here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
It appears that this year's main candidate for a sickening, heart-rending early departure is Jack Johnson, who hasn't even shown up yet. Johnson was selected third in yesterday's NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes and he's going to be pressed to sign, like, right goddamn now:
Johnson had a Michigan tie on when he went to the podium to shake hands with the Carolina brass.
"I guess he can take that off," joked Rutherford. "We'll have discussions with him and his family and try to decide what is best for him. I would like to have the opportunity to talk to Jack about signing and getting started in Lowell because I think it would be a huge jump for him to play in the National Hockey League immediately."
Johnson said he would likely decide within the next week whether he'll go to college or turn pro.
"It won't be money," Johnson said. "It will be what I personally think is best for my development. I don't want to jump the gun too soon. I want to make sure I do the right thing. I'm pretty sure I'll have the right gut feeling. There is no rush."
So the Canes are definitely going to try to sign him. They'll offer the rookie cap. The only question is whether Johnson really wants to play for Michigan. No doubt Johnson will be talking to Aaron Ward and Danny Richmond, both ex-Michigan players currently with the Hurricanes. There's a snippet in the article regarding them:
Johnson has been skating recently in pickup games with Carolina defenseman Aaron Ward, who also attended the University of Michigan.
"I'll have some interesting conversations with him now, something to break the ice with," Johnson said. "I'm still kind of in awe of guys who play in the NHL so I kept my mouth shut and if he was open I always passed to him."
The Hurricanes also selected Michigan defenseman Danny Richmond with the 31st overall pick in 2003. Richmond could be ready to crack the Carolina defensive corps this season if he's gotten stronger in the offseason.
Strength was never Richmond's problem at Michigan. His problem was his general lack of interest in defense--a problem for a defenseman. I had heard that Richmond regretted his decision to leave Michigan for the OHL but he was clearly aiming to sign ASAP.
Neither Ward nor Richmond will really have much impact, though. Johnson probably knows exactly what he'll do right now. He just has to come to terms with it. He's been a future Wolverine for more than three years now. We'll find out in a week whether he ever ends up an actual Wolverine.
3. Jack Johnson - Carolina
25. Andrew Cogliano - Edmonton (SWEET.)
63. Jason Bailey - Anahiem
88. TJ Hensick - Colorado (egads!)
Rumblings that Carolina is trying to sign Johnson right now and that he may not show up at Michigan for even one year, which would be a Sad Panda event horrific in its extremity.
There's a moment every summer, usually in mid- to late July. Sometimes it's in early August. Basketball and hockey are over. Baseball slogs on interminably. The pounding heat has shut my brain off. Parts of my body I did not know existed are actually dripping on other parts, and I'm preoccupied with just how ridiculous and terrible summer is and there's no end in sight and just just just argh.
Then there is one morning in the high fifties. The air is crisp and implies things like falling leaves and pumpkins and perhaps a hayride for the faux-camping inclined. It hits me: football. Football is coming.
In a month or so I will get out of my car on the southern part of campus. I will walk past tailgaters at Elbel field, the band assembling in front of Revelli, the RVs in front of the stadium, and I will arrive at the designated tailgate spot. I'll see my brother for probably the first time since hockey season ended. My dad will be there. My uncle, my cousins.
Sausage will be consumed.
With an hour or so to go before the game, I'll ascend the steps in front of the stadium, find my seat, stand over it, and try to figure out a way to stop time, Bewitched-style, so that I can extend this moment of anticipation. Wrinkling the nose does not work; I don't think it's cute enough.
I knew this would happen, objectively. Time continues to pass at more or less the same rate unless I approach the speed of light, which--despite the opinions of local traffic cops--I have not. But it's that first morning that hints that summer's cruel grip is fading that makes the faint, faraway possibility of actual football simultaneously immediate and desperately far removed. It's only a month away; oh God, it's a month away.
And I call my friend up and have a conversation like this:
Hungry Armenian: FOOTBALL!
mgoblog: AAAH! FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL!!!!
Hungry Armenian: AAAH!!!
mgoblog: Football, man. Football.
Hungry Armenian: Yeah, football.
mgoblog: Seriously, man. Football. Goddamn football. Bye.
