Several helpful readers provided tricksy ways to unearth the pictures at the official site, so I can now provide you that super picture from the women's academy for those too lazy to dig it up themselves:
What's with the smiling chick in the upper right? Where's your intensity, lady? Barwis! Eat her!
But what about the SUPER-SUPERCONFERENCE? When the Wizard of Odds threw out a post on this a few days ago, I shrugged, but the Wiz has now linked to this nut from the Orlando Sentinel twice more and the disease has started to spread outward.
His name is Tim Stephens, and he is a very stupid man. He proposes that college football is moving inexorably towards four sixteen-team superconferences and a four-team playoff between the winners. Nevermind that the WAC was briefly a creaky sixteen-team "superconference" before all its members decided that was an incredibly stupid idea and broke off. Nevermind that it's just a matter of time before the creaky sixteen-team Big East basketball "superconference" splinters. Nevermind that he actually titles a post "could five dollar gas spur the playoff debate" (his answer: yes!) and then, like, in the very next post about his incredibly stupid idea puts Notre Dame in the Pac-10. Nevermind that every team past 12 dilutes the financial impact of a championship game.
These are all reasons that Tim Stephens is a man propounding a very stupid idea and wasting everyone's time, but the main thing is this: at the absolute most, teams will play nine conference games. When you have a "super conference" that's basically two eight-team divisions in which you play seven games and then two games against the other division, which is not a conference at all, really, and is the main reason the WAC exploded.
What a waste of time.
Precedented. A reader forwards along a Chronicle of Higher Education piece on new ADA regulations($) that would about halve the number of handicap-accessible seats stadiums are required to provide. How is this related to Michigan?
The new regulations, if unchanged after a public comment period, would be roughly comparable to the terms of a recent settlement between the federal government and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This spring, in response to a lawsuit over handicapped-accessible seating in its football stadium, the university agreed to provide 329 spots -- or a third of a percent of its 107,000 seats -- for fans in wheelchairs.
So even though this rough halving of the number would seem to put Michigan under the microscope again, apparently the settlement is being used as a model and we should be okay.
From the same article:
Service animals are another focal point of the new regulations. The proposed rules distinguish service animals from "emotional-support animals," which they say are not covered by federal disability law. ...
Support animals, like ferrets and snakes, have been a sticking point for colleges, where students have asked to keep them in residence halls and take them to class.
That is all.
Defcon 4. Max Pacioretty is the only potential departure who hasn't publicly stated his intention to return. This is probably why:
Heard it from a very good source that he would like to sign and that Montreal wants him but the family will have none of it. At this point, put the chances of him returning for his sophomore year at about 80%.
That's the Wolverine's Mike Spath, so that's legit. I'll take 80% but the news that Patch wants to sign is unwelcome; he was telling teammates he'd be back a month or so ago. He'll be one to watch until September.
Aw, come on. Notre Dame/Halloween candy blog Rakes of Mallow is providing an overview of ND's oppnents and though they're advertised as "nearly prediction free" there is a little numerical difficulty number applied to each. North Carolina, 4-8 a year ago, warrants a 7. 4-9 Washington gets a 6. Purdue is a 5, Michigan State a 6.
Michigan? 3. The same as Stanford. I know every Notre Dame fan out there yearns for Michigan to have the same sort of Hindenberg season Notre Dame did a year ago, but... uh... not likely. Notre Dame had the second-worst offense of the decade, and outliers, probability, bell curves, binomial distributions, etc.: Michigan replicating that is highly, highly unlikely.
Etc.: I knew those fake-o new jerseys running around had boobs. Boiled Sports interviews yrs truly. Jemele Hill is sitting in timeout for comparing the Celtics to Hitler; shouldn't she be in timeout for not being interesting? Maize 'n' Brew takes issue with the preseason magazines... which is why you should by HTTV 2008!
Anyone who's walked or driven by the Big House knows there are some impressive superstructures going up. But how do they look from your seats? Reader Matthew Waun provides some photos (as always, click for big):
Much more intimidating, IMO. You can see the top rows of the boxes actually jut out over the field, which will help reflect noise. If you believe the crew of scientists who wheeled the oversized metallic dandelion onto the field at halftime of the Minnesota game, the boxes will double the perceived loudness on the field. Which, like, dude. I'll believe it when I hear it but here's hoping.
