things go poorly
Annual exercise. This site, like all other sites, has a favored playoff proposal that it spent way too much time justifying a couple years ago and wouldn't like to revisit in depth but would like to remind you how much better it would be than the current broken system.
In short, it's a six-team playoff with home games in the first two rounds and the final at the Rose Bowl. There are no autobids. First round would be the weekend after the Championship games (ie, this weekend), the second round would be January 1st, and the final would be the 8th or whatever in the Rose Bowl. This year's edition:
1. Alabama vs. 4. TCU / 5. Boise State
2. Texas vs. 3. Cincinnati / 6. Florida
That is weirdly like two of the existing BCS games, but this time they actually, you know, get a shot at the big boys should they win.
A brief recap of why this is good:
- Byes and home games keep huge tension in the regular season. The SEC championship game didn't eliminate Florida but instead of a bye and a second-round home game, Florida gets to go to Cincinnati in a quarter-final.
- Slanting the playoff towards regular season results also makes it likely that the national title winner would always have the best resume at the end of the season. Even a two-loss team slipping in at the back end would probably get voted #1 independent of any crystal footballs after three straight wins against elite competition, two of them on the road.
- It doesn't require anyone to travel excessively.
- It doesn't affect the bowl system much. Only four teams are sucked out of the bowls.
- It's not the dumbest thing in the history of the world.
Yea, truly this is the way.
The most evil corporation in the history of world. …probably isn't this one I'm about to talk about. But they are irritating.
No one else probably remembers this, but when I saw the letters in this Sporting Blog post I was reminded of a previous fiasco:
Back in late October, SI broke the story of a fight for film going on between the NFL and XOS Technologies. As a quick refresher, XOS is in charge of digitizing film for eight conferences, including the SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC and Sun Belt. Now XOS wants what is reportedly $20-$30 million for film the NFL used to receive for nothing.
You may remember XOS from such ill-fated public relations disasters as "The SEC Controls Your Mind"; they signed on to do all the digital stuff for the SEC this year and immediately issued a draconian policy that was RIAA-esque in its blinkered belief that you can control the internet. Now this same corporation is trying to extract money from the NFL for tapes of prospects, and the NFL is in a fight. I bet coaches who want to tout the NFL-readiness of their players just love this corporation.
You'll note the Big Ten is not afflicted; they've cast their lot with Fox and the Big Ten Network and should have no problems getting seniors and—more importantly for folks hoping Donovan Warren reconsiders—juniors scouted in a timely fashion.
Aigh. Formerly Anonymous ran across this interview with Richard Billingsley, which gives me another opportunity to rail against his hodge-podge of dreck that purports to be a computer rating system. It's not a surprise that a guy who's described his system like this…
Believe it or not, the system is designed after our own United States Constitution. But don't hold that against it! Although at times I feel this system is just about as complicated as our Federal Government, there is one huge difference..... this one works!
…"doesn't even have a degree," according to the article, and won't divulge his formulas for ranking teams. Because they're insane. Things Billingsley does in his rankings:
- Weight Billingsley's own arbitrary preseason human rankings.
- Partially consider a team's (arbitrary, information-free) rank at the time of a game, thus hugely overvaluing wins like Notre Dame's victory over #3 but soon to go 7-5 Michigan in '05.
- Heavily weight the most recent week.
- Add in arbitrary bonuses.
This is an organization that thought a propaganda website, widely-mocked twitter account, and Ari Fleischer were good ideas, so it's not a huge surprise that they've cast their lot with a guy who sounds like he owns a bunch of stuff from the Franklin Mint. It is further confirmation that the people in charge of college football are sort of clueless: they've cast their lot with an aging nut's secret blend of herbs and spices that hasn't been updated since 1970.
PREWB! This was discussed extensively on the radio but has gone uncommented on here: the latest Free Press bit on the Michigan State "fight" is further evidence that the paper is in the tank for the Spartans. It interviews two parents of suspended players but doesn't bother to talk to the very talkative victim, mention that the president of the fraternity in question would like to see the football players gone for good, or mention anything in Glenn Winston's past. It is strictly from the POV of State players' parents. Jon Chait has a fuller takedown of an organization that's descended into self-parody.
This quote from the "grand polaris" of Iota Phi Theta—what a title—is from the News…
"From what I understand, almost all of those guys, if not all of them that came in there, (threw) a punch," Price said of the eight who received suspensions. "They came in, (based) on their behavior, with the sole purpose of beating up or physically abusing an Iota."
