“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
Shane, Dennis. Dennis, Shane. Shane Morris isn't just getting to know unsigned recruits. He evidently showed at Detroit King's latest basketball game looking… not from around here:
Slice o' life, that. This was apparently part of a thing where the De La Salle kids showed up looking like farmers and chanted the usual private school things at a public school. This was uncomfortable because in this case they're all black and the other kids are all white. Commence newspaper hand-wringing.
It's been a long time. Wolverine Historian posts video of the last Michigan basketball team to win the Big Ten. There's no three point line.
Also the shorts being worn are hip-huggers. It's been a long time.
Just don't even try. Cleveland alt-weekly explores the fetid underbelly of American sports fandom that is the Bucknut. Spencer Hall is tapped for a take:
It was in January of 2008 that sports blogger Spencer Hall found himself sitting amid a thicket of OSU fans at the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans, with No. 1 Ohio State squaring off against No. 2 Louisiana State. In the first half, LSU's All-American safety Craig Steltz went down with a shoulder injury. About ten OSU fans surrounding Hall stood up in unison, with their index and middle fingers bent together into a mushed "O" shape.
Hall figured he knew what was up, but he asked what the gesture meant anyway. A nearby fan grabbed his fingers together into the shape.
"Pussy," he said.
The pussies went on to win, 38-24.
"It's really hard to get over the anecdotal evidence," Hall says today. He writes about college football for SB Nation, a gig that lets him see up close each big program's fan base — and the stereotypes rivals throw at one another. He's mocked up a vivid profile of the Buckeye Everyman.
"It's everything negative and easily mockable about the Midwest compressed in a single entity," he deadpans. And it's more than just a vibe. The classic Bucknut has a defining set of traits all his own.
"The stereotype is angry, probably has a goatee, probably watches MMA and wrestling on the side, may live with his mother — may. And also, he's perpetually defensive about Ohio State's struggles.
"They wear jerseys," he adds. "People don't wear the jersey in the SEC. It's not something adults do.
The men who poop in coolers, or tackle handicapped dudes, or make Grant Bowman's mom have a close personal understanding of the men at the Alamo, or… like… are the president and athletic director and local newspaper. Apparently the Dispatch published Kirk Herbstreit's address and a map to his home in 2009. Well done, pretend newspaper.
The article is long and ruthless. Read it.
Denard plans on being a quarterback. Good to know. Borges on how Denard needs to improve:
"We should see it with the timing of his throws and him having a better grasp of route structures, audibles and protection checks," Borges said. "He'll also improve with decision-making, knowing when to throw it away and when not to run. And if he can get better with his footwork issues in the pocket, it should reduce interceptions and increase his completion percentage."
Also the not chucking it to double-covered guys. Also that.
Just like everything else. Shaw Lane Spartans analyzes Rivals rankings and finds that the everyone's-a-winner mentality is beginning to pervade them as well:
The quality of the “average” Big Ten prospect increased from an average of 2.80 in 2002 to 3.04 in 2012. Since NO ONE who gets a scholarship offer and gets signed before the rankings are done gets a zero star ranking, I derived the 30 percent number above as (1.04-.8). Even without that, the increase from 2.8 to 3.04 is still a nine percent increase. Meaning on average according to the star rankings, the average Big Ten player is 9 to 30 percent better than they were in 2002.
The gradual nature of the move suggests it's not a philosophical change, and it certainly doesn't seem like the conference is bringing in more and more high-level recruits relative to the rest of the country. In fact, the entire Big Ten fanbase on Rivals spent last year complaining that no one in the region was ranked because the company wasn't even bothering to employ a Midwest analyst. Only two Big Ten schools cracked the Rivals top 25—the obvious ones—as Penn State saw its class implode. If anything last year was probably the worst year for Big Ten recruiting in the sample; it saw the highest-rated kids.
Rivals four-stars jumped from 244 in 2004 to 320 last year; three stars more than doubled from 660 to 1513. Increasingly Rivals is abdicating on making calls at the lower end of things and just throwing everyone in the same three-star bin.
