if you seek an image of the most Wisconsin OL ever, enter here
This is Tarence Farmer. He is no longer part of Alabama's team:
Redshirt freshman wide receiver/defensive back Tarence Farmer has left Alabama's football team and is not expected back for the 2008 season, sources tell the Press-Register.
Farmer currently is at his family's home in Houston, Texas. He declined comment when reached today through a family member.
Asked by phone if Farmer had decided to transfer from Alabama, she replied, "Now that he would have to answer, but he doesn't want to speak right now."
Dude, seriously: what's wrong with Michael Rosenberg? Over the past few years he's been one of the few Detroit sports columnists worth reading, but he's rapidly descending into Sharp territory. His column on the Big Ten Network's Comcast deal was stupid, ill-researched junk concluding with this Plaschke-worthy array of "paragraphs":
But whether you're watching football or field hockey, just remember:
Comcast is in this to win.
And Comcast gets to define winning.
Stay tuned -- if Comcast will let you.
Comcast has signed a seven- to ten-year contract that guarantees the BTN placement on the digital basic tier, which 80% of the Big Ten footprint already recieves. That number will probably be 90% a couple years into the deal. These facts 1) completely invalidate Rosenberg's entire column and 2) were available to anyone who could peck "BTN comcast" into Google. Sharp pretty much wrote the same column. Ouch.
Guess whose latest extremely reasoned and fair piece is headlined "Embarrassing ordeal reveals ugly truths about U-M coach Rich Rodriguez"? Rosenberg, and the words that follow it are terrible. The only embarrassing ordeal here attempting to get through them. I have no choice. I am forced to deploy the fisk.
Finally, somebody at Michigan was embarrassed enough to settle West Virginia's lawsuit.
Not Rich Rodriguez. He is way too bullheaded. And not Bill Martin. He was never going to stand up to Rodriguez.
It took Mary Sue Coleman, the school president, to end this mess. Coleman was on the verge of being deposed, and she obviously didn't want to be dragged into it. Not so coincidentally, Rodriguez finally settled.
Hello! Right out of the box we are treated to multiple enormous assumptions, all dubious. We know that Michigan and Rodriguez had an agreement about the buyout from the day Rodriguez was hired, and we know that the deposition Mary Sue Coleman was about to give was about this agreement. Since Rodriguez's case was (perhaps unwisely) largely based on the validity of a clause he felt was not valid, clear evidence that he acknowledged the validity of the clause and planned ways to pay it equals lawsuit FAIL. Michigan knew they were going to lose and bailed. (Michigan did not pay or plan to pay any portion of Beilein's buyout, BTW, which appears to be the critical difference between the cases.)
This had absolutely nothing to do with embarrassment. It was about poor legal strategy and a hurried negotiation process that contained slipups.
What the fuck, Rosenberg? I pretty much expect Sharp to sit on his ass all day and fart out a 600-word piece of garbage without lifting the slightest finger to do any research, but you have proven to be a non-asshat. It took me two minutes to confirm all this stuff that had flitted through my RSS reader over the past few days. Two minutes. You suck.
Predictably, Rodriguez got absolutely nothing out of this except embarrassment. His buyout did not go down a dime. The U-M athletic department has to pay his legal fees. Rodriguez got a delay in his payment schedule, but that is a small victory.
This whole thing could have, and should have, been settled long ago. But RichRod was determined to fight West Virginia all the way to the bitter end. Anybody who has even driven past a law school knew he had no case, but that didn't matter to Rodriguez.
...or a university that had just hired a coach from the same school who had flirted with other jobs the year before and signed a contract extension with a stiff buyout clause and successfully negotiated that buyout down by 40% thought maybe the same thing would happen again. Which is completely ludicrous, of course. No similarities between those situations. Anyone who's driven past a law school could pick that out.
Martin should have told Rodriguez that this whole ordeal was embarrassing the university, and that the case was a lost cause. But Martin's legacy is in Rodriguez's hands, so he let his coach do whatever he wanted.
Again the assumption that the lawsuit was entirely Rodriguez's decision. I don't know what happened and I don't think anyone will, but we have an absolutely clear series of events here: Michigan agrees to pay part of the buyout, Michigan figures out it can't win the lawsuit, Michigan throws in the towel. Given that Michigan is and was on the hook for a large portion of the $4 million, isn't it reasonable to assume that they were going forward with the lawsuit?
The kicker here is the legal fees: Michigan pays them. Is that not an indicator as to who was behind the lawsuit? If Michigan just wanted to pay the thing and have it go away but Rodriguez was telling everyone The Truth Was Out There, no doubt he'd be the one footing the bill. I'm not saying I know exactly what went down, but the preponderance of the evidence suggests the university was at least an equal driver in the lawsuit.
Unless you've completely lost your shit and are flying off half-cocked without a shred of research or common sense, of course. Then who knows what happened? Maybe flying bears did.
There are only two winners here. One is West Virginia, which will get the $4 million it is rightfully owed. The other is those of us who just wanted the truth.
...wait, what? No way, man, I wanted Bill Martin deposed for six days so we could find out what really happened during the Les Miles fiasco. I want him on the stand with Tom Cruise bellowing "did you order the mizzen-mast furled?" over and over again until he finally cracks. We don't get any truth here. At least not fun truth.
We now know Rodriguez to be a serial job-shopper. His agent, Mike Brown, had pitched Rodriguez's services to Alabama, Arkansas and Lousiana State in recent years before pursuing Michigan.
This passage is outright dishonesty. Rosenberg makes it sound like the well-publicized Alabama flirtation was one in a series of dalliances stretching back over the years, and that Rodriguez was constantly looking for a way out of West Virginia. Rosenberg's own paper summarnized the deposition by noting that Brown contacted LSU "less than a year after Les Miles took over," which is a pretty weird way of saying "in 2006." Rodriguez was on the market last year because of his poisonous relationship with the dysfunctional, nepotistic WVU leadership. Brown was contacting everyone who might be interested. The only indication that Rodriguez had any interest in other jobs was Brown "speaking to" Chuck Neinas in 2006, which could reasonably be interpreted as the first sign of a rumbling discontent.
Rich Rodriguez was not happy at West Virginia. He looked to extricate himself. This is something any rational human would do, and very few would give the situation another chance after being on the verge of departure.
We now know Rodriguez doesn't believe in contracts. He signed an amended contract with West Virginia just four months before he left. He then claimed that the signed contract was not as important as a verbal agreement that preceded it - a laughable legal argument.
