This Week's Obsession: The Best Game

This Week's Obsession: The Best Game

Submitted by Ace on July 11th, 2014 at 2:14 PM

The question this week is a simple one. Of the Michigan games you've attended, which one is your favorite, and what makes it stand out so much?

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Seth: I've got so many Michigan memories with my dad that I can't separate (or I'm just not ready to think about) them, but even if I could it would still be the one when I started going without him that sticks out: The '98 Penn State game.

It was a chilly, kind of overcast, sweatshirty Michigan fall afternoon and I was a first-year flying solo. My freshman year came right after the national championship and the "Halo" stadium expansion, and that meant fewer student seats available with way too much demand. The freshmen were at the bottom of that list, thus I wound up with the option of getting only a "half-pack" or no tickets. Since I went to all the games with my dad and his friends anyway, what did it matter? So it wasn't until the PSU game, when my dad wasn't going, and Steve Kyritz offered me his ticket, that I got to see my first game from the student section. Since I'd been informed not sitting in your seat was SOP in that mass of human bodies, I wound up squeezed and standing sideways on a bench in the 30-somethings.

And it was a hell of a game to do that. That PSU team was very good (they came in ranked #9) and the last time we'd faced them was Judgment Day/Party at Bollinger's House. Michigan was still floundering in the #20s because of the two losses to open the season.

What made the day was each time Penn State got near us they'd get blown back by three sections of 18- to 21-year old raging psychotics possessed of toilet paper rolls and marshmallows. The Nits didn't arrive until later in the 1st quarter, and Michigan blocked a FG. They came down again and Michigan stood them up on the goal line three times before PSU let time expire in the quarter to get the hell away from us (they didn't get in on 4th down either). In the 4th quarter Penn State kept getting pinned deep against us, and the linemen couldn't hear the calls, meaning we were treated to a TFL fest. Michigan won 27-0 and by Mondaywas back in the top 15.

Michigan with my dad was this paced thing we enjoyed like a baseball game while he and his best friend worked through their complicated lives. His standard cheer was a clap-clap-fistpump. PSU '98 was the first time I experienced the Big House as a visceral thing I did with my whole body. I still sat with my dad at least a game a year, but when it came time to sign up for '99 student tickets I was one of the first in line.

The Mathlete: I don't think that was the real ticket, I didn't see the official game sponsor noted anywhere.

[Hit THE JUMP for the obvious answer, a far less obvious answer, and one that falls somewhere in the middle.]

Unverified Voracity Invites You To His Lawn

Unverified Voracity Invites You To His Lawn

Submitted by Brian on July 27th, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Programming note/briefly. No Friday Recruitin' today since Ace is in Chicago covering Big Ten media days. Here's an abbreviated version:

Ohio State dropped VA RB Derrick Green, who is either the top back in his class (Rivals) or like #5 or so and a guy you can line up in the I-form—mixed feelings ho—and pound away with. So he's changed his plans to spend more time at Michigan instead of hitting up OSU's Friday Night Lights camp. With Clemson also out of the picture since they filled up at running back, Green is now looking like far more of a possibility than he was just a couple weeks ago.

IL WR LaQuon Treadwell: still visiting Oklahoma State. Still probably thinking about officials. Trieu: "I still think Michigan is very much in the lead with him."

FL S Leon McQuay's dad clarified that the younger McQuay had not dropped Michigan but confirmed that Florida State had replaced M in his top three.

No one else exists.

Bo talks Joe. WH posts the Big Ten Ticket segment from before the '98 PSU game:

Hey, kids! Get on my lawn! Jump up and down and smoke the pot! Have a woodstock! Northwestern just debuted new uniforms that are unique and awesome:

AyvD1YNCAAA9AOz_medium[1]Ayu9pNDCcAAvobY[1]

These aren't alternates, either, they're the thing they're going to wear all the time now. I'm not sure about the brickwork frippery on the numbers when you get real close but if you can't see it at all in the above shots it's probably not too bad.

Why do I like these when Michigan's parade of changes are annoying at best and horrifying at worst?

  1. This is a new overall identity for Northwestern, one in which the "Northwestern stripe" is being reclaimed for all their sports. It is not a one-off flibbertyjibber that only confuses things.
  2. It is a One Big Idea jersey minus the fooferrah that made Remember Bo's parody of the direction Michigan is headed in the thing I front-paged hardest last year. I front-paged that so hard. Michigan keeps adding block Ms all over the place and patches and numbers and all this stuff when they have already acquired the One Big Idea—the winged helmet.
  3. They are unique across college football and give you the start of a tradition. I feel like I should have a ridiculous carnival noun in here.

