nd place Big Ten teams go to, and they were more excited than that one time our sorority went ice skating with Goldy!"
: "I'm Batman. Specifically, I'm Batman from that 1990s Tim Burton movie with Jack Nicholson that hits all the nerd-nostalgia buttons for men between 25 and 40. When I say 'I'm Batman', people know that I'm Batman, because I've been calling myself Batman since 1939. Could you imagine if I was like: 'I'm Batman, presented by Vizio?' I'm sure I could make some money by doing that but to be honest I'm already filthy rich, and while Alfred assures me I could always use more money, I feel like the incremental revenue wouldn't be worth cheapening 75 years worth of brand equity. So I turned them down and went with Talking Like a Human Being™ instead. Because I'm Batman!"
[After the jump: bowl games in a human language, bowl logos without sponsors on them, and discussion on the whole title sponsorship business]
So after several weeks and therapy I think we're ready to dispassionately regard things of a college football nature without the hurting. This is good because we know things about college football, and can use that knowledge for good, or you know, for picking fantasy teams.
This week we're congregating in the college football $20k mini cash bowl. It's a $2 entry fee with $20k in prizes, and a lot of space left. I liked it because the bowl lineup has a lot of teams I pay attention to, including all the New Years Day games.
Everyone has their tricks for drafting; I like to bring in advanced stats to know things like are both teams going to be playing at a high tempo (so more plays for my draftees) and if his opponent is an outlier against the relevant element (run/pass) of offense. I'll share my table for the pool of draftable players in this game, and highlight outliers (top 20 or bottom 30):
|Matchup||Pass Def Rk||Rush Def Rk||Plays/Min (rk)|
|Game||Tm1||Tm 2||Tm1||Tm 2||Tm1||Tm2|
|Florida St. vs. Oregon||58||33||50||42||2.37 (73)||2.74 (11)|
|Washington vs. Oklahoma St.||55||53||47||41||2.51 (41)||2.53 (36)|
|Iowa vs. Tennessee||65||13||24||22||2.33 (77)||2.5 (42)|
|Kansas St. vs. UCLA||51||23||27||54||2.08 (113)||2.62 (25)|
|Ohio St. vs. Alabama||10||26||37||1||2.33 (81)||2.28 (90)|
|Houston vs. Pittsburgh||93||76||111||93||2.45 (50)||2.07 (116)|
|Missouri vs. Minnesota||22||43||11||30||2.37 (70)||2.08 (112)|
|Wisconsin vs. Auburn||31||47||29||18||2.03 (123)||2.42 (56)|
I got tempo by dividing the total number of offensive plays by time of possession from NCAA's stats (saving the greater study for an offseason column). Rankings are from Football Outsiders' S&P+. From there you have to eyeball—a low tempo doesn't mean skip the guy and a bad rush defense doesn't mean you have to take that RB, but it does say if you're looking at spending $11k of your salary pool on Melvin Gordon it's good to know that Auburn has a pretty good rush D. Wisconsin's slow pace is Wisconsin's slow pace; Auburn's average pace suggests Gordon will get the usual amount of touches.
-$20,000 prize pool.
- First place wins $2,000
- $2 entry fee (FREE with first deposit).
- Top 2,300 win money guaranteed
- Starts on Thursday, January 1st at 12:00 PM EST
- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 9 players
- Roster Format: 2 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE and 1 Flex
- First time depositors at DraftKings receive a 100% bonus up to $600
Well now that's over and we can think about… oh. I can't believe I got a bunch of people going "but I want to talk about football" in this offseason of all offseasons. Happy now?
Anyway, as a result of my quadrennial case of World Cup fever some of these links are a bit old. You have been warned.
The best thing to come out of the Big Ten expansion.
- OREBs are gradually declining as more teams abandon the boards for better transition defense (probably).
- Layups get OREB'd slightly more than 40% of the time, with jumpers and threes OREB'd slightly more than 30% of the time. Threes are least likely to get OREB'd, so don't let those long bouncers back out fool you.
- Anything that gets blocked and stays in play is about 32% to be OREB'd.