Piled up. Kudos to the Daily's Dan Feldman, who ferreted out a ton of interesting factoids and quotes in his latest article. Remember the spread punt formation that cost Michigan the Iowa game and sent Jim Boccher into insurance or accounting or whatever? It's back:
The Wolverines will use a spread punt formation, and they will send six gunners as opposed to the two last year.
Redshirt junior Zoltan Mesko will roll out on some kicks, and said he will stretch the field as far as he needs to. And he will directional kick, which wasn't part of last year's punting plan but won't be a difficult adjustment.
"Point your body that way, and that's the way it's going," Mesko said. "It's not that difficult."
You know those rumors that Terrance Taylor wasn't buying into the system and had some issues with the coaches and conditioning? True, but maybe not a huge deal:
Taylor said his place on the depth chart was due to "clashing" between himself and the new coaches as they got used to each other's personalities.
"Situations happen, problems occur," Taylor said. "But as the (spring) season went on, things worked out. I'm going to go out there and play. No matter if I'm third, fourth, fifth team, I'm going to go out and play like I'm on the first team, so it wasn't a big deal."
You know those rumors that Darryl Stonum might not be happy? (I didn't, but a couple emailers indicate they've been scooting around message boards.) He seems to be settling in:
Sam McGuffie arrived at the airport during the clinic, and running backs coach Fred Jackson playfully scolded Stonum for signing autographs while stranding McGuffie.
Need Barwis porn?
Stonum was the only early enrollee this year. He said he arrived in Ann Arbor in January weighing about 170 pounds. He now weighs about 195 pounds and has gotten faster.
Need evidence that random middle-aged women ask way better questions than actual journalists?
When Rodriguez asked the participants in the Women's Football Academy if they had any questions, one woman asked which assistants would be on the field and which would be in the press box.
Rodriguez explained offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith would be upstairs so they could see the entire field.
Then he turned to Shafer to ask what his plans were. Because the staff had been so busy with recruiting and spring practice, they hadn't formalized that. Shafer said he and defensive line coach Bruce Tall would be in the press box. ...
"In my opinion, you can't see a thing on the sideline during the game," Shafer said. "Anybody that's watched a game on the sideline in between the 30-yard lines realizes that you don't know what just happened unless it's run right at your side."
Also, Terrance Robinson will get Henne's #7.
By this point I've excerpted almost half the article and seriously pushed the boundaries of fair use. There's more original information in this one article than the Free Press has published in the past week. Contrast their article on the women's football academy with the Daily's: you get all that relevant info in the Daily; in the Free Press you get to find out that Rod Smith compares passing to Tae Bo.
Dear Daily: a winner is you.
Speakin' of... did I freak you out about Stonum and then drop it? Sorry. I will attempt to repair the hurt. A reader forwarded along this message Stonum sent out to Myspace friends:
I got a comment today about me being unhappy at Michigan and wanting to possibly transfer. I just want to take the time to let everyone know it's all rumors. I'm very content with my situation in Ann Arbor and want to wait and see how things play out before I make that kind of decision. I hope all this gossip can stop so I can just go about my business and play football. I love the tradition and hope to live up to all of your expectations.
All due Myspace caution applies (though the Bryce McNeal stuff turned out to be basically correct, if premature); Stonum will be around in the fall but I think Rodriguez will have to pass a bit more to keep the receiving talent Michigan's collected happy.
I loathe MGoBlue's new picture gallery software, which doesn't allow you to save or even link to specific pictures, but there are some great ones in the academy gallery. #39 is a particular favorite.
Scoutin'. The hockey team recently acquired a recruited walk-on from the same school as 2009 D recruit Mac Bennett. Bob Miller took the opportunity to get a scouting report on one Luke Glendening from Bennett. Bennett's favorite thing about Glendening? He uses the point a ton in the offensive zone, naturally. Also:
He's in the gym day in a day out and you can tell that he wants to get better. He was told that he was going to be a "support" player, but with his work ethic and determination I wouldnt be surprised if he ended up being a fourth line player. He's definitely someone that you want on your team and someone you don't want to play against.
Meet the new JJ Swistak/Charlie Henderson/Danny Fardig?
Schedulin'. Michigan's just released the hockey schedule. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Miami are Michigan's clustermates, which should be fun. (In the CCHA, you play everyone twice and two extra games against three teams in your "cluster"; State is always in Michigan's cluster.)
two home games against St. Lawrence
A Thursday(!) home game against Niagara, followed immediately by
a Saturday game at BU
Minnesota and Wisconsin on the road, and
Michigan's opening GLI opponent will be Tech; North Dakota is the guest this year. There are no games at the Palace or in Fort Wayne or anything.