…and is followed up by the term "assault," not "fight." The News also reports on Dantonio's response to the thing. Like the context left out of the Free Press Katrina story and provided by AnnArbor.com, you don't have to take a crazy biased blogger's word for it. You can observe the other news organizations covering the story and contrast them with the Free Press.
Etc.: Chengelis on the AD search. Harbaugh is not talking to Notre Dame. Bill Taylor discusses his company, which deals with substance abuse. Red is 70, and it's been suggested that Happy Birthday should be sung on Friday at Yost.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution. Guys whose seasons finished before this week have been removed from the list, unless there is an update for them (i.e. All-State team, etc.). To read about their seasons, check out previous updates.
New Commit OH S Ray Vinopal
Last week: Cardinal Mooney defeats Columbus St. Francis DeSales 35-7 in the State Championship game.
Senior Ray Vinopal had a 57 yard TD run to open up the scoring.
Vinopal gained 70 yards on seven carries.
In the Youngstown Vindicator, Vinopal breaks down the long run:
Senior Ray Vinopal started the scoring with a 56-yard touchdown down the left sideline on a perfectly blocked play, making it 7-0 with about a minute left in the first quarter.
“It was outside zone left on the short side of the field,” said Vinopal, a first team All-Ohio safety who has an offer from the University of Michigan. “The line got a great push and our fullback kicked his man out.
There was one backer left coming from the outside and he was just a bit late and it left a smooth open lane to the end zone.”
Vinopal was almost untouched on the play; a DeSales defender briefly grabbed his facemask near the line of scrimmage.
“That’s the only piece of me he got,” Vinopal said. “[Senior receiver Pat] DePizzo has been joking with me all year that I always cut the wrong way off his blocks, so after that play he came up to me and said, ‘You finally you made the right move.’”
Season-long: On the year, Vinopal ran 45 times for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns, while catching 3 passes for 48 yards and a score. Defensively, he notched 4 interceptions for the Cardinals.
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Michigan commitment Drew Dileo added 37 yards and a score.
Parkview went up 34-0 when Drew Dileo ran in from the 19 with 4:03 still to play in the third.
This week: Parkview Baptist (11-1) v. Notre Dame in the State Championship game.
|Drew Dileo 2009|
|Christian Life||W 60-14||1||50||1||50.00|
|Church Point||W 54-0||2||40||1||20.00|
|Port Allen||W 32-7||11||65||0||5.91||3||92||2||30.67|
|West Feliciana||W 23-7||50||1|
|ED White||W 42-0||37||1|
LA S Carvin Johnson
Randle, Helmstetter and Johnson will rank among the greatest defenders to ever compete at Rummel and this unit, under coordinator Eddie Jaquillard, is among the school's elite.
In the secondary, Carvin Johnson is as good a player as there is in the state at safety. The 6’1, 190 senior doesn’t have great foot speed but he is football-fast, a fierce hitter. He has seven interceptions and has returned two punts for touchdowns.
Rummel beats Westgate 7-6 in the State Semifinals.
This week: Rummel (13-0) v. West Monroe in the State Championship game.
|Carvin Johnson 2009|
|East St. John||W 20-14||0|
|OP Walker||W 23-0||1|
|Brother Martin||W 13-7||0|
|St. Augustine||W 7-6||1|
|Archbishop Shaw||W 18-17||0|
|Captain Shreve||W 10-3||2||2+||2|
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Huron's (5-4) season ended without a playoff berth. Jackson finished with 43 catches for 573 yards. He has been selected to the Hawaii/Mainland Bowl.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Liberty (4-6) missed the State Playoffs, and its season is over. Kinard named 1st-Team All-County.
PA CB Cullen Christian
Penn Hills went 4-5 in the regular season, and bowed out in the second round of the playoffs to Gateway. Christian is an Army Bowl selection.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Lexington (6-4) missed the State Playoffs, and their season is over. Avery's hoops season is under way. He's an All-State performer in that sport, as well.
One extremely important for any holiday shoppers: the MGoStore is having a dual-pronged holiday sale. All shirts are 20% off and anything over $50 ships free.
