Big Ten Expansion: Bargaining Phase Part II

Big Ten Expansion: Bargaining Phase Part II

Submitted by Brian on November 20th, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Penelope Waits Crafty Like a Fox[1]

FEELING STITCHY

Okay okay okay you guys I've got it

WEST

Nebraska
Iowa
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Northwestern
Illinois

EAST

Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Penn State
Indiana

COASTAL*

Maryland
Rutgers

*ineligible for championship game, plays all games against coastal division

Expansion Mailbag: About Expansion

Expansion Mailbag: About Expansion

Submitted by Brian on November 20th, 2012 at 11:03 AM

this song is exactly like adding Rutgers and Maryland because it is waste and terrible and has pointy hair

A side note: the poll from late Sunday is running 83-17 against Rutgers and Maryland.

Ok, so I find this Maryland/Rutgers thing agitating from a tradition standpoint and pointless from a $$$ standpoint. Michigan, Ohio State and PSU probably have the lion's share of CFB fans here in NYC already.

While meanwhile BTN is on the basic sports tier for $3.95 or something so anyone who wants it (and a ton of people who just want Fox Soccer or whatever) already has it.

The one group BTN _could_ conceivably seize in this area is Notre Dame fans. If this is a play to strangle ND's other avenues (ACC, Big East, with Big 12 already raided for Nebraska), it starts making a little more financial sense and becomes more palatable from a tradition standpoint.

Have you heard any rumblings to that effect? If that were in fact the idea, would you get behind it more?

Ben

Ben. You are a crazy bastard. Snatching one team from a 14 team conference that can immediately consider a near-equivalent—possibly an upgrade!—in UConn or Louisville is nowhere near destabilizing enough to do anything to Notre Dame, an institution looking saner by the minute for opting out of this conference business.

In fact, I would be infinitely happier with Louisville than either of the selected teams. You can drive there, they are the biggest thing in the city that is not a horse, and they are at least as good as Maryland in basketball with more promise in football.

What do you think the Irish fanbase's reaction to the Big Ten's Semisonic move was? I'll tell you:

  1. gales of laughter
  2. yet more gales of laughter
  3. that point after gales and gales of laughter where everything's petering out and you can't summon the oxygen to continue but you have that lovely, blissful aftertaste of laughing at everything for so long
  4. a silent prayer of thanks for Notre Dame's obstinate insistence at independence even if it requires playing a bunch of middling ACC teams each year
  5. oh my god the Big Ten voluntarily sucked up a middling ACC team and Rutgers
  6. gales of laughter
  7. ad infinitum

Notre Dame's avenues are broad and gilt-lined. As long as they can assemble a schedule that can get them into a four-team (and possibly expanding) playoff, they can tell anyone they want to FOAD.

Brian,

Let me start by saying I hate the addition of Maryland and Rutgers to the Big Ten. They're crappy teams with insubstantial fanbases who've pretty much never been good. It's clear the decision for them to jump ship from the ACC (Or Big East, or whatever) to the Big Ten is based on a desire to make more money, as the Big Ten can afford them more money. Assuming that's true, do you think that increase in revenue can help them to eventually become better teams?

The obvious answer is no, you can't just throw money at a program and magically solve it's problems. But one can't deny the correlation between successful football programs and the endowments of those universities. Maybe Delany's thought is that he can grow Rutgers and Maryland's program into respectability over the course of time. During that time, he has new television markets he can get revenue from (theoretically), and new fanbases to own. I don't know, that's honestly the best explanation I can think of. Your insight, as always, is appreciated.

beenplumb

Ah. I see you are also in the bargaining phase. Welcome. It is slightly nicer here than depression.

I don't see how it happens. Loyal fanbases are built with wins or boredom. The fundamental problem with the awesome TV markets of Maryland and Rutgers is they are occupied with everything else in the world. The only way either of those programs is ever going to be anything more than they are right now is by beating M and OSU, or at least playing them with major stakes. That doesn't look like it'll happen, and the instant any of those teams falls off the map whatever bandwagon has assembled will dissolve into one of the other eight-six available teams. At best you're looking at an Iowa/MSU/Northwestern thing where they pop up to be interesting two years in a decade.

