Unverified Voracity Gets It Or Does Not Get It

Unverified Voracity Gets It Or Does Not Get It

Submitted by Brian on February 14th, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Les and Bo standing around, 1989. I'm just posting this for the shorts, really. Seriously, it's almost entirely guys just standing around. In shorts. From 1989.

This thing I am the foremost practitioner of is banned! Of all people, it fell to Barry Alvarez—he of the cancelled Virginia Tech game nigh on the eve of the season—to reveal that the Big Ten is going to dump I-AA opponents posthaste:

“The nonconference schedule in our league is ridiculous,” Alvarez said on WIBA-AM. “It’s not very appealing…

“So we’ve made an agreement that our future games will all be Division I schools. It will not be FCS schools.”

I… actually, I don't care. It does restrict the availability of cupcake games, thereby driving up the costs to schedule MAC folks and the like, but not significantly. If you want to have a walkover, Eastern Michigan's just as piteous as Northern Iowa—significantly moreso, in fact.

This man either gets it or does not get it depending on whether you get it or do not get it. Indiana's athletic director:

“What they like to do is make opportunities available to wear different kinds of uniforms,” Glass told Inside the Hall, “and we’ve had multiple opportunities to wear alternative uniforms, and we’ve respectfully passed on that. … I would never say never, but I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be doing that.”

A number of college and pro teams are trying the new jerseys out. We’ve seen schools such as Michigan State and Ohio State wear alternate uniforms in recent weeks.

So why not Indiana?

“The IU men’s basketball uniform is iconic,” Glass said. “I have a poster on my wall that is kind of like a fake group photo of all the All Americans that we’ve had in basketball, and the jerseys, whether its from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s or 2000s, pretty much look the same.”

Indiana fans say "thank God" in the comments, because they either get it or do not get it. Kids hate it and Indiana's program will crater on Wednesday as the Hoosiers mass defect to Bill Walton's new Hypercolor State team.

Even more rules changes, these of the on-field variety. It's February, which means something something flowers and the NCAA's annual set of rules changes. These are just proposals at the moment, so don't write your congressman yet.

The flashiest is jacking up the targeting flag. Now it comes with a free ejection, and if it's after halftime a suspension for next week. Also a free review:

To balance out the incidents where a player is unfairly penalized, officiating crews would be allowed to review the hit through video replay. Said the committee, the replay official "must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field."

Sounds a lot like the interminable and pointless elbowing reviews from basketball, except people do get hit with targeting flags at the moment. This will either lead to those calls disappearing again, or a parade of defensive backs making a split-second decision wrong heading to the locker room.

Others are minor cleanups aimed at giving referees an easier time:

  • all blocks below the waist are legal if they're in front of a defender, illegal otherwise
  • you can't spike the ball with one or two seconds left (presumably an attempt to prevent games where one coach disposes of his headset instantly and the other stages a hunger strike for his last second on the sideline)
  • an extra official for Big 12 conference games
  • Lane Kiffin and Boise State can't jerk people around by switching numbers or wearing blue on a blue field.

Nothing in those is going to have an impact on your viewing. I thought we'd hear something about repealing the helmet rule, too—seems like forcing a player without a helmet to stop playing is punishment enough. No dice on that one.

Good lord. Northwestern makes the case that their basketball outfit is cursed with low-effort sketchy photoshops and lots and lots of evidence:

swopsimpsons_medium[1]

Look, I'd do more unfortunate things for Northwestern basketball, butmore freakish unfortunate things happened to Northwestern basketball than happened to the players in that episode of the Simpsons where all the players get into freakish unfortunate accidents.

The Wildcats are now down JerShonn Cobb, Drew Crawford, Sanjay Lumpkin, Chier Ajou, Aaron Liberman, Alex Olah, and Jared Swopshire. A few of those guys are on redshirts and may be in the lineup if Carmody was inclined to waste their final year of eligibility on a team nowhere near the NCAA tourney; even so, that's Angry Blank Hating God territory and some.

This is Darren Rovell's fault, of course.

Bring on the bee people or whatever. Gerry DiNardo might know something about something. Not football, but moving because of football:

I don't think we'll ever play with a 14 team team conference, I think it'll be 16 (by 2014, when Maryland and Rutgers join). And I don't think they're going to go through all this conversation and all this realignment and do it again for just two more schools. Where are they going to come from? Hard to say, but I would guess the footprint would continue to grow southeast, so that would leave me to believe that would be the ACC. When you look at schools institutionally, they'll be schools similar to Maryland and Rutgers. They'll be an academic fit, which I think is important, and appear to be in areas where there's population, and I think those are the similar things that has driven expansion

The Big Ten Too is totally happening you guys. This is why the league is already talking about a ten-game conference schedule.

Nebraska hockey: not happening. Their athletic director just said "nope":

On his monthly appearance on the Husker Sports Network, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst threw cold water on the idea of the athletic department starting up a division 1 ice hockey program. The only sport Nebraska has any intention of starting is the new sand volleyball program. That's cold water, not the ice that a hockey program would need. A lot of people had hopes that with Eichorst's background at Wisconsin and the Big Ten's expansion into hockey that the Huskers might join the ranks of the division 1 schools with hockey programs. But that doesn't appear to be in the cards at this time.

The vast deserts of Nebraska have long teemed with moppets who have done nothing but play volleyball, so they should be an instant national power in that. If Nebraska isn't inclined to add hockey, I'm not sure who would. I bet it would be a success at Iowa—triangle of hate, good USHL base—but it's tough to find the money, somehow.

Zone read: not dead yet. Michigan will keep it around next year:

"Are we just getting rid of all the zone-reading? No, we're not," Borges said. "We're going to keep some of that stuff in our offense because we have a mobile quarterback, and as long as we have a quarterback that can threaten the defense as a runner, we're going to have bits and pieces of that that we're going to keep.

"Are we going to run him 25 times? That's over. We're not doing that anymore. That was logical, with what we had (in Denard Robinson). but now we want the quarterback to be more of a passer-runner, than a runner-passer."

I hope the end point is somewhere between 25 times and Gardner's ground efforts last year, where on-purpose runs were limited to some goal line rollouts and the occasional draw. I'd like to see Gardner get 6-8 called runs a game to go with whatever he gets on scrambles.

Etc.: Jeff Bridges has a go-to shirt. I'm fine with Michigan not having a member of Andy Staples's all two-star team this time around. It might be a problem that the Big Ten has eight kids on the team. Brief preview of Michigan's 2013 by me at The Saturday Edge. Goodbye, Matt Painter. Kenpom profiled.

Unverified Voracity Brings Back Dumb Punts

Unverified Voracity Brings Back Dumb Punts

Submitted by Brian on October 16th, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Sponsor note. I get a lot of emails from lawyers and guys with three letter acronym jobs, because it's the internet, where lawyers and blankEOs are everywhere. I assume some of you are big ballers. This Is Michigan, after all, the kind of school that spits out big ballers left and right, often from Ross. If you're one of those people who instantly zips to the end of any paragraph about ticket prices because it's just not relevant, I may have a watch for you.

MGOBLOG_UV_WOLVERINESCOLLECTION

I got lunch with Shashi Mara to talk about an advertising relationship and was impressed with the risk he was taking. He dumped a nice job for a pair of crampons he wandered around Switzerland in, finding wizened old men with amazing dexterity and inch-thick glasses to create an exclusive line of officially-licensed watches. He did this with absolutely no idea how it would work out, and still doesn't, but he was clearly thrilled just to have the things he'd set out to make. His attention to detail resonated with me, as did his desire to create something of his own.

If you're a big baller who has gravitated here, you may appreciate the similarities between what this place offers and the ethos behind MaraWatch. If you're at the point where you've rarely got opportunities to turn a number in a bank account into something you love, something you might get excited about handing down to the next generation in your family, a mutual accord to transfer numbers and goods awaits you at MaraWatch. Visit the site, email, or call (617-833-3819) to lock down one of just 50 pieces in this year's collection. You'll have to beat everyone to #16.