Anyway. Steve Spurrier needs to be involved with this.

mgotrivia: named primary Rock Band band "OBC and the Click Clacks"

BONUS: Man, Under Armor likes misters.

Meanwhile, more detail on our bit. The Alabama jerseys in a 30 second video:

Those gloves will come in handy if any of those guys ever have a test on what the lyrics to the fight song are.

I know you're literally coming off the worst scandal in the history of college athletics, but doesn't this seem extreme? Penn State is considering something drastic:

An issue that generated just as much buzz Thursday was the possibility that coach Bill O'Brien plans to change Penn State's traditional, basic blue and white uniforms. The coach mentioned that possibility during a conference call with players' parents Wednesday night, according to the Reading Eagle.

O'Brien has had discussions with Nike about changing the uniforms, which he has said repeatedly that he would not do since taking the PSU job in January.

"I reserve the right to change my mind," O'Brien said Thursday when asked what led to his decision.

Neither O'Brien nor the Penn State players would give any indication as to what the uniform changes might include, but there has been widespread speculation that it would be names on the jerseys.

The fans are already lying on the ground after a thorough kicking so I guess now's the time to do this. I suggest taking everyone's mind off the terrible things that happened by changing the school's mascot to a rainbow unicorn.

rainbow-unicorn[1]

Try to be sad now! Pretty hard, right?

Also in lack of sadness. PSU adds an unrated 2012 LB named Brennan Franklin who had been ticketed for Eastern Arizona Junior College. Had "interest" from Toledo. Franklin on his commitment: "If I went to New Mexico or New Mexico State or Indiana, they wouldn’t be going to a bowl game anyway."

Oy. I'm not happy about this at all. I can only imagine what it's like to be a Penn State fan. What's the Michigan equivalent of this? Bo helped plan 9/11 and the Rodriguez era lasts 15 years. I would not wish the equivalent on my worst enemy*.

*[False. I would wish it on many people, but only bad ones. Like the people who came up with the Buffalo Wild Wings commercials.]

Boooooooooo. Boooooooo. Booooooooo. PEOPLE ARE JERKS AND STUFF:

Don't expect to see a nine-game Big Ten schedule any time soon.

Commissioner Jim Delany said at Big Ten media days Thursday that league schools are "of a unanimous mind to stay at eight games" in the conference schedule.

Guh. The Pac-12 is already there, the Big 12 and ACC are going to nine, and it's only the teams with the sappiest saps sticking with four nonconference games: the Big Ten and the SEC. And maybe the Big East, but no one bothers mentioning them any more.

This is especially bad for Michigan since its primary foes for the division title play Indiana, Penn State, and Purdue on an annual basis while Michigan gets Ohio State. Anything that softened that disparity helps. Hopefully it won't matter much if Hoke keeps the recruiting train going like he is, but the least the league could have done was make the conference record of your crossover opponents the first tiebreaker. If two teams finish tied at 7-1 and one of them took on OSU and UW while the other didn't, head to head can get bent.

Rebranded. Fan day is now Youth Day, for whatever reason. It's August 12th at 2. Anyone over 19 trying to enter the stadium will be chased through a cornfield by a giant red-eyed monster and eaten.

Yes. Michael Weinreb should take over PR for the Paterno family, because he's able to express the tricky concepts about moving forward as a Penn State fan in a way that sounds right:

There is no way to make up for what has been lost. All we can do is start over again. If it takes Penn State fielding a team full of walk-ons and castaways in the years to come, if it takes losses to Temple and to the dregs of the Mid-American Conference to reinforce the horror of what took place, then I will accept that. What I want now is for my alma mater to become what we’d always imagined it to be, an agent of change in a sport that desperately seeks it. If failure equals success, the punishment will be justified.

I don't know about you, but next year's game in Happy Valley has become a must-attend for me. Not to gloat, just to see what it's like and maybe stare at a place a statue used to stand and think about what is or is not pretty much the same band of RV-possessing friendly people I experienced in 2006.

And so it came to pass that Wisconsin fans bought all the tickets. The Big Ten has added this "TeamTix" system in which you gamble ten bucks on your team making the title game and then can buy a face value ticket if your team gets there. Which may be a hideously overpriced one if it's, say, Michigan State-Wisconsin. Events with Michigan in them may be another matter but I'd probably want to see how the secondary market shapes up this year. You might be able to get a suite for ten bucks.