I think the chances of building something at Louisville would have been much greater, academics be damned, TV markets be damned. The city of Louisville doesn't have two pro teams in every sport sucking up all the oxygen.

Brian:

Not to make this even worse, but with the way the BTN contracts with cable operators are set up, adding Rutgers will NOT (at least initially) require cable operators to launch BTN on expanded basic in the New York market.  The addition of schools is set up on a state-by-state basis, meaning that Rutgers will require a move of BTN to expanded basic in New Jersey ONLY (half of New Jersey already should have BTN on basic b/c Phili market is considered part of Big 10 core footprint.  Big 10 core footprint is all states with Big 10 schools plus the Philadelphia and St. Louis markets).

Some caveats:  If a cable operator in New York market already carries BTN on a sports tier, and has a contract up for renewal soon, you can bet the Big 10/FOX will force BTN onto expanded basic.  And if a cable operator doesn't carry BTN at all, you can also bet the Big 10/Fox will require expanded basic carriage if the operator wants to launch it.

That said, it could be a bit awkward to see Rutgers come in and BTN not go into New York City TVs, at least initially.  PR-wise, the hit might be rough, although this is already a garbage idea anyway.

-credible anon guy

You did make it worse. Actually, wait. Michigan is putting a quarter billion dollars into nonrevenue sports. I don't care about money. I will never, ever again say "this will put the Big Ten on good footing relative to other conferences." I'm done.

TWO AND A HALF MEN

dog groomin'

I became a CF fan 10 years ago because I got tired of the NFL and was attracted to the tradition and pageantry of CF. I love the big stadia filled with young fans and the regional rivalries with trophy games like the Paul Bunyon ax and the Bowl games. Now it appears that CF is trying to become the NFL-Lite with super conferences that are destroying ancient rivalries and playoffs that threaten the bowls. Now we have two mediocre teams added to the Big Ten that will do nothing for the conference on the field. At some point don't you think that CF fans like myself ( and I am sure there are many like me) will become turned off, that any new fans will be offset by those like me who, if we want to watch the NFL, will simply watch the real thing?

pffyank

Yes. This is the most irritating thing about the band of folks who tell you "no you just don't get it, this is about the future." This is a short-term money grab based on nothing else but the possibility of putting a cable TV channel on some homes that do not already have a cable TV channel.

The problem is that in five to ten years when some modicum of financial benefit is being realized—and that will be a boost on the order of 10%, not 100%—people will have ever-fatter internet pipes and start bailing on cable for internet streaming. Watch what happens in Kansas City now that Google fiber is in place. The ability to bilk old ladies out of a dollar a month because they want to watch Matlock marathons is rapidly ending. The Big Ten Network will be an ephemeral bridge between an era when gatekeepers kept all the things and one where epic bandwidth means you get only what you want—you pay only for what you want—always.

Once the cable barriers come down, as they inevitably will, this comes down to committed diehards per school. How many people will pay you specifically instead of allow themselves to be roped into an expensive package of channels they largely don't care for but have no choice about?

Maryland has several, but not many compared to most Big Ten schools. Rutgers has one, he's a nice guy, he is @ruscoop. I don't think that's enough.

For this short-term gain, you dilute the long-standing rivalries, the decades-long narratives, the very heart of the thing that differentiates college football from all the other things competing for attention. It's the same thing Brandon has done to Michigan Stadium—in an effort to make its appeal the same as everything else he has sacrificed anything unique about it that might make one love it.

There are still things to love about college football—I mean, Denard—but increasingly they are surrounded by crap that you tolerate. The future is the niche, even at macro scales, and broadening out your product to be a Midwestern sports Two and a Half Men is a losing idea created by men with no imagination who rely on spreadsheets to create the future.

I mean, who's crazy here: the fans who were generally okay with the additions of Penn State and Nebraska or the men who added nonentities the entire league has to fly to so they could get a TV channel in some extra homes?