There is also an official MGoBlog shirt, as requested by several readers:
Also, the world needs more queme shirts and "Worst State Ever" shirts that aren't those irritating knockoffs that actually explain what state we're talking about, every one of which makes God die a little inside:
Consume in the name of Christmas.
A side note to forestall the inevitable message board thread: yes, the sponsorship of the blog has switched over to Underground. This is by the blog's choice, not the M-Den's, as splitting the apparel sponsorship of the blog was awkward, and shouldn't negatively impact your opinion of them.
Why hello, this feature, it's been a while since we've seen you! Let's round up some of the best in recent user-created content!
If Donovan Warren is leaning towards the NFL Draft, umhero breaks down the possibilities in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that would be most likely to convince him to come back.
As Michigan fans, we should hope that a new long-term agreement is reached before the draft. We should also hope that it includes salary slotting so that Donovan will be motivated to return to improve his draft stock.
So, you have your rooting interest all set up, if you're into rooting about bureaucratic policy changes in the NFL.
If you pay attention to the recruiting coverage 'round these parts, you know that there's some confusion as to whether Michigan can backdate 3 January enrollees to the 2009 class, in order to get the recruiting class up to 28 members come Signing Day. umhero tried to provide some clarity by analyzing the NCAA rulebook:
Does a player who enrolls in January count as part of the prior year's recruiting class or the current recruiting class?
18.104.22.168.2 Recruited Student-Athlete Entering after Fall Term, Aided in First Year. [FBS/FCS] A student-athlete recruited by the awarding institution who enters after the first term of the academic year and immediately receives institutional financial aid (based in any degree on athletics ability) shall be an initial counter for either the current academic year (if the institution’s annual limit has not been reached) or the next academic year. The student-athlete shall be included in the institution’s total counter limit during the academic year in which the aid was first received.
Based on the information I could find, it seems to me that the rule regarding applying scholarships to the previous season hasn't changed. Therefore, Michigan can exceed the 25 scholarship limit assuming they didn't have a full class of 25 last year and they don't exceed the 85 player cap.
His findings seem to be that Michigan can still oversign by 3 scholarships, unless there has been a change in Big Ten policies. All that remains to be discovered is whether such a conference rule change occurred. [Editor's note: UM compliance, for one, believes it has.] Assuming the limit is down to 25, airvipermb breaks down the possibilities for the last few slots.
With 2 super-useful diaries since last we rounded them up, umhero is the diarist of the
week since last Dear Diary.
Under Lloyd Carr, Michigan seemed to have a 1,000+ yard receiver each season (Be it David Terrell, Braylon Edwards, Mario Manningham, etc.). Rich Rodriguez's Michigan teams haven't accomplished that feat yet in their first two years, and markusr2007 looks at whether Wolverine receivers will have the opportunity to reach that benchmark again.
At WVU RR didn't get a 1,000 yard receiver until year 3, when QB Rasheed Marshall was in his 2nd year at QB:
WR Chris Henry, WVU, 1,006 yrds, 10 TDs (2003)
Rodriguez never had another 1,000+ receiver since 2003, though Chris Henry game close again in 2004 (872 yrds, 12 TDs) and so did Darius Reynaud back in 2007 (735 yds, 12 TDs)....
If there is a candidate for achieving the 1,000 yard mark in 2010 would have to be Roundtree, because in just 5 games he has as many receptions (23) as Greg Mathews, more yardage than any other receiver and more TD catches (3). Roundtree doesn't have blazing speed, but he's been an excellent possession receiver and his YPC are impressive for a RS freshman.
Roundtree and Forcier did seem to find a groove together once Roundtree worked his way into the starting lineup, so Roy is probably the best hope, at least in the near future.
Ohio State week brought us a bunch of good diaries, both analytical and literary. Though we know how The Game turned out, it doesn't lessen the impact of Coach Schiano's call for faith:
One play can kill. These "one plays" have combined to kill this season, turn a fall full of hope and promise of a new and better Michigan into a winter of concern, dismay, and even enmity, filled with worries about who we are and where we are headed.
But one play can birth something too. An extra cut on a kickoff return that transforms a typical 10-yarder into a game-changing touchdown. A block that breaks the running back free to rampage through the secondary. A tackle that saves a touchdown. A kick that sneaks inside the post instead of bouncing off of it. A pass not an inch too high or an inch too low, and thus a first down and not an interception. One play can do all that.
