this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
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|3 weeks 1 day ago||I'm fine with any shade of maize that||
1. Looks good from the stands
I suspect others might put 3 in place of 1 or 2, but to me the orange-y yellow looks worse on TV than the slightly highlighter yellows, and I think that will continue as pore-o-vision tech becomes the new norm.
As long as we pick the color given a reasonable arrangement of those three points, we'll be good.
|3 weeks 6 days ago||I don't agree about unbundling||
The Internet is a boon for distribution of content, in that the rights-owners of the content have lower distribution costs and can better identify the people who will buy what they have.
Sports programming is no different. ESPN rents the rights and will make their money either way; it's not like network television, where you can go to Hulu/iTunes/whatever and get the exact same thing for a cheaper price if all you want is every episode of "Royal Pains". If you want B1G Football, the Big Ten Network will sell those rights to various distributors for enormous dollars, and those distributors will absolutely make sure that they get paid for distributing it to whoever wants it. Whether that's a subscription to ESPN Sports or a cable subscription, it will be about the same amount because ESPN and the B1G don't care how you watch, they just care that you pay to watch.
By the same cable unbundling becomes widespread, the economic picture won't change for the B1G - they'll have made enormous profit, and will make still more for every school they add, as long as the distributors think that the additional cost to them will result in additional subscriptions to enhance their profits.
Put simply, adding Maryland and Rutgers has already paid off, and will continue to pay off because people will pay for Maryland basketball and Rutgers alumni sports fans will pay for Rutgers sports - one way or another.
|5 weeks 1 day ago||Skill against Skill alone||
Any prospect where the odds are slightly in his favor at hand fighting works for me.
"I could kill you now" also works.
|5 weeks 2 days ago||The lack of contact and the late grayshirt||
should not be tolerated here.
As others have mentioned, if we recruit someone and tell them "You're getting an offer, but you might have to grayshirt the first semester" up front that's one thing. Telling them on Signing Day "Thanks for the LOI, but you're not getting a scholarship" is something different (and yet another reason for recruits to not sign a letter of intent if they can avoid it).
The lack of contact just seems ... wrong. Of course, coaches aren't usually going to come out and say "You got hurt, we're yanking your offer", but there's got to be a better way to do this.
I suspect this is one area where Harbaugh will bend us away from what I'd like us to do, and whether we'll tolerate it or not depends on how much he wins (and how much of it he does).
|6 weeks 3 days ago||A pattern emerges||
Despite the available 14 scholarships, of which 12 are now taken, Harbaugh continues to go after anyone he thinks can help. That implies the class is going to be huge - perhaps as high as 25 as others have tweeted. (That in turn implies that at least some players we might have counted on next year are not going to be there, whether by transfer or by medical exemption. That doesn't make me happy about the upcoming year.)
Harbaugh appears to have great confidence in his ability to take raw talent - the kind of player with athletic gifts but not mastery of skills - and turn it into what he needs. With his track record, that confidence is justified - as long as he can find the guys who have all the gifts but none of the skills, and can learn the skills quickly.
One resolution to our Three-Star-Dilemma is thus:
Put more simply, we're getting a lot of three stars because we always were going to need them (given the class size, our recent mediocrity, and the staff's short time at Michigan), and because the right three-stars are committing now, rather than risk the wrong three-stars in February.
|6 weeks 5 days ago||I would like to think that the goal of admissions is broader||
Specifically, it's not just about people who'll donate more, but turning out people who live up to the standards of alumni past and are well prepared to tackle the modern world in their field of study. That tends to correlate well to success and hence to donations, but skipping past the middle and heading to the dollars leads you to more Dave Brandons and fewer top artists.
|7 weeks 1 day ago||It always comes back to execution||
This is one reason I have a hard time getting worked up about play-calling. The right play call means less has to go totally right to get a success, but one guy getting it wrong can always kill you.
That said, it would be nice if we both didn't get it wrong and called the right plays.
|8 weeks 3 days ago||My OL take||
I assign about 40% to RR recruiting, as it left us low on talent and bodies. This was papered over by Molk, and then Denard, but it showed up even before that.
Next would be 30% to Borges, although I can't sub categorize that. I don't see the tinkering as the problem as much as I see it as a response to a problem (a response that made things worse, granted, but given the state of the team it's not clear that blocking at the 75th best level would have made any difference versus the utter shambles we actually were). Put another way, we were failing, and rather than hope we gelled, he tried anything he could think of. I can't really fault that, even if it didn't work; it's not clear that anything would have. The bottom line is that it was his job, and he couldn't get it done.
Finally I assign Funk about 15% - he has to get some, but he also did good work with Glasgow, Magnusen and Cole, and was the coach for the rebound to bad (from utterly abysmal, granted).
The remainder I assign to injury (I think Kalis's back boo-boo has been a big factor in his lack of success thus far, for example), and slight over expectations - even five star linemen fail more often than you'd think, and we didn't exactly have wall-to-wall future-Sunday guys. Put more simply, I think that first year gave us less tolerance for what followed.
