America number one. Weird experience last night: watched a sporting event and had the team I wanted to win the game actually, you know, win it. This was the Orange Bowl, where Iowa beat Georgia Tech to give the league four wins over top 15 opponents, two BCS wins, and a winning bowl record. This will reduce the number of offseason Clay Travis columns that erroneously cite the SEC's big pile of money—the Big Ten's pile is essentially equivalent—as the reason they're fielding teams full of Terminators against the rest of college football's Hello Kitty dolls. There are now 26 scheduled instead of 180.
So thanks for that, Iowa. I'm glad that when From The Rumble Seat asked me for my best Iowa-related smack talk I demurred because the only thing I hate about Iowa is the fact that they lose to Iowa State more than they should. I hate Iowa State with a passion unknown to man.
Also, Ricky Stanzi takes up the banner J Leman first gloriously thrust upon the shores of the blogosphere:
America. #1. Big Ten. Love it or leave it. Photoshop wizards: can a brother get a Leman/Stanzi 2012 poster around here?
So… you're wise. Michigan legend and extremely old guy Red Simmons turned 100 a couple days ago, which means he's seen a considerable amount of things in his day. I wonder if he feels like Windle Poons, who was a 133 year-old magician in a couple of Discworld novels*. Poons felt like he had been old for the vast majority of his life, and that seemed unfair. This random biographical tidbit, even moreso than competing against Jesse Owens or helping Joe Louis get in shape, best sums up just how long Simmons has been around:
When his grades slipped, Simmons was given a second chance after track coach Lloyd Olds and dean of men James "Bingo" Brown - who was also the state boxing commissioner - asked the university's president to give Simmons a second chance.
During the meeting, Bingo—the dean of men!—chewed on a stogie and crankily took a phone call about some Italian kid with a bruised brain. In keeping with the traditions of the time, Bingo—man dean!—suggested the kid be sold for his meat.
Everyone on the planet immediately interpreted this as a shot at Rich Rodriguez, including yrs truly. But Braylon says it isn't so:
"Last night during my pre-taped introduction, as a way of paying tribute to Coach Carr, I indentified myself as being from 'Lloyd Carr's University of Michigan,'" Edwards said. "I had no intention of showing any disrespect to Coach Rich Rodriguez.
"I love the University of Michigan and will always be loyal to its coaching staff past, present and future."
I believe him; when I had my usual segment on WTKA on Monday Ira Weintraub came in and mentioned that Stan Edwards had called the station up wishing to clarify that. A number of other players, including Tom Brady, have made comments far less ambiguous ("ugly") about the current state of the program and have not rushed to make sure people didn't misinterpret their comments.
Not that any of this matters at all. Rodriguez will either win or he won't. That's basically what Dhani Jones said on Jim Rome…
“Up to this point it really hasn’t been that good of a job at all,” Jones said. “But then you have to look at the perspective of how long it takes for a class to change over to be his class. There’s a lot of different things, but as a Michigan man you expect things to be changed in an instant. Sometimes you have to have a little bit more patience.
“Two years, my patience is running a bit thin. So next year it’s going to be really a qualifying or disqualifying year for his ability as a coach to get the program in the right direction. And I don’t think many people will stand for it if he doesn’t do a good job next year.”
That's one version of everyone's take, isn't it? Everyone basically says real improvement, yardage parity-ish, and something like eight wins from a 13 game schedule, give or take one based on context. He'll either do that or he won't. The rest is noise.
I really, really don't care about whether Rich Rodriguez should be fired or not. Short of a bomb from the NCAA, he'll get a shot to turn things around. So all this stuff about factions and statements from former players and everyone's opinion on the program is the verbal equivalent of Badger Badger Badger. It's mildly diverting noise containing zero information that's turned annoying from overexposure.
A light at the end of the ridiculous tunnel. This has sat in a tab for almost a month now but no one else has taken up this incredibly critical issue so here goes: when Michigan switched over to Coke something horrible happened. All the fountains at Yost and Crisler were replaced by little refrigerators with 20-ounce bottles in them that sell for four dollars each*. The list of things that I would do before paying four dollars for a bottle of Diet Coke includes "cut off own toes" and "attempt to survive ten minutes in a cage with Brandon Graham."
I'll happily pay the same amount for a fountain drink, though. As a result I spend most of one intermission at Yost fighting through the crowds to the one place that will sell me one. This makes no sense but approximately 20% of the population is nodding fervently right now, which is distressing for the people who aren't reading this post and think they're having a stroke.
…University of Michigan officials are selecting a concessionaire for that facility, plus Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and venues for baseball, softball, soccer and track.
Incumbent V/Gladieux Enterprises of Toledo, Ohio, is competing for a long-term contract against Aramark, Sodexo and Boston Culinary Group, which submitted a bid before it announced its merger with Centerplate in November. …
Michigan expects to select a food provider by February, Winters said.
I emailed Bruce Madej if this meant a return of fountain drinks—this is life and death, people—and his reply was vague and noncommittal. I thought I detected a playful wink-wink nudge-nudge we'll-get-it-fixed but that could be wishful thinking on The Issue of Our Time.
BONUS! The main section of that article is about Notre Dame's new hockey rink and how the design is modeled after Yost.
*(I think they've unplugged it now but for the first few games they did this literally feet from the regular old Yost vending machine that offered the same product for $1.50.)
Increase the pain. At The Sporting Blog I make a case that the NCAA should shoot down USC's proposed basketball sanctions in favor of a tourney ban starting two years from now, a removal of transfer penalties for current players, and long-term scholarship reductions. (Mea culpa: the post exaggerates how bad Michigan was in their tourney-ban year.) Delaying penalties like that would be less harsh on players who did nothing wrong and harsher on the adults that lost control of the program, and who doesn't like that idea?