Offensive rebounds are more likely as the game goes on, which is a pretty weird finding to me but there it is. The late surge makes sense since trailing teams will go all out and damn the transition torpedoes, but the rest of it is a bit weird.
And yet it moves. A palpable cut for one Jalen Coleman. This is not a drill (nor is it, like, something that is new, but I was waiting for more basketball recruiting news that did not appear):
Coleman, a 6-foot-3 guard from La Lumiere High School in La Porte, Ind., will choose between Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Notre Dame, UNLV and NC State, according to Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Snow.
Notre Dame, oddly, is rumored to be Michigan's main competition. They do have proximity and (probable) playing time, but they haven't exactly been Beilein-standard during the interminable Mike Brey era.
Kings draftin' Stauskas.
Yeah, probably. Gary Parrish asks a question about Beilein:
Is John Beilein the best at turning lowly recruits into lottery picks?
Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas both shot into the lottery after being in the 70s or 80s as recruits… just wait until next year, when Caris LeVert probably adds his name in there somewhere. Parrish's trump card:
Of the 20 players selected in the top 10 of the past two NBA Drafts, 18 were former top 75 prospects and/or players who spent at least three seasons in college. The only exceptions? Burke and Stauskas -- both of whom enrolled at Michigan as unheralded recruits, earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors as sophomores, turned pro and were selected in the top 10 of the subsequent NBA Draft.
Bonkers, man. This is such a smart quote in re: how:
"We try to project whether a player is on the rise or if he's already where he's gonna be," Beilein said. "A lot of the [analysts'] early projections on players, I think, are made because the players' bodies are ahead of everybody else's bodies. And if you saw Nik or Caris, back when they were 16 years old, their bodies weren't ahead of anybody else's bodies."
Not that projecting based on bodies is necessarily a bad strategy—it seems to be working just fine for, uh, everybody. But when you're trying to assemble a starting five that's ten picks away from being all first-rounders and you don't have the recent pedigree of the Dukes and the Kentuckies, it is (obviously) a rather good idea.
Okay okay one more quote:
"Lots of coaches work on shooting with players, but Beilein teaches guys how to shoot," an NBA executive told me. "He doesn't just work with them. He actually teaches them."
Let's talk about hockey. Over The Boards lists the top 15 college guys for next year's draft, featuring three guys committed to Michigan at numbers 4, 5, and 6. Or mostly committed, in Zach Werenski's case. Nick Boka:
4. 97 D Nick Boka – NTDP U18 – Michigan
The Michigan recruit has an aggressive, athletic upside that could come on very strong in his draft year. Wins battles in the tough areas of the ice and can provide puck support. We like Werenski’s total skillset more right now, but Boka could easily emerge as the best American talent on the blue line in this draft behind Hanifin.
The top nine guys are all headed to Michigan, BC, or BU, FWIW.
This is appalling. National Football Post puts up a thing about NFL talent with a boggling Michigan thing. This is the second half of the chart running down the top 37 producers of NFL talent in the league, as ordered by 2013 player starts. Michigan's cliff is insane:
Nutshell, meet Michigan's barely over .500 record since Bo's death. It's not quite that bad in real life, as a combination of circumstances reduced Michigan's number to the "Stanford before 2009" number you see above. Actually, it's just one circumstance: Stevie Brown getting knocked out with an injury.
Your top overall pre-2009 producers:
- Miami (That Miami)
- Florida State
Michigan is dead last since, amongst this sample. NOW ARE YOU HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT FOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL /rock musik
All right, sir, you have my attention. MmmgobluBBQ, a Michigan-themed grill/tailgate/BBQ blog exists, and… yes sir, I subscribe.
That… is beautiful, and then you realize that the onion ring there is bacon-wrapped.
Let's not do this. Michigan went over its travel budget for the bowl game by just over 100k, causing assertions that Michigan took a loss on the thing. That is not accurate, as even the article states:
Ultimately, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl left U-M roughly $132,000 in the red. …
U-M's loss of $132,000 does not include revenue brought in from the Big Ten's shared bowl revenue plan, which splits all Big Ten bowl revenue among the conference's 12 teams.