Every coach who changes jobs violates a contract. The reasons buyouts are in contracts is because contracts are violated. Coaching contracts are expressly constructed with the idea they will be violated. No one believes in coaching contracts except jilted fans and columnists with an axe to grind. Wanton naivete.
Rodriguez said in December that he was battling the buyout because "we have to do what we feel is right." He meant right for him, not the school.
This is an unsupported ad-hominem. Michael Rosenberg punches small children for fun.
Michigan is just a name to him. The school is just a platform for winning championships. This is evident in everything Rodriguez does, from his abandonment of a century-old captains tradition to his bristling at the notion that Michigan holds itself to a higher standard.
"The Michigan way is just the right way," he said in December, before adding that a lot of schools do it the right way.
Scraping the bottom of the barrel now. Michigan's traditions have varying degrees of importance. Winged helmet: 1000. Running under the banner: 900. How the captains are chosen: 0.0001. Pretending Michigan is Stanford: 0. Here, again, Rosenberg omits the context... if this thing ever actually got said.
The only reference I can find to it is in this article from the wonderful John Heuser, who must have found some time in between lying to Chad Kolarik and others to attend Rodriguez's introductory press conference. The Rivals transcript($) of the press conference has no mention of the quote and the audio file($) of the presser also omits it. Even if this quote did actually transpire, it was no doubt in response to some media guy questioning his recruiting methods and was a way of pointing out that Michigan will accept any athlete that meets NCAA minimums and the occasional Marques Slocum who doesn't. It is an accurate representation of reality.
Rodriguez is an excellent coach. I'm not sold that he is the right coach for Michigan.
He can charm the media, which is nice. But those who have attended his practices say Rodriguez's staff uses some of the foulest, most degrading language imaginable. I know coaches curse, and I'm no prude, but this goes way beyond a few dirty words. He belittles his players. This is a big part of why offensive lineman Justin Boren left the team. He felt his dignity was at stake.
Of course, a lot of Michigan fans would rather think of Boren as a traitor who couldn't handle tough coaching. They tell themselves Rodriguez is no different from Bo Schembechler, whose rigorous 1969 practices are part of the program's legend. And there will always be some people who happily make that comparison, especially if their income comes from Michigan football.
Tell yourself what you want. I find it sad that the University of Michigan is paying a man millions of dollars a year to humiliate some of its students.
Justin Boren left the team for a lot of reasons, but those who stayed behind think those reasons are mostly Justin Boren. Desmond Howard:
So I came up here (to Michigan) and I watched them practice. I was in the weight room working out, and two players started talking to me, and in general conversation they said, 'This guy, Desmond, was a complainer. He complained about workouts, he complained about practices.' And this is what they told me: 'Really, we're better without him.'
Boren was one of sixty scholarship players around for spring practice, and the only one who found Rodriguez's degrading language impossible to take. In the interim, enough high-profile players committed after observing Michigan practices to vault Rodriguez's first full recruiting class into the top five. (So far, obviously.) Shaun King is running around telling anyone who'll listen about Rodriguez's general brilliance. Rodriguez coached up and held together a high quality football program for seven years. You don't do that without earning some level of respect from your players.
This shouldn't be dismissed entirely. The Feldman article on Rodriguez and Michigan had some piercing quotes:
"Rod cusses. A lot," says former NFL QB Shaun King, who played at Tulane when Rodriguez ran the offense there. "He takes some adjusting to. I hated his ass at first." Says Michigan wideout Greg Mathews, "You have to learn how to not take it personally."
I'd rather have a guy you didn't have to tune out. I'd rather have a version of Lloyd Carr who was ruthlessly cutting edge. That's not likely, though, and there doesn't appear to be any backlash from the actual players. Even the guys he ditched at West Virginia -- the most likely to have a beef -- were universally positive when interviewed in March. Slaton: "I'm happy for him because he gave me a chance." Reynaud: "Did I have any anger? I never did." They were given a chance to say their piece in a decidedly unfriendly environment; they praised Rodriguez, shook their head at some of the treatment he's receiving, and went back to West Virginia.
The bottom line for coaches is whether or not their players are happy once they're done. I don't think we have enough data to draw a solid conclusion yet -- Pat White has been quoted as saying it will be nice not to be yelled at, though I can't dig that article up right now -- but there are 60 players and 35 recruits and hundreds of former players, none of whom appear to have Amani-Toomer-like negative things to say about the program. They appear to like Rodriguez just fine. This is basically superficial.
When Rodriguez was hired, he and Martin spun the story well: Martin landed a premier coach, and Rodriguez, who loved West Virginia, couldn't turn down Michigan. The truth is not as simple, or as pretty.
The first part of the "spin" here is indisputably true. Rodriguez is a premiere coach. So the messy, ugly truth that's coming is about the hiring process. And what a mess it is...
On the night of Dec. 6 - several days after the Les Miles fiasco - Martin told several people he had hired a coach. He thought he had landed Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. But the next day, Schiano turned down the Michigan job, sending Martin scurrying for another plan.
This is actually interesting. More on Schiano in a separate post.
Schiano's financial adviser, Mike Wilcox, nudged Michigan in the direction of another of his clients: Rich Rodriguez.
Rodriguez wanted a chance to compete for national championships. Martin saw a chance to hire a big name. They were in love with each other's names - so much so that they failed to do their due diligence.
Martin met with Wilcox before he ever talked to Rodriguez. When Martin finally met Rodriguez at Wilcox's office in Toledo, he brought Coleman with him.
Martin and Coleman did not go to Toledo to interview Rodriguez. They went there to hire him.
At Rodriguez's introductory press conference, he was still selling the line that he was in Toledo to meet with his financial advisor. You know, like they were discussing tech stocks and all of a sudden the president and athletic director at Michigan magically appeared in the room.
The ugly truth... Martin and Coleman wanted to hire Rich Rodriguez and did so? BUT THEY DID IT IN TOLEDO! I guess the upshot of the passage is that the Rodriguez hiring was rushed so Martin and Coleman couldn't find out the awful truth.
But what's the awful truth? Rosenberg's leveled the following criticisms:
- Rodriguez selfishly dragged Michigan into a lawsuit they wanted no part of. This is very probably untrue.
- Rodriguez looked for other coaching jobs. Uh... I have a feeling they knew this. Call it a hunch.
