Realignment bits. I know, I know, you'd rather talk about anything else, but it's late May.
Bit #1: the expanded SEC looks like it's going to a "6-1-1" model. That means you play everyone in your division, one crossover rivalry game, and then one rotating opponent from the other division. You play teams in that division once every six years. You see them at home less than once a decade. You are not in a conference with them.
Bit #2: always more, never enough:
Football and the lucrative TV dollars that come with it is a big reason why the SEC has more than tripled the money it’s distributed among its schools since Adams’ first attended the meetings in 1998, growing from $62.1 million then to more than $220 million last year.
The Big Ten has experienced similar revenue growth, and yet everyone's throwing aside century-old traditions for increments more. Shortsighted. SEC fans agree:
First team is all red save for three LSU players, two Notre Dame players, and Taylor Lewan. And I guess Sammy Watkins and Jackson Jeffcoat are orange, red's slightly mellower cousin. Even the second team defense is almost all red save for the inclusion of PSU's Jerald Hodges and Purdue's Kawann Short. THIS MEANS SOMETHING.
On the other hand, for special teams excellence purple is recommended.
More of the baseball wranglin'. It's been a few months so it's time to check in with the revolutionary wing of the Big Ten: baseball. Kyle Meinke has the latest on the conference's proposal to play some games in the fall. Brandon:
“My understanding is it’s a great consensus around our coaches, a great consensus around our athletic directors, but we haven’t done as great a job as we need to of selling the other conference leaders and coaches to buy into that," Brandon said. "And we’re not totally sure why that is."
I'm pretty sure they are, actually. If they're not they should get some classes in ruthless self-interest from… themselves. Ask Delany to tell the Mark Shapiro fingerbang story again.
I still think the Big Ten should just leave the NCAA structure entirely, up the scholarships available, use wood bats, play a summer-oriented schedule that litters the BTN with content that isn't Northwestern's organic chemistry lecture, and try to establish itself a premiere development league. NCAA baseball is never going to accommodate the northern schools, so flip 'em the bird and spend some of that money to give the Big Ten footprint something to be interested in during May, June, July, and August.
FWIW, MSU got its first NCAA bid since 1979. It was the kind of pity bid baseball throws at Northern teams to keep them placated when they try to complain about all the stuff that makes leaving the NCAA make sense (MSU finished 5th in the Big Ten), but it was a bid.
Walton, Donnal, AAU, etc. They're still playing well. Walton sounds more and more like Trey Burke every week. UMHoops's Joe Stapleton:
Walton demonstrated some of the best handles in the tournament and always stayed under control. He rarely made bad decisions, and was stellar on both ends of the floor, bothering opponents with suffocating on-ball defense. He was comfortable on the wing in the 1-3-1 zone, displayed good recovery speed and was a vocal leader on defense.
Walton is lightning quick, and very unselfish. A pass-first guard, he easily penetrated and looked to kick the ball out, or found open teammates for easy buckets.
Irvin and Donnal also scouted at the link. Rivals also has a couple notes on Walton and Irvin:
Derrick Walton - 6-foot-1, PG, Detroit (Mich.) Chandler Park Academy, 2013: One of 2013's top pure point men, Walton is a skilled ball handler with a strong build and tremendous quickness on the break. A pass-first guard who always is looking to make his teammates better, Walton affects the game in a variety of ways. When you add in his scoring, which he can do from long-range or around the basket, as well as his on-ball defense, you can see why Rivals.com has him ranked as a four-star prospect. Since last August, the guard from the Michigan Mustangs has been committed to Michigan.
Zakarie Irvin - 6-foot-6, SF, Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern, 2013: A pure scoring wing who just keeps getting better, Irvin is deadly from long range off of the bounce. A long and athletic wing who can use the dribble to score in transition, he can alter the game with his physical tools, but it's his skill-set that stands out. Irvin has a smooth jumper that he's always looking to get off over defenders who sag off of him. Once he hits one shot, the Eric Gordon All-Stars forward can heat up with the best of them. Like Walton, Irvin has been committed to Michigan since last summer.
He was first to the finish in the 100 meter dash in 10.77. He beat his rival Aaron Mallet of McCluer North in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles 37.77 to 37.86 and Mallet returned the favor in the 110 high’s, winning by a fraction, 14.14 to 14.15.
