"Though I received no official response to these sophisticated and elegant tweets to the Illini Athletic Department, I would like to think that Beckman spent the evening prank calling everyone in Illinois named George McLellan and then ordering an absurd amount of hats off an internet haberdashery to hoard in his home's hat annex."
"Tonight we were reminded that Michigan is five years further down the road. Which means we have a long road ahead. The State Farm Center renovations start in a few hours and will run for three years. Let’s hope that when they’re complete, we’re Michigan."
This will be the only post today. The new site launches Monday, and I'm spending the day porting all the posts over, and then the weekend making sure everything is ready. I know you didn't read the Zone Stretch article from yesterday, so go back and read that.
My quest for some daily/semi-daily feature here at GS which isn't just some half-baked ripoff of MGoBlog's Unverified Voracity continues, without much luck, but I press on.
If you've got an idea burning a hole in your pocket, shoot them an email.
Hockey. The Big Ten network should be a great boon for hockey fans, but last year the only benefit for Michigan fans was having the College Hockey Showcase televised, and that was a haphazard affair with plenty of tape delay built in. They are working on more:
Silverman has been talking to Tom Anastos and Bruce McLeod, commissioners of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Collegiate Hockey Association, about trying to get more games on the air. ... Silverman said the most-sought-after games would be those involving one Big Ten school playing against another.
Michigan-Michigan State games are are all televised in some form or another, but that might mean trips to Columbus -- rarely provided full coverage -- are televised in the future.
Dude, right click. I didn't actually take the pictures of Michigan's hypothetical road jerseys so I'm only mildly pissed that Valenti & Foster's website posted them without attribution, but... like...
... if you're not going to attribute something you probably shouldn't take a screenshot of the blog. Attention, sports-talk-radio interns: you can right click on any picture and "save as". Also, your thumbs are opposable (probably) and can be used to open things like doors.
"Cry, Cry Again" - Michigan
As referenced above, "Cry, Cry Again" is the arty movie that Jerry refused to bootleg for Brody, so Kramer does it himself - poorly, according to Jerry, who now thinks of himself of an expert in bootlegged movies. The end of the movie is taped over by Elaine, who filmed herself dancing to see how bad she really was. Michigan has lost five of the last six games to OSU, and their fans have cried and cried again over this development. The Wolverines are trying to get their mojo back with the hiring of Rich Rodriguez - not unlike the character in "Cry, Cry Again" who buys a loaf of bread.
'House. Jimmy Johns delivers coke so fast you'll freak*, and 'Bama is one scholarship closer to cramming everyone in the phone booth. Just like Saban planned. (Thanks to the dozen or so emailers on this... more email than I've received on a single topic in blog history, I think.)
I think I should revise my position here: Saban's managed to sluff off most of his roster deadweight on medical scholarships of dubious merit and it looks like there will be no outright cuts. So this is not PURE EVIL, as previously theorized. It is still KIND OF EVIL, a highly unethical way to game the system that makes Alabama hope something like 20 Fulmer Cup points happens. As the JCCW says:
...I doubt Lionel Mitchell probably thinks very much of the crunch. I have zero clue how severe his back injury might be, but either a) it's hella severe, career-threatening, painful as anything, and still even 'Bama fans are writing things like "If I had to wager, I would bet there's nothing wrong with his back" and believing he was just too crappy to keep his scholarship; b) it's not that severe, but rather than wait and see if he could come back from it and contribute, his coach has told him his career's over anyway. Neither seems like a scenario that would make Lionel Mitchell happy.
Second: I certainly don't blame 'Bama fans for not wanting to put the 2 of Lewis's surprise academic disqualification--which even OTS said was "dumbfound[ing]," "never made sense," and left him with "no clue"--and the 2 of "'Bama needs scholarships" together.
Also at the FanHouse: if you have Time Warner you may be getting good news about the Big Ten Network soon.
Vic Sprouse might want to buy a disguise kit. The West Virginia Record describes itself as "West Virginia's legal journal" and one Vic Sprouse comes down on Rich Rodriguez's side in the ongoing spat:
Looking at the RichRod saga now through the prism of knowledge of the utter disaster that is the Garrison administration, it is apparent that they ran Rich off.
I believe Rich is telling the truth when he said the entire relationship changed when Garrison took over. His relationship with Pastilong changed. His relationship with Garrison changed. And, before you know it, Garrison was wanting to show he was the new Sheriff in town and he wasn't going to accept ANY ADDITIONAL demands of Rich Rodriguez.
What a shame.