Andy Staples lays out the case that for people who don't care about the ethical implications of following the NCAA amateurism guidelines, the cost-benefit analysis is easy:
A program can spit all over the NCAA rule book in an effort to reach or remain at the highest echelon of college football, and as long as that program cooperates with the NCAA during the investigation of its alleged "crimes," the Committee on Infractions will respond with a suite of penalties that contain far more bark than bite. …
For a case that involved academic fraud and players taking money and goodies from agents, North Carolina will lose 15 scholarships over three years and will be banned from postseason play for the 2012 season. Former assistant coach John Blake, who was accused of steering players to agent Gary Wichard in exchange for payment, was given a three-year show-cause order that bans him from recruiting. That essentially renders Blake unemployable at the college level.
Meanwhile, former UNC safety Deunta Williams flat-out accused the SEC of paying people. If he can prove it, someone's getting a one-year bowl ban. This is why people use the #smh hashtag. I understand now.
Carrick: undervalued. 2012 hockey D commit Connor Carrick is not high on draft boards. Scouts still say things like this about him consistently, though:
The scout also mentioned that little heralded and often overlooked defensemen Connor Carrick and Matthew Grzlecyk are deserving of late-round picks.
On Carrick: “He’ll probably be a late pick. He’s thick, he moves the puck well, he has offensive instincts, he can shoot it. He has some holes away from the puck.” The scout also said he thinks another year of development in college (he’s committed to Michigan) could go a long way, but feels Carrick’s the type of guy that can step in and contribute immediately on a college team.
Think a bigger version of Langlais, something the team really needs on the power play. Depending on how NHL signings go he could be a third pairing luxury or a guy Michigan really needs to step up immediately. Michigan could really use a big step forward from Serville over the offseason.
I love how the 1986 video has no announcer commentary (or commercial break!) for a good minute after the game ends. They let you take the whole scene in. Now they'd give you just a brief crowd shot (probably accompanied by a bad announcer joke) and then go to the commercial.
I think the real problem with Ohio State and its fanbase is that the state of Ohio doesn't have a "Michigan State" to dump off its "lower quality" fans. The end results is you get the good and the very bad as a fan.
Imagine if State didn't exist and all Spartans were Michigan fans. Not pretty.
But this then means that more than just the problem with Ohio State being that it isn't Michigan. It's not even the Michigan of Ohio. it's the MSU of Ohio, which BRRRRRrrrrrrr! It's chilling just to contemplate.
"According to Hooley's math, 20 percent of Buckeye fans are passionate alumni. Another 40 percent are simply sports fans with an even keel. But the remaining 40 percent have repackaged whatever personal insecurity complexes they're hefting around into a superiority complex about OSU football."
Must read article!
"It is better, of course, to know useless things than to know nothing."
I would add, in addition to not having a "Michigan State", Ohio has the shittiest collection of professional franchises in the country. When the Indians are the best franchise in your state over the last 20 years, you can see where a large percentage of sports fans would flock to OSU. There's just nothing else to siphon off the sports crazy masses.
He's a dick, but he was right about that Michigan team. When they turned it on, they were one of the best teams in the country. The video shows what they could do. But they would dog it badly in lots of games where they were disinterested.
It bit them in the ass in the 1986 tourney. They were a 1 seed, but got knocked out in the second round by Iowa State up at Minnisota. Thier heads were not in the game, while Iowa State, coached by former Michigan coach Johnny Orr, was on fire.
Yeah Norfleet is one ripped guy. I really hope he is able to make an immediate impact at returner. He looks fast on film and he looks like he has the toughness to run over some special teamers gunning for him.
“What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve and those who stay will be champions.” - Bo
Generalizations aside, I also don't like the "we don't wear jerseys becaus we're adults" thing. In every professional sport, fans wear jerseys to the games. Adult fans. Even in the South. Watch a Saints or Falcons game. Why should it be different for college football?
Michigan fans don't wear shirts and ties to the football games because they know they'll spend the rest of their lives wearing them to work. Not a concern in the SEC, I suppose.