Bring it back man. MVictors scored some pictures from the old locker rooms painted by local artist Jil Gordon:

FootballMeeting2_thumb[1]

You can feel the Bo emanating from the walls.This one is from the hockey locker room:

HockeyLockerRoom4_thumb[1]

Also, hello, I am six years old in a library.

Patrick Omameh a nice guy. He was one of 11 players on this year's Good Works team:

"I was in the room, and it was my first time meeting the kid," Kovacs said. "And then Patrick walks in. It's this kid's 13th birthday. And as soon as Pat walks in, this kid's face just lights up.

"It's just unreal, the spark in the room. It was a special moment."

Click through for awwww picture.

MSU injury checkup. Dion Sims is still not on the MSU depth chart, which generally means he won't play. I don't think we'll know until MSU's first offensive snap what his real status is; it seems doubtful he can return from what seems like a high ankle sprain in two weeks. In lieu of Sims MSU went with a lot of three-wide I-form against Iowa, FWIW.

Also, MSU starting safety Jarius Jones didn't dress against the Hawkeyes; guard Blake Treadwell only saw a snap when Chris McDonald's helmet popped off. Either could be available this week.  Jones is listed as Lewis's backup; Treadwell is behind Jack Allen at LG.

Michigan is fully healthy save Countess and a couple backup DL, knock on wood.

Nebraskethockey. Corn Nation discusses the possibility of a Cornpack hockey team after an AP writer suggested it was going to happen:

After hearing Eichorst give nod to Mark Johnson, I predict#Huskers will play B1G hockey within next 6-8 years

Opinions are split down the middle. The situation at Nebraska is fairly attractive, though.  Lincoln already has the USHL's Stars, who lead that league in attendance with a respectable 3,900 fans a game. They'd have a natural in-state rival in UNO, would get to join the Big Ten, are in the heart of USHL country, and could use the Stars' rink. A major gift has already been made for a couple of rinks near campus, and while those are not D-I ready a push from the athletic department could alter the course of that development. A new downtown arena has put in piping for ice facilities, as well.

If the Huskers became competitive—and if UNO can do it there's no reason UNL can't—they'd be an attendance success, I'm betting. We'll see what Eichorst wants to do—if he can find the money (and everyone has ALL THE MONEY these days) I bet he goes for it.

Lewan rising. Plz no leave think of the Jake Long?

Taylor Lewan*/T/Michigan: Lewan is the first of three offensive linemen rising up draft boards and an underclassman who continues to impress scouts. He looked outstanding in all areas against the athletic Illinois defense. His skills in pass protection were outstanding as Lewan had no problem controlling defensive ends or oncoming blitzers. Watching the big left tackle easily move down the field blocking in motion was especially impressive. There's a very good chance Lewan will be the first offensive tackle selected if he enters the 2013 NFL Draft.

Ah yup.

Levert right now? Rothstein on Caris Levert:

4. Expect at least one surprise

With this much talent on the roster, there is bound to be a surprise one way or another. So in that vein, pay attention in exhibition games to freshman Caris LeVert. His teammates raved about him during media day, and it did not sound like empty hype. Instead, it has been a consistent theme throughout the summer -- Michigan's final piece to its five-man recruiting class has a chance to be really, really good. He has already put weight on his thin frame since arriving at Michigan and while he might not make an immediate impact, he could be a surprise for the Wolverines sooner than later.

Zack Novak followed that up with a tweet: "I'll go ahead and ruin the surprise on 4. The kid can play." Michigan did essentially dump a ready-to-commit Amadeo Della Valle for Levert, and ADV ended up at OSU so they weren't tossing a scrub aside. Levert also won an Ohio player of the year award with a pretty nice track record:

JJHuddle Players of the Year
2012: Caris Levert, Pickerington Central (Ohio)
2011: Trey Burke, Northland (Michigan)
2010: Jared Sullinger, Northland (Ohio State)
2009: Jared Sullinger, Northland (Ohio State)
2008: William Buford, Toledo Libbey (Ohio State) & B.J. Mullens, Canal Winchester (Ohio State/Charlotte Bobcats)
2007: Jon Diebler, Upper Sandusky (Ohio State)

I'll take two, thanks.

Dumb punt of the week. BONUS: I reminded the Mathlete of the Dumb Punt of the Week, which I missed dearly, and he promised to revive it. Last week's—as in games on the sixth:

Midway through the first quarter Akron faced a daunting 4th and 3 from the Bowling Green 32 and elected to punt the ball away.

Special note goes to Randy Edsall who punted from the 48 on 4th and 2 trailing by 1 in the 4th quarter. They later went on to score and go up 5 with about 5 minutes left and then kicked the extra point, to protect against two Wake Forest field goals in the final 5 minutes. Of course Maryland missed the PAT.

These make me feel wonderful about Brady Hoke.

inigomontoya.jpg. Fuggin' Walverines:

In Ann Arbor now, f'ing hate these &$¥+&&. Such arrogant snobs

A-maize-ing. Every idiot is wearing their colors today and the nurses and docs that know I'm a huge MSU alum/fan are all consoling me over the weekends games.... They're all like. ... Well this weeks game will be close.... Blah blah blah... We're not that good.... Maxwell is the next Cousins...... Illinois is horrible.... Blah blah blah

The nerve.

[After the JUMP: Josh Furman's gonna kill that poor woman, Walter.]

Mailbag: DL Moving, CHLPA, Hokepoints Exposed

Mailbag: DL Moving, CHLPA, Hokepoints Exposed

Submitted by Brian on August 30th, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Quinton-Washington[1]j1h2zu5b9tb5zni1z7pl[1]

Brian,

I’m guessing you have received various emails about this subject, but I’m wondering if you are read anything into Coach Hoke’s comment in his 8/21 presser regarding BWC practicing at 3-tech? Do you think this is an issue of Campbell not producing at the 1, or is it Pipkins showing that he can play immediately? Is it more related to issues with Beyer (assuming Clark is out of the picture for the near future) or Black forcing a complete reshuffling of the line? Or am I completing overanalyzing as I haven’t seen an honest to goodness live Michigan football game in over 8 months? Is it best to seek therapy or self medicate with bourbon? Have I asked enough questions, or did you stop reading after the first 3?

My hope is that it is Pipkins practicing well and a realization among the coaches that he is a talent that needs to be on the field now. Hopefully this would take some pressure off of BWC, who I think most would agree is the key to D-line play this year.

Anyway, thanks for all your work, you truly provide both great writing and pertinent information for all levels of Michigan fans.

Jason

Here's the quote in question:

Well, we’ve been throwing Will a little bit more at the three-technique … Richard Ash and Quinton Washington and Ondre and Ryan Glasgow have been playing a lot of the one. We felt we needed to -- Jibreel’s going to be able to play the three. At times you’re going to need a little heavier package in there, bigger guy, and Will gives you that. So we’ve kind of been trying to get as multiple as we can.

I read that as a short-yardage/goal-line/MANBALL offense package. In those types of GRAARGH plays Black's size is proving a liability and they want a couple of fire hydrant types at those DT spots.

Pipkins may be forcing that move, but remember that one of the surprises of the spring game was Richard Ash popping up in the backfield to blow up running plays a few times:

Richard Ash made a couple nice plays, which I was not expecting. One was an excellent string-out on a stretch play that forced the tailback to awkwardly cut behind him. I was beyond not expecting that. I don't think John Gasaway will get on me if I say I was shocked. Yeah. Later he showed up two yards in the backfield directly in the path of an iso; he got blocked from the side but the bounce he forced saw Marvin Robinson chop poor Vincent Smith down for a one-yard loss.

It's not out of the question that he turns into a player—as a recruit he briefly had big time offers. He's got a chronic medical thing that has slowed him, but if he's finally rounded into shape he retains the body type to be a quality nose tackle.

A darker possibility: Black is not cutting it and Michigan is preparing a backup plan in case an Alabama lineman sits on him for the entirety of the first drive. Any and all of these are possibilities.