Does it seem like the schedule is short a couple games? Michigan trips to Alaska this year. Those games are exempted by the NCAA and should allow Michigan another couple nonconference matchups.
Four different people have sent me this [update: five!], claiming that it comes from the women's football academy and is Michigan's new road jersey. One, "RoyalBlue," claims credit:
(Blogger is having some image issues so I had to go with the imageshack url... it might blow up.)
Here's a picture of Henne from last year for comparison. Basically, it appears the stripes on the shoulders are more prominent and there's a little yellow panel on the sides. It looks a little WVU-esque for many, I'm sure, but the piping that threw everyone into a fit turned out to be a minor annoyance. These things usually look different in action.
Update: RoyalBlue has posted a few more of the uniform actually one someone, though the subject is a woman who looks about 100 pounds too small. I just got a lot crankier:
Click for big. The little swathes are really annoying.
Michigan's picked up a commitment from IL OL Michael Schofield, a Rivals250 offensive tackle. Schofield picked Michigan over offers from Penn State, Notre Dame, Miami, Wisconsin and Oregon, so he's probably legit. An informative update is coming up, but since he's an OL chances are it won't be very informative.
Uninformative Update: Son of a bitch. Apparently Michael Schofield is also the name of one of the main characters on "Prison Break," which makes picking out things not about "Prison Break" difficult.
Informative Update: Still pretty light on information. ESPN hasn't ranked him yet. Scout is way less enthused than Rivals is, ranking him the #47 tackle in the country and providing only three stars; Rivals says #18 and offers four. The offers -- Notre Dame, Miami, Oregon, and basically every Big Ten school save Ohio State -- side with Rivals.
There are actually a couple articles floating around out there that provide some sort of information, though it's not of the most useful variety. Rivals chipped in something early this recruiting year:
Another big lineman that people in the Midwest will be talking a lot about is Michael Schofield of Orland Park (Ill.) Sandburg. His name is just starting to emerge and after schools saw his film on Rivals.com, they're starting to come after him like crazy. Seeing him in person Saturday, showed why. He measured in at 6-foot-7 and 276 pounds. He's still got a lot of room to grow into his frame, too.
"I don't know that he came out of nowhere," said Dave Wierzal, Sandburg's second-year coach. "When recruiters see him on film, he is one of the kids who plays to the whistle, makes the second block and blocks downfield. Put the whole package together and you see a kid who will produce at the Division I level in the next few years."
And this is from the dread pirate Lemming:
"Schofield is a good athlete and it is a bad year nationally for offensive linemen," Lemming said. "Everyone is looking for them and Chicago is loaded with offensive linemen. If you're an offensive lineman, you should be working on your quickness. If you improve your foot speed, you'll get a scholarship. Kids who are borderline national recruits are getting offers. There are very few good offensive linemen in the South and East."
So... uh... thanks for that, Tom. Sounds less than enthused.
Despite that, Schofield is a plan A prospect with many impressive offers and Michigan's first offensive lineman in a class that is getting loaded at the skill positions but had no one to block for the little bastards. Thumbs up.
Uh, no. I've gotten a couple worried emails recently about Michigan's new Adidas uniforms. This image is making the rounds, purporting to be the new duds:
For the record: this is an internet hoax. I don't know what those hideous things are but I assume they're from Walmart. I've seen downriver types wear gaudy "jerseys" sort of like this. I'm surprised anyone bought it, especially since the "away" jersey appears to have, like, boobs.
So maybe it's ironic that the first glimpse of the new jerseys comes from the Michigan women's football camp:
They are exactly the same as the old jerseys except the Nike logo has been replaced with an Adidas one. And, yes, these two are in the running to be starting offensive linemen this fall.
The away jerseys are yet to be revealed; I am on Piping Watch.
hhhhWHAT? Every preseason poll yet published has omitted Michigan from even the 20-25 range normally inhabited by the hot midmajor or, like, Purdue. This seems an entirely reasonable thing to do with Michigan transitioning to an entirely new offensive system without any seniors of note on that side of the ball. So... uh... what does Vegas see? National championship odds:
I don't know how much of this is Vegas actually pumping Michigan as a top ten team and how much is Vegas pumping gullible Michigan fans for cash, but... wow. If only you could short these bets.
Ragin'. Former Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds has been suspended by the NFL for a year after testing positive for steroids. He'll likely retire. Raise your hand if you're shocked that the guy who choked Jim Sorgi is on the juice. No one? Ok.