Chesson had precious few minutes to spare between the back-to-back hurdle and 100 meter events.
“We have special training for speed and endurance and we have great coaches and they stay on us all the time. I don’t know if losing to (Aaron) Mallet gave me special motivation. I respect his talents a great deal. When you come from Ladue, and you are the team’s only hurdler, you have to run with a chip on your shoulder. You can’t always be the best. There is always someone out there who wants to come out and beat you.”
Chesson's speed was the main knock against him in recruiting evaluations. If that's not an accurate knock, hello, nurse.
The beatings will continue until you arrive. The university has posted a job description for yet another athletic department MBA type*, this one tasked with cracking the whip, but all nice-like:
A recent U-M job posting for an assistant director of marketing position notes that athletics is establishing "a best in class student loyalty program" and that the employee would be responsible for overseeing the launch, "develop[ing] student profiles, rewards and redemption" and "develop[ing] strategies to increase student loyalty acquisition and engagement."
Ablauf declined to comment further on the loyalty program, saying "we haven't finalized a program and the details yet."
This is not cutting edge—and neither was my suggestion Michigan should do this. The article notes that MSU has been using this to give Izzone members priority for a long time. Penn State has a similar program.
This is long overdue. It was a problem when I was a student (and in the post-student "I'm still a student!" pretend phase), with drunk people arriving in the second quarter, forcing you to relocate, and then woozily departing in the third quarter. If you want student ticket deals, show up on time.
*[I wonder how many administrators the department has added since Martin left, and how much money we're spending on people whose great task is to paint #goblue on the field.]
I think this is the same thing as before. CBS has an update on the playoff stuff that suggests bowls will be used as hosts. They'll "float," which apparently means it'll depend on what the matchup is:
They do not want the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds having to “go on the road” in the semifinals. In other words, if the Sugar Bowl were anchored in advance to be a semifinal site, it would be possible that a No. 4 seed – say, LSU – would have the home-field advantage playing the No. 1-seeded opponent in the Superdome.
The discussion seems to center around the SEC and the Sugar Bowl. The conference has the most rabid fan following and its teams are in the closest proximity to New Orleans than the other conferences are to other major bowls. The Sugar Bowl has had a formal agreement to take the SEC champion since 1976. However, its relationship with the league goes back decades.
[Via] I have this crazy good idea for how to fix this: play the games on campus.
That Washington is one happy memory for me. I was 14 years old, and that was the first home game my dad and I went to together. There were two ladies in front of us, and when he was setting up for the kick the lady turned to my dad and said $20 he misses it. My dad says ok, I won't mind taking your money. As the kick went through the uprights she turned and handed us the $20. I was hoarse for 3 days after that game. Go BLUE!!
I'm sure the Buckeye faithful must be relieved to know this little parole violation incident won't upset Mr. Waugh's loyalties. It seems he's forgiven Buckeye Nation for their rejection of him.
“If you could go to the coaches, tell them I never meant to cost you a recruit,” Waugh told The Dispatch from the Boyd County Detention Center. “I lost my freedom for being supportive of Ohio State. I care about Ohio State. ... I want to tell the players as well: You’ll never lose me as a fan, and I hope I haven’t lost you guys as friends, those who know me.
"Of course I care about that stuff. To the point of irrationality. It will always be Michigan first, cancer second." Jim Mandich (RIP)
C'mon, why is this guy posing like that for pics in that kind of lighting like he's a serial killer serving a life sentence? He's definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed. Please stay south of the Michigan border, creepy dude.
Don't be shocked to see the SEC go to a nine-game schedule . . .
If the SEC is going to try to operate its own network while getting more money out of its current media partners, then they're going to have to go to nine conference games in order to increase the inventory of higher end games to televise. Don't be surprised to see them pointed in that direction by CBS, ABC, and ESPN during their upcoming meetings this week.
The other problem they're dealing with is the protected rivalries. LSU's protected rival is Florida and they aren't happy about competing in the SEC West in addition to playin UF each year. I suspect there are other schools who aren't happy about their protected cross-divisonal rivals either, while there are others who feel it's essential, i.e. Alabama and Tennessee or Auburn and Georgia
So that could be another reason for having nine conference games in a 6-1-2 setup for scheduling going into the near future. We may also see 6-2 or even 6-3 as well.