Michigan lucked out because West Virginia is the sort of backwards place where the governor can appoint an unqualified unversity president the entire faculty thinks is a dolt, and that president and his athletic director can poison their relationship with one of the best coaches in the country. Rodriguez fell into our laps just when we were going to start scraping the bottom of the barrel.
First, one thing I can't take is just how often Rich refers to himself in the third person. That is such a bad habit, someone needs to break him of it, it's tough to listen to him say "Rich Rodriguez" over and over.
I don't have as much revenue as the Big Ten, so I can only read a couple sentences from this Sports Business Journalarticle:
The Big Ten Conference generated more than $177 million in revenue during its 2006-07 fiscal year, according to documents filed this month with the Internal Revenue Service.
Anyone got the full monty on this? I assume it has interesting Big Ten Network details.
Worst. Comic. Ever. Andy Staples has an entertaining piece on the constant race to stay one step ahead of the NCAA's recruiting regulations. The real meat, though, is an honest-to-god recruiting tool used by Oregon to land Jonathan Stewart, who you may remember from such runs as "Aaargh," "Aaaargh not again," "I want to die," and "How many points do they have now?" It's a comic book. The worst comic book ever made. This is perhaps my favorite stupid part of many stupid parts:
Yes, son, at the moment of your glory the camera focuses on... Phil Knight!
The comic's "plot" consists of a kindly old grandfather telling his towheaded little brat all about the legend of "Snoop," AKA Jonathan Stewart. That grandfather is... familiar.
As I broke down the film of Michigan's offense in '95 I thought there was a possible tendency with the center's non-snapping hand. I went back and checked every snap and sure enough the tendency was about 95% that when his hand was on the ground it was run and when he had it on his thigh it was pass. This was not signal stealing, this was just a tendency found way before the game was even played. But it was a GREAT help for our defense. (As a GA I was in the coaching booth for games and was not stealing signals.) This is not exactly unfair tactics on our part but more of an error on their part. Either they coached the center to do the hand thing or the kid was doing it himself and their coaches never noticed. Either way it was their own fault.
That speaks to a certain complacency, I think. I wonder how many other teams noticed?
Note: lately, I've been dumping a lot of things into UV that could rightly stand on their own as posts, and I'm going to try to split those things out in the future. Often I'll hold something for a day or two until the next edition and by that time every Michigan blog has already said their piece and I feel stupid. Also, much of the time I end up throwing a bunch of disparate stuff together -- that's kind of the point -- and it mucks up the categories. If you click "baseball" or something on the right sidebar you get posts with baseball, but often leetle pieces of baseball in a larger post.
So, anything that's news or news-y I'll post ASAP, and anything program-related and longer than a few lines will also get split out.
House. I should probably start plugging Michigan-relevant stuff I post on the Fanhouse since every couple days I get an email asking why I haven't covered X when there's a post up over there. So: Want Michigan tickets? Cut your legs off.
On a more serious note, yes, it's a little annoying that handicapped fans get to cut in the season ticket line and get their PSLs waived, but those were probably conditions of the settlement and in the long run said settlement saved Michigan some coin, and a lot of seats.
The point. It's fashionable, and somewhat accurate, to bash Bill Simmons these days. But everything you need to know about why sports columnists are thrashing around in their death throes can be found in his post-Celtics victory column, and it's all about his dad. I am a little sick of Simmons' schtick, incredibly sick of Boston teams winning championships, and was sort of annoyed at parts of the column, but...
Dad bought a single season ticket for the Celtics for the 1973-74 season and carried me into the Garden for the next four years, sitting me on his lap and even letting me sleep on him during the famous triple-OT game against Phoenix in 1976. When I became too big to sit on his lap, he bought a second ticket even though we really didn't have any money at the time. And we've had those two tickets ever since. How do you repay someone for a lifelong experience like that? You don't. You can't.
...this and the discussion that follows it is about the strange thing fandom is, something only a lifelong fan could communicate. Often, I think, we start pulling for a team by proxy. I wanted Michigan to win when I was a child so my dad would be happy. When Michigan was trailing by 21 in the Water Buffalo Stampede Minnesota game, my girlfriend at the time wanted Michigan to do well so I wouldn't accidentally shove her off the couch again in rage. Now that I'm friends with the sort of Auburn fan who involuntarily screams things like "GO LESTER" on every run longer than three yards, I want Auburn to win.
At some point a switch flips and the rooting is no longer by proxy and now you're just sort of infected with this thing. And it makes you do and think very strange things about completely irrelevant external events, and coping and dealing with this weird little disease of passion requires a sort of support group.