Etc.: SMQB tackles Wisconsin. Commentary withheld until my own Wisconsin preview, during which I'll no doubt crib from, cite, and argue with his piece plenty. Also: Elliot Mealer fluff.
Editorial Opinion: I have been a very bad blogger about actually pointing out the recruiting board, which does exist. Here is the recruiting board. Also, there is a link to the board on the left sidebar under "MGoBricks."
This week's big news is the decommitment of AR CB Darius Winston, who told Arkansas seeya and then named Michigan his leader over Clemson and Texas:
"Ever since Michigan started recruiting me a couple of months ago I've liked them," he said. "Arkansas has always been on top but I've been calling coach Hopson and I've been getting to like him. I really like their coaches a lot."
Winston is a five-star on both sites and kind of a big deal. Video:
He's not going to make a decision for a while and has plenty of other suitors, but he goes from off the board to a strong possibility.
Elsewhere on Hopson's Futile Quest Across The South: MS DE Josh Boyd (FYI: he's confusingly from Philadelphia in case I ever call him "PA DE Josh Boyd") is camping, and GA S Darren Myles will have Michigan on his initial list of 10 to 15 schools. It's an interesting list so far:
Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, West Virginia, Michigan, Rutgers and Purdue will almost certainly be on the preliminary list, according to his father, Darren Myles Sr.
South south south south... south-ish... Michigan... Rutgers? Purdue? I'm usually skeptical of any kid from the south who lists Michigan as the only school north of Tennessee he's considering, so the inclusion of a couple wildcards on Myles' list is somewhat encouraging.
Burkhead states the two programs he's actually most eager to see in action (either in person or on TV) are Michigan and Auburn.
"Auburn is going to be running a new spread offense and it'll be interesting to see how they do," Burkhead said. "And Michigan has a whole new coaching staff so they are making a lot of changes. I'm really interested in them and hope to get a chance to visit them too."
Burkhead says another reason the Wolverines may make his list is because his older brother (Ryan Burkhead, junior defense end at Harvard) grew up following Michigan. "He's always loved Michigan and he really wants me to go and check them out."
Allen Wallace, the article's author, seems like a nice guy but he then calls Michigan "Ol' Blue," which is even more infuriating than "Big Blue". This safety's name is Rex Burkhead, FWIW.
Reassurance on Will Campbell. MI DT commit Campbell is the #11 player in the country to Rivals and would be a nice one to hang onto, yes? He's been making noises about visiting places and occasionally says things like "I'm committed to Michigan, but I'm still open" that give me freakin' hives, and as such I've listed his commit as "soft" on the board. Sam Webb's latest in the Detroit News provides some antihistamines:
Some have questioned whether the Wolverines will indeed be able to hold on to Campbell's commitment, but he insists such talk is much ado about nothing.
"I am solid with Michigan," said Campbell. "I am going to Michigan. I'm just going around to see (other schools). I just want to travel."
I'm still listing him as soft, but that's a nice quote.
I keeck a touchdown. With Kicking Competency Lopata out the door after next season and scholarship kicker Bryan Wright apparently on his way to bust status, Michigan is now searching around for the next guy. One candidate is TX K Anthony Fera:
"He's been verbally offered by Oregon," father Tony Fera said. "He's also been told that he will be offered by Michigan when he goes to their camp next week. He also really likes Ohio State and Penn State. LSU said they will be recruiting him very hard throughout the process."
An emailer noted Fera's appearance on the board like so:
I believe you, but just wondering how you know that Anthony Fera is most likely kicker to get an offer?
The other boards are projecting a showdown on the kicker/punter front from Grossnickle, Stokes, Muma and Fera.
-- P/K Anthony Fera Houston -- P/K Zach Grossnickle Denver -- P/K Kevin Muma from Troy. -- K Ryan Stokes from Merrillville, Ind.
With UM kicking camp set for June 29-30, would they really offer before they see all four (plus whoever else shows up) compete? If I were one of the other guys and had paid for camp and a plane ticket, I'd be bummed if there was an early offer.
1) thanks for the other names, 2) Fera says he doesn't have an offer but "will get one" at the camp. Which should probably read "may get one."
Are you Toussaint? Fitzgerald Toussaint's last name always reminds me of the Terry Pratchett book Sourcery, in which a supercharged boy wizard runs around causing havoc and asking people if they are "puissant" before turning them into confetti. Which is kind of awesome, and it almost didn't happen. In an article on Toussaint's disappointing track season (a hamstring pull saw his times dip considerably), there is this:
After a terrific sophomore season where he rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns (then using the last name Edwards), Toussaint gained more than 1,400 yards and 24 TDs in 10 games for the Leopards last fall.
