At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Yet another new Wolverine, and we're on the front page again. Action since last rankings:
4-27-11 Ohio State gains commitment from Frank Epitropoulos.
4-29-11 Michigan gains commitment from Joe Bolden.
4-30-11 Michigan State gains commitments from Benny McGowan, Zach Higgins, and Riley Bullough.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
All rankings will be on the 5-star scale this year (when available) for easier comparing across services. Full data after the jump.
With rumors of a varsity announcement running rampant, it's easy to forget that there's still an actual season going on. When last we saw the Michigan Lacrosse team on these pages, they had successfully completed a California road trip, and were preparing to kick off a long homestand. Since that time, they have won 9 consecutive games and wrapped up their third undefeated regular season in the past four years.
Let's take a look at those results weekend-by-weekend...
BYU came to Ann Arbor as a top-5 team, but Michigan ran them off the field despite a mediocre performance. Chad Carroll and Joey Hrusovsky each had a 4-point game, while Trevor Yealy scored 3 goals himself. The following night, Michigan took on an overmatched Pittsburgh squad, and walked away with the easy 20-1 victory.
Boston College was the first team all year to come into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse and not back down, even when Michigan built up a lead. Brian Greiner solidified his starting position on faceoffs as Edward Ernst struggled on draws, and Michigan played a very sloppy game, which allowed the Eagles to stay in it. I sat near the UCSB team at the BC game, and they were chirping quite a bit about how they were going to get an easy win the following night... so imagine their surprise when they were blasted into a fine red mist in a 21-0 beatdown. Maybe Michigan was sending a message, or maybe their second and third lines are just that much better than the Gauchos. Either way, Trevor Yealy scored 6 goals to become Michigan's all-time leading scorer, and this game was over seemingly as soon as it started.
The following weekend, #1 welcomed the #2 and #3 teams in the land into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, but managed to emerge unscathed. Colorado State was the first victim, as Michigan showed why they're so tough to beat at home. They rode the Rams into tons of turnovers, and got the easy win. It wasn't such easy going the following night, as the Wolverines built up a 9-3 lead on Arizona State, but the Sun Devils refused to give up, and managed to get the final margin to 2 goals. Attackman Eric Nelson and goalkeeper Dylan Westfall played excellently, but not well enough to earn the win.
The Wolverine offense was a well-oiled machine the following weekend, as they scored .609 points per possession (.400 is a very good performance) and easily dispatched of a Missouri team that never stood a chance. The Tiger offense was surprisingly effective itself, but they were no match for Chad Carroll, who put in 8 goals and an assist all by himself.
Like the BC and Arizona State games, Michigan managed to build up a couple leads, but the opponent didn't wilt under the pressure, and made some runs of their own. It was a rainy night in Birmingham, and both squads made their share of sloppy plays. The Spartans couldn't put the ball on net, and that was ultimately their downfall against their most hated rival.
The Wolverines finally played a true road game after several weeks at home and one at a neutral site, but it was business as usual in dispatching first-year MCLA program Toledo. Plenty of backups got a chance to play in this game (which was played in the Glass Bowl), and the outcome was never in doubt.
Michigan has a weekend off from competition, and they'll return to action on May 7th at the conference Tournament in Saline. They'll face a Directional Michigan (most likely Central) in the first round, before taking on the winner of Michigan State and Pittsburgh (most likely the Spartans) in the final on Sunday.
Assuming they win the conference tournament - and even if they don't - they're all-but-guaranteed to be the #1 overall seed in the National Tournament, which starts May 17th in Denver. They'll seek their unprecedented 4th consecutive championship, and then we can start worrying about whether or not they'll play varsity lacrosse next season.
For all the day-to-day details on the team, you can check out my lacrosse blog at GreatLaxState.com.
More Michigan commits, and we're back on the front page. Action since last rankings:
4-22-11 Michigan gains commitments from AJ Williams and Devin Funchess.