Undefeated Dream Season 1992 breaks down the various groups that, for some reason or another, align themselves against Rich Rodriguez:
The Just Win, Baby
The Devout Nostalgic
The Football Hater
The Media Elite
'I Wanted a Different Coach'
The Vengeful West Virginia Hillbilly
Check out the post itself for the descriptions of each of these groups.
And of course, at season's end, we get a lot of posts breaking down why the team might be better in the coming years, as well as a scary John L. Smith comparison for the 2009 team. Also, at the risk of depressing the MGoCommunity, the statistical breakdown of the OSU game. For those dismayed about the number of Ohio State fans in Michigan Stadium a couple Saturdays ago, there may be an explanation that doesn't implicate Wolverine fans.
This is off-topic, but it's on a subject matter that I'm very interested in, so check out willywill9's trip report to a different college football atmosphere, this time the "Clean, Old-fashioned Hate" game between Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Well, yeah, obviously this was going to happen. Joe Schad:
Kelly, for his part, went on the Dan Patrick Show and didn't exactly douse the rumors:
Patrick: Have you been offered a contract extension by Cincinnati?
Kelly: We are working on one right now.
Patrick: So there's a chance you could sign the contract extension and put an end to the Notre Dame rumors.
Kelly: Absolutely. There's absolutely a chance of that. And I think there's a chance that I could look at another job. I haven't made that decision yet and I'll do that after today. Today is our team meeting with our players and then I've got a couple of days until our banquet and I want to be able to sit down and figure out what the best course of action is.
Bob Stoops this is not. More:
Patrick: By next Saturday, will I know what your future is?
Kelly: Yes you will.
Yeah… so I guess our best spin on this is that it is possible for really good college head coaches to implode spectacularly when they move jobs. I mean, just look at… aw, hamburgers. That's our head coach.
Is there anything good to take out of this?
"I laugh when I hear it," Gilyard said earlier this month. "Fans ask me all the time, 'Is Coach Kelly going to Notre Dame or Michigan or some bigger place?' Ain't UC big enough? We're in a BCS conference, and we're winning. I think it's a perfect fit for Brian Kelly.
"We had another coach [Dantonio] who looked us straight in the face and said he wasn't leaving. We remember that."
Anyone feel better? Not really? Dangit.
Update: Clausen and Golden Tate are going to the NFL thanks to advice from Weis, so at least there's that.
So your favorite former collegiate head coach, the guy in charge of your favorite team, one of college football's top coaches, and a guy with a meathead haircut all found themselves on the receiving end of various kinds of unfair, incorrect, or nasty-but-deserved media attention. A confusing allegorical play in four mostly unrelated acts:
It's Just A Flesh Wound
Last week on The Sporting Blog I called Bob-Stoops-to-Notre-Dame an "unkillable zombie rumor" after Stoops had to make four progressively more emphatic announcements that he wasn't going to make an unprecedented leap from a program he built into a national power to one that's been no more successful than Purdue over the last 15 years.
It has now graduated to Black Knight status, though:
Saturday's edition of the Chicago Sun Times reported that multiple sources told the newspaper on Friday that "Stoops hasn't said 'no' to Notre Dame."
This was an interesting take on the words "I will be at Oklahoma. Any reporting to the contrary is completely unfounded." Technically, the words "wild elephants could not drag me to South Bend" are not in that statement. That, however, doesn't make it any less definitive. "I will be at Oklahoma." End of story. Unless you're the Sun-Times and you're bound and determined to keep after the dumb rumor you're almost singlehandedly responsible for perpetrating in the mainstream media.
Bob Stoops on saying no to Notre Dame:
"For the third, and hopefully final time, let me again state that I will continue to be the coach at Oklahoma. I appreciate the history and tradition of Notre Dame. I also appreciate the history and tradition of Oklahoma, and I have been part of building that tradition here.
"I work for a wonderful president (David Boren) and athletic director (Joe Castiglione), who have created an incredible work environment at OU. There haven't been any plans for a meeting or negotiations with Notre Dame and there will not be. Any reporting to that fact is completely erroneous. I will not be the next coach at Notre Dame."
This is how plains Indians must have felt after the United States broke yet another treaty with them, right?
Checking Is For Commies
Fake email that started minor Bielema-to-ND meme that would probably still be going on if ND sites hadn't posted the reveal.