Dude. Good call. I demand Michael Williams start calling himself "Shabazz Leonardo." Another thing of note from the article: Toussaint has a 2.5 GPA and a 15 on his ACT, so he's got a little work to do to qualify. Still plenty of time.
Other bits and pieces: Michigan's offered a FL CB named Deangelo Hadley, LA LB Barkevious Mingo has a Michigan offer and could join up with Fitzgerald Toussaint as perhaps Michigan's greatest pair of names in a recruiting class since Zoltan Mesko and Mister Simpson committed on one glorious day, but probably won't. But not all is lost, ridiculous name fans. Pull for instate sleeper RB Zurlon Tipton, who impressed at Michigan's one-day senior camp and is trying to get an offer at the full summer camp.
Speaking of camp: it started yesterday and goes through most of this week. There will no doubt be offers and probably at least a couple commits, hopefully of some offensive linemen.
Alcorn State, home of the epigram. Terry Bowden's latest column for Yahoo starts with this accurate, bizarre explanation of college football from a former Alcorn State head coach Marino Casem:
"In the East, college football is a cultural exercise.
On the West Coast, it is a tourist attraction.
In the Midwest, it is cannibalism.
But in the South, college football is a religion, and every Saturday is a holy day."
Emphasis mine, because !?!?!?!. Mr. Casem's been spending too much time around Ohio State fans.
Tick tock. Michael Shaw is one of the Michigan recruits participating in the annual Big 33 game, a high-school all-star game played between Ohio and Pennsylvania. There has been some mild controversy (read: AAAARGH DESTROY MICHIGAN) about Shaw's last-second switch to the Wolverines after being a Penn State commit for about six months. PennLive talked to Shaw about what went down:
Michael Shaw heard the complaints over his last-minute change of heart to attend Michigan instead of Penn State.
Sometimes, the 18-year-old running back from Trotwood, Ohio wishes he hadn't.
"I just want to be 18," Shaw said during Thursday's Big 33 youth clinic. "It was probably the biggest decision of my life. I lost so much sleep, but at the same time, I mean, nothing is guaranteed. If it was guaranteed ... it would be signed on paper instead of a verbal commitment."
And how about yet another nail in the "snake oil" coffin? Sure, at this point the coffin is about 98% nails, but we've still got two percent left:
Michigan and Lloyd Carr stayed in contact with Shaw after he verbally committed to Penn State, inviting him to Ohio State-Michigan and a few other games.
THINK OF THE GENTLEMEN, LLOYD! THINK OF THE GENTLEMEN!
[don't read the next one if you don't want a Top Chef Spoiler. Weirdo.]
Hail Toledo. Ever since the NCAA hockey tournament went to sixteen teams and four regionals, the CCHA has been perilously close to getting screwed by the committee; this year it happened when there were no acceptable bids in the conference's territory and, as a result, the top two seeds in the tournament got shipped to Albany and Madison. Lame. The problem is two-fold: though the NCAA apparently has no problem putting regionals on Colorado College's home ice -- an Olympic sheet at altitude -- Michigan's back-to-back Yost regionals caused a massive backlash and Michigan's been unable to host since. Other than Munn, which for some inexplicable reason MSU has been loathe to bid with, there are no appropriately sized rinks in the area save for Van Andel in Grand Rapids. Western hosts there about every other year, but the NCAA doesn't want it hosting all the time. Thus last year's fiasco.
Help is on the way. Western College Hockeypoints to the Lucas County Arena, which is being erected in Toledo as we speak and will be ready for 2009. Bowling Green has already submitted a regionals bid at the arena. It'll be brand new, it's centrally located, and relatively convenient to get to -- Toledo has an airport and NWA hub Detroit Metro is 45 minutes away. It should be a regular NCAA tourney host, and hopefully a regular stop for Michigan fans.
Speaking of: Michigan has bids in for Yost in the coming years, too... maybe they should bid at this place? You host, you get to stay home. It's silly for the CCHA to have Western and BG bid only to see those teams not make the field.
Etc.: Paul DePodesta has a blogspot blog and it's pretty smart; this post is about dissasociating outcome from process and it heavily reflects my worldview. There is a class action lawsuit pending against EA claiming they have unfairly monopolized licenses for football games; godspeed, lawsuit guys.