I can't tell if Rutgers has a D1 hockey program. If not, doesn't that scuttle B1G hockey? IIRC, the B1G by-law requires half of the conferences schools to field a D1 roster in order to have in conference competition in a given sport.

Paul

They do not. Neither does Maryland. Neither will add hockey any time soon because they are still crawling out from massive piles of debt, which should make you think about who is using who here. Note that most other ACC programs are doing just fine financially, and Maryland would not be interested in moving from the conference they were a charter member of except for the fact that they have bungled everything so badly they need the Big Ten's money. That's our prize.

It won't affect Big Ten hockey for the same reason that this is happening in the first place: the BTN needs content and the BTHC provides it. The most interesting impact this thing may have on college hockey is that if UConn is the pick for the ACC, they'll be one program away from having to launch an ACC hockey conference. [HT: BC Interruption.]

I'd actually be in favor of that; the best way to get college hockey to expand is to break up the ice-floes that are 12 team conferences and provide inviting homes for startups large and small.

Regarding Big Ten expansion in general, and adding Maryland and Rutgers (lol, wut?) specifically.

Also, and somewhat random, am I making a correct observation that OSU has the easiest road to the CCG for the foreseeable future? Outside of Michigan, who else can legitimately challenge them on a consistent basis? PSU, with the scholarship reductions will most likely bottom out some point soon. Wisconsin is coached by Bielema ('nuff said right?) who likes to run the ball with no timeouts left down a score late in the fourth and then again when it's 3rd and 7 in overtime. Then you factor in general superiority in coaching and players and it really adds up to a frequent cakewalk to Indy. (Obviously not everything is written in stone, but just playing the odds, yuck).

I don't know Meyer's health condition, but it really seems like he's the kind of guy who likes to win and he'll do what it takes to make it as easy as possible i.e. leave the SEC where his teams started to decline post-Tebow, to the weaker Big Ten with Miller already on the roster.

Anthony

Well, our collective freakout about the divisions may be premature. Delany said some business about not having anything predetermined at the moment, and while anything that comes from an executive has to be taken with a grain of salt… let's latch on to that super hard you guys.

The Big Ten needs to stop looking at Penn State as some sort of historical juggernaut and consider what it's done since entering the league. I had to go back to a 2011 revision of Joe Paterno's wikipedia page to get this, but here is PSU's record against the four Big Ten teams (along with Nebraska) that were considered plus programs when they put these divisions together:

  • Wisconsin: 6-7
  • Iowa: 7-9
  • Ohio State: 7-13
  • Michigan: 6-10

They're 0-2 against Nebraska; their game against Wisconsin is pending.

The vast bulk of the results were compiled before Joe Paterno was hurled from his pedestal and Penn State was hit with the most serious NCAA sanctions since SMU. At best they are a Wisconsin/Iowa equivalent.

Yeah, Michigan and Ohio State are likely to be the best two programs in the league over a long period of time but in any given year the best program from the Nebraska/Wisconsin/Iowa/Illinois* group is going to be a stiff test. A hypothetical division with M/OSU/PSU versus the hate parallelogram is

  • winner of A/A/B program fight versus
  • winner of A-/B/B program fight

It is less than ideal, but this is a conference that just added Maryland and Rutgers. In terms of less-than-ideal situations it is far from the least ideal. It is a lot more intriguing than a division in which Wisconsin/OSU is the championship game for the next decade.

*[Illinois is good sometimes. I know it's weird.]

Hokepoints: Expansion Universalis, In Rapacitas

Hokepoints: Expansion Universalis, In Rapacitas

Submitted by Seth on November 20th, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Europa2

Click big-itates. Three! Three references to Europa Universalis in the history of one blog, ah ah ah!

Depending on what hour you are reading this, Brian is somewhere on the Kübler-Ross chain between coming up with 20-team divisions sans Purdue, and emulating an otter. Since this thing is happening despite the sentiment expressed in our totally scientific internet poll, I thought maybe being, like, informative…?

Tell 'em what they've won, Jim:

Maryland

MarylandTerrapinsoldlogo

+'s: Lacrosse power, soccer power, unique mascot, fits academic profile, unlikely to upset anyone's national title hopes.

