True Genius is Getting Away With It. Before I get into my self-indulgent emo crap about the Penn State game, go read consecutive Diarist of the Week Ron Utah's conclusion to the two-parter (Part I here) on Hoke vs. Saban recruiting and whether Michigan's at least following Bama's recruiting pattern toward future success. Money chart shows contributions from Saban recruits of various rivals ratings, with 1 (blue) the washouts, 2 (orange) the spot starters/useable depth, and 3 (maize) the starters & stars:
Yes, chartnazis he should have labeled that better. As I've mentioned before a lot of those sub-four stars (5.7 and lower) were down-rated against their apparent talent by Rivals and other sites because the kids were high-risk to meet NCAA academic requirements. Saban's strategy for tapping all of that talent was to oversign like a mother and let that the risk work to his benefit. Hoke's smaller classes have very few academic risks.
So this week we learned a few hard truths. Like this basketball team isn't a 1 seed. And according to this thread there's a lot of people who come to MGoBlog for something other than cleverness and cats.
The "I only come for Brian" crowd got an inadvertent taste of that yesterday. Thursday content on the front page after a game with Penn State is supposed to be Ace's gifs, Brian's game column, the video highlights thing that keeps promising me they're upgrading their servers, UV, and This Week in Twitterverse. Instead you got Brian talking to cats and then nothing, because—raise of hands—after THAT who really wants gifs and highlights and links and tweets of Michigan defenders standing around while PSU's floppy walk-on drives for easy layups? If you weren't around for the game thread, or the postgame thread, I'll save you the trouble: it's 1200 comments alternating between calling our defense pathetic and the refs awful.
So cats. This isn't solely an internet phenomenon. The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats for their irreverence in the face of massive upsets to Hittites. The ancient Michigan fans used pictures of adorable kittens to make it through the aftermath of The Horror.
Since the late '90s the nittany variety has been that cathartic release for Michigan. Whenever it looked like our program was about to atrophy, a kitten in a scarf would appear, dressed all up nice like a real national program of consequence and culture, and lose in a fashion that let us regain at least some plausible measure of being Michigan fergodsakes. It was their apparent strength that catapulted the 1997 team to a #1 ranking we'd never relinquish. My freshman year a theretofore underwhelming squad blanked a top ten Penn State team in what's still one of the most memorable games I've ever been to. Minnesota tripped up their title-bound team in '99 but Michigan traveled to Happy Valley the following week, went nose to nose with Arrington and Brown, and sealed Tom Brady as the comeback kid. There's 2002. 2005 when is seemed all we could do was lose 4th quarters. 2007.
Basketball playing our home and home with them during the interlude of some brutal Big Ten stretches seemed scheduled for exactly that purpose. Instead we ended up returning the favor.
I discovered MGoBlog during that whole '07 Comcast/Big Ten Network spat. The Midwest's least favorite company was having a hissy fit over putting another Fox channel on a basic tier, because the way cable works is you have to buy 150 channels you don't want before getting to the ones you do, and nothing drives the masses to move up like sticking the Michigan game just out of reach.
As a result I had to go to a local bar to watch the Northwestern game. Amidst a classic DeBordian display of zone left that made that game way too close I ran into my old fraternity brother Dave Malak, who informed me there's a website that responded to Appalachian State by turning pink and posting lots of cats. Phones didn't yet have the internet they have today so it wasn't until that evening that I got home, searched for "michigan blog cats the horror" and got the September archives starting with the newest on top. The first MGo article I ever read began thus…
9/22/2007 - Michigan 14, Penn State 9 - 2-2, 1-0 Big Ten
Adrift on a sea of bodies, legs gone, head yanked back, enemies all around and pawing, Mike Hart stretches for the inch he needs and gets it. When Hart is gone and I am old and my mind flips through the rolodex of players past, this will be the image that lingers. It's his career writ microscopic. He takes his natural ability, and stretches it to its breaking point, and Michigan has a season again.
