Goodbye Gateway. You probably have a vague familiarity with Gateway High School in Pennsylvania as that place that puts out a bunch of guys who Michigan recruits, occasionally secures, but more often go elsewhere in the Midwest, sometimes annoyingly. Justin King, one-time Michigan lock-type substance who ended up at Penn State, is the most frustrating loss in retrospect. While King's presence with PSU didn't help them win any games against Michigan…
…adding an All-Big Ten corner (even if a second team one) to the 2006 team had the potential to flip one or both of the OSU and USC games, in which you may remember Chris Graham and Morgan Trent getting torched repeatedly. In Graham's defense, he was a brick of muscle badly miscast as a nickel corner against OSU's passing spread that year, which is all the more reason King's presence could have been a game-hanging one.
You may also remember Gateway as the home of Shayne Hale and Cameron Saddler, two of the guys on the "Pittsburgh is basically Mississippi" list of players who inexplicably chose the local half-empty NFL stadium over, you know, Michigan. And others I suppose. I was pretty sure that Michigan had acquired at least a couple guys from that school (Marlin Jackson?) but Rivals shows none.
Anyway, this is an extremely long preamble to a surprising happening: due to severe budget cuts it looks like long-time Gateway coach Terry Smith may be forced out. The school district is dropping their athletic director position—also held by Smith—to part-time and the guy can get a regular gig somewhere else. Any impact this has on Michigan will be minimal since PA recruiting has been erratic at best since Teryl Austin departed, but apparently the mention of changes at Gateway are enough to prompt the fist-shaking realization of what could have been if Justin King had just gone where everyone expected him to. I still remember the post-it note I would scribble Michigan's hypothetical recruiting class on when in boring work meetings.
The comparison is inescapable. MGoFave-rave Brian Phillips spent the duration of Wimbledon at Wimbledon, returning with autism-spectrum-on-the-scene reports about a triumphant Roger Federer that frequently reference the capital-A "Apparatus" and find Phillips yelled at by a multicultural cornucopia of annoyed television people.
It's impossible to read them and not think about David Foster Wallace, and yet Phillips comes out looking pretty okay despite that inevitability. I enjoyed them… a lot. It turns out I like reading about tennis far more than I enjoy watching it. You might as well. Five parts!
But you're supposed to be an incorporeal floating voice. Fouad goes down the twitter rabbit hole and comes out with Carl Grapentine in the flesh:
He's got a radio show in Chicago and is not a ball of soothing energy, which is quite a surprise. Fouad finds this a little disturbing, and I'm with him. But I find this more disturbing:
I know there are some anti-Grapentine folks out there in the fan base
Who are these people? We must find them and give them, I don't know, Fort Wayne Mad Antz season tickets. Grapentine's voice is as integral to the Michigan Stadium experience as Bud Lynch's is at Joe Louis. He's the voice of the program. I find the idea people would dislike him—maybe prefer the FREEEEE PIZZZZAAA guy—alarming.
Good luck with that. If you're not a season ticket holder and you want to buy single-game tickets to the MSU game, you have to buy UMass plus two of Air Force, Illinois, Northwestern, and Iowa. Total charge for the four games is $380, $95 bucks a ticket… which seems about double what you could get from scalpers on gameday. I'm guessing they'll sell out since scalpers will try to make it work selling to people pathologically afraid of going to the stadium without a ticket in hand.
NCAA reviews coming out. Unlike myself, Ace is still a feverish devotee thanks to a band of friends who he plays with online. He'll have a review whenever he can pry himself away. While you're waiting, MJD says "just buy last year's," which he thought was a major leap forward in the series. Midnight Maize highlights the OCD approach—which was mine when I kept buying the thing—taken by the serious folks at Operation Sports. Some of these complaints are the same ones I had five years ago:
Apparently, Brent Venables taught the NCAA Football 13 team all about safety play because receivers run right past them into the open field. Vertical routes with fast receivers are nothing but money, it's horrendous. …
There aren't penalties in football except for the occasional holding and offsides!" - Anyone [whose] only experience with football was through NCAA Football 13. …
There are more plays than just screen plays and deep passes computer AI. Seriously. The A.I. Playcalling is absolutely atrocious from what I'm seeing in the early going. Or maybe it's just the AI's execution? Regardless, the AI seems way off this year when it comes to running an offense.