Hungry Armenian: Bye.
12:50. Press return. Also drill own head.
Dear ESPN, Screw You. AC Slater is going to be the co-host of a new show on ESPN2 called "ESPN Hollywood," which seeks to examine "the intersection between Hollywood and the sports world." This news makes me feel like the lead character in Pi. AC. Slater. Motherfu--
Mas Jack Johnson, mas. This time from the Worldwide Leader In AC Slater.
I choose to ignore the CFB content of John Walter's Campus Blitz because it involves Kordell Stewart. In non football-news, he claims poker is not a sport, which mgoblog is bang behind but then gives the dumbest reason I can think of to say so:
First, sorry, but it's not a sport. Name me a sporting event, which, no matter how many entrants you have, none of the world's top 36 players advance to the final. If I spotted you the top 36 golfers in the world at the British Open, for example, don't you think at least one of your 36 would finish in the top 10? I do. But at the 2005 WSOP's main event, none of the world's 36 best players (as ranked by pinnaclesports.com, which gave odds on the event) advanced to the final table. ... That says something about luck playing a role in the outcome.
And luck doesn't play a role in the outcome of almost every sport worth watching? (i.e., not track and field.) An mgoblog pet peeve is to completely dismiss the huge role of chance in sport. Everything is credited to something inherent, usually something really unbelievably stupid like "heart." No. Random stuff happens.
This why poker no sport.
The reason that poker is not a sport is that it's a card game. People like Tomer Benvinitsi can play it. Is scrabble a sport? No. Rock paper scissors? No. Golf? No. Quick "is it a sport" guideline: if being strong or fast aids you in no way whatsoever, it isn't a sport.
That's basically totally irrelevant. The reason I bring it up is to tell John Walters that he needs to read blogs more often. This is why:
Rarely does anyone criticize [Stuart] Scott -- at least not in print, or publicly -- because, I assume, they fear the backlash. "You just don't like Stu because he's ... a Tar Heel." No. That's not it.
Dude! Rarely does anyone not criticize Stuart Scott except fellow media members who all think he's a total idiot but never say anything about it. Anyway. He bitches him out pretty good, and that's a rather brave thing for a guy with a real job in sportswriting to do.
Shouldn't Fox Sports Net start a show called "ESPN Is Retarded" and just show clips of Stuart Scott and Jay Mariotti and Stephen F-- Smith and then make fun of them, Talk Soup-style? Wouldn't this instantly become the most popular show in history? Could I be more like Bill Simmons right now? In fact, someone call Simmons. This one's going on the Ocho.
Wisconsin Coach Barry Alvarez will very probably announce his retirement at 1 PM today. He'll remain AD. Defensive Coordinator Brett Bielema is expected to be Wisconsin's next coach.
Shocking timing on this. You'd think that something like this would happen soon after Signing Day. Bielema produced an excellent defense last year but it remains to be seen whether he can duplicate his success with an almost all-new defense.
Update: Alvarez has announced his retirement... after this year. One more go-around for Alvarez, although it doesn't exactly look like it will be a banner year.
The fourth installment of the BlogPoll Roundtable is humming at Blue Gray Sky. Lou Holtz is not mentioned. I plan to keep it that way.
Here we go:
1. Who are your rival(s)?
Traditionally Michigan has one "rival": whoever they're playing that week. Due to a tendency to lose to teams made up of guys who have to wear helmets both on and off the field on a semi-regular basis despite being, like, totally the best team except for those losses, everyone in the Big Ten has been given the erroneous impression that Michigan is still smarting over that Halcyon Year We Beat Them. Even teams that Michigan owns--Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota--believe themselves to be rivals.
And honestly, given recent events up to five frigging teams could be considered rivals: ND, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, and Penn State. Notre Dame has managed to beat Michigan regularly despite being completely crappy. Michigan State loses two of three but cheats so unbelievably heinously to win the ones they do that all Michigan fans preserve a burning hatred for them and their clock stopping ways. Ohio State... well, duh. Iowa is the new Big Ten power and have beaten us two of the last three years. Penn State, well, they're just freaking flipping out about getting totally 0WNZ0R3D. It's not much of a stretch to say that the 34-8 waxing Michigan put on the #1 Lions in '97 started the downward spiral they remain on to this very day. Michigan beat them every year after that until the last two, when they didn't play. This has driven most Penn State fans who post on the Internet completely freaking insane.