In general, newspapers have chosen to strip the passion out of their sports section in favor of objectivity. They've been so successful at it that Bill Simmons -- a "blogger" according to sneerin' Rick Reilly -- is the most famous and influential sportswriter* in the country.
*(writer. Wilbon, Kornheiser, etc... TV.)
Man down. Alabama cornerback Lionel Mitchell, he of the severe back problems that sort of held him out of spring practice, -- brutal! -- is yet another medical scholarship recipient. Will Alabama make it? This is exciting!
Via MVictors, which helpfully picks out this sentence:
"If you can't make it intense, and make the environment an environment that elicits greatness, and get into that environment, coach, and make kids energetic about, and fired up about putting 500 pounds on their back and hittin' reps and running sprints until they throw up and pushing themselves to the absolute limits of their mental and physical capabilities then you're not doing anything, you've wasted your time with your science because they're not going to grow if they're not pushing themselves to those points..."
Dude, Faulkner just threw up in a bush.
Thin, thin. Antonio Henton, the dual-threat Ohio State backup quarterback who is not Terrelle Pryor, is transferring. Probably:
Ohio State quarterback Antonio Henton has reportedly told his Buckeye teammates he's headed for GSU, an ESPN writer confirmed to the Statesboro Herald Wednesday. Georgia Southern's B-term for summer classes begins next week, and second-year GSU coach Chris Hatcher said he couldn't discuss transfers until then. Henton could not be reached for comment.
That leaves Ohio State with eh starter Todd Boeckman, Pryor, and thousand-year-old walk-on(? - I think) Joe Bauserman. They aren't much deeper than Michigan, though they are more experienced/hyped/diapered.
"I think they're going to be really, really lucky to get it done by football season," Prof. Barry Orton told The Capital Times. "It means they have to turn this around in a month and a half or so. That's tight. I would think we're safer to say (a deal will be done) probably by basketball season and maybe by the end of football season."
Yes, yes it does. NBC's extended their contract with Notre Dame another five years, and they're very proud of it:
"We are thrilled to continue this landmark partnership with Notre Dame," Ebersol said during a conference call. "Notre Dame defines who we at NBC Sports are: from the Olympics, to the U.S. Golf Open to Notre Dame."
From the Olympics... to golf... to Notre Dame football! NBC sports: the home of soft-focus quasi sporting events that only appeal to white people!
Who kills the magic at Notre ame? Often times it's the very network that supports it... NBC has been a good partner, but it is time ND started demanding more from NBC.
Past snark, the new NBC contract is lame for ND, the Big Ten, and college football in general. It guarantees seven home games and an eighth "neutral site" game that ND contr
ols the gate and TV for. If you fit that into a conference framework, ND has four home games and four road games like any Big Ten team was, then three nonconference home games and a "neutral site" game... if a Big Ten team tried that their nonconference schedule would be Wisconsin's. And with home-and-home slots given over to USC, Navy (-ish), Michigan, and three Big East teams, Notre Dame is going to have to push out traditional rivals like Purdue and Michigan State to make it work.
To ND fans' credit, they loathe this state of affairs as much or more than Michigan fans hate the idea of the MAC-MAC-Utah at best-ND nonconference schedule that seems to be Michigan's fate for the next thousand years. Again, I say: the NCAA can stop this if they care to. Force five true road games a year. Limit commercial time in broadcasts. Stop trying to squeeze every nickel out of a supposedly nonprofit enterprise.
Several helpful readers provided tricksy ways to unearth the pictures at the official site, so I can now provide you that super picture from the women's academy for those too lazy to dig it up themselves:
What's with the smiling chick in the upper right? Where's your intensity, lady? Barwis! Eat her!
But what about the SUPER-SUPERCONFERENCE? When the Wizard of Odds threw out a post on this a few days ago, I shrugged, but the Wiz has now linked to this nut from the Orlando Sentinel twice more and the disease has started to spread outward.
His name is Tim Stephens, and he is a very stupid man. He proposes that college football is moving inexorably towards four sixteen-team superconferences and a four-team playoff between the winners. Nevermind that the WAC was briefly a creaky sixteen-team "superconference" before all its members decided that was an incredibly stupid idea and broke off. Nevermind that it's just a matter of time before the creaky sixteen-team Big East basketball "superconference" splinters. Nevermind that he actually titles a post "could five dollar gas spur the playoff debate" (his answer: yes!) and then, like, in the very next post about his incredibly stupid idea puts Notre Dame in the Pac-10. Nevermind that every team past 12 dilutes the financial impact of a championship game.