May we never have to dissect a similar failure again.
|8 weeks 6 days ago||Names have power||
My wife was never in a class without at least one person with the same name. I, on the other hand, never met anyone with my first name until well into adulthood (despite it being relatively common for my ethnicity).
We both wanted to honor our son's dual heritage, but while my wife wanted something uncommon, I wanted Joe/Steve/Sam :). We also took into account both how he might feel as an adult and his initials, and came up with something that we both really liked. He has a first name from my side of the family, and a middle name from my wife's, and goes by those initials for now. If he wants to use his first name, he can, and if not, his initials work just fine. (As it happens, my people have a formal-name-and-a-nickname tradition, and there is a traditional name that sounds just like his initials, so everyone is happy.)
I have sympathy for the wait-until-you-meet-them-to-name-them approach, as well. My son's first name means Sky, and he definitely has a sunny personality, but it didn't have to work out that way.
|10 weeks 4 hours ago||Unless he got hurt||
There's an alternate universe somewhere in which Henson spurned the Yankees and re-injured his foot in his first game, and never came back from it at all.
If it was all about the money, his choice represents a guarantee of life-altering money versus a chance at ... Twice as much life-altering money.
It may have ripped the heart out of our fans (and I'm right there with you - I didn't want him to leave), but it's not the awful decision we would like to think.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||Michigan haiku||
So many skilled wings!
|10 weeks 6 days ago||Damn that man could play||
I saw him in Nyon, France in 1982 as part of the Paleo Folk Festival - a bunch of bands I'd never heard of, the Stray Cats, and BB King (I was on a summer exchange program). My host brother wanted to see a bunch of the bands so we drove from Geneva to Nyon and saw the show. I remember thinking after the Stray Cats finished their set that I was done and could go get food now, but then BB King came on and blew the doors down. Fantastic live performer, and someplace on high is getting a real treat now, even by divine standards.
|11 weeks 4 hours ago||Tipler FTW!||
This would yield a combination of apparent time travel or faster-than-light information traversal:
Note the publication date on the paper.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||Anything by Journey||
Stone in Love, Don't Stop Believing, Who's Crying Now?
And on and on.
Btw, y'all have decent taste; about half the songs here started playing their hooks in my head as I read the names :)
|13 weeks 7 hours ago||Both||
Manage expectations correctly, though. InAOut is a drive-thru fast food burger which is very good for that category. Five Guys is a step up from that, but that puts it in the category with your local sit-down burger joint.
Both appear to be good places to work, though, and are decently run-businesses. I tend to go by Five Guys more often because there's one in the mall with my son's preferred option (Panera Bread).
|13 weeks 1 day ago||Trading up requires your player to become a star||
Or you would have been better off with the multiple picks. Obviously this varies by team and situation, but it's usually only worth trading up for guys who are so good a trade is unlikely e.g. Andrew Luck.
Maybe if you're one player away or you have a chance at someone like Luck, but that rarely comes up. Almost every trade up is a bust. They would likely be better off taking BPA at #12 and either BPA or Winston at #19.
|14 weeks 3 hours ago||Pitchers are volatile||
It's too bad for Nathan - he was very good for a long time, and you never want to see that career crash and burn like this.
We still don't know how to predict who will get hurt, and relievers are even more volatile just due to the small-sample effect. 50 good innings is a season+ for a reliever, and a quarter season for a starter; it just is not enough data to know how good someone is. This is why signing pitchers to long-term deals is very risky, and why paying big money for a reliever is particularly foolish.
Assembling a competent bullpen on the cheap is one of the hallmarks of the "modern GM" - picking through the bargain bin for failed starters, random guys with velocity who you can get on one year deals, breaking in young guns as relievers a la Earl Weaver - and for all his acknowledged acumen in nearly other GM endeavor, DD's (undoubted) efforts here have been badly snakebitten.
|15 weeks 9 hours ago||1985||
MIT was a DARPA/ArpaNet hub, and my freshman year had Project Athena up and running for incoming freshman, so everyone got an account on the campus network, which was directly gatewayed into both the ArpaNet and NSFNet. It was actually pretty fast - dialup was so disappointing when I got it at home later. I didn't realize until later how much stuff I had access to via that setup - I used it for classes, USENET, and keeping myself on the top of the campus-wide Hextris (Hexagonal Tetris) and Trek73 leaderboards :)
(For you younguns, DARPA=Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, ArpaNet was the network connecting the labs working with them, and NSFNet was the National Science Foundation network connecting the supercomputer labs to universities so people could time-share the super-expensive big iron for things like fluid dynamics calculations. Those networks were the proto-Internet and still form much of what used to be called the backbone.)
|15 weeks 1 day ago||Mendocino Sweet Hot Mustard||
Works well on almost everything. Spicy Brown Mustard is also a favorite, as is Sriracha.
|15 weeks 3 days ago||The only time we have a problem is if two+||
or Williams/Brown/LaVert want in, and Hatch doesn't agree that his career is over (he has to agree to the medical exemption barring an extraordinary waiver).