Walton stuff. UMHoops talks to his AAU coach:

Can you talk about the progression in his game, especially within the last few months?
“He’s gotten tremendously better. He works hard every day, getting his shots up, working on his step back, working on how to finish in the mid-range because he knows that he’s going to run into 7-footers, and 6-foot-9 and so forth, so we try to make sure he’s got a little floater coming and a higher arching jump shot. So he knows what’s to come.”

Taken by the will of the wisp. Will Campbell gets probation, has to pay fines and court costs and restitution, etc. The judge gets it, man:

Judge Chris Easthope said he believed Campbell didn’t have any kind of malicious intent and was rather “caught up in the moment.”

Chris Easthope has been there, man. On the hood of a car at two AM.

Etc.: Brian Phillips on rhythmic gymnastics. Anthony Zettel stays put. Jordan Morgan expectations. Gasaway on the Emmert penalty shotgun. He's in favor. Suspended Wolverines' are called team cancers by teammates. Alabama's NT benches 600 pounds. Yay.

Unverified Voracity Roots For Ties

Unverified Voracity Roots For Ties

Submitted by Brian on July 24th, 2012 at 12:14 PM

[Programming note: Ace is at a Big Day Prep Showdown event today and will be reporting from that. Recruiting roundup will be tomorrow.]

Jamie Morris breaks the record. Via WH, the 1987 Minnesota game:

Also Michigan gives up a 98-yard touchdown run.

FOOTBAW. Also from WH, the 1998 shutout of Penn State. Try to watch the first minute of this without punching something and thinking about FOOTBAW:

Keith Jackson, man.

UPDATE/BONUS: Fumble recoveries, man.

image

Luck be a lady tonight.

Your tears are so yummy, Scott. Run, don't walk, to ND Nation and imbibe the thread "An emo rant: I'm still not over the Michigan loss" if the suffering of other tribes stirs even the barest tremors of pleasure in you. You will not be disappointed:

I was there...
by mg73

and the worst part for me was the 45 min it took to wade through 100,000 rabid fans screaming and singing the entire time.

I had perfect seats right under the press box on the west side with my best friend who's a UM fan. There were so many head-banging letdowns during that game: The last drive, Denard continually throwing the ball up for grabs the entire game and having UM come down with it every time, Denard fumbling and then picking it up and running it in for a TD vs Rees having the ball just fall out of his hands in the Red Zone...

Fortunately my friend was very gracious in victory, as I would have been had we won. But it still makes me ill when I think about it.

My brother's response after the game summed it up perfectly
by jameszuro

"I don't know where to start cleaning up. Firs I sh*t myself I was so happy. Then I threw up all over the carpet."

Oh, man. I have to sit down after that.

He came with the power of LAW and gave unto newspaper reporters. Are you wondering what the only lawyer in America thinks about the Penn State sanctions? Wonder no longer:

On Sunday, Buckner filed a blog entry (read it here) stating that he is "extremely concerned about the possible NCAA sanctions and urge the organization to comply with its existing processes and procedures to address the Penn State sexual abuse scandal."

Further, he wrote that sanctions could "potentially violate federal and state notions of due and fair process" because, among other reasons, Penn State did not violate an existing NCAA rule, and the NCAA is not following existing procedures available to other schools.

He's got a blog now. Batten down the law-hatches.

Even more PENN STATE~! So the thing about the sanctions that is truly painful is that the roster restriction doesn't start for two years. The bowl ban is now, the scholarship reductions are now, but the roster cap of 65 does not come into effect until 2014. But since it's open season on PSU players and what's left of their 2012 recruiting class, PSU is likely to be way, way below their hypothetical maximum this fall, and then they've only got 15 slots to try to bring that up to par next year, and that's when the roster cap kicks in. Penn State has six years of extreme restrictions. Which… wow.

Q: assuming academic-fraud-laden and booster-runner-employing North Carolina gets charged with LOIC can Mark Emmert level a similar punishment? I think that's the test case for those theorizing about the New Era Of Enforcement. What went down at UNC seems as egregious a violation of NCAA principles as what happened at Penn State, though not the principles of basic human decency. If Emmert agitates for a similarly harsh, long-term punishment of the Tarheels, then I'll believe in the new era.

I'm on the fence as it is. Emmert is clearly trying to repair some of the things that suck about the NCAA. Under his watch they jammed through the ability to offer multi-year scholarships (barely) and were only thwarted by the Indiana States of the world when they tried to offer an additional stipend to the athletes. IIRC, both of these pieces of legislation took some arcane-but-direct route that got them through the legislative process without exposing it to votes involving the Indiana States until their only resort was the override process. That required a supermajority of 5/8ths to knock down the legislation and that is the only reason (THE OPTION TO OFFER!) multi-year scholarships got through. A majority was against it.

