What are you doing? As part of their deal with the devil, once a year Notre Dame has to abandon their classic blue and gold for colors that don't even exist:
Nothing is any of those colors except the helmet: urine when you're dehydrated. The helmet comes nowhere near anything else on the uniform. They've got as many design elements as you put on your rad-ass logo the first time you ever opened up your pirated copy of photoshop in seventh grade. Also:
2. "Authentic Irish Pub" in suburban upstate New York lookin' ass font. Guy who has never left his hometown but never shuts up about how Irish he is ass font. This font is so dumb, if you let your eyes lose focus, the letters automatically rearrange into "You know, the Guinness they have in Ireland is different and much better than here in the US."
These are the worst things Under Armour does annually.
I hesitate to suggest that Michigan won't do similar things under Harbaugh because not even he can stand against the tide by himself, but so far so good. Last year's all-white road uniforms were sharp and we haven't had uniformz announced or even rumored. It is possible. Texas, Alabama, and USC have largely or even entirely avoided uniforms that look like a wrestler's entrance video.
Harbaugh uptick. MLive covers how Michigan and MSU spend their money, albeit with poorly-axis'd graphs. The most interesting bit is a clear Harbaugh surge in spending on support staff:
This is spending on guys like Erik Campbell, TJ Weist, Bam Richards, Devin Bush Sr, etc. Michigan almost doubled its spending on support staff in Harbaugh's first year, hitting 2.7 million. The number they landed on doesn't seem like a coincidence:
In its 2013-14 NCAA financial report, Alabama reported spending $2.7 million on football support staff. … Clemson reported spending $2.5 million on football support staff in 2013-14, up from $480,000 about a decade ago.
Harbaugh asked and got the same budget as the two teams who played for the national title this year.
Michigan's recruiting expenses also saw an uptick, but I don't know if these numbers account for Satellite Camp World Tour 1.0 or not; either way the financial impact of those tours is going to be a slight increase in a number best described as "piddling."
Michigan was good at kickoffs. Michigan was 17th nationally in opponent drives following a kickoff that started at the 25 or worse and 16th when they tried to return kickoffs past the 25 themselves. That success rate was only 57% despite ranking in the top 20—so much of the value in a kick return is the 50 yards at the end that almost never happen but sometimes do.
I think they'll be good in both departments this year. Kenny Allen got good hang time and a lot of touchbacks, and whoever Michigan opts for as a returner is going to be fast and mean.
More expansion, hooray. If the Big 12 is going to expand they should just take BYU and Houston and be done with it. Houston doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the same reason Pitt was never seriously considered by the Big Ten—footprint rules everything around me—but when the other options are Cincinnati, Memphis, UConn, and directional Floridas, Houston starts to look mighty appealing anyway. So of course a former president of CBS sports recommends UConn:
For that reason, Pilson advised the Big 12 to take a page from the Big Ten’s playbook. Much as the Big Ten, a traditionally Midwestern league, recently added Rutgers and Maryland to plant its flag near several East Coast population centers, the Big 12, whose members reside in Great Plains states and Texas (and West Virginia), ought to invite Connecticut to join, Pilson said.
“Having Texas and Oklahoma and the other major Big 12 schools playing in the Northeast would create additional revenue opportunities and make it a more attractive conference in terms of new sponsors and a better linear television deal,” Pilson said.
That seems nuts to me. The Big 12 does not have a network and won't have one unless Texas gives the LHN up, which no. If Texas really wants exposure in a different part of the country they'll blow the Big 12 up.
Invite Purdue and Rutgers to join the Big 12 conference.
Yep, you heard me. Purdue University and Rutgers University would be great fits for your fledgling conference, since they really round out and diversify what the conference needs most. And to help you out, I even made a pro/con list for each school and why they'd work in the Big 12. …
- There are no drawbacks to this move whatsoever
A compelling case from the Crimson Quarry.
There is a Big Ten angle here. 247's Bobby Burton notes that the Big 12 has a grant of rights agreement through 2025 and Texas is seriously considering an exit at that point:
The only assurance Texas, or any school for that matter, could truly give to any newcomer is the "grant of rights" to the league that is currently in place. That grant for Texas and all of teams of the Big 12 extends to 2025.
Yet I don't see an extension of the grant of rights occurring based on my discussion with a high-ranking Texas official this morning.
"I do not like any of the choices," the official said. "(I) want to watch to see if there is a move to extend the grant of TV rights. I will fight that tooth and nail."