All right, lolmsm and all that. But Stoops isn't the only guy batting away meritless rumors about his involvement with Notre Dame:
UW athletic director Barry Alvarez, who's with the team in Hawaii, said Friday morning that he has no knowledge of any interest on Notre Dame's part in speaking with Bielema.
"I haven't heard anything," Alvarez said when reached on his cell phone. "He hasn't said anything to me, and nobody's called me for permission."
Bret Bielema? No offense to a guy coming off a bounce-back year any Michigan fan would kill to have, but NDNation would have a meetup just to kill and eat each other if Bielema became head coach there. And, lo, the faintly plausible rumor was created whole cloth by one guy emailing a disreputable web site that just posts whatever crap someone sends in:
2. Friend composes a very short, but specific email: I used to work in the athletic department at Notre Dame (a lie), and I have heard that Jack Swarbrick is interested in Bret Bielema, the head coach at the University of Wisconsin. This was at 6:56pm last evening. The email is sent from a free gmail account. There is no other email sent from friend, no attempt to "sell" the rumor beyond the initial communication, and nothing else to back up his credibility.
3. Meanwhile, friend has another buddy randomly tweet a few times about the Bielema rumors, and goes to bed.
4. FootballCoachScoop does not reply to the email. FootballCoachScoop does not ask any followup questions. FootballCoachScoop, to friend's knowledge, makes no attempt to verify emailer's bona fides in any way.
5. The next morning, FootballCoachScoop runs the rumor almost verbatim. Friend chuckles and shares the development with a few friends.
This expands, getting picked up by "the Examiner," which is like a Bleacher Report that people haven't figured out is almost always garbage yet, then hit rumor first, accuracy later College Football Talk—an offshoot of Mike Florio's Pro Football Talk—and poor Rittenberg's Big Ten blog before the hoax was widely known. (BGS had actually already posted it.)
Your blogger has a couple emails in his inbox that might be innocent but look pretty hoax-y declaring that Rich Rodriguez will be fired the Monday after the Ohio State game, by the way.
This Direct Quote Is Out Of Context
Meanwhile, Charlie Weis ceased speaking to the media in the final days of his regime. I get this. If I was a head coach who knew his head would be on a platter in a matter of weeks, I wouldn't waste my time with a bunch of tedious questions about what went wrong. I might even call a special press event type substance with five hand-picked media members, and I might even go all FootballCoachScoop on tales of Pete Carroll's mysterious grad student affair:
Q: Is it frustrating to Pete Carroll, for example, portrayed in one way...
CW: Let me ask you this question: You guys know about things that go on in different places. Was I living with a grad student in Malibu, or was I living with my wife in my house? You could bet that if I were living with a grad student here in South Bend, it would be national news. He's doing it in Malibu and it's not national news. What's the difference? I don't understand. Why is it okay for one guy to do things like that, but for for me, I'm scrutinized when I swear. I'm sorry for swearing; absolve my sins.
At this point I would diverge, though, since attempting to take something off the internet is pointless and once you say stuff it's impossible, and a little dishonest, to try to take it back. Weis said it and he meant it and if it was supposed to be off the record that's only 5% less of a nasty move. He's then put this thing in the heads of five people off the record and set Pete Carroll's Grad Student on the same path as Rich Rodriguez's Impregnated Cheerleader, a zombie meme that lives in dark corners and emerges every time School X has a problem with Coach Y.
This One Really Is Out Of Context
I didn't mention the "Rich Rodriguez doesn't care about black people" moment from the bust in anticipation that a fuller picture of the comments would come out. WTKA's Ira Weintraub mentioned via email that Rodriguez's faux pas was a reference to an earlier speech by a regent. And lo, Dave Birkett provides:
Regent White talked earlier about, uh, it’s really kind of ironic that the New Orleans Saints overcome the hurricane a few years back. And I used to live in New Orleans, coached there for a couple years (at Tulane), and I know how devastated that city (was) and how they overcome and rebuilt their stadium, rebuilt their program from the ground up. And we’ve had a few hurricanes of our own. And we had a big hurricane in August and it kind of hit us like a ton of bricks. But you had 120 young men and a bunch of people on staff say this is not going to tear our program apart. In fact, it’ll do just the opposite, bring us together.
