"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
Intersting Post on one of the Big Red Blogs concerning why they left the Big XII. My friends that are Nebraska fans are pumped to be part of the Big Ten, and forwarded me this as an explanation of why Nebraska Nation overwelmingly approves of this move. It also explains why Texas is probably never going to be a good fit for the Big Ten.
Why Nebraska Left: Everything You Need To Know
On Wednesday, June 9, 2010 Nebraska became the catalyst of what will turn out to be, one of the most historically monumental decisions in college athletics. The first, and most critical domino has gone horizontal, and those that lie in front of it are about to fall at wildfire pace.
One has to wonder, why now? And why Nebraska? Why would Tom Osborne, a conservative former coach and politician upend the boat? What about tradition? Fear of change? The deciding factor for Nebraska to leave the Big 12 came entirely from within. Osborne knew, way back in ’93, that merging the Big 8 with the four Texas schools from the Southwest Conference would result in a rocky, abusive marriage and inevitable divorce. We were warned. He knew.
And he knows now.
When examined closely, there were many components that went into Nebraska’s decision, most of which were entirely out of its control. Enter, Big 12 Commissioner and Village Idiot, Dan Beebe. Dan has (had) a simple job. Keep the Big 12 thriving and each member happy. To Bebee, this job description transcribed to keep the Big 12 stagnant and Texas happy and was content in becoming Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds’ conference mouthpiece/string puppet. Just keep Texas happy. Nebraska ahead 12-10 with 0:00 on the clock in the Big 12 Championship? Not a problem. Ol’ Beebs can add a second. (Aside: Funny how that karmic hammer swings back at you. I think Alabama just scored again.)
He also fell behind in the times when it came to forward-thinking ventures like a conference television network, but it was acceptable for Texas to explore their own “Longhorn Television Network.” And Texas, who has turned out to be the powerful, yet pea-brained oaf in all of this, resorted once again to arrogance and dismissed the 11 other members of the Big 12 as mere minions.
Make no mistake, Nebraska football is a national brand. The elite of the elite. In the same fraternity as Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. 3rd all-time in wins. Where the rest of the Big 12 were content to be pimped out by Texas and roll over like starving hookers, Nebraska had far more self respect. A conventional, yet notable moment where this was ever-prevalent, was the 11-1 conference vote to keep the Big 12 Championship game in Texas for the foreseeable future. Osborne, not to be pushed around or degraded, was the lone opposing vote. No one else in the Big 12 North bothered to sign up (isn't that ironic now to see KU and KSU begging NU to stay and save them?)
Missouri, who has played a significant, somewhat noble, yet moronic role in all of this, became discontented with the revenue sharing policy of the Big 12. A fair gripe, yes, but the equivalent of Obamacare in college football. Whining for more money/handouts when you’ve accomplished, well, nothing, will only get you so far. And it definitely will not earn you any respect.
The Big 10, sensing an uprising in the Big 12, quickly realized that their desire to expand could come to fruition, with or without holdout Notre Dame. While Missouri governor Jay Nixon was flapping his gums about “deserving” a Big 10 invite, Tom Osborne waited patiently with a much better poker hand. Adding Missouri, without Nebraska, adds little to the Big 10. A bandwagon, ill-behaved fan base along with a bed-wetting sense of entitlement is not an ingredient for conference cohesiveness. Nebraska is the real gem. A rich history of Heisman Trophies, national championships, and conference championships? There’s a program that’s earned their respect. Sign them up.
Beebe then mustered up a solution so insanely idiotic, you have to wonder if there were paint chips in his morning coffee. Give Nebraska an ultimatum. Yup, poke the angry dog even more. Pledge your loyalty to the Big 12 within one week - or else. Or else what? You’ll kick them out, leading to the demise of the Big 12 anyway? And where is Texas’ ultimatum? Good move, moron. If I were Osborne, I’m not sure I could’ve contained my laughter in that room at that very second. And felt I’m sure, immense disappointment knowing that the abuse couldn’t be tolerated any longer. Thank you, Texas. Thank you, Beebe. As much as it pains to leave the beloved traditions and bitter rivalries of Colorado and Oklahoma, you’ve left us no choice but to go - to a much better place.