-'s: Not a power in anything but sports nobody cares about. Almost Indiana in football. Were on their way to mid-majordom.

The School: Founded in 1856. Those who know their Morrill Act history could guess one sentence before you did that it's a land-grant school (Michigan State, Penn State). Original name: Maryland Agricultural College, later Maryland State College. They're AAU members, and about the same size as Michigan or Purdue. Academically they're solidly in the Purdue/Ohio State midpoint of the conference, although they only got super serious about being a research institution since the '60s so their endowment—$791 million—is easily last among the current conference, and only a tenth of Michigan's. They're also a system school—sharing a degree with UMD-Baltimore and an affiliation with a bunch of other in-state schools—so I don't know if the CIC plans on sharing dollars with just the flagship campus, College Park and Baltimore, or the whole system.

Important alumni: Jim Henson and Larry David. Sugar daddy: Kevin Plank of Under Amour.

Colors: Red and white or yellow and black are good enough color schemes for most corn-fed Midwesterners, but marshaling of arms in English heraldry has no concept of clashing, thus the Terps are liable to favor any of those from George Calvert in any combination. They've been known to take the field looking like an unholy abomination of leftover Iowa running back parts and Rex Burkhead, or in maroon and chrome, or lattice bodices and cloaks of animal skins.

Mascot: A terrapin, or "terp" for short. It means turtle.

Athletics: Here's a guy answering my query on their SBNation blog:

Uhh,m

Basketball school (right now like 80-20, but when we rebound in fball it’s more like 60-40). We hate Duke as much as you hate anything in your life. If something big happens we riot. A great deal of our fanbase already hates PSU, so yea, we can hate them for ya.

Really good at Msoccer (good womens), great at lax and field hockey. Womens basketball too
We don’t dress funny, you just dress like some 80 year old man with a hideous fashion sense and call it tradition.

Our college Bball atmosphere is way better than fball, but we do have Stefon Diggs who is likely god himself

Emphasis on the hating Duke. In re lacrosse: the ACC's deal was similar to the Big East's, where they belonged to other conferences but the few schools who had programs played each other [EDIT: they had a conference, but didn't send a champion]. They're immediately the best lacrosse school in the conference. Women's lacrosse is probably the best in the country.

[JUMP: Meet Maryland athletics, and Rutgers]

Just Waiting To Die Now: Orson/Brian Q&A

Just Waiting To Die Now: Orson/Brian Q&A

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I did a Q&A with Orson about this business.

-----------------------------------

SH: That hasn't been the sense I've gotten, but this is squishy and unquantifiable.

BC: The inevitable 16-team end game isn't even a conference anymore. You get one game against the other division. One!

SH: Yup. Current lineup in the SEC still has two, but yes. In a 16 team format you get one, unless we're talking about adding more games. We are inevitably talking about adding more games.

BC: At least there's that. If there's anything good that comes out of all of this it's the reduction of bodybag games like last weekend's SEC schedule. But what does one game do? It means you play the teams in the other division once every four years, ie less often than ACC teams will play Notre Dame. I stop caring about those teams when I don't play them. Instead of having a rich history with Iowa I have a vague relationship with them.

I think we should insert "Someone I Used to Know" here.

SH: Framed against a pic of Adam Jacobi.

BC: Yes.

49048_14816038_283710556_n[1]

---------------------------------

Rest of it at the link. I'm apoplectic and this was before I'd found out what the divisions were going to be!

Aaaand We Don't Even Fix The Divisions

Aaaand We Don't Even Fix The Divisions

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2012 at 2:03 PM

SEC SEC SEC SEC SEC

Maryland prez tells regents MD, RU in Leaders Division w/OSU, PSU, Wisconsin, Purdue & Indiana. Illinois moves to Legends

Michigan will play OSU every year; other division opponents will play them once every six years. Good job, good effort Dave Brandon.