CHL union business.

Would this have any effect on the NCAA hockey schools in terms of making the CHL more or less attractive to prospects?  Further, whether the CHLPA succeeds or not, what kind of precedent could this set for NCAA athletes to do something similar?  It seems the CHLPA's argument for more pay, etc, is pretty similar to what NCAA athletes could claim. 

A semi-related question:  Would you be for the Big Ten breaking off from the NCAA in hockey and forming their own semi-pro league similar to what you have proposed for baseball?  I hate the NCAA, and Big Ten hockey is more competitive than Big Ten baseball, so I think they could actually make more money via BTN and other endeavors. 

Go Blue from Cairo,

Gabriel

If a CHL union does get off the ground and forces the owners to pay them a reasonable amount, that could do any number of things to the NCAA's efforts to recruit against them. More money obviously makes junior more attractive, but if the end result of all this is some sort of strictly-enforced cap on how much any particular kid could get that might help the NCAA with the top end kids. Even if there isn't a hard cap, CHL teams forced to pay third-liners some variety of wage would have less to spend on the Troubas Jack Campbells of the world.

Unless it's a lot of money I don't see it making a big difference. CHL kids are gambling that their hockey career will pay the bills; NCAA kids are betting the education they get is more valuable than whatever stipend they would get in junior.

I don't know what the NCAA's argument is re: the CHL, but they probably have a better leg to stand on because they're affiliated with nonprofit educational institutions instead of out-and-out businesses. IANAL.

About Big Ten breaking off in hockey: what? There are only six Big Ten teams, and going semi-pro only increases costs. Who would they play? Why would they make more money as semi-pro teams (more high profile players I guess, but I'm skeptical)? It only makes sense in baseball because NCAA baseball is stacked against Northern teams so insanely. Playing the first month of the season on the road and never ever getting a Southern team to come to your place is a handicap you just can't overcome. There are no similar problems in hockey, and it's tight-knit enough that Michigan has rivalries with North Dakota, BC, Notre Dame, and to a lesser extent others. I award you no points for this idea.

LOInjury. That's LOI, not LOL.

With all the early offers out there, this seems like it is a discussion worth prepping for. what happens if a commit who has not yet signed his LOi has a career ending injury prior to joining the team? Would UM honor the commitment somehow even if he cant play? Is that allowed by NCAA? Is there a track record of this? Formulate a response now and pray we never have to use it.

TrippwelborneID

We'll get to see how Michigan responds to this next year when Austin Hatch does or does not join the basketball team. It seems like a pretty easy solution: sign the guy and medical him as fast as possible. If you have to carry the guy for a year, that doesn't seem like a huge burden—most of the time you're just throwing that scholarship to a walk-on anyway.

Pointing origins.

In his interview with Grantland, Coach Hoke revealed his music tastes. "To this day, those records are the ones I still listen to — Hall & Oates, early Stones, REO Speedwagon, Aerosmith. I love Hall & Oates. "Rich Girl" and "Sarah" can bring a tear to my eye."

It's now clear who Hoke learned his epic point from:

hall_oates[1]

brady-hoke[1]

Coincidence? I think not.

Go Blue!

Jake

Jake, on the other hand, gets sixty-seven points.

Unverified Voracity Is The One In The GT Jacket

Unverified Voracity Is The One In The GT Jacket

Submitted by Brian on July 9th, 2012 at 12:53 PM

RIP Charles Drake. I was on the road when news of Charles Drake's untimely death hit the internet. Drake was one of a legion of mid-90s players brought in at running back who eventually found their way to the field at another position. If Ian Gold was the most prominent, Drake was second, moving to free safety after finding running back crowded.

Free safeties who aren't once-in-a-generation good are kind of like longsnappers in that you're usually not happy when their name is splashed across your television. In the safety's case it means they're chasing someone else. The lack of a visceral "oh, THAT play" emotion when his name comes up speaks well to his play. He was a low-event guy in an era when safeties often weren't. Condolences to his family and teammates. 

Holdin' The Rope has a perspective piece worth your time.

In other sunny news. ESPN reports that this consulting firm Penn State has hired is "expected to be tough on" one Joe Paterno:

"Much of the focus will be on the culture of the football program, with findings that go back more than a decade," said a Penn State official briefed on the inquiry, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It's going to be very tough on Joe (Paterno)."

The long-awaited report, compiled by Freeh Group International Solutions, the consulting firm led by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, is the culmination of an eight-month investigation that examined whether university policies and culture were contributing factors to a lack of reports and action about abuse that occurred on campus. Investigators interviewed more than 400 people, including Penn State administrators, faculty members, trustees and former coaches, players and staff from Penn State's football team.

At this point it would be more of a surprise to find out that Paterno would come out of things looking okay. In retrospect that mid-aughts run of arrests that Paterno had little control over and seemed disinclined to care about seems symptomatic of the greater attitude that led to the decade-long Sandusky cover-up. History will not treat the "Grand Experiment" well.

Square hats and blasphemy. Jalen Rose, on the left, in his younger years:

bilde[1]

Rose should show up in a Michigan-themed version something similar the next time he's on ESPN. I would pay a dollar for that.

Probably the final number. The number of current or former Michigan athletes who will be competing in the London Olympics: 18. And then there's Michael Phelps, who may not have actually attended Michigan but it something of an Ann Arbor institution if you've ever been in one of the diners he shoveled calories into himself at.

Points for sentiment. Not so much execution. From a reader, here is a tattoo:

lovefootball

This is not quite up to Lamarr Woodley standards.

The new guy. The News interviews Erik Bakich, Michigan's new baseball coach. There's not much that's not boilerplate, but I liked this:

When you're building a program based on pitching you need to have strong frontline pitching.

We'll see how it works out. Bakich has a thin track record but did relatively well at a tough place to win, is young, and has recruited well both as a head coach and an assistant. It's a reality check as to where Michigan's program stands.

Keith Jackson. The 1985 South Carolina game featured Jamie Morris hammering the Gamecocks and SC's "wide open, gambling offense" scoring three points:

Chesson hype: incremented. Sam Webb reports that Jehu Cheson ran a 4.4 40 at Michigan offseason workouts. If fast, will be intimidating.

CEASE PANIC. Our annual Cass Tech Commit Considers Taking Visits But Decides Not To After Panicking The Internet event has transpired:

Michigan football commit David Dawson turned some heads Friday when his plans to camp at Florida were revealed.

A day later, the trip is no more.

After speaking to Michigan coaches, the Detroit Cass Tech offensive lineman -- ranked by ESPN as the country's top guard -- no longer will attend the Gators' Friday Night Lights camp, according to GoBlueWolverine.com's Sam Webb.

Twitter warriors can stand down. Those inspirational quotes about loyalty can be re-directed to your significant others. I've found that condescending public tweets are what make a relationship go in this modern age of ours.

Extremely important abbreviation UPDATE! If you see "FINAO" on a football recruit's twitter, it stands for "failure is not an option." Thus sayeth Heiko in an act of investigative journalism unparalleled in the history of the site. You may all resume your day to day lives.

This is a man to have a drink with. Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson proposed a four-league, 33-team superconference combining CUSA, the Sun Belt, the WAC, and Mountain West. The slide on which this proposal was tendered was labeled "Makes Too Much Sense." Someone should get Karl Benson drunk and have him opine on the other conference commissioners.

Next year's defection worries. A couple of Michigan's 2013 hockey commits made the "A-list" of big time prospects the CSB puts out around this time every year. C JT Compher (expected) and D Michael Downing (maybe a bit of a surprise) are two of the five college-bound guys on that list. That generally means they're expected to go in the first couple rounds.