So, not in the red. Just slightly over the Big Ten's travel allotment.
Etc. Don't click this box score unless you want to be reminded of last year. Stop taking pictures of yourself, twits. I BLAME YOU ELLEN. Don't use a null hypothesis when that's not sensible. Contains subtweet shade thrown at David Berri (the "salaries don't predict wins" bit). Nussmeier talks with Bruce Feldman.
Wat. All joke circuits shorted out, man.
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl is new name of St. Pete Bowl, source told @ESPN
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) June 18, 2014
I just can't, man.
I wish I could disagree. Michigan opens up as big dogs against Michigan State (they are +7.5) and Ohio State (+8). They're only +3 for Notre Dame, so we've got that going for us.
Michigan should be favored in the rest of their games; they're a touchdown favorite against Penn State and –3 against Northwestern.
O'Bannon stuff. The trial has been a bit odd, as scheduling issues have caused plaintiff and defense witnesses to come in a jumbled mess instead of a particular order. I think we can safely call this the low point (read tweets from bottom):
— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) June 13, 2014
Yesterday South Carolina president Harris Pastides had his turn on the stand, where he asserted that if athletes were granted rights to their image that South Carolina would shut everything except football and men's basketball down, because they can't find any more money.
Pastides said only way to raise $ would be get more from state (doubtful), raise from donors, raise tuition or cut sports programs
— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) June 18, 2014
I did not see any tweets to the effect of "plaintiff lawyer ask Pastides how many sports South Carolina had in 1990 and how much revenue they had then," unfortunately, but Kevin Trahan jumped on Pastides's ridiculous assertions anyway.
One dollar says Christine Plonsky sounds like Ben Stein
Meanwhile Texas women's AD Christine Plonsky, who we've pooped on in this space before, turned in the spectacularly tone-deaf performance you'd expect, claiming in a danged courtroom that players asking for a slice of the money they generate is a symptom of "entitlement." Plonsky seems to think everything is entitlement. From last April:
"Who gets a four-year, $120K deal guaranteed at age 17?" Christine A. Plonsky, women's athletic director at the University of Texas, wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle. "The last thing young people need right now is more entitlement."
From September 2012:
"I view these cases as being the result of the entitlement attitude we've created in our revenue sports," Plonsky wrote. "We now have threatening s-a's -- many of whom, based on grad rates of the '80s and '90s, sucked a whole lot off the college athletics pipe -- and now want to buckle the system at the knees of the expense of today's s-a's."
Plonsky makes 350k a year supervising sports that lose piles and piles of money; a large chunk of her testimony worked its way around to the fact that the NCAA is protecting their athletes from commercial "exploitation."
It's remarkable how insane these arguments are once you put them in a legal setting. In the NCAA's eyes, it's only exploitation if someone gives you money for something. The people with inflated salaries preventing this transaction from happening are the heroes.
I leave the law-talkin' to BISB, but the immense amounts of double-speak being issued here would make me want to swing my gavel into the head of the people presenting them.
And today. Today is Mark Emmert day. He probably won't issue quite as many howlers as Plonsky, who has a real knack for sounding like the worst possible use of 350k. I wouldn't take a bet on that, though.
The latest "people are just in charge of things for no reason." KU's student government took a look at the athletic department's finances and recommended that KU's student athletics fee should be terminated. They ended up not quite doing that but cutting about a quarter of the completely unnecessary subsidy to the AD. The AD responds thusly:
Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Thursday that the KU athletic department has decided to re-allocate those seats for boosters, cutting out some of the KU students’ best real estate.
The decision, according to Marchiony, stems from a student government vote earlier this year that aimed to remove a student fee that channeled close to $1.1 million to the athletic department.
Kansas athletics revenues have almost doubled since 2005.
Nope, not yet. Zagsblog momentarily reported that Canadian PG Jamal Murray had gotten a Michigan offer, but corrected itself. Michigan called, but an offer is not on the table at the moment. Murray has been on an unofficial so he could get one at any time, and while he's mostly being recruited as a point guard he is 6'5" so there is some possibility he could coexist with Thornton or Winston.