So, yeah, rail on the NCAA because you're Drew Magary or Charlie Pierce and railin' is your speciality, but really what we're railing at is the rickety structure trying to accommodate schools that spend millions of dollars annually on a bonfire called college athletics with the major schools that can build thousand-foot tall statues of Charles Woodson intercepting that pass against MSU*. When the big players try to lurch slowly towards a more equitable distribution of their massive revenues, the small schools cry "level playing field" with a straight face and knock it down. That's the real issue, and the only solution is to hack big football schools away from Indiana State.

Anyway, Emmert seems to be ramming things through the NCAA without regard to anything except how he can Get Things Done, and the things that he wants to get done are good changes. He can't help it that he's not a dictator.

*[Just sayin']

Paterno statue position paper. Should have left it up, but removed the "educator, coach, humanitarian" text under his name. Just let people look at as they would.

We've got a poll. The writers have taken it upon themselves to replicate the preseason polls the milquetoasty Big Ten has done away with. Results:

Leaders Division
1. Wisconsin (19 first-place votes)
2. Ohio State (5)
3. Purdue
4. Illinois
5. Penn State
6. Indiana

Legends Division
1. Michigan (16 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State (7)
3. Nebraska (1)
4. Iowa
5. Northwestern
6. Minnesota

Michigan wins the championship game on 11 out of 24 ballots. If only it was slightly under 50% for the Rose Bowl this year. The inexplicable Will Gholston Hype Train continues, as he's the pick for defensive player of the year. Kawaan Short and John Simon are like "WTF I have beaten many blocks in my career page me when Gholston does yes I still have a pager also Tamagotchi."

The Elite 11 is a ridiculous thing now. You may not be following this closely, but there are now 25(!) quarterbacks at the Elite 11, which is, like, too many quarterbacks. Not only is your name silly but it results in events like this:

The third day of 7v7 began at the Elite 11 in which each quarterback takes eight throws. The duration of the day spread across a seven hour time frame makes for some strikingly different conditions. The early afternoon groups contend with a stiff ocean breeze that typically dies down late afternoon and into the evening.

Even more ridiculous was a redzone event where the QBs threw four times. Take all Elite 11 rankings with a grain of salt, as they represent little data made big. Shane Morris did well according to all observers, but did not make the camp coaches' Elite 11 list.

Isn't he doing this whenever he walks down a street? Will Campbell's Dukes of Hazzard fail magically transmogrifies into

Michigan senior defensive tackle Will Campbell accepted responsibility for a civil infraction of blocking a sidewalk Monday morning in the 15th District Court in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Be narrower or pay $300 in fines or court costs. Campbell also has a sentencing hearing for misdemeanor destruction of property coming up. My punishment spidey-sense suggests this is a stairs-type offense that shouldn't impact his availability for football games.

Nevermind. The "Valley of the Sun Bowl" is no more. In its place:

The bastard child of the Fiesta Bowl, the Insight Bowl, will now shed its technocratic shell and become known as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Please insert immediately obvious jokes about a field rigged with sprinklers and booby traps designed to take games into overtime here.

I hope other people are driven as insane by the idea people would go to a sports bar and cheer for a tie, or that someone could be watching the Detroit Randoms try a last-ditch Hail Mary down a touchdown and say "the only thing that could make this better is… OVERTIME" instead of "the only thing that could make this better is winning 68-0 and being at a place where the food comes on, you know, plates." I hate the fake BWW people so, so much.

Yessssssss. EA has agreed to give up NCAA licensing exclusivity as part of an anti-trust class-action lawsuit. The contract lapses in 2014. Bizarrely, it stipulates that EA won't re-acquire an exclusive license for "at least five years." If your position now is so crappy you're paying out a class action lawsuit settlement why would it be better in five years? I don't know.

Anyway, this opens the door for football games from other people that may not suck and may get EA to actually fix its product. A lot of folks in the comment thread were skeptical about the economics of just putting out a college football game, but I figure someone's got to take a swing. Also one guy put out a call for a CFB game akin to Football Manager. Working title: "Brian was never heard from again."

Etc.: Bonus news that will depress Penn State fans: top basketball recruit Brandon Austin decommits. UNC stuff gets incrementally worse. Luke Winn on transferring up in college basketball. Former Penn State player twitter roundup. Penn State punishment comment fallout. BHGP podcast w/ the original BSD mafia (Chris Grovich, Kevin… uh… I don't know his last name) on the Penn State stuff. The city of Grambling is saucy, yo.