These are all reasons that Tim Stephens is a man propounding a very stupid idea and wasting everyone's time, but the main thing is this: at the absolute most, teams will play nine conference games. When you have a "super conference" that's basically two eight-team divisions in which you play seven games and then two games against the other division, which is not a conference at all, really, and is the main reason the WAC exploded.
What a waste of time.
Precedented. A reader forwards along a Chronicle of Higher Education piece on new ADA regulations($) that would about halve the number of handicap-accessible seats stadiums are required to provide. How is this related to Michigan?
The new regulations, if unchanged after a public comment period, would be roughly comparable to the terms of a recent settlement between the federal government and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. This spring, in response to a lawsuit over handicapped-accessible seating in its football stadium, the university agreed to provide 329 spots -- or a third of a percent of its 107,000 seats -- for fans in wheelchairs.
So even though this rough halving of the number would seem to put Michigan under the microscope again, apparently the settlement is being used as a model and we should be okay.
From the same article:
Service animals are another focal point of the new regulations. The proposed rules distinguish service animals from "emotional-support animals," which they say are not covered by federal disability law. ...
Support animals, like ferrets and snakes, have been a sticking point for colleges, where students have asked to keep them in residence halls and take them to class.
That is all.
Defcon 4. Max Pacioretty is the only potential departure who hasn't publicly stated his intention to return. This is probably why:
Heard it from a very good source that he would like to sign and that Montreal wants him but the family will have none of it. At this point, put the chances of him returning for his sophomore year at about 80%.
That's the Wolverine's Mike Spath, so that's legit. I'll take 80% but the news that Patch wants to sign is unwelcome; he was telling teammates he'd be back a month or so ago. He'll be one to watch until September.
Aw, come on. Notre Dame/Halloween candy blog Rakes of Mallow is providing an overview of ND's oppnents and though they're advertised as "nearly prediction free" there is a little numerical difficulty number applied to each. North Carolina, 4-8 a year ago, warrants a 7. 4-9 Washington gets a 6. Purdue is a 5, Michigan State a 6.
Michigan? 3. The same as Stanford. I know every Notre Dame fan out there yearns for Michigan to have the same sort of Hindenberg season Notre Dame did a year ago, but... uh... not likely. Notre Dame had the second-worst offense of the decade, and outliers, probability, bell curves, binomial distributions, etc.: Michigan replicating that is highly, highly unlikely.
Etc.: I knew those fake-o new jerseys running around had boobs. Boiled Sports interviews yrs truly. Jemele Hill is sitting in timeout for comparing the Celtics to Hitler; shouldn't she be in timeout for not being interesting? Maize 'n' Brew takes issue with the preseason magazines... which is why you should by HTTV 2008!
Piled up. Kudos to the Daily's Dan Feldman, who ferreted out a ton of interesting factoids and quotes in his latest article. Remember the spread punt formation that cost Michigan the Iowa game and sent Jim Boccher into insurance or accounting or whatever? It's back:
The Wolverines will use a spread punt formation, and they will send six gunners as opposed to the two last year.
Redshirt junior Zoltan Mesko will roll out on some kicks, and said he will stretch the field as far as he needs to. And he will directional kick, which wasn't part of last year's punting plan but won't be a difficult adjustment.
"Point your body that way, and that's the way it's going," Mesko said. "It's not that difficult."
You know those rumors that Terrance Taylor wasn't buying into the system and had some issues with the coaches and conditioning? True, but maybe not a huge deal:
Taylor said his place on the depth chart was due to "clashing" between himself and the new coaches as they got used to each other's personalities.
"Situations happen, problems occur," Taylor said. "But as the (spring) season went on, things worked out. I'm going to go out there and play. No matter if I'm third, fourth, fifth team, I'm going to go out and play like I'm on the first team, so it wasn't a big deal."
You know those rumors that Darryl Stonum might not be happy? (I didn't, but a couple emailers indicate they've been scooting around message boards.) He seems to be settling in:
Sam McGuffie arrived at the airport during the clinic, and running backs coach Fred Jackson playfully scolded Stonum for signing autographs while stranding McGuffie.
Need Barwis porn?
Stonum was the only early enrollee this year. He said he arrived in Ann Arbor in January weighing about 170 pounds. He now weighs about 195 pounds and has gotten faster.
Need evidence that random middle-aged women ask way better questions than actual journalists?
When Rodriguez asked the participants in the Women's Football Academy if they had any questions, one woman asked which assistants would be on the field and which would be in the press box.
Rodriguez explained offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and quarterbacks coach Rod Smith would be upstairs so they could see the entire field.