So, yeah, I wish Michigan had a coach that didn't misuse the world "ironic" and am pretty sure at some point in his life Rich Rodriguez has used the word "literal" to emphasize a literally untrue assertion. But Rodriguez is making a nod at one of the regents' Michael Scott impersonation and then riffing on it extemporaneously in a fashion that probably seemed unwise to him as the words were coming out of his mouth. (This has happened to me, plenty.) No one bothered to mention it except one of the two freakin' guys who wrote the piece Rodriguez is referring to, and that guy removed important context that would have taken one sentence to provide. Too good to clarify, I guess.
As for how much this matters, TSB colleague Andy Hutchins provides the right comparison:
These comments may actually match Nick Saban's penchant for grabbing Pearl Harbor and September 11th as metaphors for tragedy, what with Rodriguez talking about the human cost of Katrina purely in the prism of football, but it's less outrageous than it is ineloquent.
What difference does it make? It makes none.
I don't really have one. I just had all this media stuff in my open tabs.
I do think there's some common theme here about partial information being evil: Stoops rumors are utterly baseless but go out of control so much that Stoops has to issue five separate denials of varying strengths, Bielema is momentarily implicated in the ND coaching search and only the hoax reveal keeps him from being hounded further, Weis throws a nasty rumor into the pool that will stick with Carroll forever, and Rodriguez's comments are removed from their context by a guy with a stake in public opinion of Rodriguez. In the one instance where the comments are a full transcript of the words spoken, the speaker's problem is that his comments were not elided from the record and leaked as a whisper campaign.
I guess the thrust is this: I don't believe Weis's retraction for a second because his response to it was to have the offending passage excised from the Rivals transcript instead of demanding that the context be irrefutably provided by one of the guys who was taping the conversation. The evidence is there. Release it. Similarly, Rodriguez's inelegant statement was made to look worse by the omission of information. The Sun-Times failed to clarify just why they thought Bob Stoops was going to be Notre Dame's next head coach at any point; by now they owe the public a detailed explanation of why they kept beating the drum long after any sane organization would have stopped. And Coach Scoop Unsubstantiated Football Site just posts unconfirmed stuff without any attempt to confirm or clarify the origins of the rumors, and doesn't even respond when hoaxed.
Because they're just "rumors," right? You can term whatever you want a rumor and be free from judgment when that rumor fails to come true.
My advice to internet publishers is be as honest and transparent as possible, and people will give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you show good judgment over the long haul. This philosophy has been in place at MGoBlog for as long as it's been around. The first bit of news the site ever originated was a report that Morgan Trent had broken his hand and would miss the Minnesota game in 2006, which Rivals snarkily dismissed in premium content, causing me to post a retraction. When several people reiterated that no, seriously, Morgan Trent's hand was broken, I posted the chain of events and provided enough information for readers to judge for themselves with some guidance—I believe me. Morgan Trent's hand was indeed broken, and I've tried to follow that template ever since. That managed to get this site through the coaching search and Sam McGuffie's Cuban Transfer Crisis stronger. I don't think you can say that about the Sun-Times above.
My advice to consumers of information on the internet is to look for this sort of transparency in the things you trust, and look dimly on anyone who would misrepresent information, intentionally or not, and refuse to apologize or clarify when called on it.
|Last week's ballot|
As someone who's a huge fan of the little guy, I really wanted to get TCU or Cincinnati ahead of Texas, but the more I looked at their resumes, the less I could justify it. Both might an equal say among their top group of wins, but the 'Horns have so much more depth in their schedule that the end carries them through (5th best win for Texas: Nebraska. 5th best win for TCU: Colorado State?). In fact, there might be an argument for moving Cincinnati ahead of TCU, but not Texas.
Other than that, everything is pretty straightforward. USC drops completely out from #16, but they probably should have been lower last week anyway. Stanford probably shouldn't have dropped, but again, they were probably overrated by me last week.
There are a couple big movers who didn't play, but their jumps were more based on teams ahead of them losing (and a closer look at the resumes by me) than anything else, so I don't feel too bad about it.
Where did I go wrong? Let me know in the comments.
This has been the hot rumor the past couple days and TomVH has confirmed that redshirt freshman safety/LB Brandon Smith has received transfer papers and is looking to move on. Hurray.
Smith was a top-100 "athlete" in the hybrid Rodriguez/Carr class who technically committed after the transition had been announced but, like JT Floyd, was a Carr recruit all the way who was just stringing out his commitment for reasons unknown. So this could be a "Carr guy" moving on to a place he'd rather be. In any case it's the departure of one of the most highly rated players in a class entering its third year at a position, be it linebacker or safety, of desperate need.