Big Ten hockey expansion: seeking 100 million or bust. New PSU coach Guy Gadowsky was interviewed by The Pipeline show and PSU hockey blog Thank You Terry transcribed interesting bits. From the non-PSU perspective, this is the most interesting bit:

Speaking of the Big Ten...
"I know for sure there’s been three other Big Ten schools that have contacted our administration and are very curious as to how [the transition to NCAA hockey] happened and what they needed to do. The reality is that the prerequisite to that is that you get a Mr. Pegula or Pegula family that’s going to give 100-odd million dollars. Those guys aren’t hanging off trees. So that’s the prerequisite and that’s hard to find. But I do think there’s a lot of interest – if they can get it done, I know there are Big Ten schools that would love to be a part of it."

Don't expect the Big Ten to get up to eight teams unless magic fairies with money bags descend on the right schools.

Etc.: Ace will no doubt cover LaQuon Treadwell's not-quite-itchy-enough trigger finger extensively in Tuesday Recruitin', but what you need to know now is he didn't commit and now plans to do so on a "random day($)," probably by rolling a d100 until it comes up 1. Yes, highly touted receivers have d100s. Loads of them.

Alex Anzalone has decided to avoid creeper-associated universities and will go to Notre Dame. Beilein is not calling recruits at midnight. Burke and Hardaway are among the 20 players at the Lebron Skills Academy.

Unverified Voracity Triple-Points Epically

Unverified Voracity Triple-Points Epically

Submitted by Brian on April 23rd, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Epic triple point. It happened.

image

Y'all better get over there.

Hype video. With a historical bent.

 

The format. The Big Ten announced the first four years of their hockey playoffs will be the single-elimination, neutral-site plan that symbolizes college hockey boldly forging a new path into… oh right, same old stuff.

At least the worst-case scenario was narrowly avoided. The tournament will only be on the far west edge of the conference half the time. The rest of the time it'll be at the Joe, or wherever the Wings happen to be playing.

It will surprise no one that I think this is kind of dumb. The Big Ten is going to get five games in one weekend when they could have set it up to get 10-15 over three. Unless these things are crazy-popular sellouts with separate tickets for each games—and they won't be—the Big Ten's taking in less revenue so they can play fewer games. But high school tournaments are a go, so there's that.

The other format. Teddy Greenstein has some bad news for fans of home games in a college football non-playoff event:

So what is most likely to happen?
Sorry, Big Ten fans, but Delany's "home game" model is on life support. It makes sense in that it would boost the regular season by rewarding the top two in the rankings. And it would eliminate the sham of another LSU-Ohio State national title game in the "neutral" setting of New Orleans.

So what's the problem?
Aside from SEC teams not wanting to play in Ann Arbor or Columbus in late December, it's logistics. Many schools won't have the infrastructure then because they're on holiday break. Stadium size would be an issue with schools such as Cincinnati (35,100), TCU (50,000) and Oregon (53,800). If there's a playoff, officials will want to maximize revenue by selling hospitality and luxury suites. And, besides, most fans love going to bowl games in places like New Orleans and Glendale, Ariz. Delany cited the comfort of the fans when he helped choose a neutral site (Indianapolis) for the Big Ten title game.

"Logistics" is of course a laughable excuse, as is citing Cincinnati's stadium size as a hurdle. Cincinnati? Seriously? But Greenstein is forced to repeat what people tell him, so that's what people are telling him. Woo back to back travel weeks making it even dumber for Big Ten teams.

Crack down. TOC picture-pages one of Michigan State's many, many successful outside overload run plays from last year's game. The motion guy at top of your screen…

Cracktoss1_medium[1]

…isn't even needed by the end of the play:

Cracktoss6_medium[1]Cracktoss6_medium[1]

As they say in showbusiness, if you want daddy to stop drinking, stop doing that. The first step in doing that is getting those linebackers shifted over to the strength of the formation. Here Hawthorne (near) gets clubbed and Demens (far) has no shot.

More detail at TOC; dealing with these outside runs is priority #2 for Michigan this year. #1 is, of course, not letting two linebackers fly up the middle of the field untouched on 10 snaps.

The AAU deluge begins. In terms of recruiting service rankings, the next three or four months will be more important than any others for Michigan's three 2013 basketball commits, The summer before your senior year is when the pencil of early rankings turns quickly to pen. One of those weird erasable pens, but pen.

MI PG Derrick Walton is off to a good start in Las Vegas. Rivals's Eric Bossi:

Michigan has itself another nice point guard on the way in Derrick Walton. The four star point guard runs his team and has a burst off the dribble that allows him to get into the lane and make plays with regularity. He's also a communicator, plays hard and will ultimately be a very good replacement/complement to Trey Burke.

Dave Telep also chimed in with some Walton praise, adding a similar "no Burke, no problem" view.

As for Donnal, he is also playing at a high level:

Michigan has got themselves a good one in Mark Donnal. The 6-foot-9 big man is a smart and productive player who has a serious competitive streak in him. His footwork is outstanding and he’s a good athlete who can finish through contact.

Scout's Evan Daniels called him "physical and talented" and "much improved" on the twitter. Athleticism is the issue that might keep him from flying up recruiting rankings; in any case he'll be a great fit with Beilein.

Zak Irvin is at the Nike Spring Showdown, where he led his team to a 6-0 record:

The intensity level of play increased when bracket play began on Sunday and Irvin’s play rose to the occasion. He struggled shooting the ball in his first Sunday game, but found other ways to make an impact. He commanded the ball, frequently playing point guard, and he sparked a crucial run by facilitating and getting his teammates easy baskets. With his team facing its only adversity of the tournament against Team D-Rose, Irvin became a better vocal leader. He displayed a calm demeanor and elevated his game as the moment grew.

He didn’t take long to get over his poor shooting performance, scoring a game-high 25 points, leading his team to a one-point overtime victory over the Illinois Wolves later in playoff action. He caught fire and was scoring in a variety of ways – establishing himself as the best player on the floor and everyone in attendance took notice.

Michigan is poking around numerous guys for the 2013 and 2014 classes; UMHoops has the details. Sam Webb has recently mentioned that Michigan continues to look for a grad-year transfer who will be eligible this fall, but no names yet except a guy who decided to stick at Xavier. There is a four year 2012 guy on the radar, though…

imagePossibly not done yet. As broken by Sam Webb($), Michigan is looking at OHIO(!!!) decommit Caris Levert, a rail-thin 6'5" shooting guard who opened up his recruitment in the wake of John Groce's move to Illinios. Levert appears to have had a monster senior year and has multiple Big Ten schools after him now, including Groce's new home at Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, and of course Michigan. Dayton is also in the running.

He saved his best performance for the state playoffs, getting top billing($) in ESPN author John Stovall's evaluation:

Caris Levert (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central)
2012, SG, 6-5, 185 pounds
College: Ohio

He is one of the most improved players in Ohio. He was a 5-9 guard as a freshman and has continued to grow physically and from a talent standpoint. Caris is very good off the dribble, has the ability to create his own shot and has a chance to be a special talent at the next level if he continues to improve.

He was named the JJHuddle player of the year, an award with a damn good track record:

JJHuddle Ohio Player of the Year

Caris Levert (6’4.5/Sr.)- Pickerington Central

*Levert led Pickerington Central to the school’s first boy’s basketball state championship with a 45-40 win over Toledo Whitmer in the Division I title tilt. Levert scored 20 of his team's 45 points in the championship game including 11-straight in a pivotal third period and playing all 32 minutes. The Ohio University commit averaged nearly 19 points per game throughout his outstanding senior campaign. Coming into the year, Levert may not have been a household name, but his name is in the mind’s of many following this past tournament run along with a more than stellar regular season. Levert became the type of player capable of getting a bucket whenever the Tigers needed one. There were less than a handful of players in Ohio capable of doing so and the lengthy bundle of talent was at his best in big games. Levert shot slightly over 53 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from three-point range along grabbing 3.4 rebounds and swiping 3.4 steals per contest.