In other basketball recruiting news:
- Michigan is poking around 2015 NY SG Matt Ryan. Ryan has a Notre Dame offer and is projected to end up there by the 247 Crystal Ball; he might be waiting for bigger offers.
- Another new name($) is 2015 FL combo guard Prince Ali, a former UConn commit who's around 50th most places. His named popped up out of nowhere when Rivals's Eric Bossi reported that Ali's top two are now UCLA and Michigan. Ali is a "hardcore driver and really athletic" who needs to work on his shooting; he'd be a departure from the Beilein mold. He should take an official this fall.
- 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf is thinking about moving up his thinking about moving up his timetable to March instead of taking officials next fall.
While Michigan appears to be looking at other options, Jalen Coleman is the top priority in 2015. Given the promising way the class of 2016 is looking Michigan may take a small 2015 class (they have one spot now but will probably get up to three or four) in order to take more of the 2016 guys.
A potentially large blow for Buckeyes. OSU was going to rely on freshman shooting guard D'Angelo Russell heavily, as he can shoot and such. OSU needs someone to do those things. But they may not have him; he still doesn't have the requisite test score:
The eligibility center is awaiting Russell’s score from a standardized test he took earlier this month, the source said. He needs a test score that, combined with his grade-point average in his high-school “core courses,” makes him eligible to play as a freshman.
If he doesn't get the number there he's just about out of chances.
Prepare for hits. USA Hockey has announced the 42 players invited to their WJC evaluation camp, including four Michigan players: D Michael Downing, F JT Compher, F Dylan Larkin, and F Tyler Motte. Recruit(!) Kyle Connor is also invited; he's the second-youngest player there.
Compher made the team last year before a broken foot sent him back to Ann Arbor for the GLI. Compher played anyway, because he is JT Compher, and this is the reason he's a holy lock for the WJC this year:
The group embodies what Johansson hopes to have with the group picked for the 2015 WJC: Strong, skilled and hard to play against.
"J.T. Compher embodies all of that," Johansson said. "We look at a player like that and a coach says I can use him in any and all situations. He's hard to play against."
Motte went last year and should go again this year. Downing probably won't make the team without a big leap from him; the US is stacked on D. I'd bet Larkin goes as well. The hockey roster's enormity will at least give Michigan options for the GLI.
Etc.: I would be super mad about this, but I am not perpetually aggrieved. Tyus Battle visits Louisville and Kentucky, says requisite nice things. David Sills, who committed to Lane Kiffin as an eighth grader, is not going to end up at USC. Surprise.
The T-shirt arms war is being lost. This aggression will not…
…uh. This aggression will be tolerated. Just point that somewhere else, PCP-raging hell-coyote(?).
One dollar this is not a thing. Former Oregon QB Jake Rodrigues is transferring, and Michigan has just been mentioned as a school that has "reached out" by Scout West Coast recruiting guru Greg Biggins. Michigan would have four other available QBs by the time he was again eligible, so it doesn't seem likely he'll be heavily pursued.
The one thing that makes it seem even vaguely possible is the lack of a redshirt on Shane Morris. Rodrigues would have to sit out one year and then would be able to play three, which would restore one-a-year balance to the Morris-Speight-Malzone wave of QBs. Still: doubtful.
FWIW, Michigan did offer his first time around. He went off the board to Oregon in May, so Michigan didn't have much opportunity to make an impact.
I know I said I'd make these separate posts… but there's not enough for a full basketball recruiting post, so I'll just mention it here. CA PF TJ Leaf did visit briefly after playing at an AAU tourney in Indiana before catching his flight back to California:
"Michigan likes to run a point guard, a center and then three players who are versatile and can create," he said. "The coaches have brought up Glenn Robinson to me a couple times before as far as a comparison, but nothing too specific. They say I'm a perfect fit for the offense and I agree. I really like that about Michigan and I also really like the fact that Coach Beilein is under contract there until the 2019-2020 season. I don't have to worry about him not potentially being there if I was to play there."