- Rodriguez didn't care about his contract. I'm getting that hunch thing again.
- Rodriguez swears and is "degrading."
So... that's it. Rosenberg has heard Rodriguez is mean at practice in a way that has turned off one scholarship player. I raise with Ty Law and Amani Toomer.
Rodriguez might win big at Michigan. But if he does, and he demands a big raise every year, or flirts with other employers, or ignores his contracts, or refuses to put the school's interests ahead of his own, then Michigan fans should not be surprised. As we have seen in the last few months, this is who he is.
Michigan is a terminal college job and if Rodriguez is flirting with the NFL despite running an offense the NFL isn't ever going to run... uh... okay. I think I can deal with that, as it will come after a Spurrier-esque run of fun, ass-kicking football. This is the big objection? Rich Rodriguez may someday take another job? Rodriguez has every right to take whatever job he pleases, and he tried to make his situation at West Virginia work despite West Virginia's best efforts.
A question between this and the Grady thing: what is it with sportswriters offering no quarter? Rosenberg just wrote two straight columns that were garbage and I'm still trying to be polite-ish to a guy who's proven to be a solid columnist in the past. I'm not doing a good job, but assuming he stops writing hysterical, ill-researched trash I can, like, forgive and forget. If Rodriguez has committed any sins they're ones just about every coach has. And yet...
A very special email from BHGP contributor Hawkeye State:
Because you are the de facto defender of recruiting services, I had to ask you this question:
David Barrent is a gargantuan offensive line prospect from West Des Moines. Relatively early in the game, and after a handful of offers from the middle-of-the-pack Big 10 and Big XII teams (Zooker, Nebraska, Minnesota, MSU, etc.), he committed to Iowa. Scout heralded his commitment in a breathlessly-worded post entitled "Four-Star In-Stater Commits to Iowa". Not only that, but they start the article with this paragraph:
While the state of Iowa produces a handful of high major prospects each year on the gridiron, the number of 'four star' prospects to come out of the state is a small one, perhaps one every other year. This year, there are three such players and one of them, David Barrent of West Des Moines (Valley) has committed to the Hawkeyes...
Clearly, Scout thought he was 4-star material. That is, right up until I received an updated Scout prospect list today and found Barrent had been demoted to 3 stars, despite the fact not one snap has been taken since that article in May. In fact, the only news I can seem to find on Barrent during that time is that he was the MVP of some camp in Chicago.
My question, then, is this: As a rational human being, how the hell am I supposed to take these guys seriously?
Subquestion: Isn't it in Scout's (and Rivals') best interest to have 4-star players remain uncommited until late in the game? If your team has a chance at picking up 3 4-star commits on the eve of signing day, aren't you more likely to buy a subscription to their sites to monitor their progress than if those players are 3-stars? Conversely, if you already have a 4-star in the bag, are you less concerned with whether you get another than if you have a 3-star and are in pursuit of a 4? Isn't this just blind self-interest? And doesn't that mean that the recruiting rankings from Scout and Rivals are no better than Lemming's Notre Dame worship? I'll hang up and listen.
This is a common question, usually one offered up immediately after Recruit X has seen his ranking dinged after doing nothing in particular. Various points:
The guys running the sites are not doing the rankings. The breathlessly worded article referenced above was written by the Iowa guys at Hawkeye Nation [ grrrrr ... -ed], the Iowa Scout site. They have every reason to swoon so subscribers will be excited and happy. The men actually compiling the rankings are a different set of people.
The seemingly arbitrary drops aren't usually based on anything the kid does. Sometimes they are -- Michigan QB commit Kevin Newsome's been erratic at a number of passing camps this summer and has seen his ranking fall as a result -- but more often it's just a matter of early rankings being based on incomplete knowledge. This gets worse and worse every year as Scout and Rivals try to one-up each other with ever-earlier top 100 lists. A number of kids look good in early film and get rated high, then when film comes in on other kids or guys look particularly impressive at camp, they get slotted in above the previous high-ranked kids. This is no doubt what happened to Barrent.
High rated kids are far more likely to fall than rise. Howard Stassen maintains a list of the most overrated teams in college football based on a composite of pre- and post-season rankings. The top seven: Michigan(yay!), Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Florida State, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, and Miami. Since the span covered is 1989 to present, this would also be a good approximation of the best teams in college football. Indeed, FSU, Miami and Nebraska are 1-2-3 in winning percentage; Michigan is #7, Texas #9, Oklahoma #13, and Notre Dame #17. How can the top three teams of the era also be the most overrated? Well, if you start off #1 you can only go down. If you start off outside the top 25 you can only go up.* (Washington State is the most underrated team.)
Four and five star recruits are FSU, Miami, and Nebraska here. It's a mathematical certainty that a player ranked at the very tippy top of a bell curve distribution of talent is likely to fall when additional information is incorporated into the rankings. High-rated commits are indeed likely to slip in the ratings, but so are high-rated uncommitted players. The difference is uncommitted players have no one to bitch for them.
End discursive points.
I think it's perfectly legit to drop this tackle without him actually doing anything except eating cheeseburgers. That's not to say recruiting services don't have their problems. There's a reason MGoBlog's season wrapup of recruiting doesn't just say "Scout ranks X, Rivals ranks Y" but has an extensive section on each recruit detailing his recruitment from offers to early rankings to camps to late rankings: there is information in there not encapsulated in rankings. I do think there is a slight bias towards uncommitted recruits, but that's because uncommitted recruits continue to pick up public offers and are more likely to attend the various camps both services run -- they're more likely to be in the limelight. But given the strong results put up by the ranking services in terms of both All-Americans and NFL draft picks, it's hard to dispute the usefulness of star rankings.
Recruiting services can be annoyingly overblown, maddeningly political, and barely English at times... but they've got that cheddar in the form of onfield performance.
*(this insight originally brought to my attention by Vijay of IBFC.)
Love the new digs. Hope you get all the bugs worked out the way you want them to. _____ questions:
1. Recruiting: If Jay Hopson isn't able to recruit MS players to UM, will he keep his job? Is it even possible to pull in recruits from that state without totally random MLB-playing uncles in Detroit?
We'll see what Hopson's haul ends up as at the end of the year. He's not just handling Mississippi, FWIW: he's also responsible for Oklahoma, where Michigan is in it for four or five high-profile players, and other sections around the country. Premium-board insider buzz is generally positive about his effort level and general personability.