Osborne didn’t need a week. He acted quickly and precisely, playing his hand with dignified grace. Nebraska wanted out and the Big 10 knew it. The dissolution of a broken marriage and the beginning of an ideal one. And $15,000,000 extra per year in television revenue? Sure, that doesn’t hurt either.
Inevitably, this will cause casualties. Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Baylor may be left without a pot to piss in. In Missouri’s case, a strong wind has soaked them in it. Millions of dollars in lost revenue and no conference. Nothing to play for. But Kansas has one of the most elite basketball programs in the nation? Not anymore. Bill Self just hit the employment ads, and hard. And Missouri? Blame your governor and you’re dumbfounded sense of entitlement. In the end, it’s sort of difficult to feel that sorry for them. Just remember, “11-1.” You all sided with Texas on so many issues. You can beg them for mercy now. Leave Nebraska out of it. When the going was tough you sided with the dim wits from the south.
Looking forward, the landscape of college football looks quite different because of a few unintelligent, arrogant miscreants who thought they could ignore, bully, and laugh at Nebraska and Tom Osborne. The result? Utter chaos. The Big 12? Dead. Dan Bebee? Unemployed. Texas-run conference and Longhorn Network? Bye-bye. I can’t help but imagine Osborne in his comfy office chair tilted back with a smile on his face.
Who’s laughing now?
It is never too early to begin planning for your NCAA purchase and with the announcement of this year’s cover boy ringing in our ears and the Spring Game one week away I figured the time was right for a pre-preview of the upcoming NCAA Football 11.
This year’s cover athlete will be none other than Tim Tebow (Angel choir sings in background at just the mention of his name). He will be the cover athlete on all systems, unifying the title for the first time since 2008 when undrafted Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky received that honor. With this announcement, made this week by EA, Tebow has been making the rounds and this is what he had to say:
Best part of being cover athlete – “I've been playing this game since I was 6. But they made so many big changes this year, I needed to find out the secrets before it came out."
Reaction to yourself first time on a video game – “First thing I thought was, I'm faster than that. [laughs] I wanted to call some people and get my speed rating bumped up a little bit.”
Tebow’s burn on the rest of us in answer to how he likes playing himself – “To be honest, I don't actually play as Florida a lot. Even the last four years I haven't played as them too often because they're really good in the game and it's too much of an advantage for whoever is playing as them. Usually we pick lesser teams.” (I wish I had that same issue playing Michigan, but no one ever complains)
Weirdest combine question – “Whether I'd rather be the quarterback for their team or the governor of Florida”
Video game QB vs. the real thing – “You can always find those plays in every game that work for a touchdown or a big gain all the time and no matter what the defense tries, they can't stop you. Only downfall is sometimes you might cramp up a little on the thumbs.”
Madden 11 designer Donny Moore on Tebow’s upcoming stats – “"Tebow will be the best trucking quarterback in 'Madden' this year, He's not the most elusive, but in terms of breaking tackles and power, he will be able to put down his shoulder and run over a few defenders. A lot of this is fluid, but right now in 'Madden 11,' we have Tebow at 80 speed and 92 acceleration. Trucking, carrying the ball, like I said, he's going to be better than any quarterback coming into the league."
For those whose heart goes paddy pat at the mere mention of Tim Tebow here is the link to the full interview - http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/index?id=5073043
EA has released few details as of yet, but there is enough information out there to get excited about what we can expect:
Graphic Jump – First screen shots look so good that EA had to come out with a statement confirming that they in no way touched up the pics, and that they were indeed real in-game shots. You will also notice something that has been glaringly missing in the background. Pinstripes! That is right, referees are making a comeback in NCAA ’11.
Improved Realism – Ever complained that this year’s NCAA looks just like last years? That shouldn’t be the complaint this year. With linear lighting the feel and look of the fields and players should be a huge upgrade to Madden like quality. What does it mean? It means the game will now have shading dynamics based on the time of day. If it is night the skin, jerseys, and helmets will be shaded appropriately and in the day time have that spring fresh look to them. It is hard to put into words, but my hope is we get rid of that plastic, shiny, pasty player graphic, and the result is a more believable player look.