Glenn Robinson plus about three inches (and minus three inches of vertical) sounds pretty good to me. Sounds like Michigan has sold him on both fit and the fact that Beilein ain't Tom Crean when it comes to legions of fans just waiting for an excuse to pull the lever on his ejector seat.
Michigan would be "at or near" the top with an offer and is looking to decide in January or February.
/waves tiny punt flag. For the Nth consecutive year the Big Ten leads college sports in filthy lucre. I used to think this was terrific until it became clear that the relatively narrow gaps in revenue are meaningless when it comes to competing in the sports that drive all the interest.
Purdue can offer ten million dollars to alum Kevin Sumlin and he's not leaving A&M, and even though SEC outfits have somewhat less money they also run significantly fewer teams than the Big 10 does on average. As the money has spiraled upwards the Big Ten's national reputation has spiraled down. So congratulations, various high-level administrator types who can now afford a third house. Everyone else should shrug.
See also: BTN on basic cable in New York now. That it got done so quickly without terms being disclosed suggests the BTN is coming in at a much lower price than it does elsewhere in the footprint, because obviously. Also the money, it does nossing.
But at least they're working out how to throw less of it away. The Iowa Gazette has a look at bowl ticket guarantees and the changes the Big Ten is finally imposing on them. First a boggling statistic given stubhub exists:
Top-10 teams Ohio State and Clemson rank among the nation’s most devout bowl travelers. However each school absorbed more than 11,100 tickets of their 17,500-ticket requirement to the Orange Bowl. Yet the Orange Bowl posted an attendance of 72,080.
Michigan sold 40.7 percent of its ticket allotment to the Tempe-based Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Wisconsin and Minnesota sold barely one-third of their tickets to the Capital One and Texas bowls, respectively. Among Big Ten schools only Iowa (78.2 percent at the Outback) and Michigan State (94.5 percent at the Rose) sold more than half of their allotted tickets this year.
Despite no running game, no quarterback, a late-night December bowl game, and the high probability the market gets flooded with cheap tickets to a game far from sold out Michigan still sold almost half of their allotment. We love vacations, I guess.
Anyway, all those losses are pooled with the bowl payouts and then everyone gets an equal slice, so any "TEAM X LOST MONEY ON BOWL Y" headlines you read are fictional, at least for the Big Ten.
As for changes:
“We’re paying less money in a guarantee, but there will be years where they’ll make more money,” Outback Bowl President Jim McVay said. “There’s a shared revenue deal where the schools are going to keep all the money over a certain threshold."
The schools are going to get less terrible tickets, and of course it's now the Big Ten in charge of where schools go (for the most part). With the newly diverse slate of bowl locations it's no longer just Florida Florida Florida, so people can go other places for the warm-weather vacations they inexplicably crave.
Paternalism! MLive finds some former Michigan players and asks them about paying guys. They are generally against it*. David Cone:
"I think that (allowance) number should come up a little bit. It should. I came from a middle class family, it couldn't have covered Michigan, but they could help me out if I didn't want to eat what the team was eating, I could eat something else. (But others couldn't, and) that number has to come up.
"But I don't think kids should be paid differently. If they're paid differently, then it's a salary. If it's a salary, then you're an employee. And if you're an employee, you can be fired."
That argument is just so frustrating. It is the opposite of reality. Two BU hockey players just got "fired". It happens to a half-dozen Alabama players annually. Kansas State refuses to release Letitia Romero so she can transfer. Employees can enter into contracts that guarantee X in the event they get fired—Charlie Weis is laughing right now about this fact. There is a ton of law about the rights of employees in this country, and none about the rights of student athletes. Reclassifying them puts them in a position of power.
Cone is in favor of a player having right to his likeness, so at least there's that.
"If we give these kids money, we're opening up a can of worms for a different set of problems," former Michigan safety Marcus Ray said. "Casinos, expenditures on drugs and alcohol, giving them the means to finance some of that stuff."