I remain skeptical about recruiting Mississippi, which has some weird juju around it that causes kids to pick sure pain over, like, almost anything else. And their education system is somewhere between "nonexistent" and "Somalia" so the chances of picking up a guy who just can't stay eligible seem higher than usual.
2. Notre Dame: With Charlie's benefactor gone at ND and he has a mediocre to poor season, will the contract for life still prevent his firing (I really dislike him and the way he used the Saints to pry all that money out of ND)?
Kevin White wasn't actually Weis' main backer. The firing of Tyrone Willingham was done against White's wishes, as was Weis' contract extension. (Internet Notre Dame fans are still mostly in loooooove with Weis and universally loathed White, if that gives some insight onto the relative sides here.) Weis is likely secure until his heralded recruiting classes are upperclassmen. It would be hard to boot him until Clausen's a senior, IMO.
3. Zone-Read Option: Are there any examples out there of successful (meaning Alamo Bowl or better) teams running the Z-R-O based offense with non-Pat Whites at the helm? Going back to "Stalactites of Fear" I think that would go a long way towards calming some fears. I have heard of Sean King and his success at Tulane w/ Rod, but Threet and Sheridan are not NFL prospects. After that Woody Dantzler was the PWesque player for Rod at Clemson, and well are there any other examples out there at the BCS level? Rothlisberger at BGU with Meyer rings a bell, and Alex Smith as well from Utah, but what are the metrics we can use to compare all those players to what we have. I guess my question is: how much worse off are we with our talent at QB (passing and running)?
A couple of objections: Roethlisberger played for Miami. They ran a spread, but it was a M-versus-Florida passing spread, not the spread 'n' shred. And Steven Threet is not necessarily chopped liver. He was Rivals' #8 QB prospect two years ago, a four-star with a number of attractive offers. In an alternate universe where Carr is still the coach and Mallett is still around, I bet he's still your odds-on favorite to start this fall.
As to the questions posed... as I was writing my chart-heavy piece in this year's Hail To The Victors I assembled a chart. It was a glorious, glorious chart. I loved that chart, and love it still. Here it is:
Table 1: Yards Per Carry For WVU, NU, And Michigan In The Zone Read Era
Northwestern's offense under Randy Walker was basically the spread 'n' shred, except he ran it with guys like Zak Kustok and Brett Basanez and very, very little other talent (five offensive draft picks over the time surveyed here -- Michigan had five this year) and every year until the last two, when Walker died and everyone graduated all at once and the program was thrown into chaos, the talent-free Wildcats killed Michigan in YPC.
Steven Threet isn't Vince Young... but he might be Brett Basanez.
4. The Football Strategy Window: I agree with Chris at Smart Football and yourself that the Spread Z-R-O offense reached its zenith a couple years ago, and now that "everybody's doing it" the strategic advantage of running it has been diminished (I watched Kellen Lewis get shut down by PSU with a simple read-stunt by the DE and WLB). How likely is it that Rod and company would do a Bear Bryant style trip to Darrell Royal to learn a new offense (the Wishbone FYI) to stay on the bleeding edge of offensive football? I just want to know just how likely is it that Rod really does "not stay predictable" in the words of the offensive coaches.
I addressed this idea in a super-nerdy post in which I copped to a brief period of Magic: The Gathering participation. The main idea was thus:
Magic, like many games, has a distinct rock-paper-scissors aspect to it. If you have a Goblins deck it could tear through anything that's particularly slow but be weak against a "Control" deck designed to keep everything dead or immobile. And Magic, like many games, often inspires copycats when one strategy tends to win a number of tournaments in a row. Once Goblins start rampaging everywhere, everyone thinks that's the way to win and runs them, and it's at this point your lame-o Control deck can show up, lock everything down, and coast to victory. If this happens a bunch, the metagame starts getting split between Goblins and Control and a third thing that might do okay against both gets added in and so on and so forth. At any one time, there are usually two or three dominant archetypes and then scattered weirdos trying to invent a new one and almost always failing. When a weirdo breaks through, though...
Rodriguez is obviously one of the breakthrough weirdos, but now his offense is well on its way to becoming a dominant archetype. Michigan will never have one of those games like West Virginia's Sugar Bowl against Georgia where you blink five times and it's 35-0.
But the thing about dominant archetypes is this: they get dominant and stay dominant because they are better ways to do business. It's likely that Michigan will experience great success with the Rodriguez offense as-is because it's really hard to stop even if you know it's coming. I expect that Rodriguez will slant less heavily to the run as he acquires access to better downfield receivers and quarterbacks who are true run-pass threats and not NFL wide receivers; I don't think he'll have to reinvent his personal wheel to scratch out 30 points a game.
Thanks for everything,
Teacher, Assistant Football Coach
Fort Wayne South Side HS
P.S. You had to crack on my banner entry, didn't you?
...yes, yes I did.
Will the stadium already be louder next year with the renovations? The upper deck is there already and can keep the sound in. It's a matter of not having fans there yet. What do you think?
I'm not a sound expert or anything, but I think the metal superstructure won't have much of an effect on noise levels this fall. Without a full glass wall to reflect sound right back where it came, most of it will pass right through the superstructure and much of what does get reflected will bounce harmlessly away from the stadium. You'll have to wait for 2009.
The Jihad is over:
Rodriguez, the University of Michigan football coach since December, has reached a settlement to pay the $4 million liquidated damages clause, commonly referred to as a buyout, for leaving West Virginia to take the U-M job.
My suspicion throughout all of this was that Rodriguez would have preferred to settle quickly and move on with life, but the guys on the hook for most of the buyout -- Michigan -- wanted to whittle down the amount they had to pay and the John Beilein precedent was encouraging. This appears to be a plausible scenario:
Rodriguez is expected to pay $1.5 million spread over three years, beginning in 2010. U-M is expected to pay the balance of the sum, $2.5 million, immediately and cover Rodriguez's legal fees later, two people with knowledge of the agreement told the Free Press this morning.
Hurrah, who cares, let's play football.
Update: Further evidence Rodriguez was probably not the one who wanted to lawsuit it up:
The agreement spells out how much Rodriguez will pay and how much will be paid on his behalf. The former WVU coach apparently had a deal with Michigan right from the start of his employment there to pay all or part of the tab.
Reports are that possible depositions of Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman were sticking points -- sounds like the U said "screw it, it's chump change" and settled. (Via Bastard Sons.)
insert rock band miming.