JJHuddle Players of the Year
2012: Caris Levert, Pickerington Central (Ohio)
2011: Trey Burke, Northland (Michigan)
2010: Jared Sullinger, Northland (Ohio State)
2009: Jared Sullinger, Northland (Ohio State)
2008: William Buford, Toledo Libbey (Ohio State) & B.J. Mullens, Canal Winchester (Ohio State/Charlotte Bobcats)
2007: Jon Diebler, Upper Sandusky (Ohio State)

While it's not a great year for Ohio talent—the only OH players in the Rivals 150 are UL commit Terry Rozier (#80) and MSU commit Kenny Kaminski (#113)—he sounds legit. Ohio does have a top 50 junior in OSU commit Marc Loving who Levert beat out.

No idea where he's leaning yet. He is a teammate of Taco Charlton, so Michigan will have a guy in his ear. Obviously they like Levert quite a bit more than new OSU commit Amedeo Della Valle; hopefully Michigan's sudden cancellation of his trip indicates they've got the inside track here. UMHoops has a bit more on Lavert's game plus some 2013 and 2014 notes.

We named the dog Indiana. Nick Baumgardner reveals the source of Spike Albrecht's odd nickname:

"I've been watching Zack Novak play since the first grade," Albrecht recalls. "He was tough back then, too."

No longer a first grader, and no longer the little kid whose obsession with constantly wearing baseball cleats earned him the nickname "Spike," the undersized Indiana-born point guard is ready to do whatever it takes to make an impact in Ann Arbor.

Just like Novak.

Wait… um… math. If Spike Albrecht is currently in fifth grade I think we've got ourselves a steal here.

Transfer restrictions. Michigan has responded to a couple of erroneous assertions that Beilein's restrictions on Evan Smotrycz's transfer were similar to Bo Ryan's:

The spokesman said that when a player opts to transfer from Michigan -- as Smotrycz, Carlton Brundidge and Colton Christian did last month -- it's Beilein's preference that the player not choose a Big Ten school or a program that Michigan has on its schedule over the next two years.

That's his preference.

However, it's not a policy, the spokesman said. And it's not a hard and fast rule.

The spokesman said that should a situation arise where a transfer student shows a strong desire to attend a school Michigan has scheduled down the road, then Beilein would be open to having a discussion about the situation, and would not be absolutely opposed to allowing the transfer to occur before the discussion took place.

Meanwhile, the Big Ten transfer rule has changed. Previously, you could not be on scholarship at all. Now you can, but you lose the year of eligibility you would otherwise retain by not playing. The upshot is anyone who hasn't redshirted has a powerful incentive to transfer out of the conference, but anyone who has may as well go to Purdue or wherever because it doesn't make a difference.

It will still be extremely difficult to get a release to a conference school unless Lloyd Carr thinks you belong at OSU, though. That's one restriction I don't have a problem with. If transferring player X can't find a suitable home outside of his current conference that's more on him than on anyone else.

Etc.: A Lion Eye takes stock of where the Illini sit going into fall in a two-parter considering offense and defense. Offense might have some issues at tackle, where two redshirt sophomores are backed up by redshirt freshman, and running back. Defense seems sunny in places that aren't the secondary. Brandon "hopeful" that band will make it to Dallas, undoubtedly with someone else's money. Andy Staples with this year's edition of "recruiting rankings are valid."

Mike Martin bombs the GERGfense as "backyard defense" and says that Bruce Tall didn't know anything about coaching defensive line. Let's all have arguments about RR again!

Unverified Voracity Puts It On The Moon

Unverified Voracity Puts It On The Moon

Submitted by Brian on February 7th, 2012 at 12:52 PM

hockey-bear4[1]

Hockeybear searches for the best place for a Big Ten tournament

I guess it's college hockey so I shouldn't be surprised. Apparently the ludicrous worst-case scenario for a Big Ten playoff is maybe possibly happening:

Andy Baggott is reporting that a majority of athletic directors from the future Big Ten hockey schools are in favor of moving their postseason tournament to a neutral location, rather than having home sites host tournament games. The tournament would take place over three days, with all six teams from the league involved, meaning the top two seeds would receive byes into the semifinal round. Baggott also reports that the league is close to finalizing a deal with the XCel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota to host the tournament.

Why on earth anyone other than UW and Minnesota would agree to this, let alone have it at the X, escapes me. Before you, Minnesota fan, go "durr durr money" consider three weeks of home series: 10-15 games averaging between 6 and 15 thousand people sold at full price. This alternative is five games, only two or three of them anywhere near a sellout because they'll feature Minnesota. It would be marginally worse at the Joe (fewer fans per local attraction but more of them plus more OSU/PSU fans).

This setup is throwing away tens of thousands of dollars, cheapening the regular season, and giving Minnesota an unearned home-field advantage because a couple schools want to use their buildings for high schools. It's almost as ridiculous as not having a regional closer to the CCHA than Green Bay this year and St. Louis(!) last year.

Red isn't having it, at least, and at least provides the hope the dumb single-weekend system won't necessarily be the worst possible one:

Berenson: I'd prefer to see early rounds of Big Ten tournament played at teams who earn home ice, semis and finals at a neutral site. … Berenson also said he hasn't heard Minneapolis as the front runner, but certainly in consideration. Thinks Detroit should be as well.

It never made sense that Michigan, MSU, Penn State would ever agree to the XCel bit. All have (or will have, in PSU's case) dedicated hockey facilities. Even if OSU wants a one-weekend system that's still 3 vs 3 and it appears that we're talking a rotation between the XCel and the Joe.

Neutral sites… guh. Why does college hockey hate atmosphere and money?

Speaking of atmosphere. Hey, this sounds cool:

The Big Ten is not only ready to listen to proposals regarding a national four-team football playoff, league and school officials are kicking around an intriguing idea.

Sources told the Tribune that a Big Ten plan would remove the top four teams from the BCS bowl pool and have semifinal games played on the college campus of the higher seed. That would do away with the facade of “neutral” sites such as New Orleans, Miami and Pasadena, Calif., and ease travel concern for fans.

The championship game then could be bid out, like the Super Bowl.

Two more games and making the Rose Bowl the permanent location for the title game and we're talkin' MGoPlayoff. I'll take an 80% solution. Everyone and their uncle has cannily pointed out that Jim Delany's suggestion benefits the Big Ten(!) since it wouldn't require two rounds of distant travel for teams that are remote from bowl games. This is true. It also helps cut out the thieving middlemen, raises the importance of the regular season, and would be awesome. In this instance, naked self-interest benefits everyone not wearing a yellow jacket.

More importantly: that's it, there's going to be a four-team playoff. Delany is publicly negotiating terms of surrender. He knows he's lost the war and is trying to get the best deal possible for the Big Ten. Since it's the thing that actually makes the most competitive and financial sense, let's hope he wins out.

Alabama game setup: banned on the West Coast. Interesting change to the Pac-12's bylaws:

No member institution shall enter into an agreement to play a neutral-site football game (except in circumstances where such neutral-site game is the away leg of a home-and-home series) unless such agreement provides the Conference with the exclusive broadcast rights and digital rights in all media, and copyright to such neutral-site game.

IE, no more Washington State-Notre Dame in Texas. Previously the Pac-10 banned these sort of things within their footprint; now it's everywhere. This is a clear shot at Jerryworld-type games.

Q: Why are Jerryworld-type games becoming vogue? A:

  1. The Big Ten shares all television revenue*, even that acquired from nonconference games. Michigan makes no profit relative to the rest of the league for playing Notre Dame instead of East Nowhere State, because all that money goes into the kitty that's distributed evenly at the end of the year.
  2. Independent skylarker in Texas figures out he's not a part of the Big Ten footprint and can make an end-around on this agreement by paying two teams to show up and selling the television rights himself.
  3. Teams get home game money—possibly more than home-game money—plus big national attention and sign up.
  4. Conference loses revenue from big team home game.
  5. Conference bans these sorts of things.

I would not be surprised to see the Big Ten follow suit shortly.