Smith didn't seem to be working out, as he was too big and slow for safety and spent his game as a quasi—linebacker starter on skates, but there's zero upside here. He could have put on 20-30 pounds easily—his "frame" was a reason he was rated so highly—and eventually turned into a contributor at linebacker. At the very least he would have been a relatively veteran body on a defense that needs every last potential contributor. BONUS: Michigan can't even add anyone to replace him because of a mysterious but apparently real oversigning change that prevents Big Ten teams from backdating players who enroll early*. DOUBLE BONUS: Before the season I took a look at Michigan's APR and concluded that sanctions resulting from transfers were unlikely, but the attrition has continued at a pace that makes me nervous.
*(Which will definitely help the struggling conference compete nationally.)
Michigan 67, Arkansas Pine Bluff 53
Michigan 4-3 (0-0 Big Ten)
Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims must be secret identities of each other or something, because it seems impossible for them to show up at the same time. Today, they took turns with Sims dominating the first half and Harris taking over after the break. Manny may look like the star, since the Wolverines only outscored the Golden Lions in the second frame, but both played a big role.
The defense played a big part as well, sparking much of the second-half offense, and limiting Pine Bluff to just 21 second-half points. "Our offense, I feel, kinda came out of our defense. We got some turnovers, and we got them started. We've just gotta keep pressing, and eventually they're gonna wear down," said Stu Douglass.
The shooting is still awful, with the team making only a quarter of their threes, and finishing with an overall field goal percentage of 42.9%. The reason had very little to do with the shots that were available, either. Running the offense, there were a number of open looks, but the shooters couldn't knock them down. Last year showed that these guys can shoot the ball, and hopefully the slump can end sooner rather than later.
- The rotation is still really thin. I would have liked to see more than 7 guys play double-digit minutes (Douglass and Gibson were the only bench players to earn the distinction). A lack of depth will really hurt this team once Big Ten play rolls around.
- Anthony Wright was... Anthony Wright-y. He was 0-5 from the floor, and looked poor on defense. This time, I guess he had a pretty good excuse, as he missed practice this week for the birth of his daughter.
- LLP was in foul trouble for a while, but I thought he played really well when he was in. A couple big shots started the game, and he looked really active on defense.
- The team still looked like they were suffering through mental lapses and a lack of focus at times. Fortunately, Arkansas Pine Bluff is not a team that's going to make them pay too badly.
- Stu Douglass had some pretty good passes, including a superfluous behind-the-back to Manny on a fastbreak. It was encouraging to see him capable of distributing the ball.
- Shooters passed on a number of open looks. It's not too serious an issue, but I hope it's not a lack of confidence. The only way to break their shooting slump is to keep shooting.
"CJ and David were two great leaders, and for us to fulfill what they did for the team, we have to do collectively." Deshawn Sims, on filling the leadership void on the team.
"Coach said we would play from the inside out today, and we were able to execute the gameplan, and it worked for us in the first half." Deshawn Sims.
"The urgency has to be different from here on out. We can't control the wins and losses, but we definitely control the effort and urgency." Deshawn Sims.
"We were a lot more focused in the second half, especially defensively." Stu Douglass
"Just keep shooting. I feel like I've been talking about it enough, and it's getting a little old. I'm a little upset with myself - I'm very upset with myself." Stu Douglass, on the shooting slump.
"We're trying to go back to the basics now, just hitting the open guy when he's open. We've pretty much restarted. Getting the fundamentals down again, that's what we're working on." Zack Novak
"There were times last year, in the middle of the year, where we didn't look very good either. The last three games, we didn't really look like us, but chemsitry-wise, I think this team could be really good." Zack Novak
"I was trying to be more aggressive, but at the same time I was trying to look for my teammates." Manny Harris, on coming out big after a weak first half.
"It's going to get better. It's still kinda sore, but I can play on it." Manny Harris on his hamstring.
"We'll work it out. It's just how the game's going right now. The good part is we were able to get the win." Manny Harris, on being out of sync with Deshawn Sims.
The Wolverines travel to Utah on Wednesday. The game can be seen at 9:00 Eastern on CBS College Sports.
GBW is reporting that OH S Ray Vinopal has committed to Michigan($). Either that or they just like posting stories titled simply "Ray Vinopal!" Informative update coming.