I called into Pat Caputo's show shortly before the hockey game last night. They put me on. I noted the Braylon story, then I read Braylon's statement, which by then was about 29 hours old. Caputo & Co. appeared to have not known about the "clarification." Even though it had been dutifully reported by Chengelis on DetNews.com.
After I read the statement from Braylon, Caputo (not wanting to give anybody any slack, apparently) said he thought it sounded canned, prepared. I agreed, but said I thought it was in fact a Press Release, and therefore not at all unusual in form. (I think he wanted to fight over whether Braylon was backtracking.) I said I wasn't there to defend Braylon. I said I had a very hard time understanding any clear meaning or intent with Braylon's wierd game-intro.
But then I said, "That's not where the story ends, Pat!" I then pointed out that the Free Press' version of the story "Braylon Edwards takes a shot at Rich Rod," had flown all over the internet, down to the Orlando Sentinel, the Dallas Morning News, and about 850 other Googlable locations in cyberspace. The Free Press had shaped the story, plainly. And then, having shaped the story the way they wanted it, bringing Rich Rod into a story in which his name had never been mentioned by the principal actor, they left it there. Only the News reported on Braylon's "clarification." The Free Press DID NOT. Not, at least, until I pointed it out to Pat Caputo (and some personal flame-mail from me to the Freep staff and their publisher earlier that afternoon) live on the air.
After Caputo cut me off (it was time for the Wings versus the Ducks, admittedly) I went back to the Freep site. Like magic, at 9:26 p.m., Freep.com posted its story on the Braylon "clarification." It looked hasty; like a mere copy of the Press Release or whatever Braylon's handlers sent out. They could easily have just copied and pasted Chengelis' News story for all I know. Even hastier was the fact that they did nothing to the original (and then re-named) "Braylon Edwards and Dhani Jones down on Rodriguez" story. After, uh, that is, Braylon specifically stated that he was NOT down on RR!
Anyway, that was my Close Encounter with the Freep for last night. Who knows about tonight...
I still say, as Braylon's leading self-appointed critic, that what he did was stupid, and his clarification sounds kind of strange. I didn't hear Stan Edwards; I have no reason to suspect he didn't sound genuine and convincing. Wouldn't THAT have been nice to report, as well, if you were the Free Press and you had turned the whole blogosphere onto the "Braylon disses Rich Rod" meme? What Stan said, about your freakin' story? At least report on Braylon's father (and spokesman and former Michigan letterman and NFL running back) offering that much of a response, and a clear indication that the Free Press' factless presumption was, excuse me, wrong?
I would much prefer the actual bottle than taking my chances with the syrup water mixer in a garbage cup. I personally wouldn't pay the $4 for either because I think that is borderline criminal, but I don't undertsand the affinity for the fountain. This has flown over my head. Need Clarification.
Brian is right -- this is LIFE OR DEATH! But he's also wrong (and Ziff is right) -- a bottle is vastly preferable to a miasma of syrup and water. (On the other hand, I have to admit that I'm married to a woman who has the same inexplicable affinity for fountain drinks.) And, just to show that Brian's view on this is not credible -- while he's correct that there is (or was?) a vending machine at Yost where you could get bottles of soda for a buck and a half, this was not remotely the "same product" -- it sold Pepsi products, for God's sake!
I'm supposed to be working. Everyone THINKS I'm working. Then I get to "think they're having a stroke", and I end up with iced tea all over my monitor while I nearly fall out of my chair laughing. I hate you forever.
Well, no I don't. But it's only because of that sweet, tight butt.
They need to get AVI to run it. University of Toledo got AVI to run their food program after students rioted over the food in the 70's. They've had awesome food there ever since. Fired pizzas, hand dipped ice cream, EDIBLE sushi, great burgers and entres, and better coffee than Starbucks, and it was all reasonable.
Water-flavored coke, ugh. It's one thing to overcharge up the wazoo, it's another thing to sell an incorrectly mixed product.
I get mouth-foamingly worked up over this.
The mixture of syrup and carbonated water in fountain soda is called "Brix" and when I am elected Queen of All The Land I am appointing supertasting Brix Czars who will regulate and test brix. Punishment for will lean towards the corporal variety.
Seriously, though, I don't know why Coke or Pepsi will stand for it--retailers putting their product name on a beverage that tastes like crap. They spend all that time money and energy on secret formulas and branding, and then you let the movie theatre or some other retailer f*ck it all up. Some of the worst fountain soda I've ever had was at Taco Bell and KFC-- which are subsidiaries of PepsiCo! Explain that one to me.
Candace: No... That why they make smart word box for tell monkey hard brain-hurty things.
Phineas: Removing prepositions makes it more condescending.
They may have changed it, but at all the games I've been to at Yost this season, the concession stand over by the skate rental counter (the one manned by shirt-and-tie'd Yost personnel) still had fountain drinks. And GOOD fountain drinks at that. The entire gamut of Coke products.
Study finds fecal bacteria in 48% of fast food soda fountains
Uh, Brian, you might want to reconsider your aversion to bottled soft drinks.
"A team of microbiologists from Hollins University found that 48% of sodas tested from the fast food fountains contain coliform bacteria, which is typically fecal in origin. And most bacteria found were antibiotic resistant, as icing on the cake... The microbiologists published their findings in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. They tested 90 beverages from 30 soda fountains."
When I was an undergrad, and Yost was the (sorta) new Ice Arena
I don't think I ever went to a game without a couple of beers stuffed into my down jacket. Am I to understand that you can't do that anymore? How can you watch a hockey game without a couple of beers? Home attendance was about 1000 in those days.
(Our firm now has some season hockey tickets by the north-end glass, so I have been back to many games; but I am always on good behavior, with clients and colleagues, and when using firm tickets.)