Screw It: S-E-C

Screw It: S-E-C

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2012 at 12:19 PM

A76yNHECQAAgKii1_thumb

So guys. I am considering the inevitable endgame here where the Big Ten adds Georgia Tech and some other program that isn't Pitt to go to 16 teams and this is Michigan's division:

  • Michigan
  • OSU
  • Michigan State
  • Penn State
  • Maryland
  • Rutgers
  • Georgia Tech
  • Purdue Or Something

Michigan would then play members of the other division once every eight years. Goodbye, Iowa, Wisconsin, Little Brown Jug, taking over Ryan Field, etc. It was nice playing you those four times, Nebraska. At that point wouldn't you just be like "screw it" and prefer the following?

SEC NORTH

  • Michigan
  • OSU
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • Missouri
  • Vanderbilt
  • Kentucky

Academics? Sure. Academics. This is all about the books.

Unverified Voracity Bears No Ill Will Towards Bears

Unverified Voracity Bears No Ill Will Towards Bears

Submitted by Brian on May 31st, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Pro combat. I have not linked any of the brilliant Pro Combat uniforms being proposed by BHGP yet. Let me correct that error now with the MSU edition:

procombat_msu2_medium[1]

I'll be on the floor over here trying to breathe for the next twenty minutes. Here's the Michigan edition, which is terrifying in its plausibility.

Down that path we should not tread… RossWB of BHGP takes down the 6-1-1 model currently on offer from the bigger and worser SEC:

There may be reasons to expand -- money, exposure, money, prestige, money -- but short of a radical transformation of college football scheduling (i.e., more conference games, fewer games with money-spinning non-conference patsies) the end result is going to be fewer games against the teams that (for the most part) we've been playing against for a century. Fewer games against the teams that we know, against the teams that we love to hate. The overall advantages of adding Nebraska (probably) outweighed the costs (although I'm still bitter about the damage it's wrought on the Iowa-Wisconsin rivalry), but expanding past 12 teams would effectively be splitting the league in two. We'd be two leagues under one roof, with a rich, intertwined, and shared history... but a future that would share little but revenue statements and logos.

I'm done caring about money. No one gets the money. It does not go to players, it mostly comes from fans who are finding out exactly how much they will spend on this stuff, and it's not helping the league in its effort to compete nationally.

Take your annual story about the 26 million dollars that's being distributed, which is up X percent from Y dollars last year, roll it up, and use it to spank yourself. You've been naughty, droid putting out story about X million dollars. None of that money goes to anything other than an ever-expanding cadre of athletic department marketers and facilities for minor sports I'm indifferent to. I don't care if the TV contract is bigger. I do care that they've taken the OSU game and made it a cross-division game because they think maybe they'll get lucky once a decade and get a little more money. Football programs are not publicly traded corporations.

…but Brady says we will anyway. Hoke's opinion of where it's going:

“I think really in about three years you’ll see four super conferences, and I think the Big East will go away and maybe the ACC. But look, I’m just a coach. I don’t know all of it.”

The Big East has essentially already gone away, but I'm not sure how you get to the superconferences in the west. The Pac-12 would need to add Boise State and… then who? It seems like the best shot was annihilating the Big 12, leaving the SEC to pick up some pieces. Now you're talking about truly ludicrous geographic fits or extreme reaches on the part of the Big 12 and Pac-12.

[HT: M&B]

Organizational side note. In the above post, Ross steals a Dawg Sports idea and suggests the Big Ten toss divisions entirely and instead play a schedule featuring three permanent rivalry opponents (Michigan's are MSU, OSU, and Minnesota) and rotate the other five games annually. The obvious problem with that is the NCAA's purposeless regulation dictating that championship games can only occur when your conference has two divisions in which everyone plays a round-robin.

If the Big Ten can work around that, it's interesting. The permanent opponents are not quite equitable—Minnesota's permanent rivals are Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan; Northwestern's are Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue—but it would mean Michigan would see the other opponents 5/8ths of the time (3/4ths if there was a ninth game) instead of the current system of playing some of the teams all of the time and others 40% of the time.

In the end, you cannot solve the problem without more games, as the SEC is finding out now

So this is what things have come to.