Per Burton, Texas's president and chancellor both prefer the Big Ten to the Pac-12 or SEC. Oddly, he says "expect Texas to ask for an annual trip to Chicago and to either of the East Coast markets," which almost certainly can't happen without making the division structure insane. Chicago they can manage since the West division in that event is going to be Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas, Northwestern, Illinois, and whichever other Big 12 refugee hypothetically comes along.
By the way, at that point you're back down to playing the other division 25% of the time even with nine conference games. Hooray expansion.
Persons profiled. Angelique profiles Mo Hurst…
Hurst has been on the Uber clock this summer, logging miles and earning money, in addition to interning at Blue Lion Fitness in Ann Arbor.
“I’ve just done it for extra cash, pretty much that’s it,” the affable 6-foot-2, 282-pound lineman said. “I definitely like the flexibility. I can work whenever, which helps with my schedule with (football) workouts and working at Blue Lion Fitness.”
Once camp begins Aug. 8, however, Hurst’s Uber days will be over. But he’s enjoyed the experience, especially longer trips to the airport which net $22.
…and Dymonte Thomas:
“Jake [Butt] is a character. We talk trash every day. He likes to get better. He knows in the NFL there are going to be DBs who are quick and fast and strong, kind of like me, who are going to cover him, and he’s going to have to get open. That’s why he likes the competition. He’ll go against the linebacker, but he knows if he can get open on a DB, he can get open on a linebacker, so Jake and I go at it every day.”
Thomas offered a Butt scouting report as well:
“Jake’s going to be probably a first-round pick,” Thomas said. “Jake has got strides. It’s not like he’s super fast, but he has long strides that make him fast. He’s really good with his double moves and he’s really good at sticking, stopping and going. If you don’t slow him down, he will leave you. He’s sneaky fast.”
Etc.: This Harbaugh conspiracy theory is just crazy enough to consider. My take on the new apparel: it's definitely a shirt. Jordan Poole playing well in AAU. Fixing the schedule needs 7 B10 ADs to approve. Hugh Freeze has a future in politics. Moritz Wagner profiled.
Mattison has been around the block [Eric Upchurch]
Defensive coordinator bits. Michigan isn't in any rush to fill the spot since they know what they're doing for the bowl game (it'll be Mattison) and they don't have any urgent recruiting to do (Chris Partridge is on the road temporarily and it's a dead period through the New Year).
For a while it seemed like the main guy was Stanford DC Lance Anderson, who admitted contact with both BYU and Michigan early last week. BYU is currently looking for a Mormon to coach their team after the departure of Bronco Mendenhall, and Anderson fits the bill. So does Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo (a name I will force Ace to pronounce if it ever comes up on the podcast), but that flirtation apparently came to an end yesterday. Anderson would be a guy on the ensuing shortlist. And even if he's not:
Lance Anderson: "I'm not leaving #Stanford for another coordinator position. I'm very happy here, love this."
— Andy Drukarev (@StanfordRivals) December 17, 2015
Anderson's track record is short and Michigan's flirtation with Harbaugh's former Stanford personnel mostly serves to get them raises. Moving on, then… to… people? I guess?
I haven't gotten any intel on the search, sadly, and so much of what others have said has mutated so quickly or proven to be false that I don't think anyone has a good read. Sam Webb brought up Wisconsin DC Dave Aranda as a possibility. Aranda has a very good track record save for a certain game against Ohio State last year, so that's a mixed blessing right there.
Colorado DC Jim Leavitt is working his way back into college coaching after an Incident that got him fired from his post as the USF head coach. An Oklahoma fan laid out the case for Leavitt in January, when the Sooners were looking for coaches on D:
Everywhere coach Leavitt has been, he’s been successful. He was the co-defensive coordinator with Bob Stoops at Kansas State, where they managed to take a pitiful defense and turn it into, statistically, one of the nation’s best. He then went on to the University of South Florida and built the program from it’s infancy as an FCS program to a Big East conference FBS program. The success he had at South Florida, including at one point being ranked number two nationally, has not been anywhere close to repeated since his departure.
Leavitt was offered the Alabama job multiple times before Nick Saban eventually landed in Tuscaloosa. He was offered head coaching positions at multiple major FBS programs and turned them all down to stay at South Florida.
Leavitt landed with Harbaugh in San Francisco after the Incident, and is a quality coach.
And I'll continue to advocate for Houston DC Todd Orlando*, a former Wisconsin linebacker who has been very successful in stints at Utah State and Houston. That he was Tom Herman's top choice to be DC is also very appealing—this is a gentleman selected by a top spread guy.
Todd Orlando is not pictured at right. But if he was, oh man.