Max Pacioretty is the last Michigan hockey player who hasn't announced his intentions to return for the 2008 season. When last we left our budding power forward, he was torn:
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 was The Wolverine's Mike Spath about three weeks ago. Pacioretty is now at Montreal's rookie camp and... sigh(?)... impressing:
And Canadiens director of player recruitment and development Trevor Timmins was on the ice, watching his recent draft choices - plus a few free agent signings - skate through their paces.
Timmins spoke glowingly of Max Pacioretty, telling journalists "as you can see out on the ice surface, he's a big, strong, powerful athlete" who's a strong skater and likes to hit and finish his checks. Timmins thinks Pacioretty is "physically ready" to turn pro but has to work on aspects of his game, either as a University of Michigan sophomore or a Hamilton Bulldogs rookie.
At least Montreal isn't dangling a chance at the NHL at Pacioretty. If he's eyeing the AHL... well... that's a far less appealing alternative. Further quotes from Pacioretty, however, indicate he's open to the Bulldogs:
Pacioretty said "this is a big summer for me." He trusts the Canadiens to offer sound advice on whether he should turn pro or go back to Michigan.
"I couldn't tell you right now. We have to talk more about it and figure out how they (Canadiens) feel and that'll help my decision." Pacioretty is aware that the big club could use a power forward. "I think that's where they see my upside," Pacioretty said. "I'm able to play a more physical role. But I've got a lot of work to become a power forward."
Eek. Spath says Montreal wants him to sign, Pacioretty says he'll do what the Canadiens want him to do... 1 + 1 = dammit. HOWEVA, maybe Spath's source was premature? This article makes it sound like Montreal is expecting him to return to Ann Arbor (emphasis mine):
Trevor Timmins, the Canadiens' director of player recruitment, said yesterday that Pacioretty is physically capable of playing in the NHL, but the smart money says the Connecticut native will be a Wolverine for at least one more season.
Pacioretty, who is projected as a power forward, said as much yesterday when members of the media told him about Timmins's statement. While he said his strength was one of his assets, he also said he might have a way to go before he can battle along the boards with the likes of Georges Laraque.
Pacioretty had an outstanding season at Michigan. He played on Michigan's top line with Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik, both of whom have signed contracts with the Phoenix Coyotes.
"Playing with those guys definitely helped," Pacioretty said. But Timmins and Pacioretty both feel the youngster will be able to survive - and thrive - in the wake of the departures.
"I was the guy doing the dirty work in the corners and I think that I'll be able to play a more offensive role now that they're gone," Pacioretty said.
"He's lost two outstanding linemates, but this will give him a chance to showcase his talents," Timmins added.
Spath's 80% now seems like 60% to me, but the above passage contains direct quotes from the two people closest to the situation that assume Pacioretty's hockey will be played at Yost this fall. Still... Michigan Hockey Summer and all that. We should know sometime soon, at least, as I doubt Montreal will drag out the decision much past the next couple weeks.
Also, in a BCS-like move that comes one season too late:
Also, the Division I Men's Ice Hockey committee will recommend that teams be required to have a .500 record or better to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin, of course, made the tournament (as a three-seed!) despite being under .500 and got to play at home. No more of that.
Update 7/7: Linked to articles on MA OL Brennan Williams, MS S Dennis Thames, FL S Jonathan Scott, FL CB Mywan Jackson, OK RB David Oku, AL CB Dre Kilpatrick, SC DE Chris Bonds, FL LB Brandin Hawthorne, IN OL Zach Martin (info in header).
Removed PA OL Adam Gress (dropped us), IL OL Chris Watt (dropped us), MS DE Josh Boyd (Miss St), OH CB Darrell Mason (not recruiting), LA WR Willie Haulstead (FSU, actually some time ago).
And here's some wild speculation on VA QB Kevin Newsome. I'm not adding MI DE Justice Akuezue yet since it seems doubtful he'll get an offer, but man, there's one for the all-name team. And, as usual, numerous links from Varsity Blue.
Editorial Opinion: Sorry about the delay; I'm about ready to throw second-string laptop out a window. Anyway...
The big-ish news: this Rivals article on IN OL Zach Martin($) indicates in the header that he's taking one more trip, then making a decision. You can use your amazing powers of deduction to infer that the visit target is Ann Arbor, and that's a terrific signal that Michigan has a significant lead. As mentioned earlier, if a recruit is approaching a commitment and one school's site is the only one breaking news/writing articles, that's a good sign for whatever school that site covers. And if a recruit is making a second visit to a school he's already seen before making a decision, that visit is usually a last opportunity to kick the tires. This is all heuristics and speculation, but Michigan appears to be in excellent shape for Martin.
Other OL bits: PA OL Adam Gress got the Penn State offer he wanted and committed there and IL OL Chris Watt's final eight doesn't include Michigan (but does include, like... Northwestern). Both of those are bleah developments, though Gress is the sort of recruit that's nice to get but not exactly a back-breaker if you don't: other offers were PSU (obviously), WVU, and Rutgers. Meh. Watt I don't get; with Ohio State filling up quickly -- they just got a commit from another instate OL -- he's got Notre Dame and a number of teams that are not traditional recruiting powers.
Meanwhile, a number of additions and clarifications. Rivals' Josh Helmholdt is now writing articles for the Free Press and drops this nugget of information on Cass Tech QB/safety Thomas Gordon:
"After the camp, I thought it was going to happen right away in the summer, and there's still a lot of time before the season starts, but right now I think they are going to see how I do this season because they really haven't seen me at safety because I didn't start last year," Gordon said. "Coach (Scott) Shafer, Coach (Tony) Dews and the rest of the coaches said they were pulling for me, but they said (an offer) is up to Coach (Rich Rodriguez)."
While Michigan may wait until this fall to see Gordon on the field in his senior season, there is a chance the Wolverines could offer even sooner than that. Either way, it's likely Michigan will offer. Gordon left little doubt he'd accept that offer and join his teammates in Ann Arbor.
Safety has the potential to fill up over the next few weeks. FL S Jonathan Scott has re-arranged his top three in a way that should be pleasing:
"Ole Miss, South Carolina, and Michigan are the three schools I have been talking to the most lately," added Jonathan Scott. "They are pretty much my top schools right now."