@schadjoe LSU AD Joe Alleva said if Alabama wants to play Tennessee every year it could schedule a non-conference game

I wonder if Missouri’s AD still has the same rosy thoughts about how everyone in the SEC operates with the mindset of what’s in the best interest of the league.

I can’t speak for him, but if I still give a shit about college football in five years, I’ll be amazed.

…your choices are not playing the games, not playing the cupcakes, or coming up with a weird dynamic scheduling system. The guys in charge are going with door #1 because their brains are wired to believe they've got a quarterly report due Tuesday.

"That's mighty big of Jim Tressel" …is the perfect Get The Picture response to this:

A year later, Jim Tressel has no ill will toward Ohio State

In other news, Mike Leach has no ill will towards bears.

This is not fluff? I really thought this article on Michigan's drop-in with the Navy SEALs was going to be fluffy fluff fluff but it's actually a detailed look at what went on that is worth a read. Example:

"Are you a better leader today than you were a year ago?" Harden asked.

About halfway through the players' answers, Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson offered a surprising response.

"I feel like I haven't grown," Robinson said. "For me to be the quarterback at the University of Michigan, I feel like I have to grow up a lot and be a lot more accountable."

Also it seems like Michigan is taking advantage of a soon-to-be-closed loophole here, as Schlabach adds in a sidebar that

Michigan football officials told ESPN.com that Big Ten Conference compliance officials cleared their football team's recent senior trip to California because it involved leadership and life skills, which is permissible under NCAA rules. The Wolverines paid for the trip through a special fund in the athletics department's operating budget.

…so okay at least some of the money is going towards life skilling the players.

BONUS! The ND series has taken a turn, hasn't it?

Crane, who is from Arizona and served three deployments to Iraq, admitted to the Wolverines that he's a Notre Dame fan.

"Unfortunately, my team is Notre Dame," Crane said. "You guys have hammered them over the years. I'll try not to take it out on you on Friday morning."

foster-contact[1]

should have sent… a poet

You 14-year-olds have no idea how good you have it in re: ND. Not so much with the MSU. There's going to be a point four or five years in the future when the student body has an inexplicably strong hatred of MSU.

UPDATE! I still don't care about 2014 football recruiting.

Wat. Via Midnight Maize, you can own this:

ihadthis[1]

Whatever it is.

Chesson! I'm totally spoiling the surprise on the MGoSleeper of the year by constantly talking about Jehu Chesson, but oh well. Meinke follows up with Chesson in the aftermath of his impressive track performances and gets this quote out of him:

"It could just be a placebo effect, but I feel I can break tackles better because I have a stronger core," he said.

This is an impressive level of introspection from a high school kid, one the other quotes reinforce. Fast, tall, smart, and wears cool shades: good package. 

Etc.: The USA took it on the chin from Brazil last night but at least Clint Dempsey's bitch please face is operating at full capacity. A national treasure, Clint Dempsey. Buckeye fan tweets at LTT collected. Nick Saban gets snippy. Graham Watson wonders if bidding out the title game is a bad idea because it's tradition to get ripped off by useless dudes. Les Miles rages against the LSU-Florida crossover game.

The latest edition of NCAA lets you put Desmond Howard in an OSU uniform. In related news, this will be the fourth straight year I don't buy it. Derrick Walton highlights.

Unverified Voracity Grows Evil Beard

Unverified Voracity Grows Evil Beard

Submitted by Brian on March 5th, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Basketball

The only reasonable explanation. Michigan State lost the outright title, still won a share, and collectively reacted like this…

430091_10150596605110098_647375097_9329089_840662538_n[1]

…the likely explanation is that they were more focused on denying Michigan than their own team. That game meant very little in the grand scheme of things to MSU. It mattered to OSU and Michigan.

No, it wasn't hard to root for Ohio State yesterday. I didn't even notice.

