"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
"The experience he has from last year is starting to show," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "He’s making shots, and he made some gutsy plays against Portland. He’s got a confidence about him that he can get the job done."
Conference play has come, and Big Ten teams can safely retreat to their thunderdomes to clobber each other in peace, insulated from the braying mockery of the national media. There is still upheaval. Michigan has fallen apart. Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke have been confined to the Touliers Palace.
Yeah, it's not as good as last year's, but they were due for a comedown after making the greatest hype video in the history of the world. I do like that it makes me think of Take On Me.
UFR update. It is not going to happen this week. It's a long story but I ended up having to disassemble my laptop almost wholly—I still have a half-dozen screws left over, looking for a home—over the course of the week. This was accompanied by the usual shouting and banging that precedes total laptop disassembly. Sorry; look for both halves early next week.
We are 2% of the way to this game. The thing the man said to the people at Tulane about wanting a game against Michigan turns out to be a real thing:
Rich Rodriguez wants a piece of his former employer.
UA athletic director Greg Byrne said Thursday he and the Wildcats' new coach discussed playing Michigan, which fired Rodriguez after the 2010 season.
"He brought it up like, 'Hey, let's look at this down the road,'" Byrne said. "I said, 'Sure.'"
But not a really real thing.
Byrne said the conversation lasted 10 seconds. He has yet to contact the Wolverines.
"It's a two-way path to play a game," he said.
I'd rather not dredge that up again, but if they want it enough to do a one-off at Michigan Stadium it's better than playing East Nowhere.
Something that turns out to not be true. Yeah: the seat filler thing was a hoax that lured me in. Mea culpa. Well played, whoever you are.
Iowa on the decline? The High Porch Picnic breaks out the recruiting stars for a rough evaluation of the amount of talent available for the Hawkeyes next year, finding that the offense will drop a little (from 3.0 to 2.9) and the defense will fall off a cliff even from its current dilapidated state. This year Iowa's average is 2.7; they graduate seven starters and will be dealing with this:
Standard disclaimers about stars not being the be-all and end-all apply but holy dang, man. Remember that window when Iowa was recruiting at a top 25 level? Not so much these days. HPP sums up:
Not only do we lose 7 starters to graduation but their replacements (based upon our current depth chart) aren't highly touted. For guys like Alvis, Hyde and Miller the stars don't seem to matter much. For everyone else, especially the rest of the defensive line, it's one big GOD HELP US. That's just something to think about following the bowl game. Remember when Vint wrote this article and Ross wrote this one? Yeah, just like Penny Lane said: it's all happening.
With a couple of disappointing years in the rear-view mirror already, unless that defense vastly outperforms recruiting expectations this could be the beginning of the end for Ferentz. While Iowa is grateful and patient it will be hard to look at the trajectory there and get excited about it.
Grant is the third member of the Class of 2011 to leave the program -- defensive end John Raymond left in September under similar circumstances (Raymon was from the Philadelphia area and got homesick), and Rodney Coe was unable to qualify and left for Iowa Western C.C. -- which, coming off massive attrition in the classes of 2008 and 2009, is a troubling number for a class that Iowa desperately needs on the field.
Boy, we've been there. Now if Ferentz can maintain his puntasaur ways against us we're in business.
Speaking of corn. Iowa State is this weekend. UMHoops has a full preview; the Cyclones are a hodge-podge of former Big Ten players like MSU's Chris Allen, Minnesota's Royce White, and PSU's Chris Babb.
They're better than they were a year ago but haven't really played anyone—Lehigh and Northern Iowa are their only top 100 opponents in Kenpom—and lost games against Drake and UNI, both in-state mid-majors. Their offense is humming along thanks to a 56.8 EFG%; their defense is still pretty crap. They let opponents shoot a lot of uncontested shots (223rd in EFG% D, 300th in turnovers forced, 22nd in FTAs allowed) and rebound well.
Michigan should win. This is a team that was 3-13 in the Big Twelve last year and they haven't so much as played a major conference school to prove they're much different. Kenpom has them an eight point favorite with around an 80% chance of victory.
“I spend the start of my year talking to our high school scouting guys about who are the freshmen to watch, who are one-and-done candidates — he wasn’t mentioned,” Ford said. “He was a steady kid, not flashy like a lot of the players can be. I think a lot of the scouting guys … see that and they say, ‘He’s not as good.’
“Well now when you see him play that way in college, it’s all poise. He’s unselfish, he’s getting people involved, he gets his own shot, but he’s not out there just primarily looking for his own shot.” …
“One of the NBA GMs said to me, ‘Well look, think of the 30 backup point guards in the NBA and then look at him and what he does and say, ‘Could he do that?’ And I think the answer is yeah.”
There's some one-and-done chatter, which is a bit scary. Michigan does not have a Burke waiting in the wings like they did last year and would have to go with… uh… Brundidge? That's a scary prospect since he's currently behind Eso Akunne. I still think anyone not going in the lottery this year will be inclined to hit up a much weaker draft in 2012, but can a brother get a four year player around here?
Exit Burns. The only head coach in the history of Michigan soccer is gone:
"As a Michigan alum, I'm proud of everything we've been able to accomplish within the soccer program," Burns said in a statement released by the Athletic Department.
"I will forever cherish the relationships that I have developed over the past 12 years with players, assistant coaches, support staff and fellow coaches within the department. However, it's time for a new direction in my life and leadership for Michigan soccer."