But, really. It's OSU, ND, and MSU. In that order.
2. Size up your chances in your rival games this year.
Don't listen to Joey, man, we be killin' em this year. Killing them. Eh... maybe. Notre Dame and Ohio State are at home. ND's defense is mostly new and has only one guy that I'm particularly concerned about, DE Victor Abiamiri, and a secondary that looks very exploitable. Michigan should move the ball well. On the other side of the ball... well, Quinn is pretty good but I'm underwhelmed by their receivers. Walker managed to rack up a lot of yards last year but took a ton of carries to do it. His average was under four yards a carry. The Irish will score but I think Michigan wins. Call it Rather Good.
in the house.
Michigan State... ugh. Historic incompetence in East Lansing, a crazy-ass offense with Drew Stanton poised to make our linebackers (and linebacker coach) look like idiots again, and sort of a "State's due" feeling. On the other hand, State will have no defense whatsoever, Stanton may crush vital body parts against Kent State, and at this rate every running back on the roster will be sitting in the same jail cell by October. Also we've got Sergeant Slaughter to teach us how to not screw up. Call it a Meh.
Ohio State... well, it's at home. They have major issues at cornerback past Youbouty and I am still fervent in my belief that Troy Smith is a really crappy quarterback. They have no running backs. But Ginn, linebackers, etc. Meh, again.
3. If you could start up a new rivalry with another team, who would it be?
USC. Michigan has a history with the Trojans; unfortunately it largely consists of losing Rose Bowls. I would like a regular shot at redemption and the occasional visit from the Trojans. No other set of helmets walking into Michigan Stadium would have the same historical relevance.
4. Overall, what do you think the best rivalry in college football is?
I have been advised to avoid the homer pick here. But the best rivalry must have a boatload of tradition, teams that are consistently among the nation's best, a competitive furor that hamstrings the national aspirations of both teams, and a huge heaping helping of some good old-fashioned hatred.
There is no other.
5. Lastly, game trophies. What are the best and worst rivalry trophies out there?
- Does it have a grandiose name resembling that of a medieval knight? Check.
- Would it look natural on the mantle of the crazy old lady in the neighborhood with 100 cats? Check.
- Is it absolutely, completely ridiculous in every way? Check.
- Does it remind you of bratwurst, tailgate food of the gods? Check.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present Minnesota and Iowa's Floyd of Rosedale to you:
- Is it a totally meaningless trophy based on a fictitious non-rivalry created by conference realignment that has never, ever been significant to either school? Check.
I give you the PSU-MSU Land Grant Trophy, sort of:
So irrelevant this was the best picture I could find.
Michigan needs safeties in the 2006 recruiting class and the Internet rumblings indicate that their need may be filled in the near future. IN S Steve Brown will choose between Notre Dame and Michigan on Monday. Internet buzz suggests that Michigan is expected to win this particular battle--lucky for us that Brown is, like, brown. We haven't had a white safety for decades.
Washington SS/LB/WR... er, ATH Taylor Mays was thought to be favoring USC. Now people are saying he's down to USC and Michigan or UW and Michigan and perhaps favoring the Wolverines:
Just to follow up on the recruitment of Mays. Taylor visited Michigan over the weekend and really had a great visit. At this point, Michigan is easily his favorite in what increasingly appears a two horse race between UM and USC. However, Taylor visited USC in February and is going to referesh himself by possibly visiting a practice early in August. He loved the college town feel of Ann Arbor and really has a great rapport with DB Coach Ron English. It really looks like he has a strong lean to UM with USC behind them. There is really a big fall off after that and everyone else seems to be wasting their time. Look for his decision following his 2nd look down at SC.
The guy claims to know Mays... take it with a grain of salt, as you should all totally unsubstantiated Internet rumors. I think he might be right, given the buzz. UW fans shoot that particular messenger quite a lot but he's not the only guy saying these things. Mays will decide in late August.