Irrational optimism getting less irrational. Michigan has two five-star sorts in its upcoming recruiting class and the guy I'm most excited about may be the other dude. That is 6'6" shooting guard/potential Burke backup Nik Stauskas, who just outdueled Nerlens Noel, a 6'10" center who recently reclassified to 2012 and instantly became a top five player after doing so, for tournament MVP at the NEPSAC championships. He is not just a shooter($):

Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark’s)
2012, SF, 6-6, 205
College: Michigan

Stauskas finished with 19 points but his impact on the game far exceeded that total, as he not only scored the ball in different ways but also facilitated for others in both pick and roll as well as drive-and-kick action. While the complete versatility of Stauskas’ offensive repertoire was on full display, the most impressive part of his performance was that innate star quality that allowed him to make big play after big play at the most pivotal moments of the game.

The main thing keeping him from being another five-star type recruit is his athleticism. That shouldn't prevent him from being a shot generator at the college level—he'll enter with far more skill than Stu Douglass had, for one. I mean, look at his evil beard:

BAF05SCHRDP11_thumb[1]

IF that does not fill you with confidence, nothing will.

Stauskas also drew raves from NERR. Meanwhile, Mitch McGary's Brewster team suffered an upset while Glenn Robinson III helped his team win their first sectional title since '97. All that and more at UMHoops.

Football

images[2]161841[1]rn_ejlevenberry_ms_200[1]

McCray/Gedeon/Levenberry: Linebacker is the new offensive line

A brief comment on the linebacker crunch. My trapper keeper with Michigan's projected recruiting class surrounded by hearts has at least two slots for linebackers, but if the third guy is going to be O'Daniel/Levenberry/Gedeon it probably has three. Sam Webb first thought this was not the case, but recently reversed course.

It should be clear why after a quick glance at the depth chart by class. With announced positional rearrangements taking Beyer and Paskorz away from the SAM spot, that is now the sparsest position on the depth chart. Insert First World Problems GIF here. Michigan has three more years of Jake Ryan, two of Cam Gordon, and nothing else. Even if you figure one of the 2012 recruits is destined to move down—something the coaches denied on Signing Day—that would seem to make a third linebacker a reasonable acquisition.

Even if that's the case now, if O'Daniel and Levenberry hew to their current plans and take their decisions to Signing Day there's a pretty good chance room opens up for one of them. The current assumption on this site is 22, but that assumes Michigan only loses two players to attrition*.

That's an extremely conservative estimate. If Michigan gets up to 24, they can take…

  • Another RB
  • Two more WRs
  • A third TE
  • Another CB
  • Two DL

…and still have a couple spare scholarships. You may have spotted the assumption here: Michigan will only take one three-tech/SDE type in this class. I think that's reasonable after taking four (Wormley, Godin, Strobel, Henry) last year, especially with two 2011 recruits coming off redshirts and the possibility/likelihood that Wyatt Shallman ends up weighing 280 by his sophomore year.

When all is said and done the bet here is Michigan has a couple scholarships to play with in January and SLB is an excellent candidate to use one of those spares even if Michigan already has a couple linebackers committed. It sounds like McCray and Gedeon are about to drop; if Levenberry changes his mind and attempts to commit on his Spring Game visit he's not getting turned down.

BONUS HYPOTHETICAL EXTRA SCHOLARSHIP DISTRIBUTION DESIRE: Cornerback. Michigan… uh… has fewer blue chip guys there than anywhere else in the last two classes.

/runs around laughing maniacally
//falls in trough
/continues laughing maniacally

celebrate-sparty-no[1]

We do it better than Todd Graham.

*[Two more players are assumed to not be getting fifth years.]

A rule to live by. Orson just tossed this off and I'm thinking of embroidering it on a sampler or something:

Never have anything to do with a recruit who wants to sign after Signing Day.

This may be sour grapes.

June building stuff. The Washington Post highlights Cato June, new head coach at Anacostia High School in DC. He's filling his staff out with a familiar name:

June quickly turned to [retired HC Willie] Stewart, asking him to help coach the Indians next fall. He also named his close friend and Michigan roommate Walter Cross, the 1997 All-Met Offensive Player of the Year from Oxon Hill, as his offensive coordinator — the same position Cross held at Potomac (Md.) this fall.

Apparently anyone in DC can transfer without a reason, so if June gets things off the ground Anacostia could be a fertile ground for recruiting—not that Brady Hoke needs another one.