This kind of thinking bugs me. We are perfectly happy to have baseball and hockey players sign contracts with huge signing bonuses without worrying that they'll end up playing Pai Gow in a den of ill repute. Everyone treats the first round of the NFL draft as a watershed moment where you buy your mom a pink Cadillac, but what happens when you're Denard Robinson instead of Teddy Bridgewater? Maturation is a gradual process that everyone approaches differently, and if there are some guys who will waste whatever's provided them (hello, Allen Iverson) that's unfortunate but it's no reason to prevent the guys who will just send it to mom from benefiting properly from their hard work and talent.
*[This is not a unanimous opinion. At the event we had last year with Chris Perry, Marlin Jackson, and Jerome Jackson all three were in favor of some level of payment. Marlin has a quote in this one on the conservative end of things; the other two guys were more strident, IIRC.]
Dey tik r jebs! Mikey Weber got one of those photoshops from Michigan.
u of m cold with these edits pic.twitter.com/kNH5paw29t
— Uncle Mike (@mikeweber25) May 21, 2014
It has been asserted that the photoshoppist* misspelled "All American" as "All Amercian," but I have it on good authority that this is a long game that ends with many hilarious references to the South Park episode "Goobacks" and convinces Mikey Weber that he should attend Michigan because of a cartoon about immigration from the future that probably came out when he was like eight or something.
Also I don't think Weber noticed it.
*[I am less careful about spelling photoshoppist than rappist.]
Interesting. The Eagles are embarking on a draft strategy wherein they draft almost exclusively guys who have graduated. Six of seven draftees this year were college graduates, and that is not a fluke:
Allen, who made the Big Ten Conference's all-academic team while at Wisconsin, is one of six Eagle draftees to be on track to graduate out of the seven players they selected. In today's game, that is unusual: This year, 98 college players went pro after their junior season, a record that marks a 34% increase from 2013 and an 85% increase from 2010. (That total doesn't include players who had playing eligibility left but had already graduated.)
The Eagles' operative theory is based on Patriot and Colt outfits laden with graduates that were successful. They seem to think that football is hard and complicated so smart people are better at it. Also people who go do things even if they are hard.
He told Kelly "the guys with degrees have what you are looking for. They are driven. If it's between two players, a degree might tip the scale. But at the time, I don't think he was even thinking of the NFL."
If there's something behind that it should benefit Michigan, which tends to take the high school equivalent of the guys the Eagles are looking for in the draft. Just as soon as our smart guys are old, anyway.
Welp. Mike Babcock says any rumors about him and Michigan are bunk. All I can say is that the reason I thought it was possible was because guys high up in the Michigan hockey program thought it was likely. Quite high.
I write this column once a year to implore college football fans to use a standard, common, descriptive set of names for the bowl games. Try saying "Copper" instead of "Buffalo Wild Wings" for the next month, and just imagine the savings!!!
In the pantheon of annoyances, I admit that companies paying somebody to make you use their name out of context is far less destructive than, say, a university trading scholastic loans as private securities and then jacking up tuition so shareholders can make more money.
Still, it is annoying. The purpose of language is the communication of ideas, and elegance in this is a thing everybody should appreciate. Names are communicative tools that allow the listener to reference all information stored on that thing. When speaking to another college football fan, the name of the bowl ought to conjure up its history and location and place in the pantheon. A name sponsor is a jerk who butts into the middle of your conversation…
…and makes communication of the idea more difficult. Adding syllables (they couldn't call it the B-Dubs Bowl?) adds to the annoyance. It is cold here during bowl season, so I prefer to not expend what limited body heat I have in vocalizing "The Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile Bowl."*
What to Call Them?
Typically unless it's an older bowl just use the name of the city they play in, and if there are multiple bowls in a city start adding numbers (Tampa II, Cotton II, etc.) If everybody knows a bowl as something because it has been called that for decades, obviously use that.
After [the jump] I'll put up a handy chart of the current bowl slate, complete with sounds you can make to accurately relate meaning to another human, and commercial-free graphics that can do the same. You can keep that open as a tab on your phone or whatever as a reference this month.