Locomotion – Can I get a Whoo Woooo! I am ready for this train to leave the station and excited to see its inclusion into the new NCAA. What it means in short is that 99 Acceleration now means as much as 99 Speed. If you noticed in years past it was all about running a straight line faster than the defender, (no an occasional zigzag to overcome a faster defender diving does not count). With the addition of locomotion NCAA will get the power of the burst. Players with fast acceleration will close on ball carriers and make tackles with their quick acceleration. Dynamic Short Yardage players ala Forcier against ND - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gDv0HMTJEY&feature=related, will be able to make the quick move to fool the over pursuing DE and then turn on the afterburners to outrun safeties.
Team Playbooks – How frustrating has it been playing NCAA for Michigan fan the last few years? 2 years ago we had a pro-style offense playbook, that didn’t resemble the product on the field in any way, and then last year we had 1 bubble screen and an option playbook that again didn’t resemble anything Michigan was running on the field. This year is supposed to be improved with Team specific playbooks that closely resemble the on the field product. Florida has been getting this for years, but finally the rest of us may have it.
Formation Subs – Remember back in the olden days, when the PS on your gaming platform had a 2 that followed it? There was this little feature that made football just plain better, where you could customize any formation including kick-off teams to maximize your team’s competitive edge. Well that is finally back after a long hiatus, and no team will benefit more than Michigan. That means you can set up Denard Robinson to come in automatically anytime you run the Ace-Big formation, or bring in Focier for the Shotgun formation. It means you can customize your DL to get Campbell and Martin on the field at the same time when you need run stoppage against the dive in a 3-3-5 set. It means good stuff.
NCAA Football 11 will be hitting the store July 13th. While it still seems too far away I know, the date has steadily been creeping earlier and earlier in the last few years. In fact EA has moved the release date earlier in July every year since 2007 when it released on July 18th. Maybe it only takes 364 days to make a new issue of NCAA hence the change.
I know that many of you, like myself, celebrate the release of NCAA like a national holiday. We work diligently in the months of July and August, while others haven’t even thought of cleaning out their coolers yet, as we put together “The Game Plan.” I’m not making any guarantees, but if the coaching staff would just glance at “The Game Plan” this year it might just make Michigan a surefire Three-Peat National Championship team. The plan works, and I can show you my NCAA trophy case if you don’t believe it. Keep playing, and I’ll see you online.
Interesting article this week about how many arrests Urban Meyer has had during his tenure with Florida; 26 arrests in 5 years! That is over 5 arrests a year, and goes to ruin the theory that if you can run a 4.4 40, you can outrun the law. Back in June, ESPN paraphrased comments from Urban, at the time of his team’s 24th arrest, “he's disappointed with the incidents but he and his staff are determined to educate his players and by and large they are "a pretty good group."" I guess the term 'pretty good' has changed since I was in school, because that used to mean no felonies on the record and no recent mug shots taken. Now as long as you aren’t wanted for murder one you are still Florida eligible as a 'pretty good' kid?
I’m not against taking a chance on players or people for that matter, but it is so important to balance the risks with good kids. Tebow was obviously a good kid, but you need more than one voice in the locker room to be that voice of influence, and Florida has obviously had challenges finding those other voices. As Michigan goes forward and takes pretty good kids and good kids, I realize that coaches can only be one part of the formula. It is so important for every pretty good kid we take a risk on, that we put 3 good kids around them like Craig Roh. Then the coaches will have a fighting chance to make a difference.
I don't question Urban's heart, but I do question his recruiting, because a pretty good kid, will only become a good kid, if you put so many examples around him that he can't help but make a change in his life.
Rivals released their first team rankings for the 2010 class recently. You can view them at http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
In 2009 you will remember we finished the year 8th with 22 recruits, 1 5-star and 13 4-star, meaning 4-star or better 64% of the time. Our avg. star rank for 2009 was 3.59 good enough for 10th overall. We are currently ranked 9th in 2010 with 16 recruits, 5 of which are rated 4-star and no 5-star. That gives us a 4-star or better 31% of the time. If the percentages hold true that means we should plan on adding 2 more 4-stars before the end. I would predict landing a 5-star recruit this year probably a long shot if you look at the interest lists of the top recruits unless one of our 4-stars move up like Devin or fingers crossed Cullen when he hopefully commits. When you look at avg. stars per recruit we are 3.31. That drops us to 19th overall, still good enough to stay ahead of little brother at 24, but a little bit of a drop when compared to previous years.