A jersey is really just a tee shirt at this point. People have fun with it, and it's harmless...Besides, while I don't wear a jersey while I'm watching games, I freely admit that my inner ten year old is half in charge when the Wolverines are playing. My adult self doesn't swear at a TV as if Jim Nantz can hear me.
"All of the doughnuts have names that sound like prostitutes."
Yeah, I always thought it was hilarious that Ole Miss fans find some pride in wearing ties to watch their crappy team lose. Especially from a state and school known for being, um, less intellectual that others.
I'm guessing the Rivals inflation has only a little to do with abdicating on making judgment calls and a lot to do with selling subscriptions. People buy subscriptions to read about 3 and 4 star recruits, not about 2 star ones. More teams with more good recruits = more dollaz.
Who the heck is that Risko guy? The best metaphors for losing he can muster in an interview, that will be published, for all to read, are the other team urinating on you and breaking one off in your ass??? I was stunned when I read that. His quotes sum up the bucknut better than the rest of the article I'd say.
"Michigan Defense" is dominating everything, in every aspect of life. That's a rough definition.
I love the "adults don't wear jerseys" quote and completely agree. Anybody over the age of 18 wearing a jersey, even to a game (unless they are participating in it), should probably consult a wardrobe specialist...or maybe even a psychologist. Thank heavens these people are a minority in the Michigan fan base.
Secondly, did anybody else catch the article in the NYTimes today where they point out the weirdness in Afghanistan where the culture compels people to riot over the burning of holy books but seems to shrug its shoulders when a foreign occupier goes on a murder spree? The explanation seemed to be that religion was central to their identity and I couldn't help but notice the similarity to the Buckeyes rationalizations about how central OSU football is to their definition of self. All in all, a banner day for writing about skewed cultural values. Here's to the Ides of March!
But are they in the minority? I wear a jersey at every game, so does my brother and most of our friends. Go to a Michigan game or alumni bar on game day, you'll see plenty of people in M jerseys. Do I need a wardrobe specialist of psychologist? What do you wear to watch games, Mr Holier-Than-Though?
I don't own any jerseys , but I don't see the problem with anyone else wearing them. I have to wear a suit and tie Monday through Friday, so the idea of wearing a sports coat on weekends, let alone Michigan football weekends, is repulsive to me. With that being said, I really don't care how you dress either, but you are coming off as a douche.
As much as I hate calling people names on the internet, you sound like an asshole. It doesn't make you any more of an adult than anyone else simply because you don't like wearing football jerseys during football games. It's apparel that fits the occasion. I'm not saying you have to wear one, but I don't see why it's wrong to do so either. Am I not an adult for wearing a baseball cap to a baseball game?
Telling anyone they need a fashion consultant makes you sound like a prick - even more so when in reference to a sporting event, discussed on a sports website.
You know what a grown man doesn't do? Tell people on the internet why he's an adult and they aren't.
but a Real Michigan Man never deigns to declare neither if nor when He is employing sarcasm. Afterall, wearing a blazer with with an ascot before 6pm on a Saturday is the sartorial equivalent of shooting a towering flare into the heavens with the associated shrieks and whistles of rocketry in regards to signaling "sarcasm."
But in all seriousness, I would still encourage those jersey lovers amongst the M hoi polloi to reconsider.
Think of it this way; when have you ever seen Bo, Lloyd, Brady or any other M legend wearing football jerseys? In fact, when have you ever seen a football player over the age of 18 wearing a jersey outside of playing a game or making some kind of promotional appearance?
And besides, if Ohio State is going to be mocked for their jersey wearing habits, is that really something you want to indulge in?
I'm sure most of you would the find the concept of a hot 50 year old hard to contemplate, but among my friends is a very hot 50 year old who wears a jersey at every game and when she can't travel to the game she wears it to bars to watch games. She is a successful executive married to a doctor and has a couple of great kids.
My late wife wore a jersey to games, hockey, football, basketball and, when we weren't able to attend, to bars to watch. She had a BSN in nursing and ran an intensive care unit. Then when she burned out was an executive chef at a 4 star resturant.
People show their support as they choose. Making ASSumptions about them based on their dress choices when they attend games or go to game related events is probably more an indication of your intolerance than anything else.