No offense to those programs, but I'd rather Michigan recruit against them instead of LSU, FSU, Alabama, and Auburn, all of whom Scott claims offers from. Another Florida safety, Mike Jones, -- he of the incredibly original references to a horrible rap song -- took a visit to Michigan and Notre Dame recently and came back heavily implying Michigan was his far and away leader.
And what would a recruiting update be without fretting over the commitment status of VA QB Kevin Newsome? I have no idea how much credence to lend this thread on Virginia Tech's Rivals board, but it's a further bit of smoke that Newsome's commitment is not rock solid. A lot of things don't add up about the initial "insider" post, though -- why would WVU care about Newsome with Boyd already in the fold? -- and the VT fans are by in large dismissive of the idea Newsome would end up at Tech. They've already got their eyes set on 2010's Phillip Simms, a reputed Vick clone.
Also... FL LB Brandon Hawthorne. OMG. Shirtless:
(Hawthorne is a linebacker from Florida's Pahokee high school, the home of Martavious Odoms, and he's said Michigan leads He is also sans shirt.)
- Hope. Surely, this is the year they add something bleeding obvious like simming through the end of blowouts or online dynasty. And there's no way they'll have every other pass dropped or intercepted again.
- Suspicion. Feature X sounds pretty stupid and time-consuming. They probably could have spent their time better if their weren't directed by EA market-droids. And they do this every year.
- Joy. THEY FIXED IT. I LOVE IT.
- Annoyance. You know, I don't think the computer should never miss a field goal. And they call timeouts weird. And the CPU quarterback throws more interceptions than completions. I'm tired of winning 99-0.
- Rage. AAAAAAARGH NOT ANOTHER SIX INTERCEPTION GAME. Maybe I'll bump it up to Heis- AAAAAAARGH I'M LOSING TO ARMY BY 60. [flings controller at cat]
Lather, rinse, and repeat until about May, at which point "hope" starts anew. It would be cute if it didn't cost 50 bucks.
Via Dubious Quality comes welcome news for those uncertain about whether Tiburon's latest version of NCAA is more than a roster update and some stupid-marketer-driven unrealistic features*: Gameshark editor Bill Abner has latched onto an early copy of the game and is blogging his first impressions a week and a half before the game's official release date. Abner is a seasoned video game review vet and on his blog he's thankfully blunt. He's also an Ohio State fan. Can't win 'em all.
Some highlights follow.
First game against Michigan State ends 31-3:
I can already tell that playing with a good team on AA lvl (default) isn't gonna fly. Not just due to the INTs but Ohio State is just friggin loaded. I feel like I can lob it to Robiskie almost at will. Keep in mind I have *never* liked NCAA on default settings so this is by no means a shock or something to take too seriously. It's the first half of one game on settings we all know to be a bit easy out of the box. ...
But -- I really, really hope we are not stuck, again, with the CPU INT problem. If sliders do not fix this, it will yet again by a bust as a solo game and it will depend on online dynasty mode to save it. Normally I'd say "Eh, it's just one half" but with how NCAA 08 turned out in this regard, the red flag is up.
Heisman -- previously a realm of controller-throwing frustration -- seems better:
And best of all -- at the half it's 13-10 OSU and that was the only USC INT. USC QB is I think 8/13 at the half. Beanie has 70 yards on the ground. AND -- Heisman feels extremely playable this year. If you are an NCAA vet--trust me. Start on Heisman. Don't even mess with AA. Well, if you are playing with a good team at least. Even so, it plays SO much better.
But to me it seems clear at least thus far that it's w/o a doubt a Heisman thing. [the lack of 16 CPU interceptions -ed] The game just flat plays better on this level and look..I'm killing Iowa so it's not like the AI is going to whip you at this level mercilessly.
The first truly annoying issue to rear its head:
Kick coverage is 100% ass. Sorry to keep repeating this--but this needs fixed. Maybe longer punts? You are going to average 30 yards per kick return in this game.
...but they've accurately modeled Jay Paterno!
But late in he game PSU had several 4th down plays when they were down 21-13. On 3rd and 5 with 2:12 left they called off tackle and lost a yard -- 4th and 6 ...same play. No gain. Kinda odd. Then the next possession they had 4th and 10 and threw a 5 yard square out and the WR caught the pass out of bounds. The HBs and FBs still have NO Idea where the sideline is on flare patterns. This is an OLD problem and that is still in the game. This sealed the game for me for the most part and was kinda anti climatic.
The interception issue gets largely cleared up and Abner gets waxed by FSU as Tulane, plays an every-yard-counts defensive struggle with FSU as OSU along with some other games. The end result:
I have not even opened up the recruiting model yet and I'll try to take a look at it this weekend. But right now -- based on the still somewhat small sample size of games -- NCAA is a green light. I have not had this much fun playing NCAA since the 2004 version. Usually by this time we had discovered either the crazy INTs (NCAA 2008), the huge number of dropped passes (NCAA 2005..), terrible secondary AI (NCAA 2007..) -- something that ruins the experience, for me at least. So far, this is a really, really fun game and I cannot WAIT to start our Online Dynasty.
This is Stage II of a typical year with NCAA: "I Love It, They Fixed Everything." HOWEVA, further gameplay...
That said, there are things that the more I play the more I think might be real issues that are not just going to go away. The CPU run game isn't very good. I know I am using OSU but even in the games where I used lesser teams the AI struggles UNLESS I refrain from switching players. If I stick to playing my chosen player for the entire play the CPU runs a lot better. But if I switch...it's lights out. He can't get away and most HBs average about 2.5 a carry. Note: I have yet to mess much with the CPU Run and RBlock sliders.
The Ghost Juke cost MSU the win in the 31-30 game. This one is really annoying. MSU was returning a kickoff and found a seam and then raced to the sidelines. He was home free -- gone. All he had to do was outrun OSU backup LB Brian Rolle but instead of just running for daylight he juked no one in particular and allowed Rolle to catch him. I have seen the Ghost Juke about 5 times now. Not good.
I also don't see much variety in the AI offensive playcalling. Deep passes are *rare*. I see them , but maybe 1 per game tops and it is not uncommon to see zero. (By deep I mean 20+ yards in the air.) A lot of dinks, dunks, and 7 yard passes over the middle. Because of this it is hard to tell a difference between playing against, say, San Diego State and Michigan State. The plays all feel similar it's just that MSU is better at running them.