I have mixed feelings about this. While Jerryworld-type games are a trend I'm not a fan of, I'm even less of a fan of meaningless cupcakery and this is a move clearly designed to keep the Indianas and Purdues of the world hooked into a revenue stream they have nothing to do with. That wouldn't be a disaster except for the fact that removing 11/12ths of the financial incentive to schedule a real opponent has seen college football nonconference scheduling devolve significantly. If teams were free to cut their own deals on nonconference games we'd see a lot more competitive matchups.

At least the BTN gives the conference at large a similar incentive: the desire to improve nonconference inventory is the impetus behind the Big Ten-Pac 12 scheduling agreement that will at least slightly increase the number of real games going on in September.

*[This was true as of a few years ago at least. I was having a discussion with someone in the AD about the sorry state of college football scheduling and this was brought up as a major reason.]

This is never going to happen, but if it does… If College Hockey Inc can actually pull this off, Paul Kelly is a genius:

College Hockey Inc., is working to enact legislation — either with the oversight of the NHL or through the transfer agreement between USA Hockey and Hockey Canada — to bar Canadian major junior teams from stealing a player who has signed a letter of intent until after the player’s freshman year.

IE, Michigan has John Gibson and a letter of intent actually means there is a 100% chance that player shows up on campus for a whole year.

The only problem is there is no incentive for the CHL to go for this. USA Hockey does have a potential saber to rattle: right now USA kids can go play in major junior at any age. As we learned during the Max Domi head fake, Canadians who want to play in the USHL must have their families move to the United States. That's a clear double standard, one that USA hockey could threaten to go both ways. That would get the CHL's attention.

UND's Dave Hakstol also wants to give CHL players NCAA eligibility, which sounds good in theory but would not work in practice. A kid who has spent his junior and senior years of high school in the CHL would have a zero percent chance of being academically eligible for NCAA play—major junior franchises will see to that. Hypothetically opening the door back to the NCAA will just give the CHL a marketing bullet point with little basis in reality.

And now the glidepath. If you're wondering just how tough basketball's last stretch was, they currently sit #1 nationally in Kenpom's Pythagorean strength of schedule($):

Kenpom Team Conf Pyth Rk OppO Rk OppD Rk
30 Michigan B10 0.7257 1 106.6 1 96.9 10
15 Duke ACC 0.7247 2 105.7 3 96.2 6
3 Kansas B12 0.7244 3 105.3 5 95.8 2
100 Oklahoma St. B12 0.7039 4 104.8 14 96.3 7
127 Nebraska B10 0.7019 5 104.9 11 96.5 8
80 Villanova BE 0.6994 6 105.4 4 97 12
9 Indiana B10 0.6962 7 104 28 95.9 3
71 Northwestern B10 0.6958 8 103.3 46 95.3 1
32 West Virginia BE 0.6899 9 104.9 8 97.1 13
130 Penn St. B10 0.6863 10 104.9 10 97.2 17

They've faced the most imposing opponent offenses and the tenth-most imposing defenses. It eases significantly from here.

Geediot. Stop talking!

"We hired the best coach and we went out and got the best kids so get a life," Gee said of Bielema's criticisms.

Stop dressing like a five-year-old, as well. Actually continue these things.

Etc.: The Daily successfully trolled me with this Jon Merrill article. Yeah, Denard is everywhere. So is Roundtree. Can we get some Roundtree love? Michigan's RPI is 15. I looked up their nitty gritty stats on ESPN and, man: 3-3 against the RPI top 25. They've really been playing some tough opponents. Yesman breaks down Michigan's special teams goals against Miami.

Nobody Cares About Your Problems, Wisconsin

Nobody Cares About Your Problems, Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on January 23rd, 2012 at 2:44 PM

arena-empty[1]

pictured: the NCAA's ideal crowd for a regional

College hockey is currently infected with two things that exacerbate the general meaninglessness of the regular season and often make tournament venues sterile, embarrassingly empty events. They are a fetish for neutral sites and a general agreement to ignore the Michigan/Ohio/Indiana nexus of college hockey in favor of putting everything out West. Only the miraculously blinkered Wisconsin athletic department and their press apparatchiks manage to combine both.

Neutral sites are stupid. They lead to things like sixty people in an NHL building in St. Louis hundreds of miles from any college hockey program. They should be viciously abolished wherever they don't obviously work already. This is something we can all agree on. Except Wisconsin. After months of reporting about how Wisconsin was unhappy with the way the Big Ten hockey conference was shaking out, Andy Baggot's back with a helpful suggestion.

Shifting Big Ten hockey to neutral site would eliminate WIAA conflict

Argh. Baggot is under the mistaken impression that anyone outside the state of Wisconsin gives sixth thousandths of a damn about some high school tournaments. This is the enormous problem that must be fixed:

UW officials wisely voted against this format for two reasons: One, it would create the current scheduling problems with the WIAA state tournaments for wrestling and boys' and girls' basketball; and two, there's a more sensible option.

There is not one person associated with the Big Ten who cares about option one. If the state of Wisconsin had a second arena, it wouldn't even be an issue. Hey, wait… THAT'S ANDREW BOGUT'S MUSIC

3349384531_5a37334e92[1]

Milwaukee's Bradley Center

If the Bradley Center's too busy, Milwaukee has a 10,000 seat backup currently occupied by nothing at all. We have saved the children of Wisconsin from having to compete for state championships on Lake Michigan. Time to party.

As for two, the "more sensible option" is <drumroll>…

The Big Ten should revisit the idea of a neutral site tournament, which would bring all six teams to one location in a one-and-done format over three days. There are several possible venues and a future rotation could be devised, but the best for now is the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Not only is it a fantastic NHL facility, it's in the middle of a great hockey culture with a genuine appreciation for the college game. The building also has experience handling such an event given its work with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five.

…blithering idiocy. There are six Big Ten hockey schools. They are:

  • Minnesota: zero hours from Minneapolis
  • Wisconsin: five hours from Minneapolis
  • MSU: 11 hours from Minneapolis
  • Michigan: 12 hours from Minneapolis
  • Ohio State: 14 hours from Minneapolis
  • Penn State: 16 hours from Minneapolis

Only an idiot would suggest the fairest "neutral site" that could be proposed is the home city of the westernmost school in the conference, one that only two of the six schools could reasonably drive to. Arenas in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Toledo and Indianapolis would be better geographically and could probably handle the enormous strain of putting on three games over a weekend. Only an idiot would suggest throwing away the money four to six opening round games would generate*.

Instead, the Big Ten has decided to put the finals at the home rink of the top seed, something that both gives the conference winner a needed edge in the barely-weighted plinko that is single elimination playoff hockey and guarantees attendance between decent and sellout. This is "unwieldy at best and, at worst, irresponsible." No, seriously, dude said it was irresponsible.

This is the rationale:

Regardless of location, you're asking an awful lot of the six teams and their fans in terms of time and travel logistics. That's especially true of the four lowest seeds, which meet the week before the semifinals in a best-of-three series at the home of the higher seed. The survivors advance to the next round.

In a nutshell, the Big Ten is giving its members two weeks to ready an arena, sell tickets, secure hotel space, line up ground and/or air transportation and make sure its teams are ready to play.

Meanwhile, fans of those teams are being asked to be flexible and keep a credit card handy.

This is something literally every hockey arena in the country has to be ready for because they may host a first or second round playoff series. Unless I missed a spate of unprepared zamboni deaths, they've managed. The argument here is a campus site is just impossibly daunting to prepare on short notice, which is why every NCAA sport other than D-I football, basketball, and hockey uses such things for their playoffs.

If there's a cost analysis between the campus site and neutral site, I'll bet the difference is significant and it favors the neutral site.

If you're an idiot who thinks anyone cares about WIAA playoffs and believes that four Big Ten teams are going to vote to have the Big Ten finals at least eleven hours away, next door to Minnesota's campus. How about this: if Wisconsin wins the league they can hire the X. Problem no one cares about solved.

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

*[The problem with the Big Ten's format is it does not adopt the actually logical playoff structure: three weeks of best-of-three series at the higher-seeded-team's rink. That's more money, more games (always nice when you're competing against OHL teams that point out a relative lack of games in the NCAA), and avoids the strangeness of the current format wherein the second-place team gets no home games.]