I'm glad I missed the era when four years into your dynasty nobody had a kicker who could hit an extra point.
On the Dantonio impression. Shane Morris deployed one:
What makes this funny to me is that this is clearly a conversation that actually happened almost word for word. Shane's clearly talking about Taybor Pepper, the longsnapper who was going to walk-on at Michigan before Dantonio tossed him a scholarship. Shane adds a "State" in there when he means just "Michigan," so it's a little confusing, but it's clear that at some camp Dantonio approached Shane Morris and had a little exchange about the importance of long-snapping.
Which is really important starting NOW. 2011: no one cares about long-snappers even a little. 2012: Auburn pays 180k for one.
The pointlessness of watch lists. It's watch list season, when every returning starter in America is named to their positionally-appropriate reminder that Award X exists. This will be the only time watch lists are mentioned on the blog, because this is how silly they are:
Brendan Gibbons converted 1-of-5 field-goal attempts as a freshman in 2010, which helped lead the Michigan football team to a last-place finish in placekicking -- nationally.
No offense to Keith Stone, but Gibbons's career long is 43 yards. Watch lists are inane.
Quality people. Kitchener has apparently filed a pointless lawsuit against the Daily because they said they offered Trouba money. Given the standards for libel prosecution on both sides of the border, the chances of success are 0% and the Rangers are threatening freedom of the press because they'd like to maintain the fiction that certain OHL players get dollars in excess of the $50-a-week stipend they haven't changed since the 80s.
Etc.: The free Blue Ribbon Big Ten preview this year is Michigan. The primary question it asks is "why would anyone pay for this"? Their prediction is… not made. Woo! Meanwhile, Phil Steele says M is one of 11 teams that fit the "national championship mold".
The Insight Bowl is now called the Valley of the Sun Bowl, not to be confused with that other Sun Bowl. It is now the only bowl game other than the Rose and Gator to have an actual non-sponsor name, which means it's probably not long for this world.
As well as a DJ at the now-defunct Detroit Classical Radio station WQRS.
Spent many a Saturday post-game meal at Thano's Lamplighter, typically including a brief conversation with Carl about the game just ended. He had his table for 8+ up front, we had our booth in back by the TV, a cold pitcher of Molson waiting for us...
in the late 70's and early 80's when I was an undergrad. I really miss it. Grapentine is an institution at the Big House. He was doing the band announcing when I saw my first game there in 1976. We're all pretty lucky to have someone like that with a great voice who has been part of the Michigan Football Game Day Experience for such a long time.
"You owe it to every man, woman, and child in the State of Michigan to beat the Buckeyes and silence their fans! Now go out there and make it happen!"
Grapentine does have a pretty similar, understated delivery to King, so I could see the confusion. But yeah, King really was the voice of the program at the stadium (Ufer/Beckmann of course have been the voices on the radio).
If I remember correctly, Steele picked FSU to win the National Championship this year (beating Oklahoma). I would say Sparty has just as good of a chance as UM (which isn't a very good chance, IMHO), and I don't think Nebraska has any shot. Also interesting is that Steele doesn't list USC.
And this is how USC's appeal really helped them. They served the bowl ban while stacking up on young talent with the promise of bowl games their jr and sr years. Now, while they can only recruit in limited numbers, those 15 recruits they do get can go to bowl games, so they're getting big names to come.
By splitting the penalties (through appeal) they really limited the long term damage to their program. If they could only take 15 for 3 years with no bowls their first two, that would have hurt them more.
"Over? Did you say, over? Nothing is over until we decide it is!"
Gibbons' career long may have only been a 43 yarder, but it was a 43 yarder that basically sealed the Ohio win. Also, thanks to Gibbons, thinking of Brunette girls while attempting a game winning FG is now a permanent part of Michigan lore. Therefore, Brendan Gibbons = 100% PURE AWESOMENESS. If he doesn't win the Groza Award, then he should win the AWESOMENESS award.