4-23-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from Vince Biegel. Minnesota loses commitment from Nick Rallis.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Watchlist||Scout Avg||ESPN Watchlist||24/7 Avg|
As I said, it looks pretty incomplete. I'm considering switching all rankings to 5-star scale, instead of using the RR ratings for rivals, and the numeric ratings for ESPN (which I did last year). I also might add 24/7 Sports' rankings to the chart.
|#1 Ohio State - 5 Commits|
The greatest number of commits, and the only team with multiple 5-stars.
|#2 Notre Dame - 5 Commits|
Irish had a pretty big weekend with a couple commits.
|#3 Penn State - 6 Commits|
Nittany Lions start strong after having a poor beginning to the 2011 recruiting class. Jarron Jones is listed as a soft commit.
|#4 Michigan - 6 Commits|
A pair of linemen and a pair of linebackers for Brady Hoke's first full class.
|#5 Wisconsin - 3 Commits|
Badgers have an excellent offensive lineman and a nondescript runner to start the class of 2012.
|#6 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
A couple commits for Northwestern.
|#7 Minnesota - 4 Commits|
I'll be the first to admit I may be underrating the Gophers' class to date. We'll see what happens when some of the other sites have rated their prospects.
|#8 Nebraska - 1 Commit|
Ho-hum to start the class for the Huskers.
|#9 Iowa - 1 Commit|
An offensive lineman kicks off Iowa's class.
|#9 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Unrated WR starts Illinois's class.
|#9 Purdue - 1 Commit|
In-state commit for the Boilers.
Indiana and Michigan State are tied for last with 0 commits.
Via Media Relations:
The game starts at 10AM.
· $20 donation receives a Fathead Teammate Block M (roughly 12”x7”)
· $100 donation receives a Fathead Junior Big House Mural (17”x30”)
· $250 donation receives four passes to a pre-season scrimmage
· $500 donation receives 2 pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to ONE of the following four games: Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State or Minnesota.
· $750 donation receives 2 pre-game sideline passes (does not include game tickets) to the Nebraska game.
· $1,000 donation receives 4 Mott Club Tickets which includes ($300/individual ticket):
1. Stadium Parking for Spring Game
2. Priority Access (front of the line fast-pass) to the Michigan Experience
3. Priority Access (front of the line fast-pass) to Locker Room Tour and associated experiences Friday or Saturday
4. On-field experience during the Alumni Flag Football Game (designated bleacher area)
5. Access to special viewing location for the Spring Game and a VIP Reception in the Regents Guest Area (food will be served) with drop-in from Desmond Howard and other football alums during and/or following the game
Following is a list of everything you need to know about the annual spring game and activities:
Parking: The lots around Michigan Stadium owned and operated by the University of Michigan are free and open to the public. The U-M Golf Course Lot (Green) will be restricted to golfers only. Pioneer High School will be charging $20 for cars and $50 for RVs on Saturday.
Gates, Restrooms and Concessions: The Michigan Stadium gates will open one hour prior to the alumni game at 9 a.m. All available restrooms on the lower concourse will be open and concessions will be available at several locations throughout the stadium.
Locker Room Tours: Fans can tour and take photos in the Michigan team locker room from 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday (April 15) and from 7-9:30 a.m. on Saturday (April 16). Fans will have access to the stadium field on Friday night during the time devoted to the open locker room but the field will not be accessible Saturday morning because of the spring game activities.
Desmond Howard Returns as Honorary Captain: Michigan’s 1991 Heisman Trophy and current ESPN College Game Day analyst Desmond Howard will be the Honorary Captain for the Mott Spring Game. Howard will be present for the alumni game, spring game and Mott Hospital functions.
Victors Classic: Former U-M football players will be split into the maize and blue teams and will match wits in the third annual alumni flag football game starting at 10 a.m. Over 85 former football players from five different decades will participate.
NFL Players to Attend Spring Game: Some of the current NFL players scheduled to be in attendance are Steve Breaston (Arizona Cardinals), Prescott Burgess (Baltimore Ravens), Braylon Edwards (New York Jets), James Hall (St. Louis Rams), Mike Hart (Indianapolis Colts), Marlin Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles), Zoltan Mesko (New England Patriots), Ryan Mundy (Pittsburgh Steelers) and LaMarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Steelers).
Hockey Team to Receive Recognition: The Michigan men’s ice hockey team, the 2011 NCAA runner-up, will be honored during one of the breaks at the Mott Spring Game. The Wolverines played for the national title last Saturday (April 9), falling 3-2 in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth. The Wolverines completed the season with a 29-11-4 record this season and won the CCHA regular season championship.
The Michigan Experience: New for the 2011 spring game is an interactive area for kids to participate in football activities. Located on the south concourse of the stadium grounds, there will be football related activities for kids, football character photos and a healthy kids area.