Hockey Realignment React

Hockey Realignment React

Submitted by Brian on July 8th, 2011 at 12:45 PM

explosion2elliottwallpaper0os

right via let's go du

What is going on? In hockey, everything. We are apparently not going to have two straight years of speculation about a WCHA/CCHA superconference because it already happened:

UND will soon announce it is leaving the men’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association for a new, startup conference in 2013-14  … At least five other teams will join UND in this league: Denver, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota-Duluth and Miami (Ohio).

Notre Dame and an eighth school — possibly Western Michigan — also could be added to this group by the end of the summer.

It is a "done deal." An official announcement comes Wednesday. Everyone left behind is super happy!

"At our meeting in April we voted to extend an invitation to Miami and Notre Dame," Cobb said, referring to a pair of CCHA teams. "That passed with 100 percent of the vote. Nobody said they were unhappy. We left the April meeting and basically some of them contacted Notre Dame and Miami and said, 'Don't take the WCHA invitation, we're going to invite you to join our super league.'

"I blame everybody for being less than honest with their own league members. It's a really sneaky back-door deal."

There's no way Notre Dame is going to stick in the CCHA without Miami; Western is now without a coach and has been terrible for years before their surprise tourney bid under Blashill. They would be signing up to get murdered year-in, year-out. They might prefer Hockey MAC to being a punching bag for five powers and UNO.

If Western does go for it, the smoking husks of the WCHA and CCHA are about to be down to five teams. In the WCHA, Bemidji, St. Cloud, Minnesota State, Alaska-Anchorage, and Michigan Tech are left. In the CCHA, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Bowling Green, Alaska-Fairbanks, and Northern Michigan remain.

The remnants are going to have to glue themselves together in some fashion to get to the six schools required for an autobid; the most obvious thing to do is for the WCHA to grab the UP schools and possibly Air Force to get to eight. That would leave the two remaining lower peninsula schools, BG, and Alaska in a very precarious position—they could grab two or four of the Atlantic Hockey schools that want to offer 18 scholarships but travel costs go up and revenues down and BGSU already considered shutting their program down.

And now…

THE COLLEGE HOCKEY TEAMS MOST SCREWED BY REALIGNMENT

  1. St. Cloud State. The Huskies were a solid middle-of-the-pack WCHA team that often grabbed tourney at-large slots, though they infamously never won once they got to the actual tourney. Now they get to be Boise State.
  2. Bowling Green. Thanks for saving your program, guys. Now let's make it even less relevant than the team that finishes dead last in the CCHA every year.
  3. Undetermined Superconference Eighth. Hi, random eighth team in unnamed superconference. At best you're St. Cloud or Western. The worst programs you are going to play on a regular basis are UNO under Dean Blais and defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth. You are signing up to be bludgeoned.
  4. Someone Else In The Superconference. There is not room for six or seven teams in any conference to make the NCAA field, especially in a world with two more autobids. At least one of the teams in the new conference is going to lose a coach or just be bad for while and fire a coach and all of a sudden they're the new Minnesota State. This will not be North Dakota. It could be anyone else.

THINGS MICHIGAN SHOULD DO

  1. Try to keep Western around by offering some scheduling guarantees.
  2. Play BG/Ferris/Lake Superior/NMU almost yearly, at their places sometimes, possibly for stuff.
  3. Get Michigan State to also do this.

HYPOTHETICAL NEW WORLD CONFERENCE RANKINGS

  1. Super Conference
  2. Hockey East
  3. Big Ten (Michigan was the only member to make the tourney last year)
  4. A Gaping Chasm
  5. WCHA-ish
  6. ECAC
  7. CCHA-ish
  8. Atlantic Hockey

HYPOTHETICAL MAIN BENEFIT OF SUPER CONFERENCE

You've taken the 35 teams jammed into three conferences (36 with Penn State) and turned them into five conferences of reasonable, or even smallish, size. Before, any teams looking to add hockey were looking at a forbidding existence as an independent or in the rickety CHA. Now there would be up to 24 extra spots for college hockey to gracefully expand.

HOW MUCH GUFF THE BIG TEN SHOULD TAKE FOR "DESTROYING COLLEGE HOCKEY"

Zero.

Unverified Voracity, Thrilled By Polygonal Dreads

Unverified Voracity, Thrilled By Polygonal Dreads

Submitted by Brian on June 30th, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Why I stopped buying NCAA in two sentences. Go:

ncaa-2012

Also this is definitely because of Denard.

Hockey bits. It was announced a while ago but in case you missed it, Big Ten hockey has adopted a fairly sensible playoff format. The bottom four finishers have a best two-of-three series at the higher seed's home ice and then there is a four-team single-elimination playoff on the #1 seed's home ice.

It's a little strange that the second-place finisher gets zero home hockey games but it could have been worse. I still prefer best two-of-three series the whole way because it's more hockey and less arbitrary.

Other logistical bits continue to filter out:

  • Teams have "already been asked" to play two Monday night games per season and Wednesday games between nearby teams have also been broached. The article also mentions the possibility of some Sunday-Monday series.
  • The Big Ten "will" reach a scheduling agreement with the WCHA that will take care of "perhaps eight" of the new Big Ten's 14 nonconference games.
  • They might have to move the state basketball championships in Wisconsin.

I expect the WCHA scheduling agreement just involves Minnesota and Wisconsin. Having the WCHA suck up the eight extra nonconference games now on OSU's, MSU's, and Michigan's schedules would hurt the CCHA further, and I'd rather to see them play traditional opponents like Miami, Northern Michigan, Ferris, etc., than fly to Minnesota to play St. Cloud.

As far as moving games for television goes, I'm all for the increased exposure but when I looked at the schedules it seemed like Sunday was a vast wasteland for basketball that hockey could fill. Is the NFL that much of a beast?

Meanwhile, it is alive:

yost-scoreboard-alive

Illini, probably not. A Champaign-Urbana developer is planning a $15 million ice arena with two sheets of ice in a 100k square-foot building. This immediately got message board folk speculating about Illini hockey, but it doesn't sound like that kind of investment is anywhere near what you'd need for a D-I program. Illinois would probably have to spend at least double that to get a proper D-I rink. Add in a former club player's perspective

Even though the club team has operated at a profit and has the third highest game attendance per season of all sports on campus (average 800-1000 per game with an all time high of around 2000), there are still too many things standing in the way for Illinois to field a D1 NCAA hockey team in the near future. Using the current ice rink for a D1 team is not an option due to the fact that the NCAA requires a minimum seating capacity of 4k-5k for all new D1 NCAA hockey teams (seating capacity at the current rink is ~1250) and the rink is not regulation size. Another problem is that while hockey may have proved that it is in demand in C-U, it is pretty far down the list of sports the AD would like to add. Mens swimming and men's soccer are both sports that could be added to the Illinois AD for significantly less money and without having to add new facilities to the university.

… and it sounds like if the Big Ten adds a seventh member in hockey it won't be the Illini unless they get a Terry Pegula-level donation.

One wing forward extra crispy. It seems like basketball might have its two-ish open spots for the 2012 and 2013 classes filled promptly, what with Flint's Monte Morris declaring Michigan his leader, albeit only from the four teams who have offered, and August($) his decision timeframe. Meanwhile, Indiana's Zak Irvin is stepping up his campus visits considerably. He says he's not going to make an immediate decision but it doesn't sound like he's going to wait that long:

“Right now I’m just taking my time with it,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to do anything soon. I’m just reviewing all my options.”

In addition to Butler and Michigan, Irvin also has offers from Baylor, Illinois, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Purdue and Xavier. Asked about his recent offers, Irvin said he “likes both coaching staffs” of Butler and Michigan.

“I’m still curious to see who comes out in July,” Irvin said of next month’s evaluation period. “I doubt anything happens before the

Irvin told Sam Webb that rumors a Michigan commitment was imminent were false and that "there are other schools" on his list.