2010 – 3.31 ytd – 19th
2009 – 3.59 – 10th
2008 – 3.67 – 7th
2007 – 3.4 – 10th
2006 – 3.63 – 6th
Right now I think the larger concern than stars is that we finish this class with the right recruits. Somewhere we need to pull out a DT or two, DB’s are always a need but things are trending well, and I’d like to see one more OL with all the defections – Seantrel would do just fine.
To say it is love fest would be to minimize what Devin Gardner has done this week at the Elite 11. He went in against 11 (that's right it is called the Elite 11, but hosts 12 QB's, but who are we to talk) of the best young signal callers in the country, and when he was done Rivals declared him the best pound for pound QB.
Strewn by the wayside was a "son of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Montana," and two other Michigan recruits. First, Michigan State commit Joe Boisture, who finishing dead last in the rankings, and though they had to remain positive to explain why he was even invited, had potential and development needs mentioned way too much in his daily write-ups. The Second is Robert Bolden who also had a great camp and at the end of one day was ranked 1A and 1B with Devin.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
It appears that all these camps that Devin has been visiting have made an impact and so while he started the week with words like "potential" and "dual-threat QB" he ended the week with quotes like, "We could be looking at a future first-round draft pick in five years" and "the ability to take over a college game by himself using his arm and his legs." Speed and athleticism were still mentioned, but also pro-body, strong arm, laser-like percision, and good touch.
Awards he picked up at the camp show that he is not only fast, "Best Feet," but also a student "Best in Classroom." I am just really impressed on how Devin is growing into an unbelievable QB and believe that he is finally going to get the mention he deserves in the top 100, as a great QB that can also run, and not just a dual-threat. Sit behind Tate for a year and then I think we are going to have one heck of a QB competition in 2011. Greatness is coming for Michigan, it just might be one QB away.
PS. He finally committed to Michigan in my NCAA 10 over Ohio State, so I’ll be able to give you a preview of his performances on the field shortly. If he’s good in NCAA 10 he must be good in real life.?!
On a serious note this weekend we saw a great competitor pass. By all accounts Mr. McNair was a great man on many of the score cards we use to score men.
Cinderella Story – Check! Deciding to attend a traditionally black school, Steve McNair put I-AA Alcorn State on the map with a senior year totaling 5,799 total yards and 53 TDs. That year he proved that the little school can make people take notice finishing 3rd in the Heisman voting behind NFL RB greats Ki-Jana Carter and Rashaan Salaam. In fact he had a great run in the playoffs that year finishing the year with a game in which he threw for 514 yards and 3 TD’s but still came up short to a little known coach of Youngstown State, Jim Tressel.
Successful Athlete – Check! 1995’s 3rd pick in the draft, he waits two years behind Chris Chandler before getting his start in 1997. He proceeds to throw for the most yards since Warren Moon wore the baby blue, rush for the third most yards by a QB in NFL history, and sets a franchise record with only 13 ints. That would only be the beginning of a career highlighted by a Super Bowl appearance, 2003 Co-MVP of the league, 5 playoff appearances, and 3 Pro Bowls.
Man of the People – Check! Always willing to pitch in, his wife and he spent countless hours loading food, water, and clothes on trucks that he hired heading for Hurricane Katrina victims. In 2001 he founded the Steve McNair Foundation devoted to serving underprivileged children through programs and grants focusing on inspiring and empowering today's youth to utilize the educational, civic, and athletic opportunities available to them.
Family Man – Check! By all accounts he was a loving and caring husband who had four children that he adored and inspired. He was committed to his family and cherished his new found time in retirement to spend as a family man.
Everything going for him, and yet he throws it away on the fleeting thrill of a 20 year old waitress. I don’t find joy in another man’s failure, but instead use it as a reminder. Today I’m going to hug my children a little tighter, kiss my wife a little longer, and at the end of the day make sure my heart only lingers on the one God gave me.