What will be interesting to see is the reaction that would take place if the SEC were to become a 16-team Super Conference at some point. There'd be a lot more to talk about there than just conference scheduling.
The SEC's new scheduling plan is actually about restoring a proud Southern tradition of not playing conference opponents for decades at a time:
For example, Auburn played LSU eight times in 50 years between 1942 and 1992, including not playing at all between 1943 and 1968. http://football.stassen.com/cgi-bin/records/opp-opp.pl?start=1869&end=2011&team1=Louisiana+State&team2=Auburn
Similarly, Alabama played Kentucky six times between 1947 and 1995, including not playing at all for 25 years between 1947 and 1972. http://football.stassen.com/cgi-bin/records/opp-opp.pl?start=1869&end=2011&team1=Kentucky&team2=Alabama
(By comparison, Michigan played UCLA nine times during that same time period. http://football.stassen.com/cgi-bin/records/opp-opp.pl?start=1869&end=2011&team1=Michigan&team2=UCLA)
Hell, even under the old 5-2-1 format when the SEC first went to divisions in 1992, there were 4 teams you'd only play twice in 8 years. The SEC chose to keep as much of their intersectional rivalries as possible.
The Big XII went another route. Destroy the Oklahoma teams rivalry's in the old Big 8, including Oklahoma-Nebraska, and just rotate 3 teams from the other division on and off every two years.
"I know, I know, you'd rather talk about anything else"
Actually, there's been so little to talk about in the deep off-season, who minds? It's been so dry a period, anything sounds good.
I keep telling myself no news is good news after going through years where you had to check in 4 times a day for the next dong punch. So I'll continue to be careful what I ask for and just be glad we're not getting bad news on top of bad news.
260 means redshirt for a SDE? Now, I think he'll redshirt too, but that has more to do with other guys on the roster who have been on the team for a bit than about Strobel's weight. In the intereview, it discusses how he spent the first few months of the offseason losing bad weight, and now he's back to putting on good weight. That likely means that he's a pretty lean 260, and could put on another 5-10lb by the time we start playing games.
Now, if Strobel isn't up to par with the other SDE guys, then it's a moot point. But if he is, is he kept off the field because he's 265 or 270 instead of, say, 275 or 280? It's not like the other guys who have a shot at the back-up SDE gig are 300 pounders.
Brian, I realize that this is your blog and that you can say what you want, but would you please stop bitching about Brandon and the Athletic Department? The Athletic Department is making millions and fielding some of the best Michigan teams in a long time, and Michigan is currently 5th in the Director's Cup standings. Uniforms and silly promotions aside, Brandon is doing a fantastic job as AD. In this results based business, Brandon is doing just about as well as one could possibly do.
Yeah, I agree. What were the things we wanted in an AD? Hire a good head coach. Open up the wallet so we could attract high profile assistants. Improve our facilities.
Those were our priorities when we were looking to replace Martin, right? Well, at the time we didn't know the first criteria was necessary, but I promise it would have been número uno had we known.
So he's done the things we really wanted him to. What did we get that we weren't expecting? Huge, badass HD screens. Varsity lacrosse. Probably more renovations than we were even expecting. With that has come some negatives that might not even stick like the jerseys and the piped in music and some other fanfare things that although MGoBlog is nearly unanimously against, people of different age groups seem to like to one degree or another.
So the band wasn't gonna go to the Bama game for like 10 minutes? Let's go easy on him at least until we stop winning BCS bowls for a bit.
I was in EL watching Sparty pummel EMU at Sparty stadium (free tickets, 2nd live college game ever, so sue me) when that final score was announced. After lots of cheering when the previous score was announced, and it seemed UM would lose, there was a huge groan from the crowd (I was likely the only non-groaner) when we learned the Wolverines had won. Yep, instead of being happy their team was winning, the MSU faithful had their day ruined by a UM win.
Although I get your overall point, MSU was playing EMU, so that win wasn't going to be all that exciting anyway.
Think if on the day we were playing EMU or Delaware St or something, a top-10 ranked OSU team was playing USC at home, and the score flashed up on our board that they were about to lose. People would cheer, right? And then let's say it's announced that OSU had an exciting last second play to win the game. I'm sure the UM crown would react in a similar way, and probably wouldn't think to themselves, "but hey, we just beat Delaware State! Fuck yeah!"