Getting commitments from both would fill Michigan's safety need (only one, Jamar Adams, in the past two years) in authoritative fashion. Both Brown and Mays are top-100 players according to Scout and Rivals. Mays is rated in the top 10 by them. That's certainly not a sure thing but chances are we'll get at least one. Antwine Perez is also out there, down to LSU, USC, and UM, as is Jonas Mouton, who will take an official. Both are 4.5 star prospects in the bastardized average I post on the recruiting board. Even if both Mays and Brown commit Michigan still figures to pursue Mouton and Perez heavily. Brown could play corner and Mays could play linebacker or wide receiver.
Speaking (at least on a tangent) about ND recruiting, more fuel for the "Charlie Weis is a nut" fire:
Folks are still buzzing over a recruiting visit new Notre Dame football head coach Charlie Weis made recently with a top area high-school lineman, who clearly expected to be wooed, flattered and praised by Weis. Instead, Weis slapped a copy of the recruit's grade transcripts down on the table, chastised him for being an obviously lazy student and told him that unless things changed, Notre Dame wouldn't waste another minute recruiting him. Word is the shocked lineman is now vowing to take his classes much more seriously this school year. Weis has already received commitments from two St. Ignatius High standouts, receiver Robby Parris and defensive end John Ryan, for 2006.
Yet to be seen whether this is as effective as the legendary John L. Smith slap of Lamarr Woodley. Spotted by EDSBS.
Al Montoya will sign with the Rangers in the very near future. So says the New York Daily News:
The Rangers are nearing agreements on three-year contracts with Al Montoya and Hugh Jessiman that will enable the 2004 and 2003 first-round picks to turn pro and join the organization this season.
So says the New York Post:
Al Montoya, the 20-year-old Michigan goaltender whom the Rangers selected sixth overall in 2004, is closing in on a contract agreement with the club, The Post has learned.
So says Michael Spath:
Very succinct, Mr. Spath.
It's telling that when I read the "uh-oh" from Spath my immediate thought was "ohgodnotTambellini". I am totally nonchalant about Montoya's departure. As I've noted before, Montoya was terrible last year (I promise this is not sour grapes, I've annoyingly harped on this before) and would likely have been just as bored and soft-goal prone this year. Good luck in the NHL, Al. I suggest keeping the black thing out of the net, though I know you love the red flashy sound.
So. Sauer or Jakiel? Dunno. Do know that whoever is Michigan's goalie next year will have some wickedly skilled players coming in with him. Jack Johnson is the subject of an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in which he compares himself to Vladimir Konstantinov. Yes please.
And sometimes controversial Red Line Report guru Kyle Woodlief had this to say about Andrew Cogliano:
Ajax, Ont.: When will Andrew Cogliano go?
Kyle Woodlief: I've been waiting for someone to ask this. I think he'll go right around #20 overall, despite the fact he's only 5-9, 173 pounds (which tells you a bit about how good he is). He is, bar none, the fastest skater in this entire draft class, and has loads of skill with the puck. He is exactly the type of player who will be helped if the NHL clamps down on obstruction and opens up the game. In fact, if a team were absolutely convinced that the NHL will truly become a more wide-open, offensive league, I would not consider it far-fetched to see someone jump up and grab him in the top 10, though it's not likely.
A player of Cogliano's make and model being a first round pick in the size-valuing NHL translates to a hell of a lot of goals in college. I cannot wait to see either of these guys.
(HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)
Update: More on Johnson from the Ottawa Citizen.
Update 7/26: Linked to Sam Young article. Removed S Pha'Terrell Washington (Maryland), CB Brian Brighton (we aren't recruiting him), OL Matt Carufel (dropped us), S Stephon Hampton (we shan't be needing sleeper safeties), CB Jovani Chappel (not listing us). Removed QBs Mike Hartline and Sean Hakes. The chances of us offering a quarterback without a current offer are very low. Removed RB Anthony Elzy and added FB Obi Ezeh.
Editorial Opinion: Mostly culling of guys who I put on a while ago after reading a single article somewhere and never heard about again or are real longshots to get an offer. Link here.