In that case, I would rather turn away Brown and/or Williams than force Hatch out, even if it makes our team worse next year.
|15 weeks 6 days ago||529 plan here||
We liked it better than the Coverdell, and Utah's plan is well run with a few solid fire-and-forget options - for example, they have one that is aggressive early, then shifts to more conservative investments as it gets closer to maturity so that you don't get hit by a stock downturn just as you need the money.
Although if your state permits tax deductions/credits for investment in its plans, do it - that's almost guaranteed to be a bigger savings than you can get elsewhere. CA doesn't, sadly, so we picked Utah's plan. (If you didn't realize it, you can invest in any state's plan and withdraw to pay expenses anywhere; the main differences are tax treatments and how the plans are run. Utah's consistently does very well in terms of low expenses and decent returns, with a wide variety of options, and is tax-advantaged for Utah residents.)
The bigger point is to have a plan, and start it early. Sounds like you're up on both counts, so good luck!
|16 weeks 6 days ago||If you think 17-year-old boys aren't influenced by weather||
You're nuts. It only takes one trip to a CA campus where coeds study in bikins ... in March ... to remind you of the benefits of year-round sunshine. I mean, Ann Arbor had white Fourths of July while I lived there, and Stanford had at least one 80-degree-but-breezy-day this February.
Not to mention the joys of seasonal-affect-issues, the ... exquisite fun ... of practicing in the cold rain, and so forth.
It's not just an advantage because people say it is, it's because people act as though it is.
|18 weeks 1 day ago||I don't think Kentucky is cheating to any real extent||
They don't have to. They are a basketball power, a blueblood for at least 50 years, and they have a championship winning coach who promises to give you the best chance at the NBA ... and delivers. If you're a one-and-done level talent, it's absolutely a top option for you.
Rather than cheating, I see Kentucky as gaming the system to the point of absurdity. Their hoopsters are student-athletes in name only, but that's the logical end product of this set of rules.
|18 weeks 1 day ago||He's not worth it in terms of value to society||
But that's true of many of us - possibly most of us. That kind of scale would value teachers and janitors well above what they get paid.
He's not worth it on a linear scale either (which is the context for his remarks) - he's not doing five times as much work as someone getting paid $1M to coach a team.
On the other hand, he's likely going to be underpaid in terms of what he brings to the program - the excitement of any new hire is already exceeding what we might expect because it's Harbaugh and not some other former player/coach. If he succeeds in turning our program around, the surplus value accrued to the university could easily double what it pays him. And if he gets us on par with OSU's recent success, the sky's the limit.
|18 weeks 2 days ago||Our football program has a nearly unmatched history||
And we should use that to its benefit. Legends jerseys are one way of doing that, and I liked the basic idea.
What I didn't like is the seemingly constant changing of numbers. Give them out when people first start, and let them keep them until they're done. It would be cool to have Peppers add a patch to an already legendary number.
|19 weeks 4 hours ago||Failure but not a systemic issue||
This season is a failure in much the same way the Apollo 13 mission was - they didn't achieve the goal, but when faced with unexpectedly catastrophic circumstances, they didn't give up; instead they got better, and should fate deal us a bad hand again, they'll be ready.
|19 weeks 1 day ago||I think McGary was always going pro||
Once he demonstrated he was healthy, he would have gotten a first round grade, and taken it. His age means that coming back was much more likely to drop his status than enhance it, if he could persuade people he was healthy.
Not to mention that, for once, the NCAA isn't the one at fault here. Sure, the rule is stupid, but it's not like McGary took a principled stand against it and opposed it because it was dumb. He got caught doing something he agreed he wouldn't when he signed his scholarship.
Still, "vigilante dickpunch justice" is worth the whole rant right there :)
|19 weeks 1 day ago||Scott Boras' greatest fear||
Is universal free agency with maximum one year contracts. That market would quickly correct to paying most players a pittance, while pitchers would have one year where they made 1000% of their other years pay before they got hurt and went back to the minimum. It's a really effective way to transfer wealth from players to owners.
|19 weeks 2 days ago||I wish this was a Penn State thing||
What are the odds that a current Michigan student hasn't posted nude pictures of people without their consent?
|19 weeks 2 days ago||If you're going to steal, steal from the best||
Terry Pratchett is a fabulous author whose critical appeal was definitely hurt by writing humorous genre books. It's the critics who missed out, though - this was a man in total command of his craft. I'll second the recommendations of Small Gods as an introduction - it's a stand-alone novel spending most of its time away from Anhk-Moorpork, which is the hub for many of the other books.
Guards! Guards! is also a favorite. The two I reread most often are probably The Fifth Elephant - Vimes as an ambassador is not to be missed - and Going Postal - Moist Von Lipwig is a hoot :). The Night Watch might be the pinnacle of the series - despite the humorous bits, it's actually pretty dark, but Vimes and Vetinari dealing with the reformation of the Watch is exceptionally well done.
As for Dr. Z, reading his SI columns taught me the importance of line play in football, and showed me how much the game really revolves around the trenches. Doesn't look like we'll get more of his writing, either :(