...often reveals issues that range from minor to infuriating. Still, Abner's upshot even after these annoyances reveal themselves: "I still feel it's the best version on the field (I have not touched recruiting or checked the sim engine or the ranking AI) since NCAA 04, which was in my mind the high point of the series." That + online dynasty might be worth a look even if you're severely jaundiced towards EA and their exclusive licenses.
*(okay, there is one no-BS must-have feature: online dynasty is a huge freaking deal and might cause me to not only spring for the game but for a 360.)
Programming note: the first-string laptop is currently undergoing repairs, so content might be a little limited over the next couple days. There is a timeshare going on with the second-string laptop.
Sigh. Most of the pain caused by the Horror has been dulled by the passage of time. You could even make a case that since it precipitated a chain of events that saw Rich Rodriguez hired as head coach, the damn thing was actually a net benefit. But the wound is still raw enough for this to sting:
(Big here if you want to see the thing in all its damnable glory.) At least it's not on the top of the ring, I guess. Also, #$&*.
Convenient. Just as the more excitable variety of Ohio State fan was ready to bring forth the proclamations of a Great Fall for Michigan's ethics under Rich Rodriguez, who held a gun to Kevin Grady's head as Grady feebly protested his 35th jagerbomb of the night, comes another disciplinary incident for wayward son Eugene Clifford:
According to police, Clifford hit two Holy Grail employees who were trying to break up a fight early Friday at the Corryville tavern.
He's got two misdemeanor assault charges pending and has in all likelihood seen his last day at Ohio State. (Clifford has a number of other disciplinary incidents on his record.) Glass houses and all that.
But... right. I linked this on the sidebar earlier, but it deserves some additional discussion: holy crap, Grady was loaded. Wikipedia says the .281 he blew was somewhere between "confusion" and "stupor" and just a few beers away from "coma"; this is not a garden variety DUI. Drew Sharp, of course, says "off with his head" so he can later write a column about lawlessness when Rodriguez shows a shred of common sense and doesn't boot a guy with no previous incidents of misbehavior aside from minor traffic violations. Mmmm: cheap hits.
What to do? A .281 is beyond the point at which you can reasonably claim a lack of judgment... or it's beyond the point where you can reasonably claim anything but a lack of judgment since, you know, all he could do when presented with the charges was drool. There has been plenty of internet speculation about a drinking problem since .281 is the kind of BAC that knocks out mortal livers, though wags have pointed out that if Grady was binging like this on a regular basis and getting through Barwis workouts he's some sort of superhero, probably Duffman. In any case, Grady should be put on notice and forced to Barwis his way back onto the team a la Adrian Arrington; I'd be disappointed to see him before the Big Ten schedule.
(Side note: yes, Grady drives a 2007 Denali. Yes, his father is loaded. He got in trouble with the MSHAA for offering free housing to high school athletes so they could transfer to East Grand Rapids; he can afford a nice car for his kid.)
Gratuitous-tube. 1991 MSU-Michigan from WolverineHistorian:
EEEEE. Speaking of Barwis:
Taylor has made a number of adjustments in the off-season, including his training. He claimed he returned from the Capital One Bowl in January weighing 327 pounds. Now, thanks to Michigan's intense workout regime, he's below 304 and plans to be at 295 by Aug. 4 when twice-a-day practices begin.
The last time he recalls weighing 295? Sometime early in his days at Muskegon.
Asked if he'll be "cut," Taylor relented.
"I'm going to be lean," he said, laughing, knowing what his 6-foot frame can handle. "I know doing that, being more flexible, doing the things they want and improving in the areas I can improve in, all working together, it's a blessing I stayed here and we got (strength coach) Mike Barwis."
Taylor was heavily rumoured to be a reluctant participant in the new conditioning regime, spending most of the spring behind John Ferrara. If this fluffy nougat piece is an accurate representation of the current situation, that would be a major boost. There's a diary with some Barwis links for your edification.
Jerseybits. The big reveal of the home jerseys drifted through the internet a few days ago, but I misinterpreted the results. Readers point out that what Phil Callihan and myself thought were block Ms on the sleeves are numbers. The angle of the shot was deceptive; MPride08 provides another angle:
This is a replica, FWIW. There has been some worry that the names have been taken off the jerseys because none of the example shots have nameplates, but since these are for sale they can't have player names on them.
Your war what? Braylon:
The 25-year-old Browns receiver's ensemble was carefully designed, he says, to show he's professional and fun. Even his fragrance, Bond No. 9, serves a higher purpose. "It's my war cologne," he says. "It's a strong, masculine scent. I wear it when I'm trying to show confidence or be dominant."
Do what you will with this information. I plan on sitting in a chair with my mouth agape for 23 minutes and 16 seconds.
Etc.: Free Press article interviews Tony Dews, clarifies that James Rogers is indeed a wide receiver.
I'm out for the fourth tomorrow. See you Monday.
I get an email that starts like this about every week:
So I'm searching for reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming football season.
I got the first one ten seconds after Manningham, Mallett, and Arrington all lit out for the NFL or Arkansas. Each one drips through my consciousness, leaving a residue of paranoia. We can't really lose to Utah, can we? Or Minnesota? Or Notre Dame?
SMQB says... maybe!
The main reason I'm so much more skittish about the Wolverines, maybe the sole reason, is because of their nearest parallel entering the season: 2007 Notre Dame. This is not a logical comparison based on probabilities. ND was in the same kind of woeful shape, personnel-wise, heading into last season, and everybody knew it; the Irish didn't get a vote in anyone's preseason top 25, either, off back-to-back BCS games. Losing a slew of quality career starters will do that for a team. But it won't necessarily result in the worst record in school history, or one of the worst offensive performances of all time; there are no demerits for failure to predict depths so completely outside of anyone's experience. Applying the same pessimism to Michigan based on one nearby, at-the-ready example is beyond hyperbole, if for no other reason than the Wolverines won't be facing ten straight bowl teams to open the season; even if they did, two of them would play in the MAC and another from the Mountain West. It's not the kind of schedule that will let any halfway respectable outfit bottom out that quickly.
The incredibly incompetent Notre Dame team of last year also pops up in the season prediction of Nittany White Out, though as a Penn State blog that actually posts things like "Rich Rod is a traitor and a snake" their opinion must be taken with a grain of salt large enough to encompass a decade-long losing streak.