Hockey

Bye-week hockey events. Michigan pulled the worst possible opponent in the second round thanks to Northern Michigan going down in flames against Bowling Green and all other higher seeds holding. They go against Notre Dame, who gave them a very tough weekend about a month ago. The Irish are 19th in the Pairwise and entering a do-or-die weekend for tourney hopes.

The key for Michigan will be watching Notre Dame's goalies play as poorly as they have in all games not against Michigan. Steven Summerhays put up a .945 in the M-ND series; for the year he's at .908.

Pairwise. Michigan's off weekend saw them move up thanks to a one-point weekend from Minnesota-Duluth that cost them the regular-season WCHA title and put their one-seed in flux. Michigan still doesn't win that comparison—I told you it would be tough—and still wont even if they sweep next weekend despite UMD drawing 12-22-2 Minnesota State. Michigan can win the comparison by sweeping ND and doing better than UMD at the conferences' respective finals… as long as UMD doesn't lose this weekend.

Weird system: you are rooting for UMD to win this weekend and get annihilated at the Final Five.

BONUS CCHA BIDS ODDITY: remember that period in the season when seven CCHA teams were destined for the tournament? That's been whittled down to four as of today. Five of the first six teams out of the tourney are CCHA teams. Western, Lake Superior, and ND can still play themselves in.

It's March, so it's time for huge Daily profiles. Luke Glendening is first up:

It was late April 2008, and the Michigan hockey assistant coach had just extended a one-year tryout offer to Luke Glendening, a forward recruit from The Hotchkiss School, a prep institution in Lakeville, Conn.

“You’re on a one-year tryout,” Powers told Glendening. “If you’re good in practice, you’ll stay.”

Powers left him with one last word of warning.

“If you have somewhere else to go, you should probably do it.”

We're living in the golden age of angles, I'm telling you.

A fantastic idea. Mike Spath proposes a new format for the NCAA tournament:

To start, the NCAA should collaborate with the NHL to form six permanent sites, rotating among the six for the four yearly locations: Boston, New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, Denver and Toronto. The Frozen Four would also rotate among those six cities instead of taking us to Tampa Bay or Washington D.C.

That would be excellent. You might want to add a Philadelphia or Pittsburgh but that's fine. No more Green Bay, St. Louis, Tampa, etc. Take the money the NHL is giving you and use it to lower ticket prices so you get a local crowd—part of the horrendous attendance in Fort Wayne was the $90 session passes—and try to fill those buildings as much as you can. If you want to "grow the sport" you can promise a local regional/FF to areas considering the addition of hockey programs.

In response to this idea, the NCAA announced the next six Frozen Fours would take place in New Zealand.

Miscellaneous

Retconned history. The New York Times has a look at how the Big East fell apart featuring this tactical error back in the day:

Tranghese tried to tell the Big East’s university presidents and athletic directors as much as early as 1989 when he was Gavitt’s assistant. Gavitt thought the conference needed to bring Penn State into the fold. Penn State was an independent at the time, looking for the security of a conference.

The membership voted no, with St. John’s, Villanova and Georgetown leading the resistance. At the end of the meeting, Gavitt asked Tranghese what he thought about the decision. “I said, ‘We will all rue the day about this decision,’ ” Tranghese said. “I understood how big football was. I didn’t understand how big it was going to become.

“At that point, the Big East had so much success in the ’80s, everybody sort of forgot about it.  But I felt looking back on the history of the Big East, that was probably the biggest mistake we made.”

The conference has been regularly pillaged since and will be a nationwide amalgam of mid-major football schools minus flagship Syracuse as a result. I wonder if the Big Ten would still be ten teams today if the Big East hadn't screwed it all up in the late 80s.

Etc.: Wojo on Sunday's events. I bet a dollar Burke and Cody Zeller end up splitting the freshman of the year award. From Old Virginia takes a look at where lacrosse is headed, speculating that Michigan will eventually end up in a "Western" conference with OSU, PSU, Detroit, Air Force, and Denver. BSD recaps the PSU-M game from their perspective. Michigan engineers elect Bender to school board.