Losing Meram, both Saads, and his top incoming recruit was too much to deal with and the team collapsed from a College Cup appearance to a 5-14-1 record. Speculation as to his successor naturally focuses on Caleb Porter, the piped piper of Akron and the Olympic team's coach. It was Porter's team that made Michigan look like the USNT against Brazil in that College Cup game.
Many in a thread with a lot of people close to the situation say he won't leave, but there's got to be a chance. Michigan should punch him in the face with the highest salary in the country; this is a high leverage opportunity to make one of your programs a national power for a relative drop in the bucket.
“I’ve played in some great rinks in the NHL and with Team USA, but when you get those 7,000 fans in Yost Ice Arena, there’s not anything like it,” he said. “I’m glad I went to a program like that.”
Etc.: Other Brian unearths self for Genuinely Sarcastic column, receiving bonus points for reminding me of Bring Your Champions, They're Our Meat by referencing historical events with no apparent connection to the game in question. If Johnny posts I think we'll have everyone save IBFC covered in the aftermath.
OK so its not quite as good as last years, but this hype video will go down as a classic because it might be the cheesiest one they've made so far. Plus they took out the space station. The international space station!
"Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback." -The Dude
Al, if you loved Yost so much, why didn't you stay your four full years of eligibility and leave us with Sauer as our #1 as a freshman? Argh. Still, glad he remembers your days at Michigan fondly.
Would love to pry Porter from Akron. But I don't know if he'd bite. it's not like Michigan is a destination school in soccer. All he would really gain is Michigan as a national brand name and probably more $$$. He already gets top recruits and national respect at Akron. But here's hoping.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.
While it is true that Hockeybear 2011 << Hockeybear 2010, it's nice that Pop Evil got some work doing that horrific "no guts no glory" song. That thing sounds like it didn't make the soundtrack to Bloodsport.
Beilein has said that Stauskas might be another option at point guard next year. From an annarbor.com article:
. . . Beilein said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of trying [Stauskas] at the point guard spot next season.
"He showed some skill that he can really handle the ball very well," Beilein said. "I don't think he's ever played the point, but that's something we'll certainly entertain for him."
Beilein likened Stauskas' role to that of current Michigan senior Stu Douglass. Douglass never played point guard before arriving at Michigan, but had the necessary skills to see minutes running the offense when necessary.
Scout.com's team rankings had Iowa at #22 for the 2011 recruiting class. So, we're not Iowa's recruiting in the top 25 as ancient history here, and Iowa has never produced highly thought of(top 15) recruiting classes with the exception of the injury riddled 2005 class. The best talent on the Iowa team is in the freshman(2011) and 2010 classes. The 2008 recruiting class was pretty awful and finished last in the Big Ten according to scout.com. Not surprisingly, Iowa has felt the pinch from that class and a nearly as bad class(2009) but rebounded well. So, if you were wondering why Iowa's usually very good-excellent defense wasn't so much this year...it's the 2008-2009 classes that did it in.
The young players are the best athletes on the team but as typical of Iowa(and most other BCS non-traditionally great programs), though they aren't of the ready-made, works great out of the box kind of prep superstars that elite programs often have...they need some time to develop. But, one of the players that should contribute next year is four star redshirt freshmen to be, DT Darian Cooper. He spent this year muscling up and should be ready to start, or at worse, play a lot in relief. Cooper had offers that included offers from UM and MSU, and chose Iowa last year. Another is sophomore to be, safety Nico Law. Law played on special teams this season and played well.
Iowa has a great history of great player development(http://www.blackheartgoldpants.com/2011/4/30/2143688/the-best-and-worst-...). That's especially true on the defensive side of the ball. Some of the lowly or middling regarded recruits that Iowa has turned into highly regarded draft picks(just on defense)a very incomplete list; LB Pat Angerer(Currently #1 in the NFL in tackles),LB Chad Greenway(#3 in the NFL in tackles), S Bob Sanders(former NFL defensive MVP), DE Aaron Kampman, DE Adrian Clayborn, DT Courtney Ballard, DT Kark Klug, DT Mitch King, DE Matt Roth, CB Charles Godfrey, and S/CB Amari Spievey. So, while the 2011 defense had a dearth of talent that was unusually low. Don't expect that a lack of prep "stars" necessarily equates a lack of a talented Iowa defense in the future. They've really NEVER had a defense full of highly regarded recruits and future Iowa defenses will likely have more talented players than this year's variety or that the starred board above might suggest in 2012.
A couple of cases in point are sophomore LB's three star James Morris, Christian Kirksey and two star player junior cornerback, Micah Hyde.. Three star Morris was honorable mention all conference this year as was was the former two star, Hyde. Former two star, Kirksey, played better than either and weighs in at 215 pounds. He's likely to get bigger and stronger in the off-season(as will the undersized Mike LB Morris who weighs 227). Former two-star recruit CB Shaun Prater was first-team All-Big Ten this year. So, the elite recruitment at Iowa may never happen but the elite development of Iowa players continues..and with four star true(2012 verbal with offers from UM and MSU) Jaleel Johnson joining Darien Cooper and the rest of the 2011 class. Don't expect that the Iowa defense in future years will be poorly talented(although next year's DL will likely be very young).
I really don't see the need to throw an insult my way, but whatever. I'd kindly point you to the nice folks at Black Heart Gold Pants who seem to share the sentiment that Ferentz is maybe not the coach that people seem to think he is.