This is what every emailer that starts off with some plea to reassure him wants to know. Nobody expects to beat Ohio State or even make a New Year's Day bowl, but Jesus, did you see Notre Dame last year? Humans are exceptionally good at modeling others' emotions, especially when said others are rivals of yours, and it takes little cognition to arrive at the conclusion that Notre Dame 2007 was Not A Good Time.
Under a pale November sky in Palo Alto, Jimmy Clausen accepted a snap from center, trotted back a step or two, and dropped his knee to the ground, sending the final dozen or so seconds of the game clock spinning off into the history books. A strange, sullen silence draped itself over the Irish fans in a crowded bar on the north side of Chicago as it slowly dawned on everybody that the season was finally over. Thank you, sweet merciful Heaven, I thought to myself, taking a long swig from my tenth or fifteenth beer of the night, this godforsaken season is finally over.
Michigan fans appear to be kept up at night by the spectre of that emotion at year's end. And it's not just the Notre Dame parallel that many of the college football digerati draw that bothers. No one outside of East Lansing and Ann Arbor paid it any mind, but the Michigan basketball team just hired an offensive genius from Morgantown, bestowed upon him a rickety roster that was a poor fit for the genius's genius system, and had a Notre Dame of a season.
After a midweek game against Minnesota that saw 100 weirdly enthusaistic Gopher fans outcheer the entirety of a dismal Crisler arena, I wrote a post titled "It's Only Dark In Your Hearts" that concluded like so:
I have four more tickets sitting at a drawer at home; I don't know how many more of them I'll use. [I turned out the answer was 'all of them', by the way. I'm a sucker. -ed]
The idea of feeling like that after a football game against Minnesota haunts many.
So why won't this happen? First... it might. Michigan is unlikely to sink to the horrific depths Notre Dame did solely because of math -- hooray Gaussian distributions -- but failing to reach a bowl would be a real blow to the internet argument capabilities of Michigan fans. And that's totally within the realm of possibility, especially since the Big Ten mandates all 7-5 teams have to be picked before 6-6 teams. So this is not a "ha, that won't happen, you are stupid for attempting to predict the future because my ability to predict the future is much better than yours."
HOWEVA, I don't think it will. And I think so for these reasons:
1. Rich Rodriguez is not Charlie Weis. Charlie Weis is an immensely overweight sociopath who had never coached a team stricken by youth or, really, accomplished anything whatsoever without the aid of the opponent's defensive signals. Rich Rodriguez forged West Virginia into a national power despite operating with recruits far less highly touted than the ones Michigan has at his disposal.
This is by far the number one reason available. Outside of ludicrous pipe dreams like Urban Meyer or Mack Brown or Pete Carroll, Rich Rodriguez was perhaps the bar-none top candidate for any college looking for a coach. The only reason he was not a ludicrous pipe dream was the poisonous relationship Rodriguez had with West Virginia's dysfunctional leadership. He is proven. Over seven years at West Virginia he took a program that had fallen considerably during the last few years of Don Nehlen's tenure and turned them into West Fuckin' Virginia, and he did it with his system and his coaches and his players as the head coach. Charlie Weis was a below average offensive coordinator who left his team no worse off after he left.
Raise your hand if you think the Bill Stewart era is going to go well at WVU. Yeah.
How did Rodriguez do this? I don't know. I do know that some people can relate to the sort of people who end up as really serious college football players, can motivate them and organize them and inspire them, and that this is a real skill possessed by a very small number of very rich people.
Weis, meanwhile, implemented a half-ass version of the spread 'n' shred he would abandon a quarter into the season, neglected fundamental things like teaching people how to block, and alienated his players to the point where several of them bolted the team midseason despite plenty of opportunities for playing time. It was without question the most abysmal coaching performance at a BCS school since John Mackovic experienced armed insurrection at Arizona. It was three standard deviations below the mean.
2. Lloyd Carr was not Tyrone Willingham. Notre Dame fans' favorite excuse for the failings of Weis E. Coyote -- Tyrone Willingham likes golf -- was legit. The 2004 Notre Dame recruiting class was almost impossibly atrocious:
|SIGNED LETTER OF INTENT||Pos||Stars||Ht||Wt||40||RR|
Take away the names and this could be Michigan State or Oklahoma State or any crappy team that manages a couple of good athletes and backs it up with garbage. It gets worse when you consider that two of the very few contributors were the first rats to flee the Good Ship Weis: Darius Walker entered the NFL draft early (in the same way I could enter the draft: he was undrafted) and Ronald Talley decided he'd rather start at Delaware than start at Notre Dame.
But wait! It's still worse: in reality the class was worse than that as a lot of the guys in it got overrated because they committed to Notre Dame. There is one area in which recruiting sites do fudge rankings, IMO, and that's with the tail end of the class at big deal schools. Almost anyone who commits to Michigan as an unranked or two-star player will end up with three stars if the services have time to rerank them. Normally this is a small effect, but when ND starts bringing in a full class of questionable recruits the big school bump becomes a major factor.
These guys were the seniors and fourth-year juniors on last year's team, and the class after them -- the Willingham-Weis transition year -- was hardly better. Michigan's recruiting has never been close to that dire. The 2005 class was #6 nationally; 2006 was #13. Even with the outflux of talent to the NFL and Ohio State's bench, Michigan has far more talent than Notre Dame did last year. The Willingham classes started out with hardly any talent and then experienced major attrition; at least Michigan is starting from a lofty perch.
The magical 2007 Notre Dame season was a lethal combination of awful coaching and awful talent. Michigan has excellent coaching and okay to good talent. I'm not saying you should make plans for New Year's Day, but this ain't gonna happen en route to 3 and 9:
Clearly, there will be growing pains. A season like Tressel's initial foray at Ohio State -- a bleh 7-5 that would have been 6-6 without JohnNavarre's exceptional generosity -- is well within the realm of possibility. And by that I mean "is the most likely outcome."
This should be fine with you. Michigan needs a year to pupate, and then?
On the big version you can see what Callihan was talking about when he mentioned a little "strip": there are teeny block Ms on the inside and outside of the back collar. Tentative thumbs up from me; they'll probably look fine on the players.
So, Callihan is correct and didn't see something unofficial. Let's revisit the road jerseys:
The away jerseys have a thin maize piping straight across the chest. There also have a small maize strip on the back of the collar that says Michigan in blue. [he would later clarify that the strip is the block M thing above -ed]
The West Virginia-esque roadies from earlier were a false alarm, it seems.