Just because something similar stylistically doesn't mean it's plagiarism. There's a chasm between those two concepts. It's obviously influenced by DFW but it has it's own personal touches and stories and tone as well. And they're awesome reads, so there's that.
For the record, I wasn't on Youtube with the express purpose of finding out what he looked like...I know that Google is a thing that exists. The fact that I didn't know what he looked like was a product of: a) kind of actively not wanting to know and b) not ever having Googled him, partly due to reason a but also because there really aren't too many reasons to think to do so. I was aimlessly bumbling around Youtube and decided that I wanted to see if I could find any videos in which his stadium announcing comes through relatively clearly, which lead me to that video/confirming via Google that he has a radio gig...FWIW. The more you know!
I'll admit, it wasn't too many years ago that I first saw his lovely face. Is it racist that I refused to believe it at first? I knew in my heart that he looked like the brother of James Earl Jones until I was told different.
Carl Grapentine has been "The Voice of the Michigan Band" since 1970 when he was appointed to the post by Dr. William D. Revelli. An alumnus of the University of Michigan School of Music, he played oboe in the Symphony Band and Symphony Orchestra, and was baritone soloist with the Men's Glee Club during his student years. He added duties of game announcer at Michigan Stadium in 2006. Carl has sung the National Anthem at Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, the Pontiac Silverdome and Crisler Arena. He is the morning host of WFMT radio in Chicago, the country's leading classical music station. He resides in Oak Park, Illinois.
How could anyone hate Carl Grapentine? His voice is legendary. 42 years annoucing the band and to my knowledge, he has only missed 3 games. One because of the birth of his son and the others for when he suffered a slight stroke.
Since 2006, he's broadcast for both the band AND the games. That's over 4 straight hours of broadcasting. He doesn't get bathroom breaks at halftime. He can't leave his seat. He needs an assitant to bring him drinks or scraps of food. (A friend of mine had that honor at last year's Purdue game). Even then, he doesn't have much time to chow down between plays.
Hearing other announcers like MSU's band guy amateurishly scream, "THE SPARTAN....MARCHING BAND!" makes you appreciate Grapentine even more.
He's definitely missed more than three games. He missed three in 2004 alone (Miami, SDSU, ND if memory serves) after he had a heart attack. First game back was Iowa. A mixture of his brother and MMB development guru Matt Burrows filled in.
Agreed that the notion of being "anti-Grapentine" is absurd. But the Budd Lynch comparison serves as a cautionary tale. I realize this is borderline blasphemy, but let's just say Budd is showing signs of age. Hopefully Carl knows when to make way for the next voice of Michigan Stadium.
I attended a wedding reception at the Gandy Dancer for a wife's friend who was somehow associated with the MMB. Carl Grapentine introduced the wedding party, bride and groom over the sound system with much gusto. It was astonishing and truly a treat. My wife doesn't know Carl Grapentine from Samual L. Jackson and was quite confused over my enthusiatic reaction to the whole event. I immediatly thought that he could make a pretty penny in the off season selling his services at weddings of UofM grads. Perhaps Dave Brandon has thought of this already and has included it in some sort of Wedding at the Big House Premier Package.
One hundred and thirty three years of beautiful tradition, from Fielding Yost to Charles Woodson...You're goddamn right I'm living in the fucking past!
if the dantonio exchange re Taybor Pepper really happened
somehow I don't think mark smiled as much as Shane Morris does.
Every man at some point is gonna lose a battle. He's gonna fight and he's gonna lose. But what makes him a man, is that in the midst of that battle he does not lose himself. This game is not over, this battle is not over. So let's hear it .
find it incredibly unlikely that Dantonio was trying to sell Morris on the merits of a long-snapper. Sounds like that whole you-gave-a-scholarship-to-our-walkon situation is a joke to Morris and probably other recruits.
I am very happy with what they did with the MSU tickets. Normally, I would say it was a typical David Brandon money grab, but this one is brilliant. He is making it very difficult for Sparty fans to have a big presence at the stadium. If they want to buy tickets for the MSU game, they have to pay for three more. This ensures that most of the extra tix will be purchased by MIchigan fans, and that Sparty won't buy very many more than their allotment.