*[Oddly, Orlando and Aranda were at Utah State consecutively. Someone hire that guy to be a head coach. Oh right Wisconsin tried that and he ran away.]
Thanking ushers with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Jim Harbaugh doing Harbaugh things:
Jim Harbaugh made a surprise appearance at a dinner yesterday simply to thank Michigan Stadium ushers for their work pic.twitter.com/Uloc5xNv8P
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) December 16, 2015
They got the people who stand on the seats in the IMG section to not do so for the OSU game this year, so I would also like to thank the kind lady who did that.
Filling in a LTT-shaped hole. Michigan has offered Texas grad transfer Jake Raulerson. Raulerson got his degree in three years and has two to play, so he would help fill in one of the gaps left by the six-man 2012 OL recruiting class dwindling to two. Raulerson has seen a fair bit of time:
He started five games on the offensive line for Texas as a redshirt freshman and played twelve total games in 2014 for the Longhorns. He was a four-star prospect out of high school and was the 116th ranked overall player in the 2013 class coming out of high school. Alabama and UCLA are among the other programs he is believed to be considering.
At 6-4, 295 he is most likely a center but could play either guard spot as well. He is (obviously) a high-academic kid, and would immediately compete to fill the spot Glasgow is vacating. He would also be around in 2017, when Michigan loses Magnuson, Kalis, and Braden.
Raulerson would not count against the cap of 28 players the Big Ten imposes on recruiting classes, so if Michigan thinks they'll have a spot there's no downside.
RichRodding in progress. Meanwhile, poor damn Charlie Strong. Strong is two-thirds of the way to the full RichRod. Strong:
- is probably a good coach, possibly a very good one
- got a primo college job despite no previous connections to it
- inherited a brutally bad roster thanks to the previous coach staying on a couple years too long
- attempted to install a culture radically different from the existing one
- lost a lot of games his first two years
- lost whatever questionable support there was for him in the first place thanks to the previous bullet
- made a bunch of panicked coaching moves after some bad decisions on the side of the ball opposite his specialty
- died a thousand recruiting deaths as a result.
In related news, Texas offered TX DT Chris Daniels yesterday. Daniels commits… tonight. Probably not to Texas. As of right now the Longhorns have zero (ZERO) of the top 20 recruits in the state committed, and two of the top 50*. That is a long way away from the Mack Brown days when Texas would lock up 15 of the top 20 before the previous year's signing day.
*[They are crystal ball favorites for four of the remaining six uncommitted players but much of that feels like the same kind of momentum that saw Jordan Elliott a Texas CB favorite weeks after he publicly announced Michigan was his leader. Michigan is in on two of those players, OL Jean Delance and LB Dontavious Jackson.]
Etc.: Congresspersons acquire free tickets to college sporting events. Jabrill Peppers is Naughty By Nature's nephew? Did we know this? Ann Arbor best college town, put it on the mantle next to all the other ones. Illinois promotes Ryan Cubit, son of Bill Cubit, to OC. Michigan pays its assistants a lot. Smart Football back and popping. Citrus advanced stats tale of the tape.
Yee baby yee. Jordan Morgan is playing overseas, and has found out that Hardaway and father are chicken spokespersons in Turkey.
So things are going to go okay for THJ if he ever has to seek asylum in Turkey. People will recognize him and give him succor in the form of chicken for reasons they no longer remember. And then he doesn't have to be on the Knicks anymore!
Speaking of Euro basketball. Hello post incoming?
Alba Berlin standout in #AdidasNGT Moritz Wagner, im told next year will go to NCAA. Michigan is no.1 option.
— Vedran Modrić (@vedranmo) March 1, 2015
Depending on who you talk to and when, Wagner's either 6'9" or 6'10" and displays the advanced ball skills typical of euro bigs. He could be a 4 or 5, maybe even a 3 if Michigan rolls a natural 20. Meanwhile check this court out:
That court hosts seventy different sports. Several of them haven't even been invented yet. Also, they emphatically do not call technicals for hanging on the rim in whatever league he's playing.
Beilein visited Wagner in November and Michigan could use a flexible player who could fill in at either of the frontcourt spots.
And let's check in with the German perspective:
In the first days of pre-season, the heads of coaches full of question marks. Which fragrance brands are the new ones such as the elderly respond? How fit all?
Google translate is getting really good these days.
Flippin. Dang son.
— Blake Countess (@TheeCount2) February 27, 2015
Countess for alumni cheerleader?