GURU RATINGS & CHATTER
|2*, #144 S||2*, NR||2*, 68, #254 ATH|
All right… yeah. So Vinopal is a "sleeper" if you want to be kind or a "MAC prospect" if you're not a Michigan fan. But hey, he's basically Ted Ginn!
I saw Vinopal take an end around for a touchdown against MY Irish (St. Vincent St. Mary). The kid is ridiculously fast. He's one of those kids who you get into school and worry about a position later.
I hate to throw the comparison out there, but he reminds me of a shorter Ted Ginn.
Doesn't have the same top end speed IMO, but a very very good football player.
Oh. So, like, a slow Ted Ginn. More, because as long as we're taking a comment from a random Notre Dame message board it might as well be the whole thing:
People forget Ginn was a top cornerback coming out of high school, and switched to WR as a freshman. I could see the same thing with Ray. People will look at his size and say corner, but I think he'd be deadly in the slot and as a returner.
ESPN, for its part, does not reference Ted Ginn in its evaluation of the #254 "athlete" in the country:
Lacks desired length and height as a high-point safety as well. He is an active run defender who will come down and fill hard; provides good secondary support. Shows adequate closing burst and makes solid contact as a tackler with better-than-adequate pop. Overall underneath range and speed is good but he does not fill with great downhill burst and sharp angles; loses outside leverage on the ball at times. … Lacks quick diagnosing and reaction skills which is a concern. Not a guy who projects well playing down over the top of slots in man coverage schemes and feel he could struggle mirroring/breaking down on quicker skill players in space.
That is Jordan Kovacs. I don't know, maybe this evaluation was pre-senior season and he got a lot better, warranting the interest from major programs this fall, but that's the least enthusiastic ESPN scouting report this guy has ever seen.
They aren't encouraging, as Vinopal was a sleeper going into his senior season and despite "interest" from a number of local power programs it doesn't appear that any other than Michigan pulled the trigger. So, the teams beaten out: Bowling Green, Kent State, and Air Force.
For what it's worth, Vinopal claimed that Notre Dame—where he visited for the USC game—and Pitt were considering him after his strong senior year. Wisconsin also might have offered in July or something, but it's unclear.
No senior stats yet but here's his junior year:
After intercepting two passes his sophomore season, the 5-foot-11 and 185-pound Vinopal had another interception his junior season and had three games in which he made over 10 tackles. Vinopal also rushed for 1,112 yards and scored 12 times.
FAKE 40 TIME
How about a spectacularly FAKE combine from Vinopal's freshman year?
Also deserving special mention was freshman ATH Ray Vinopal of Cardinal Mooney in Ohio. At 5-foot-9 ½ and 178-pounds, he had a 28.5-inch vertical, 9-foot broad, 4.45 shuttle, 4.56 40, and 30 reps at 135-pounds.
4.56 40 as a freshman gets four FAKES out of five.
Vinopal is the guy running around with a huge arrow over his head:
And some pass coverage:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Well… if you care about recruiting rankings, Vinopal is clearly the least exciting recruit in the class. That ESPN evaluation checks off all the things you don't want to hear about a recruit: small, slow, confused, etc. And on film he really does look like Kovacs. But there's a reason I don't watch recruiting film: I am a blogger. Obviously Michigan and a couple other schools looking at Vinopal thought there was something there, but recruiting rankings are meaningful things and a Brandent Englemon is a best-case scenario here.
That said, sometimes guys fall through the cracks and a lot of successful defenses are built from parts like Tyler Sash and whoever Wisconsin's running out there these days. The odds are against Vinopal, but that's not a guarantee.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
You can write off the renewed Oh S LaTwan Anderson interest: with Vinopal's addition, Michigan has six defensive backs in this class and is primed to add a seventh in FL CB Tony Grimes. More likely, Marvin Robinson will find himself at linebacker before long.
More interesting is the scholarship situation: Vinopal is the 23rd commitment and three guys are expected to commit sooner or later, pushing Michigan over 25 and necessitating someone coming in on a grayshirt if there is no attrition. Vinopal may be that grayshirt candidate, come to think of it. It's clear that Michigan will sign 28 this year with three guys aware that they are candidates to grayshirt if everyone gets in. Vinopal and the two guys currently unqualified are the most likely.
Etc.: Photo gallery of a Mooney blowout has several pictures of Vinopal.