Then he turned to Shafer to ask what his plans were. Because the staff had been so busy with recruiting and spring practice, they hadn't formalized that. Shafer said he and defensive line coach Bruce Tall would be in the press box. ...
"In my opinion, you can't see a thing on the sideline during the game," Shafer said. "Anybody that's watched a game on the sideline in between the 30-yard lines realizes that you don't know what just happened unless it's run right at your side."
Also, Terrance Robinson will get Henne's #7.
By this point I've excerpted almost half the article and seriously pushed the boundaries of fair use. There's more original information in this one article than the Free Press has published in the past week. Contrast their article on the women's football academy with the Daily's: you get all that relevant info in the Daily; in the Free Press you get to find out that Rod Smith compares passing to Tae Bo.
Dear Daily: a winner is you.
Speakin' of... did I freak you out about Stonum and then drop it? Sorry. I will attempt to repair the hurt. A reader forwarded along this message Stonum sent out to Myspace friends:
I got a comment today about me being unhappy at Michigan and wanting to possibly transfer. I just want to take the time to let everyone know it's all rumors. I'm very content with my situation in Ann Arbor and want to wait and see how things play out before I make that kind of decision. I hope all this gossip can stop so I can just go about my business and play football. I love the tradition and hope to live up to all of your expectations.
All due Myspace caution applies (though the Bryce McNeal stuff turned out to be basically correct, if premature); Stonum will be around in the fall but I think Rodriguez will have to pass a bit more to keep the receiving talent Michigan's collected happy.
I loathe MGoBlue's new picture gallery software, which doesn't allow you to save or even link to specific pictures, but there are some great ones in the academy gallery. #39 is a particular favorite.
Scoutin'. The hockey team recently acquired a recruited walk-on from the same school as 2009 D recruit Mac Bennett. Bob Miller took the opportunity to get a scouting report on one Luke Glendening from Bennett. Bennett's favorite thing about Glendening? He uses the point a ton in the offensive zone, naturally. Also:
He's in the gym day in a day out and you can tell that he wants to get better. He was told that he was going to be a "support" player, but with his work ethic and determination I wouldnt be surprised if he ended up being a fourth line player. He's definitely someone that you want on your team and someone you don't want to play against.
Meet the new JJ Swistak/Charlie Henderson/Danny Fardig?
Schedulin'. Michigan's just released the hockey schedule. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Miami are Michigan's clustermates, which should be fun. (In the CCHA, you play everyone twice and two extra games against three teams in your "cluster"; State is always in Michigan's cluster.)
two home games against St. Lawrence
A Thursday(!) home game against Niagara, followed immediately by
a Saturday game at BU
Minnesota and Wisconsin on the road, and
Michigan's opening GLI opponent will be Tech; North Dakota is the guest this year. There are no games at the Palace or in Fort Wayne or anything.
Does it seem like the schedule is short a couple games? Michigan trips to Alaska this year. Those games are exempted by the NCAA and should allow Michigan another couple nonconference matchups.
Uh, no. I've gotten a couple worried emails recently about Michigan's new Adidas uniforms. This image is making the rounds, purporting to be the new duds:
For the record: this is an internet hoax. I don't know what those hideous things are but I assume they're from Walmart. I've seen downriver types wear gaudy "jerseys" sort of like this. I'm surprised anyone bought it, especially since the "away" jersey appears to have, like, boobs.
So maybe it's ironic that the first glimpse of the new jerseys comes from the Michigan women's football camp:
They are exactly the same as the old jerseys except the Nike logo has been replaced with an Adidas one. And, yes, these two are in the running to be starting offensive linemen this fall.
The away jerseys are yet to be revealed; I am on Piping Watch.
hhhhWHAT? Every preseason poll yet published has omitted Michigan from even the 20-25 range normally inhabited by the hot midmajor or, like, Purdue. This seems an entirely reasonable thing to do with Michigan transitioning to an entirely new offensive system without any seniors of note on that side of the ball. So... uh... what does Vegas see? National championship odds:
I don't know how much of this is Vegas actually pumping Michigan as a top ten team and how much is Vegas pumping gullible Michigan fans for cash, but... wow. If only you could short these bets.
Ragin'. Former Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds has been suspended by the NFL for a year after testing positive for steroids. He'll likely retire. Raise your hand if you're shocked that the guy who choked Jim Sorgi is on the juice. No one? Ok.
Etc.: SMQB tackles Wisconsin. Commentary withheld until my own Wisconsin preview, during which I'll no doubt crib from, cite, and argue with his piece plenty. Also: Elliot Mealer fluff.