It lives. We've addressed Texas's Brandon problem occasionally in this space, usually when referring to the Longhorns' spectacularly tone-deaf, loathsome women's AD Christine Plonsky or branding-means-you-brand true believer Steve Patterson, the AD proper. Patterson has pissed off a lot of people in a manner similar to Michigan's dear departed, though I don't think he's firing off the emails just yet. Chip Brown has talked with the big ballers in Austin and comes back with quotes ominous for Patterson's future:
“It’s clear Steve Patterson is a numbers guy. Well, you can reach all your numbers and have it be a complete failure if you alienate important people along the way,” said one key UT donor who has been left cold by Patterson.
“It’s also how it’s done. This place is too important to too many people for athletics to be run like some cold, bottom-line pro franchise front office. I see a lot of John Mackovic in Patterson. Mackovic tried to tell us how to think and how it was going to be, alienated people, and at the first sight of trouble, he was gone.”
If Charlie Strong doesn't make it, Patterson will be quickly disposed of. Patterson's made the mistake of pissing off the men with money instead of the hoi polloi, who are less easily roused to rebellion.
I wonder why you're failing. I haven't talked much about the local media landscape in a while because we're clearly in the "…and then you win" segment of the process. Teams have their in-house organs, it's difficult to tell some of them from purportedly neutral guys at papers—Vincent Goodwill went from embarrassingly carrying water for Joe Dumars to literally working for the Bulls—and the bleeding has gone from layoffs everywhere to weird infosec campaigns to get guys to resign.
As a result of Goodwill's departure, barely-literate Terry Foster has been thrown back on the Pistons beat. He's taking the idea he should actually work for the paper that's been inexplicably paying him for decades hard:
He is complaining about an NBA beat that several thousand people in this state would get a tattoo on their forehead for. Jeff Moss has broken a lot of media stories over the past few years and reports that Foster's getting six digits from the News. That's incredible: Foster's contribution there has been the occasional slapdash column his editors have to turn into English. For years.
And they can't just get rid of the guy for some reason. Even if Mitch Albom's contributions to the Free Press consist of Borscht belt jokes so lame his colleagues are calling him out on his terrible columns, at least you can argue that Captain Fun Death Times has a certain cachet with the demographic that still subscribes to a newspaper. Terry Foster? Who does Terry Foster appeal to? Maybe his family, if they haven't read his output in a decade.
A sane organization would have fired Terry Foster years ago.
Gibbons compare and contrast. Rasheed Sulaimon's dismissal from Duke stems from rape allegations that were never followed up on by the alleged victims or the university itself. A basic timeline:
- October 2013: student says in a "large group setting" at a diversity retreat that Sulaimon sexually assaulted her.
- February 2014: at subsequent diversity retreat, a second student asserted the same thing.
- March 2014: unnamed person affiliated with basketball program (manager? teammate?) brings this information to the team psychologist; from there it goes to the rest of the program.
- January 2015: intern quits based on finding this out, gets lectured by the designated fireman Duke has, six days later Sulaimon is dismissed for vague failure to live up to program standards.
A couple people have emailed wondering about parallels here. There aren't many. Gibbons was the subject of a complaint that the university evaluated, deciding to expel him. Nobody even went so far as to pursue that remedy at Duke despite the anonymity offered by that process; Duke either put restrictions on Sulaimon that he failed to live up to or panicked and booted him after intern incident made them afraid they were about to have this hit the media. One doesn't reflect on the other.
I can't say much more without running afoul of no polo, but I don't know what the hell a coach is supposed to do in that situation. The only group of people less qualified to adjudicate a sexual assault accusation than university bureaucrats is the coaching fraternity, and with no one pursuing any kind of sanction it seems impossible to boot a guy because some people said some things that no one evaluated.
Michigan's case was much more clear cut, with significant physical evidence addressed by a neutral (or at least an attempt at a neutral) evaluation, and then the subsequent PR incompetence.
It was always such. Analytics has won and is in its hot moment, which means a lot of people who don't know their ass from a properly-deployed regression are prominent. This is more prominent now but nothing new: witness David Berri, PRINCETON(!) economist and crazy person.
Except PRINCETON economist David Berri is not actually that, and apparently never was?
Berri graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a B.A. in economics in 1991, and earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. from Colorado State University. He taught economics at Coe College and California State University-Bakersfield before accepting a position at Southern Utah University in 2008.
No offense to any of those fine institutions, but if this was clear from the start maybe we don't have to deal with the scourge of this guy in the first place. All have the salutary property that anyone hailing from one of their institutions has to actually explain themselves instead of just saying "I'm from PRINCETON."