Somehow Mike Hart still feels like a secret. In some extremely obvious ways he is not: one of Michigan's vaunted triplets going into this season, he is widely acclaimed as the best back in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country. Anyone claiming the "no respect" card for Hart is going to have to make a strong case indeed. Everyone knows he is good. Maybe even great. But they don't know.
You can maybe forgive me and the other front-pagers if we try to sound like that sometimes. Writing is an impressionable craft; consciously or unconsciously we all imitate what we admire. I read Cook long before Foster-Wallace whom I've since devoured; prior to that my major sportswriting influences were Mitch Albom and Craig Ross. I adopted Brian's cheekiness because levity is the key to his genius for brevity and that's something I've always lacked; in turn he has little use for my themography or acoustic sensibilities. The advent of blogging sparked a new age of Impressionism in sports journalism, and I ask your patience as those of us who came after the vanguard fill in the white space of d'Orsay with our mimicry; we're all here for the Monets.
One would think Coach K would know the easiest way to avoid being caught up when opposing team's fans rush the court: don't lose! Of course, its much more satisfying for the rest of us when he doesn't follow that advice.
That being said, if you're dumb enough to get in an opposing team's player or coach's face, you deserve to get smacked.
miss the meltdown after Seth's Jerry Montgomery post? I figured it was fairly obvious when I stated that I hated someone and the blog because of a cat video that I wasn't being serious. Again, I was beating a dead horse but it's effing Friday and I don't have a ton of work on my desk.
between the expectation that some of us have the necessary context behind a joke and the need to be told where the source of the humor is. You run the risk of it not being as funny if you have to give too many details.
If it helps you feel any better, I completely got your joke.
It just wasn't that funny.... (THAT part was sarcasm, btw).
“...merely a blunt instrument who only knows football...”
After I read Seth's article on Mintgomery I started reading the comments and it was pretty much people bitching and being panicky. So it got annoying really quick and I got the hell out of the thread. So I definitely missed it.
Ugh. First you are critical of John Navarre and now.... you're making me defend DeBord. Again.
I thought that I left this habit behind? Why do you make me do this?
Amidst a classic DeBordian display of zone that made that game [PSU 2007] way too close
If you had said this about PSU 2006, I wouldn't have said a word because that game did seem closer than it need to be. Although, it was a night road game and blah blah. So. I don't know.
But 2007 PSU was a brilliant bit of coaching. It was among Carr's greatest games ever. Carr was always at his best when Michigans back was firmly against the wall.
Ryan Mallett was a mess. He was capable of absolutely anything. Just not fumbling the snap was an accomplishment. DeBord eecked out 2 TDs and then left it to Anthony Morelli to choke the game away one last time. And he did. It was a thing of coaching beauty. The raw freshman beating the senior, multi year starter. That and the ND game just prior, rekindled my interest in that most irritating of all seasons. Unfortunately.
It was just a little confusing when you said the first article you read was the Penn State game (after the Northwestern game) which took place not right before it, but weeks before it. Interesting first search hit. But confusing timeline.
My strategy was that I avoided the blog for over 2 weeks. I had to work after the game was over and all I wanted to do was find a corner and cry. I knew I was too fragile to handle any criticism from other teams fans. Those were dark days.
You beat me to the congratulatory congratulations comment. Though I must temper the congratulations with a warning: At some point, the novelty of having a yard wears off. I think, for me, it was a Sunday. It had become clear to me (from viewing and threats from the wife) that putting off mowing the lawn could not continue. Unfortunately, it was 98 degrees on that Sunday and somewhere around 190% humidity. 5 Gatorades and hours of heat exhaustion later, I realized that having a yard was a horrible thing. Here's to you not reaching that moment in several years!
I'm surprised Seth is still excited about it after Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. That concrete around the yard doesn't shovel itself. And he must have an ideal football playing surface, because he didn't sound too worried about picking up tree branches (or whole trees).