Irvin's now being listed at 6'7" some places, FWIW. He'll be Sim Bhullar by the time he hits campus. Glenn Robinson III teammate Mitch McGary is also scheduled to be on campus shortly but probably remains a longshot.

Austin Hatch's situation makes Michigan's recruiting even more complicated. It will be a while before it's clear whether he can play basketball at a high level again. While I assume the NCAA will work something out so he can attend Michigan either way, there's uncertainty there. That's in the triple digits about "things you should care about related to Austin Hatch," of course.

The cheddar issue. The Business of College Sports highlights Michigan's massive construction projects:

michigan-capital-projects

That is a lot of money being spent on buildings that only indirectly benefit student-athletes:

As you can see, gifts help make these capital projects possible, but they only make a small dent in the total amount needed. The athletic department has incurred debt for a number of the projects and has budgeted $13.2 million in expenses for this debt service for the coming year. This is up $2.2 million from last year due to debt incurred for the Michigan Stadium and Crisler Arena projects.

In addition to this debt service, Michigan has another $14.4 million budgeted for “Facilities Expenses” and a “Deferred Maintenance Fund Transfer”. I should point out that $4.5 million of the $14.4 million  mentioned is for the “Deferred Maintenance Fund Transfer”. This is a fund set up during the 2003 fiscal year that is being built up to fund future “major repair and rehabilitation projects” for athletic facilities. Because Michigan turns an operating profit each year, they’re able to put aside for future capital projects in ways I’m sure many other universities cannot.

The $14.4 million I just detailed on top of the $29.9 million set aside for renovations to Crisler and Yost and $13.2 million in debt service on facilities adds up to $57.5 million Michigan is spending next year on facilities alone.

When we point at the surpluses run by large athletic departments and say some of that money could go to athletes we should also keep in mind that if facilities are going to be kept up to date colleges have to make that happen themselves. They can't extort local governments for stadiums, so they have to build up reserves and carefully plan ahead.

The insane future. Braves and Birds has hopped on the promotion and relegation bandwagon, proposing a two-tier SEC that's not entirely dissimilar from my tortured attempts to turn the hypothetical Mega Big Ten people were tossing around last summer into an actual conference instead of two conferences glommed together.

My tortured attempt was tortured largely because I was trying to find a way to prevent the Auburn problem. Auburn was 2-6 in conference in 2008 and 3-5 in 2009. They would have been in the second division of the SEC. In 2010 they were the best team in the country. An outright promotion/relegation system would have seen that team unable to compete for a conference title at all. That seems unacceptable, and that makes a straight system like B&B proposes unworkable. This doesn't affect soccer much because the top division is 18 or 20 teams—the chance the next tier down actually contains the best team is tiny. Not so much when you have smaller numbers and rapid turnover.

The only place I think a straight promotion and relegation system might work in CFB is with the Mountain West and assorted other teams. Right now they're on the verge of an automatic BCS bid, but they'll drop out of that after the TCU, Utah, and BYU departures are accounted for. If they had an eight-team top division and rounded up the WAC/Sunbelt/etc to comprise a lower division they could assure themselves the SJSUs of the world wouldn't drop their average rating while automatically sucking the strongest teams into a group of eight that just might qualify.

Meanwhile, I think I came to the conclusion that the only way a super-conference works is if you use dynamic scheduling (i.e., play part of the season and figure out the rest of the schedule after that). If you play half the conference slate, then have teams with good records play each other while the teams with bad records do the same, you can get enough interaction between the top teams to actually feel like 16 teams are a coherent whole.

Etc.: Shawn Hunwick (and a couple of Michigan athletes you're probably less familiar with) get their charity on. Fulham, a soccer club in London, inexplicably has a Michael Jackson statue in front of Craven Cottage, and now they're selling equally inexplicable merchandise related to it. OH DE Chris Wormley says Michigan leads. TTB talks to Desmond Morgan.

Wisconsin Hockey Hates Money, Hockey

Wisconsin Hockey Hates Money, Hockey

Submitted by Brian on May 23rd, 2011 at 12:40 PM

barry-alvarez

no sir I would not like to be your neighbor
you smell like deep-fried deep fryers
and you make the new big ten geographically incoherent
STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT AAAH

The Big Ten hockey conference is coming, bringing with it questions like "how do you structure the playoffs in a six-team conference?" Since this is America everyone gets their participation trophy berth, but then you have some options. Specifically these:

A single-elimination format at a neutral site in which all six teams are seeded according to regular-season performance. The lowest four seeds play for the right to face one of the top two seeds.

• A two-weekend model in which the four lowest-seeded schools play a best-of-three series for the right to advance to a final four, single-elimination set-up staged at the home of the top seed.

• A three-weekend arrangement in which the teams are seeded and the highest seeds host a best-of-three series. The four lowest seeds play for the right to face one of the top two seeds in a best-of-three series hosted by the highest seed. The highest seed hosts the championship series.

Wisconsin is supporting the first of these because formats other than the WCHA's Final Five confuse and frighten them. They probably saw a sixth team show up to the Final Five this year* and fled to the comforting bosom of the Big Ten.

If the rest of college hockey was in charge here they would permanently site in St. Paul because the Midwest doesn't exist. Fortunately, the Big Ten is apparently set on rotating the playoffs through Chicago, Detroit, and maybe Pittsburgh should a neutral site be required.

But… like… it shouldn't. The amount of money you can make from five games at a neutral site is way less than you can make from 10-15 games at campus sites unless you're expecting a Big Ten tournament to sell out, which it won't. (And even then it's probably about equal.) You have two sets of fans separated from each other by a lake. Ohio State and Michigan State fans will simply not show up. MSU fans don't show up to their own building, and didn't even when they were good. Penn State fans are undetermined but they are a very long way away from anything except Pittsburgh so banking on Nittany Lions to show up en masse is foolhardy, especially when they're probably not going to be very good for a while.

Meanwhile, the NCAA is not going to fork over extra games to the Big Ten for having an abbreviated playoff. So the advantages of a three-weekend series format are many:

  • it is more hockey
  • it is more money
  • it is less random
  • it is more important to finish well so you get home games
  • it does not randomly assign home ice to whichever team happens to be closest to the playoff

The advantages of a single neutral site:

  • it is good practice for playing an NCAA regional in an embarrassingly empty cavern of a building
  • it is less frightening to Wisconsin

The Final Five works so well for the WCHA because they had eight fanbases within a few hours of Minneapolis. (They've got seven now since they traded BSU and UNO for Minnesota and Wisconsin.) Anyone who makes it can show up at the X with no trouble. That won't be the case in the Big Ten, which has only six fanbases, three of which are questionable. The three that aren't are separated by a lake and massive airfares since Minneapolis and Detroit are both Delta hubs, and the fans who would hypothetically go to them are facing down trips to randomly-selected regionals and the Frozen Four the next three weeks. A neutral site is not a good idea.

But this is college hockey, so they'll put it in the Sudan.

OTHER ITEM OF INTEREST: The article mentions that the displaced Big Ten teams "hope to" fill their schedule with eight games against WCHA and CCHA teams, leaving six (or eight if you go to Alaska) left for random nonconference series. Conveniently, eight games is how many it takes for this blog's State of Michigan-ish Championship idea to come to fruition.

OTHER END OF THE BENCH GUY: Via Michigan Hockey Net, a defenseman with 27 points in 122 games as the Omaha Lancers' captain has committed for next year. He's Mike Chiasson, and if that name sounds familiar: yes, he is former Red Wing Steve Chiasson's son. The elder Chiasson died in a car wreck 12 years ago, after which the family moved to Nevada.

Anyone committing this late is almost certainly a walk-on and Michigan has six guys slotted for playing time next year, but depth is depth and it's always good to add junior captains. Also here's Chiasson fighting some dude.

*[The WCHA added UNO and BSU, thus necessitating a sixth team. In a very Big Ten move, the WCHA refused to change the name. That turned out to be prescient.]