Kick for Cash: The athletic department will randomly select one fan to attempt field goals with the chance to win a PNC gift card up to $300. They will have the opportunity to kick from three different spots, the 10-, 15- or 20-yard lines, with varying prizes for each of the three distances.
Matt Giraud to Sign National Anthem: Former “American Idol” contestant Matt Giraud is going to sing the national anthem for the game. A Kalamazoo, Mich., native, he was born in Dearborn and graduated from Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti (2003).
Radio Broadcast: Ann Arbor’s Sports Talk 1050 AM WTKA will have the exclusive broadcast of Michigan’s spring football weekend activities. Ira Weintraub and Steve Clarke will be broadcasting live from the booth and Sam Webb will be roaming the sidelines during the day’s activities. The station will begin broadcasting Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and carry the former player’s flag football game and the final spring practice in its entirety on its airwaves.
Michigan Rewind: The athletic department’s online football recap show will have a complete highlight package and interviews with Brady Hoke and players available on MGoBlue.com following the conclusion of the final practice.
Inside Michigan Football: The final show of the spring will air on Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. The 30-minute behind-the-scenes look at Michigan football will recap the spring game and all the activities surrounding the partnership with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Big Ten Network Broadcast: Matt Shepard (play-by-play) and former Wolverine offensive lineman Jon Jansen (analyst) will broadcast Michigan’s spring game live on Big Ten Network starting at noon EDT. In addition to the practice game footage, the network will feature post-scrimmage interviews with head coach Brady Hoke and players.
Though Michigan opened the season at home with a resounding win over Florida, the true home season starts this weekend, as the Wolverines start a string of seven consecutive home games over four weeks. Before getting into those details, let's pick up where last we left the team.
Going undefeated over Spring Break is more the norm than the exception for the Michigan Lacrosse team, but that doesn't mean this year's trip out West was without drama.
Road Trip Recap
Though the University of Oregon has started the season a very disappointing 2-5, they managed to give Michigan a run for their money in Los Angeles a couple weeks back. The Wolverines trailed throughout most of regulation, but managed to stage a comeback to force overtime. In the second OT session, senior Chad Carroll scored the golden goal for Michigan to wrap up a 9-8 win.
The Wolverines atoned for the close call against UO by easily dispatching an overmatched Loyola Marymount squad 12-2 in a true road game. In a low-scoring game, there weren't many offensive standouts, but sophomore Thomas Paras finished with two goals and an assist. This game could have been a much bigger blowout, but the teams were playing slowly on a beaten-up field.
Michigan closed out their spring break trip with a visit to Chapman, one of their biggest rivals in recent years. Though Michigan struggled mightily on faceoffs (which had been a strength through the previous three years of dominance), they were able to make up for it by playing mistake-free ball. The Panthers couldn't reciprocate, and the Wolverines emerged with an 11-8 victory.
After a week back in school, the team traveled to Athens, Ohio on Saturday to open up conference play against Ohio University. The Bobcats are new to the MCLA, but sloppy play from the Wolverines prevented them from getting a blowout victory. Trevor Yealy did manage to score 6 goals in the 15-5 win.
Michigan's home slate gets off to a very tough start as traditional rival BYU will try their luck in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse (Friday at 7PM). The Cougars have started the season 7-0, including an impressive 11-7 win over #6 Colorado this weekend.
Many of the familiar faces from BYU over the past couple years are no longer around. Midfielder Elliott Grow and LSM Britton Cone (1st-Team All-Americans last year) have graduated, leaving junior midfielder Andrew Harding (3rd-Team) to be the face of the Cougars.
A much more in-depth preview of BYU can be found here.
The Panthers started their season by playing several non-MCLA-D1 teams, but have started getting into a more traditional schedule. They kicked off the conference slate with an 11-1 victory over fellow CCLA East squad Toledo to take the early lead for the Division title (Michigan caught up with the victory over Ohio). They traveled to Florida a couple weekends ago, falling 9-22 to Central Florida before rebounding with a 10-8 victory over South Florida.
Pitt is led offensively by sophomore attack Tyler Novotny, who is averaging 4 points per game (almost exclusively with goals, not assists). Pitt's Matthew Pham has fared well on faceoffs, winning nearly 66% of them so far this season, so it could be interesting to see how Michigan's relatively-inexperienced players fare against him.
Again, a more detailed preview can be found here.